Monday, December 29, 2008

Just Thought I'd Share...

a picture of me today. I am 38 weeks, 2 days.

I'm enjoying this pregnancy very much (especially after a hard beginning with the terrible headaches). I feel energized, I am still wearing my wedding ring, and have a very bouncy baby girl who never keeps me guessing if she's moving enough! All of these things make me very grateful and continually point me to the amazing Creator! Life truly is a miracle!

Speaking of life, my sister-in-law just let us know that she is expecting her 7th baby! Although only about 16 weeks, the ultrasound (which she had to have to give all an idea of when she was due), let them know her baby is a boy :) Such wonderful news!

I've decided that come the New Year, as life allows, I will start a little series on saving money. As I said a few posts ago, my husband received a dramatic pay cut a week before Christmas. After the dust settled and we went through a gamut of emotions, we realized that we will be okay. Thankfully much of that is due to some things we did with our finances - nothing that is earth-shattering or new, but we are just a real life example of how giving to the Lord, and being frugal and thrifty really does work and really does pay off. I will warn you, it takes commitment and sacrifice, but it is very possible, and oh so rewarding on the other side! Once the initial changes are made, it actually is a very easy and very comforting, way of life. Stay tuned!

I hope you have a happy New Year!

God bless!


Monday, December 22, 2008

A Baby Changes Everything

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

My whole life has turned around

I was lost, but now I'm found

A baby changes everything

A baby changes everything

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Philippians 4:19

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Isn't God's timing perfect? As we go through the midst of life, its hard to see that at times. But the more one grows in Christ, the more one sees, and believes, and has faith, that God's timing is indeed always perfect.

Without going into the nitty gritty of things, on Monday evening, my husband's employer gave him some pretty hard news. Let's just say they are cutting his salary by over $1,000/month! (no that is not a typo - one-thousand dollars). His first reaction, my first reaction, was to be afraid, very afraid, and to quite honestly go hide under a rock after throwing up. "There is no way we can do this" we thought. "McDonald's won't even hire me - I'm 37 weeks pregnant! What are we going to do!" It was difficult indeed to continue on with life that evening, but kids have a wonderful way of making you have to.

We prayed. What else could we do, what else should we do. The Lord gave us, and continues to give us, His peace that surpasses all understanding. Immediately we could see the many, many blessings. Blessings given to us only by a loving Father. We were, we are, very thankful indeed, and know, know, God will take care of us, and yes, supply all of our needs.

I'm not sure I've shared, but our firstborn was having a very rough time at school. It sure broke this Mama's heart, as well as his Dad's. It boiled down to him wanting to be home with me. Although we always pray about what the Lord desires for us with regard to schooling, as of now, this is where he will be. So, two of the things that we've done to help him at school, was to have Daddy bring him to the bus, and for him to wear Mommy's watch to school. Tuesday morning, the morning after the tough news explained above was given to my husband, everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong. Daddy had an early appointment and wasn't home, Mommy was sick, and the watch, we couldn't find it anywhere. My stomach soured, "how will he make it through school without the watch?", I worried so much about my son's day before it even began. I prayed, and I'd like to give you a glimpse of the conversation I had with my son that morning.

Me: "Buddy I can't find Mommy's watch for you to wear today."

O: "It's okay." (I could see a bit of worry for a second).

Me: "Mommy is also sick today and Daddy had a meeting, so you will have to go to the bus with Ms. Gail."

O: "It's okay." (Again, I could see a bit of worry for a second).

Me: "But Buddy, I want to explain something. You know it wasn't the watch, and it wasn't even Daddy or Mommy standing at the bus for you that helped you not have a hard time at school. Do you know that? It was God. We pray many times a day, every day, and God is the one giving you help. Did you see Daddy and Mommy crying last night?"

O: "Yes."

Me: "Well, Daddy's work isn't going to be paying him as much money, and we got really scared because the food we eat, the lights we put on, and other things, cost money. But we realized that it isn't that money that provides these things for our family, just like it isn't Mommy's watch that helps you. Do you understand what I'm saying, Son?"

O: "Yes! It is God who helps us!"

Me: "Yes!"

