Wednesday, April 8

A Leap of Faith






















Having two children is, without a doubt, a HUGE blessing from the Lord.  I absolutely adore Callie and Kellan and wouldn't trade being their mommy for the world.  There have been some set backs, however, since having them... My body just isn't what it used to be. 

 Now, I know that as you age your metabolism slows down and yada yada yada. But I don't want to let my body image get in the way of feeling confident and beautiful.  I've managed to lose the weight from my pregnancies with the help of nursing and working out every now and then, but my clothes still don't fit like they used to which means a lot of repeated outfits that are tired and worn out. 

Don't get me wrong, I love the way I look and my feelings of self worth don't come from a number on a scale or the fit of my pants, but lets face it, you feel a whole lot better when you don't have to go through 10 outfit changes every morning because things just aren't fitting right.  Any one else with me there? 

With my schedule as a full time first grade teacher, wife, mother, worship leader, daughter, sister, friend, crafter, etc... I find little to no time to hit the gym, and when I do get the time I simply don't have the energy.  This is where my new leap of faith comes into play. 

I recently joined It Works!  A health and wellness company loaded with all natural products geared to make you feel more fit, healthy, energized and beautiful.  I am THAT person who has always said, "I'll NEVER be THAT person...."  Ugh, a skeptic at heart, it's hard for me to take this leap of faith.  I'm not a fad dieter or a workout junkie.  I turn down offers for energy products and anything else that may wind up in my inbox all of the time.  But something about this company stood out to me. 

I've recently been praying for guidance.  I love my job, I love my family, I love my church home and friends, but something has been missing.  I just don't feel well.  Sluggish days are drowned in coffee breaks and the bags under my eyes are a testament to how drained I've become.  As a Christian I grew up hearing that my body is a temple.  And I get it.  But I've never really treated it as such.  Time, money, convenience... they all get in the way.   I think God has stepped in and given me that direction that I've been searching for. 

It Works is best known for the skinny wrap, (that crazy wrap thing that can tighten/tone/firm any part of your body in just 45 mintues).  Seen it?  Skeptical?  Me too... But after seeing these testimonies and before/after pictures from people I actually know (not photoshopped or exaggerated), it got me thinking.  If these products could help me to feel more energized and better about my appearance, why not try?  After looking into other products I was blown away at what It Works has to offer.  All natural supplements to assist in fruits/vegetable intake, energy, immune system support... Beauty products that tighten skin, heal eczema, reduce cellulite and varicose veins. This doesn't even begin to cover all of the wonderful products!  So I took a deep breath, and dove in head first.



This week I have 4 wraps heading my way.  If you're interested, skeptical, curious or just want to know more about the company, leave me a comment or send me a message!  I'd love to help you.  This is a journey for me, and it would be incredible to walk it with you beside me!  I also appreciate your prayers and encouragement as this isn't an easy thing for me to take on. But I have faith that God is up to something bigger than I could ever imagine... And I'm ready. 

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Monday, April 6

Matthew 21:22

When we first received Kellan's diagnosis my heart stopped.  After 3 failed hearing tests the audiologist sat me down and explained to me that he had substantial unilateral hearing loss; or hearing loss in only one ear.  My mind was on fast forward to potential learning delays, trouble in school, sports, life... Our little boy was going to have a rough road ahead of him and all I wanted to do was make it disappear. 

Josh and I sat, talked and decided, if our son was going to have a disability, this was the pick of the litter.  He still had perfect hearing on one side, he can see us, he can think, he can walk.... There were so many CAN's that this one can't suddenly didn't seem so big.  Immediately we began to pray for our sweet little boy.  We prayed for understanding, we prayed for knowledge and wisdom.  We prayed for his future and for our role as parents as he began this new journey.  We prayed for healing.  
 
The next step of our journey was to have an ABR test done.  We headed into Cook Children's for the test, prepared for whatever God had in store for us.  Or so we thought.  
 
 
 
After a very early start, we found ourselves waiting for the anesthesiologist in a holding room with a sleepy, hungry boy. "Alright Mom, it's time."  I had been coached on what to do next, but it didn't prepare my heart.  I placed Kellan on a large bed, surrounded by total strangers.  They had me wrap his blanket around his arms and body and "hug" him tightly.  A mask was placed on his face that dampened his cries to a hushed whisper.  It was eerie to see his face screaming/crying and scarcely be able to hear it.  After what seemed like an eternity (but surely was only mere seconds), his eyes went vacant and his body stilled.  The doctor instructed me to kiss his forehead and then leave... His body looked lifeless and I found myself breathless as I made my way into Josh's arms in the other room, tears streaming down my cheeks.  I knew he was asleep, safe, ok.  But the sight of him under shook me to my core.  

