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Don't want to invite kids to your wedding?

Not having children at weddings is the latest trend. I have received several invitations to weddings (as have several of my friends) in which children have been un-invited to the wedding.
I don’t know when or how or why this got started. As a woman who recently got married 7 months ago, I’d like to contribute a different opinion to this new nuptial craze.
First let me say, “to each their own”. This post is not for the bride who has already decided not to have children at her wedding. If that is your decision, that is great for you!
This post IS for the bride who isn’t quite sure what she wants to do.
Fact: Aside from the groom, kids were the BEST thing at my wedding.
Before the Wedding
Before the wedding, several little ladies came by to see me in the bride’s room: McKenna, Olivia and Kendall. These three! How I adore them. I’d spent countless hours with these small people (and their moms!) at school which meant I had shared in their lives for months…hearing their prayer requests a…

The Basketball Game

The family went down to the Mission Centers of Houston this past weekend to serve by organizing the pantry, arranging food and drinks on shelves and taking a tour of the facility so we would know more about their mission.
After we finished, we headed over to the gym where we had an impromptu game of basketball. Somehow the teams ended up forming as adults verses the kids.
It had only been about 6 minutes into the game when Wes decided to throw the basketball to a small five year old near me.
It was sort of slow motion.
His throw was a little off, more towards me than the five year old.
I’m not normally competitive, but the adults were losing. Here was my chance to even out the game with a fantastic basketball interception.
I took one giant leap towards said five year old reaching with my tiny arm as far as it could stretch.
I must have lost my balance because the next time I blinked I was airborne just above the ground with this kid, both of our bodies fully extended, soaring …

The Blended Thing: Post Three

Parenting Wes was a whole lot easier when it was just me.
No one was questioning me. No one was making me second guess my discipline. No one was probing me on the why’s of my decisions. I would just make my parental rulings and move on.
B was the same way. He wasn’t used to anyone inquiring about his parental verdicts. He wasn’t used to anyone exploring other options to handle discipline encounters. He was used to supervising things all on his own.
Now here we are, in this new thing we call a blended family. And we have slowly entered into the phase of disciplining each other’s kids and that is one of the hardest parts of the blend.
Wow.
Two imperfect parents, three imperfect kids, all trying to mesh together under two very different parenting styles.
First: The conflict.
B and I have very different personalities, so the way we discipline our children is very different.
I tend to be the person who responds immediately. I’m a teacher. It’s who I am. And it’s literally what I do …

The Blended Thing: Post Two

Blend – to mix with another substance so that they combine together.
To blend isn’t easy. (That might be a massive understatement.)  In fact, B an I are finding the word intentional to beour family word for this first year. We decided early on to be deliberate in our connection with the kids. We are also purposeful and specific in our requests to the Lord as we ask him to fuse us together as one spiritual piece. We put in effort (lots of it and in various forms) in order to encourage the merging of our new family.
All of that to say, we work at this “mixing of substances” thing.
But that isn’t what this post is about.
This post is about the times we don’t plan it or we don’t do anything on purpose. It’s about the nights that we just do our normal, humdrum bedtime routine without any particular intention at all…And then God, just because He is good, decides to show up. Right in our living room.
B was in Phoenix for a week in January for work, so I had all the kids on my own.
By…

To the woman who has already had an abortion.

To the woman who has already had an abortion,
There have been a lot of posts swarming around about abortion these last two weeks. You’ve seen both sides: people who are fighting in its favor and those fighting against it.
It must be hard for you to read those posts without strong emotions welling up inside.
For the majority of the writers and readers, abortion has never been a decision they’ve needed to make or something they felt they needed to do. We all speak about our opinions and convictions and I do believe we all should, as righteousness is a good thing to speak out about…but for right now, let’s lay that all down.
I want to talk with you, not about you.
We, the writers and readers, have no idea the thoughts and feelings that have permeated your mind these last two weeks.
I don’t know what your emotion was when the process of your abortion began. Were you nervous? Were you fearful or maybe petrified? Or perhaps detached? Was anyone with you or were you alone? Was it painf…

The Blended Thing: Post One

We had just gotten the kids to bed. Me: Ready for some Designated Survivor?
B: Lauren, I want to talk to you about something.
Me:
B: I want you to hear me out completely. 
He paused. B: I think sometimes you assume the worst about me…when it comes to Wes.
Me: No I don’t! B, I would never do that to you.
B: For example, today when we were talking on the phone and I had talked to Ethan and Layla and I asked if you guys were headed home…You immediately assumed I had forgotten about Wes.
Me: Well, you didn’t ask to talk to him.
B: Lauren, I was merely asking a question. Me forgetting Wes is not a plausible scenario. He is a spiritual son to me now. God has designed us to become one family. I would never, could never, forget about our son Wes. 
My frame was stationary, my heart felt stagnant.
Then he asked something of me.
B: Would you be willing to trust me? And when I say trust me, I mean to believe the best about the situation…and me?”
I could feel his words making knots between my shoulder blades. T…

The First Kiss with B

My slight shaking had turned to a shiver, so B considerately gave me full use of the flannel checkered blanket we had been sharing. Wrapping it around my shoulders, I tried to stretch it down to my exposed toes, having already slipped off my black, sequined three inch heels. Neither of us had expected the drop in temperature mid-April in Texas.
Thankfully, the frigid night would not cramp our conversation. Even in a short three weeks, it seemed not much was left to reveal. As our confidence grew in the relationship, so did our transparency. 
“What else ya got?” I said, a phrase he had commonly come to know as I said it anytime there was a lull in conversation or if we were moving from one subject to another.
He usually returned with a question about my life or a story from his or something else easy.
This time he was quiet, almost withdrawn.
I wasn’t sure if he was looking for his words or if he was finally hitting a blank, which I would understand...We had talked about every sin…

To the woman in New York on the fence about abortion.

To the woman in New York on the fence about abortion,
The conservatives in the nation are in an uproar about the decision your state made this week. They have decided to give you the option to “choose” to abort your child for yet a longer percent of your term.
This isn’t new.
In the Old Testament, women were sacrificing their babies by throwing them into rivers in order to appease the gods.
Today, women sacrifice their babies in honor of women’s rights.
It was happening thousands of years ago and it is still happening today. It won’t be rendered right until the Lord comes back.
So here is what I’d like to tell you today. For this moment, don’t worry about the New York legislation or about the rights you have to choose from. I just want to sit with you right now in your living room as the tiny baby forms within you.
I know exactly how you feel today.
As a single, 27-year-old young professional, I read the same home pregnancy test you probably recently took.
Positive.
I too, fe…

#GetHimZorro

"Wes chose to draw instead of finishing his work. He had to stay in at recess." 

#itwasahardfirstdayback

#EthanandLaylawerestilloff

#physicallyatschoolbutstillmentallyonvacation

#Icorrectedhimbutlaughedontheinside

#gethimZorro





Our Christmas Gift 2018

I have prayed over Wes for years, but now with this exciting new time of joining families, I have two new and dearly loved children to pray over. I’ve had the normal step mom fears, but I’ve also had some unexpected anxiety wondering if B and I are doing enough to cultivate their spiritual growth during this hard transition. We’ve read plenty of articles that have stated the huge bumps in the road that we will most likely face as a blended family soon…That is why the following story meant so much to me. It probably seems small to some, but it’s these small moments that I think God gives us to create enormous hope.
As I think about Christmas time, I think of great joy! Such joy on the night of His birth, such joy from the Magi, such joy for Mary and Joseph…Joy to the whole world.
Matthew 2:9-10 …And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.