Thursday, August 20, 2015

what's in a name?

What's in a name?

When naming a child, one feels pressure to select a 'perfect' name. You take into consideration who the child could become, what characteristics he/she could have. Additionally, having previously been a teacher, some names were deemed 'unusable.'

Harper Acadia. It's not a typical name. I've known for quite some time that I wanted to give my children unique names; it is likely because my name falls under that category as well--thank you, mom & dad! Harper actually stems from a visitor that attended our church. None of my students had that name, so I had no previous experience with it---aside from Harper Lee. Acadia has a beautiful story behind it.

Hiking with a 21 week baby bump!
Last October, we visited Acadia National Park in Maine. It was absolutely gorgeous--these pictures don't do it justice. We love to hike and explore, this was the perfect trip to do just that! The week before our trip, we found out that we were having a girl!

While in Acadia, we were blown away by the magnificence that we were surrounded by. As we hiked, I was struck by the beauty and the presence of the Lord. I was given a peace about this pregnancy--over our sweet daughter.

After having two miscarriages, each time I would go to the doctor, there was always a bit of hesitance present. Wondering. Doubting. Worrying. Questioning whether we were still pregnant or not. While in Acadia, I experienced a peace and comfort like never before. The Lord confirmed for me that this pregnancy was in His hands--as were the other two--and His Hands are exactly where my children belong! I was reassured that He is faithful. That regardless of my doubt, He was (and will forever be) good. Sovereign. Magnificent.

I was blown away by His Presence. His Faithfulness. His Gentle Reassurance. The beauty we were surrounded by was a minute picture of all that He has created. Because of these experiences, we wanted to raise up an Ebeneezer to forever remember that moment. Giving Harper her middle name is our physical representation and reminder of God's faithfulness in our lives.

We long to take Harper to her namesake. We want her to know that she is beautiful. We want her to know that she is in His Hands. We want her to know that her Creator is faithful. Harper Acadia is a true blessing.
Panoramic shot on one of our hikes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

For the Love

Several months ago, I became one of the #500. This became a band of women (and four men) that rallied around Jen Hatmaker's new book For The Love that launched yesterday! (You can snag your copy here!)

It has been a joy and a privilege to partake in something like this. I have never so quickly been enveloped into community, where we were once all strangers and now feel like we know one another, truly. Never did I think that the Launch Team would result in community, but it has and it's been a HUGE blessing in my life.

When I received the book in March, I knew it was going to be a good one! 7 wrecked me and so did Interrupted, so I knew I was in for a treat. Jen's words were a breath of fresh air, especially as I was journeying into motherhood. The idea of letting myself off the hook to receive God's grace and then to give His grace freely to others, it is truly freeing. As a first time mother, I set standards for myself. Wanted to do this or not do that. Ultimately being judgmental. For the love! I knew I needed to let it go. Each of Jen's chapters is a short essay that I read through in a matter of a few days--quick and easy to read, packed with TRUTH and hilarity. My highlighter ran out of ink.

At this point, my daughter is 6 months old and I am nowhere near a perfect parent and I never will be (BLESS.); however, I know that God's grace covers all. That is the true message. Grace covers all. We can never be perfect, why do we expect that from ourselves and from others? It results in invented standards that will never be met, unrealistic expectations, and shackles. The message echoed from Jesus and Jen: we are free! We are free to be ourselves, play our note, live the life we've been given! Once we let ourselves off the hook, we can do that for everyone else and live our lives as they are intended.

If you aren't convinced to buy this book NOW,  I hope you enjoy the book trailer! OR, search #forthelove on IG, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Surely those posts alone would beckon one to add this lovely book to an Amazon cart or scurry to Barnes & Noble to pick up a copy! There are also several wonderful Launch Team Members that are giving away a copy--check out one of them here.

Below is a blurb about the book:

Best-selling author Jen Hatmaker is convinced life can be lovely and fun and courageous and kind. She knows how the squeeze of this life can make us competitive and judgmental, how we can lose love for others and then for ourselves. In For the Love, she reveals how to:
  • Break free of guilt and shame by dismantling the unattainable Pinterest life.
  • Learn to engage our culture’s controversial issues with a grace-first approach.
  • Be liberated to love and release the burden of always being right.
  • Identify the tools you already have to develop real-life, all-in, know-my-junk-but-love-me-anyway friendships.
  • Escape our impossible standards for parenting and marriage by accepting the standard of “mostly good.”
  • Laugh your butt off.
Below is one of my endorsements:
What a freeing read this book is! I’m so grateful for the words in this book, it is exactly what my soul needed. Pare down your life to grace and all else will follow suit. I look forward to sharing this message in my everyday life.
~ LaRae; wife, first time momma, lover of encouraging others, exploring the outdoors, & following Jesus. Austin, TX

By grace, we are called to live this life. Let's live it well!

This blog post is part of of blog tour to help launch Jen’s book, For The Love. The blog tour will take place August 18th through September 30, 2015.  To check out the other blogs click HERE!

Thursday, August 6, 2015


strong, healthy, and full of energy
synonyms: robust, healthy, hale and hearty, strong, sturdy, fit 
-characterized by or involving physical strength, effort, or energy. 

This is how I want to live life. With vigor. Our pediatrician described our daughter in this way. Now, that is my prayer for her!

In light of recent events that put my 6 month old daughter in the hospital, it has caused me to be reflective. I've learned a few things since this journey has begun:

Trust: Because we were in the hospital for 6 six days, it really got me thinking and trusting in the Lord's goodness. No matter what the doctors or hematologists would say, I knew that someone was fighting for my daughter--standing beside my family. We were covered in prayer, and still are! Doctors don't know exactly what's going on; however, we know that we can trust the Lord. He has her in His hands. He is forever good. If doctors don't find out what's wrong, we may never have the answer, even so--He. Is. Good. Always. Forever.

Balance my Beam: This hospital stay required me to push a lot of things off of my beam. Jen Hatmaker discusses this in her new book, For the Love. (You should DEFINITELY order it!) We each have our own beam to balance on. Essentially, we overload our beam because we say 'yes' to too many things. We cannot do it all. We simply cannot. During our time in the hospital, I sought to re-balance my beam--what things do I need in my life that are absolutely life-giving and what things can I set aside for another time? My community will forever be on my beam--I thrive on it. Activities to keep me busy/distracted--off the beam. Watching TV--off the beam for a while. Cherishing our time with our daughter--on the beam. I want to enjoy life, with vigor. I want to focus in on what's important and set aside the things that are not.

When you balance the beam you have, you CAN live life with vigor. That's what I want to do daily. I want to be intentional with the live I have been given.