A Life Well Lived

July 9, 2011

Today, Chad and I had the opportunity to attend a funeral.  I say ‘opportunity’ because it was the celebration of a life lived for Christ.  And despite the tragic accident that took this man’s life, God is receiving Glory.  Bryan Morgan was killed in a bike accident on the 4th of July.  If you live in the Atlanta area, then you probably heard about it on the news.  Bryan was the father of our dear friend Matt Morgan, and although I’ve only met him very briefly surrounding events for Reed, his grandson, after today, I feel like I know him well, and I have learned many things from his life.

Matt and Danielle are in our small group- and they’re part of our family.  This isn’t the first tragedy we’ve walked through with the Morgans, and it’s not the first death of a parent we’ve experienced within our small group either- but I’ve got to say, it doesn’t get any easier, despite our “experience”.  I spent the first half of the week in shock, just aching for my friends.  I would talk to Danielle each morning, and without fail, weep for their loss, weep over their pain, and pray.  I’ve prayed more this week than I have in a long time– and I know my Savior a little better because of that.  By the latter half of the week, I spent my time trying to figure out how we could help, how I could serve them, serve Danielle, and love them through the pain.  Chad and I have talked a lot about this week- just processing it all, hurting for Matt, trying to imagine what he’s going through- but today, my eyes were opened to a whole new side of it all.

Bryan’s memorial service was 3 hours- and I mean 3 very short hours.  3 of his closest friends shared about Bryan’s life, 4 of his 5 kids spoke about his love for them, and a Pastor reminded everyone of the Truth found in God’s word.  Time flew, as story after story was told about how this man loved God and loved others.  Songs of praise were sung to our God who has a plan– the same God who is in control– the same one who offers comfort– and most importantly, the same God who sacrificed his only Son on our behalf so that we may spend eternity in heaven with Him.  And of course, many more tears were shed– so much so that I had a crying headache by the time it was over. I cried watching Matt grieve, I cried watching Danielle hug on her hurting husband, I cried hearing about the way Bryan conducted his life, sad that he wasn’t here anymore, I cried for his young grandchildren who will only remember stories about him- but mostly, I wept for the lessons learned from this man that I didn’t even really know.  His life was still changing lives- even though he isn’t on this earth anymore!

Since that service this morning, Chad and I have talked about who we would want to speak at our own funerals, we have talked about what matters, we have talked about what it means to be intentional, what it looks like to focus on people, and how Jesus HAS GOT to be at the center of everything that we are.  I’ve got to tell you too, that after this week, the things that “mattered” last Sunday, aren’t the same things the “matter” now.  Life is short- regardless of how great of a person you are, regardless of how needed you are by your family, regardless of how healthy and happy you are- and so all that matters is love- loving God and loving others.  (Matthew 22:36-38)

I thank God for Bryan’s life, for the way he loved his wife and taught Matt to love his wife– I get to see my friend loved well, but also, as Chad and Matt do life together, Chad is growing as a result of Bryan too, also for the way he loved his kids- Chad and I can’t stop talking about all the things we can take away from hearing them speak today, things we can start right now and things for later, but mostly, I thank God for saving Bryan, for making him a child of God, who ran the race and fought the fight, and used his life to grow the Kingdom.

Although I am sad that Bryan is no longer here, although I hurt over the gaping hole in my friends life, although this is just the beginning of life without Bryan for so many loved ones, I am honored that I got to be a part of his celebration service today.

Psalm 86:11-13

11 Teach me your way, LORD,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths,
from the realm of the dead.


Heavy Post, Hurting Mama

April 19, 2011

I know the world is full of sin- really, I do.  And I know that there are addictions and “fetishes” that I just can’t comprehend. Luckily, blessedly, I also know that there is a God who saves, who redeems and who heals.  I’m trying to find rest and peace there right now, instead of where my flesh wants to go.

Let me briefly explain- this blog is obviously about my children- growing them, raising them, and learning from them.  It is my heart also- as you can tell, being a mom is such an incredible gift.  So when I write here, and post things here, I (naively) assumed that those reading and visiting would be like-minded– either mom’s, people who love me and/or my children, old and new friends, and other bloggers out there who love funny kid stories and adorable pictures…. if I do say so myself.

Anyway, I do watch my online data pretty closely- my blog hosting site tells me how many people looked at a certain thing in a day and what searches were used to find those things.  The norm are readers who come to the blog one of three ways– 1) By my site, meaning they have it in their blog roll 2) Thru facebook, as any new post gets noted on my FB status and 3) Thru twitter, as any new post also gets tweeted– these are the followers I want, thank you!

BUT recently, some people have used some impure/ indecent searches and found pictures on my blog.  And then they keep going back again and again and again and again to view those pictures, in a day.  The first day I noticed this, I decided it was me, over-reacting, the second day I started to freak, and now, plainly, I feel like my son is being violated.  Precious baby pictures during bath time and his other funny bathroom stunts can no longer be public domain. I have removed those pictures, so if you see this note:  *NOTE: Certain pictures were removed after some disturbing online data– that is why.

If you’re a blogger, I want to urge you to consider every picture that you post- can it be distorted?  Can it be abused? Honestly, I despise feeling this vulnerable- but even worse, I despise feeling this stupid– why didn’t I consider this before?  I’ve seen the news, I’ve heard statistics.  But I’m thankful that God revealed this truth to me in a matter of days- not months or years- and in such a way that will open my eyes and evoke protection over my children’s purity in a way that I wouldn’t have thought of/ been able to before.

Readers, going forward, no naked pictures regardless of how adorable they are, but I promise all the funny stories will remain 🙂 And to those of you who were abusing the pictures I posted, I pray that you know that there is a God who loves you and has already OVERCOME sin- He can give you the strength to do the same.


March 18, 2011

Sometimes, it’s the little things that reminds me of the HUGE-ness of being a mom.  The other night, during Max’s bath, him and Gabe managed to soak the ENTIRE bathroom.  Honestly, this is normal, and they always have so much fun playing in there, that we really don’t discourage it.  Gabe isn’t in the bath with Max, but he might as well be!  By the time the water is draining, Gabe’s clothes are soaked and his glasses are dripping.

That night while Chad was getting Max out of the tub, I was helping Gabe mop up the floor with his bath towel.  Then I had him put both his and Max’s towel in the laundry.  We then shuffled both of them into pj’s, got their teeth brushed and sent them off to bed.  Before I headed downstairs, I stopped by the bathroom for a potty break (thanks pregnancy for making this my #1 pass time). I looked over and noticed both of the empty hooks so I got out fresh towels for the boys.  And it hit me.  If I didn’t get a towel out for Max, he would  never get one.  If I didn’t bathe him, he would never be clean.  If I didn’t change his diaper, he would never get a new, fresh diaper.  Max’s depth of dependence on me overtook me in that moment.  Although this wasn’t the first time I had realized this truth, I was paralyzed by the bigness of this yet again.

Gabe is a slightly different story.  I honestly think that if he were left to fend for himself, he would take showers and brush his teeth.  Chad and I were just noticing the other night how Gabe has NEVER slept through his 6:30am alarm- he doesn’t even lay there for a few minutes… it goes off, he hits it, and jumps out of bed, making his way straight to the shower.  This eight year old could take care of himself.  But he is dependent on us for meals, a roof over his head, and safety… for some reason, he can’t remember to look both ways before he crosses a street without a reminder!  He is also dependent on us emotionally.  He needs to talk and he needs someone to listen and respond- Gabe doesn’t do alone time for more than an hour- and that’s only when I “make” him go read for an hour.

God blessed us with these boys- and really there are times when I just think my skin is going to pop open because of all the love in my chest.  But He also made them dependent on me- needing me- learning from me- growing because of me. How humbling.  How huge.  The magnitude of the parenting role is so much that these words I’m fumbling and bumbling around for- I have the power to make or break these kids.  What a responsibility.  Thank goodness there is a big God leading the way.  I pray I’m attentive to His leading- I pray for Christ in me.

The other day, while praying in a small group, my friend Courtney prayed “God, despite all these blessings, we are desperate for you”.  That statement has wrecked me- in a good way- this week.  Despite all these blessings, despite me being wired to be a mom, despite the joy I find in mothering, despite the gratitude and gratefulness Chad and I have for these boys– we need God.  We are nothing, and can do nothing, a part from him.

And Baby Makes Four

March 17, 2011

A friend from church passed on this article to me, and it’s a must-read for mommies!  I’m attaching it here- but I can’t find a link for it- they’re all protected.  But it’s from Mothering.com and the author is Natalia Swenson Parker– check it out below!  Anyway, it’s all about adding baby #2 to your brode, and luckily I read it after Jack was already growing or else I may have decided that Max was enough.  I read the article one morning, over my coffee, and then promptly walked into the kitchen, BAWLING like a baby, and tried to tell Chad why we couldn’t have Jack.  Being the wise one that he is, he gently explained that it was too late and could I please stop blubbering long enough to explain what was going on.

