Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Giveaway!

Hey all! Thought I'd share about a great giveaway they are having over at Generation Cedar. First, Generation Cedar is one of my favorite sites - amazing insight and resources for homeschooling, Christian living and the family. Love love love that site! Now, onto the giveaway. They are giving away gift cards to Vision Forum at This site is equally amazing - amazing resources for homeschooling and the family. Books, dvds and great information. Keeping my fingers crossed that I win, because this would be a hugely helpful resource for the kids and our future of learning. Check them out, and maybe one of us will walk away a winner :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More pictures of our new little guy :)

Asher James Murphy

born Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
8lb. 1.6oz. and 20 inches long

He's finally here!!! Welcome to the world our newest little blessing - Asher James Murphy.
On Monday Gina went to her 39 week appointment. Her midwife, Aliza, told her that she was dilated to 4 and would probably have her water break sometime that night. If not, we could come in and have her break Gina's water to get things going. The next day, we went into the hospital at noon. Aliza broke Gina's water around 1pm. Then things really picked up. Gina labored for a few hours, then began pushing a little after 3. Asher kept getting stuck behind her pelvic bone, so she was having a hard time pushing him out. But, at 3:55pm, Asher James entered the world. He was born just the way we had hoped - without any drugs or interventions, and perfectly healthy. The birth went great, and Gina is doing very well (though still recovering). We are so thankful for a healthy baby boy who is so loved already. We definitely picked the perfect name for him - Asher means "happy" and he is the most content little man. We are grateful that it all went so well, and so fast, and for great people like Aliza and our nurses who made it all go so well. We are basking in God's goodness and the beauty of this precious little boy.

Our Big Girl!

On August 6th, we celebrated Paige's 3rd birthday a few weeks early, as we were anticipating that Asher may arrive on or around her real birthday (and we were right ;). We had a very small party of just family, and we all ate brunch and celebrated our lovely Paige. It's hard to believe that she is already 3! Then again, she speaks and acts as if she were already a teenager. On her actual birthday we took her to get her ears pierced (per her request), got a milkshake and rode the carousel at the mall. She had a blast! It was just what she wanted. Paige is the most amazing little girl. She's kind, loving, vibrant, joyful, beautiful and smart. We love everything about her, and We are amazed that we get to be a part of this great adventure with her. We love you Paige Anna!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Awaiting Asher

I am now 37 weeks pregnant, which means that we are officially full-term - Asher could come at anytime. While I am hopeful that he will arrive early, I know that he could definitely come late. I was hopeful that Paige would come early, but she arrived 10 days past her due date. Eli on the other hand arrived 5 days early. There is no way to know, but I'm hopeful :) Today I saw my midwife and I am 2+ centimeters dilated, 55% effaced and Asher is at -2 station. I am having lots of contractions and he is definitely in position. So I am going to do all I can to kickstart this labor, and hope that Asher wants to come out as badly as I want to hold him. Please pray for a fast and easy delivery, and for it to come soon. The past 34+ days straight have been over 100 degrees, and I am very ready to meet this baby boy. Hopefully we'll be updating you with a picture of new, sweet baby soon :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

1 Year

1 Year ago today our precious Sprout went to be with the Lord at 8 weeks gestation. We feel privileged to have been the parents of this little blessing, if only for a short time. We anxiously await the day we can hold our baby in our arms, and rejoice that our baby is praising Jesus in Heaven each and every day. We love you Sprout! And, the Lord willing, we will welcome our 4th baby, Asher, in the next month. We are so excited to meet him. God has truly blessed us with a beautiful family, and we are grateful for each day with them regardless of whether we get to hold them this side of heaven or not.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Buried Alive

I apologize for the serious tone to my recent posts. I do not intend to be a Debbie Downer, but lately I have been weighed down by worry. It feels like being buried alive - the feeling that everything is on top of you, you are gasping for breath, and the more that you try to claw and climb your way out the more dirt falls on your face and the farther down you slide. How do you get out of this cycle? How do you finally get your head above ground? This has been a struggle for probably the last year, but especially the last 4 months. Health stuff, family stuff, financial issues, personal and spiritual problems have all come to a head at once, and seem only to get worse with each passing day. It feels like there is no relief. We feel out of control, totally helpless in all of it. And I think that is precisely where God wants us. He wants us to realize that EVERYTHING comes from Him, and that we are capable of nothing apart from Him. We can work our fingers to the bone, but we cannot make the paycheck come. We can do our best to be healthy and proactive, but we cannot sustain life. We can give but we cannot determine the return. I think He wanted us to realize how incredibly powerless we are, and how much we have relied on ourselves, our talents, money and people when He is the only true source. I think He has been trying to strip us bare of all of our stuff - including our security, priorities and plans - to reveal to us our basic need of Him and Him alone. Just this past week I realized that I had been holding onto our home - feeling like there was no way God would ask us to give this to Him, or not have a home. Then, I remembered when Patrick and I bought this home. We were so excited. We felt so blessed and we dedicated our home to the Lord. We believed that He had given us this home and wanted to use it as a ministry to others in hospitality. We told God to do whatever He wanted in our home. Now, a few years later, I was telling God that He could not have the home I had already given Him. Wow! Talk about conviction! Suddenly I saw my home differently - not as my entitlement, or a requirement for my family to survive and thrive, but as a blessing that God had given us at His discretion. As my loving Father, He has the right to take it away at anytime if He feels so inclined. And while this may sound scary - God possibly taking away your home at anytime - it is actually true freedom. Letting go of that pressure and grabbing onto the promise that God has me in His hand is real freedom. Now I am not owned by my home, or the mortgage, or debt, or anything else that tries to grab at me. He has me and He will provide. This does not mean that I do not have a role to play - no! Just the opposite. I have a huge role to play - obedience and submission. I have to do what He has called me to do, go where He has called me to go, and give the outcome to Him. I have to trust that He is good, that He loves me and that He is in control. This is no easy feat. It requires faith, which requires hoping in things you cannot see and often lots and lots of waiting. We feel like we have been waiting far too long for an answer, but the truth is that God is never late. He knows exactly what He is doing. So, as we feel paralyzed by our circumstances and at a loss for what to do next, we wait on the Lord and trust that His ways are higher than our ways, that He is invading every aspect of our lives with His love, and that He will bring the relief at just the right time. We are now seeing that we are being buried in His grace and mercy, and that relief comes in the surrender.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

When the World Caves in

Do you ever fee like the world is caving in on you? Do you ever feel like you are completely undone? That your insides have been ripped out and you are agonizingly floundering on the floor? I have come to know that feeling pretty well. I sit here, completely undone before the Lord. I feel like Job, sitting on my heap of ashes, dressed in sackcloth, scraping my boils with broken pottery as people tell me to just curse God and die. That's really tempting. I mean, how can a loving and just God sit around and do nothing as I sit and suffer? How can He sit back on His big comfortable throne and watch as people who love and follow Him are in agony? He must be pretty despicable to be able to do that, especially to people He supposedly loves. But, much like Job, I cannot and will not curse God and die. I can only say that I know that my Redeemer lives. Can I expect only blessings from God and not curses? Even if He were that awful tyrant, He would still deserve my praise. If He made everything and was all powerful and did not love me at all, He would deserve praise because of Who He is. Yet, that is not true. He is all powerful, and all knowing; the beginning and the end; the author and finisher of my faith; the very definition and origin of love; the only One who knows the entire story. He has me in His hand, even if all of the circumstance have stopped from seeing that that is exactly where I am. He is not far, but inside, outside, above, below, encircling every part. I just see the temporal, while He sees the finite and infinite. He wrote the story, and I am only playing a part. When He answers Job, He does so with a series of questions - where were you when I put the stars in their place? Told the oceans to come only so far? Hung the heavens, and created the earth? Where were you? How did I do it? You think the One who causes seasons and has a purpose for every plant, leaf, insect and animal is unaware of what's going on with His own children? Of course I am paraphrasing, but if you have never read that interaction - you should. We forget when we are battling the big scary monsters of this big scary world how very small all of it is in comparison to Him. We forget about His glory when we're met with struggles and confusion. We forget about His love, faithfulness and goodness when we're staring death and mourning in the face. But they are still there. Our circumstances don't change Him. Let me say that again (because I need to hear it) - our circumstances don't change Him. He is not scared by the threat of war. He is not worried over unemployment, the crashing dollar or the impending financial collapse. He is not intimidated by dictators or tyrants. He does not flinch at death. Nothing is a surprise to Him, and nothing is beyond His power or control. Why does He allow this suffering? - Because He is good. That doesn't make sense! How can suffering come from good? Because He sees what we don't. He knows what we could never fathom. I have often said that God sees everything at once from every perspective, while we can only see from our 2 small eyes and biased perception. He has a plan, and we are part of it. I am grasping for the Lord right now as my family faces yet another gut wrenching, horribly painful, and seemingly unfair trial. We are faced once again, in less than a year, with death and pain and heartbreak. We pray and believe for miracles, yet God seems to be silent. This is not true. God is not silent. He is lovingly rocking us in His arms as He strokes our hair and asks us to trust Him yet again. It's a struggle to trust Him, even when we know all of this about Him. It's a struggle to see through the pain and tears to His love and goodness. But that is faith, right? - Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Heb. 11:1). So, I am sure that God is there, and certain that He is loving us and caring for us. I am hoping for a miracle and clinging to His truth. No matter the outcome of this trial - life or death, rejoicing or mourning - I will praise Him, because He is worthy of my praise. I will trust Him, because He is the only One I can run to. I will follow Him, because He is the only truth.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wandering in the Wilderness

I have been living in Texas now for 4 years. 4 years! That is crazy to me. It feels like yesterday that Patrick and I left behind our little Yorba Linda townhouse and trekked through the desert to our new home. Yet, the 4 years here has been so full of stuff that it seems like decades that we have been here. Strange how that happens. Much like my dad's death feels like a hundred years ago, but at the same time it feels like I just spoke to him yesterday. These 4 years in some ways have been excruciatingly long. The number 1 place I have felt the drain of time has been in my walk with Christ. Moving here was definitely something that God had planned for us. Neither Patrick nor I have doubted for 1 second that God called us here. The month before we left Patrick was offered the position he had dreamed about. He was offered to work with and under the man he admired more than any other person in the world, for a place that felt like home, and with people that he considered family. He was offered the position that he had left Colorado in the hopes of one day achieving. At the same time, he was offered a position at a company that had treated him unfairly, with people he did not know, in an area that was one of the worst in the country for his department. We prayed and prayed and prayed some more. But it was clear - we were being called to Texas. We were being called out of and away from the people we loved in California, and the ministry we both felt called to. We were nervous and sad as we left behind our biggest hopes for the future, but so excited to see what God was calling us to in Texas. I mean, we had given up our hearts desire, so God must be replacing that with something completely amazing, right? Well... it didn't appear so. After 4 years in Texas we are still wondering why we are here. After 4 years at the same church, we still don't feel like we belong. After 4 years of putting ourselves out there we have no real friends. I have no one I know in Texas that I have ever called to have a conversation with. No one. Now I don't want to sound ungrateful or not take time to show all the good things that have come here - my entire family now lives here (which is the biggest blessing on earth), we bought a house, had 4 babies (2 here, 1 in heaven, and 1 still cooking), and have met some incredible people that we dearly love and admire. But it still feels in many ways like we're just passing through. Perhaps the absolute worst part of all of it is that in the entire time I have lived here I have felt very distant from God. I have prayed, fasted, read my Bible daily, gone to Bible study - done all of the stuff. Yet He seems silent. I feel like I am the only one talking, and He has grown weary of listening. In my head, I know this is totally untrue. I know that He cares for me, and loves me and listens to me, and is for me not against me. I see the ways He has provided for me, even in miraculous ways. I know all of this... in my head. But my heart, well my heart feels abandoned. My heart feels like God lead me out here and left me to fend for myself. I feel lost. I work everyday to try to do the things I feel He has laid on my heart, but I feel like I hit walls at every turn. I know that we have an enemy and that he is real and working to ruin and thwart every thing God is doing in our lives. I know that the world is not my true home and that things here are going to be bad and unfair at times. I know all of that... in my head. Yet my heart looks at my time here and recalls over 6 months of depression that I endured without a single person noticing I was struggling. My heart recalls losing my dad and watching my mom continue to mourn and struggle. My heart recalls laying on a hospital bed crying uncontrollably after losing my child. My heart recalls praying for Isaac to be born alive and then holding his beautiful lifeless body, and watching my sister have her heart torn out as she grieved her child. My heart recalls Patrick losing the job he had due to people lying and cheating, and causing us financial hardship. My heart sees all of the struggle we have every single day with finances, no matter how much we tithe, how many hours Patrick works, or how much I cut back and take on to save money. My heart sees us striving to be obedient and diligent and grateful, yet still not feeling God anywhere in the room. I know that God is real. I know that God is with me. I have met Him face to face. I have felt His hand on my shoulder as I cried, and I have no doubt that He is sovereign and I will continue to praise Him and follow Him even if I never feel Him again. I have never been angry with Him over losing my dad or Sprout or Isaac. I have trusted Him with all of that, and I know that they are in His hands. I don't want to sound like I'm doubting Him or walking away. That is the farthest thing from what I am doing. I am simply trying to convey with words the way my heart feels. I am trying to press in and grow closer to Him, and feel His presence in the midst of the storm. Yet I feel like a person in a dark room, with my hands stretched out trying to grasp for anything and finding nothing. I know He's there. I can hear Him breathing. But right now, I can't find Him. And I know that He has allowed this for a purpose, a good purpose. I know that He is using this time in my own desert to teach me to be patient, and trust Him, and follow Him unconditionally. I know that... in my head. But my heart yearns to feel my daddy turn and hold me tight and stroke my hair and tell me that He is here to chase away the monsters, and that has it all under control.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The BEST News!!

