A new year.  A fresh, freezing, freeing time to begin anew with lists and goals and hopes and resolutions.  Now is the time that most people shed off the old year like a too-small coat and look toward growing into the new one.

My mom and I were talking about resolutions a few days ago and I realized I haven’t made a single one.  I lamely said that “having a baby” was my resolution.  I mean, yes, that is magnificent and powerful and probably the single greatest thing that I’ll ever do with my body.  But, I’m pregnant.  It’s kind of inevitable that birth will happen, you know?  It’s like saying, “2015: the year I shall eat chocolate.”  No one’s surprised by my high goal setting.

I think the problem with my inability to make new year goals is that I just can’t quite let go of last year.   Not that I’m wanting to still live in 2014 and not dive right into 2015 – I think this year is going to be one of the best of my whole life.  But last year was so meaningful to me.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but so many things came together last year to culminate in a year that will forever mark me.

At a church ladies meeting recently, we were asked to quote a scripture that carried us through this past year.  We had all been trying to memorize more scriptures together, so most everyone had a scripture.  A lot of them were about the strength of God being more than enough.  Some were about the joy of the Lord coming as sure as the morning.

Immediately a verse popped into my head that I had actually memorized in 2013.  Two years ago that verse hit me square in the heart and just stayed there.

That verse was Romans 5:5. “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Two years ago, I was desperate.  Well, I could say the same for three years ago, four years, and so on.  There was a matter that I just couldn’t get the victory over.  It was a deeply personal, private thing.  It was one that I couldn’t write on the prayer card at church, or casually mention to a friend over coffee.  It was a continual hurt hidden in my heart, and I honestly could not see how God could change the situation.

Then when I joined a Bible quizzing team at church, I came across Romans 5:5.  I know I’ve read that verse before, but sometimes the Word of God is made new for just when you need it.  That verse felt like an arrow that swiftly went to my deepest hurt.  And it said hope.  Hope hope hope.

I was too tired for hope.  Mainly, I was too afraid for hope.  I had battled that situation for so long, hoped for a change for so long, that I was beginning to feel foolish.  I had reached a point that I didn’t even want to think about what life would be like without that situation.  I didn’t want to hope and then be let down again.  So I had let hardness cover over that hurt.

But this verse was saying hope maketh not ashamed.  No matter how much I hoped, no matter how much I believed in my answer, the end result would never be shame because God has poured his love over my heart.  His love was enough to cover that hurt, not the hardness and hopelessness I had been using.

After encountering that verse, I let my hope soar.  Sure, there were times that I felt defeated.  That my hopes were crushed.  But I never felt foolish again.  I never felt that same level of despair.  I could just picture God’s love covering me and being enough.  More than enough.

Then, like some prayers are answered, my situation gradually got better.  Some prayers are answered with a BANG.  You know the exact date and time that your hope was fulfilled.  But some happen gradually until you wake up one morning and realize that the problem is gone.  The pain is gone.  The situation has completely changed.  That happened for me in the summer of 2014.

And not only did God change the situation, He somehow erased the years of painful memories to which I had clung.  He healed my mourning in a way that was nothing but miraculous.

And then, God answered a completely different prayer in the fall of 2014.  Timothy and I found out we were expecting.  I had previously heard some news from a doctor that wasn’t exactly full of hope.  Timothy and I were preparing ourselves for a long road toward children.  But God had other plans and chose to bring life.  I just went to the doctor’s office this week and the doctor was marveling that (or maybe just telling me, but I was marveling, so we’ll go with that) the baby is exactly on schedule.  The baby is measuring perfectly and there are no signs right now of the problem my doctor had warned me about.  Oh, do you know how much I wanted to just get up and dance around the office?

So when I say 2014 was a meaningful year for me, that’s putting it mildly.  God answered a prayer that I had been praying for years.  And then he decided to just cap it off with another answer to prayer in the form of a baby.  Hope did not make me ashamed.  It freed me.

So if you’re still struggling with putting your dreams for this new year into words, let me just give you Romans 5:5.  Maybe your past year was so amazing and humbling that you can’t imagine what this next year will be like.  Or maybe this past year was filled with more hurt than joy.  Maybe you’ve allowed hardness to shield the hurt in your heart, and you’re afraid to hope that this year will be different.  All I can say is hope.  Hope, hope, hope.  Hoping in God is the best guarantee in life.  Because no matter what the answer is, or when the situation comes, He’ll never leave you.  His love is shed abroad in your heart.  He lives inside you.  He’ll never leave you full of shame or regret for trusting in Him.

Is there a verse that was meaningful to you last year?  Or one you’re praying and believing in for this year?  I’d love to hear. There’s something so powerful about using God’s own words to shape your year and outlook.

On January 9, 2015 · 2 Comments · In Lovely Life

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I have been scouring all of my baby apps daily for news on what this little Pumpkin is doing inside my belly.  Oh, it’s developing taste buds!  It’s the size of a lemon!  This week it can frown!  It’s the size of an avocado!  This week it’s developing fat!  So now I have this vision of this fat little baby all frowning around in there because I’ve been on a spinach smoothie kick.  And I can’t imagine that’s fun for anyone not craving a spinach smoothie.

A couple weeks ago the apps started mentioning the possibility of feeling the baby move.  Generally, first time moms don’t feel any movement until at LEAST 16 weeks, which I was on Christmas day.  So I prayed diligently for my baby to move for me on Christmas.

Later Timothy told me that it was like asking Jesus for a present on his birthday.  But, since He is already busy in there forming the little baby, I thought He could possibly throw some flutters in there along the way.  I still prayed.  And poked.  And nothing.

But today, whilst subbing for some angsty teenagers I felt the first little thing that was for sure baby and not just hopes and dreams.  I’ve read that it feels like a little butterfly wing flutter.  Or a little poke.  Or bubbles.  Mine felt like a tickle.  It caught me off guard and I reached to scratch my stretched out belly, and then it dawned on me.  Baby!  It did it a couple of times again on a much smaller scale.  But that moment?  Oh, I’ve just been dreaming about it for what seems like ages.

I almost interrupted the class to share my good news, but I saw one guy picking his nose and wiping it on his shirt.  This moment was too precious for a teenage nose-picker to partake in.

In other news, thank you to everyone who has been commenting or e-mailing with pregnancy tips and ideas.  I can’t wait to  comment/e-mail back, now that I’m rocking the energy of the second trimester that is.  (The second trimester splendor is not a sham!  It’s real!!!)  And a special thank you to my sweet friend who texted me about her birth and let me ask her every single private question I wanted.  Pregnancy kind of pushes away all kinds of boundaries I’m finding out.

And, in case you tire of baby-related posts, some day I will be posting on something else besides the single greatest thing that has ever happened to me.  But that day is not today.  Mwahahaha.

But seriously, come back Friday for a non-baby gush fest.  It’s happening.

On January 6, 2015 · 8 Comments · In Lovely Life

Excuse me while I crawl out of the pits of despair and wave hello to this nice little neglected space of the Internet.


Well, I’m not literally in the pits of despair.  And I know what you’re thinking.  No one wants to hear your complaining … take it to Facebook where it will be welcomed amongst the shared recipes, weird article links, passive aggressive statuses, and general loveliness.

Photo Nov 28, 6 41 11 PM

According to the maternity store, this is what I’ll look like in three (?!) to five months.  I mean, that’s impressive.

Pregnancy is a wonderful, glorious, and delightful thing.  I’ve loved every minute of it.  Even the puking and the aching and the vein bursting from all the blood drawing.  This baby is so loved and wanted, and that thought helps keep the first trimester yuck in perspective.   But for weeks I’ve been longingly staring at this particular week on the calendar as my reward for the first trimester yuck.  The second trimester.  Past pregnant women speak of this glorious time as if it’s dripping in glitter and fairy dust.  Apparently you get your old self back and are no longer bffs with Saltines.

Well, I think I had about one day of this splendor and then sickness hit.  Like some sort of cold or flu?  And being sick while pregnant has moved its way onto my five-most-hated-things-of-all-time list.  It’s quite at home with others such as the phrase “long hair don’t care” and insurance.  It kept me in bed for nearly a week, and then I crawled out  for a doctor’s appointment.  I thought I was on the mend, and then combined with the bliss and sheer joy of hearing our little baby’s heartbeat again, I was ready to conquer the world.  I even bragged about it on Instagram.

I get home that day and Timothy is sick.  I’m sure he is so glad I shared.  I spent one day taking care of him and then BLAM.  I’m sick again??!!  What is that?  It’s like this bug said, nope, not finished with you yet!

At least I got our tree halfway put up.  A half of a tree is better than no tree, right?

So the Gothras have gone through three bags of cough drops, an absurd amount of tissues, and lots of orange juice.  And this pregnant woman has done more than a small amount of side-eye at her non-pregnant husband who can take the GOOD MEDS.  And when said husband threw up for the first time in this sickness and came to me expecting some sympathy, I *think* I was able to muster up some.  Ha!

So to the ladies out there, I’d love to hear tales of your second trimester magical rainbow unicorn time.  Also, when does this whole “nesting” thing start?  And does it make you actually want to clean?  Because that would be awesome.

On December 5, 2014 · 12 Comments · In Lovely Life

sesame-seed-babyWe took this photo the day after we found out about our Pumpkin.  He or she was the size of a sesame seed!  Such a teensy miracle.  I’d add an updated size picture, but I don’t have any prunes lying around.  Ha!

on food

Pre-Pregnancy: Healthy eating, schmealthy schmeating.  Who cares about healthy?  Give me some of that chocolate.  And a huge Starbucks cup full of swirly, frothy calories.

Pregnancy: I spend five minutes reading the back of jam jars in the grocery store trying to find the healthiest one with the least amount of additives.  Who am I?


on getting what I want

Pre-Pregnancy: I figure it out in a nice, normal human way.

Pregnancy: I beg my mom for some food and tell her in return she could hold her future grandchild when he/she is born.  I’m shameless.


on sleeping

Pre-Pregnancy: No problem sleeping.  It’s great.  Love it.  If I ever have to use the restroom, I ignore it until morning because SLEEP.  It’s nectar to my soul.

Pregnancy: Why does my back hurt?  Why is everything sore already?  The baby’s only the size of a prune!  How will this last nine months?  Do I need an inhaler?  I can’t get comfortable.  Maybe a pillow right here?  There?  No.  Oh, let me get up five times to use the restroom.  Because THAT’S fun.  Did Timothy accidentally touch me with his foot in the night?  Unacceptable.  I shall kick him away.  I need space.  And sleep. Oh forget it.  Maternity clothes pattern searching on Pinterest it is.


on eating straight out of the container

Pre-Pregnancy:  What are you, an animal?!  Who eats straight of a container?  Put it on a plate and act civilized.

Pregnancy: Stick that fork in the pickle jar, eat whatever comes up attached to said fork, repeat.  Grab container of leftover chicken salad, stand in the loving light of the open refrigerator door, eat with abandon.  Until Timothy comes.  Then hide and finish it off in a manner that more resembles cavewoman than civilized woman.  Again with the shamelessness.


on parental pride

Pre-Pregnancy:  I’ll totally be able to tell if my baby is cute or not.  Some babies just aren’t cute!  I’ll be prepared with lots of hats and/or ruffles if it’s rough looking.

Pregnancy: At 9 week ultrasound, observing a blob that looks like a gummy bear with legs: CUTEST BABY IN THE WORLD.  Back off moms of the world, my child wins.  At everything.  Look at his/her beautiful eyes!  Or is that the arm? Whichever it is, it’s amazing.  And the best ever.


Pregnancy changes for the win.  Yesterday Timothy told me that he thought my belly was getting bigger and I squealed with glee.  With glee, I tell ya.  I’m hoping the obsession my husband and I have with seeing my belly get larger will be one pregnancy change that ends after the baby is born.  Also the healthy food obsession.  Because I’m not spending the rest of my life lovingly rubbing my chub and examining jam ingredients in Wal-Mart.

On November 13, 2014 · 3 Comments · In Lovely Life


Five years ago today, Timothy and I started our little family.  We said “I do” to a seemingly simple question, yet a question that would transform our lives.  “I do” to joining yourselves as one for the rest of forever seems like the easiest “yes” of all when you’ve been in a long-distance relationship and the thought of never saying goodbye is bliss.  Then five years later, after experiencing some of the richer (still waiting on that one. ha!) and poorer, in sickness and health, in crazy emotions and socks on the floor, you realize that it is still the easiest “yes.”

Timothypal, I’ve loved you every single second of these five years.  Marrying you was one of the best things I’ve ever done.  (Aside from giving my life to Jesus and discovering chocolate, that is.  I kid on the second part.  Sorta.)  Through these last five years I’ve seen you in ups and downs, in sadness and joy.  I’ve seen the inner parts of your heart that most people can’t see.  Everything I see about you makes me love you more.

And recently, seeing you become a father?  Oh my heart.  You were made for this.  Your father’s heart is already working overtime as you make up songs to the beat of our baby’s heart.  As you scold me for not wearing a jacket because the baby could get cold.  As you pray for him/her nightly and never forget to mention the baby’s toes even though you have shunned that “horrifying” word and body part for your entire existence.   As you talk to the doctor with me and ask more questions than I do.  As you study up on all of the terms and processes of the whole thing.  And don’t get me started on how much tech you’ve already put on your list to buy the baby.

I thought these past years were the happiest of my life getting to know you as a husband.  But I have a sneaky suspicion that these next years getting to know you as a father to our baby will blow these past five years out of the water.

I love you, Timothypal.  Happy Anniversary!

On November 7, 2014 · Leave a Comment · In Lovely Life