Sunday, November 27, 2011


Jed recently took a business trip to Korea and Malaysia. Was I jealous? You can't even imagine. But more on that later. I did not do a whole lot while he was gone besides be jealous, work, and tend to Braden; but I did have the honor of having Eli and Jude spend the night one fine Friday evening. Rox, one of my oldest and best friends, is their mamma, and you have no idea how much I love her and her family. Anyway, here are the kiddos playing outside together.

Eli, the super serious oldest child, does not exactly enjoy having his picture taken, but I did get one good one of his sweet face. :)
Jude--aka Ju-Ju, on the other hand adores the camera and was created to perform.
Braden loved having them here...
And when Jed returned, Halloween was quickly upon us. Here's Mario trick-or-treating at his Grandma's house. We went downtown with a few other families and kiddos and had so much fun trick-or-treating for the 45 minutes that it lasted. Here's Wyatt, Braden's partner in crime, Luigi!
Eli and Ju-ju, the awesome superheroes!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters

I felt like you'd like another picture, so here it amazing sisters whom I love and adore more than life itself.

The picture editor is at

Did I tell you I'm in love? Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 18, 2011


*A Hair Stylist's Nightmare*

A friend sent me the coolest picture editor today. So I needed to try it out. This is from June...can we say sliiiightly overdue?

I've had a rough few months but am now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I'll write more about that later. I keep saying that, and I am obviously a liar. Oh, can't always be good.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The New Blog

I have successfully watched July, August, and September pass by without writing. You're welcome. I wish I could blame it on the pregnancy, a time of peace and respite in my life, or something else noble. But it is because I've been such a wreck that I have had no clue what to write about. I probably need to post an update on our lives, on Braden's little evolving world, and post some pictures. And I will. But I also am going to write about what I have been going through, and what I am still going through.

Warning: this blog is about to change, and I am not going to be advertising it on facebook or anywhere else, but if you know someone who is struggling through similar things, you are welcome to share it. And if you're embarrassed for me that I am writing this and *gasp* putting it on the WORLD WIDE WEB, you can unfollow me or stop reading my blog. I will NOT be offended. :)

Ask me about my marriage, my child, my spiritual life, my job, my opinions, and I'll tell you everything you want to know (and everything you DON'T want to know...I'm quite a talker). And therefore I create a mirage for others that I have it together and I have some answers! But the truth is that I am actually private about things until I have been through them and have come out alive, better, and with an important lesson to teach others. I have been incredibly convicted of my motives for this over the past month. I do NOT want you to know that I am struggling. I want you to know that I've struggled. I do NOT want you to know that I fall apart on a regular basis. I want you to know that I have fallen apart before. I do NOT want you to see me cry, know that I feel insecure and vulnerable, or know that I don't have it together. I want you to know that those are all in my past and now I have it together because I am superwoman, I am an awesome wife, and I am the perfect mom all while working and overcommitting to the max degree. All of these are lies from the pit of hell. I AM struggling, I AM falling apart, I AM crying a lot, I AM insecure, and I AM NOT any of those awesome things I mentioned a minute ago. I have also had some of the darkest nights of my life in the last few months that have been filled with anxiety and I have not wanted to get out of bed some mornings.

God has been gracious enough to place a couple of close girlfriends and a few close family members in my life who have walked with me through the last few months. And they are still walking with me. I have felt loved by them and not judged, and I have really needed it. I have not needed answers or 10 things to make it better, and they have gotten that. They have listened, loved, and said, "We're here and we're not leaving."

I HAVE needed my Daddy's sermons, and I HAVE needed worship in a completely new way. I am learning to fall in to the arms of a Father who UNDERSTANDS, who sees my weaknesses, who dances over me when I am sobbing, and who gives me sufficient grace, righteousness, and joy in the midst of pain.

I am going to use this blog as a place for me to talk about the dark nights, the struggle to "get" God, and the weakness that I have experienced. I am not fixed, and that is my story. It will be until the day I die and God restores and fixes everything about me. But I have a God who heals me and who wants me and who sent his son to do everything I wish I could do for me. And I'm going to fall more and more in love with the reality of this.

Whew. I'm exhausted. More later....

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thanks, John Bunyan!

John Bunyan:

Sometimes when my heart has been hard, dead, slothful, blind, and senseless, which indeed are sad frames for a poor Christian to be in, yet at such a time, when I have been in such a case, then has the blood of Christ, the precious blood of Christ, the admirable blood of the God of Heaven, that run out of His body when it did hang on the Cross, so softened, livened, quickened, and enlightened my soul, that truly, reader, I can say, O it makes me wonder!

The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded (London, 1708), 183.

I swear I'll be back to write about what's been going on in heart and home very soon...but for now, know that this verse is quite defining for me right now.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Blogging at Ruminate

I've long been a Poetry Reader for the literary magazine, Ruminate. I LOVE the magazine and am honored to read the submissions each round and help decide who will be published.

Today I blogged for their blog what's been on my heart lately. :)

Click here to Check it out!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Loving Difficult People

Have you ever had someone wound you by being "ugly" (as my mamma would say)??

Have you ever had someone completely drive you crazy and annoy you half to death?

Have you ever had someone accuse you of something you legitimately did not do?

Have you ever wondered if someone's mamma didn't spank them enough?

Have you ever become a hermit during certain events because you wanted to avoid a certain person?

Have you ever wondered if people think that about you?

I haven't.

Just kidding. It happens often to me, and I don't handle it well. Sometimes I bottle it up. Sometimes I practice to the mirror what I'd say back if he/she said that again to me. Sometimes I fall apart and cry. And almost always I mentally defend myself because I feel like what God says about me is not enough.

I've been struggling with my response to people who hurt me over the last 6 months or so. So a couple of days ago I found Beth Moore's "Loving Difficult People" study on youtube. Some of you just read Beth Moore and are really excited, but others of you (possibly my Presbo friends) are thinking that she's not what the pastor recommends. I was in the same boat a few weeks ago--but now I say that when you give me the name of another FEMALE who has recorded Bible Studies that are Biblically sound and speak to me like this, I'll listen to her too. :)

Anyway, check the first part out Here:

Loving Difficult People

And once you listen to it, on the right side you can choose part 2,3,4,5, and 6 as well. Part 6 kicked my butt. I listened to the whole thing during my workout this morning. It. was. awesome.

Also, does anyone follow someone's sermons or Bible Studies that really speak to you? I'll listen to men but am particularly even more interested in women speakers. :) Comment much if you have ideas for me!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

First Trimester

First Trimester....CHECK.

I'm 13 weeks yesterday, and the child is the size of a medium shrimp. Unfathomable that my medium shrimp already has veins, organs, fingernails, and more than 2 million eggs in her ovaries if she's a girl. Hopefully. Not hopefully she's a girl. Hopefully he developed all that other stuff. If not, I'm still pretty sure we'll love himher the same.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Let's just say I can't wait until Sunday morning. :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

3 Cheers for Exercise!

I have been coping with feelings of insecurity, self-esteem, and anxiety during the first trimester of this pregnancy. The nausea and lethargy have been a real challenge for me. I can handle the sickness itself, but the results have welcomed some dark moments for me. I am a do-er. I like to get things done, check things off my list, have the house clean, have people over for dinner, work, read, volunteer, get out and be active with my family, and spend time with Jed. And I really like to exercise. Exercise is my way of gathering endorphins and energy, my inspiration for eating well, my sense of accomplishment, and it just plain old makes me feel good. But during the first trimester, chasing a one year old around and pushing through the bare necessities (grocery trips, work, etc.) has been all I can handle.

Last week I began feeling better, and this week I began my exercise regime again. Right now my calves feel like someone is stabbing them, my butt is hardly sittable, my quads are screaming, and my back is difficult to turn. But I feel good. I feel tough again like the warriors that we women are. I feel strong, like I can “do,” and playing with Braden is a joy once again. I also don’t feel quite as insecure or ugly. This has nothing to do with looking better just the feeling better part.

So I went and spent a bit of money on badly needed maternity clothes. Jed was just ecstatic (Sarcasm, people.)

Anyway, my point is that I need exercise in my life. Evidently I am quite a miserable being without it and I feel terrible about myself. Dr. Tinker told me that some things are chemical and cannot be controlled by reading the Bible or praying more. I now believe him even more. I believe God gave me exercise to rejuvenate me…He designed me like this, and I am going to take advantage of it. Even if I am too pitifully out of shape to run my 3 mile route in the miserable heat. I like my Tony Horton, and I will let him kick my butt indoors.

So today I am raising my glass to exercise!

I have no good connection, but here is some of the fun Braden had this week.

Wyatt is moving and so he came over to get a break from his parents and all the ugly boxes. And Eli and Jude stopped by to say hello for a bit in the afternoon.

Our washing machine box turned house (although this confused Eli because technically there is no door). I love these boys, and Braden thought he was so big playing with them.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summa Time!

Introduction: I was never sick while pregnant with Braden. With this pregnancy, I have hardly made it through a day without feeling like I was going to vomit at any given moment and oftentimes doing so.

Yesterday's conversation between Jed and me:
Whitney: I think I'm feeling better.
Jed: I can tell!
Whitney: How?
Jed: The den is picked up and you planned dinner.

Wow. And he's right. By picked up he meant not in shambles with to do piles all over the kitchen table. And by dinner he meant that I actually went to the store and bought food for meals and even set out some of the ingredients for him to make dinner because I had a meeting to attend.
And by the way. Homeboy can make some mean turkey wraps although cooking is most definitely not a pleasure for him.

And on to the pictures from May since I haven't felt like posting hardly anything. We threw a small party for the little man last Sunday for his first birthday.

I ordered this AMAZING cake from Bit Bakes. Adonia makes incredible cakes and is raising money for she and her husband to adopt a baby. She also works at Bethany Christian Services. So she's a winner in my book!! Also, the cake tasted amazing.Last weekend, Jed took off Friday-Tuesday and we had a staycation. Let's just say we did not stop and we filled our time with insane amounts of fun things. We went to the Sunset Symphony with some people from church, visited the zoo with 2 couples from church and my family, played frisbee golf, visited the park, bought a new car to replace the one that was totaled in the wreck, went to a birthday party for sweet Sawyer Ray, and had good, solid time together. It. Was. Awesome. And here are just a few pics to prove it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

And then there were FOUR!

A few months ago, Jed declared that we should begin the dash for the next baby. He said it was because I seemed so happy being with Braden and working from home writing/editing.

But I know the truth.

If you read my blogs about the long road we walked down to add Braden to our family, you understand his inclination. I am quite certain that Jed recognized that the longer it took, the more emotion and drama he would have to deal with--long nights of my why-doesn't-my-womb-work crying and days of tears watching siblings play together hoping and praying that God would bless Braden in that sweet way.

Or maybe he was telling the truth. Or maybe it was a bit of both. Who knows?

I will tell a short story now:

Two months later I found out I was 5 weeks pregnant (10 weeks now).

I told you it was a short story!

I looked up giggling and told God, "You are hilarious. Really?? This easy this time??"

His grace and mercy washes over even the weakest of sinners!

So ladies and gentlemen, here is the newest addition to our family, 19 months younger than Braden, due December 20! We are humbled and ecstatic that God has given new life to our family.
I am overjoyed at the thought of giving Braden a sibling. Maybe that's because we went to the park last night and I watched as he made comical little faces and noises at the older kids. It's time somebody taught that kid some social skills. Jed says he's just one. I think he's a nerd. Agree to disagree.

Also, I cannot even explain how much I adore my sisters and absolutely think they're the best gift my parents ever gave me. Jed feels the same way about his brothers. But of course in a manly, I-eat-red-meat kind of way. Obviously. Now Braden gets that too!

I will update more on the day to day happenings soon. But Jed is taking a long weekend, and we are staycationing. Yesterday we watched Harry Potter, played disc golf, and visited the park playground and today we are off to the Sunset spending time with my little fam.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Braden!!

Dear Braden,

One year ago today, you shattered my expectations for being a parent. I felt like a million cables literally bound me to you in the most supernatural way. My expectation was that I'd love you, but I'd be frustrated at giving up a little of my independence. The frustration and difficulty of giving up my independence cannot even compare to the careless, freeing joy of loving a son. Your little soul changed me at the core of who I am, and you will not understand how resounding that is until you are a parent too.
The crazy, unprecedented, hormonal mood swings and hours of tears I shed were quite a shock as well. I still look at a brand new mom and almost cry for her because of what she was just introduced to--an entire breadth and world of emotions that were never thought possible by a rational, thinking, working, intelligent being.

