Thursday, December 30, 2010

Welcome 2011

Hello and Welcome 2011...I'm glad you are finally here.

The past year has brought with it a continued turmoil, a second child loss, and also some great times of fun and rejoicing withfriends, our family, and our boys. I am praying that 2011 will usher in a new beginning on all fronts.

That God's ministry will spread and that we, as a church, will be able to find new means to reach people for the Lord.

That a new start to the year will bring a lasting effort on the part of my family to become more healthy and LESS stressed. The tumultuous events of the last 2 years have really left us in poor shape...dealing or not dealing with with recurring anxiety and unrelenting stress that has had negative effects on all of us both mentally and physically. I for one, am sporting some extra cushion all over and find my fuse getting shorter with each heart palpitation that passes...YES all of it is from anxiety.

That a new more positive attitude will sweep through our home and allow us to really enjoy our time together. It is such waste to let outside influences that are out of our control ruin what could be really great memories with the people we truly love and are present in our lives. This life and the time we have are gifts from God and waisting them away in anger, resentment, and fear of what might happen next or who will hurt us next definitely isn't how God wants us to spend our time alone or with those we love. This attitude has been a dark cloud looming over our home for over a year now and let me just say that I am over it, my husband and sons are over it, and I am ready to get our REAL life back.

That this new year will bring a new outlook and set of goals for our oldest son. Over the Christmas break we, as a family, decided to walk through a door that the Lord has opened for him. Starting January 3rd, 2011 he will begin a new grade at a new school. We loved our Christian school, but had for some time been considering returning to the public school system for several reasons and have been apprehensive for several reasons, but low and behold the door was opened and just as we have since Rick and I have been together, we prayed, felt peace, and walked through the door. So my prayer is that he is a light to those around him...a picture of an alternate way of life. I feel that this transition holds a burden for our son to stand for God and the way He wants us to live.  By showing others that it is ok to say no and refraine from the not -so-good-fo- you activities that so many of our teens are exposed to and get roped into.

That I will lighten up on the heavy load of expectations that I place on my family...not to be perfect by any means, but to take care of business the way I would, rather than the way that they need to handle things. This is a definite shortcoming in my make up.

In keeping with come the resolutions...

My two goals for 2011 are to become more healthy by loosing weight and increasing our family's physical activity AND getting our finances under control.

True to form, I already have a plan ready for both items on the list and am itching to place check marks by both of them. It is the following through of the plan that I have found to be so elusive to me...did you know that lack of focus and a shortened attention span is a part of anxiety??? I didn't either until it happened to is very frustrating...squirrel!!! Sorry about that...that was a shout out to all of my Up movie friends...anyway the lack of focus thing actually is a part of anxiety issues.

So here is my health plan....We as a family joined the YMCA, I just signed up for our local Biggest Loser group with a team who is sure to kill love...if I don't produce results, and got a new Taste of Home Comfort Food DIET cookbook that has a super realistic take on using food as a tool to become healthier. I am excited about all three things and thanks to a few of my blog creepers (Miss A and Mrs. S) who reminded me that I haven't blogged for a while...I am going to track my progress here... at least every two weeks on weigh in days. Maybe having even MORE accountability areas will make me stay on track.

Finance plan...STOP SPENDING MONEY!!! In the next few days, I am realigning my budget and I am looking into the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University program and plan to take those classes as soon as I can get into one.

I hope that all of you have a FABULOUS  and SAFE New Year celebration and am looking forward to Welcoming a new year with all of you!!!

I'll see you back here on the 5th...initial weigh in day for the Biggest Loser and yes, unfortunately I will be sharing the dreaded number here...yikes!!!

Have a Blessed Day!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's About Time...

Or the lack of it. Where has the time gone? I need more time. Time is of the essence. We're running out of time. These are a few of the lines that have been running through my head and out of my mouth for the past few months and boy are they true in every situation. We have been so busy and blessed that IF I get the chance to sit for a minute...I'm not sure what to do. I feel like I need to be doing something constantly.

Time is a treasure that is unique unto itself. It is the only thing that passes without ever stopping. Can't be rewound or fast forwarded. Can be given and taken, used to full advantage and squandered. It can make or break relationships, food, and everything else except plastic... And once it's's gone.

Time is a gift from God and he intends for us to use it wisely and in service to Him by being a blessing to our families and to others around us. I think that means trying to find a balance between taking care of my family and home with doing outside of the home. Right now, that is an area where I struggle, as God have given me the spiritual gift of administration and service so I'm pretty much an organized worker who sees more efficient ways of doing things and therefore want to make things work better than before and I am often asked to do so by most of those around me....that would be the gift of administration.

How I approach this can be good or bad. In reference to my family...yes I take care of them, BUT since I do so much FOR them, am I not enabling them to become lazy and just know that Mom will take care of it. I have found that to be true. Instead of just doing, I must teach them how to organize themselves and keep track of things like assignments and due dates instead of constantly reminding them of what they have going on. Letting go of that and letting your kids fail in order to learn is VERY VERY difficult for me.

