Friday, November 29, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 29: Christmas Time is Here!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and is eating leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast today.

That being said, I'm so excited: R is finally letting me decorate for Christmas!

R isn't necessarily a Grinch but he does have a bit of an aversion to Christmas decorations. I think it's the fact that we take the time to set so much up just to take it all down again at the end of December. He doesn't really get involved in decorating the inside but he always comments on how nice everything looks once it's set up. He is escaping the music and fun inside today by hanging lights on the house. Big old fashioned bulbs for the win!

While R teeters on the ladder, I'm inside with my folks and Little K setting up the new tree (10' tall!) and all the little things around the house. Once the tree is up and decorated, we put on movies so that Little K can be as involved as she wants for the rest of the decorating. First is Muppet's Christmas Carol (my favorite, complete with singing along), then comes Charlie Brown Christmas and Garfield Christmas. After is any Christmas movie Little K wants, usually 100-million cartoon versions of A Christmas Carol and the VeggieTales Christmas movies.

I'd love to hear your holiday traditions!

What is the first Christmas movie you watch each year?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 28: Thanksgiving


For the beauty of the earth, 
for the glory of the skies, 
for the love which from our birth 
over and around us lies; 
Lord of all, to thee we raise 
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour 
of the day and of the night, 
hill and vale, and tree and flower, 
sun and moon, and stars of light; 
Lord of all, to thee we raise 
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye, 
for the heart and mind's delight, 
for the mystic harmony, 
linking sense to sound and sight; 
Lord of all, to thee we raise 
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love, 
brother, sister, parent, child, 
friends on earth and friends above, 
for all gentle thoughts and mild; 
Lord of all, to thee we raise 
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For thy church, that evermore 
lifteth holy hands above, 
offering up on every shore 
her pure sacrifice of love; 
Lord of all, to thee we raise 
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For thyself, best Gift Divine, 
to the world so freely given, 
for that great, great love of thine, 
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:  
Lord of all, to thee we raise 
this our hymn of grateful praise.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 27: Wordless Wednesday

Our Little Actress
Little K about to go on stage for her school's Thanksgiving Play.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 26: Best Cranberries Ever!

I had a little rhyme in my head as I was preparing today's post:

Something Old
Something New
Something Borrowed
Something from Honey Baked Ham
cause this girl is almost six months pregnant and refuses to cook all day.

Catchy, huh? But, seriously, we love us some HBH sides over here. Last year featured their Cornbread Dressing and Sweet Potato Souffle. AMAZING. So we're doing that again in 2013.

Our something new this year is Oreo Pie, courtesy of Little K. She loved making pies with my mom last year and really wanted to try a new recipe. She is so excited to make something herself!

Speaking of making things herself, she also wanted to make something for the dinner table, too. Given her love of carbs, Little K has decided to make crescent rolls. From a can, but still all by herself. I just love this girl!!

I would usually put the HBH sides under borrowed but they cost so much that I think we can't leave them in that category. So, instead, I will point you to Alton Brown's Brined Turkey recipe. Made it for the first time last year and fell in love. AB is the man!

Something old is where the fun is for me. Next year I will share our recipe for Mom's Orange Crepes, our traditional Thanksgiving Day breakfast. However, this year is all about something to contrast all of the hot and savory on your plate. Think of it as a palate cleanser, like grenata or sorbet between the second and third course. Cool, sweet, refreshing.

Grandma Pat's Cranberry Relish

  • 2 small or 1 large box cherry jello
  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 orange
  • 2-3 stalks celery
  • 1/2 C chopped pecans or Pecan Chips
  • Sugar

  • Food Processor
  • Large Bowl
  • Jello Mold, optional


1. Prepare jello with half the amount of water and place in fridge to begin firming up.

2. Begin prepping your fruits and veggies:

     With peal and pith still on, cube orange into 1" cubes
     Wash celery and cut into 1" ribs

3. Get ready with the food processor. Remember that you're trying to get little crunchies into your relish, not goo - especially the pecans! Think pickle relish texture at this point. Process each ingredient individually and then dump into the large bowl. I work in this order:


4. Fold your fruits and veggies together. Add sugar to taste. I usually end up adding anywhere from 2T to 1/3 sugar, depending on how sweet my orange is and how tart the cranberries are.

