Giggle Giggle Toot Roar

Striving to answer the call to motherhood and wifeyhood with joy, Jesus, and crazy dancing.

On Noticing Defining Moments & Failure

In fourth grade I had a defining moment. Not some big scary thing that happened to me, but an experience that formed me for years to come. It probably passed other students by and was forgotten forever, but it stuck with me.

For the first time in our young lives we had a 4th grade student council. There were the tradition roles like President and Vice President and then there was the PR role (public relations), which basically meant you were in charge of making posters for different events throughout the year. THAT was the position that made my eyes sparkle! I wanted to be the PR chair!

We were told to select which position we wanted to run for and then we were tasked with putting together a speech to deliver in front of the class and campaign posters to hang throughout the classroom and hallway.

On noticing defining moments.jpgI was all over it! I remember practicing my speech over and over with my parents. I remember my dad giving me advice to emphasize that phrase a bit more or use a little more enthusiasm when you say those words. I remember my mom reminding me to smile during it. I remember coming up with what I thought were insanely clever slogans again with the help of my parents, “One for all and all for Holl,” and “She’s one Holl of a candidate.”

There were two open PR positions, three people running, and with every bone in my body and every fiber of my being, I believed I was going to win one of those positions. I had this in the bag! I actually don’t think I was even aware of the competition, because I just assumed I’d win the position of my dreams.

And then voting day came. And then the results were in. And then Kurt and Emily won. And I lost. I remember being shocked. I remember thinking about how people picked two other people over me. Did people not like me? Were my slogans not cool? Was my speech not good? I remember this as my first real loss. My first real failure.

I know I was disappointed with the loss, but I was blessed to have parents who told me constantly they were proud of me, so that helped in the recovery. I didn’t stay in a dark hole about the loss for long. I moved on and it wasn’t something I remember caring about much the rest of that year.

BUT as I look back and think about formative experiences from my childhood, this one will always stick out to me as probably the first moment I experienced failure AND it formed how I viewed failure for many years to come. Basically, avoid it at all costs!

If you think back to your childhood, is there an experience that impacted you in a positive or negative way well into your adulthood? Maybe you aren’t even yet aware of how deeply something impacted you.

Did you have a defining moment, a moment that taught you to start living or doing things a certain way?

This experience taught me FAILING = TERRIBLE. Don’t fail. Don’t come in last. Failing is bad. Failing is scary. Failing is embarrassing.

This probably helped me in some ways, by developing my attention to detail, my drive and determination, and my attitude to want to win and strive to be the berst. It also caused me to play it safe, be overly cautious in trying new things, and to carry a bit of perfectionistic stress. This just may be one of the reasons I was too terrified to ever go out for basketball and why until late high school I only ran for “safe” positions like secretary or treasurer instead of president.

Fast forward 25 or so years later and I have quite a different view of failure that I’ve learned over many years of just living life, from reading many leadership books, and most recently through the amazing things I’m learning from my network marketing business. I no longer fear failure. I don’t play it safe and I don’t avoid trying new things. I am so much less concerned about what other people think of me and I strive to not let other people’s opinions of me have impact on how I see myself. This is a much more freeing and exciting way to live life. As long as you are striving forward and learning through your fails, then failing in a way is a blessing.

So, this got me thinking about how one small grade school experience impacted my life for so long. My children will in 4K next year and I think about them and their future experiences. I wonder what experiences will have the greatest impact on them both positively and negatively. Will I notice those experiences when they are here? How can I support them through those experiences?

You better believe I’ll be on the lookout for those moments for them! They will have to learn their way through things on their own. I know that’s part of growing up. BUT as their momma, I can help by listening, answering questions, sharing from my experiences, and offering advice when needed.

And I hope that I’m a good example to them on dealing with and not fearing failure.


Be on the lookout for those defining moments!


Fail forward. Learn from it. Without failures, we cannot have the hero moment! No one wants to read a book or watch a movie when someone just fails or when someone just wins all the time. People love the hero moment; the moment when we overcome and emerge victorious!

God bless our children!

Love, Natasha



A Case of the “I should really ought to’s” – A Sneaky Kind of Negative Self-Talk

You may know that in 2016 I have been focused on learning about positive affirmations, which provide a strategy to think and speak words of life to yourself. It’s more though than just repeating nice words to yourself to make you feel good. It is more about actually deleting any negative thoughts or beliefs that might be hard wired into your brain perhaps from past experiences or things people have told you about yourself.

Some negative self-talk is obviously negative.

For example, have you ever said anything like this to yourself?

“I look fat in these jeans.”

“Sara always has her act together and I’m a mess.”

“I’m so clumsy.”

“I’m terrible at remembering names.”

“Nothing ever goes my way.”

“I’m nothing before my coffee.”

“I’m getting so old.”

“I don’t really have any special talents.”

When we say these statements it’s pretty obvious that we are being hard on ourselves. If we heard a friend say something similar to one of the above statements about themselves, we would run to their rescue and convince them that they’re wrong and tell them not to talk about themselves that way.

But we do not usually run to our own rescue when we talk negatively about ourselves.

Since those statements are obviously negative, they’ve always been easier for me to identify and then work to correct.

I tend to lose my cellphone and keys a lot. Now, saying that I lose my cellphone and keys a lot will certainly help me lose my cellphone and keys a lot more, so a good affirmation would be, “I’m so organized, I always know right where I’ve left my cellphone and keys.”

A case of the I really should ought to'sWhen I’ve lost my cellphone in the past (usually right when I want to crawl into bed for the night), I would stomp around the house crabbing and desperately searching for it while whining, “Seriously, I do this every night, I’m such an idiot.” Whoa, if I ever heard my kids say something about themselves like that obviously I’d be upset! And it doesn’t set a positive example for them if they were to hear me talk about myself like that (they are asleep when I’ve been ranting). Why aren’t we upset when we say unkind things to ourselves?

Today, if I lose something, I literally say things like, “I am a smart successful woman. I am a college graduate. I’m a great mom. I will find my keys. I remember exactly where I put them. I’m so smart.” Those words may not help me find my keys any faster, but they sure make me feel a whole lot better than calling myself an idiot! And they make me and whoever is in earshot laugh.

There is a type of self-talk however, that I never even considered to be negative self-talk until coming across it in Shad Helmstetter’s book, What to Say When You Talk to Your Self. I call this type of self-talk a case of the “I really should ought to’s.”

Have you ever said anything like this?

“We should have coffee sometime.”

“I really need to clean out my car.”

“I ought to talk to my boss about a raise sometime.”

“I really need to get more organized.”

“I should really call my grandma sometime.”

“I ought to read more to my kids.”

These kinds of statements actually work against us. I was shocked at first, because surely these statements help us set goals don’t they? Nope.

Helmstetter refers to these kinds of statements as Level II self-talk and says that,

“Level II self-talk is characterized by words such as, “I need to…,” or “I ought to…,” or “I should…” Why does that work against us? Because it recognizes a problem but creates no solution. When you say to yourself (or to someone else), “I really need to get more organized,” what are you really saying? You are saying, “I really need to get more organized…but I’m not!”

Your subconscious fills in the blank with negative self-talk!

When I read this chapter, I took some time to identify where I might be using this kind of negative self-talk in my life. The first thing that came to my mind was my medicine cabinet in the kitchen. On one shelf in this cabinet I keep medicine, kid’s medicine, and all of my vitamins and supplements (I’m a Plexus gal, so that’s a lot!). I go in that cabinet a lot, because it also has cups for the kids and dishes that I use every day. I probably spent months opening that cabinet to have something fly out at me, because it was so packed full and unorganized. Every time I opened that cabinet, I would say or think, “I really need to clean this cabinet sometime.”

You know when I finally cleaned it? Probably months after it initially started annoying me when I finally read this chapter in Helmstetter’s book. I went right up to that cabinet, stared it straight in its beedy little cabinet eyes and said, “You know what cabinet, TODAY I am cleaning you out.” And then I cleaned it out. And the next day, I cleaned out my linen closet that had been puking blankets and towels out at me for months. And the day after that I cleaned out all of my desk drawers, which had been eating all working pens and secretly replacing them with inkless pens for months. And it felt AMAZING!

Some days I knew I couldn’t get to a task right then and there, but instead of saying, “I really need to call Suzy for coffee sometime,” I said, “I will call Suzy for coffee next week” and then I put a reminder on my calendar.

It’s amazing how bogged down this kind of negative self-talk had me and I didn’t even know it.

So, ask yourself, what have you been putting off lately? What’s been on your to do list for a while? What do you wish you could get done, but you haven’t even taken the time to add it to your to do list? Who have you been promising a coffee to or a date night with? Then explore the words you’ve been using about it and change your words into a powerful action packed statement with a deadline.

If you change these kinds of thoughts and words in your life, it just may help you in your productivity, in keeping your promises to people, and in unlocking your dreams and potential!

I hope you’re as inspired as I was to get over my nasty case of the “I really should ought to’s!”



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Infertility Affirmations: 10 Words of Life You Need to Start Speaking to Yourself TODAY!

In 2016, I’ve been focused on using positive affirmations in my life to help stomp out negative self-talk and negative thinking. We are pretty hard on ourselves sometimes. We certainly would never want to hear our children saying or thinking about themselves what we sometimes say and think about ourselves! It’s been an empowering and challenging journey working on this so far this year!

Infertility AffAs I work on speaking and thinking life to myself everyday, I can’t help but think about a time when I was hardest on myself, a time when I could have really used some positivity and life breathed into me. The five years when my husband and I worked through infertility were probably some of the wildest and darkest rollercoaster years for my self-talk and thoughts.

I’m a pretty positive person and a woman of strong faith, but my world was shaken and rocked so hard during those five years. There were moments of calmness and hope usually quickly followed by many more patches of sadness, anger, frustration, confusion, and hopelessness.

Looking back at that time now, I wish I would have handled everything with more patience and grace, but to be honest, when you are in the trenches of infertility, emotions are high and hormones are crazy. You can barely see out of that haze most days. I remember thinking, “You’ve got to stay positive, any negativity in your body won’t help the situation,” and that thought would help keep me above water for a while.

I don’t think I was ever harder on myself or meaner to myself than during infertility treatments. I felt broken and useless and lost.

When you are going through this, there is nothing anyone can say to you to make it better and honestly, although mostly well-intentioned, almost anything someone says about it just makes it worse. BUT there are things you can say to yourself to make it better and if not better than more bearable and perhaps even more grace filled.

So, to all of my beautiful sisters out there going through infertility treatments and/or longing for your little one, this is a reminder from someone who has been there and felt what you have felt, to be a little more patient and kind to yourself.

I’ve thought each of the below statements while experiencing infertility and I wish I would have known about positive affirmations then. If you are speaking this negativity to yourself, start today, to instead speak these words of life to yourself, because you are worth more. Your imagine of yourself is clouded by deep longing, difficult challenges, and likely hormonal stuff that doesn’t make the situation any easier.

So, please, please, speak life…

1.) Stop this: I am broken. My body doesn’t work right. SPEAK LIFE: I am a beautiful creation of God. I am unique and nothing about me is a mistake. I am thankful for my body and my health. I am thankful to be alive. I am strong and fertile. My body is a blessing.

2.) Stop this: I’m less of  a woman, because I’ve failed at the very function my body was created for. SPEAK LIFE: I am fully woman and fully beautiful. My body is amazing and capable of miracles. I am grateful for the gift of being woman.

3.) Stop this: This is all my fault. What have I done to deserve this? Why am I being punished? SPEAK LIFE: I make wise and healthy choices for myself, my body, and my fertility. I always do my best. I have done my part. I am a positive and happy person and I only attract positivity and happiness.

4.) Stop this: Would my husband marry me again if he knew we’d have to go through this? SPEAK LIFE: My husband loves me deeply and I love him. We lean on each other during these challenges. We communicate openly about our struggles and emotions. Going through infertility treatments will bring us closer together and make our relationship stronger. Our relationship is a true blessing.

5.) Stop this: Everyone around me is getting pregnant, but not me. SPEAK LIFE: I am genuinely happy and excited for my friends and family who become pregnant or have babies while I am waiting. I am not jealous or resentful of them. They give me hope and remind me that it will soon be my turn to become a mother.

6.) Stop this: I’ll never get pregnant or become a mother. SPEAK LIFE: This wait is teaching me exactly what I need to be a great mother: patience, humility, and fortitude. I trust it will be my turn soon. The waiting will make becoming a mother even sweeter, it will be a moment I cherish forever. I visualize holding my baby in my arms.

7.) Stop this: Maybe I’m not supposed to have kids, because I’ll be a terrible mother. SPEAK LIFE: I will be an amazing mother, always striving to be the best mom I can be. I will take this time of waiting and turn it into a time of preparation. I will work on myself, so I am ready to be everything I want to be to my little one. I’ll be an amazing mom to amazing kids!

8.) Stop this: I am a failure. I can’t get pregnant, what else can’t I do? SPEAK LIFE: I am capable of amazing things. I have accomplished amazing things. I look forward to the next chapter of my story, the chapter where I become a mother. I am comfortable with me. Something wonderful is about to happen to me.

9.) Stop this: My body is weak. SPEAK LIFE: My body strong and healthy. I am determined, resilient, and patient with myself. I set all my anxieties and fears aside and just let my body do it’s job. I am strong.

10.) Stop this: Maybe I should just give up. It’s not meant to be. SPEAK LIFE: I don’t give negativity a second thought. I am on fire with the gift of motherhood. I am full of so much love. I visualize sharing my love with my children. I will be a great mother.

God bless you all on your journey and please be kind and speak life to yourself!

Right now, the wait doesn’t make sense, but I promise you, when you are holding your child for the first time, it will all finally make sense.

Love, Natasha

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Self Talk & Are You an Adder or Subtractor?

I didn’t have a chance to write a blog post this week, but I wanted to share this quick video with you on some insights I had while reading the two great books in my rotation right now. The books are John Maxwell’s, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and Shad Helmstetter’s, What to Say When you Talk to Your Self.

I hope you can pull out a positive nugget for your day!



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Adoption: For THIS Child I Prayed

She’s supposed to be sleeping. I’m supposed to be working. And there we sit in her dark room, rocking and rocking and rocking. They say you aren’t supposed to look your baby right in the eyes when you are trying to get them to sleep, because they’ll get too excited to see you and stay awake. But I do. We do. We stare deep into each other’s eyes. She has her pacifier in and just around its edges I see the corners of her mouth curl. I remove the pacifier, which reveals a huge, gaping smile. She lets out a sweet squeal. She knows me. I am her mommy. We repeat this over and over again, each time her little eyes and mouth get a bit drowsier.

Her baby cheeks glow soft brown perfection in the dim light. The light hits her eyes and they just glisten, filled with so much wonder and delight. She looks at me like I am her whole world. I want to hold on to this sacred moment forever.

I savor the moment, but am swept away here and there by the weight of motherhood.

I want to give her everything, show her everything, teach her, support her, protect her, and help her become her best self.

A moment of worry tries to steal my focus.

Will I be enough for her?

In addition to normal mom stuff, I’ll need to teach her to understand her adoption story and about her African American heritage. What if I can’t figure out how to do her hair? Corn rows and twists and perfectly smooth frizz-free parts?! It can’t look dry and nappy!

Adoption for this child i prayedMy thoughts fly to her birthmother. I know so little about her. I know she is beautiful, because this little girl is beautiful. Even more than that, I know she is beautiful, because she chose life for her daughter. I marvel at the selflessness of recognizing she couldn’t provide and then of letting go, knowing her child would have a better life. I put myself in her shoes. Could I have made that same selfless decision? I easily weep when I think of my children’s birthmothers, because I am so in awe of them and eternally grateful to them.

And then as quickly as I am lost-away, I’m lost again in the present with my daughter. 2016 has been about savoring the nooks and crannies of life and this moment reminds me of how very worth it is to slow down.

Tears well up again in my eyes and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I’m so thankful for this moment. I’m so thankful for this child. And while I would have never said it during, I am thankful for the long wait. I’m even thankful for the infertility struggles, because without them we would have not adopted.

In this moment, I know she is my daughter forever and I am her mommy forever and for THIS child I prayed.

To all the mommies and daddies out there, this is a simple reminder to savor the moments with our children.

To anyone that is waiting for their child through adoption, I’ve been there and know it is nearly impossible sometimes, but when you hold your child in your arms, just know it will all finally make sense.

To anyone that is struggling through infertility treatments, I’ve been there and know what a miserable rollercoaster it can be. Someone said to a friend of mine when she and her husband were going through infertility treatment, “Do you want to be pregnant or do you want to be parents?” That always stuck with me. I wish you blessings through your treatments, but encourage you to be open to the fact that they may just be a step in your journey to parenthood. Adoption is not a second-best choice, it’s not a fallback plan, it is an amazing blessing that some of us just never knew to consider first, because we assumed it would happen “the old-fashioned way.”

We’ve been blessed with three children through adoption and I have no doubt that they were meant to be our babies. I never knew I could love like this!

Blessings on your journey and prayers that we all can slow down and better savor the blessings right in front of us.




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Adoption: 10 Tips to Survive Hotel Living with an Infant

We’ve been blessed to receive “the call” for adoption twice. The first was three years ago when we were united with our twin baby boys and the second was two months ago when we were blessed with our baby girl. Both times, when we received “the call” that our children were waiting, we raced down south and had our babies in our arms the following day.

Adoption 10 tips to survive hotel livingAnd both times, while we cuddled our new little ones for the first time, we signed and initialed a mountain of paperwork, then said goodbye to the agency staff and were immediately on our own as new parents. I’ll never forget the mixture of terrified-joy I felt as we drove away from the agency that first time with our TWO less than 6 pound babies strapped into the car seats in the back seat. Talk about insta-parents! I wasn’t even sure I knew how to change a diaper! Don’t worry, I got so very much practice really fast!

Next we took our bundles of joy to a hotel room, which would serve as our home for the next nearly two weeks (while we awaited ICPC confirmation that we could go home). The first time around, the idea of spending two weeks in a hotel room with an infant (2 for us) had me nearly breaking into a cold sweat! Now, having lived through it twice, I can tell you first hand, it can be done and if you’re prepared, it isn’t that bad!

Here are 10 tips to survive hotel living with an infant:

  1. Attitude is Huge: This is the number one, most important tip that I can share. Look at this time as a vacation and a special family bonding time with your new baby. All you really have to do for the next two weeks is bond with and care for your new little one. You may be exhausted from driving or flying in the day before. You may be exhausted from lack of sleep as you figure out baby’s sleeping and eating schedule. Be gentle with yourself and patient with each other! Seriously, sleep in and watch as much HGTV as you want while your little one cuddles on your chest. This is your time to just enjoy each other.
  2. Choosing a Hotel: We found that a room with two queen beds really worked well. There were many nights, my husband would sleep in one bed and I would sleep in the other and we had baby in the basinet on the floor between us. We liked feeling like her body guards. Two beds also gives you more space. You can keep one bed for sleeping and one bed can be filled with all the baby stuff and luggage. Suites with separate living space can get expensive, so if that isn’t in the budget, try to at least get a room that has a little area with a couch and TV away from the beds. Having a refrigerator, sink, and microwave also really comes in handy. When booking your hotel, always ask if they have an extended stay discount. The extended stay discount (7 days or more) was about $30 dollars cheaper a night than even the AAA discount. Lastly, it’s nice to choose a hotel that has some shopping and eating places nearby, even within walking distance.
  3. hotelDiaper Changing Station: Use one of the beds, the desk, or the top of a short dresser as your diaper changing station. Put down blankets for padding and gather around all of your diapers, wipes, ointments, and clothing, so they are within easy reach and you’re organized and ready for diaper changes.
  4. Food: It’s convenient if the hotel has continental breakfast or at least serves breakfast (to buy) in the morning. Confirm when the hotel serves meals and ask for recommendations for nearby restaurants. Also, ask for any menus they may have for places that deliver food to the hotel. Find out where the nearest grocery store is. We loaded up on some snacks, bottled water, cereal, milk, and fruit, so we didn’t always have to eat out. That’s why it’s so important to have a fridge in your room!
  5. Loading up on Baby Stuff: Locate the nearest “Target/Walmart” type store and stock up on things you couldn’t necessarily pack ahead of time. For example, we didn’t know what kind of formula the baby would need. The agency gave us enough formula to make it through a day or two. We brought with us some diapers, wipes, clothing, and a ton of other baby “stuff,” but you’ll always think of some baby item you need! We weren’t exactly sure what size clothing baby would fit into, so we bought a few extra sleepers when we got there. We also purchased laundry detergent, a laundry bag, dish soap, and a bin for washing dishes (no way I was washing baby bottles in a hotel room sink!).
  6. Get out of the Hotel: It was nice to get out of the hotel room from time to time, even if it was just to do a little shopping or to sit at a cute coffee shop and chat. We had planned to head into the city to explore a few more things, but we never quite mustered up the energy to do that. And that’s okay! We also found that giving each other “me-time” breaks while the other parent spends time with baby alone was very valuable.
  7. The Hotel Staff: Make friends with the hotel staff, they are your family for the next two weeks. Don’t be afraid to ask them for recommendations on what to do and where to eat in the area. Ask them how long it takes to get to the airport and what times you should avoid being on the road due to traffic (if you’re near a large city). Both hotel stays, we met some very special people that helped us in so many ways. Little things like a free candy bar or bottle of water and bigger things like a wonderful chat about how to best wash and style African American little girl hair made our stay extra special.
  8. Garbage: Save all your shopping plastic/paper bags for garbage…you’ll have a lot!
  9. Housekeeping: We were usually still sleeping or easing into the day when housekeeping was coming around to clean rooms. Put your “do not disturb” sign on your door and if you leave later that day, call the front desk and ask for housekeeping to clean your room while you are away. They are usually very accommodating. Or catch one of the housekeepers in the hallway and ask for extra towels, coffee cups, whatever you need. Don’t forget to leave them a tip!  🙂
  10. zumba babySqueeze in time for health: Utilize the workout room and pool/hot tub…working out or relaxing in the hot tub will go a long way to keeping you feeling your best while you’re really quite exhausted!
  11. Bonus Tip: Be on the look-out for angels. If you keep your eyes open for them, you’ll run into many special people who want to help you in some way on your journey. One angel I’ll never forget was Delmar, the hotel’s shuttle driver. He didn’t want to take a car seat in the shuttle, because he was afraid it wasn’t safe, so he instead took pictures on his phone of the diapers and formula I needed, went to the store by himself, called me from the store when they didn’t have quite what I requested, bought the items, brought them back to the hotel with my change, and then commiserated with me about how expensive infant formula is. 

For everyone waiting, sending prayers that 2016 is your year!




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Adoption: The One That Almost Got Away

My sweet baby girl celebrated her two month birthday recently and I feel as though I just met her! We first held her in our arms when she was 20 days old and we’ve had her home with us for just over eight weeks. “Time flies” feels like an understatement around here lately. It seems as if she was in her newborn clothes for a few days and now her little legs are quickly lengthening making some of her 3 month sleepers already obsolete. We are out of newborn diapers and into number ones! I just put away the 4 ounce bottles and brought out the gigantic 8 ouncers. I just met you sweet baby, how are you growing out of 3 month old clothing already!

She’s a sweet baby. She loves to snuggle and be near you. She loves to feel your warmth and cuddle on your chest. She’s started sleeping about 4-5 hours at night, which seems like a dream compared to her brothers who wake us up multiple times for very “urgent” reasons.

“Mommy, I gotta go pee pee.”

“Daddy, I want a hug from you!”

“I want some fruit snacks.”

“I want an applesauce pouchy!”

“Mommy, my blankets fell off.”

“I’m hungry!”

“I need some water.”

“I’m all wet!”

“I want my gushy-goo.” (name given to tiny McDonald’s stuffed toy we are recently obsessed with)

When the boys were little, for the most part, I took care of their feedings throughout the night, so I could help ensure my hubby got enough sleep for work the next day. I’d push it all week doing this and then glorious Friday night would come around and I would sequester myself in the basement bedroom and my hubby would take over care and feedings of the babies for Friday and Saturday night. I would enjoy two full nights of sleep and get myself rejuvenated to go back into sleep and feeding battle all week long.

So, when this little one came along, we thought we’d try that same routine again. I took the late night feedings during the week and my hubby did the weekends. Well, we tried it and I noticed one morning something strange. The night while my hubby had baby duty, I was awoken at least five times by our three year old twins for some of the urgent reasons listed above. I noticed the next morning, that while I had set three bottles out for my hubby to feed the baby throughout the night, only one of the bottles was used up in the morning. When my husband woke in the morning, I asked, “Did the baby wake up once last night for a bottle?!” He happily said, “Yes!’ and let’s just say that now we fight over weekend baby care, because we know it’s easier than toddler care!

It’s all a season right?!

2015 was a year riddled with painful and emotional adoption losses. We were at the point where each night while lying in bed, we’d ask each other this question, “So, where are you at as far as adoption goes?” And for months, we each lingered somewhere between 90 and 99.8%, “we’re done with adoption.” It wasn’t that we no longer wanted another child. It’s just that after so many losses, you start to ask yourself if maybe you aren’t listening to God’s plan for your life correctly. We thought, maybe God doesn’t have another child planned for us and we need to stop pursuing this and instead focus on the amazing family that we already have.

Adoption the one that almost got away.jpg

Also, sometimes the waiting changes you. After spending over a year on two agency waitlists and experiencing many losses, you are just changed. You can change a lot in a year. You desires and hopes can change a lot in a year. Living from a feeling of constant longing and waiting can make it difficult to put down roots in your current life and live in the present moment. We didn’t want to give up on the dream of another child in our family, but we also didn’t want our longing to cause us to give up the dream of being the best parents we could be to our current family.

So, we couldn’t definitively say, “we’re done.” We couldn’t bring ourselves to call up the agencies and tell them to take us off their lists. We did stop leading prayers for “baby brother or sister” out loud with the boys, because we didn’t want them to be disappointed if it turned out to not be God’s plan for us. You know what, they never stopped praying nightly for “baby brother or sister” and honestly, they usually only prayed for, “baby sister.” God hears the prayers of the little children right!?

Knowing our home study would need to be updated again in spring, we decided to stay open to another child until the end of the year. We decided that we would not update our home study again. We asked God very specifically, “To send us our child by the end of 2015 if that was his plan for us.”

So, imagine my surprise when on November 9th at 3pm I received a call from one of our agencies. Agencies do not generally call you to just check in. They typically call with either really great news or really NOT great news. In the past few months, I’d received several of both kinds.

20151110_122532This time it was good news….

“We have a baby girl for you.”

“The birthmother has terminated rights and the 10 day revocation window has passed.”

“She’s healthy and in a caring home waiting for you to pick her up.”

“How soon can you and your husband fly down?”

Every time I’ve received this call in the past, I’ve sobbed joyful, happy, excited, thankful tears the entire call. This time, I listened in complete silence. I remember saying two things to the 5 people from the agency that had me on speaker phone.

“I know my response isn’t very emotional, I am honestly happy, I’m just cautious.”


“How soon can we fly down?”

I got off the phone with the agency and called my husband at work around 3:25pm. For all of the past adoption matches we’ve had, I’ve always done something thoughtful to tell him the exciting news. One time I wrote him a special letter from his daughter-to-be that ended, “P.S. Daddy, will you walk me down the aisle someday?” Another time I arranged for a special gender reveal cake and we celebrated over big slices of pink cake.

Here’s what I said this time, “So, do you have a minute….well, the agency just called and they have our daughter and they want us to come pick her up as soon as possible.”

We were so happy, but so very cautious and trying to protect our hearts this time.

We flew out the next day and had our precious little girl in our arms that night.

I’ve never experienced a moment so filled with peace and contentment, a feeling of unwavering “this is right,” such immediate intense and unconditional love, as I did when they placed my daughter in my arms that night for the first time.

I pretty much sobbed the entire meeting and didn’t take my eyes off of her and my husband read through all of the adoption paperwork and showed me where to sign and initial.

Of course, for THIS child I prayed. The other sweet children placed in our path, weren’t meant to be ours for some reason, but they needed to touch our lives perhaps for prayers and love to be sent their way. But this little girl…she was meant to be ours!

Totally worth the wait and thank God we didn’t call it quits prematurely!

Love, Natasha

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An Index Card Affirmation Exercise

We are under attack. Constant attack. From media. From society. From strangers and even from well-meaning (hopefully) friends and family. And we can even be under constant attack from ourselves.

I absolutely do not believe the old adage, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Today, in the world we live in, words can most certainly break us. I should say, negative words can break us, if we allow them to have that power over us. And we often do allow them that power.

You are enoughHave you ever received a compliment from someone that starts with, “Now this is a compliment…” You know immediately that whatever follows will most certainly not be a compliment. A few weeks ago after teaching (and rocking) a few songs in a friend’s Zumba class, someone came up to me after class and said, “Now this is a compliment…you are such a pretty girl, but you look so much better with your hair tied back and not in your face.”

On that particular day, I was having a good day, so I smiled, said thanks, and laughed it off in my head. Well, actually in my head I said, “Awhhh, thanks so much and you look so much better with your mouth shut.” (Hey, I’m not perfect!)

I didn’t allow those words to rule the rest of my day or week. BUT how many times do we allow words to ruin us.

How many times do we allow words to take us off course or totally wreck our confidence?

Too often.

Enough is enough.

Hawk Nelson has an awesome song called Words. Check out the entire song here: Words.

Here is my favorite part of that song:

“They’ve made me feel like a prisoner, they’ve made me feel set free. They’ve made me feel like a criminal, made me feel like a king. They’ve lifted my heart, to places I’ve never seen. They’ve dragged me down back to where I began. Words can fill you up. Words can break you down. Start a fire in your heart or put it out. Let my words be life, let my words be truth. I don’t wanna say a word, unless it points the world back to you.”

We can control how we speak to other people.

We can control the words we speak to ourselves.

We need to stop the negative thoughts floating around in our head.

Have you said any of these things to yourself either in your head or out loud?

“I’m a bad mom (dad, friend, sister, etc.).”

“Nothing ever goes right for me; I failed again.”

“I’ll never reach that goal or dream.”

“It’s too hard.”

“I’m just not good enough.”

“Susie is so much better at this.”

Enough is enough!

Speaking life needs to start at home. We are our home. We need to speak life to ourselves every day. We need to stop those negative words of doubt, anxiety, fear, and failure. We need to crush those negative seeds in our head before they have any chance to flourish and kill our confidence and significance.

Just this week I got an email that I allowed to get in my head. It was regarding the business I’m working on building. Someone more or less said “no” to me and I allowed myself to translate that no into “I don’t think I can do this,” “everyone will say no,” and “I don’t want to annoy my friends and family.” I felt the negativity and self-doubt threatening to take over, but I thankfully made it through with persistent prayer and perspective.

How easy it is to allow yourself to race down that rabbit hole!

Enough is enough.

My Index Card AffirmationsToday, I took an index card and wrote several affirmations on it that I plan to say out loud to myself every day, several times a day. I taped it to my bathroom mirror, so I will see it as soon as I wake up and throughout the day. I will speak those words of life to myself every day!

I will speak those words to myself, because I am loved. I am cherished. I am enough. And I’m human, so I need to be reminded.

I challenge you to do the same! Grab an index card. Write down affirmations to yourself. Put your index card in a place where you’ll see it throughout the day. Proclaim those words out loud to yourself, because you are loved, cherished, and worth it.

You are enough.

Your affirmations may be about attributes you are working on, how you treat other people, your role as a mother or wife, about your business or job, or about any other place in your life that you need to shine some light with your positive thoughts and words.

Here are some great examples from Joyce Meyer’s book, Change Your Words Change Your Life if you need a place to start:

“I do not have a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind.”

“I do not speak negative things.”

“I am a positive encourager. I edify and build up, I never tear down or destroy.”

“I am a believer, not a doubter.”

“I have compassion and understanding for all people.”

Let’s speak life to ourselves and others.

Toby Mac’s song Speak Life offers more encouragement. Click here for the song: Speak Life.

Love, Natasha

PS: Doesn’t “ENOUGH” totally look weird spelled in all caps?

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Motherhood is a Sparkly Dreamland….Lied Too Many Moms!

Motherhood shouldn’t feel like corporate America, but sometimes it does. It shouldn’t feel cut throat, competitive, and individualistic, but sometimes us mommas tend to compete, compare, and fight to “become the best.” We hide our weaknesses, frustrations and we pretend like we’ve got it all perfectly together.

We send out silly Christmas letters that highlight the moments of perfection from our past year and anytime something fun and happy happens, we flood social media to share. If we’re having a wedding anniversary, we rant and rave on Facebook about how amazing and perfect our spouse is and how the past X number of years have been a complete and utter dream. We hide if we’re feeling a little down and depressed, because of course we can’t come off weak to other moms.

Snow globeI know, I know, free speech; we all get to post and share whatever we want, whenever we want! And sure, we should share our joys and celebrate them! I get that, but what it creates is a false image of motherhood. It places motherhood in a happy little snow globe where everything stands still, content and where joyful glitter rains down whenever needed to maintain sparkly perfection.

Motherhood is an amazing blessing, but let’s get real my sisters in motherhood, it isn’t a snow globe wonderland.….it’s extremely difficult! Sure there are many glitter packed moments, but there are many more figurative and literal poop filled moments.

If we pretend everything is perfect, we aren’t being real and when we’re all at the point of exhaustion and frustration, we need other moms in our lives to be real with us. When people open up to us, it gives us courage to be honest in return. Sometimes we have to be the first open up.

It always amazes me that when I get the courage to open up to a mom friend about a struggle or frustration, they almost always have experienced something similar or are even currently going through the same feelings or struggles.

It’s easy to see the listening part of friendship as a ministry; we try to listen to our momma friends and give good advice if requested. However, an even more important ministry in motherhood is being open and authentic to other moms about the struggles and questions we have.

In my previous job, I can remember the feeling of finishing a major finalist presentation or client meeting. I always felt so relieved and usually happy, because it went well or because we at least established next steps that made the client happy. We’d get out of the meeting (with everyone and God, seriously we’d have like 12 people there from our company) and seriously NO ONE would say anything about the meeting. We’d figure out where to go to lunch or we’d all go our separate ways with usually little to no review or discussion of what went well and what could have gone better. It used to drive me nuts, because I felt like that reflection and assessment was perhaps even more important than the actual meeting itself.

Similarly, sometimes we don’t talk about the nuts and bolts of motherhood enough with our momma friends. When we don’t share openly and discuss, we are left wondering and floundering.

Am I the only one struggling? Am I the only one feeling stressed or sad? Am I the only one not getting any sleep? Is so and so a better mom than me? How is her house always spotless? How does she make dinner every night? Am I the only one with 15 loads of laundry to do? Are my kids the only ones throwing tantrums in the middle of Target? Am I a good mom? Am I the only one that yells at my kids? Am I trying hard enough? Am I good enough? Am I creative enough? What should I make for dinner?

We need each other as moms. We need each other in our real and true form. We need each other on the days we are rocking out motherhood. We need each other on the days we feel like the worst mom in the world.

We need to share our joys and frustrations with each other. We need to laugh at our Pinterest fails together and brainstorm new missions together.

We need to be honest when we aren’t feeling like ourselves. We need to ask our momma friends how they are feeling when we feel like something is off. We need to ask for help.

Reach out to your mom friends. If you think of someone one day and haven’t thought of them in a while, reach out to them, because they probably need you.

If you’re feeling down or depressed, tell a mom friend you trust. You might be amazed when they tell you they’ve been feeling the same way now or that they have in the past.