Honestly I began to bawl. In his childlike faith, which God says we should all have, my son got it. You see, I prayed hard for a way to make my son feel better before he left for school that morning. I prayed for the right words to say, and God once again helped me. Without me even realizing what was coming from my mouth, God alone gave me the above words. It helped my son realize Who his help comes from, and it helped us realize the same. Praise and glory be to God.

So, now you are wondering, how on earth is God's timing perfect in this? Well, there are many things, things I'll share probably after our new little blessing is born, but see the note pictured above? I'm not sure when my oldest wrote that, but I can say it was in a big pile of long overdue papers to be sorted through. It was as if God had it sitting there just for this time. Obviously when I stuck it in that pile, I didn't give it a second thought, but last night as I was sorting through that paper pile, I can tell you, I felt like I was hugged by God.

Thank you God. Thank you for sending your Son to be born. As we celebrate His birthday, help me to be ever mindful of Your deep, deep love for us. For me.

Have a blessed CHRISTmas.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Bag of Sugar

Sugar Bowl and Lemons, 1915

Years ago, while doing Weight Watchers, I remember the leader suggesting that for every pound lost, you put a pound of butter into a bag so you can see how much a pound of fat looks like and be encouraged.
So today, I had an ultrasound, because at my routine one around 22 weeks, they didn't get a look at the baby's kidneys, nose, lips and diaphragm. I love any excuse to get a peak at my baby too :) Everything looks good! She's heading in the right direction and I am measuring just right for my estimated due date (a little funny here, when I said to the technician, "phew, I'm glad she's not a monster [meaning in terms of size], my little girl M said "I'm not a monster, I'm a girl!" So cute!) So how big is she? A little bigger than a "Bag of Sugar". As of today, at just over 34 weeks, she is 5 lbs. 4 oz. A little note here for my family, although its hard to tell completely on a black and white ultrasound, I think she looks more like O and M than C - surprise, surprise, right! (as you can tell from any picture here, our kids look very much alike - C is a little different, but our family - meaning my husband and I - has a strong resemblance!) Unfortunately, at this stage of the game, its very difficult to see everything, and getting a picture of her face was downright near impossible. So no pictures to share :(
With regard to my "handmade Christmas" I'm very mindful that Christmas is right around the corner, but my little boy C has a birthday first to focus on :) I have made good progress, and went to JoAnn Fabrics this morning to buy the remaining things to make. Perhaps I'm naive, but I think it will be easy to "whip" up the rest. At least easier to me than hopping from store to store, getting this and that. Also, it is proving to be easier on the budget (sometimes handmade isn't necessarily, but thankfully this time it is!)
The last few weeks, I have created dinners that are easily doubled. I take half of it and freeze it. So far, I have chili, meatloaf, linguine a la Anne (a white sauce pasta dish with ham and peas) and some tomato sauce in the freezer. I have planned to also make pizzas, a shrimp pasta dish, a chicken/stuffing dish, and other dinners. This is a habit I plan on continuing well after our baby is born. What a time saver! It is taking me no more time to make double, yet it will save me one afternoon/evening of preparing dinner! It makes so much sense to me!
To help our family keep things in perspective this Christmas season, I created (with help from my big boy O) an Advent Christmas Tree. Sunday night, the first night of Advent, we read about what Advent in fact means. Then starting last night (December 1), we read a little lesson that leads up to Christmas day where we will be reminded of the greatest gift of all! Because I thought of this on Sunday afternoon, we made our Advent tree out of paper. Perhaps in time for next year, we will do it out of felt. Here is the link that had the history for Advent. Toward the bottom of that page, you will see a countdown with little gifts (don't worry, the "gifts" are things like goldfish crackers, etc. Also, this evening the "gift" is grape gum or candy, but I will give the kids fresh grapes, in other words, I improvised where necessary. There are other things I will substitute as well, like instead of going and buying stickers of smiley faces and hearts, I will print out coloring pages with smiley faces and hearts on the appropriate days). Each day contains a little one or two-sentence lesson, and the Bible passage to read.
Well, I'm off to sew my father-in-law and his wife's Christmas present. We are going to our favorite Mexican restaurant to eat tonight (kids eat for .99!), so I can sew right up until my husband comes home :)
Let us not forget the reason for this season :)

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O'er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow