Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Well hello 40 weeks!!

My pregnancy will be over in the next 1-2 days and I can’t help but feel ready.  As fruitful as carrying a baby in the womb is, comfortable is something it is not. I have always enjoyed the thought of being pregnant, but with each week of pregnancy, I realized it was not as glamorous as I had once thought it to be.  The bad thing about your first pregnancy is there is no reward until baby arrives. Only the unknown of what each week will bring, as well as the unknown of what motherhood will bring. It’s a weird feeling for sure. I found it to be harder than I thought to bond with my baby in the womb. And in fact, some days I found myself forgetting that I was even pregnant (before 20 weeks at least). I really thought I would have my baby before my due date (which I guess was just wishful thinking). Today I am 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant. My official maternity leave started on Sunday 3/9/14 which was my due date. At first I was a little anxious about being off and me not having the baby yet. But these past few days have actually been a huge blessing. I find myself bonding, nesting, enjoying and craving more moments to spend with my husband, just the two of us. I feel relaxed and ready to stop thinking about when I am going to go into labor. It will happen when it does, or by my induction date. Maybe it’s this gorgeous spring break weather, or the fact that I am no longer having to work, but I suddenly feel like I could be pregnant much longer! Not many 40 week pregnant people will say that J

Yet here is a confession that plagues me just a little: I still can’t picture life with a child. Being a mom still seems like a distant life in the future, that I can look forward to and think “that will be nice someday”. That day does not feel like any day now.

I do wonder what my baby will look like, whether baby C is a boy or girl, what kind of personality and traits it will take from mommy versus daddy.  I really look forward to seeing my husband become a father. This is something I can picture well and know it’s going to be such a fun thing for me to watch and be a part of.

As I sit here on the couch in my living room, staring out this grand window at the gorgeous sunny day and share my thoughts, I feel at peace. So many exciting things happened in these last 40 weeks I’m in awe at how God’s hand truly was at work, since we first moved here to Longview. The timing just feels so right for us. And I know now that I am ready. Ready for this miracle of life! Ready for motherhood! Ready for life to get crazy and me to learn what it really means to fly by the seat of my pants.

Just want to end by giving thanks! Thanks to a God who has shown Himself mighty in my life. Who has blessed me with redemption and given me a security in knowing my future is decided. Who continues to mystify me and perform miracles in my heart. Who does a good work in me and gifts me with a joy that could never be experienced otherwise. Thank you for allowing me to be held in the palm of your hand and rest.  Thank you for allowing me such a treasure as to be a mother. Thank you for always being ready, even when I am not.

And for all you friends and family out there, thank you all for the love and support you have shown Cameron and I while we journey into parenthood.  Can’t wait to introduce Baby C to all of you!!!

Now bring on the labor!
Here are some recent pics of us and the nursery:

Due date pic 3-9-14
Cam and I at dinner on 3-12-14 

"I think its a..."

Friday, January 10, 2014

9 months

In the 9 months since writing the last blog post, I find myself stunned with all the changes in our life. I don’t know where to start really. So I will try to hit the big life updates.

Summer of 2013 was a busy season for us. It was my first realization as to what a youth pastor does during the summer time....ALOT! It is “Go-time” for sure. VBS for a week, children’s camp for a week, youth camp for a week, high school mission trip for a week, middle school mission trip for a weekend, youth backpacking trip for a week.

I was lucky to get some time off of work this summer and was able to go to youth camp in Glorietta, New Mexico, go on a mission trip to Haiti, and go on the youth backpacking trip to Colorado. All 3 of these events were huge blessings in different ways. God really showed himself BIG to me and I am so thankful for being his beloved child.

Camp Fuge 2013

Real Nepli! Me and my soccer team in Haiti!
Wilderness Trip 2013
Mt. Massive 14, 427 ft.

In August we announced the upcoming arrival of Baby Reynolds, due March 9, 2014. We are so excited to become a family of 3. We made the decision to not find out the sex, so it's going to be a surprise! By the way, I love surprises :)

In September we started our hunt to buy a house. Our lease was up in November and we knew we were ready to finally become home owners! We wanted to start our family in a permanent house. No more jumping around from rental to rental.

In October, we closed on our house! We found the most perfect house for us on the second day we went looking. It really was love at first site. We went back twice in the same day to look at it again. We thought and prayed for 7 days before we went ahead and put an offer on it. A couple weeks later, we closed and it was ours! I thought it would take us a long time to find something, and since we didn’t have a lot of time before our lease was up I was a little nervous about it all. Yet it just seemed to work out so perfect, the timing and everything.

Our new house!

 In November we moved into the new house and all the home owning purchases began. Our sweet youth group surprised us with a house warming party. Such a touching evening. I also started a new job! I transferred units at my hospital and am now working as a Labor and Delivery nurse. This was the most exciting change for me. After 6-7 years of working in the ER I knew I was ready for a change. An opportunity at my hospital opened up with a big expansion of our maternal child unit and I found myself really being drawn to pursue a L&D position. I had started my pursuit back in April and it took nearly 6 months before I found myself officially transferred.  It was a long season of waiting and patience for me, as I continued to search for purpose in a job that was hard for me to enjoy. But like everything in life that doesn’t happen in our timing, there were reasons for it. I experienced new challenges in the past year that helped grow and shape me. It was just the year that I needed to remind me that God is sovereign and to place my trust in something greater than my needs and desires. It had been a long time since I have had such a spiritually growing year. And I am thankful for this!

December was a blur. I tried to enjoy the Christmas time but it seemed to fly by. We didn’t send Christmas cards out, or even “We moved” cards. So if you need our new address, just text or email me!

January is here, and I’m trying to slow down, and maybe start this nesting thing. We haven’t touched the nursery room yet, but hey I still have 8 weeks J  The best part of the year was watching my husband perform his first wedding ceremony for his younger sister Caitlin and her husband Rob. It was such a special evening. I couldn’t help but tear up as Cameron talked about marriage to his little sister and future husband. In the ceremony he shared his beliefs on marriage and how God is the only way a marriage can persevere in our world today. It was touching and so special. I am so thankful to have a husband who loves the LORD so much and keeps me accountable to God in life and marriage. Wishing all you readers a happy, blessed, and growing year in 2014. With a child on the way, we are sure to have a very growing year ahead!

Happy 2014!
The beautiful Bride!

The Preacher and The Bridesmaid :)
 And can't end the blog before I post a baby pump pic:
31 weeks :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Still New to the "View"

It's April 2013. Wow, where did the last 6 months go. It's been a whirl-wind for sure. Cameron and I moved to Longview, Tx the very last weekend in September. In case you haven't heard, Cameron accepted a full-time job as minister to students at First Baptist Church in Longview!! It was an amazing answer to a long season of prayer.

TRUST. This is what GOD was teaching me over and over again. Trust Me. Trust that I know what is best for you. When it seemed so certain that GOD was showing me one path, instead, He called me to trust Him that He had an even better path. That He knew my desires even more than I did. How awesome is our GOD! Cam and I can't deny His calling us to Longview. Ask us about it if you haven't heard the story, we are happy to tell it. :)

So He brought us to Longview. Deep East Texas. If I am going to be honest, it is not where I pictured us living. I grew up on the California beach, and maybe a part of me still dreams of one day returning to the coastal life. But more than a physical location, I desire a life that is completely surrendered to my LORD.  I desire a life that so pleases my GOD that I am fully content with just being His faithful servant. I desire an intimacy that only comes when I have placed 100% of my trust in Him. These things are more important to me than anything else. And these are the reasons why I believe GOD has placed us here. We are ready to wash the feet of His people in Longview, TX

It has been a busy six months. I couldn't even begin to fill you in on it all. In a nutshell, Cameron is busy hanging out, mentoring, eating lunch, playing BaptistBall (basketball), baseball, going frog gigging, fishing, hunting, or training bird dogs with the youth of our community. But more importantly, he is praying with and for them, calling them to follow Christ, teaching them servant-hood, and helping them to follow the narrow road. He is working hard to get plugged-in and building relationships among our community  I couldn't be more thrilled to see Cameron doing what he is so passionate about.

I continue to work as an ER nurse at a local hospital. This is the third ER I have worked in and am amazed at how different my experiences at each of these hospitals have been. I continue to be a student of nursing, still learning and preparing myself for the next adventure to walk through the door.

My days off are a mixture of rest (from long 12 hour shifts), exercising Bella (our high-energy bird dog), and going to as many youth functions as I can. We stay busy and there is no separating our life from ministry. We are one in the same.

I so enjoy living here! I see tree's. A lot of them! We are apart of a beautiful church family. I can't express how much I love our church. They have been the biggest blessing of it all. Having a 5 minute commute to work is fabulous. Being involved in full-time ministry with Cameron has been such a treasure that gets bigger every day. We are renting a house in the middle of town with a pool and we are a stones throw from a park with plenty of room for visitors; so come visit! We can't thank our friends enough for all the prayers and support we have received during this time of transition and we are extremely grateful for all your love. Cam and I will try to post more often. Be blessed and be a blessing!

Here's a picture of our youth group:


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Position of Transition

It's July of 2012 and once again we find ourselves in a place of transition. We were at this same place just one year ago. Are we staying in Waco or is God calling us to move on? This is the big question. Last year we felt just a strong calling to stay in Waco. Why Waco? Well geographically Waco has been a great place for us to start our marriage. We are 90 minutes from the DFW metroplex where both our families reside making Waco an ideal place for us to live. Not too close, not too far. Great set-up for newly weds!
We made such great friends here in Waco, and last year I felt these friendships were just starting to bloom. It was too soon to leave and start all over again. Having another year behind us really helped to deepen existing friendships and even begin new friendships. Cam and I jumped right in at our church and became members. We started a connection group at our church for any newcomers/visitors so that they could instantly be welcomed into our community, just as we had been. Between the two connection groups we are in, we got to know some amazing people who surrounded us with an even deeper sense of community then I could have ever hoped for. I am blessed beyond belief for these two groups! We were able to be there for friends going through some hard times and be prayer warriors for each other. Life just doesn’t get more beautiful than that!
I hosted a bible study on the book of Daniel by Beth Moore with some of the greatest girls I know (It was an amazing study which I highly recommend). I ran 2 marathons…craziness! We got a dog!
Cameron got some great experience doing all sorts of cool projects at Sticker Universe that allowed him to be inventive and fine-tune his carpentry skills. He also interned at our church, Highland Baptist Church, under our Adult discipleship pastor as connection group coordinator.
Our favorite part, as always, was the opportunities to travel. We spent Christmas in California with my extended family, Cameron went to Nebraska to go pheasant hunting for the first time, we enjoyed some winter skiing in Colorado with John and Rebekah Duke, we road tripped to Tennessee to visit our friend John Lassitter, Cameron went to Idaho with Cornerstone Recovery for a 3 week backpacking trip and rafting trip in June, while I went to California for 10 days to hang out with family and check out San Francisco for the first time. This year was such a blessing for Cameron and I. Our relationship grew as we continue to learn how to live life intentionally through loving Christ and loving our neighbors. We have no regrets about this past year and have cherished our time in Waco. Stay tuned to find out where life takes us/keeps us next…

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My second road to 26.2

So after my first marathon in February, I couldn’t help but want to stop training. I ran the race, I completed my goal. Why am I still running? These are the thoughts going through my head one day while me and Cameron ran a torturous 16 mile run around White Rock Lake one Saturday morning in March.  It was March 17th, I remember it well with all the St. Patty’s festivities going on around us. This was the day that I “hit the wall” for the first time.  My body was screaming at me to stop. My mind was repeatedly calling me stupid for trying to run another marathon. What was I doing? At around mile number 14 I just stopped. No more. I was done. Poor Cameron was trying to feed me encouraging words and push me to finish, but the wall was just too high to jump over. Rest was what I needed. Who cares if I run another marathon or not.

Okay so I got through that day. I got rest and a new mindset. I think I took a break from running for 7 days and rested up my body which was obviously hating me. I realized then that it’s okay if I don’t beat my first time. I wanted to enjoy the marathon, not regret it. April came before I knew it. I was running the country music marathon in Nashville, Tennessee. I was looking forward to going to Nashville for the first time. We stayed with my friend Kara Hicks who I worked with at Parkland. She currently lives in Nashville while attending Vanderbilt University to become a nurse practitioner.  Thanks so much for allowing us to stay with you! You are a great host! ( I have to give her a shout out J). We also found out that our friend from Waco, Sam Orr, who we met running with the Waco Striders, our local running club, was also going to be running the CMM.

So on April 28, 2012, Sam Orr, John Lassitter, Cameron and I set out on a hot humid Nashville morning to run 26.2 miles. I believe it was 64 degrees when we started at 7AM and 88 degrees when we finished before noon. It was awesome to see 30, 000 people that morning running! And the start line is on a hill so as we are running we could see thousands of people in front of us and behind us as the slope allowed  us to see a much larger distance. That was a cool moment! It was fun running with the guys as they are all talkers so they were a great distraction as I listened to them telling stories back and forth.  Sam in fact had done his undergraduate schooling at Vanderbilt, so he entertained us with several stories from his college days. By mile 6, I realized that I was dripping with sweat.  I remember looking at Cameron and saying "I am sweating!" and he said "me too". We just laughed as I knew that this was going to be a long day.
At mile 11 I saw the split. The half-ers went one way and we went another. I was so ready to leave the boys and just do the half. But I didn’t fall to the temptation. I was very proud of myself in this moment. But then it happened again at mile 13. A second chance to fall short. I could see the finish line. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I thought long and hard about the choice in front of me. But I knew I had it in me to finish the full marathon.  So I kept going. “Just keep running, Just keep running” was the chant that I could hear Cameron telling me. I was so ready for this race to be finished and it just seemed long to me. We saw people dropping like flies throughout the run, many people started walking. I couldn’t blame them. I half wanted to as well. But mentally I was ready for this. No matter how hot or tired I was I just had to keep going.

Of the 4 of us running it, I was the weak link. They were all stronger and more seasoned marathon runners than I, but they were gracious with me. They allowed me to set the pace and they sat back and enjoyed the run.  Although I can’t say I enjoyed the whole run, and especially not the several inclines/hills that we were faced with, I did enjoy the feeling of finishing! The 4 of us, hands in the air, crossing the finish line. It took us 4 hours and 19 minutes which was just fine with me J I didn’t beat my previous time like I had initially hoped. But this marathon was more of an experience for me. I endured the physical and mental toughness needed to finish this race. I did it! I firmly believe God continues to watch over me and give me strength to push myself to new limits. Sunday after this race we sang the song during worship, led by our friend John Lassitter, How can I keep from singing. Here are the lyrics:

There is an endless song,
Echoes in my soul,
I hear the music ring.

And though the storms may come,
I am holding on,
To the rock I cling.
How can I keep from singing Your praise?
How can I ever say enough,
How amazing is Your love?
How can I keep from shouting Your name?
I know I am loved by the King,
And it makes my heart want to sing.

I will lift my eyes,
In the darkest night,
For I know my Savior lives.

And I will walk with You,
Knowing You’ll see me through
And sing the songs You give.

How can I keep from singing Your praise?
How can I ever say enough?
How amazing is Your love!
How can I keep from shouting Your name?
I know I am loved by the King,
And it makes my heart want to sing!

As I sang this song I couldn’t help but just be filled with the Glory of God. He got me through a tough season of training and finishing two marathons. He was my rock, whether I clung to Him or not. He is always there for me. I sang this song with a cheerful heart for I know my savior lives.  

