Monday, December 20, 2010

thought

We cannot have a drive-thru relationship with God and expect to behold His glory.

~Beth Moore, Believing God

I feel like this is what my relationship with Him has been like lately.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

home, part 1

Home has been a huge ongoing theme for our lives lately! Even our church is doing a sermon series on "Home". Between moving from our home to making Bella feel like our temporary home is a home and to what this post is about, homebirth, the word "home" is going to be used a lot!

I just wanted to share a bit on our experience with homebirth. I'm not going to include our birth story...if anyone is interested, please leave a comment, and I'll email it to you. I just wanted to keep this simple.

When we became pregnant, I knew I wanted to attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). The first time around, I felt like we did everything we could do to prepare for a natural birth. Circumstances occurred and I ended up with a c-section. I could write a whole post on my feelings towards this, but I'll spare you! So, with VBAC on our minds, I set out to find a doctor/midwife who was supportive. Boy, was that an adventure! My doctor who delivered Bella was extremely VBAC friendly. However, the hospital she worked for was not friendly to her. Again, I won't expand on that...except to say, I didn't want to deliver there again (even though it is probably one of the most natural friendly hospitals in our area).

I talked to a local doula/birthing instructor and she was an amazing resource. We still felt most comfortable delivering at a hospital. So we toured one hospital that had a group of doctors/midwives who were pro-VBAC. I was very turned off by this hospital. Feeling defeated, I tried a doctor at another hospital. We went to see her and she told me what I can only call lies...she said, "1. Your 2nd baby is always larger than your first. 2. If we see the baby is big, we're going HAVE to do a c-section." Again, I felt defeated. And we went back to the drawing board.

Homebirth. Really? If you would've told me a year ago, I would have considered a homebirth, I would've told you that you are crazy! I mean, I am very supportive of mamas who choose this option. I have a dear friend who had one, but me, well, I'm a little more conventional...or maybe, I'm not.

We met with a homebirth midwife and she was completely confident of VBAC. She didn't share the views of the medical profession, that once you have a c-section, you always have a c-section. She was positive, she was confident, she was experienced. We went home that night and chatted about it. I talked with my dear friend who had a homebirth, and we made our decision!

And that decision changed my life forever. Labor and birth felt completely natural in our home. I was able to labor anyway I needed to. Everyone felt comfortable. I was able to see Bella. And when it came time to actually deliver Genevieve, it was the most amazing experience of my life. It's so hard to put into words what it's like to see a life come from you. And to know that I worked so hard, and was able to climb the mountain and accomplish something I didn't know was possible! All the while, everyone there knew I could do it. I was surrounded with hope, love, strength, and faith, not only from the Lord but also from my amazing husband, wonderful doula, and awesome midwife. I am forever changed!!!

All I can say to those who are considering their birth options is to please educate yourselves. Just because your doctor says "this is best", don't be afraid to question them. Explore what's out there. You most likely will be surprised what you find. This is YOUR BIRTH, YOUR LIFE, and YOUR CHILD'S LIFE. Not theirs.

Monday, November 22, 2010

crazy

life is crazy right now...i have so many things flowing through my mind and soul and would love to blog about them. but i need to pack, and i need to love on my girls, and i need to pack, and right now i need to get a crying little girl.

instead, i'll share a song that makes me love our Lord even more.

see below

beautiful things

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

spirit

Last night I had an epiphany thanks to a new book I'm reading. After having a rough afternoon with 2 kiddos and an exhausted mom, I got a little time to read before bed. My midwife had recommended the book Whole Child, Whole Parent. I reached a chapter on "Spirit" and the light turned on for me in relation to parenting. We focus so much on taking care of our children, their body and their mind. We work hard to feed them the right foods, make sure they get enough exercise, regularly take them to the doctor to make sure they're developing well. For their minds, we read to them, ask them to count, name colors, etc.

