Thursday, January 25


It’s been 578 days since my last blog post.  I knew it had been a lengthy stent, but when I saw that number pop up in the Google search bar, I was a little ashamed.  Yes, I Googled how many days it’s been since June 23rd, 2016…  I teach Pre-K, math isn’t my strong suit. 

An entire lifetime has passed since my last post, it feels like. 

We’ve experienced so many life altering changes in the past two years, beginning with a shift in our church home as well as my school home.  In May of 2016 we followed God’s calling and left our church of 6 years to pour into our community where we immediately found a family at our new church.  We have been strengthened as a family, and I have been stretched both as an individual and as a worship leader.  Not three months later, I left my school of 5 years as I began my new job as a full day Pre-K teacher at my new school.  As much as I’ve missed my coworkers from my last elementary school, this has definitely been an answered prayer in my life.  God has blessed me with an incredible partner to work with as well as coworkers whom I consider family.  Not to mention, I’ve discovered that Pre-K is my jam!

In November of 2016, we put our home on the market, and in less than 24 hours, signed a contract selling it to a wonderful family.  We packed up everything we owned, shoved it all into a tiny storage unit, and the 4 of us moved in with my mom over Thanksgiving break.

Our plan was to move into the home we were preparing to build by Summer of 2017.  This was the same time that we discovered I was expecting our third miracle baby.  His due date was set for June 14th, perfect for our estimated move in date!

Case Ellison Morgan was born at 35 weeks, on May 12th, 2017 after nearly 9 weeks of bed rest.  After having my third preemie It seems that pregnancy is just NOT my jam.  However, God has surely blessed us!  Case spent 10 very long days in the NICU, and today, he is a thriving, incredibly strong, incredibly happy 8 month old!  And yes, our family is complete! 

Fast forward to present time.  The now 5 of us are still living with my mom.  All of our belongings still packed up in the tiny storage unit.  We’ve gone from a family of 4 to a family of 5.  Callie has completed pre-k and is now more than half way through her Kindergarten year.  Kellan celebrated his 3rd birthday there, and will celebrate his 4th there as well in just two short months. 

I am so very thankful that we’ve had the blessing of a rent free home to live in.  I am so thankful for the roof over our heads and family close by.  With all of that being said, these past 15 months have been the hardest of my life.

During my time of bedrest with Case, I fell into a great depression.  A very deep one.  One that if I let it grow enough in my head, actually scared me.  I was having to be away from a job I absolutely loved, isolated from my class and the coworkers that had become family.  I struggled with anger that came from nowhere (well, it most definitely came from my crazy pregnancy hormones but no excuses here…), and a lot of that anger was directed toward the building of our home.  I had these hopes, these wishes and dreams.  And they were all just that, hopes.  Things didn’t go as we had planned, with no fault to our builder.  Our city was just so overwhelmed by all of the new developments, everything took much longer than anyone had anticipated.  During that time of bed rest my depression grew and it became the wedge that separated me from the ones I loved, and quite honestly, the people I needed.
Case entered our lives and we were immediately thrust into a NICU environment, for the 3rd time.  I felt like a failure.  I felt like it was all my fault.  And this time, the visits from friends and family were drastically fewer.  With both Callie and Kellan, we had multiple visitors a day, so I think it hurt my heart when I found myself often alone, holding our newest miracle in the field of incubated babies.   We did have visitors, don’t get me wrong! Josh and the kids were up there daily, despite having work and school. I think the insane hormone fluctuations and the situations from the months leading up made it that much harder on my emotional state.  I felt alone. 

