Friday, September 28, 2012

christmas shopping

this time of year we begin shopping a bit for family and friends. i love the idea of purchasing gifts from small companies that are trying to grow and supporting other women and momma's. the blog is featuring a few you have seen before and a few new one's. i love it because everyone participating has been following our journey and are now apart of our story and i love that. shop away.


check them out here:

use code DONTWASTE for 10% off your order 


check it all out here:
use code LIBBYSBLOG15 to get 15% until Wednesday, December 5th at 11:59pm. 

check her shop out here:
coupon code is LIBBY for 15% off entire order. 


check out her shop here:
coupon code HOLIDAY for 10% off your order.


use code DWYC10 for 10% off your order.


use code LIBBYBLOG for 5% off your order.

now thru dec. 24th use code DWYCXMAS12 for 20% off an order of $10.00 or more.




ava is 10 miles from home. we can. not. wait.
happy weekend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

i will wait.

if you are breathing and in your 20's than you have probably been listening to the new mumford & sons album on repeat that was released this week. but i do not want to discriminate...i am sure people of all ages are listening to the album. they are for everyone. it almost seems cliche that i am writing about this song since i can not seem to be on twitter or facebook without reading numerous mumford quotes. but when something is good it's good...let's call it what it is. a really good album with really good lyrics.

i have never been the best with knowing exactly what songs are about...i either like it or i don't. i connect with it and it does something to my heart or it doesn't. but the song i will wait has struck a cord inside me. watch the video and read the lyrics. maybe it will illicit something inside you, too.

And I came home
Like a stone
And I fell heavy into your arms
These days of dust
Which we've known
Will blow away with this new sun

And I'll kneel down

Wait for now
And I'll kneel down
Know my ground

And I will wait, I will wait for you

And I will wait, I will wait for you

So break my step

And relent
You forgave and I won't forget
Know what we've seen
And him with less
Now in some way
Shake the excess

But I will wait, I will wait for you

And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

So I'll be bold

As well as strong
And use my head alongside my heart
So take my flesh
And fix my eyes
That tethered mind free from the lies

But I'll kneel down

Wait for now
I'll kneel down
Know my ground

Raise my hands

Paint my spirit gold
And bow my head
Keep my heart slow
Cause I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

i am not sure if this song is about God or not. but to me it is. that is how it spoke to me last night as justin and i sat in our living room listening to the entire album. i could not get...i will wait, i will wait for you...out of my head. i even dreamt about it. a few minutes earlier my living was full of women who come over every tuesday night to talk about jesus, scripture, our hearts, relationships, where we are broken, and where we see joy. tonight we talked about 1 peter 2:9-17 about mercy and forgiveness and the nature of our hearts which tend to be frustrated with husbands, annoyed with colleagues, and the guilt we find ourselves in...which we were never meant to live. it was real and good for my heart. i like when plans change because an hour before my friends were coming over i wanted to send out this mass texts..."i am sleeping on the couch and exhausted. someone else want to host?" but for some reason i didn't send it. instead my fatigue was quickly shaken when ava decided for no particulate reason than pee all over herself as she sat at the table and ate dinner. i lost it. like really lost it. i was furious with her. i asked for her forgiveness this morning because although i was not thrilled about her peeing everywhere i knew my anger was displaced. it had very little to do with ava and pee and much more to do with my own exhaustion and fear.

