This Saturday I got to meet my new niece, Ella Faith Durso, born to my little sis and her husband, Ashley and Eric, on February 8th. They are so tiny when they first arrive and it is so exciting to welcome a new little person into the world! My world. Someone that I will know and love and pray for and watch grow. You know it's the beginning of something, well, someone...very important.

So Ashley and I have been pregnant for quite some time now together. And now that Ella is here, and I am counting down 19 more days to go, I can hardly wait to meet my little buddy! I mean really, the anticipation is as thick as desitin. So since it turns out that I have to wait, I thought what could be better than blogging about new baby as I'm waiting!

It's been a different experience preparing for a second child. Many of the practical necessities are already taken care of, especially being that I'm having a second boy. The baby bath, the bassinet, the swing, the toys, the clothes ( for me the clothes are even the right size for the appropriate season!), done. Ready. The 2 things that for me have been much harder have been the name and the verse.

Nick and I had decided we liked the name Jackson for a boy way back in one of those silly conversations you have when you're dating. Jackson is Nick's middle name, as well as his mom's maiden name. So not only did we actually like the name, but it held some sentimental value as well. So the name sat waiting for just shy of 5 years before we used it. And then 15 months later it was time to come up with a new boy name. So we each nominated a good share of names, many of which were vetoed by the other person. There were a select few that made it to the "maybe" zone, but in the end, Cooper won the race. And sorry Cooper, the only sentimental value attached to your name is the fact that mommy and daddy both liked it! And it had a nice ring to it with "James". From the first moment after the positive pregnancy test I had it in my heart that if this was another boy, his middle name would be James, after my dad, my very first superhero. A very special man to share a name with.

The other difficulty has been selecting a life verse for Cooper. My parents did this for their 4 kids. Each of us had a Bible verse that they gave us as a "life verse". Something they prayed over us, shared with us, encouraged us with. Mine is Psalm 139: 13-16. The funny thing is those are probably the most common verses associated with new babies, but I have always felt in some silly, special way, they actually were there for me! They have encouraged me in a special and personal way more than once.

Jackson's life verse was chosen before I was even pregnant. Sometime I will tell the whole tale, but Nick and I struggled through 2 and a half years of infertility. At one point a doctor told us to move on, it wasn't going to happen. I know on the grand scale there are MANY couples who have struggled through MANY more years of this, but hope deferred at any level does make the heart sick, and it is heart wrenching to go through. I'll stop that story before I get on a tangent. In the midst of that baby-less season however, God gave me a verse that comforted my soul in a deep way, and I thought, also reflected my hope and prayer for a child. And so it became the life verse of my first child. Whenever, and however, that child came.

It's Psalm 116:7-8

"Be at rest once more O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For You Oh Lord have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling. That I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living."

My prayer for Jackson is that He will see and live in God's peace and goodness throughout his life. I pray God will 1) deliver his soul from death through salvation; 2) deliver his eyes from tears by guarding his heart and affections and teaching him to trust God through everything and 3) deliver his feet from stumbling by arming and protecting him with integrity, boldness and righteousness.

When I found out Cooper was on his way, I immediately began searching for his life verse and have had the hardest time choosing one. But at long last, I have made a selection! This feels like a huge accomplishment after so much research! I felt inspired to find a verse that not only reflected my hearts prayer for Cooper's life, but was also a reflection of the man of God my dad has been an example of in my life. To me my dad has modeled a man who is not swayed by life's troubles, but has a strong and deep faith in God and his faithfulness and purposes in all things. I have been influenced immensely by my dad and his walk with the Lord. And I am now very excited to share with you little Cooper Jame's life verse!

Ephesians 3:16-17

"I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong."

My prayer for Cooper is that he will not only accept Christ's gift of salvation, but will develop a deep and strong relationship with His Maker. I pray that Christ would make His home in Cooper's heart and life and that Cooper would know God's love and walk strongly in His ways.

Daddy, mommy and Jackson can't wait to meet you, baby boy!