Saturday, May 29, 2010

Big Mama makes an executive decision...

It's kind of fun, but I've been referring to myself in the third person as "Big Mama". I've also thought of calling myself "Gran-mama", not because I think I am old or anyone else that is circa their late 30's early 40's is old, but just because if I don't take life in stride, it's just not as fun!

Anyway, I've made an executive decision that has been helped along by Big Daddy (who, of course, isn't even big but it's entertaining to say...) as well as my pelvis and achy feet that I am not going to walk the Bolder Boulder. I am bummed about it because I really like walking and was looking forward to strolling along with my friend, Margaret...but as you know, being 6.5 months pregnant, even though my doctor says health wise I would be fine, I don't think my pelvis can presently handle the distance, or my achy, poofy feet.

However, if you are still interested in joining my team of joggers/runners/walkers by contributing financially, 100% of your donation goes directly to Living Water International to repair clean drinking wells in Haiti. You can either head to the upper left hand corner of my blog to donate or head to my friend's page and cheer her on! Carolyn has been organizing our efforts this past year to help Haiti and will be traveling their this fall. She rocks and has a good pelvis and not so achy feet!

Once I'm done being pregnant, Big Mama will be back in the game, walking great body just isn't quite up for it! Thank you to all of you who have already joined us in this effort!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Prego 10k

Remember when Mr. Favorite Doctor said that for years women have walked miles to town with lots of kids in tow? He said he approved of my doing the Bolder Boulder 10k, so, since I have the docs permission, I'm biting the bullet and will be walking the streets of beautiful Boulder, Colorado with another friend, Margaret, from church.

The walk may resemble a waddle, but by golly, I believe I can do it!

So, that is what the new little donation logo is on the top left of my blog...a chance for anyone else to jump on board and help dig wells for women and their families in Haiti through Living Water International.

I won't rewrite everything I wrote on my fund-raising page here or my heart behind digging wells in the first place. I'll let you journey over that way and see for yourself.

The reality that 2.2 million people die a year from diarrhea disease related illness due to unclean water is not only astonishing but absolutely preventable. We can do something about it!

Imagine if you turned on your faucet to fill a glass of water...
Your child has just run in the back yard from playing outside, red faced and sweating...
You hand your child a murky, dirty, disease infested glass of drinking water...
Your child chugs it down and turns to head back outside to play...

I imagine none of us would feel okay about that scenario...unless that's the only water we had to give...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The process is part of the beauty...

Em and I suited up to make her auntie a gigantic cupcake for her birthday. The days of both of us fitting on one chair are quickly coming to a close...
The days of seeing my own toes are quickly coming to a close, as well...
In my memory, licking the beaters was my favorite part of the whole process.

Perhaps in her memory it will be actually eating the cake?

After coming off several months of planning and praying over last weekend's "Normal" Retreat, a retreat given by my non-profit, Bevy Girls, this week I am not as exhausted as I had expected. Last night I tucked Em in and fell asleep close to 8:30, waking up chipper this morning at 7:00. It was just what I needed!

But over the last several months working through the process of planning and organizing this retreat has been fun and overwhelming all at the same time. Gina and I received so many offers for people to help us with things, and we did engage a lot of that help, however, we needed to know how to steer this whole operation in order to host other Bevy retreats around the nation. It was a lot of work, but the weekend itself was so rich that it was totally worth it! Totally!

I'm not complaining about the work we did. Actually, I enjoyed it very much and look forward to the Fall when we head to the Midwest with this life-changing weekend. I just can't help but compare the process to that of making a cake.

Em and I had recently made a cake for her auntie's birthday. We saw the pictures on the cake form box and were excited for the outcome, but as it baked, I'm not going to lie, I prayed it would turn out! How stinky to bake a cake for someone for their birthday and have it flop!

I mean, I've watched a lot of Food Network and Bobby Flay's cakes never flop!

But, even though Em and I had a vision or dream of what the cake would look like, we had to walk through the process of gathering ingredients, measuring meticulously, and mixing for the required amount of time, no more, no less, in order to even pour the batter into the forms, which, of course, had to be prepped with oil and flour. And even then, when you throw in 6,202 feet elevation, there are no guarantees that it will rise...just hope that you've done your part and the batter and oven temp will do its part.

Was licking the beaters or dragging our fingers through the batter a necessary part of the process? I would say an emphatic YES! Would it have turned out just the same if we had not, indeed, tasted batter during the process? Probably...but it would not have been as enjoyable.

Was cleaning up our explosive mess of flour and sprinkles and cracked oozing eggs a necessary part of the process? Again with the emphatic YES! I'm a "cleaner as you goer" so by the end of a recipe the kitchen doesn't look like it's spent time on the front lines, however, no matter how you do it, cleaning up the mess is part of the gig.

When I was 5 we bought an old hunting lodge in Ohio and my dad gutted it and refurbished the whole place to be our home...however, prior to that, a hermit of a woman lived there for several years who did not have the word "clean" anywhere in her genetic make up...she never let her dogs go outside to do their business but instead had them unload in a room we later remodeled as the sun room...a place where we enjoyed the beauty of the trees outside and the fresh air through the open windows.

But, it took a clean up crew, gutting down to the framework and a lot of elbow grease to, one, envision the crap shoot as a sitting room one day, and two, to actually get it to a place that was suitable for human occupation.

Sure the finished cake is the prize. It's the goal, at least. It tastes yummy and fills the house with smells of sweet bakeries. But even the last piece of cake gets tossed in the trash because at some point, everyone is sick of it. And, none of us is a magician. Sure, we could buy cakes at bakeries and it does spare our own kitchens the tornadoes that ensue, but their kitchen still needs the clean up.

The point is...we may think that a perfect cake is the end all, be all. But what if it tastes like crap because we put in a cup of salt instead of a cup of flour? What if we were rushing through the process to get to the prize and as a result, the cake was a flop?

We'd have to start all over from the top, anyway, or head out to the bakery and pray they had one available that wasn't airbrushed and gaudy!

If my life is the cake, I've spilled flour on the floor, gotten eggshells in the batter and left out ingredients here and there. I've tried to rush the process and at other times, I've actually added some of the right ingredients, but with God in the kitchen, allowing me to lick the beaters sometimes, I trust the cake He's got in mind is beautiful and I'm happy to just be His Sous Chef.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Off on just a regular, "Normal" old weekend!


I am so excited to be heading out the door right now with Gina Johnson, Elizabeth Hunnicutt and Sarah Markley to host the "Normal" Retreat in Woodland Park, CO.

I want to post about all God has done thus far, but as I said, I'm heading out the door, so if the girls even knew I was sitting here, I'd be busted!

I know God has great things in store for the women coming this weekend and as we share our stories, I will relay them here...because in sharing our stories, we can all find EXTRAORDINARY in the "normal".

Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


So, what you do know is that I am pregnant and have been since some time near the end of November.

What you didn't know was Christmas morning I called my little sister to ask her if she was pregnant, too.

Her test was negative...slacker!

Three days later, her test was positive!

What you didn't know is that she switched docs and also sees "Mr. Favorite Doctor"!

What you didn't know is she and I have been coordinating most of our appointments.

What you didn't know is they are expecting a boy, too!

What you didn't know is we thought we were close to two weeks apart, with me delivering before her. Now, since our recent ultrasounds, she's due 3 days after me.

So, needless to say, I am so excited she finally "outed" herself because this pregnancy has been exciting for me, but for more reasons than just ME being pregnant. I obviously never thought I'd be pregnant at 38 years old, but never in a million years did I think I'd be pregnant at the same time as my baby sister!!!

My dad, (whoops, do you do that with your siblings??? call your parents "my mom" or "my dad" instead of "ours" ???) however, a year ago said he had a dream that Dana and I would be pregnant with boys at the same time. I thought my dad was having flashbacks from the 60's...(kidding dad, kidding!) but, I should have known because my dad's dreams are usually spot on.

And since we're finding out coinciding circumstances, I'm really excited about the fact that three of my blogging friends Jody, Jennifer, and Angie are all having babies, too! And...Jody and Jennifer are due in August, too! And, there are several girls at church that are walking the same road, friends from high school, women I went to college with and students from when I worked at NWC and another person in my life that I'm not at liberty to "out" yet, but that one's a kicker, for sure, too!

Sharing the experience with other women that I love is exciting, but being able to pray for them and their sweet babies as I pray for our own is an honor that only God could bless me with. I am humbled to share this time of my life with other women I love...and with all of you.

P.S. I lost (or hopefully just left them at the docs office) all the pics from our ultrasound. Pregnant brain? Maybe. I also haven't taken any belly shots, though it is finally much in fact that a beautiful optical illusion has occurred and now my thighs actually look small compared to my belly circumference. I need to get some pics, though, and once I do, I'll post.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Ladies Only: Your Invitation

Just because thoughts run through my mind constantly does not mean others can, A, read them, or B, respond to them.

This is a problem. I email my head. I respond to phone my head. And, I've told YOU about the upcoming retreat I am hosting through my non-profit organization, several my head. And did I mention, surely I must have, that I've also invited you to the retreat? Well I did. In my head, obviously!

If you head here for a couple of minutes, you'll learn what has been on my heart and mind the last few months.

Long story short, if you've read here long, you know that I was trying to get my non-profit Bevy, Inc. filed with the IRS as a 501(c)3 while Noah was in the hospital. Well, that all was finalized August 31, 2007. Here's something...August 31, 2010 is my due date. Yeah, I know!

However, I sat on it for 2 years. During the last year I have thrown it back out there to God, asking Him if or what He wanted me to do with it. A 501(c)3 status is very difficult to attain, so I wanted to make sure I was a good steward of this. There were several prayers that I put before the Lord, literally asking for some verification or confirmation from Him for very specific things in order to know just where He was leading Bevy.

God answered very specifically, and quite promptly I might add, with some things that blew me out of the water! I can go into that at another time, but the main thing I kept putting before the Lord was my desire to encourage women in a real way, without flash or pageantry, but with real heartfelt times of encouragement.

The word "Normal" kept coming to my heart. Every time it did I thought in return, "What the heck is normal?" I chewed on the word. Prayed about the word. Looked it up in the dictionary even though I have a pretty firm grasp on the working definition. And, I kept asking the question, "What on earth is normal, anyway?"

I have been to over 20 years worth of conferences and big meetings where thousands gather to learn more, and to be challenged, by speakers. It hasn't been as frequent in the last 10+ years, because honestly, my heart sought something more tangible and intimate. I am not condemning those large group settings, there is definitely a time and place for large corporate gatherings, however, as I have sat in these arenas, I have looked around at the faces of those in attendance and felt the same feeling in my heart...Everyone here feels drawn or connected to the person sharing their story up front, but realistically, these 10,000 women aren't going to have the chance to, A, share their own story, or B, ever really know the woman sharing hers.

I felt like more intimacy had to be part of the equation. Everyone has a story and everyone deserves the opportunity for it to be told.

So, after praying about it, I talked to a few people who I felt had similar vision and threw the idea out to them, if they'd be interested in being part of a retreat type gathering called "Normal". As a result, for the last several months, we've been planning and praying, and are excited to host the first Bevy sponsored "Normal" Retreat in the beautiful town of Woodland Park, CO, May 14th through the 16th.

Basically, what Bevy will do is bring a retreat to you. We have friends around the country who are excited about hosting "Normal" Retreats in their cities, but we have to start somewhere, so we are launching close to home first...but don't let that deter you! People are coming in from MN and NE, as well as CO, so if you are supposed to be here, then by all means, grab a couple of your girlfriends and join us! This retreat is open to all women!

Sarah Markley and Elizabeth Hunnicutt, a Compassion artist, will be joining us at this location from California. Gina Johnson and I will be sharing, too. There's going to be a fun photo shoot with Vanessa Kruse, owner of Flourish Studio Photography. We'll have Faithful Workouts involved, along with Holy Yoga. We have book giveaways from local and national authors, as well as "My Husband Rocks" t-shirts to give away from Union 28, a group that advertised with us on "The Well Radio Show", as well as jewelry giveaways.

It's going to be a great weekend, but of course, space is limited due to our desire to keep it intimate. So, head here to read more and to register on-line. Registration ends on May 6th as the retreat center needs our final numbers, but that gives you 2.5 days, so that's plenty of time!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

International Babylost Mothers Day

Today, somewhere in the world, it's already May 2nd. My sweet friend, Carly Dudley, and her husband Sam, have touched the hearts of my family in a profound way...all the way from Down Under. For a couple of years now, Carly has been raising awareness of grief and baby loss all around the world! On the beautiful sands of a beach near her home in Perth, Australia, Carly has written literally thousands of names of children who have passed away. Noah's name is framed in our bedroom. We were among the first to have our sweet guy's name written in the sand...but the first was their very own son, Christian.

Today, May 2nd, is International Babylost Mothers Day.

No, it doesn't have that easy, cheerful ring of simply "Mother's Day". And the reality is, "Mother's Day" for some women, is a grinding sound in their ears, like nails on a chalkboard. No sticky fingers are bringing them breakfast in bed or flowers or hand drawn pictures. But, truth be told, these women...women like me, even if we have living children here on earth, or if all of their children are waiting for them in Heaven, are still, and always will be, Mom's.

Carly started this movement. It is not an American thing or an Australian thing. Mom's live on every continent, and a woman who has lost a child will still always be a mama. It is with that in mind that Carly wanted to recognize mom's everywhere by declaring May 2nd a day to remember and a day to celebrate mom's everywhere.

I send my love, encouragement and prayers out for all the women in the world who have experienced the grief of losing a child, no matter the age, whether by choice or not...your hearts are tender and your loss is deep. I am so sorry. I know words don't bring your child back to you, but my prayer is that they are an encouragement to your heart.

Here is the link to a community of Mom's around the world:

If you know a Mom who has grieved the loss of a pregnancy, baby or child of any age, below is the flower that Carly has made to send to that woman, in honor and remembrance...because no matter where her children "live", she is a beautiful Mom.

I am so proud of Carly! She is a beautiful mom to Scarlet, River, Christian and Ocea. I hope to one day walk those sands with her. It's only been my goal to go to Australia since I was in 2nd grade. I'm hoping it'll be a 40-year birthday celebration in 2012, Lord willing!