• Labor & Delivery Playlist

    I thought it'd be fun to post the songs I've compiled as a playlist on my phone for our time in the hospital as I birth Talitha Leigh Ana. For someone like me in which music has played such an important role in her life, I can't help but to think about what I want to be listening to in the time just before one of the most life-changing events of my existance. It's important to me. 

    I don't keep all of my music on my phone all the time, which means the stuff that's on there is either the current worship music I'm listening to or some of of my all-time favorites that I like to have easy access to. My playlist might actually seem a little short from other mama's I've seen out there online, and mine is admittedly a bit more serious in order to cultivate a faith-filled and worshipful atmosphere to bring our daughter into the world. But some of the titles of the songs I have chosen are almost comical in the circumstance! I mean, phrases like "in over my head," "I will not be silent," and "everything was beautiful and nothing hurt" are just a little ironic, don't you think? ;) 

    Here's what's going to be filling my ears in those moments leading up to her big debut in no particular order:

    "Like You Promised" - Amber Brooks
    "Home" - Hunter Thompson
    "In Over My Head" - Jenn Johnson 
    "You Make Me Brave" - Amanda Cook
    "It Is Well" - Kristene Dimarco
    "Dwell" - Harvest 
    "Love Song for a Savior" - Jars of Clay
    "Future/Past" - John Mark McMillian
    "God is Love" - Jonathan David Helser
    "I Will Not Be Silent" - Jonathan David Helser
    "Praise the Lord" - Kristene Dimarco
    "Explode My Soul" - Melissa Helser
    "You Won't Relent" - Misty Edwards
    "Tightrope" - Misty Edwards
    "I Dare You To Move" - Switchfoot
    "Malibongwe" - We Will Worship
    "Surprised By Joy" - Heath McNease
    "Sons and Daughters" - Jason Upton
    "The Lord Is My Shepherd" - Keith Green
    "Alive" - Kim Walker-Smith
    "The Mystic's Dream" - Loreena McKennitt
    "Everything Was Beautiful And Nothing Hurt" - mewithoutYou

    Outside of my playlist, I'm sure I'll bring up some feel-good/chill music on Spotify, which is likely to include Florence + the Machine, Future of Forestry, and Sigur Ros. And maybe David and I will even lighten the mood and take it way back to the beginning-of-us days and play some goofy Five Iron Frenzy to sing along to! Or maybe we won't have any of that on our minds at all and it happens in a whirlwind. Either way, it's fun to think about making this time hopeful and stress-free, calm and happy. Y'all, it's happening so soon! 

  • The Pregnancy I Prayed for & the Delivery I'm Praying to Come

    (Strand of photos from my own birth hanging on the wall in Talitha's room.)

    When I first got pregnant, I wrote a few declarations of faith over our baby, my body, and my hubby. I spent the beginning of my pregnancy reading those paragraphs out loud as the desire of my heart for how I wanted things to go. As I look back over what I wrote — what I prayed — I see how those specific requests were answered. 

    For Talitha, before I knew she was Talitha, I declared:
    "You are growing healthy," 
    "You are receptive to your parent’s words," 
    "You will know exactly how to position yourself once it’s time to leave this bed," 
    "All of your parts are in order."

    She is certainly a healthy (and seemingly big) baby, and she definitely responds to our touch and our voice especially her daddy's! She's been in the "launch position," as my doctor called it, for weeks now, so she knows what she's doing there, and all her little parts were complete and adorable when we saw her on the sonograms. 

    For myself, I declared: 
    "Womb, you are creating the perfect habitat for this child,"
    "Legs, you are strong pillars to carry this new life for all nine months well. You will not tire or swell,"
    "Pancreas, you function normally,"
    "Back, you have a strength you never knew, and you won’t feel any burdensome pain,"
    "Your beauty is exponentially increasing."

    I've had probably the closest thing to a stress-free pregnancy I could imagine. I had no morning sickness, no weird things going on inside. And even though I've been pregnant during the summer, I really haven't had issues with swelling. Here at the end, if I'm on my feet for a long time, then yes, I've definitely gotten those kankles! I didn't have gestational diabetes nor have I had preclampsia. I've felt bouts of discomfort from time to time, but I haven't had any signficant back pain. I've also very much had moments where I would cry for no good reason, but my mood swings have been minimal, and I've always known I could control any harsh words if I felt them wanting to arise. Lastly, looking back, it seems almost strange that I included  something about my own beauty, but instead of feeling fat and tired and ugly like many women are portrayed to see themselves in pregnancy, I've seen a deeper side of my beauty and femininity than ever before. 

    For David, I declared: 
    "You carry revelation for your family, vision, and insight into the workings of the Kingdom for us."

