Tuesday, March 23, 2010

to state the obvious


I just wanted to let those who read this know officially that I am going to stop stressing about this blog. That is a little dramatic, but I sometimes feel bad that I am not as devoted to writing my thoughts on here as I imagined...you know before I was actually married and had a baby.

I really love blogging, but the things on my mind other than my family are jumbled and not well educated thoughts. And I think I want to process them with my husband, house church family, and friends...not in writing. Plus I have a really good thing going in writing letters to Campbell and feel inspired in my storytelling on her blog.

When I started this blog I wanted it to be vivid and real...but our first year of marriage rocked in spite of a surprise pregnancy and how much I hated being pregnant. I happened to marry a wonderful man who communicates beautifully. We have had and continue to have hard and trying moments, but there is nothing shocking about our lives. And I don't want to write sweet, sappy posts that make people gag. Which is what I am afraid would happen if I wrote on here on a regular basis.

This life God has given me is not what I expected at all, I never realized that being married could be joyful, fun, challenging, and growing. Micah is the first relationship I have been in that has brought out the best in me. It's wonderful. I love how refining (not always a fun process) yet content this life is.

I also want to state that I do not believe being a wife and mother to be a ministry. They are definitely a calling and God calls us to love Him first, our spouses second, and our children third. But He does not call us to throw away our gifts and talents to serve our family. Instead, I believe, He asks us to unite as a family for His kingdom.

The saddest part of ending this blog, for me, is the idea of ending the sharing of ministries that inspire me. Though I haven't used this blog to do that for a very long time. Hence why I am stopping posting.

If you want to know what is going on in our family, the story of how Micah and I came to be, how Campbell came to be, or the hearts of us, please check out Dear Campbell,. To keep up to date on micahbellphotography, you can visit the website or the blog. :)

Love, Carter

Monday, March 15, 2010

Giving credit where it is due...

A friend of mine recently (as in today) found out he got an orthopaedic residency he submitted to God years ago. When I wrote him to congratulate him, I also thanked him for crediting God. He responded by telling me that he sacrificed monetarily in taking an internship at the Mayo Clinic (aka he didn't make a dime this year) in order to pursue his dream AND had very few interviews compared to his peers. Every step of his journey required him to live on faith that God will provide, which He did.

While this 10 minute e mail exchange occurred, Campbell was sitting next to me on the bed. As I looked at her, I thought about how God knew exactly what He was doing...He gave Micah and myself a perfect daughter for us. We can try to credit that we are amazing parents, but that is so untrue...we don't have a clue what we are doing! We know that we love each other, love her, and pray a ton. But Campbell is perfect...not always easy, but most definitely perfect.

And Campbell couldn't have come if Micah and I hadn't reconnected with each other and had our whirlwind romance. The past few months have definitely tested us, but we are managing with the Lord's help. As we strip away the emotional and material clutter in our lives, we have started coming back to the heart of God and His desire for us. We become more peaceful with what our future holds. We trust that we will be able to live off of a teacher's salary and don't consider much what the photography business will bring in financially. We just know that Micah will get to spend more time with our beautiful daughter, make his own work schedule, and truly love what he is doing.

So, it is time to truly give credit where credit is due.

Thank you, Lord, for orchestrating this beautiful path you created for us, the Bell family. We thank you for teaching us how to love each other and providing Jesus as an example of how to truly live. We pray that we continue to strip away the distractions that keep us from you and continue to walk toward the cross, Lord. We pray that Campbell grows knowing your love as it pours through us. We ask that you continue to show us how to simplify this life and live into the purpose you have provided. Please continue to reveal the desires You have for our family. Thank you for the community that so openly and unabashedly loves us. Thank you for the cultures that surround us, for creating us uniquely and in your image. We pray that we continue to respect and love our neighbors as we pursue justice and righteousness for all of Your children. Thank You, Lord, for Your word and all it teaches us. Thank You, thank You, thank You.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Growing Old

I found out yesterday the lump in my grandmother's breast is cancer. My grandma is a very special person to me and I credit much of who I am today to her involvement in my life. So it makes me sad to think that she is going through this, among the other health ailments in her life.

I was talking to my grandma on the phone the other day and she was really struggling to hear me. She kept asking me if I was keeping the phone close to my mouth (I was). After talking about her inability to hear me for a few moments, she confessed to me that she had been given a hearing aid and didn't like it.

Both of these events have reminded me of Ecclesiastes 12 and were reinforced when I was talking to my mom yesterday. When telling me about my grandmother's cancer, my mom told me she once heard that if you live long enough you'll get cancer.

I don't understand quite if it was God's intention for people to develop cancer over time, but I find it very intriguing how our bodies deteriorate. For a long time I've been determined to be someone who doesn't have to rely on many, many different medicines as I grow older.

I don't want to turn my grandma's struggles into being all about me, but they definitely reinforced this desire deep within my being. Especially since breast cancer is now present on both sides of my family. I want to be healthy for my children and there are preventative measures, so I might as well follow them.


Ecclesiastes 12

1 Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
"I find no pleasure in them"-

2 before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain;

3 when the keepers of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop,
when the grinders cease because they are few,
and those looking through the windows grow dim;

4 when the doors to the street are closed
and the sound of grinding fades;
when men rise up at the sound of birds,
but all their songs grow faint;

5 when men are afraid of heights
and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms
and the grasshopper drags himself along
and desire no longer is stirred.
Then man goes to his eternal home
and mourners go about the streets.

6 Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
or the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
or the wheel broken at the well,

7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


So, the Lent resolution to live a more simple lifestyle is a lot harder than I anticipated. I figured we would just stop eating out, spend less money, and get rid of stuff. But....life doesn't always go like planned.

What we've learned is that before we can simplify our lives by communicating more and supporting each other.

February was a HARD month for me...my antidepressants didn't seem to be working and Micah seemed to be needing more support in regards to micahbellphotography. I wanted so badly to be a great and supporting wife that I didn't know how to tell Micah what I needed. Plus I made a few financial missteps along the way, which is hard on some of our financial goals.

So far we've made one positive step on the path to simplicity. For the past 4 of 5 days we've gotten up early to get housework done. It's been amazing to start the day together and know that our evenings are free to play with Campbell, spend time together, and give Micah complete freedom to do whatever needs to be done for the photography business.

So, while it doesn't look at all like I thought it would, we are on our way!


PS Campbell has started doing some really fun things recently, you can check them out at Dear Campbell,.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I had a good friend in college who taught me tons about the season of Lent. One of those was a very thoughtful approach to the typical parts of the season. She would either add something to her life (like volunteering on a regular basis, fasting lunch, etc) OR she would be gracious in sacrifice. For example, she wouldn't give up chocolate, but instead she would put a dollar in a jar every time she ate it. She would then donate the money.

I like her approach. Last year we decided that eating out was bad for our pocket book, waistline (well, I was pregnant, but you know what I mean), and time together. We had starting lacking the creativity to create a healthy dinner rhythm.

Originally we were going to buy and eat local for Lent. I still really like this idea, but I don't know if we truly have the time and resources to do this fully. Micah likes the idea of not eating out anymore, but I feel like that has been done and I want a challenge. Especially because we ended up just buying lots of expensive pre-made meals at the Fresh Market.

So instead we are going totally generic for Lent. We recently attended a Training and Equipping at Common Ground and participated in a track about family rhythm. What we know about how we'd like our rhythm to be is that we desire to be a family that serves and loves the nations, we are social justice oriented, and we desire a simple life. So this year we are going to explore what is means to live simply.

What does a simple dinner look like? Or a simple weeknight? What if we had spaghetti and played a card game instead of multiple food items and TV in the evening? Where can we cut back in our spending? What does it look like to eat food without processed ingredients? Can we rid ourselves of this clutter? Does buying furniture for Micah's business count as living more simply?

So, this year we are going to approach our lifestyle head on and, hopefully, start the foundation for how we raise our family for years to come...


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Well, we are finally *almost* all better. Campbell has been given a complete clean bill of health and we were told that she is perfect. (As if we didn't know this already!) I'm about about 85% and Micah is probably at 80%. So we definitely are well enough to resume regular duties with the occasional nap here and there.

I've been feeling like most of my conversations with people include a sentence beginning with "That's actually something I've been thinking about lately...blah." I feel like I have all these thoughts swimming in my brain and if I just read my Bible I might get some answers. Not that scripture is some magic formula, but I do believe that getting to know my Creator and hearing Jesus' words to be enlightening and telling.

Some of the thoughts that have been circling are:

Would I have less conflict in my life if I stopped telling people how I feel? Would that really make life better?

Is it really OK to pledge allegiance to the flag?

I really wish Christians wouldn't give Jesus such a bad rap...especially the missionaries from Idaho. I wonder if I am giving Jesus a bad name...

How can I be a productive and proactive member of house church when it is so hard to get there?

I want another mom to pour into me and show me how to be a woman of God, a wife, and a mother gracefully.

I want to read my Bible, but I can't decide what to read.

How exactly does the brain develop? How does this impact learning disabilities, disorders, and emotional health? If brain development truly is the cause of any of these, can you outgrow depression or autism?

Why do I just want to lay around and watch TV all day?

If it would be such a minimal sacrifice of $ (if all people above the poverty line gave some), why do people still live without clean water?

How can evolution and creation co-exist? AND it is so sad to me that, more than likely, humans began their walk on this earth on the continent of Africa yet it is such a place of devastation. (I can blame PBS' NOVA for this one.)

Anyway....please don't answer any of these questions. Thanks.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How you doin'?

We aren't doin' so well in the Bell household...

3 ears are infected, 2 sinus infections, 2 upper-respiratory infections, and a case of bronchitis all within a week!

I think Campbell sums it up best in her 6 month picture:

love, the Bells