This collection of personal stories about our trials and triumphs are written with you in mind. For one thing we know is that no matter how alone in our journeys we may feel, nothing is truly new under the sun. Every obstacle we encounter has been faced by many others before us and will be faced by many others long after we are gone. And if what we've learned in the midst of each season can help anyone who may journey the same road, then they are stories worth writing about.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."
From our hearts to yours...
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I never thought that this would be the blog I would write. But it is. And I am still coming to grips with that. You see, I had a plan. Me - Vanessa Shepherd - self proclaimed dreamer and founder of "living head over heels" (this thing that I have held on to now for nearly a decade), and I prided myself on it. It was attached to me, almost as a part of my identity. Well, not almost, it was part of my identity because I made it so.
Coloring books were the bees knees in this house. Until now. Now it is hours and hours of mazes which of course he goes through in one sitting and spends the rest of the week asking me to draw them out for him while he draws a few more for me. I am not saying that I don't love spending an hour figuring out how to get out of a five year old's maze that has no real way of getting through as he has yet to master the art of making one with an actual unblocked route from start to end (or "s" to "e" as he has on the paper), but I am not not saying it.
Every time I get into the car, I do the same song and dance. Not literally of course, although there have been a few good tunes I have had on repeat lately. But for the past few months… ok a lot of months… I have looked at my clock and reminded myself to subtract an hour as I never adjusted it from the Fall Back schedule.
Do you remember ages ago when WWJD was the thing to say?
What should I do about this problem? WWJD
What should I say to this person? WWJD
What shoes should I wear with this outfit? WWJD
The idea behind "What Would Jesus Do" is beautiful and scriptural (as we are meant to immolate Christ in every part of our lives... minus maybe the shoe thing) but the problem with this go-to slogan has always lied in the fact that few know what Jesus would do because fewer have become familiar with what Jesus did.
I am currently listening to my boys wrestle around on their bed after the 73682347923492657 time I have told them to not touch each other, look at each other, or breathe in each others general direction.
Obviously it's going well. *sips tenth cup of coffee*
(Originally posted on our former site on 11/7/2012)
On our last date night my husband took me to one of my favorite restaurants (Mimi's Cafe). They have an amazing brunch menu that I enjoy scouring over each time despite ordering the exact same thing, but by the time we had gotten there it was time for dinner. Which meant even more scouring as I was left with no idea as to what I would order.
I brushed my teeth today and it wasn't exciting. In fact, I got ready all by myself this morning and no one even told me "good job". Sometimes I just want to stay in bed all day and let the comforter embrace my coffee-less body until it is socially unacceptable to be in bed anymore. But I didn't. I got up. I showered and put on normal clothes and took care of adult things and all the while I was still daydreaming about being in that bed.
In the process of this move I may or may not have fallen off of a table, which I believe I have mentioned in a previous post a while back so I suppose you now assume it as fact. You would be correct in your assumption, yes, yes I did fall. I fell so hard in fact that I had one large bruise that expanded from one shoulder across my chest to the other arm, so dark that it would be impossible not to notice it.
I say this to preface my next story...
The scenario at our house on Sunday morning is quite chaotic. It is liken to an explosion of massive fireworks, set right off in our living room and kid’s bathroom. Most Sundays I am just trying to make it out alive. If I had the money, I would pay BIG bucks to hire one of those au-pairs from an international land that come to your house and tend to your children while you do all the other mom-things. They would come on Saturday nights and leave on Monday mornings just to get us through the weekend craziness! Where are you AU PAIR!?
(Originally posted on our former blog site on 9/12/2013)
There are many things about my husband that I love (his love for people, his passion for excellence, his willingness to work, his goofy/quirky side, and so on) but let me tell you just one little tiny thing that I am not very fond of. I am not very fond of the fact that after he has seen a movie he doesn’t want to watch it again… because he knows how it ends. Seriously husband? There aren’t enough movies in the world to watch without repeating at least one!?!!
There are many types of dreamers. Determined dreamers who make life happen, disastrous dreamers who persist despite life happening, and a category all to itself for the disregarded dreamers - who emerge from the unknown while life is happening.
I felt the darkness around me, packed in on all sides. I struggled to understand what was happening, why I was there, and in my distrought I cried out for help. Just as soon as I had spoken the atmosphere started changing. Rain began to flow through the sludge and find it's place in my heart. I felt life return to me, and purpose to every part of my being.
My name is Vanessa. My father is John. And my grandmother (my father's mother) is Della.
When asked in my recent trip to Lebanon what my family name was, this is what popped into my head. The individual names of my family. The names that pulled each member apart from the other and made them to stand separate.
When asked what I wanted to do for my 30th birthday this year, I came up with about a billion ideas (including but not limited to going skydiving or taking our annual birthday trip to the beach) but after a bit of reflection settled on the idea of an 80's dance party. I told my husband and my best friend (who I knew were in cahoots with each other to surprise me) about a dozen times and I just knew that after the last year of craziness - this would be the one moment I could put myself first and dance away all of my frustrations and troubles amongst friends and family.
"Have you gotten any more calls regarding your adoption?" This question is so bittersweet these days as it usually comes from friends familiar with our story, and our waiting, who I know are excited for us but each time I look at their hopeful eyes and just blurt out, "no". Then of course comes the "well, do you know where you will be pastoring?" Again, without hesitation or emotion, "no".
I caught myself with the worst back ache after being slumped over for nearly an hour long conversation with a friend. I hadn't paid much attention to it until that moment, I honestly didn't even know I had hunched myself over in my chair until my spine tightened itself so much that I couldn't even stand straight when we parted ways.
I had a proud mom moment this last week. Michael, my now four year old, was done playing with his little action figures and proceeded to move on to his new train tracks he had just gotten for his birthday when I walked in and noticed the living room being overtaken with toys.
I quickly prompted Michael to clean up whatever he was not playing with before moving on to his next "adventure" and then it happened. Almost in slow motion.
When is the last time that you went shopping for a pair of pants? Does anyone else get discouraged like I do that after fifty trips to the dressing room you are still left empty handed? It isn't that I can't find anything to fit my "mom" hips, a pair long enough for my tall frame, or even that I can't find a few pairs to fit my chicken legs. But there are few jeans that can do all three. And even fewer that can attractively do all three.
A terrible tragedy happened just down the street from where my husband and I used to live in Stockton, CA. A bank robbery and a high speed chase that ended in three people losing their lives. My newsfeed blew up yesterday with friends who had taken video of what was happening, posted updates on locations to stay away from, and shared news reports to give the latest details on who was involved.
It used to be that you could hear something in passing or in deliberate conversation and be able to label such things as gossip. You knew in your gut that the person sharing stories of jealousy, offense, or humiliation would never dare to do so in front of the one they were speaking about. You knew in your heart that how it was being shared wasn’t an exact depiction of the real story… just their version. You knew they were exaggerating to fit their angle, to make themselves look better. You knew it was wrong.
Well, that was hurtful.
Those words, and how she said them. Didn't she think how they would sound coming out? Didn't she care that they could cause me to feel pain? Have I caused her pain too? How do we move beyond this? Can there be a "beyond" this?