Saturday, December 21, 2013

true north~ the truth


Deuteronomy 2:2-3
Then at last the Lord said to me, "You have circled this mountain long enough, turn north."

I am in the midst of a storm. I am coming to the other side, I can see the clouds parting on the horizon. Since October things have just been falling apart, literally. I look at things and the edges are in tatters. I lost my grandfather, Libby Claire's IEP meeting mishap, Relevant Church moving from the Pleasant Hill campus, massive migraines, nausea, a terrible cold that ended in a kicking sinus infection and ear infection, Finn is being referred to a cardiologist, meeting with advocates, night after night of studying on schools and laws for children with special needs, persistent tension headaches, multiple evaluations and meetings, i could go on and on, my health was taking a beating. I was feeling as though I was gazing upon an insurmountable mountain and there was clearly no way to climb it all. For the first time in my life I was feeling hopeless & helpless. I would crawl into bed at 7:30, to be sleepless and wake in a cold sweat. 
 I have climbed uphill, scaled the highest mountains. How could this be sending me into a tailspin? 
I was tired, and giving up the thought I could even do this.
Something was very wrong. This was not me, I missed me. I wanted me back. 
That is when it happened. I was in a pile of paperwork, research, laws, evaluation results, emails, church plans, kids schedules, my calendar all sprawled out on our dining room table. The Lord met me. I am broken, lost, sad and alone. He met me. I felt this unexplainable presence and knew this was the moment to pull myself away from looking at the mountain. I was fixating on it height, caps, crevasses, all in fear. He was telling me to look north. Look True North. 
I had circled this mountain long enough. 
I called my doctor, bless her, & went right in. There in a puddle we gathered a plan. First to rule out anything medical we did bloodwork. Then I was referred to a therapist to work through a lot of things. The thought was that everything from 2009 had been creeping up and collided with all I had going on the last few months. PTSD was in full effect and my anxiety was raging. 
I got a call the very next morning from my doctor that the blood work had not come back normal. I sat down. I was being referred to an endocrinologist. 
Very simply, I have a non existent thyroid. Thyroid disfunction, disease, wears a mask just like depression. Answers. I was prescribed a pill to take daily and in 6-8 weeks I should see that I am feeling much better. 
I went to the therapist the following day. Again a puddle. I am so glad I was not going to be committed. The doctor felt I had a medical problem not a mental problem. And not a depression problem. 
Together we made a plan to tackle some of the major pressing things I have going on in life right now. For those of you that know me know how happy a list makes me. So this was a good thing. 
I have checked a few of those things off on my list and have been on my daily medication since Tuesday. I already feel better. 
I want to go back to the moment I was told to Turn North. Since October I had controlled everything. I put my sadness, my demands, my situations, my hills, my mountains and made them all mine. I knew I had to fix them. That was the problem. I couldn't. I never could. We can't fix them. The mountains will only grow bigger and bigger. We will continue to go round and round. Expecting to fix it, climb it, master it.
It was only until I realized to "Turn North" that the weight of my mountain began to lessen. I love the very first part of verse two, " AND THEN THE LORD SAID TO ME!" He is speaking to us. GOD IS TELLING US TO QUIT CIRCLING THE MOUNTAIN AND TURN NORTH. 
Can I get a hallelujah!


For months I have felt tired beyond words, a sadness that covered me like a blanket, sick...my body hurt, I was under the weight of a dark world. I had never experienced this. But, there you are. You are where I was. I am speaking to you. God's Word is "wooing" you. Come out, come out of that darkness of the hole. The hole you are digging while you keep going around the mountain. HE has said you have done this long enough, Turn North. 
Please email me I want to climb your mountain with you & you with me. I can help you make a list, pray with you, and give you verses that have kept me afloat. 
God promises to never forsake us or abandon us. He has not left you, nor will He ever. 


The mountain I was circling kept me going round and round. I was circling so fast I was digging a hole as I went around. From that hole I could only see that the mountain was getting bigger. I turned North.

