Sunday, December 31, 2006

Caiden Hannah McLaughlin

Our sweet baby girl is here! Praise Jesus! I know every Mother is biased, but I'm continually awed by her perfection and beauty and intricasy.
We went into the hospital on Wednesday with the intention of trying to turn the baby. However, after the sonogram revealed a fluid level of 1.7 (5-20 is normal and acceptable) we were told it was physically impossible to do so. We then had two choices: try a vaginal breech delivery, or continue with the c-section as planned. We were leaning toward waiting (I had already dialated to 4 cm, although I wasn't progressing well because she was breech) although they weren't happy with the idea of sending me home with such low water, and they wouln't induce because she was breech. Just then, I had a long, strong-ish contraction and the baby's heart monitor started to beep. I thought she had just moved away from the point of contact, but after the Nurse quickly moved me (and baby) around, we discovered that we could barely get a reading of her heart rate. Her heart had descelerated so much and for such a long period of time- it was scary! They gave me a shot to stop the contractions to give her a chance to recover and that seemed to help some. But, that answered our question- it was time to just get her out of there- it was no longer the safest place for her to be. The staff worked efficiently and calmly but had me ready for surgery in about 15 minutes. Surprisingly, I was calm and finally at peace with the idea that we HAD to do it this way and it was okay. And here is the best part of God's protection: when they delivered the baby, the cord WAS wrapped around her neck- something the sonogram just minutes before had been unable to see. If she had tried to come vaginally, it would have meant certain danger for her. How sweet the protection of the Lord!
Also, nursing has been wonderful! I'm still rather sore, but she nurses like a pro. My milk came in a day and a half earlier than they expected- a huge answer to prayer! Thank you to all who prayed!
And, as you can see, she finally has a middle name! Yeah!! When we finally decided on the morning before we left the hospital, I felt like someone should throw us a party and celebrate with us our accomplishment! ;) I know, most normal people had names chosen months in advance...I never claimed to be normal! We decided on Hannah because of several reasons: Jeff really wanted her middle name to be Hebrew and have a special meaning. Caiden means "kind friend". Hannah means gracious and merciful. The week before Caiden was born we were reading about Hannah in the Scriptures and her faithfulness to the Lord...so we thought it would be appropriate.
Here are a few pics: the first was the night before she was born.



Okay, I'm exhausted, and going to try to grab a nap while she's sleeping. Thanks for your prayers. Please continue to pray for a quick recovery- the pain is not fun!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Today is the day!

Well, I tried to sleep...but I think I'm too excited. =) ...Which is a development I'm embracing. Last night there were tears and prayers and much confusion- trying to decide if we were doing the right thing, asking ourselves if we were really trusting God. The whole scheduled c-section thing is such a gamble. It's a toss up really. If we postpone it, and she doesn't turn, then we end up in real labor, doing an emergency c-section and having a "Chinese Firedrill". Currently I am 39.5 weeks and in labor on and off. I'm just not going anywhere...which the Dr. says is because she's breech. This baby is not taking any of our suggestions or orders to turn around, and honestly, I'm tired of contractions with no real purpose. I am sad that we have to do surgery instead of allowing this baby to come the way God intended, but then, it would be nice for her to turn down the way God intended too. At this point, I think I'm accepting the mourning that goes along with broken dreams and plans, but at the same time, I'm ready to meet my little girl and move on in this journey in a way that is safe- atleast for her. And in five hours, I will meet her face to face. How strange is it that I can predict that?!

Please pray for me that breastfeeding gets established well, and early. Supposedly it may take a little longer for my milk to come in, so pray that I have determination, and patience.

I will try and have Jeff post either on this blog, or my MySpace when he gets the chance. Please be patient with us, it may take a few days.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Labor?

Well, beginning at 3:00 on Christmas Day until now, I've had pretty intense contractions very regularly. They woke me up all night long, although this morning, they've slowed a little. I even tried the soak-in- the-bath thing, and had to get out because they were getting too uncomfortable. Last night they were rough, but Jeff helped me through them like a pro. Today they are spaced out more- thus the blog. The baby is moving a lot in between though, which is encouraging. I'm going to just keep going hoping that she will turn. Everything is ready to go- the carseat is installed, the bags are packed. Wouldn't it be great if she turned during this process? Even if she doesn't, atleast she will have had the benefit of labor and all of the "feel good" hormones that come with it. I'm still going to make sure that I can't deliver her breech and be safe about it. We'll see. Thanks for all of your prayers!!!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Praying for a miracle

Good news and bad news seems come together...I wonder why that is? The good news is that I've made it past 38 weeks with my daughter still inside safe and sound! Thank you Jesus!! The bad news is that yesterday we found out that our baby girl is still breech. Sigh. The cord isn't around her neck though, so that is a relief. She is however shimmied in there quite tightly. The doctor tried to manipulate her around to see if it was possible to turn her externally, but he didn't get anywhere. She is in there so tightly. She's already dropped into my pelvis because of all of the contractions.

