Celebrating Easter

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inked by Lindsay

Having a little one made this Easter especially memorable. Ellie is just now realizing how fun toys can be, and I had a blast filling her Easter basket with little toys, pacifiers, and bunny ears. The whole family celebrated Christ’s resurrection together at church, and then we had a fabulous Whole 30-approved lunch (yep, we’re doing it again. You can read about our first experience here) at my parent’s house. Ellie hit the Easter basket jackpot at Gigi’s, where she modeled some new shades for our upcoming trip to the beach. ;)

Easter makes me more grateful than Thanksgiving. It’s a fresh reminder of Christ’s sacrifice, and adopting our daughter gave me a whole new perspective on our adoption into Christ’s family. Adoption isn’t an easy process– it takes a toll emotionally, physically, financially. It wasn’t an easy process for our Father, either. But the beauty born from adoption makes the process worth it, and I’m eternally grateful for the sacrifice that allowed me to be adopted into God’s family.

Hope you had a wonderful Easter!


Happy 26th Birthday, Lindsay Elisabeth!

IMG_4942 IMG_4829 IMG_3033 DSC_0159 IMG_9912iinked by Emily

Today you get your annual opportunity to become what you strive for on a daily basis: a princess!  It’s so crazy to think this time last year we were walking the track during your lunch break discussing my hypothetical wedding and fantasizing about your possibility of starting a family, and now here you are helping to plan my wedding while raising your beautiful three and a half-month-old daughter!  The sisters and I are so grateful for your wonderful example of a loving, godly wife, and now a strong, intelligent, sassy, and successful momma!

You constantly challenge me to stand up for my beliefs yet not take life too seriously.  You are a picture of elegance, but you still love to get down to some Luda every now and then (sorry, Chris).  I love reeking havoc with you as a fellow “middle kiddle” and learning under your wing to always accept a daddy prize!  The Neal/Beals and future “Scheels” would not be the same without you!  Now put on your best party dress and tiara and let’s go indulge on some chips and salsa at Nada!

Ten Thousand Reasons

bless the lordinked by Holly

As some of you may know, my sassy, bossy, active, sweet little mommy suddenly passed away last month.  Thank you so very much for texts, cards, flowers, meals and most of all, prayers. She is missed but I’m so thankful we will see her again!

Both of my parents have gone on to heaven.  And I must say, it’s a strange, lonely feeling. But I am not without a Father and He has shown up in so many ways in the past month.  I’d like to share just one.

My husband, my brother and I were riding together to the funeral home to make Mom’s arrangements.  We were talking, making plans, remembering.  The actual funeral service was on my mind, trying to think of mom’s favorites, verses or songs that were important to her.  I hadn’t even noticed the radio in the background but I realized the song “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman was playing. I opened my notes app and quickly wrote some of the lyrics just so I could remember that song and look it up again later to enjoy.

On Sunday, we had debated going to church.  The funeral wasn’t until Monday and I just wasn’t sure I was up to facing people yet.  But when I woke up that morning, I felt the need to be at church.  We arrived a little late and a few sweet friends left their seats to hug us when we walked in the service.  As soon as I took my seat, the worship band began the next song, “10,000 Reasons.”

Tears started flowing and I thanked my Heavenly Father for that special gift to me.  I leaned over and quickly shared, through tears, to Alissa, why that song was so special to me that day. Even after the song ended, I just couldn’t stop thinking of the way God had showed up and given me a special little gift.  The worship leader had no idea when he chose songs for the week, that God would use his decision to encourage me.

End of story.  Or so I thought.

The following Sunday, I didn’t go to church because I was home with a recuperating daughter.  The week after that, we went to church at Far Hills, where the other daughters attend and my son-in-law is a pastor on staff.  A few songs into the worship set, and the worship director led us in singing “10,000 Reasons.” This week, I’m feeling a little more stable and just smile through the entire song!  I’m sure a tear or two fell.  I look over, Steve and the girls knowingly smile at me.  It a beautiful reminder, yet again.

This past week, we went to Cleveland for a lovely bridal shower for Emily. On Sunday, we attended Parkside Church where my soon to be son-in-law, Danny, is on staff.  The music starts. “10,000 Reasons.”  The third church service since mom passed away.  The third worship leader to choose “10,000 Reasons. “ Tears are flowing.

It’s pretty obvious that I’m supposed to be listening, paying attention and heeding the words to this song.

The last verse strikes me every time.  My mom’s days here on earth have ended. I’m sad.  I cry.  But what God has asked me to do is very obvious.  He’s made it clear every time I go to church these days!  I’m to bless the Lord, oh my soul.  In the good, in the bad, in the painful.  It’s not always easy.  But it’s always right.  And it always takes the focus off this life and reminds me of what’s to come.  It’s a gift that changes everything.

So with hands outstretched, and some tears too, I’ll do my very best to bless the Lord and remember that I still have a Heavenly Father with me, and my earthly parents are with Him.