As far a giving of time, I often just say sure I can do that because I feel the need to help...that would be the gift of service. What I am finding is that I often OVER schedule or OVER volunteer to the point that I feel like I am only seeing my family in passing or that I am staying up into all hour of the night trying to finish everything I need to get done.

So where is the balance??? This is what I am trying to to do find that balance. When I am asked to do something, I am trying to remember to say "Let me check my calendar" instead of just saying yes without thinking about the other goings on in that time frame. I am trying to be in bed by 10:00 or 10:30 on 3 out of the 7 days of the week. I am trying to ask myself if the kids are capable, not do they want to, but are they capable of completing this task by themselves and letting them do it when the answer is yes. And I am trying to make myself realize that my expectations of myself are what I am trying to reach and often times they are unrealistic. For instance, if I have a photo session on Saturday, those people don't expect their pictures to be reviewed, edited, and posted within 24 hours...but that is my expectation of myself.

So far, these few "sanity savers" have been working for me. I have only been doing it for like 7 days, but I have noticed that I am making more quality time for my family, the schedule seems a bit less chaotic (still full but not over full), kids are doing stuff, and I am not up until 1 or 2 am so often because I have a little more time to get things done during the day. And I have even worked out for the past two days!!!

It is about time...and how we choose to use it...that ultimately reveals a life of fulfillment and happiness that both God and we can be proud of.

Have a Blessed Day!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Long Time No Post...Update

Hello again, sorry I've been away so long....

Daily events keep me up and moving with little down time in which I choose to sleep rather than post. However, I have missed my little piece of Internet space and am now taking advantage of the whole 30 minutes that I have to write this rather than fold the laundry that seems to multiply by the minute. Seriously, I thought that as my kids got older the less laundry I would have...ummm NO...sorry to burst your bubble all of you out there who are still praying for that, but not only do I have MORE laundry, but the sizes are bigger so I can't fit as much into one load!!!

Anyway, back to the post...I am really excited about a few things that are going on right now in our lives...

Rick has designed and fabricated a HUGE smoker (BBQ Pit thingy) and has already received a cooking request!!! this is awesome, because my husband is soooooo talented on so many levels, but for whatever reason, never thinks he can do anything. I am really proud of him for dreaming this thing up, putting in the time and effort to build it, and seeing a finished product that works wonderfully. He smoked a few chickens and a pork roast for our family and a few great friends last was seriously the best chicken I have ever of our friends ate 3 chicken qtrs!!! Don't worry your identity is safe with me...

We're trying to decide on a name for this business endeavor and have narrowed it down to these three...Let me know what your vote is.
1. Triple T's BBQ
2. Triple T's Smokehouse
3. Three Boys BBQ

On the ministry front; the Lord is blessing young lives through the youth ministry we and our awesome helpers are involved in at church. Earlier in the year Rick presented an idea to supply all of those in our youth group with backpacks filled with school supplies...our church pulled together and were able to be a blessing to over 45 kids ages pre-k through 6th with those backpacks...since then we have had 4 kids start walking to church by themselves every Sunday for Sunday School and Service. WOO HOO...GO GOD!!!

AC Image is really taking off...I have shot several photo sessions and am keeping pretty busy. The best thing I did with this business is start by making a price list (good business practice)...but I am struggling with charging my friends (bad business practice). God is really blessing in this area and I am hoping to use any profit to help with Trystan's tuition and to rid us of debt. I have become very convicted about debt and am being pretty diligent in getting things paid down. Rick and I are looking into the Dave Ramsey program and would love to hear your feedback on that if you have any experience with it.

Our kids are doing great and we had an awesome summer together. Our Myrtle Beach vacation with my parents was so amazing. We all had such a wonderful time together and we did it with only one disciplinary action though the entire eight days...the Lord was definitely with us!!! Other than vacation we spent time with friends and each other for the majority of the summer...a lot of time in the pool and cooking out with friends. 

Rick and I were both saddened at the onset of the school year, but we are getting back into the groove, so things will even out here soon. Trystan and Travis have moved into 7th grade and Tony is now in 5th. Trystan has moved into the teens class on Wednesday evenings and both he and Travis will move up to the Teens Sunday School class, which Rick teaches, in a week. It just doesn't seem right, but can't be avoided either...believe me, I've tried to avoid them growing up since they came into my life!!! I must say though that over the past month, I have really seen a change in maturity on Trystan's part. It is both scary and rewarding. All in all, our kids are awesome and we are blessed to have them.

On the new baby front, I am sad to say that I don't have any news to share; but on the flip side to that. I have come to terms with the fact that there is nothing I can do about it. So whatever God has in his plans, I have accepted and am working very hard at savoring what is happening now not what I though would be happening now.

I am also excited about the September book over at the Momtage. The book is Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad. I am really hoping that I will be able to read this one and that you might give it a chance too. A description of the book and where to order it can be found here. Even if you don't have time to read the book, go and check out Dana and Holly's site...there are many awesome  stories, tips and tricks, and just great fellowship with other moms in all stages of motherhood.

Have a Blessed Day!!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How Do I Love Thee...Let Me Count the Ways!

Happy Birthday to my Knight in Shining Armour....
my Husband, Rick.

