We have exciting news!!

Surprise surprise, it’s us crazy Days again. Yes we really did just announce our pregnancy when I’m only 6 weeks along on social media. I know we’re supposed to wait until after the first trimester, but we don’t want to wait any longer and here’s a glimpse into why not.

So I missed my period. Normal. And took a pregnancy test. Normal. Saw all those pink lines. Normal. Did a little dance, kissed Josh, and told Judson there was a baby in my belly button because that’s currently his favorite word ever. Still all semi-normal. Then, I went to the doctor for blood work and they told me my HCG (pregnancy hormones) levels were low and I’d need to do another blood test in a week to confirm the baby is still alive. Uh what?! Are you sure?! There was instantly a huge lump in my throat as a wave of anxiety swept over me. I’ve always been fearful of fertility issues but since we got pregnant with Judson so quickly I thought I was in the clear. To hear I have a baby but something might be wrong, that I might lose the baby, wasn’t something I wanted to accept. 

Not long after Judson was born it was fertility awareness month and my Facebook was flooded (in a good way) with educational posts about women’s health. I never knew miscarriages are as common as they have become. I had no clue there was such a large percentage of women struggling to get pregnant. I saw countless brave women sharing their stories and opening up about their personal loses. I even learned the term “Rainbow Baby” is given to children born after a Mom’s previous miscarriage (just as a rainbow follows a storm) and quickly realized I know a lot of people who have walked through this themselves. While I, of course, would never want to be in those shoes, my heart broke for these families and for whatever reason I felt a strong desire to be a voice for them. Maybe that looks like educating others on why tampons are the devil (post to come) and how all women should try out a Diva Cup, maybe it looks like sharing my story one day if I experience the loss of a baby, or maybe it’s just as simple as speaking up about a reality for so many women that is often swept under the rug. I don’t have all the answers but I want to be honest and open so that others don’t feel alone whenever they find themselves in this difficult spot. 

Okay, so it brings me back to this whole first trimester announcement thing we’re doing. When I was pregnant with Judson, my first midwife (in these exact words I’m sure because my memory is 100% flawless) told me, “I wouldn’t announce the pregnancy yet. The rate of miscarriage decreases significantly after 12 weeks so I always advise my patients to wait until then incase of one. You don’t want to have to explain it to others and deal with more pain from people knowing if that happens.” UH WHAT LADY?! Okay actually I can kind of get that. It’s hard. But that’s my point really, it’s hard! As women we need to know we’re not alone. You aren’t the only one to go through this and you need encouragement and love. You need support and a meal cooked for you and a movie with popcorn or a pint of ice cream. I feel like whenever we’re instructed to wait until the 2nd trimester, it leads to isolated women and partially invokes shame instead of support. Plus being pregnant (uhh and let’s be real, because you’re a woman) you are hormonal enough as is– the last thing you need is being told to pretty much wait and see if your baby is going to die before you start celebrating it’s life. 

This brings me right to another issue I have with the tradition of waiting to announce. No matter how many weeks along my baby is, it’s still a life I want to celebrate. And not just with my parents, but with everyone! Even you highschool people I never see but love to keep up with! I don’t want to allow my fear of the what ifs to rob me of joy. If the Lord decides my 6 week old is ready to spend eternity with Him, it doesn’t make the pain or the baby any less real than if it was 15 weeks along. As a culture we have a bad habit of making the lives of the unborn (and I’d argue to say kids in general) seem less important or less valuable than the lives of others. My heart breaks when I hear about abortions because I know the pain that mom is feeling as well as the pain that overall surrounds the loss of that baby’s life. It is a life. There is no disconnect here between life and death depending on the age of the baby regardless of what society tells us. Babies, 6 weeks along or at 42 weeks, are important and should be celebrated. And consequently, mourned if it’s that time. Even in the case of miscarriages, God still chose to breath life into them, forming them in their mother’s womb and even when limited, He knows the number of their days and has their name written in His Book of Life. For this reason, we are celebrating this life in my belly. 

Sadly, yes, I might miscarry tomorrow, or later on in this pregnancy or 2 years from now this baby might die from cancer. I probably sound morbid to you all, but The Bible is clear that we aren’t promised tomorrow. Therefore, I am going to chose faith and security in the Lord’s plan no matter how painful it might be in the moment of our stuggles. There is a time to weep and a time to dance. Today we dance. 

Please don’t think this is easy for me. I am a control freak by nature. I love to try and figure out the bigger picture and sometimes trick myself into thinking if I pray a certain way I can even manipulate the outcome of it all. Please know, I’ve spent many hours this week begging the Lord for our baby to live and for me to somehow find rest in Him no matter what the outcome and during the unknown. I couldn’t sleep at all a few nights because I was so anxious. I’m not perfect, it isn’t easy, but the Lord is so so faithful and I keep finding myself comforted in Him. Since writing this, we did get the blood work back and everything looks normal. Praise Jesus!! We have an ultrasound set up in a few weeks, and while I know these next days aren’t promised, I am choosing to rejoice and look forward to seeing this new little life in my belly. 

I understand not everyone would feel comfortable sharing these intimate details or struggles of their life. I think God has created us all with different strengths, weaknesses, and overall has just given us different personalities. So please know, if it’s too painful for you to talk about it, I get that! The point of this post is just to share how Josh and I personally feel, inviting others into a safe place, and spreading the word that if you experience the loss of a baby (or even just struggle with this fear), you’re not alone. You are so loved. That baby is so loved. And they’re hanging out in Heaven right now experiencing the glory of our Creator. In the light of pain and loss, that’s definitely something to find hope in and praise God over. We want our walk and our choices to be in hope not fear based, and this is just one more way the Lord is asking us to trust in Him.

Breakfast Hash

When I was pregnant with Judson all I could eat was bacon, fried eggs (in the bacon grease of course) and buttered toast. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Now I can’t do the butter, the eggs, or the deliciously healthy white bread but praise Jesus, Lord above, thankfully I can still eat bacon. And I do. In large amounts. I incorporate it into everything I can– soups, wraps, multiple dinners, and of course my all time favorite breakfast, hash. 

Hash is so great because it’s totally customizable to your taste. I’ve mentioned it before but thought I’d share in more detail as a post for you all! Depending on what I have in the fridge (or what I need to get rid of) my recipe might change up, but for the most part it is as follows. 


Breakfast Potato Hash

  • Sweet potatoes (or whatever potatoes you like) 
  • Bacon 
  • Brussel sprouts 
  • Peppers 
  • Onion
  • Chopped garlic 

Preheat oven to 350. Wash, peel, and chop the potatoes. We usually use around 3 but it makes for lots of left overs. Wash and halve the Brussel sprouts. I usually just eyeball the amount, but this week I paid attention for you guys and saw that I used roughly half a bag of them. Toss both veggies together in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bake in the oven while you make the rest of the dish. I’ve tried making hash a hundred different ways, and the trick is to bake the potatoes seperately and mix into the skillet later. Every other way, they were either soggy or too hard, so trust me, it makes a huge difference. 

In a cast iron, chop the bacon and sauté. I literally just use scissors and cut the strips into smaller pieces. I wouldn’t admit it if it were true, but it’s possible I used the entire package of bacon for this batch. While the bacon cooks, chop the onion and peppers as well as the garlic. You can used whatever color peppers you like–we usually use two peppers, so one green and one yellow, red, or orange to mix things up. After the bacon is mostly cooked, add onions and peppers to the skillet. When they’re done cooking add in the chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. I use a crap ton of garlic because we hate vampires, but just like the amount of bacon, you can customize based off your personal preference! 

Grab the veggies out of the oven and mix them into the skillet. Check your potatoes to make sure they’re done and if not pop the whole dish back into the oven. If you’re impatient like me, go ahead and enjoy!

Josh likes eggs in his hash so I just take some of the hash and put it into a smaller cast iron, crack his eggs right on top, and pop it into the oven until the eggs are done! Once again, whether you like them runny or well done, you can customize based off your own preference! 

This is our go to Saturday morning breakfast because of the time it takes to prep and I totally look forward to it all week! Also, because my health is very important to me, I drizzle some maple syrup (don’t worry, it’s organic) on top of my serving. Yummmm. I love sweet and salty mixed so it’s breakfast perfection. 

Another variation we like is Mexican style with chorizo and green onions! I use regular potatoes for this instead of sweet potatoes, and if you’re crazier then I am allowed to be, drop a dollop of daisy (sour cream) on top with some shredded cheese and finish off with salsa! 

I feel the need to end this with my biggest rule in life. Breakfast isn’t just for mornings! And with that in mind, I have decided we are having different variations of hash for dinner every night this week now. Yum. 

Happy Birthday Judson

We’ve had a crazy last month but I wanted to share the fun of Judson’s 1 year celebrations with you all! If you have kids, you know at a year old they don’t care what you do for their birthday! But I love celebrating so why the heck not! 

It is nuts that I’ve been a mom for a year. I can’t believe Judson is already barking like a puppy, wearing 18m clothes, and eating full plates of food. It’s so weird y’all!! Wasn’t it just yesterday that he smiled for the first time?! Or last week that he said started saying “Mama” and pointing things out?! Every single day I am reminded of how blessed we are as a little family and I am constantly brought to my knees praising God for his goodness. 

Our first family photo

In this past year, Josh and I have learned so much about God’s love for us as His children. Each year we plan to write a little letter for our kids on their birthdays and as I was trying to muster up the right words for this first one, I was completely awestruck at how much God has grown my view of Himself over the past 12 months.

Before Judson was born, we knew he would be a blessing that we praised God for daily. We knew we’d love him and want everything good for him, but being on this side of mommyhood, it’s honestly all indescribable. Judson poops and I’m so stinking proud of him! He “reads” his puppy book aka barks at the pictures of the dogs, and I cry because I am amazed at how quickly he’s learning. He nurses 100 times in one night and I’m reminded of his dependency on me. God is so woven into all of these tiny little moments. I love to just think about how my Heavenly Father is even more proud of me, how He loves to watch me seek Him, and I often find myself pondering over the fact that He has created me to be fully dependent on him just like a child. The parallels are everywhere. I love the moments when it’s so clear why God loves us and kids and families and all of it. I love being able to see so clearly why he’s called us to be fruitful and multiply. Judson teaches us so much about God, ourselves, our sin, our marriage, you name it. 

So clearly we have a lot to celebrate and we wanted to do just that. When we started planning his birthday we knew we wanted something chill and simple. Just a fun day for our special babe to be loved on, a chance to have our family and friends together to hang out, and a party to praise God over Judson’s life. We made the 8 hour drive down to my parents house for the weekend and everyone else joined us there on Saturday for his party.

Personally, I’m not really a big fan of themes. I spent way too many hours (I hate to admit) on Pinterest trying to find cute decor without it seeming over the top. Finally, I settled on a “theme-less” idea. But really, the theme was Judson. Which I mean what better than a Judson theme for his own party! Plus my kid is really cute so any excuse to plaster his face all around, I’ll take it. 

First things first, what would baby wear?! I had an idea in my head but couldn’t find anything on Etsy or in a million FB groups to match it. Finally I found an awesome and so sweet lady on Etsy (click to find her shop) that customized his birthday shirt! She was so great to work with and super quick! She even sent me extra fabric that I used for his highchair banner and embroidered a matching “1” for the sign as well. I wanted matching bubble shorts and set off to FB to find someone to make them for me. For whatever reason, I can’t find her FB page to tag, but I have her email if anyone is interested in her products! She contacted Stephanie from Etsy who let her know exactly where to find matching fabric and wahlaaa, magic! Sweet babe had an adorable and comfy first birthday outfit! We put sunsans on Judson’s feet for a total of 30 seconds before he was like heck naw take these suckers off and went barefoot. Hey, we were in Arkansas. 

My wonderful stepmom took care of all the food and just put me in charge of decor! She did some delicious appetizers, catered in BBQ, and had sweets for dessert. I wanted to keep it simple and fun, so went with blue, green, organge, and yellow as the color scheme. The invitation I found on Etsy was my inspiration for the entire party. After more creeping, I found a party where someone made a face banner and had face cupcake toppers and I ran with it!

The invite was a mix between her two available styles listed on the Etsy page for her shop. She was super easy to work with and also quick! I love using Etsy because you can support small businesses, get personalized products, and it’s all so quick! We decided to be green and did email invites this year! Because it was such a small party, we didn’t really need to even send them out but I loved them so much we had to! 

I DIY’d all the decorations the week before the party. At that point I was praising Jesus I decided to keep things simple because if not, I would have been super overwhelmed. I haven’t uploaded pictures from my fancy camera yet (because I’m busy aka lazy) so I’ll share what I have from other people’s posts! The most time consuming part was trying to decide which faces to use for everything. I settled on 8 different faces, cropped and sized them to half a page for the banner and then made the same faces smaller for the cupcake toppers. Organized them and had them printed on card stock at Fedex. After I cut them all out, I used colored carstock for the party hats, tissue paper for the fringe, and little Pom Pom balls for the tops of the hats! I taped the mini heads to candles and the big heads to a ribbon to use as a banner. 

I also made some tissue paper tassles to hang as banners too. These are always super easy and cheap to have on hand. I wasn’t exactly sure where everything would be layed out for the party at my parent’s house so I knew these would work wherever and make things more festive.

I used patterned scrapbook paper and the same Pom Poms to make real sized party hats for the guests too! Judson had a special hat I ordered off Amazon which was adorable even though he had no interest in keeping it on his head. 

I got the cutest balloons from Muddy’s when we were there last month, but I forgot them (of course) so just hit up Walmart that morning for balloons and colorful flowers. I also wanted to show off the collection of Judson’s monthly pictures, so I threw together (literally it’s so uneven my OCD side is hurting) a picture wreath to hang above his baby book that we used to sign in. We had little bags of candy as party favors here as well. 

My stepmom had a blow up ball pit from my brother when he was little. Judson loved it! He could crawl in and out and throw the balls with everyone including my parents dog, Rosco. She also got him a bubble machine which of course he adored! So that he could unwrap it himself, she cut the bottom out of a gift bag and set it over the machine. All he had to do was lift it up and bam, present! I thought that was so clever! 

Speaking of gifts, I saw in a FB group where one mom had everyone take turns holding the babe to open the gift they brought with him. This way, everyone gets some one on one time with the birthday boy and it’s a great photo opportunity. I was worried Judson wouldn’t like being passed around, but he was so blinded by all the fun of tissue paper and attention, he loved it. He wracked up some great mommy approved stuff as well! He brought home lots of books, a play kitchen along with tons of play kitchen accessories, a million puppy themed gifts including a blanket, book with matching lovey, and giant puppy chair. He hasn’t stopped banging his pots and pans or shaking his new maracas since! 

​Another fun touch to his party was all of our Judson themed shirts! I did however forget to tell Ashleigh about this and she was left out, I’m the worst! Everyone else had shirts made to match their relationship with the boog! It was really fun to see all the different sayings and how the shirts matched up with everyone’s personalities! I can honestly say, I couldn’t even pick a favorite they were all so good! 

The last aspect of his party I want to share with you guys is his cake! So traditionally, we use the first birthday to introduce sugary, gluten (and oh so delicious) death cakes to our babes. While you all know I have a soft spot for baked goods, I’m really trying hard to make better choices for the boog than I sometimes make for myself! Plus we’ve been super slow to introduce foods to Judson because of his intolerances so we just didn’t feel safe or comfortable at all doing a traditional smash cake. Instead, we went with watermelon! 

Judson could probably eat an entire melon himself, but I cut it down to baby cake size, tossed a Target “Happy Birthday” banner on top, and called it a day! I personally thought it was just as cute as a smash cake and I loved not having to stress about the effects of it on my babe! No sugar induced coma or tantrums after his party, just a much needed swim! 

It was such a fun weekend spent with family celebrating Judson! For his actual birthday, Josh and I celebrated back home with a watermelon cupcake (complete with avocado icing), a balloon, and a new pet fish! We spent all day Saturday in Cinncinatti at the Aquarium and the Children’s Museum. It’s only an hour and a half drive from Lexington so we plan to go back frequently and put our memberships to good use. We finished the day off with dinner at our favorite local Indian restaurant and came home tired, but happy. 

Judson is such a sweet and happy little soul and I am so thankful to be his mom. I hope God has planned many more years celebrating him and can’t wait to watch him grow up. I have a friend who hates to see moms say “stop growing up” to their babies as they get older. She expressed that it upsets her because the alternative is not getting to see your baby grow up, which is a sad reality for so many. So here I am, fighting the urge to wish away his growth and instead choosing to soak in every moment I have with him, no matter how hard of a stage it is. I’ll squeeze Judson extra tight and give him 102 kisses because when he’s 17 he probably won’t like that anymore! 

