Saturday, October 14, 2017

Hip Hop Hooray... Dashy Is 8 TODAY!

















Saturday, October 14, 2017


My Sweet and Silly Dashy,

It’s the morning before your 8th birthday. As I sit on our balcony of what has been our Orlando home for the last 7 days, overlooking our Playground of Joy, I smile in knowing that tomorrow our celebration continues back in Tennessee.  

Last year, I typed your 7th birthday letter from the beauty of Seacrest Beach. This year I’m doing so from a balcony near Disneyworld.

This past week has truly been an adventure that I will treasure in my bank of memories for all of my days. I am filled with gratitude that your Daddy decided to gather our family together to share in this experience. I will never forget the moment when Mimi, Grandaddy, Auntie Ali and Uncle Patches yelled: “SURPRISE” as they entered our room on our first evening in Florida!

Each and every year that I sit down to type these birthday letters to you and Cam I am always flooded by a wave of emotions.
·      First: Joy! A pure state of elation that fills and floods my heart!
·      Second: Sadness in knowing that another year has passed so quickly.
·      Third: I am flooded by LOVE for our Jesus and the gifts of my beautiful boys that He has bestowed upon me
·      Next: Remembrance for all of the years and growth of which we have experienced together as a family
·      Finally: Excitement for the beautiful future that is to come both here as in heaven, my Dashy.

And so, my Littlest, today and every day, with all of the above sentiments, I am celebrating the Miracle of YOU!

JOY:
Oh how you have been a carrier of joy since we first learned of you growing in my belly.  Holding you for the first time was so very different than with Cam, yet both moments are two of my heart’s deepest treasures. I could not believe that my heart was able to contain even more love than it already had; not to mention that the love I felt for you was unique and just as immense as what I felt for your brother upon his birth 21 months prior.
Being a witness to your first belly laughing hands up roller-coaster experiences this week was an absolute delight! Watching you bless other children around Disney with the prizes you won at Dinosaur Land was pure bliss and made my oh-so-proud mama heart swell! 
Your joy has been like an overflowing wellspring. From your sweet little voice, your on-point-and even sometimes hysterical dance moves, your one- liners:
“Well, Mommy, you may not have always known Jesus, but I’ve known Him since I lived in your belly,” and finally, your great big bear hugs and cuddles around the neck that sometime choke me…but always fill my cup with never ending JOY!

SADNESS:
Sweet boy-you carry absolutely no sadness. It is an emotion that I allow myself to feel as it comes, though not to live inside of it for too long. The only time that I ‘m sad is when I think of the years that have passed, because I am unable hold on to your tiny yet far too quickly growing little self! I know the days of being able to carry you piggy-back will soon come to and end, though I vow to continue until it is no longer humanly possible! I’m also well aware that the day will arrive when you will no longer say: “YOU are my only girlfriend, Mommy,” with such a pure and sweet innocence.  I will continue to beg time to slow down…so you can remain tiny for just a little while longer on our journey together through this life.  

LOVE:
Oh my son- the LOVE I have for you is currently flooding my eyes with tears that are spilling over on to my hands as I type each word from my heart. You fill me with this emotion more and more each day. You teach me every day about how to LOVE patiently and uninhibited. Watching you take the world in with your bright and big eyes has been a treasure that continues to multiply each and every year. You see the world intelligently as well as artistically. You share your love without fear! I promise I will preserve and applaud you for that all of your days. Your LOVE is exactly what our family needed and I thank you for always sharing your heart. You lead us into bigger depths of LOVE simply by just being YOU!

REMEMBERENCE:
I remember how we struggled to find balance in your health during the first few years of your life.  I remember the doctor telling me that she thought you had muscular dystrophy at your one-year well visit because you weren’t walking. I remember how you crushed that lie and have grown to be the most agile and vibrant little mover and shaker I’ve ever known. I remember the way you used to talk… where your R’s sounded like W’s…. Oh how I miss those days. I remember your 4th birthday when we bought you a stuffed dolphin larger than you in size. You have slept with that dolphin every night since.  I am remembering the first time you rode Honey the Pony at Kindred Spirits Farm and when you walked right under the head of the largest most majestic horse, Annabelle, and stood so very close to her without fear. I remember how you used to sit in my lap and cuddle with me in the carpool lane at Step Forward Day School. We would sing, laugh, and talk before you went out to adventure in your last year before you began grade school. I remember the excitement on your face each and every Christmas, and how we have experienced a miraculous shift in the meaning of this holiday together as a family. A shift that has grown our depth of love for our Jesus and within our family beyond my wildest dreams.  I remember your Daddy baptizing you in the Harpeth River and how you witnessed to our family and friends: “I Love God Because He is AMAZING” before you were washed forever clean and anointed as a child of The Most High! I will never forget walking down the isle this summer toward your Daddy with you and Cam on either side of me … the love of what God has done for us yesterday, today, and forever being celebrated on that beautiful day surrounded by those whom we adore on this side of heaven and amongst the Great Cloud of Witnesses.

EXCITEMENT: Oh Dashy, I am still weeping as I share my heart with you in these words, but these tears are truly ones of Joy, Love, and Excitement! While time only seems to move more rapidly each and every year, I am embracing the changes of the seasons as I know they bring the MORE that our Lord has for all of us- especially for you and your brother. We still have so many “firsts” that we’ve yet to experience together and my promise to you is that I will not allow fear to dictate how I guide and parent. I will always look to heaven with advanced thanksgiving and praise God for the blessings that haven’t happened yet as though they already have. Today, I praise Him for your bright future, your strength in health, mind, body, and spirit, your unwavering and steadfast passion for TRUTH, that you will make disciples of Christ- simply by showing the love and joy that you have for Him, that you will dance like nobody is watching for all of your days and you will teach your children to do the same.

Happiest 8th Birthday My Littlest!! You truly march to a never ending and eternal beat from heaven and I praise our King of Kings that He chose me to be your Mommy.

Celebrating your yesterdays, your today, and your FOREVER!!

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!

Mama

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Being Nine Is Mighty Fine!
















January 8, 2017

NINE...REALLY??!
How did we arrive here SO FAST, my Camden?

I am filled with so much joy for the years thus far and each time I look back on photos from the days when you were teeny tiny, my heart skips a mommy beat of nostalgia.

Today while watching you play with your friends during your party, I felt my heart swell with pride for the young man that you are becoming every day. The promise of the way you interact with friends and how you include your brother, so he doesn’t miss out on the fun, brings comfort and affirmation to me as a parent.

While lying in bed tonight, you said to me: “I had so much fun today, Mommy”!
You shared that you love your friends and you feel so blessed by each one. You spoke so kindly of each friend and what they mean to you...SO Sweet My Boy!
As we snuggled tonight, I took inventory of a few of the many changes that have happened over the past nine years:

* Nine years ago tonight, I was pregnant at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank, California, awaiting your arrival; scared out of my mind, as I feared I would not know how to be your mommy…Little did I know, that a little more than 24 hours later, you would be placed into my arms, I would fall instantly in love, and our mommy and son adventures would begin.
* I spent countless hours holding you close. Nursing was constant in the beginning, though there was no place I would have rather been. Your even temperament made it very easy to take you with me everywhere. 
* The hundreds of miles that I walked with you throughout our neighborhood in West Hills during your first few months of life are some of my favorite memories. I would listen to music, watch you sleep, and away we would stroll for hours on end.
I actually kind of lost myself in being your mommy for a while. Though I regret none of our time, I had a difficulty wanting to do anything else other than to be cozy with you in my arms. It took me nearly a year to realize I needed to find "me" again so I could be the best mommy to you! 
* Weeks turned into months…and we moved to Tennessee in June of 2008. Six months old and so much fun! Your smile was constant and I lived for your giggles.
I remember our sweet game that lasted almost five years: 
Big Boy/Little Boy!
I would hold you up in the air as high as I could muster … “BIG BOY”
I would swing you low toward my feet… “LITTLE BOY…”
…You LOVED IT and this was our routine after “tubby time” for years!

I’m praising God for these memories, as I know that phase has passed and we are on to new adventures…

*I can still see your little hands…the indents where your knuckles now reside. I see your chubby cheeked face that began thinning out at age three and just keeps doing so more and more with each year.  I still remember the first time you were able to pucker when you kissed me {as opposed to the wide mouth resting on my cheek kind of kiss from ages 1-3}.

*I vividly recall the day that you switched the use of improper pronouns to correct ones:
“Hold Yous Mama…Hold Yous,” you would exclaim with your little chubby arms outstretched up as high as you could reach.
In a flash, this became: “Hold…. Hold…ME”!