so here is the low down...i am deathly afraid that my cancer is back. i am realizing as we get deeper into this pregnancy that i directly correlate pregnancy with cancer. i am already preparing myself for when when baby number 2 is 6 months old and we are called into a dr. office on monday at 5pm to be have cancer. now let me say this before i say anything else. i believe the Lord healed me. i want to sit in that truth and stay there forever and forever. i am trying. i am desperately trying. i am just not sure how to ignore symptoms that are very much "regular" and "normal" during pregnancy. for example, fatigue...i am tired all the time. aches and pain in most of my body because a baby is forming and muscles are stretching. but my hip. that left hip that was the home to cancer is now bothering me a bit and i am not sure how to say..."oh, it's nothing" when it was not nothing before and i spent 6 months making excuses for my symptoms and not telling my husband or anyone about how i was feeling. so i told justin a few days ago i was a little worried about the amount of time to which i would like to sleep in a given day. justin worries. he shuts down a bit and i can see the fear in his eyes. so it is easier to not talk about it. but you need to. the whole keeping stuff inside is a big ol' waste of time. yesterday i had my 24 week check up and little girl's heart beat sounds good. i am measuring on target and so far so great. she is fine. she is healthy. so when they is everything? my usually say..."fine. everything is fine." but today i decide to talk about my fatigue and some of the discomfort i was having and how yet again, our midwife was able to give a very logical explanation as to why i am, a human is growing inside my body. that is a big deal. but blood will be taken and i will see my oncologist for my 3 month check soon enough. what is strange is that i know rationally that it is very unlikely that any cancer has returned to my body. so practically i am on board. but my heart. my heart feels heavy sometimes and scared. very scared. i just don't want to do it again. i stopped reading that book about another mom with cancer. not the best timing. i am pregnant and hormonal and all over the place. i get that. pregnancy is for real people. it can mess with you. in the best way possible as well as the worst way possible. so along with my joy of decorating a nursery and picking a name and envisioning what she will look like and act like and how she and ava will have the sweetest relationship. those are what's good but what is hard are these lies. these stupid lies that something is growing inside me and no one even knows about it. that is what happened last time. cancer was growing and although i was being seen my doctors all the time no one caught it. so here is where i am today. trying to not live in the past and to be free from the lies. thankful for my sweet friends who sat on our couches and prayed. prayed hard. prayed boldly. prayed the truth. i am healed from cancer. i am healed from cancer. i am healed from cancer. living in a place of worry and "what if..." that only strips life of it's joy and it's today. today i am healthy. let me be so bold to say this...if...if i get sick again...well we will rally (you like that bev) and we will fight and we will rest in the Lord and trust Him with our lives. just like i want to do today and everyday until eternity with Him.

i guess i will wait made me think of the Lord and how He is sitting next to me saying over and over and over again..."libby i will wait. i will wait. i will wait for trust me. to stand firm in me. to allow me to carry your burdens and your heartache. your worries. the lies. the fear. your life is in my hands." so whatever comes...whether cancer or not. pain or joy. life or death...i belong to Jesus Christ. i want to sit in that place and soak those truths in for the rest of my life. please join me. it is not easy. it is still crazy. the lies may continue to creep in but i will stand firm in who i am and whose i am.

Monday, September 24, 2012

our weekend.

we were home this weekend and it was the best. seriously...the best. no plans. the idea of no plans brings us both such joy. after a yl football game on friday night to which ava is now enthralled with the band and after a moment of panic that quickly turned to relief when she saw that there is in fact an ambulance on site in case a player gets was a good night.

not taken this weekend but the children's museum is her new love. she asks if we can go every single day and i think last week we made an appearance at least 4 times.  she loves art and playing in the ambulance where she takes care of me because..."mommy, you are very sick." sweet girl is thoughtful enough to always check the babies heart beat as well. she is falling in love with her little sister more and more. while i am finding myself loving ava in a new deeper way recently. maybe it is cherishing these last few months as just her and i...since our bond is strong. 

we had dinner with friends on saturday night and opened up a bit about cancer and our story and as we sat on the porch tearing up about pain and watching people suffer...ava peeked through the glass door and smiled i was quickly reminded of how differently it all could have been. but i am here. able to put her to bed. to wash her clothes. to teach her. to watch her grow. to help guide her sweet little life. i wish i could say my heart was always in this tender place but often i get frustrated with her and annoyed with unbuckling her car seat for the tenth errand or asking justin to please put her to bed tonight. i know i am not perfect. not trying to focus on mommy guilt here as some days are just hard and my patience is shot. but saturday night i was reminded yet remain thankful. i want to live out of a place of joy and thankfulness.

these babies bring me joy. sunflowers have been a favorite for a long time and adorned each table at our wedding reception in MI. best $6 i spent last week by far.

