Thursday, December 23, 2010

Evolution of the Schrieber Christmas

(and the Schrieber family)
10 years in the making...

(yes, we actually sent out a photo of us with our yellow lab dog this year. we were parents in the making)

(Welcome Brayden Ealy!)

(Pregnant with Brooke)

(Welcome Brooke Ryan!)



(Pregnant with Berlyn)

(Welcome Berlyn Jo!)

A King is born! A Savior!
Amidst the broken & lost,
the mundane & the miraculous,
LOVE found a way...
(and still does).
Jesus is the way!
May you be found in Him.
Merry Christmas!

"And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD; it shall rejoice in His salvation."
~Psalm 35:9

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

last year

this is to tide the carters over for a while. unfortunately, i have not had time to put together a vimeo for this year's carter sibling christmas. however, last year's was never posted and many haven't seen it. darc and i had just begun experimenting with our iMovie program. this vimeo was created last year by darcy. enjoy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

6 months & 8 inches...

6 months of begging and 8 inches later...
we have a brand new girl!

and boy is she ever walking on the clouds!
(thank you Robin!)
We love it!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

white knucklin' it...

As this past week unfolded, I really felt my strength being renewed with each new day. God slowly began breathing new life into my weakened spirit. Some days it felt like just a little "puff," but come Saturday His exhalation was just enough to bring the "fight" back into me. I felt renewed and determined to persevere, even in the times when He feels a bit distant, I am choosing to believe and to hang on with all my might. I'm white-knucklin' it.

My renewed heart was equally refreshed today at church. I was privileged to take in a good Word and wholeheartedly worship the Giver of life, renewal, and all things good.

Aron Kirk, our worship leader and most gifted songwriter wrote a song a while back called "Hope is Rising." It has been one of my favorites, but after the past couple of weeks, the lyrics are resonating more soundly than ever before. We sang it again today. The timing and the condition of my heart couldn't have been more fitting. A wave of refreshment blows over me even now.

"You are there when I walk on the water;
You are there when I'm sinking in sin.
You are there when my heart hits the bottom;
and you lift me up again.

So quiet me with Your love,
with Your love.

In everything You are there,
and that's enough.

Jesus, You are
the bright and morning star
and hope is rising in my heart..."

Thank You Lord.
You are my hope.

I feel like my deceitful heart has been restored (once again)...and God has replaced my feelings with His truths (once again).
As I sat in my pew today, He whispered...

You are not forgotten. You're forgiven.
You are not abandoned. You're adored.
You are not lifeless. You're lifted.

I choose to believe.
I'm not letting go of Him and His grasp will not let go of me.
Together, we are white-knuckling it.

"Underneath are the everlasting arms."
Deuteronomy 33:27

Friday, December 10, 2010

after his mama's heart

A messy house + an emotional and overwhelmed mom=
a recipe for disaster.
But here's a boy who is after his mama's heart!
And a sister who traces his footsteps
(well, literally her own)...with baby wipes in one hand and a feather duster in another...
giving my heart a much-needed smile.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

hanging by a thread...

This past week has been more than just a battle of the heart and mind. It's been war...and probably the darkest time I've ever experienced spiritually. For 16 months I've been pressing on through difficult life circumstances, pursuing Him, praying fervently, choosing joy and finding thanksgiving despite the trials and the giants before us. The past 6 months have been the rockiest...riddled with worry, trust, anxiety, hope, unknown, hurt, excitement, discomfort, dependence like we've never seen, and faith like we've never experienced. Life. has. been. HARD. And a week ago, I felt like I was losing the battle. That my heart was raging war against my mind, with a sword of deceit, trying to cut the small tiny thread I have been so desperately hanging onto.

For days I haven't been able to articulate what I've been feeling. My mind feels jumbled. My heart a bit crushed. My spirit broken. I'm distracted. Preoccupied. Confused. Just days ago, these words bled out of my weakened spirit, painting a portrait of an "amanda" I've never known...

You say You'll never leave me or forsake me.
It doesn't feel like You're here;
I feel abandoned.

You say when I am weak, You are strong.
I'm weary;
I don't feel carried.

You say You deliver the righteous man from His troubles
Why do I feel crushed down?
I don't see deliverance.

My 5 year old asks, "Mommy, when are you going to feel better?"
I don't know
and the tears are everflowing...more countable than the minutes in the day.

My burdened heart is turning to You,
yet I feel no comfort.

I'm angry and forgotten;
where does my help come from?

Yes me of little faith,
turning to Your word,
yet struggling to believe it all true...for me.

Show me how to praise You
when my world is caving in.

You claim those who look to You
are radiant,
Yet I feel dark and sullen.

It doesn't feel like You are FOR me;
I don't hear You, or feel You, or see You.
I cry out into nothing
but empty unresponsive space.

I feel unheard.

This roller coaster ride of life is supposed to have it's ups & downs, but this ride I'm living seems to only be going down. Some days faster and steeper than others, but all the while, I'm still waiting for the thrill of "up." It seems bad news is lurking around every corner. The trials are unceasing. If my child were crying out to me in despair, I'd run to him. I'd sprint. If my child were hurting or in need, I'd rush to her side. With arms wrapped tightly around her. Where are you? Do you hear my cries?
The silence is so loud.

Increase my faith.
I search and wrestle.
The wait it seems so long.

If only I knew where to find You?

"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"
~Jeremiah 17:9

I don't understand it...but I'm thankful You intentionally included this in Your Word, because what my heart is feeling, feels so real. It's overpowering. It's persuasive and convincing. It might not be true...but it FEELS so true. My head knows one thing, but my heart is telling me otherwise. So I am clinging onto Your Word, even though the truth of it feels so distant. It's my lifeline. My hope.

I've experienced You as my daily bread, my living necessity and sustenance. I want to experience You as an extravagant delicacy. Lavish me with You. Let me taste Your goodness.

So where am I today? I'd like to say that with a flip of the switch my tiny little thread has grown into a mighty rope or chain securely anchored to it's source...but I'm not there. A dear friend did remind me to "Hang in there, if even by a thread...because that's all God needs and He will not let go." And slowly, day by day, this tiny little thread is being strengthened by layers of prayer, fibers of truth, knots of encouragement, and unexpected "extras" that have provided grip to my grasp.

Pressing on. Holding on. Persevering.

Monday, December 6, 2010

My 2:47 find...

At 2:47am, I awoke to the baby crying out.
I got out of bed to check on her and then naturally proceeded to check on the other two.
Brooke was not in her bed.
She had already woken me up earlier in the night and had wanted me to sleep with her.
I said "no" and tucked her snuggly back into her own bed. A bit later, she unsuccessfully tried Daddy's side of the bed and was asked again to return back to her own bed.
Upon walking into Brayden's room in the wee hours of the early morn, this is what I found.
I guess when all else fails, you try big brother!
(he certainly didn't seem to notice) :)
And this is what I call "snug as a bug in a rug!"
Try, try and try again.

Friday, December 3, 2010

nothin' but a grin...

this morning, many a simple thing painted a smile upon my face...
like watching my baby delight in her daddy
with nothing but a hand full of cheerios
and a heart full of SuperWhy.
And when I see the innocent honesty of my child
emerge in the most unexpected ways
(such as in the first answer of this worksheet Brayden brought home from school yesterday)
it leaves me with nothin' but a grin.
hoping it stays with me throughout this day.

"This is the day the LORD has made; we shall rejoice and be glad in it."
~Psalm 118:24