When comparing this marathon to my previous marathon there were so many things that were different. My runners high from the adrenaline which lasted most my race in Fort Worth only lasted about 2 miles during Nashville. The weather conditions couldn’t have been more different. Cool and breezy vs hot and humid. Course: Flat vs. inclines.  People: 6,000 vs. 30, 000. I am glad for the two drastically different experiences.   
In other Tennessee news:
So the Nashville trip was more than just running a marathon.  We drove the 12-13 hour drive with our friend Angie Vega who was tagging along to visit her fiancé and our dear friend John Lassitter who lives in Knoxville, TN.  We were spending half the week in Nashville, and half the week in Knoxville. Me and Cam had a great time exploring Nashville with one of my college friends/Nashville groupie Dre. She drove up to Nashville that same weekend to do some volunteer work and watch us run. She showed us several hot spots in Nashville. After the marathon, we drove the 3 hours to Knoxville to stay with John for a couple days. Cam and I got to go to Smoky Mountain National Park for some day hikes as well as hike to see some waterfalls. Surprisingly my legs were hardly sore after this marathon. We picked fresh strawberries! We got to see John lead worship at his church Ball Camp Baptist Church on Sunday. We really enjoyed Tennessee as it was a very memorable trip for us! We hope to some day go back!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It's Spring...puppies are in the air!

Cameron and I have a new addition to our family. Her name is Isabella Bluebonnett. She is a german short haired pointer. We had been wanting a dog for a little while now and had decided to start looking on Craigslist for a puppy. Just looking though. We weren't sure if we were quite ready to take on the obligation of a puppy. 2 days into our search, while at work, I had a few minutes to spare and so continued looking on craigslist. I found a posting for gsp puppies and replied back to the posting for them to call Cameron, just to chat. But before I could call Cam and tell him about the message I was called off my break to help with an ambulance, so I didn’t get a chance to call Cam and give him a heads up. I called Cam about 2 hours later to tell him and he had already talked to this man selling the puppies. I laughed at envisioning the phone call that he was not expecting about the dog he was wanting. Maybe he took it as a sign because Cam was very interested and was already picking out our dog. By my lunch break Cameron told me we were getting a dog! Though I didn't know if we were really ready for a dog, I was just as excited. We drove up to Kaufman 3 days later and picked her up. She is beautiful! Her coat is roan, liver ticked with 2 liver spots. Yep. I have no idea what that means either, here is a picture of her:

She was 6 weeks old when we got her. She is now 9 weeks old. We have had her for 3 weeks now and she has learned so much. We have morning training sessions with her daily and has learned to come HERE and SIT. We are working on Lay DOWN and STAY. She has started to retrieve some as well, although often she doesn’t want to let her toy go. She is 90% potty trained. She goes and sits by the door when she needs to go. I say 90% because she gives you about 10 seconds to get up or else she will pee by the door which has happened a couple times in the last week.
Cam has hopes she will be a great hunting companion. These dogs are pointers and water dogs, and with good training can be excellent retrievers...the perfect combination for a good
hunting dog.

She is high energy all the time, unless she is sleeping of coarse. She requires our constant attention right now or we will catch her chewing something she should not be despite her many chew toys (like most puppies).
Here is a picture of Bella and her friend Lucy, she is another GSP who is only 11 months old.
We are very happy dog parents! It seems so natural for her to be apart of our family. We are just enjoying her as a puppy because she is growing fast!

Monday, February 27, 2012

My road to I just need that sticker!

Yesterday, Sunday February 26, 2012 I ran my first marathon with a great friend Erin Neely. It has always been a goal of mine to run 26.2 miles. It all started back in November 2009, I ran my first half-marathon in San Antonio, and Cameron, his brother Caleb, and roommate John all ran their first marathon. As I waited for them to finish, I couldn't help but get really emotional as I watched people finish the race. I saw person after person crossing the finish line, hands up in the air, with such a happy look on their face, and I thought, "Someday I want to do a marathon". When I saw Cameron and Caleb finish I was so excited for them, and it was then that I decided to make this a goal for myself.

Now to introduce you to my training partner, Erin and I met back in 2008 during a mission trip to the Amazon River that we both went on through our church, and we became instant friends. We were both living in Dallas, working as nurses at Parkland Hospital, and would go on frequent runs together on Katy Trail, a popular running trail in Dallas. In July, Erin and her husband Brandon moved from Amarillo, TX to Waco so Brandon could pursue his calling to become a lawyer at the Baylor Law School. I was excited to have Erin in Waco! We started hanging out and trying to run, but lets face it, July and August in Texas are not ideal running conditions. Sometime in early September we started talking about running more and toyed with the idea of running a marathon. Both of us had this as a goal, but more of a long term goal. But why not now? When we really thought about it, this was actually perfect timing for us both, neither of us have kids, we were both new to Waco, still young, and our lives weren’t busy with other commitments. Having a training partner is one of the most important elements to training (for us at least) and here we were both willing and able to do it. Erin had the Hal Higdon Marathon book and we began to flip through it and found a beginner running plan that seemed do-able which consisted of an 18 week training schedule. This was it! We were on the path to become marathoners!