We, our boys and I, are having a big party for him after work on Thursday; but I wanted to express via my blog just how blessed I am that God gifted me with him and to say how proud I am of him for all that he has been through and continues to go through and still holds tight to his faith. Though he may not ever see this (because he doesn't read my blog unless I ask him to), I know that it is here and maybe one day he will run across it and feel blessed too.

Rick and I truly fulfill and compliment each other. Where I am weak, he is strong and where he may lack, I fill in. God knew what he was doing when he sent lightning through me that day in the field.

In the almost 6 years that we have been together we have never really had a disagreement over our relationship. Don't get me wrong we have had arguments and disagreed on several issues...but nothing that was directly tied to us. We, as a couple, have had to deal with so much adversity and negative situations, more than most couples ever deal with in their entire marriages, and we are still together and evolving.  And let me tell you that the devil just keeps things coming,but we have determined that we've already been there done that and came out we'll just keep on going for God and for us...TOGETHER.

I'm so proud of the steps he has taken out of his comfort zone towards where he feels God would have him. He has evolved from a super quite man with no self esteem to a less quite man with better self esteem who teaches the teens Sunday school class and runs our church's youth ministry program. He is asked often about his faith is never reluctant to take the opportunity to share God's plan of salvation though never coming across as a holier than thou person.

He is a wonderful father who loves his kids to death and a super wonderful husband.

One of my favorite things that he does is attack without warning. Seriously, either me or one of the kids will be standing up and sometimes in the middle of a conversation and then in an instant find ourselves on the floor being squished and tickled. Too funny and sometimes too painful...LOL

I love it when he brings me a cup of coffee to wake me up before he goes to work and when he pumps his fists back and forth in excitement. The fist pumping is a rare event and usually takes place after a sports victory of some kind.

It is hilarious when he tells the kids (especially Travis) something and they look at me to see if he's telling the truth. Or when one of the kids walks in front of the parked vehicle and he honks the horn to scare them...Sometimes he can get them with the fake stories, but they have sooo gotten over the horn honk and he still does it...just in case.

He also drives 6 hours every week to pick up and drop off his kids (after they were moved without his knowledge or consent) to make sure that they know that he loves them, wants them, and will never abandon them.

So, here's to you my knight in shining armour. Know that you are truly loved, highly regarded, and eagerly followed.

I love you and feel so blessed to be called your wife!!!

Your Wife

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fading Strength...Renewed Faith

So I'm not really the pillar of strenght that everyone that surrounds me thinks I am...though I try hard to convince myself that I have that strength that everyone tells me I have. The strength that my name know the little trinkets that say what your name means...well my mom picked one up for me and it says "April: she is a strong and protective lady; a female tower of strenght". What exactly do you see in me that projects that image? 'Cuz right now I really just want crawl into bed, suck my thumb, and cry for at least a week or more...OR glutton myself to death with large quantities of chocolate...NO, I'm really not kidding...sorry to burst your bubble.

I really thought that I was past the pain of loosing Jacob...but to hear, really hear that his death could have been prevented has brought some things to the surface that I thought I had suppressed or maybe they are new feelings...either way it hurts and I'm not a fan of pain...physical or otherwise.

And the worse part is that I have to figure out a way to tell my husband...I don't want to bring this back to him. Would it really be a bad thing to protect him from the information??? He does it to me all of the time. 

As I was driving home from church heading into the most ominous looking storm that I may have ever seen...I began thinking about this and the way why is a friend to no one...and in between the flashes of lightning revealing a storm that mirrored my mind at that time...I said "Lord. Please. Help me." then I heard these words:Do you wonder why you have to feel the things that hurt you?

If there’s a God who loves you where is He now?

Maybe there are things you can’t see, And all those things are happening to bring a better ending.

Someday, somehow you’ll see.

Would you dare; would you dare to believe that you still have a reason to sing

Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling; It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming

So hold on you gotta wait for the light. Press on and just fight the good fight

Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling; It’s just the dark before the morning

My friend you know how this all ends. You know where you’re going.

You just don’t know how you’ll get there. So say a prayer.

And hold on cause there’s good for those who love God.

But life is not a snapshot. It might take a little time but you’ll see the bigger picture.

Once you feel the weight of glory; All your pain will fade to memory

It’s just the hurt before the healing.

Oh the pain that you’ve been feeling; It’s just the dark before the morning.

I think that God heard me...he answered my prayer...and removed my fears (Ps 34:4)...He answered me: He renewed my faith.

What strength do I have...none but what He gives me.

Have a Blessed Day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Father's Day..."Ubber Cool" Project Included

Let’s give a great round of applause and big bear hugs to those amazing guys in our lives that hold dear the roles of DAD to us and to our children. Though at times they may drive us insane, they would be sorely missed if they weren’t here. To those who for any reason may no longer be here…you are very missed and loved.