we love perrin and the farmers market and sunflowers. 

disclaimer: this is not a "look how cool we are because we read our Bibles." yes, it is cool to read your Bible and we are sure do it in this house but mostly it is about observation.

ava does not miss a thing. either does your kid. on sunday justin and our friend eric were heading out and both had there bibles in there hands and ava said..."can i go to a bible study?" i clarified that eric was just driving home and daddy had a meeting but we could have a bible study. so we sat on the couch and she asked me to be quiet as she flipped through pages and was making no sense at all...but she thought she was reading. so we sat and read. 

yes it was precious that she wanted to have a bible study. but mostly it was about how this small little girl does not miss a thing. she sees it all. she hears it all. she is soaking it all in. i wanna be on my A game then...a little more aware of everything around her.

first item bought for baby number two. i love to decorate. i love the process of picking colors and imaging it all as her own room one day. ava asked eric yesterday... "do you want to see my awesome room?" hoping this next girl will be asking people the same thing. will post more pictures as it comes together.

gorgeous here today. thankful for a weekend at home. off to work.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

this week & supporting tucker.

this week in mostly just photos

this is a book by a mother and wife with cancer. i just started it and it's actually been really hard and really can have both i think. our stories started so eerily the same but is providing healing and encouragement in my own story.

a fun care package from aunt marlene came in the mail...we love mail. we love clothes. and we love books. she has not put the set of 6 caillou books down in 3 days.

earlier this week we were woken up at 3am by the police informing us someone had hit my car. thankfully no one was hurt and i am enjoying a rental car for a week or so.

someone is potty trained. woot! woot!
 she had her new package of undies opened before we even got to the car.

23 weeks and going strong. i feel i have really popped this week and we are not known for our bed making in this house.

one of my favorite pictures. ava waving to justin as he left for work. 
i am loving this age and enjoying the new independence ava has and discovering everyday she is growing into a very special little girl.


some good and important stuff.

first off...a month or so ago i shared the story of baby tucker HERE. read it if you missed it. you can also follow his story on his mom and dad's

one delightful button designer and owner is a good friend of ours and regular sponsor on the blog.
from now until 10/11/12 (about 3 more weeks) she is currently donating 10% of her online sales to tucker and his family to help with increasing medical bills. 
she is also donating an additional 10% to tucker and his family
when you use the coupon code: tucker.  seems easy enough.

Image of Fall Earrings       Image of Rose Bobby Pins      Image of Houndstooth Magnets - Set of 6

enjoy shopping and be thankful for your babies health today.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

a little respite.

first off thank you for all the kind words i received from you all in regards to the last post. it is good to be real. it is hard to be real. it is really hard to put it all out there to anyone who wants to read this little blog. but we are all hurting and we all need a little bit of..."good i am not the only one who does not have it together." thankfully no one has it together and even if they seem to i think it is all a front anyways. enjoy the mess we call ourselves.

on thursday justin and i decided to head out of town for the weekend. it actually happened because some good friends offered us there home at the wintergreen resort. it's like an hour or so away in the mountains. he had been gone a lot for work and we really needed some time to ourselves. a little babymoon of sorts. our sweet friend, anne stewart watched ava for the weekend and we headed out.

arriving super late on friday we slept in...SLEPT IN on saturday. what a gift. we basically slept, ate, talked, slept, watched football, read, slept, sat by a fire, and ate more. we did lose the house key on saturday morning so needless to say that was a bit annoying but thankfully i left a slider door open on the 2nd floor so justin jumped up and we were able to get in. but it did add a bit of stress and frustration to the weekend.