We discussed the possibility of delivering breech, but she is a "footling breech"- the most unsafe way to deliver a baby. (It means the baby's feet are coming out first.) So, unless she stretches her legs above her head again, that option is out too.

At this point, we are praying that God will turn her around before next Wednesday, because that is when we've scheduled a c-section. I am struggling with this c-section thing- mainly because I've this doesn't fit into my "plan" of how my birthing experience was going to go. But, it's out of my control. I've done everything I can to flip her. We have tried it all...to no avail. Part of me feels a sense of failure, and part of me knows that is silly, because it's not my fault. I guess more than anything, it's the death of a dream; unmet expectations. So, it's up to the Lord. Only He can work a miracle at this point- and that is what we are asking of Him.

Well, atleast I know for certain that we will have a baby by Dec. 27th at 12:30. =)

I would appreciate your prayers ya'll!! Thanks for standing with us through this roller coaster ride! We love you!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Stubborn? Or stuck?

Well, I only have a brief moment, but just to let you know, as of yesterday, Tuesday, our little girl was still breech. They did see her cord up near her neck though, not to say it's around her neck, but definitely close so they want to make sure it's not before they try to move her manually. Meanwhile, I am doing every exercise and stretch in the book. So much so, that I can barely walk, or turn my head because I'm so sore. =(
I am still believing God that she will turn and come out the way He designed for babies to come out. Yesterday as I was driving, praying and talking to the baby about this situation, I saw a complete rainbow. It reminded me of God's faithfulness, and of His promises, and gave me great comfort. (Thank you Jesus!)
Please continue to pray for a miracle, and for her "obedience". ;)
THANKS!!

Friday, November 03, 2006

New pics




Here are some pics taken last week at Mary Halladay's bridal shower at Circle. I am 30 weeks pregnant in the picture. It's not a good profile picture, but you can definitely see my belly growing! I'm pretty uncomfortable, and wondering how I'm going to make it 9 more weeks...but, I'm enjoying watching her move across my belly and feeling definite feet and knees now. Sometimes she'll push her "weird end" (as Bekah used to say) up and I can almost grab it. It's the strangest feeling! And it makes me really ready to see her soon.

My first shower is next Saturday, and that will be fun. Several of my friends are unable to come, so it may just be family, but it will still be fun.

Well, I'll try and get more up later, but for the moment, I'm exhausted. =)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Finally, a picture!



This should do it for now. (Thank you Phyllis!) We HAVE located the person (from church)who has our camera, but have not retrieved it yet. This pic was taken at my friend Allie's baby shower honoring her son, Iain- who is absolutely adorable.! You should have seen me trying to balance him on my belly! =) My belly is quite a bit larger now (I think she had a growth spurt last night) so I will still attempt to get another pic....

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lily? Nancy? Molly? Drew?

Our sweet baby girl needs a name, folks. I understand this. We're working on it. So far the above mentioned names are ones that various people in our lives have nicknamed her until she gets a real one. No, really. Conversations go like this,
"So, how is Lily doing today?"
"Who's Lily?"
"Oh, that's what we're calling your baby...she needs a name you know."
"Oh, I see...okay?"

Enter other parties and they start to discuss whose name sounds better...that's when we duck out of the conversation because our laughter may hurt their feelings. =)

The funny thing is that their names are NOT the ones we've mentioned as being some of our options. They just come up with them on their own. I've serious thought about telling people her name is Matilde, or Maud or some other horrendous name just to make them stop. =) I guess it's all our fault. We're the ones who asked for ideas...we just never thought they would go so far as to actually NAME her too! ;)Keep in mind that we still have another two months, so it's not like she's coming next week and we're still undecided. (although I HAVE heard of people naming their child two weeks after their arrival- not that we would actually go that far...I don't think.) Smile.

Okay, so this is the last time. Anyone have any GOOD ideas? Thanks!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Okay, I'll work on it!

To all of you who have written about the picture being "insufficient" of my belly: I promise I will work on it! At the moment, we have misplaced our camera, so when that has been found, then I will snap a picture and post it. =)
My last Dr. appt I had the Diabetes screening- I'm fine and don't have it. Good to know! One of my jobs this month is to find a Pediatrician. Oy vey! One more thing to add to my list.
As for finding a Pediatrician, I'd like to use MY old one, because I trust him, but that depends on what insurance we put the baby on. Please pray for God's favor in this dept. Our ideal situation would be for all of us to go on a family policy- separate from the church (theirs stinks)- but there have been complications in that area. We need a move of God's hand for that to happen. I would greatly appreciate your prayers!!
I'm still feeling good, albeit a little more on the tired side. I really have no complaints. I am enjoying feeling this little one move and kick and really show personality. I can't wait to meet her face to face. I am feeling rather stretched, and quite large, although they say that I'm measuring a little small. Apparently because of my build, I will continue to go straight out, because there is just no room anywhere else. =) Should be interesting!
I'm also weighing my involvement in youth group activities now. I still want to be a part of things, but I just get so tired. Especially after a day of work, then youth stuff, then trying to catch up on laundry, or dishes or whatever. So, I'm having to learn how to say "no". It's hard. Especially because we're sharing one car now. (We sold the other one to Heather, and paid off our remaining one. YEAH!) It's not been my tendency to take "me time", but it seems like I need to start learning to make those boundaries now, so when the baby comes, that's not another thing I'm adjusting to.
Anyway, just some thoughts and ramblings. =) Thanks for listening!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Okay, here I am




Here's to all of you who have asked me over and over, "where are the belly shots?" Here I am 6 1/2 months pregnant. I really don't have many pics of me, so I'll have to try and get another one so you can see a little better. This one was taken at Fall Retreat a few weeks ago. I was watching a shaving cream fight between about 80 kids and 8 or so adults. VERY amusing! =)
The baby is doing well. We just had a Dr. appt. They didn't do much but weigh, measure and listen to her heartbeat...sounds and looks good! Our next assignment is to sign up for Lamaze classes at the hospital. They are 6 weeks long, so we have to have begun then before our next appt to ensure that we get them all in before the baby comes. It's all happening so quickly!
I am happy, and round and really enjoying being pregnant. I love to just sit back, do nothing and feel my baby move inside. We have all kinds of conversations, she and I. =) It's just nice "being" a little, and she's the best company!
Not much more to report from here. Hope all is well with you all!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

More news on the home front

Well, I am nearing the end of my 6th month (how did that happen!) and for posterity's sake, (does that even apply to computer blogs?) I would like to annouce, with drumroll please, that our precious little baby is a GIRL!! Surprise! I think 95% of people thought we were having a boy, so I started to think that way too. We had two names picked out for a boy, and not much progress with a girl name...last time I listen to the general concensus! Now we have a lot of work to do on the name front. =) However, we will do it with joy and anticipation! Here are some pics of her from the sonogram 2 weeks ago.




It has been fun "bonding" with our little girl. Even in utero she seems to have a personality. She like to "communicate" with gusty kicks during music and prayer, and especially to her Daddy's voice. I know it seems silly to think that she understands what he says to her, but she has responded quite appropriately about 95% of the time- and even more so to his "serious" voice. The serious Daddy voice comes out when she's doing gymnastics when I'm trying to sleep, or when she's in an uncomfortable spot and kicking me, or when she wakes me up at her typical 3:00AM and 6:00AM. times and won't settle down so I can fall back asleep. She's a very active little girl. I know she's still tiny, so I can only imagine what this will feel like when we get closer to the due date. =) But, I am enjoying and cherishing every move and kick. How amazing that this child is growing so perfectly inside of me! I think when she is here, I will miss her kicks, just a little.
We just bought a crib on ebay for very cheap. It's beautiful solid cherry wood and matches the glider the Wacker's gave us perfectly! How fun!
My friend and college roomie just had a little boy, Christopher Thomas Billman, a few weeks ago at home, and he was born in a grand total of 3 hours. (Yes, that's including labor and transition, and pushing!!) So, I'm beginning to pray for a similiarly short/uncomplicated labor. Of course because of it's short duration, it was very intense, but she did it! YEAH Caroline!
She is using cloth diapers for her little boy, and was telling me about them. Of course they are a lot of work, but it just sounds like something I should try. It just makes sense money-wise, and environmentally, and even physically. However, I don't know the least bit about them. Does anyone have any advice or ideas in that area? Thanks!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Blessings

