Friday, March 30, 2012

Ralphie | Glencairn Gardens, Rock Hill, SC

About a quarter of a mile from our home is this beautiful garden. 
It has exploded with arrays of pink and red and green in the last month.  
What better place to capture some pictures of my baby his first spring?

He was totally out of it the whole time. Hardly blinked, even in the sunshine.

Will he be embarrassed someday that his mama took pictures of him in a flower garden? I hope not.

 These two great, big trees were just aching to hold a baby.

Ralphie, I love you.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rock Hill

 The first time I talked to Daniel Wells he captured me with his vision. Through our friendship, courtship, engagement, and now in our marriage it has always been a constant that has attracted me to him. Not every person knows so concretely their calling in life at such a young age.

But it wasn't just the vision ... not the fact that he had one, I mean. Because lots of young men have vision. Lots of women, too. It was his particular vision that also captivated me.

To reach the lost for Christ, and particularly, to reach a generation who no longer knows the basics about God, Jesus and the Bible.

While I certainly didn't marry him because of this, in my mind, it has always been difficult for me to separate Daniel from it. If he were to give up this vision, he would be giving up part of himself.

Figuring out how to live out this vision has been a journey. Daniel has felt called to church planting for years - I remember him talking about it from the very beginning of our relationship. The areas that he was drawn to needed churches (areas in the US that don't have an evangelical presence). He saw a void, and desired to fill it. 

Last April when we went to the Gospel Coalition, God really confirmed for me that this vision (to reach the lost who don't know Christ, by planting a church within a city) wasn't just his, but ours.  I wanted to be a church planter's wife, as much as my husband wanted to church plant!

We were soaring above cloud nine after that conference. We were ready for anything. So, Daniel sought out opportunities to get involved with a church plant. In God's providence those opportunities closed, but another opened.

That's where we've spent the last year, and though we knew it would only be temporary, we fell in love with the people, and especially with the pastor and his family.

In the fall (of 2011) we participated in a church planter's assessment seminar, which further confirmed our call to church planting, and we began cautiously praying about the "next step." I say cautiously, because it is always difficult to leave a place and people you've grown to love. One of my favorite pastor's wives once told me that you are not only called to go but also called to leave. While we certainly felt called to go, we were still pondering and praying over whether or not we were called to leave. Perhaps it wasn't time yet, we were opened to that.

I always pray for rainbows in the sky. When I ask God for things I like him to reveal them to me loud and clear. No vagueness, no ambiguity. God did that for us when we chose our last step of ministry, and he did it for us again this time. Praise Him!

In late January three options stood in front of us. Baby was due in two months (but came in one :)), and Daniel was eagerly searching for full time work so that I could stay home permanently. The first option was to senior pastor a local church not far from Charlotte. Although it wasn't a church plant, it could provide needed ministry experience for us. The second was to continue where we were and hopefully get full time pay/salary from the church - we weren't sure if that pay could be provided. The third was to join Hill City's church plant and work alongside its pastor and people to gain church planting experience. When all three options lay before us we didn't know where the money for living would come from if we joined the church plant. Daniel thought he may work a full time secular job.

Then, one week I got my rainbow.

Tuesday, an elder on the search committee at the church Daniel had been candidating for called to say that, while they really enjoyed him and his preaching, they had decided to post pone extending a call to any pastor until the church was more financially prepared to support him. Door #1 closed.

Thursday, the pastor/planter at the church plant here in Rock Hill called and told Daniel he really, really hoped he could come down to Rock Hill and help, and wanted to meet with him the following week to figure out how he could work with the church plant and support his family. Door #2 ... open-ish.

Friday, we met with our pastor and his wife for fellowship, but also to talk about where we were headed in ministry. Over the course of the conversation two things became clear: Full time pay was not available for us if we stayed where we were, and as much as they loved us it was time to move on and do what we really were called to do. Nathan, our pastor, said to Daniel a dozen times, "Find what your calling is and do it. Just do it!"

We talked late into the evening that Friday, processing everything that had happened that week, and our conversation with Nathan and Sara. Daniel went to bed a bit overwhelmed, but woke the next morning confident and determined. "We're going to do it. If God provides the money somehow, we're going to move to Rock Hill and help with this church plant."

Monday, Daniel and Andy (church planter in Rock Hill) met and discussed ideas for income for us. They decided concretely that they were going to fund-raise the support needed to bring Daniel on as a church planter's intern.

It's been almost two months since, and already God has provided over half the money necessary, and Daniel hasn't even officially begun to work! We are so thankful for the friends and family who have partnered with us in this ministry.

I tell this story, because I said I'd share my thoughts. I realize it may seem like I did not do a whole lot of that. But actually, this is my perspective. I look at our lives and see God's purposes being worked out day by day. This is not a biography of our lives, but a testimony of God's faithfulness. Knowing that He has provided for this calling gives me complete confidence that this is where we need to be - and it makes me nearly bust with excitement.

So, that's it. That's where we "are."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pregnancy Recap

I loved being pregnant. I wish I had looked pregnant sooner, but even without a visible bump, carrying life inside of me was incredible. 

1st Trimester:
Morning sickness was nasty, but not as bad as some women have it. I never had to run to the toilet to puke - I just felt like I could all day long. Saltine crackers, strawberries and potatoes were about all I ate. I fell asleep almost immediately after dinner every night. 