We decided to grab some breakfast and coffee while we waited... A trip to the cafeteria we know all too well from our days in the NICU with both kids.  There is a strange comfort we find there.

After a rushed meal we found ourselves back in the waiting room.  I pulled out my Bible and as I began to read, the audiologist walked out.  "Mr. and Mrs. Morgan?"  - That's us... Breathe, Nicki.  

She began to go over the test results by asking us why it is we were there.  I explained that he had been diagnosed with substantial unilateral hearing loss and we were there to explore how great the loss was to decide what path we needed to take next.  She then showed us his charts and said, "That's what I thought.... Well, I knew he had been diagnosed, but his hearing in both ears is perfect."  My eyes flooded with tears and again, I found myself unable to breathe.

Confused, we asked her to elaborate.  She continued to explain that she knew the audiologist that had diagnosed Kellan and she's very respected in their field.  She referred to his sudden, unexplained "perfect" hearing as an "anomaly."  Though a choked voice I managed to whisper, "No, it's a miracle."  
 
In Matthew 21:22 it says, "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” 

Friends and family, I am so unsure of why God chose our family to bless with this miracle.  But I do not question Him.  We feel so undeserving and humbled.  He knew exactly what He was doing all along.  Kellan doesn't know how special he is, how blessed and loved.  We are incredibly thankful for all of the prayers that have been said lifting our son up.  The God that healed the blind and lame, and raised the dead to life, is STILL performing miracles today!  We give ALL the glory, ALL the honor and ALL of our praise to Him and Him alone. 

I would encourage you today with this final thought;  There are times in our lives when we are fearful to pray for miracles because we are unsure that they will be heard or answered.  I am guilty of asking God to answer prayers that I ask Him in a timid, questioning voice.  Asking with FAITH means praying with the peace that no matter the outcome, God will be beside you, holding you, guiding you.  Regardless of the results of Kellan's hearing test, we were prepared to walk together in faith.  I am ecstatic that the path we get to walk is one of gratefulness and humility.   Please join with us in praising God for this answered prayer....


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Saturday, April 4

Kellan Joshua - 1 YEAR!


Writing that heading was a lot harder than I had anticipated.  One year.  Why, oh why must time move so quickly?  It becomes a little overwhelming when TimeHop shoves it in my face everyday.  Hey, look at this!  One year ago today your little boy was a teeny tiny baby all snuggled up in your chest snoozing soundly.  Ugh, instead of calling it TimeHeop they should call it Instant Baby Fever Hop.  

Don't worry.  I'm not pregnant.  

Back to the topic at hand.  Our sweet, handsome boy just turned one and I'm all nostalgic and sappy right now.  Sorry, I'm not sorry.  

For his birthday bash we decided to stick with a woodland theme.  This way any decoration I made we could somehow incorporate into his room without wasting TOO much money on things that would just take up more space in our less than stellar attic storage.

Of course, I had to stick with tradition and make him a chalkboard.  You can read more about how to create your own DIY chalkboard by checking out this post.  
 

 

I knew that he was in desperate need of a stuffed fox but didn't really feel like laying down the dough to buy one for him.  So, keeping with my DIY mentality I decided to create my own crochet pattern and make him one myself!  It took a few nights to put together, but I love the way he turned out.  Kellan will crawl up and clobber it with hugs and snuggles.  It's simply adorable.  


In addition to his birthday chalkboard and other decorations, I also made him a wooden sign with his name hand painted on it and the birthday banner on his high chair.  For pictures I decided to recreate a Pinterest find and use a year of Instagram pictures to create a large 1 on the wall.  It was a lot of fun spending time on these little projects for him.  
 


We invited family and friends with littles to the party to celebrate, but kept it more low key than with Callie's first birthday.  The weather ended up being GORGEOUS and we moved a lot of the kids out to the backyard to play to open up space in our too tiny house.  

Kellan was in awe of all of the activities and crashed hard once all of his guests left.  We had a great time getting to catch up with friends and family and were so appreciative of all that were able to make it out to show their love to our little guy.  

Here are some pictures from his big day!


 









And of course, I had to finish up his monthly photoshoots with 12 month pictures...  
 



Kellan Joshua,

In this past year you have transformed our family in the absolute most perfect way.  We prayed for you before God even began to knit you in my womb.  We have watched you from your very first days, fighting for your life in the NICU, amazing doctors with your strength. And as you've grown into a little boy with a laid back grin and a not so quiet determination.  You are head strong, know what you want and will go to any length to make sure you get it.  Not only is Mommy your number one fan, you are hers as well.  You've taught me how to have faith.  When we found out about your hearing loss we prayed for your healing (more about that in another post), and knew that with faith, we could handle anything that came our way.  You adore your big sister and to this day, she is the only one who can make you flat out belly laugh for no apparent reason.  She loves you more than she lets on, by the way.  We will continue to thank God for blessing us with your life for all of our days.  Thank you for giving us the pleasure of being your parents.  We love you deeply, with all that we have!