You spent your first few months getting used to me and your dad. You would not crack a smile nor would you look anyone in the face. But every once in awhile, you'd make a crazy dino noise to tell us you were still there and functioning. Soon enough, you woke up from your introspective world and proved that you have some Rieves blood--you love to have fun, you laugh at yourself, and you think you're funny. For example, it is early in the morning, and I just got you out of bed and whispered the first few paragraphs of this letter to you. You giggled, scrunched up your nose, and smatted your forehead against mine knowingly. You are also serious and you are a thinker like your dad. As in, you think everything through, and make pointed, directed actions. And you will not perform on cue. You might have many tricks, but you will not do them on command, you will do them as you feel like it. Also like your dad. Best thing? You love to sing, and you love to dance.

We are so proud of you, and we cannot imagine life without you. But there are a few things you must know:

-I love your dad. He's still my number one. One day you'll leave me, and you'll love another woman. Your dad will always be with me, and by then, he'll be taking me on vacations to Hawaii to lay on the beach and drink toddies. You will be figuring professional life out and having babies that I can spoil and give back.
-Also, we have house rules. Respect the bill-payers. All involved tenants will do chores, and you will say like your father used to say, "I am willing." (This is a Hale family rule. And I like it.)
-Your parents will mess up. We will owe you lots of apologies and make lots of wrong decisions. We will hurt you, and we will make you mad. But you'll be okay. And you will always be able to tell us when we've hurt you. Also, I'll pay for your therapy,
-If you disrespect me and talk back, well....let's just say, don't. do. it.
-We will have fun as a family. It's a rule. It was my favorite rule in my house growing up, and I intend to implement it. There will always be discipline, but there will also always be jumps in mud puddles, slip 'n slides, parties with friends, playing in the rain, huge cardboard boxes, chocolate pie fights, and wrestling.
-There are more....but I'll teach you as we go.

And in the words of Tina Fey for her daughter, I pray this for you as my son:

"Guide her, protect her. When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age."
But most of all, know that you are loved unconditionally. You will never do anything bad enough to take away my love or your dad's love. It's that intense. But bigger than that, God loves you. And He wants you as His own. We believe that more than we believe anything. And when your Dad and I fail you (and we will), you will know that God's love covers that. And when you feel alone or ignored or like a failure, God's love will cover that too. So take His love--it's free, it's yours, and the greatness and fullness of it, you'll never understand it.

I love you, Braden Matthew Hale!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Uber-talented Baby Sister

A.K. in SBEC's Talent Show.....poster child for ADD. LOVE.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

31 Bits

I'm in love with this website.Read the women's stories who create these. I didn't tear up reading how amazing these women are. I swear. Sniff.
But seriously, just in case you wondered what I needed. I am in love with all of the necklaces and bracelets. Sigh.
Just thought you might need inspiration....

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I've fallen off the face of the earth.

I have some serious grant deadlines over the next couple of weeks and, I'm checking off my grant list: effective wording, consistent formatting, compilation of attachments, director reviews, etc.--all so an organization I really believe in can receive some funding for some really exciting programs! I do like my job, mainly because I believe in the people that I work for. Work without mission sucks. And I don't have to worry about that one!

More on that later.

It is also the season for birthday parties/graduations/vacation planning/weddings/showers and more. But I am thankful that the sun has come out....

I swear I'll fill you in on all the latest very soon. But in the meantime, just a cute picture of my 18 year old sister starring as Marion in the Music Man. She goes to MS State next year. I'm going to cry. A lot.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Braden's BFF:

Recently Braden played with his friend, Wyatt. They are so cute together. Isn't that shirt Wyatt is wearing trendy??

Don't you think someone should sell them?

Don't you think you'd buy it for tons of money because it's so fashionable?

{{Comment mom makes these shirts with appliques. She's got all sorts--pirate ships, owls, monograms, cupcake, giraffe, lion, crab, and many more . They're my favorites.}}
Rox and I recently braved a trip to the Tunica outlets with the three boys. They all squished in the backseat. Eli entertained the other two, and for a moment, Roxanne and I thought our lives were pleasant and sweet.

Isaac and Mary backed out at the last minute because Isaac got sick. ISAAC--DON'T DO THAT AGAIN! I missed your adorable and most entertaining responses/reactions/expressions that are going to get me my tickets to the Ellen Degeneres show when I tell her you're my son.
Remember the post about our failures as yard-ers? Yes. I made up that word. Leave me alone.

I also am a plant killer.