it was good to connect. to spend time in scripture together and praying for our marriage. writing our goals and what we both wanted to be praying about specifically when it comes to our family, marriage, and each of us individually. feels good to be on the same page. the same team. no matter how crazy life seems to get we are committed to making our marriage a priority and fun. seems obvious but sometimes the routine of life can take our eyes off what matters. i realized this weekend...i have one husband. lord willing it will be justin and i for the next lots and lots of years. so be intentional. go the extra mile. serve one another. do something special. be creative. keep it fun. it was meant to be fun. but let's be honest sometimes it is hard. we are all tired. we all feel like we have more to do than can ever seem to be done. and i find that i often have a hard time really relaxing and letting go. enjoy life and not get caught up in the day to day aspects of life that basically are not that much fun. not everything is joyful. i hate unloading the dishwasher and cleaning toilets. so unless i have a housekeeper one day...both need to be done and it is easy to get hard and resentful to the tasks of life that are totally necessary and also totally annoying at the same time. i have not arrived at any sort of revelation but simply the desire justin and i both have to support one another and help each other in the practicals of life that can seem to rob life of its joy. unless our marriage feels like a we are both contributing to and building into than i am quick to be resentful and frustrated. two things i do not want to be...but it creeps in. i keep things inside to avoid a bigger conversation or argument but i know that it wont get us anywhere if we are not being honest and sharing our hearts...from taking out the trash to writing little notes to thinking of one another before the other. which is hard when i think we are inherently selfish people.

after a weekend of rest and time together without ava and no work and no distractions we feel like we are one. we were meant to be one. we might still be figuring out what being one means...but i know i want it. i want authenticity and honesty and time. time to be with the one man i choose for life. excited for what is to come. i do not want to miss out an extraordinary life, marriage, and family because i am stuck in my own stuff. that can be messy and broken. but thankfully no one is asking me to have it all together...just the Lord refining who i am and who i am meant to be in Him.

view from the house.

***congrats to our dear friends who welcomed little elizabeth (libby) nell sloop to the family yesterday. love her and her precious name. ***

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

it is real out there.

yesterday i went back to work after a 3 month break for summer camp, vacation, yl assignment, etc. it felt good to be back. i do like making at least a little bit of money. i was not necessarily looking forward to fitting in one more thing to our life...but i know that this is what is best for us right now and i do feel a greater sense of purpose when i change up my days a bit. but don't get me wrong i would way rather be with ava and hang out with my friends. anyways back to work...all 10-15 hours of it a week. that is barely anything so i am not complaining just adjusting.

i provide in-home counseling to young kids and/or teenagers who are dealing with anything from behavior issues at school to severe abuse to suicide and everything that falls in between.

yesterday the pain and brokenness of the world slapped me in the face. it is not that i have not known pain or my own brokenness...because i have. for me it was an eating disorder. binging, throwing up, over exercising, restrictive eating, and an overall obsession with food...what was "good" and what was "bad." it started when i was 15 and for about 5 years or so it was an up and down battle with food. my heart. my body and finding a sense of control in the midst of so many unknowns. battles with depression. even suicidal thoughts as a high school. it it crazy to write this down and go back to those dark times in my life. where i felt like i was a prisoner to food and my own body. i remember telling my mom one night in bed..."will it always be like this? will i always feel like i am in a dark black hole and i can't get out?" she said..."no, libby it wont always be this way." even though i doubted her words and felt very hopeless i secretly clung to those wont always be this way. i imagine we all have our thing...whatever it might be that brings us to a place where we feel hopeless and alone and embarrassed to admit. what would people think? what if i was found out? what if life will never change and it will always be this way? it did not get better over night. i was in and out of therapy for years. i struggled daily with food and whether or not i was going to throw up what i just ate or not. i remember in college sitting across the table from erinn, my young life leader and her telling me..."libby it wont always be this way. food will not always control you. let's take it one day at a time. ask the Lord to get you through today and then think about tomorrow." the baby steps started. let's do today. just focus on today. it was draining and i lied to people i loved and began to realize that there were certain places i simply could not put myself in...the temptation to binge and purge was too great. as i looked into the eyes of my new client and saw deep pain, fear, and no hope for a day that would not feel so scary, unsafe, and where the temptation to do the thing that brought destruction in many ways also provides a sort of release. but in this place that seems hopeless: no way out, no freedom,  no way life would ever be any different. although our addictions are different...i know what it is like to be doing something that is destructive and being well aware of the destruction and still believing that there was no way out. no way to stop. it honestly hurts so good. i do not know your story or where you are coming from or where you have been or what you are fighting for but i know wont always be this way. it wont always feel so deep. so hard. so real. so hopeless.

