Maternity Must Haves

I thought it'd be fun to list a few of the tangible things that have gotten me through my pregnancy...namely the thoughest parts, such as approx. 24 weeks of nauseousness and side sleeping.  So here's my list (so far!) of what I've found in this pregnancy to be my "maternity must haves."

1. Leachco back and belly pillow.  Life saver, let me tell you.  I've struggled to sleep well at night during my pregnancy, and at the beginning was having to use a bazillion pillows to try to keep me propped up.  This pillow has helped me get quite a few good nights sleep.  (Though those are lessening, which the veteran moms tell me is normal.  I guess even a great pillow can't do it all.)  I also find that putting a pillow between my legs helps even more.

2.  Be-Band Maternity Band.  This and my favorite stretchy tops helped carry me to a little over 20 weeks without having to buy maternity clothes.  It was a birthday present in January from a friend who "had a feeling" I was pregnant. :)  Good thinking.

3.  Belly Bar products.  I've been taking Belly Bar prenatal chewable vitamins for the majority of my pregnancy as the One-a-days made me really sick.  I haven't had any problems with these.  I like that they don't have food dyes in them too.  I also love the supplement bars, which provide even more vitamins and minerals, and were sometimes the only thing I really felt like eating.  (Especially during that nasty flu!)  The s'mores flavor is awesome!

4.  iPad and Kindle for iPadOkay, okay I must confess.  No, we can not afford this fun little contraption, but yes I was blessed with one for Christmas from work!!  Crazy and super fun gift that I am certainly grateful for!  I'm sure I'm still not using it to its fullest potential, but I certainly improved that when I discovered the free Kindle for iPad app.  My first purchase?  Baby Bargains 2011, a life saver for a novice pregnant lady like me!  I was also able to save money by purchasing my latest bible study, "That I May Know Him," on here, as well as the book I recently mentioned, "The Fitting Room" by Kelly Minter, based on Colossians 3, which is part of my current study.  Needless to say, for a book lover and person who craves information like me, this is a great alternative, (besides the library and half-price bookstore!), to read more books for less than it would normally cost.  I also have LOVED the free "Hello Baby" app by Pampers.  It allows us to see a true to size representation of how our baby is growing every week - so neat!Next I'll be looking for great new mom and baby apps!  Any suggestions??
(from Amazon)

5. La Croix sparkling water with a lime.  So I have still neglected to tell you about our babymoon and the awesome experience of getting bumped on the way there and thus being moved to first class for the last leg of our flight to Florida from Atlanta.  Talk about FUN!!!  Neither Kevin nor I have ever flown first class and it was so much fun.  They bring snacks every other second, (a pregnant lady's dream! :), and they serve drinks in real glasses!  We just had a blast in those cushy seats in the company of people who actually belonged there.  Ha.  I wanted to get something other than plain old water, and since I'm not drinking soda, caffeine, or artificial sweetners, (for the most part!), I checked out the little in flight menu.  My new favorite discovery was made - La Croix sparkling water with a wedge of lime.  I then drank a lot of it on vacation and have continued to do so since.  I can't seem to find anything inappropriate about this treat during pregnancy, (please correct me if I'm wrong!), and it satisfies that need for something fizzy and "pop" like!  A bonus is it's much cheaper than Perrier sparkling water- also yummy!

(It comes in different flavors, but for now I prefer the plain...and I promise, squeezing a wedge of lime in it makes all the difference!!)


6.  My Honey K-Love.  This nickname for Kevin goes way back to the beginning.  And of course no "must-have" list could be complete without him!  He has done such a great job as my foot rubber, emotional supporter, cheerleader, prayer warrior, and God-seeking leader through this whole process.  We have been humbled and amazed from day one by God's mercy, grace, and goodness as we prayed for and became pregnant with our first child.  All those years of waiting and praying for the man God had for me continue to be so worth it with every stage of life we go through together, both the struggles and the sweet times. It is a joy to travel through this life with him, and I can't wait to fall in love with him all over again when I see him love our sweet baby.  My heart overflows and I give God all the glory.

