Friday, January 11, 2013

New Location

I have moved my writings to a family blog site that Brian and I do together.  It is still a work in progress, but please join us there.  Thanks for following me!  God bless you!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Falling into Rhythm

Rhythm has been a theme for me lately.  
It's been amazing to see how it effects our family life.
We enjoy the spontaneous.
We also enjoy the days when there is nothing planned,
nothing on the agenda, no schedule to look at.
Summer has been much like that.
We have had planned events, but day to day was really more like,
"What should we do today?"

A new season is upon us now.  
We have begun our homeschooling this week.
We made up a weekly schedule for our family.
We started chore charts and Family Chore Time each day.
We have begun a new Family Devotion Time after Breakfast.

And there is freedom!
Our schedule does not define us.
We are not legalistic with it.
We do it because it creates Rhythm.
A natural flow of life that we don't always have to think about,
or plan or try to figure out day after day.
This Rhythm includes work, play and rest.
It causes us to be more intentional about family time.
It helps us find balance in keeping our house in order, 
playing together, resting and getting work done.

We still have our days of no agenda, no real schedule.
We work hard to keep at least one day like that a week.
But overall this Rhythm of Life we choose to live as a family
brings less stress, more flexibility, more time together 
and a strong feeling of peace.
There is safety and security in if for the kids. 
It's amazing to see how they thrive with a schedule,
especially when they are a part of the weekly planning.

So I am reminded of how freeing a little order can be.
I know what is on the schedule for today already.
I know what is for dinner.  I know what chores need to be done today.
And even if the day does not go as planned, that is ok.
We can start over tomorrow.
Praise the Lord!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

May I be...

Jerusalem By Dora Ficher

"Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets 
and stone those sent to you,
 how often I have longed to gather your children together,
as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, 
but you were not willing.
Look, your house is left to you desolate.
 I tell you, you will not see me again until you say,
'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"
Luke 13: 34-35

This morning I was drawn to this passage.
There is something deep within me that resonated with it.
I love the image of a Jesus gathering his children 
out of love and protection.
But that is not what took hold in me today.

How often do I welcome the one who come in the name of the Lord?
I do welcome the Lord into my life daily.
Blessed be Jesus! Absolutely!

But, how often do I welcome, love, care for and bless those 
Jesus sends my way?
Do I kill the "prophets" and "stone" those who He sends to me
with my lack of awareness, my daily battles, frustrations 
and self-centeredness?
Life is busy.  There is always a To Do List on my desk.
I am chasing after 2 kiddos, trying to spend time with friends,
trying to keep in touch with family, trying to keep my house in order...
I really don't think I have to go on.  
You get it, right?

Busy. Busy. Busy.
I am praying for forgiveness today,
for those I have overlooked,
those God has sent my way to bless and honor and serve.
And I pray this morning for new eyes and new ears,
to slow down and refocus,
to be open for people of peace in my life.
This life is too short and too fast to worry about my To Do Lists.
I want to focus on the hearts of those around me.
There is joy to be found in this hard world,
Joy, Peace, Love and Grace.
May I be a part of the world's healing this day.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Summertime Rhythm

Hi everyone!  
Happy Summer!

I have missed writing.
Brian is working on a new website/blog for me,
and I admit, I have been waiting for it to be done.
He keeps reminding me that I do still have this blog.
So, I thought I would write a bit today.

I love summer.
It's been busy, wacky, exhausting and a super fun one so far.
Summer definitely has it's own rhythm.
It's amazing how much a creature of habit I am.
I love routine.  I love rhythm.
Summer always teaches me a lesson in control.
I love to have control.
But during the Summer, I often do not.
Well, if I am honest, I don't much during the rest of the year either!
But the "school-year" does have a more rhythmic rhythm,
 if that makes sense.

It can be stressful to me, 
but I am reminding myself to relax a bit.
As a family, we still pay attention to our calendar.
It's important to us that we don't overextend ourselves 
and burn out the kids (and us).
It's easy to do.
And personally, 
I am working hard to pay attention to my UP relationship with Jesus.
It's important to me that I do not neglect it 
and allow Summer's own rhythm to take over.
Again, it's easy to do.

Life does not really slow down.
Only we slow down, when we choose to.
It's a discipline.
It's an essential discipline and one that fills me with energy and joy.
Spending time with the Lord is not an option to me.
I just can not function fully if I am not connected to the Vine.
I wither and I do not bear fruit.
Jesus warns us and yet so easy it is to try to bear fruit on our own.
Then we wonder why we feel so stressed, exhausted and out of control.

I am reminded of this today,
as I have not been very good with my UP time this past week.
My heart yearns for it.  I miss it when it is not there.
It's my lifeline.
He is my life.

Today I am thankful for Summertime
and it's wacky, fun rhythm.
And I am thankful for my God, who is with me always
and welcomes me back when I stray.
I am enjoying summer this year.
It always goes by so fast, but I am enjoying every moment;
being with my family and abiding with my Savior.
I pray you are enjoying it all too!
Find that discipline, receive that joy and bear much fruit dear friends!
Bear much fruit!

"Remain in me, as I also remain in you.  
No branch can bear fruit by itself; 
it must remain in the vine.  
Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. 
If you remain in me and I in you,
you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing."
John 15: 4-5

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Zachary's Story

I have come to realize that since Zachary was born, 5 years ago, 
I have never really shared the story of his birth.
Many of you followed the journey through the website
which Brian created when we were in the hospital at the time,
but I don't believe I have ever told it myself.
Seems like a good time as any...
(I know this will be long... bear with me.)

immediately after birth

Brian and I started trying for kids in 2003.
Between 2003-2006 we had 2 miscarriages.
It was a much more difficult dream 
than we had ever thought it would be.
We moved to PA in 2004 so Brian could attend Seminary in Gettysburg.
In 2006 we moved to Edgewater, MD for Brian's internship.
During this time, 
I was fortunate to obtain a Kindergarten Teacher position. 
My insurance was really amazing as it covered a lot of infertility avenues.
I was so sure this was where God had sent us so that we could get the help we needed.

Well, The Tuesday before Thanksgiving of 2006, 
Brian and I had our consultation with a great clinic in the area. 
Went home to PA for Thanksgiving.
Got sick.
Found out I was pregnant!

I can't really share adequately how I was feeling at the time.
It was a mixture of excitement and horror.
All I could think about was having another miscarriage.
The next several weeks were emotionally rough.
The day we went in to hear the heartbeat
 will be a day I will never forget.
You see, the miscarriages I had were not natural.  
Each time we went in to hear the heartbeat we discovered something was not right.
As you can imagine,
When Brian and I heard that beautiful sound, nothing could be said.
Only tears came.  We cried and held each other and cried a lot more.

My favorite pic.  
This was before they hooked him up to everything.

So the pregnancy was "normal".
That is, as normal as I thought a pregnancy could be...
morning sickness, food aversions, exhaustion, 2nd trimester golden days...

Then Easter came.
(Which was also April 8th in 2007!  Z was born on a Tues morning 5 years ago.)
On Maundy Thursday I began to bleed.
At first a lot, but it subsided.
It scared us terribly.
Thankfully Zachary was fine.  I could still feel him moving around.
After some tests on Monday they determined all was fine, but I was put on 2 weeks bedrest.
At the end of those 2 weeks, I went into labor.
Did not even realize what it was at first.
Brian and I were watching a movie and 
I mentioned to him that I thought I could be in labor.
Off to the hospital we went.  It was Friday, April 20th.
My beautiful nephew was born on that day!
I was dilated to 1cm.  They wanted to stop the labor.
So they did.  It was not a fun med to be put on, but it worked.
My mom drove down to MD that weekend to be with me.
On Monday a special ultrasound was done.
Z was fine, but I was loosing fluid.
They determined that somewhere along the way my water had broke.
Because of that, I was going nowhere. 
Whether he came in a week or 10, I was hospital bound.
They had given me a steroid for Z's lung development which needed 24 hours to really take hold.
Thankfully, I held on that long.

Later that day I went into labor again.
This time they could not stop it.
It was the most terrifying time for us,
and yet there was also such an amazing sense of peace.
We believe it came from the prayer that was surrounding us.
By this time, Brian had started the website to keep family and friends informed.
We shared Zachary's name and asked for prayers.
We were stunned at the response, the love...
There are no words there.

I had amazing doctors and nurses.  Just amazing.  
After many hours, my doctor recommended a C-Section to me
as Z was showing signs of distress.
I was ok with that.  
I truly believe the C-Section was a gift to him.
I can not imagine his little body going through the stress of natural delivery.

Zachary Brian Spahr was born on Tuesday, April 24th at 3:47 AM.
He was 2 lbs 1 oz.
The most amazing part of it all...
He cried!!!
Everyone was stunned.
I remember a nurse coming up to my face saying,
"Did you hear that?  He is crying!!!"
A 26 week old being born crying was definitely a rare thing.
It was amazing.

He was beautiful!

Of course they needed to wisk him off to the NICU.
I sent Brian with him.

Holding Daddy's hand.

Zachary was on a ventilator for only 1 hour. 
He was breathing so well on his own that he only needed a nose tube.
They gave him one for breathing and inserted one for feeding.

After recovery and some rest,
I was able to come and see him.
It was an emotional encounter.
I wanted so much to hold my baby.
But I needed to trust him completely 
to the care of the doctors there and to Jesus.
I cried so hard as Brian wheeled me back to my room.
There was such a long journey and a huge battle for Z to fight now.
I vowed I would do everything I could to help him fight.

Brian an I spent so much time with Z. 
As much as we could.

We talked with him, read out loud so he could hear our voices.
And we held him as much as we were able.

Kangaroo Care was the most beautiful time.
We held him skin to skin. 
It's amazing the research that shows how vital this time is for babies, 
and especially these little ones.

It was a beautiful time for us as well.

The nurses in the NICU were so wonderful.
They wanted us as involved as possible in his care.

We "bathed" him.

We "fed" him

All of these things were little ways to help him learn skills.

