The meanings behind our boys’ names

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose.

After 10 years of infertility, God made good on His promise that we would have children. One month after our marriage was restored, we were pregnant for the first time ever! Halfway through, we find out we were having a boy. We seriously considered the name Isaac, because this baby was promised. However, when I found out one of the meanings of Ian is “God forgives,” we knew that was it. We knew God had forgiven each of us for our parts in the destruction of our marriage and we had forgiven each other.

Fast-forward to finding out we were pregnant with our fourth child and second son. At this point, we’ve miscarried two babies prior and were so heartbroken over the losses we were unwilling to keep trying. I’d given all the baby equipment away, and although we’d wanted a second son and fourth child, we’d accepted we were done and were grateful for the three kids God had blessed us with. Now, we were headlong in the leukemia treatments for our second child and had just lost my husband’s father to cancer a few months before. So, to discover we were pregnant while we were reeling from all of this was difficult. My OBGYN said I had PTSD and needed to do whatever I could to remain calm, because, honestly, I was terrified I was going to lose this baby as well. I had been 3 months pregnant when I lost the last baby. Normally, during a pregnancy, every week would bring excitement for how much the baby has grown and the stage of development the tiny fetus is entering. Not for me. I worried if this would be the week the baby’s heart would stop beating. Would I see another ultrasound with a still and silent baby inside my belly? I tried to trust the Lord, but I’d lived through Him taking away the previous babies and I was living through Him taking away the health of my daughter. I just didn’t know what else I was expected to live through.

I remember sitting on the stairs in my house in a daze worried about the pregnancy when I heard, “Rejoice.” Since the restoration of my marriage this has been a trigger word for me. When my husband was busy spouting his devotion to another woman, the Holy Spirit was in the background telling me to rejoice. I would cling to that like a lifesaver in the middle of a storm in the ocean. I learned then, when God tells us to rejoice, we can trust He knows what He’s talking about. It wasn’t about a week later, my husband came back home. So now God was telling me to rejoice about this baby. He was relieving my worried heart and mind. From that day on, I’d cling to His command to rejoice. I wish I could say I was worry free after that message, but nope. I had to cling and constantly remind myself.

Even though we loved the name Isaac and knew we were having another boy, we just didn’t have the heart to name him that. We felt like we had lost too many possible “Isaacs” before. But after that message from the Lord, I looked up what name means “rejoice.” I couldn’t believe it. “Isaac” popped up meaning “I will rejoice; I will laugh!” God, in His way, was telling me so many things that day. He was telling me the baby was going to be okay. He was telling me it was okay to finally name this son Isaac (almost like it had been waiting on him), and He was promising me in all those dark days at that time of leukemia treatments and loss, we would laugh and rejoice again! It was so hard to see that future at that time, but I had to daily choose to believe it.

This August, Isaac will be 4 years old. We just came from Ariel’s oncology check up. She’s doing perfect! Our house is finally built where we finally have enough room to breathe and no longer be on top of each other in the tiny camp. We’ve still had so many hurts and losses since that promise to “rejoice,” but I can honestly say the laughter is slowly returning. I have journeyed through these things grateful for so much, but not rejoicing. I believe that’s coming soon too.

I was looking back through pics of the kids growing up so fast these past few years. I’m gonna confess something. Might as well, since God knows my heart better than I do. There’s a part of me that feels like time has been stolen from me. Time to enjoy my kids while they are little, because they’re growing so fast! Instead, we’ve suffered through anxiety, pain, losses, and cancer treatments. We have been so busy fighting for the survival of our kids, we haven’t always had the luxury to just simply enjoy being their parents. But, what I have learned from God is this: God NEVER steals from us. He only GIVES. It’s been chaotic and crazy at times, but God has a plan for it all. And it’s a plan for our good. God will return that time and heartache 100 fold and way BETTER than what it would’ve been. I know it. He will do it for you as well!

God bless,


My Story is His Story!