    David is a deeply philosophical and theological kind of man anyway (and a huge goofball/funny man to boot!), but he told me just the other day that he feels he is constantly thinking about thoughts he feels are from the Father and receiving revelation from God like never before! My whole declaration for him was actually more overarching into his role as a father, but he's exceeded even my own expectations. He's been such a pillar for me during the pregnancy taking care of me in the night when I couldn't go back to sleep, fetching food and drink for me at all hours, giving me massages when I asked. Of course, there was a time or two when he felt helpless, and he just had to wait it out and let me cry. He's also been super supportive about decisions I made about our doctor/hospital/birth plan. He listened to me read about pregnancy to him at bedtime. He's been a real partner to me, which is the way we believe God always intended. 

    Let me just stop here, and give the Lord some praise! I'm not saying there was a special formula to get what I've recieved in this pregnancy or that my words were somehow magic. But I am saying and realizing and sharing with you that the way we position our thoughts towards ourselves and our circumstances certainly influences the outcomes. Everything good I've experienced in this is totally the work of the Father, but he chose to let me partner with Him in seeing it come to pass. 

    (One of my favorite early 20th century pieces in Talitha's room that my mom got in an antique store a few years back. I knew I'd want it featured in her room when we moved back home, because vintage vibes were totally on my mind in decorating.) 

    This brings me to the declarations I've written for the labor and delivery that I just finished the other night. Please feel free to pray these with me just as I asked in the beginning. 


    You have grown for nine months in my womb as a healthy baby. You will leave this womb in health and supernatural ease. You know exactly when to begin your journey, and though you are the first to come through, your brave yet gentle spirit makes your movement a sweet adventure. You will greet us with joy and without delay in wholeness and newborn glory.  

    (Little details on the dresser: dried roses from Mother's Day and the day we found out she was a girl, a cherished journal gifted by a dear friend, floral Cath Kidston box, and origami flower made for our family baby shower.) 


    You were made to do this. Just as you have endured the journey brilliantly, you will finish in victory. Cervix, you open right on time and consistently. Body, you will not be overwhelmed. Mind, no fear comes your way, because perfect love covers you. Birthing canal, you are redeemed, a pathway cleared of doubt and the curse. Breasts, you give life and sustainance from the moment it is needed and wanted. Body, your task at hand is your joy to complete without stress or delay. 


    As husband and partner, you are an encouraging coach and a real-time intercessor. You know how to call things as they need to be an advocate for your family. Your presense calms the atmosphere and fills it with an undeniable faith. your excitement creates a happy energy that inspres our endurance. Your love is a covering that brings freedom and acceptance from the very moment of delivery. 

    (Perfect little nook I've been enjoying her room and waiting for her in and where I've sat writing this entire post getting excited about the day I'll get to bring her home.) 

    Thank you for reading and sharing a little bit of the journey with our little family. I can't explain the way we've already been loved on so well by our family and friends and church families. From all of us, thank you, you know who you are. 

  • Life Back In North Carolina

    I figured it was about time to write a new blog post. Things are all very different from the last time I posted. We're no longer living in California. In May, we left our little home in Redding and drove across country back to my home state of North Carolina. Our trip was just about as perfect as it could have been. We got to visit my cousin in L.A., we saw the Grand Canyon, and we toured Graceland in Memphis.  Being on the road while pregnant wasn't too bad after all as we took the trip at the right time in the pregnancy before I got too uncomfortable. 

    At this point, I'm much bigger than when we left California. AND we finally know that we're having a little girl! It's been really cool bonding with her since we've known for sure — calling her by her name and imagining exactly what she's going to look like and what not. I didn't realize I'd enjoy the process so much. We've been buying for her and getting things prepared. It is hard to believe that she'll be here in just over two months! 

    It's been interesting being back in North Carolina in a part of the state that we didn't live in before. We're farther away from our friends and family than we were before. Even though we get to be with my Mom and Dad everyday, we do miss what our life was like in Asheville. But I am finding the little things to be grateful for: it's beautiful in this part of the state, we're blessed with a budding friendship in one of the young couples in my Dad's church, and the time we get to spend with my parents is invaluable as we've been away from NC for quite a while before this. 

    I had to scale down my hours writing for Bustle recently. I knew that would happen as I got farther along in the pregnancy. It's crazy how just working from home writing articles on my laptop can make me so tired! But I was writing 3 pieces a day/5 days a week. Now I've just gone down to writing 8 pieces in a 7 day period and at my own pace instead of being "on shift" for 6 hours a day. I'm very grateful to my editor for being flexible with me. So far, though I have found the job challenging in some ways, I have really enjoyed my work. I hope limiting my hours will give me more time to prepare for our little girl — and possible to work more on my novel, which I've been neglecting ever since I took the position for Bustle. 

    I am missing many aspects of our life in Redding. Being apart of Bethel Church is a dream for many people, and there are many times that I miss the community and the church life there. I often still miss our life in England, too. I find it difficult loving so many places at once. For now, I'm soaking up this time in North Carolina for as long as it will be. I'm trying hard to live in the present and not yearn too much for everything I want to see in the future. But isn't that everyone's struggle? We look back and look ahead, and sometimes we forget to look all around for the glory of what we have right now.