When you just need to rant

On the cusps of some Facebook comments that started out as friendly, encouraging and educational but quickly escalated into dramatics over, surprise surprise, mom topics, I want to take the time for a public service announcement (because apparently some people care THAT much about me ?)  I mean isn’t that the point of having a blog too? I get to force my opinions on others and talk about myself all that I want?!

“Why is jasmin so outspoken over mom and baby topics?” you ask. Well if you know me at all, I’m just generally an outspoken person. It’s difficult for me to understand why people are surprised that I share my opinion so openly via social media on such controversial topics, that is unless you’ve never had a conversation with me before. I love honesty. I love openness. These two things, along with my love for babies and moms, are why I regularly share not only my opinion on these topics, but also my struggles in them. As one of the first people my age to get pregnant and to be making parental choices, I hope to love my friends well and give them a real life picture of what parenting looks like so that one day when they find themselves in my shoes, they know they’re not alone. So that they find themselves semi-prepared. 

I understand not everyone is going to care about putting Christ first in their family. Even though I love breastfeeding and the benefits are incomparable, I know I will have friends that chose to formula feed. I have friends that will never put a baby in their bed and that’s totally fine. I’m sure I’ll have friends that don’t even have babies and couldn’t care less about this stuff! But here’s the thing, I hope that if a mom has a question about tongue ties, her freaking nipples, or simply about starting solids, that they will reach out to me. (Which let me add happens!) I want to be someone that moms can turn to if they’re uneasy about vaccines or if they’re desperate for sleep and all that works is bed sharing. I want to be a safe haven for these things because us moms get so much crap and judgement from every angle, which is hard enough without the constant need to impress the world around us. 

We have gotten into the habit of abusing moms by putting unrealistic expectations on them and then wondering why they’re struggling with postpartum depression. You’re not allowed to do any thing that is against the norm and you’re definitely not allowed to advocate for them! I have had countless people share a story, only to start it with “don’t judge me but.” HA lady, if you even knew. Don’t judge you for not wanting to have sex with your husband? Ding ding, it’s normal! Let’s talk about it! Don’t judge you for napping with your daughter instead of doing the laundry?! Please look in my closet. Don’t judge you for bathing with your son instead of putting him in the sink?! This is a nightly routine for us my friend! 

I don’t have all the answers. And what’s right for me, might not be right for you. You might have a child who’s more independent than Judson so baby wearing might not be the answer for you. But  it was a lifesaver for me so I don’t want to feel like sharing that is bad. Let’s agree or let’s dont, but either way we can still be friends or at least not be discredited as a parent. 

Look yall, I’m the furthest thing from perfect. The furthest. I put Judson in a car seat incorrectly as a newborn and thank you Jesus we didn’t crash on the way home from the hospital. Even when you do follow the rules, bad things can still happen. I followed the normal vaccine schedule just like I was “supposed to” and I know the majority of my friends will do that as well. That doesn’t change the fact that I still hope and pray that no one ever has their child stop breathing after that doctors visit. My kid is one trip to the Zoo short of jumping into the lions den because he thinks Daniel is a cool BIble Story. The list goes on and on, and if you have talked to me in the last year or at least follow my blog, you know where I’ve fallen short, the choices Josh and I have struggled through, and the sweet grace that Jesus keeps giving us. 

But please know, I care about you. I care about your families and the future babies. I care about your anxiety and your insecurities and the struggles that come with raising a child. That is why I use my role as a mom and silly ole Facebook as a platform. To educate others from my mistakes. To help parents. To do my part in encouraging moms and dads. To be a voice for babies when they can’t speak up yet. 

I’m sure that I don’t always come off that way. I get pissed off just like the best of you when I see bad information being shared or a mom getting attacked for breastfeeding in public. I still have my own sin The Lord is revealing to me. I still have my own crazy hormones that make me fiestier certain days of the month. I am still breastfeeding my child so I get really hangry at times. It happens. There are definitely times I should hold my tongue (or thumbs) instead of trying to enlighten others. But guess what, you’re not perfect either! I doubt you parent perfectly, or are a flawless boyfriend, or make straight 100’s on every test you’ve ever taken. So instead of texting people (my friends who love to screen shot and show me your comments) to bad mouth how we raise OUR son, you have two options. It’s that simple. Keep following my posts and be open minded that there are many different roads to walk down as a parent, or scroll right up there and unfriend me. Because just as I wouldn’t sensor myself face to face with you over coffee, I feel no need to hide nor defend the choices I make. 

Thank you so much to those of you who are loving and kind and encouraging. Thank you for the messages I get that say thanks for speaking up and saying these things. Thank you for letting me know that I showed you a different perspective or for feeling safe enough to ask me about blisters you have from nursing. Days like today when I’m frustrated and discouraged, I try to focus on how the Lord has used my words and remind myself that even with my imperfections, he uses me. 

If you’re not a parent yet, please know you ARE allowed to have an opinion. I encourage you to research and think through how you’d handle things if or when you have a baby, BUT don’t be as prideful as I was to think I had all the answers. As we get close to Judson turning one year, it’s so crazy for me to look at where I am. I mean right now even, I’m laying in the bed with my baby sleeping next to me. I thought for sure I’d be spending this time cleaning my perfectly organized house while he napped in his flawless nursery alone. I see no end to nursing in sight, when before I had him I was convinced I would stop at 1 year. I even thought anything after that was gross! My kid can’t get vaccines? I thought he would have died from the chickenpox by now. Yall. Please know pride is a real sin. Control is a real sin. We cannot plan out every detail, choice, and scenario. You do not know how you will handle all these things! You don’t know your baby nor their personality or what they will need. Be open minded. For your own sake and for the sake of those around you, please. Don’t mistake my advice as telling you that your thoughts are worthless, because that’s just not true. Your thoughts matter, just as much as mine or the next persons, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket when you don’t even own a chicken yet. That’s a stretch but pretend it makes sense. 

It’s easy for me to not care what people think. Given my tough skin, my childhood and just the path I’ve walked, it comes easy. I totally get its not the case for everyone else. Since being a mom, I’ve heard way too many stories of alienated parents, hiding their choices and feeling bad for living the way they do. How many of us have fought for the marginalized? What’s your thing? Abortions? Religion? Gender identity? Maybe mommyhood fits in there for some people. I guess I’m done ranting because I feel better now. Maybe this post is solely for myself and my comfort. I’m cool if that’s the case, but I’ll choose to believe The Lord is using it. I started this blog because I felt Him asking me to share my voice and to speak up, so even days when it’s discouraging, I think it’s even more of a reason to write. 

Short and sweet, really really sweet

It’s a dessert recipe so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be punny.

Judson has been loving pears and we snatched up a huge organic bag of them on sale at Costco this weekend. It was way more pears than we anticipated. So after lots of baby food prep, I still needed a good use for the extra ones. Enter an excuse to make dessert. Plus it’s the weekend and it’s not a weekend without dessert, everyone knows that. 

I introduce to you to my favorite new dessert. Baked pears with ice cream. I’m having it for breakfast this morning too so really it’s a win win recipe. Judge away, readers, judge away. Pinterest was full of baked pear recipes so I can’t credit anyone with a tag but the ice cream is based of  THIS fav one I’ve used before. 

I simply cut the pears in half and used a tablespoon to scoop out the core. Sprinkled with cinnamon and lightly covered them with maple syrup. Popped them in the oven at 375 for around 45 minutes. At this point they were close to done so I poured some coconut sugar baked pecans on top (these were left over from the last time I made the pecan pie ice cream) and started the ice cream. After it was done, I pulled out the pears and the were soft without being too squishy– perfection.

Thanks again snapchat

These could totally be eaten as is, but tell me something that isn’t better with ice cream on top? The pecan pie ice cream was the first recipe I tried after I got my maker for Mother’s Day and is to date, still my favorite. The orginal recipe is good but I don’t know how to follow directions so I’ve changed things up a bit. Take the same creative liberty I do when making ice cream and feel free to add more or less as the good Lord leads. 

