Our Sam turns 1!

Natalie here--
Sometimes when I am daydreaming I imagine going back in time to the Natalie and Thomas of 1997 at Fort Knox High School and telling them about the life they would someday build together: a house, 2 cars, a dog, a cat, two turtles, and two gorgeous red head girls. Of course, that was so far off our radar when we were two starry-eyed teenagers in puppy love that we would not have been able to imagine such a life, but I often wonder at the fact that so many things fell into place to bring me to this exact moment in time, living a life so very full of blessings. And now here we are, celebrating our baby Samantha's first birthday. One whole year she has been part of our lives and I can scarcely imagine life without her.

We decided on the name Samantha from the book of Samuel in the Holy Bible. Samuel's mother Hannah is barren and prays every day to God that he may give her a child. Hannah is finally rewarded for her faithfulness with a son and she dedicates his life to God, naming him Samuel which means"God heard."

After suffering the pain of our miscarriage in 2006 and then struggling to get pregnant again, I very much identified with Hannah and Thomas and I agreed, almost without saying, that should God ever bless us with another child, we would name that child after Hannah's blessing. It took 3 years of struggling--struggling with disappointment, struggling with fear of failure, struggling with trying to run our lives on OUR schedule until we finally decided that we had had enough. We resigned ourselves to God and said that if God only wanted us to have one child, then we would love her with all of our hearts and we would accept that this was the family he meant us to have. We found peace in trusting God.

Then the next month, I took a pregnancy test at work, mostly out of curiosity when I realized I was 3 days late. I called Thomas from the bathroom, crying so hard, he couldn't understand me. We were pregnant. We had placed our faith in God and he had answered our prayers. "For this child, I have prayed."

And all this is why I am in awe of the lucky life we have. It has not been a straight road to this point, and in fact, sometimes we were so lost, we couldn't even see the road. But God has somehow brought me here, right where I belong, with my wonderful husband, my two heaven-sent girls, my house, my cat and dog, and even the turtles.

Happy birthday Sam!