The past 8 months have been filled with new life and beautiful moments, but all of these have been shadowed by the lingering depression I just haven’t been able to kick.  I think it morphed from straight up depression, to postpartum.  I’ve been battling this ugly monster privately, with the exception of a couple close friends, and of course Josh, whom I confided in.  I tried my best to keep the ugly thoughts, feelings and comments from social media.  I put on my smile when we left the house, and when I couldn’t muster the smile, I just stayed home.   When this current school year began it was an enormous challenge.  I was thrilled to be back at work, but it was so incredibly overwhelming.  I was dropping off my two youngest with family, Case for the first time, my oldest started Kindergarten, and I was going from a few months at home to a classroom full of 4 year olds and a very, demanding schedule as a full time working mom.  I was commuting from another city, still living with my mom, and ground still hadn’t been broken on our home.  Needless to say my emotional state was not a healthy one.  Every little thing got me worked up.  When I got home, I wanted to hide in our room and completely disappear, and on most days I did just that.  My fuse was short with the people I loved most and I am so ashamed of the time I missed out on during these months. 

Depression is an ugly thing that I had shed many years prior to this.  God released me from a depression that strangled me prior to my dad’s own suicide in 2010. Looking back, in 2016, I was thriving and happy and most importantly, my relationship with Christ was growing by the day.  Through all of these changes; a new church, new school, moving out of our first home, living with family, the process of building our new home, pregnancy, bedrest, premature birth, NICU life, and postpartum recovery… I’d lost myself.  I let that dark cloud of depression creep its way back into my life and pull me away from the One I loved most, Christ. 

I know some of you are probably reading this thinking, I had no clue…  I realize how things can appear through the eyes of social media.  Please, don’t ever rely on technology alone to keep up with your friends… I’m ashamed to say I fell into that trap and I am doing everything I can to try and change it. Also, know that what is on my accounts is far from fake.  I use Facebook and Instagram as an outlet, a way of documenting the happy things, the good things in my life.  It brings me joy to take beautiful photos of my babies, and share about the things that happen in our lives that are uplifting.  None of that is fake, or generated.  I simply have chosen to keep the dark, choking thoughts in my head, away from social media.  Isn't there enough of that out there these days anyway?

I was recently awakened during a sermon at our church.  The pastor asked, have you been living your life or simply existing?  My answer was obvious, I’ve been existing.  I’ve been spending time in the Word seeking God’s voice, asking him the same question over and over… but my focus has been off.  My focus has been on myself.  During a time of prayer, through closed eyes, I saw a fog.  It began to part and through it was a man seated on a throne.  He looked at me with gentle eyes, full of wisdom, and simply said, “I’ve been right here.”  It was then I realized, I’ve been searching for God and answers, but for things that really don’t matter in His kingdom.  When my focus shifted to His purpose for my life, it was eye opening to see how it changed things. 

Through all of this, I’ve decided it’s time to claim victory over my depression.  For the sake of my children, my wonderful husband, friends, family, and for myself… It’s time.  I am giving praise to God for what He will do in my life over the coming months.  I believe He will heal me of this, as He has done in the past.  And I will do my part to help by continuing to make healthy choices and through this; sharing what’s really been going on, and why I’ve been MIA. 

Looking back, I can vividly see the beacons of light in my life, and they are the ones that have brought me through this time of merely existing.  Josh has been my anchor.  He carries the weight of my depression by listening, praying with and encouraging me.  If he sees a glimmer of hope, he finds it and shares it with me. Our marriage is stronger than ever, despite the circumstances, and I am thankful beyond description for him. My children, though often a source of stress and anxiety, have shown me Christ’s love over and over.  Callie prays every night, “And God, help Mommy sleep tonight, help Case not wake her up…”  She knows I’ve not been myself and she’s been praying, in her own way, for God to carry me through it.

For those of you who’ve been placed on my back burner, I pray you can find forgiveness in your hearts for me.  Extend the grace that I don’t deserve to show you that I am learning.  I am discovering, through the gift of some pretty beautiful friendships, that it’s totally okay to be broken, it’s totally okay to not be okay and we HAVE to lean on one another for support and prayer during those times.  If you see me and I look happy, I am!  I have joy.  I know my joy is found in Christ alone… but it’s okay to ask me out for coffee and say, hey… How are you really?  You’d be surprised how seldom we ask one another that question.  Maybe because we are afraid of the answer?  Either way, I am thankful for you.  I’m thankful you are reading this and my prayer is that through sharing my journey it might shake someone else who’s in my shoes and show them, it’s okay.  You cannot do it alone. But we can do it together, and Christ will carry us through it.  I know that, with all of my heart.