So for this father’s day, I was trying to think of something to give my guy and had intended on getting him a leaf blower…until the reality of the dreaded BUDGET took hold and I realized that the $120.00 I needed just slipped into the hands of accounts receivable reps and out of my checking account. So, what to do now… as I sat in the Dr.’s waiting room flipping through a magazine and came across a super neat and inexpensive Father’s Day project… Dad’s Tape Measure. So this morning I made one (it only took about 15 minutes from start to finish) and showed it to my older boys (10, 12, & 13) who also thought it was “Uber Cool” and here is what we ended up with…

Interested??? Here is what you need:

• Mac N Cheese Box or other rectangular box

• Strip of paper cut to fit inside the box

• Markers (desired color/s)

• Tape or double sided tape

• Duct tape (desired color)

Here’s what to do…

1. Pour noodles and cheese packet into a Ziploc bag to make later

2. Cut box in half making two square pieces

o Reserve one half that looks like a square

o Cut other half into the shape of a triangle

3. Mark the strip of paper to look like a ruler

4. Write a message under the measure marks

5. Tape the paper to the inside of the square box so that it coils into the top of the box and the message can be seen when pulled from the box

6. Slide the triangle box into the square box enclosing the tape measure message inside…make sure to leave some of the paper hanging out so that it can be pulled out to reveal the message.

7. Cover the combined boxes with the duct tape both securing the two boxes together and covering the original box covering

8. Tape a soda can tab to the paper hanging out of the box so that it looks like a lip and can be used to pull the message out and also keep it from slipping inside the taped box. I used small pieces of duct tape to make a lip on the one that I made and it worked fine too.

9. Decorate the outside of the box as desired… I had my boys write their names and the year on the bottom side of the “tape Measure”

10. TA DAAA!!! Dad’s Tape Measure…a gift he’s guaranteed to keep in his hearts toolbox.

If my boys thought it was great; then I’m sure your kids will like it too and so will dad.

My instructions may not be the greatest so I found the link to the magazine article at Family Fun.

Have a Blessed Father’s day!!!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thoughts of Tony...

The following is a guest post from my husband, Rick, about his cousin Tony. Tony is struggling for life right now and we have all been praying for him so strongly.  I have been trying to get Rick to write a guest post for some time and I am so glad that he has put his thougth about this special person on paper and decided to share it with Tony and all of us.

I'm proud of you sweetie!!!

My cousin Tony Cluck is in the hospital fighting a brave battle. He was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was a baby. Last July at the age of 39 he received a double lung transplant. The last few days I have read a lot of messages and encouraging words that people have wrote about Tony and how he has impacted their lives. There is so many ways that I could tell you how he as impacted my life that it would take me writing a novel to tell every story, but I would like to tell you a few thoughts about him.

Although we would use this as an excuse why we couldn’t do things, Tony has never let it hinder him in doing what he has wanted to do. Complain, well I don’t think he even knows what that word means. I remember a trip our families took together to the Smokey Mountains. Tony and I went and recorded and song together at Dollywood. It was “old time rock and roll” by Bob Seger, I think we did a better job at it. My favorite time was when I was staying with him during the summer, and the first Batman movie was just coming out that weekend. I remember before the movie crusing around Gadsden in his camaro, I was on cloud nine that whole night.

Some people say that you cannot believe in something that you cannot see. This is true when they come to these three things, God, faith, and love. They claim that since you cannot see God then he must not exist, you cannot see faith it must not be possible to have it. And love, well it’s a shame if they have never seen love. I believe you can see these three things. I see God when I look outside and see the world that He has created for us to enjoy. I also see God when I read His Word. I see faith when I see prayers answered. Love, I see love when I see the cross where Christ took my sins upon him and set me free. I also see these three things in Tony. Love, I see love in Tony when a he takes his cousin (me) four years younger than him to watch the movie Batman with him. I see love in the way that he loves his family. Faith, I see faith in Tony that he knows God is in control, and is always giving him praise for the things in his life. I see faith when there is no doubt in his mind that he is safe in the arms of God, and he knows where he will spend eternity. As for God, well I see God through Tony. I could only wish that these people that claim that they have never seen these three things could know the person that I have always looked up to and considered to be my hero.

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…..” Tony is truly a gift from God that has touched every person that has had the privileged to know him.

Tony, I am praying for you daily!

Love ya,

Rick Cluck
Please join us in praying for Tony and his family.

Have a Blessed Day,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ahhh Summer....Reading by the Pool

As a little girl, I dreamed of having a family and living in a two story house with a white fence and a pool. Most of my childhood dreams did come true, but not in the ways that I expected them to and that's OK. But the one about my house was right on and one of my favorite things to do is to float in or hang out by our pool and read. I really, really love it.

Now with school coming to an end (CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES...COME ON!!!) and with my favorite past time just within reach; I am looking for good and new books to read. I am currently reading StepMonster and it is a great view on step-parenting from the perspective of a step-mother.

Up until now, I was more of a fiction book reader. I love the books that take you out of the real world and into fantastic world where anything is possible from magic carpets and love at first site to vampires and lycans. But as I grow up and am introduced to new experiences and situations, I am finding that the more topical and real life experience books are valuable too; especially, those where faith is involved.

