“The bad news is time flies – The good news is you’re the pilot.”

I have been dreaming of what being a stay-at-home mom would be like for 4 years. After working and running a business for over 12 years, we made the transition last week into a new life for our little family. I have only been at home a week now and I can tell you, it’s everything I thought it would be and more. Here are some of the things I am loving about this new chapter;

1. Slow mornings. I never thought I was a morning person but It’s growing on me. Seeing those sweet little sleepy eyes and getting lots of snuggles without having to rush is priceless. The house is quiet and peaceful and um…kind of clean. I use to say “hurry up boys” about 10 times a morning. This week I haven’t said it one time.

2. Teaching! Teaching preschoolers has always been my strength and passion. While I  loved being a director, I often missed the simplicity of running a classroom. What a joy it has been to teach my own children. To see their faces light up. To hear my oldest say “look mom, I did it, I finally made a perfect B for Brody.”  To going on shape scavenger hunts with my youngest. They seem to be enjoying too. When they hear “school time” they run for their pencil boxes and supplies with anticipation.

3. Playing outside. No more sitting at a desk for me. It’s monster trucks, swing sets, and playing in the dirt. It’s hot as can be but I don’t mind. It feels good to break a sweat playing tag. It also feels good running through the water hose.

4. Kennedy. I get to play with this sweet little drop of sunshine a couple times a week. She has the happiest disposition and brings us so much joy. I think my boys love spending time with her just as much as me. My world is full of boys, baseball, dinosaurs, monster trucks, and a little girl time is a nice change.💝

5. Simplicity. This is probably my favorite. Instead of juggling several different tasks at a time, I only have two. Take care of my family and my home. While I am quickly learning this stay at home mommy stuff is no small task, it just feels simpler. Not easier by any means! My mind isn’t consumed with endless to-do list. It is consumed with the here and now and I am drinking in every simple little moment.

I am so thankful for all the little hearts that God has allowed me to influence over the years. Their precious faces and families will forever be a part of me. I love the quote, “The bad news is time flies – The good news is you’re the pilot.” Time does fly when you have children. And I don’t want to miss a moment. This pilot is going to slow down and focus on my sweet little boys. I know I am in the honeymoon faze, and there will be days ahead that will be trying but that’s okay. In just one short year my oldest will be in school, and I am sure I will never regret spending this last year with him before he is officially a big boy. And then my youngest will be right behind him. To pour all my love and attention into them will be a blessing. Being a mommy is the hardest most rewarding job I have ever had. I am so grateful for this new little adventure we are on. I have smiled and giggled more than I have in a long time. I am right were I need to be, I am home.

The Great Wait

So here we are again. We have found ourselves in this place so often it seems. We are waiting. Waiting for our adoption to be finalized in court. If you know and understand the adoption process, you know that this can sometimes be lengthy. Our second miracle came to us in November of last year as an adoption placement. We are so close! Our son is legally eligible for adoption. We are just waiting on one final thing. But here’s the catch..this thing could take up to a year. Even though we have been told over and over again there is nothing to fear, I still find myself paralyzed with fear at times. The thought of this precious boy being taken from us is unbearable to say the least. I have had many sleepless nights, nightmares, and have been down right scared to death at times. Nevertheless, I put all my hope and faith in the one who I know placed this little guy in our arms.

I am no stranger to waiting. If you have read my other blogs or know our story, you know that is pretty much the story of our lives. I suppose many of you are also waiting. Waiting for God to bless you with the spouse you have been praying for. Maybe you’re waiting through the endless fertility treatments to finally hear those two words, “you’re pregnant”. You could be waiting for promotion or for direction. No matter what it is, it’s not easy to be patient. So, I thought I would share a few things that have helped me through the great wait. These things are not new ideas. They are actually very simple. Sometimes its basic principles that are what keep us on course. Here are 4 basic things that help you make it to the finish line in the race called “slow down and wait”.

  1. Know what you want! As crazy and as simple as that sounds, it’s so true. How can you continue to wait for something if you’re not sure what it is your waiting on. For example, if your waiting on that special smoking hot person to come into your life. I would strongly suggest you know EXACTLY what you’re looking/waiting for. Or else you may end up falling for the lazy dirt bag who plays video games all day and doesn’t know the meaning of hard work. It’s really hard to stick it out when the going gets tough if you are not confident in your choices. In my case, this little brown-eyed boy is my son. I knew it from the moment I laid eyes on him. So, I will wait as long as it takes.
  2.  Stay connected. This is a biggy! It is so easy to withdraw when you’re waiting. You feel like no one understands. Loneliness during the great wait can consume you if you’re not careful. I have been guilty of this. I learned the hard way that people don’t have to understand to encourage you. There have been many times that lunch with my best friend has been just what I needed. She never tried to give me advice. She just listened. More importantly, she got my mind off myself and onto other things. It is also good to stay connected to a mentor. This person can remind you of your goals, pray with you, pray for you, and keep you motivated. A good mentor is priceless!
  3. Work. Don’t be lazy just because things haven’t worked out for you yet. Get up and do something. I would go crazy if I just sat around pouting all day. And I believe I could justify a good cry. What good is it gonna do to waste the talents and gifts God has given me while I wait on him to bless me? Work on yourself, get involved at church, work on your family, find a charity or cause that you are passionate about and get busy. It helps time pass by and helps keep your mind on something positive. I have poured my heart and soul into other people’s children while I have waited for my own and I do not regret one minute of it.
  4. Prayer/Quiet Time. Trust me when I say this is what is gonna get you through. Pray when you’re angry. Pray when you don’t think you can wait another day. Listen when you don’t have words. Some of my best moments with God have been when I have sat in silence before him. Steps 1-3 are nothing without prayer. How can you know what you want without seeking the God who created you to show you the desires of your heart? Pray that God will show you the people you can connect to while you wait. If the people you are connected to are not “Father Filtered”, they are not gonna take you very far. In fact, they will probably let you down and make matters worse. Pray while you’re working and God will bless the work of your hands.

Hope this encourages those of you who are waiting today. Good luck!

He prepares our heart!

I always knew deep down in my heart that we would adopt. During the long battle with infertility, I had a feeling my story would be different. It’s hard to articulate how. So many people prayed for us and encouraged us…SO MANY PEOPLE. I am so thankful for their support and love during such a hard time. Many offered story’s that went like this, “I knew someone who had the same struggles and then poof…Baby!” I remember a specific conversation with a friend at church. This friend was saying she just knew we would get pregnant. Don’t lose faith. To which I quickly replied, “I am not sure if that’s how God is going to bless me.” It wasn’t a lack of faith that made me say that. It wasn’t me thinking that I was somehow different from the others who had pregnancy miracle stories. It was the sweet Holy Spirit, preparing my heart for my special miracle.

I got this feeling deep in my heart. It was more than a discerning feeling, it was a physical ache. It was with me everyday. All I could do to relieve it was pray. When I would pray the words that came to my mind was, “Lord, watch over my baby, wherever it is. Keep my baby safe from harm. Bring us together”. I felt like I was waiting for someone. I felt silly for praying this way, but it was the way the Holy Spirit was leading me to pray. So, with faith, I prayed just that way everyday! Prayer was the only comfort I could find.  This went on for about 8 months. Which is funny when you think about it. And then it changed!

It started like any other day, hitting snooze on the alarm clock. When I picked up my phone to hit snooze I had a voicemail from an unrecognisable number. Normally I would just hit snooze and listen to the voicemail after I was up and at it. For some reason, I checked the message. If there is ever any motivation to never hit snooze again it was this voicemail.  ” Carey this is________, if you will meet me at court at 9, I will sign over my rights to my son to you”. It was 7:30am!! I think I might have screamed out loud. Partly in fear, partly in excitement, mostly in shock. So I did what a normal girl would do, I called my mother! She just happened to be sitting in church praying. (Which, if you know my mom, is not surprising) She said she would pray that God would someone who could help me. I called my husband and after the long silent few seconds that I am assuming is similar to when a wife goes into labor, he said he was leaving to meet me at the courthouse.

We arrived and met the birth mother at the courthouse. She was tall, beautiful, and kind. I felt like I already knew her. She didn’t feel like a stranger. I immediately had a connection with her. She told me she was an addict and the baby was born drug exposed and in the NICU. Yes, she made poor choices during pregnancy, but I have never felt any anger towards her. It was clear she loved him. I have never doubted that. She chose life for him. She didn’t give him up. She had a plan for him and placed him in our arms like an angel sent from heaven.  We also ran into a case worker who was the help my mother was praying for. I had known her for several years. She moved mountains for us that day. After a long day in court we left and immediately went to see him.

The nurse prepared us and led us back to him. He was 6 pound and 18 inches long with head full of beautiful blonde hair. I looked him over, taking in every detail. My husband was also in amazement. We took turns holding him and feeding him. I choose to stay the night and snuggle as much as possible while my husband worked out some things at home. This all happened so fast. Within 24 hours we were parents. No baby shower, no time to plan a nursery. Its funny, the only thing that was prepared was my heart.

I had held him all night. It was early in the morning and the NICU was quiet and peaceful. Out of no where I started to weep. Not cry, WEEP! Here he was, our baby, the one I had been praying for. A nurse came over to see if I was okay. “This is my baby!” I cried. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said ” Yes he is honey, I can see it in your eyes.” And just like that, God answered our prayers. He brought us together. He kept him safe during 9 months of drug exposure. He had some time to recover from the exposure and has been perfectly healthy ever since.

Brody JamesWhat if I hadn’t been praying and seeking? What if I hadn’t listened to that still small voice leading me how to pray? Philippians 4:6 tells us,  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. When we are connected with God in constant conversation we stay connected to his will for our lives. When you are facing troubled times and you don’t know which direction to take or what to do, its amazing what He will show you when you sit in silence and listen.  Lamentations 3;25 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times.28-30 When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence.Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. 

God has proven to be good and faithful to me when I have patiently waited and sought his face. Just this past year, as I was praying, I had that same feeling all over again. I began to pray for a child I had never met and knew was mine.

Jase ShaneI was more confident in my prayers this time. That’s what happens. You gain confidence that God will meet your every need and hears you when you pray. A few months later, another beautiful son. He is another wonderful promise fulfilled. His story his very similar to our oldest. FAST! One day we were a family of three and the next a family of four.

It’s beautiful how God prepares your heart when you allow him to. Giving him control of our lives is never easy. Especially in the midst of times when taking control feels like the only way to survive. During some of the most difficult times in my life, he was preparing me for the journey ahead. And what a beautiful journey it has been!

That day

We all have “That day”. You know the day that test your faith beyond a place you ever wanted it to be tested. Come on, lets be honest, we all say we trust God, but when you are faced with A LOT of obstacles at once it’s hard to even know where to begin to trust God.

There was a lot of things that built up to make that day one of the most faith crushing days ever. My husband and I had faced many things in the year 2009 that could test your faith. After 9 years of marriage and infertility struggles I was diagnosed with stage 4+ Endometriosis . I had 2 surgeries behind me and was placed in medically induced menopause to allow my system time to heal from all the damage done to my body by the endo. Most women who have endo have it in the uterus, ovaries, etc. My endometriosis was much more aggressive covering those organs as well as my intestines, stomach, gall bladder, and kidneys. Being in menopause in your 20’s wasn’t the best of times. But it was necessary not only for fertility purposes but for my health and quality of life. Along with that our house burned in May. With no where to live we moved in with my parents. Did I mention my husband was laid off work. In June my husband’s mother was badly burned and placed in the burn unit at Vanderbilt. Her health was already poor from cancer and chemotherapy so her burns could not heal. Seeing someone you love suffer so badly was indescribable. Her Dr’s allowed us to take her home and care for her in her final days. Those days where both hard and precious. Even though it was difficult,  I am thankful for the opportunity to honor my husband by caring for his mother.  If you have ever cared for a dying loved one you know the depth of desperation for your precious family member to be comfortable in their last moments here on earth.  And so, the next few months we continued to grieve, work on rebuilding our home, and continued the medical care for my condition. All the while I was running a business that demands a lot of attention.  Looking back I am reminded of God’s faithfulness to lend us the strength needed to put one foot in front of the other.

Despite all of those hardships, for some reason, none of them compared to the disappointment of the day we thought would be our day of victory. The day that was supposed to turn everything around. I guess what made this day different from any other was my faith. I had more faith than I have ever had. This was the day, the day our dream of becoming parents would finally come true. My endo was gone for a brief moment and it was a race against time to conceive since it would quickly return. We choose to do IUI(Intrauterine insemination). I started all the medications and it just so happened the day of our procedure fell on my birthday. In my mind this was a sign. The fact that all the stars aligned and my best chances for a successful procedure fell on my birthday was too big of a coincidence. I just knew that it was God giving me my birthday present, the gift we had been waiting and praying for. We talked about how we would make our big announcement. Since we had been trying to concieve for so long I already had plenty of ideas. We discussed girl and boy names, due dates, what if we have multiples, and all the joys that were ahead. We arrived with all the faith in the world that this was our day. We waited for the procedure to begin and then the news that turned THE DAY into THAT DAY…”Mr. and Mrs. Linginfelter we have a problem. Your husband’s sample is sterile.”

I would like to make a side note that this is the first time we have shared this part of the story. This was so devastating and so deeply personal for my husband that I have respected his privacy. When we discussed me starting a blog, he allowed me to share the whole story in hopes that it could encourage other couples who have faced the same hardships. He is brave and humble, and I pray that God uses his openness to heal others.

After a very long and devastating conversation we left completely broken. I can’t speak for my husband, but I am sure like me his faith suffered a huge blow. We cried the whole way home and he told me he wanted me to find someone else who could give me a family. I have a hard time finding the words with my limited vocabulary to express the sadness we felt. Seeing my husband so devastated was almost unbearable. And if anyone understood his heartbreak over infertility it was me. He was already grieving the loss of his mother and now this.

Now, almost 6 years later, we are finally beginning to heal. When you face so many obstacles at once you go into survival mode. You put one foot in front of the other and find a reason to trust and believe God is able. For me, it wasn’t until things settled a couple of years later that I realized how broken and damaged I was. God, in his great love for us, taught us to stand firm and made us strong. Without a strong foundation and our hope in Jesus we wouldn’t have made it through. Infertility takes a giant toll on a marriage. Physical and mental intimacy with one another is tested beyond understanding. It takes work. We removed every option to give up. We loved each other at our worst. Allowing God to love us at our worst, giving us a new understanding of grace.  We had to fall in love again. This time, as different people. Life had changed us.  God answered our prayers and gave us the family we longed for. 

Now with two beautiful adopted boys, here we are. Still healing, still learning, still falling in love over and over again every day. Many scriptures come to mind when I reflect on that day. Many lessons learned that have made us stronger and better.

We learned to be content and at peace in any situation. This is the TRUE joy of the Lord. God is sovereign over all things. When he gives, he is sovereign. When he takes away, he is sovereign. Philippians teaches us to do all things with joy. Even when complaining and quitting would be natural and explainable.

Isaiah 46:4- I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along, and save you.

Philippians- 1:6 And I am certain that God, Who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that great day when he returns.

Hello world!

As a mother, wife, a preschool director, and everything in between, I have a lot of thoughts that seem to get lost in translation. Being the deep thinker that I am I need a place to let it out so I can move on. I have seen some really high highs and really low lows. I would like to share my experiences in hopes that someone might be encouraged. So here it is- my personal journal for all the world to see.