These Days…

I’m thinking it’s time for an update. An Emerson update. A Fenley update. A grief update. A Lauren update. I read through some old posts the other night and oh my goodness, it made me so teary eyed and nostalgic and happy. So I really want to keep this whole blog thing going for my own sake.

Emerson Ruth (a.k.a. Emmyru, Emmy, Emmyroof, Emer) — this baby is a dream boat. 26 pounds, 31+ inches and off the charts in every category at her 9 month check up. She is a LOAD to carry. Not that I workout with weights but if I did, I could skip the upper body altogether lugging her around. I love it though. She poops through her diaper to her carseat about 4 times a week. She sleeps through the night. Baby food is our only solid food right now, simply because her mother and father are terrified of said angel baby choking. Her favorite foods are carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and anything mixed with any kind of fruit. But especially bananas. I am still nursing her and it’s so sweet. However. I think I may have to have an “I’m Done Nursing!!!” party when she reaches a year… lactation cookies NOT allowed. Champagne will be the ticket to get in. We took her to DisneyWorld a month ago and had a blast. BUT we were ALMOST in the red zone for a chaotic trip — she has really come alive since Disney. She’s almost on the move and I cannot imagine taking a baby on the move to Disney. OMG. All that to say, Emerson is so many answered prayers wrapped in one adorable chunky roly poly body. We love her and feel complete with her as our caboose. I cry regularly over her life and all that it entails — we all do, come to think of it.

Fenley Grace (a.k.a. Fennybooboochild, Fen, FenFen, Fensterella) — this child is hilarious and amazingly smart and has a killer memory. She is full of life. Sister loves to talk, loves her baby sissy, loves her daddy and loves her mommy. Fenley had a blast in DisneyWorld. She complained minimally and was not scared of one single ride. Oh wait. She was scared of a ride that wasn’t actually a ride — It’s Tough to Be a Bug — she actually said after it was over: “Mama, why did you get a FastPass for that ride?” Haha. Girlfriend has a mind of her own and is already pretty set in her ways. Which I have to respect — because I’m the same way. We butt heads a good bit because little Miss FenFen wants to do things one way and I want to do them another way, and you can imagine the rest. She lets me win about 50% of the time. Kinda kidding. She is starting K5 in the fall at the public school near us — she is pumped and so are we. We will be getting a raise and the school is LITERALLY half a mile from our house. And the school so far has been AWESOME. And they have school buses. Not saying she will ride it frequently but Hallelujah it’s an option. She gets in bed with us every night between the hours of 11:45PM and 6:00AM — gently taps one of us and says “scoot over” — pretty sweet. We are crazy about our funny, strong willed, bright, beautiful Fenley girl and hope and pray we are not totally flubbing this whole parenting/instilling values thing.

William Lamar/Grief (a.k.a. Wills, sweet baby Wills) — oh grief. What are we gonna do with you? Rocking along having a “perfect” (yeah right) life and then BAM. We get a diagnosis that changes everything. He would be 2 now. A perfect for us baby boy that we had the privilege of parenting for 15 days. He changed everything. Every. Single. Thing. Do we still struggle and wrestle? Duh. But geez. Things are just different. Was explaining to some friends — Disney was fun BECAUSE of Wills. Why? Because when you have had a child in your home that rocked your world and other people’s worlds yet he was on oxygen support and a feeding tube and never left this house after he got here — that stuff goes deep down and doesn’t let go. And when you have a healthy baby afterwards (which I highly recommend — if it’s not in the cards for you, PRAY FOR IT ANYWAY – don’t you buy any lies that tell you it won’t happen for you — I’m  mad at the enemy just typing this out. Don’t you go believing that God doesn’t over deliver. And if His delivery looks different than what you had in your head, then check yourself in His word and GO WITH IT). Wait where was I? Haha. Oh yeah, and when you have a healthy baby afterwards and get to lug that chunky healthy baby all over the southeast, you get a deep down grin that NOTHING CAN STEAL. Treasure stored where it CANNOT rot or rust or decay. I. KNOW. THE. ONE. WHO. HAS. CALLED. ME. TO. THIS. LIFE. AND. I. CHOOSE. TO. TRUST. HIM. And THAT my friends is what has made all the difference. He has made Himself known to me over and over and over and over and over and over and over again and I will never stop talking about it. Psalm 9:1 “To be sung to the tune: The Death of the Son. I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all of the marvelous things You have done.” God has made the sweetest season of my life the one that required me to bury my son. I miss that season. I would do it all over again.

