wo-OAH here he comes

36 weeks and 4 days.

This time last pregnancy I was holding two little teeny weeny babies in my arms. I can’t believe that I’m already at this point with little brother. I had what I believe will be my last check-up yesterday. My heart rate was great. Brother’s heart rate was great. He is head down and VERY low. And wouldn’t ya know, I’m already progressing. 2 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced.

When the doctor told me the update, I was SO excited and even relieved to a certain degree. Then my brain started going through every detail that ‘needs’ to be in place for this baby to come. I’m scheduled for my last sonogram on the 27th, but of course I’m constantly wondering if I’ll even make it that far. I’m currently washing carseat and changing pad covers. I realized that if I go in to labor before friday, Steve’s parents are out of the country and mine are 8 hours away, so we kind of need to have someone lined up to come take care of our girls at a moment’s notice. Before last night, I didn’t even have a hospital bag packed or a ‘coming home’ outfit picked out for brother. Obviously, we haven’t settled on a name. I have in my own heart. But we’ll see what happens. ;) My floors are disgusting. My guest bathroom is overrun with the girls’ toys and toothbrushes and lotion and conditioner, and I would rather it have fresh clean white linens hung and stocked up in the cabinets! Haha I need to go on a huge grocery trip to stock up on meal supplies for both the girls and my parents when they come stay with us. We need to hang the door to the guest room so that they have some privacy! I would like to buy one of those cozy little carseat inserts and strap covers for brother so he stays snug as a bug this winter. The mattress to his crib just shipped yesterday. I’d like to have his cool IKEA leaf hung in his room, but we can’t seem to settle on a great placement for it. I’d like to stock up on a few more diapers and wipes for all the kids. I would love to have a few freezer meals prepared and tucked away. Oh, I’d really like to snag a moby wrap to be able to wear brother around. I want to find a good deal on a mirror to hang over the sink in the basement so it feels nice and new and clean down there as a guest area. Shoot, I’d just love to redo the whole sink area… Oh yeah, laundry. Ha!  I want to hold my girls all day and climb in to their little cribs and snuggle them while they nap. I want to freeze every moment they do something sweet and cute and ornery and never forget the way they look right now.  I would love for it to just snow. I’d like to give Zekers a REALLY good bath and cut his mangy little claws and wash his bed so that he smells/looks/feels great. I want to go on a date with Steve. I want to serve him an awesome meal and rub HIS feet and shoulders and not have him feel like I’m going to fall to pieces every night when he gets home! I’m REALLY excited about seeing a little boy in our house. I am overwhelmed with imagining what he looks like. I want to know his personality and kiss his little lips. I’m so thankful for every time that I’ve gotten to hear his heart beat, but I cannot wait to FEEL it! I am ABUNDANTLY thankful that my girls are sleeping soundly and my house is quiet right now.

..this has been my brain since yesterday afternoon..

I cried out to the Lord, and He heard me. His mercies were new again today, and He has poured out His grace on my crazy little heart. He keeps whispering to me, “I’ve got it. I’ve got you. You need only be still.” So be still my wayward heart, and know that He is God.


in everything ...

… give thanks.

When your plans go awry JUST as you are about to walk out the door for a 7 hour trek, give thanks.

Because, ya know, I was just going to empty my bladder like a good pregnant wife before we loaded the car to hopefully reduce our number of potty breaks. And lo and behold that pee was not right. Not to mention that after I stopped to think about it, I had been having lower back pain all morning long. So, after a phone call to my OB, Steve and I were on our way to the ER instead of Memphis.

Instantly, my fear was that my incision from the c-section with the girls had ruptured causing internal bleeding and I was going to be en route for another emergency c-section to deliver my 33 week old lil buddy. I was not ok with that scenario at all. No section. No NICU. No baby yet. And this is why I am thankful that

it’s just a kidney stone.

After a round of IV fluids and testing some urine samples, the doc ruled out anything to do with pre-term labor and was confident that my culprit is a stone.  He proceeded to explain that according to Murphy’s Law, if I made up my mind to head on south, I would of course end up being in the worst pain of my life in the middle of nowhere needing to pass the stone. But if we stay home (which he very strongly suggested), I would rest and hopefully pass this bad boy with little complication. So we opted for what seemed to be the wiser of the two choices and with heavy but hopeful hearts are going to be thankful with our midwest family instead of the southerners this year! 



