Wednesday, April 19, 2017

33 weeks... and still cookin'!

33 weeks tomorrow and doctor appt yesterday. My doc said at the appt., "I would have never known you had an incompetent cervix."

Thinking about that statement just makes me want to praise God. After my water broke during my first pregnancy at 20 weeks, Erik and I had to face the idea that my body may not be able to carry a baby to completion--and it definitely wouldn't be able to without help. There was hope that a cerclage would make it be possible, but there was certainly a bleak feeling of "you just don't know what will happen in the future."

Looking back at Brayden's pregnancy (#2), I faced so much fear... held on to some, overcame it other times. I was so nervous until he was safe in my arms. In fact, every muscle twinge and every uncertain feeling was cause for concern that Brayden wasn't safe. Looking back, I know he was probably not at risk during much of it, thanks to the cerclage and limited lifting and limited activity.

Jase's pregnancy was a lot better than Brayden's. I was able to relax more and do more things because I knew I had made it successfully through it once before. I had more joy, less fear and less scares, but I still was cautious. The biggest thing I couldn't do then was lift Brayden, who was only 1 1/2 years old and still needed a lot of lifting!

(Shout out to all my family and friends who helped so extensively during all of my pregnancies!!!! I'm SO grateful that you helped make our family possible!)

Now, during this pregnancy, it almost feels like a redemption pregnancy. My kids are old enough to take care of themselves (generally, speaking)... they can do so much on their own and they can help around the house. I've been able to be the most active of all the pregnancies and have done my best to truly enjoy getting out and about and being pregnant, something that I missed when the fear was prevalent during earlier ones.

I can't say I haven't battled fear. After I passed the 24 week mark, I got over the fear that I was going to disappoint my little boys and not have the sister for them that we had promised. Every week that has gone by has strengthened my confidence... not that it hasn't been without its share of troubles. I still have to tell my boys I can't do certain things they want to do because I need to rest or can't lift/exercise/run, etc. I know that period will come to end, however, and those moments won't be prevalent in their minds. I've had some nerves, but I usually tried to go with my gut/mothering instinct or ask the doctor what I need to be aware of. Now, I hear my doctor say that everything is perfect and... wow. every day brings us closer. It's been a LONG wait. Well, probably the "shortest" wait of all three babies I've had, but it's still so long to wait for something when you have restrictions. Maybe one day I'll know how to put that into words, but I feel for people in those long waiting periods.

In addition to relying on God, one key that has got me through this is focusing on and picturing the days in the hospital showing off my daughter. Thinking through and imagining what it all will be like. Remembering the sleepless nights and how they seem to be all worth it when you hold your baby in your arms.

So yeah... because I've been able to be more active and more confident this pregnancy, I haven't blogged as much during it, but I wanted to get some of this out there on "paper." So there you go. That's my pregnancy update. All is well... God is amazing.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Life can change in a moment.

I vividly remember using those words as my blog title after my water bag broke at 20 weeks with my first pregnancy. The dreams of a perfect pregnancy and baby were dashed in an instant and my life was forever changed.

This morning, however, I thought of that phrase in a different setting. I was thinking about that morning, centuries ago, when some women woke up early. They saw the sun outside and started to revel in the beauty created as the sun rays landed upon the nature around them, just as I did this morning. Their morning, however, wasn't so happy. Within a few minutes, the reality of the situation they were currently facing haunted them. Jesus, their wonderful leader and connection point to God, was dead.

Dead.

Talk about life change. They were ready to follow Him with their whole lives, and then He was killed in the most horrific, brutal way possible.

All they could think to do, to somehow move through another day, was to go anoint His body with burial spices. It was something they could to do somehow absolve the hopelessness they each felt.

On their way to the tomb, they were relatively silent, occasionally bringing up stories of Jesus' impact on them. They retold of His miracles, but then fell silent again as they wondered why such a wonderful life was cut short. As they neared where He lay, they started to consider the fact that the body was behind a huge stone that none of them would be able to move. Perhaps if they all worked together...

They all looked up as the tomb came into sight. The stone had already been moved. A gaping hole in the middle of the cave stared back at them, but a somewhat unnatural light could be seen from the inside.

Life can change in a moment.

They walked up to the men standing next to the tomb, trying to decide what emotions they should feel. "Where is Jesus' body?" one had the courage to ask.

"He is not here. He is risen, just like He said."

The women tried to comprehend the words he just spoke. They peeked inside and didn't see the lumps of a body under the burial clothes as they should have.

"What did you just say?" they asked again.

"He is risen. Go and look inside. You won't find His body, just as He said."

The ladies ran inside and saw neatly placed burial clothes covering the area Jesus' body should have been.

Life can change in a moment.

The men's voices boomed from the front of the cave. "Go and tell His disciples what has happened!"

---

Well, that's just my imagination at work this morning. I'd love to continue the story, but I know little ones sleeping upstairs will be up soon.... I just wanted to share my revelation that Jesus came so that our lives can change in a moment... for the better. He came to revolutionize and light up and bring beauty into our lives. We may be in the darkest of dark times, but Jesus' death and resurrection provides the hope we need to know that life can change in a moment... for the better and for His glory.

Happy Resurrection Sunday.



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

an FYI for conservatives about Beauty and the Beast

I just emailed Disney regarding my disappointment about their upcoming movie Beauty and the Beast. I told them that I had been excited to see it since I first heard the announcement about the live action movie... that I am a huge fan of the theater play and have seen it probably 10-15 times... I had planned to see the movie 2-3 times in the theater (which I rarely do!)...

But all that changed because they decided to proudly advertise their decision to include their first openly gay character in the movie. They changed a classic tale to appease what they thought society wanted to "move" Disney forward to whatever place they thought they should be to promote "equality"...

Honestly, if they hadn't advertised it, I would have seen the movie and been potentially annoyed by an openly gay character, probably even disgusted and certainly disappointed that they would change the story to that degree - in a time period/setting that a gay character doesn't even make sense - but I probably would have made the most of enjoying the overall movie.

Because they've chosen to advertise their choice, that is what disgusts me. They're proud they are changing their stories and standards to match what media promotes as society's wishes. I would suggest that if they were going to create an openly gay character, use a new character from a new movie that had no previous attachments or character profiles in the audience's minds.

No, I'm not against homosexuals, and no, I'm not trying to start an argument, so please, no comments against my decision to avoid seeing the movie. The reason I'm posting is because I told Disney I would alert my friends who agree with me that they may not be interested in supporting the movie anymore.

Yes, in general, I shouldn't expect anything different from a secular company, but I can be disappointed and voice my disappointment for their decision. Being silent about these types of things allows them to keep happening.

#bummed




Tuesday, February 28, 2017

typical conversations with three-year-olds

Recently we recorded this video with Jase... and it reminded me of a video we took with Brayden when he was three. Apparently I was right. The "no" conversation is common among three-year-olds!

Jase at 3 years old


 Brayden at 3 years old

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Brody, Brayden, Jase and.... ???

Thursday, we got to visit Santa early and got this little gem of a photo.




And.... yep! Another baby is on the way! We are super excited and have a wonderful sense of peace and contentment that I know only comes from God. And contrary to what the picture shows, both boys are really excited to become big brothers (again and for the first time).

I kinda think that is one reason that pushed us to having just one more - seeing the boys with their baby cousin made me long for them to have a playmate. Plus, during these past two years, if you ever asked, "Are you going to have any more kids?" I always hemmed and hawed. We were perfectly content with our little family of four, but something never felt finished.

Now we know why. It's the best feeling to know that this feels just perfect. Because yeah, three kids has a whole 'nother level of keeping up with the kiddos attached to it, but I like to think that we're as ready as we'll ever be and with God by our side, all things are possible. Plus, we know that every baby grows into a toddler, kid, and adult and doesn't need quite as much hands-on from us as the parents.