5. Remove jello from fridge when wobbly but not fully set. It will look like a ton of crunchies for only a little bit of jello but trust me, it will all fit! Fold everything together and taste again to be sure it's sweet enough.

6. Now comes the fun part! You can let the finished relish set in any container you like. My mom has a real jello mold that makes a beautiful ring, reminiscent of a bunt cake. I, however, do not. Instead, I fill enough of my small china dessert bowls for each person who will be at the table and then let the rest set in a glass bowl or tupperware container. Compote cups would be beautiful for this, too.

7. This needs to set for AT LEAST 6 hours, so it definitely falls in the "make ahead" file. I usually make this on Wednesday afternoon/evening and pat myself on the back for getting one more thing crossed off the list.

This is the perfect dish to bring for a potluck style dinner or to finally convince someone that they really do like cranberries! Travels well and, like I said, wonderfully contrasts with the standard Thanksgiving goodies on your plate. Make it and rejoice in 1950's cooking!

Monday, November 25, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 25: Music Monday

With my parents coming into town tonight, Hawaii has been on my mind. Here's an oldie but a goodie: Honolulu City Lights by Keola and Kapono Beamer.

This has become the unofficial theme song of Hawaii and those whose hearts belong to the islands. I'm thrilled to say that the Beamers are friends of our family and the matriarch, Nona Beamer, gave me my middle name. A beautiful family with amazing talent!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 24: Links!

I am the first to admit: boys are a mystery to me. I grew up with a sister and each of us went on to have a daughter. Life has been all pink, purple, and perfect up to this point! Not to say that life with a boy won't be perfect, too. Just not as pink and purple, you know?

I've spent the past week looking for baby boy blogs and, as I was searching, came across some great posts! Here's what caught my interest: 

I just love this post from E, Myself, and I about dressing little boys.

BlueBird is sparking cravings with this list of desserts with pictures.

It may just be the hormones talking but Dear Beautiful's post on motherhood got the tears flowing again.

The R House has a post titled What to respect when NOT expecting. Not related to raising boys but important all the same.

Slightly off topic but I'm currently obsessed with this Christmas decoration on Peanut Blossom. Trying to figure out if R will let me pull this off.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 23: Recipes

If you have any Thanksgiving recipes that you're dying to share, please comment or email me. We want to know what you're cooking!

From Caroline at In Due Time:

Sweet Potato Casserole (gluten and refined sugar free)

Vegan Fudge

If you have a recipe to submit, please comment or email and I will update this post. I know you have something special planned for your Thanksgiving table!

Friday, November 22, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 22: HypnoBabies Review, Week 1

This is my review of the HypnoBabies Home Study Course from a Christian perspective. These are my personal thoughts and experiences only, not directed or encouraged by any outside person, group, or organization.

Note: HypnoBabies is written to be spiritually neutral, allowing participants to bring in any practices that they find helpful. When I read the HypnoBabies webpage about Christianity and Hypnosis, it was clear that I would be incorporating scripture and Biblical imagery in my use of the program.

HypnoBabies, Week 1

Our angel blogger sent us the complete HypnoBabies Home Study Course, which included the following:
  • HypnoBabies Home Study Course Workbook, 6th Edition
  • Home Study Supplementary Booklet: Quick Reference and Birth Partner's Guide, 6th Edition
  • Six Disc Home Study Course CDs
Introductory Materials
I read the intro to the Workbook and the Quick Reference the first day. I enjoyed the letter from the founder, Kerry Tuschhoff, discussing the program, how it was developed and how it is different from other childbirth techniques, including Bradley. The balance of the intro discussed the program itself, how to use the materials, the Bubble of Peace concept, and facts about hypnosis. I felt that this information provided me with good discussion points when talking about HypnoBabies with my family and friends.

I really liked reading the Quick Reference, which gave me a glimpse at how HypnoBabies will be in use during our birthing time. There is also a great section about posterior babies, how to turn them and a birth partner guide on how to administer counter pressure. Good page on breastfeeding, too. The rest of the booklet contains information for the birth partner on how to support the mother during her birthing time. I will review the booklet in more detail as we get closer to our birthing time.

