Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jehovah Jireh ~ My Provider!

God never ceases to amaze me. He really doesn't. I had a great job with Washington County last spring, but unfortunately the position ended at the end of the school year and left me wondering how in the world I was going to make financial ends meet until my teacher's salary kicks in on 8/18. (FYI - that's only 21 more days from today!). Well, God has come through. BIG TIME. He provided a part time summer job that paid $25/hour, and even though I didn't get as many hours as I was hoping, I was still able to pay my bills. He also provided some subbing opportunities at summer school - another HUGE blessing, and He showered me with phone calls for photography appointments. I was looking at my bank account today and I just had to turn my smiling face to Heaven and thank the Lord for all that He has provided. I've even managed to squirrel away enough money to go to the beach next week for my annual girls trip that I've taken every summer for the past three years with my Mom, Mother in Law, and Sister in Law. I think it's safe to say that I'm feeling like one of God's favorites right now! He is so good.

Photo taken on 7/20/11

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Case of the Gimmes

I keep checking my watch. The seconds are turning into minutes, the minutes into hours, and the hours into days. My eyes are wide open and actively searching for the signs. But unfortunately, it appears as though "my time" is not exactly "God's time." I guess I have a serious case of the Gimmes. ("Gimme" is slang for "give me.") I know exactly what I want, when I want it, and how I'd like to have it. I keep waiting for my heart's desire to be gently dropped into my lap, wrapped up allll pretty with a big ol' bow... and a big part of me wants to feel discouraged because it's just not happening.

But I know that God isn't necessarily going to answer my prayers when/how I'd like Him to. There are so many things in my life that I prayed for, hoping for God to open the perfect door and allow me to walk in effortlessly, and He either A) just gave me a straight "no" for an answer, or B) answered my prayer much later on and exceeded my expectations far beyond what I could've dreamed.

Like, for instance, all those times I prayed when I was a lovestruck, hormonal teenager crying out to God over a broken heart... wanting him to "fix" the guy I was dating so that our relationship could be perfect and we could live happily ever after. And He didn't. Instead, He helped me get back up off the ground, brushed me off, helped me to grow a little wiser, and sent me walking into my next relationship. Repeat cycle. Five years later, He brought Jason into my life. Six years later, I'm happily married to a godly man in a Christ-centered marriage that could only be better if it were taking place in Heaven. OR, take my job situation for example. Sure, I've been out of high school for almost ten years (gasp!) and surely thought I'd have a "Big Girl Job" (aka full-time teaching position) by now... and God took me through a series of employment opportunities that may not have been ideal for the long-term, but they have shaped me into the teacher that I am and will be this year. God answered my prayer for a job in His timing; when I would be in the best condition to be effective as a teacher.

And now... as I'm anxiously awaiting the next big chapter of our lives, I know that God  is taking us through this process and placing us in various circumstances that will help us to appreciate our blessing when the time is right... and that even though I want what I want so badly that it almost hurts, I know that His plan and timing are going to be so much better than I can even imagine.

So with that said, I'm trying to shake that Case of the Gimmes and focusing my eyes on Him and basking in His glory. And when His time is right, I bet He'll knock my socks off.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. - Ephesians 3:20

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Oh, Happy Day!

As my former due date approaches in a little over two months and it becomes increasingly more difficult to stand in the presence of women who are as pregnant as I should've been right now, it's easy to feel down. It's easy to feel sad. Depressed. Jealous, even. But in spite of the glaring reminders, I'm choosing right now at this very minute to focus on what is good and happy in my life right now. Over the past couple of days, I've mentally composed a list of things that I am ever-so-grateful for right now because they cause me to feel happiness. Uplifted. Encouraged.

Friends who keep me from hiding from the world. It's easy to wanna just "hole up" some days and not get out of my pajamas and wallow in my own self-pity... and then I get a text from a friend that says, "Where have you been?! You've dropped off the face of the earth! Call me so we can do something!" My friends are my biggest fans and motivators.

Reunions with "old" friends. I got to have a wonderful lunch yesterday with two of my former coworkers from Laurel Hall. It was awesome to reconnect with one another and reflect on how far we've come in our lives since we saw each other last. So refreshing.

An ah-mazing relationship with my Hubby.  I've been reminded a lot over the past few days about how grateful I am for my husband. We are such a great balance for one another, and we're definitely stronger together than we ever were when we were apart. He still gives me butterflies... Just the other day, I had to stop and get gas before my lunch date that I mentioned up above, and I was kinda in a hurry and not really paying attention to everything going on around me. And then suddenly, something caught the corner of my eye... Right there was my oh-so-sexy husband, grinning at me with that killer smile. He still makes my heart skip a beat. It's true.