God's Word is Truth, I knew better but wasn't acting better. I have my list in hand, God's truth in my heart & have set my compass North. 



I look my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord.  


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Saturday, December 14, 2013

merry Christmas 2013!


~merry Christmas 2013~

hallelujah, holy, holy, who is worthy, none beside thee, God almighty, the great I am.

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


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easy button~


The Easy Button

I am sure we all remember the “Easy Button” commercials.  When posed with a dilemma, you just simply push the bright red flashing easy button and voila the solution appears.
How awesome would that be if that were reality?
Unfortunately, there is no easy button for life.
There are seasons of joy and our days roll on with ease. Then there are times of drought and pain. Those days are long and hard.  Some never seem to end. I am a controller and a fixer. I want to find the solution and go with it. I try and make that easy button appear.
Scripture has a lot to say about being still  & waiting patiently for the Lord.
 Why is that so hard to do?
In this Advent season when it really is all about waiting for the birth of Christ, why is it we have a hard time being still? When we need to be overjoyed that the Savior of the World was born, we seem to focus on the stress and business of this season. There are teacher gifts to buy, Christmas cards to send out, presents to purchase, ornament exchanges, meals to plan, family to fly in, and toys to hide. There is never enough money to cover it all and then you have to put up with your extended family on top of all that. Parking lots are crazy, people are grumpy, and it seems that many have dismissed the peaceful serine scene that happened 2,000 years ago. In the peace of a stable with only parents by His side the Prince of Peace was born.
There is an Easy Button. He was born in a manger. Let’s remember that He is the giver of Peace, the one who bestows gifts, the one who sets a feast before us, and all we need to do is call upon His name.  He is the Easy Button.

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.
Jeremiah 33:3




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Saturday, December 7, 2013

{baby jax~newborn}








i was so excited to be able to take pictures of our newest nephew jaxson ellis mcgarity. 
he is precious! 

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

hello mr. turkey~

a little happy thanksgiving from libby claire's class~





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thankful praise~

happy thanksgiving!
on this day most americans will be blessed by sitting around a table with family & friends, eating turkey and ending with pies. i wanted to sit down this morning and express my thankfulness before the consumption of goodness begins.
i am thankful for a God who would send His only Son to come down to earth & carry out a task to save all of humanity from the stench of eternal death and suffering. His sacrifice gave me this gift of eternal life & all I have to do is ask Him into my heart & life.
i give Him thankful praise.
i am grateful for the family God has given me. my parents continue to be supportive, encouraging & loving through 34 years of raising a head strong, strong willed, passionate, child. i admit i was not easy to raise.  i grew up with three brothers who shaped me to be tough enough to live the life i have today but made me feel like the one & only girl in the world. i have a husband who has known me for over half of my life & loved me as i have grown & changed. matt has seen me at my worst & made me become my best.  he is the beat of my heart. i wake up daily & am overwhelmed i am his & he is mine. he is the voice into my darkness, the steady to my storm, the reason to my whirlwind. matt is unsinkable, faithful, and has consumed my love since {i thought}  i knew what love was. we have had almost 15 years of walking in the minefield of life. alongside one another we have protected & shielded each other. i wish there was another word to describe the love i have for this man. i would insert it here! my children...tear...there are no words i can pour out on the page to describe what i have been bestowed with. the weight of raising these 5, i am so thankful for grace.  they were born to do great things & i am humbled i get to "be in the game" and be their great civilizer. molding them to love the Lord & then send them out into the world to tell others. my how the days have, at times, felt long but seeing them asleep or hearing their laughs from down the hall make my heart leap. i am a follower of Jesus because through the love manifested for my children after our oldest sons birth i was able to understand the love my Heavenly Father had for me. how can i express in words that gratitude and that love?
i give Him thankful praise.
i am thankful for the gift of freedom. as i grow and study God's word the gift of freedom baffles me at time. i am free in Christ. but the freedom we have in this country is taken for granted. we can praise God whenever, wherever we want. we can buy groceries, cars, houses, clothes from a huge expansive market. we have choice. i do not take for granted our freedom. there are christians persecuted all over the world & know no other freedom than the freedom they have in Christ. that is freedom & that IS worth dying for.
i give Him thankful praise.
i am grateful for His bride the church. our family has the most awesome congregation. they pray for us, support us & love us. church planting is grueling and hard work. there have been families along for this ride from day one, we love them. we are grateful for this body.
i give Him thankful praise.
i am thankful for our material blessings. we live in a great house, are able to pay our bills, our children have food in the pantry and shoes on their feet. we have probably one hundred bibles in our house. we have 8 places we can turn a knob and get fresh, filtered water pouring out. i can call a doctor, drive in a car & get healthcare,  then medicines if needed. i can control the temperature in our home. i am safe in our neighborhood, our town and country we live in. i have many, many outfit options and closets over flowing with warm clothes in the winter and cool clothes in the summer. i have technology. a phone and computers where i can bring up the worldwide web and have information at my fingertips.
i give Him thankful praise.
i am grateful for education. we have the availability of education. we have public schools, private schools, colleges, tech schools, montessori schools, christian schools, catholic schools, universities, seminaries, medical schools, preschools, IT schools...and the list will go on & on.  to be able to learn is a gift so many do not have.
i give Him thankful praise.
i am ever thankful i have the gift of life. i know very well how quickly that gift can be taken away & gone. i want to live everyday being present and aware. i appreciate the possibility each minute may bring. i know my life will have trials. i desire joy and gratitude with everyday that passes. whether those days are hard and long or easy and carefree. i love life, i love the smell of living & crave to have something tangible i can look back on when my days here on earth are spent. knowing my legacy i left was full of life. serving, loving, leading, worshipping, raising, praying, laughing, playing, crying, running, sitting, relishing, cherishing, listening, praising, watching, keeping, feeling, tasting & seeing that the Lord is good.
i give Him thankful praise.
i am grateful for love.

happy thanksgiving! 
i will be giving thanks & praise to Him today. from which all my blessings flow. 





give thanks to the God in heaven, His love endures forever. 
psalm 136:26




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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

you can't go back~




 ~You can’t go back.
The days roll forward with indifference; it’s up to you to make them count. It’s up to you how you shape and stretch the hours to form the life you choose to live.
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard
Your children are at your mercy with their hours and their days and their mornings and their nights. You are the god of their time. Are you digging your fingers into the clay that is the moments and molding something worth keeping?
Let us ask this question to ourselves, honestly. Dig deep within and be raw and honest? Are we shaping our lives and our children’s lives in a manner we could look back on and say it was what we wanted to invest in?
As this season of over scheduling, busy, hurry, spending…let us seek to dig our fingers in the clay of our homes, our families, our children and our God. Let us mold something worthy of the gift of TIME.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

dying to the world~CHRISTmas!

so I sat down to write something encouraging and ended up feeling like I needed to throw up a mess of enraged words on this blog.
I went to target yesterday to grab a few groceries and little to my surprise they have already pulled out the holiday sweaters, Christmas wrapping and rolled out every decoration.
I am revolting on the mess this world is taking away from the birth of our Savior, Savior to the world.
I read this blog post and I could not have said it better!

READ HERE!


Merry CHRISTmas!


