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Dear Child,

I haven’t been keeping much of a journal or writing letters to you all throughout the pregnancy. I have been trying to take a picture each week but even that is hit or miss. Bad mom, I guess? But I realized on Sunday that there is something I hope you always know.

You have a great father and he loves you so incredibly much.

You should have seen the pride on his face when he got to stand up and be recognized with the dads at church on Father’s day for the first time. He has loved you from the moment he knew you existed and is pretty sure you are going to be the world’s greatest kid. I can hardly imagine the look on his face when he gets to see you for the first time in a couple months.

I feel pretty sure that he is going to embarrass you with his crazy stories and dad jokes at times, but you can probably blame your grandfather for those (I think he got them from him.)

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Like a lot of first time parents, he has big dreams for you and wants to raise you just right. I’m sure some of those things will get adjusted as time goes on but one thing that I hope never changes is how much he wants you to see the importance of our Christian faith. He prays that he can be a worthy father for you every day.

Your dad’s faith isn’t flashy or shallow; it is quiet, firm, and steadfast. It is the kind of faith that gets you through the good days and the bad ones. I hope you know that the way your dad loves you is only a reflection of the love your heavenly father has for you.

Most days I’m not quite sure how I’m going to do at being a mom but the one thing I’ve never been uncertain of is: You have really great dad.  <3

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My Dad

Last year when I wrote about my Mom on Mother’s Day last year I intended for it to be the first in a series of posts about my family. Well we all know how good I am at finishing a post series. (Ahem, the love story series.) I thought I would pick it back up again this week in honor of Father’s Day. 

When I thought about what I have learned from my Dad, the first thing I thought of was loyalty. My Dad is fiercely loyal. He is the kind of guy who shows up when no one else does, and stays after everyone else is gone. The thing that probably makes him the most angry is if someone else has hurt someone he loves.

Growing up, I never for a second had a thought that my Dad would ever leave us. I knew that he would walk through fire for my Mom or for any of us. It is probably impossible for me to appreciate the ways that having a stable family allowed me to flourish during my childhood. I know many people who couldn’t count on that at home.

Just like my Mom, my Dad is a really hard worker. He went back to school to get his bachelor’s as an adult and graduated when I was a sophomore in high school while working a full-time job and you know, still being a dad. I did not appreciate the effort that took until the past couple of years when I have been working and going to school myself.

People say that the first place you learn about God is from your parents. I know there are a lot of people that struggle with the image of God as Father because of their own bad experiences with their earthly fathers. That certainly has never been the case for me. When I think of God as my Father it is often a very comforting image. I know that in part I have my Dad to thank for that.

Reception Pt. 1 (112 of 148)

MothersDay

To My Dear Mom Friends…

I’ve talked to a few of you over the past few days, and I’ve seen the weight of the burden that you’re carrying. I can see how hard you’re working at this thing called motherhood. I will join your team soon, but right now I’m on the fence watching from the sidelines and have a different perspective. So I want to say this while I still see it and because I suspect that next year I may need to hear it too.

You’re doing a really really good job.

Yes, you. Yes, I really mean it. This morning as I heard and read messages emphasizing the importance of motherhood, I couldn’t help but think that while those messages intend to be encouraging, they might also make you feel further beat down. I fear that instead of coming away feeling uniquely chosen to do this important job, you felt inadequate and unprepared.

Day in and day out you’ve been giving everything you’ve got but every time you look in the mirror all you can see is failure. That time you snapped at your kids when you didn’t mean to or they asked you to play with them and all you could think about was what you wouldn’t give for a nap. I want you to hear that its okay, you’re okay, just the way you are right here and right now.

We all have room to improve but sometimes what you need to know is that we can see the beauty in your efforts today. There are still hills to climb but take some time today just to rest in the victory what has already been overcome in your motherhood journey.

The life that you’ve given your children is beautiful and guess what – that wouldn’t be possible without YOU.

Grace in Every Breath

Wow, our Hillbilly Days Food Guide got more traffic than almost every other post I have written in the past 5 years combined. As a result, Andy and I are considering leaving everything we know to become traveling fair food reviewing vagabonds. Just kidding, but you could do a lot worse in life.

I am mostly just popping in to say that this space is going to be pretty quiet for the next three weeks as I finish up my semester, but I also wanted to share a little reflection from our 20 week ultrasound yesterday. This is the first time I’ve mentioned our pregnancy on the blog mostly because until last week, I am pretty sure all of the readers also knew us in real life.

Anyway, yesterday I was thinking about how crazy it is that we all started so small. To be honest, I can’t really wrap my mind around it. You, me, we all started as a tiny cell and simply sustained by God’s grace, we survived 9 months in the womb and started the journey to become the person we are today.

It is so easy in this world to feel like you haven’t really achieved anything or to feel like you’re all alone. I know I’ve had those moments. As I reflected on life in the womb, not just our child but all of us, and how some of the most critical moments in our development had nothing to do with us. There is a profound peace in knowing that our life is not really about us.

There is grace in every breath, simply because you are able to take it. 

Now, I’m certainly not trying to minimize the reality of the deep pain and suffering experienced in our world but I do want people to know that even in those trials God is there. He knows the depths of your sorrow and pain. He’s been there. He’s still here with us; giving us to the grace to make it through each moment until he calls us home.

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NRSV)

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HBD Food

Hillbilly Days Food Guide

Andy and I have only been in Pikeville for 2 years, so you might still call us Hillbilly Days novices. However, both years we have hit ‘Billy Days hard. I might have mentioned before that our unofficial family motto is “Go Hard or Go Home”. Anything we do, we tend to do it hardcore whether it is eating healthy (Paleo February) or enjoying the best fried food Eastern Kentucky has to offer. Last year, I was off of work and had plenty of time to explore. This year, we only took a day but we had an intentional plan of attack. So if you don’t have a lot of time, and just want to hit the highlights, here it is.

The official french family
hillbilly days food guide

One important note before you get started with the Hillbilly Days food: $$$$ 

Either decide how much you are going to spend beforehand and only take that much in cash and stop eating when it is gone OR simply ignore the large amount of money flying out of your hand with each stand you walk by. There is no middle ground. Continue reading