Lauren Masa (a.k.a. Mama Bear, Mama, Wifey) — I finally started seeing a counselor. Something I was overwhelmingly AGAINST for many many years. And then God 100% opened the door and then confirmed it. My counselor is teaching me how to guard my heart and take better care of myself – mainly my heart. Proverbs 4… guard your heart, for from it flows all life (basically the verse, ad-libbing here). I’m learning a ton and am thankful. He is encouraging and apparently I need a lot of encouragement. Which I am learning to be okay with. God made us to be encouraged by each other, not torn down or criticized. I’ve had more than my fair share on the giving and receiving end of criticism. But am noticing patterns and getting healthier I hope. I had a blast in Disney. It was an absolute homerun — in the parenting department, in the missing Wills department, in the relishing life department, in the marriage department. All of it. I really feel like God knew we needed some margin time away out of town and made it a really sweet trip for our family of four. And it didn’t hurt that we went with some of our best friends, the Davis’. They were around before our life got turned upside down, during (her chicken spaghetti sent me into labor with Wills) and have steadily been there after. I hope we are half the blessing they are to us. Dru has particularly been really patient with me in our friendship and encouraging and that makes my heart smile. I was having REALLY bad anxiety two summers ago at the beach (approaching Wills’ 1st birthday) and we were at dinner with them and she saw the worst of me and just loved on me through it. We all need more people like that. To sum up my days: changing diapers, carpool, feeding my family, baking, contemplating real estate license to help Walt, cleaning, planning imaginary family trips, looking at Wills’ pics and getting reality checks, reading, going to my counselor, binge watching Blacklist and New Girl, trying to diet, and trying not to be so hard on myself. I’m thankful for this season, it’s a sweet spot for sure.

Sometimes after I leave my counselor’s office, I am a bit too introspective. So I take it to the Word. Have been reading in Matthew… Jesus was so awesome. He loved. And He loved in truth. He wasn’t soft or cushy yet was so compassionate and warm. He healed people. He really changed people. He didn’t pretend we were all great. He knew we were sick and that’s why He came. Why do we try to say we aren’t sick? What’s so wrong with saying I’m screwed up by (fill in the blank) and Jesus saved me and is now sanctifying me. What a great life purpose. To just be saved and in the process of being sanctified and say to other people: “Hey! I know the answer to that doubt/fear/anxiety/shame you can’t quite shake!!!” I don’t think Jesus cares if you ever leave your zip code (sorry, David Platt). Sometimes He told people to GO HOME and share the Good News. The church is not some place where we get to pick and choose what happens or doesn’t happen, what’s okay or what’s not okay. We are simply faucets of whatever He’s doing — and you cannot possibly know what He is really up to without being in the Word. Jesus said ABIDE in me and I will ABIDE in you. What. A. Promise.

Thanks for indulging my little (long) update… please message me on here if there is any way I can pray with/for you or talk through anything at all – anyone that knows me knows that few topics, if any, are off the table.


Below… just some random goodness in the form of photography!!!


Mama loves a selfie


Sweet days at home while big sister is out and about


Selfies with these two cuties are the BEST


Napping in Destin on the way to Disney… couldn’t NOT take a pic


Love these two kiddos


Dinner in France, of course!!!

Not Paris, France but hey, I’ll take it!!!

We love Mickey!


Fenley’s pose just slays me!!!


Fen and her fairy godmother


The quintessential Disney pic


I may or may not wash this mug daily so I can reuse it the next day🙂


Currently my favorite Wills pic that reminds me to GET A GRIP and chill out about life in general and just keep on keepin on🙂



Well here I sit listening to Walt talk to a real estate client (shameless plug – he’s the best guy I know and would love to help you buy or sell your home!!!) staring at my computer looking for front door planters that are NOT in the budget from Terrain. And I was like hello Lauren… fourbowies is just sittin’ there collecting dust.  Why don’t you do something mildly productive (emotionally productive at least) instead of lusting over fancy planters for the plants you will kill this spring.