I would now officially like to blame it on my mom. She has a black thumb. She can play a mean game of tennis, she can give you all the wisdom about mothering you need, and she can sing like a bird. But don't ask her to babysit your plants.

My grandmothers are both excellent plant keepers and my mother-in-love and father-in-love (I saw that somewhere. Doesn't it make in-law sound better?) have the mother of all green thumbs. Jed's mom grew up in heaven--the best farm in Iowa that you could possibly imagine--and she learned a thing or two about greenery. The in-loves have a thriving garden every year and gorgeous flowers, plants, and trees everywhere on their property. They work really hard on it.

This year I have planted a few herbs to "get back on the horse."

Don't judge. I'm starting small. And Braden helped.

And he played with his friend, Isaac, while he dug up my seeds. If they don't grow, I'll blame B this time.Psych! I might have stolen this picture from Mary's blog. She'll probably sue me because she owns the copywright. But it was worth the ensuing suing because I found it humorous that the day after I took these pics, Mary had posted that picture. It was like we had a playdate from afar.
Oh, and also, Braden has received his top two teeth from the Reverse Tooth Fairy. I'm afraid we'll have to change his last name to Rieves as this is a dominant trait in the Rieves family.

Monday, April 11, 2011

From Fear to Freedom

My family is often viewed as stable, functioning, and spiritually successful (whatever that even means). And my husband is great. He treats me well, he loves me, he has other men hold him accountable to loving me, and he works hard and feels called to his position at NICS. I also have a very healthy, easy going (overall) son. I have incredible friends who love me unconditionally and one in particular who has loved me since 6th grade--through everything including my being a plain old really bad friend. I have a part-time job that I can do "from home" that brings in extra income and allows me to do something I feel charged to do--stay at home with my son (NOT because I think working moms are wrong--I think they're right too. But that's another post).

But it is not enough. I struggle with fear, anxiety, guilt, resentment, jealousy, bitterness, and many more unbecoming nouns. No matter how "put together" my life looks, it is not. My family has issues, Jed and I disagree, I frustrate my friends and that frustrates me, my son tries my patience, and although I know you'll find this shocking--changing diapers, heating and cutting up food, giving snacks, reading baby books, playing with toys, etc. does not always make me feel sexy or fulfilled. Call me ungrateful. Call me thankless. Call me spoiled. All of the above are true.

Yesterday one of my closest friends, Emily, said she'd found a book that we had agreed to read together years ago and we never had. She'd made it halfway through the book in the last few days, and we agreed to have dinner tomorrow night because we like to eat and because we like each other. She's another that's made it many years with me....mark of a true friend. We will also be talking about this book:

I picked it up this morning and started to read Rose Marie Miller's words:

In my blindness and bitterness, I developed coping strategies. For example, I love order; it seems to promise so much. I believed that if I had outward order, then my heart would be at peace. This strategy worked until my first crisis, when I discovered that I could not control myself or my circumstances....I wanted freedom. Especially freedom from the guilt that stormed into my life when I become embittered with the people who had destabilized my world.

Pierce me through the heart, woman! I just love how you make me feel vulnerable and embarrassed!

But then:

Two seventeenth-century theologians were debating on the nature of grace. One said that grace is like one parent guiding a toddler across the room to the other parent, who has an apple for the child. The nearby parent watches the youngster; if he almost falls, this parent will hold him for a moment so that he can still cross the room under his own power. But the other theologian had a different view. For him grace comes to us only in the discovery of our total helplessness. In his concept, we are like a caterpillar in a ring of fire. Deliverance can only come from above.

Excited to keep reading and excited to embrace deliverance.

Running now. B is yelling in his high chair because he needs attention. Or oatmeal.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Do You Read Blogs A Lot?

I accidentally posted the title alone the other day. I had two quite humorous comments and I'd like to say I'm sorry! I was suddenly and dramatically distracted by a course of events that classified me as a world changer--changing diapers and teaching Braden where his eyes and nose are.

One of my favorite blogs, Rage Against the Minivan, pointed out some blog tricks that are awesome, and I thought I would do the same. IF you like to read blogs (Mom) or just my blog (Minnie), click on this link: Rage Against the Minivan

It will teach you much about the "Follow" button on blogs. Like the one on mine that looks like this:

It will also teach you about Google Reader where you can read all of your blogs in one place. And then it will teach you about the amazing NEXT button that I have now installed. I love it.

Have a lovely day, and stay outta this nastay rain!