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Friday, November 1, 2013

libby claire update~



it is that time of year again. any mother of a "normal" student doesn't really think much of the first 6-9 weeks of school, but for a mama with a child with special needs the first weeks that pass with school means the IEP meeting is closing in. 
when libby claire started school i had no idea what to expect. it was with her doctors pushing us to put her in preschool that we did. that was so she would be challenged and influenced by her peers. typically developing preschool aged kids. so we did. each day was hard to let her be under the supervision of teachers, other adults, anyone other that matt or myself. but we did it, and she thrived. 
then it came time for the pre-k testing. knowing libby claire's speech needs and disability i knew she would be able to go to the school for the 4 year old program. again, it was a huge step letting her go to "big school." we did it, she thrived. 
although libby claire did not meet many of her goals on her IEP last year we conquered many things. matt & i let go a little. she had the chance to ride the bus home, go through the cafeteria lunch line and be emerged in a normal daily life of a child her age. we left last year with the thoughts of a challenging kindergarten year ahead. and here we are~
i don't know how to put into words my feelings. i want so badly for libby claire to be a normal student. for her to learn just like everyone else. for me not to have to remind her she is no longer two years old, for her brain to make connections that it should. i want so badly not to have to worry about more surgeries, side effects of kryptonite, TBI, cranioplasty, blood born cancers due to radiation over-exposure, but i worry. i want her to know that when you ask her where to heat up something her brain knows to tell you the oven, and that everyday she can say her ABC's not just on the good days. i want her to color in the lines of a coloring book, learn the sight words for the week. know that a stranger is indeed a stranger, 11 comes after 10, and develop like my typically developing children. finn is passing many milestones before his older sister. it's hard. 
but the reality is libby claire is not typical or normal. she truly is a one case scenario. there are no case studies, facts, children that have gone before her, stats or any medical journals. it is just her, the miracle. i am reminding myself of that today. she was never created to be normal or typical. He created her, He healed her, He redeemed her and He will restore her. 
i trust in Him when my days look unsurmountable, when i just wish for normal, i remind myself of the miracle. 
she will learn things that i think are normal in her timing, she may never color in the lines, i might have to always remind her how old she is, and i will always worry. but she will thrive!

and to all the mamas that ended up crying in your child's IEP meeting too...your precious one will thrive also! 




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thankfulness~


Thankfulness

Last week I was driving down Hwy. 49 and I saw a van pulled over in the grass on the side of the road. As I passed the car I witnessed something all too familiar. There was a little boy, probably around the age of two, pants around his ankles, bare bottomed…going potty.  I looked in my rear view and sure enough the mama was standing beside him clapping away.
Clearly, the sweet boy was potty training and needed to go. I have successfully potty trained all five of our children. All were different. Some easier, some more difficult. One refused to sit on the potty and ended up having major tummy issues, one potty trained herself, in one day! ­­
Isn’t life like potty training a child! I want to encourage you to find a heart of gratitude in the midst of the mess. Find thankfulness in the middle of the task of life, remember clap your hands.  It takes patience, consistency, rewards, and sometimes you may even have to pull over for a bit. You will be rejoicing at the end result.




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ringler fall session~

Ringler Fall Session


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

love in the cheerio mess~






I posted this picture on instagram the other day & the caption below went like this:


“Take heart Mama’s the days are fleeting that we will be exhausted and overwhelmed. Soon there will be no more messy finger prints, Cheerios on the floor or hineys to wipe. Bathe in the joys of motherhood. There.Is.No.Higher.Calling. You are raising the future, leaving a legacy.”


How often I have rushed my days along as a mom of five. I remember when I was just wishing for the next season to come. “Well, once they start sleeping through the night, or walking, or talking, or going potty, or making snack for themselves, or doing dishes, or driving…” Our oldest is 14 and our youngest is almost 4. I have wished the years away excited to get to the next one. I see how fast time has slipped away in these past 14 years. Now I am ready to slam on the brakes. I am so grateful I have a lot of kiddos that span different ages because now I can relish these moments of “firsts” and not wish time away.  I am a little more patient, accepting, forgiving, all & all into being a mom. I am raising our future, leaving a legacy. I want it to be a good one.  Bathe in parenthood, each and every moment of it. Don’t wish it away…it will be gone before you know it.



                                      


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{catherine~senior}












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*all images copyright elizabeth mcgarity photography

{diaz fam}









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*all photos copyright elizabeth mcgarity photography

Monday, September 30, 2013

{laura baby bump}











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*all photos copyright elizabeth mcgarity photography

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