Speaking of killing things… I’m about ready to kill my social media accounts. I swear I have a mild stress disorder from a random scroll through. No joke, I saw an article the other day with a picture of Oreos that said: “How I Almost Killed My Toddler” WAHHHHH. WHAT THE HECK??? Oreos are lethal now?!

Christian or not Christian – there are SO MANY OPINIONS that we all have these days. We almost act like if you don’t have an opinion about something, that you are in the wrong.

Oh that we would be a people of fewer opinions!!! And intentionally become a people that acknowledge Him for what He has done in our lives. What if we talked and shared more about His fingerprints on our lives PERSONALLY than what we disagree with/get frustrated with/are sick of?

“She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold– which they used for Baal.” Hosea 2:8


If you can’t answer any of those questions, then ask Him to show up for you with a gentle, humble and obedient heart and He will fill your cup to overflowing with answers.

If you can answer some of those questions, do you not think the world needs to hear about it? Not what God disagrees with. Not His pick for president. Not anything but simply His fingerprints on your life and how He has changed you for the better. The harvest is plentiful, the workers are few. Sometimes the work is as simple as sharing in any capacity (social media included) about how You have seen Him at work in your heart, home and life.

We have got to become a people that ACKNOWLEDGE HIM. It’s as simple as that if we are ever going to be a demographic that can get stuff done in the Heavenly realms while living in a world that is lost. Have a real relationship with Him that turns into a real testimony with Him that turns into bearing real fruit for His kingdom with Him.

I know our country appears to be in bad shape. But do you have access to a Bible today? Okay then I don’t wanna hear about the great United States of America being in bad shape.  Is that extreme? Yes. But I stake my life and my hope and my moral compass on the Word and I’m going to take Him at His and stand FIRM knowing HE’S GOT THIS. This world and this country don’t have to have perfect leadership (CLEARLY) for God and His people to GET REAL STUFF DONE! COME ON Y’ALL!!!

So. I’ll take my own advice and acknowledge Him.

I acknowledge His goodness in the restorative work He has done and is still doing in my tends-toward-anxiety-mind. Used to I would not travel without a bottle of Xanax. I would rarely actually take it but I found great peace in just having it with me. He has pushed me out of my comfort zone and shown me that He is enough time and time again. And as I was texting with a friend this week, after my most anxious moments are my greatest breakthroughs in the Spirit. And I am proud to boast in Him that I have not self medicated (excluding moderate wine!!! Haha.) since before Wills. I refuse to let anything but Him get the glory for my freedom and peace. It has been the fight of my life, truly, and I would not take anything for it.

I acknowledge His goodness in giving me time with my son. I will never be able to say enough about that gift from Him so I will just leave it at that.

I acknowledge His goodness in His provision. Every. Single. Time. He comes through. He provides through Walt and sometimes it’s down to the wire which makes us laugh all the harder at just how detail oriented He is.

I acknowledge His goodness in His pursuit of our daughters. Fenley has started to talk about wanting to live a life for Jesus. She has actually already prayed that He would live in her heart (by herself and then told us about it later) and I know she is extremely young but I want to trust Jesus with childlike faith that my child is trusting Him with her own childlike faith. What’s even crazier is Walt and I had noticed a difference in her and had commented on it to each other and then it lined up with the timeline of when she prayed the prayer to be “squeaky clean on the inside.” Not anything sweeter than seeing  a good God pursue my Fenley Grace in a real, tangible way. He is good.

I acknowledge His goodness in providing us with growing, healthy friendships that challenge us to dig deeper spiritually. Listening and talking for hours over coffee, to then have a friend respond with taking revelation a step further.

I acknowledge His goodness in His perfect timing. An encouraging text. A much needed break. A verse out of nowhere that totally puts wind in my sails. A fun moment with Walt after an exhausting week. Wills’ song on the radio after getting in my car from visiting the cemetery. I’ve seen too much, TOO MUCH, to doubt and to pridefully not acknowledge.