Maple Ice Cream 

  • 1 cup homemade almond milk 
  • 3 cans refrigerated coconut milk (only using the cream from the top, it might take overnight to it to form)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (could use all coconut) 
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup 
  • 1/2 tablespoon black strap molasses
  • Splash of vanilla extract 

Heat the almond milk on the stove but only enough to dissolve in the sugars. Remove the sugary milk goodness from the heat and wisk in the rest of the ingredients, leaving the coconut cream for last. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and wait with more anticipation than you’ll have for the birth of first born son. It’s that good. You could also just freeze it for a couple hours if you don’t have an ice cream maker. 

We like the sweetness and don’t mind the small amount of brown sugar added in, but I have made it before with only coconut sugar and just added in the candied pecans at the end. I promise it was still delicious. If I was giving it to Judson, I’d just leave out the refined sugar and feel guilt-free! 

There ya have it! I’d totally call this dessert healthy and it fulfilled my cravings for pie that I’ve been wanting ever since I saw someone else post a delicious looking ice cream topped goodness to Instagram. 

I can pretend that Josh and I split this

Judson decided to nap before church so I didn’t get pears for breakfast but I will add, they were even better today after lunch. The ice cream had hardened up from sitting in the freezer over night so it melted next to the hot pears but not too quickly this time. Yum. Now I can nap peacefully, while visions of sugar pears dance in my head. 

Jesus, name above all names.

Our little munchkin, tiny baby is 11 months old today. I really have no clue how we got here. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we found out I was pregnant?! It honestly seems even further back thinking about the day Judson was born. I’ve watched him triple in size, learn how to mimic words and sounds, and now he’s even about to start walking. People said it would fly by and they weren’t lying. One question we get asked all the time, is why we chose the name Judson. We love sharing his name sake with folks so here’s how we decided on it.

Josh, Jasmin, and Judson Duggar. You’ve seen us. There was a show all about us but it got cancelled because our family is just too scandalous. Really though, I love the Duggars. And that was my biggest hold up whenever Josh told me that he wanted to continue on this “J. Mark” tradition with our first born son. Plus now our other kids will be the odd ones out because I refuse to do more J names. Thankfully though, we want to have like 6 kiddos (with some fostering and adoption in there as well yay) so I think they’ll live through it. It would be different if it was all J names and then one lonely Bob. 

But yes, so Josh said baby boy needed a J name and I become the pickiest person in the world. We had a strong conviction to be wise in naming our children. Throughout the Bible, names are given such importance. Angels are sent to fathers telling them specifically what to name their children, God gives new names to people as they are redeemed, and the power and character of God is shown by the use of different names for himself throughout the Bible. Names give purpose and meaning to the lives in which they’re displayed, and often times point to the plans God has for His children. 

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:9-11‬ ‭ESV‬

Besides the fact that the Duggars really have snatched up so many biblical J-names, we were still at a loss. We wanted something with purpose and meaning that wasn’t overly popular, without it being super weird at the same time. Josh was a trooper and recommended so many options that I shot down within an instant. “Ew, no. I babysat a kid with that name who was so mean.” “No Josh, gah what are you trying to raise a serial killer?!” “Josh, no we aren’t naming our child after you!!” My pregnancy hormones made me a super loving and patient person who was totally welcomingto all of his ideas. Thankfully, The Lord answered our prayers and revealed the perfect name to us.

While I was pregnant we made a lot of trips back and forth from Lexington to the Memphis area. We often used this time to listen to sermons and during one trip were catching up on a series from Fellowship. I think Bryan Lorrits preached this specific Sunday, but in it he mentioned a man named Adoniram Judson. The story he shared was relatively short and quick in the overall scheme of the sermon. We would go on later to research more about him but pretty much, Adoniram Judson grew up in a Christian household but went off to college and moved away from the Lord. He had a friend that played a big role in this rebellion that he later, unknowingly at the time, semi-witnessed the death of. The Lord used this experience to draw Judson back to himself and he goes on to be the first missionary from the United States. How’s that for a life!

HERE is a sermon by John Piper that uses Judson’s life story of “Suffering and Success” on the Cost of Missions, specifically about his impact in Burma. There is also a link to a small free e-book before the text of the sermon that is a nice little read on him as well. But seriously y’all, read up on this man. He loved Jesus so much. His life is such an example of open hands. There is also a really sweet letter (somewhere on the inter web) that he wrote to his first wife’s Father, asking for her hand in marriage. He was just a really cool dude. 

Judson. A J-name with a gospel background that’s different without being super ‘out there.’ It’s easy to spell (sounds a little bit too much like Justin we now know) but we loved it! And what a fun way to share our hearts for the lost world by telling people where our son’s name comes from. 

The summer before we got married, I spent 8 weeks in Southeast Asia experiencing a brokenness of the lost world unlike anything else in my life. I had been on shorter trips as a child, but nothing was like what I experienced as a believer that summer living in a sea of unreached people, seeing it all firsthand. My heart will always be wrecked for the nations after this trip. Josh did that same trip two summers before me, so he also has all the feels for missions based off his experiences. I know the Lord had his hand in us getting married and is definitely glorified in our days full of school, parenting, and just our overall life here in the states, but I really do think I’d be living overseas had marriage not been the next step after getting back that summer. We are super excited to take trips as a family one day and can’t wait to see The Lord use mission work to shape our kids.

Josh and I were life-chatting a couple weeks ago and realized that we both have been praying specifically for Judson’s future and his heart for missions a lot here recently. I am a huge believer that the Lord aligns your prayers with his desires so I’m super excited to see years from now (Lord willing) the path he has set out for baby boog. How cool would it be to walk in the footsteps as his namesake, giving his all for our Savior, bringing His name to the lost world. I know his salvation isn’t promised, but what an even better reason to pray for his heart endlessly and beg God to use his life for His glory. 

I’m going through Acts with the “She Reads Truth” summer devotional plan. TODAY’S reading  was titled “Good News for the Gentiles.” Good news indeed. News that needs to be shared. News that God promises will be taken to the ends of the Earth. And news that my ears were open to hear because someone shared it with me. It’s been difficult to be in a season where school is non stop and even small trips over seas aren’t feasible. Luckily, we have endless friends that are giving up the ordinary and spending their days in other countries, building relationships and sharing this Good News worldwide.

I’ve heard it said “There are senders and there are goers.” And I totally agree. If you look in the New Testament, Paul relied on those back at home for the support that would enable him to be the one traveling fulltime sharing the Gospel. We are so blessed to be in a stage of life right now where we can have our hand in the gospel being shared, as senders. Would we love to be the goers? Yes!! Will we be goers again someday? We think so, we pray so. But we trust The Lord to know each of His children play a different role in His plan. And that’s what’s so beautiful about the body and it’s giftings. The fact that God doesn’t need us yet still invites us to be apart of His story. Prayers, money, being the one who actually spends time somewhere else. Whatever it is, the Lord is asking you to be apart of His story reaching the lost.

I have a specical place in my heart for overseas work. I sometimes get so disgusted with our lives here in America. I pridefully think I am better than “all the lukewarm people” who just claim Christ to make themselves feel better. But y’all. That was me. My entire life, I claimed Christianty without even a hint of a relationship with Christ. Who better than to share this good news with boring ole Americans than myself?! What better of an example can my life be than for the truth of the gospel?! Don’t forget, whether you’re in Africa or Arkansas, your life is a witness to Christ. You have countless opportunities to share his good news everyday. Be it how you study for tests, the way you manage your money, or your relationship with a boyfriend, whatever choices you’re making– they point to your view of Christ. I pray my words and my life look different because of the impact Christ’s death has had on my heart. 

So there you have it. Baby Judson is growing up and taking the story of Jesus worldwide!! Man, I sure hope so. But that desire makes me so so thankful for a faithful God that holds my sweet son in His hands. It makes me thankful that I can rest in the Lord and his sovereignty. Praise Jesus that I’m not the one who is trying to sew together the details of his life, manifesting his passions, or lending out traits and giftings. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite verses that was in today’s reading. 

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” 

The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion. 

Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. 

The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭52:7-10‬ ‭ESV‬

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

While we were Memphis last week, I ate a vegan cupcake at Muddy’s. Yes, yes it has terrible, awful, no good, dirty, rotten gluten but I wanted to see if Judson could tolerate it (and I really just wanted a freaking cupcake!!!). I know he reacts to egg and dairy, but I cut gluten without trialling it to help heal our guts since it’s really hard on everyone’s body. Well, we will never know how he did because I went on to eat donuts, half of Josh’s peice of cheesecake, and then had Chic-fil-a two days in a row. I’m such an all or nothing person!! I was like “humm well I’ve already ruined it, might as well keep on destroying my life!!” This. Is. So. Untrue. Moderation is key, or so I’m told. I have this issue with self control or just with sin in general. I’ll have a super whiney day full of complaining and just keep on until I’ve exhausted all the negativity I can. Or when Josh and I were dating and struggling with sexual sin, we said more times than I want to admit, “Well we’ve already messed up, why fight it?” 

As far as sin goes, I addressed this is an earlier blog post, but we are called to keep fighting the good fight, to keep seeking God’s glory in our actions, and to put off our old sinful selves. This is hard, but thankfully as believers, we have the Holy Spirit living within us enabling this. The same power that raised Christ from the dead, allows us to put our selfish desires second and elevate God’s glory over our wants. 

As far as food goes, I need to get my mindset right and understand that a little “bad” is worse then giving up and eating a whole cake in one sitting. Also I’m dealing with huge mommy guilt because he did react, of course,  to the minimal dairy and eggs (and who knows about the gluten) so I’m beating myself up over my selfishness.  

The effects of this food have been more than noticeable for both Josh and myself, plus baby boog. We have been super grumpy. Sleepy and just dragging around. Judson has nursed all night long. My stomach hurts. Josh’s stomach hurts. My arms have a rash on them. Judson’s nose is runny and his cheeks are flushed. I’ll spare the details on his dirty diapers. And I can’t stop thinking about floury goodness!!!!

Sooooo here we are. Crashing from our drug high, dreaming about our next hit. Except no. We’re detoxing our bods and staying far away from the sugary, gluten death trap my body is craving so badly. Because I’m nursing I can’t do much detoxing, but we are all taking regular Epsom salt/baking soda baths and upping our probiotics, fresh foods, and water intake. Overall, this weekend of craziness has reminded us how much healthier we feel when we eat real foods and has given us the encouragement we needed to keep on with our healthy diet choices. We already knew we felt better since we made these changes, but there is no denying it after the yuck we’ve been feeling this week. 

But. This. Morning. I could NOT get muffins out of my mind. You guys know I’ve had a really rough time with using gluten free flour mixes. Probably because I’m so dang picky, but I have hated every cupcake, waffle, pancake, or muffin I’ve tried to make using the stuff. The only things that have passed my test have been naan and dumplings. Which both are literally just flour, water, and seasonings so whoopdee doo. Luckily, I gave in yesterday and bought a huge bag of almond flour from Costco. I think it was like $15 (which is a lot when you’re a poor girl) but in comparison to the price at health food stores, it’s a steal. I have tried to make my own almond flour after making almond milk a couple times, but it’s a mess so I always give up. Maybe post little, tiny baby days it’ll be easier. I set off to Pinterest where I found this awesome recipe for some blueberry lemon muffins and they did not disappoint. I plan to creep this blog more because I loved the name of it and it totally hit home with where I’m at right now. 

THESE tasty muffins are dairy, egg, and gluten free. Almond flour is used instead of a regular flour or a gluten free 1:1 replacement mix. I’m also not a huge fan of coconut flour so I was steering clear of those recipes too for this morning. It uses chia seeds to replace the eggs by mixing 3 tablespoons of seeds with 9 tablespoons of water. I’ve seen this recommended before as an egg replacement, but this was my first time trying it. We love our chia seeds so I was excited to see how these turned out. It only uses honey as a sweetner instead of refined sugars along with a little vanilla extract and lemon juice for flavoring. I used frozen blueberries instead of fresh and they worked wonderfully, not even squishy like I’ve seen happen in other recipes. 

Here’s a picture where I pretend I only ate two muffins, and that I used a plate

Okay okay, so these turned out delicious and I totally recommend making them right this moment! I think the Lord is trying to humble me or something because last night I dropped and shattered a plate then this morning I dropped the pan in the oven losing a few muffins. But whatever, I just ate a few bites off the floor to keep from being wasteful and called it a good try. I was worried they wouldn’t be sweet enough and almost made a little sugary crumble for the top, but I’m glad I didn’t because they don’t even need it! 

Hope you guys enjoy and have better luck pulling them out of the oven then I did! 

What’s happening? Da na na na…

Isn’t that an old rap song or something?….

So how about a little life update from the Day’s?? Guess what?? We’re…. Not pregnant! I feel like you guys clicked on here just to see if that’s what I had to say. Figured I’d clear the air early on incase that’s all you’re interested in! I will admit it though, I’ve got huge baby fever these days. I blame it on Target and their perfect, adorable little flowery summer dresses. Secretly, I’m hoping for a girl next time, even though I really love being a “boy mom.” Judson is still nursing every couple hours though, so science says it’ll be a little bit before we get another blessing. Until then, patience my friends, patience. 

But really, what’s up with us?? I haven’t blogged in a bit and my phone is out of space so that means less pictures on FB. I’m sure you guys are distraught, longing to know! I kid. 

Josh is in his last week of his clinical at St. Joseph Hosptial where he’s been doing his acute care rotation. It’s been 8-5 pretty much everyday which has meant less time hanging with the dada before bedtime (cue the waterworks). Judson must have missed him so much because he has been waking up at 530 every morning just so we can hang with Josh before work. It’s a bit early but I like that he’s giving us a little more time together as a fam. It’s finally starting to get warm here in Lexington, which thankfully means family walks after dinner. I’ve become obsessed with these peach flavored Izzy juice drink thingamajigs. Y’all they are so good and the real reason I take the walks. Things have been pretty normal and boring around here this semester but it’s been great. We’re looking forward to a little break before Josh starts summer classes in a couple weeks. 

Judson refused to smile because he was mad at Josh for not sharing the Izzy with me

Judson is an adult. He’s almost ready to drive. Really though, he is walking holding onto things so we think in no time he’ll be running around playing soccer. He loves dancing and listening to music and is so cute shaking his booty, clapping his hands. It’s nuts how interactive he’s become. It’s like he’s a real human now! Sometimes he gets really fussy and mad,  and then we realize he’s dancing and just wants music 
Oh to speak baby language. His favorite song is JT’s new one “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” It’s our favorite too. He also loves Maroon 5’s “Sugar” and that “I can’t feel my face” song. We usually spend a few hours a day dancing away to these on repeat. Go checkout our Spotify playlist if you ever need some good jams to dance to. It’s been annoying not having a backyard to play in because we all really enjoy being outside, but we’ve made do with a blow up pool on the back deck and often take 3 walks a day. There are a lot of community pools here in Lexington and today we are venturing to one with some mom friends for a swim play date! 

It is possible he’s licking a dirty spoon

So like I said, Josh has a week off before starting summer session (yay!!) and we will be traveling back home this weekend! We are excited to spend some time with family in Jackson, eat tasty Memphis food, and finally see my sister’s new house! I’m not sure of all the plans, but if you want to hang out, shoot me a text! We are going to the zoo on Monday and then Tuesday we plan to do breakfast/lunch in Memphis before heading back to Lexington for the rest of the week! I can’t believe it’s already time to be saying this, but early July we will be in Jonesboro to celebrate Judson’s birthday. How is it already so soon?! Craziness. Because we will be in Jonesboro for that, we aren’t making it all the way there this weekend.

The first Birthday party thing is a weird one. I like don’t know who to invite because I don’t want people to feel obligated to come, yet I don’t want to leave people out that want to celebrate with us! Sooooo, if you do want to come, let me know and I’ll give you the details! Is that tacky of me? Gimme grace. It’s going to be fun and chill, a backyard BBQ at my parents house! Even though I refuse to accept that this tiny little baby is already almost one. Nope, can’t be!

Speaking of time flying by, in the fall Josh starts his last year of PT school. Here’s where the news is my friends! In the program, students are required to go out of state for at least 1 of the 4 clinicals. Whenever you have a baby, they allow you first pick on Lexington placements because they understand the added responsibility that comes along with having family. Thankfully we were able to do every other clinical here in town while some students have traveled for all of theirs. This was a huge blessing for us! Pause for a praise Jesus moment. If you all remember this time last year, we took our babymoon in Florida at Josh’s family beach condo. It’s in the Clearwater area (like 15 minutes from there) and totally beautiful. Welllllllll we have decided that for Josh’s last clinical (12 weeks this time next summer) we are going to live down there! There are a couple clinics in that same area, but he will probably be working in St. Petersburg. This is a new option this year and totally a blessing straight from above. As you can imagine, we are really excited. Josh’s family has graciously allowed us to stay there again, which is great because paying double rent somewhere would have been impossible. After that clinical we will head back to Lex for graduation and then Josh will take his boards. He can work during this time on a temp license but only in KY while he studies for his tests and then we are free to move! 

Okay y’all. We know we’ve always said the plan is to move back to Memphis. Buttttttt, we uhhhh really uhhh want…to live (like all the time) by a beach. Why not?! As much as we love Memphis, everytime we go on vacation, we leave talking about how we wished it was fulltime. Our only hesitancy is family and friends, but being in Lexington during school has shown us how things can work being away from y’all and has really given us the freedom to flirt with living away after school. We had a couple weeks where we were really trying to make Hawaii work, but with our student loans, it’ll be a hot minute before we can afford that beach life. In the meantime, we are praying over our choices and thinking through where and what a beachy future would look like for us. I have this feeling that after spending next summer down there, we will never want to leave the area. But who the heck knows. We have so much freedom with Josh’s job (praising The Lord for this too) because the market for PT’s is great nationwide, making things weirder and harder when trying to decide what the future looks like. 

Will you guys join us in praying for this? We’d love that. Ask the Lord to grow our hearts for a place, show us vision for an area, direct us to a location with need for Christ and a great biblical community for us and a family. I mean after spending a summer in China and then moving here literally knowing no one or anything about this place, we feel confident that we will be able to adapt wherever we go. It’s been cool to realize the freedom we have in Christ to make plans like this. 

This post has been much shorter than my usual ones (and brought to you by a sleeping babe), so hopefully I didn’t lose as many of you guys as I normally do towards the end of these things. As always, thanks for keeping up with us! It’s been a huge adjustment being away from our friends and family these past 2 years, but more than anything it has shown us how blessed we are to have so many great people in our lives. We don’t always do a good job of texting and keeping up, especially now that we have little babe on the move 24/7, so thanks for loving us well and giving us grace!

Datebox Review 

In college, I had the rule that if someone asked me out on a date, I said yes. I mean why not? I’m not going to lie to you, my biggest factor in this rule was a free meal. What’s the harm really–one date can either be the start of something but if not you feel pretty, and hopefully full from being wined and dined. 

When Josh and I started dating, boy did he try to woo me. Picnics at sunset on the river, concerts, fully mapped out competitions and games with winners rights to truth or dare, nights at my favorite restaurants, and trips for ice cream or cupcakes afterward. Ladies, we have it made. 

Now, fast forward to our new little family here in Lexington. We are living on student loans with a baby nursling. Dating looks way different. Wonderful, but different. If we did things like a lot of other families do, we could hire a sitter for the night and go out. $30 on a sitter plus $30 on dinner (minimum) and before we know it, we have spent $60 and all we’ve had time to do was eat. Doing this once a week, we would have spent enough money to pay electricity bill for the month and then some. On a student’s budget, it’s just not wise. Plus baby boog doesn’t want a bottle (and I am A-okay with that) so we like to keep him close and do fun things alongside little man so that he’s happy and nurtured as well! 

So what does date night look like for us in this season? Sometimes it’s making brownies and watching a movie. Other times, it’s a game of chess (that I always lose) or a trip to the park. Usually our dates are during the day on the weekend because we want to be outside. We might go for a walk at the park, take a bike ride, or if I’m trying to love him really well, have a little game of HORSE shooting some hoops. It looks different than everyone’s typical idea of a date, but because it is a priority to us, we always set aside special time each week to keep “dating” each other. Josh has always been really creative at coming up with things for us to do, but lately we’ve been pretty boring and have been keeping things simple. 

Josh has a PT school friend who recommended DateBox to us a few months ago after he and his fiancé recieved one as a Christmas gift. We forgot all about it until a few weeks ago when I saw on FB that Jefferson Bethke had a discount code for your first one. Since we hadn’t dipped into our date night budget at all for the month, we ordered one and impatiently waited weeks for it to arrive! I think I signed up right after that month had been shipped out, so we had to wait longer than I wanted for it to get here. 

But it finally did last week! We opened it up and laughed so hard. DIY ice cream. Y’all I got an icecream maker for Mother’s Day. So we cheated a little and used that instead of shaking with rock salt and ice, but still, it was so fun and such a cute idea of how to spend time together. We used coconut milk because of our no dairy needs and I topped with only the included gluten/dairy free toppings like gummy bears and sprinkles, but Josh was in heaven with the included fudge and PB cup goodies. I forgot to take a picture but thankfully I snapchatted the fun! 

While we ate our ice cream, we played the card game that was included. It was a series of questions and you made bets on each other’s responses. It was titled “I bet I know you better.” Clever. And y’all, I killed it. I was slightly offended at how badly Josh did but still happy to win! My favorite question was one where I had to compare Josh’s lips to fruit. I chose a cherry (duh sweet, smooth, the perfect color) but he guessed that I said bananas. Why? Oh just because mouths are the shape of bananas. Hahaha I died and laughed way too hard over such a weird question. 

Also included in this month’s box, was a CD of dance lessons. Our favorite pastime with the baby these days has been dance parties so once again this was totally perfect for us. Josh is super shy and won’t ever let me video the adorableness BUTTTTT he has no choice now because this month there is a competition via social media! You upload a video with a hashtag and the winners get some pretty awesome prices. This means you all get to see our cuteness very soon. Make sure you share and like our video so that momma and daddy can win a prize! 

The included CD has seperate lessons for 3 different dance styles. I will say that we are much better at free styling, but it’s been fun learning the techniques they teach in the lessons. Josh has only stepped on my foot a million times so far, but I have hope for our video. 

They also created a date night playlist on Spotify and slipped in a sweet little pamphlet written by Craig Gross from Stronger Marriages.  He shared wisdom and tips for couples and although we have been married for under two years, it was cool to read over and think through what we are doing already to encourage a healthy marraige. I loved the advice he gave and the practical ways to apply them.  The insert was titled “Pursue” and his three thoughts were on engaging your partner’s interests, doing something together, and dreaming new dreams together. I totally agree that putting these ideas into practice will lead to a deeper and stronger relationship together so it was cool to see that added in alongside the activities. 

We did this first month as a trial to see if it was worth the money and it definitely is. You could split this one box into 3 or more weekends if you just did one activity a week. We got our first box off with the promo code “Bethke” so it was only $22.47. I’m not sure if the code still works, but even full price, I think it’s totally worth the dollhairs. 

Head over to DateBox to sign up! If you are dating or engaged, it’s easy to make things like this a priority, but don’t forget to keep pursuing each other in marraige. I look forward all week to spending our special time that we set aside for me and Josh together. I know that I can love Judson better and be a nicer mom whenever my relationship with Josh is given attention. It’s similar to my relationship with Christ and Josh too. If I’m not pursing Christ and spending time with him, I can’t love Josh well. I’ll quickly find myself burnt out and apathetic to everything around me. I need Jesus to love Josh, and I need Jesus plus Josh to love Judson. Amen. And date box helped with that this week! 

My own book of Revelations

As believers we understand there is a need for The Lord to reveal sin to us, right? And we understand that it’s The Lord who opens our eyes to the reality of depravity around us in the world? To the reality of sex slavery or child abuse? And we totally agree on the fact that it is God who breaks our hearts,often calling us to adoption after we realize the brokenness of our foster care system or see oversea orphanages with parentless children living in complete and total poverty and filth? Right? What about our society’s acceptance of abortion? Not only is it legal, but it’s accepted and often advised by medical professionals, politicians, and celebrities. It is God alone that has allowed us to see the pain and brokenness behind what the world paints as a good decision. 

When we look at these popular, and seemingly “oh so sinful” issues in our culture, for the most part, it’s apparent that we live in a fallen world. It becomes easy to say that we can’t simply trust every opinion we get from leaders, doctors, government officials, or sadly enough, even from preachers. But it would be foolish to say we always have clear eyes. It would be nice, but also just as crazy to think every situation we find ourselves in, will have a black and white answer perfectly outlined in scripture on how to act. Take this job offer, stay at home. Go to Africa yourself, support a missionary. Move your elderly parent into your home, find a good living facility. We are presented with choices like this daily. Thankfully we can rely on the Holy Spirit and God’s word to direct us, but what if we don’t know we need direction? What if The Spirit is whispering in our ear, speaking through His word or other believers, drawing us into the light? Satan is so good at deception. Our sin is so good at deceiving us. 

I’ve shared this before, but one of our biggest prayers is a plea for The Lord to open our eyes and reveal to us what he wants me and Josh to see. Parenting flaws, pride towards each other, sin hidden deep down in our souls. Show us Lord. Prune us, refine us, make us more like your son. And please oh please give us eyes to see and be drawn more near to yourself. 

Let’s talk about sex. In marriage, sex is considered a tool for protection (1 Corinthians 7:2-5). While The Bible is clear on this role, sex also blesses couples with pleasure physically, serves to create intimacy, all while allowing us to fulfill God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. Sex is powerful, mystical, and a great defense against Satan’s attack on this covenant between God and man–marriage. But here’s the thing, when this great thing is taken and used in any situation other than marriage, brokenness follows. Divorce and abuse are two areas where it’s easy to agree with me, but what about in couples that are engaged, or between highschool students that are newly in love burning with passion for each other (hormones ??) or in meaningless, casual relationships that are solely for the pleasure of sex claiming nothing emotional?

Here’s where it comes full circle. Deception. I’ve been there, done the walk of shame home. I’ve never been one to hide my struggle with sexual sin thoughout my life as a believer and it’s because I have seen the power sex has over us, even when we try so hard to ignore it. But sin has a way of blinding us, allowing us to accept lies as truth, that is until The Lord comes around and rocks our world. In the moment our lives can seem so shatterproof and fulfilling, fun and nonchalant, but there are still consequences to our sin. We are separating ourselves from Christ, we are living in darkness, missing out on an intimacy with The Lord that comes from seeking Him over desires. With sex specifically, sometimes we are drawn back to reality by a hard (but oh so wonderful) blessing such as a pregnancy, other times it’s prolonged and manifests as trust issues or struggling for intimacy inside of marraige. However He chooses, God has a habit of bringing those he loves, into the light (Hebrews 12:7-11).

When we chat about sin, I think it’s also so important to emphasize God’s grace and Christ’s death. How many times a day do you think you sin that the Lord doesn’t reveal it to you? I know for me, it’s endless. Whenever I spend time trying to confess and praise the Lord for his forgiveness over my life, I find myself dumbfounded at the renewed realization of my need and utter dependence on Christ’s salvation. Walking through these periods on sin and struggle, lead me to a place where I saw how badly I needed Christ, more than I ever would have noticed without the sin. Paul said it best in Romans 5 and into chapter  6. I could try and put it into my on words, but God’s voice is powerful enough in His word. These chapters paint such a beautiful picture of what it’s like to walk with God. 

My marraige is a great testament of his grace and his ability to make all things new (Revelation 21:5). During our engagement, Josh and I were not wise at all while we traveled to Lexington to try and find an apartment. We were caught up in our emotions, so excited about our coming reality of marraige that was only weeks away, and we had sex. We felt like failures and were so ashamed and prideful about it at the same time. We shared this with a few close friends, but before we knew it, our struggles had become a public viewing for all to watch and weigh in on. We even had a few guys drop out of the wedding because of this sin. While I feel I should add that I still don’t think that’s how the Lord has called us to handle situations as followers of Him and His Word, it is a great testament to how quickly sin can manifest into pain when it started with such “good intentions.” Josh and I were only weeks away from being married, excited and so in love–the world would say sex is a perfect way to celebrate that, but God’s word teaches us otherwise (Hebrews 13:4). 

I’m so thankful The Lord didn’t end our story there. I’m even more thankful that in marriage, through sex, we have been refined. It’s not easy to all of a sudden (literally overnight after you say your I do’s) to feel “allowed” to want to have sex and to desire each other. To lose the feelings of guilt you have so long tried to avoid after having sex or to be able to even see how powerful it is in your marriage, is extremely difficult. It requires a lot of prayer and requires you to actually be accepting of forgiveness.

For so long, Josh and I both fought God’s grace and the freedom he had given us, and remained enslaved to the sin and guilt from what sex used to be, instead of allowing it to be what God has created it for in our marriage. God took this sin, revealed it and manifested it into something new and beautiful while using it to deepen His relationship with each of us and our relationship with each other. 

Okay so I say all of this, as an example. It’s not even what I want to talk about in this post. I’m hoping that The Lord is opening your eyes and allowing you to be prepped for what I do want to say. Because it’s a topic that is even more risky to bring up than sex. It’s a topic that pisses people off, often results in name calling, and has even ended friendships. Vaccines. AHH RUN AND HIDE. I know you might be tempted to hit that red x in the corner of the page, but before you do, engage this a tad bit longer. 

I’m sure some of you reading know this story but I’ll give you some back ground. While I was pregnant, I was semi-health conscious but also very trusting of what I would consider now “mainstream” parenting styles. I saw in a FB group (of course) a mom ranting and raving about the chiropractor and how much it helped with her pain during pregnancy. Having always had back pain, I was worried about adding a gaint baby belly into the mix, so I set up an appointment. Quickly I fell in love with my chiropractor. She was (is) always so patient and took her time with me. She never dismissed my thousands of questions and always passed along research to me that she thought I would enjoy. She brought new topics to me and encouraged me to learn about them, and loved hearing about things I shared with her. She amazed me with her passion for knowledge, backing everything up with facts and information, and created a trust between us that I’ve never had with any other medical professional. 

One day, I went straight in from a check up at my midwife’s office with a bandaid on my arm. She inquired what happened and I shared that I received the DTaP vaccine that day.  She met me with complete shock. Knowing me, she was so surprised I got it. I was so surprised SHE was surprised! This woman that I trusted so much, could she be… Anti vaccine?! (Cue the thunderstorm sounds) She told me that she was just alarmed because it hasn’t been tested on pregnant women and the vaccine packet even says the effects on the fetus are unknown. I just kind of brushed the conversation off. I was slightly uncomfortable and fearful for the baby, yet I tried to ignore it entirely. 

When Josh got home from school I told him about our conversation and confessed I felt kind of lead to research it a bit more. Pridefully I felt like I made the right choice and didn’t want to be questioned, but I really did trust her opinion and wanted to look into what she said about it. She was the only person I knew that ever questioned vaccines and I knew she wasn’t a wack job. In our heads, Josh and I had this picture of anyone who didn’t get them, as being nuts. I don’t really know what I thought was crazy about them, but that’s what we thought. I avoided the research but right before Judson was born she brought it up again. She asked if I had followed up with my “I’ll look into it” and what I had found. Granted I had done a quick little Google search with no actual researching effort, I told her I had and that we decided just to trust the system and get them. She was sweet of course, encouraged me to look into the need for the hepatitis B shot specifically in newborns and that we could chat about it more if I had any questions. Oh how I wish she would have pushed it more, but this side of things I totally understand why she didn’t.

Fast forward to the week of Judson’s 2 month check up and his dreaded first “real” appointment wth vaccines. He did receive HepB at birth, honestly because I never looked into it, but I knew this appointment was more intense than just that one vaccine. I think it must have been the Holy Spirit, mixed with my God-given motherly instinct, but I was so so so uneasy. I started looking into vaccines more and was completely overwhelmed.

For everything I found that said there was no reason to be concerned, I found another that said there was. If anyone even mentioned autism, total craziness broke loose. I would read that the chances of a negative reaction were super slim, but then see 5 stories of vaccine reactions that made me think otherwise. There was so much fear, it seemed, in either choice. Plus what about people who have cancer, was my kid going to pass along polio to them if he didn’t get the vaccine? I had no clue how it all worked and I didn’t know what to do. Every where I looked, I was seeing something vaccine related, doing my best to ignore it all. 

We wanted to make the best choice for our son but didn’t know what that looked like. So we prayed and I messaged a believer mom friend of mine and asked her opinion, thinking she probably struggled with this choice too knowing her tendency to lean towards natural options. We asked The Lord to direct our plans and choices as parents, especially in this area. We want healthy, safe, (and alive) kids so show us what to do, Jesus. Looking back now, I can see The Lord throwing stuff in our laps that we just ignored, but we decided to move forward with the full schedule (looked into Dr. Sears delayed schedule) and get his vaccines. 