So what is better than expecting another baby? Sharing that experience with people that you love. When I posted that we were expecting our 3rd child, and 2nd son, I mentioned that I would be sharing even more exciting news in the future. Now I am FINALLY able to share the incredible news. Both of my sisters are pregnant! Annette and Alyssa are both now entering their 2nd trimester! YAY!!! All 3 of us are pregnant together! Does it get any better? This fall there will 3 new little babies all born within about a month and a half of each other. What a blessing. So if you think of it, please pray for our very blessed, and fertile, family :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's a Boy!

On Tuesday morning we had the first, and possibly last sonogram of our little Tater Tot. He is healthy and active and, well, a HE! Our precious little one is most definitely a boy, and we have the pictures to prove it. He jumped all over the place, trying to hide from the camera. He covered his face with his hands acting shy and even turned and looked directly at the camera and opened his mouth. He was very annoyed at all of the attention. It was such a sweet time for Patrick and I. Is there anything better than witnessing the miracle of life? Here is a tiny precious person jumping around inside of my belly, with a personality and fingers and toes and eyelashes. It's crazy! We saw his brain and his kidneys and his spine and his sweet face. Every part of him is perfect. How can God weave together something so perfect in such a small space? It truly is miraculous, and brings tears to my eyes as I think about it. This wonderful boy is the very creation of God, being knit together as we speak inside of me by the God of the universe. I am so excited to hold him and kiss him and love on him. I can hardly wait to see his precious face. I feel very privileged to be housing this gift, for as long as God allows me.
And in the midst of all the joy, today I was overcome with a longing for my precious Sprout. I believe he was a boy, although it was too soon to tell. I know that he is running and jumping in heaven. And I often envision him sitting on my dad's shoulders, holding hands with my nephew Isaac as they joyfully sing praises to the Lord. I can almost see him in my mind, but not quite. One day I will see him and hold him and smother him with kisses. But today I just miss him and feel the empty place at the table that will never be filled. I am overjoyed at the thought of my little man inside me, and even more excited for the day my entire family can be together praising our Lord.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