So many of your “firsts” are still fresh in my mind as they day they happened.
*Your first night without your pacifier: aka: “Binks”.
*Your first day of preschool
*The first lost tooth
*Your First Birthday
*The first time you met and held your “Beebee Dash”
*The first time you could hold my hand instead of just a few fingers

*I remember the night before you went to kindergarten…you looked so big in your bed and I sobbed my eyes out knowing that our mommy/son daytime years were over. School was calling and it was time for my big boy to go.

Since you began elementary school, I feel like the years are moving more rapidly.

I have always said to you: “Slow Down,” and you’ve always said: “I Can’t Mama!”

My son, you SHINE! You are a joy to all who know you!

Your love of cars that began at age 2 has only intensified with each passing year. You still spend hours lining up your matchbox cars in rows, like you did when you were just a little toddler; but now you know the year, make, and model of each one! I marvel at how much you know about the automobile industry. It’s really quite impressive. I can’t believe you will be driving your own car in just the blink of an eye from now.

You’ve picked up Hip Hop as a hobby this year. I look forward to watching you on stage this summer. You have lots of swagger and it’s evident that the girls are going to be swooning very very soon, {Jesus, help this mama}!

Basketball is your jam! You LOVE it and have grown in this skill quite a bit since last year. It’s so fun watching you go after what you want…a truly passionate little man!

This is your 4th year of tae kwan do, and even though you complain about having to leave the house and go to your lessons, you excel when you are in class. This sport has taught you discipline in many ways!

I’m not sure what life would be like right now without our Jesus, Camden! When you were 7, turning 8, I had embarked on my first few months of journeying with HIM. This year, we are growing as a family in our walk together with Christ. It’s amazing how in one year, we’ve allowed Him to come into the center of our home and be our compass. Listening to you pray is pure FAITH and TRUST! You LOVE and Choose Jesus so naturally.

This summer, on June 4th, each member of our family was baptized in the river behind our church. What a beautiful ceremony surrounded by our loved ones. After an entire day of rain... the clouds parted, the sun peaked out, and a rainbow painted the sky after we’d become new creations… IN HIM!

Our family’s motto: “Speak Life. Choose Joy. Love King Jesus,” has been the perfect way to send you off into your day and also serves us well as a reset when needed.

Before the Lord captured my heart, I used to fear that you were going to head down some of the windy, bumpy, and sometimes-dangerous paths that I once chose.

What a beautiful gift to be able to praise Him with advanced thanksgiving for His provision over your life. He’s a good good Father, and we know without a doubt God works all things together for our good when we choose His ways.

While in my quite time several months ago, He showed me a beautiful vision:

You were standing at the base of a mountain…there was snow on the mountain and you begin to climb upward. Suddenly, a massive snowball came toward you. Rather than running, you collected your strength, stretched out your arms and began to push the snowball upward.
Once at the top, there were people on the other side of the base of the mountain cheering and gathered together. They were like tiny dots because you were at such a high elevation, though I could hear their joyous cries.
There you stood…waiving a huge banner, walking calmly back and forth across the mountaintop. Your banner read: Freedom!
With a banner in one hand, Jesus appeared and grabbed your other. He guided you and Dash down the hill. He was in the middle of the two of you and holding your hands. As you all walked closer to the bottom of the mountain, I was able to see that the people at the base were all children.
Jesus held a loaf of bread, split it between the three of you, and you went to work sharing HIM with each child. Every child ate. No one was hungry.
What an incredible gift from Heaven to be able to access this whenever I need to feel comforted about your future. HE has you…You are HIS!

Glory to God for choosing me to be your Mommy, Camden Jon!

I have had the wonderful privilege of carrying you in my arms, walking tiny baby steps next to you, guiding you at first with my pinky finger, then two fingers, three fingers, and finally my whole hand. 
The honor of watching you grow, being your trusted guide, and your most favorite girl {currently} makes each and every day a new adventure.

Your future is brighter than the sun, my son! 

And as we say almost daily to each other…

“I love you more…
Ok, Ok…. I love you as much as you love me”

Forever and Ever My Teeny Tiny Lookalou!

~Mommy

Friday, October 14, 2016

SOARING INTO SEVEN...







To My Littlest:

It’s the eve of your seventh birthday and I’m sitting alone on a balcony over looking the ocean. It is the last night of this week at the beach and I am feeling so blessed to have this time to reflect on this last year as I listen to the waves break on the shore. The Lord just gifted me with a vibrant sunset of deep reds and golds and now the moon is lighting up the sky and glistening off of the water.  I so loved spending three days here with you, Camden, and Daddy. A perfect getaway that has me looking forward to our next family adventure.