Always and forever,
Mommy and Daddy
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Monday, February 23

Kellan Joshua 11 Months

This past month has been incredibly busy around the Morgan household.  One of the biggest events was Kellan's hearing tests at Cooks. 

As a premie he was screened for hearing before leaving the NICU and as far as we knew, he passed.  As a follow up for any baby who is in the NICU for more than 5 days, they are scheduled for a hearing screening again around 6 months.  We went in around Thanksgiving and he failed the test.  They said it could have been from fluid in his ear from a recent cold and rescheduled us for December.  When we went back in for the second test, he failed again.  His right ear passed with flying colors but the left ear failed.  It didn't tell us much, just that there might be a problem and we needed to do further testing.  This past month we went in for a different, more involved test.  I sat in a padded booth with him while they played sounds in his ears and watched for reactions.  On his right side, he responded perfectly, but on the left side he did not show response until they moved the sound up to 80.  After the test, the audiologist sat with me and explained the results.  She told me that he has substantial unilateral hearing loss in his left ear, and perfect hearing in his right.  I had never heard of anything like this, so naturally I had a ton of questions for her.  We do not know the cause of his hearing loss and are unsure if any auditory aids will benefit him in the future.  There is a potential for speech delays and difficulty in school because of his disability, and we wont know more until he's tested further as he gets older. 

I used to work for a wonderful ENT in Fort Worth before teaching and decided to give him a call to ask see if he could be of any help in explaining this all to us.  He was incredibly helpful and suggested having an ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response) test since he is still so young.  We now have this test scheduled for next month and are hoping it provides us with more answers.  Unfortunately, Kellan will have to be put under anesthesia for the test... It will be the first time one of my babies will go through anything like this and naturally I am feeling anxious.  I know that God has big things planned for this little guy and this is someday we will look back on this diagnosis and give God all of the praise for choosing Kellan to carry it. 

It's hard to imagine life without those bright blue eyes and auburn hair.  We are so incredibly thankful that he does have perfect hearing in his right ear and know that God is the ultimate healer.  We continue to pray for healing on his left side, but give praise for a healthy baby boy. 

At 11 months Kellan is weighing in at 18 lbs and despite a cough that just wont pass and popping out 5 teeth, he is still a very happy boy.  We celebrated his very first Valentine's Day and watched him become more expressive with his emotions.  Keeping up with him is nearly impossible as he's constantly exploring and crawls like a speeding bullet when he sees something he really wants.  Eating nearly anything we put in front of him, he's been a breeze in the food department, too!  Birthday invitations have been ordered and party plans are well under way, this kid will be ONE in less than a month... Kellan, we just love you to pieces!!!  Happy 11 months, sweet boy. 





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Storenvy Shop Announcement

Lately I've been venturing into the world of bibs and have absolutely fallen in love with sewing them!  I decided to branch out and open up a storefront using Storenvy.  Etsy has been great for the past couple of years but the fees really take their toll and I was offering a lot of random accessories.  With my new venture, all the accessories will be premade instead of made to order, hopefully saving me some time and stress.  I absolutely adore the new patterns/prints that I found and I can't wait to see where this new step takes me!  
 
Eventually, I will be adding more categories in the shop (headbands, leggings, etc...) but for now I'm starting small...

If you have never heard of the "bibdana" it's just a bib designed for catching drool and looking cute.  We have a bazillion bibs perfect for meal time and getting covered in smooshed peas and carrots, these bibs are made for wearing over a nice outfit to keep it dry from the inevitable pools of drool from teething babes.  Kellan looks simply adorable in his CMC bibdanas!
 
 

These bibs are backed with either terrycloth or fleece to be extra absorbent and are finished with a snap closure.  I tried Velcro at first, but it catches on EVERYTHING in the wash and snaps just look cuter.  If you have a little one and you're tired of their drooly clothes, or are just looking for the perfect, trendy baby shower gift, these bibs are perfect for you!  Take a minute and check out the shop, share with your loved ones and leave me some love... Each print has very limited quantities so grab your favorite print before it's gone!  
 
 

Check out the shop here!  Visit my store on Storenvy
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Saturday, February 7

First Haircuts...

