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Friday, May 4, 2012

My heart is heavy...

Friends, I'm sorry that it has been three weeks (and a day)... I was really on a roll there for a few, right?

I think that lately, I have just had too much on my mind.

Judgement of others' sins has been weighing heavily on me... and I'm trying to be sure I'm walking the path God would have me walk.  A path that doesn't mean I sit back and say nothing to a friend who is sinning because I do not want to be judgmental, but that does call me to judge for myself when to speak and when to be silent.

Personal reflection (feel free to laugh at me)...
When I was in middle school and also in my freshman year of high school it drove me CRAZY that the teens older than me at church always missed Sunday morning following their prom.  Yes, I was aware that prom usually lasted until 11:00 and that following prom was the PTA sponsored "Party All Night" that lasted until 4:00 a.m.  BUT, that put you getting home by 4:30 a.m. and if you went straight to bed, you could sleep at least four hours (depending on how close you lived to the church) and be at church in time for Sunday School at 10:00 a.m. or at the very least, be in the pew by 11:00 a.m. for church.

I never said this to any of those teens, but I ranted and raved about it at home to my mother... didn't those teens know how important church attendance was?  Didn't they know that if you missed church Sunday morning and Jesus returned Sunday afternoon you were going STRAIGHT TO HELL????

Well, I got to go to my first prom my sophomore year of high school.  (And Hello!  I was MADE to go to prom... I ended up attending 6(?) proms in five years.)  My date was a friend named Michael - a friend who adored me and who would've made a great husband some day, but I totally didn't see that even though my mom kept insisting upon it.  We went to dinner with a huge group (10 of us) at Tobacco Company West - no longer in existence - because I loved steak and Michael convinced the other four guys to take their girls where I wanted to go.  When I couldn't pick one dessert, he bought me FIVE so that I could taste them all.
We went to prom and danced and danced and danced...
Then we went to Party All Night and stayed there until 4:00 a.m.
THEN, we went to a friend's house where we hung out until Dunkin Donuts opened at 5 or 5:30 so that we could go to Dunkin' for breakfast together.

I dragged my butt home at 6:00 a.m. with four hours to go until Sunday School started.
I laid down to take a nap and mom woke me up when she left for church at 9:30 and told me to get my tail up and get ready.  I was in a pew at 11:00 a.m. that morning and totally understood why the teens older than me missed church the day after prom.
Note: My mom did not wake me up because I asked her to... she knew I'd beat myself up for being a hypocrite if she didn't make sure I got up and ready for church.  I'm pretty sure she would've just let me sleep...
I was determined that since I was going to be judged by the ruler I used to judge others, I was going to be sure I came out on the good side.  At least for that year.

Turned out that God loved me enough to allow me a reason to be in church the next morning following all but one prom that I attended... each year something happened that meant that I was home by 1:00 a.m. with plenty of time to sleep before church... a car accident two days prior, a bad decision for prom date, being too old to party with the teens (I went as a favor to a friend of my brother's when I was 20.  He was a senior without a date to prom and there isn't much worse than that in high school).
Funny how God works sometimes, right?

What is really funny is that one of the areas that I still find myself being the most judgmental in is church attendance.  And it isn't because I was expected to be in church whenever the doors were open (which I was - that meant at least one morning and two nights a week, I was in church growing up).

Church - as in corporate worship - is very renewing for me.  I look forward to Sundays with such anticipation....  Most of my closest friendships throughout my life were rooted in church.  Yes, some of those people broke my heart in very dramatic fashion, but my church family is what really got me through it.

My decision to leave my "home" church in December was one of the hardest decisions of my life.  It was far more painful than having my heart broken at 19 by a boy I knew I was destined to marry... (I still deal with bitterness about this... it was that painful).  It was far more painful than my divorce at 21.  Leaving my church was more painful than the heartbreak two years ago that started the whole ball in motion in the first place.