So I am striving to broaden my reading horizons and have a book lined up for June, thanks to the Mom-tage. My friend, Dana, and her friend Holly have put together this great site with all sorts of things geared towards moms. Their newest endeavor is a monthly book clubs of sorts…check it out:

“The Mom-tage has teamed up with Zondervan Publishing to bring you monthly book chats with the industry's up-and-coming authors. At the beginning of the month, we will introduce the current month's book and author, follow mid-month with a guest post from the author, and then end the month with a book discussion with the author of the book in our chat room.”
Sign up before the end of May and you will be entered in a drawing for a copy of "Cold Tangerines", July’s book, and a drawing for 1 of 25 copies of: "The Bernstein Bears, God Loves You" !

Check out the site for more details and to register!!!

Thanks Dana and Holly for putting together this site…I plan to be an active member and to support you all the way.

Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hey There...If You're Still There...

I pretty much feel like I've been posting gloom and doom types of posts lately and I can't really see how that can be a help to anyone...except me by venting and verbally stating the God knows because I'm not getting any comments...I think I may be all alone out here in cyber space blog world...but maybe you are out there and have been going through some of the same things...just don't give up...even if you want to just don't give up.

So to those of you who are still there...following...silently...I'm sorry if I've hindered your progress and for those of you who are still there...following...silently...I hope that you don't feel alone in your struggles...not only am I going through it...God has already been there done that and he's right beside both of us.

NOW...It is very obviously Spring where we are and I am itching to finish and start projects and I know that there are at least two of you, whom will remain nameless (DE and JH) who are very thrifty and extremely crafty that I hope to impress with my endevours...and to get some comments from.

Are we starting to see a pattern here??? LOL

Anyway, now that school is winding down, I hope to have more time to post and to post some fun and possitive things rather than just the tuff stuff.

So, let's get started shall are a few pictures of my family, my parents, and my sister and brother-in-law's family...they were taken last fall by Kim Jones, a local photographer who is wonderful...please visit her site at


Saturday, April 3, 2010

I'll Have Some Perspective with A Side of Humble Pie Please...

So with everything that has been going on and getting worse by the way...I have found my naturally multi- tasking self becomming singularly focused on one thing and that one thing is the cause of upheaval and pain in my life and the lives of my husband and my children.

Then my husband ran across this...

At this point Jesus had been "dead" for almost two days and was in Hell, where I like to believe he was informing Satan that God had already won and that all of his past and future efforts are matter what he tries or how long he is allowed or try...God still wins.

In a few hours, Jesus would rise from the "dead" and spend the next 40 days appearing to, talking to, eating with, and convincing US that He IS alive. He even allows Thomas to prove that His crucifiction wounds are real by placing his fingers in the wrist wounds.

Now He is ALIVE and preparing a place for me and for all of us who are called by His name. Christians, those who have accepted Jesus as their saviour.

What are the things that I am dealing with compared to the pain that Jesus went through? Nothing that's what...but Jesus knows what I and my family are feeling because he has already been there...He knows more pain than I can even fathom and He went through that pain for ME...and for YOU.

We are not alone and God knows why these things are happening and one day I will know too!!!

Have a Blessed Day!!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thank You!

Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers.

I came through the D&C without any complications and that is a huge blessing. I'm still kinda woozy from the anesthesia, but it is getting better. I was still dizzy and nauseated even though they gave 5 different kinds of meds for that...nothing is ever easy!!

Anyway, God blessed and answered that prayer and I am sooo grateful for we're praying for acceptance and mental/physical recovery.

Two of my great friends and my mom got me up and drug me out of the house for a walk yesterday. It was nearly 50 degrees and super sunny out and the walk did improve my mindset, so that was a blessing too. I've never had emotional issues like depression or anxiety, but this very well may have pushed me over the ledge...So I am determined to stay busy and keep my mind filled with the positive!!!

Rick took the day off today and we're going to get out of the house with my mom and just try to not think about things. To focus on upcoming events and projects that we have plans getting back into my skinny pants!!!

We are at the point that we both think that the Dr. is going to tell us that we should not try to get pregnant again and in the here and now we both agree with just seems too risky for my health and obviously the health of a baby. And I don't want to put our family through this again. My parents, sister, and friends we're all so excited that we were having a baby and now their hearts are broken all over again too...I just can't put them through that again. But on the other hand it is the loss or death of a dream that we have had together since we've been married...and that is very painful to let go. I am also overly concerned about how both of these losses have affected Trystan and the boys. All they knows of pregnancy is death and sadness and I don't want that for them...

I'm sure in time all will be revealed...God knows and will push, pull, and, drag us through this.

Have a Blessed Day.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Preparing for VICTORY!!!

So the 12wk check up with Dr.E went well. I gained only 4lbs in 5wks, but my blood pressure was 142/80...not horrible but not great either. Dr.E chalked it up to me being nervous and said to check it every few days just to be on the safe side. The baby's heart beat was good after they finally found joke that it took them 10 minutes...yeah like that is going to help my BP go down!!!

So after we get back to the van, Rick kinda gets on to me about being stressed out...Yes, I am a worrier, but generally I have a pretty positive outlook on things...or I used to. So in a very frustrated manner but not hateful I turned to him and said "Look just because you don't worry about anything, doesn't mean that I'm built the same way...I'm trying not to be stressed out, but you weren't in the Dr's office the last time that they tried to find the heartbeat and didn't, so back up a few steps and give me some time OK!" A bit harsh, yeah OK, but true...very very true. I mean how do you get that memory out of your head??? As soon as I walk through those doors every muscle in my body tenses up and that day just keeps running over and over in my mind...ridiculous I know, but I can't stop it.

So here's the kicker and don't laugh after you read it!!! Well I guess you can.

We were lucky enough to have had Luke and Hollan Bishop, some super great friends and devoted Christians, come up from Arkansas to speak at our church's Valentines Day Banquet on Saturday. They are great friends with our Pastor and his wife, Chad and Jenny Foster, and through Triple S Christian Ranch, we have been blessed to become friends with them too. So it was great to hang out with them on Sat evening and to hear Brother Luke preach on Sunday morning and evening.

So about 1/2 of the way through Luke's Sunday morning message, I was like man this is great. He was preaching on Psalms 118:24 and the message was today is the BEST day of our lives. We don't have tomorrow and yesterday is gone, so TODAY is the day that God has designed for us individually...wonderful message. I was thinking through the nausea that I was going to pray that God will help me will myself into a better mood about being sick all of the time and just be grateful to be where God has me right now (Phillipians 4:11). I was feeling pretty good about the message and not really being convicted about sin or anything...until...DuuDuuDuuuu (insert eerie sound here)...Luke gets to point 3.

We as Christians should be preparing for victory rather than many Christians prepare for bad news, then when something good happens they praise the Lord. Its the prepare for the worst and hope for the best mentality...OK could God have hit me in the head any harder...then right at that time guess who prods my shoulder...yep my loving husband. I look over at him and his HUGE smile and I told you so eyes...ugh. So there it was... conviction. Now am I supposed to let go of the fear and prepare for victory??? During the invitation time I just stood there and balled and over and over I asked God to forgive my doubt and help me to prepare for victory and let go of the loss. I think I repeated it about 100 times hoping that when I lifted my head I would have a whole different perspective and all of the fear would be gone. But alas, the fear was there, but so was the knowledge that God will help me prepare for victory.

I was directed back to my favorite verse that was shown to me through my dad's bible that he carried in Dessert Storm...Psalm 34:4 "I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and He delivered me from all my fears."

So here is my prepare for victory. To take the steps necessary to put my trust fully in God that He knows what He is doing; that both the baby He has gifted us with, me, and our family are safe in His hands and He will keep us that way. The time to move forward is now.

Thank you, Brother Luke for being willing to be an open vessel for God to speak through you and in turn spark knowledge and understanding in me.

I'll keep you all posted on my march to victory, pray that I don't tuck tail and run!!!

Have a Blessed Day!!!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Just Keep Swimming...

Thanks to mean people who create and deploy viruses, my computer has been non functional for several weeks; so I'm hijacking a few minutes at school to post an update and I'm not sure when the next post will be. I'm praying for the possibility of a laptop for my upcoming b-day, so we'll see.

Things are moving along...slowly. As of today, I am 11wks and 4days along and can only fit comfortably into 1 pair of regular jeans and 1 pair of regular dress pants.

This pregnancy is soooo much different that the last two. I am soooo sick, the nausea is unbelievable. I am not able to have either of my favorite things, coffee (or any caffinated beverage) or chocolate (actually anything sweet has my stomach rolling). I am having cravings, but when I eat what I was craving, it makes me sick...AND I am soooooo tired. I am a night owl, early for me is 11:30 to 12:00pm and I have been in bed and passed out by 8:30 almost every night. Oh and I can smell literally everything.

On the bright side, I am eating much healthier than I have before. I am able to tolerate water and lots of it, fruit, and just about any kind of veggie salad. I have switched to whole grain everything and now have a taste for almonds...plain almonds. Weird hu. But I still like the carbs...potatoes, stuffing, french fries...Hello lover!!!

One thing I am craving is a Subway Tuna sandwich, but I have heard that tuna has been linked to Autism. Do any of you know about that??

Yesterday we found out that another teacher at my school is pregnant, about 7 weeks. So just a little behind me, and for some strange reason I found that to be comforting as far as my fears are concerned. Maybe it's the strength in numbers thing...LOL...I don't know.

I am still having the afraid of dying issue, but I think I am coming around as things move along. the thought still crosses my mind, but I don't feel so panicky about it. But as I said before, I have had this fear since Jacob passed. I just keep reminding myself that women have babies everyday and both mom and baby are fine.

I am still in the cautiously optimistic stage but have set up a vote boy vote girl station in my classroom for my students to put in for what they think I am having. Rick and just about all of my family and friends think it Will be a girl; but I really don't care as long as we are both alive and healthy in the end.

February 26th is Jacob's would be 2nd birthday and we are going to have a graveside balloon release in his honor. Be praying about this as I want to but don't want to do it. We are going to fill balloons with helium and a salvation message; then release them on his birthday. Our hopes in doing this are for someone to run across one of the balloons and receive the salvation message in turn accepting Christ. And also to ensure that Jacob is never forgotten. I have found that as time passes, the physical wounds heal, and the reminders of him begin to fade. Like the picture on the wall that you walk by everyday but don't really notice. When there isn't an active reminder, it is almost as if nothing really happened. So his puts us in a place where we are choosing to actively remember him. I'm sure it will be difficult, but God will have His hands on us and it will be fine.

