Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Enjoying the Silence

During these last few weeks of the Daniel Fast I've been thinking a lot. A lot of thoughts about coffee, but also thoughts about Jesus, my marriage, our precious baby, and this life I'm living. I was privileged to read Jen hatmaker's book 7 last week too. Not only did it have me busting out my infamous laugh outburst, waking up my sweet husband at night (sorry babe), it had me close to tears at many points. Her books is basically about simplifying life for the sake of Jesus. How reducing what we have, do, eat, wear can all have an impact on the kingdom and give the Lord more room in our hearts. I felt really affirmed as we have already done several steps she suggested in the book, including the Daniel fast, and purging. Oh the purging we have done in the last 4 years is really incredible. I'm like the opposite of a hoarder. Anyways I digress.

There were several things that struck me as I was reading/thinking/meditating/dreaming of my next cup of coffee. I need more silence. Or less noise, however you want to say it. My first starting point is the tv. I'm drastically cutting it. Unless it is biggest loser, project runway, or a hallmark movie I haven't seen yet( there's probably not many) then I'm not watching it. Of course we do live with my parents so I do not want them to have to not watch what they want, but I am trying to occupy my mind and time otherwise. I have already noticed a more calm spirit inside of me. More time alone spent with the Father, and I was able to finish up some projects I'd been working on.

This is a good thing. God is doing a new thing. And I love it.

Angela M.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Daniel Fest 2012

So it has begun. 5 years ago my dad introduced me to the Daniel fast. I was newly married. A lively youth pastor of a bunch of rowdy jr and sr high kids. And I was up for an intense challenge. Thus doing the crazy spiritual challenge such as the Daniel Fast seemed like the perfect thing to do. So for 3 weeks my food intake was limited to vegetables, brown rice, fruit and nuts. That first year my creativity level was at about a negative fifty and Jared and I ended up eating half a bag of mixed veggies per meal. I'm sure you can imagine the insane depravity of it all. I still apologize to my husband for the immense amounts of carrots and broccoli.
Of course the DF is about much more than coming up with creative ways to make cauliflower edible. In the Word (also known as the Holy Bible) Daniel our main man chose to eat veggies and fruits (and probably millet) rather than the food the rest of the kings army was indulging in. In the course of 21 days he proved to be stronger physically and mentally then everyone else. In a similar way, 2 years ago when I was on the DF I had my annual check up. The Dr. Told me that my cholesterol and blood pressure were the best she had ever seen! Coincidence--I think not.
Spiritually speaking, I have found it to be a fairly extreme sacrifice. (we're talking no coffee or chocolate for 3 weeks people. Lifeblood.) It is easy to complain and think too much about all the foods I'm not eating. Ugh just makes me sick thinking about how disgustingly self absorbed I can be. (makes me throw up a bit of spinach in my mouth) what really comes to the forefront during this three weeks is how I can never out give God. His sacrifices He made for me are completely untouchable. Nothing I give up for Him-- not even coffee (please no condemnation) can compare to my incredible Savior. I am able to focus more clearly on Him and my many reasons to say Thank You with my life for Him.
So here I am 5 years later embarking on Daniel Fest 2012. Food options are much greater than in the past (sweet potato chips anyone?) but the 3 weeks are still sobering. I am praying my focus will magnify the Lord and His unending love. It is totally worth every caffeine free moment.

~Angela M.

Monday, September 12, 2011

My New Daily Grind

No I'm not referring to coffee (although I made a delicious French Press this morning)-my life as I know it has completely changed. Friday was my first official day of stay-at-home mom world. Jared is back to work, and though I live at my parents place, mom and dad are usually gone for most of the day as well. Leaving Caden and myself to fend for ourselves-how dare they!:) So that means I have to figure out how to survive and make the most of these days at home with my baby. Now let me be very clear that this is totally by my own choice that I am in the position I am in. Having Caden was not a surprise to us, I mean I'm 30 years old for crying out loud, I should be totally fine with all of this right?

Anyhoo, in my attempt to make some sense of my days, I'm following the advice of my fabulous sister in law Becky and have made up a schedule for each day of the week. A little overkill for some-perhaps. But I think it will work really well for me and the babe. It looks something like this:

7:00-Wake up-God Time
8:00-Wake Caden-feed/change
9:00-Go for a Walk
11:30-feed/change Caden
12:30-nap-do coupons
2:30-feed/change Caden
3:00-workout (Caden LOVES to watch:)
4:30-feed/change Caden
6:30-feed/change Caden
8:00-feed/change/bedtime for Caden
10:00-Go to sleep
4:30-feed/change Caden-back to sleep:)

Sounds thrilling doesn't it? I'm hoping the routine will be beneficial for us all. Well right now Caden is screaming his brains out-resisting his nap...I just keep remembering tomorrow is a new day. And I know his many smiles will cancel out all the tears.

~Angela M.

Monday, July 11, 2011

June 17th 2011

Three and a half weeks have already flown by and yet it seems like it was only yesterday I was in labor.

It was about 11:30 at night on June 16th--we had just finished celebrating my Dad's 60th birthday at a local restaurant. I had a feeling all day long that labor was very close even though my due date was still 6 days away, of course I told Jared I thought it would be soon, but we didn't mention anything to my parents or anyone else-not wanting to get anyone's hopes up. So there I lay in our bed, and almost like our little boy knew when I clicked off the light, the contractions started.

I decided to wait to say anything to Jared until I was sure the contractions were consistent. I kept an eye on the clock as each contraction would come and go. After 30 minutes of contractions that lasted 30 seconds each and were 5-7 minutes apart, I decided the time had come to wake Jared up. I must not have done a very good job waking him up as his response to me was "ok well I'm going back to sleep, let me know when they get closer together."

Ten minutes later as I was laying in bed I very distinctly felt a snap inside, I turned over and told Jared "I think my water just broke." My husband jumped out of bed faster then I could have even imagined and started making sure everything was packed, pacing around, and asking how he could help me. Our plan had been to stay at home as long as we could, knowing that the longer we were at the hospital, the more they would try to offer me drugs etc. (and we live about 2 min from the hospital) As soon as my water broke, (just like my doula forewarned me) the contractions become much stronger. We were probably at home for 10-15 min later when Jared made the call that staying at home was no longer an option. I believe at that point the contractions were about 2-3 min apart and lasting close to a minute each time.

Upon entering the ER, episodes from the Cosby Show and other sitcoms kept running through my head as I sat in the waiting room as Jared desperatly sought out the attention of the Dr.'s and everyone else is staring at me as I'm breathing and making weird noises like a crazy person. It thankfully only took a few minutes before a man came over with a wheel chair and started carting me through the eternally long hallway. After answering a series of strange questions and being assessed, I was told I was about halfway to the pushing phase and placed in the delivery room. I was blown away at how quickly everything progressed. Before I knew it, several hours had gone by and everything was set for the baby to come out! I was so thrilled at the thought that it would not be much longer before we would see our beautiful boy! I started pushing around 4:30 am, and to my dismay by 6:00, nothing had really changed. The nurse got the Dr. to ask him his opinion and he told me exactly what I did not want to hear. My bones were too close together and not allowing our baby to come down like he needed to. I could try to continue pushing or have a c-section. Exactly what I did not want to hear. For the last 9 months I had this vision in my head of how the birth would go, but this was not at all what I had hoped for. They gave Jared and I a minute to decide what we want to do. I still can't believe the words came out of my mouth when I turned to Jared and said "let's just do it." I don't remember too much other then us looking at each other with tears streaming down our faces-happy because we knew it wouldn't be much longer before he was here--and I was sad because I knew the process would not be what I had hoped for, although the outcome would be perfect.

Each contraction from that moment on was torture as I knew they were "pointless" in a sense. It was about 20 minutes later and there I lay on the operation table, the anestesiologist became our new friend, including taking pictures of the event for us. The procedure actually took longer than I thought. I had expected them to start the surgery and to hear our little guys voice 2 minutes later, but time seemed to slow down as we waited in those moments. Though they stretched out, those moments between Jared and I were very intimate and sweet--I will always remember when we first heard his cry as Jared and I looked at him and back at each other. Such a time filled with love.

Caden Levi Amerine entered the world at 6:58 am at 7 lbs and 1 oz, and 21 inches long.

Jared brought him over right by my head and the three of us just sat there soaking in each memory. Caden just starred at us--we were blown away at how precious and perfect he looked. Anything I had ever imagined or dreamed was taken to a completly new level when we saw him. Little Baby Caden is such a gift from God-such a victory in our lives.

And so that is the story of how Caden entered the world--but the story of the victories God will continue to have in His life are still to come:)

~Angela M.
When my Baby was born...

~Angela M.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

What's in a Name?

It was the day we had anxiously waited for. January 24th my husband Jared and I would be able to see our baby for the first time together at our 18 week ultrasound. I had visions in my head of what the moment would be like as we would watch our child squirming around-probably thinking about how much “it” already loved us For almost an hour we had the joy of watching our (as we later found out) son wave at us and move around to his hearts content. How perfect he looked in every way!

Our Dr. came into the room after about 20 min of waiting, as we expected to have him tell us we had a perfectly healthy growing baby and we could be on our way. However, the look on his face told us that we were going to be having a very different conversation than we had anticipated. The Dr. asked several somewhat strange questions and proceeded to explain that they had seen a cyst on our baby’s precious little brain. He said it could be something as simple as extra fluid in the brain as it was still growing, and could simply go away on its own…or it could be a serious genetic disorder.

In that moment, I became very conscious that I had several choices. I was reminded of a friend of mine, when he was diagnosed with cancer-his first reaction was to quote 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Contrary to my typical reaction, I found myself reminded of that verse “Be Joyful Always, Pray Continually, and Give Thanks in all Circumstances.” Remarkably as our Dr. continued to explain our different options, my mind was able to focus thankful prayers to the Lord (this makes me sound like a very spiritual person, however I assure you, this has typically not been my response to a difficult situation-I am a very good worrier).

We decided against having an amniocentesis done, knowing that regardless of the outcome, it would not change how we felt about the birth of our boy. We scheduled a follow up ultrasound 4 weeks later. I knew the next 4 weeks would either be the worst 4 weeks of my life, or that I could look back at it and marvel at all that God taught Jared and me. There were many times (too many to count) when I was tempted to feel sorry for myself, freak out, and worry about how we would handle everything—but God reminded me continually of that verse in 1 Thess. I had to make the decision to lift up my thanks when my temptations to worry would overtake my mind. This was not an easy thing for me to do as it seemed so contrary to my natural tendencies.

I desired to learn how to fully trust God, wondering what trusting God in this particular situation looked like. When we left the office, we both decided in the car that the best way we could trust the Lord would be to not google the genetic disorder or tell all our friends. Our best response was to pray, be thankful, and ask our immediate family to pray along with us. Whenever I felt anxiety or fear, I decided to combat those thoughts with more prayers of thankfulness for anything and everything I could think of. In those moments I knew if I truly believe in a God who parted the Red Sea, protected and cared for His people, and sent Jesus Christ to earth to live and die for my sins, I needed to believe that regardless of what the outcome was of the next ultrasound, God would fulfill every need we had. I could not believe in only pieces of the Bible. I needed to believe every part.

Our small group had been going through the book of Psalms during this period, and it was an amazing blessing to be reminded everyday of God’s many promises. It was amazing to have God speak to us through His word on a daily basis. Psalm 25:3 “No one who trusts in You will ever be disgraced.” And Psalm 20:5 “We will shout for joy when You are victorious and we will lift up our banners in the name of our God.” Were several of the verses that God sang over my soul.
4 weeks later, as we returned to the Dr, I knew that regardless of the outcome, God already had a victory in how He had softened my heart, and taught me to respond in a way that was honoring to Him.

In the next hour, I marveled at a God who was big enough to heal a cyst in a brain, while being small enough to touch a tiny little baby still inside my womb. Talk about God having a victory! I feel that even more importantly then seeing that God was powerful enough to heal our baby physically, was learning that God is trustworthy---He is faithful. His character does not change. Moreover, God is big enough to change my heart to learn to be more trusting. I have learned in a new way that my response while I’m waiting is many times more important then the outcome itself. And I am convinced that had the result not been what it was, God would still have already had a victory in my heart-and would provide us with everything we needed.

It was during this time that I asked God to give us a special name meaning…victory…God’s Victory kept flying out of the pages of scriptures to me. What an incredible joy it would be to be reminded of God’s victory every time I say his name! And so this is what we have done. Our beautiful precious boy who is a victory to the Lord’s credit. This is the story of our boy, and how God gave us his special name…to be revealed upon his arrival in just a few short weeks

~Angela M.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Baby Amerine

How far along are you?
37 weeks today! Baby Amerine is now considered a "full term" baby which couldn't make me happier! It's so relieving to know he is developed enough to enter the world :)

How much weight have you gained?
Closing in on 30 lbs which is the most I wanted to gain! Hopefully it won't get much higher since I only have a few more weeks to go! I walk between 40 min to an hour almost everyday, and eat really well so I know I'm staying healthy.

How big is baby?
Probably at least 6 lbs, but it's all guess work. I am hoping the Dr. doesn't even give me an estimate because I know they can very easily be off by quite a bit, and I don't need to worry about his weight. He is what he is:)

How are you feeling?
Pretty good today, backache quite a bit, and contractions every now and then, but emotionally I'm feeling really good! The end is near and I know I am approaching my most uncomfortable days, so I'm prepared!

Are you sleeping?
Very sporatically. But I have a feeling my body is just preparing me what it will be like once the boy is here. Sleeping habits will change and I will have to find a new "normal".

What are your current cravings/aversions?
Chocolate anything has been sounding really good for the last few days:) But when does chocolate not sound good??

What’s new for little Baby Amerine?
So much is going on outside of his little protected space to prepare for him, I wish he could see how hard his dad is working to get everything ready for him! We are currently finishing my parents basement so we can move in, so life is very very busy for Jared especially!

What are you thinking about this week?
Anticipating what going into labor will be like. I am very curious to see how my body will react. I'm praying I will go into labor on my own without being induced, but you just never know! So that's on my mind a lot. Also that this is my last week of work. Wow, life is about to change in a big way!

What are you Looking Forward To?
As weird as it sounds I'm relaly looking forward to figuring out our new normal for our family. I'm excited for this transition in life and I know it will be extremly different...but that's ok. I really can't wait till my brother and his family come out here for a month after the baby is born! What a wonderful wonderful time that will be!

~Angela M.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

36 weeks!!!

How far along are you?

36 weeks today:) Yikes the end is really approaching!

How much weight have you gained?
26 lbs as of my last appt. Our scale battery is dead, which I figure as of this point it's probably a blessing!

How big is baby?
Around 5 1/2 to 6 lbs according to the books. Hence the backache:)

How are you feeling?
Very tired the last few days...I can tell the end is near so that is a good thing!

Are you sleeping?
a LOT! The last few nights I slept for about 8-9 hours which is way more than normal for me! I think this baby is wearing me out!

What are your current cravings/aversions?
Nothing really in particular these days. I have not been very hungry recently=probably because the boy is taking up so much room.

What’s new for little Baby Amerine?
He is almost fully cooked! If he were a computer that was being updated, he only has like 2% left to go:) I had my shower on Sunday and this boy has sooooo many adorable things!

What are you thinking about this week?
Trying to work as much as I can in the next 2 weeks--just preparing myself for labor and most of all for life with a baby...I still can not fathom what life will be like!

What are you missing?
Lots of stuff--like sleeping on my back. I'm trying to forget about the things I can't do and just cherish the moments I feel him moving around inside of me. The time will come soon when I will again be able to do all the things I miss:)

~Angela M.