And Then There Were 5… Of Us!

 For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good. -psalm 52:9

Oh how faithful He is!!!!  How good He is!!!  Over and over again I am reminded of just how amazingly faithful, good, trustworthy and true He is.  If I ever doubt, I want to remember August 21, 2015- the day my sweet twin baby girls entered this world.  Another Ebenezer stone in my life.  Another display of His control and His purpose that no one can thwart.  Another gift.

All throughout my pregnancy I was reminded that He was in control, that His plan prevails.  I didn’t ask for twins, and yet here we were buying two of everything.  After the initial shock wore off, I was overwhelmed with gratefulness.  He was blessing our family more than we’d ever hoped for or imagined!  Even so, at times I had a hard time believing that He would graciously give us two healthy babies.  Surely something would go wrong, I’d think.  Every doctors appointment I asked if there were two heartbeats, and every time the doctor looked at me like I was crazy and said “of course!”  Relief.  Reminders that He put these two inside of my growing belly and He would continue to take care of them.

As my doctors and I discussed my labor and delivery plan, I became more and more aware of what could go wrong.  Each appointment I’d breathe in and have to let Him take over, knowing that He would take care of us.  He’s got this, I would think.  I didn’t have any control of the outcome.  These precious girls would make their debut when He said it was time; not a moment sooner or a minute later.  When I went into possible preterm labor and was hospitalized, I held onto that truth fiercely.  He would see us through I kept reminding myself.  These baby girls are His and He loves them even more than I do.  Crazy.  How that’s possible only He knows!

Once I was released on bed rest I just kept telling myself I had to make it until my mom arrived.  She changed her ticket and came almost two weeks early to help me.  God is faithful.

The night of August 20th my water broke.  I was with my mom and Maya at Jean’s house for a girls night since David and Chris were in Manhattan that night for work.  Nervously I called my doctor, then called David and told him he’d have to drive in from the city.  My mom drove me to the hospital.  David made it with no traffic issues.  God is faithful.

When my doctor arrived after I’d been admitted, she happily pronounced she’d get me started on pitosin so we could get this party started.  I told her I just wanted nature to take its course.  Thankfully my body knew exactly what to do!  I got my epidural when I was at 7 centimeters and both babies were head down so she said we were good to go on trying for a vaginal delivery.  If the second baby flipped, though,no was in for a c-section.  I was aware of that so they wheeled me into the OR just in case.

Coral Eve graced us with her presence at 8:15 a.m. And was perfect in every sense ofnthenword.  David teared up just looking at her.  I could feel everything, just with mild pain. The epidural was perfect.  God is faithful.

As I went to push the second baby, the doctor held me up.  She’d flipped.  It was my nightmare- to have BOTH a vaginal AND a c-section.  But I knew that He had me taken care of either way so I was surprisingly calm.  They pressed on my belly to turn her.  They squished and contorted me to get her to turn but nothing worked.  Finally my doctor asked for another doctor to come in.  He walked right in and  literally shoved his arm up me. “this ones painting her toe nails,” he told me, meaning he could feel both feet and hands.  Suddenly her water broke and he just pulled her out feet first.  Everyone looked shocked except me.  Hazel Beth arrived at 8:24 and while the smaller of the two, made her presence very clear by screaming her little head off.  God is faithful.

Both girls came home with me two days later without any NICU time.  So far we’ve been successful at nursing so we’ll continue that for as long as it works for us. GOD IS FAITHFUL!!!!!!!

Every fear I had surrounding the Twins’ arrival He mastered.  Every concern He conquered.  Every hope I had He fulfilled.  Every detail He perfected.  I am in awe that He would do so much for me, for my girls, for my family. He is so faithful I can’t even handle it. Thank you Jesus for these precious little gifts!  Thank you for demonstrating yourself to me in a completely personal way.  He can be trusted.  He is so faithful.

My days are much different than before.  I will not try to say how it’s not that much different than one or how it’s not crazy because it IS.  But I know something wonderful…  SOMEONE wonderful.  The God who gave me the grace to have two will also give me the grace to meet the demands and His care for us did not stop once their birth was over.  He’s got us, and He will continue to be faithful.

