Monday, September 3, 2012


It's blurry. But I'm too busy to fix it. I have more important mom things to do. Like reading more quotes on pinterest. For those of you who aren't moms, that's all we do. Get on pinterest and facebook. Trust me.

I'll come back to tell you about my week away from social media. Maybe I'll get all self righteous and start talking about how awesome I am for doing that. Oh, wait. No, I won't.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rolling in the Weep (Cheese Sauce, I Know)

I spend much of my days frustrated and tired and broken.

I think a lot about the huge number of people who are homeless, poor, abused, depressed, unemployed, sick, abandoned, hurting, and dying.

I really do. It utterly and completely breaks my heart in a way that sometimes makes me weepy.

Sometimes I'm just vacuuming or reading an article or making Bennett some milk (the evil, unhealthy formula that I feed him.), and I get all teary eyed because I overwhelmed with something deeply painful in this world, and I want it fixed.

But most of all--I get really weepy for orphans, and I get really weepy for children who are in horrible home environments. Jed's probably tired of my weepiness over this one.

We have several friends who have adopted children and are in the process right now. Asian children, newborn children, African children, two year old children, American children, sibling groups, 19 year old children, children with learning or developmental disabilities, and perfectly healthy children.

It makes me so excited. It makes me a little more weepy though. Happy weepy--it's way different and much more fun.

No--I'm not announcing our intent to adopt. We don't know what the future will bring for our little family. But for now, I got weepy this afternoon over these boys.

Amidst all the sad things in this world--God gave me and Jed two healthy, happy little bugs. I tear up when I think about how awesome it is that we have each other. That even though they will sin like the little rascals they are, and their parents will let them down, and we'll all fight sometimes, we have each other. And we won't leave each other. And we all get to experience love every day. We all get to take care of each other and we all get to teach each other a million little lessons.

These are two moments I want burned into my mind. They make me know glory is going to be awesome. And they make me thankful that in this terrible, awful world, there is a God full of mercy and grace who loves me and holds me every day.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Servanthood. Psh.

Unfortunately, I obviously suck at remembering and prioritizing this blog. But here I am tonight.

Y'all, one thing I love to do is work out at the gym and listen to podcast sermons. A friend told me about Mark Driscoll (don't judge. i'm bad at staying in touch with the pop christian culture and didn't know who he was. hello, mars hill, i love you.), and I have been listening to his marriage series. Youch. They're pretty killer. And, by killer I mean awesome.

So this morning I listened to that man talk all about serving one another in a marriage. I found two things that he said particularly helpful:

1. Serving others together is not serving one another. It's good and all, but it is not serving one another. So start serving one another too.

2. Serving your family is not serving one another. It is serving your family. So start serving one another.

There was much more. And these points were obviously more profound, but I think ya'll should just listen to his sermons too. Just trust me. Get em on your iPhone, hook it  up in the car, and tell those precious, darling kiddos to shut their yappers while you listen.


Get it? Because they NEVER shut their yappers?
This is Jed serving me--digging a shard of something outta my foot.
I need housewife worker's comp. True that.

First picture I remember taking with Jed. I was a sophomore, he was a junior.
I had a killah crush on him here, and I think he found out I existed 15 seconds before the picture.
My junior year, Jed's senior year. I was on homecoming court, and Jed was on the football team. The one that lost the homecoming game. He was a bit angry at the thought of taking a happy picture immediately following the atrocity.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Best Full-time Job

I am looking for a full-time job. It is hysterical to me that when I go to work with grown-ups, I will get paid money. And it will be easier than what I am doing here now. It will. Someone might say "thank you" when I do something nice. I won't have to tell them, "Say thank you." Someone might even ask me how my night last night was or how that dinner was that I'd been planning. No one will cry because they want applesauce instead of bananas or outside instead of inside. I won't have to put anyone in time out. I'll have deadlines that are weeks away, not in 5 minutes. I'll dress in cute clothing instead of yoga pants and a t-shirt with no-make up and my hair in a hot mess on top of my head. I'll go to meetings where people don't talk on top of each other or scream until someone listens. I'll probably even eat lunch at a table instead of while chasing children.

But you know--I'll probably still have goldfish on my pants where my kids hugged me. Just a thought. And I'll probably keep it on my pants because it reminds me of them and of how they love me and how I'm the luckiest person in the whole world because I have two little rascals who drive me nuts and never thank me and are loud and dirty and stinky and demanding.