I am back to the OBGYN next Friday, the 12th for my 12 week check up and sonogram, so I hope to have more good news and pictures to share. But in case my pc is still down, I wish you all a wonderful Valentines Day and know that I think of you often.

Have a Blessed Day,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Thank God for Snow...

Due to snow and super cold temperatures, school was cancelled this past Thursday and Friday...PRAISE GOD!!!

I love my job and my students, however challenging they may be, but little cashew is really kicking my behind. In other words the pregnancy and all of the accompanying "Fun" stuff is in full swing. But am I complaining...ABSOLUTELY NOT...well maybe a little. So I am grateful for the last three days that I have been able to do minimal duties and pretty much sit/lay around.

Before I move on, just a little sidebar. I was showing Tony the latest sonogram images of baby Cluck when he said "that kinda looks like a peanut or something". I responded "Yeah, I thought it looks kinda like a kidney bean..." Then Trystan in his laid back manner chimed in and said "or a cashew." Then Travis said "It would be kinda funny to name the baby cashew." We all laughed and there it is... so the baby shall be referred to as cashew until we either know the gender or maybe until birth...who knows.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. As I was sitting around and going about things like laundry that allow for intermittent breaks; I got to thinking about how excited and confident everyone around me is about this pregnancy and asking myself why I'm not feeling the same way. For example, Rick is ready to break out all of the baby furniture and set up the baby's room already and we have been given a beautiful high chair and bassinet already. Not that any of those things are bad or that I am unappreciative in any way. So what is with the Ughness that is me right now??

Now, it may have something to do with the constant flu like symptoms that have taken over my every thought, but it is more likely the loss of Jacob that has me in a cautiously optimistic state.

I can draw a definite differentiation between my last two pregnancies and this one so far...aside from the intolerable nausea and migraine like headaches; I wasn't worried. I think that when you haven't experienced a loss no matter how far along, you tend to just assume that if there's nothing going wrong then everything is fine...very logical. Yes that used to be me...NOW I'm like ok every thing's fine; until I go to the restroom and think please Lord, don't let there be anything red (Sorry...TMI). I am waiting for the shoe to drop. And here is the kicker...I'm really afraid that something bad is going to happen to me and Rick and Trystan will be left here to take care of each other...the thought is terrifying! Both of those fears are very illogical and not my normal train of thought, so I'm fairly certain that I may be going crazy. There is absolutely nothing going on that would point in the direction of anything going wrong, actually the sickness, however unfortunate it may be, is a sign that things are going right. ANd though I am on progesterone, I have had ZERO spotting, which is normal. Maybe I am going crazy...What do you think??? Those agreeing that I may be going crazy need not respond...LOL.

So, I am trying to force my way out of the worry and into the excited, but the nausea isn't really helping!!! It's like wearing a bright colored scarf with your outfit when your feeling blah. So here are my scarfs: I, of course, am praying for God to calm my nerves and fears...after all I asked for him to give us a child and even prayed specifically a child that BOTH Rick and I would be able to raise together in a loving and Christian home. God knows our prayers and desires and answers him according to His is the His will part that leaves the loophole. AND I am living vicariously through all of those around me that are equipped with the positive pregnancy outlook. It doesn't seem like much, but that's what I've got.

Am I doubting God by worrying or in some way telling Him that I don't think He's strong enough to keep both me and the baby healthy and alive? I really hope not, because I know He is. So what is with this fear??? Do others who have experienced a loss or who maybe haven't experienced a loss, but have been trying for a long time and are finally pregnant feel this way too? Thoughts PLEASE!

To all of you who are trying to conceive or are currently pregnant...keep up the good work!!! I don't want anything that I post to scare or hinder you in your daily walk in anyway. This topic is just a topic that I am really feeling, but not with dread with curiosity and underlying hope.

Have a Blessed Day,

Friday, January 1, 2010

Blessings for a New Year...

Wow!! What a way to start out 2010, by being able to share a ginormous (Yes, that is a word and I think I have full copyrights to it...LOL) blessing with you.
God knows. He knows the path he has set before me and you and as a close friend often tells me, He knows the desires of our hearts. Yesterday, the desires of my heart were realized...

Yes, I am PREGNANT!!!!

I know right!!! We're SOOOOO excited and yet nervously reserved; well I'm nervously reserved and Mr. Happy Pants over here is shouting it from the rooftops!!!
Without further ado, here is the proof that God truly blesses and answers prayers.

Now for the narrative...

So as my husband asked back in Sept. after the last negative test from the fertility specialists came back, we stopped trying to conceive...I didn't even track my cycles. The holidays were on the way, school was insanely busy, Tj's sports schedule was ever growing and we were successfully able to forget about it. Actually, I had given my maternity clothes to an expectant co-worker, and I was trying to convince Rick to take the baby bed out of storage and utilize the frame for a full size head and foot board. I had told him that we needed to come to the realization that a baby may not be a part of God's plan for us, so we needed to get over it, move on, and make a fresh start.