I’m off to feed them yet again so I’ll sign off for now, but thank you for your prayers during this journey.  I know it’s just begun 😊.Rachel Signature2








Everybody Needs (and needs to be) a Luba

Literally a couple days after my last post, where I wrote about how God was teaching me there was nothing to do but let him do everything, I found myself in the hospital for pre-term labor.

My husband was in Portland, Oregon for a wedding….  My best friend here visiting family in California…  The timing could not have been more awful.

As I cried to the nurse in triage, the doctor looked over at Maya and asked who I could call to come get her.  I cried harder, feeling alone and anxious.  A few people ran through my head, but one in particular.

My neighbor Luba.

Luba lives directly next door to the left of me.  Our girls get together and play while we drink coffee occasionally, we did father’s day together and will run errands together every so often.  She is from Tajikistan, and has absolutely no family in the United States.  Her boys are older and her youngest daughter is 2 years older than Maya.  The girls love playing together, but with my work schedule over the last year it’s been challenging to make the playdates happen.  She makes amazing cakes, and always brings me tupperwares of her baked goods.  Luba runs a tight ship at home, and her family is very, very close.  Knowing that Maya would be right next to home in case she needed anything and with someone as caring as Luba, I dialed her number and tried not to cry as I explained the situation.

The hospital is 15 miles from home, and Luba had actually just been in there for something else so she had to turn back around and drive back to pick up Maya.  She did this immediately, without question, because “that is what I do.  If you need anything, I am here.” She told me.  I felt completely undeserving, overwhelmed with her generosity to take my girl.  “Call me if you go into labor,” she said as she was gathering Maya up.  “I will come back and be with you.  No one should deliver babies alone.”

As the day went on, my contractions got closer and closer together.  The doctors gave me a steriod shot in case the girls were born to help with their lung development and they put me on a pill to help stop contractions.  It didn’t seem to help.  All night contractions were 2 minutes apart, 5 minutes apart, 3 minutes apart, 5 minutes apart.  Luba sent me pictures of Maya playing with her daughter and continued to call to see how I was.  Finally the contractions subsided (consequently the same time David told me when he was able to come back) and I did not progress into active labor.  Maya spent two nights with Luba’s family, and I’m forever grateful.

Throughout the entire experience I couldn’t help but realize that everyone needs a Luba.  Everyone needs to be a Luba too.  I’m not sure what her religious beliefs are, but she demonstrated Christ in the flesh to me.  She took the the “love your neighbor as yourself” literally, and welcomed my family into her family no questions asked.  A couple days later when her son was in a motorcycle accident and she was driving him in to surgery, she was the one calling ME asking what she could do until my mom comes into town.  What if we all were like Luba to someone we know?  We need each other; we need to be Christ to each other too!

But Luba wasn’t the only one.  Even though my best friend here was out of town, not only did she keep in touch the whole time but her husband came to the hospital and brought me necessities and my favorite drink and stayed for a few hours to keep me company.  He called my husband to talk over flights and picked him up at the airport at midnight.  Everyone needs a Chris, and to be a Chris too.  Christ in the flesh.

Other friends texted and called to see if they could help with Maya.  One of David’s bosses even!  His wife brought us dinner, called me in the hospital and offered time and time again to help with Maya, and I believe her when she offers to help.  Christ in the flesh.

As we prepare to move, I am determined to meet my new neighbors and to be Luba to them.  We need each other.  It is very hard for me to ask for help… To really need somebody.  Luba taught me that we need each other and there’s no shame in that.  Everybody needs a Luba, and everybody needs to be a Luba to somebody else.

***In what ways can you accept a Luba in your life and BE a Luba to someone who needs you?  It’s a sacrificial kind of love to be a Luba, and quite humbling to accept a Luba.  I pray that I would be more aware of this as Christ continues to work in my heart.  Thanks for reading.***

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Nothing Left to Do But Everything

“In my best moments, when I calm down and listen very closely, God says “I didn’t ask you to become new and improved today.  That wasn’t the goal.  You were broken down and strange yesterday, and you still are today, and the only one freaked out about it is you.” ~Shauna Niequist, Savor

32 weeks pregnant with twins this week.  Not sure I am ready for three kids three and under, but God is.