So here’s to a new beginning.  To living life with purpose, not my own, but His.  Will you walk with me?

Thursday, June 23

Joy for Mourning

I just finished reading the book Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs. It was an incredible read that I would highly recommend to any young woman.  There were many moments throughout the book that spoke to me.  You know those moments that are so meaningful you tap and hold your finger down to start the process of highlighting it?  Ah, the generation of Kindle users...  Yeah, those kind of moments.
Today I finished and it wasn't until after reading her Epilogue that I started to cry.   For reasons unbeknownst to me, I have recently been uber struggling with emotions in regards to missing my dad.  It could be that Father's Day recently passed, or just that I am immersed in time spent with my own children right now and it makes me think of moments I shared with him. Whatever the reason, the emotions have bubbled up from the depths of my "safe place" where I had given them to the Lord years ago.  

In her book she writes about looking for all of the lovely things that live in the ordinary all around us.  This is something I think we all try to do when we are feeling optimistic and happy... It's not until we are in the valley that we stray from this way of thinking.  This life was not meant to be all sunshine and rainbows.  The bible says in 1 Peter 2:21 "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps."  There are many times in the bible that tell us, we WILL suffer.  Looking back on my life, there have been more moments than I care to dig up where suffering was at it's worst.
The suicide of my dad was a defining moment in my life.  If you've read this blog for very long you've watched me journey through it all.  I'm not that private of a person and sharing my thoughts and emotions through writing has been a form of therapy for me.  Looking back on the darkness that clouded my life in the months after his death I am amazed that I made it to where I am writing this today.  I am by no means a finished product, just like Annie Downs I am unfinished, but I am loved.  I may not have my daddy here in the flesh to tell me he loves me or that he is proud of me.  I know he would be.  But I have the ONE Father that truly matters.  My Heavenly Father who CHOSE me.   
I write this today to encourage you.  We all walk through dark valleys.  We live in a world corrupted with sin and darkness, how could we not find suffering?  There is a bright beacon of light that shines for those who seek it, however.  The light that promises us hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future." Christ died so that we COULD have that hope.  We could have the promise of life everlasting where there will be no more suffering and no more tears.  Oh how I long to be surrounded by the faces of angels as that promise becomes a reality.  
Annie talks about singing a song to God through each season of our lives and boy do I know the power that comes from music.  She references the song We Dance by Bethel Music in her epilogue so of course I looked it up.  It's one I had heard before, but the bridge caught my attention, and this is where the tears started to flow; 
And I will lock eyes with the One who's ransomed me, the One who gave me joy for mourning. 
And I will lock eyes with the One who's chosen me, the One who set my feet to dancing.
Yeah... Looking back I can see how God sustained me, lifted me into a season of joy with the birth of our two precious babes (both born on the 14th, the date my dad took his own life), and how He continues to hold and sustain me as I walk through this season of change I am currently in.  He gave me joy for mourning.  
So while I have peace and this beautiful promise of hope, it is still okay to be sad.  I realize this.  Random fits of silent crying and breath that hitches in your throat as you hold back a sob during a Father's Day video at church are totally understandable.  He was my daddy and I miss him.  And for right now, I will relish this emotion that has surfaced, cry the tears I need to cry, and continue to run to my Father in Heaven who sustains me through each of life's valleys.  I pray this for you, too dear friend.

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Summer Lovin'

Ahh Summer.  The time of year every teacher relishes.  I am no different.  Flash back to the end of this last school year and I was a complete zombie;  no energy, no desire to do anything but plop myself on the couch with a big-o-glass of wine. I was running on fumes and had nothing left in reserves.