German-Chocolate Cake sold by the slice at Martins. Hey, we're being honest here... right? This cake is simply to-die-for. It's always so moist... tons of chocolate icing and chocolate shavings with the richest caramel pecan filling. AND, it's sold by the slice. So technically, I don't have to buy a whole cake. Less cake = less guilt!

Getting to know my camera. My camera has so much "juice" and I know that I haven't even begun to unleash its photo-taking power from within. This summer has been the perfect time to play a few getting-to-know-you games with my camera... playing around with aperture, shutter, color settings, and ISO. I think I might even treat myself to a new lens as a  Happy New Job! gift this fall.

Leading a small group. A few weeks ago, I started working with the youth group at my church. On Friday evenings, I am leading a high-school girls small group. Leading this small group was a little intimidating at first, but it's so neat to get to know these fine young ladies on a deeper level and help them grow in their faith.

So there you have it... a small, but honest list of things in my life right now that make me feel happy. ...And just so you know, I'm smiling right now.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Autour De La Maison

Autour De La Maison, literally translated, means Around the House. I'm going to *try* to post weekly or biweekly with some photographs that provide you with a little window into the Caudill world. Here are several snapshots from around our home over the last week:

One flower box full of the petunias and lobelia plants that I planted last weekend!

The walkway and additional flower beds my Hubby has been working on for me!

Mmmm... Lots of beautiful "Medium-Well" memories are made from this grill.

A view through the palm plants of my bouquet from Melody's wedding (hanging out to dry).

From my perennial flower bed. Love those "fuzzy" heads!

Until next time... XOXOX

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Need to Nurture

Sorry, my friends, for the slightly depressing post last night. It was late... my Hubby fell asleep in the chair next to me... and out of boredom, I logged onto I had an account on there from when I was pregnant earlier this year, and I thought it would be interesting to see how the site has changed over the last few months. When I went through the miscarriage of my baby, I immediately packed away all things "pregnancy" and removed the favorited websites that I had grown accustomed to frequenting for information when I was pregnant. Aside from a weekly email from Similac that I have yet to figure out how to stop receiving, I don't have any glaring reminders of my loss. Over the weekend, I received an email from Similac saying "27 Week Update"... so if I were still pregnant, I'd be right around 27 weeks. I thought, "Hmmm... all I have to do is log onto WhatToExpect and they'll tell me what my baby and body would be experiencing during the 27th week of pregnancy." ...And against my better judgement and will, I logged on. BIG MISTAKE!

A wave of grief washed over me and left me filled to the brim with sorrow. I started thinking about how far along in my pregnancy I would be... what preparations I would be making in light of the upcoming arrival of my baby... how my body would be changing to accommodate the miracle growing inside of me... and I just felt so sad. Right about the time I finished posting last night, my Hubby woke up from his snooze in the chair, must've sensed something was wrong, and he pulled me into a hug. I instantly started to feel a little bit better.

I've been spending some time in my flower beds over the last few days. I have this uncanny urge to grow and nuture something... great place to start, FLOWERS!  My Hubby embarked on a rather ambitious landscaping project this summer for the front of our home... and he's done an AMAZING job putting in several new flowerbeds and a lovely stone walkway. I know it's a little late in the season, but I couldn't resist an awesome deal on some annuals at the local garden shop. While I was out sweating off several pounds of water-weight in the blistering heat on Saturday, I planted two of my flower beds with the petunias and lobelias.

As I was planting, I was channeling my inner "Nanny." Nan loved working in her flower beds. Her yard, with all of its neat colors and blooms, became a dreamy summertime haven that I loved to visit when I was little. She'd let me make a bouquet of some of her flowers when I would stay with her for a week each summer. So many sweet memories of my Nanny and her flower beds... I miss her so much! Mom told me yesterday that lobelia plants were one of Nanny's favorite plants. I wish I had a picture to post on here of my Nanny's flower beds, but sadly I don't have any. All I have to do, though, is close my eyes and let my mind take me right back to the sweet smell of honeysuckles and daphodils... to a place where flowers and birds were considered as friends... and I can see the rainbow of beautiful blooms around the perimeter of the yard, and my Nanny waving from the front porch. I miss you, Nanny.

Monday, July 4, 2011

If Only

I wish I could feel you moving in my belly right now.
I wish your little feet were kicking me in the ribs.
I wish I could stare in utter astonishment at your sonogram pictures for hours on end.
I wish I could hear the "woosh-woosh-woosh" of your heart beat at my bi-weekly doctor's appointments.
I wish your Daddy and I had to argue over what we were going to name you.
I wish I was lucky enough to be sicker than a dog, exhausted to no end, heartburn-ridden, with oh-so-sexy swollen ankles... if only it meant I'd get to hold you in my arms.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Our Baby is Okay

I read a book in the week following my miscarriage called, Heaven is For Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo. The little boy in the book, Colton Burpo (Todd Burpo's son) had an emergency appendectomy when he was not even four years old. In the months following his surgery, Colton began to share with his parents about his trip to heaven and back during the surgery. He told his parents that he left his body during the surgery - and authenticated that statement by describing exactly what his parents were doing on the opposite side of the hospital while he was being operated on (something the nurses wouldn't have even known). He talked about visiting heaven and shared with his parents the stories that had been told to him in heaven by people he had never met before in his life (like his great grandfather). His parents were shocked when Colton began describing heaven with such accurate details that matched the Bible thoroughly, even though Colton had yet to learn how to read.

Below is an except from the book where Colton shares about a special little girl that he met while he was in heaven. This passage really touched my heart following my miscarriage, and it still warms a hope in me that one day I'll get to meet my baby that I lost.


"Mommy, I have two sisters," Colton said.

I put down my pen. Sonja didn't. She kept on working.

Colton repeated himself. "Mommy, I have two sisters."

Sonja looked up from her paperwork and shook her head slightly. "No, you have your sister Cassie, and ... do you mean your cousin, Traci?"

"No." Colton clipped off the word adamantly. "I have two sisters. You had a baby die in your tummy, didn't you?"

At that moment, time stopped in the Burpo household and Sonja's eyes grew wide. Just a few seconds before, Colton had been trying unsuccessfully to get his mom to listen to him. Now, even from the kitchen table, I could see that he had her undivided attention.

"Who told you I had a baby die in my tummy?" Sonja said, her tone serious.

"She did, Mommy. She said she died in your tummy."

Then Colton turned and started to walk away. He had said what he had to say and was ready to move on. But after the bomb he'd just dropped, Sonja was just getting started. Before our son could get around the couch, Sonja's voice rang out in an all-hands-on-deck red alert. "COLTON TODD BURPO, you get back here right now!"

Colton spun around and caught my eye. His face said, "What did I do?"

I knew what my wife had to be feeling. Losing that baby was the most painful event of her life. We had explained it to Cassie; she was older. But we hadn't told Colton, judging the topic a bit beyond a four-year-old's capacity to understand. From the table, I watched quietly as emotions rioted across Sonja's face.

A bit nervously, Colton slunk back around the couch and faced his mom again, this time much more warily. "It's okay, Mommy," he said. "She's okay. God adopted her."

Sonja slid off the couch and knelt down in front of Colton so that she could look him in the eyes. "Don't you mean Jesus adopted her?" she said.

"No, Mommy. His Dad did!"

Sonja turned and looked at me. In that moment, she later told me she was trying to stay calm, but she was overwhelmed. Our baby... was - is! - a girl, she thought.

Sonja focused on Colton, and I could hear the effort it took to steady her voice. "So what did she look like?"

"She looked a lot like Cassie," Colton said. "She is just a little bit smaller, and she has dark hair."

Sonja's dark hair.

As I watched, a blend of pain and joy played across my wife's face. Cassie and Colton have my blond hair. She had even jokingly complained to me before, "I carry these kids for nine months and they both come out looking like you!" Now there was a child who looked like her. A daughter. I saw the first hint of moisture glint in my wife's eyes.

Now Colton went on without prompting. "In heaven, this little girl ran up to me, and she wouldn't stop hugging me," he said in a tone that clearly indicated he didn't enjoy all of this hugging from a girl.

"Maybe she was just happy that soemone from her family was there," Sonja offered. "Girls hug. When we're happy, we hug."

Colton didn't seem convinced.

Sonja's eyes lit up and she asked, "What was her name? What was the little girl's name?"

Colton seemed to forget about all the yucky girl hugs for a moment. "She doesn't have a name. You guys didn't name her."

How did he know that?

"You're right, Colton," Sonja said. "We didn't even know she was a she."

Then Colton said something that still rings in my ears: "Yeah, she said she can't wait for you and Daddy to get to heaven."

From the kitchen table, I could see that Sonja was barely holding it together. She gave Colton a kiss and told him he could go play. And when he left the room, tears spilled over her cheeks.

"Our baby is okay," she whispered. "Our baby is okay."

---From Heaven is For Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven & Back