Packing to move around the same time the babies will most likely arrive…  Don’t know how that’s going to all work out but God does.

So many loose ends to tie together like pre-school paperwork, getting the hospital bag ready, laundry, meals, cleaning, all while working and trying NOT to let my toddler watch tv all day.  I fail constantly at keeping up but God’s got this.

All the stress of buying a house, but God shows up.  Time and time again He just swoops in.

Over the last year, I have been constantly reminded that sometimes we need to step back and let God do His thing.  We’ve got to trust that He’s over everything, even the small details of our lives, and let Him work.  When I found out we were expecting two babies instead of one, I held on to the truth that God knows.  He knows and works all things for His glory.  We get to be a part of the story, but it’s all His story.

I couldn’t do anything but let Him do everything.

He knows, He’s doing things, He is in the process– He will be part of the result.

My husband is in Portland, Oregon, clear across the country right now for a wedding he’s in.  The plane ticket was purchased way before we knew twins were on the horizon.  This morning panic overtook me for a moment while thoughts spun.  What if they come early?!  What if I’m alone in an operating room having my first c-section and my husband isn’t here?!  What if for some horrific reason I have to deliver them at home all alone with MAYA omg that would be awful that can’t happen… Do you see where my thoughts went?  Then God swoops in again.  It’s His story, I’m just part of it.  I calm down, try NOT to think of Mary delivering Jesus in a BARN (can you even imagine what she was thinking and feeling?!) and rest knowing I can’t do anything but let Him do everything.

God knows.

God does.

God is.

God will be.

He’s the only constant in this crazy mess, and He’s not asking for anything from me right now.  He just needs me to stop freaking out as Shauna says in the quote above, and let him do His thing.

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Twins Update!!!

In February, I found out I was pregnant with TWINS.

This came as a huge shock.  I actually thought the ultrasound tech was giving me the “peace” sign rather than telling me there were two babies in there!  Never in a million years did I expect this, want it, or think it could happen.  God obviously had much different plans.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.

~Proverbs 19:21, ESV

I thought that surely this meant the Lord would be bringing us back to California where we have our family and biggest support network.  Surely He would not give us twins and expect us to do it across the country from our family!  Surely He would pave a way for us.  Pave a way He did…  Just not where we expected!  We are staying in New Jersey, and actually pretty happy about that.  My how God changes hearts.

Each week my belly grows.  I am now 26 weeks, I have gained 33 pounds (which is already 3 pounds MORE than I gained TOTAL with Maya!) and I look as if I will deliver within the next couple weeks.  Lord willing, I still have at least 10 more weeks!  Yikes!  How much bigger can I possibly get?!

I go to both a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor for all my ultrasounds as well as my regular OB for regular visits.  I am at the doctor all the time, getting blood work done and monitoring of my cervix.  So far, every two weeks I have two appointments.  One with the MFM doc and one at the OB.  If one of those has to change, I am going to the doctor every week.  Sometimes it feels like a lot, but mostly I am just grateful that these babies are being cared for so well even before they enter the world!

So far my pregnancy has been incredibly uneventful which I am very grateful for!  My cervix is closed and at an appropriate length, I have normal blood pressure and blood sugar, no swelling, and am able to walk and do most of my regular activities.  At my last appointment my cervix has shortened more than they’d like (which can be an indicator of pre-term labor), so I have to go back again for monitoring, but everything is still normal so that’s great!

My only complaints are that I feel very heavy and sore at times if I am in the same position too long. I experience sciatica, and if I have just eaten or am reclining my heart rate seems to increase from the pressure on one of my arteries.  I tire easily which is hard for me since I love to be up and doing things all the time.  Other than that, I can’t complain.

The girls are measuring at 1 pound, 14 ounces and 1 pound, 12 ounces!  This is GREAT.  I would love to deliver them at over 5 pounds, so we are doing great in that area.  From what I read, I should be gaining most of my weight by 28 weeks and then tapering off (which is opposite from a singleton pregnancy).  Weight gain in the first 28 weeks promotes healthy weight at birth and reduces chances of being in the NICU, so even though it’s hard to see that weight gain on the scale I know it’s all for these precious girls!