To summarize, the article is GREAT!  But it is realistic too, and the fact of the matter is that when you go from one baby to two, then hello, baby number one doesn’t really get the attention they got before.  It talks about greiving that “loss” but also you’re so excited that you have a new baby that you  just love and adore, and so then enters guilt.  (This is on top of the lovely hormones and irrational behaviors that accompany a new baby).  Oh my goodness, I just wasn’t ready for all of this.  And what about Max?

Needless to say, women have been having more then one child forEVER and as a child with two brothers, it was NOT a big deal- it was actually great- and not just was, it is.  And my mom had enough love, and time, that we all made it out alive.  Add that in to the fact that Gabe was 6 when we had Max- so for 6 years was THE center of the universe in MANY different houses, and although he has less attention since Max, they have so much darn stinkin love for each other, that he was over it in about .05 seconds.  (Gabe is smart enough to TRY and play the “I feel left out” card, but we remind him of the 3894574389 people that love him and stop their lives for him every time he has a boo boo, or a performance at school, or a soccer game, and he quickly hides that card back in his pocket, waiting for the next time that it might work….) So I’m sure the same is true of the budding Bowman clan, we’ll be fine, we’ll survive, there will be love and cuddles and bonding, despite the chaos, but could you really expect me to be reasonable and rational at a time like this?

So all you seasoned moms, who have grown multiple children in your womb, what do I need to know?  What are some tricks of the trade?  Will I ever sleep again?  How do I nurse with a 22 month old running around?  How do I make sure Max still gets attention?  And that he loves his brother?  And that he knows that I love him something crazy?  And will Jack feel left out?  Or will it just be how it is for him?  Anything you got, I want to hear it!

Thanks for suffering through that emotional breakdown with me… and I’m sure this is just one of those Parenting Builds Character things!

Merry Christmas 2010

December 29, 2010

Well at least I’m blogging about this while it’s still 2010!  Christmas this year was great.  First of all, it included snow, like on the ground, visible, several inches, in GEORGIA!  The first white Christmas in a hundred and something years, seriously. But I didn’t take any pictures– I’m good like that.

Secondly, I started off the festivities a little behind the eight ball– we got in town from TX and got settled in our beds by midnight, and I had to be at work 7 short hours later.  I got 2 solid work days in, some major house cleaning (thanks for the help, Chad!), a food menu planned, groceries bought, and finally, all the packages got ribbon, just hours before Christmas eve struck… but I did get done!  (I also didn’t get my Christmas cards in the mail until DECEMBER 23rd– this is so un-Lauren that there aren’t words…. I’m the person who has them planned by September, addressed by October, and mailed the day of Thanksgiving…)

My parents and youngest brother, Eli, arrived on Thursday.  They mainly came to see Max, but did talk to me some.  On Christmas Eve, we visited with my Dad’s parents and went to our Christmas Eve service at church before scouring the county for dinner… only to be left with frozen pizza… that I burned!

We woke up Saturday for Christmas… Max was the last one awake and I’m assuming this is the last year that will happen until his age ends in “teen”.  And we unwrapped presents– you would’ve thoughts that we had 34857 people at our house- but no, we just have 2 very loved (spoiled) little boys.  The first two presents that Max opened were such a hit (a new toothbrush and a new football) that we could’ve stopped there, but he was so much fun! He unwrapped stuff, and got excited, and even went into toy over load! After presents, we had Christmas brunch, and then it was my nap time 🙂  By this time, it was snowing– it was perfect napping weather.  And then, late afternoon, we headed up to Dawsonville to celebrate with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  And due to the safety of the swagger wagon, we made it back home in the midst of the Georgia blizzard.

But Sunday, I was exhausted– less from the Christmas weekend and more from all the events/ work leading up to it!  But after a 3 hour nap, I turned into scrooge and took down all the Christmas decor– I HAD to in order to make room for all the new toys clogging up our paths!  We even had to re-arrange furniture and create a “playroom”.  But it works 🙂

And Chad and I got each other/ ourselves a great gift– finally, a big screen/ flat whatever, HD 42 inch BUYRH 823837, blah blah TV!! Welcome to the 21st century Bowmans!!  You’re only about 10 years late….

