Life and Love Before Baby Love

Warning:  Long post.  In case you just don't have the time or the energy to read it, just scroll down to the bottom and listen to the incredible worship song by Tim Hughes.  Love it!!!  Not directly related to my post, but powerful for sure! :)

My mind has had fifty-millions things going at a million miles a minute for the last several weeks.  Hence the lack of posts.  I just don't know where to start!  So I'll stop making apologies and promises...I just have to accept that my presence will be a little unpredictable on here.

That said, I'm 18 weeks pregnant today!  Wow.  Hello belly!  I love, love, love getting and looking more and more pregnant.  If you ask me it's a great situation for a girl who has never quite been proportionate to begin with.  Ha ha.  Unless I'm extremely toned, (which hasn't been for a couple years!), I deal quite a bit with bloating.  So I've never had a difficult time feeling pregnant.  Just recently it's starting to look more like actual pregnancy!

With so much baby on the brain and in the middle of so many conversations, it's gotten me a little frazzled in recent days.  Yesterday I spent a few very therapeutic hours listening to music, praying, and crying.  It's so nice to just be able to say, "It's the pregnancy hormones." :)  I am an extremely intense person, both in my heart and mind, so it's quite easy for me to drive myself crazy and lose a little perspective now and then.  God is always faithful to bring me back whenever I return my focus to Him.  That said, yesterday He redirected my focus from my relationship with my baby to my relationship with my husband.

Kevin and I have been enjoying the sweetest time of marriage lately.  Especially since this past summer.  We have just grown and grown in our intimacy and friendship, as well as in extending grace towards one another, and there is no one on earth either of us would rather spend time with.  I believe this is a direct reflection of our intentional seeking after God for this very thing.  The beginning of marriage was a very difficult time for me, and Kevin rose to the occasion immediately as my strong, gentle support and protector.  Those precious days of feeling like I offered nothing and he offered everything created the most priceless foundation for our marriage.  My confusions and heartaches did not push him away...they drew him closer.  His actions towards me at that time amaze me to this day.  But I know with all of my heart they were the fruit of his seeking harder after God than he was seeking after me.  And I'm so grateful.

I say all of that because yesterday my mind was going a mile a minute thinking about baby stuff, how I was feeling, what the future holds, and all the things people have asked me about lately concerning the baby.  I suddenly became overwhelmed and convicted about my marriage.  While I know there is much to be done to prepare for a precious little, fragile life to come into our world, my heart knows that when the baby comes, we will be ready for the baby....as far as having the "things" we need.  My heart also knows that while we are over the moon with joy, these are the last several months that Kevin and I will have with just the two of us making up our family.  And that makes these months and moments we have together irreplaceable.  We delight in Sunday afternoons or any random time we get to spend hanging out, talking about life, napping, laughing, just being together.  I never want this precious friendship to fade.  What's crazy is, according to my calculations, the day we conceived is the day we moved out of the last place we actually called home.  What an adventure these months have been...and I'm convinced that we will treasure them and be strengthened by them for a lifetime.

 So in these months before experiencing the beautiful exhaustion of having my heart live outside my body and prayerfully enjoying this incredible baby I am just aching to hold, I am committed more than ever to spend this time focused on my husband and my marriage.  I know we will never want to go back, and I pray it will bring us closer, but I also never want to forget these days.  We know that in order to be good parents, our marriage must always come first.  God answered years of prayer when he brought Kevin and I together, and each year He solidifies more and more why it was so worth the wait.  I long to intentionally honor this undeserved gift.

Thus, in the days ahead I will be praying and seeking out ways to make this time special and sacred for us.  Whether it's by being creatively encouraging, doing some spontaneous planning, verbally affirming him, or loving him in practical ways through making dinner and doing dishes, it is my goal to be more intentional than ever.  I'm also on the look out for some good resources to read during this time.  Here are a few at the top my list right now - two that I've read large portions of, and two I've recently found.  I would love to hear your recommendations or suggestions, or any thoughts on this topic!!

"The Power of a Praying Wife" by Stormie Omartian

"Sacred Influence" by Gary Thomas

"Great Parents, Lousy Lovers" by Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham

"Your Marriage Can Survive A Newborn" by Glenn and Natalie Williams

Here's one of the amazing and powerful songs God used yesterday to draw me to him.  I just have to share it.  Enjoy this as part of your worship today!


Miscellany Monday - Welcome Spring!!!

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1.  Hello friends.  Can I just say I am SOOO thankful it is spring?!  It has been one long, though blessed winter for me!!!  My cracked rib is finally starting to feel better, (we're going on 6 weeks here!), and the sunshine is soothing my soul.  I feel like I've waited and prayed over and over for days like these.  New life is on the horizon!  Kevin and I have taken a few walks at our favorite park after work and it has done wonders for my body, my mood, and my marriage.  So sweet to spend that time with him on these beautiful days.