Well, school is back in full swing now. I survived the first week beautifully, however today, I think it caught up with me. I was exhausted! I was reticent to take a nap because I was afraid that I wouldn't sleep tonight. So, I have just rested my feet instead. The baby isn't tired though! =) This little one has been kicking for the last four hours! What an amazing thing it is. Sometimes I've found myself being totally absorbed in the miracle of feeling these kicks- to the exclusion of all else. Don't worry. The house still gets clean and meals still get cooked. =)
Thanks to some sound scolding from a friend, I'm also in the process of discarding my new habit of worrying about all things baby. I'm not able to really enjoy this process if I'm worrying all the time. Makes sense, right? I've also stopped reading so much about pregnancy. It seems like it just does more to make me compare and then worry.
Oh, I have to record what happened yesterday! Two friends from my Sunday night Bible study kidnapped me yesterday and took me maternity clothes shopping. They paid for everything! I can hardly believe it! I feel so loved! I knew that people would be excited about a baby, but I didn't expect to be pampered and loved on as well. These clothes are much more comfy than the ones I was stuffing myself into! Thank you Jesus for provision and "extra" blessings!
Two weeks before our next sonogram!
Back to loving life....!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

13 weeks

Yeah for the second trimester! I am feeling almost back to my "old" self as far as energy and feeling good goes. I've noticed that my jeans don't fit now, and not many of my normal size 2s and 4s fit comfortably. Hmm...=) But yesterday, I tried to fit into maternity pants that were smalls, but them were way too big. So, I may have to start gerry-rigging some of my pants! ;) I'm excited for when I actually start "looking pregnant". I'm still hungry a lot, but not ravenous like the last three months. Now, I'm just waiting til I can feel the baby. It's probably still a few weeks out, but I'm so excited about it.

Starting on Sunday, we have a week of inner city mission work. We're working with Ivey Lane (the neighborhood that I've mentioned before). It's been a while since we have seen those kiddos and we're so excited to get back there. Please pray for our safety while we're there. It's not the safest place in the world sometimes. =) So, I hope to fill everyone in on how that goes as soon as we get back.

Also, I seem to be getting Jeff's cold now. My second in 3 weeks. =( I'm praying for complete healing so that I can do what I need to do this week. Thanks for joining me!

More next week!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Yeah for Saturday!

Ahhh. I'm just enjoying breathing (after my yucky cold) and not having any real agenda for today. I woke up this morning quite late for my "routine" during summer school. I'd typically wake up at 5:15 and be at school by 7:00. But that is all over now, and so I can enjoy sleep for the next month or so.

I woke up with so much energy this morning! By 9:00 I had made blueberry pancakes and fruit salad for breakfast, cleaned all of the dirty dishes that were sitting in the sink, emptied the dishwasher, emptied the trash, organized a drawer in the kitchen, cleaned out the refrigerator, made the bed, and read Phyllis' blog. =) After I finish this, next on my agenda is doing laundry, organizing the bathroom drawer, and working in the garden. I'm feeling a great need to get my home in order, can you tell? Really, I need to because the next real break I'll have from school will be Christmas break, and I'll be ready to pop, so I don't think I'll put it off 'til then! ;)

Speaking of baby, I'm still not showing, and in fact I've lost 5lbs, but I seem to have gotten thicker around my middle. How that's possible, I don't know, but that's what's happened! Oh, I haven't shared about the sonogram yet! I have really been struggling with how to put the emotion I am feeling into words so bear with me! Seeing our baby move around inside of me with every little limb in place and active was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life. What an amazing miracle! It's mind boggling to think that this tiny human being was created and formed inside of me with really, no effort on our part. It certainly made it so much more real to SEE the baby. Sometimes I found myself thinking, is this really happening, or is it just my imagination? It's hard when you still can't see or feel evidence of this child to believe that it is in there. However, I think that that will no longer be a problem! The doctor said that it is about 3.5 to 4 in. long and it's heart is beating at 152 beats a minute- which is supposed to be perfect. We saw the baby stretch, jump and turn all the way over and settle down and get comfortable again. At one point, when we were oohing and aahing the baby turned its head and looked right at the "camera". We laughed- what a coincidence!

I can certainly tell I'm entering the 2nd trimester though. I'm beginning to have more energy, and I'm not feeling icky in the afternoons any more. YEAH!!

Well, that's all the news on this front.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Tomorrow is the big day!

Our first Dr. appt is tomorrow. I'm so excited, and a little nervous. I just want everything to be okay and normal. We get to see the baby on the sonogram if it cooperates, and hear it's heartbeat. I can't wait!
Overall, I'm feeling pretty good, except for a yucky cold. I haven't been nearly as tired, although with the cold, I've still been napping because I want to get healthy again. I have been having headaches in the evening, but maybe that's because of the cold.
I tried to find an herbal tea last night that I could drink with some lemon and honey, but it seems like some experts discourage the consumption of herbal teas because of the unknown results in the baby. I finally had peppermint tea hoping that was safe. I'm thinking of experimenting with making my own "tea" with various fruits and herbs I know are safe. Any ideas anyone?
Well, I write more after tomorrow I would appreciate any prayers as I anticipate the appt.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Funny baby story

Today I am 10 weeks into my pregnancy. Only two more until the end of the first trimester! I can't wait! I'm ready to have more energy and feel less queasy in the afternoons. ;)

I made it through camp sucessfully- praise God! It seems like every day when I reached the "two o`clock hour" (when I get exhausted, queasy, and headachy) someone would walk up and offer to take over my post for me. It was miraculous. I was also able to grab a banana or grapefruit to eat as soon as I awoke in the morning to stave off my early morning ickies. And, my cabin was right next to the bathrooms. I couldn't have asked for a better set-up. Except maybe a warm shower or two... =)But, it's camp, what can I say?

The funniest thing happened though. One night after a long day, and a nice nap, I was doing my hair and thinking of what was to come that night, when one of the campers asked when I was due. For a few seconds, I was shocked, confused and in denial.I couldn't figure out why she would ask me that question. For a few minutes I was 18 years old all over again. Then I realized that I WAS pregnant! By the time I finished laughing at myself and stumbling over an answer, the whole cabin was laughing at me. =) It was so strange, it seems like this baby is all I think about these days, but for those few minutes, I guess it slipped my mind. I wonder if that ever happened to anyone else...?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Whew!

The setting is Sunday morning. Today is the first Sunday since last summer that Jeff hasn't had to play in the band or lead Sunday School, or speak at the adult classes and he's leaving for camp on Wednesday morning, so we took the day off. I'm sitting on the couch in some comfy p.js. and listening as Jeff plays his own rendition of "All Creatures of Our God and King" on the keyboard behind me. From where I'm sitting the garden is looking beautiful. The corn is already up to my waist heighth, and another head of broccoli is forming.

Sometimes it's so good to take a break. And right at this moment I feel the presence of God. I just re-read the last blog entry and realized that that's what happens when I stuff my pain instead of unpacking it at the foot of Jesus. Thanks Phyllis and Lindsey for loving me through it and for giving me Truth to hold on to in the midst of it.

He switched to "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow"....I've never heard it played that way before and it's breathtaking. I'm envisioning a high mountain and someone standing at the top with arms wide singing the oh, Doxology- that's what it's called, that way.

This month has been an exercise in surrendering control and trusting my Jesus. Not only with my Mom, but with finances, with job stuff, with my health. I actually wrote Scripture on some cards and stuck them in my desk at work and during every break, or every pause, I would pull them out and renew my mind. It actually worked! =) Right now, listening to husband worship in music, and looking out to my backyard and the creek and the hill beyond it framed with majestic oaks, I am thankful for the exercise in faith that this month has been. It's not over, but I feel like I'm atleast headed in the right direction.

Phyllis, if this is you and you haven't checked your e-mail yet, stop here and don't read any further until you do so.




A big part of this month has been finding out that God has entrusted us with a little blessing in the form of a baby! We are very excited, but also a little surprised as we're coming off of a very busy few months and definitely were not expecting this.(Now it makes sense why I have been so tired!!) The reason we were not expecting this was because according to the doctor, my endimetriosis was so bad that she thought I would be unable to get pregnant without a procedure. Hmmm, I guess God likes showing up in the impossible! ;)The due date is January 12, 2007.

Early on we had a few complications that have since disappeared, but I really struggled with worry and fear...like a said, it's been a real exercise in faith! That's why I've had to renew my mind. But, I would appreciate your prayers for the baby's health and mine too.

(Jeff's now playing the Hallelujah Chorus and stopped midway to tell me that he felt it was wrong that I was not standing for this song...grin. He keeps me smiling.)

Well, that's about it for this month. Just a few changes here and there! =)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

My stuff

Okay, it's vomit time. I have a need to spew forth everything on my mind and heart. Some people call it prayer too...but today you get an inside look at my vent session with Jesus.

I'm tired. I'm tired of working my butt off and always having something else go wrong. It's like I can't even start to work offensively because I'm running to and fro working defense. I know this probably says something about my inappropriate connection betweeen my service to You, God and how I believe You should and should not treat me. As if I earn it or something. I'll come back to that.

