it happened to me again this year.

try as i might,
it hasn't really felt like Christmas.

twinkly white lights along our fireplace,
the Christmas present shopping,
the evergreen scent in our sunroom.
they've helped.

but it hasn't really, truly felt like Christmas to me.

but, once again,
at a simple, sweet preschool Christmas program,
it happened.
the Christmas spirit captured my heart,
and i {not-so-successfully} blinked back tears
as sweet three-and-four-year-olds sang.

the innocence of the Little Ones in our lives singing about the Christ Child
focused my heart. my vision was tunneled to the Baby in the Manger, and all the periphereal holiday stuff, that although fun, sometimes clutters up our Season, was out of sight.

this is the reason for the Season.  
i worship the Baby in the Manger turned Man on the Cross.

in that church sanctuary on a normal-turned-magical Tuesday evening,
my heart sang along with the preschoolers' and, all-of-a-sudden,
it felt like Christmas.

shout, sing, worship the King.
Jesus is Born and 
{He's Such Good News.}

yes, yes, yes.
He is



The One in Which You See Anna

{post title courtesy of the sitcom Friends, for those of you who watched that show.
we were avid Friends fans, in the day...and may or may not have even owned a copy of the Friends trivia game, and may or may not have played it religiously with dear, special friends with whom clearly we watched way too much TV}


about a month ago,
i had the extremely humbling
{oh so humbling}
 experience of being able to share my heart at our church's women's retreat.

i blog off and on about multiple sclerosis and what I've been learning through it.
and, i am so {so, so, so}
much more comfortable in my sweats in front of a keyboard 
than I am with a microphone in front of an audience.

but, i was deeply thankful to be able to share my story of multiple sclerosis and what the Lord has taught me through it over the last eleven months.

so, here you go.

the post in which you see anna.

 and i may die right now, so i will press {publish} before i hit delete. 
{watching yourself on video is a bit, well, brutal}

here's the video from that night,
if you'd like to hear it.

the first part is through about 12 minutes,
and the next part is about 35 minutes after that.

{if the embed doesn't work, this is the link}

Christmas and Multiple Sclerosis

it's a rainy Saturday afternoon here,
and i sit eating one of my favorite soups 
{Panera Bread's vegetarian and low fat black bean}

our favorite-five-year-old is spending the Saturday with some grandparents,
and my favorite three-year-old is playing tea party with her animals.
{which, btw, my nativity set might not survive 
a certain animal-loving-three-year-old this year}.

 we've been kind of status-quo around here recently,
after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, is really good.

it's so nice to answer {we're good}
to the question how are y'all doing?

My MS symptoms are virtually non-existant.
except for a low-fat diet and daily injections,
i have little reminders of this progressive neurological disease.
and, when those reminders do come in the form of a tingly foot or burning hand,
it's just a reminder that this life is so short, and i am {we are!}
so desperately dependent on my Savior.

my heart is full looking into this Holiday season.
i have such new depth of awareness for the hope that we celebrate this year -
the hope that came in the form of a baby in a manger.
that baby brings me hope for this life -
that even if my barely-whispered worst-case-MS-scenarios came true down the road,
i will not be hopeless.
and i will be able to do all things through Him who will strengthen me, 
should that time come.

that baby brings hope for the next life -
hope for new bodies,
bodies not scarred by the sin of this world.
hope for an eternity spent by the throne,
saying worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb.

happy advent season, all.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

I was throwing up dozens of times an hour. I couldn't keep spit down. I would lay on the couch and cry, throw up, cry some more, then throw up so much that I was just hurling stomach acid into the trash can beside the couch. At the end of the day I would plod my way upstairs, sob myself to sleep, pleading for something to take away the sickness, the nausea, the vomiting, the nightmare that hyperemesis gravidarum is.

4 years ago right now,
i was pregnant with my now 3-year-old,
and had hyperemesis gravidarum -
a condition that's become public with Kate Middleton's recent pregnancy announcement.

i don't often talk, or write, about my early days of pregnancy with my sweet, spunky 3-year-old.
i don't talk about it often because it was so awful.
{so awful}
in such a deeply personal way
 that i would really rather shudder, grit my teeth, and then let the topic pass 
than talk about my experiences.

but, with Kate Middleton's pregnancy announcement,
it's impossible to not remember my own experience with 
the reason for which Kate was hospitalized.

in my early weeks of pregnancy with our now 5-year-old
{before i was aware that I had HG}
I remember telling my husband that when I told people I was pregnant they should really say
I'm sorry
instead of 

i was sick.

Hyperemesis affects about 2% of pregnant woman.
it is {so much more} than morning sickness,
the term the news anchors seem to be using when describing 
the beautiful Duchess of Cambridge.
it's even so much more than severe morning sickness.

it is severe, persistent, unrelenting nausea and vomiting that can lead a host of health issues for the mother and baby, the least of which is severe dehydration.

at seven weeks pregnant with grace, our now-three-year-old,
after being hospitalized for a couple days to restore dehydration and receive nutrition through an IV,
i had a home health care nurse come give me a zofran pump.
a pump that would deliver anti-nausea medicine to me through a needle in my thigh.

the pump did nothing.
i ended up hospitalized again,
and given a PICC line -
a semi-permemanent IV so I could get medicine, fluids, and nutrition intravenously.
for months I had these tubes coming out of my body, tubes that made getting dressed, sleeping, and showering a challenge.

{the PICC line went in my arm at my elbow then went all the way into my chest to deliver medicine}

hyperemesis gravidaraum.
 it was my nightmare I lived for months during both of my healthy pregnancies.
my heart hurts for Kate Middleton,
and i hope she's getting the support she needs -
i cannot imagine living HG in the public eye.

if you hear about her, 
she is not exaggerating,
or being a "princess" about pregnancy.

it is serious, debilitating condition.
 so debilitating that couples who deal with it?
their divorce rate is higher.  their abortion rate is higher.
that's how serious it gets.

my Savior provided grace and mercy for me 
to get through the minute-by-minute nightmare of HG.  

but I never want to live it again.

that is what HG is.


if you're dealing with HG, go to - 
it provided great help for me during my daughter's pregnancy

and my friend, Sommer,writes about her experiences with HG here:


The Day is Done

you are my sunshine, my only sunshine,
i sing. the soft pink blanket covers her. she snuggles into my arms.

we go on to 
come thou fount of every blessing
tune my heart to sing they praise.

she snuggles in more.
 streams of mercy never failing call for songs of loudest praise.

we rock and rock.
{just rocky, momma, just rocky, no go to bed, 'kay?}
she asks.

okay, sweet girl, okay,
i whisper.

we rock and rock.
i rub her forehead and kiss the bridge of her nose,
that same nose that i kissed when she was a four-pound baby-girl in the NICU
and the only body part not covered with wires and bili masks that i could kiss.

o to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be,
let thy goodness like a fetter by thy wandering heart to thee.

she sighs. her eyes flutter close.

i pray over her.
Help her to grow up to love you well, Lord.
love your Word well.
and love others well.

Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above. 
she sleeps.
i hug her close,
as close as her getting-too-big-three-and-a-half-year old self will get.
she lays in bed.
i sneak out.

{sleep tight, grace abigail, sleep tight}.    


Preschool Perfect Playdoh

in my previous post, i said my kiddos were playing with playdoh, and then
realized i should post the recipe for my favorite playdoh!

i made it for the first time over the summer
{thanks to my mommy friend that's a preschool champion
and does tons of awesome stuff with her kids}, 
 and i completely wondered *why* in the previous 5 years of being a mom
 i hadn't made it before!

it's cheap
{with as much as my kids play with it, 
and as much as we tend to leave it out and then it gets old, 
playdoh starts seeming expensive!}
it's easy 
{about 15 minutes start-to-finish},
and honestly, 
i think SO much better than real playdoh!
  It's super soft, and you can add your own scent and color to it.  

{and sparkles! you can make sparkly playdoh, which is a huge plus in girl-world}

so, here you go:

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups water
{whatever food coloring and scent you want}


Mix all together in a big pot on the stove.
{including scent and food coloring. the gel kind usually works the best and gives the brightest colors}.
turn heat on medium/medium-low.
keep stirring.
stir continuously.
stir until it starts getting thick in chunks,
and then stir a bit more.
it will start pulling away from the sides of the pot.

take off burner and stir a tad more.

let cool, then play!


I added cinnamon to mine tonight to smell like fall.
{this is also where you would add color, but my kiddos like doing that after-the-fact and squishing it together with me}.

and what it looks like when it pulls away from the edge:

Right about now

happy friday, friends.

right about now around here?
i'm on my second {rather large} cup of homemade latte.
espresso maker?

it's a cold, chilly morning
{i kinda love it}
so we're kinda slow around here in the getting-ready department this morning.
i *must* go grocery shopping,
but there's important stuff happening at the moment:

Grant's making dog food playdough, and my sweet animal-loving 3-year-old is making{wormies}
that she carefully holds in her hands and runs upstairs to her rocking chair to rock them because
the wormies are tired, momma!

 the kiddos are playing on the new arts/crafts/school time table from Ikea.
 totally l-o-v-e it.

{there's now another tabletop there making a big rectangular work area. it's fabulous}

today marks the one-week-countdown for our church's ladies' fall mini-retreat.
i'm totally excited, but definitely feeling the crunch time for planning!
i'm not a big forward-planner 
{trying to work on that, but, i think i work best under pressure!}
but i'm confidant everything will come together.
{come together IF this fabric will get here!!}

i'm speaking at our mini-retreat.
looking forward to it, but also getting a tad nervous.
i'm worried my story won't be good enough, interesting enough, powerful enough.
and, ya know, i kinda like writing, not speaking. i can sit here in my yoga pants and click delete as much as i want. :)
but, i'm sharing what the Lord has shown me over the past several months,
and when you share what the Lord has done in your life,
that can't not be encouraging, right?  

so, that's our friday.
off to get ready and go grocery shopping,
less we eat cereal or grilled cheese for the fourth night.

thinking about making these over the weekend.
what do you think?

Not Supermom

i'm not supermom.
{this is shocking, i realize, to those that now me well and step over laundry piles when you visit. :P}

i got some really nice comments and messages after my last post
but i realized that you may have a different view of me than i really am.
{ya know, because i only write what i want to write!  maybe i should take pictures of my dishes that are overflowing the sink or the laundry room 
that barely has some floor space right now?}

i really do love my life with little kids,
and in my heart of hearts, 
i'd have a half a dozen more,
if that's what the Lord's plan for us was.

but ya know?
the days *do* get long.

the other night after writing this post,
I told Matt that as much as I love them and even though I *know* in ten years when they're teenagers I'll miss *these* little days,
the thought of not stepping over toys scattered everywhere and not mopping the floor for the gazillionith time that day and having kids that will for-the-love-of-pete-just-please-sleep 
sounded kinda nice.
really nice. 

 i'm so not supermom.
i get impatient and irritated and cranky.
i get tired and frustrated and think i may lose it the fighting doesn't stop right.this.second.


several months ago,
after my initial MRI came back indicative of MS,
i was reading Matt Chandler's blog -
a well-known pastor diagnosed with a brain tumor a few years ago.

he mentioned that during his radiation treatment for the tumor 
he had a heightened sense of reality.

that's really how I feel after being diagnosed with MS -
this heightened sense that our lives are so, so short,
and that really, the only thing that matters is how much we love God and walk in humble obedience.


the Great Comission tells us to go into all the world and make disciples.
for lots of us, 
we don't have to go far -
we can go right upstairs, down the hall,
into the nursery or preschooler's room.

as a stay-at-home mom, 
i have every day, all day to make disciples -
to make a fully devoted follower of Christ.

and i think i've realized that it's not in the big moments around the family devotional
or idealistic scenes at the dinner table 
that make disciples.

i show my children what it means to Love God 
when I'm patient when no one can find their shoes and we need to walk out the door right now.
i show my children what it means to Love God
when i control my own frustrations over a three-year-old not getting dressed nicely.
i show my children what it means to Love God
when i love my spouse well, when i humbly serve my neighbors,
when i speak with kind words,
even when it's the middle-of-the-night and we all need sleep.

i'm so not supermom.
i just long for all my mommy friends to realize that this day-to-day stuff?
it's bigger than we realize.
we can fulfill the Great Comission,
right in our own house.

so the day-to-day moments of frustrations?
i try to remember that though they will pass,
the way i handle them?

{my kids will remember that forever.}


grace abigail. 


Seasons Change

is it feeling like fall wherever you're at?
It's a cool, rainy day here in the Midwest.
my fall-loving heart is happy.

I've had 2 homemade lattes thanks to the espresso maker 
my fabulous husband got me for my birthday last week.
{eek, 32! i am solidly in my 30's now. wow.}

In between the 84 loads of laundry I'm washing and folding today,
i sat down at the computer to check my email.

Iphoto happened to be open,
and I found old pictures like this on my screen.

gracie! 2 years ago Christmastime.

and, my heart wanted to burst.
 How I'd love to get a day back with that sweet 18-month-old!

i know all my momma friends will attest that as for our babies?
they grow too fast,
but they'll always be our babies.
i told my husband that in my heart, my three-and-a-half year-old is still this size.

just like fall is making its cool rainy debut in the midwest,
i will purpose to embrace the season of life we're in.
i may miss the previous season,
but this is the day that we have.
i will embrace it fully,
{knowing that the next season is just around the corner}.

the kiddos will get bigger,
the snow will fall,
birthdays will be celebrated,
my heart will ache some more.

today, in between breaking up fights
 and matching socks and 
loading the dishwasher,
i will hug these sweet little ones.
and I will purpose to be content,
{with whatever season we're in}.

grant (2 1/2)
and 13-day-old gracie,
newly home from the NICU.