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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.



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





January 20, 2015

Wise Women Build

It was 1am and I was getting up to pee, again.
This is what women who are nine months pregnant do all-night-long.
My Bible was sitting in the bassinet by my bed and "proverbs 14" popped in my head. 
I thought, sure. I'll read it real quick.
I read it...
The wise women builds her house,
But with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
Needless to say, I couldn't get it out of my mind.

Immediately, I had a vision of building Lincoln logs.
As you build the house, you need to be slow, patient, intentional and have endurance. Those logs can be testy. A steady hand is required. It is way too easy to knock down the whole house and have to start again. 
It's the same with motherhood.
I believe God put this verse in the female tense for a specific reason.

As mommas, we set the tone for the attitude in our house.
Notice it? You are crabby and yelling, they are too.
You are quiet, happy and patient, they tend to be too.
You throw a fit, they react.
They model what they see. They become what they see.

A wise woman builds her house.
She builds it.
It takes kind words when you feel like yelling.
It takes patience when you are already 15 minutes late for school.
It takes faith when you feel like you are not getting through to them.
It takes endurance when you have been working all day and dinner isn't made.
It takes snuggles and kisses when you have a to do list haunting you.
It takes purpose when you'd rather let them watch television but the Bible needs opened.
It takes encouragement when they were teased at school or feel left out.
It takes sweat, it takes tears, it takes a builders plan from the Master Jesus.
Building a house, a home, a swelling heart takes guts. Guts. You have it momma. You do.
You can build your house, log by log, along with your kids hearts every single day.
A house that's warm, comfy, and a soft place to fall.
BUT
With her own hands a foolish one tears hers down.
Her own hands. 
Ouch. Guilty.
Too many times I have knocked down that Lincoln log house for no good reason.
It's too easy isn't it?
To yell. To hurry them. To let the noise take over. To let the whining push you over the edge.
And boom.
You make a sudden move in frustration and it all comes falling down.
All that purpose, love, and intention we have been building comes crashing down. 

Crash.

Foolish. I let myself, my temper, those little annoyances take over some days. I do.
Foolishness.
I'm not teaching or modeling to them how to deal with life when I react this way. I am teaching them to tear down their houses too.

Tell you what I'm gonna do momma. 
I'm gonna print this verse out and put it on my kitchen window sill.
In the center if my home, my heart.
As an ever present, ever beautiful reminder.
A wise woman BUILDS
A foolish one tears hers down with her own hands
With her own hands.

I don't want to start over. I want to keep building. Every day. Moment by moment making that choice.
Only by Gods grace, Gods leading, Gods ever present, brilliant love. 

Now I don't care if you are working on siding or drywall or if you have no foundation or building plan. 
Start today. Begin to build up your home. Set the tone, the model for your children and husband. Start the builders legacy. Start the blue print for a grace filled, loving home. 
Don't let foolishness take over. When you feel it creeping up- breathe in deep, real deep and say this verse over and over. And then one more time. I'll be joining you, glancing at my kitchen window sill likely the same time as you. 
Let's go momma, let's go build our house today. 

Honestly with love,
Rachel



December 22, 2014

Consumed

Ever feel like everything is coming at you all at once? 
Like you need an umbrella to protect yourself from all the things falling down on you?
All the demands. All the to do lists. 
All the pouring out when you are empty. The weariness.

Staying up until 2 am finishing wrapping and addressing Christmas cards that should have been mailed weeks ago. Baking and shopping and Christmas traditions you feel you just hafta do. You feel empty. Weary. You feel you are missing the spirit of it all.

Year end reviews at work, preparing for the coming years sales goals and marketing plans. Stressed out clients yelling. Grocery store runs for that one item. Pregnancy exhaustion. Sick kids. Juggling the babysitters calendar between you and your husband. Vacation days are gone. Who is going where for what holiday. Baking. Cooking. Cleaning. A single digit bank account.

I'm consumed. 
Consumed by it all. 
Working every moment. 
My brain is filled up with it all.

At 12:30pm Tuesday my out of office will be turned on for five days of glory. Five
I'll walk in the door to my sweet, chunky cheeked toddlers and drop all my bags. I will finally get eye to eye with them. Take in this Christmas joy with them. Let down my burdens for a few days and breathe in deeply these people, these gifts, these feelings of love and grace and glory. This Emmanuel, God with us, who is everything I long to be and everything I need. Deeply I'll breathe. Deeply. 

Momma, I implore you to turn your out of office on with me.
Set a time and date
Put down your burdens. 
Let go of some demands.
Pinterest will not be at my house this year. 
Every cookie need not to be baked. Just a few simple gifts is enough. 
The world will keep spinning if you don't send out cards this year.
Hide in the shadow of His wings for a few precious days. 
From the demands, from the worry, from the never ending junk. Hide. Live with Him and drink Him in, all His glorious gifts this Christmas. Let Him love on you. Rescue you. Strengthen you. May He give you new eyes, invigorated spirit, fresh love for your family. Let Him consume you. Not the stuff. Him. Let hiding under his wings be His gift to you this Christmas. Snuggle up to Him. Hide. Refresh. Rest. Restore. 


Honestly with love,
Rach

Pslam 17:8
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.

Isaiah 32:2
Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.

Pslam 36:7
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.