Sunday, November 27, 2011

The FIRST Day of the Rest of OUR LIVES

We are at another huge turning point.  A new direction; a different path.  Just when I settle into a routine - my life is turned upside down in the most amazing way and quite unexpectedly:

DUE: JULY 13, 2012

Yes, you are reading it correctly.  I will follow up with a brief explanation – but until then – we want you all to know that we are more excited than we’ve ever been in our entire lives!  This little baby is a true blessing! 
  We’ve had an ultrasound done at 6.5weeks on Nov 22, and everything looks great.  The little heart was flashing and we were even able to hear it!
  We are healthy and happy and I feel huge already!  [WARNING WARNING]: TMI: I’m fairly nauseous, and am horribly bloated, my back hurts, my boobs hurt, my sense of smell is in overdrive, and I pee all day long.  It’s beautiful.  I am the happiest pregnant girl in the world – I’m pretty sure of that.  (Except when we’re playing Call Of Duty Black Ops on the Xbox – I’m a very angry person on there..)
  We’ll keep everyone posted as best as possible – most of the updates will probably be on Facebook, but I will try to update this blog and send out emails to those who aren't on facebook.  WARNING:  I love to post details (like I did up there ^).  You’ve been warned.  And here is the video of the little heartbeat:  (This is how we announced it on Facebook and to the grandparents:)

 This announcement might have come as a shock to you – but we both hope that it was immediately followed by a lot of joy!  Sad to say – We’ve already encountered a few negative responses (maybe not necessarily negative – just certainly not excited or approving).  Crazy right?  Maybe they were just too shocked….Maybe they will be excited later….  And maybe if I clarify a few things  - they will finally understand and then be excited.
  We weren’t going to tell anyone that we’ve actually been ‘trying’ for a baby.  It’s just one of those awkward things that I honestly wouldn’t even know how to bring up in a conversation.  Well – now you know; this wasn't an accident.  What probably has been most confusing, is that we’ve always said that we NEVER wanted children.  It was 100% entirely true until 20 months ago. 

  My best girlfriend got pregnant and I was doing a lot of research about pregnancy and the birthing process so that she had a shoulder to lean on and someone ‘non-biased’ to come to for info.  I found everything interesting to say the least –but it didn’t really make me want to have a baby.
  9 months later, the little guy was born.  I held him and admired…and learned a lot about babies very quickly.  This was the first baby that didn’t entirely gross me out.  I think because his Momma and I were so close – he was just an addition to our friendship. 
  In the end, it wasn’t holding a soft little baby, or seeing my friend experience a unique kind of joy exclusive to giving birth, or even all my intense and very-much-enjoyed studying of the whole process of baby-making.  It was God – the same guy who changed my mind about marriage all those years ago.
  One night, I said to Scott, “We need to talk.”  He said, “Yes we do.”  I had no idea what he was thinking (I was pretty sure I was in trouble for something…) and he had no clue what my thoughts were (He thought he was in trouble too…).
  We came to the conclusion that we had been given a sudden desire to have our own baby.  Our hearts had been changed at the same time – though we didn’t even know it, nor facilitate it.  Was all this coincidence?  No.  God doesn’t work in coincidence.  He’s just got the most perfect timing in the world.
  So here we are.  Pregnant.  Due on July 13, 2012. 
  We wanted the ULTIMATE surprise to be that we were never having children – then suddenly we were pregnant.  Guess it was just too much.  We’re over-achievers…
  So yes, you have permission to be excited with us!  This was planned!  We actually WANT a baby!   1,2,3….BE EXCITED!!!
  Quick update on our future plans (I think I just heard God laugh...):
  Our apartment lease is up in May 2012, and Scott will be eligible for the next step in his apprentice process in January 2012.  So, we will be moving (have no idea where yet), in May at the latest.  It will depend on where his job relocates him to - but it also may even keep us in the city.  This is basically working like the last one did.  Jobs pop up in various locations throughout Mid and Southern California, Scott signs the bid for them, and eventually, when he has enough seniority over others that have signed the job bid, he will get the job and will start within 3 weeks.  He's still low enough on the seniority list that we have to take what's available.  Later on, he can pick and choose and wait around for a good location.  Obviously we'll keep you posted.
But this all means we're moving at 8 months pregnant, and we don't know where yet.  God's got a plan though.  We trust in HIM and HIM alone.
Keep us in your prayer to continue making wise decisions and learn how to be Godly parents.

