Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Thanks, Andrew.

July 16, 2005 - behind the scenes.

July 16, 2014

Thank you, Andrew. Thanks for 9 years of wedding vow fulfillment. Thank you for loving me when it is hard to love me. Thank you for partnering so deeply with me in everything from ministry, to cooking, to laughing, to decorating our space, and these last two years-raising two little boys. Thank you for trusting me, confiding in me and doing that really cute thing you do when you justify what you are going to say before you say it just in case I may misinterpret what you are saying. Thank you for choosing to love me every day. Thanks for your passion for life, love, music, movies, HGTV, and the Food Network (even though we don't have those channels). Thank you for not being petty. Thank you for not expecting me to be perfect, but understanding that I am doing the best that I can. Thank you for making our marriage a priority by continuing to date me. Thank you for laughing at my jokes and making me feel beautiful (these are two different things, but when you laugh at me, It makes me feel awesome). Thank you for never saying a negative thing about me to me. Thank you for speaking truth into the things that need to change in my life. Thank you for your honesty and your gentleness. Thank you for pursuing the Lord hard and making Him the center of our home. Thank you for changing so many diapers and doing so many dishes. Thank you for cleaning up our kids puke, and for rocking our babies to sleep. Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to use you, guide you, and develop gifts in you. You are truly my favorite person, you make me better and you make me want to be better. I love you. Thank you for loving me too. 
This is my current favorite pic of us, because what you can't see is foster playing drums on our stomachs. Those are faces of pain and anticipation.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Rec. Carry On, Warrior.

Glennon Doyle Melton is the author of a blog called Momastery. It is great. So great, in fact, that I had linked an article here a few months ago and didn't realize it was written by this woman until a few weeks ago.

The good ole Rev. Matt Tuggle used a story from her book Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing your Messy, Beautiful Life in a sermon and it peaked my interest. When I asked him and his wife Amy about it, they just handed it to me and said, "Read it!".
So, I saved it for our trip to the beach and then I devoured it. 2 flights and one afternoon at the was finished.

This book is a must read for any mom who is in the thick of it and needs someone to agree that it just isn't that easy. I was crying by page 4 and cracking up not much later. Loved should def. check it out. One of my favorite reads this year, for sure.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


I have been overly nostalgic today. 
I don't know what it is. 
Twice today I have thought of friends and cried. Not sad tears, but like, "I miss them doing life next to me" tears. 

I am lucky enough to have women in different parts of the US who are kindred spirits...I say that, but what I really mean (and this is the only way that I can explain it) is that the Holy Spirit in them draws out the Holy Spirit in me. These friends are refreshing, life giving, and make me want to be the better.

Today I received a gift from one of them and I got to chat for a sec via text with one of them...Blessings. These women...(insert sigh and another tear here). 

When I see them, I cry - either because of joy or the depth of the things we talk about. 
These are friends with whom there is no "catching up", not because we talk all the time...we don't...not even close...but because we love each other, so we just pick up where we left off. 

These friendships are a treasure. I just wish we didn't live so dang far apart. 

Love you ladies. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Real Talk

Just a look into real life! This was actually yesterday. and "I work at my church" means, I work in the college ministry at Highland Park United Methodist Church. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Isn't Missouri Beautiful? part 2.

This where I grew up. 
If you look across the lake, you will see a blue paddle boat standing up. Right above that paddle boat is a "dock", as we call it. This place is special. Very special. It is special to me because I have had many, many important conversations about life in this spot. But it is SUPER special because this is the spot where Andrew and I had our first kiss...and also where he asked me to be his wife, proclaiming his undying love for me. We went for a walk on this particular day last week and as we stopped to tell our kids the story of our love (which they were enthralled by), Andrew says, "Wait, wasn't it 10 years ago today that we had our first kiss? July 3rd, right?"
10 years. And so of course we took a pic. Keating was really just imagining what that special day must have been like.

You may not be convinced, just yet, that Missouri is beautiful, but I have a few more post intended to persuade you. 

See you tomorrow (or the next day)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Isn't Missouri Beautiful? part 1.

This is a saying you will regularly hear from the mouth of my Father. It's sort of a joke, but Missouri really is beautiful, sometimes.

This last week was one of those weeks. It was absolutely beautiful. There was only one thing missing, my sister in law, Michelle (she started a new masters program, which is awesome, it was just sad to not have her with us).
The Welker family reunited at my parents house over the 4th. This is a super fun time because the family that was 4 is now 11 and we have a June 27th b-day and July 1st and 2nd birthdays, so obviously, we have a party - That was super fun and lasted all day (which is sort of how we do things at the Welker house).
The real highlight for me is that there are basically 2 guaranteed times that I will get to see my nephews; Christmas and summer.
And this summer meet up was just...sigh...sublime.
The first night we were there we were trying to get the boys to sleep and Fos wanted to go outside, so finally, I just said, "yes...lets go outside".
I want to pass out from the beautiful moments and memories we made. Keating crawling in the green grass, Foster running barefoot, temps in the 60's, the sunsets gorgeous glow, catching lighting bugs (this is the non romantic name for fireflies) the conversations about lightening bugs and how they are a natural source of light that isn't hot (which is so fascinating) and the laughter and screaming of 5 little boys. PERFECTION.
This is last years pic of the Welker/Beard Boys...for reference
I will be writing more in the next few days about MO, but tonight I reflect on the faces of 5 little boys on not one, but four beautiful summer days.  Just a note here...Photographing these boys together is no easy task. Here is why... they are boys. Keating is 9 months. Eden will be 2 in September. Foster turned 2 last week. Charlie turned 4 on July 2nd. Fred will be 7 in September. I don't need any other reasons, right?  Here are the results of my efforts (While Josh and Andrew WRANGLED).
Sweet Eden. He and this light are/were stunning.  I took at least 10 pics before he stopped looking directly into the camera.
This is my favorite.
One of the only shots I got of my kids together without a toy. It pretty much sums up the two of them. I love this image. 
Fred(6). Foster(2). Keating(9months). Charlie(4). Eden(1).
No joke, this is the first pic I took. There is actually a hand there on the far right. I didn't edit it out because I want to remember the efforts that wend into this image.
I was screaming "JUMP", the older two got it. I don't know, I thought it would make them at least look at me.
Eden clearly loved this idea.
I can only laugh at this picture! 

And this one is pretty much perfect. NAILED IT!
Thanks for checking out my family.
More on Missouri this week...See you soon.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

my Jesus year.

33. My Jesus Year. At least that is what we say around here when you turn 33. You know, "it's your Jesus year, make it count!". Things of that nature.

I feel like I can say with a good amount of self assurance, This has been a good year. I am aware that I could have rose tinted glasses on here, but the truth is, I have exuded much effort to become a more Godly wife, mom, and friend.
I have the curse of sarcasm and a quick tongue, I know that this can (and most likely does) result in hurt feelings. I know that this is not good, so I have tried hard this year to be slow to speak. This is sooo much harder than one may think it is.

I did a study this year called Freeway: a not so perfect guide to freedom with college students. I highly recommend it. I believe it was an 8 week study. On the last day we took a look back through the book. Reflecting on the change in my life was a little shocking. I saw that I started out the second half of my Jesus year pretty convinced that I was sub-par at most things including, but not limited to; my job, my marriage, keeping the house clean, being a mom, and being a consistent friend.
What I had learned at the end of the study is that I had set my expectations of myself a little too high...I am not Super Woman, as much as I try and convince myself that I am (or should be) on a daily basis. The truth is that the most important relationship I have is with the Lord and he has set me free from all kinds of ugly, including shame, guilt, and insecurity. Through the process of this study, I actually listened as the Lord led my heart to a place that he could whisper (through my pride) that he loved me as I am, and that I am doing the best that I can, and "now" is a season. I humbly said, "Thanks God, let's get working on things here. So, I actually made some changes that would help a few things in my life improve and allow me to say that it is not by is by the grace of God that I could even say that this year was a great year, and I feel pretty great about it.
Here are some highlights:

I had a second baby boy...he turned out to be pretty dang cute.
I did not fail at being a mom to "two under two". I mean, I am, therefore I am their mom. 
I have operated at full capacity. 
I have, I think, been a pretty good wife.
I have kept my house looking okay for at least a third of this year. 
I have allowed myself to grow and change.
I have made new wonderful friendships, and been able to maintain a few and watch some old ones have some new growth.  
I have hopefully allowed the Lord to love others through my life.
I have been able to see an amazing group of my small group girls graduate from High School.
I have been able to chat with amazing College age women about their lives. 
I have told my story. 
I have cried with, laughed with, mourned with and celebrated with friends and family. 
I have tried to be honest. (with myself, my family, the Lord)
I have LOVED HARD. My husband and my's a joy to love these people!
I have accepted help from the village that is helping me raise my boys (Oh, I cannot raise them alone. I need the help, I want the help, I have the help.)
The final things I am going to share is this; I have taken control of my health this year. Y'all, I was pregnant for what seemed like 2 years straight. I took a 6 month sabbatical, but got right back on it.
Being pregnant with K was so hard. Losing the weight from the pregnancy seemed to be impossible and I felt terrible. I was tired, slow, weak, and exhausted. I was eating everything off of my plate, Fosters plate, and the pans I cooked on as I cleaned the kitchen.  I decided in Feb (shortly after starting Freeway) that I would get things under control - so I walked into the doors of Weight Watchers on Valentines day. I started their new Simply Filling Plan...and as of Last friday I had lost 25 pounds. I have started running again too.
I feel so good. I feel healthy, strong and young. I can keep up with my kids. I eat almost exclusively "power" foods, so I am less tired, more energized, and my mind is much clearer. 

All in all...this has been an exceptional year!

So, let's all raise a glass...Here is to 34!