My last week of school was pure insanity.  Not only was I having to completely pack up my classroom to prepare for leaving my school of 5 years for a brand new school in the Fall, but that Monday we got the phone call that Josh's grandmother had passed away.  I had previously scheduled a trip to Colorado for that Friday to visit my childhood best friend who just had a baby and the funeral ended up being on that very day.  God always has plans we know nothing about, and they don't always go hand in hand with our plans.  So that Thursday, after a rushed morning packing my classroom into the bed of the truck, I said my goodbyes to my classroom and coworkers, plopped our family in the truck and headed to East Texas. 
First day in my Kinder classroom vs. last day in my classroom... Lots of changes!
We made it just in time for the viewing and enjoyed the evening with family we hadn't seen in years.  The next day was a tough one.  Saying goodbyes to family members is never easy.  Singing at their funeral is just plain impossible.  It is an honor to be asked, and I will always say yes, but I can never make it through the song without shedding a tear.  This was the fourth funeral I have sung at and it just doesn't get easier.  
When you're 4 and bored... you plank.  (at the viewing)

That evening we packed the family back up and headed home so I could get a full night's sleep before flying out the next morning.  My weekend trip to Colorado was nothing short of incredible.  I saw God's hand everywhere I looked and in every single situation.  Conversations with complete strangers, my best friend, and new friends made were all centered around Christ... I came home feeling refreshed, renewed and encouraged.  I love the friendships God holds onto - you know, the ones where you don't see each other for years and then instantly pick right back up where you left off.  That's the kind of relationship I have with Ashley.  Meeting her daughter, Olivia, was pure bliss.  A little bundle of perfection, just like her momma.  I am thanking God for  our friendship and for His hand being ALL over that weekend away.  
Mani Pedi with Ashley!
Red Rocks with my girls!
I ended my trip with an incredible visit with one of my other "Dads" whom I've known all my life. How I will cherish this time we spent together!
Since returning from Colorado I've been THOROUGHLY enjoying being a mommy and indulging in some pure laziness.  I've earned it! We've spent time swimming, crafting, lounging and exploring the city around us.  Just being with my sweet babies everyday has been a blessing in itself.  The afternoon cat naps are definitely a perk, though.  

We don't have HUGE plans for this Summer as we are preparing to sell our home and begin building a new one!  More on that later, though...  Here are some of my favorite pictures from the past two weeks.  I cannot wait to see what the next few have in store as we hunker down and really get into Summer mode!  

Lunches at Daddy's office

Play dates in the park

Callie's first pet, Swimma.

Ice cream dates (Melt Ice Cream)

Swim parties with friends

Lazy jammie days with the kids

Father's day!

Movies with the family - Kellan's first movie - Finding Dori

Lunch dates with Daddy
Stay tuned for more summer fun and a new update to my Birthday Chalkboard DIY!
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Saturday, April 30

Kellan's Choo-Choo Two Party

Last month our precious baby boy turned TWO!!
Sweet Kellan,  
When I think about the past two years with you the only word that comes to mind is blessed.  God has something wonderful in store for your future;  He must, because prayer after prayer has been answered in our lives with you!  
You are a mamma's boy through and through; always wanting me to hold you, cuddle you, or at the very least, hold your hand as you walk beside me.  You are loving, and so very sweet.  
You are Callie's shadow and absolutely adore her.  If she's not in the room with you, you'll shout, "Cal-CAL!!!"  And she will come running.  
You're absolutely petrified of loud sounds (airplanes, thunder, or any other random loud noise), and we believe it's from hypersensitivity after your hearing was restored (you can read more about that amazing miracle HERE). 
You LOVE meat, but your most favorite is ground turkey and ground beef.  You don't want to eat anything unless Mommy and Daddy are eating it too, and are notorious for stealing our food from under our noses.  
You adore any kind of music.  You're always dancing and singing along to whatever music is playing, even if you have to make up your own words, "Moooommmmy, Da-Da, Cal-Cal!!!!"  Your favorite songs are "Star" (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) and "Sunshine" (You are my Sunshine), and you sing along with us every night at bed time.  You're our champion sleeper, too.  Thank you, Lord for that!!