"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Prayers, Process, Promises....and the Payoff

  I have been reading a book called Sun Stand Still, by Steven Furtick.  It was recommended by our Pastor early this year at an awesome leadership retreat.  Yes, it's taken me this long to reach the last chapter.  When I read a devotional book, it's about like when I read the bible.  I'll read a sentence or two, or maybe a couple paragraphs, or maybe even half a chapter, but I always get curious and HUNGRY to know more and I begin to dig deeper.  Praise the LORD for this hunger, which causes me to seek out 'meatier sustenance'.
  The book is mostly about 'Audacious Prayers and Audacious Faith', which I had a very difficult time swallowing (much of the reason why it's taken so long to get through it).  I've always struggled with suggestions like 'audacious prayers'.  My mind turns it around and says it's just 'name-it-claim-it' stuff that is fake.  But I pushed through the book and it took all the way to the 2nd to last chapter before it finally hit me hard enough to make sense.  Wow.  That's all I can say.  Get the book.  Seriously.  You can even find it cheap on Amazon.  I'd loan you mine, but two other people have already asked to borrow it when I'm done.
  I think everyone will get something out of this book that will be unique to their situation.  Don't read it assuming what someone else has told you about it will be the same thing that you gain from it.  God will use it in a deeply personal and specific way if you are open.
  That being said, (and now that I understand this book), I am here to talk very briefly about PROCESS.  Allow me to quote from the aforementioned book:
  "If all God wanted to do was get right to the 'happy ending', you'd be in heaven by now.  If His only intention were to make your dreams come true, He'd snap His fingers and your vision would appear out of thin air.  But that's not all God wants.  And deep down, it's not really all you want either.  You want to learn to walk by faith, not by sight.  And you can't learn that without walking through periods of complete darkness.  The apprehension and gut-level fear you'll feel in these stages may make you turn back and pursue something safer.
  Or you can opt for something better.  You can embrace the process with audacious faith.  Because every big dream has small beginnings.  Between the promise and the payoff, there's always a process.
  And that process is the breeding ground of faith.  That process has the potential to draw you closer to Jesus than you've ever been before.
  The process is the point." 
  I know it's hard to hear someone say, 'Everything happens for a reason'.  Though that is an awful thing to tell someone that is struggling or hurting, it's true at it's base level.  It's the process.  We are going to be processed, it's the way of this world.  However, it's your choice on how you will emerge from this so-called 'refining process'.  Like I talked about last week, it's a choice.  A choice to pursue and push, and keep moving forward.  It's so hard when you come out the end, and it's still not all sunshine and butterflies, but the same place that you started from...or so it seems.  But how did you come out?  That will depend on choices you've made in between.

  I seem to do this processing all at one HUGE TIME.  I hold stuff back, put things off, stay safe down in my rut, and generally keep my smile pasted on my face, while I hide in the dark.  Then, BAM!  I put my foot down and go flying out into space, trying to make things better and seek out that 'change' that I need.  I seem to do this every single time!  What is wrong with me?  (Only God knows that answer...)
  Then I calm down, seek God like I was supposed to, and I have to start at the beginning. What was the purpose behind all this stuff that's been going on in my life?  It usually takes me weeks of digging, studying and researching, praying on my knees, on my face, and feeling very lost in the meantime.  Then, just like it started, BAM, it hits me and I can't believe how stupid I was, and it was right there in front of me!  I had my blinders on - the 'scales' over my eyes!  Oh thank you, Holy Spirit, for the guidance!
  It's not a magic word.  It's not a special prayer, or ceremony or verse.  It's different for everyone, and, especially for me, it's different every time.  It's just the process.
I know I said brief, but I kept going.  Sorry, almost done.

  I have suffered from Chronic Migraines all my life.  From my earliest memories, I can see myself laying in bed at maybe 4 or 5, and crying and screaming and kicking the wall, because my head was exploding in pain, and I didn't understand.
  My genes are to thank for this condition;  my Grandma and Great-Grandma have both suffered.
  As medical research and treatments are advancing, there is looming hope.  But usually, the doctors are just about as puzzled as we are over the condition, and there is never a 'works-for-everyone-everytime' answer.  I have made peace with this condition early on, accepted it as my 'thorn' and moved forward as carefully as possible.
  Not until recently was I given hope.  I told my doctor that my migraines were better from my new anti-hypertensive.  She wanted to know how much better.  Well, instead of migraining 3 times weekly, it's only been 2. And instead of hurting every day, it's only been like 28 out of 30 days.  It's better.
The doctor didn't think so.  Her opinion of better was migraining only once a week, being pain-free for more than 2 days...maybe even going an entire MONTH without a single migraine.
  Yeah right.  That's what my brain said. And my doctor knew it!  She said, you've got to be open to how I can help you, because if you're not, you can leave right now.  Because I can't do anything for you if you don't think I can.  Wow.
  So I attended a 2-hour information class, which I thought I'd know everything they'd tell me.  And guess what?  I barely knew anything.  And you know something else?  One lady (the one who always keeps talking about herself and asking stupid questions and making stupid comments - and makes the class go longer and longer (you know who I'm talking about....)), ended up leaving because she came right out at the beginning admitting that nothing would help her and all she wanted was morphine.
  I gained so much information, knowledge and insight through that 3 hour class (yes, that lady made it go that much longer!) that I suddenly felt empowered and hopeful.  It's been a long time since I felt hopeful in regards to my migraines.  Just the knowledge alone was the spark that fueled my desire to be well again.
  Very recently, I have experienced a change in my life that has seemingly eliminated my daily pain.  All I can say is -OH MY GOSH - what a process.  27 years (or am I 28?) of chronic pain, and acceptance that it's normal...then one day I don't hurt.  Strange.  2 days, I don't hurt...what the heck is wrong with me? (That is honestly how I felt when I didn't hurt - that something must be wrong).  Suddenly it's been 5 days, with no pain, and life is brand new to me.  I weep when I thank the LORD for this miracle, and you know something?  It doesn't hurt to cry anymore.
  Talk about a bear of a process...and I still don't know all of what I am supposed to have learned from this.  But I do know that I have been so near to God through my pain... As I said in previous post, "I Thank Thee For My Thorn".  And I truly mean it.
  Now I can say, "Thank You, LORD, for the process.  I am hopeful in Your promise"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tupperware storage bins make good end-tables....

1.satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.
 Philippians 4:12-13
  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

    When we first moved into our new apartment, we found we were in need of a few things.  We splurged and bought a few brand new items at discount stores, and I've been hunting down craigslist ads and thrift store finds since then.  The one thing I haven't found (cheaply anways) was some sort of end tables to go next to our couch.  We use them a lot; we set our cups and plates on them while we eat dinner and watch Netflix, I put my morning devotional books there, all the game controllers and remotes go we really do need something.  I've been looking for the ottoman/storage basket type, with a sturdy enough top to place things on.  I finally decided last week that my storage bins, with a small blanket placed strategically to hide their bright colors, will work just as well, if not better than anything I could find.  Yay for not spending money!
  I suppose I have learned to be content.  We have moved a total of 10 times since we've been married (only been married 7 years...) and it has taught us so much on what kinds of possessions to value and what things must be let go of.  It has taught us to live simply and not accumulate.  It has taught us the value of a paperless system.  It has taught us when to invest in a nice item that we know we will always take with us, versus getting something used and very cheap, in the anticipation that it will be gotten rid of before the next move.
  We are content.  We are happy.  We don't have much and we don't plan on getting more, but we know where our true and deep joy is found.  We are TRULY happy.
  We've heard that so many times since our recent move to the city.  It's not that we like the city better (no, we will always be wide-open-spaces-country-folk), and it's not that we are any healthier down here (probably the opposite).  We have no close friends or family.  I have only a few of my animals left, and one of our dogs is living with her grandparents until we can get a house with a yard (we recently lost our dragon - so sad - he was a huge part of the family and was around before we were even married).  My apartment complex is clean and semi-pleasant, but the walls have lead paint, there is an on-going mold issue, cockroaches will come in if you don't keep it treated, and there's plenty of noisy people blasting their 'oompa loompa' through the walls at night.  I have only 2 dining table chairs, and one is broken.  All our clothes fit into three dresser drawers and one closet - combined.  We work physically hard all day long, sewing holes in our socks, repairing our vehicles ourselves, cooking meals at home, putting in extra hours at work while sacrificing time at home, and walking somewhere to save gas, when we could have driven.
  I'm trying to get across to you that we don't have THINGS that make us happy - we probably have the opposite by the world's standards.  But we have made choices to live like this and it's these choices that make us happy - that make us content.
  We chose to live frugally, and that allows us to save for hard times (security and peace-of-mind).  We made a wise choice in following an excellent job opportunity, even though it meant leaving all our family and friends and 'wide-open-spaces' behind.  We have clung to each other along our journey and it has strengthened our marriage bond beyond what most people have at our age. We have chosen to stick to our faith, rely upon our great big God and trust HIS guidance - even when he seems mysterious, distant or downright confusing. It's our 'CHOICES' in this life that have given us joy. We CHOSE contentment.  We CHOSE joy.  And we CHOOSE not to let anyone or anything take it from us.  Not even the crazy LA drivers.
Every choice you make places a controlling power into the hands of that some-one or some-thing. You had better make good and sure that person or thing has your best interests in mind.
  ~Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, 
because God has said,    
  “Never will I leave you;
   never will I forsake you.”

  ~Jeremiah 29:11 

 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.