Sunday, December 25, 2011



-to think or speculate curiously
-to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe; marvel
-to doubt

This year has been filled with wonder, wonder of all kinds. Overall I would say the amazement kind. I am so in awe of how God works things together and moves us through different stages of life to make us better. To make us stronger. To help us become willing to be used by Him.
It was a great year. We got snow! The Packers won The Superbowl (great for me, not so great for Justin.) Justin and I celebrated 8 years of marriage. In April I took a trip with some childhood friends to Chicago and then on to Illinois to see another get married. But at the end of that month we met with Aiden’s teachers, therapists, and school psychologist to hear Aiden’s diagnosis of Autism- Pervasive Development Disorder to be specific. I don't think I fully comprehended what that meant for us until the summer. I was challenged to show patience beyond what I can imagine. I failed many times but continue to try and focus on Aiden's strengths. Thankfully he is, and has always been, very high functioning, but we deal with many behavioral and social difficulties. He is such a sweet, smart little boy and with a lot of hard work and support he is going to be just fine. You can read some of my past blogs to learn a little more about that.
At the end of May I left Starbucks after 3 years. It wasn’t an easy decision but it was best. I was very unsure how I would replace that income and it took until the end of this year for that to happen, but as always God provided for our every need. One thing that did help supplement our income was something very unexpected. I began my business with Arbonne in July, and it’s been such a great experience for me. To be around such giving women and to be part of a team has been a huge blessing. The bonus is the paychecks and the amazing products.
At the end of the hottest summer I can remember, our boys had their birthdays. Ryan turned 2 and Aiden turned 5. I still can’t believe how fast they are growing up!
The fall and winter has been full of long days but great news. Justin received a wonderful promotion in October that answered years of prayer. Since stepping out in faith in July of 2009 we have had to trust God to make up for what we were lacking in finances. This raise was a big turning point for us. With that and Justin working 50-65 hour weeks we will be able to pay off our debt by this Spring! It’s been very difficult and tiring having 2 small children all day by myself, but I have a light at the end of the tunnel. I know this is temporary so I make it through the long days knowing this isn’t forever. I’m so thankful Justin is willing to take on so many hours to support us and go above and beyond.
All of my questions, my wondering of what God was up to....I may not get answers to all of them and that’s okay. Through it all, good and bad, God is still God and He is good! I’m excited for what 2012 holds. I know for sure it will be all of our debt gone and the rest I pray that whatever it is God would be glorified in all of it. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Love Alanna, Justin, Aiden, and Ryan.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Eyes opened

Two nights ago we went to an Autism Awareness event. A night for kids to be themselves, surrounded by others just like them. As we walked in I immediately had a broken heart. Through this whole struggle with Aiden, all of the days feeling sorry for myself and being mentally exhausted, I have thought our situation was so difficult. My eyes were opened at this event. I saw so many kids with autism that weren't speaking normally but flapping their arms and even grunting; very low functioning. I couldn't stop watching them and their parents, as they so patiently followed them around, lovingly redirecting them. My heart was breaking into a million pieces. As I started to think of the days I have sat and cried over the struggle we go through with Aiden, I could imagine them doing the same thing. For the first time I saw a bigger struggle. A twenty four hour a day struggle. A lifelong struggle. For a moment I was angry at myself for ever thinking I had it bad. How dare I pity myself thinking my life was hard. But then I was reminded that I do have a struggle. It may not be "as difficult" as someone else's but it's still hard. I'm sure those parents see other people with difficult situations and think the same thing. We see other people and wonder how they make it through each day. I know I did this before Aiden was in our lives and thought I could never handle something like this. What I've found to be true is that God doesn't give us anything we can't handle. With His strength, and the love I have for my child I can do this. We all have a struggle and want to feel compassion from others and be understood. I know there are so many other issues people are dealing with that I have not a clue about. Even being in the world of Autism for over 3 years my eyes were just opened to a greater window of it. I want my eyes to opened to other things too. I don't want to be so wrapped up in my own stuff that I forget that others are dealing with tough stuff. I want to show compassion, even if I lack understanding. Just as I wish for others to understand the world of Autism, I know others are hoping for the same in their struggles. I can't know about all things but I can be kind in how I treat other people knowing everyone is going through something. And especially when that is someone that is close to me I can do something to support them and help them know I care.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Not Forgotten

I'd like to think sometimes this is a very cruel joke. Still in debt. Not even living paycheck to paycheck. But worse, always behind. I feel like we are alone, but then again I know there are so many out there in the same boat. A job search that took longer than expected, and a depleted savings account forcing you to borrow from the next month, getting you deeper into debt. I have my days where I throw myself a pity party. Then I get over it and see that I have reminders all around me that God has blessed us and will continue to provide. But then there are days where doubt creeps up on me and I give in to it. I hate those days. I don't want to be a person that only has joy when life is good. I want to have joy in all things even if I lose everything.

As I talked with Justin the other night about my uncertainty of where I am and what I'm doing in life, and could I be doing more to help our situation, he reminded me that I already am. Being a mother and caring for our boys is my calling right now, and that's a very sacred thing. In the mundane, sometimes I feel as though I need to go do something to "save the world" or contribute more to our finances, but then I remember that I'm helping these little men to grow up knowing God loves them and is taking care of us. For me that is the most important thing I could be doing even though some days I feel very incapable and that it's not enough.

Justin told me that on his way home that God spoke a very simple phrase to him, "I have not forgotten you." I was brought to tears. At times when it feels you have been forgotten, God is carrying out His master plan. Just because I can't see the things to come doesn't mean He isn't putting things into place to have that outcome I'm praying for.

I realize there is not going to be a moment where I feel "we have arrived." There is always going to be a struggle, if not money then something else. I'm sure we will face more difficult situations so surely this is only practice for that. And as I always try to do, I will learn from this and show God is faithful in all things, He is still God, and He is all I need. If I can't have joy in this season of life then I have proven that my joy is in things and not in the Creator.

In the moments I struggle with being looked over I have to remember that He said "I have not forgotten you."

Hebrews 13:5-6 (AMP)

5Let your [a]character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] [b]Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor [c]give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [d][I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor [e]let [you] down ([f]relax My hold on you)! [[g]Assuredly not!]

6So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I cannot explain my emotions other than that I feel free! It's been 18 long months of learning to adjust to feelings I can never explain and finally deciding to get on medication for postpartum depression. I have learned a lot and have a whole lot of compassion for anyone that deals with this awful illness. I have been off the medication for over three weeks and I feel that I can handle things without being overcome with anxiety and sadness. Even while stressed out I feel that it's so much easier to handle. Again, there is no way to explain how depression makes you feel. It's something you don't understand until you go through it. Very different from the "baby blues" which some moms go through. I'm not talking about the occasional sadness, but a mind debilitating feeling where nothing around you seems right. I've prayed a lot and have tons of support from others praying for me. I'm so thankful that I've come out of this, in the sense of being on a medication. I definitely have a part of me that fears it coming back but I'm taking steps to make sure I'm doing all I can to address it. As most stuff I have gone through, it's not something I would ever wish for myself or anyone else but now that I've gone through this I'm thankful for what I have learned from it. Whether that's to understand people or support others that go through the same thing I will allow God to use me in whatever way He chooses. He brought me out of this stronger, full of compassion and so grateful. I don't know that I would have gotten help if it weren't for two women in my life being honest about their situation. Even after that it took me 6 months to accept that this is what I was dealing with. I still look back with frustration that Ryan's first 6 months are a very cloudy memory to me but I try as much as I can to focus on the now. To enjoy the amazing little boy he has become and be open to talk to anyone who might be dealing with the same thing I did. I'm free, strong, and so thankful God never gives me more than I can handle.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

He really cares!

I was asked recently to be in my friend Becky's wedding & I was stressing out about it because I didn't want to have to say no because of finances. Once I talked to Becky about the details it seemed that I could save money on a lot of the costs by doing some things myself and just skipping out on some pampering. It got even better when she told me I could pick out my own dress; just had to be long and black. If you know me well, you know I like to find a good deal. So I have been searching online and thinking of any store I could possibly go to and find a cheap but beautiful dress. Well wouldn't you know God had a fun surprise for me. I had gone to several thrift stores and had no luck. But tonight I thought I should do a run to a different Goodwill. I wasn't really in the mood but I just felt like I should run there real quick. As soon as I got there and started looking at the dresses I spotted a possibility. I took it off the rack and looked at it. It was perfect! But first I had to see if it was the right size and price. Well it looked about the right size but there was no price tag. So I tried it on and it was perfect. I took it up to the front to ask about the price. The lady said since it didn't have a tag it was $12.99. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? I about did a praise Jesus dance right there in Goodwill. I'm still so excited. Oh my goodness tonight I was reminded of how much God cares about the small details. In a time where we are in a stressful financial situation I keep getting reminders of how God provides for us. He has not failed us one time. And I'm so grateful for moments like tonight. It's as if He is smiling and saying "I am always true to my word and I care about everything, even a dress."

Matthew 6:25-34
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Sunday, June 12, 2011


I am blown away. God, again, has shown himself faithful. On Thursday I checked my mail. I opened a card from someone I didn't know and sat there stunned. Someone was blessed by this blog and chose to bless me. I am beyond grateful.
Why do I write this blog? I write it because I know there are hurting people that feel alone and need some encouragement. I write it for those who need to know that they aren't the only imperfect people with struggles they feel they should have conquered already. I just want to be honest and open so I can help others. I am flawed and that's okay. I'm working to become more like Christ and falling all the way to get there. It's not a surprise though, isn't that what we have been told it will be like. So why do we go through life feeling as though we aren't good enough? I still struggle with that, and sometimes feel that it's so ridiculous, but I know I'm not the only one. I do love my life, but when I stop focusing on what God has blessed me with, that's when I get stuck feeling jealous of others and wanting to be someone I'm not. I know that's not what God wants for me. I can't be my best if I'm constantly looking to be who I'm not.
There are some dreams God has given me and I'm working on those right now. I am not moving at the pace I probably should because I'm scared. Fear is trying to take over for what God has told me to do. What am I afraid of? A lot of things; what people might think of me, not being good enough, and making mistakes. But if I let fear hold me back people might miss out on a blessing God has for them because of my delayed obedience. I am going to listen to God and do my best to move forward. Mistakes and all. I believe that He will make something beautiful from something that seems so flawed to me.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Three years ago I would have said you were insane if you had told me I would one day have a peace about our situation, that I would know that God has a plan in all of this and that it will be okay and I'm strong enough...

Most people may not understand how I can be having an experience like I am. I don't really know what it's like to have a 22 month old I can understand and who is already trying to talk in short sentences. It brings such happy tears to my eyes and erases some of my biggest fears. In the past 2 months I have seen Ryan go from talking in single words to adding them together and asking for things, and I get it! It's a miracle. I know for most families with 2 or more children it might sound kind of weird or silly because it's normal to you. All of your kids talked "on time" according to the milestones the doctor tells you about. For me it's a very different experience.

With our first son Aiden we had a rough beginning. It stung each and every time I heard a parent complain about how annoying it was that their child talked their ear off. Don’t get me wrong, I do have those days now. And I don’t hold judgement for those of us who complain. We are all imperfect and will have days we have had enough and that’s okay. Aiden has always been about 10 months-1 year behind in speech. So his first 3 years were pretty difficult. Lots of frustration for both of us. He was trying so hard to get through to me while I was struggling to understand him. We have a long road ahead of us and just had some tests done so we know exactly what we are dealing with. This past week I had a meeting with Aiden’s teacher, speech therapist, and the school psychologist to talk about Aiden’s diagnosis of Pervasive Development Disorder (The two main characteristics for the disorder are difficulties with social interaction skills and communication.) How I handled that meeting was not at all how I had pictured it three years ago. I was at ease and ready to listen to what we have to do to help Aiden be his best. I know God has a plan, the school has a plan, and with a lot of help and hard work he is going to be just fine . You can read more about PDD here,

I know I am beyond blessed. There are so many mothers who have lost babies, or can't hold them because they have been in ICU since birth, or are struggling with physical problems beyond my imagination. I am by no means saying I have it the worst, I know for sure I don't, but it's still a very real struggle. That's why I have happy tears tonight. A big fear is slowly fading. A thought of "I could have done something different with Aiden" and “it was my fault for the speech delay”. “I should have talked more when he was an infant." I'm seeing now that his mind was just made differently than other children. It's not my fault and I'm seeing that God has a bigger plan than I do and He sees the miracles that I can't yet believe will happen. I'm so thankful for both of my amazing boys. Aiden, who is so full of smiles, love, and joy for life and Ryan who is the adventurer, always silly, and melts my heart with cuddles. I know there will be other struggles ahead, but for now I smile and cry happy tears knowing my baby Ryan won't have the frustration of not getting out what he is trying to communicate. To able to sit here today without sad tears streaming is a miracle. Am i sad, yes. Will I be okay? Of course. Is it fair? I don't know, but I know for sure I could have it a lot worse. Not to minimize my own problem, but saying it's not the end of the world. We will get through this and come out stronger, and Aiden will become who he is meant to be.
My heart hurts with all those parents that have bigger struggles than we will ever have, and pray for them that they would have strength, peace, and people around them that support and help them.
Thanks to all the amazing help from friends and the school district he will get help because of this "label".

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Are we there yet?

Little update for those wondering....Last year I told of my struggle with postpartum depression. There have been many ups and downs and through it all I have wondered if I would be on medication forever. That is the last thing I wanted, but decided if that's what I needed to do to be the best wife, mother, and friend then I could do it. It's taken a long time to come to terms with that; for someone who doesn't like taking ibuprofen for a headache.
A few months ago I started feeling a bit different. Almost like I was getting more depressed. So I went to the doctor and increased the meds a little, only to feel even worse. So I switched them back to the normal amount and felt like maybe this could be my body telling me it might be time to be okay on it's own. So stupidly I skipped three days in a row of my medication. Anyone on these type of medications knows better, but I guess in my stubbornness I thought I was an exception and could stop cold turkey....nope. That was very clear on the third day when I became very dizzy and lightheaded. So back on the medication I went but this time started weaning off of it slowly. And that's where I'm at now. Are we there yet? No. But close! Oh so close. It's been a long road but as I look back I can see knowledge gained, perspective changed, lessons learned, and a story to share.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Above and Beyond

What is the definition of a father? A man who loves and provides for his children? When Justin and I were engaged we went through pre-marital counseling so we would know what kind of expectations to have of each other once we were married and eventually had kids. You know things like who has kitchen duty, who cleans toilets, who makes dinner, how many kids do we have, who disciplines them....etc. Of course things change and you learn to adapt. One thing I knew from the beginning was that Justin would make a good father. What I didn't know was how much he would go above and beyond in being a great father.
As I write this I'm packing for a trip. I'm leaving for eight days to go to a childhood friend's wedding and spend time with other friends. Just me, yes my amazing husband is keeping our two boys at home with him. There is no anxiety, panic, or frantic planning. I don't have to write out a long detailed list of Aiden and Ryan's daily schedule or meal plans or fun things for them to do. He's got it. He is involved as much as I am and I'm beyond grateful and blessed. How in the world did I get so lucky to have an amazing partner in life. I know how big of a deal it is for him to take this on, it's a big job. But I don't have to worry because he does this often. I'm so thankful that we share the load and joys of parenting. When one of us can't handle it the other can take over so we can get back our sanity. Thank you Justin Taylor Cathcart for giving your all plus more in being a father. Our boys are in love with you and so am I.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What's Love Got To Do With It?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

There are not many people today that truly live this out. Justin is definitely one of those that shows me true love, the kind that God wants us to show. I cannot say he is perfect; none of us are. But when I read this scripture over and over, I think of all the things that I can be, and how most people (including myself) might react. Justin reacts with love.

I’m so thankful for these past 8 years. I wouldn’t have wanted to go through anything we have with anyone else but Justin. He encourages me to be a better person in the way he treats others. He sees the best in people and doesn’t get easily offended or hold grudges. I don’t know what I would have done without him in so many situations. I was a mess and in need of a strong man and he was always there, without complaint. We have grown a lot, learned more about each other, had two amazing boys, faced many challenges, laughed a lot, and argued some, but through it all we have never given up. We are still learning to fight fair, balance life, and to show love in the best way. It’s a journey, one we will continue on no matter what comes our way.

Happy 8 year Anniversary Justin Taylor. I love you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Don't Make Me Count To Three!"

I have found myself so many times doing that...."If you don't stop by time I say three..." It does not work, shocking I know. Plus, isn't delayed obedience disobedience. That is definitely not what I want to be teaching my children. So many times I feel stuck and really wonder why kids don't come with an instruction manual, or do they? Yes, everyone says The Bible is our instruction manual, it's true! But, I feel so lost sometimes trying to find a place to start, especially with such young children. Well my amazing mother n law gave me a book that has truly been a huge help and opened my eyes to true, godly discipline. If you are stuck and don't have a plan I recommend this book. It is going to take me time to where it is second nature but I'm so glad I am starting when my kids are young. So many things that tempt us to give into the whining, disobedience, tantrums etc., but I'm learning to get to the real issue- the heart. We have many struggles ahead of us, but thank God for His wisdom and guidance and for friends and family around us that support us and love our kids. I know God has called me to be a mother so I want to be the best one I can be. Aiden and Ryan are his kids, just on loan to Justin and I, and we want to honor God with how we teach them, love them, and care for them.

Monday, January 10, 2011

That's what friends are for

It's so refreshing to know that I have such great friends that I can be myself with. Yesterday 3 of us went back in time. We had one of the best 3 hours just being silly and not having a care in the world. Who would have thought a lunch date could have turned into this much fun :D!/album.php?fbid=481384401206&id=645956206&aid=264784

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's a new dawn, it's a new day....

2011 is here and I am very excited! I've got some major things I want to accomplish this year. To top the list......dun dun.. an impossible thing for us-
Pay off ALL debt. Yes impossible for us, but not for God. I'm believing for provision beyond what I can imagine!

You are a great God
Your Character is Holy
Your Truth is Absolute
Your Strength is Unending
Your Discipline is Fair...
Your Light is Adequate for our Path
Your Grace is Sufficient for our sins....
You sent your Son in the fullness of time and
Will return at the consummation of time

Safe in the Shepherd's Arms by Max Lucado