I just recently completed the “Get Real” bible study with some of the women of Harvest Bible Chapel Peoria, and I am so thankful for the willingness and humility of the ladies who taught and how God used them to speak (some hard) truth to us. But times of refreshment and learning are usually followed by times of sifting and trying. And though I feel like I could have written multiple blogs after each session, I have found that my priorities have desperately needed shifting to do what best worships God instead of my self throughout the day. So, I had to forgo blogging until this morning. [Ok, I have to just stop and say that I really wish I could expound on everything that’s led to this post, but I am just going to have to ask you to go and listen and read for yourself. Go taste and see that the Lord is good and that His Word proves true.]

Now that I'm a few weeks out from having been poured into immensely, I am finding myself being tested on wether or not I can/will accurately handle the truth to which my eyes have been opened. I’m sure most of you who read this will identify with me that when God lays parts of you open, you become very sensitive to that sin and shortcoming not only in your own life but also other’s as well. So you are then given the chance to walk in humility and be a vessel of the grace that is being poured out to you, IF you are willing. And then there are times where we’ve been illuminated to something that resonates so deeply and moves us so powerfully that we are quick to share it and let it go instead of letting that Word take root as we meditate on it and really let God work it into our bones so we can live it out. It’s like we hear it, think it sounds great and clever, and regurgitate it back out and then it’s gone. We haven’t let it take root for the Spirit to nourish and water and prune that truth for it to bear fruit in our lives.

But what is really striking a chord with me, and has since I surrendered my life to the Lord, is that spiritual maturity and wisdom aren’t just reserved for the older. No one is just rewarded those things because they have more years in their life than another. And the older that one gets, the easier it is to cast judgement on someone younger than yourself just because you believe they haven’t had the years in their life yet to know things or gain wisdom. And let me just say that I will always go to bat for the young. Shame on me for showing disrespect to a brother or sister in Christ because they are younger, and I assumed that they didn’t have the capacity to see the wood for the trees. If their heart is the Lord’s, He can teach and move and show them what He pleases! Historically God used the young. He shames the old with the young. He calls for the young to come to Him and for the old to be as the young in their faith and trust in Him!!! 1 Timothy 4.12 says to not let anyone despise or think less of you because of your youth. And even in the face of that condescension to still be an example in your speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. 1 Corinthians 3.18-19 warns that no one deceive themselves supposing that they are wise in their age. They should become a fool by discarding worldly discernment and recognizing their self as being dull, stupid, and foolish, without true learning and scholarship. Walk in humility! Then comes wisdom. Worldly knowhow is foolishness, absurdity, and stupidity with God, and He WILL lay hold of the ‘wise’ in their own craftiness.

Proverbs 1.7 also says that reverential and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning, the starting point, the essence of wisdom. BUT fools despise skillful and godly wisdom, instruction, and discipline. (Especially when it comes from a younger believer.) Brother and sister, let the latter not be you!!! My heart cry, my plead, my challenge is this:  that we let Ephesians 4 be true of us; that we are walking in a manner worthy of the calling to which we’ve been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.

That is my heart this morning. I pray it’s to God’s glory.



Earlier this morning I ventured out of the house with the girls and into the blinding fog to join some women from Harvest for a new five week study called ‘Get Real’. Although the girls protested being there (even after we were leaving Eisley tried to wriggle her way out of the stroller in protest, and I almost ran her over…), I am beyond thankful for throwing us in the car to go, and I look forward with great expectancy to the weeks to come.

I was hesitant to sign up because I knew it would be hard work to get us out the door and back in time for lunch not to mention it meant the girls were now missing morning nap two days out of the week instead of just one. I was also a little concerned with how I was going to maneuver two toddlers with a baby boy belly that is getting bigger every day. However, I couldn’t get away from hearing about this study group, and I have been aching to dig in deeper with other women before I’m disconnected for a bit when little brother comes. So, we went.

Jonna, pastor Tim’s wife, taught the opening session today and posed the question, “are we willing?” She reminded us that we can learn and regurgitate Truth all day long, but unless we are actually willing to do something about it/live it out/let it change us, we will just be wasting our time. The study progressed and God very gently began pointing out the flaws in me that He is wanting to change into His image. However, it wasn’t until our breakout group time that my eyes were very clearly opened and my heart felt the weight of conviction as my own mouth spewed out ugly truths about my sin. Instead of running to God’s Word for truth and waiting in quiet strength, I confessed that I’ve been running to technology in my alone time to peruse the web, check (and subconsciously compare my life to) social media, and catch up on meaningless shows.

God had started chiseling away as I read the honest words of a friend from college and realized that I and so many others were blindly falling and sometimes even WILLINGLY walking into Satan’s traps and distractions instead of choosing to live in the truth of God’s Word. Without even realizing it, I had begun to choose to wait for my family to mess up and disappoint me in their disobedience instead of looking to my Father and following His example of waiting to be GRACIOUS and show MERCY in my disobedience! (Is 30.18) I pray that if you read this, you would allow God to reveal what He wants to change in you. And when the question is asked, ‘are you willing?’, you will have an unwavering trust in God to boldly answer with a resounding ‘Yes!'

This God—his way is perfect;
    the word of the Lord proves true;
    he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18.30


and Babe3 is ...

Around 9am this morning we had our 20 week sonogram, number 2 of 3 that will be had with this pregnancy. It’s still crazy to think that there will only be three sonos after having one at every appointment last time around. But alas, here are some photos of el bambino.
I’m not gonna lie, I can’t remember where eyes and nose are, but you can have fun trying to figure it out!
Sweet little legs crossed just like big sissy, Eisley. The feet are actually by the face even though you can’t see the face. There is PLENTY of room to stretch out, but bambino just loves to cuddle I suppose.
Woop! There it is.
Babe3 is little Baby Boy Risinger!!!

We’re beyond excited and looking forward now more than ever to having this little life join our family.



Thanks to a certain website that is full of DIY ideas and renovations and redo’s and hairdo’s and recipes and … well, you know? Pinterest. Yeah, thanks to some time spent perusing its vastness, I came across this nifty little blog.

Most of my time spent searching on Pinterest is either to find something to help save money/time in my home or someone else’s. And when I found this little ditty, I knew it was a keeper. I could finally stop feeling guilty about keeping my very first pair of TOMS that I never wear anymore. I hate keeping extra stuff that takes up space or serves no purpose for me (us). SO, when I saw that I could give new life to one of the most comfortable pair of shoes I own, I was all over it.

This blog gives an EXTREMELY easy tutorial to follow. I really want to emphasize this because I read it once, WEEKS ago, and recovered my shoes today in a few short hours without ever referencing the blog. I used remnants of fabric from my girls changing pad cover and some old sheets, scissors, a pen, and some almighty E-6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive. And this is what I got:

The sides are actually a slate gray color. I just snapped a few quick pics on my phone to get on the blog. I plan on going back to mimick the stitching around the panels by hand. I’m sure I’ll probably use an ivory or cream colored thread. But other than that, they’re finished. Thank you Eisley and Lola for letting momma craft today!


thoughts on #3

Headed in to week 18 of this pregnancy still seems surreal. Busyness with babies and meals and garage construction keep my mind everywhere else but on having a new babe growing. Some days pass by and I don’t even think about being pregnant, or I come to the end of the day and wonder why I am so tired. Ha! Crazy, right?  Last pregnancy there wasn’t a day from the beginning to the end that I didn’t feel, look, act, or smell pregnant! It is true. Every pregnancy is different; one to the other, person to person.

I do find myself getting nervous butterflies about finding out if it’s a boy or girl. The anticipation only grows even more intense because I know we could know today if we had a sonogram. We could’ve possibly known two weeks ago! But alas, we have to wait until August 27th. I would be lying if I told you that we have no preference. We would (Steve for sure) be stoked for it to be a little Steve growing in there. But there is also some wonder and excitement about having another little girl. We already have two crazy, very different little squirrels. What would the third one be like?

Oh well. Here are a few fun facts and comparisons to start your weekend off with a laugh:

Pregnancy #1 @ 9-10 weeks: I was already gaining weight and using the trusty rubberband pants closure method. Appetite was gone. Everything smelled foul. Skin was breaking out like a 13 year old.
Pregnancy #2 @ 9-10 weeks: No one knew we were pregnant, and I could’ve gone to bed at 3:30 every afternoon from being so tired. Appetite remained. The smell of our car was the only smell that got on my nerves. No pimples!

Pregnancy #1 @ 18 weeks: Two words. Maternity. Clothes. Definitely felt babies move. Definitely put on the pounds. Definitely looked preggers. Definitely emotional about everything. Usually wanted chocolate chip cookies.
My best friend Lindsay (aka: “Loopy”) and I (around 18 weeks) in true form. Look at those little bellies!

Pregnancy #2 in the 18th week: You may not be able to tell that I am pregnant depending on what I’m wearing. I dug out one maternity shirt last weekend because it was soft and long. Praising the Lord to still be wearing normal clothes. Feeling little babe move every now and then when I sit still. I don’t cry. I get mad. And I could polish off a jar of jalapeƱo peppers every day.

August the 9th I’ll be going in for a check-up. August 14th and 15th girls get their shots and have their one year check up. Then on the 27th we’ll see if we have a little brudder or sissy bell! And in between all of that we have family time and friend time and church time all up in the mix. Here we go August! Let’s get this party started.


three years

Thinking about the paradox of the flexibility versus the permanency of time always leaves me in wonder. (More so with the Creator of time than the actual events that have taken place.) However, I am writing to specifically reflect on events that have taken place within the past three years.

On August one of 2009 I married this fella. 
Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryan Shepherd

So much 'life' has happened since that day, so much learning (and re-learning), and growing (and digressing). Even in the midst, I still have days of waking up in the morning and giggling to myself because I really did marry Steve Risinger, 'that Yankee boy' as my Papa affectionately calls him. And he really is my best friend, who in these three years has shared many moments of feeling that we were each other's only friend. We've come from being passionate opinionated hot-headed college-aged co-wokers/ministers to being passionate opinionated hot-headed young adults, with KIDS. 
From this:

To this:

See! So much has changed yet so much has stayed the same. (hehe)

But in all seriousness, God has continued to mold and shape us and work His story of redemption and reconciliation in and through us. We've seen it happen from something as seemingly insignificant as remodeling our home (which I could, and probably will, write another post to the analogies and lessons learned from that) to the profoundly significant of renewing and restoring friendships and relationships with family. We truly are dancing in the minefields. And for all of this, I get the privilege of being eternally grateful. 

But most importantly today, I rejoice that I am my beloved's, and he is mine. Stephen Keith Risinger, you are the best in the whole wide. Thank you for the best three years so far!


Well, well, well

Somewhere in my childhood, my family started poking fun at anyone who would just say, "Well..." by retorting, "Now that's a deep subject." *insert hee-haw slap on the knee*
But honestly, I can't tell you how many times Steve and I have tried to begin conversation about life with a third babe in the house with "Well..." and get stuck there. Absolutely lost in thought. Almost totally overwhelmed with imagining what life is going to look like for our family in six months.

As many of you have seen or heard by now, we are indeed expecting our third child to be born on January 11 of 2013. I am currently in my 14th week of the pregnancy and am very glad to be entering the second trimester. I go to the doctor tomorrow for a check-up and to set the date for our next appointment to find our what we're having! And to answer all the questions/comments about being sure there aren't two more, we are SURE that there is only one babe in the womb. We had the sonographer double check. :)

We've known we were expecting since the week before Mother's Day and chose to keep the news to ourselves for quite a few reasons, one of the main ones being miscarriage. On the heels of a high risk pregnancy and ending the nursing phase of the twinks' diet, my hormones were still a bit off kilter which could have very likely led to my inability to facilitate a healthy pregnancy. So, not that we wouldn't be open about trials and hardships that God allows us to be sifted through in life, we just felt it a wise choice for us to keep info-spreading for a later date. Also, quite honestly, I did not handle the news of the positive pregnancy test very well. Tears that I cried were not tears of joy. If I was in control of my life, I would have waited for the next child to be born after the girls were out of diapers, potty trained, and bit more independent so as to be able to better communicate and help out a bit with taking care of themselves.

At this point I think it goes without saying that we were not planning on having another baby right now. But to say that this baby was an 'accident' seems very harsh to me. Unplanned by our brains? Yes.  A Resounding YES! But accident by no means. I have been sharply reminded how much God is in control and I am not. He knows the plans He has for me! I do not. He has crafted me in such a way to be able to raise my family in this time frame. His strength and grace will be sufficient because mine is not. I look to the future and smile and am not afraid, because God has a grand adventure waiting for me to be a vessel to shine His glory. I look forward as we await this next season of life. As the lyrics to a dear friend's song echo Psalm 27:  I will wait on You/ I will be strong/ and take heart/ I will wait.

My life is not my own.