But what about their spirit? I was convicted by this! Do I help my girls nurture their spirit? When their hearts need love and encouragement, do I stop what I'm doing and feed their souls? I know that as a mom, I can't do everything and I also need to care for my own soul. But this has been a huge paradigm shift for me. I want my daughters to have spirits that are full of joy and love and Christ, and they need me to be their vessels. Big responsibility? Yes! But to whom much is given, much is required! Thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit!!!! Because as a mom, some days it feels like it's the only thing that gets me through.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the things kids say

Life is full of craziness right now, and amidst the long nights, missing my husband, and helping a toddler understand the change that has occurred in her life...I like to take time to reflect on the fun things of being a mommy!

Like today, I gave Bella some blueberry yogurt. She kept pointing at it and saying "boo-be" and then I realized she was actually saying "blueberry", not where Genevieve likes to be all the time! :)

Thanks my sweet Bells for making me laugh today!

Monday, October 4, 2010

in love

what can I say, but my cup runneth over.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

due

Another long time, no post. Instead of droning on why I haven't posted, I'll save you the trouble of reading.

Today is baby's due date. I've come to understand that date doesn't mean anything...except for a date that can make so many people crazy with calling and wondering and making you worry. I'm so very thankful for a patient midwife who says when I ask what I can do..."Just be patient."
I could write a book on the joy and love and power of midwives, but I'll save that for another day. Except to say, midwives making having a baby such a natural and normal thing. Every time I see my midwife, I am amazed by another aspect of her care. I am a huge advocate of them, and I hope and pray this new healthcare system will not impact their powers in this country.

Pregnancy has been amazing this time around...of course this is after I've forgotten those 6 horrendous weeks at the beginning where all I wanted to do was lay in bed and enjoy my misery. Hard to do with a toddler. I absolutely am blessed by pregnancy...it is an indescribable feeling to feel a baby move and kick and roll over. I thank God for the blessing He bestows on women to carry children. I realize so many women do not have easy pregnancies. And for them, I hope th e 9 months fly by! I cannot understand how a woman can carry a miracle within their body, and not believe in a god. Blessing, it is! As excited as I am to meet this little boy or girl, I am a little sad to not have my traveling companion anymore. Inside, there are no poopy diapers to change, no waking to feed (more so just waking to pee!), no crying. Just little nudges and kicks and Bella to kiss my belly. Can I say it again, Blessing!

Admittedly I am a little nervous about the labor and birth. And yet, I have never felt more comfortable about it either. I have an amazing support system and I know this is what my body is created to do. I do think it would give me a little more comfort knowing Jesus tackled this area of life before! And there was a chapter in the bible on it. I guess that's just why He made midwives. :)

Blessing!

Monday, July 19, 2010

sweet



I can't wait to get this!



Saturday, July 17, 2010

miracles

Jason and I have been doing an amazing bible study together and it has been eye-opening and life-changing. (Isn't God good?!) It's Believing God by Beth Moore. The main point of this study is that it's not enough to believe in God, but we must believe God. Big difference. Demons believe in God. A lot of people believe in God. But do we believe Him?

In regards to miracles in our lives, she says, "...most of us are probably caught in the prevalent cycle of unbelief. In other words, we believe little because we've seen little, and we've seen little because we believe little." Do we really expect the Lord to perform miracles anymore? She contends we should, He does and will! And I agree!

I have to share an excerpt from the study (it is long, but powerful):

No one in my church in Houston, Texas will ever forget Duane Miller's miracle. In 1990 Duane was the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas. One Sunday morning he came down with flu-like symptoms and lost his voice. He apologetically made his way through the sermon and assumed that his malady would quickly pass like any other case of laryngitis. It didn't. Duane's condition worsened until he ended up at the Baylor College of Medicine in the hands of knowledgeable but baffled specialists. Five months had passed since Duane croaked his way through his last sermon. He was horrified when the specialist knew nothing to prescribe but an additional six months of absolute silence. Any Holy Spirit-invaded speaker, preacher, or teacher knows that's nearly a fate worse than death. Six months later, Duane's voice showed absolutely no improvement. Devastated, Duane resigned his pastorate and returned deeply wounded in soul and wallet to our home church in Houston.

Before Duane took the pastorate in Brenham, he had taught a class of several hundred people at our church called the Catacombs. On his return the members of the class lovingly embraced Duane and formed a tight knot of support around him. God used this precious class to be the bedrock while life tossed Duane and his wife, Joylene. In addition to his inability to speak above a whisper, he began to have trouble focusing his eyes. At one point the medical facts began adding up to multiple sclerosis, but the tests continued to come back negative. Finally, the doctors told Duane that he'd never get better. On the contrary, they told him that within two years he'd lose his voice completely.

Early the next year the teacher of the Catacombs Class resigned, and the the director insisted that God told her Duane was to take the position. Duane was not among the very few people who believed her. Reluctantly, but with the encouragement of our faith-filled pastor, Duane took the position. Class members rigged an ultrasensitive microphone that would pick up the slightest whisper. A mighty fine teacher indeed is the one people would rather strain to hear than miss. Duane knew that using his voice enough to teach a weekly class could very well hasten what appeared inevitable. Others, however, refused to accept that diagnosis. Read Duane's words for yourself from his wonderful book Out of the Silence: "Looking back, I see that though I was emotionally demolished, physically decimated, and spiritually devastated, God knit a family around me who just would not give up: my precious mom, who never stopped telling me I was going to be healed, despite my protests; my wonderful in-laws; my daughter Jodi. They all approached the Throne Room at different times and from different perspectives, but each one of them heard the same voice and the same message: Duane's condition will not be permanent; his voice will be restored."

Like many to whom the malady is a 24-hour reality, Duane did not hold the same hopes as those who surrounded him. "Both Joylene and I knew God could heal. We also continued to hope that He would yet heal me. But after almost three years of unanswered prayer, I had become a pragmatist. I felt that it was time to learn to deal with life as it was instead of wasting any more time trying to make it what it could not be. It was just too exhausting to maintain a spirit of expectation."

On his knees Duane surrendered to God's will, whether or not it meant healing. His condition went from bad to worse. One Sunday morning at our church he rasped his way through part of a lesson on the Psalms with the help of his sensitized microphone. He read the words of Psalms 103:1-5 and reminded his class never to forget the benefits of God.

Duane then began to talk about the second benefit: God heals all my diseases. He writes, "It pains me that such a precious truth has been dragged through the mire and muck of controversy and theologicial haranguing, but I also understand why it has happened. Like many other pastors, I have been dismayed and embarrassed at the showmanship that oftens accompanies a "healing ministry." The circus atmosphere, the proven charlatans, the glorification of the minister: we should rightly recoil when confronted with such distortion.

On the other hand, some conservative evangelicals have developed a systematic theology of dispensations that has left absolutely no room for the miraculous ... The argument goes like this: When the scriptures were completed, that which is "perfect" came. Therefore we no longer have any need for miracles, ... because we have all we need contained in the completed Bible.

You know what this theology reminds me of? It's like putting an eternal God in a time box and telling Him to stay there and behave Himself."

Duane taught his class that morning that God is neither a genie in a bottle nor an apathetic bystander. Like me, he doesn't want to be forced to take a stand at one extreme or the other. He just wants to let God be God. Continue reading the testimony of that particular Sunday morning lesson: "Ironically and prophetically, I asked the class, 'What happens when we put God in a box and say He doesn't heal anymore?' I paused for maximum effect. 'He kicks all the walls down.' " As Duane says, right about that moment "God was putting on His boots."

By this time the pain in Duane's throat was excruciating. He continued the lesson with the mention of the next benefit: He redeems my life from the pit. He started to refer to his own ordeal, but the moment the word pit slipped from his mouth, whatever seemed to have choked him for more than three years suddenly released. Before the ears of his loving class and prayer warriors, God performed a miracle!