Remember, we’re here to help each other revel in the sparkle-snow globe moments and to help shovel the poo that rains down in the other moments.

Have a great week.



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How to Mother from YOUR Strengths

How to Mother from your TalentsMy favorite cookie cutter shape is the circle with the smaller circle in the middle. It looks like a little donut and you can pop out the middle circle to create another tiny circle cookie. Two sugar cookies are better than one right!? I have fond memories of duking it out with my sister for Grandma’s few precious tiny circle Christmas cookies. The silly adults were fighting over the peanut squares, but the tiny circles were the true gold. Okay, the peanut squares are ridiculously good too.

Santa blogWhat’s your favorite cookie cutter shape? Come on, this is a very serious and important question! Don’t even tell me your fave is the weird Santa Claus one that when frosted looks like a strange little blob. (But if you did pick the Santa Claus one that is totally cool, be you….but really, the blob? That’s what you picked? No really, it’s cool.)


Just like the many shapes of cookie cutters, so are each of us unique as moms. Did you like that segue (I know, I had to look up how to spell segway correctly too, don’t worry). We have all been blessed with a unique combination of strengths and experiences that allow us to mother just as we were meant to.

“God’s design is perfect. He created us. Does it make us perfect? In a sense, yes. We’re who He uniquely chose to mother our children. We can’t improve on God’s design. Yet often we try to squeeze ourselves into molds of motherhood that don’t fit.”    -From Mothering from Scratch by Melinda Means & Kathy Helgemo

Imagine how much less stressed we’d be if instead of trying to become the kind of mother that we clearly are not, we would just mother from our strengths.

What does it mean to mother from our strengths?

It means embracing our strengths and using them as a mom. I’d say one of my strengths is creativity and when I’ve mothered from my creativity the boys and I have had days that have shined! One of my favorite memories is taking my boys around our yard and finding different things in nature to make “Jesus crosses” with. We had so much fun exploring that day and they learned how to create, about Jesus, and had fun outdoors. Those kinds of activities are in my wheelhouse!

One of my weaknesses is probably interior decorating. I’d say I have a unique sense of style, I know what I like and I can pin for hours exactly what I’d like my house to look like, but I just can’t seem to translate it onto our walls! The boys are three and still the walls of their “nursery” are bare except for a small cross and their little footprints, which we made at the local clay art store. Previously, I’d see how beautiful some of my friend’s nurseries and kids’ rooms were and I’d get a little down and stressed comparing. I felt like I was lacking as a mom, because my children didn’t have rooms as pretty and well put together.

This is one of those weaknesses that to me isn’t worth stressing over. Instead of comparing, I’ve grown able to admire my friends’ talents in this area, compliment them, and be content that my kids’ rooms probably won’t look as perfect. And that’s okay, because they don’t seem to miss it. Some weaknesses are not worth your stress!

Cookie cuttersThere are some weaknesses that are worth working on! I hate yelling at my kids. I noticed when they became toddlers, I become a yeller. That is not a behavior that I wanted them to see from their mother and certainly not one that I wanted them to pick up. I remember my boys fighting and screaming at each other and I’d eventually get upset and scream back at them, “STOP SCREAMING NOW!” Hmmmm, now in a child’s brain, I’m sure that really made a lot of sense to them. Mommy is screaming at us and telling us not to scream. This is a behavior that I’ve prayed out of me and worked really hard to change. I hid a lot in the laundry room or in my closet to cool down (eat chocolate) and then emerged again with my super mom cape. Some weaknesses are worth working on!

Here are some ideas to mother from your strengths:

1.) Identify your super powers: Do you know what your strengths are? Where are you thriving in your life? Where you are thriving is probably where you are strong. Share your strengths with your kids! If you don’t know your strengths, ask a friend who you trust or take a personality inventory. Where are my fellow ENFJ’s at (Myers Briggs)?

2.) Choose the right crew: If you have good momma friends, you know how blessed you are! Schedule regular time with them. Good momma friends are the ones you can be yourself with. Always be on the lookout to build your crew! You can never have enough awesome momma friends; you learn something from all of them. Also, recognize if a friend is causing you consistent stress or drama and be content that it may be time to let them go.

3.) Banish comparing: Comparing yourself to other moms causes unnecessary anxiety, stress and increases your insecurities. If you are confident in your strengths and content with your weaknesses, you’ll be better able to compliment and build your friends up for their strengths rather than tear yourself down because of comparing.

4.) Increase your box: Like I mentioned earlier, some weaknesses are just not worth worrying about. Figure out which weaknesses you are just going to be content with, because they really don’t impact your family in important ways. Then figure out which weaknesses might just be underdeveloped strengths. Those are the ones worth working on. We are always told to think outside of the box. Well, I think it’s okay to think inside the box as long as you’re always expanding your box. As moms and in life in general, constant learning keeps our minds young and helps us be our best self.

“Instead of fighting God’s design, let’s start recognizing and honoring our unique, God-given personalities! After all, it’s the message we’ve given to our children their entire lives: You’re special. God made you like no one else in the world. However, many moms believe the complete opposite about themselves. We create in our minds an image of a “good mother” and judge ourselves on whether we live up to it.” -From Mothering from Scratch by Melinda Means & Kathy Helgemo




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