Today I called my Mom. She's been having health issues even since the heart attack in August. She's been in pain ever since. Now it's worse than ever. Well, she just found out that she also has a hiatal hernia which could be causing some of her pain. But, as she was sitting in the doctore's office the other day (Monday) she found a report that was done while she was in the hospital. It mentioned a spot found in her lung. Well, she had another CAT scan and now there are two spots. When the cardiologist saw this report he pretty much freaked out and told her she had to follow up on this immediately. That the report meant that they were concerned about cancer. Well, for about 4 months now, Mom's been saying she thought something was wrong with her lungs, but no one took her seriously. And NO ONE told her about this report from Aug. Not her GP, not anyone in the hospital, etc. God, seriously, WHAT IS THE DEAL???

Dad's been on disability since December and they are barely getting by. You have sustained them this long, but now they have all of these tests that Mom won't take because insurance won't cover it and they can't afford it. Papa it's breaking my heart!

Something is going on with Anna and Desma, and I don't know what to do about it.

Baby Landon (my nephew) has colic, I don't have time to socialize with my friends and I feel like I'm being a bad friend. (and maybe that's not from you and my friendships should not depend on me contacting them myself all the time....)

Last weekend was camp leaders planning weekend, and this weekend there's a retreat, and I'm exhausted!! My house is a mess, and I haven't had time to talk with my husband in a long time. Papa, I feel like my world is coming unglued and I can't hold it together any longer. I know that that's Your job...but where are You?

I feel like I'm learning so much about you but when the stuff hits the fan, I seem to forget all of it and still panic. Jesus, I need you desperately. I need you to refocus me on You. I need you to speak to me about your competency, how You work all things together for good for those who love you, about how you're the great Healer and if we ask You, we can do greater things than You did, how you love me desperately, passionately, and that You are here for me in the middle of all of this chaos. God I have GOT to let go of my control over all of this. I have to believe (not just have the head knowledge) that it doesn't depend on me. That it's not about me. That You can handle this. And in fact that You plan is to redeem it and make it beautiful and bring complete healing and restoration to everything.

So here: it's Yours- go for it! Have your way. I give you my worry, my fear, my lack of faith, my striving, my control, my trying to be everything to everyone, my people pleasing, my works, my service based on guilt, EVERYTHING that I am conscious of and everything that I don't yet comprehend. Okay, I'm serious about this. Please take it. And give me what I need to walk by faith and not by sight.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Spring has sprung!

The last few days the temperature has been in the 80s. BIG change!! Along with the warmer weather, Jeff and I got inspired to expand our garden. We have added green peppers, broccoli, and strawberries, along with 6 herbs. One of my tomato plants I believe is on it's last legs. It has some strange disease that makes the leaves wilt and turn yellow and black and basically fall off. That particular plant never produced either, so the next time I have a chance, I'm taking it out. The other tomato plant I have is carrying a load of approx. 20 pieces of fruit! Sigh...success! Our spinach has finally caught on too! I ripped out the beans due to something that I think is called "rust" (really they are little red bugs that make tents on all the whole plant. I re-planted the sugar snap peas too. So, we're in a trasition. I really don't know what I'm doing...gardening is a difficult thing to learn from books. =(

Yesterday I went to the dermatologist for the first time. I didn't really know what to expect, but I certainly wasn't expecting what I got. They took a mole off my left leg- from behind my knee RIGHT THEN. I didn't pass out though! It was the first time I've experienced local anesthetic and let me tell you- THAT STUFF IS WEIRD! I didn't feel a thing. Not then, or for the rest of the day. I am finally back to normal today though. They sent the specimin away for testing to make sure it was not cancerous. UGH! I'll keep you updated.

This weekend we're house/child/pet sitting. The kids are in 9th and 4th grade, so it's not really baby-sitting. But we're looking forward to being with them. They live in Winter Park, so it will be nice to be closer to everything this weekend. It will be fun!

Well, my break at work is coming to an end. Thanks for your patience with my ramblings. =)

Phyllis and Mrs. R (I can't seem to get accustomed to calling you Kathy...please bear with me =) Thanks for your imput on my tomato "problem". I think we're going to put up some kind of screen/fence or something so that little critters cannot harvest any more of our food!

Friday, February 17, 2006

BED!!!

Just wanted to update you about our answer to prayer. We found a bed, 5 mo. old with mattress, boxspring and frame for our guestroom! And it was a mere $150!! Thank you Jesus!! Thanks for praying with us!

Tomato Thief?

Okay, somthing happened last night and I haven't decided if it is hilarious, or maddening...so bear with me.