I remember the first week of our training; our long run consisted of a 6 mile run. And we thought that was hard. Oh it seemed so impossible to us at the beginning.

But as each week went by, I started to get stronger and began to actually enjoy running. We decided to do the Fort Worth Cowtown Marathon in February since it was local, and our husbands and family could come support us. We started training in September which put us 24 weeks from the marathon. We figured a little extra time to
train couldn't hurt us.

About 4-5 weeks before the marathon, after Erin and I ran 18 miles, she began to have foot pain. She was forced to take a couple weeks off of running and began to ride the bike, leaving me to run the last 4 training weeks by myself. Lucky for me, I have an amazing husband who ran the 22 mile training run with me. This was by far the hardest run I did. It was a windy day, we ran lots of hills, and my legs just felt horrible from mile 19 on. I did finish the run, but couldn't imagine running a full 26.2 miles. After this run I began to taper back on miles. And in fact, I took off 8 days from running while Cameron and I spent a week in Colorado. I snowboarded for 2 days and skied for 1 day. I had taken a couple pretty hard falls on the snowboard leaving me with some back and neck pain that didn't go away in the 10 days before the marathon. Just a suggestion: if you are thinking about running a marathon, do not go snowboarding 12 days before the marathon. I found my body was just tired and hated me. So I was pretty worried about how I was going to feel by marathon day.

Surprisingly, I had a great marathon! God was present with me and prayers were felt. I kept with my plan to stop and walk through every water station to make sure I stayed hydrated and there was plenty of sugar to keep me fueled. My family was there to support me and it really helped to see familiar faces cheering us on! Cameron and Brandon booked it along the course and we saw them 5 times during the race, and of course at the finish line. I have always heard about this infamous “wall” that people tend to hit while running a marathon. Praise the Lord, I didn’t experience it. My adrenaline was high and kept me excited throughout the race. My legs felt strong, and although they were achy, I didn't experience any intense pains. I actually enjoyed the marathon, maybe because it was mostly flat, and because Fort Worth is a pretty place to run. A couple times I almost started to cry while I was running. I was really doing it! I can be pretty emotional. Erin and I started this process together, endured the training together, and got to run the whole race together. It couldn’t have been more perfect. We crossed the finish line at 4:02:08, with our hands in the air and a happy look our faces. We almost broke a 4 hour marathon on our first try! Well, this super motivated (or naive) girl is already signed up for a second marathon on April 28th, the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN. I think my goal is going to be to get under a 4 hour marathon, because 4 hours of running is just too long.

Today is the day after the marathon and let me tell you my quadriceps are ridiculously sore, in fact at times, they are screaming at me. However I am a marathoner and it was all worth it! Why was it worth it you ask? Because I did it! Running a marathon is one of those things that just seems impossible, even though it is not. I put my body and mind to the ultimate test, I did what I once thought to be impossible for me. I am more aware of all the possibilities that lay ahead of me that are achievable if I just put my mind to it. And I have the medal to prove it :)

Erin and I the day before the race:

Action picture during the marathon:
Us after the marathon:

Me and my coach/husband/biggest fan:

I definately have to give props to my husband. He has by far been my biggest supporter and encourager. So many days when I didn't feel like running he was always there to tell me, "Don't me lazy, be sexy". Funny as that sounds, it usually did the trick. Cameron endured early mornings and many long runs with me, even though he wasn't training for this marathon. He introduced me to my first ice bath (which is even more miserable then the long run itself) and would then get in them after me. He would give me a massage when I was sore and achy. He even had shirts made for Erin and I to wear during the marathon. I couldn't be more thankful for you Cameron! You help me set and reach new goals that I would never think possible. Thank you for pushing me to be the best I can be!