Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mary Did You Know

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; Behold, the Virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14

My favorite Christmas song of all time is "Mary Did You Know". The lyrics are incredibly powerful and touch my heart every time my ears hear this beautiful truth in song.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know.. Ooo Ooo Ooo

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great, I Am.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, HUGgie!

Three precious years ago, the Lord entrusted Holland Grace to us.
She cried loud and hard for the first 6 hours of her precious life; it sincerely was the most precious sound we had ever heard. We knew then that Holland was purpose driven and so very tender hearted.
She has taught us how to truly love selflessly and unconditionally. Words cannot define how deep our love is for her or how richly she blesses our lives each day.
Holland is our first miracle in many ways. Early on in my pregnancy, the doctors sat us down and told us that we should prepare to miscarry once again as this pregnancy did not appear "viable". We both wept in disbelief.
After a few moments, I regained composure and felt complete peace within. Without doubt, I knew that this child growing inside of me would be our first born and in that we found refuge. Each of our children have been given family names with the exception of Holland's middle name, Grace. Grace is what the Lord gave us that day and it was then that we decided if our first born were to be a girl her middle name would be Grace.
Happy Birthday to our precious, Holland Grace! Being your parents is one of life's greatest joys. We are thankful to be on this journey called life with you. Bless your sweet heart. We love you, HUGgie!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Give Thanks.

"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

It's simple. I'm thankful and this season has encouraged me to reflect on His goodness, grace and undeserved mercies. In this season, I am learning to be thankful for the simple things and taking the time to enjoy them.

1. I'm thankful for my sight and hearing. Sounds crazy, but I have given this a lot of thought recently. What an incredible, taken for granted gift. Every day, I have the opportunity to see my children play, cry, smile and laugh. Simple joys. I see my loving husband's face light up every evening as he walks through the door and our jubilant Holland running to meet him. I hear the words "I love you" more than once a day from the people I love the most.

2. I'm thankful to be a homemaker. It is the most rewarding and challenging job I have ever had. I am witness to every milestone, confrontation and new discovery of our precious little ones. I am learning to let some things go and to not be such a "Martha" with her to-do list. Life is bigger than a list and goes by way too quickly.

3. I'm thankful for my husband. In all my life, I have never known a more self-sacrificing, loving, forgiving and humble man. The way that he loves me and our family is overpowering. I'm thankful he asked me to be his "bride" and for being my partner in life. He is the sweetest, most gentle person I know and he adores our crazy life as much as I do!

4. I'm thankful for the blessing of children. Holland Grace is our energetic, question-asking, tender hearted first born. She brings light into every room she enters and offers a new perspective in every situation. God has great plans for her busy hands and feet! Jackson Hughes is our "sveet" boy. He has the most gentle spirit much like David. From his crooked little grin and floor stomping legs to the way he grabs hold of my hand and leans in for a slobbery kiss, he has melted my heart from the moment our eyes met. Maelynn Thomas is our unborn baby girl. Already, she has challenged us spiritually and emotionally thus bringing us closer to our Maker and to one another. I can't imagine life without any one of them.

5. I'm thankful for our Maker. I'm thankful that He has written the book of life and I am not responsible to writing my own script. I'm thankful for the life He has given me and the path He has paved before me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Unspeakable Joy

Yesterday morning, I had the pleasure of bringing David to his first doctor's appointment with this pregnancy. He opened the door for me, took a deep breath, smiled nervously and said, "Here we go. For the final time." We were moments away from seeing our precious child for the first time together on the ultrasound screen. I confess that as the doppler was put on my stomach for this final time, my eyes were fixed on David and not the screen. I longed to see the joy in his eyes as he laid eyes on our third child for the first time. It was there I saw unspeakable joy and like twice before, he exclaimed, "Unbelievable."

Our little bundle of joy showed itself to be very active, modest, and stubborn. It took almost 30 minutes for the technician to get our baby to move into position so we could find out the gender. With Holland and Jackson, we were able to see within moments so it seemed like an eternity! Not to our surprise, the technician told us that we would be having a beautiful, healthy baby GIRL!

