Wednesday, November 26, 2014


A month ago, our newest little adventure arrived. Meet Bear Shephard. He clocked in at 8:16 a.m., weighing 6 lbs 13 oz.

It's amazing to look back on God's goodness and provision throughout the pregnancy and delivery. Those nine months seemed to fly by. The day Bear was born seemed like forever of course. I was challenged to pray for specific things throughout the pregnancy and to pray expectantly. It reminded me that God is sovereign over every 'little' thing that seems insignificant in my own eyes: things that seem 'too big' or impractical for God to provide (i.e. comfort during labor, a smooth recovery, health or even milk for nursing). 


When I was pregnant with Mae and Deacon, I developed preeclampsia (mucho high blood pressure) and was scheduled for C-sections. We hoped that I could avoid another surgery with Bear because recovery after a cesarean is the pits. Thankfully, we were able to deliver the ol' fashioned way! We prayed that we could have that "classic labor and delivery" story. Silly? Nope. Friends that prayed with us ask how delivery went, to which I reply, "Great! ::thumbs up::" (Give or take a few contractions.) The pain wasn't always welcome and Tod said I was a completely different woman during labor, but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. 


Meeting Bear.
Mae: Why'd you name him Bear?
Deacon: How about Jackson?

Getting to know brother.
Mae: Is Bear crying because he doesn't have any teeth?


It's been so fun to watch Bear grow and relearn how to take care of a little one. Mae and Deacon adore their little bro and always want to hold him.  Deacon asked me today if I was going to lay Bear down after he heard him cry. Deacon knew his bro needed a nap. Either he was really concerned for Bear or he wanted a little peace and quiet while he watched his show...

These days will fly so we're cherishing them.



Thursday, October 2, 2014


"I'm free" is toddler talk for "I'm three."

Our "little" booger bear turned three this past month. For the last few months, Deacon has been reminding us that his birthday is in September. He would always ask, "Hey, is my birthday in 'teptember'?" He asked us yesterday when his birthday would be again. A whole year buddy. Almost there.

His requests for birthday treats were a piƱata and "books, maybe?" In rare times when he is still (and not running around) and interested in toys, it's fun to see him play and learn new things. He's so proud of drawings that he does and he's a Lego tower connoisseur. He usually follows his sister around when they're playing too. I'm anxious to see how he'll be with his baby brother that makes his debut this month. He and Mae constantly ask how their bro is doing and when he'll be here ;)

As part of Deac's birthday this year, we went to the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. The planes were going to race like Dusty and Chupacabra in Planes. Yes, please. It was a hoot seeing his face when the planes would take off through the pylons and buzz through the sky.

Air Race 2014

Your favorite things are knock-knock jokes.
Your shows to watch are Bubble Guppies and Wild Kratts.
Your favorite books are Curious George, Little Blue Truck and any read with trucks or planes.

Some funny stuff you say...

You try to help with our phonics. "Hey, what letter does _____ start with? Ah, Ah!"

"Knock, knock."
"Who's there?"
"You who?"
"Yooouu who, big summer blowout!" (Oaken from Frozen)

"Hey mom, how baby brother doing?"

You start to read any story in your picture story Bible with, "Once upon a time, God..."

Photo cred to the fabulous Jenny Blair.

We love you so much, wild man.

Your grateful mommy,

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Fountains in Sundance Square
Our little girl turned four this past week. Crazy go nuts. Maevri is a treasure and it has been a joyful adventure watching her grow, learn, and find joy in the 'little' things. She is so sharp and imaginative. We constantly pray that God uses her playful personality and desire to learn to glorify himself.

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Birthday cupcakes downtown.
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. 
Philippians 3:7-8

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

Belle, your birthday fish.

Some funny Mae quotes recently:

"Hey Mom. Mom. Can you stop singing? I can't hear the song."

You and Deac were going out with daddy. He suggested you guys go on an adventure to the store. You subtly suggested, "Hmm, maybe we don't have to go on an adventure today. Maybe we could... hmm.... go to the purple store (Starplex Movie Theatre) and see Frozen?"


"Deacon, stop. When Mae asks you to stop, just stop. Do not hit your sister or pull her. Be soft."
"Do not yell 'no' at me son. It's disrespectful and you will get a spanking."
"You can't spray your bed with any of these cleaners under the sink. Please don't do that again."
"Please don't make me pull the car over, because I will." Yeah, I laughed at that one...

These past months have seemed pretty crazy and stressful. We're constantly challenged to not only correct our kids, but also to train and teach them biblical truths and why we need Christ every day. Our hearts are yucky; what a relief that Christ transforms us and promises complete joy in him and him alone.

I actually started this post a couple of months ago. I still pray for a 'parenting mind' that focuses on the salvation and hearts of our children. It's very easy to only focus on their outward behavior when we correct them and not always address the intentions of their actions (or mine, for that matter). I recently started reading/finishing a book on parenting and I'm challenged to point to Christ and see his love in all the little situations throughout our days.

