Thankful Thursday (9-21)

It’s been another week full of reasons to be thankful. My goal for next week is to take pictures of more than just Brooklyn (although I’m sure you don’t mind her sweet face).


I’m thankful for greasy cheeseburgers from Checkers.

I’m thankful for morning walks.

I’m thankful for church in the park.


this lasted about 30 seconds before she was up & running

I’m thankful for ceiling fans.

I’m thankful for milkshakes at Grill & Chill.

I’m thankful for neutral paint colors and the ability to redeem decisions I made as a 15 year old.


This picture doesn’t do the hideous purple justice. Today, we turned it to a beautiful warm caramel. 🙂

I’m thankful for the Bible app for Kids. Seriously. If you have kids, download it.

I’m thankful for Aunt Sue.

I’m thankful for America’s Got Talent.

I’m thankful for Brooklyn’s friendship with her uncle Nick.


watching AGT

I’m thankful for laughter.

I’m thankful for a husband who makes me smile & laugh daily.

I’m thankful for my education.

I’m thankful for free popcorn at Big R.


she loves popcorn!

I’m thankful for the little kids at Bearcat football games who love B so much.

I’m thankful for “Streaks Workout” app that kicked my out of shape booty this week.

I’m thankful for University of Michigan Football.

I’m thankful for singing & dancing parties with pretend microphones.


Thank you, Jesus, for these blessings.

What are you thankful for today?



Thankful Thursday 9-14-17

It’s been a while, I know. A LOT of life has happened since the last time I posted. I may eventually write about some of that journey, but for now, I think I’ll stick to the oldies but goodies.

I like goals. I like setting goals. I like completing goals. I love love love the feeling I get when I can put a big fat X through something I’ve written down as a goal and have completed. Yes, I am one of those people who sometimes writes down something after I did it just so I can cross it off. 🙂

I’ll write more about goals another day.

Today, however, I’m going to focus on two of my current goals – writing more blogs & living out a life of gratitude (I’ll share specifics in that post about goals another day…)

I figured the easiest best way to restart accomplishing these two goals is to go back to my tried & true, consistent, weekly, Thankful Thursdays.

Here ya go, folks (have I ever used that word before?!).

This week…


I’m thankful for small town conveniences (safety in walking, quick access to healthcare, Casey’s fountain drinks, etc.).

I’m thankful for Hoopeston Community Church of the Nazarene.

I’m thankful for afternoons of reading with this girl.


I’m thankful for caffeine.

I’m thankful for cleaning products.

I’m thankful for air fresheners.

I’m thankful for quiet moments sipping hot coffee.

I’m thankful for legs that can walk several miles & a girl who likes to ride.


I’m thankful for my dog-niece with a great nose that sniffed a mouse out of Brandon’s boot (that was a close one!).

I’m thankful for Grandma Carol.

I’m thankful for both air conditioning and nights we can sleep with the windows open.

I’m thankful for jackets and hoodies to keep us warm on chilly nights.

I’m thankful for MedNaz and their weekly podcast (currently circa fall 2015).

I’m thankful for time spent with this sweet friend and for the journey the Lord has her on.



I’m thankful for Jessica & the hilarious texts we can share.

I’m thankful for missing this day 7 years ago because I was flying overseas to begin my World Race journey.

I’m thankful for late nights snuggling, listening to Helser music, & scrolling through Instagram with Brooklyn (don’t tell her…she might think it should become the norm).

I’m thankful for nights Brooklyn falls asleep early and we can play Madden and eat candy without her.
Processed with MOLDIV

I’m thankful for technology that allows us to communicate with friends and family near and far.

I’m thankful for American Ninja Warrior.

I’m thankful for The Lion King (my favorite childhood movie) and being able to share it with our daughter.

I’m thankful for a husband who takes care of us well.

I’m thankful for my father-in-law and the legacy he left one year ago today. We miss you!



Thank you, Jesus, for these blessings.


What are you thankful for today?

An Open Letter to my Daughter

Dear Daughter,

baby bThree months ago today, you were born, and absolutely everything about our lives changed. From the instant I saw your adorable little face with those chubby little cheeks, I was head over heels in love. No matter how many diapers you fill, how many times you spit up all over me, or how many nights you want to party until 2am, I will never ever stop loving you fiercely.

However, I must warn you – I will never love you first. Continue reading

You are okay.

Her heart was in the right place, I’m sure of it. Had she known my journey or understood how her simple words would affect me, I’m not sure she would have even mentioned it.

Once again, a woman with good intentions reminded me how I should feel about being pregnant.

I’ll start by saying that the following story is mine. You see, I am a firm believer that every woman, every pregnancy is different. I do not, nor will I ever claim to be an expert. I also wholeheartedly know that some of my journey may offend some women. Those are not my intentions with sharing this. My intentions at this point are to be obedient.

Roughly 3 months ago I felt the need to share my story knowing that someone out there may have a similar journey one day and need to know that she is okay and not alone. I have waited until now because I have often feared hurting anyone with my story.

I am thankful for a friend who experienced similar feelings during her first pregnancy. She has often provided words and comfort she wishes someone would have shared with her at that time. I am hoping my story will do the same for someone else.


Back in July, my husband and I spent some time dreaming about the year to come. We had recently moved and his job was going to look much different although he would be in a similar position. We dreamed about returning to Disney World over spring break and Tanzania in the summer. We dreamed about the weekend get-away trips we could take or the other traveling we could do throughout this next year. A year from now, we thought, we would reevaluate our family situation and decide if we were ready to try to start a little family of our own. After all, we are still newlyweds & love being married.

Less than a week later, I became sick during my internship. It was a weird feeling, all that nausea and vomiting. I decided to go home and rest for the afternoon because working in a hospital was not a good decision for someone who could not stop vomiting. The next day, I felt even worse. I retraced my steps…what had I eaten? Is the flu going around right now? This is not normal. Almost as a joke, I took a pregnancy test.

I could not believe my eyes. My sobs did not allow for the precious silent tears that I usually begin with. Two lines. That could not be right. This has to be incorrect. My husband’s sentiments were similar…how could this be? Something’s not right. I prayed this was a false positive.

My doctor was able to see me the next day and confirmed our worst fear…we had become the 0.7% the labels warn you about. I was pregnant. The nurse had been incredibly excited to share the news and slowly backed out of the room when she saw our reactions. Sitting in the doctor’s office, more sobs ensued as my husband sat in silence.

The weeks to follow were filled with more tears. My heart began to harden with feelings of bitterness followed by guilt and shame. I am a married woman, I should want to be pregnant, right? I should be thankful my body is able to carry a child. I should think of this as a complete miracle and be grateful for it. Because none of those statements were true, I began to feel guilty.

As we began telling people our news, the shame began to fester. “Congratulations! Are you so excited?” Each time that question was asked, I had to make the conscious choice to either lie or receive shameful looks because I was not jumping for joy about this pregnancy.

Let’s not even talk about how incredibly sick I was…all.the.time. The first 20 weeks of my pregnancy were filled with all-day nausea & vomiting. It never ended. It was gross. I felt gross. My body was experiencing changes I would have never imagined. The first feelings of baby moving inside me made me want to vomit. To me, the ultrasounds were more disgusting than precious…cue more feelings of guilt and shame.

I did make a promise that I would do my best to never publicly complain about how I was feeling. After all, I did understand that there are women who would do anything to have this all-day sickness if it meant they could be pregnant. I also decided not to post consistent pictures of my pregnancy on social media, knowing they could stir up unwanted feelings in women, some of them my good friends, who would like to be pregnant right now.

