Getty as Grizwald

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I found THE BEST flocked tree online and it’s just too good not to share! And yall! Even Grizwald would die over this tree!

And I know, I know. We havent even celebrated Halloween. But ya know the old saying- “If you happen to see me blaring christmas music before halloween, it cost zero dollars to mind ya business”🙃 or maybe it’s not an old saying…but 🤷🏼‍♀️

Anyways! I started searching for the perfect flocked tree for our dining space and I found a whimsy flocked that would still feel like a classic in every home!

The King Of Christmas 7 inch Prince prelit flocked tree caught my eye..and I just kept going back to look again. The price was super reasonable for the size…but when I saw this baby up close👌🏻✨🙌🏻🎅💃 it’s just SO good.

Look for yourself! They’re running a great sale PLUS add my discount code (theancar.abode) at checkout for additional savings!

Tag me on Instagram with your #kingofchristmas for a shout out on my page and to be entered into a drawing for an extra gift in the mail.

Leo&Ella Car Hack

20190830_154657So, first things first- if you have 3 kids AND a spotless car, I’m impressed.  And skeptical.

C’mon- we ALL know what those tiny little gremlins are capable of in the millisecond you turn your eyes.

I mean yall, After a year of surviving the carrider line- and hearing Lance say “You just can’t keep a clean car”, I started researching car organization hacks.

My crew would do well living in a zoo- they’re gifted in mayhem (especially to a car).

But this year- I’ve partnered with LeoElla to combat the chaos. And yall: TOTAL GAME CHANGER.

I’m busy! I don’t have time  to clean my car daily. I need a brand with a plan.

Between their carseat protectors catching mountains of goldfish crumbs AND keeping the plastic edges of the carseat from pushing further into my leather seats to the the backseat organizer holding their iPads, snacks and books for entertainment, I’m in travel heaven. 💃

The cutest thing was Olivia seeing her reflection in their oversized mirror and saying HEY! I watch her little hand wave at that sweet reflection the whole ride. It’s large enough,  I can actually watch her every move from the driver seat. 🙌🏻

 

 

 

 

 

Pregancy: Grit and Grace

Stretch marks reach across my belly and stagger their way in all directions. My body changes unglamourously before my eyes in a way often difficult to see.

The swelling has taken root again. Cutting off feeling and controlled mobility in my right hand. The tingles left behind are a reminder for me to get creative using my left hand while cooking. Or cleaning. Or brushing my teeth… Brushing my hair…Putting on makeup. ALL the things.

The edema transforms my ankles and feet into sausages. I remind myself this, too, will run it’s course.

Three times, I’ve reached this point of pregnancy where I feel this disgust with the swelling of my face, hands, and feet. Disgusted in the weight gain and changes so boldly staking claim on my body.

In 6 short years my body transformed greatly. I’ve held 4 heart beats inside of this swollen view before me now. I visited the high risk department in every single pregnancy and cried in both excitement and heartbreak.

And here I am, tonight, reflecting on a long day spent in Labor and Delivery. Another 24 hours is ahead of me and I long to be at home with my family. In my own bed, curled up with my children. Preeclampsia is a scary war to battle. And for the life of me- I just ask God for a healthy baby girl delivered earth side. In a perfect world that would be like 37 weeks. But I’m reminded today, a NICU experience is easily on the horizon. And it breaks my heart imagining another helpless babe, fighting for her place in this world.

None of it is EASY.

And this, this is the Grit.

But even more magnificent lies the Grace.

Lance reminds me that these physical changes I despise, are beautiful. That every single stretch mark brings with it an earned stripe of strength… a powerful tatoo given by the motherhood journey…the gift of laughter echoing through our home…The family we treasure and the life we now experience helped weave the graphic maps reaching from hip to hip. That while this body is difficult for me to witness in it’s constant change, it has evolved- just like us- and is significant to him.

Tonight, as I lay in this hospital bed I thank God for the swollen unflattering (STRONG, MIRACULOUS) vessel he gave me to carry, nourish and birth each of my babies into this world. That while it may not be as flattering or as beautiful having scars illustrating the all-out war of pregnancy… or the extra weight which didnt exist on our wedding night, I recognize the journey and these scars prove I’m stronger than I may think. Thank you Jesus for the kindest partner to share in this life and for pain that I endured and the giants I still face. These will forever be the reminder that both beauty and pain share the story.

