Thursday, December 12, 2013


So, our Holiday Season, started off like a country song. Our dog went missing. Thanksgiving Night in the cold, dark, streets of South Sacramento, while some of you were hitting up black Friday sales, we were searching for a little three-legged black dog. The next day, our planned Christmas tree hunting day, we skipped and instead went hunting for our dog, hitting up animal shelters, putting up signs, yelling in the streets. Good ol' fashioned Holiday fun!

We eventually made it out to find a Christmas Tree. We visited our usual spot and searched for the perfect tree to cut down. We searched and searched. The kids got dirty and collected stuff. Each kid got a chance to ride on Daddy's shoulders for a better view, I snapped know the usual stuff. My Holiday traditions, maybe your holiday tradition, by the look of the line of cars driving out with a tree, a bunch of other's tradition. After searching for what felt like hours with kids who were more interested in the dirt and fallen branches than finding an actual tree, Steve and I looked at each other and I think the light bulb went off in both of our heads...What are we doing?
So we left. 
No tree in tow.  
No kids crying about it.
We got away from being tied to a tradition that really wasn't that important. 
Later that night we regrouped and hit up a tree lot. One that did all the work for us. One that was lit up. One that forced you to snuggle and bundle up on a cold night. One that fit us. I don't think I've ever seen my kids this excited to pick a tree! It was magical for them, they ran around and chased each other. They each picked their favorite tree and in the end we went home with the prettiest tree we've ever had. Happy hearts, blurry pictures and a Christmas tree to start our season!

One thing I've come across when you become a mom, is that everyone wants to give you advice. The Holidays hold no exception. People will tell you the best place to get a tree, the best way to make Hot Chocolate, The types of gifts to get your kids (something they need, want, read...yada yada yada). Soon you start to think, "Maybe this is what I'm suppose to be doing."
I am so grateful that our Savior, our king was not born like a Traditional King. I'm so grateful that his story was much different from the world's and that his birth was out of love for us. This Holiday, I'm asking myself this, "Does it hold to a spirit of Love that God gave us when he gave us his son?" I don't want to hold so tightly to traditions that they overlook the beauty of the Season. A nontraditional birth deserves a little broken tradition, no? Don't be afraid to change those traditions, drop them, reassess them. So we're not chopping down a tree this year. I have yet to send out a Christmas card (It may not happen), and I returned that Elf on the Shelf, poor guy never even made it out of my car. Instead, we've made a mess painting ornaments (the aftermath has sat on my table for the last few days), we've cuddled and watched Polar express a hundred times, we've turned on our Nutcracker CD and danced around outdoing each others 'Ballet' moves. We are ushering in that Spirit of Love and not tradition. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


As I left the restaurant, the girls conversation began to resonate with me even more. I realized that true, I never made a 'List' for my future husband, but I was still guilty of the same crime this young girl had committed. I realized that the last few years I had been writing a list for God, every now and then I'll throw in an obligatory "...but whatever you want Lord" but still, I had given him my own set of parameters. Ask me how many children I want...4 biological, 2 adopted...God Willing. Ask me where I'd like to live one day...a home by my parents, not too big, but with a huge yard...God Willing. And my list continues...God Willing. I became overwhelmed with the lack of trust I have for God. I realize that had I made a 'List' while single, for my future husband, it would not have even come close to the amazing man God had already created for me. The qualities on that list would have seemed so trivial compared to the qualities God provided for me. Yet here I am, with a trivial list, knowing that God has a list of his own for me and my family. He has something much greater than I could ever anticipate, I just need to let go. I let go of  'Lists' and I say 'Lord, I want what you have for me' 'I want to go where you lead me' 'I want to live, walk, run, soar where you place me.' I am free when I put down the parameters I've set up for myself and for my God. I am free.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Steve and I are in it with this parenting stuff. I mean we're becoming legit parents, with school and sports and talking little humans asking us questions! Lord, help us! I don't know how other parents feel, but half the time I feel like I'm winging it! On occasion I'll do something that will make me look like maybe I read a parenting book some time ago, but then I'll have something come up that throws me off.

We recently took Henry on his first school field trip to the pumpkin patch. Excited about the milestone, Steve and I both tagged along. During the field trip a little blond boy sort of pushed him, nothing to call Dr. Phil about, but enough to make my mommy blood boil. I wondered which little boy my son was, is he the one with no friends, the one that kids pushed aside? Sure, none of them were really doing secret handshakes or walking in unison, telling inside jokes, but just the idea of my son getting pushed around made me panic a little. I looked at my husband and said to him "We've got to switch schools, did you see that kid push him?" Steve assured me that pushing happens in all schools, and this is when I discover that I have loosely based my parenting strategies on the 80s hit...The Karate Kid. I explain to him, "My son is Ralph Macchio, and these other kids are those mean karate boys, the blond one. We know what happens, those boys were always beating up on him!" Thankfully my husband thinks more clearly than I do and gently tells me, "Yes baby, but he beat them in the end." I guess we can stick it out at this school, but my son definitely will be learning Karate!

I am probably certifiable when it comes to parenting, and I'm not referring to a parenting certificate. Too often have the words, "I'm sure I'm messing up my kids" been uttered out of my mouth, sometimes kidding and sometimes not. I have often prayed, "Lord, my kids are yours, I have no idea what I'm doing and I know you can do a much better job than I can" most of this is true, but this weekend I heard something at the convention that beat anything any parenting book could teach me. I trust God so much for everything in my life, I trust him with our finances, I trust him with my marriage, my problems, the big things and the little things. With all this trust, why can't I trust him that he picked the perfect mother for my kids? He picked this nutty, karate kid metaphor throwing, quick to react, mom. There is something in me he saw and needed to carry out his plans for my children and although I may not always understand why I have to trust that he knew what he was doing. I am grateful for a God who would choose me, who would give me a chance. Grateful for a God who maybe chuckles a little when he hears my 'Karate Kid' metaphors and still yet knows I can do the job he's given me.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths"
-Proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I have heard that if you go to MOMcon, there is a possibility you can come back changed. I know, the name sounds a little...silly...begs the question, did we learn how to change diapers, braid hair, sing lullabies?  No, No and No. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the amazing speakers and workshops, the lessons and scriptures that filled me this weekend, broke me, built me up, inspired me. First I'll share some pictures for those of you who come for those. I was a little too wrapped up to get many during the conference, but had fun snapping a few while out for coffee with my sister during a break.  
Inside the conference I was inspired. I could not wait to come home and write. One speaker after another I saw how God used women, wives, moms for mighty...MIGHTY purposes! On the last day I had so much stirring inside me and no clue where to start. I can tell you, if God has mighty plans for me, then he has his work cut out for him. Are you ever afraid to take that first step? I began to question what I would need to do, what would need to change, where would I start. As God stirred my heart, questions flooded inside my head, "Who do you want me to become Lord?" "What do you want me to do?" "What move do I make?" "What's next?"
I sat as the worship service began. I found myself alone in a full auditorium, I pushed out the thoughts, the noise that polluted my head and for a moment began to focus on the awesome God I served. I lifted my hands and I worshipped a God who uses the unprepared, the mediocre, the scared! Every thought, every fear I pushed out for that moment and focused, pressed in and praised God. In that moment I heard God whisper to me..."I want you just like this!" Let me tell you...I...was...broken. He did not want me to worry about what came next, he did not want me to think about who I needed to become, he wanted I am...right now in this moment and pressed in to only him.
"I want you just like this"...He is looking for the most simple form of me. This is the Serena he will use, the one that although inspired and excited by the lives and words of others comes to him first...comes to him humbly...comes to him and instead of asking him a million questions, listens. Listens to his whispers, his directions, his plans for me.
"Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” - John 4:23-24 (MSG)
"I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward." -Jeremiah 7:23-24 (NIV)
"With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" -Micah 6:6-8 (NKJV)
Friends, he is using us, family. I pray that we hear his voice, we listen to his whispers, we come to him how we are, messed up, unpolished, overwhelmed, scared but eager to obey and let him show us what's next!  

