Category Archives: faith

These are Truly Times that Tries Man’s Souls!

Last week I started taking an online Literature class. Yesterday I was assigned to read the pamphlet The First Crisis by Thomas Paine. I had to pick a quote that spoke to me and break it down and explain why it meant so much to me. These are the words that I let flow. God Bless America!

The first Crisis booklet unfolds with the famous quote “These are the times that try men’s souls”. The word “try” represents a “trial” on one’s soul. In other terms, Paine is saying the times that were being lived were the moments that tested men’s souls. Yet, he was very passionate about America’s fate, and he believed imagined that it would become the most powerful in the nation.  His dream was for his nation was to become a sanctuary for people seeking rest from unfair rulers.
How ironic that we would be asked to read this particular text the day of the new president’s inauguration. I have never been a political person. I’m a simple-minded girl from Alabama.  However, in the past few years, I’ve started paying much more attention to things going on around me. The year 2020 was a rough one for all of us. I had a baby the week before the Government shut down. My baby had to stay in the NICU for 22 days. I was the only one allowed in to see her, and I had to be very cautious. I could only go once a day and once I left I was not permitted to return. I battled a terrible case of postpartum depression, which was compressed tenfold because of the fear of a virus no one knew much about. It was so scary. I’ve sat back and watched as the land that I love has crumbled to pieces. I won’t go into my political views out of respect for others, but we all need to stop thinking so much about what’s going on today, and think more about what our children’s future will hold if things continue to unfold as they are. These are truly times that try American’s souls!

💛 LaBranda

Hello 2021 Goodbye 2020

I almost did write this post. As we all know 2020 has been one for the birds. I’ve personally gone through some of the scariest moments of my life. The uncertainty of this time has added a lot of extra stress and anxiety to my life. But, in addition to chaos, 2020 brought smiles, giggles, slobber and a little girl that I didnt know I wanted.

Piper will be 10 months old next week. These last 10 months have been rough at moments yet amazing at most. I dont want this post to be filled with the dreadfulness that we have all come to know. If you need any of that look back at my older posts where I talk about my terrible post partum depression.

Usually my New Years posts are filled with reflections, but the only positive reflection I have is Piper ElizabethAnne Jones. And she is something to look forward to as well.

We dont know what 2021 will bring us. If nothing else this year has taught us that. But we do know that whatever it is our Father God will bring us through it.

I pray you all have an amazing New Years eve. We are going to some friends house and have a bonfire and play some games. A little different one again than recent years, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Be Blessed WordPress!

She Has an Angel

To everyone else this is just a simple picture of a cute lamp sitting on a chest of drawers. To me it represents us being one step closer to my little girl having her own room. We have gone through so much to get to this point. We have lost someone special along the way. We know he is looking down and watching over our girl. He would gladly give up his room so that she could have it. We miss him but we will make sure Piper knows what a wonderful human being her Uncle Mark was. Now let the Unicorn fun begin!! #PrincessPiper #BeautyFromAshes #CantWaitToDecorate

The Year 2020 Has Already Taught Me That We Plan But God Decides.

When you arise in the morning, think about what a precious privlege it is to be alive – to breath to think, to enjoy, to love. There are so many that are not able to do any of this, yet wish they could. Everyday is a new beginning. Take a deep breath, smile and begin again. God woke you up this morning for a reason. Trust in his plan, his timing is always perfect. He will make a way!

When you are in a place of waiting, remember how God delivered you before, saved you before kept you before and provided for you before. Nothing is too hard for Him. Trust and wait paitently on the Lord.

Life never seems to be the way we want it, but we live in the best way we can. There is no perfect life but we can fill it with perfect moments. Good Morning!

Love, LaBranda

Happy Thanksgiving my beautiful WordPress peeps! I hope today found you all recalling Thanksgivings from past years, before there was a such thing as covid. This time of the year can be very daunting for some people. Through the years we have all lost loved ones and I suppose it’s the extra time off or the slow pace of the season that reminds you of those gone on before us. The person you are missing may not be dead, instead they are no longer a part of your life. For the most part, even if we miss the good times with those people, their absence in your life is probably better for you. 

I’m always amazed at how different our lives can be in the 365 days it takes us to get back to this day. This time last year Mark was still alive, he had been living with us for 4 months. I was pregnant with Piper and physically and emotionally miserable. I was scared to breathe a certain way in fear of losing my baby. There were many dark days and I would not allow myself to imagine what it would be like to have another baby in the house. Trauma and loss will do that to a person. Especially when you don’t feel like you deserve it. Yet, my Father did not forsake me. And now i can’t imagine what life would be like without Piper. Thanksgiving will always make me think of Mark. For the past 3 years he would come and spend the whole week with us. His desperation for love and family acceptance made his love for the holidays that much deeper. 

2020 has been a much different year for all of us and for so many reasons. We can look around and although we have been through things and lost people, we can be thankful for those we still have with us. Never in a million years did i think that I would spend Piper’s 1st Thanksgiving on lock down with my family of 4. But, we didn’t do without. My best friend Holly did a front porch drop off for us and one for my Mom. She prepared a feast fit for royalty complete with made from scratch cheesecake and pumpkin cake. I have known this woman since I was 14. We are in very different stages of our lives right now, but in the end we always find our way back to each other. It didn’t matter that we haven’t hung out in months. She knew we were in a tight place not being able to go to the store and prepare ourselves our own meal. She said that she couldn’t sit down and eat knowing we didn’t have the appropriate holiday food. They say you only meet a handful of people that you can count on through thick or thin. She will always be my person and I hers.

Pipers first time in her toddler stroller

Today was day 3 in quarantine and it was a great one. The boys convinced me this morning to have a day off of our house transformation. I agreed that we had worked hard the last two days and we deserved to relax a little. I did manage to do a few loads of laundry. We watched a few movies and after our surprise dinner we were feeling a little stir crazy so we went on a family walk. No close contact with anyone else, but we did see a few friends out and about and they waved out the window. Piper enjoyed her 1st Thanksgiving and her favortie food was the chicken and dressing. Im sitting here thinking about all we have to be thankful for and i cant wait to see what wonderful things God has planned for my family in the upcoming days. I pray you are all blessed and grateful. 

                                   Love, LaBranda

Life in the Q:Day 2

Good evening my fellow WordPressers! Today was another productive day. The boys were able to finish putting down the wood floor in the living room and Eli’s room. I was able to finish about 5 loads of laundry and I went through all of Piper’s clothes because she has hit a growth spurt. She is officially in 6-9 months. Our girl is getting so big!

I had to get a little creative with keeping her happy. There is only so much time she can spend in her walker, bouncer, and play pen. It was such a nice day. I took her bouncer outside and put it on the front porch and she and I sat out there for a while and watched the birds. Then I put her in her stroller and we went for a little walk on the dead end, side street by our house. 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day and we will continue our lock down. But you know it’s nice not rushing around trying to get all that food cooked and dreading going from house to house. It won’t be a typical Thanksgiving but my little family of 4 will all be together and be happy and count our blessings that we are all still healthy. 2020 has been a heck of a year. It’s taught me so much and probably the biggest lesson is that it’s ok to take time and slow down. Sending time with my boys and my baby girl these last couple of days has been just what I needed. 

Thank you Father God for the little things like watching my baby eat ice cream for the first time and seeing how she has learned to run around in her walker. Thank you for my son and how he is such a big helper to his dad and I. I don’t know what we would do without him. Most of all Lord thank you for this special time we have together and for keeping us all safe and healthy. I think we all need this down time ever now and then! I love you Lord!!

                                     Love, LaBranda

Life in the Q:: Day 1

Yay! We survived day 1 of quarantine! I’m still married, and both my children have had an adventurous day. I was able to get a hold of my boss who had the Head Start nurse contact the CDC to see what the appropriate practices would be since I was exposed to a positive case. I was advised to stay in and hunker down until December 7th. Tj was also given the advice from his boss to take a 2 week break. Both of us will be paid for this thank God.
We started our day with opening all the windows in the house since it was so beautiful outside. I was really pleased yet shocked at how on board my boys were with agreeing that we should spend the rest of this week getting the house in order. Next week we can make the best of our time together and just relax. We made a big dent in our laundry mountain, as well as sorting through our drawers and closets and deciding on the clothes we need to keep, donate, and trash. There is still a good amount of laundry to be completed, but hey, why rush, we have 13 more days! HAAAAA! Eli got a bit of his room done. Their plan is to get everything out of there so that Tj can finish the floor in there and then they can start in Piper’s room.
We spent some time watching YouTube documentaries and playing with Piper. All in all I enjoyed day one and hope the next 13 go as smoothly.
I am determined to use this time with my little family and admit this is God’s way of telling us to slow down and enjoy each other while we can. After all, my children will only be children for a minute in time. If you are reading this I hope that you had a great productive day and that you will stick around and watch how the rest of this quarantine saga plays out. Be blessed!!

                                        Love, LaBranda

An Intresting Turn of Events

It’s incredible how one thing can change an entire week. If you read my blog often you will know that in my last post I talked about having this week off and how I wanted to get my house in shape. I did get a few things done yesterday before I went to town and got some errands done. But then the call came in not long after I got back to the house. Some good friends of ours that we often spend time with on the weekends, and whose house we were at this past Saturday, called to inform us that they both tested positive for Covid. That sentence fills me with fear. Not for myself but for my Mom and my children. I went to Moms house after we left their house on Saturday night. I’m trying to remain positive that God’s plans are perfect and that he knows what he is doing. The silver lining in all of this is that my husband has never had a 2 week paid vacation. But, he got himself one this year. So for the next 14 days me and my family will be quarantined inside this house together. Y’all pray for me because dealing with these boys can get really hairy at times. Lol I plan on getting tons done in the house, reading a good book, getting more writing done, and spending more time with God. I believe he allows things like this to happen to get us back to basics. His timing is never late or early, yet always on time. Stay tuned, I plan on documenting my time inside. Be blessed, not stressed. 

                                                               LOVE, LaBranda

Day 17 of NICU Life

Hello all! Life is surly very strange for us all of us these days. I just wanted to hop on and update everyone on our Piper girl!

Today is day 17 in our NICU life. We had originally been told this past weekend that we would be released to go home today. She passed her hearing test and her car seat challenge with flying colors. She no longer has her feeding tube and is taking all her feeds by mouth. She is consistently gaining weight and is currently 5 pounds and 14 oz!

After reviewing her chart, doc decided he wanted to watch her for a few more days while they weaned her off some meds. I get it, but it’s still so hard to leave her here every day. But I’m trusting that God’s plan and timing is perfect and these nurses and doctors know what they are doing.

We are so eager to get her home. I can’t believe I heard myself say the other day that I couldn’t wait to get her home and get some bows in this hair of hers! Just think a few months ago I didn’t know what I was going to do with a girl!

It’s been a long and sometimes sad road, but we are thankful for God’s mercy and faithfulness through it all. Be blessed WordPress!

Never Say Never

I was discharged from the hospital last Tuesday, I never thought I would have a baby and then have to leave it behind in the NICU.

They say that chances are that Piper will have to stay in the NICU until her due date, April 6, 2020. I never thought I’d be a NICU Mommy.

I waited the longest 48 hours of my life to finally hold my little girl!

My son turned 14 on Feb 16. I never thought I’d have a baby at my age, less than a month after this particular birthday.

When I had Eli, I guess I was just young, maybe selfish, and uneducated, but I had no interest in breastfeeding or pumping. Now my day my daily routine goes like this. Wake up between 4-5 am. Pump. Eat, check on Piper, look at Facebook, pump. Take a nap, pump. Eat lunch. Pump. Watch TV. Pump. Go see Piper. Pump. Watch TV. Pump. Go to bed just to wake up and do it all over again. And I wouldn’t change it for anything. I feel so helpless seeing her little body in that cold room and I know that all I can do to help her right now is bring her milk every day. I never thought I’d be a breastfeeding/pumping Mommy.

Daddy and his girl!

In the last week, my husband has changed right before my eyes. He went from a laid back child like demeanor to a fierce, gentle, protective Poppa Bear. I’ve seen this man cry more this week than I have the entire almost 18 years we have been together. His love for his little boy is unshakeable, yet his love for his little girl is something completely different but just as powerful. I never thought I’d see my husband take such good care of me or our baby the way he has these last 7 days.

Her very 1st bottle feeding!

In conclusion, never say never. My plans were to work all the way up until March 27th. God’s plans were for me to be done March 3rd. As hard as it is to leave her everyday, I know without a doubt that HIS plans are always perfect!

We finally got to put some clothes on her yesterday!