2.  Speaking of exercise.  Since my rib is finally almost healed, I've been able to get back to trying out some prenatal workouts.  Within the first few days I found out I was pregnant I picked up Erin O'Brien's "Prenatal Fitness Fix", which I enjoyed a lot before I started getting nauseous, which was not long after.  A couple weeks ago I saw "Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga" by Element" on sale for $10, so I picked that one up too.  I had been researching yoga videos for awhile, because I've never done it but heard it's really good for you in the way of breathing and stretching.  I did it for the second time today and loved it.  I was very relaxed afterward, and felt like my body got a great stretch.  It is a little "yogi" (whatever that is), but during the meditative parts I just used the time to offer prayers and praise to God for my baby and my health.  There are a couple more dvds I've been looking at and thinking about, including one for pilates.  Any thoughts out there on what you have used or liked?

3.  Pressure.  I very easily put too much pressure on myself at any given time.  With the growing baby in my belly it has lately been all about how to honor God by caring for him or her right now, while spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically preparing myself for being a mom.  (Whew! Much more about this to come!!)  Due to the nauseousness, I've struggled to feel like I am eating healthfully enough during this time.  We end up going to the grocery and I buy only the things I think I should eat and that fit in the budget.  But then I don't want anything to do with them.  That is, until yesterday.  I realized I was making myself crazy with all this thinking...so instead I wondered up and down every aisle searching for anything that might sound somewhat good (which is not a lot).  The most random item was probably Velveeta shells and cheese - nothing too exciting.  But I've definitely had a much better eating day with my new found freedom! :)

4.  Baby Names.  Kevin and I had the most hilarious time on Saturday going through names in the baby book.  We haven't done this for a long time, so it was fun.  I know I said we have some strong front runners, but as of now, we're still discussing all kinds of options.  Definitely the funniest moment was an hour into the conversation (we were driving), when we got slap happy and started suggesting any and every name we saw as we drove by it.  Here's where I would insert what we would consider funny...but I'm not about to risk accidentally hurting anyone's feelings!!

5.  Bible study.  The Lord has certainly been working on my heart lately.  I love having another little life to consider while I'm reflecting on my walk with God.  Though this does up the responsiblity factor quickly!  Kevin and I both have had a deep desire lately to spend our times in "bible studies" or small groups learning how to handle the word of God and study scripture.  Many studies are topical which can be awesome, but there is no replacement for digging deep into the bible and learning what the Holy Spirit has for you there.  My group recently finished the study, "God Seeker," which is an amazing study that leads you into intimacy with God in your daily "tent of meeting." It's based on Moses in Exodus, and his regular meetings face to face with the Lord.  Wow.  What a privilege.  Yet the bible says that he was "very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth."  (Numbers 12:3)  I strongly suggest this study for any and all believers, new to faith or long time Christians.  I know the author and her family personally, and they are truly an example of what it looks like to live by the spirit.  Be encouraged by her blog here.  Next my group is doing Kay Arthur's "That I May Know Him: Philippians and Colossians."   Kay Arthur's whole ministry is about learning how to study the word of God...and she teaches it in an amazing way.  It's simple in appearance, but solid in substance. I'm excited to see what will come and all that we will learn during this one!

That's all for this Monday!  I look forward to being in much more frequent communication with all of you!  I feel like I'm getting a tiny bit of rhythm and routine back!


16 Weeks!?!?

When I see images like this I totally feel like breaking out into worship - isn't God AMAZING?!

My baby is growing up so fast!!!  :)  And I'm so thankful to God for every day He breathes life into him or her.  I am turning a serious energy corner this week - yay!  Let me just be honest with you before we get to the updated baby details.  I have had a hard time finding the motivation to blog for a few reasons.  One, my mind has been OVERWHELMED lately with so much...baby stuff, nauseousness stuff, caring for a pregnant body, work stuff, and most of all, thoughts of God and all that He is teaching me right now.  So I haven't really known where to start.  Secondly, I have had to go through a bit of a struggle of what to share and what not to share on here.  There are times when I think I could write some sort of baby post every day...what body pillow to get, what prenatal snacks and vitamins I like, all my nursery inspirations and project plans...but I am constantly aware of those who are hurting and struggling with pregnancy, loss, or a complete lack of desire to read all things 'baby' on here.  And since I am often a honest-to-the-core kind of gal, it's paralyzed me a bit.


Last night I told Kevin that I know better than that.  God knows my heart and my intentions, and I sincerely do not ever want to bring pain to someone else.  And I certainly don't want to miss honoring this beautiful and amazing blessing growing inside of me.  I think I can especially honor the dreams of others by sincerely celebrating mine, with humble gratitude.  And to pray.  Oh sweet friends how I pray for you...and so many I know personally and read about on here.  Now more than ever. 