(I love this pic...but he might not so I won't make it bigger. :)

Well, there's my short list of maternity must haves for now!  I need to post about being 29 weeks today!!  My belly is at a place that it now shocks me and makes me laugh every time I walk by a mirror! Ha!  I'm just so excited to see the sweet face of the baby growing in there!


Christ in me, The Hope of Glory

Today I started a study on the book of Colossians - what a powerful book of the bible!  This study is the second part of the Kay Arthur study I mentioned my small group was doing a while back, called "That I May Know You."  It includes a study on both Philippians and Colossians.  (There is one available for every book of the bible - for only about $8 or $9 at cbd.com!!)  This has definitely forever changed the way I will study and work to grasp God's Word.  When you start to really read passages over and over, digging deep into the purpose and context of what they are all about, you quickly realize how often our Christian culture has taken verses out of the context they were written in.  Both Philippians and Colossians are letters written from Paul while he was in prison...literally suffering in chains.

I am already loving studying Colossians, after just carefully reading through it a few times, in a few different versions.  I was especially convicted and challenged today by the prayer Paul told those at Colosse that he was praying for them in verses 9-13.  Paul says he is praying this in response to hearing about their love in the Spirit upon their hearing and embracing the gospel.

"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he love, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Col. 1:9-13

Wow.  I love that God even blesses us with the access to His power which strengthens us in this way.  A strength that we so desperately need.  I also got on blueletterbible.org and read the New Living Translation, and I loved verses 11 and 12: "We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father."

Then, at the end of the chapter I loved verse 27 - "And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory." (NLT)  The NIV says, "God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of the mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."   I love that!!  How often do we need to be reminded of the glorious riches that come from the awesome privilege of Christ living in us!!!  He is the "hope of glory," which is to come when our temporary time on this often painful and confusing earth is done.  In our darkest moments we must remember that we have a hope beyond anything we could imagine.  This is what should drive us to share the gospel eagerly and urgently.  Right when I read this phrase it brought to mind a song that I have been listening to often lately and that I love called "Everything" by Tim Hughes.  I do long for God to be my everything; I am so grateful that He has been so faithful and has promised to be faithful through everything in my life.

When I was searching for the song, I saw a clip of Craig Groeschel speaking at a Hillsong conference in 2009 and he said, "I choose, I force myself to choose, the pain of obedience rather than the comfort of disobedience.  When you suffer for the glory of the One who suffered and died for you, embrace it, take it in.  Don't whine about it but say, 'I praise God in heaven that I get to suffer ever so little for the glory of the one who suffered and died for me."  WOW.  That is some powerful stuff that pierced me straight in the heart this morning. This song and the verses I shared are my prayer today; I hope you are encouraged by this today too!!


Miscellany Monday - Happy 3rd trimester!!!

1. Third trimester.  Well friends, I'm in it to win it...less than 3 months to go until we meet Baby Love!!!  I vascillate between shock, disbelief, and adrenaline rushing excitement!  It took me a long time at the beginning to really jump into all things pregnancy and baby...maybe protecting myself from the possibility that something could go wrong and/or wanting to not lose focus on our marriage before little one arrives.  But after vacation I went into full swing mommy mode!  Registries, research, nursery planning, day dreaming, etc.  Might have a little something to do with the little firework's movements in my ever expanding belly!!  I have been waiting for this since I was an itty bitty myself and I couldn't be more excited!  Whenever I start organizing the baby's new things and stacking his/her new clothes it seriously feels reminiscent of all those years I played "house" and cared for my babies for hours as a little girl.  But this time it's real!  And because I keep promising updated pics, here's a couple from my first super fun baby shower!!!

My super cute new diaper bag!!

My lovely mom - Nana to be!  (This is her 3rd grandbaby)

My lovely friends - thanks girls!!!

2.  Speaking of 3rd trimester....I had my 28 week glucose/blood test Friday.  Someone called from the office and confirmed while I don't have gestational diabetes - (yay!!!), I am in fact anemic!  Not a surprise to me, (or Kevin for that matter), as lately it's felt like all I say is "I'm tired."  I have been much less than productive.  Turns out little Love has been taking all that iron I need.  So I'm officially on a supplement, and hopefully on my way to having more energy.  I guess I'm not surprised because I really don't eat that much meat.  Chicken is less than attractive to me most of the time, and I've never really been a big fan of red meat.  Though Kevin has informed me he will be bringing home steaks tonight!  Ha ha.  I'm very thankful that this has been the first bump in a very healthy pregnancy!

3.  Home sweet home.  We're definitely going to have one...right around the time when the baby comes!  Might sound crazy to most, but to me it's another example of God's perfect timing and knowing what we can handle.  We found an awesome place to rent, but as of right now it won't be available until the first week in September.  I just might be the only woman pregnant in the summer that prays to go late!  (My due date is August 31st)  However, prayer is powerful...so maybe between our families and all you wonderful bloggy friends we can pray that place into availability a bit sooner.  ;)  Honestly, I'm just so thankful that after what will be about 8 or 9 months of nomading it, we will get our stuff out of storage and have a place to call home again!  What a wild ride this has been...and will forever make a GREAT story!

4.  Dog sitting.  This week we get to take a break from the charming yet ovenless/washer-dryerless log cabin as we are house/dog sitting for our friends.  It is a JOY let me tell you.  They have a beautiful home with a cute backyard...and for better or worse, 2 t.v's.  Keep in mind, that's 2 more than Kevin and I have had in a long time.  Last night as I was watching Food Network Star and he was watching the NBA Finals, (it was weird to be home and apart!), I realized how blessed we are to be in the stage of life we are in - living in small spaces without a whole lot of extraneous entertainment apart from each other.  I am sure it has caused us to spend so much more quality time together - and I am thankful for that!

Speaking of dogs, how cute is my God-seeking little fella?! :)

5.  Cloth diapers...I'm diving in.  I wasn't going to go public with my desire to do this in order to avoid the naysayers and scoffers...but the wonderful world-wide blogging world has boosted my confidence and even got me excited about this little (or big!) endeavor I'd like to try.  Kevin has been awesome about saying he will be supportive to try whatever I feel passionate about, and I've told him I don't want to be afraid to do hard things.  We both agree if it doesn't work it doesn't work - but I really want to try.  So I have been doing all kinds of research this weekend and I feel pretty excited about trying a few different kinds.  We definitely want to ease into it, (a.k.a. maybe not start the first few weeks...remember, I don't know exactly what I'm doing! :), and it seems like everyone has to find what works for them through a little trial and error.  I also think I want to try a combination of those with disposable inserts, and those with all-in-one cloth inserts.  The only thing I think I'm pretty for sure about is that I don't want to stuff too many pockets.  So far I'm most excited to try Bum Genius Elemental All in ones, Best Bottoms One Size, Rumparoos G2 One Size, and g diapers.  Any thoughts or opinions??  I have watched several videos, seen some in stores, and read many blogs.  I've never heard anyone not love the Bum Genius ones, but I'm most intrigued by the Best Bottoms and Rumparoos for their user-friendliness, versatility, materials, and leg gussets (good for holding in messes!).  The g diapers (and best bottoms!) sound good for travel or away from home situations.  Please share your opinions!  (but please no scoffing :)
6.  Next on my reading list.  I have great respect for Kelly Minter.  She writes great Bible studies, seems extremely down to earth, and is completely relatable.  She has recently written a book called The Fitting Room, and it's the next thing I want to read this summer.  It's all about putting on the character of Christ.  The ladies in the "bloom" book club on the website (in)courage are studying this book throughout the summer, (though I'm kind of missing that!).  If you're looking for something challenging and inspirational to read, maybe check it out!