It is recommended that both the mother and birth partner review all of the provided materials, including the CD tracks.

Workbook Class 1
The workbook pages for Week 1 consist mainly of articles about hypnotherapy and how it works. It also introduces some more key words that will be used as a part of the HypnoBabies program:

Guess Date/Due Date
Pressure Waves, Pressure Sensations, Birthing Waves/Contractions
Birthing Time/Labor
Pre-Birth Waves/False Labor

All of these vocabulary changes are meant to remove any fear one may associate with childbirth and are generally easy to use. I have found myself using these terms already in my conversations and they feel very natural.

The best part of this chapter, for me, was the article discussing how fear effects childbirth and how the muscles in the uterus are built in such a way that they respond to fear. The basic is that the muscle fibers in the uterus run both horizontal and vertical. When you are calm and relaxed, these fibers work together to dilate the cervix and move your baby out. When you are in the pain-fear-tension cycle, these fibers naturally work against each other to cause contractions to be less productive, slowing or stopping labor until you are/feel safe again. This was very powerful for me and helped me recommit to the importance of staying comfortable and relaxed during my birthing time. I seriously LOVED this section!

Also included in this chapter is the first script for your birth partner to read to you: Bubble of Peace. R had the opportunity to read this script to me twice and I found it very relaxing. I really enjoy how HypnoBabies takes the time to include your birth partner in the program in this way!

The Bubble of Peace reminds me of the Armor of God. I have always resonated with the shield of faith and find this imagery very helpful here.

Disc 1: Your Special Place
This is the first of two hypnosis tracks used during Week 1. This track focuses on creating a safe place in your mind, whether a real place or imagined, that you can retreat to for mental/emotional safety or to calm yourself.

The track begins with a relax/peace scenario meant to bring you into hypnosis. Beginning with breathing deeply, you are then walked through steps for quieting all the extra "noise" in your mind, becoming peaceful and calm.

When this track first began leading the participant through the use of the word peace and accepting peace/peaceful energy into yourself, I knew immediately that the phrasing would have to change. Thankfully, the Lord readily brought this scripture to mind:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.

This worked wonderfully! I ended up switching these, using "Peace I give to you" on the inhale and "My peace I leave with you" on the exhale.

The next stage of the track uses imagery of light. The light is relaxation/peace gathered at the top of your head, could be any color you wish, and flowed down your head and shoulders until it reached your heart, which then pumps this colored light to the rest of your body. Again, I needed to make some changes.

Immediately, I went to John 8:12: Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." I also used 1 John 1:5: God is light, in Him there is no darkness. For gathering the light at the top of your head, the image came of the Spirit of God descending on Christ like a dove at His baptism. With the dove traditionally symbolizing peace, this worked perfectly. With these scriptures in place, I was able to imagine this peace/light moving from my mind to my heart and then filling me with each heartbeat. For color, I used purple for Christ's royalty

Once these cues are done, the track then walks you through the creation of your safe place. It emphasizes that this place can be real or imaginary, a place you have visited, a place you want to go, or a new creation all your own.

At first, I struggled with creating this place and just in general feeling like this exercise would not be helpful. However, after listening to this track several times, I have been able to see the usefulness of this exercise. I think that it will be very effective if I need to retreat during my pressure waves, especially during our hour long drive to the birth center.

My safe place ended up being Bellows Beach in Hawaii. This is a beach located on an air force base, so it is only open on weekends and is relatively under visited. Our family often visited this beach on our trips to Hawaii in order to enjoy some peace and quiet by the water. It has great waves for body surfing and a very close tree line for shade. I picture myself curled up in the warm shade, listening to the roll of the waves. I enjoy using beachfront imagery with the term "birthing waves" and how they build and recede. I think this will be very helpful later, especially the concept of these waves being just background noise and a part of an overall relaxing experience.

Once you create your special place, you are instructed to "[take] your baby by the hand and bring your baby to your special place." I was very uncomfortable with the concept of touching my child's consciousness and then taking them somewhere. It reminded me too much of out-of-body experiences or astral projection. Instead, I pictured Aaron's first trip to Hawaii and napping with him in the shade at Bellows while R and Little K play in the waves and my parents read in the sun. The people I love surrounding us, you know?

The track ends with a count up from hypnosis at 1-2-3. Overall, this track is very relaxing but required a fair bit of editing.

Disc 1: Comfortable Childbirth
This is the second track for week one. It begins the same as the first track with narrative cues for peace and light. This track takes the deep breathing a step further, breathing in to a count of four and breathing out with a countdown from eight. This deep breathing goes on for quite a while and has put me to sleep* so many times, even sitting up! It is a very relaxing experience.

Once the breathing/peace/light is done, the remainder of the track focuses on rejecting any negativity or pain associated with childbirth. This includes reality t.v. shows about birth, movies or television shows dramatizing birth, and vocabulary traditionally used when discussing childbirth. (I have also chosen to avoid any online un-medicated birth videos that do not use HypnoBabies.) The track stresses the importance of rejecting these notions of birth as being painful or traumatic and, instead, focusing on the productive nature of your pressure waves (contractions). The focus is on enjoying these sensations with the anticipation that each pressure wave brings you that much closer to meeting your baby.

I did not feel much need for additional scripture or edits for this track, with the exception of the passages already mentioned with the initial peace/light cues. One statement on the track did remind me of a scripture:

"After your baby has been born, your strength will be complete."

Hello, 2 Corinthians 12:9!

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

I love this reminder of my weakness versus God's strength. I know that, by myself, I cannot have an easy, comfortable birth. But by doing the work now, both mentally with hypnotherapy and spiritually with scripture and prayer, that my weakness will be nothing when compared with God's strength during my birthing time. Amen!

*Based on this article and discussion, it is possible that I'm not falling asleep during this track but rather going into deep hypnosis. I tried listening to this track and fast forwarding through the hypnosis cues. Surprisingly, the rest of the track was very familiar to me. Perhaps I really am in hypnosis after all!

Disc 5: Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations
This is track two on disc five, which you are supposed to listen to every day. It is NOT a hypnosis track and is the only track that can be listened to in the car, although I usually listen to it as I eat breakfast or do my hair/makeup. I have also turned it up loud and listened to it in the shower.

The track begins with affirmations about pregnancy and slowly transitions to affirmations about your birthing time with the purpose of sustaining your positive thinking about pregnancy and birth. For the most part, I find this track spiritually neutral and can listen to it without many internal edits.

Statements I really enjoy on this track:

Pregnancy is natural, normal, healthy, and safe for me and my baby.
My job is to relax and allow my baby's birth to happen.
I see myself birthing beautifully, calmly, and with confidence.
I love my pregnant body and accept it every day.
I enjoy eating healthy food for my baby.
I have faith, courage, and patience.

There are some statements, however, that create dissonance with me spiritually and require editing:

I deserve an easy, uncomplicated birth. Lord, I believe You can give me an easy, uncomplicated birth.
My body gives birth in its own perfect time. My baby will be born in the Lord's perfect time.
I believe in myself. I believe in You.

And still a few more statements feel self-centered, not taking into account the partnership of marriage**:

All decisions about my baby's birth are mine to make. All decisions about our baby's birth are ours to make.

Still in all, I feel this is a good and helpful track. I have found myself enjoying the look of my pregnant body more and admiring my belly in the mirror. I have been more mindful about choosing healthy snacks and avoiding junk food. I am looking forward to an un-medicated birth with the feeling that it will be an empowering, calm, and joyful event.

**HypnoBabies was created for mothers in all situations, not specific to marriage. I completely understand these single-person statements and would rather have to edit these for me than create guilt or shame for an unmarried mother using the program.

Week 1 Impressions
Recorded Materials: I found that there are more universal concepts in the recorded materials than I was expecting and it definitely has an all-inclusive theme. Some phrases toe the line of what the Bible identifies as dangerous. However, scripture and imagery came to mind easily to make the program comfortable for me and at no point did I feel that I was at risk. I do think that the program could be misleading/confusing for a new Christian or anyone who has not prioritized the study of scripture. I'm definitely glad we went into this program prayerfully.

Written Materials: At this point, all of the written materials focus on how hypnosis works and the medical/scientific support for hypnotherapy. A common complaint in reviews about the written materials is the layout and bolding, italics, and underlining of the text. I agree that a there is a lot of this but, for me, it wasn't distracting. I can see how this could be very frustrating for someone who has a passion for design or publishing.

Price: While I don't feel this program is priced well on the website, I am very comfortable with the price I paid for it in used condition.

Impact to Date
  • I have found myself using the new, gentle vocabulary more and more.
  • I am getting better at implementing my Bubble of Peace. Examples: Reminding myself during the birth scene at the beginning of Man of Steel that it is just a dramatization, not real birth. When a woman in bible study shared the very dramatic, unplanned un-medicated birth of her second child IN HER CAR, reminding myself that such situations were very uncommon. Cutting myself off from any "natural birth" videos online that do not use HypnoBabies.
  • I find myself looking forward to birth and already being a little sad knowing that it will all be over in a few months.
  • I had a wonderful dream Wednesday night about giving birth to two babies. In this dream, I delivered in a comfortable bed with about an hour between births. I slept between the two deliveries and didn't really push them out - I breathed them out. While I wasn't silent, I was not experiencing any pain or making noises related to pain. A male nurse commented later that the HypnoBabies didn't work because I wasn't silent - I asked him if he ever heard me request medication. He said no. I told him that, in that case, it worked. I also dreamed about nursing the babies right after birth and seeing their mouths fill with milk. I woke up feeling very confident about my birthing time and breastfeeding!
  • The section of the workbook regarding the uterus and the fear-pain-tension cycle was AWESOME. It also gave R a lot of confidence in the program as a whole.
Extra Resources: Check out these HypnoBabies birth videos!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 21: Thanksgiving Thursday - Recipes, Please!

I've got a new look over here, obvs, and am so sorry for any craziness yesterday as I figured out the new layout. I think we're all good now, though!

We are one week away from Thanksgiving and I'm asking for recipes! Our family has struggled for years with getting something green on our Thanksgiving plates. Mostly because we don't like green bean casserole. Sorry!

If you have something fabulous (preferably free of starches like rice or potatoes), please share!

I will post everyone's submissions on Saturday. Bring on the delicious!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 20: Not at All Wordless Wednesday

Bump Pic and Pregnancy Warning!

But first, to protect the dashboard:

Chillin' on a Sunday Morning

I have to confess something: We had a scare last Friday. I'm sorry I didn't tell you. Everything happened so fast and, by the time I was in a place where I could blog, everything was fine again. Here's what happened...

Although I thought I had felt Aaron move when I was cuddling with Little K around 7:00 AM last Friday, I didn't feel him move the rest of the morning. I finally realized that he had been overly quiet around 11:00 AM. I pressed on my stomach and felt his body move with little resistance to my pushing hands. I drank a quick glass of OJ, boiled water and put in a couple tea bags to steep, and ran over to the pharmacy to purchase a stethoscope. When I got home, I quickly drank the tea and laid down to listen for his heartbeat. Although I wasn't surprised that I couldn't find it (such things are tricky), I got very upset when I noticed he wasn't pushing back or complaining about all of the poking and prodding. Cue panic.

I know that you are supposed to lay down for an hour and do a kick count before freaking out but, given that we live an hour away from the midwife, there was no way I could wait that long. I called the birth center, spoke with a midwife, and got in the car to go listen to Aaron's heartbeat. R works at the house, too, and was worried but I asked him to stay home so he could pick up Little K from school. I called my mom and gave her the heads up.

I ran R and mom through the possible next steps if Aaron's heartbeat was abnormal: emergency ultrasound, possible overnight stay at hospital for observation, possible bed rest. I asked mom to look at flights to NC - what was available that afternoon and what was available Saturday morning. None of us mentioned the worst outcome.

The whole way to the center, I kept praying, "Please, let him still be alive." Finally around 1:30, when I was about 20 minutes from the birth center, I felt a kick. I put my hand on my stomach and prayed - kick me again if you're okay, little man. Another kick in the same spot.

By the time I got to the birth center, Aaron was kicking up a storm. We listened to his heartbeat, running very high for him at 145 (the caffeine must have finally hit him!) I felt relieved and a little foolish as I began the long drive home but so, so grateful that my boy was okay.

I hope I never have to live through a day like that again.

Monday, November 18, 2013


If you haven't already, please go visit Holly and offer your support.

Brinly 10/30/13
Jude 11/17/13

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 15: 24 Weeks - VIABILITY!

This post is about pregnancy. If you're not in a good place, feel free to pass. Take care of you!

We made it!!! Before coming to the ALI community, I had no idea about these kind of milestones. Now that I'm here, though, I am so glad to be able to celebrate! If Aaron were born today, our medical team would make every effort to keep our little man alive. Praise God!

With that being said, we obviously want him to keep cooking for at least another 14 weeks. Stay in there, mister!

Our HypnoBabies materials arrived and we have completed Week 1 of the course. Since we received the materials before 26 weeks, we have time to take two weeks for every one week of lesson (does that make sense?). We will be continuing the listening and scripts for Week 1 next week before moving on. I plan on posting reviews of each week at the end of each (now 14 day) lesson. Stay tuned next Friday!

We don't have much more to report over here. Aaron continues to be active and I'm feeling really good. Belly button is shallow but still in. No stretchmarks yet. Still sleeping pretty well and not nearly as exhausted each day. Awesome.

We received some great news regarding our insurance for 2014. R's work has FINALLY chosen an insurance company that provides coverage in NC!! We compared the plans with his work against the option we were considering purchasing on our own. Not only is the plan at his work within $15 of what we already budgeted, it is $150 cheaper than the increase we would have seen after Aaron is born, the deductible is $1500 LESS annually, and the coverage is REALLY good. We would only have to find a new dentist/orthodontist - every other provider is in-network! With this new plan, the cost of labor and delivery at the birth center just went down from $3700 to $2100. PRAISE GOD!!

We are continuing to see the Lord provide for us financially in amazing, unexpected ways.  God is so good!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 14: Failed Adoption Resources

One of the adoption blogs I follow is The R House. Lindsey has several posts highlighting failed adoption that I wanted to share here. These are not to say that grieving should happen in any specific way or that anyone should feel pushed to heal or grieve on someone else's time table. I only want you to know that you are not alone.


Surviving a Failed Placement

Journal Entries Through a Failed Adoption

If only for a short time.


Other Resources:

Life After a Failed Adoption

How to Deal with a Failed Adoption

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 12: Weep with those who weep

Continuing to lift up Matt and Erika.
God's Word speaks what we cannot say.
He hears, He cares.

You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me.



Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

Overcome with awe, they said to each other, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.


Psalm 116

I love the Lord because he hears my voice
    and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
    I will pray as long as I have breath!
Death wrapped its ropes around me;
    the terrors of the grave overtook me.
    I saw only trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “Please, Lord, save me!”
How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
    So merciful, this God of ours!
The Lord protects those of childlike faith;
    I was facing death, and he saved me.
Let my soul be at rest again,
    for the Lord has been good to me.
He has saved me from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling.
And so I walk in the Lord’s presence
    as I live here on earth!
I believed in you, so I said,
    “I am deeply troubled, Lord.”
In my anxiety I cried out to you,
    “These people are all liars!”
What can I offer the Lord
    for all he has done for me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.

Monday, November 11, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 11: Music Monday

All the poor and powerless, all the lost and lonely.
All who hurt with nothing left, will know that You are holy.

Praying for Erika and Matt. I know none of us saw this coming and my heart breaks for their loss of Ellison.

Continuing to pray for Holly and the fight for Jude. Her post on brokenness and not knowing how to pray brought tears yet again.

All the poor and powerless
And all the lost and lonely

All the thieves will come confess
And know that You are holy
Will know that You are holy

All will sing out, Hallelujah
And we will cry out, Hallelujah

All the hearts who are content
And all who feel unworthy
All the hurt with nothing left
Will know that You are holy

All will sing out, Hallelujah
Will will cry out, Hallelujah

Shout it, go on and scream it from the mountains
Go on and tell it to the masses
That He is God

We will sing out, Hallelujah
We will cry out, Hallelujah

We will sing out, Hallelujah

Shout it, go on and scream it from the mountains
Go on and tell it to the masses
That He is God

Sunday, November 10, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 10: Scripture Sunday - Link

I've been reading and rereading this post from E, Myself, and I for several days now. I haven't quite been able to put my thoughts together in a coherent way yet, but I found some of her statements very moving and it caused me to view things in a new light. Still mulling it over.

If you want a great read, I would definitely recommend going to check it out!


At Allume, Melanie Shankle taught from 2nd Samuel chapter 7, about King David.  She said, "God DOES give us more than we can handle... This teaches us who He is and forces us to rely on Him.  HE can handle it... God did not choose David because he knew he would be perfect.  He chose him because he knew would mess up and have to rely on God."
Go Read More.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 8: 23 Weeks, Hypnobabies, Midwife Appointment

This post is about pregnancy. If you're not in a good place, please feel free to pass. Take care of you!

First and foremost:
Please go visit Erika and congratulate her on the birth of her daughter, Ellison! Praise God!

Now that you're back, hi! So, here we are at 23 weeks. Wow. Well over half way through this pregnancy and in the teens in the countdown. It's crazy to think that Aaron's due date is four months from YESTERDAY! Woot!

I'm SUPER excited to say that a fellow blogger agreed to sell me her HypnoBabies materials! They went in the mail yesterday and I'm hoping they arrive before Friday next week. I can't wait to start working on the program! I know it's early but I really want HypnoBabies to work for us and I have a feeling it will take me a while to really get into the groove. There's some really great information here, as well as an article on hypnosis and Christianity. I'm feeling really good about this method of birthing and am excited to get to work.

Plus, the blogger sold me her materials at less than half price of retail. Love how the Lord provided for us in this!

So, I had a midwife appointment this morning. Overall, it went pretty well. I actually arrived early, which was SO great. My weight is up 6 pounds from the last appointment, which the midwife had *opinions* about. And I had *opinions* about her opinion. Whatever. It's reasonable to gain 1 to 1.5 pounds per week at this point, which I totally did. I am glad that Halloween is over and most of the candy is out of our house. I'll be working at being more intentional about NOT eating sweets. But not because she said so! (This is me pouting, think nothing of it.)

The best part of the appointment was hearing Aaron's heartbeat (130's) and feeling his head! How cool!!! She was feeling my abdomen and asked if I wanted to feel something neat. She placed my hands about three inches a part on the upper part of my uterus and kind of wiggled them a bit. And I felt the sides of his head! It feels about the size of a tennis ball. And then he moved away from our hands. Heh. It was a really special moment for me.

My blood pressure is 105/60, which is awesome. The midwife did ask if I've felt dizzy at all so I told her about getting hot and a little lightheaded if I stand for too long (more than 30 minutes at a time). I specifically notice this during worship on Sunday mornings, so I've started setting up a stool behind me on stage so I can sit down if needed.

I wasn't thrilled with my fundal height measurement: measuring 22 instead of 23. When I mentioned my concern, she immediately reassured me that anything 2cm above or below the current week was normal. That made me feel a little better. And I bit my tongue about the whole "normal range" thing (*cough*seeweightabove*cough*).

Then the midwife talked with me about the marginal placenta previa. I let her know that we moved my ultrasound to 31w6d for a better chance at a good measurement, which she agreed with. She asked if I understood what the outcome would be if the placenta didn't move (cesarean delivery). Yes, trust me, I get that part. Then she talked about warning signs and reasons to call the midwife, based on my current previa diagnosis. Basically, any spotting, bleeding, cramps, or unexplained nausea. If anything seems abnormal, I need to call. Which is fine. I would definitely rather be safe than sorry.

We are testing for gestational diabetes at my next appointment, which kind of stinks. I was really hoping to avoid all of that. But it is what it is. I'm very thankful that they have a new flavor (lemon lime) which doesn't have the artificial coloring like the orange and fruit punch options. They sent me home with a bottle with instructions to drink it 45 minutes prior to my appointment and to let the receptionist know what time I drank it upon check-in that morning. She also recommended drinking it ice cold. Ich.