You can actually hear the miracle happening here: Duane's miracle Look at the lower left corned and click on "The Moment."

B E L I E V E G O D

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Love will Hold Us Together

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats

So, I guess my mind has been focused on cooking lately...maybe because my mind is focused on food! :) Ah, pregnancy is a blessing and a curse! Amidst all my cravings, I have been dealing with figuring out what Bella is allergic to. The doctor recommended we cut back on glutens, so I started researching some gluten-free recipes and came across this bad boy. Bad boy, but good!!!

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats (courtesy of Alicia Silverstone's recipe)
1 box brown rice krispies
1-3/4 c brown rice syrup
3/4 c all natural peanut butter
sea salt
1/2 c dark chocolate chips

Instructions:
Heat rice syrup with 1 pinch of salt in saucepan over low heat.
When rice syrup liquefies, add peanut butter and stir until well combined and heated through.
Pour this mixture over the entire box of rice krispies which you have poured into a large bowl.

Stir everything together. Mix in chocolate chips.

Press down into a baking dish.
Let cool 1 hour before cutting.

Enjoy!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Yummy

I'm in need of cooking inspiration, so I went to one of my favorite cooking resources...Eating Well. Cooking with organic beef and chicken is expensive, so I'm always excited to find good bean recipes. I discovered this one today and can't wait to try it!

Black Bean Croquettes with Fresh Salsa

Friday, June 11, 2010

living from the heart

This month, I've been trying to re-discover my heart and soul...focusing on God's love and how He wants us to live our lives abundantly. When we live ALIVE, we glorify Him.

I think one of the big problems of Christianity in this country is the focus on "duty" versus love of the Lord and love of people. Duty is more easily accomplished...we can always check the things off the list...
#1Go to Church, CHECK
#2 Read your bible, CHECK
#3 Be baptized, CHECK
#4 On and on

But to love those we find hard to love, that's a whole other story. To forgive those people who have broken our hearts..."Really, God, do we need to do that?" To love God with ALL OUR HEARTS...now that's serious. Yet, it's what our hearts come alive.

And today, my heart is feeling alive...specifically after reading a letter from our Compassion International child. She's only 5, so it's actually a letter written by her mother...but she said Bridian hugs the last picture we sent to her of our family, and says, "If Bella were here, I would hug her all the time!" As I read the letter, tears come to my eyes as I realize that this is exactly how we should be investing the money the Lord gives us. It makes eating out seem like such a waste, to think that the cost of one meal could sponsor a child each month. Life is about priorities, and it humbles me to think of how we can waste our money each month.

If you're interested in learning about sponsoring a child, check out Compassion International.
It'll change your life.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

if you're needing some passion filled days...

I had the amazing privilege of attending Christ Church in Fairview Heights, IL when I lived there. The church was such a blessing to me...it taught me what living a Christ-inspired passion filled life was all about and I am forever thankful for that. They just launched an updated website, and I thought if anyone out there ever needed a wonderful message to watch or hear, you could check it out. It's a regular on my IPOD.

www.mychristchurch.com

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

bread!

So, I did it...I tackled something I'd never done before. I made Honey Whole Wheat Bread and it was great! I used the William Sonoma recipe with the help of my very cute pink Kitchenaid Mixer (5 years later, I still love my mixer!) which made the process so easy! So I don't feel like a complete baking professional since the mixer did all the kneading for me. But I did get to enjoy the AMAZING smell of baking bread in our home. And it turned out great. Bella even gives it 2 thumbs up! And to top it off, I was able to control the ingredients in it. No white flour, no white sugar...just organic milk, honey, whole wheat flour, and of course butter...because everything is better with butter. On a side note, I get my love for butter from my dad's side of the family. I remember vividly, my grandpa putting butter on donuts. I never thought it was weird til later on. :)

Yea...so onto the next challenge...hmmm....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

How He Loves Us

This week, I've really pondered God's all-encompassing, powerful, and eternal love for us. As I watched different journeys take place in the lives around me...Jason losing his grandpa, some friends being blessed with a newly adopted son, and a cousin graduating from college. God is ever-present in all the details of our lives.

Friday, May 14, 2010

something new

I was recently inspired when I watched Oprah...I like Oprah, I like that she inspires, that she thinks outside of the box. Of course, my husband reminded me he doesn't like her politics, but I can separate the person from their politics (we had a fun debate on this subject...love you, hubby!) Anyways, I loved what Dr. Phil had to say. He challenged us to do something different, try something new, change it up. Re-arrange your furniture, try something new, change your hair. I like this...it's so easy to get into a routine, and though routines are good, we all need to change it up a bit.

So I have to say this isn't a huge stretch for me, but I would love to start making our own bread. I'm inspired by my wonderful friend, Amy...she is amazing!... mills her wheat to make homemade bread, makes homemade yogurt (also on my list), has a bountiful garden, all while taking care of her sweet family and living an inspired life!

Now I'm on the hunt to find a good whole wheat bread recipe. I have to say I felt inspired after making a homemade pizza dough...there's nothing like making dough. It makes you feel like a real woman. :) Ok, I admit too, it was super-easy with the use of my lovely food processor. Check out www.eatingwell.com for some wonderful recipes. We are always impressed with the ease and tastiness of their recipes...and my hubby gives them 2 thumbs up.

Live inspired!

a thought

Never waste a bad day...if your day is already bad, knock out every unpleasant thing on your to-do list. Take on that tough project you had been putting off or make that difficult phone call you have been avoiding. Making a bad day a terrible day will clear the way for a lot of good days in the future.

~Wise words from my previous Pastor Shane Bishop

Friday, May 7, 2010

battling boredom

The other day as I was driving (don't you always have good deep thoughts while driving...well, that is in between entertaining the kiddo and listening to the Wheels on the Bus) I had a revelation. I'm sure I've had this revelation before, but this day I pondered it. I realized that most days when I'm not as effective as I'd like to be, I'm suffering from boredom. It seems selfish to say that when I am completely blessed and am allowed to have my absolute dream job. Some days I have to remind myself that there is ABSOLUTELY nothing else I'd rather do than stay home with my sweet daughter and take care of my wonderful husband.

However, I will admit that there are days I just don't feel challenged. Oh yes, I am challenged, in different ways. But previously I was challenged by my career. One of the things I loved about engineering was the challenge. It never felt like you mastered your job...there was always something new. (Of course, the same is true for raising a child.) What I find though is I feel like my brain is a little stagnant. I want to grow it again, so I've decided to put myself in "school" again. I absolutely love architecture...I even ponder going back to school for it someday. In the meantime, I'm going to utilize the wonderful library (we pay for it, we need to use it!) and I'm going to focus on learning again. Heck, to make myself disciplined, I hope to give myself assignments!

Of course, there are so many other things I'd love to be more educated on: Photography, cooking, healthy living, running... the list goes on....

Oh and I must not forget, and this should really be the first priority...spiritual challenges. I need to ponder that...Bella, let's go for another drive...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Everything

Last night I was baptized and in lieu of sharing all the details, I think this skit is more powerful of life in Christ.

(please forgive the fact that I am obviously in love with this video as demonstrated in my blog!)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

going for a dip...

Ah, the lovely subject of baptism...there is sprinkling, there is dunking, there is children baptism, there is adult baptism. What is right? What is wrong? I have struggled with this concept for a few years and I am finally in a spot where I know what is right for me (please let me emphasize "FOR ME").