7.  Sweet peace in pregnancy.  I am content and determined to savor and enjoy these last few months of pregnancy.  For whatever reason, maybe because I've struggled to be comfortable in my own skin at other times of life, I love having this baby growing inside me.  My pregnant body feels purposeful and it's empowering in crazy ways.  I feel so much freedom in knowing how healthy it is for my body to grow and expand right now.  It is so much fun to feel my sweet Baby Love kicking and flipping and exploring so actively inside me.  While I'm sure it can't compare to holding this baby in my arms, I never want to forget what sweet moments we've shared together while he/she grows inside me.  Even yesterday at church I felt a little emotional during worship when I saw a woman leading who has been pregnant but recently had her baby.  It might sound weird, but it put into perspective for me what it must be like to have such an intimate experience with your baby inside of you where there is not yet separation, then having to trust and release for the rest of your life as your baby grows and isn't always with you.  Very powerful.  Whew...God is going to teach me A LOT through this baby!!!

That's my miscellany for today if you made it through!  Here's to another week of wonderful summer!

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters


His Eye is On the Sparrow

I so wanted to title this post, "Overflowing With Lemonade," in reference to my seemingly incessant need lately to take the lemons life has thrown at us and make lemonade.  Not quite as easy when you're pregnant, I've quickly found.  I know some people have an aversion to how those online often seem to make life seem fake and problem free, (of course we all know it's not!!)...but I wonder if that's because it often feels like a bummer to get on here and be a downer in our weak moments.  Particularly those moments when I don't have perspective and I'm not handling it well.  Which is quite possibly why I've been avoiding...

I know all too well there are MANY people who would love their biggest problems all at one time to be not having a permanent dwelling, cars ending their lifespan, and other annoying little inconveniences.  There are families desperately praying to have more time with those they love the most, or grieving those they have lost...and that is pain.  I know people in physical pain so constant that they are longing for Heaven and relief.  So the last few weeks in our life have felt like trials, but I know they're just exhausting bumps in the road.  At the end of the day Kevin and I are growing close to each other and to God through them.  And the precious little firework in my belly is a continuous reminder of His unending and overwhelming faithfulness.  I am loving this little person more and more everyday, and it has taught me more than anything else in all of my life that very little external circumstances are really a very big deal.  Because the big things in life are BIG.  Relationships and increasingly loving, trusting, and looking like Christ are what it's all about.

I have been reminded often lately of the verse, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  so don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."  Matthew 10:29-31

Thankfully I am not a precious little bird...I am a child of the King...of THE Creator.  That's big time.  Why should I worry...why should I ever be afraid?  I am a broken, human girl...but I have such hope and joy.  I was majorly convicted Sunday when one of Kevin's coworkers and our friend who reads my blog said to me, "When I keep hearing about your all's circumstances I just keep thinking about 'Crazy Joy.'  This is it."  Ha.  I was convicted by my own blog title...what I claim to be all about!!  But he's right.  The reason I live, I write, I rejoice is because I know in my soul this crazy truth:  regardless of our pain, our circumstances, or our trials, we can have real and ridiculous joy from the hope found through a relationship of Jesus and the promise of Heaven.  For real.  Even when the burden and weariness feel so heavy.  So while that wasn't easy to hear on a Sunday morning after a night of tears, it was exactly what I needed to be brought back to.  The fact that I'm not alone and I'm not living for the comforts of this life.

The other blessing that has always come during times of trial for me is the way my family loves, encourages, and rallies around me...it reminds me that that's who we are.  There is nothing like family to have your back and remind you that you're loved when you need it most.  My family has done this for me too many times to count in my 30 years.  They have sacrificed for me over and over without hesitation or ridicule.  Endless grace resulting in overwhelming gratitude.  That is so much of why I am beyond excited for Kevin and I to start our own family with sweet little Baby Love.  Because I want him or her to know that kind of grace, generosity, and joy...and to give all the glory to God for it.

Okay, I just had to get that out and be real with you all.  I am committing in my heart to get on here and shine my little light more often.  I have so many unshared fun posts in my head...like how I've GOT to show you this big baby belly!  Little sweet thing is growing like crazy, and I love it!!!  While I won't be decorating a nursery before the baby comes, I have so many fun ideas/inspirations, and I need to share about the super fun and sweet baby shower my friends threw for me last week!  More to come!  Love to you all!!!
"His eye is on the sparrow...and I know He watches me."

(Who doesn't love Lauryn Hill singing this song!?)