No Greater Work on Earth

Are you where you'd thought you'd be 5 years ago? 5 years ago I was a newly engaged young kindergarten teacher who couldn't wait for my life to start. I was in the midst of planning the wedding of my dreams, working hard and trying to figure out what it meant to be a wife. Now, 5 years later, many things have changed. In many ways I am right where I'd thought I'd be - married to my love and staying home with my babies. In other ways I am very surprised that this is where I am. I never thought that I would be living in Texas, or that I'd be living without my dad already, that I would have lost a baby or buried a nephew. I never thought I would struggle with anger or worry this much about money. I never thought that marriage would be such a rollercoaster of emotions, or that babies would be this much work. The world paints a picture through movies, magazines and books that when you find "the right one" everything becomes sunshine and lollipops. The perfect mate would never make me cry, understand all of my needs without being told, and our perfect children would be sweet, loving and disciplined. But I was looking through the lens of someone who knew nothing of life. I had never really had to care for myself before, and definitely never had the entire well-being and training of someone else to consider. My life was my own, and in my selfish worldview everyone was here for my enjoyment, pleasure and benefit. Then I got married. And had kids. Suddenly what I wanted wasn't the most important thing. I was forced to consider others above myself. And you know what? It was hard. And it was wonderful. This life of service to my family has become my ministry. I have learned so much more about myself in this process than any other thing I have done. I have learned of my very sinful nature and great need for grace. I have learned how very weak I am and how very strong my God is. I have learned that the moments when I put the Lord first and foremost, and serve others are the moments I am truly happy. And I have learned that the moments that I think of myself, worry about my comfort and consider myself first that I am miserable. So opposite of what the world preaches, huh? We are told to take time for ourselves, love ourselves, and make sure that we're happy. While those suggestions sound nice, they really point us to a selfish life. We are to make ourselves happy first and then serve others? Where exactly in the Bible is that? Where do you see Jesus telling someone that He'd love to heal them, but He's on His way for some quiet time and He'll catch them later? You don't. Because the life that Jesus modeled for us, and the life that He calls us to is one of service. It is a life in which we are to lay down our lives for our brothers, consider others better than ourselves and follow the Lord regardless of the threat to ourselves. What I see today with so many families is an unwillingness to put someone else first. It seems most people have gotten their marriage counsel from Cosmo rather than the Bible. People expect to "have it all" and all right now. It seems that no one is willing to do the hard work required. People want good children, but don't want to discipline. People want a close family while handing their kids off to daycare providers 12 hours a day, sports practice, and then in front of the TV without really having a conversation with them. Why are we surprised that families are falling apart when no one is willing to make hard choices or make their families a priority? How can a marriage survive when both the husband and the wife are never home, or spend any time together? How can a child feel loved and wanted when shipped off each day to strangers while mom and dad do "more important work?" While I understand that there are times when people have no choice, the overwhelming majority of people who work insane hours and send their kids off to others are simply looking for more money, a nicer car, a bigger house or more toys. This probably sounds like very harsh judgment, but really I am coming from a place of true heartbreak. I watch as people I love make choices based on their emotions and desire to feel "happy" or have a "better life" while tearing apart their families and their lives. I watch as more and more people buy into the lie that what you do for a living is more important than who you love. I watch as dads pass on their responsibility and subsequent joy to others, and while mothers act as though their precious children are nothing more than a giant nuisance. This breaks my heart. I ache for these people who are making choices based on fear of missing something or the lies that a better life lies outside their own 4 walls. I want them to have all the joy and peace that comes from a heart submitted to the Lord and serving others. I want them to reap the benefits of the hard work of living for your family. I'm sorry for the rant, but all too often I have been hearing of people wondering what happened to their families when they walked away from them years before. 5 years ago I was believing the lie that the family that I hoped for and dreamed of would just happen in the right circumstances. Now, by the grace of God, I have learned that I have a big role to play, and a lot of work to do. These relationships won't just happen - they require tender care, the counsel of the Lord, dying to myself and my sinful desire and service. But there is no greater work on earth!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

And then there were 3...

So... it's been a VERY long time since I updated this blog. Wow! A very long time. Sorry about that. It's been a crazy 6 months - full of extreme heart break, great blessings and a lot of learning through the struggles. I'm not going to try to fill in these lost 6 months for those of you who do not know me or my family - it would just be far too much stuff, and a lot of painful things that are not truly mine to share. So, instead, I have decided to pick up from right at this moment. And right at this moment I am sitting as Paige and Elijah are taking a nice nap. Paige is now 2 1/2 years old. She is so full of life, energy and love. I just love listening to her talk, which she does constantly. She only stops when she's sleeping and eating (most of the time ;). Elijah is now 16 months old. He is running all over, climbing and being such a little boy. Everything he does is so boy, and I love to watch him explore and learn and have such joy over all the things he discovers. Patrick is doing great, working hard and looking good, as always. And me, well... I am 15 weeks pregnant. That's right, we're pregnant!!! YAY!!! This may sound crazy to some of you who know that this will be my 4th pregnancy in 3 years, but we are thrilled. In fact, I did the math and realized that out of the past 39 months I have been pregnant a total of 26 months. Wow! This sweet precious baby is due in late August, right around Paige's birthday. So, we will have a newly turned 3 year old, 22 month old and a newborn at the end of the summer, Lord willing. It will be a lot of work, and a lot of fun. I am so excited for this baby. I have already started getting excited as I envision being in the hospital holding this precious gift. I think I am even more excited after losing Sprout and the events of the past 6 months. I realize what a gift this baby is and how preciously fragile life truly is. I am so thankful to thus far have had a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby, and the kids are so excited. They ask about the baby every day and rub my tummy to say hi to him/her. I even felt the baby move (you know, those butterfly feelings) for the first time last week. God is truly good, and we are trusting Him with this baby and with all of the provision we will need to get through this season. So, that's our update. In the coming weeks/ months I will be sharing a lot more exciting news, but for now we are rejoicing in the gift of our little Tater Tot Murphy. Praise God!!