Every part of our story points to Jesus! Twenty-one years ago, God led me to marry this man. We had 10 years of infertility. God restored our dying marriage! He continually blessed us with children. The first child had crossed eyes. The second child had leukemia. The third child is hearing impaired. We’ve lost parents, had a failing business, and lived in poverty. We’ve suffered trauma after trauma, but God has had the victory through it all!! Our marriage is now better than I could dream. Our children are alive and healthy and happy! God has provided everything we have ever needed right on time!

Coping Skills 101

Here’s a list of a few things to do to help get through bad situations. This list is not comprehensive. By all means, if you have any to add, I’m fully open to suggestions and recommendations! Anything to help being overwhelmed!

1. Pray like mad.

2. Breathe. Take lots of deep breaths.

3. As long as it doesn’t trigger you, look at pics of what you do have, what you’ve been blessed with, good moments in time.

4. Talk to a trusted friend to vent. Sometimes we just gotta blow off steam.

5. Recite verses that pertain to your struggle. Mine is anger, frustration, and impatience. So I am actively studying the word of God about those topics to focus my mind on truth to keep me out of the pit.

6. Time & space. Those things do wonders!

7. Repeat a mantra. Currently, mine is: God allows bad things to happen for a reason. God allows bad things to happen for a reason. Say it with me: God allows bad things to happen for a reason. 😀

8. Don’t let it escalate! If you feel the frustration rise, take a step back to remove the strong emotion. Once emotions get too big, there’s little left to control them.

9. It seems basic, but get plenty of rest. Our fuses are shorter when we are exhausted or sick. My mama taught me growing up: “Prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

John Piper

I found John Piper’s position on divorce & remarriage paper online just now and wanted to share it. He doesn’t agree with the majority stand on adultery, divorce, & remarriage.

I do want to mention that while he teaches against remarriage, he does tell those already in a remarriage to stay in it. That of course, we don’t agree with. As a stander, we are to stand in the gap for our spouse’s adultery, pray he/she comes to their senses, and of course returns home to us waiting for them. I wish this article was one we could 100% support, but, alas, we cannot.

However, with that said, John Piper does make a lot of solid points regarding the permanence of marriage that I do want to share. Therefore, I attach it here.


The Death of “The Camp”

In 2011, JW wanted a place to get away: to hunt, see his parents, be on his land, and get away from me. He wanted to move here and I didn’t – so he began building his camp. Before it was completed, our marriage fell apart, and then it was restored. Then we kept having babies, and it became this burden of something to complete that really began from roots of bitterness, unhappiness, and a desire for separation. We didn’t know what to do with it, nor had the time to finish it.

Fast forward to 2019, when, in the middle of Ariel’s leukemia treatments and just getting out of the hospital from a UTI, our septic system stops working and it’s too wet for anyone to fix it for 6 months! We had to go somewhere. So, we put it in high gear and finished the camp enough for us to move in – it had no kitchen, no bathroom, no floors! We literally built a kitchen after we moved in! Our family of 6 had to abandon our 2 story brick house to move into an unfinished 800 sqft camp in the middle of the woods! The baby stayed in our room, while the other three kids squeezed into the laundry room and slept in a triple bunk! (I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a triple bunk!)

We knew God had moved us here, but we didn’t know why. So we sold the brick house once it was fixed, with the intention to build here, except that Covid made building materials skyrocket! So we stayed cramped like that for almost 2 years until we expanded the back to give the kids an ACTUAL bedroom, another bathroom, and much needed space. However, all 4 kids are sharing one room and our kitchen is still a temporary facility.

Now, almost another year has passed, and we’re beginning the front addition of our house. It’s no longer “The Camp.” Today, we took off the front porch, which has held many memories these past 3 years, and made a barn. 🙂 When the barn is complete, the framework will have come from the trees we took out for the pool, the walls from the front porch floor, and the roof from the camp’s tin skirting. The roof of the porch will make the animal shelters on either side of the barn. I want to make and place a sign on the barn that reads: “Here lies The Camp; the rest we made a HOME.” 😀

It’s symbolic, that little barn. We repurposed what was originally created as a way to get away from marriage into this wonderful place for our farm animals that we can sit and watch from our new porch of the home we built together as a family!