The shopping commenced as Christmas approached, arrived, and passed. And we had a great time with friends and family. On Wednesday, the 30th, we both had new patient appointments as we had decided to switch general practitioners. So as we're driving, I was asking Rick if he though they would request any weird tests and then it occurred to me that they were probably going to ask when the first day of my last cycle was...and I had no idea. Yes, idea.

So we figured out that it was at Thanksgiving and that it had only lasted 2 I counted it out and discovered that I was 10 days late. Rick says "I thought so...but I didn't want to say anything." and I was like "No, I must have the times wrong, cuz I'm having faint cramps...I'm sure it's nothing". But in my head I'm thinking Wow, things are starting to add up here...sever tenderness in the chest for several weeks, headaches, backaches, light cramping...but no nausea...but I didn't have nausea with Tj...I don't think I counted wrong...what if..."!

So we get into Dr. B's and Rick is seeing her while I am seeing the NP. Heather. She is super nice and takes my temperature which registers at 99.3..."Well, that's a low grade fever...are you feeling ok?" she asks. "Yeah, I'm feeling fine"; but on the inside I'm thinking...Low grade temp...another sign...HOLY CRAP!!!". Then she starts the slew of questions and of course asks when my last period was, so I told her the whole two day period thing and "Oh yeah, I think I might be 10 days late". So she says, "Lets go ahead a do a test." and I'm like "Ok, but it'll probably be negative...we've seen a fertility specialist and it is highly unlikely." So I do the test and while the nurse is working on it, NP Heather asks about Jacob, and as I'm explaining what happens the nurse comes in and needs to see the NP. This gives me the perfect opportunity to pray. So I did, I prayed so hard asking God to bless us with a child, and to help us accept a negative result.

I'm not sure how long she was gone but it seemed like forever. NP Heather comes back in and says "Sorry, I had to take a phone call." So I said "No problem, I hope everything is alright." Then she says, "Well, that depends on you... because THE TEST IS POSITIVE...YOU'RE PREGNANT!!!!!" and places the test strip on the exam table.

I said..."What!!! Are you sure???!!!???...OH MY GOODNESS...THANK YOU LORD FOR ANSWERING OUR PRAYERS!!!" It was so funny. She was so excited to tell me the news...I think she may have been more excited than me to find out it was positive. She gave me a big hug and said..."Let's go tell your husband...I bet he'll be really excited." Rick was leaving the room just as we were and we kinda saw each other down the hallway and NP Heather yells out "She's Pregnant!!!" and Rick Just smiles and says "That's awesome...I knew it!!!"...Then my nerves set in. You know, the nerves like I'm not going to the bathroom again cuz I don't want to see red, kind of fun!!

I had some blood taken to confirm the pregnancy and yesterday morning I called Dr. M (fertility specialist) to share the news and of course she wanted to see me ASAP to do a sonogram and her own blood work.
I get to Dr. M's toting my nerves in a backpack with me...I get into the sonogram room and she's says "Ok, let's take a look." So I of course turn my head and say "I'll look when you tell me it's ok." her response was "Then look, because there's your baby..." a moment of shock and awe as time stands still for just a second and I look to see the image on the monitor...

It' is pretty early between 5 and 7 weeks, so there's no heartbeat yet. Both the amniotic sack and the yolk sack are present and in great shape. She said that everything looks good and we may be able to see a heartbeat next week. She started me on progesterone suppositories to keep the hormone levels up and support the pregnancy and I am to go back next Wednesday.
After much prayer and some things only God could bring about, Rick and I have agreed that we are going to seek the services of a different OBGYN this time around. This decision was difficult, but we are both at ease with the decision and it has made our family members feel much more comfortable as well.
I am calming down and accepting that God is in control and there is nothing that I can do to stay pregnant if that is not his will so I have to give the backpack of nerves to Him and let Him carry it for me. I know that I have had one possibly two miscarriages since Jacob's death, but we were not able to see anything on the monitor, so this is far beyond where we have been and I am feeling encouraged and optimistic that this is real and will continue to produce a living child.

I didn't want to tell anyone, but Rick wants to tell everyone. He says that "people knowing isn't going to make things better or worse and the more people we have praying the better" and I guess he's thank you for your prayers and you can mark this in your list as answered.

I will request that you continue to pray that my health and the health of this life in me will continue to grow and that we we will both be healthy and have long lives."

Of course this does mean that my weight loss resolution is on hold as I can't diet, but I will be exercising all suggestions for safe pregnancy workouts are welcome as well as healthy snacking and those can't live without maternity tips for clothing, hair, know anything. I am replacing the weight loss resolution with the stress free life resolution and will need your help...Oh and baby room suggestions are welcome too!!!
My next request is for my photography inclined friends out in blog world...This means you Dana and Jay!!!

In looking back on my time with Jacob, I am very regretful that I was too shy to step in front of the camera to track my Baby Belly...While I am still shy, I am determined to get over it and to memorialize as much as I can. I'd love some suggestions on poses and the like for pregnancy pictures if you are so included.
I had Rick take a picture of me to start things out, and next time he will have to make sure that my eyes aren't half closed and I don't have a half smile that makes me look half drugged!! It certainly isn't the most flattering picture of me, but oh well.
Have a Blessed Day and New Year!!!