I have had to learn over and over again that it is not my goal in life to please others, but to glorify God alone.  It seems as though this situation has tempted me to focus on pleasing others once again.  So I am going to try to start going back to wearing my heart on my sleeve, praying for grace and guidance all the way.  I want this blog to be a reflection of who I am and what God is doing and has done in Kevin and I's lives.

That said, on to the baby's latest!!!

I am 16 weeks - crazy! - but so exciting.  We heard the heartbeat for the 3rd time yesterday, which is always amazing.  Kevin might have used his iphone and spy skills to secretly record it so we could listen over and over. :)  I definitely have a sweet baby bump, and I love rubbing my belly.  (Though my student thinks I've lost my mind.)  I LOVE being pregnant - no sucking in my tummy or worrying about my curves, and the responsibility of being so intentional about caring for my little one.  I truly feel like a mommy.  It is priceless.  We love praying for the baby together, and the other night we sang to him or her.  I already have my bedtime lullaby "playlist"...made of songs my mom used to sing to me, a couple favorite hymns, and songs I used to sing to the sweet little one I babysat/nannied for 8 years, every time I tucked her in.  (Who is turning 10 today - Happy birthday Ingrid!!!)

Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along: 16 Weeks!

Size of baby: An avocado (quite amazing considering he/she started as a poppyseed!!!)

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Before nauseousness and my first doctor's appt. I gained 5 lbs - yikes!  Then with the flu I lost 3.  I've gained one back.  So according to the doctor I've gained 1 lb so far. Which she said is fine because she assures us over and over that the baby is getting just what she/he needs.

Maternity Clothes: Not yet.  I tried on maternity jeans this weekend.  My backside said NO THANK YOU!  I do live in yoga or workout pants which I love.

Gender: We're going to be SURPRISED!

Baby's Name:  We are in serious prayer about this huge responsibility. :)  Shockingly, though I'm incredibly indecisive, I have a great peace about both a boy name and a girl name that we love and have prayed about so far.  We'll see how they hold up!  Of course, this will also not be shared until the baby comes. (We love surprises!)

Movement: Can't wait to feel the first "flutter" - hopefully anytime!

Sleep: I'm not sleeping well this week.  I'm trying to get used to sleeping on my side and it reallys hurts my hips.  (My doctor assured me it's not because they stick out. :)  I'm still working on figuring out the perfect body pillow thing.  I also am starting to get too hungry at night because I don't feel like eating much for dinner.
What I miss: Artificial sweetner.  :)

Cravings: Food is still very literally leaving a bad taste in my mouth.  Nothing sounds good or looks good, and I don't have a crazy appetite.  But I thoroughly enjoyed a house salad at Outback the other day. And I love every and all FRUIT!

Symptoms:  Waning nauseousness - (though I totally lost my cookies after a Qdoba lunch last week!)  I rarely make it through a meal without starting to feel sick by the end. (Unless it's a bowl of cereal!)  Also fatique, growing belly, hormone breakouts, and a very real lack of patience with others...weird but true - this one has totally surprised me but has been very apparent in my first trimester.  Oh, and I'm quite emotional and dramatic.  Pregnancy related...not sure about that! ;)

Best Moment this week: Hearing the heartbeat again!  Singing to the baby, Kevin being so incredibly sweet and complimentary to me, and hearing him talk to my belly...well, actually the baby. :)

I'm looking forward to... eventually having our own permanent place...which we are totally trusting and believing in God's timing for.  We will be so grateful when it is time, and we are enjoying the cozy blessings of our current dwellings. (The log cabin - that is a post in and of itself! :)  I am so excited about creating a sweet nursery.

 Happy Wednesday to you!!


Spring is Coming

I know I'm in good company when I say I am SO ready for Spring to arrive.  Now that it's March, I can feel it joyfully coming right around the corner.  I refuse to share any more of my woes of winter, as I'm tired of hearing them myself!  Instead I am choosing to delight in the thoughts of blooming flowers, warm sunshine, and walks in flip flops.  I'm ready for the world to be green again!  I do, however, so appreciate all that can be learned through the changing of the seasons.  There is such purpose and intention in what the earth goes through.  And it's such a great metaphor for life.  I have felt several times in my life that I was waiting for spring to come, but surrendering to what God needed to do in me through the quiet rest of winter.  Here are some spring things for you to enjoy:

One of my favorite sermons about Spring from Crossroads in Cincinnati, part of a series on the seasons:

Spring (Great sermon - not your average preacher - just so you're prepared. :)

I love fresh flowers!!!  And I love the abundance of them in Spring!  I ran all over Louisville a couple days before my wedding finding gerberas like these for my bouquet!

The Farmer's Market is coming - yay!!!

I'm definitely looking forward to my belly and my maternity wardrobe growing this Spring!

I love this beautiful and powerful song, Spring is Coming, which is more of a prayer from my favorite, Steven Curtis Chapman: