Isn’t She Lovely…


We’d like to introduce you to our new daughter, Catherine Joy, freshly one week old today. We are pretty sure she’s the sweetest, most precious little baby ever but we might be biased. Her name means “pure joy” and so far she has been living up to her name.

I decided that James 1:2-3 is the the theme verse for her labor and delivery because… 35 hours… and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

I’ve had a few different thoughts since her birth and one of them is that I have so much more respect for single mothers now. I have been doing really well this week but that is only made possible by the loving support of my husband. I can’t imagine doing this without him. He has been my rock throughout this new adventure.

Just one week in, and she already seems bigger to me. I am trying to soak in and savor this newborn time because I know it is going to be gone before I know it. Last night we were eating dinner and I told Andy that I already feel like I am going to turn around and all of the sudden she is going to be 25 and bringing us our first grandchild to meet. He said, “How did you feel all of that just in the time it took for me to walk to the kitchen and back?” All I could think of was this scene from Harry Potter:


Although, to be fair to Andy, I think his emotional range has significantly expanded since he became a dad. He is so in love with his little girl. The first day after she was born, I walked out of the bathroom to find him cuddling her and I thought my heart might just explode. Just look at that love:


We love her so incredibly much and are so excited that she is ours. We are so blessed.




Quick! Recap *ALL the things*

First, in case you don’t get the reference. Go here: Hyperbole and a Half

Well as usual, this summer is flying flew by. We got back from vacation last week six weeks ago and it immediately became crunch time. I’ve started several different posts with updates on the various things we’ve been up to over the past few weeks but it has been one of those seasons where actually getting things done in real life has been more important than documenting it for the internet. Andy is one week in to his second rotation of third year and our sweet little bebe is due in 2! days so I figured I’d gather all the post snippets that I have from the summer and link up with 7 Quick Takes hosted this week at Fountains of Home.

1 // #thebigsummerreno

I started July off by jumping right into our summer house renovation projects which will hopefully get a post or two on the blog once we finish them up. First on the list was turning our guest room into our office. Because we bleed Tribe Pride forever and ever we decided to paint the office William and Mary colors. We even took the official style guide into Lowe’s and color matched the paint. #TWAMP alert. I was nervous that the colors would be too dark in such a small place but I love it. As in I loved the colors so much that I was sad to move furniture in there because it would cover up some of the walls.


We are now nearing completion of the massive summer project to-do list which included repainting every bedroom in our house and refinishing the deck. All of the must-get-done-before-the-baby-is-born items have been completed and now I’m just working on wall decor and Andy is finishing up a few things outside. It was a lot of work and we wouldn’t have finished it nearly as quickly without help from family and friends but I am so glad that we did it. We didn’t change anything about the house when we first moved in and now it feels a little more like ours.

2 // July Traveling Bonanza

Mid-July we took off on our big traveling bonanza for the summer. Andy stayed back to take his first of many board exams while I went to DC to celebrate my college roommate’s wedding. Afterwards, I spent a few days with my family and then we reunited at the beach with Andy’s extended family for a few days of vacation. I keep thinking that eventually we’ll take a vacation in the style of travel to a place, stay there for a week, come home but that doesn’t seem to be our style right now.

3 // Our Brothers Got Married

Between the two of us we have two brothers and their weddings bookended the summer for us. We kicked the summer off with Andy’s brother’s wedding in May and wrapped it up with my brother’s wedding in August. It was fun to celebrate and to see family. At both weddings I was struck by how mature each of them have become. I could see the ways that they’ve stepped up to be leaders in their new families and I just felt so proud of them.

4 // No Mo School!

I graduated with my M.Div. in May and while I am incredibly thankful for all that I learned in the 4 years it took me to complete the degree, I am also really glad to be done. It still feels a little weird for the school year to have started and not be signed up for any classes.


5 //  Baby Shower (x3)

Our friends and family have been so generous to us as the arrival of our new addition approaches. We ended up having three baby showers. Andy’s extended family hosted one for us at the beach, my work had one, and then our dear friends in Pikeville hosted another shower for us. I feel pretty sure that Baby French is not going to be wanting for anything!

6 //  Uncle David’s Passing

Last weekend, my Uncle passed away and it was particularly hard not to be able to travel home to be with my family. Even though I wasn’t able to be there in person, we used facetime so I could be there for the funeral. During the funeral there were several things that crossed my mind, but one thing struck me in particular about technology. So often I lament technology for the disconnectedness it enables but in that moment I thought, “This is it. This is what it was made for.” Instead of disconnecting me from my world, it allowed me to be part of a moment I would have missed hundreds of miles away. It was another reminder that the things in this world are just that – things. It isn’t the object that is inherently good or bad, it is how we use it.

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7 // Pregnancy Thoughts #babyfrench2015

I don’t know what the last few weeks of pregnancy look like for most people but for me it initially looked like a constant litany of “Lord, please just give me enough time.”

I tend to be a person who is working on a project right up until the deadline and having a four week moving target for when the baby could realistically be born was enough to make this girl crazy. On the one hand, I should have enough time to get all that I want to do accomplished but on the other, I might not. Let’s just say surrendering control isn’t my strong suit.

A couple of weeks ago, Andy instituted a “Well Rested Regimen” in our house. He insisted that no matter what we were working on, we were going to make sure to get eight hours of sleep each night. While it did have the significant benefit of making us better rested, it also forced me to realize that my real struggle was in trusting God to take care of us. The root of it all was a fear of failure and a lack of trust. It  can be easy to have a head knowledge of God’s goodness and provision, but it is another matter entirely to live in that truth.


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.)


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.

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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.