Those kids really are the best job in the whole world. And they're really cute too.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Braden, On Your Second Birthday


I can still hear your first scream, imagine your sweet newborn face, and smell your newborn smell. But you are now two. You are learning to talk, look like a boy, and smell like adventure. You like trucks, sticks, mud, water, and airplanes. You are loud, you throw back your head confidently when you drink from your sippy cup, you refuse assistance, and you throw a ball like a champ. 
You are all boy.
You are sweet too. You love your mama, ask everyone around you--"You okay?," love your family, and like to help. This year we gave you my favorite thing we’ll ever give you—a sibling. A brother, Bennett. You adore Bennett. Your dad jokes that if we need to punish you, we should just take Bennett away. You pet him, you kiss him when you’ll kiss no one else, you make him laugh hysterically, you give him toys and animals, you feed him bottles, and you insist on doing all of this on your own.
You are also bad. You learned how to say “mine,” take things that aren’t yours, and throw tantrums. You step right up to a line and your press your toe on it while you look around grinning. Yaya and Bapa say that's how I was, and there's something in me that makes me giggle at your badness.

You have an iron will. You’ll hear stories your whole life, but know that your dad and I believe you will be a leader. You will learn discipline, self-control, and patience, and you will become a courageous, confident man who does justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with your God. That is my prayer for that badness. Because I know our God—and He takes bad and makes it so, so good.
You are obsessed with playing with your dad. When he walks in the door from work, you refuse to hug him but you yell something that sounds like, “Dada—chechu!” (Translation:  “Dada—get you”) which means that you’d like him to chase you around the house telling you he’s going to get you.  Before he answers or even has time to kiss me hello, with a mischievous grin--you run away confidently because you know your daddy will chase you. 

You are confident your daddy will chase you. 

I love that. I love that he’ll help you understand how your other Daddy chases you. 
The act of parenting is utterly changing my soul. It is not a sudden thing, but it is a process that I feel begun the day you were born. With all the fun comes nights of anxiety, fears over doing this whole thing “right,” and exhaustion because I know I never will. Leaning into Jesus has taken on an entirely new meaning. It is not just a path nor help that I need. I once heard that we are like caterpillars in a ring of fire--the only way out is from above. I think that sums it up well.

Your dad and I are working hard to learn how to honor your personality, nurture your gifts, and give you the boundaries that you crave. We want your heart changed, not just your actions. And we want our hearts changed too.

You have changed us. You teach us how to love unconditionally, you make us laugh all the time, and you fill our home with noise! I love the way you take a running belly flop into life.

I adore you and there is nothing you could do to take that away, Braden Matthew!

I love you,

Your Mama

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bennett's Procedure Update

Before I begin the update, I really have to say thank you. Jed and I were entirely blown away at the outpouring of encouragement and love, and we feel honored to call so many of you our friends and family. We received so many texts, facebook comments and messages, and e-mails that we literally did not have time to respond to them all. Our fabulous iPhones were jam packed with whispers of encouragement when we had chances to check them, and it was incredibly uplifting and beautiful for us. We did receive the comments quickly, and the Holy Spirit used them to comfort us. Thank you for being the body of Christ to us when we needed you.

Last Thursday we arrived at the hospital at 6 a.m. in order to check in. Bennett slept in his carseat until close to seven, and when he woke up, he did not seem hungry. This was something I was incredibly worried over as we were not allowed to feed him after 2 in the morning. He is usually starving, and he was smiley and beautiful, and my eyes literally filled with tears when I realized God was already answering the prayers of our community.

This is after the nurse took blood. I think I was more traumatized than Bennett.
When we were first taken back, a nurse had to take Bennett's blood. Hindsight--This was the most difficult part of the whole day. It took awhile for her to find a good vein, and he screamed for probably 10 minutes. Jed was stable and comforted him while I stood 5 feet away slowly losing it until I was a puddle with my fingers in my ears. During the last bit, I was able to suck it up and kiss on him while she drew the blood out.
My mom calls Bennett our koala. The way a koala bear is to a tree is the way Bennett is to whoever is holding him. Imagine the snuggling capabilities here. He truly has such a calming, sweet demeanor.
After his blood was drawn, my parents, Ashley, and Jed's mom were able to come back to see us. We prayed as a family over the boy, and I was feeling awesome. Really. I was trusting of the incredible doctors and nurses who were explaining everything so well, and ready to get the procedure over with!

The nurses sent our families back out to the waiting room, and Jed and I followed the nurses and doctor through the halls while we held Bennett. They took us to pick out a toy for Bennett, which was so incredibly meaningful. Right--so we picked one Braden would like and we gave it to him later. I'd call us resourceful, but I don't want to brag.

