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I wait for bedtime for so many reasons.
To rest, sit down, to breathe but most importantly to meet with Jesus and reflect, refresh and restore my soul.
Sweatpants and honesty required.
Come sit with me momma.



May 12, 2015

Word Hurricane

Writing.
It's solace for me.
Needless to say, after having baby K less than three months ago I have yet to write.
Also, needless to say I have felt no solace.
I have felt...let's say more and more out of control. More and more like the words are a wind storm swirling around me. Words I can't yet make sense of. 
Out of order. Out of time. Out of words. Out of myself. Out.

I can feel a bit of myself resurfacing from the abyss of adding a child to the family and going back to work transition. A bit.

These are the most words I can share in one sitting. There is so much to say. The words are all circling like a hurricane and soon, soon they will all settle and I will piece them together to make sense of this time and share it with you. Once the storm settles. 
More to come. More to come. 

Honestly with love,

Rachel


March 7, 2015

But Joy

He was quietly putting on his winter boots and five fingered gloves all by himself. I asked if he needed help, to which he replied, "I can do it myself" and proceeded to tighten his coat sleeves around his gloves. I felt it. Right then. He was big. My tiny preemie baby that I prayed and prayed for was a boy. Not a toddler, a boy.
Sigh.
Tears and joy all filled up my throat an I just wanted to hold him. I knew he wouldn't let me, so I didn't ask but my goodness how am I here already? Boyhood. Almost five. The twins have regular, adult conversations and Ethan has grown inches upon inches at three and a half. All this while I snuggle up next to my two week old girl.  
I find myself looking back at photos trying to remember them when. All I wanted then was to get out of their current stage and onto self reliance. Now that I am getting there, I hope I can correctly hold onto all the beautiful memories of them being so tiny. I hope I can hold onto the feeling of their soft baby head on my cheek, the bright giggles, the first beach trip, all those beauties. I think that's why I'm addicted to photographing them. To hold a moment still. The joy I feel in those moments is so cherished I don't want them to fleet away from me. 
I get that most days are just plain crazy and you just cannot wait for them to go to bed for some peace and quiet. Trust me, I get it, way deep in my bones get it. Today though, today I want to soak in the tub of the warm memories and let them shape how I experience my kids today. Let them remind me how fleeting each moment is. To look each kid in the eye, smile, hug, laugh and play with them. Amidst the chaos, there is joy. Some days I need to dig deep to find it, but joy.
But JOY today mommas. But Joy.

Honestly with love,
Rach



February 26, 2015

Karis May: a birth story

It was snowing a glittery kind of snow on a chilly February 16th. It was forecasted to have 6-10 inches by morning. I woke up to pee every two hours, struggling to roll my hugeness out of bed as punishment for the future nursing I would be doing at the same intervals. I peeked out the window each time, heart racing, hope wavering that my scheduled c-section would not occur as planned.
My other birth stories were full of drama and crying and pain. This one, this one not so much more then a quiet anticipation.  

It was six in the morning and that seemed like a good enough time to get up shower, shave and exhale for the last time as a mother of three. It was quiet in the house. Somehow the next time I would be showering here my heart and home would be fuller. It was all surreal that I would be just walking into the hospital, they would cut me open and my sweet girl would be here. Surreal.

So I did just that. I kissed each of my three sweet boys goodbye with this bittersweet tenderness in my heart. This feeling of deep love for them, for our family, for the change they would undergo. 
My sweet parents drove through icy roads to come watch my boys and Paul and I drove to the hospital. We drove on a quiet cloud of snow and mystery and surreal joy of what was happening that day.

We walked into labor and delivery, filled out the paperwork, I got hooked up and a few hours later I was in the operating room. My back hunched over getting the spinal, the lights so bright, the air so cool and I could almost hear her crying in my mind. We were so close.
I kept repeating, "The peace of God" in my mind to stay focused, to stay centered, to feel His presence in the room. I knew He was there. He couldn't wait to see my face when I saw her, this little gift He had given us. He couldn't wait to help her draw her first breath. 
And then she came into this world, my little gift of grace, crying from the moment she could catch her breath. I saw her for a moment, she was cleaned off and placed on my chest. We were home. She instantly stopped crying. I kissed her head and felt a deep sense of exhale. 

Karis May Bowman has a defined plan for her life designed by God. Her very name is the Biblical Greek word (charis) for grace. For the unmerited favor, the blessing God has given me and our family through her and her brothers. Her middle name, May, is after my sweet grandmother Marjorie May whom taught me how to cook and how to love family. 

Welcome Karis. 
Welcome to this loud, messy house where legos are everywhere and dinners are daunting. 
Where we live for pizza/movie nights and mommy/daddy dates.
Your brothers are over the moon in love with you. They check on you every moment. They kiss you, rub your head and talk to you every chance they get.
Your daddy is the best snuggler, was the first to hold you and changed every diaper in the hospital. Me, well I am obsessed with taking your picture and feel an overwhelming thankfulness for you and the family God has given me. I feel a sense of trying to muddle through becoming a better woman so I can show you when you get there too. 

Here are some pics of your first few days.
In love,

Mommy, Daddy, Jude, Levi & Ethan
















February 10, 2015

Heavenly Whirlwind: a baby gift

Driving home from work today, at 38 weeks pregnant, the sky was extra bright and the clouds were extra close to earth. I felt like there was something heavenly whirling in the cool winds. Some sort of glorious, joy filled gift was being whirled together like magic in the sky just for me. God was creating and dancing and rejoicing over this gift He was making me and I could just feel the brilliance of it all deep in my bones. I smiled a little as I made the turn onto my road.
 
I thought about how I'm so undeserving, so unprepared for this gift. This daughter I thought I would never have. This joy and light in our family. Here I am at the cusp of her entering the world, our family, and fear has been overcome by His peace. She is a gift. I get to be there for her first breath. I get to be there. 

Birth can be so scary, unscheduled, overwhelming and honestly downright painful. All the thoughts of how we will make it financially. How I will have to go back to work. How I will juggle it all with three very loud, very tender hearted boys who need me. When will she come? How will she come? Will she be healthy? Do I have everything I need? Is my marriage ready to be shaken? Will my body be strong enough? Will she nurse? Will I be able to bear all these burdens coming at me?

Then.
Just then.
He shows up.

Dancing over me. 

In that whirlwind I felt in the clouds today. To remind me this is a gift. Not a burden to fear. A sweet, sweet gift.

Honestly every single night I have whispered the word "grateful" amongst every pregnancy woe. Every kick, hiccup and swelling of my belly has this bitter sweetness bound up in it. It is this wild and wonderful journey, pregnancy. It begins to expose your soul, your selfishness, your ability to love deeper than you thought you could. The strength in your body. The strength and perseverance He grants us in our souls. I am one of those weirdos who loves being pregnant and am beyond grateful I could experience it at all, let alone three times. 

This last birth I will not rush. This birth I will not fear. 
This birth I will envision as a gift, handed down to me from heaven.
I want to experience and remember every moment. I want to feel the very presence of God as He hands over His daughter to Paul and I to raise. I want to feel that swirly, bright wind in the hospital room and smile as I turn down the road toward her entering my arms. Toward her sharing her voice for the first time. Toward her gasping for her very first breath of cool air. Cradling her, nursing her, looking into her eyes, seeing her with her daddy, hearing her brothers reactions to her long awaited entrance to our family. Karis' name means grace in Greek. I can already sense the soothing grace she will pour over our family. The soothing grace as an unexpected gift, a bright eyed joy, and unmerited favor from our Father. 

Will you pray with me tonight? That when baby K decides to come that peace will overrule fear? That joy will fill the moments? Will you pray for your momma friend or family ready to deliver soon? Pray for an overwhelming peace in the room? Pray she can sense that very cool whirlwind presence of the God of life right beside her championing her? Cheering her on? That she looks back on her birth and only remembers the joy?

May we all remember that every child is a gift. A true gift created in heaven in the very same magical whirlwind. Celebrate your sweet gift today momma, old or young. Celebrate.

Honestly with love,
Rachel

3Children are a heritage from the Lord,

offspring a reward from him.

4Like arrows in the hands of a warrior

are children born in one’s youth.

5Blessed is the man

whose quiver is full of them.

Pslam 127