What an honor it is to be your Mommy! I am filled with the most profound joy that could only come from God.  As you know, this relationship with Jesus is brand new in my heart; though what will always remind me of how He loves us, is how you have ALWAYS known Him.

I remember, last October, when I shared with you how the Lord revealed Himself to me and how I finally opened up my heart to Jesus. You looked at me with your big eyes and exclaimed with certainty: “Mommy, I’ve known Jesus since I was in your belly!” That statement continues to serve as a reminder that our Heavenly Father is mighty to save and is always- ALWAYS with us. That He wants us to draw close to His presence, walk in wonderment, and have a childlike faith.

Dashy, God has blessed our family with the gift of YOU! You have always known who you are and what you want. You are bold. You are brave. You are a delight!

I am learning to embrace your strength and strong will, in celebration of how God has created you. You bring us so much joy and certainly keep us on your toes.

The Holy Spirit burns inside of you and I cannot wait to witness all that HE has planned for your life.

We’ve spent this year getting to know our Heavenly Father together as a family of four.

We learned to lean on one another when our dear friend Shellie spent almost one month in the hospital fighting for her life. We learned to TRUST and glorify God through the uncertainty, and praise Him in her miraculous healing.

In May, our family took our first trip to Los Angeles together. Daddy and I loved watching you and Camden take in all of the new sights with wonder and awe. I will never forget watching you and your brother run toward the Pacific Ocean together for the first time. It certainly will not be the last; as we are looking so forward to our next visit out West.

Our family was baptized on June 4th of this year in the Harpeth River behind our church: Grace Chapel. When your Daddy, who baptized you, asked if you had anything you would like to say prior, you exclaimed:

“I love God because He’s Awesome”!

We have walked this new path with Jesus leading the way, and I am learning so much from you and your brother on how to worship without fear and how to walk in total faith!

In late June/early July, you attended Camp Kletecka with Mimi and Grandaddy, spending nearly one week together in Ohio swimming, playing tennis, getting to go to the Air force Museum, and being spoiled with treats and LOVE!

Late summer, we took a trip to our favorite place: Smith Lake! Jumping off the dock, playing on the porch, and even getting lost on the lake in a rainstorm while on a pontoon boat made for a highlight of our year. This place is truly heaven on earth and we long to make many more memories there in the years to come.

You began first grade in early August and are learning how to be student. Math is your favorite subject and you are fully planning on becoming an artist when you grow up. I pray you are forever gifted with the balance between right and left brain…like your Daddy!

You make friends easily though definitely like to be in charge. We are working on helping you develop stronger listening skills, though you often remind us:

“Talking is my favorite thing to do”.

Now in your third year of Tae Kwan Do, you have achieved your yellow belt and will soon be testing for green, where sparring will become part of your skillset. We truly love your coach, Mr. Eric, who leads with love and strength!

Your musical talent is developing more with each year. Hip Hop has become one of your favorite hobbies and watching you rock “the robot” never gets old. In June 2017 you will perform in your first official dance recital! I. Can’t. Wait!

You are our constant comedian and my little sidekick companion. Always wanting to hold my hand and sit by or cuddle up to me. My heart melts each time I get to snuggle you as I know these days of you being tiny are numbered and passing quickly. You still tell everyone that I, your Mommy, am your girlfriend with such precious innocence.


You are reminding me to keep things simple. To enjoy the togetherness of our family more often. To slow down. To breathe deeper and laugh often!

On our last night together here in Florida, you asked us if we could all go the beach as a family and walk around under the moonlight before bedtime. Once our feet were on the sand, you instructed each one of us where to stand and then led our family in a prayer, asking that each one of us stand together in praise and thanksgiving. Oh how I love your boldness for our Great God!

As I prepare to finalize this letter, I realize that it is the first one of your seven years of life that I have given God the glory…that I am able stand on His rock of Truth and Purpose for Your Life, my Dashy. This thought alone brings me an indescribable sense of gratitude and excitement for what’s to come.

Thank you Jesus for rescuing my heart last October 25th, so that our family could unite in faith and rest in Your perfect love that casts out all fear.

Happiest Birthday My Sweet Boy!! You are a treasure of immeasurable value. You are my littlest love with the biggest heart and I cannot wait to watch you soar into seven!

Love. Love. LOVE, 


Mama