Our sweet little girl displayed some of favorite activities in utero (which is nice because I am always wondering what they are doing in there!): she is a thumb sucker, a talker (she'll fit right in!) and enjoys putting her hands on top of her hand. Our hearts overflow once again with unspeakable joy and thanksgiving for a beautiful, healthy baby. All praise be to Him!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Proverbs 31 Woman

"She is a woman of the Word, virtuous, slow to anger, and quick to love. She is prayerful, eager to listen, and quick to forgive. She is selfless, a servant, joyful, and self-sacrificing. She feels deeply and finds true excitement in simple things. She is unique. She is mine. " paraphrased Proverbs 31

Life as I know it right now is overwhelming. My mind is constantly filled with questions and uncertainty, wandering and doubting more than I ever knew to be imaginable. This rawness is real and something that as a Christian, I think we do a poor job of showing. Humbleness is where I am lead to and complete surrender. Graciously, God meets me there every time and I am comforted simply by sitting in His silent presence.

My heart's desire has always been to have children. Just look at their precious faces. It is one of life's greatest joys and undeserved blessings that have been poured out into my life. Recently, there have been more days than not that I feel like I'm failing especially with Holland. It ranges from the guilt of giving her too much juice to feeling as though I am simply impatient at times with her. She has such an endearing, sensitive spirit and I could not feel more blessed and challenged to have her as our first. Her busyness does not overwhelm me because I know that God has great things in store for her hands and feet. She is strong willed and I'm sure that will take her far as well, especially since this is where we don't always see eye to eye. She is 2 and ready to conquer the world and no longer seems to need her Mama's direction except when crossing the street and not wanting to get "flattened like a pancake". There is no doubt in my mind that we are at a crossroads. I see it in her eyes every time I am short-tempered with her or find myself busily cleaning in the other room.

I know all of the hip-parenting jargon of not wanting to be their child's friend, and I buy that. What I don't buy is that kids will be kids. Kids need structure and a solid foundation. Of course they are going to test the limits, but the things that will shape them most is what they SEE, not just what they hear. I not only want Holland and Jackson to hear me truth into their lives, but to see me aspiring to be the Proverbs 31 woman. Yes, I am going to stumble, but His grace is sufficient and mercies are new every day. Paraphrased, this is what I aspire to be and want Holland and Jackson to know me as:

"She is a woman of the Word, virtuous, slow to anger, and quick to love. She is prayerful, eager to listen, and quick to forgive. She is selfless, a servant, joyful, and self-sacrificing. She feels deeply and finds true excitement in simple things. She is unique. She is mine. "

So, I have decided to let some things go. No more cleaning or laundering while the kids are awake. We can hire someone to share those duties. That is not why we made the choice for me to stay at home with the kids. It is to be with the kids, spend time with them, play with them, read to them, pray for them, and to love on them. In letting these things go, prayers have already been answered about which direction we are taking. Just the other day after naptime, Holland crawled into bed with me and cheerily said, "Mommy, I'm so glad I get to spend every day with you." That girl has a way of speaking truth into my life and touching my heart in ways that no one else can.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Heaven's Symphony

I had my last first trimester appointment yesterday. It was much anticipated because I was planning on asking and receiving anti-nausea meds. This pregnancy has been like no other leaving me extremely sick and sometimes feeling like I can't get up out of bed. It makes it more challenging having two little ones at home, which is why I felt the urgency to get some medicine!

Twice before, this appointment was highly anticipated because it is when you actually get to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time. I remember counting down the days when pregnant with both Holland and Jackson. For many reasons, I have felt numb about this pregnancy, most likely because I still don't fully comprehend how this happened. I mean, I know how it happened, but medically speaking there is no explanation. I like being reminded of that every time I am at the doctor because it sparks amazing conversations between myself and the physicians and it is left undeniable that there is a Great Physician at work in our lives.
As I lay there on the table with the doppler on my abdomen, I couldn't help but feel like I had just experienced this. Within a moment or so, I heard the sweetest sound that took grasp of my heart in a way like never before. Our baby's heartbeat could not have sounded more like heaven's symphony to me. My heart gushed with love, adoration, protection and pure joy all in an instant.

I sat in my car outside of the doctor's office and just wept. I was so thankful for the joy that He allowed me to feel on this day and for blessing us, truly blessing us, with another one of His children. How could I not rejoice with this gift and miracle growing exponentially everyday inside of me? I shared with David, my feelings of true peace, joy and contentment with this pregnancy and he just smiled at me. His smile was enough for me to know that he has had those things since the moment I shared with him we would be having a third child.

This baby too is being "fearfully and wonderfully made" by Him. On this third time of hearing our baby's heartbeat, I feel as though I now have a deeper appreciation of unborn life and the sovereignty that comes in solely trusting Him. I'm prayerful that I will never forget the overflowing joy I felt when I heard heaven's symphony yesterday.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Full House

I love having a full house. Nothing warms my heart quite like it. The pitter patter of little feet, "Is Jackson down for a nap?", and doors wide open are images and sounds forever ingrained in my mind.

My family came to Pittsburgh this Labor Day weekend to visit. Holland could barely sleep Wednesday night anticipating their arrival. Finally at 10:15, she went to sleep! I think David and I were secretly just as excited.

We spent an entire day shopping at Ikea and didn't even get to look at everything. I will admit that their beds are sturdy--3 little girls were singing and jumping on them pretending to be music superstars. Thankfully (and surprisingly), we broke nothing! We did find some fabulous buys and I picked up a few Christmas gifts.

On Saturday, we took the train into the city. The girls were so excited and David was happy to show landmarks and tell them how much longer we had to ride. We took the Incline to the top of Mount Washington, which overlooked the Monongahela River and a picturesque view of Pittsburgh. We ate lunch at Hard Rock Cafe and then went further downtown to sneak a peek of David's office at Heinz. The visit would not have been complete without people watching.

It was a great visit and I'm so thankful for the memories made!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

And then there were 5...

Philippians 4:6-8

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Life is full of surprises. Early August brought us the news that we would be adding to our family. Yes, another baby. Irish twins. Jackson, 4 months old, is going to be a big brother. 3 precious gifts in 39 months.

Unbelievable. I would be remiss, if I did not confess that I cried more than I probably ever have in my entire life. Disbelief, uncertainty and anxiety swept through and flooded my mind. Within days, we had shared the news with my family. My mom and sister's reactions were much like ours, but my Dad offered a different insight. My Dad is a man of few words, but I am eternally thankful for his perspective because it completely changed mine. Although this came to us as a complete and utter shock, children are a blessing and as husband and wife, we are extremely blessing to be fertile. Thanks Dad for speaking wisdom into my life!

The Lord's timing is perfect and complete submission is a forever winding road leading us through the process of sanctification. After hours of intense discussions, David and I are left smiling about this small bundle of joy growing inside of me. It will be our last child and I am determined to savor every flutter, nauseous feeling, food aversion, additional pound, kick and punch.

I continue to be in awe of the grace God gives David. Throughout all of this, there have been no "freak out" moments by David (just me!) and only humble knees bowed in prayer. David's words of encouragement offer my heart both peace and serenity, which only a man after God's own heart can offer his wife. I'm forever thankful for every moment of this pregnancy and for every time my husband places his hands on my growing belly and we pray together for our third unborn child.