"Mae, Mae, I'm sorry."
"Sorry for what?"
"For messing up your Play-Doh."
"Why did you do that? It's okay though, it's not your fault."
"Yes, it is my fault."
"It's okay though, I'm not mad at you."

Right before this conversation between Mae and Deacon, I hollered at Deacon from the bathroom after I heard Maevri scream at him. Hollered and screamed. I felt guilty for yelling at them, and was immediately reminded of the grace and love I need every day. Our kids should see grace and forgiveness in the times that we mess up too and I have to remember that. (We're all currently learning how to not sin in our anger...) I'm very grateful to see these little triumphs though. It's a picture of the victory we can have in Christ amidst the fights of our flesh.

"Train with this thought continually before your eyes: The soul of your child is the first thing to be considered. In every step that you take about them, in every plan and scheme and arrangement that concerns them, do not leave out that mighty question, 'How will this affect their souls?'" J.C. Ryle

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11

Thursday, February 20, 2014

a great mystery

"I'm googling that."

Let's be honest. I think we say this on a daily basis.  Lately, we've been reading up on multiple sclerosis, lyme disease and treatment options. Fun stuff.

Back in February 2013, I tried electrodermal screening for the first time. (Read about it here and here and see what you think. Check out my EDS technician's company too and read her testimony.) Certain parasites and viruses were found in my body though, and in May, Lyme disease had surfaced, along with 'leaky gut'. Oddly, I was a little excited that Lyme had surfaced. Apparently, Lyme can be misdiagnosed as MS and vice versa. Add leaky gut into the mix too (symptoms of MS can be brought on by a leaky gut). You're killin' me smalls. Maybe I didn't have MS after all?

I'm currently taking DesBio therapy drops (borrelia-babesia and candida plus). They seem to be helping with my energy throughout the day. Caffeine and my diet drastically affect my energy too. I do notice that I'm not as tired during the day (and less prone to get sick) if I'm taking my drops consistently. At my check-ups, my parasites and bacteria have been clearing out too.

A few months ago, I sat down and tried to recall how and when symptoms occurred. When I first started having symptoms, I found it helpful when I read stories of other people who went through the same thing. It reassured me that I wasn't losing my mind when I would trip or lose balance ;). I hope that recording my progress could be helpful to someone who might be going through the same thing.

A side note: I think it's easy to read too much about medical conditions and not consistently pray about it. Sometimes, I read stories that were extreme (and rare) cases of MS. It would be easy to get discouraged or worried by these, but I had to remember that every case, person, and opinion are different.

Time flies.
Summer 2008 - November 2009
Tingling sensation in left hand and foot. Left foot and hand weakness; can't pop or move toes around. Left ankle weakness ('drop-foot'); tripping and ankle easily rolls.

Would go running and trip from foot weakness. Walking up stairs or wearing heels to work was difficult. (I found this out the hard way when I bit it in front of my students at school. Not cool. No more heels.) I'm more likely to trip if I rush and am more cautious as I step with my left foot; unable to walk in any shoe with a high sole. After resting, walking barefoot is easy. When working in the house or out venturing, walking barefoot can be difficult.

*Went to the chiropractor for a few months for readjustments and electrotherapy. Tingling sensation stopped, so we thought the problem was solved. Put testing/diagnosing on hold because I became pregnant.

November 2009 - June 2010 (Mae is born.)
Heat triggers a "relapse" with hand and leg weakness (weather, running errands or showering). It might be difficult to raise my hand or do something simple, like cutting food, opening a bottle, blow drying hair, or pushing the stroller. Suppressed symptoms from pregnancy? Preeclampsia (high blood pressure) towards end of pregnancy.

July 2010
More testing. Had a brain MRI and spinal tap. P.S. I'm 86% sure I'd sign up for another C-section over a spinal tap any day? Worst 3-day headache ever.

August 2010  
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Started Betaseron treatment, but stopped January 2011 when I became pregnant.

Summer of 2011
Started physical therapy to strengthen hand and leg. Got an AFO brace before Deacon was born. I rejoiced not only in the birth of our beautiful son, but also over God's provision in giving me a brace. My parents graciously bought it for me too. Those unattractive pieces of foam and plastic are muy expensive and my insurance wouldn't cover it. Thank you God, I could walk again.

Fall/Winter 2013
Left eye vision is sometimes funky in hot, sunny weather or when running errands outside. Off balance; running into wall corners and veering to the left. No running or jogging. Cold weather causes leg spasticity (tense or 'stalled' movement).

Same ol', same ol'. Similar symptoms, but sleeping better (homeopathic drops?).

It's encouraging to read through this timeline again and be reminded of God's provision through it all.  I never want to define my life by my illness, but it has definitely affected my thoughts and attitude over time (in positive and negative ways).  I tend to have that "If I could run…I would..." or "If I were healthy… I could" mentality and that's not trusting God with what's set before me. The truth is that I'm blessed and thankfully, I don't have to rely on my flesh to pull through this life. And that's easier said than done most times.

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

great promises

Rejoicing in this truth today.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.   
2 Peter 1:3-10