P.S. That same new porch now directly sits in view of the very spot JW proposed to me over 20 years ago – the very place he wanted to build his house, his family, and his life with me!

Genesis 50:20 – You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.

Rainbows 🌈

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but never made a post about it to explain…

God is this amazing loving being who not only talks to us through His word and His Spirit, but also through His signs. Rejoice Marriage Ministries talks about this with Covenant Transport trucks. So many standers receive strength and encouragement to keep standing when they see that truck, usually after begging God to give them a sign to keep on “trucking” in their stand. Others have mentioned seeing restoration trucks, etc. as signs to keep standing or to encourage them that God sees.

Our sign throughout these past few years has been rainbows. We didn’t start out recognizing it as a sign. We would take pictures of the rainbows as we saw them in the sky. (Come on, who doesn’t love a rainbow?) It actually took a few years for us to realize what was going on. We were looking through the pictures in our phones and noticed that during the really difficult times, there would be rainbow photos! Once I recognized the pattern, I started going back to dates like when my dad died, and when my father-in-law died, and when Ariel was so sick from cancer treatments. Yep, sure enough, there were rainbow pictures at each juncture! I couldn’t believe it!

At first I viewed rainbows as this ominous sign that said something bad was gonna happen. I know that sounds superstitious. It wasn’t like that so much as just experience telling me to hunker down while painful things occurred. I know now I was looking at it all wrong. God was not forewarning us bad things were gonna happen, He was letting us know He’s got it (whatever may come), He sees, and He’s right here with us!

Now, when we see rainbows we get excited. Hard stuff may still follow, but we know we’re gonna be okay because God is sovereign. He’s got it and us!

Genesis 9:13 (NIV)
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.


I’ve been thinking about what it means to be childlike as Jesus told us we must. We know the biggies like purity of thought and complete trust of a parent to take care of everything, but today hit me differently. I’ve been overwhelmed lately and wanted to pull out one of my adult coloring books that has scriptures in it. As I’m coloring, my 7 year old sees me coloring and the once considered “boring” activity is seen with renewed interest simply because her mom is doing it.

She wanted to color with me. I thought about it. All my kids tend to want to do whatever I’m doing. That’s what we should do to God. He’s our dad. What we see Him do, we should wanna do. Where He is, we should wanna be…just like our kids do to us.

Where do you see God? What do you see the Father doing? Emulate Him, yes…but also do what He’s doing because you wanna be with Him and you know He’s “where it’s at!”

Moving Mountains

Today, our daughter was asking us what a mustard seed was. When we explained what it was, she asked what Jesus meant by having faith like a mustard seed. We told her it meant that it didn’t take much faith to accomplish something impossible, according to Jesus. I looked at her and told her, “Mama’s never moved a mountain before, so what does that say about my faith?” Because, honestly, that’s the way I’ve always felt. If I can’t even believe enough to move a mountain, then how truly little is my faith?

That’s when JW interrupted me and said, “I don’t see it that way.” I told him, “Ok, encourage me then.” He said, “In 2012, you moved a mountain and you have great faith.” 🥺

He stopped me in my tracks and I began to cry. He grabbed my hand to hold it. I always took that verse literally, but JW was right. In 2012, I had faith that God would restore my marriage and bring us children. They were impossible things, by man’s standards. They were immovable mountains, but I believed God could move them…and He did.