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I have been going through some of our pictures that I took over the summer. The ones I'm sharing today are from Sacramento's Annual Chalk It Up event. It's amazing to see the progression of the kids from when we started at the event. I think it would not be an off statement to say, 'They came, They saw, They conquered'! I brought clean little children into the event, and when we left they had gotten to watch the chalk artist do their thing, they found some chalk of their own, they danced, they got their face painted and left as happy dirty 'chalk artist' in their own respect.
"But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”"  -Matthew 19:14 (NKJV)
For such is the Kingdom of Heaven! Heaven, made up of people, like these children. If Chalk it Up, could represent a little slice of life, then how do I stack up? When God walks me through, am I soaking in the wonder and beauty of the art that surrounds me? When he hands me the chalk, do I tell him that I'm no artist, or do I gratefully take it and jump right in? When he ask me if I want to get my face painted, do I laugh and say, no, I don't want to look silly? Or do I fully commit, and not only get my face painted, but I become a tiger and roar! Do I leave the same way I entered? Do my hands get dirty? Do I care? Do I find others willing to get covered in chalk and delight in the gift that God has given us?
Walk with me for a moment as I examine my faith, as I see how childlike it is. As I determine if I'm fully trusting God and depending on him like a child, with no inhibitions of where he will lead me.
"Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,  and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."  -Matthew 18: 2-4 (NKJV)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


And then it happened. The day just snuck up on me, I should have seen it coming, but I turned my back on it and suddenly it was here, tapping on my shoulder, pushing me aside and opening the door for Henry. That's right, Preschool. I'm going to warn you, this post has an overwhelming amount of pictures of my little guy on his first day, but it's a pretty big deal over here in this house.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm officially in it...I'm in this Motherhood thing big time! I've got to figure this whole mom of a 'big kid' thing out, because I don't know what I'm doing! School pick-ups, field trips, soccer practice. Thankfully there were no tears (from either of us), in fact, this kid was pretty excited and didn't look back twice after he said good bye. He even brought his little toy camera, just like mommy to take some first day shots of his own. 

And then, that was it...we officially had a preschooler. It should be noted that his sister took it very well...
The night before school I asked Henry what he might want to wear. I recommended one of his bow ties because I know it makes him feel handsome. He wasn't feeling it and his daddy teased me, assuring me that I would get our son beat up. I realized, this whole school thing might be tougher for me. I decided to keep my 'first day of school' pep talks to myself...or at least save them for another time. I wanted to tell him that if he got nervous or had trouble talking to the other kids, just sing because it makes him happy, and it would keep his mind off being nervous. Plus, who doesn't like to hear a good song? This is probably not the advice you give to a kid starting school...or so I'm told.
My heart a little discouraged, that I had no idea or sound advice to give my son, I began to think about Matthew 4. Matthew 4, is sort of the beginning of Jesus' ministry. Jesus had just been baptized, and now before he begins his work he is taken to the wilderness and tempted by Satan 3 times. I know...pretty serious thought to have considering my boy is just entering Preschool! I think I came to this thought, because while Jesus was tempted by Satan, and could have had a much 'easier' road had he just taken Satan up on what he was selling, he didn't. He remained true to himself, to his purpose, to who God created him to be. I think any parent has got to be proud when their child does not sell out who they are just for an 'easier' road or the road that does not get them 'beat up'
I wanted my son to start of his journey being himself, his wonderful, bow tie wearing, singing self or at least the sweet spirited boy God created. But he's doing great, even without the bow tie or singing or Mommy's awesomely awkward pep talks!   

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


 Today was the "Big" 20 week know the one that would tell us if girls would run the house or if boys would lead this pack of ours. I'm tickled 'pink' (yes, pun intended) to announce that it will be a little girl. She was pretty jazzed to be joining our family too, as you'll see from the somersault she was doing during the ultrasound...
The good news is, she's there, she's healthy, her heart is beating and she's growing more and more everyday! She is breech right now, but because I'm already doing a scheduled C-section, there was no worry or panic that came with that news. My son, who really wanted a brother, and had last week announced if it was another sister he would not like it, took the news really well. We had a good talk on how little sisters needed big brothers to protect them and help them fight bad guys, and that was good enough for him. At my last doctor appointment we couldn't hear the heart beat because my placenta is in front which makes it a little harder to detect, so seeing that heart beat and her roll around was an amazing feeling!
I'm reminded how I can trust God. His plan, his purpose. When we could not hear her little heart beat at the last appointment, I realized God had already written her story. He's already woven her life into mine. He's made plans for her and no amount of worry would change that. I had to trust him. She's there. I can't hear her, but she's there. I can barely feel kicks due to an anterior placenta, but she's there. God's there, he's reminding me to trust him. When I am unsure, he is covering me. When I am in doubt, he is saying 'lean on me, not on what you see or hear'. And I am so grateful to have a good God, who has plans for us all, including this baby girl of mine.
Thank you friends for celebrating with us today and sharing our joy!
"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track."
-Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I know. I know. It's been a real loooong time! Our hands have been full this summer. I'll fill you in later, I have to, I'm swimming in pictures to share. To be honest I have been quite useless these last couple of months. I've been learning to embrace, the season we are in. Okay, Okay, enough with that...I've had morning sickness and have been exhausted because Steve and I are expecting baby numero tres (baby #3). That is the season we are in! Pregnant and chasing after two little ones. But let me tell you...We. Are. EXCITED! We've got our hands full already, we're practically experts on juggling things with two, stuffing things in our pockets, carrying two drinks, buckling two into the car, so we figure, let's give three a try! Plus, that man can't keep his hands off of me. No, Serious, we've got our hands full, but our hearts are eager to welcome baby #3 into this world of ours. And so here it is...the proof to show you.... 
That little peanut is mine.
As light hearted as my announcement might be, we are extremely grateful for another baby and a good pregnancy thus far. We love prayers through out the pregnancy, we don't take any bit of it for granted. We are in our second trimester now and with each ultra sound and appointment, regardless of how many times we've done this, we are amazed by how precious this little life is and how incredible God is.
"The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”
-Numbers 6:24-26

Monday, June 3, 2013


We finished up our first round of tee ball recently. I love watching my little guy out there. I could not be a prouder mom, this kid doesn't have to run fast or hit the ball or know which base comes after second, I am already sold as his number one fan. Something happens when you're a parent, you want your kids to so desperately succeed you push them to be their best and try their hardest.
I have had a tee ball moment the last couple of weeks, I've discovered what kind of mom I am. I am the mom who has no athletic ability to give my kids. No advice on hitting, no cut-throat attitude, I am a mom with not much to offer. When I was younger, I wasn't very good at sports and it has spilled over into my adult hood. It's not a big deal to me, I mean, artsy fartsy was my thing, book worm intellect was more my calling. I couldn't have a serious conversation about sports if I tried. Example, my son's coach tells me he's showing improvement and doing real good, my response, "Oh good, I've been pumping him up before practice and we watched 'A League of Their Own' to get motivated." See, they should have escorted me off the field right then.
Despite my oh-so-obvious inadequacies, here is what I can offer...I trust God. I trust his word and I trust his plans. My son is not my own, but he is God's. He's is so beautifully and wonderfully God's! I let go of control of his skills and talents and I do my part in it all, I love him and encourage him. I remember that before he was even formed, God knew him, God set him apart. These are things I do not want to mess with. These are things that help me when we are starting new 'experiences', that could make a mom crazy competitive or put on the pressure. These help me to instead enjoy every little bit of the guy.
And yes, in true fashion that only a boy born to me could do, he danced his little but off in line, while all the other little kids intensely waited for their turn at bat.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart"
-Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
-Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)

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