Monday, August 11, 2014


Asher accepted Christ about a week before a tornado changed our lives back in April. It was perfect timing, because when I had to tell him that we'd lost his best friend, I could assure him they'd be together again in heaven.

He started asking to be baptized soon after, but we wanted to make sure he REALLY understood. He was so devastated when he missed the last baptism, and I felt so sad to discourage him at all. But I had to know it was HIS decision, HIS declaration. I wasn't even sure today that we were going to let him. I wasn't sure if he was ready. But when I stepped in the water tonight thinking I'd just be photographing other peoples children declaring their love for Jesus, our children's pastor approached me and recounted the conversation they'd had this afternoon. He got it.

So last night, in the hands of his dad, his stepdad, and our beloved friend (his pastor), my precious Asher told the world that he has decided to follow Jesus. 

Thank you, God, for letting me keep him for eternity.

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18: 2-4

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


I’ve always been a big fan of Julia Child. After watching the movie Julie & Julia back in 2008, I felt so intrigued by her that I spent hours researching her life. She became, in my mind, this paragon of womanhood: an adventurer, an adoring wife, the kind of lady that followed her dreams even when they weren’t popular

  I think of her often in my kitchen. Her cookbooks, full of tasks way over my head, sit untouched on my shelves, a romantic reminder of her wisdom. “Never apologize,” she would say on her cooking show when she made a mistake. And I remind myself of this when over-salt supper.  

One of Julia’s bits of wisdom has embedded deeper in me than the rest, though. I’ve carried it far from the kitchen and into everything that I do. In an episode of The French Chef, as she prepared to flip a pan of potato pancakes, she said in passing “You must muster up the courage of your conviction.” It seems almost silly when applied to flipping mash. But chew on it for a moment.  

You must muster up the courage of your conviction.  

Have you been there? Have you ever believed in something so fully that it forced you into a crossroads?  The choice between what is right and what is easy is usually much murkier than you would expect. Especially when the other way holds promises of ease and comfort and your conviction requires a divergence from what you once may have even planned.  

I’ve been there. It came in our marriage in the form of a vasectomy that we just couldn’t go through with. The conviction came in the form of God saying He didn’t want us to close the door on another child. Our sixth child.   
When you have a lot of kids, people feel at liberty to share their lofty opinions on your family.  Basic etiquette and the pre-school rule, “If you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all, go out the window. Even for well-mannered me, it gets a little old.  When seventy-year-old men stop me in the grocery store and ask, “Don’t you know what causes that?” I’m incredibly tempted to just say, “Well, I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of things,” and then leave them to ponder it. 

 But I don’t. Because I’m a good Christian woman, I forgive them for their accidental rudeness and simply respond, “My children are my greatest blessing.” 
If I’m feeling extra Southern, I might even throw in, “Bless your heart.” 

Even when I am sure in the belief of a big family, it’s hard to diverge. When I hear a dozen comments every time I leave the house that I have SO many kids, TOO many kids, I can’t help but feel the crush of cultural expectations. People begin to translate large family size as irresponsibility. People start using terms like “more kids than she can handle” and “socially selfish”. They make comments about finances and sex lives and all sorts of things that don’t concern them.  

When I took the pregnancy test a few weeks ago that told me a tiny life was forming deep inside of me, I cried. I fell heavy into my husband’s arms and devoured his reassurances that this was exactly what God wanted for us. I believed him in my heart, but my brain needed to catch up. I asked him not to share the news until I could do what I needed to do. I had to muster up the courage of my convictions.  

I’m still afraid. I harbor the same fear all moms have. Will I be enough for them? Even on the best day I am outweighed by the pile of laundry next to the washing machine. There are miserable moments when I just want to lie down with the two teething toddlers and cry with them. The cycle of “cook and clean” in this house would overwhelm anyone. And sometimes I get frustrated that there isn’t more time for me to be just a woman. Because, underneath all of these children, that’s all I am 

But I’m a woman standing on a solid foundation. I am a woman with the voice of God in her ear saying, “This is what I made you for.”

 I am a woman emboldened by the courage of her convictions.   I look at each of my four sons and my step-daughter and I feel that courage grow. When I serve them dinner, hold a cool rag to a fevered head, pray them back to sleep after a nightmare, I hear God tell me that I am worthy of the task. When they play, and laugh and interact with each other, when they are passionate about something, excited to learn, I see the opportunities God has given me to influence the future. And when I mess up and fail them, I am reminded of an amazing grace, and I thank Him even more then for allowing me to be their mother.  

 Psalms 127:4-5 says “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, sare the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them…”  

I cannot tell you exactly why I feel so strongly about having a large family. I just do. And even though I sometimes question myself, and surely other people question me, I know this to be absolutely true:  I will never regret my kids. Individually, each of my children is worth the weight of motherhood. Each of them has changed me and I feel confident that with their hearts and the foundation they are being given, they will change the world.  Together, they are my prize at the end of the day. They each make up the threads of this incredibly vibrant and beautiful tapestry that is our family. 
So it is with the utmost courage and pride, I announce to you that our family is growing again. This child will be exactly who he or she is meant to be, and I am so blessed that it is meant to be mine.   

We welcome you with open arms, wee one. I cannot wait to know you.