2nd Trimester:
Was not my babymoon trimester. My bump still had not appeared. I didn't look pregnant, and I felt fat many days (blaming that on infrequent exercise). But we got to see baby's face on the ultrasound, and feel him move daily! The 2nd trimester flew by for me. Having the holidays fall during this time helped that, I'm sure. I was sick of being asked "Are you sure you're [that far] along?" I ate nearly everything in sight, and was still hungry all the time - consequently, I gained all but 3 pounds of my total weight gain during this trimester. :-/ I had nasty heartburn beginning this trimester until the end. Tums were my good friend.But the 2nd Tri wasn't all bad! Feeling him move for the first time, and in the following days was something I won't forget. Feeling your baby move inside of you is indescribable. 

3rd Trimester:
This was my babymoon trimester. I felt amazing, and finally looked pregnant all the time! I did prenatal yoga nearly every day, and loved feeling him move so often. I did get a horrible case of sciatica that left me limping for about three weeks until his head dropped, the week before he was born. Sciatica, I've determined, is worse than morning sickness. My appetite slowed down (some) and the heartburn cooled quite a bit. Nesting hit like crazy. I know I missed out on those last four weeks, so I can't complain of swollen feet, or an aching back - or feeling as big as an elephant. I'm kind of sad that I did. Sure, there are annoying things that come in that last month, but the excitement and anticipation of knowing your baby is coming builds with every day! I missed out on that expectancy, too. Of course, I wouldn't change his birthday for anything... just being honest. :)

Overall, I missed sleeping on my back, and feeling my muscles burn and ache during work outs. (I think I worked out less, because it took me so long to find something that actually made me feel like it was worth my time.)
But whatdaya know... I've tried sleeping on my back in the last 6 weeks, and it just feels strange. Maybe I'm a side sleeper for life now... guess it'll make the transition easier for the next pregnancy. :)
I had a normal, healthy pregnancy, and a completely natural delivery. I am so thankful.

And now, I have this beautiful baby boy to kiss and love all day long.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Little Bit O' Everything

Friday evening and Saturday morning this lil cutie was a gem while we soaked up Driscoll's wisdom on marriage as friendship, and what it means to serve one another in all areas of life. Highly recommended!

Pretty afternoons Friday and Saturday in Due West, at Erskine College. I love my boys.



Paul Patrick - one of the pastors who married us - met Ralphie.

 Ralphie is 6 whole weeks old now! Looking less and less like a newborn every day... which is bittersweet.

Fun times with Aunt Ashley and Uncle Josh (everything is translated in Ralphie-language these days)

ain't they cute?? :)

And dinner in downtown Greenville at Sticky Fingers with Uncle Joe! 

Spring is moving right along! The house is still a work-in-progress. I'm getting out more, and feeling back to my normal self. I have a feeling sleeping through the night is right around the corner for Ralphie. Daniel starts his work with our new church next week, and I'm hoping to finally make the nursery bedding, and wall art. I'd like to plant some vegetables and some flowers before it's too late. I am no where close to my goal to read 20 books this year, and I am almost a month behind in my read-thru-the-Bible-in-a year. We're joining the YMCA in April and I am THRILLED. Daniel got an iPhone, and I think he feels ten times cooler than ever.

Life is good. I am thankful.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Springtime Traditions

Two of the highlights of our spring last year involved Ashley, Josh and a conference.
(Reducing the Gospel Coalition to simply "a conference"  hardly seems right. . . )
(EDIT: Sorry, I had the wrong link above.. should be better now.)

This year we are combining them!!!

This weekend we and our BFFs (who are now no longer flirty friends, but love-stricken-soon-to-be-newly-weds!) are heading down to Anderson, SC for Mark and Grace Driscoll's Real Marriage tour.

We're doing a heck of a lot more than just going to a conference though... plans for visiting the men's alma mater, taking family photos, visiting family and friends, staying in a nice hotel, and I heard something about, "a nice evening for our girls," are all on the agenda.

I'm just a bit exciterated!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012


They say a baby's face changes nine times in the course of a year. I think it changes more. While the little face that looks back at me now is still the same Ralphie that I gazed at in wonder for the first time over a month ago, he has changed so much.

He has Daniel's nose, we've determined that much. Some days he looks like my side of the family, especially in his eyes and mouth. Other days, he looks very Wells-ish, especially in his forehead, nose and expressions. But I'm bad at determining these things, so don't count my word as final.

We've enjoyed increasing alertness in the last several weeks, more smiles, though always randomly and never for the camera. Most of the time he's just a big sleepy head.

Take a look and see what you think: Mama, Daddy, or the best of both? (Or worst? hehe :-P

Saturday, March 17, 2012

New House...

We have unpacked nearly every box... once we eliminate most of the piles I'll take you on a tour, K? :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

On My Front Porch Looking In

Six-thirty pm on Tuesday, March 13th - I sit down in the front room of our new home to nurse the baby. He's so sleepy his little bum is scrunched up, and his arms are curled next to his chin. He makes grumpy faces at me as I try to kiss him awake. He is so yummy.

I look out our front window - one of them! We have so many windows in our new home [I LOVE]. The evening light beams gloriously across the front porch . . .

I scoop up my scrunchy little boy [kissing him again], grab my camera, and a big white blanket and see what we can get.

Thank you, Ben Franklin, for these pictures. Without you six-thirty March 13th 2012 would have been dark as night. ;)

Darling Boy, I love you.