So today I learned more about mustard seed faith. Tiny faith as long as it’s in Jesus, moves impossible things (mountains or not). 😊

God Is In The Details

So I’ve been reading the end of Exodus where God describes exactly what He required regarding the Tabernacle and the priestly attire. If you’ve ever read it, you’ll see how specific everything is. The High Priest’s robe had to be purple, blue, scarlet, with gold. The gold woven in their garments came from gold pounded thinly and then cut into thread! They wore bells at the hem exactly between woven pomegranates. The Bible describes the breastplate with exact gemstones to represent each tribe and exactly how they should be set and exactly how the breastplate should be attached and on and on. There’s this overwhelming sense of how important the details were. It mattered how everything looked, how the Tabernacle was run, and how everything was made, even to the point of getting Moses’ approval that it was done to God’s specifics!

Now, one could argue that this was God’s house and He was just designing His house the way we all design our own houses: to our personal tastes. However, the overwhelming peace I got from reading what some would categorize as minutiae, told me otherwise. These passages were screaming, “God cares about the details.”

God cares about my details just as much. I used to believe that God concerned Himself with the big things of my life and the little things that don’t matter were allowed to be up to me because they really didn’t matter. However, there have been too many instances, understood or not, where God demonstrated that every detail of my life is a big deal to Him and He’ll take care of them equally as well as He takes care of the “big deals.”

Let me share two very personal examples of this. For some this may be too personal or too much information (for men especially) and if so, I apologize for that. However, I’m being real and thankfully our God is a very real God! Also, these examples are truly poignant to how much God cares for us in our darkest moments and I wouldn’t trade them for anything, so please see my heart to share that above all.

The first example is when our eldest daughter was 3 and just one month after her leukemia diagnosis. We were in a tailspin of doctor’s appointments, traveling long distances multiple times a week for treatments, and really still trying to wrap our minds around the whole thing. It was our youngest daughter’s second birthday and we had absolutely nothing to give her. I don’t mean gifts. I mean of ourselves. We were fighting to save the life of our other daughter and we honestly couldn’t think about a birthday, gifts, party, celebration…nothing. I consoled myself saying she would be too young to remember that we did nothing for her birthday, but it was still crummy. All of a sudden, a precious friend of mine stops by with a huge box of gorgeous professionally made cupcakes! She brought them to celebrate our baby’s birthday! I cried! I hadn’t told anyone, including that friend, that we weren’t (or couldn’t handle) doing anything for her birthday. She just showed up. I knew instantly this was God seeing into this mother’s heart and providing something she so desperately needed! Would our little daughter have been fine never celebrating her 2-year-old birthday? Yes, but God showed up to prove He sees, He understands, and He’s in the details.

My second example is more graphic. Men can skip this section. I’ll give fair warning. This was a few months before Ariel’s diagnosis. I was three months pregnant with what would’ve been our 4th child. I’ve miscarried before, so when I started cramping, I was extremely worried. I went to the doctor to discover our child was no longer living. He gave me the choice of a D&C to clear my body or wait till it happened naturally. I hated the D&C last time, so I went home to think and pray about it. I was grief-stricken and couldn’t understand why I was going through all of this. I remember telling God that I hated the smell of period blood. I didn’t know if I could handle that smell associated with the loss of our baby. I didn’t know if I could handle a natural miscarriage at home or if I should just deal with the D&C and the rush of hormones I experienced last time. The next morning, the decision was made for me: the natural miscarriage had begun. But here is where God showed up in a very personal way. Before the miscarriage began, the kids and I were in the bathroom closet digging for something when an old tiny vial of my husband’s cologne fell and shattered on the tile floor. It was a little mess we had to clean up, frustrating at the time, but later I would realize what it truly was. God orchestrated that little mess to fill the whole bathroom with a pleasant smell for the whole duration of my miscarriage!! Not one time did I have to smell any blood! It was a terribly sad situation that God cradled me through and showed me just how intimate the God of the universe can be with those who are His!

I had to stop writing this to cry a little bit, just remembering how precious He’s been to me just like that so many times. I share these gruesome stories to tell others God is in your details too! I don’t understand how the God of everything, Who is perfect and sovereign can love us so much. I just can say He does. This God can handle all your big deals, but even more special, He handles all your tiny deals too.

Love to all,