Queens and Quotes

I’m noticing a trend with my writing…
Something is brought to my attention. It rattles around in my brain for a few days, and then finally, sometimes if only to stop the rattling, I blog.
So here’s the latest rattle..
As most of you know, I watched The Young Victoria on Sunday…twice.
I never watch a movie twice, and yet this movie earned me as it’s audience twice in the same day.
So after 3 days of marinating, here are my favorite quotes from The Young Victoria.
Both of them are from Queen Adelaide.

“You are confusing stubbornness with strength, my dear.”
Oh the number of times I’ve been guilty of this…makes me want to go bake David some cookies..
Stubborn: a tenacious unwillingness to yield.
Strength: the ability to maintain a moral position firmly.
When you’re acting out of stubbornness, your motivation is to not move because your feet are firmly planted.
When you’re acting in strength, you’re motivated not to move because you’re morals are firmly planted.

And a little background leading up to the second (and my favorite) quote: Victoria is complaining to Queen Adelaide that Albert (her husband) wants to help her run the kingdom. Adelaide explains to Victoria that a man that does not work becomes ridiculous “…besides” she says…

“you’ve chosen well”

Those words anchored themselves to my spirit when I heard them.
You’ve chosen well.
What if that became every wife’s declaration?
What if this truth was able to penetrate any momentary lapse of greatness she encounters in her marriage?
What if we as wives reminded each other of this truth when we have the option to forget it and speak otherwise.
What if this belief caused every husband to rise to the occasion and be the definition of a well chosen husband?
My new goal is to remind myself often that I chose well.
Even though I feel God was the one doing most of the choosing..
Only good can come from this mindset.

If you haven’t already seen The Young Victoria, you should rent it! …and watch it at least once :)

It’s all about love.

For two weeks I have been pondering this blog. I knew I wanted to write about love…and I knew the title…but as for the body of the blog, I was overwhelmed. I kept asking God for more insight on love. A new angle on the act that would inspire me and send me on a writing tangent.
But for two weeks I have experienced silence on the subject. Apart from the title itself, God has given me not one word to write.
And so…with careful reverence for the single most important attribute…I am venturing out.
Usually when I write a blog, God takes me from idea to idea while I write. He gives me an idea and I write frantically, with words and inspiration pouring out of me until He gives me the next idea, and I’m off and writing again.
This time, however, it is a word by word process. I feel like I’m repelling into an enormous chasm and being fed my rope an inch at a time.
This pace feels safe.
I’m afraid if I were allowed to base jump into that chasm, I probably would. And in exchange I would miss the awesomeness of it’s depth.

It’s ALL about love.

Love is the answer to every question. Whether as an act or a realization.
Love is the reason for every action.
Whether reacting out of it, or reacting to it.
Love from it’s original source is endless.
Love is safe.
Love transforms.
Love reveals the truth and truth reveals love. If truth equals fear, then you’re not going back far enough.
Love is gentle. Not fake-gentle. Not candy-coated. Pure gentle.

And the most wonderful news about love is that God embodies this goodness.
He is not a wizard behind the curtain of your existence, pulling levers and shouting orders.
He is good.
God is LOVE.
His love heals where there is loss. Then creates beauty where there was lack.
His love will never run out nor will you ever experience it to it’s fullest.
But it’s sure fun to try.
So tap into this well…and take enough for yourself and everyone around you.

This may be the first in a series of love-blogs…goodness knows there’s enough to talk about on the subject.
It may also be the only one…
We’ll see how well I can articulate from the depths of this chasm.. ;)

Amazing Grace

I just had to share this thought I had real quick…
All four of my girls are my treasures.
I love them so deeply, that I can’t even start to put into words the magnitude in which I adore them.
Dayly, however, is different.
It’s not more love that I feel for her…it’s just different. Her sisters feel this way about her too.
I was chatting with God about this, and here’s what He told me.
The difference with Dayly stems from a few things..
The close proximity she came to death.
And the longing that her absence created in those first 17 days.
Dayly is the one that almost “got away” Like a fisherman who catches the perfect fish and is only left with his brief memories of it when it gets away.
This “different” kind of love we have for Dayly, He said, is not unlike the love He feels for his children that turn to Him from a life of sin.
As a person born into a Christian family, I have wondered what the difference was between myself and the person who finds Christ after a life of serving another master. I’ve wondered what the difference was to God when He looked at us side by side.
And while I probably only understand a tip of God’s love-iceberg…I do understand it a bit better now than before.
The difference is they were the child that almost “got away”. And the longing that was created during their time of separation sets the stage for an eternity of celebration for that life.
And as the person’s siblings, we have the opportunity to honor that near miss and celebrate along with our Daddy :)

Eventually Apple Hill Highlights

I decided…if it’s alright with all of you…that before each of my blogs I’m going to tell you about a friend of mine. And sometimes, telling you about them may be my entire blog…but I assure you, with the friends I have, those will be some of the best blogs I write.

So this blog I’m going to tell you about my dear friend Jackie.
Jackie moved in down the street from my family when I was either 7 or 8 or 9. I really can’t remember my age…which is rare for me.
Jackie was and coincidentally still is the same age as my older sister. Therefore, immediately upon meeting her, I decided she was wonderful. And I ended up being right.
A few highlights from our childhood together: Jackie and my sister used to listen to Petra, which is Christian long-hair-headbanging-worship. In other words, the coolest thing a homeschooler in the 80’s could get their hands on. And they would choreograph entire songs on our front lawn. They were pretty much incredible dancers in my opinion. They were pretty much incredible everything in my opinion.
A few more childhood highlights: riding horses with Jackie. Slumber parties at Jackie’s house. Jackie giving us hand-me-downs…I probably would have worn a plastic grocery bag if Jackie had handed it down to me…so the clothes she gave us, which were not homemade and actually purchased at a store, were pretty exciting.
Jackie was more than just a neighbor, she was family…but cooler.
So fast-forward 15 years or so years. The rest of my family is now living in Oregon, and I run into Jackie around town somewhere, and she says she would like to get together sometime. With me. Without my sister. Now mind you, my sister is my absolute best friend, and I would hang out with her every minute of the day…but she was in Oregon now…and Jackie still wanted to get together! The 9 year old in me was doing the crazy dance.
Since that reunion, Jackie and I have become buddies. She is a “fire-wife” meaning her husband is a firefighter and in California that means she’s practically a single parent in the summer. Which means that both Jackie and her husband Scott are heroes. Jackie homeschools their children, and is one of the best teachers I know. Jackie can cook like a gourmet chef. She is known for her painting/decorating skills. She’s a masseuse (I had to google that word – see what a good teacher she is? She just taught me how to spell masseuse)
Jackie calls me “love” and “hon” and I melt.
Jackie is one of the sweetest, most genuine people I know. She is one of my favorite people on this earth :)

So this blog was going to be about our family trip to Apple Hill this weekend…but I was a tad long-winded up above talking about the amazing Jackie…so I’ll keep this part brief.

We went to Apple Hill on Saturday with my sister and her adorable family. It was beautiful. I might want to live there. See pictures below.

Punkin'

Love him.
The Ray Ladies
The Gang
BFF's

Fall :)

So here I am blogging at 4 am..
I think I’ll wait to publish this until morning on the off chance that it may be bunch of gibberish..

Tonight I read my dear friend Kara’s blog, and it inspired me to write.
She does that a lot…I see a picture she has taken and it inspires me to go try to capture something or someone being beautiful. I see her parenting her precious daughters and it inspires me to slow down and cherish every smile, every laugh, every moment with my girls. I see her LIVING, and she inspires me to live. Not just surviving…but LIVING. Windows rolled down, music blaring, wind in my hair, laughing until I cry, living.

So this, my first actual fun blog is dedicated to you Kara. And all the beauty you (along with all my other yaya’s) bring into my life.

So it’s Fall.
Words cannot adequately describe the emotion I feel for this time of year. I spend the rest of my year avoiding any word related to this season due to the longing it creates. Autumn, Harvest, Pumpkin, Cider, Spice…off limits! Not allowed in my vocabulary! Until October…then it’s a pleasure overload. From October through December (I love the Christmas season just as much) I find myself gorging on sensory bliss. Candles, oils, burning leaf piles and eventually chimney smoke, coffee, apple cider, Christmas tree smell, cookies in the oven…did I mention candles? My goal is for my house to smell like a Hallmark store. A wall of fragrance the moment you enter that smacks you in the face and reminds you to buy a turkey and do your Christmas shopping.
I love decorations too. I have a feeling, as I get older, I will be one of those insane decorators. A miniature town, set on a piece of white batting to make it look like snow…it’s only a matter of time..
Don’t tell David. He’s still trying to figure out why he’s not allowed to say certain words year-round.
As with every season, the girls make the holidays a billion times more fun. They are like little mini-me’s…with no filter on their emotions. When they see, smell or taste anything reminding them of the season, they simply melt. They are already teaching Dayly that after we smell Fall candles in the store we have to hold ourselves up on the closest display to keep from collapsing. Also, any time we see anything that has to do with the Nutcracker, Bella gets to put on a small ballet recital followed by thunderous applause by her biggest fans (us).
I could go on and on about this time of year. I’m convinced God created the holidays just for me and my girls because He knew we’d be tickled pink by all He crammed in to these 3 months.
Sometimes I wish it were longer…only 90-ish days out of 365 that have the privilege of being called “the holidays”. But alas, as with any season, it begins and ends exactly when it should.
So until January, if you need me, check the pumpkin patches and Christmas tree lots. And try not to laugh if I’m wearing a hat, scarf and mittens in too warm of weather…in my mind I’m wandering through a winter wonderland
:)

Perspective.

Today one of the girls was struggling with some real disappointment.
After cuddling and comforting her over it, the teacher in me began gently placing tools in her character tool-belt to handle any disappointment that she may run into in her life.
As we were talking, I was surprised to realize how much disappointment has to do with perspective. And how much perspective has to do with your heart.
When situations don’t go as planned, and your hopes and expectations seem to fall by the wayside…grief is to be expected. Its what you do with the grief that determines the length of time in which you will carry your disappointment.
God longs to hold us through our grief. And just like my experience today, He then wants to begin exchanging our grief for tools.
One of the most effective tools against disappointment is perspective.
Probably the best lesson I have ever received on perspective was from a dear friend and nurse during Dayly’s stay in the NICU. I emailed her complaining about how hard it was having Dayly in the hospital. I talked about how emotionally drained I was and how done I was being there. I fully expected an email back from her offering sympathy and condolences. Instead, I received an email including a very short paragraph apologizing that I was going through such a hard time. Followed by a much longer paragraph detailing what I could have been going through had Dayly’s symptoms been as serious as many others who suffer from the same diagnosis.
What my friend gave me was perspective.
What occurs when we are given a healthy perspective is most commonly thankfulness.
When thankfulness enters the scene, our hearts are unable to continue on the destructive path of disappointment.
Thankfulness brings transformation.
Thankfulness causes you to shed the layers of disappointment and self pity, and gives you authority over your prior victim-status.
Thankfulness gives God the ability to work on your behalf.
Thankfulness often silences lies and offers you a clearer perspective as to the validity of your disappointment.

God’s in the business of fulfilling our hopes. Make sure you’re giving Him the power to do that in your life by not meditating on the obstacles between here and heaven.

*new posts*

I transferred some of my past notes from Facebook over to here so they could be saved in a more permanent location. If you’ve already ready read them, feel free to read them again and comment!
I’ll be posting an all new blog soon, so stay tuned! :)

Losing my cool.

This morning, while rocking a sweet pair of sweatpants and one of David’s t-shirts and starting a load of cloth diapers with Dayly strapped to me in her carrier, I think I heard God say proudly “Look at you Carli…you’re losing your cool!”
Isn’t it funny how God can say something and it can take on a completely different meaning than it usually does? I love that. He takes back words that had otherwise been used to describe weakness, and He uses them to encourage and empower.
So anyways, He tells me He likes that I’m losing my cool…which starts me on a stroll down memory lane. Now mind you, I was never truly “cool” …but I sure wanted to be! Always striving, always comparing, always wondering if I had yet arrived at that elusive oasis of “cool”. It controlled me. And you know who I was comparing myself to and wanting to be the most like? Those people who genuinely didn’t care what others thought. Oh to be like them! It was my dream. So in God saying that I was losing my cool, He was actually sending me on a winding path through my thoughts, knowing it would bring me back around to realizing that I truly don’t care (or don’t have time to care) about being cool. And in that, I’m what I always wanted to be! I’m myself! With spit up on the shoulder of of my husband’s shirt, and my too-short-hair in a ponytail, I’m me! My own mold! Not trying to fit into anyone else’s mold…because that’s theirs! And its comfy in my mold!
So lose your cool! And enjoy freedom!
Or realize that you’ve already lost your cool! And appreciate your freedom!
Either way…be you…because you’re cool :)

I got my nights back.

So recently I have found myself looking forward to bedtime…and nighttime in general.
I will catch myself day dreaming about it while doing dishes. I will walk through my room and find myself looking longingly at my bed. Finally, after probably two weeks of getting warm fuzzies every time I thought about bedtime, I gathered my thoughts enough to ask myself “what’s going on here?!” Its not like I was tired…or looking forward to the time with David that bedtime brought with it…It was just the entire bedtime experience was completely bathed in bliss.
The answer came to me in the shower of course. Because that’s where I always get my answers…and revelations…and pretty much any encounter that I receive.
God asked me one day, “didn’t you ask me for your nights back?”
and bam. there it was.
Most of you know Dayly’s story. And if you know Dayly’s story, then you most likely know that the very worst part of that 17 days was tucking her in at bedtime and then driving 30 minutes away from her. In the midst of this pain, I remember asking God for my nights back. I wanted every night back that was taken from me during that time in Sacramento.

And, of course, He gave me exactly what I asked for.

Go and do likewise my friends.
Ask, and you shall receive :)

Dayly’s Birth and First Two Weeks

As I was composing Dayly’s birth story in my head this morning, I came to the realizaton that her story needed to start back in August, when I found out I was pregnant.
As many of you know, I found out I was expecting after going to the doctor for an ear infecton, bronchitis and pneumonia. The doctor put me on baby-safe antibiotics and inhalers, but I still didn’t like the thought of being on medication while pregnant. So when I started spotting, and continued to bleed for almost a week, I felt a miscarriage was inevitable.
This is when God began teaching me about hope.
One of the days in August when I was cramping and bleeding and interceding for my baby’s life, Ducky came to me in my room and handed me a piece of paper with a large angel drawn on it. She said “this is the angel of Hope, Mommy. God wants you to hang this above your bed so you can sleep under her at night” Ducky knew nothing about the bleeding or cramping. Right then I told Ducky that if the baby was a girl, her middle name would be Hope.
Fast forward almost nine months to March 31, 2010
All my babies have been overdue, so when my water broke at 1 am you can imagine how shocked David and I were. Looking back now, I wonder what my emotion would have been had I known what that little trickle of water was bringing with it. My life would never be the same.
David and I jumped in the van and headed for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. I kept waiting for the contractions to start, but they didn’t. All night I waited and never felt a single contraction. At 9 am they started the pitocin. Another 3 hours went by without a contraction. Finally at noon I felt my first one. My midwife Pam came over from her office around 1:30 and didn’t even have time to change her clothes before Miss Dayly arrived – 6 lbs 8 oz 18 inches long, cord around her neck and absolutely beautiful – at 2:10 pm.
She was our smallest newborn by 2 lbs 8 oz. and David and I were absolutely in love.
The rest of the afternoon was spent staring at this precious little bundle. I was so happy to have labor and delivery behind me! So happy to have my baby in my arms!
David headed home to spend the night with the big sisters, and I cuddled Dayly in our hospital bed, excited to go home the next morning and share her with our friends and family.
The nurse came in around 10 pm and checked on us, saying she would be back at 1 am to again check Dayly’s vitals and make sure I was still not in any pain. I couldn’t sleep, I just wanted to stare at my little lamb and kiss her sweet cheeks.
At 1 am I started watching for the nurse, knowing she would be coming to check on us. Finally at 2 she came. She took Dayly from me and started checking her while I used the restroom. Again, I wonder what my emotion would have been had I known that was the last time I would hold her for 6 days.
When I came out of the bathroom the nurse was just staring at Dayly. She asked “how long has she been breathing like this?” She was really struggling for every breath. I told her it must have just started because I never noticed it before. The nurse rolled Dayly’s crib into the nursery telling me to go ahead and rest, and that it was probably nothing. So I fell asleep. I awoke what felt like seconds later to the pediatrician telling me to call David and tell him to come down. She said all they knew at that point was that Dayly’s heart was on the wrong side of her chest and her lungs were deflated. The UC Davis transport team was on their way and David needed to come so he could drive me down to Sacramento. Everything felt like it was in slow motion. I called David. Somehow managed to keep my composure while on the phone. Hung up and walked to the nursery. When the nurse at the desk asked if she could help me I remember choking back tears and saying “can I see my baby? she’s the sick one” it was as if the realization hit me right then. She was laying there so tiny…hooked up to machines that later I would find out were helping her stay alive. I stood next to her, holding her tiny hand, jealous of myself a half hour before for being able to hold her in ignorant bliss. The nurses were hurrying around…using words I didn’t understand. The pediatrician was on the phone with doctors from UC Davis discussing her diagnosis. I remember hearing the helicopter land. It was going to take my baby away from me and I hated it for that. The nurse that delivered Dayly was driving into the parking lot as the helicopter landed and said she felt led to pray for whoever it was there to pick up. She had no idea it was “her Dayly” she said. The nurse who noticed Dayly’s breathing came to David and I before we left and said God told her to go in at that time. If she had come in at 1 like she had originally planned to do, Dayly may not have been displaying the symptoms yet. If she had come in at 3, Dayly may have been gone.
David and I followed the transport gurney out to the the parking lot where the helicopter was waiting and watched them load her up. This was possibly the most painful thing I had experienced in all my life up until that point.
The next few days were like a dream. Dayly was able to go in for surgery the day after arriving at Davis. It was Good Friday and we spent the day on a rollercoaster of emotions. Praising God for saving her life and for orchestrating an earlier surgery date for her. All while trying to come to terms with the severity of her diagnosis.
Surgery went well and we started down the road to recovery and eventually going home.
The hardest part of the 17 days was saying goodbye to her each night. I would cry all the way home most nights. Our favorite nurses would make sure she was tucked in and sleeping before I left so I could keep a peaceful picture of her in my head all night.
It was so surreal when we were given our discharge paperwork. It was such a good day. Finally going home…4 days before my due date, with our healthy little dose of Dayly Hope.