When I decided to leave my church, I sought advice from my only youth minister growing up.  Do you know one of the things he said to me?  The first piece of advice from him was "Don't give up on church."  Whoa, buddy, no chance of that!  CHURCH is where I have found the most love, the least judgement, the most support throughout my life.
The rest of that first piece of advice was "to find somewhere to chill for a while and then get slowing involved".  If you know me well, then you know that his advice was a reference to the fact that for just over 18 months, I was extremely over-committed at church.  Some of that came out of guilt... If I didn't do that "job", then who would.  Some of that came out of actual servanthood.  But when you get hurt by people you love and trust in the church, you do need to take a step back and be fed for a while.

And am I getting fed where I currently am???  Yes, very much so.

But that is not why my heart is heavy.

Through the course of the last two years, I've seen such pain being caused BY Christians.
I know this is nothing new, but my blinders came off two years ago and what I saw broke my heart.
I'm still sorting through the effect it had on me.

Recently, a Christian friend was judged so painfully that it has really broken my heart again.
The first time she went through judgement for her sin, it was judgement in the church and in the legal system.  I found out about her sin/crime by seeing her face on the 11:00 news while out bowling with friends.  I left the bowling alley immediately and went home to wake my daddy.  I knew she would need him right then, right there.
My friend served and is STILL SERVING time within the legal system for the crime she committed.
However, her legal restrictions do not apply to church attendance or volunteering within the church.

Fellow Christians recently went after her for attending an area-wide youth event with her own child.  She was not breaking any law by doing so.  She was not coming close to breaking any law by taking her own child to this activity.
BUT because two people who saw her there knew of her past and her crime, they decided to go after her in a public forum.  No, her face is not being shown to the public as it was when her sin was first committed... but they have talked to many people about her past and about the need to bar her from being present at that type of activity - EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT AGAINST THE LAW FOR HER TO BE THERE.

The Separation of Church and State makes me laugh - literally!
And it is the view of "the church" that gets me laughing...
We in the corporate body of church, meeting in a building called the church, do not want the government to interfere with us in any way, shape or form, yet Christians get money they "donate" to the church back in a tax return.
We don't want the government to tell us what we can and can't do... unless we are being bullied by someone else and then we want government protection.
And please do not jump down my throat right now about how Christians are consistently being bullied right now - I totally agree with that.  I am expected to respect any person's religious beliefs, but mine are not "politically correct" enough to be respected.  I feel that deeply but that isn't my point.
We don't want the government to tell us who can/can't work for our church (does your church have a homosexual on staff?) BUT if we want to invoke government-imposed limits to those within our congregation, we do.

Tell you what - I am not against churches/church camps doing background checks on their volunteers.  Bring me the form, I'll sign it now (I fill one out every single year to work at Oak Hill and, eventually, I will fill one out at Fairmount so that I'm able to volunteer there).

BUT, if you are going to CREATE legal limits to attendance at an area-wide event, you'd better be background checking every single person over the age of 18 that walks through the doors.

This is a message to the Student Ministries of Virginia... 
I served on your board for several years.  I was bullied on a regular basis because I was a woman with a voice and an opinion.  When I stepped down from the youth ministry I was running, I stepped down off your board and you didn't have to hear the "battle ax" any longer.  Well, I'm back...
Just because one of your members knows the personal past of one adult in a sea of many, it doesn't give you the right to move against that ONE person... especially if that person was NOT breaking ANY law set forth by the government.
You'd better cross your t's and dot your i's...
Are you background checking every member of every band that walks in the door?
Are you background checking the college kids in attendance representing their schools?
Are you requiring that every church that attends runs background checks on every adult they send as a chaperone?  (Because, while it has become the "norm" in the past five years, there are churches that aren't requiring them yet.)
If an adult walks in with their child -not affiliated or registered with any church in attendance- will you have your background check form read for them to fill out at the door?

HEAR ME CLEARLY FRIENDS - I AM NOT SAYING THAT AS CHRISTIANS WE AREN'T CALLED TO BE CAUTIOUS AND TO USE GOOD JUDGEMENT (especially when it comes to our children), BUT WE NEED TO BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT WHEN AND AGAINST WHOM WE DECIDE TO EXERCISE OUR JUDGEMENT.  And how many people need to be involved in our pointing out of the flaw.  What happened to going to a brother or sister face to face first?  Is going public with another Christian's error now the way we're supposed to do it?

In the fall of 1996 when I entered Roanoke Bible College as a freshman, Bill Griffin told us something I will NEVER forget.  He said that we needed to be ON THE ALERT for Satan...
He said that we needed to be very careful about feeling "safe" because we were on a Bible College campus.  He asked us where we thought Satan was the hardest at work... out in "the world" or in a place full of people professing God's name and calling themselves "Christ followers".  Let me tell you, the MOMENT we let our guard down and start to feel safe enough to pass judgement on others, Satan is going to come after us with everything in his arsenal.

That girl I talked about at the beginning of this post - the one who sat in judgement of teens who missed church after prom... well, she still lives inside of me and I work HARD to keep her in check.
I struggle every day with how best to share the loving side of God without forgetting to share the HOLY side of God, too.  But I'm working on it.

There is such a thing as "righteous judgement", but that isn't judgement coming from any human being.
Righteous judgement comes from GOD and GOD ALONE.

We, as Christians, are called to a three part mission: (1) To love the Lord our God with our heart, our soul, and our mind (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37); (2) that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39); and (3) that we are to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(Matthew 28:19-20, NIV).

I pray daily for the strength to live up to this mission of loving the world unto Christ.
It is a big job, but it is my *only* job as a Christ-follower.

If I am going to stand in judgement of anyone - a criminal, a liar, a cheater, a gossip, a God-hater, one who is disobedient, a homosexual, the senseless, the faithless, the heartless, the proud - than I'd better be sure that GOD has my back.. and that I'm not just trying to BE GOD.

Father, watch over me today... watch over my steps and help me walk where you lead me.
Watch over my family... keep them faithful to YOU.
Lord, keep me in line so that I don't start to believe that I "represent" you... so that I don't believe that I AM you.  Thank you for your forgiveness... for your grace... for your mercy.
Let me be the person who personifies your love and leaves you to judge.
Help me see that if I bring a friend to love YOU, YOU will bring to light the sins in their life that need addressing.  In the moment I feel that you are prodding me to address a sin in a friend's life, let me be sure to pray first and be sure it is YOU prodding me and not pride... then give me the words to go about talking to them using Your Word as a guide and not just the world's guidelines.
The more I learn about you, Father, the more deeply I love you.
Lead me where you would have me go and give me the strength and courage to follow.
In your son's saving name, Amen.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter and all its trappings

Growing up, Warren and I had a very "Preacher's Kid" type of Easter.  Some of those Sundays I remember vividly... mostly they run together.

I know that we always had a sunrise service and back in the 80s, this service started BEFORE sunrise so that you could actually WATCH the SUN RISE as you were meeting together.  Parham Hills (the church we grew up in) had this service OUTSIDE unless it was actually raining.  As PKs I remember getting there early (like really early) to help set up the chairs and such.
We dragged the sound system out (once we had one) so that there could be special music... this might be where I fell in love with Sandi Patty's "Was It A Morning Like This".  What better way to hear that song than being outside on Easter morning.

Then, we did some sort of breakfast.  Early on, I seem to remember going and picking breakfast up with my mom and bringing it back to church.  We had Opening Exercises (pledge, etc) at 9:50, Sunday School at 10 and church at 11 so there was no reason to go home after Sunrise Service.  Eventually, I think we started having some sort of breakfast at the church on that morning, but it may have just been donuts and coffee.

Parham Hills also had these fabulous wooden cribs that were built as one unit.  I can't adequately describe them and I don't have a picture, but they were such sturdy things that I'm sure one of the men in the church built them instead of buying baby cribs.  Once people had gone home after the Sunrise Service (the non-preacher's family people), Warren and I often slept in the cribs.  I remember having to curl up into a ball to fit in one, but I still napped in them until PHCC relocated the nursery and those cribs were no longer.

Here is what I have NO RECOLLECTION of from my childhood Easters... getting an Easter Basket.

I know that we did... I remember the candy and such, but I have no memory of waking up to find them or coming home from church to find them.
So I called my mom and asked her about this.  Turns out, we got our Easter baskets on Saturday.
Apparently she had an arrangement with the Bunny that since we weren't home on Easter morning, and he was too busy to bring our baskets to church, he'd just swing them by the day before.  She says the we had "Easter Saturday" and "Resurrection Sunday".  (Christians still call Easter Sunday Resurrection Sunday).


This year was our 4th Easter with Ella.  The first we just dressed her up pretty and took her to church.
Oh, we DID get a picture with the Easter Bunny that year, too.


Ella's second Easter, she got a farm set from the Bunny (instead of a basket) and also got all dolled up for church.

Last year, she got her first Easter basket as well as getting dolled up for church.

 But this year, something was nagging at me.  She needed to start to understand the REAL meaning of Easter.  Not that spending time with family isn't great... or that getting candy and treats in a cute basket isn't fun... but that isn't the meaning behind Easter.  I needed to start my own tradition with her that will help teach her that Easter is about Jesus rising from the dead... the other stuff is fun extras and not what is important.

As I sat on the sofa with Jeff on Sunday morning waiting for Ella to wake up to get her baskets I agonized over how I could make this year be the start of putting Jesus first in our Easter and not having Him seem like an after thought.  Suddenly, a God-inspired thought crossed my mind.  We had gotten her the Jesus Storybook Bible not too long ago and she really loves the stories in it - every single one has Jesus in the story, even those from the Old Testament.  So, when I heard her waking up, I jumped up and ran to her room, pulled the book off her shelf and we read the story about Jesus rising and the tomb being empty.
She even let me take the picture of her holding the book open to the picture of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
Thank you GOD for giving me this thought.  We WILL read the story of the resurrection on Easter morning before leaving the bedroom... this WILL be our new family tradition so that we're sure that JESUS comes FIRST.

Now, girl did get her baskets... one from her Great-Aunt Carla and one from the Bunny-dude (on whose lap she will not sit)...
Most of Bunny-basket is spread out; package in middle from her Granny Mac (a book) and basket from Carla on bottom right with lots of candy in it.  Glad that bunny didn't include any candy in the one he gave her!!!
And then, we set off for church... 

This year was different.  We weren't at the church I grew up at where all the kids would get together for group pictures on Easter...
Back row: Jeff Crenshaw, Pam Walls Strong, Lisa Walls Harford, and (little) David Felts
Front row: Robert Mason, Billi Jo Walls Byers, Arressa Mason Hudson, John Felts, and ME
And we weren't at the church where Ella was born... where the people have been more like family and not just "church friends"...
Thad, Charlotte, & Troy Rich with Ella - 2010
 This year, we were at our "new" church.  We've been attending Fairmount Christian Church since January 1, 2012.  It has been quite a change.  Ella's class has 10-15 kids in it on Sunday morning and she's in a little choir for kids ages 3-early 4.  Jeff and I have found a Sunday Night small group that we really enjoy.  It is strange to walk into church each week and not know most of the people... but we're really liking it there.
We even took a picture in front of the living cross on Easter morning - a tradition for families at FCC.
Change is hard... and God knows that.  Jesus went through changes - from Heavenly to Human... from perfect to sin-filled (our sin... not His).  But change brings growth and I believe that this Easter, I grew more as a Christian than I have in years past.  This year, I was able to focus on Christ and the message brought by Rick.  In the past couple of years, I've been so "busy" at church that my focus had shifted.

I pray that God will continue molding me through the changes life brings.
I pray that the tradition started this year, reading the Resurrection Story on Resurrection Sunday, will be one that I will not only make last, but that it will be passed on to Ella.

Granted, I am not passing on the exact same traditions that my parents created with us.  After all, I couldn't remember when or where we got our Bunny Baskets.   

But isn't that in itself a testimony to my parents keeping the focus where it should have been on Resurrection Sunday?

Where was YOUR focus this past Sunday?  
Where is your focus this coming Sunday?

If you don't have a place to worship, I invite you to come to Fairmount and worship with us.  
The church is located immediately off I-295 on Creighton Road.  
Here is the physical address:  6502 Creighton Road  Mechanicsville, VA 23111
The sermons are real and the people are wonderful.

I just pray that when Ella is 34, she remembers more about Jesus than about the bunny...

Monday, April 2, 2012

In case you missed it on facebook...

We are indeed having a boy...

This is bringing about some mixed emotions.
Don't get me wrong - I stand firmly in the camp of "any baby is a blessing".
I was just SO SURE I was pregnant with a girl.

Funny the way things work... the first time I was pregnant all I wanted was a boy.
When they said "It's a Girl", I was in shock and made them check again.
(We have two picture's of The Speck's man-parts because I reacted similarly this time)

Ella is thrilled...

She told me this afternoon (we'll nearly squealed at me) that she was SO EXCITED to help me out with her baby brother.  This is much better than how I reacted when asked if I wanted my mom to have a boy or girl.  I was nearly 4 (or barely 4) and replied that if my mom had a boy, I would "throw him out into the street on his head and let a big-rig truck run over him."  I'm pretty sure that is a direct quote.

She had a boy:
I like him much better than I thought I would...
though the years he was in middle and high school I'm pretty sure I didn't like him much.
I adore him now...

Some of my sadness is that we came up with an adorable girl's name that we love (not going to share that publicly).  It was a nod to two females that have had/still have great meaning in our lives.

Anyway, to keep myself positive about adjusting to the opposite sex, I'm telling myself that Ella and The Speck will now be so incredibly special just the way I was to my granddad.
You see, my aunt had two boys herself and then my mom had me.
Then, my aunt married my uncle and became the mama of FOUR BOYS.
Then, my mom had Warren.
My granddad (who we called Dad, but that seems to confuse people) would always pull me aside, telling me he had a secret that I couldn't tell anyone else.  Then, he'd tell me that I was his FAVORITE granddaughter.
I'd laugh and remind him that I was his ONLY granddaughter... but it never cheapened how much I meant to him.
Rocking Ella the other night, I realized that if this baby ended up being a boy, then she would be and would remain my favorite daughter... and that The Speck would be my favorite son.
If this baby was a girl, that distinction wouldn't be allowed or maybe even possible.
So I'm thanking Heaven for little boys... with all their snips and snails and puppy dog tails
(J.J. did guess that I was having a puppy...)

So, you must be wondering, "if they dyed an egg blue... did they dye an egg pink just in case?"
We did!

Actually, we dyed three egg pink (It's - A - Girl) and three eggs blue (It's - A - Boy),
but Maggie was left unattended in the house (while the blue "Boy" egg was getting dyed) and managed to snag the blue "It's" and blue "A" and eat them both (including most of the shell... 
her gas was already bad - now, you can just imagine).
So, the green eggs got dyed late last night.

We have had three pink eggs.

I had an egg salad sandwich for lunch today...
I'll eat the third one another day...

Friday, March 30, 2012

I hate cleaning...

I do... I hate to clean.  This is nothing new; just ask my daddy.

I have no memory of cleaning up as a child, but somewhere along the time middle school rolled around I remember the fights starting.  You couldn't tell which clothes in my room were clean and which were dirty (which became good practice for use of the smell test my freshman year of college...TMI?).
Dad would fuss at me all the time about my room.

I'm not exaggerating, either.  There was usually paths through the clutter in my room - one from the door to the bed, one from the bed to the closet/dresser, and one from the closet to the door.  Sometimes my best friend would come over and talk to me while I cleaned up (usually this occurred after knock-down fight with my dad that ended with me in tears calling her to complain and her volunteering to walk over and talk to me while I cleaned).

I think I clean better with someone to talk to.  Even after Jeff and I got married I had a girl friend who would come over and HELP me clean when I really needed to do it right.  She was an expert cleaner (one of the many things I miss about her now that she is no long in my life).

Today, my house needed cleaning.  I still have a lot to do, but at least my living room is clean (by my own standards... we're not talking clean enough for my grandmother).  Today's cleaning was more than just picking up Ella's junk and running the vacuum.  It involved me moving furniture and laying on the ground to be sure I got everything from under the heavier furniture.  Ella even asked me who was coming to stay... (that reminds me of a story from childhood about mom setting the table and Warren asking who was coming to dinner, ha!)

As I said, I still have a ways to go.  Ella's room needs a thorough cleaning - something impossible to do while she is home.  I did get rid of a lot of stuff while she was in NC (shh....), but I didn't have time to clean-clean her room.  Jeff and my bedroom really needs cleaning - it is always the last place I get to because we are the only people who go in there.

And now I'm pooped and letting Ella watch a Barney while I sit down.  I thought I was tired last night, too.
I was so tired yesterday that I put Ella in her bed (after a major meltdown) and let her yell it out until she fell asleep.  Then, since she'd had a nap she couldn't get to sleep last night so at 9:15 I went and laid down in her bed beside her.  I woke up at midnight.  Hmph...
Then I let myself sleep until she got up at 8:00 this morning.

And now, I'm wondering if I'll make it through dinner without falling asleep at the table.

Cleaning the house is the worst part of being a stay-at-home-mom.  I know, I know - those of you that work also have a house to clean, but you will (hopefully) let your husband help you.  The way my mind works, I stay home so cleaning the house is exclusively my job.  When he does help I get my feelings hurt that I don't do a good enough job so he feels the need to fix what I've done wrong.
PLEASE READ THAT CORRECTLY - this is MY attitude... not Jeff's.

Someone posted on facebook today that if they won the over $600 million lottery, they would hire a maid. I'm right there with them.  Having my house cleaned every week (twice a week?  we do have three cats, a dog, and a 3-year-old) would be my first splurge as a millionaire.

I hate cleaning... so, so much.

Now I'm off to vacuum Ella's room and maybe mine & Jeff's if I don't let myself lay down on the bed instead.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Neglecting the second child already...

Ella was a complete surprise. 

In March 2008, I had "puffed" up a little and Jeff had started jokingly talking to my belly.  BUT I was on birth control, so I wasn't worried about his insinuations.  On Monday, March 17, 2008 we went to California Pizza Kitchen with friends for a not-crowded St. Patty's Day dinner.  I had a couple margaritas (the only drink they serve that is green)... no worries.

On Wednesday, March 19, I knew something was up.  There are things that happen in a normal cycle that weren't happening... I was WAY off so I knew something was shady.  That night we had a mission dinner at our church and I was the person designated to talk about the mission we were supporting.  Everyone was shocked to "see" that I was so nervous... I wasn't socializing, I was visibly sweating, my voice was shaky...
HA!  They had no clue that I would be making a run to CVS following the dinner.

At CVS I picked up a two-test box of the digital tests (I ain't into reading the lines) and a 6-pack of beer for Jeff... I figured that if the answer was what I thought it would be, he'd need at least one of those.

I watched t.v. for a bit and then took a commercial break to pee on the stick.  It said "pregnant".  I slowly went to where Jeff was lifting weights and waited for him to notice that I was there.  When I told him, he had NO REACTION AT ALL...  He just went back to lifting.
I took the phone to the computer and called my mama... here is how that conversation went:
Sandy: "Hello"
Evelyn: "Hi" the sobs start here
Sandy: "Evelyn?  What's wrong?"
Evelyn: between sobs "I don't think anything is wrong"
Sandy: "Then why are you crying?"
Evelyn: "Because I peed on a stick..."
Sandy: bursting out laughing "And it said?"
Evelyn: said in heaving sobs "That I'm pregnant"
Sandy: hysterical laughter

Yep - there you go folks, the most compassionate mother ever...

The next day I called a friend's ob/gyn (I didn't have one) and requested an appointment.  When the nurse told me that their next "new mom" orientation day was in three-four weeks I yelled at her, "BUT I'M PREGNANT NOW!!!"
They scheduled me to see a nurse practitioner the next day.
On March 21, 2008 it was confirmed that I was indeed pregnant...

From the doctors office I immediately went to Barnes & Noble and bought a pregnancy journal.  I wrote in it faithfully - every question I had, every insane thought in my head.  I saw the same nurse practitioner quite often and she informed me that I was the most hilarious mom-to-be she had ever worked with.  Not because I'm really all that funny, but because I KNOW when I'm being ridiculous and I often started my questions with, "I know I'm not supposed to believe everything I read online, but..."

I posted ultrasound photos and belly pictures on my blog and updated everyone I knew every time I spoke to them...  We still have her first ultrasound photo in a frame (thanks, Kris).  I was the ultimate mama - just look at my facebook photos.  I am up to EIGHT albums dedicated just to Ella!!!  I took so many pictures of her in our 10 days in California last year that she started saying, "No pictures, mama" and still shies away from the camera.

Now - THIS BABY?  The speck, as we're calling "it"...
Well, I have some ultrasound photos.  They are tucked into my agenda and have yet to be scanned...
I went to price pregnancy journals last week.  The same one I used for Ella is actually the cheapest, but I deemed the $13 to be "too much" figuring that I'll just find Ella's and write in a different color ink.
Um... I'm almost 17 weeks and have yet to do that.

Back to that wonderfully compassionate mama...
When I was in high school we ran across a bunch of 110 film.  For those of you too young to know what that is:

Hannafords (a grocery store that used to exist in Richmond) was running a special on developing film - $3 a roll!  We took a huge bag in.  You'd be surprised to find out that there were BABY PICTURES OF WARREN in the developed pictures.  Poor second kid...

I'm having a feeling that I become like my wonderful mama every day.

Despite her laughing at my tears and never developing baby pictures of Warren, we knew we were the two most loved kids in the world.  We still know that.

Man, I hope I'm like my mama...

As for the speck... here's the most recent ultrasound photo taken in the emergency room while they were supposed to be checking my kidneys (they did, but then they took pictures of the baby for me...)
January 31, 2012
I really do need to dig out my pregnancy journal from Ella and check somethings... for example, I *think* I felt the baby move yesterday and they were surprised at my 16 week check up that I hadn't... but I can't remember how far along I was when I felt Ella's flutters.  Yesterday wasn't flutters, it was like a tiny elbow or foot (so it very well might have been gas...).
Mark your calendars, people, April 2 we find out if Speck is a Joe or an ***** 
(not telling our girl name yet!).  
I am super excited about that!!!! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

All About Me...

So, my dear sister, Kristen, has been nagging lovingly encouraging me to start blogging again.
This got me thinking about why I don't blog consistently.  Interestingly enough, the time of my life where I posted to a blog most often was while pregnant with Ella...(old blog here).

My usual excuse for not blogging is that I don't find myself that interesting.  However, I find my kid interesting and I don't blog about her either.
Really, if you read the last real blog entry on the old blog, you'll see that I say to find me on facebook and that I update my status every couple of days.  Wow - how 3 years changes things.  Facebook became my outlet for keeping in tough with friends, sharing what I found cool, and sharing information about myself.

Ironically, I also spend some time each day reading at least one of 16 blogs that I have bookmarked.  My most visited blog is Kelle Hampton's Enjoying The Small Things with visits to Kristen's blog, Lifestone when she updates it (far more often than I do).  There are 14 more, but those are the two I visit most.

Today, I went to Holly Furtick's blog, The Preacher's Wife which I visit about once a month and catch up on.  On March 1 she made a list of things about herself.  There were ten items ranging from a change in taste after pregnancy to the fact that she only washes her hair twice a week.

It made me think... what do people who follow my blog know about me?  So I decided to make a list too...

1. I'm 15 1/2 weeks pregnant with baby #2 (we find out boy/girl on April 2 so stay tuned!)
2. In my first pregnancy I couldn't see or smell chicken - raw or cooked in any way.  Not so this time, though seafood (which I love) is very hit or miss.
3. In my first pregnancy I craved Chipotle and could eat it daily.  This time, I crave sushi and often pick up a California Roll from Martin's to curb the craving.  (Honey, I could really use another Ichiban date night.)
 4. In my first pregnancy I took belly photos every week starting at week 10.
Here I am this past Saturday at week 15:
I did take a photo at 11 weeks, but it wasn't very flattering so I didn't publish it.
5. I eat Chef Boyardee at least once a week...  This is awful considering how many of my friends are really health conscious and would never let something that processed into their house.
6. I wash my hair about 3 times a week.  If I wash it more, it dries out.  I keep thinking of going with the No Poo movement and eliminating shampoo all together and using vinegar and (what goes with the vinegar, Kris?) instead.
7. I have Medullary Sponge Kidney and it is no fun while pregnant.  While most of my stones are teeny-tiny and pass at home with drugs, they've discovered a super stone with this pregnancy that may end up leading to some type of kidney surgery by the time everything is said and done.  If I can make it to 30 weeks without it moving into my ureter, they'll be more comfortable going in since they could accidentally trigger labor.
I am am not a fan of drinking water, yet I'm supposed to drink 80-100 oz of water every DAY so if you see me and I'm not drinking water, feel free to hand me a bottle and tell me to chug.
8. I am not nearly as creative as I want to be.  I love finding cool craft ideas and buying craft supplies, but every time Ella gets glue (Elmers - it washes!) on the table I find myself freaking out... not AT her, but she can always tell that the mess of glitter and glue stresses me out.  I also have a tendency to "help" her with her art projects... you know, even something up here... space things out over there... not at all the way you are supposed to do art with a pre-schooler.
9.  I am 100% sure that I am married to the world's best father.  The man painted our 3-year-old daughter's bed pink.  Why?  Because she told him that princess beds are pink and that she needed a pink bed.  I spend days trying to sway her to white with pink bedding... he took her shopping at Home Depot to pick out her paint.  That man rocks.
10. I really, really want to be a better blogger.  I just need to find stuff that makes me passionate enough to write about it.  I have too many projects and ideas floating around in my head that I often just feel too overwhelmed to actually put any of it into words.

Anyway... it is a start, right?  Not brilliant by any stretch, but maybe I can get back on track.  Maybe if Ella would keep sleeping past 8:00, I could use that 7:30-8:00 stretch in the morning when Jeff has left for work and I'm able to sit for more than 30 seconds at a time.  See - I may update my facebook frequently, but rarely am I sitting at the computer for any length of time.  You try it with a 3-year-old and see how "alone" you're left.

Oh, and I'm loving that warmer weather is here.  It can stay for as long as it likes.
I keep saying that I could live somewhere that never dips below 70 degrees and be perfectly happy.
I really mean that too...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


My status on Facebook today:
November 30, 2011 - Today I am thankful that I have such an incredibly "comfortable" life. Leaving the gas station today, there was a woman (pretty young) with her very beautiful dog sitting at the corner with a cardboard scrap that said, "Trying to get home for Christmas". I gave her $20. I know, I'm not supposed to give cash out of my window, but it was what I had and I had it to spare. We've also been able to donate a toy to Toys For Tots (Ella picked one she has and loves), money to the red kettle for the Salvation Army, and the donation for a meal at the Martin's checkout. If my life weren't so comfortable, these little things wouldn't be possible. Thank you God for more blessings than 30 days worth of posts.
We are blessed beyond measure, aren't we? 
I went back and read my post about being content.  I'm almost there and have an addendum to post next week... but today, I am fully focused on all that I have.  
Today was Ella's 3-year-old check up.  While I may not have those five kids that I had once planned to have... I have one incredibly healthy little girl.

She amazes me (and frustrates me) with something new every day.  If I never have another child, I'll consider myself beyond blessed to have this one.
I have a car that is nearly paid off...
I have a house that is "ours" and is as much room as we really need...
I have a family who loves me and supports me in anything and everything I do...
I have everything I need and most everything I could ever want.
Aren't you blessed too?