Posts in lifestyle
On the steps and across the threshold and up the stairs and in the light of the home that held all of their firsts.

The yard where they chased their dog and greeted their neighbors and started their walks into the city. The steps they carried their boys up for the very first time, tenderly, cautiously, excitedly through the doorway into their home, into their together. This afternoon where one corralled a roly poly and another took more steps on his own than he ever has and they all played dinosaurs in an emptying bedroom all just before yet another night they opened their home to the stories and prayers of friends they are choosing to do life beside as family. They live life to the fullest. And their home has been the vessel for it all.

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Whitney the warrior, the protected miracle blessing, comes home.

There was a peace inside their home.A quiet resolve, steadied by storm. Because faith stays under seed husk until the clouds come, and until the rain falls, will not sprout, reach, bury, bud into root. See, four months of her life had held more than many a lifetime, and today what is left after the flood of tears and thunder of chaos is only the beginning, of the harvest stored up by a warrior's perseverance to stay hopeful for the sun. And while some would tuck their head down as so much is still to be understood, ramifications unknown, each day new in what it may hold or hold unmet, tenderly yet unwaveringly, Laura tells her story again and again, unashamedly sharing her heart, heartache and hope alike for one purpose, "We choose to share so that God will be glorified, His provision and love and mercy, evident."See, we named our second daughter Whitney because it means protected. We chose her name after finding out at 23 weeks pregnant that our daughter had gone into heart failure in utero because of something called TRAP sequence. In short, Whitney was a twin but her twin didn't have a heart, which meant Whitney was pumping blood for two babies. Statistics say she shouldn't have survived in the womb but God had other and bigger plans for her life.Two weeks later at 25 weeks pregnant, while being monitored in the hospital and awaiting a procedure, in a moment of chaos, my water broke and the nurses couldn't find Whitney's heart rate on the monitor. Whitney was breech and her feet were clamping the umbilical cord.Immediately, an emergency C-section was performed, the scariest thing we have ever been through. Whitney Parke was born on November 22, 2016 at just 25 weeks gestation. She weighed 1 lb 12 oz and though she was tiny, she came out fighting for her life. Those crucial first few days were a mix of emotions. We were so elated to have our second daughter here in the world, but scared for the long, difficult road ahead. A brain ultrasound showed a level three brain bleed, her heart was in distress after working so hard in utero for such a long time, and many of her systems were underdeveloped. She was quickly transferred to the NICU where she overcame so many obstacles including heart failure, an open PDA and much more.  They say life in the NICU is a roller coaster and it certainly is, but we know God carried us through, we were watching Him heal Whitney. I got to hold Whitney on her sixth day of life. She could fit in one hand. This was the first moment I remember feeling like Whitney was real and that she was ours. It was terrifying to see such a tiny baby, but we were so grateful for the strides she had already made in her short time. As the days wore on, they full of progress and setbacks. Throughout our time in the NICU, we became accustomed to watching the numbers — to understand her condition but trying to not obsess over them. It was exhausting, and we had to try not to get overwhelmed with the fear of the unknown.Through it all, we believed God held us tightly every step of the way, and that helped us cope. In each step we were met by our God who is gracious and never wavers. After 86 days whitney came home and we felt like we could begin our lives as a family of four! Our first daughter, Claire, has been the best big sister, always helpful and loving and attentive. We are so grateful for these girls and while no parent would choose the road God had for us, we know there's a purpose and we are better people because of it. Whitney has already taught us so much about determination and God has shown us infinite provision, love and mercy!

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Four little girls on the sunshine sand of the salty sea.

"There are many firsts, but this one was perfect."She said, eyes full of the man who loved the sisters that were their life. Not even a year ago I watched the two of them grow even more as one as their Amyann Joy was born, and admired the three sisters as they became four. Together they are strength and tenderness and steady and laughter and though every one of their together moments is beautiful, these days now hold some of the richest treasures of their heart. Because we all know most days don't look like this. We all know these kind of memories take putting in the overtime and saving and configuring and preparing. And then suitcases don't zip and plans get changed and time zones are different and the weather, well...it's the weather. But somewhere in all this salt, is that which glistens, gifted by the One who created it all. Who watches us with the same enamorment we feel holding those we've birthed against ourselves. And these four little girls, they reached with abandon for their daddy, hugged his neck tight, lost themselves in his arms and covered him with kisses. But he leaned that much closer. And still he is only a reflection. Of the good Father who smiled on their wonder, their delight, and blessed their first trip together as six. This is the destination: adventure film and photographs of four little girls on the sunshine sand of the salty sea. Made on the shores of Marco Island, Florida, this is a family film from Allison Corrin Photography in Kansas City.

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