but and this is key: that does not mean that it wont show its scary face from time to time for the rest of your life. maybe hourly, daily, monthly, yearly...all our stories are different. although i believe freedom exists it does not mean we don't have to fight. to practice self-control. to be disciplined. to choose no...even when saying yes and giving in feels right and good. i believe the Lord carried me through my eating disorder. i believe that my hourly prayers have turned to randomly yearly prayers to fight the urge...the urge to binge and throw up. i know that today i am no longer plagued by my mind and the lies i believed and the dark place i used to find myself when i was alone at night and life often felt like too much. it is not totally gone. but i no longer feel like i am in a dark, deep, black hole with no hope. no hope for eating. for control. for my body. for freedom. i feel free. i feel free. i feel free. as i looked at my young client and the pain was so raw...i clung to this truth and i shared it..."it wont always feel this way. it wont always be this bad. you are not a lost cause. you are not alone. you will not live like this for the rest of your life. but the road to that place wont be fun and it will mostly be hard. it will mean saying no maybe screaming no when all you want is to say yes and give in and find some sort of relief from the hurt that runs through every vein in your body.  

but it is worth it. your life it worth fighting for...i will fight even if you don't want to. i will keep showing up...3x a week i will sit on your front porch and we can talk about what hurts and what is fun and what you like to do on a saturday afternoon along with the deep secrets...when you are ready i will be here.

recovery is hard and long and it will be a road you may always find yourself on. i am still a recovering bulimic. but how far i have come...i would never have believed you as a young 15 year old girl who was just sad and lost. even in the midst of an incredible family and lots of friends i felt alone and found some sort of freedom in food. maybe for you it is not food...but drugs, alcohol, cutting, depression, prescription medications, whatever it is real and sharing your story changes everything. i would like to say i am not ashamed...but i am a little. even embarrassed. but unless we all decide to be real and honest and fight for one another...the dark hole might swallow us up.

let's head in a direction of hope. the Lord provides hope and purpose. that is where my life is found.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

legit wedding photos.

gorgeous photos.
if you are interested in the checking out the photos from the wedding we were all in this weekend
take a look at katelyn james website here. they are absolutely gorgeous.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wedding snap shots

We just left the hotel and I feel a little sad to leave so many people we love and thankful for a weekend of friendships and laughing and late nights and one busy little girl. I realized this weekend that Ava does not ever walk...she sprints to her destination. Gotta appreciate the passion. Despite a little or a lot of rain that changed the whole outdoor under a tent reception to a gorgeous indoor reception. Amidst the craziness it was still perfect because two people are now husband and wife. I realized as people were running around soaking wet in an attempt to recreate exactly what was outside inside... It's all about relationships and celebrating life for what it is...a gift. Yesterday Justin and had the rare opportunity to have the very best seat in the house. As Justin led the ceremony and I stood beside Leslie along with an incredible wedding party...we saw every smile, tear, and glance between Leslie and Coleman. I will never forget that for rest of my life. Such an honor. I told them this last night...but it needs to be said again...we will walk thru life with you both for the rest our lives. we will never be able to explain what it did to our hearts to watch Ava in the center of the dance floor all sweaty and laughing right alongside the both of you and dancing harder than I have ever seen before. We cherish the people in that room. Thank you for loving our family.

I am exhausted. But that good kind of tired because I know every late night and early morning with bridesmaids and friends was invaluable. Those are the memories. Those are the parts that make life and investing in people so worth it. It changes you and I want to be changed. I want to love and feel loved and this weekend was an example of that. it is far more rewarding to choose joy. Marriage can be hard but my heart is swelling with joy for Coleman and Leslie as they have only just begun the best and hardest relationship they will ever enter into. Enjoy the road. Enjoy the story that the Lord is writing in you and through you. The best part is that you have no idea what's coming and that is why it is the greatest adventure you will ever embark on and now you have each other to walk through it with. It's the best.

A few snap shots from the wedding...