Your favorite toys are anything Callie is playing with (seriously) and cars, trains and dinosaurs!  Because of your love of trains, we decided to surprise you and have a train birthday party! You rode the train for the entire hour, only getting off to entice your friends and family to come ride with you saying, "COME-OOOON!!" We love you so much, Kellan, and continue to pray for the man that you'll grow to be.  May you always be a gentleman, loving, patient and kind... Just like your daddy! 

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Sunday, April 3

The Waves of Change

Busy is blessed.  It's something I continue to tell myself as I walk through this new chapter in my life.  Josh and I will plop ourselves down on the couch after an epic bed time battle with Callie, and with utter defeat in our voices say, "What on earth did we do before we had kids?"  Truth of the matter is, we had a lot more time on our hands and I honestly cannot for the life of me remember what we did to fill it all up.  What I do know is that we cherish these days, even the ones that are battles.

Obviously things have been busy around the Morgan household. It's been months since I've sat down to write.  A dear friend of mine, who recently made a reappearance in my life, said to me the other day, "Is there anything you can't do?"  He was referring to the many talents that God has gifted to me. I do not begin to claim them as my own, because I know that they are strictly for the betterment of His kingdom.  I pray that I can continue to use them as such.   Of course, the reality of the situation is that there are thousands of things I cannot do.  Mostly because of time.  

If you know me at all you know where a lot of my time goes. If the activity has any creativity involved in it - I'm there.  Painting, drawing, sewing, crochet, singing, and a new found love of hand lettering just to name a few.  Between being a wife, a mom, a teacher, a worship leader, a crafter, a distributor for It Works, a friend and a daughter, there is not much time left for anything else.  I am beginning to feel like my life is a Ritz cracker with the peanut butter so thinly spread on top that you can't taste it.  That being said, I have to remind myself frequently to be present in the moment.  It is easy to get caught up on what is next or an ever growing to do list.  So easy in fact, that the little moments get overlooked and my fear is that before I know it, I'll be packing Callie up for college.  The thought alone brings tears to my eyes. 

This year, I believe, is going to be the year of change.  Already there have been some drastic changes that have taken place in our lives and I know that there are many more to come.  Callie will be starting pre kindergarten in the fall, and we will be placing our home on the market soon with plans to build a home more suited to our larger family.  There are so many things coming up that are different from how they've been, and that is scary to me.  It's so easy to succumb to fear and let it hold you back because of the uncertainty that comes with the unknown.  Recently in my devotions, I have been seeking God's will for the direction of our lives.  In all things I want to follow Christ.  If he is leading me in a direction that scares me, I want to follow Him with abandon.  I sing about it, I journal about it, I pray about it.  The tricky part is, discerning God's voice amid all of the clamor of life.  Sometimes I think we get so caught up in seeking God's will for us that we miss his gentle whispers.  

My prayer right now is that the multitude of responsibilities, talents and hobbies will not distract me from being still and quiet and waiting on the Lord.  I feel as if I have hit a fork in the road and I genuinely do not know which way to walk.  Neither path is straight; they are both dark and winding...  So how do I figure out which way is God's way?  Decisions, especially when they involve your spiritual walk, are so very important and not to be taken lightly.  I stumbled upon this quote and it really hit the nail on the head; "Sometimes in the waves of change, we find our true direction."   I pray that as we are in the midst of changes this year, we will seek God in every decision so that we can find our true direction in life. 

Music speaks directly to my soul.  It is how I am able to connect to feelings and emotions best.  This song has been playing on repeat in my head for a week now and I can't get the lyrics out of my brain.  Maybe there is a reason for that... Lord, I will go where you will lead me.
"You have called me higher, you have called me deeper, 
and I'll go where you will lead me, Lord."

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