goodbye 2016, hello 2017!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Today I sat down and journaled about by 2016 year. I always intend to do this but it never happens before the year is over. I was spurred on by one of my best friends who did the same thing today as well. This is what friends are for!!!

I feel so completely encouraged and I feel like I need to share what I wrote with you....

Jesus, what do you have for me next year in 2017? I keep hearing "joy." Wow I would love that. I feel like my greatest joy would be to become pregnant with our baby and carry him/her full-term. Yes, Lord! Please bring that to pass. As I think about 2016, I think of pain and "limbo" feelings. Yuck. Grief of losing our baby, Praise, and limbo of waiting every day of every month to see if I'm pregnant. You know the desire of my heart is to be a mom. I want to be a joyful and happy mom! Yes, yes, yes!

I also see good in 2016 though. You gave us a house. Not just any house. Right where we wanted to live. The perfect size. You provided a way for us to put a lot down. Thank you Lord! You got me into FREE counseling during a hard season. I learned more about myself and how to be more healthy. You helped me process things relationally and I've been able to talk about hard things more easily. You sent us fully funded to Germany. We learned more about others and in turn, more about you and your heart/character. This year I've wrestled with if you want good things for me. I've tasted more of your Father heart towards me. You made me rest fully all summer. Psalm 23 came to life for me. You've given babies to so many friends who have longed for them. You renewed my love for reading fun YA books. You let me really scale back on lettering. Early 2016 you gave me abundant lettering opportunities. You let me dream about possibilities in the future and realize what I really want. You brought new relationships to my loved ones. You gave me a deeper friendship with best friends. You helped me say no to people and yes to others. You gave us a church and helped me be brave to volunteer. You gave me a year of learning how to better communicate and love Ben. Thank you for the gift of him and his love.

I keep hearing "joy" & "gratitude" and those will be my 2017 focus. I want to look at the good always and say thanks always. Focus on the great qualities my family/friends have instead of what they and I lack. Yes! Joy in you.

This year I want to memorize Psalm 100:1-5 in the Passion Translation:
¹Lift up a great shout of joy to the Lord!
Go ahead and do it—
Everyone, everywhere!
²As you serve Him bring your gift of laughter
And be glad as you worship Him!
Sing your way into His presence with joy!
³Try to realize what this really means—
We have the privilege of worshipping the Lord, our God!
He is our Creator,
And now we belong to Him!
We are the people of His pleasure!
⁴Come right into His presence with thanksgiving!
You can pass through His open gates,
With the password of praise!
Come bring your thank offering to Him
And affectionately bless His beautiful Name!
⁵For the Lord is always good
And ready to receive you.
He’s so loving that it will amaze you;
So kind that it will astound you!
And He is so famous for His faithfulness toward all!
Everyone knows our God can be trusted,
For He keeps His promises to every generation!

I am so excited for 2017 and I'm so thankful for 2016. I'm thankful we end every year with two of the best holidays ever. And the music that comes along with it. How Jesus is the thrill of hope, the weary KAMBLY rejoices!!! 

Ben and I have decided to not really do New Years Resolutions this year as much but to focus on our "Jerichos" that we will sow into with prayer. We are going to walk around and blowing our horns of scripture and Truth and hope and faith until we see breakthrough! One of my friends gave me this image last time I posted about our fertility journey and we just LOVE it. I'm so thankful!!! I can't wait to march all year long and see God's promises fulfilled!!! 

What a year 2016 was. I can't wait to see what 2017 holds. I almost forgot that another one of my friends felt like this next year was going to be a year of JOY....CAN'T WAIT!

I didn't know.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dear Ben,

I love the way that you love me. Seriously. You just make loving me look easy, which I appreciate because I know it's probably not. I feel like the Christmas season reminds me of our story so much. The beginning of our story, that is. And I'm just so thankful you never gave up on me.

Thanks for taking me to Salado on that date 6 years ago. I remember we walked the streets and held hands and later you asked me to be your girlfriend.  I didn't know then that I was saying yes to the man who would let me take his beanie because mine is gone. I didn't know I was saying yes to the man that would get a fluffy white dog with me and live in a tiny apartment.

You're the smartest guy I know. You make me ramen when I'm sick. You hold my hand at fertility appointments and cry with me when things hurt. You support my ever changing obsessions and it's currently young adult novels. You bought a house with me and hung lights all over it for Christmas just for me!!! You caught me a snorlax on the way home from work. You put ice cubes in my milk because you know I like it COLD. You sing my made-up songs about all the things.

I didn't know I was saying yes to the man that would help my dad go to the bathroom so I didn't have to see that. But I DID know I would marry you when you did, and I've never looked back.

You're the best yes. 

I love you!

hello + update

Sunday, November 27, 2016

I updated my blog! It's been forever since I've written and today I kept thinking about writing. I don't know what God is doing right now but it seems that in hard seasons, He wants me to write. So here I go.

Gosh so much has happened the past few years. I used to write in this space a ton and it helped me process the grief during my Dad's journey through ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). You can read more about that in my previous posts. I honestly haven't even looked at my past posts but be forewarned that I started this blog while in college so who knows ;)

Today, I've felt the nudging to write about our current season. Oh how I wish we weren't here. It feels really vulnerable and like I'm opening my heart to everyone. But I guess it is. There's risk in vulnerability and I'm willing to risk. You'll need a little background to understand. About a year ago, Ben and I wrote a lot of hopes, dreams and prayers onto a rubber ducky that we put in the shower. We prayed for the things on the rubber ducky every day when we saw it in the shower. One of the things on the duck is "future family." We were in no way ready to have a baby and we were both very adamant about not wanting kids anytime soon. But God. He has a way of changing people's minds and as we started to pray for all these hopes and dreams, He changed our hearts. Ben and I had a conversation one day and I told him I was ready to start trying to have a baby and Ben told me he felt the same. We decided to start trying after we bought a house. Jesus worked in an incredible way and provided finances for us to put a significant amount of money down on a house and we moved in at the beginning of March.

We heard Jesus tell us to start trying right before that. I remember when we bought prenatal vitamins, we were SO EXCITED and I was dancing down the Target aisle. I felt like Jesus told me I was going to get pregnant right away but I was so fearful that something would be wrong blah blah blah. Ben is the ever optimist and thank the Lord for that!!! We took a test on Mother's Day and found out I was pregnant! I think I took like 5 tests that day and we told both our families :) When we went to the doctor, they told us the test came back negative. Cue all my fears coming to reality. I was terrified. TERRIFIED. And so confused. The next week I kept having to get my blood drawn and at the end of the week, the doctor told us that we would miscarry. I did and we were so sad. We named our baby Praise and there is something incredibly bittersweet that my Dad got to meet our baby before we did in Heaven.

The next few months were spent "trying" and every month of disappointment felt so grievous. I know grief but this type of grief is completely different. It's like all the stages every month and it is THE WORST. Side note: I know we haven't been trying that long according to the doctor or others who have walked this journey much longer than us. I can't imagine how it feels for those who have spent years longing for a baby. 

Well I switched doctors and got into one of the best in Austin (THANK YOU JESUS). At my appointment it took him 2 seconds to tell me I have cysts all over my ovaries. Cool. He put me on birth control and a fertility medication. The first round failed. Now we are on the 2nd round.

I never thought I would be here. Every time someone would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up I would say, "I want to be a mom." Every. Single. Time. Even in college. So you can imagine how devastating it feels to have to go to a doctor and be handed a packet about Infertility. I feel like my hope has been deferred for so long and it feels completely unfair. It hurts when people tell me we haven't been trying for that long because it FEELS LIKE A REALLY LONG TIME. I know I know that in the grand scheme of life, it's not.

To be honest, I've really felt distant from Jesus in this season. I told Ben that I feel like I can't trust him with the desires of my heart because all the BIG things I've prayed for haven't been answered with "yes." I was thinking of my Dad being healed, our baby Praise living, Ben being healed from diabetes etc.

Then I had the thought, that's a lie. Jesus showed me the big things that have been answered YES to: marrying the greatest man IN THE WORLD, my heart being healed from brokenness, having best friends like sisters, restored relationship with my mom, finances for a house, my family being freed from debt, addiction broken for a family member, the perfect dog for us...and so on. He showed me that He is faithful in the big. He is. He told me it's okay to feel so broken right now and to still feel a little broken from the grief of my Daddy.

This is who I am right now. I'm hurting. And I really think it's okay to not have a big silver lining. I've read about Abraham and Sarah over and over and I know our time will come because I know that Jesus created me to be a Mom. But right now, it's really hard and it's really painful. I'm glad that I feel deeply because I know that when we have our own baby in our arms, it will all be worth it and we will be that much more grateful for the life He gave us.

We know He's in the waiting and I'm working on letting Him reveal all the places He is there during this season.

don't give up.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Never give up is what my family's motto has always been. Never give up is what my mom and dad always used to tell me.

When I was in middle school, I remember that I decided to play volleyball. I'm not sure why, because no one in our family was particularly skilled at this sport and I certainly wasn't. All my friends were playing so I decided to as well. One day, my dad was trying to practice "bumping" the ball back and forth and I sucked SO bad. Gosh, I was terrible. My Dad was getting visibly frustrated. I remember thinking, "Oh great. I knew I was bad. I knew it." Coming from a family of 3 brothers who are all exceptionally skilled at baseball, I was so ashamed to be so bad at something that should be easy for me! It has a ball! I have hand-eye coordination! Why wasn't this working!? But my Dad would NOT let me give up. When I started to cry because I felt so terrible, he told me, "Kam, you're going to get better. Keep practicing. Never give up!!"

I was thinking about that today because I have been in a serious funk. It's caused me to have a storm of thoughts and emotions constantly bombarding my mind and making me feel like crap. "Never Give Up!" But what if I want to? What if I feel there are no other options? What if it hurts so much to keep going and to not give up?

There are things that I wish I could talk to my Dad about. I wish he could talk to me about my questions. I wish he was here and could tell me how he got through the pain he went through and the bankruptcy and the heartache. I wish he could tell me to never give up, one more time.

It doesn't haunt me consistently like it used to, to think about my Dad. I picture my mind is like a fortified castle. When a thought penetrates my mind's outer walls about my Dad, I assess the threat. Is it a good thought? A good memory? Will this memory cause me pain? Will I cry and will my heart ache? Most of the time, I don't let the thought get too far. I don't let it really sink in. Because there are 16 other people around me and I can't cry to them and tell them I don't know why my Dad isn't here anymore. I don't know why. But sometimes, I do let the thoughts get through the outer walls and they do crush me for a time. It's okay, I know, but it hurts so badly and I don't like it. I hate that people don't have the words. I understand, but it sucks. I hate that I don't know why my Dad wasn't healed when I asked Jesus persistently.

I don't know how to explain the feelings I feel when I really think about how there are so many things I don't understand. I have asked Jesus . He reminds me that He's good. That it's His character to heal and it's His character to save and it's His character to bind up the wounds. I know that He's still good. I'm so thankful that my Dad showed me a glimpse of the Father heart of God.

Tonight, I imagine my Abba Father. He's holding my hand. He's telling me not to give up. He's telling me that it's okay to have funky seasons that don't feel right. He's telling me to keep going. Patience and waiting are refining me. He's telling me that I'm becoming more beautiful even though I don't think so. Anxiety will not win. Don't give up on the fight. You're not alone.

the last time I saw him.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

the last time I saw my dad was the day before he died. I was home for almost a week in round rock. driving back and forth from my parent's house to the Christopher House in east austin. I really hated that place. seemed like a place that people went and didn't leave. at this point, my dad couldn't talk really. it's so hard to remember. i've been trying to go back in my mind lately to remember things that are so painful that it hurts. but I feel like it's necessary and it helps to write out.

dad was in so much pain. I can't even imagine. when I get a migraine and feel like I'm going to just collapse in pain, I think about the pain my dad lived through for almost 4 years. it literally makes my heart break. not necessary to dwell on. moving on.

dad was in the Christopher House for a little less than a week. it's basically a hospice place. he barely ate anything. I can't even remember if he did. he was so frail. so so thin. I can't remember why, but they said that dad could go home. I think he was sick and had gotten better. we thought, at least I thought, that he was on the mend. when we got home, he wouldn't eat but he drank coke. I got to feed him coke and it gave me so much joy because he wouldn't ever drink it while he was sick.

the night I left, I was reading God of the Impossible by Susan Peters (really recommend), to my dad. there is a part in the book that has healing scriptures and I just kept reading them to my dad. after that, I asked dad if I could worship with him. I sang mainly since he couldn't. he was laughing at my voice I think :) I remember I didn't want to leave that night but felt like I should to be home in waco. I don't know why. an emotional break I suppose. I left thursday night. he died in the night on friday.

I never thought he would die from that crappy disease. I really believed he wouldn't. when my mom called me in the middle of the night, I just ached. the worst pain in the world is getting that call in the middle of the night. packing for a funeral. packing clothes that your dad will never see again.

it's so hard to think about the painful parts of my dad's death. really most of them are painful because I miss him so much. but I think that right now is the first time that I realized that the last moments I had with my dad, were in worship. in church the other day, the pastor was saying that everyone remembers the last words that you have with a person you loved that has died. I don't remember the last words my dad ever physically spoke to me. but I do remember that our last moments together were worshipping Jesus. I hope that I can leave a legacy like that.

I miss him so much. no one will ever replace my daddy. now he's doing exactly what he probably left earth doing. his last breath here on earth was his first breath with Jesus and eternal life and freedom from pain.

I love you daddy and I miss you so incredibly much.
you're little girl forever,

dearest lauren.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

dear lauren,

working with you is probably the best thing ever. there is just something about doing something hard and good along with a bestest friend. I think it's pretty cool we get to do that. 

I remember when we used to share stories of teaching before we worked together and they never seemed real to either of us. now it feels like we both live in what we are saying. 

I think you are the best teacher in the whole world. I know what you're thinking right now, YES YOU ARE! you cry when your littles cry, you ache when they ache, and you love them like Jesus. you teach them things that are essential. you teach them things that are funny. how do I know? because I have some of them in my class now :) you pour out your life to the kindergartners in your class. and I am forever grateful for that. 

sometimes you leave me notes in my classroom like little verses or encouraging words. you must know that is my love language or something ;) you're really good at that. loving people where they're at and how they need it. I see it every day. 

I guess the thing I'm so grateful for is that I get to see you every day. that's pretty special in this stage of life. it's just so nice that I can come cry to you or laugh with you at any point during the day. you get me. 

today someone pointed out how we have stayed friends since we met at the school we now work at. when they pointed that out, millions of memories flooded my mind: your old lakehouse, sharing groceries in college, being in each other's weddings, sitting next to each other on the first day of 6th grade, sharing clothes, trips together, and sleepovers. probably my most meaningful memory of you that came to mind also breaks my heart. I'm sure you know. it's when you came to the christopher house the week before dad died and just sat with us. you were so sweet to dad, even though he couldn't talk. it makes me cry to think about your incredible heart. I don't want to bring up something sad, but I think that moment really made a mark on me. I'm just so thankful for you laur. 

being friends with you has brought be closer to Jesus. being friends with you has changed my life. you have never given up on me even though I am absolutely crazy or emotional or yelling or jealous or selfish or rude or not caring. thanks for showing me a love I still don't fully understand. thanks for being a friendship that lasts. you are such a treasure. 


dear ben,

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

thanks for going to work every day. you work really hard. and thank you for being SO gracious about me not waking up when your alarm goes off. i know you always tell me that i don't need to at all, but a part of me feels bad to sleep in since i still have summer. and i just like to watch you get ready. you're handsome. 

thank you for listening to me. even when i have irrational fears that there are fleas infesting our house. thanks for also going to the store with me to get spray. thanks for helping me spray every surface of the house with said flea spray....just in case ;)

thanks for listening to my ideas. my personal fav...the poop dr. app (for humans). i think it's a really good idea. and you told me it was. you also gave me an idea for a second app. the poop vet (for animals). i think it would be very informational. hah. 

after seeing Monsters University last summer
thanks for telling me i don't look like a lizard even though my back and legs are peeling. also thanks for being there to always put sunscreen on my back. except for the time that resulted in the peeling mentioned above. 

thanks for acting interested when i talk about things that excite me. like decorating. i know you don't care. but then again you DO. because i do. you're a really good teammate. 

thanks for loving soccer before the world cup started. i guess this baseball-brain-washed-girl is starting to see why you love it so much. i still don't understand why someone would get a yellow card for fouling a goal keeper. i guess it's like their catcher like in baseball? maybe like why they put in all those rules because of what happened to buster posey?? 

thanks for being adorable. i mean, really. from your obsession with the royals, to your intense love of sweets (despite your diabetes), to your crazy awesome hair when you wake up, to your chaco tan line, to your incredibly green eyes, and to how excited you get when i care about sports.

you're pretty much the best. i love you.
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