He was beautiful, tiny, fragile and so strong.
He was a fighter.

This is our favorite pic.
Brian's wedding band is on Z's arm.

Daddy's Hands


The NICU was quite an experience.
We were blessed with a beautiful, private room NICU,
but you still could hear all the beeps and alarms.
Zachary made it through the NICU with no brain bleeds 
and only 1 minor infection that a nurse noticed very early on.
Our main nurses were Christian and blessed us daily with prayers, gifts and God's love.

One of the most difficult parts of this journey 
was leaving Z at the hospital.
It was necessary.  For him and for us.
He needed rest.  We did too.

When I would wake up in the middle of the night 
and first thing in the morning,
I always called the NICU to check in on Z.
We were allowed to any time.
They always updated us and assured us that he was doing well.
There is a beautiful giftedness to those who work in the NICU.
Amazing skills, compassion and care.

The other most difficult part of this journey were the Bradys.
(bradycardia - basically sleep apnea)
Preemies were very prone to stop breathing.
Alarms would sound and someone would need to touch him,
massage his back or tummy and literally revive him; remind him to breathe again.
Every day, over and over,
doctors, nurses, mommy and daddy
would save Z's life...again and again.

Thankfully he began to grow out of them, 
enough to come home.
He had to come home on a monitor,
but that was more as a precaution.

Zachary grew stronger and bigger each day.

Until finally, he came home at 5 lbs.

Zachary saying good-bye to many of his nurses.

We only took around 500 pictures of that time in the NICU.
Seriously, we did!
But this post is long enough as it is.
One day I will do a post with just pics of his journey.
They are all beautiful.

We are so thankful for the miracle of Zachary.
What an amazing thing our bodies can do in having children.
How amazing our bodies are to grow and heal and fight.
How beautiful God created us with a spirit for life and a will to live.

Brian's Wedding Ring

Zachary is 5 this year.
Strong, healthy, vibrant, smart...

Thanks for allowing me to share this story with you.
And thank you for walking with us through it all.

I do not mean for this post to end by asking for money.
However, I can not help but share our March of Dimes Team with you.
It is something that we believe in.
We appreciate your prayers for babies and families even more than financial support.
If you live in the Charlotte Area, come walk with us!  
It's amazing and we would love to share the experience with you.

We walk every year for the March of Dimes.
They support research to prevent premature birth 
as well as support families who are going through it.
The financial part of this kind of journey is staggering.
We were thankful to have had great insurance 
through my job at the time
as well as the amazing generosity of friends and family.

Please consider joining us as we continue to raise awareness 
and support those who travel this road,
through prayer, walking with us,
 and/or your financial support.

Thank you.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Story

My family loves this Bible.
I love how it depicts The Story of this Holy Weekend.
So, I thought I would share.

"Even though it was midday,
a dreadful darkness covered the face of the world.
The sun could not shine.
The earth trembled and quaked.  
The great mountains shook.
Rocks split in two.
Until it seemed that the whole world would break.
That creation itself would tear apart.

The full force of the storm of God's fierce anger at sin was coming down.
On his own Son.
Instead of His people.
It was the only way God could destroy sin,
and not destroy his children whose hearts were filled with sin.

Then Jesus shouted out in a loud voice, "it is finished.!"
And it was.
He had done it.
Jesus has rescued the whole world.

"Father!"  Jesus cried.  "I give you my life."
And with a great sigh he let himself die.

Strange clouds and shadows filled the sky.  
Purple, orange, black.
Like a bruise."

Zachary's picture of Jesus on the Cross.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Loved this logo.  Borrowed it from St. Michael's Lutheran Church in Greenville, SC
It was their VBS theme in 2011.  

I have found myself in a process of renewal these past couple of months, 
in several areas of my life.
I looked up the greek/hebrew meaning this morning
from the Bible Study I am doing.
Found it interesting.

Greek / Hebrew Definition
Transliteration: ḥālap
Phonetic Pronunciation:khaw-laf'
a primitive root; properly to slide by, i.e. (by implication) to hastenaway, pass on, spring up, pierce or change :- abolish, alter, change, cut off, go on forward, grow up, be over, pass (away, on, through), renew, sprout, strike through.

Can't really say it better than that.
I have simply been hearing God's voice to embrace simplicity.
That word has a life of it's own, really.
I think this word can have a slightly different meaning for every person.
I am working on sharing what it means to me in a new website/blog format.
Brian and I are working on it.
That is the biggest reason I have not written here lately.

Using words from the definition;
I have found a deep desire to spring up, change, alter, cut off, 
go on forward, be over, strike through
and renew my heart, my faith and my way of life.

So, I will be back, writing and sharing.
For now I am creating, exploring and renewing.
can't wait to share it all with you.
Thanks for allowing me to!

Do you not know?Have you not heard?Yahweh is the everlasting God,the Creator of the whole earth.He never grows faint or weary;there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the wearyand strengthens the powerless.Youths may faint and grow weary,and young men stumble and fall,but those who trust in the Lordwill renew their strength;they will soar on wings like eagles;they will run and not grow weary;they will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31