And while we were at it, we did get to celebrate the birth of a baby that changed the world and our lives forever- Christ the Lord!  Thank you God, for sending your Son!

A Heavy Heart

October 13, 2010

Do you ever just get overwhelmed with sadness?  I’m just heavy right now.  And none of the stories are mine- and none of them are touching me directly- but somehow, they all seem to affect my soul.

Leslie Evans:  A young lady my age, married a man with 3 children, 2 years after his wife/ their mother had died from Breast cancer.  Shortly after getting married, they discovered they were pregnant, WITH twins.  They were elated.  But then she went into labor early, and the twins were born at about 21 weeks, and did not live.  Shortly after giving birth, Leslie went into cardiac arrest.  She was down for 17 minutes before they could revive.  Leslie passed away October 7, 2010.

I have been following her blog, reading her story, watching videos of her life, and I cannot put into words the hurt in my chest.  I’ve been praying for this family I don’t know, and asking God to bring them peace.  I don’t understand why He allowed this man to lose 2 wives, and these children to lose 2 mom’s.  I don’t understand why her body couldn’t carry the babies full term, and why the water had to break early.  I don’t understand why these parents lost their daughter, and a brother lost his sister.  And that’s not even touching on the friends that lost, too.  Honestly, I just can’t make any sense of it.  And I don’t know her.

(A blog about her:  http://lesliejoyevans.blogspot.com/)  (Very worth starting at the beginning)

Lila:  My co-worker, Cherie, has a 3 year old niece who went to the doctor on Monday for a cough, and was sent straight to Children’s Healthcare for Leukemia.  This little girl will start chemo tomorrow that will last for the next 2 years.  And Lila’s mom, who lost her own mother to cancer, has to watch her baby, lay in a bed, while chemicals fill her body in order to fight this nasty disease.  Meanwhile, Lila’s father also has a type of inoperable brain cancer, that will eventually take his life, although he doesn’t have any effects/ problems with it now.

I’ve got to say, I just don’t understand this either.  As a mom, my insides scream upon hearing this story.  When Cherie told me about this yesterday, I cried, and as I type about it today, I still cry.  When it comes to Leukemia, she has the “good kind” but parents take their kids to the doctor for strep- not leukemia.  And I can not imagine how powerless and helpless it must feel, to be a parent, watching something like this.  Again, I don’t understand.

Kate McRae:  I have been following this little girl’s story for over a year.  Right before she was supposed to start kindergarden, Kate was diagnosed with brain cancer. They were able to remove a portion of the tumor, but due to location, couldn’t get all of it.  This little girl has been going through new treatments to try to beat this malignant cancer.  Her parent’s faith and prayers are edifying and real.  You can hear hurt in her mother’s typing, yet total reliance on God.  Again, parents with no control, nothing they can do to change the situation, and at this point, they just wait to see if the treatment worked.  They go back periodically for MRI’s and other tests hoping to hear that the tumor hasn’t grown, but expecting/ dreading the worst.  All they can do is wait.

Her prayer blog:  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mcraekate

** These are by no means all the stories about stuff like this, I totally understand that– these are just the ones on my heart and mind right now.

Stuff like this makes me just want to put my people in a bubble to protect them.  It makes me want to use my time to write them love notes, and kiss them all over.  I mean what if?

But chances are, this won’t happen to us.  And I’m pretty sure that trying to explain to God that I was too crippled by what might’ve happened to actually discipline my kids or train them, or too worried about what could’ve happened to love my neighbors and serve my husband, and too consumed with fear to spread the Good News, wouldn’t be a good conversation to have with the Creator of the Universe, and a God that willingly gave his perfect son’s life for my sin, so that I could spend eternity with Him.

I am not one to question God, and this is not to say that understand everything.  I do NOT.  But that is because He is God and I am not- and I don’t have to understand everything- I just have to trust him.  But if I’m honest, that’s not always easy.  I know He’s BIG and I know He’s LOVE and I know He’s FORGIVING.  So tonight, I just pray that have the courage to be the wife, mom, friend, co-worker, daughter, sister, etc that God has called me to be, and that I’ll surrender control to the only ONE who deserves, God. Tonight I am casting other people’s burdens on Him- to God be the glory, forever, amen!

A Pick Me Up

July 29, 2010

I’ve listened to this song a MILLION times today and I just thought I’d share: