Does the Cross Break You?

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

Thank you notes are common in our society. It’s seen as bad etiquette if we don’t send them. Thank you notes even have their very own guidelines that we are all supposed to follow. We send thank you notes for a kind gesture, birthday gifts or even after a job interview.

What if someone saved your life? Would you send them a thank you note? How would you repay them? Or saved your kids life? How could you ever repay that person? I am sure you would spend your whole life doing kind things for this person to show your appreciation. This person would probably be invited to every event in your life. You would give them gifts even if they refused. Every time you thought of this person you would be filled with gratitude. You would probably rave to everyone one you knew about this person telling anyone that would listen how great they were

What if that person said that all you had to do to repay them was to hang out with them once a week and during the week to talk to them, even tell them YOUR problems. That all they wanted was to get to know you. Most of us would probably be confused and feel uncomfortable going to someone who did so much for us with our little day to day issues. But how could you say no? What lengths would you go to, to show your appreciation?

Why then is it so hard for us to show our appreciation to Jesus?

We have no problem going to Him when times are hard. Yet we make excuses when it comes to carving our specific time for God. My husband would ask me why I hadn’t read my bible and I would immediately get defensive. How am I supposed to make time? I have a child who wants my constant attention, I work full time, I am pregnant., I am tired, I have to cook etc. I was even offended and jealous of him. I would think. ‘Oh must be nice you get to spend time with God, but Elijah won’t give me a moment alone”

Now I have two kids one being a newborn and I have been intentional about spending time with God. How silly my excuses were. How foolish I was. I wasn’t broken by the cross. All God was asking is that I spend time with Him and I was telling Him, eh not today, I am busy. Maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day. You know when I get time God, because life is SOOOO hard. Yah I know you helped me when I was broken but hey you’ll be there tomorrow right?!

So easily I pushed Him aside. So easily I forgot the weight of the cross.

We always feel like we owe people things. We owe them our time, we owe them our energy. People who honestly have done nothing more than enjoy our company. We often feel guilty if we break plans with friends for dinner. But when it comes to spending 10 minutes with God we blow him off with no regard, no guilt.

This Easter I urge you to take a look at your life. If the cross is really that important to us how can we show that in our everyday walk. What changes can be made to make time for God. We spend so much time thinking of the perfect gift to repay people with and we should have that same thought when it comes to repaying Christ.

I know I am unworthy, I know that there is nothing that I can truly do to repay Him that’s why it breaks me.

I googled proper guidelines for thank you notes and it’s funny to me how we can use this to show our praise to God either in prayer or in our daily walk.

  1. Greeting: Waking up each day acknowling God calling Him by name. The bible is full of different ways to call out to God by name. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. Pslam 9:2
  1. Express your Thanks: Thank Him for everything He has done for you either in word or action No one is like you, LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. Jeremiah 10:6
  2. Add specific details: Talk to him about your life, offer up prayer requests, Tell Him exactly why you are thankful. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14
  1. Look ahead: Usually in a thank you note we say something along the lines of “ I hope to see you soon” or “Let’s get lunch. Make plans with God. Abide in His word. Ask him how you can repay Him. Let God guide you. I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with My eye on you, I will give counsel. Psalm 32:8
  1. Restate your thanks: Continually give Him praise. Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15

6 .End with your regards: In the name of Jesus. Daily let everything you do show His grace and Love and end your prayers in Jesus name. We are lucky to have the power of Jesus and our life should show that.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:13-14



                                 Happy Easter!!!!!!!

                         He is not here, HE HAS RISEN. Just as he said he would..

                       Matthew 28:6




My Birth Story


It has taken me some time to sit and write my birth story. There are so many levels and emotions that are involved in birth that I feel it is hard to sum it all up in a page or two. Every time I start to write it out I don’t feel like I can do it justice. Also with this birth I have taken a lot of time to just be with my little family.

The birth of my first son had more medical interventions than I would have liked. Yes, it ended with us welcoming a healthy happy baby boy, but it also gave me insight on the things I didn’t like. I realized I didn’t want to be at a hospital for 2-3 days after birth. I also remember the different pains from Pitocin, Epidurals to having an IV in my arm for days and just being confined to a bed for 4 days. These are all things I wanted to avoid this time around.

What I wanted for this birth was to have this baby as naturally as possible. To birth this baby like God designed my body to. In order to do so I informed myself a lot more and made decisions throughout my pregnancy that I felt most comfortable with. I read books, meditated, prayed, and even took an amazing labor prep class by a doula friend of mine.  It was very important to me to just follow what my body felt. I wanted to know what it felt like to go into labor naturally. Since I was induced 2 weeks early with Elijah this felt like my first rodeo. I had NO IDEA what regular labor felt like.  I never had a I had a contraction before being induced for over 24hrs and they broke my water at the hospital to get things moving.

My official due date was March 1st and pretty much my whole pregnancy I thought I would give birth early. I was so positive I would tell anybody and everybody.  Literally right after cleaning up Elijah’s birthday party and putting away things I remember thinking “OK baby you can come now.” Plus towards the end of my pregnancy I was beyond OVER IT. I was exhausted, uncomfortable and had nested every area of my home over and over again. I was even feeling guilty because I no longer could do the playful things with Elijah that I used to.

A couple of days before I gave birth a new friend of mine made me have a paradigm shift. Her simple text of “ Remember you are blessed to carry your own baby and bring it into the world. Not everyone has that chance”   Little did she know that this is just what I needed to hear.  This really put things into perspective for me. How quickly I had forgotten that I once was afraid I might not be able to have kids; and here I was BLESSED with another chance at motherhood, another chance to carry and birth a baby. So I told myself it was time to enjoy the rest of this journey because this gift is not a small one. I honestly feel that as soon as I let go of the notion that I could control things and was patient that my body started to get ready. Things always seem to happen in life for me this way. As soon as I let go of the idea that I have any control and give whatever it is to God he quickly shows me how amazing He truly is.

The afternoon of February 28th I walked to the park with Bo and Elijah. The last few weeks we would go to the park and the boys would play and I would walk the length of the park up a hill and down 10 to 15 times. This time I brought 10 bible verses that I had been meditating on for my birth. While I walked up and down I said the verses aloud and I spoke them to the baby. Something was very different about this walk. I felt very empowered and knew something was on the horizon.

We got home from the park early evening and soon after I started getting contractions. Only they were not very painful and only about 30 seconds long, but I noticed that they were consistent, so I started timing them on an app on my phone.

During this time I was sitting on my birthing ball and watching TV. About an hour later I went to the bathroom and noticed a slight pink color so I called the midwives and they told me to call when my contractions were longer and closer together.  She also told me to eat a big dinner and go to sleep early, because “This is the beginning.” I remember thinking “ I don’t think I will be able to sleep?! These are going to get more intense.”

I also called my sister in law to let her know that I was most likely going into labor tonight; as she was coming to stay over our place to take care of Elijah and handle transporting my Placenta. (Thanks Auntie Nana!) Bo had made dinner so I continued to sit on my birthing ball and ate dinner. The contractions were starting to get more intense but they weren’t close together so when one would come I would just breathe and stop talking.  My son barely noticed what was happening but I did tell him a couple of times that mommy was getting a contraction and can’t talk right now.

After I ate dinner I took a shower since they were getting more painful. I didn’t want things to all of a sudden go from 0 to 100 and I hadn’t showered!! Hey a girl’s gotta be clean for a water birth right?!  After my shower I laid down in my room with the lights off and went through my contractions alone. This actually felt really good. Not the contractions, but having some time alone. All of a sudden mid contraction I felt a trickle. I yelled to Bo that I believe my water broke! He was already loading the car at this point which I had no idea about. I stood up and by the time I got to the bathroom I was gushing everywhere! I sat on the toilet and called my midwife again. At this point my contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart My midwife told me to take a shower and see if they slow down.

My sister in law was playing with Elijah and he still had no clue what was happening.  I jumped in the shower one last time to see if they would slow down a bit. My husband amazingly brought the birthing ball into the shower and I leaned over and just let the water hit my back. I stayed in the shower about 10 mins and realized THEY WERE NOT SLOWING DOWN and were getting more and more intense. At this point  I was getting worried about having this baby at home.  As soon as I got out of the shower I see Bo on the phone with the midwife and vaguely hear them talk about meeting at the birth center. Oddly enough I didn’t want to know when they said they would meet because I was nervous it wasn’t going to be soon enough. I just started getting dressed because I knew it would take me a bit.  This was really difficult since my contractions were so close together. On top of that I was still gushing liquid. Every time a contraction would come I just stopped what I was doing and focused on breathing through them. After soaking through a pair of pants I was FINALLY able to get dressed.  I kissed my Elijah bye bye and I remember speaking to my sister in law about my placenta drop off. I made sure to have one more contraction right before I walked out the door so that I didn’t have one while walking down the stairs to the car. I walked out the door essential oils in hand.

The birthing center is only 7-10 minutes away from my place and I had about 4 contractions on my way there, and one right before walking in.

Once I got inside the birth center my contractions were starting to overlap. It was like my body knew this was the place where everything was about to go down. They checked baby’s heart beat and my vitals as I had contractions leaning over the bed. They told me that they wouldn’t check to see how dilated I was since I was having pretty intense contractions, unless I wanted them to. I just remember thinking that sounded terrible and shaking my head NO. Bo started to rub and push on my back during my contractions.  It was great I didn’t have to tell him because this was just what I needed. I was moving a lot, grabbing pillows, throwing my whole body into the bed, swaying.  I looked over at the tub and I immediately asked them to fill it for me. My playlist was going and my oils were diffusing. Honestly the music I choose for my labor really helped out. I would hear a line of a song and it would help me surrender if only for a second.

Once I got in the tub I felt a wave a peace and relief rush over me. For a minute or two everything stopped. I wasn’t worried about the next contraction just enjoying the moment. Soon after that I leaned over and yelled I HAVE TO POOP! The midwives assured me that they will clean it if I do. Then it hit me…I didn’t have to poop! I had to PUSH!  The midwives told me to just follow my body and that I did. They decided to check me in the tub and told me baby’s head was pretty close. Hearing this was amazing but I already knew this to be true.

This is where everything becomes more blurry. For me this was real pain. The contractions I had before were nothing compared to the feeling of pushing for me.

They told me to lean over the tub. Bo sat on a birthing ball and I grabbed his waist with every push. He rubbed my back and talked me through it. I was yelling “ THIS HURTS SOO BAD!!!” and moaning through every contraction and push. I felt like I wanted to jump out of the tub but I just stayed there and held on to Bo. The midwives asked if I wanted water and I nodded yes and Bo went to get up to get it for me and I quickly said something along the lines of “ NO NOT YOU” or “YOU STAY HERE” I didn’t want him leaving my side, we were in this together.

I just remember dim lights my hands grabbing Bo, while he prayed and calmly told me to surrender, and my midwives encouraging me. I honestly can’t tell you how many times I pushed. Although I do remember sitting in the pain and trying not to push too hard at some point. The song Oceans came on by Hillsong and I remember the midwives saying baby’s head is out and we just need one more push for the rest of the body. I pushed and soon after they said “Baby is out!”  Since I was leaned over backwards I couldn’t see anything and had to flip my leg over the umbilical cord to grab my new baby boy and placed him on my chest. I was elated, overjoyed and couldn’t believe what we had just done together.  I was in love all over again. It was over and my family of three was now a family of four.  It all happened so FAST and I was in shock. We were at the birthing center for less than 45 minutes before he arrived.

After a few minutes in the tub we moved to the bed with baby. The midwives helped me deliver my placenta and checked our vitals. For the next few hours daddy, baby and I just relaxed in the bed. The midwives would come in and check on us but they gave us a lot of privacy to just enjoy each other.  After a while they came in and weighed baby and took his measurements. They also checked to see if I tore. I did so they stitched me up while we listened to my fire playlist. LOL. Let’s just say Love and Happiness by Al Greene will never sound the same to me. After they made sure baby and I were ok we stayed at the birthing center for 4 hours before heading home. I was so ready to go home and sleep.

Our new addition was born February 28th at 11:18pm less than an hour before my official due date. He was right on time because it was God’s perfect timing.  One thing that I loved most about this birth was that I just got to trust my body and God so purely. I never had any idea throughout this pregnancy how dilated I was, which I feel put me more at ease. Without knowing medically how fast my body was working I knew that it was working at a perfect pace. I wasn’t even paying attention to time until we got in the car.

Thankfully I had the birth that I so badly longed for. I know that many people say that “ My birth didn’t go as planned” but I can honestly say that this birth was the birth I wanted. I even feel a little guilty saying that. Our society makes women feel guilty for wanting a natural labor. Saying things that “What do you have to prove?” “ Are you sure it’s safe?”  There is so much fear surrounding birth. But why should I feel guilty that I wanted to bring my baby into this world with no medication? I wanted to leave feeling empowered and knowing that all decisions that were made were I was not coerced into.  I am not afraid to say that now. I am so beyond blessed and grateful that I was given this experience. It really was an outer body experience which is why it’s probably been hard for me to put it into words. I knew giving birth would be painful. I knew it would not be all butterflies and roses, but I did know that there would be a RAINBOW at the end!

A huge thanks to my husband for being my silent support when needed and knowing just when to step in and help. So elated that we experienced this miracle yet again. It’s honestly a blessing that we have experienced two completely different birth’s together and I loved having you as my rock for both. Let the creepiness of me taking pics while you sleep continue.

A special thank you to the midwives and staff at Del Mar Birth Center. I am so happy at 28 weeks that I decided to finish my pregnancy off with you. You guys helped me to have the birth that I wanted and gave me such calm and helpful support. It is great feeling respected in all the decisions that we made for our family.

I still can’t believe I have two wonderful boys now. Elijah actually called it. We wanted to be surprised with the sex of the baby and Elijah had always said we were having a boy. Also at my last appointment Elijah said there will be no more appointments. ( Want to pick some lotto numbers Elijah?)

If you are interested in having a natural labor. I suggest that you get informed, read everything you can. Some books I recommend are Birthing from Within & Ina May Gaskins Guide to Childbirth. Also prepare. It’s great to read but when it comes to labor it’s even more important to practice what you read. Meditate, pray, do breathing exercises in your everyday life so that when labor comes it will be easy to remember everything you learned. I also highly recommend taking a labor prep class. Here’s a link to the labor prep class I took. Micole offers full doula services as well as placenta encapsulation. If you are in the Socal hit her up!  Have a support team that feels right for you. I only had my husband and it was perfect for me but you may want a doula as well as other family members. Just make sure everyone involved is there to support you and your birth. Lastly make sure you have a care provider that you trust and that supports you as well. Whatever you decide hospital, home birth, natural or not this is so important. After switching to Del Mar I see the importance of having a provider who supports YOUR decisions and doesn’t force their beliefs on you. A doctor or midwife who listens to you makes a world of difference in how you will approach labor

Thanks so much for reading! Now let me get back to enjoying my little boys.


Birthing Center Checklist


               Bag’s packed and I’m ready to go!!!

This time around Bo and I decided to birth this baby at a birthing center instead of a hospital.  We choose this route for a number of reasons.  The main reason being that we wanted a more controlled birth experience. My first birth experience wasn’t ideal but we can talk about that later. After some prayer and research we decided to take the plunge.

As I start nesting I realized that packing for a hospital and birthing center are a little different. At a birth center you have more options in terms of what you can do during your stay. The birthing center is super cozy and I definitely want to bring a few things so that my little family and I feel like we are at home.  All the things on my list are just simple things that will keep baby and myself comfortable. You also don’t stay at the birthing center for very long after giving birth  so no need for excess.

Here’s what’s in my bag!


Outfits for baby! This goes without saying. I am going to pack a couple of long sleeve onesies and one super cozy outfit to take baby home in. This brand  Love’dbaby has amazing organic cotton onesies. We want to be surprised with the gender of our baby so we are going to go with some neutral colors. I personally prefer more neutral colors anyway so this worked out perfect.


Receiving/Swaddling Blankets Baby will need at least 2 to 3 blankets to be swaddled in.  I plan on bringing the same ones that were used for Elijah for right when baby comes out and a couple of really soft ones to swaddle baby in. I just realized I have to relearn how to do that!  I love Little Unicorn and how soft these ones are. Their Deluxe Muslin feels amazing!


Sports Bra and Nursing Bra for possible water birth. The room we will most likely give birth in has a tub for water birthing. I am not sure whether in the moment I will want the sports bra or not but making sure I have something comfortable is important just in case. I got mine from Target. I just wanted something dark and simple.



Clothing  I won’t be staying at the birthing center for more than 6 hours after birth but in the mean time I will be able to bond with my new bundle of joy, breastfeed, eat and get a little rest. A nightgown, some comfy socks, a nursing bra and undies should suffice. There is also shower in the room. I plan on bringing travel size toiletries just in case I want to rinse off before I head home.


Coconut Water/Snacks  One of the things that’s great about a birthing center is I can eat during labor! Trust me I like to eat. Also since we are aiming for a natural birth it’s important to keep my energy up.  Some snacks I plan on bringing are nuts, string cheese, honey sticks and a few of these Perfect Foods Bars. They are my absolute favorite! Also it’s really important to stay hydrated and have electrolytes during labor so making sure I pack Coconut water is key. Our birthing center has a fantastic kitchen but there will be no cafeteria/vending machine like a hospital for Bo to go run and get snacks from. These two have been my go to snacks for this labor. Coconut water was my life saver with heartburn at 2am and the Perfect Foods Bar helped me curb nausea between breakfast and lunch.


Diffuser Oils/Rice Pack I LOVE my essential oils and I definitely plan on incorporating them in my labor.  I’ve even made a little list for myself and Bo just so we don’t forget. Here are some great oils for labor. Lavender, Frankincense, Clary Sage & Peppermint. Young Living has a few blends like Panaway ( for back pain) and Gentle Baby (which I can diffuse after I give birth for baby and myself)  Also I planned on making a rice heating pack for some back labor discomfort but Bo’s grandma actually had some that she had made on hand. I love the idea that she can kind of be a apart of our birth. Make sure with oils that you are using therapeutic grade oils. I personally use Young Living and DoTerra


 Technology  We definitely will want lots of pics of the baby and a few of the birth so a camera and cell phone are important. Also I made a labor playlist of my favorite calming tunes. All the rooms have speakers so I just need my phone.  Who knows I may not want any noise at all besides the sound of myself screaming baby out but it’s always better to be prepared right?! Check out my labor playlist below!

That is pretty much all I put in my bag, just some essentials for baby and me.  What did you pack for your labor? Also if you have any labor playlist suggestions drop me a line below~

Here are some behind the scenes photos. Elijah insisted that I take pics of him

What did you pack for your labor? Also if you have any labor playlist suggestions drop them below!


One of the things I try to instill into Elijah is the importance of having a servant’s heart. In a world of so many things being thrown at us constantly it’s sometimes hard for us let alone children to stop and think of others.

Elijah just turned 5 and I felt it was a great opportunity to take our actions to the next level. For his birthday party we asked in lieu of gifts for Elijah to bring an unwrapped gift for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

I have mentioned to people in the past that I have wanted to do this and it was always met with opposition. People said things like “ You can’t force people to give,” or “but I want to give him something.” I have even heard things like “Why would you force that on a child?” Trust me we are not depriving our child. If anything we are giving him something much more than material things.

I don’t know about your kids but Elijah literally plays with the same 5 things over and over. Also I don’t think many realize how much more impactful this will be on him in the long run. This is a HUGE gift to give Elijah, something that will not be fleeting or thrown away one day. He will remember the importance of giving and that is something you can’t put a value on. Even science is on the side of giving. Pleasure chemicals are released from our brain when we give! We all know how great it feels when we give why not share that with our kids!

It’s amazing when you do the right thing how things line up. One of my friends Jasmine came to me at Elijah’s party and told me that her son had spent a lot of time in the hospital last year and that picking out a toy to play with made things a lot better for him. I had no idea about this before she told me. Whether we got 1 toy or 10 toys it really drove home that we had made the right decision for our family.


                                Here are some other ways you can teach your little one about servant hood and giving.

Get one Give one: Who doesn’t love to get rid of things. We started off with this in our household. Whenever Elijah would get a new gift or toy he would have to pick something to donate. Trust me it wasn’t easy at first but now it is so easy and sometimes he just wants to get rid of things he doesn’t use on his own when we clean his room.

Find a cause that your kid likes. If your kid is into the outdoors maybe take him or her somewhere where they can plant trees or help out. If they love animals taking them to the local animal shelter is also a great option. Have a kid that loves to make things have them make cards to cheer up the elderly. Focusing on what your child interests makes it fun after all giving should always be fun and come from the heart!

Having open conversation & be an example. Kids are normally selfish beings and that’s totally normal! From the moment they are born their needs are met without them having to do much asking. It’s completely up to us as parents to have conversations about the world around us. Kids are also very sensitive so obviously tailor the conversation to what you feel your child can handle. Sometimes when I give to a homeless person Elijah gets confused and asks “ But why did you give him your soup? You wanted that soup?” I have explained to him that there are a lot of people that don’t have some of the things we have, then he understood. You can start the conversation first about doing things for others around the house to show love, and then take it a step further about reaching out to people outside of the home.

Ask for donations for their birthday. We choose the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles for our donations because I felt it fit our family the best. A lot of charities and or hospitals have wishlists via Amazon or on their personal websites.  Elijah was born with a congenital heart defect but has never spent any time in the hospital, and with February being heart month it just made sense. Another great charity is Communi Gift where you get a birthday buddy with a birthday wish list. Your birthday guests can buy gifts for your birthday buddy.

Overall Elijah had a great birthday! My big boy is 5!!! He had a blast with friends and family at THE COOP and of course he got a couple of gifts from family members. Here are some more pics from Elijah’s birthday 



What are some ways you instill giving with your family? Drop us a line below!

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms                                                                                                    1 Peter 4:10




Little Riser

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to our blog.  I’m Jennifer and this is my Little Riser Elijah. I’ve always had a love of writing and motherhood has been the best experience so it only felt natural to document it. I promise to be honest with you and with myself as we navigate this together.

Little Riser came to me because of my greatest muse Elijah. I want nothing more than to instill in my child than to RISE in love, RISE in confidence, RISE in patience and so much more.

Rising is an intentional act. You don’t just roll out of bed you RISE with purpose. We all know that children definitely seem to rise with purpose. Whether that purpose is to destroy our homes and everything in sight or to show us the kind of love that makes us question life depends on the day or even the second.

One of the best parts of motherhood is that Elijah gave me the passion to RISE. Nothing has changed me as much as motherhood has in the past five years.  I don’t claim to be a mothering expert and many times I feel like I fail. There for me in lies the beauty each day I can RISE and do better and be better.

I am so very excited that YOU are here and I hope you enjoy every second!  So thank you for stopping by and please RISE…. and possibly fall a few times with us just so we all can RISE again together.