We are abundantly blessed indeed!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Lovin'

I love family. We started out our two week vacation by driving to NC. My Dad, very selflessly, offered to fly up to PA and drive with the kids and I back to NC. It was an incredible blessing and I'm so thankful that I was able to share the ride with another adult! The kids and I spent the first week of our vacation with my sister and her sweet family. Holland is completely in her element when she is with her "cousies" and seeing her so incredibly happy brings my heart a huge amount of joy. Jackson is still getting to know his loving cousins and will have to get used to being around 3 wild girls! It is a good thing that he is so laid back:)

Our stay with Mimi and the gang surfaced a lot of different emotions within me. While I was so very happy to spend such quality time with them, it brought into light just how much of the "little" things I am no longer apart of and just how much I miss being 8 hours away. My nose tingle and eyes water just thinking about how much our nieces change in between visits. It does make me grateful for the time that we had when we were closer and for the strong bond we made early on in both of their lives. For me, this is the hardest part of being away from family.

We were also able to visit with David's Dad's side of the family. They are amazing people. The amount of love that is within the walls of his grandmother's house is indescribable. Generations are able to sit, talk and laugh for hours and it only feels like minutes. I think that it has inspired David and I to have close relationships with our siblings and their families because we truly desire a close knit family even against the distance of miles between us.

The last half of our summer vacation to NC was spent at the beach. We were able to meet our nephew, Henry and spend some quality time with the other side of David's family. While I did not spend more than an hour on the beach the entire week, Holland and David had a blast together (along with Uncle Hank) making memories on the beach.

Monday, July 12, 2010

In Love with My Loves

I am very grateful for the gift of our children. My heart has never felt so full of love that it could burst every time I look at the two of them. I am amazed at how incredibly different Holland and Jackson are. Holland is full of life and is full of funny questions and busy suggestions. Jackson has a calm demeanor and is simple and sweet. They challenge me daily to be a living, breathing example of a selfless, patient, loving mommy; although I frequently make mistakes and ask for their forgiveness. It is hard to believe that our bundles of joys are 2 1/2 years old and 4 months old. They give our life a whole new meaning and purpose.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Simple Joys

Since moving to Pittsburgh, I am reminded daily of the simple joys in life I have taken for granted. Waking up every morning, looking outside the window towards a familiar street, seeing a friend at the grocery, and just driving down the road to see family and old friends...the list could go on and on. I miss familiar faces, Harris Teeter, a good ol' dirty mexican restaurant, and just plain comfort. This journey has started to weigh on me and has challenged me to reflect on who I am, who I want to be, and what is important to me. There is an internal struggle of being thankful yet allowing myself to grieve change and our new surroundings. I am coming to understand that Pittsburgh is a long term commitment and most likely where my babies will start elementary school (whew, only 3 years away for my sweet HUGgie). While there is nothing that I can honestly say I dislike about Pittsburgh (it truly is a great city), I still find myself calling North Carolina "home".

With that said, I titled this excerpt "simple joys" because I tend to overlook these small blessings everyday. So, it was nice to take the kids to Kennywood for an afternoon of fun, face paint and food. I think that it brought out the inner child in both David and myself watching Holland's face illuminate with excitement as she rode rides and soaked up the amusements.

Jackson enjoyed himself too. He is following in the footsteps of his mama and sister as a people watcher. He is a little more laid back though like his Daddy.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What We Do

Change is never easy for me. It usually involves a lot of tears, resistance and sometimes a little stomping of the feet. Over the past three weeks, there have been tears and lots of hugs given in the Uzzell house. We are slowly transitioning into our life here and with a few things hung, it is beginning to feel more like home. His goodness has been shown to my sweet family, time and again since we have been here in Pittsburgh. It is hard to deny that this is where we are supposed to be! Our neighbors are incredible and have given us a gracious welcome. I'm sure that having a sweet 2 year old girl running up the street in a tutu and wings helps too!
We have joined a rec club up the street for the kids and I to go to during the days and for David and Holland to have some special one on one time. The love between those two is just incredible. Holland likes pretending to be Ariel and having David act as her Flounder. It is quite heartwarming to watch and somewhat amusing to see how smitten they are with one another.
We have been praying for a friend for Holland long before we got to Pittsburgh. She has befriended another two year old, Ava who lives close by. Holland enjoys spending time with her(and playing in her sandbox) and it is nice to have another mom to talk to! Holland is really into the Dinsey Princesses. Ariel and Cinderella are her favorite. She has nicknamed Jackson, "Gus Gus", the chubby mouse in Cinderella. She loves pretending to be a princess.
Jackson enjoys being doted upon and passing out his crooked little smile (it melts my heart every time!) He is my sweet baby boy. He loves being cuddled and in the arms of his mama. He smiles every time he sees Holland (even though it sometimes involves a whomp on the head!) He is cooing more, grabbing for things and laughing quite a bit. Like his big sister, he is a great nighttime sleeper and loves his naps. Such a huge blessing!
During Jackson's morning naps, Holland and I enjoy our time together. It usually involves making a treat for David or whipping up some Jell-O in the kitchen! It is so fun to spend one on one time with her.
David is loving his job at Heinz. Thus far it seems like a great fit and it is nice to have him around in the evenings without school work hanging over his head! He is an Associate Brand Manager specifically overseeing Frozen Soups that are distributed to various companies. We are enjoying all of the benefits of David working in the food/consumer industry:) The soups are delish and are a nice addition to our freezer!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Our official new residence is Pittsburgh! We are so thankful for our sweet friends, the McCarthys who graciously let us stay with them for a few days before making our move to PA. Fran and Gail both have true servant hearts and it blessed us (and our children) to see such a loving couple. They are a true inspiration and encouragement. It was simply wonderful to spend our last days in Winston Salem with them.

David's graduated from Wake Forest Schools of Business on May 16. I could not be more proud of his hard work and dedication to his family and our dreams. Both sets of David's parents came in to town for the graduation hooding ceremony. It was extremely helpful to have them their for the ceremony as these kinds of events are typically not conducive for young children.
Our move to Pittsburgh with 2 small children and an SUV full of goodies was uneventful! Our house has been full the past week with visits from grandparents. I am blessed beyond words to have such a wonderful mother in law. David's mom came to stay with us for our first few days in Pittsburgh. She is one of the most giving people I know and I am thankful for her sweet heart. She was an incredible help with both Holland and Jackson, allowing us to unpack (and for me to avoid unpacking certain rooms!). She taught me a few things about gardening and even planted some beautiful flowers for us!

My parents came to help out too, which was really special. Dad helped David do "manly" things around the house like put things in the attic and replace outlets, etc (things I know nothing about). I am thankful for a family full of handy men! Mom is always a great caretaker and played with H and J while I finished unpacking. Holland and Jackson are extremely blessed to have such wonderful grandparents.

I'll post more pics of the new digs once we hang a few things and life is a little more orderly.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's the beginning of the end...

Our 2 year journey here in Winston Salem has come to an end. It many ways it feels as though we just walked through the door of 2665 Grosvenor Place. In other ways, it feels like it has been a much longer road. Here in Winston Salem, our sweet Holland Grace took her first steps, said her first words and discovered Cinderella; David studied immensely, went to China, interned in San Francisco and was offered an incredible job at HJ Heinz in Pittsburgh. As for me, I started back to work, became pregnant and delivered an 8lb 10 oz boy named Jackson Hughes, and took on the beloved title of stay at home mom, indefinitely. Whew!
Our time in Winston Salem has been eventful to say the least, but it is our life and we have savored every moment. It has been incredible to see how faithful the Lord is and how we are under his sovereign reign, now and always. I am so thankful for our church and the good friends we have made here and for this time in our lives.
In a few short days, we will make our new home in Pittsburgh. It brings up many different emotions, but mostly thankfulness. The Uzzell Father and Sons crew (Sam, David and Hank) have worked hard this past week to paint our new house in Pittsburgh and to get it "just right" for our homecoming. I am so thankful for each one of them!
We are learning to trust in Him more, surrender our comforts and to love the path that He has called us to be on. Pittsburgh, here we come!