You see, pregnancy is such a touchy subject. If I’m happy about my pregnancy, someone could be offended. If I’m not happy about my pregnancy, someone could be offended. If I complain about my pregnancy, I am a terrible person because I should be thankful I am pregnant.

Can we all take a moment to agree that every woman is different and every pregnancy is different?

Throughout the last 7 months, my heart has shattered three specific times as I was informed of dear friends who had lost babies. One night in particular as I read the words she wrote “no heartbeat,” my heart could not handle the pain. I told God I would do anything in that moment if it meant she could have her baby back. Why should I be pregnant and not her? She and her husband will be amazing parents…and they want to be parents right now. Why her?

And in turn, two weeks later when we announced our pregnancy, she sent a message right away telling how excited and full of joy she was for us. How could that be? How could she be so joyful about my pregnancy when hers had just ended? My heart was not ready for that. How could she love me that well? (I mean, I know her heart and she has one of the most loving hearts on the planet…but still).

baby picture

I have never taken for granted the fact that my body has the ability to carry a child. I have never stopped being thankful for that, and I also have walked through the darkest of emotions. The Lord has taken me by the hand and reminded me that His ways are higher than mine. I have had to surrender guilt, shame, and bitterness, none of which has been easy. It was sometimes a constant battle in my mind and my heart. I have lost friendships because I am pregnant. I have wrestled with the Lord on some incredibly tough heart-issues, all the while knowing He is shaping me for His purposes.

Will I love this baby girl? I already do more than I can express. Has this journey been easy? Heck no!

I had finally come to the point where I was okay with being pregnant. The feelings of shame and guilt and bitterness had subsided. I was walking in freedom…until I received the message from the well-intended woman reminding me how I should feel and that I should be careful what I say because you never know who is watching/listening. All those ugly feelings flooded back and consumed my mind and heart for days. I couldn’t shake it.

Then, as He always does, God reminded me who I am and that He will never leave me or forsake me. He has provided incredible friends and an amazing husband who have all supported me nonstop throughout this journey.

“Saying someone can’t be sad because someone else may have it worse, is just like saying someone can’t be happy because someone else might have it better.”

Now we are roughly 6 weeks until due date & I could not be more excited to meet our little girl. Since July, God has turned my mourning into JOY. He provided an amazing friend to trade hilarious pregnancy stories …some of which I will share in a future blog that’s a little more light-hearted. 🙂

Until then, know that no matter where you are on your journey, it’s yours. YOU ARE OKAY, and God will walk you through every step of the way.

Thankful Thursday (3-5)

It’s naptime for two of the most precious girls. & I have an overwhelming amount of homework I should be chipping away at right about now…

But more than ever, today I need to be held accountable to living a life of gratitude.

With that said…


I’m thankful for the pretty white snow. Yes, it’s been around for far too long, but from where I sit right now, it’s quite peace-giving.

I’m thankful for a weekend with these amazing people.

group pic

#winterrt the whole group! 🙂


the beautiful 9th-10th grade girls small group



I’m thankful for days spent with dear friends.

I’m thankful for breakfast with Brandon.

I’m thankful for opportunities.

I’m thankful for friends & family who are for us.

I’m thankful for for broadcasting the Bearcats’ first sectional game.


Basketball & Law Homework…


I’m thankful for leggings to wear while running.

I’m thankful I am FULLY FUNDED for my half-marathon. Praise the Lord!

I’m thankful for all the amazing people who donated to such an incredible organization that is fighting human trafficking.

I’m thankful for WBGL.

I’m thankful for classmates who are hilarious & make the difficult days better.

I’m thankful Sandie teaches twice a week so midterm review was not missed. 🙂

I’m thankful for afternoon tea on Mondays.

I’m thankful for my champion of a husband who found red velvet made without cocoa.


This stuff is the best.


I’m thankful for hugs.

I’m thankful for a PERFECT Valentine’s Day.

I’m thankful for FaceTime.

I’m thankful for closed doors.

I’m thankful for the education I am getting despite all the roadblocks.

I’m thankful for God’s faithfulness toward Brandon’s Tanzania team!

I’m thankful for the RD team that’s taken over our apartment each day this week. What a cool group of leaders!

I’m thankful for precious moments with these cuties.

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Story time. Photo Credit: Maggie. 🙂


I’m thankful for hotels with hot tubs.

I’m thankful “there’s more than one way to get to Cissna Park,” but when the roads are terrible, it’s impossible to get to Urbana… (I hope at least one of my readers will understand that…)

I’m thankful for snail mail.

I’m thankful a week from now we will be at the Magic Kingdom!

I’m thankful for warm clothes to wear on cold days.


-19 out, but I needed to run!


I’m thankful for Brenda.

I’m thankful for a God who quiets my heart when I am anxious.

I’m thankful for you, my readers, who keep me accountable to being thankful.


Thank you, Jesus, for these blessings.

What are YOU thankful for today?

Treadmills, Tears, & Trafficking.

4.13 was the number on the treadmill. I still had another .87 to go. The stinging knot on my side grew increasingly painful. I wanted nothing more than to push the red STOP button. I could not do it. I could not finish my 5 mile run today. Nothing inside me wanted to keep going.

Then I remembered why I was running, why I am training for this half marathon. I am not running for myself. I am not running for fun.

I am running for FREEDOM.

I quickly grabbed my phone and changed the song to the anthem of my half-marathon journey. “Twenty-Seven Million” by Matt Redman & LZ7. (You can listen to it here).

I first heard this song when it was introduced at Passion 2012. A couple weeks after that conference, I wrote these words:

I’m angry. Again, this is definitely a righteous anger. Did you know that there are CURRENTLY 27 MILLION slaves in this world? TODAY. Yes. Right now. January 15, 2012. SLAVES.

That’s NOT okay.

I want to do something about it. I want to be an abolitionist. I want to set the captives free. I cannot shake this. I cannot get those 27 million out of my head. Battling for them in prayer every day.


Tonight, as the following words rang through my earbuds, tears began streaming down my cheeks.

“She’s a nothing, a no one, she’s undone.
Broken dreams, stolen freedom
Trapped in the night, trafficked and beaten
All a part of an evil economy
Nothing more than someone’s commodity
A precious being like you and me
A daughter, a sister, a somebody.”


I continued running. I know I need to do this. I need to run for freedom. I need to raise awareness and support those organizations that are fighting against the evils of human trafficking. It’s not about me. It’s about those 27 million enslaved today.


Want to help me fight? Check out my story on my half-marathon page.

We’ve got to rise up.
Open our eyes up.
Be her voice.
Be her freedom.
Come on, rise up!

Thankful Thursday (2-5)

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted!

Here’s my excuse explanation… honestly, I often forget what day of the week it is.

Apparently I am a creature of habit. Last semester, I had classes on Wednesdays & Thursdays. This time around they’re on Mondays and Tuesdays. My Mondays feel like Wednesdays & my whole week is thrown off.

Unnecessary rant over.

Now, for a short & sweet thankful list (since I really should be doing homework instead).


I’m thankful for Rock Band.


it’s fun being a Davey.


I’m thankful for white chips that are similar enough to chocolate chips that I can eat & pretend it’s really chocolate…

I’m thankful for my sewing machine.

I’m thankful for date nights with my handsome husband.

I’m thankful for Danielle.

I’m thankful for time spent with our niece.


Uncle Brandon’s awesome at homework.


Such a pretty breakfast date.


I’m thankful for legs that can run & a body with endurance.

I’m thankful for WBGL & their support of Hope for Justice.

I’m thankful for quiet moments.

I’m thankful for Super Bowl Sunday & friends to share it with.

I’m thankful for changes, even when it’s not easy.

I’m thankful God knows our future & I am allowed to be okay with that.

I’m thankful for a husband who reminds me don’t have to have it all figured out.

I’m thankful for study breaks.

I’m thankful I’m in my final semester of classes.

I’m thankful for Brandon’s encouragement every step of the way.

I’m thankful for Mrs. Pettet.

I’m thankful for days at BUGC.


PE is my fave.


I’m thankful for time to catch up with college friends.

I’m thankful for nap time.

I’m thankful for laughter.

I’m thankful for hugs.

I’m thankful for spaghetti. 🙂


love this girl.



Thank you, Jesus, for these blessings.


What are you thankful for today?


Thankful Thursday (1-8)

I’m back!

I took off the past few weeks because Christmas & New Year’s Day both fell on Thursdays.

I have an incredible list of thankfulness, but I think I’ll try to keep this week short (we’ll see how that actually works…)

I’m thankful for Christmas break!

I’m thankful for heat in our apartment.

I’m thankful for Christmas trees & decorations.

I’m thankful for weekend getaways with my sweet husband.

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A beautiful night in Chicago.

I’m thankful for my parents who gifted us with that weekend away. 🙂

I’m thankful for easy travel experiences.

I’m thankful for our first Christmas together.


Moody Gardens Festival of Lights

I’m thankful for Brandon’s parents.

I’m thankful for different holiday traditions.

I’m thankful for a husband who does not give up on me.

I’m thankful for historic monuments.


outside the Alamo. 🙂

I’m thankful for sunshine & warm weather (that we experienced in Texas, not Illinois).

I’m thankful for new experiences.

I’m thankful for nice weather to walk…and for this huge alligator.

We walked away quickly. :)

We walked away quickly. 🙂

I’m thankful for donuts.

I’m thankful for cookie dough.

I’m thankful for time and space to exercise & a husband who inspires me to be healthier.

I’m thankful for time spent with my family.

I’m thankful 7th grade basketball isn’t the worst thing ever…

I’m thankful for Sydney. 🙂


New Year’s Day!

I’m thankful for fuzzy socks.

I’m thankful for lazy days.

I’m thankful for Maggie & all of her help when I accidentally ran my finger through a food slicer…

I’m thankful for a husband who went out in the freeeeeezing cold to get special bandages & did everything possible to make sure I was okay.

I’m thankful for ugly sweaters.


Crane + Davey = Cravey

I’m thankful for quiet time with Jesus.

I’m thankful for Pinterest.

I’m thankful for the senior high girls who have seriously stolen my heart.

I’m thankful for days spent with these two silly girls.


my favorite littles.

I’m thankful for Amanda Joseph, her love, her wisdom, her craziness (the best kind, of course).

I’m thankful for naps.

I’m thankful my first semester is over.

I’m thankful I only have one more semester of classes.

I’m thankful for free days at Shedd Aquarium.

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Lake Michigan right outside Shedd.

I’m thankful for clean dishes.

I’m thankful for slumber parties in our living room.

I’m thankful for difficult days.

I’m thankful for truth when all I hear are lies.

I’m thankful for a husband who loves me more than I could ever deserve.

I’m thankful for God’s promises.

I’m thankful these handsome bears come home to us in TWO days! 🙂


The Hills RA team! 🙂 🙂

Thank you, Jesus, for these blessings.

What are YOU thankful for today?

Thankful Thursday (12-4)

I’m thankful for Netflix.

I’m thankful for nice weather.

I’m thankful for jackfruit.


handsome husband found jackfruit for me. 🙂


I’m thankful I’m done with classes this semester.

I’m thankful for Christmas decorations.

I’m thankful for Lauren Beatty & time to catch up with her.

I’m thankful for my incredible husband.


he’s the best.


I’m thankful for time with family.

I’m thankful for a Monday morning massage.

I’m thankful for time spent with my mom.

I’m thankful for naps.


BA took the best Thanksgiving nap.


I’m thankful for days to substitute.

I’m thankful for the sweet senior high girls.

I’m thankful for family traditions.


Sydney helping Great Aunt Sue make noodles.


I’m thankful for socks.

I’m thankful for boots.

I’m thankful for those drivers who hang out in the left lane going 5 miles under the speed limit because it gives me reason practice patience.

I’m thankful for these beauties.


The best cornbread makers.


I’m thankful for two amazing families to spend holidays with.

I’m thankful for a lobby full of Hills guys.

I’m thankful for yummy chili.


Hills first chili cook-off.


I’m thankful the UofI School of Social Work was willing to accommodate my commuting needs for next semester.

I’m thankful my MSW program is only 12 months.

I’m thankful for my field advisor.

I’m thankful time has been good to us. 🙂


Cousins. 2007-2014

I’m thankful for Zarah.

I’m thankful for wonderful in-laws.

I’m thankful for Thanksgiving.

I’m thankful for laughter.

I’m thankful for game nights.


Aunt Mary was Santa. 😉


I’m thankful for 27 years of life.

I’m thankful for friends and family who celebrate me well.

I’m thankful for donuts & coffee. 🙂

I’m thankful for Sydney & her 7 years & FaceTime calls.

I’m thankful for Dave & Buster’s.


He was a champ at this one. 🙂


I’m thankful for blankets.

I’m thankful for Megan & Grisy.

I’m thankful for quiet time.

I’m thankful for time alone.


Thank you, Jesus, for these blessings.


What are YOU thankful for today?

Thankful Thursday (11-20)

I’m thankful for the book of Deuteronomy.

I’m thankful for the life of Moses who sets such an incredible example of someone who is faithful to God even when he knows he will never reach the earthly land promised to him.

I’m thankful for chapstick.

I’m thankful for heated seats in our car.

I’m thankful for Olivet’s BSW program.

I’m thankful for 6 months of marriage with Brandon. 🙂

I’m thankful for encouraging notes from friends.

I’m thankful for sunshine.

I’m thankful for a scarf to protect my face from the wind.

I’m thankful for Pajama Party Mondays.

who doesn’t want to stay in jammies all day?


I’m thankful for Donna & Cooper & Zoey.

I’m thankful for a husband who enjoys research.

I’m thankful for a class that challenges me mentally.

I’m thankful I have to drive to Urbana only two more times this semester!

I’m thankful the roads have not been icy.

I’m thankful for Ellen Steward. What a woman!

I’m thankful for The Point.

I’m thankful for a husband who is for me.

I’m thankful for early birthday presents. 🙂

I’m thankful for my new mandolin.

I’m thankful for the yummy aroma of baking cinnamon apple chips.

I’m thankful for exciting news from friends.

I’m thankful for a day at BUGC.


I liked this class a lot. 🙂


I’m thankful the power was out for only a short time.

I’m thankful for good students.

I’m thankful we could visit our friend Joey Ramirez last weekend.

I’m thankful for Gino’s East. 🙂

I’m thankful I still get giddy when I go to Chicago.

I’m thankful my grandparents let me use their house as a storage place for the past year & a half.

I’m thankful I am now fully moved into our home – only took 6 months of marriage. 😉

I’m thankful for trips to Hobby Lobby.

I’m thankful for Koi Asian Bistro. Yummm.

I’m thankful our Christmas tree is up. 🙂


We’ve added more ornaments, but this was a good start. 🙂


I’m thankful for productive homework nights while sitting next to the Christmas tree.

I’m thankful for clean water to drink.

I’m thankful for good conversations.

I’m thankful for FaceTime dates with our niece, Sydney – this time she read us a story. 🙂 🙂

I’m thankful for cabin socks.

I’m thankful for the AMAZING work Jordan Hansen did on our wedding video — I’ll post that soon! 🙂

I’m thankful for coffee!

I’m thankful for you, my readers, who encourage me with your own thankfulness.


Thank you, Jesus, for these blessings.

What are YOU thankful for today?