If you had told me in my preteen years (you know, that time in your life when you can’t wait to be grown and what all that will entail) that I would be living in this house, married to this husband, raising these 2 girls, being trusted to steward Wills’ story, sleeping in this dreamy bed, getting ready with this huge closet, baking macarons, watching my girls play in this backyard on that awesome swing set I would be ECSTATIC. But ask me anytime in the last few years how life is going, and I am sometimes too quick to say: how tired I am, how bad I need a break and how I am so ready for the next chapter of life.

That’s the funny thing about the enemy… he wants you snoozing at the wheel. He wants you mad about this and panties in a wad about that and depressed about this and put out about that.

But God says: Acknowledge me. Acknowledge that I am the one who provided the bed, the husband, the friends, the wine, the backyard, the finances, the green grass, the rainbows. Acknowledge me and I will be your God and you will be my bride.


How can you acknowledge Him TODAY?





Advent (or lack thereof)

“Lord, You can’t POSSIBLY want ME to write ANYTHING tonight claiming anything about You. Seriously? You think I should write, Lord?? Even after the day I’ve had? Heck, let’s be real, the month I’ve had? Ok. Fine. I get it… I’ll write.”

Here goes…

I’ve shown my butt more this month than I have in the last 31 years combined I do believe. Something about the holidays and the clutter and the grief and the expectations and the umm, togetherness. It sends my OCD, tidy, closet introvert, idealistic personality over the edge.

I’m not an Advent practicer. I simply do not have the energy, patience or desire to do any of it. I ordered 3 Advent books this year in the hope that it would inspire me to start doing Advent activities with Fenley. And considering it’s the 22nd and we’ve done 4 so far, December 2016 is looking like a very promising time for me to get on the Advent train. I can feel it.

To go ahead and rub salt on the wound of not being an Advent guru, I am an avid lover of all things Elf on the Shelf. We have the cartoon recorded. “Sparkle TuTu” gets lots of credit around this house. She’s left us all sorts of notes and hot chocolate to drink and cookies to bake. We love Sparkle TuTu.

On top of that, I beheaded one of my Wise Men today. I knocked him over turning on my lamps to get my house lighting just right. The headless Wise Man. Gotta be a message in there somewhere about wisdom or something like that. Meh. Too tired to figure it out.

So when I felt like God was stirring in me to write tonight, I’m thinking no way. I’m a failure this Christmas. In abundance this Christmas… I’ve fought with Walt. I’ve been selfish. I’ve eaten too much cookie dough. I’ve gotten my panties in a wad about stupid stuff. I’ve yelled at Fenley. I’ve cussed more this month than all of 2015 combined. I’ve done very little abiding in the Word. I’ve spent too much money. I’ve fretted like Martha instead of listening like Mary. Period. There was just simply no way around this confession if I was going to write. So, no Lord, I don’t think it’s a good idea I write anything during the month of December. Let’s just glaze over that month and start fresh in 2016, mkay? I’d like to keep my highlight reel just that, a HIGHlight reel. Not a freaking LOWlight reel. But He prompted me a few times in my heart to write and gave me a few sentences and so here I am. Baring my dang lowlight reel.

Reminds me of someone else I’ve heard about…….and yes I just googled this verse.

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’

Luke 18

This night, this tomorrow, this week, this Christmas, this new year I want to just get off of my high horse. I want to own where I am. I am the tax collector. I simply am. But He promises good fruit and abundant life. How does that happen? How does a tax collector like me get transformed? Instead of fretting and gossiping and complaining and yelling, could I maybe try praying and seeking and serving and abiding?

“Morning by morning He dispenses His justice, and every new day He does not fail.”

Zephaniah 3

Morning by morning He dispenses His goodness. He’s dispensing it but I am simply avoiding (yes, avoiding) Him. Letting that sink in. Ouch.

Are you avoiding Him too? What could you take OFF of that list to just go curl up with a cup of coffee and His Word tomorrow?

I’m officially signing off right this second to go spend time with Him.

(“I will NOT go heat up the glue gun to fix the headless Wise Man. I will NOT go heat up the glue gun to fix the headless Wise Man. I will NOT go heat up the glue gun to fix the headless Wise Man.”)

Good night lovely world… whatever you do tomorrow, be sure you carve out some time to ABIDE for apart from Him we can do NOTHING. John 15.

Merry Christmas!