I was baptized as a baby in the Catholic church, sprinkled, not dunked. And for most of my life, I have not thought about it again. Then, enter my husband, Mr. Church of Christ, where baptism is a huge area of emphasis. We have had many a debate of this subject...him selling conservatism vs me selling liberalism (in Christianity terms anyway). I have been haunted by the seemingly forced nature of baptism in many of those churches. To the point that you can believe and live your life for God but if you are not baptized, say hello to your little friend, Mr. Devil. I have always brought up the thief on the cross next to Jesus. Jesus didn't halt the crucifixion, and say, "Hold the phone...I gotta go dunk this guy, or else he's screwed." (Ok, so I know Jesus wouldn't talk that way, but you get my point.)

However, it was a few months ago, where I realized that for me, I wanted to be baptized as an adult. I was reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan. It focuses on the Holy Spirit and how de-emphasized it is in the current culture. And then it hit me, that I want to make sure that I have made myself a complete vessel for the Holy Spirit to work in as He would. And for me, it meant I needed to obey that longing that has been in my heart for awhile and be baptized. I had a wonderful conversation with a pastor from our church and I was so lovingly blessed with the Lord leading me to Romans 6. (On a side note, you know when you read scripture, and you think, "That has no meaning in my life" and then you come back to it someday and think, "Holy Cow! Did the Lord just write that in there? I mean it never meant anything before!!!" That was Romans 6 for me!) There has been an area of sin in my life that has been so hard to let go of. I keep asking God why I can't just turn from it. It doesn't help that it's practically a part of my everyday life...everyday. And then there's Romans highlighting the importance of baptism. And I know it is unequivacably the right thing for me to do. So Thursday, I seek to embark on the next destination of my journey.

That's what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are reaised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we're going in our new grace-sovereign country. ~Romans 6:3-5 (The Message)

Monday, April 19, 2010

worship and overflowing joy

an excerpt from Desiring God by John Piper...

"Don't let your worship decline to the performance of mere duty. Don't let the childlike awe and wonder be choked out by unbiblical views of virtue. Don't let the scenery and poetry and music of your relationship with God shrivel up and die. You have capacities for joy that you can scarely imagine. They were made for the enjoyment of God. He can awaken them no matter how long they have lain asleep. Pray for His quickening power. Open your eyes to His glory. It is all around you. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork." (Psalm 19:1)"

Do not be afraid to truly feel the joy of this amazing life...God is all around us and we are here to enjoy Him and to enjoy Him forever. Live and love extravagantly, without apologies, knowing this joy comes from the Lord alone.

The Spirit and the Bride say,
"Come."... Let the one who is thirsty come;
let the one who desires take the water of life without price."
(Revelations 22:17)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Zac Brown Band - Whatever It Is (Video)

Jason has recently discovered the Zac Brown Band and played this song for me the other day, he told me it made him think of me. It is pretty cool to think there just is "something" about your loved one that you adore and you can't quite describe. I feel exactly the same about him. I'm blessed and loved and hope he feels as loved as I do. (Please pardon the beginning of this video, tis a little racey for my blog!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

more

Ok, I read a blog talking about the importance of blogging and I felt convicted. I have been a little MIA with this blog lately. So, I thought I should take advantage of this precious naptime and share some thoughts.

#1 I'm so thankful the Lord in all His goodness and grace protects us from harmful people. I love the saying, "Rejection is God's protection."

#2 I'm learning what it's like to not just believe in Christ, but to treasure Him above all else. Convicting, refining...good stuff for me.

#3 Time is precious, I need to start dinner and I'm just creeping back into the water of blogging, so I've got wet toes....gotta run!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why?

Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music and rhythm and grace and song and laughter? Why am I afraid to live, I who love life and the beauty of flesh and the living colors of the earth and sky and sea? Why am I afraid to love, I who love love?

~The Great God Brown

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

hope and change

I am wishing for some hope and change now. Talk about being completely disillusioned by a man of "change".

Regardless the Lord is not shaken by man at all. God is sovereign, God reigns, God loves. Praise Him Forever!