The nurses then asked us to hand the baby over. We kissed on him and told him we loved him as his eyes filled with tears....wait, I forgot, he actually had no idea what was happening and went willingly to the sweet nurse because she probably thought she had good food.

So Jed and I walked down the halls back to the waiting room, and when we walked out of the doors and saw parents, grandparents, my sister, Jed's boss and his wife (who are also sweet friends of the family), and my friend--every emotion that I'd felt in the previous weeks as well as that morning hit me upside the head. I cried into Jed's chest for a few minutes because I have a little flair for drama. Just kidding--I actually tried to will myself to stop and it only made it worse. But I wasn't kidding about the flair for drama. I try not to--but I'm dramatic. You'd be bored if I wasn't.

You're welcome.

Back to story.

So the next part is boring and involves lots of food, coffee, looking at youtube videos, and my grandfather talking about family genealogy. All these things helped to keep my mind from fa-reaking out.

And a couple of hours later--I got a call on my cell phone saying that they were finishing up and moving him to recovery ASAP.

Half an hour later--the doctor was showing our family a video of the cath, the balloon that they used to stretch his pulmonary valve, and his beating heart. Incredible. Modern technology meets science meets anatomy meets cardiology. I'm totally blown away by it.

So then they kicked our family out and Jed and I were whisked away to recovery to see our boy. Selfishly--I was glad we were alone. I didn't want anyone talking to me and just wanted to stare at that gorgeous child.

And I did.

He was so perfect. The nurses said he talked to them until the gas made him fall asleep at the beginning of surgery, and in recovery, he was tired, but he was perfect.

Perfect I say!

His legs were strapped to the bed for a few hours so that he could not mess up the incisions.
Seriously, Rox brought a goodie bag the day before. She's possibly the most thoughtful and encouraging human ever. I need lessons stat!

And Lill misread a text I sent and thought I said I was going to be hungry. So she made muffins. FOUR kinds. Yes. I know I'm spoiled. And I'm glad she misread that, because I WAS hungry, and I did eat those muffins.
Jed was finally able to hold his boy.
In love with them.

Aunt Ash came back up to the hospital to visit.

Kisses for my boy.

Bapa and Yaya came back to spoil Bennett a bit. Look at that fat baby!

Braden was able to play with Wyatt (or Wydatt as he calls him) for the day, and they were able to play with Isaac too--who probably taught them algebra--because Isaac is like a professor already.

These are our relieved faces after we crashed on the hospital bed and chair. We were exhausted!

Wish I got more pics of his visitors, but I love this of Bennett with his Bapa and Yaya!

And this is TWO days later. Braden begged to have Bennett in his crib with him.

God really carried us through that day, and I feel like I'm finally getting recovered. I promise that I was more traumatized than anyone. And this makes me very happy. Bennett has little incision marks as well as some bruising, but his spirits are back to normal, and he's recovered so well. He's a little warrior man, and we are blessed beyond belief to have him as our son.

Bennett has an appointment with the cardiologist again in two weeks, and we are hoping that the echo shows that the procedure worked as well as the doctors thought, and that he will not have to have the procedure again.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bennett's Heart Procedure

Bennett Anderson Hale, our second son, was born on December 13, 2011.
I found this in my den during a lazy day
As soon as he was born, the nurses informed us that I had a two vessel chord. Most have a three vessel chord but for some reason, my body decided it wanted to use only two vessels to send life-sustaining goodness to Bennett. During the development and growth of a baby, several miracles occur. By several I mean millions. And at the same time that my body chose a two vessel chord, it also formed Bennett's heart and kidneys.

I grew a heart and kidneys.

I grew a heart and kidneys.

I grew a heart and kidneys.

No matter where the emphasis, it's pretty miraculous, huh??


I'm back!

Long story short: During this period, Bennett's kidneys were perfectly formed. His heart, on the other hand, was formed with a flaw: a pulmonary valve stenosis.

According to the American Heart Association this means:

 A thickened or fused heart valve that does not fully open. The pulmonary valve allows blood to flow out of the heart, into the pulmonary artery and then to the lungs.

A pediatrician heard a heart murmur in Bennett the morning after he was born. Immediately, Dr. Dane Douglas, a pediatric cardiologist, was called in and he found the pulmonary valve stenosis causing the murmur. The walls of his valve are thick, and therefore, the blood has a more difficult time flowing through into the pulmonary artery.

As he has gotten older, Bennett's heart has gotten worse. Therefore, this Thursday, Bennett will have minor surgery to repair his heart. It is called a valvuloplasty and here are the details from PubMed Health:

Percutaneous balloon pulmonary dilation (valvuloplasty) may be used when no other heart defects are present. This surgery is done through an artery in the groin. The doctor sends a flexible tube (catheter) with a balloon attached to the end up to the heart. The balloon stretches the opening of the valve.

Jed and I are confident in the abilities of the doctors that we have been referred to and have seen God's hand moving since the beginning. Some cool things:

-After we were assigned a "random" cardiologist (Dr. Douglas), we found out that he was our pediatrician's first choice for who he'd have us see. Our pediatrician is Dr. Harry Phillips who we utterly love and adore. He has known Dr. Douglas for several years and loves him.
-After we were set to visit said "random" cardiologist, I found out that it is the very doctor that my good friend, Lillian, works for. Lillian had a heart transplant several years ago and respects and loves this cardiologist and his wife. Good reference if you'd asked me!
-Our visits to the cardiologist's office were amazing. Mary, Dr. Douglas' wife, performed two of the echocardiograms, and we fell in love with her as well.
 -We have been referred to a surgeon, Dr. Rush Waller, who we have heard amazing things about from a close friend of mine and who has also performed caths for Lillian. Lill knows the Memphis cardiologist world pretty well, and I trust her opinion greatly.

Praise God for calming our fears with much of the above.

Sunday Bennett was baptized and it was such a sweet time with our family and friends.
My daddy baptized Bennett on Sunday.

Remember the pictures on this same couch 19 months ago? Yeah...the little boys have grown up quite a bit.

Braden truly adores his little brother.

Braden kissing on Bennett. This is a regular occurrence in our house.

Picture fails are probably my favorite part of parenting. I don't think I need to explain what was going on here.

We'll never have a great family shot again.

So many friends have surrounded us during this time with Bennett. We are so grateful for our church community, our small group, our family, our close friends, and the NICS community. Here are the Youngs with our little man.
Please pray for us as we prepare for Thursday with Bennett:
-Pray that the surgery would be successful and that the surgeon's hands would be steady.
-Pray for the emotional wreck of a person that I might be that morning. :)
-Pray for Jed and me as we see Bennett through the recovery hour. Specifically--please pray that Bennett would come out of anesthesia well and with no complications.
-Pray that the Holy Spirit would move on Thursday. Jed and I long to see Christ in everything, and we long to give Him glory for that.
-Pray that God would draw our family together through this. Jed and I have had some major stress on our marriage these last few months (personal issues, discipline issues with Braden, the chaos of two children, figuring out my work situation, etc.), but God has used it to draw us together in a really new way. We have been given opportunities to know each other in new ways, and our friendship has grown through that. Pray that this would continue and that we would feel and know the Holy Spirit is responsible and at work!

Thank you in advance for praying with us! We have been so humbled at the amount of people who have loved us well through this. God has truly blessed us beyond anything we deserve.

Friday, March 30, 2012

iPhone Dump

A week in March--in no particular order because I truly am not a perfectionist and do not feel like putting them in order. Get used to it. It's like a state of the union address. Whitney=scattered.

Nate, Ashley's fiance, plays the pedal steel for a band called Unkle Daddy. I'm not exactly the biggest country music fan, but this group could turn me into one. For real, ya'll.

They packed out the bar Saturday night and we had an awesome night.Braden and his friend, Ju-Ju rockin' the swings at the park. I'm not sure what Braden is more obsessed with--Ju-ju or swinging.
Only picture this month of me and hubs. A girl at church told me that when I don't have my kids, I act "fancy and free." This was our night out watching Unkle Daddy.

I like to think this is my fancy and free look.
Just to prove that this is what our house is like 70% of the time.
Our oldest B man loves to ride anything with wheels. When he's at his Grandpa's, he's begging to ride the Gator, and when he's with his Bapa, he's begging to ride the golf cart. Here is a depiction of my brain from 4-7 p.m. I made some delicious Beef Stroganoff in the crockpot and proceeded to make broccoli to go with it in the microwave. The next morning I opened the microwave to find this still in it. Brain=fried. Thank you, children.
My mamma smocks my boys stuff. I love it.
Bennett man. He's such a stud. And he's got me wrapped around his finger!
These boys rock my world. In the best way possible. They make me need Jesus. And boy do I need Jesus!