So, mostly normal over here and certainly nothing to worry about. I hope most of you have a long weekend to look forward to. And, if you or a family member have served or are serving in the military: Thank You!

Can I just say: one week until viability! Woo-hoo!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 7: BSF - Matthew 6 and 7

We have spent the past two weeks of BSF studying Matthew 6 and 7 with a focus on prayer. Below are a few thing that have really stood out to me in the notes:
  • Have you realized that God's goal is not your immediate satisfaction? His goal is for your faith in His promises and your love for Him to grow.
  • Whom do your prayers show you value - God or yourself?
  • God sometimes causes His children to wait for His answer to grow our faith and deepen our desire. He causes us to pray as never before and to trust Him, thinking of who He is even more than for what we are asking.
  • (Keep on) Asking, (Keep on) Seeking, (Keep on) Knocking: God uses our "knocking" to bring our desires in line with His holy will for our lives.
  • He will not always give you your superficial or even cherished desires, but He will satisfy the deepest longings of your heart for closeness to Himself and spiritual growth and discernment.
  • Since the first day that your set your mind to gain an understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. Daniel 10:12-13
I'm not sure yet how these thoughts and the accompanying scriptures will be at work in my future. However, I can see clearly how they have been at work the past three years total and the past 12 months in particular.

I spent five years knocking (praying repeatedly), three of those in earnest, in my desire for a child. It wasn't until Fall 2012, though, that the Lord started showing me that I should be asking for His will rather than for a child. It specifically started during our BSF study of Genesis.

Genesis 18:16-33
When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”
“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”
He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”
He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

Our discussion group and the follow-up lecture drove home this thought:

God already knew how many righteous people were in Sodom and whether or not it would destroyed. The conversation with Abraham and his questions didn't change God's mind. Instead, it brought Abraham into alignment with God's will. To the understanding that - if and when Abraham saw Sodom burn - God knew all along what the outcome would be.

This idea of "Keep On" Asking, "Keep On" Seeking, "Keep on" Knocking - in the interest of purposefully aligning my desires with God' will - was brand new to me. (See BSF notes above.) It was then that I started focusing on God's will for our family rather than my desire for a child. For a desire that had been my focus for so long, this was a serious struggle! I focused on this kind of prayer so specifically that, by the time R said we could attempt a treatment cycle, I wasn't even sure that I wanted/needed another child anymore. Simply because I was filled with God's peace about our current situation.

Please don't misunderstand. I knew that I still wanted to pursue treatment and believed that the Lord had blessed that path for us, simply because we went from two opposite viewpoints on family building to unity. That was miraculous all on its own! I had committed to Him that, whatever R said when the time came would be the course for our family and that I would obey.

The point is that I was at peace. I knew that my faith, happiness, heart were no longer dependent on the outcome of our treatment. I knew that, whatever happened, it was God's will for us. I finally got to the point of desiring His will over my wants.

I want to be sure to say that I don't feel this mindset caused the Lord to give us a child. I didn't obey my way into this pregnancy. What it allowed me to do was THRIVE rather than survive. Even after R agreed to treatment, it took another six months, including three cancelled cycles, before we even got to the IUI. Through the final leg of the journey, when I was ready more than ever to break and scream as the months dragged on, I was instead able to focus on HIM. His timing, His purpose.

My faith grew over our five/three years leading up to treatment but especially during those final 12 months. I feel like I matured in my faith and started really getting to the heart of my relationship with Christ - it's not about me. It's never been about me. I exist to do His will and worship Him.

I have been thinking a lot lately about baby Aaron. About how special and unique he is. About how, if R had agreed to have a child right away or if any of the other cycles hadn't been cancelled, Aaron wouldn't be with us now. I may have gotten pregnant on one of those cycles. I may not have. But, either way, I wouldn't have THIS child.

Aaron is the son the Lord designed and planned for us. I'm so excited to see how God will continue to work in his life and in ours as we parent him.