While we had decided to move forward with the vaccines, I still had a million questions for the doctor. First red sign, I wasn’t allowed to actually talk with my doctor and was told by the nurse that she would answer any questions I had. She was super dismissive and said she’s done this for years and I have no reason to be concerned. “No mom likes to see their baby cry.” Okay lady but it’s about more than just my son crying. I asked for the package inserts from vaccines that he was getting so that I could read over possible side effects (like I would do with any medicine being given) and she handed me a one sheet, printed off piece  of paper the office typed up. When I asked more about fevers, crying, or anything possibly negative happening, she said not to be concerned unless it didn’t stop after a couple of days. I asked for signs of what a negative reaction was, and she said “nothing unless it’s still happening after a couple of days,” and assured me that fevers, screaming, welps, rashes, extreme fatigue, all of it, is normal. 

At this point I was so worried and confused, but when the doctor came in he pushed away my concerns as well. So here she came, back with 7 vaccines combined into I think 3 shots and an oral serving. I begged her to at least let me nurse Judson while she did the shots, and she reluctantly agreed. Y’all have seen this kid, he’s always been so happy and never cries (unless he’s in the car) and he wouldn’t stop screaming. Not even when they actually poked him, but after. He wouldn’t nurse or calm down and then screamed endlessly until he finally fell asleep in the car which totally never happens either. They didn’t have me wait to see if he stopped crying, or to see if he had a seizure, or turned into a monkey, I was simply sent home with my peice of paper and told to wait a couple days if I had any concerns. “New moms are always anxious about shots, you’ll get used to it.”

Well Judson didn’t run a fever, but he was either screaming or asleep that whole day, and didn’t even want to nurse. I refused to put him down and skipped small group that night. When Josh got home, I had relaxed a bit and Judson seemed to have chilled out as well, so we went to bed. We had given up on using the bassinet and Judson just slept with us because if not, we never slept. Because he’s in the bed with us, I’m a super light sleeper, always ready to wake up at the start of a hunger cue so that I can avoid a fully woken up, starving baby and we all can get more sleep. 

Well that night, I just woke up. No fussing baby, no movement, just up for no apparent reason. Which was extremely rare because believe me, I was soaking up any bit of sleep during the night that I could get.  I put my hand on Judson and I didn’t feel him wrestling at all like he usually does when I wake up. I sat there a couple seconds longer, still nothing and I realized he wasn’t breathing. I gave him a little shake. Nothing. Maybe I’m missing it. Shake again, nope nothing. I snatched him up. STILL NOTHING. Finally I moved him around enough, startled him or something and he started breathing. I was relieved but still freaked out beyond what I could ever relay in words. It happened so quickly that I didn’t really even realize what was going on. 

I remembered the nurse warning that after vaccines, babies want to sleep a lot and that if you are worried, just to wake them every 30 minutes so that they don’t get into “too hard” of a sleep. Well of course, I didn’t sleep the rest of the night. Judson was woken up every 30 minutes on the dot and I called the office as soon as it opened. Not to my surprise, once again they dismissed my concerns and told me that it’s normal. If it happens again, they said to go into the ER but that lots of babies sleep so hard after vaccines that their “breathing slows.” 

Okay, so this didn’t sound normal to me. What if my child had been in the crib?! What if I hadn’t just woken up and touched him? At first, we were super hesitant to talk about it with anyone. We didn’t tell our parents what happened, and I think I only told my little sister because I was so traumatized by the experience and I couldn’t hold it in anymore. Josh and I didn’t really talk about it much because it was just so scary. Could there be more to this whole vaccine thing? Is it really possible that my son is the “one in a million chance” everyone says there is of having a negative reaction? I mean that seems like a negative reaction to me, can that really be normal? Am I crazy to believe it’s not okay for a baby to stop breathing post shots?! 

Feeling overwhelmed, embarrassed to question it, and hesitant to talk about it with anyone, we went to The Lord. We had been begging him to give us direction and finally felt like we had an answer. I mean, what’s more clear than a bad reaction to vaccines as your answer. I decided to get a second medical opinion and to really start researching this for myself. The more studies we read, the more facts we found out, and the more families we talked to with similar stories, the more we felt confident in not vaccinating any longer. We met with another doctor who was recommended as being “parent choice friendly” on vaccines. We explained what happened and asked for his opinion. He was dumbfounded at how the situation was handled and reassured us that it was definitely a negative reaction. He said that while we could move forward with vaccines one at a time to try and possibly identify what the reaction was to, he wouldn’t recommend it and that he would be more than willing to provide documentation for a medical excemption whenever we need it. Ah peace like a riverrrrr right there. Yes, it was scary to hear that he wouldn’t advise more vaccines, but he left the choice up to us, which as a parent helps you trust a doctor more. He explained his thoughts on both sides of the choice, and recommended we be educated on the diseases we vaccinate for so that we would know where to have concern if needed. Side note, we switched to his practice and have been much happier there since! 

THIS link is one of my favorites when it comes to vaccine/disease education. Yes it’s a blog, but follow the links provided in it if you don’t trust the writing. That’s what I did, so I’m not hating on doing just that. I have followed links and read study after study that have been summarized in good blog posts. And I’m not going to lie, I like an informational blog post written by a parent. I like when people read studies and sum them up. I also like reading those studies myself, but I also totally can find value in those putting in the hard work and sharing it later on so that we can reap the benefits of their labor. I applaud education and even if you’re not a doctor, I applaud caring enough to seek out answers. 

The article breaks down each vaccine and it’s correlating disease listing out facts about them both, the treatment options and side effects, along with statistics about the vaccine and the disease. I’ve found out that the best way to combat fear about this topic, is with information. 

Recently I’ve seen a lot of posts about the measles cases in Memphis. You know what happens when you get the measles? “Measles starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat. It’s followed by a rash that spreads over the body.” Straight from The CDC website. 

Yes, there are complications (diarrhea being the most commonly reported complication) from the measles, but there are rare complications from trying out new mascara. You could become blind!! It comes down to the fact that I just don’t like fear based decisions. Not to mention that most of our parents and grandparents all had the measles. I read an article the other day HERE that lists out postitive things your body acquires from fighting off the measles, such as natural prevention for asthma and allergies. Plus, what are the side effects  of the vaccines? “Common side effects of M-M-R II include injection site reactions (pain, redness, swelling, or a lump), fever, rash, headache, dizziness, joint or muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.” Sounds similar if you ask me, with a much smaller window for negative consequences. Okay that’s all, I’m done.

It’s all I’m saying about this for now.. If you are interested, once again THIS first article I listed really does a great job of breaking it down for you. Don’t be fearful friends, be educated! 

I could talk about vaccine deception all day, and I plan to do a post on it with more detail. But I don’t want to scare you guys away. I want to plant a seed and see how The Lord brings it to fruition in your hearts. I want to shed light on the other side of the issue peacefully, showing that not everyone who doesn’t vaccinate is crazy. I want my pain and our scare with Judson to be used by The Lord to show you guys, negative reactions DO happen to vaccines. I’m not pro/agaisnt vaccines, but I am so so against bullying and fear mongering, whichever “side” you stand on. Everyone is extremely understanding about our decision to no longer vaccinate Judson whenever they hear it’s because he had a negative reaction and our doctor is on board with our choice, but what about our other kids? Am I supposed to risk it with them and wait to see if they react as well? Or can you understand how as a mother, I would be hesitant to continue? Would you really ban my children from play dates or refuse to play on a soccer team with us? 

I end this post with the promise that there is more to come. I want to share with you guys what we have learned on vaccines. I want to share with you all some theology I have on how Satan is using deception in this subject to harm the body of Christ, families, and babies more specifically. I want to give you guys research I’ve found and to create a safe forum for a conversation. I don’t want to change your minds on how you handle this choice for YOUR family. And I don’t want to scare you. I think it’s a risk vs benefit choice for each family to make, I don’t dare say it’s the same for everyone. 

What is my goal then? It IS to end this fight between people on the topic. If you are believer, you are called to act like Christ. To be loving and encouraging, building each other up with your words. Is that what you do when you see someone vaccinating or not vaccinating their kids? Are you alienating these families or welcoming them into the love of Christ? Are you being prideful and refusing to talk about the subject, or are you willing to see what The Lord has been so gracious to reveal to these families, possibly though pain and trials? 

I praise The Lord every single day as I lay next to my sleeping son during his nap time watching him breathe. While my joy is found only in The Lord, he has been so gracious to bless me with Judson. I can think of very little that could make you more aware of your blessings than thinking you might lose them. So as you hug those you love and make the choices you think are best for them, all I ask is that you have an open mind to what others have to say about vaccines and be willing to flirt with the idea that people of the world aren’t as trustworthy as we so often accept.