I crave meat, salads and fizzy drinks.  The complete opposite from the first trimester where those things made me sick!  Now I can’t get enough steak and hamburgers, cobb salads, greek salads, etc… I should buy stock in sparkling water because I drink it all. the. time.

I’ve started nesting, getting the girls’ room prepped and looking through all the stuff I have and will need for adding another infant to the nest.  It’s hard to know what to expect!  We have our hospital tour this weekend and I’m looking forward to that.

In other news, we put in an offer on a house, which is a CRAZY story that I’ll have to talk about later.  I’ll just say that out of 5 offers of which two were cash offers at full price (we couldn’t compete with that!)– the sellers chose US.  God’s generosity to us amazes me!  We still have a ways to go (did you know you need an attorney to buy a house in NJ? I didn’t!) but we are moving forward and I know no matter what happens, not for a moment will He leave us!

We have our last trip out to California before the babies arrive at the end of the month.  My sweet sister is throwing me a baby shower and Maya will be taking swim lessons from my old swim coach.  We also will be going to a family reunion which I am soooo excited about!  There is a lot to look forward  to :).

Thanks for going on this journey with me!  I appreciate your prayers for healthy babies!

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Finding New Rhythms

And just like that, we’re staying in New Jersey for a few more years!

I mentioned before how every door back to California seemed to close.  Even those we didn’t open ourselves seemed to shut quietly as we prayed and wondered what God was doing.  The two babies inside me would jab and kick, reminding me that I craved to know where we would bring these girls home to, wanting nothing more than stability for our growing family.  I was confident God would show us, yet so unclear on how…  Or when.

Then the promotion happened.  He started off with “it was a really good day…” and I knew something was up, because my steady husband never describes his day as ‘really good’.  Not only was it a promotion, but to a job with very limited travel.  For this field traveler’s wife pregnant with twins, it was the clarity we’d been so desperately searching for.

Here…  New Jersey…  Our family together every night (other than the occasional overnight here or there)!  Eating dinner together!  Getting into this new rhythm with two little babies on board together.  I cannot tell you the joy and peace that filled my soul.  I have never been so excited to be in New Jersey and to know– to really know that this is where our home is (for now.  There will be many  more moves in our future if David’s career continues as he’d like, but at least for a few years we are settled)!

So we are finding our new rhythms…  We’ll be moving after the babies are born, Maya will be attending preschool, I won’t be working anymore (three kids three and under is a full time job, can I get an amen?!) and our daily routine will be much different with two newborns.  Sometimes it all feels very overwhelming… Yet I know that God has purposed it for our family and because of that I am more than confident He will give us what we need.

It’s amazing how God truly gives you the “peace that passes all understanding”.  A couple weeks after all this, another call from a company in California came through for my  husband.  “Thank you so much, but I’m very happy where I am,” he told them.  And he honestly is, and I truly am, and we will find our new rhythm in New Jersey together. :)

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What Is It Jesus?

Every night, the same thing.

After stories, we snuggle under the covers and say the same prayer we’ve been saying since she was a baby.

Lately, she’s been asking me what certain things mean in her prayer.  “We pray that you would call her, and nothing would hinder her from coming.”  She interrupts me and asks “what’s call and hinder and coming?  What’s that mean mama?”  She sucks her thumb and looks up at me ready for an explanation.

“Well…”  I begin, trailing off, trying to find the simplest way to explain this to my almost three-year-old.

“Jesus can speak to us, He can call us.  Just like mama tells you things, Jesus can tell you things too,” I say.

“But I don’t hear him.  What’s he saying?” She asks, so matter of factly.

“I don’t hear Him with my ears either, ” I tell her honestly.  “But He speaks to our hearts.  He calls our hearts and tells us things, things that we don’t hear with our ears.  Our heart can feel Him and we know He’s telling us something.  When we feel Him calling our heart, we need to stop and listen!  If He’s asking us to do something, we need to obey immediately.  That’s why I pray that nothing would hinder you from coming.  I want you to hear His voice when He calls your heart and I want you to listen to Him!”

She pauses, sits up and looks up at the ceiling.  “What is it Jesus?” she asks.  “Oh?  You want me to lay down?  Okay.”

Satisfied she asks me to finish praying and we snuggle back in, finish praying and give kisses goodnight.

As I’m closing her door, the sweet innocence and faith of a little not yet 3 year old is tugging at my own heart and begging me to ask the same.  What is it Jesus?  What is it?

So many days I am telling Jesus what I want, what I need, what I hope for.  All good things, yes,  How often do I just sit there and ask what is it?

So many days I am waiting on the thing, not waiting on Him.

What is it Jesus?

The hours and hours pouring before him the things I want, not asking what He wants.

What is it Jesus?

The simple heart of little toddler gets it immediately.

What is it Jesus?

I see more and more why Jesus tells the disciples to be like little children (Matthew 18:13, Luke 18:16) as I watch my little girl’s heart grow.  While there is still so much for her to learn, there is so much she has learned already.

What is it Jesus?  What is it you want from me today?  What is it You’re revealing to me today?  What is it you want to teach me today?  

Let me be like my little girl and simplify what I often complicate.  Let me just ask what is it Jesus?  May nothing hinder me from coming!  A prayer for my little babe, and a prayer for me… For always, as I will surely learn this time and time again. :)

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Good Friday, Through the Eyes of a 2 Year Old


“Will Jesus protect me?  Is Jesus here with me??”  She sits up in the bed every single night and asks the same question.  Only until I reassure her that Jesus is always here with us will she lay back down and snuggle in for the night.  “If you get scared, just say Jesus.  He is right here with you.”  I tell her, and she gets comfy and closes her eyes.

Oh to have faith like a little child.  Lord let me learn from my daughter and have faith like her!

Putting her to sleep last night, I told her that tomorrow was Good Friday.  We would color eggs and remember what Jesus did for us.

“Good Friday?” she asked, looking at me with that 2 year old inquisitive look as if I needed to explain immediately.  “What’s good friday?”

“Good Friday is when Jesus died for us baby,” I replied, and she immediately looked at me with horror.  Snuggling under the covers, she said she needed to talk about it.  Tell me the story, she said.

So I told her how there were mean men who didn’t believe how good Jesus was.  They didn’t believe He was God’s son, didn’t know that Jesus loved them so much.  They wanted to kill him.  They made a cross, took nails and hammers and nailed Jesus’ hands and feet to the cross.  It hurt.  Jesus cried.  And he died on Good Friday.

She stared at me like this was the worst, most morbid thing she had ever heard.  Her little eyes, the corners of her mouth- everything about her face told me she didn’t understand.  How could Jesus, who was with her every night– die?!

“But the good thing about Good Friday is that He didn’t stay dead!  Three days later, on Easter, we celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead!  He wasn’t dead anymore.  He’s alive, Maya!  He’s in heaven, and He’s here.  He’s always with us.  He died so that we could live with Him forever. He’s not dead anymore.  On Good Friday we remember that He had to die so we could be with Him, and on Easter we celebrate that He’s alive.”

She smiled.  “And He’s here with us in our hearts!”  She exclaimed.

Suddenly satisfied with the end of the story, she was okay and ready to go to sleep.  She didn’t even ask me if Jesus would protect her or was there with her that night, because I think she already knew.

She might just be at my favorite stage yet (although each stage I’ve said that so it’s likely her entire life will be my favorite stage!).  A ball of snuggles, a blanket (gabby!) and her thumb.   She’s a little piece of heaven on earth and I literally can’t handle it sometimes!  On nights like this when her little faith heart is so big and receptive, I realize how much responsibility I have as a parent to guide and cultivate her heart towards Jesus.  It is overwhelming at times.  I pray I will have the words and the actions and the heart to reflect a piece of what Jesus is, and that nothing would hinder her from coming towards Him when He tugs at her heart and calls her to Him.

Happy Good Friday friends!  May we take time to remember the somberness of today, the goodness today, the hope of tomorrow and the security of our future because of what He did for us!

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