I wrote a book!

Wow, those are words that I NEVER thought I would ever say but yes, for the past seven months I have been working on this project and I am finally finished!

Before we get too much further let me give you a little bit of back story:

About a year ago today I posted a story on my blog about a difficult time in my marriage (I will have that story linked here) and based off of my blog stats back then, this story had a far bigger impact than anything else I had ever shared before.  I knew it was going to be tough to write about but I am really glad that I did and I realized that there were a lot more people who could relate to it then I would have ever thought.

The thing about that story is that it briefly goes over a year of our marriage but the reality is that the entire first three years of our marriage was really, really difficult.  By the time year three rolled around I was so emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausted that I came really close to filing for divorce.  We were only 23 years old then and our marriage was nothing like how I dreamed it would be.  I felt like I needed to start fresh.

But over a year of intense prayer and spiritual growth, God completely healed our married and has blessed it beyond what I had ever dreamed.  Isn't it so amazing how God's best for us surpasses our own imaginations and expectations?!

Okay, so that's the short of it.  You will be able to read all about our marriage in detail (and I mean DETAIL!) when it get's published one day.

So now we can fast forward to a little after that blog post was written.  I started having this idea that I could write a book.  All I had was a title (to be revealed much later on) and it kept rolling around my head for months.  For most of the remainder of 2017 it stayed just that, an idea.

I am in no way qualified to write a book, outside the fact that I passionately love writing (I have been blogging since I was a senior in high school!) I don't have the proper degree, I certainly am no expert on grammar, and I know absolutely nothing about the publishing world.  And on top of that the longest thing I ever had to write was a ten page paper in college, about the history of fashion.  Coming up with 50,000 words to say seemed a little bit daunting and more than that, a little bit impossible.

This book is also completely unsolicited by any publisher and I don't have this huge platform of followers when it comes to social media and the like.  Although I am so incredibly grateful for those of you who have stuck with me on my blog for all this time.  You mean the world to me!  But with that said, since I don't have this big platform I had this fear that I wouldn't be as appealing to publishers because books still have to sell!  I didn't want to do all this work just to be rejected.

*Oh, and did I mention I stay at home with two very energetic little girls?  Where on earth was I going to find the time to actually write an entire book?!

But then December rolled around and I felt this extreme calling wash over me.  God began to speak to me saying:  "Listen, I know your fears but I am asking you to be obedient in this, I will be with you every step of the way and make a path that only I am capable of.  Have faith in Me!"

It started with a sermon.  One Sunday at Church our Pastor was preaching on spiritual growth.  And as part of his message we were asked to take a survey and one of the questions on this survey was:  "are you dreaming God sized dreams?" I don't even remember how I answered but in the car on the way home I couldn't stop thinking about it.  And from then on I really started meditating on this idea that God is big enough to lead me into something and subsequently lead me through something.  And not just something but something BIG, something that would absolutely be impossible without Him.  (I wrote a blog post on this too, you can find that here)  And that is exactly what He did!  He called me to something and He got me through it (the first half, the second half....editing/publishing but I am remaining faithful in that too).  I will tell you, writing this book has been one of the most intimate experiences I have ever had with the Lord and I will always fondly cherish this time.  The reason is because my need for Him was severe.  Of course, not that that isn't true for everything in my life but this just felt uniquely special.  Everyday as I sat down to write it was kind of like "Ok, God I have nothing to say today, give me what you got!" and by the end of my writing sessions I would have 1,000 words written.  I am amazed at His faithfulness! It may even compel me to write more books in the future ;)

Now back to what happened after that sermon.  After I began to seriously consider God sized dreams and what that meant for me I just kept feeling like the Lord was speaking to me through other people.  I can't even tell you how many times I heard His voice pulling me through something someone would say to me or from something I would read.  It was like the littlest things would add just that much more weight to this pull I was feeling, like He was really trying to get me to tune into this.

Finally a woman that I have known since my childhood wrote the sweetest message on my Facebook about how she hoped that I would write a book one day.  Her encouragement was the tipping point.

That night I sat down at the dinner table with Bryan and told him that I was going to write a book.  I was going to do this.  I spent the next couple of weeks writing down some notes and a little bit of outline (this outline was so not professional but I at least wanted to get some ideas down first) and then in January I began writing.  There were a lot of tears and a lot of frustration but in the end I loved every minute of it!

I still need to take several weeks to go back and do some more editing before I start searching for an agent/publisher but the bones are complete and for that, I couldn't be more excited!

Ok, so I briefly went over what this book is going to be about and that is of course marriage but now I want to tell you what my heart is for this book.

Three years ago I was at a place in my life where I just wasn't happy in my marriage and I know I have already mentioned it before but I wanted a divorce and I became really great at hiding that.  Aside from my closest family you would never have known what was going through my heart at the time and I think that made me feel really alone.  And let me tell you what I mean by that because my family was a huge support during that time.

What I mean is that I would look around me desperate to find someone I could relate to and I couldn't.  I was desperate to find someone who was suffocating just like me but pushing through it.  I was looking for someone who had gone through hell and back in their marriage who was going to tell me that it was all going to be ok!

The reason I think that I wasn't finding what I was looking for was because 1. I was hiding mine own shame in my experience and 2.  I think that most of the time marital problems in general are kept very private.  It's not something that we are too keen on airing out for all the world to see.

A lot of us aren't willing to share hard experiences with one another out of fear that we will look like failures, which leaves us feeling alone.  We coil inward and we are left dashing for the nearest exit from our current circumstance instead of pushing through them because we haven't heard very many stories of hope.

This leads to a sad truth:  a lot of marriages that go through hell don't survive, they go through hell and then end in divorce.

but they don't have to 

This story is not a shiny penny.  It goes into the depths of shame, regret, anger, self pity, pride, jealousy, selfish intention, and failure on top of failure.  But I want to share it because what God did with it is beautiful and that's the best part.  His glory shines out of the ashes and His light will not be put out by a broken past.

there is healing waiting for those who seek it 

If there are people out there who are going to read this book and feel like their marriage isn't going to survive, through it I want to be able to come along side them and say, "listen, do not be distraught or discouraged.  Here is the story of a girl who was devastated by a broken marriage but here is the story of a God who is bigger, a God who is for you, a God who heals!  Look, He is making all things new!"

Three years ago all of the disfunction in our marriage came to a head and the resentment that I felt towards Bryan was harsh, it sunk its teeth in deep.  And if you would have asked to see the inner workings of my heart you probably would have concluded that I had chosen not to love him anymore.

But today, our marriage walks in complete freedom from that because it came face to face with freedom Himself.  Today I feel honored and privileged to be Bryan's wife.  He is my favorite person in the world, my favorite dad in the world, my confidant, my biggest support, my spiritual leader, my adventure partner, my life partner, the love of my life.

All things are new and I want to tell people about how we got to today, or rather the about the Who that got us to today! 

That is my heart for this 

One last thing.  Like I said earlier, I don't have any knowledge/experience in the publishing world or even the book selling world but I do believe that God is big enough to see me through all this.  But I am certainly going around a corner that I have never been around before so I would kindly ask for you to join me in prayer through this.  That God would go before and give me the strength that I need during each step in this process.  I would greatly appreciate that!

and I will be sure to keep you updated!


Ezrah Turns Five!

Is this even real life?  I simply cannot believe that the sweet girl who made me a mother is five!  And what a five years it has been.  In just five years I can see that the light in our little one is going to have the biggest impact on this world.  I honestly never met anyone with such a kind and tender heart, she is going to move mountains through her love.

This year Ezrah had THREE birthday parties because her daddy was away from his annual National Guard training and we went to visit my parents while he was gone.  When Bryan got home we had his mom and step father in town so I just made a cake to celebrate.  I have been watching Cake Style on YouTube for a really long time now and fell in love with this darling poppy cake that Vanessa did a tutorial for awhile ago.  I knew that was what I was going to tryout this year so Ezrah got five bright red poppies on her cake!

I will admit that it took a lot of trial and error and doesn't look nearly as beautiful as Vanessa's but I do really love the way it turned out and I love getting to make something special for my girls every year!  If you are into making cakes too I do highly recommend following some of the tutorials on Cake Style, which are so comprehensive and easy to follow!

One thing that I have always hated to admit to (especially since we started having kids) is that time flies!  It really does, it feels just like yesterday that I we brought our Ezrah girl into the world.  So I thought I would start a new tradition here on the blog where I would write out the things that I want to remember about each of my kids as the age they are.  This way I can always look back on the sweet memories.  So without further ado, here are five things that I always want to remember about Ezrah right now:

1.  You're naming your babies and your stuffed animals and actually sticking with them.  It's the simplest thing but it makes my heart melt!  My favorites are Lindsay the kitty and your new baby, Chels (short for Chelsea)!  With that, I also just love to sneak up on you to watch you play.  It's one of my favorite things to do because I get to see a full view of your creative imagination.  You usually catch me pretty quickly with a giggle saying: "Hey mommy!  What are you doing?!"  But all the little moments I capture are worth it!

2.  Your love for The Greatest Showman.  I'd argue that you are that movies number one fangirl since you request to watch it almost every single day and sometimes even twice a day.  And you request to listen to the soundtrack just about every time we get in the car.  I love to watch you sing and dance along!

3.  I know I say this all the time but it's true so I will say it again:  I love the way you love your little sister.  You are so tender and kind and yet the two of you are the best rough housers together.  It couldn't make my mommy heart any happier to see you two together!

One specific thing I never want to forget though is recently when you came to me in complete tears after you saw your sister put something a little too small in her mouth.  You know that's a BIG rule in our house, "don't put anything that's not food in your mouth!" and you thought that she could be in danger so the first thing you did was run to me.  Your love for her makes you smart and instinctive and I just know that as you two grow together you are going to play a huge role in leading her!

Stay best friends forever, okay?

4.  You are always trying to make people laugh with your silly faces and mannerisms.  You are so much like your daddy in that aspect and it makes me know that you care about the joy of others.

5.  I love having little conversations with you.  Your intelligence is growing but you still everything from the purest perspective, which makes our conversations ten times more interesting and fun.  Not to mention you have the sweetest voice.  I'm holding on to these moments tightly!

Ezrah girl, I love you so much and watching you get a little older ever year saddens me but mostly it fills me with joy.  It is a privilege to be your mommy, to watch you and to help you grow.

On the morning of your birthday you said to me:  "Mommy, I like five!"

And you know what?  I like five too.  I really, really do!