If you know anything about our story, you will also know that one reason we hesitated on another pregnancy is because today marks the six-year anniversary of our firstborn son, Brody Mark. He came at 21 weeks because my body couldn't hold him longer. I had a cerclage put in place for six months of the pregnancy with Brayden and Jase, and this little baby will be no different. That means I'll have weight lifting restrictions starting at the end of this month (okay, my mom is starting them now!) through 36 weeks (May?). I also have to be somewhat cautious on what I do. I did the least with Brayden because I was the most nervous. I did more with Jase and my body did great. I'll probably keep similar activity as I did with Jase, since my body held up well. So if you see me sitting down during praise and worship in church or something like that, I'm just trying to be cautious about my body so it doesn't get overworked.

My kiddos are at an age where they are excited about the baby, able to do much on their own, and great helpers for mommy and baby. I will try to be very good about asking for help when needed and gauging what me and my family need... not easy, but I've learned that asking for help is vital.

Anyhoo, that's my story. Today we think ahead to baby #4 with excitement and we honor and remember our littlest, biggest buddy Brody. You mean the world to us, Kiddo. Hugs and love from me and the fam. We'll have a sweet treat in your honor and celebrate you today.

Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement and support that you have given to my family during all that we have been through and all that we will be through. I know having a little kiddo here next year is worth all the effort.

Monday, July 4, 2016

an easy, on-the-go Independence Day lunch

Happy birthday, America!

I have been blessed to study more about our founding fathers and founding documents and I am very grateful for all those men have given to ensure a solid foundation for our country. Thank you, Lord!

Today we got to celebrate at home with family. It was really nice! That's really a few of the best parts of life... Celebrating God's goodness, being with family and being outside.

We went fishing with my in-laws over lunch. Since it was a last minute decision I had to convert our plans for taco salad into something travel worthy for eating on the boat. 

You may be able to guess my solution... Walking tacos!

I had fun planning this. I grabbed a ziplock bag for everyone and put in some chips and shredded cheese and a plastic fork.


Then I cut up a container of cherry tomatoes (on sale at Aldi!) and made a bag of shredded lettuce. Last was the ground beef. Well, technically I cooked that first, let it cool and then put it in a Tupperware. Lastly, I threw in an unopened medium taco sauce into my lunch backpack. 


When time came, I took out the fork and threw the ingredients in the bags. 



Next came a small amount of taco sauce. 



Next came the crushing and shaking up... Then eating!!!


It was a hit with everyone but our two-year-old... He didn't love the lettuce. Ate a bunch of everything else. 

When the sun poked out from the clouds, the boys decided they needed shade. 😀


Cleanup was easy... Just zipped the bags closed and threw it all back in my backpack!

Overall, a huge success! Definitely a future alternative to sandwiches! 

Anyhoo... I am forever grateful for the opportunity to freely be with my family and celebrate all God has given us! 

Happy Independence Day, America!


Monday, April 25, 2016

sneak peek of my new book!

We are close to the one-month countdown until my devotional officially releases! June 1 is the day, although you can pre-order online now! A sneak peek of what's inside is below... but first the official picture and description of the book:



"Within the pages of this beautiful women’s devotional, you’ll find the encouragement you need to celebrate every day, as you are reminded that your heavenly Father pours out His love on your life. With more than 180 just-right-sized readings, each encouraging devotional is accompanied by a related scripture selection that will leave you feeling perfectly loved."


Now, my favorite part... the sneak peek of what's inside! This one is from the section on endurance and shows the general format of the devos.

~~~

Immerse Yourself in God’s Word 
I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11 NLT

Enduring through difficulty can feel impossible, but it isn’t. Read, study, or memorize God’s Word and give yourself ammunition to make it through difficult times.

When you are alone, the Holy Spirit can remind you of Hebrews 13:5.  When you are scared, you’ll remember Psalm 23. When you need healing, Isaiah 53:4–5 will come to mind. The Word of God is filled with power. It will strengthen you when you need it the most.

~~~

There you go! If you want more of these bite-sized nuggets for your morning, pre-order a copy, okay? Thanks! I really hope you enjoy it. 

By the way, if you're looking for a mom's day gift, you can always pre-order it and put a nice note in her card saying that a book will be mailed to her soon!

I remember thinking of you, my audience, when writing it. I hope you are encouraged to live daily for Jesus as you read what's inside. 

Have a great day... and thanks for reading and being interested in my writing!