This morning I gave Kellan his very first haircut.  I've been wanting to trim around his neck and ears for quite a while, but finally got some time today.  The change isn't TOO drastic, but I am in love with his new "big boy" look.  Callie is nearly 3 and has never had her haircut, and we don't intend to any time soon... So this was my first time having my baby get one!  I cut Josh's hair all of the time to save money, so who better to cut Kellan's?  Check out his before and after.... Not too shabby, right? :)



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Friday, February 6

Out of the Darkness Walk

It has been four years, one month, and twenty-two days since I last heard my dad say, “I love you.”  On December 14, 2010 I lost my daddy to suicide.   I can still remember every detail of that dreadful day as if no time has passed.
 
 I was working from home when my phone rang at 3:14 pm.  It was my dad.  I answered with my usual greeting and waited for a response.  A hushed “I love you” was sighed from his lips.  I instantly knew something wasn’t right. 

“I love you, too, Daddy! --- Are you okay?”  His response still haunts me…  “I will be soon sweetheart.”  His voice had an echo to it, like he was in a bathroom or a small space and I could tell he wasn’t himself.  It was as if he had been crying for hours with barely enough strength to talk.  I asked if he wanted to talk about it, but the conversation was cut short.  He had somewhere to be, but just wanted to call me and say how much he loved me.  Confused and slightly uneasy, I said goodbye to my dad for the last time. 

A few minutes later my phone rang again.  This time it was my grandmother.  Our conversation was normal until she asked, “Is everything okay there?”  I immediately started crying and told her that I wasn’t okay.  I replayed the conversation I had just had with my dad and she started to cry… He had called her too and she was concerned.  My next phone call was to my mom where I quickly found out that he had also called her, she too was uneasy about their conversation.  It was as if he was checking people off of a list  - which sent us all into panic mode. 

My dad had struggled with depression for years.  He was medicated, counseled, medicated some more, and even spent a week in a hospital to get help during my freshman year of college.  All of our minds went to the worst-case scenario.  We divided up and decided to search for him.  My mom went to his office, my brother to hospitals and I went to their house to see if maybe he was there.  No one was successful.  An email from him sat on the computer, a mix of legal jargon and work happenings, but the thing that stood out most was the way he closed the email; “God forgive me…”

Hours later, ridden with anxiety, minds rolling with possible devastating outcomes we all (with the exemption of my then 13 year old sister who still hadn’t returned from her basketball game) reconvened at my parent’s house.   The next 7 hours are a mixed blur of emotions.  I spent time hiding in his closet behind rows of button down shirts and dress pants crying and praying that he was just taking a drive to clear his head.  I prayed, and prayed, and begged God not to take my dad from me. 

When my sister finally came home she stopped in her tracks as she walked into a room of friends and family who simply couldn’t hide their red eyes and distressed looks from their faces.  She instantly panicked as I took her into her room and choked out the words, “We can’t find Daddy…”  We sat in her room with sobs shaking out from our bodies.  We hoped for the best, but deep down in our hearts, knew that something was very wrong. 

I will never forget the shrieking cry that shot through the walls next.  It was as if someone had grabbed my mother by the heart and shredded her every being.  To this day, I think this will be the sound that fills the empty spaces of Hell.  It was then that we knew… My dad was gone. 

Four days later, on his 48th birthday, I read a letter to my dad as we celebrated his life at his funeral. 

I suffered from depression and anxiety after his passing and was put on medications to help.  I didn’t have the money to get proper counseling so, in a last attempt effort to pull myself together I started going to grief counseling at the Warm Place, a nonprofit organization in Fort Worth.  It was through this counseling and the overwhelming love of my Heavenly Father that I was able to process and accept the death of my dad.  I am now 100% free of antidepressants or medications and have never felt better in my life.

God has used this tragic story to drastically change my world, my heart, and my everything, for the better.  However, if I could go back and change the events that unfolded on that fateful day, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment. 

Please support me as I take an amazing journey. The Out of the Darkness Overnight Experience is an 16-18 mile walk over the course of one night. Net proceeds benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, funding research, advocacy, survivor support, education, and awareness programs – both to prevent suicide and to assist those affected by suicide.

I am walking to remember my dad.  I am walking to give thanks for my life – a life that could have all too easily followed the same path.  I am walking to raise awareness.  I am walking to, hopefully, prevent someone else from this terrible death.  I am walking because depression and suicide have shaken and transformed my family.  My prayer is that every dollar earned will go to helping someone like me; recover from the loss of a loved one to suicide. 

I know that reading this could not have been an easy thing to do, and I thank you for taking the time to do so.  Thank you so much for your donations and love as we continue to walk on this journey together.  We will never recover from the loss of my dad, but by the grace of God, we will live our lives to the absolute fullest as we remember the incredible man that he was, and do our best to honor his legacy.  

You can donate by visiting our team page "Galen's Legacy."  Your gifts will not only allow us to walk for this amazing cause, but will also help others like myself as they deal with the effects of suicide in their lives. 

Thank you...

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