So you know how this is our first garden, our tomatoes are ripening, and we are eagerly anticipating our first tomato. (Don't laugh- I'm serious!) Well, last night I came home about 9:00 and took the flashlight to inspect (and pick) our reddening fruit. However, much to my confusion and dismay, the tomato was nowhere to be found!!! I looked over it, I looked under it, I even looked THROUGH it- no tomato.

So I called Jeff out to look. He looked over it, HE looked under it, and HE looked through it....nope.

So, my question is this: do dogs eat tomatos? Because we have a neighbor with a rather big dog that likes to frequent our yard. But, then I wonder how he would have picked that one, and left the ones that are lower than that- but not yet ripe...I am quite sure that dogs do not know when tomatos are ripe.

The only other questions is do we have a neighbor with a fancy for tomatos fresh off the tree/bush/whatever it's called?? If so, you've GOT to be kidding me! It's MY tomato!!!

Well, ya know, it's a little rediculous, and it's not like I don't have lots of other tomatos in progress, but none of the other ones are red yet, and you know...it's just anti-climatic to have this moment stolen from me. Ah well...what can you do?

Hmmm...Does anyone know of a plant or something that discourages animals from rooting around in one's garden? If so, please let me know! I'm not exactly excited about losing more of the fruit of my labor. Sianora!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Healing

I just have to brag about what God did tonight!!

An 8th grader plays the d'jimbe (sp?) for the band on Wednesday nights. She's really good. Well, she hurt her elbow a few weeks ago, and had a brace for it. Tonight she asked me to pray over her before she went out to play, so I grabbed some other band members and we asked God to show up, have His way, make Himself famous and heal her elbow. Well, He did!!! She played all night with NO pain whatsoever- which was a huge change! WHOHOO!!!

Thanks for your prayers everyone! We have a long way to go with a handful of kiddos- but I'm feeling stronger knowing that you all are "holding the ropes".

I just have to say that celebrating Valentines Day with second graders is so hilarious and fun. This was the funniest poem I heard:"Roses are red, violets are blue, you smell as sweet as the sandwich you eat." Apparently peanut butter and jelly is an admired scent among little ones! =)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

rough week

This must be short because I need to get to bed, but it's been a rough week on the youth ministry front.

We had a 15 year old girl who admitted to having sex with her boyfriend- more than once, one of our guys in jail with a DUI, and another girl gossiping and complaining about us and dragging our name through the dirt with other kids in the group. Sigh.

Jeff had a word from the Lord that an attack was coming and it was going to get worse before it got better, so we were expecting this. But it doesn't make it any easier.

The funny thing is that we're talking about "abiding in the Vine" in our Bible study this week...oh how we need it!!! Thanks for praying!

Monday, January 30, 2006

A Day (or more) of Rest...

I took today off of work because of another cold. Me-thinks that my immune system needs some serious rebuilding. A friend brought by some home-made chicken soup, fruit, fresh orange juice and a magazine and left it on my door step. It made my day! I felt so loved!

Jeff and I are considering making some serious changes in our diet, and lifestyle in order to become more healthy. You know, more organic, natural. I'm not really sure what exactly that means, but we're on a quest to find out. It began with our garden, and reading about how much herbicides, pesticides, and the like went in to regular fruits and veggies. It just seems like the better choice to go organic. Of course, we're planning on expanding our garden this year, but we can't grow everything...
Anyway, just something we're pondering. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Etc.

I don't really have any specific purpose in mind at the moment for writing, but I wanted to touch base so you all wouldn't get worried. Here are some snippets from my week:

Yesterday I picked 6 snap peas from the vine- atleast 14 more are almost ready. The beans have slowed down, and the spinach and tomatos are speeding up. I still haven't picked a ripe tomato...they take an awfully long time to ripen. One of my plants still doesn't even have one on it. How strange. I wonder if that happens often. It has plenty of flowers, but no tomatos....hmmm.

The other day at school one little 2nd grade boy was talking with his friend. He was being quite rowdy and not heeding the advice of his friend to calm down. So his friend looked at him sternly and said, "If you don't cut it out, I'm going to have to call the 'SQUAT' team on you!" I'm still laughing!

Tonight I'm going to hang out with some old friends from Wesley. Two of them are teachers in the area, and the other works with a missions organization that ministers to Chinese exchange students. I'm looking forward to some time to debrief, have community and share in their lives.

We're beginning the first stages of planning for the Daughters of the King weekend for 6th-12th graders. It's a weekend focusing on teaching them about their identity in Christ. I'm primarily in charge of it, so it's a little stressful, but after what God did last year, it's not so hard to trust him with it this year. I'm just praying a lot! =)

I'm also beginning to pray for a bed for our spare room. Jeff just invited some family to stay with us during a visit, and, well, they have nowhere to stay- unless they take our bed and we take to the sleeping bags. Which is a possibility... =)

Well, that's all for now...until we meet again.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Skiing

Jeff and I as well as five other adults are taking a small group of teenagers skiing in North Carolina this Thursday though Monday. We'll be on Sugar and Boone Mountain and we'll stay at a conference center called Valley Crucis (sp?). It should be great! We're staying in this quaint "mission house" with a large living room surrounded by bedrooms. We'll be the only ones in this house.
Neither of us has skied before, so we're praying a lot.
We would appreciate your prayers for us as we are supervising children that are not our own, and we're driving through the night to get there Friday morning, and we have no idea how to ski. =)
Thanks!!!

Space

I'm back! If you've been wondering where I've been...during Christmas vacation Jeff (purposely) left the computer at the office so we could really and truly have some time off.He took all of his vacation days off during my time off so that we could enjoy the break together. I don't think we've had that much space since we began in youth ministry almost 5 years ago.
Let me share one experience we had during that time.
We had been planning on going camping and hiking, but we were so sick the whole time that we scrapped the camping idea- especially because it was so cold (to us- FL standards, of course). However, just before we had to go back to work, we started feeling up for some hiking. We pulled out a book of trails and planned our fun day. The weather was perfect. The sky was a beautiful blue with white wisps meandering across it. The air was crisp, cool, and tempted us with the possibilities of adventure. Jeff packed a lunch and plenty of water and we were off. We drove for almost an hour trying to follow the book's very poor directions, and then altered our schedule. The plan: to find someplace with a trail of any kind, anywhere. Well, that plan was more successful. =) We ended up at a place with bike trails. We never did take the time to figure our the name of the place...

The path began quite wide, but we soon discovered that the soil must either be very fertile, or we found the "road less traveled" because the underbrush encroached more than a little bit onto the path. After walking briskly for about 30 minutes we came out of the woodsy area and found a very sandy area that looked to me like it used to be the bottom of a body of water. At this point, there was no trail, and no directions, no posts, no orange paint makers on the trees, nothing. We didn't think much of it though, because a very green, very lush area to the right caught our eye. So, being the curious explorers we were, we looked around, got our bearings, and took off toward the green-ness. =) We were delighted to find a very deep, very busy creek-with BROWN water. HMM...we crossed it a few times on little bridges, following a new path with markers, following butterflies, stopping to inspect plans, and watching the water rise from high above the creek. We eventually found the source of the creek- it was a very large, very deep river that was moving at a substantial rate of speed. And, it was just as brown as the former. (I wonder why!) We pulled out lunch and kept right on walking. After a while I noticed that the sun was beginning it's decent, and so we decided to head back. On the way back, we thought we'd try a short-cut. Uh huh. Smart move. After a while, I realized that I didn't have a watch, and neither did Jeff. Probably not a smart idea either. The temperature began to drop a little as the sun sank behind the tall trees. In the privacy of my mind, I began to question this short-cut. I also realized that no-one knew where we were, that we didn't have cell phones on us, and we'd only seen one other person on the trail- twice. I started to think that I didn't really feel comfortable with THIS much space. After a few miles of trail that we had never been on, Jeff decided that we should turn around and go back the way we came. He seemed pretty confident and not at all worried. I wanted to believe him, but my mind was running away with me. "What if we have to sleep out here tonight? How would we keep warm? Would there be lots of misquitos even though it's cold? Do we have enough water? Could we follow the big river out? Would someone come looking for us when they saw our car at the trail-head?"

Well, we came to a place where the trail dead-ended into a deep part of the creek. The trail picked up on the other side, but we hadn't crossed here before. Jeff was convinced that this is where we needed to go. So, we balanced, and tested, and gingerly danced across a few old fallen logs. Guess what? We didn't even get wet! =) At times I felt like a character in one of Gene Stratton Portor's novels- the Florida flora and fauna were so beautiful that at times I forgot my worries and felt as if I could be in a dream, or a book. After a few more miles, we came to a fork in the trail. Funny, I've never had a problem with forks before.... Well, praise God that Jeff was wearing his chaco sandals. They have a very distinguishing sole. So, I found our way out of that pickle but Jeff never even let on that there was a pickle. From there, we just followed his footprints out of the forrest.

We learned a few things on this journey: We only like adventure when it means what we want it to mean, needing space is relative, and allowing your wife to follow butterflies guarantees adventure, but isn't always smart unless you have a compass or a map. =)