I know from experience the joy that lies ahead far outweighs this momentary suffering. So I speak this to myself when I’m scared of what may be ahead of me-

Women suffer for awhile, but sister, you will be crowned in a new understanding and depth of love your soul couldn’t possibly fathom before this birth. Within the fears and feats also exists a grace which covers you. An ability to grow and strengthen- An extraordinary inherent characteristic to love and nurture, immediately, someone, so tiny, infitnely more than yourself.

You will absolutely face physical and emotional challenges during this journey, but you’ll walk away from it victorious, simply because you made it through- you fought the giants before you. And you will be more capable of facing the next battle, Any battle because if it.

That’s how I endure these tough pregnancies. How I prepare for the power and expenditure required in labor. Understanding this beautiful journey shares in it both grit and grace. Both pain and love. And fighting through the storm, I know I’m not alone.

Determining Value

I’m honored and excited to partner with Light and Shade Creative in a series of Determining Value.

I find myself changed in this conversation as I grow. Certainly as a mom wondering how my kids see themselves, remembering my own struggle in this arena. Praying over their thoughts and planting seeds of love in their tiny vessels is my responsibility.

Life has a way of challenging us. Breaking us, even. And I hope, if nothing else, the take away from this series is that beyond any circumstance, through all of life’s disappointments and grand heartaches, we can rise by a single, solid truth: Jesus.

My current shower anthem is Reckless Love by Cory Asbury.

Before I took a breath You breathed Your life in me. You have been so, so Kind to me

It’s easy to forget this in the day to day isn’t it? Our lives are intentional. God (who doesnt make mistakes) said YES to us! Yes, to our flaws! Yes to our weaknesses! YES to our life!

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it
I don’t deserve it
Still You give yourself away

It still chills my bones. When my little brother gained his wings two years ago, faith was the first thing I battled. God knew I would struggle. And even in my anger and faithlessness, He remained faithful. And in pursuit.

It isn’t about who WE are. . . But who we are in CHRIST. And what I hope to pass to my children is less consideration over self esteem (which are feelings and are subject to change) and more towards spiritual confidence. Because Gods truth in who he says we are is forever.

When I was your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so
Good to me
When I felt no worth
You paid it all for me

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
No lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

This is my message to Satan and his lies of worthlessness, uselessness and self hatred: God will not stop. He will fight for the lost sheep. He will leave the 99!!! There is no sin too big or valley too deep that Christ can’t reach you AND USE YOU!

And the message I hope my children feel in their soul:

He loves you. Regardless of your sin. He loves you. Regardless of your perceived flaws. YOU ARE HIS CREATION. How could you ever be unvaluable to your creator!? If he made you, you have purpose. You are valued. He cares for every strand of hair on your head. And every single breath given to you is intentional.

Christ came and died for us who are each marked with sin! That atonement is not in vain! If we are so valued by God, I pray our souls see what our eyes fail to.

(1 John 2:2) He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Early Fathers Day GIVEAWAY

Ok I’m ahead of the curve (for literally once in my life)

Fathers Day is a couple months away. You’re welcome ladies 😉 And I have a $100 Jord Watch giveaway hosted on Instagram 🤗 (Enter the link in my bio NOW)

Alright, alright! I don’t do this often, Ok- so let me brag! Lance sacrafices more for our family than I could possibly put into words and I knew this year for his birthday, the kids and I should do something a little more special. With Lance, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, he’s constantly giving 100% of himself. At work, with his players; and when he comes home, he’s the first to hit the floor and wrestle Luka or tickle Emme. He always wants me to stay up (yes- passed this old lady’s bedtime) just to talk or cuddle and watch a movie. Every once (in awhile) he even massages my feet 😆😆 (that alone merits a present)

SO this year! We gave our best guy a timeless gift.

But Lauren- how do you choose “a timeless gift” for a man who has literally everything?🤔 AHH- I FEEL YOU! And I got you! 😘

I found this company- Jord Watches and Y’all.😍 I loved each and every piece. It’s difficult finding a men’s watch that meets all your needs. Legit- I’m scrolling their site to a sea of unique wooden minimalist designs. Super cute modern pieces, it was a tough choice.

I kept going back to he reallllly needs something less sporty (Which he already wears for football) and something manly yet formal. Ultimately I went with the Dover Koa and Black.

When the box arrived it was SO nice. It was housed in this beautifully carved wooden box. But the DETAIL of this watch is insane. When we gave it to him (the day before his birthday because let’s face it- I couldn’t contain my excitement) his face lit up. He was really impressed. And again- He admits I’m the best… 😉

And I’m saying all this because you can enter the giveaway and be “the best” OR skip dad all together and buy something for yourself ! It’s SO easy it literally takes a second.

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<a id=”woodwatches_com_widget_article” ishidden=”1″ title=”Wooden Wrist Watch”>Wooden Wrist Watch</a>
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Flourish Motherhood

Anyone else live for these warm rainy days posted on the front porch with the sound of rain + a good read? Because 🙌🏼❤

Luka woke up wanting to talk about Moses today. His first question was “Moses REALLY trusted God didn’t he mom”? 🤗

Stay with me!! This is so good!

Not an hour later I started the laundry + dishes for the day. I made snacks and gathered the kids to enjoy the rain on the front porch. I open @flourishmotherhood and the second story is a Mother saying “I get Moses! God gave him an unexpected and overwhelming calling and his first instinct was to pass it off.”

And AMEN! I was thanfuk for that honest perspective! Because sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of a journey that, well, just.feels.unbareable. RIGHT? I mean it could be anything- motherhood, loss, an unexpected detour in our very planned lives… our purpose.. whatever!! And it is in these places God is saying TRUST ME. DO NOT LOSE SIGHT. I AM GOOD. I AM MAKING A WAY.

Moses, alone, couldn’t possibly have brought the Israelites to the promise land. But he took a leap of faith and TRUSTED God. He allowed God to USE him!

This mother’s words spoke to my heart today. Here is my prayer- that God can use each of us to bring HIM GLORY- that our shaken and broken foundations are the foundation of a stronger faith he rebuilds in us. I’ll tell You, I believe sometimes the only way to reach us is to shake our very core. If you are being shaken…I pray you trust Him! If you are hurting, I pray you trust HIM! And if you are tired or scared TRUST HIM.

On another note, God uses my son to show me who HE is, often. You would probably assume it’s the other way around, as I’m the mother. I can’t tell You (I could actually) the number of things Luka has said to me that I whole heartedly believe came from Jesus! And I’m so thankful for those beautiful reminders.

Lastly, Thank you @flourishmotherhood for sending me your first issue, I’m so grateful.

Losing a Jack

 

Most of us can look back and see the single pendulum moment that changed us, rerouting the course of our life. The moment you said I DO or got accepted into the school of your dreams; Maybe it is motherhood. And all of those are valid. I’ve birthed many beautiful moments in this life. But the pendulum, the reroute, the day this world changed its color wheel, was the day my little brother returned to Glory.

This post isn’t about my feelings or the depth of hurt encumbered post loss. Instead, it’s about grief familiarity. We all share it. Some more than others. But that indescribable sharpness felt in our chest, that torturous hell in deaths’ aftermath… it changes us. It connects us. We see more clearly the face of suffering allowing us to empathize with total strangers.

This Is Us rewrites television in the most authentic basis of the human experience. We, every single one of us, relate. And do you know why? Because of FAMILY. And LOVE. And GRIEF.  It’s this collective truth that intertwines us into their stories. Their story lines, even individually, are not too unfamiliar are they? The battles of addiction, weight, self worth, relationships, mental health and loss. In both this family’s gains and losses, we find ourselves there.

Last night Jack Pearson, who lets face it, is TELEVISION GOLD died suddenly and unexpectedly. He was America’s family man and the Pearson shining light. Randall,  his son, in a flashback describes the sudden loss as a lightning bolt you can’t even see reaching inside you and tearing out your guts. <—  UGH.  This is why I love this show. It’s not dark, but it’s also not fluff. It’s real and relateable.

We rise and fall with the people we love. When they are chasing their dreams, we’re running along side them. When they feel heavy, we want to share their load. And when they rise from the ashes, we are cheering them on. But when they die… when they die, there is no where to place that love. That’s the real tragedy. We’re running in circles wanting to love them more and harder and so much more intentionally. And we cannot. It’s somewhere in this discovery that we develop a blue print on how to live through loss.

The circumstances surrounding their death may never make sense. We may have to leave this earth in order to understand.  The great reunion will happen, there is no doubt in my mind. And THAT is the secret to my blue print. THAT is how I know we can continue to live even though that familiar ache has rested into our bones. I hope we can see a tinge of this truth carry on through Rebecca as she navigates her grief. It is Hollywood of course, so I’m not holding my breath.

So if not, I hope you know where we bury the hope; deep within the promise of Jesus. If loss has knocked on your front door, I pray you you let Jesus wrap his arms around you. Because comfort comes, even when we lose a light.

This Is Us

Like every one else on the planet, I’m drinking all the hot cocoa + watching This Is Us (via DVR) and Christmas movies all fall. Fa la la’ pass me another tissue. And brownie.

Anyways, I caught up to This Is Us moments ago. Discovering, yet again, how relatable their wreckage is. And I think it’s that way for everyone. FOR SO SO MANY,

This (really) Is Us

Let me preface this post by saying life is normal right now. It is, It’s good. I love where we are as a family more than any of the words I string along are capable of proving. I’ve found a groove for myself and our crew. I’ve breathed in these sweet moments with my littles, as if they were my last. I’ve caught myself trying to still an image of their laughter or my husbands touch like a keepsake of memories. I dont want to miss a thing. I want it all documented. And that includes my heart- who I am and where I am today, so they can forever see the struggle but too, the hope of JESUS in a way they aren’t totally privy to now. I’ve discovered new passions in this season that I intend to unfold in due time. So again, I AM happy.

This Is, REAL.

And yet here I am, in this moment, paralyzed by a bolt. You know, sometimes I compare grief to waves or storms because I can sense it. I KNOW it’s coming. Don’t you? The rythmic ebb and flow of the wave- leaving us, returning, leaving, returning. We’re customized; each of us in our own patterns of grief. But the point is, the rhythm prepares us for the powerful rush ahead..the same is true for the storm cloud. Off in the distance, we see darkness. As the light dims, we prepare.

In this part of the journey, I know and expect the ground to rattle beneath me and understand my triggers. I’ve learned the pattern of the wave and the power of the storm. And in time, I’ve transformed.

This Is Raw.

Fast forward to this moment: finished the latest episode: I.was.not.prepared. Looking back it makes sense of course…but to see Kevin so destroyed. I couldn’t. Electricity might as well have shot through my body. I watched him sink deeper through the obvious paralleled lens. Its crushing. The world is at his fingers, he could DO ANYTHING, a good life rests just on the horizon but his own heart isn’t healing. Wounds are mounting atop one another and his depression is unseen. He’s self-medicating, still breaking, all the while… spiraling. Drifting. But he keeps it together just enough that the world doesn’t see.

This Is Grief.

Next episode: we see a glimpse of Kate, in the middle of miscarriage. Yeah. So while I could probably steer myself from revisiting the trauma- I’ll probably wait for my house to fall asleep next Tuesday and curl up with wine and chocolate. And tissues. WHY?

This Is Me

My Maker is Still Making Me

Last night I was catching up with an old friend about life and loss and ugly details which can burn us up if we’re not careful to protect our spirit. And looking back I understand how fine that line truly is.

Take this for instance, I’m filled with warm delicious coffee in a fun mug while my healthy happy fully fed children watch Beauty and The Beast (quietly) just feet away. Life is kind in this moment.
Also in this very moment, my kitchen table holds a vase of flowers my husband sent me when we lost our baby just weeks ago. Beyond that view is a folded flag that still takes my breath away. I’ve had a lot of conversation about WHO my brother was this week. The details and memory of each of these things grip my heart a little too tightly this morning. And I can feel the tug to break again.

I learned during my miscarriage how to redirect focus from my pain to God. Transforming my focus through the trauma changed my relationship with Jesus. (My Maker is still Making Me.)

We ALL have these moments of fragility, yes? If you haven’t experienced deep pain, hold on- your time’s a comin friend.
At any given moment a perfectly happy person could sink from the details. Do you see? It’s impossible for us to know where one another is seated at the seesaw. Wether were up or down or balancing just there in the middle not knowing if a plunge or a leap is next.

Let’s be kinder to each other + to ourselves. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to love someone harder, even if that someone is me. Could your spirit be more gentle? Could you forgive or love or help someone who needs you even though you don’t need them? I can.

This life is a gift- We have the power (daily) to choose for ourselves how we treat people, how we love them, and how we impact everyone around us. I pray our hearts can be more like Christ and our spirits more gentle.

You never know who needs it.

What It’s All About

These two have played hard. In every room (and with every toy). Including the guest room where I’ve intentionally created a zero toy zone.🙅🏼‍♀️😣 So today includes lots of cleaning, BUT I ain’t mad at it! They’re getting along so well. And filling this home with rounds of deep BELLY LAUGHTER AGAIN! Hoping we had a breakthrough!!! 🤞 PLUS- I captured some moments I can’t get enough of. Look at how she looks at him + how he entertains her!! There’s just been an overflow of joy today. The kind we feel when all the heart strings meet. And after all, that’s what it’s all about. 🙌🏼❤🤗

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