Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Storm




I am in the middle of a storm. A big one.  Perhaps the most raging and dark one of my life so far. Perhaps not, but it's hard to remember how bad storms were once they blow over. I am in a swirl of circumstances that all are either hard, painful, stressful, crushing, frustrating and...very near to making me toy with the word "DESPAIR."  As a believer I know that I am not called to a life of fear, anxiety and hopelessness....rather, I am called...commanded...to have a life of joy in every circumstance.  To not fear or be anxious but to present my needs to the Lord in prayer and petition.  To be hopeful because Christ is my hope.  He already died and rose for me, which is all I need, so there is already victory.  

Yet...wave after wave of circumstances slap me in the face like I was born to eat sand. I hear a constant voice of "you can't do it, it's too hard, you're a failure, this is never going to get better, you're alone, God's not listening or answering, God is able to do great things but he won't do them for you, give up, give up, give up, GIVE UP!"  LIES!  Lies lies lies stupid, evil lies. Yet, my emotions (stupid emotions) join in the chorus and I struggle to not crumble into a melted puddle of tears after exhausting every sob and sigh.  

I know I sound desperate. Dramatic...two words that I find very negative in these sorts of contexts and certainly don't want to apply to myself.  But...I know I am desperate. Dramatic. Blast!  God, please help me.  I want to be desperate for YOU and dramatic as I tell of your greatness! I am completely exhausted physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally, yet...I am called to press on, keep fighting.  

I know that God's tender mercy is very real. Very present. His wisdom and grace are generous.  His ways are not to be questioned because He is perfect and He is good.  Always.  Therefore, what he allows in my life is part of his perfect and good plan.  I am called to be joyful always...

I told someone the other day that I felt like I was reminded of the passage in Kings where Elijah had just had a huge victory, but then when Jezebel chased him...he ran away.  He was discouraged and fearful, and totally worn out and he said:

"It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”  And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.”  And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again.  And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.”  And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God."

I know I have what I need to fight. To be victorious.  God. My help, my rock.  But...I feel like I don't have enough in me to even fight and just need God...to feed me. To nourish me...as he did through the angel for Elijah. 

Recently I have realized that I have lived most of my life coping with hurt or fear by controlling areas I "can" control.  Or at least "feel" like I have a measure of control.  I have made control my security, and because it has been security that is greater than God my rock, it is an idol.  Well, right now I don't see any circumstance that is in my control.  There is nothing that I can grab hold of (that's not God)  to feel better or distract me into feeling like I can "do something" to fix all the problems.  All the pains. All the hard. 

GOOD.  You know why?  I am at the end of myself.  PERFECT.  You know why?  It's because that is where I realize that it never was me on my own anyway, but Christ in me, helping me...and He still will give me what I need to carry on.  Christ is:

My everlasting surety.  
My rock. 
 My help.
 My wisdom.
 My grace
My provision
My hope
My love
My strength
My song
My joy
My everything

God may not show me why he is allowing everything to seem as if it is crashing in around me.  As if nothing will get better, just worse. But...He is sovereign and I have always found him faithful.  He has never failed me and I know he never will.  His love never fails. His glory and goodness are everlasting.  I. can. trust. HIM.  I can trust Him.  I can trust him!!  GLORY.  

When I feel like I am totally out of control, (which I do) and that my path in front of me is despair, I must remember James 1:2: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

My emotions are a very real shadow trying to present as reality. My physical body is fragile and in great need of restoration.  My spiritual (faith) is very weak.  My mind is raggedly trying to remember truth. So I now cry, my God, please give me wisdom.  Give me YOU.  I don't have what it takes to pull myself out of this in my own strength, so give me YOU who are more than enough.  Let me remember that you hear my cries and you answer and I can trust you are working good even when I don't see the good.  Let my soul find rest in you. Let me take up the Word and wield it as the ultimate truth that will leave me victorious in battle.  Let me walk through this hard, not run away.  Let me grow and mature in my faith and my character.  Produce holiness in your child as a result of a chaotic fatiguing battle.  
I am weak.  But when I am weak, I am strong. (2 cor 2:10). 

This post is raw.  Not well edited.  I am not through the battle...but I am continuing the fight with these verses:

" I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth." -psalm 121:1-2

"When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!" -Psalm 142:3

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable." -Isaiah 40:28

"Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act." -Psalm 37:5

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him." -Psalm 28:7

"Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me." -Psalm 50:15

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." -Matt 11:28

" Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." -Isaiah 43:2

"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?" -Jeremiah 32:27

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." -Is 26:3

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." -John 16:33

"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison," 2 Corinthians 4:17

"He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" -Romans 8:32

"The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand." -Psalm 37:23-24

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Romans 15:13
 

Monday, May 5, 2014

CIAO and CHOW: Two Weeks Down




Well,

We have successfully completed 2 weeks today of our dietary experimenting (again, if anyone wants to read about it, you can go here ).  I am going to keep this short and sweet because...I'm hangry.  Yes, I just used the word that I only know from my brother in law Chris, the combination of hungry and angry.  Perhaps it is a well known word but I just attribute it to Chris. :) ANYWAY.  Because I am hangry, I don't feel like writing much.  So, just a brief update on how we're doing.

1. We have not cheated.  Ok, I take that back...Joshua has not cheated....I have...once.  It was for a burger and fries with a friend.  I had to.  I just did.  It was good.  But I got right back on the bandwagon, and yeahhhhhh.

2. We have found some french fries at a restaurant that are made in 100% olive oil, are organic potatoes and are DELICIOUS.  We may have eaten a few rounds of those.  Ok, Joshua has eaten them once.  Me, twice.  As you can tell, there seems to be a theme starting here of "Joshua is doing better than Sarah" (by just a bit).

3.  Still enjoying the recipes we have found or come up with, still feeling over all satisfied with meals, just...still....CRAVING all the THINGS.  You know....the P word, the C word, the I word, the...(oh, those letters stand for pizza, cookies and ice cream just fyi).

4. As far as "are we feeling better?" from eating so healthy?  The answer is NO.  Not yet anyway.  I don't know if it just is going to take at least 2 weeks to detox and our bodies to adjust but here's the quick list update on us both:

JOSHUA:
-Still exhausted, slightly weak at times
-No energy.
- Still not getting the same food crashes after meals that he was getting before we started this thing, so that's a plus.

SARAH:
-Increased bloating (like woah momma, are you a MOMMA again?) every day all day it seems.
-Rashes.  Rash rash rash rash rash aspodifu paosidufp oiaudsfpiu stinking rash.  All over.  Hives.  I have inflamed swelling itchy patches, tiny bumps that appear all throughout the day in different places.  Eyes, inside ears, neck, chest, fingers and toes esp, the palm of my hand, stomach...yeah.  rash. The first week I felt pretty good, the second this started up.  I had a little of the same rash before the experiment but it was far more sporadic.
-Decent energy but lots of body weakness
-HUGE bags/puffy eyes (pollen?)


Ok, so I just spent more time on my symptoms and how I feel, but if Joshua were suffering from rashes too, I would have paid him the rash homage on an extra bullet point as well.

What are we going to do for the last two weeks?  STICK WITH IT, Lord willing.  We really want to finish this through until the end, even though we really REALLY want pizza.  I think the last few weeks may be more helpful than the first two as in the beginning we are still getting all the bad out of our system and getting adjusted.  I am also going to try to not eat nuts (almonds) just in case, to see if things die down in the itch department.  I'm thinking likely it is still Candida issues for me.

So.  I hope this update doesn't discourage.  Hoping next week will reveal more positive fruits.  FRUITS.  hah.  nice.  Pun unintended, but I felt the need to point it out once I realized it could be punny.  Cus...you know...all we are eating lately are stinkin' FRUITS.  Ok, anyway (ahem), I think my hanger has turned into a crazy loopy sarah-needs-to-stop-typing-now situation.  With that....I'm out!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

CIAO and CHOW wk 1: Recipes and quick update

WEEK 1

So, we are successfully 6 days into our eating experiment (which you can read about here )
and so far we have not suffered too much.  ;)

Quick update and then some of the recipes we have really enjoyed:

Joshua and I both have been "cleaning out" a bit more and both of us have felt less of a post meal "crash," especially Joshua.  While energy isn't up (which, we have two littles who don't really help in the energy dept anyway), it isn't worsening after a meal as it was before with carb/refined/sugar/dairy heavy foods.  I have gotten hives for several days in a row now, but I noticed it was after I started eating peanut butter in one of our recipes (which I will post).  I have been tested positive in the past for a peanut allergy.  I also noticed some of the scalp pain after the peanut butter was incorporated, so I'm keeping an eye on that.  Other than some cravings, both Joshua and myself have found it quite manageable to eat this way.  We shall see how much money it costs in the end, if it will even out to past grocery budgets or need to be adjusted...

So.  The good stuffs. Recipes.
(oh, really quick side note...we added 65% no dairy organic choc chips to this experiment to stay sane in our treats cravings....and one recipe calls for the tiniest bit of honey)

MEALS:

Ok, so we are only using quinoa for a grain, so I'm trying to get creative with the quinoa.  Pictured below are from top left to Right: Asian Cabbage Salad, Curry Coconut Oil Fried Quinoa and on the bottom of the collage picture is a bean salad over quinoa. 
ASIAN CABBAGE SALAD:
1 bag shredded cabbage
Shredded carrots (to taste)
Chopped green onion (I used about 3 stalks)
Cilantro (to taste) 
2 small avacados
Sesame seeds (to taste)
Chopped almonds (about 1/2 cup)
Olive oil to taste
1/2 lemon's juice
Prep ingredients and mix! Nom.


CURRY QUINOA
Cook two cups quinoa in 4 cups veg broth
Saute 1 cucumber and shredded carrots in coconut oil, curry powder and other desired seasonings
Add quinoa to veggie mix with a little more c. oil and stir in pan a few more minutes. 

BEAN SALAD:
2 cans black beans
About 3 chopped tomatoes
Diced red onion (1/2)
Cilantro to taste
1 bag organic sweet corn
Small spoonful minced garlic
2 chopped avacados
1/2 lime's juice
Prep: stir all ingredients and mix in quinoa!

MANGO CUCUMBER QUINOA
1 cucumber chopped
2 mangoes chopped (I used Trader Joe's frozen cubed ones, thawed)
About 4 tbs pumpkin seeds
Handful of cilantro
chopprd walnuts and almonds to taste
1/2 lemon's juice
about 4 tbs olive oil
2 cups uncooked quinoa 
salt and pepper to taste

Prep ingredients and mix...can enjoy hot or cold! This recipe was so refreshing to us.



BREAKFASTS:
Not gonna lie, breakfast time is comfort food craving time...but we have enjoyed these few dishes:
SMOOTHIES (not pictured)
-Protein powder (vegan) and produce, different varieties

QUINOA CEREAL (not pictured) 
Cook 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups almond milk with vanilla, cinnamon and chopped apples.  Stir in Almond butter to taste when cooked.  I found this surprisingly delish!

BANANA WITH ALMOND BUTTER AND CHOC CHIPS (splurge)
picture enough needed

SNACKS!
So we have been chowing down on these nut balls, eh heh heh.
Mix and shape:
2 cups almond flour
1/3 c choc chips
2 tbs peanut butter
2 teas vanilla
1/4 c coconut oil (soft and solid)
1 tbs honey

BAKED APPLES DELICIOUSNESS
half apples of choice and core middle. spread and fill hole with a little coconut oil and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon.  Bake in oven until desired softness.  Easy and a treat!





Monday, April 14, 2014

CIAO and CHOW: A month of saying goodbye to crap foods and shoving veggies down the gullet instead

We are doing it. For a month. Sweet deprivation   Clean food indulgence.  Did I mention for a month? Starting April 21st. 


Let me explain. Joshua and I have been learning more and more about nutrition and how the food that we eat can drastically help or hurt our bodies and also just how modified almost all of the food we eat is (GMO).  After much research and some experimentation in the past, we have come to the conclusion that almost everything we eat almost is killing us somehow and we should go into a deep depression about it.  That was sarcasm, a bit of dry humor (ha ha?)...but for real...minus the depression part.  I won't go into all the science that we have learned but I will jump to the experiment we are going to do as a result of our learning.  

GOALS for the experiment: 

OUR HEALTH:
Joshua and I both have been suffering from some really debilitating health issues (which I will list below) that we want to track as we eat clean, and at the end of the month, see if any of these issues improve.  We are aware that eating clean may not "fix" a more serious problem going on in our bodies, that we may require medical help, but we know it can't hurt our bodies to treat them well, nor make the problem worse.  

Joshua's Symptoms:

-Fatigue 
-Fatigue
-Fatigue
(yes, clearly I'm saying he is tired.  All the time)
-Lack of quality sleep
-Leaky gut symptoms
-Irritability
-Brain fog/inability to concentrate
-Forgetfulness

Sarah's Symptoms:
-Fatigue
-Joint aches combined with "burn" like sensations to touch on random parts of skin (scalp, arms, leg, fingers)
-Swelling (inflammation)
-"Zingers" shooting pains up neck into head
-Extreme bloating (aka like board flat stomach in the morning to 3 mos prego immediately after eating...I kid not people). 
( a lot of my symptoms seem to be autoimmune and inflammatory responses and sugar is linked to inflammation issues, so I would expect to see positive changes in my symptoms by eliminating most sugar).  

WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY BEEN DOING:
Just to clarify, we have already been primarily eating organic produce and try whenever possible to eat organic meats.  We have also done stints of gluten free, dairy free and sugar free eating.  However, we feel that we have allowed too many "exceptions" and been often inconsistent.  

WHAT WE WILL EAT:
-Organic veggies
-Organic fruits
-Quinoa (organic)
-Organic beans
-Balsamic vinegar and Organic Olive oil (yes, not quite "clean" but will help us maintain sanity in cooking)
-Coffee (in moderation) (Heh!) ( yeah right) (but really)
-Herbal teas
-Nuts

That's. IT.  
Please people, if you have some awesome recipes that work with these ingredients, please message me or comment on this blog with them!  :) 

PREPARATION FOR LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Our goal isn't just to eat this way for a month, but to incorporate some major changes into our lifestyle while giving provision for cheats out of necessity or the occasional treat. 
Given the culture we live in, eating healthy is almost a novelty and seems unattainable unless you get blessed by the Whole Foods fairy who delivers free produce at your doorstep daily (of course by way of the eco friendly hybrid car she drives), and honestly, I'm starting to believe this fairy doesn't exist. :(  Therefore, I want to track how much eating strictly organic whole foods will cost our family so we have an idea of a budget we can handle (or need to modify).  Currently (not including eating out) our family can easily put $600 in the grocery budget and just make it to next paycheck before spending more on food.  I am well aware that may be really high for some of you families but please understand our family consists of 2largestomachcapabilitiesMEN plus a healthy nursing girl who loves to consume her momma's calories so rapidly that momma has to eat just a liiiiiitttttllleeee extra to keep up. I plan to track how much this month of revised eating costs and strategize how to incorporate the lifestyle changes without upping our budget.  

Another complication that comes with our culture (food loving fatties fraternizing over foods), is that eating a purely organic diet around social gatherings or during our occasional family foodie movie nights will be impossible to maintain without cheating sometimes. So, we will learn to cheat and being ok with it.  #heckYEStohavingaCOOKIE!



Nonetheless, with all we have learned about nutrition, and especially if this diet produces positive changes in our health, we can't justify going cold turkey back into our current way of eating.  We are also aware that once you take foods that irritate your system out of your diet for a period of time, introducing them back into your diet can wreak havoc on your body like never before.  I have friends who could tolerate dairy until they got off of it for a few weeks.  When they tried to go back, they had horrible stomach issues etc.  Thus, we know that doing a month of this eating puts us at "risk" of making some of the foods we now eat, impossible to bring back without really drastic effects.  Anyway. We shall see, shan't we? 


GOALS of blogging on the experiment: 

I would love to use this blog as a bit of education for others, motivation for us and others, accountability for us (b/c really, I will want to "cheat" in the first 2.5 seconds of the experiment).  SO, I plan to post weekly updates on how we are doing, recipes for you readers, and finally, again, we would WELCOME any yummy recipes you peeps may have successfully tried that fall in line with what we are going to eat/not eat. 

So...updates to come after April 21st! 

Ciao and CHOW! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

daily battle



my hunger is insatiable, the root of it is traceable, all the way back to the lie that i, cannot have grace.  

 i know it's a lie, i've KNOWN it's a lie, yet somehow, i've been serving up it's soup, hoping that one day, it'll come back around to me, set me free, free from the bonds of trying. 

i'm TRYING TO BE AN INVISIBLE SINNER.  love brings my sin to light, but in defensive flurry my eyes get blurry, and i start shooting a 12 gauge. 
I KNOW I'M GUILTY BUT I MAKE LIGHT OF IT B/C I DON'T KNOW GRACE.  

i can't feel grace, i can't see grace, so there must be no grace, right?  

wrong. right?  

my desire for grace is strong, but until the iron grip of the lie of a graceless life is removed, my pain will be plenty.  

God, help me.
I've been working overtime on earning my grace, trying to set up my future glory. a good deed here, right heart there, investing in my salvation as if i believe in purgatory.  

i'm slaving to the slayer, the one filthy betrayer, the one who'd have my life and smear me in the ground.
oh he tells me all sorts of things that tickle my ears. he offers me smiles but in the background he jeers.  he knows my flesh, he knows it well.  he offers to feed and satisfy my craving and hungry heart, saying "taste and see, it'll set you free'.  

i've been guilty, i've done wrong and sin's weight it seems so strong.  i've been feeding and gorging myself on the lies of my captor.  
i do what i don't want to do, and what i want to do i don't do.

haven't i gotten it yet?  how many flavors does one lie have, why do i have to try every flavor before i realize the main ingredient.... is poison. 

now, my mouth open wide in silent agony, i've been as slick as polished mahogany. my SIN IS KILLING ME.  

this puritan guy john owen once said be killing sin or it be killing you. 
TRUTH...
fact is, i'm already dead.  my flesh is dead and my soul was dead too, but GOD.  

But God, WHAT?  

if  i do what he says, maybe then he'll see me, hear me love me more. so i try, and i strive, and heaven forbid, i can NEVER be wrong....only to realize once again.....i've slain my savior.  
grace, i can't feel grace. i know grace, i read grace,  but i don't feel it.
  
feelings. since when did feelings determine what's true?  my heart sure is feeling, but how can i trust it?  the heart is deceitful, so i cannot give it weight.  no more than my veins telling me red blood is blue. 

sins lurk from the past, they bite and they haunt, eating my soul till its weak and its gaunt. my enemy never stops working, always poking and prodding. hoping to keep me missing my freedom.

freedom.  it's what i want. acceptance.  grace. love.  

WHAT I WANT is what i have.  i'm filthy to the core, my good efforts are but dirty rags.  that's why god sent Jesus to the tree, his blood has covered me, glory be, praise be to the PERFECT ONE!  

my face, my shame, his name, his blood, my place, my fate, in grace, just LOOK!

my savior was slain, God's wrath on him lain, he died for my pain, so eternally i can reign at the foot of my father.  
his cross, my shame, my life is his fame.  glory glory glorrrry be to his name!  i needed rescue and he came!  he took my shame so in his death i can claim, life.  i must die with christ so i can live.  

death does not have dominion. FLESH does not have dominion.  sin may be laying dormant waiting to spread through my body, doing it's vile corruptible work, but the spirit is in me. the spirit is greater than he who is in this world and the spirit is in me.  

so who has authority? ugly words dressed up nice, holding me captive, enslaved, in a vice?  or the one who shed his blood, took the blame for my shame, offering me life, though i denied him thrice?

romans 7-8 speak the truth that i fight with.  the Word is my sword, the authority to make right with. I have the greatest gift ever given to man.  I have life in my soul, the gift of the Spirit. though i walk with dead flesh, i don't have to fear it. one day Christ returns and claims his beloved.  so for now,  i  walk in his grace, it's mine free of charge. 

all my good acts are still present but WAIT...this time, 
i'm driven not by fear.  it's God's love that will motivate.  so i  fixate on micah 6:8 to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with my god. 

free from fear, free from flesh, free from death, free from lies. free from blame, free from striving, free from silent cries.  free from guilt, free from faking, free from despair and my quaking.

there is freedom in grace, and grace is offered freely. tho satan still lies and is only abusive the death of Christ is my life, so grace, is no longer illusive.


-sarah codispoti

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I'm Not Stuck



Friends.  It's been a whirlwind.  We are now four weeks into having two children and it has been a ride. I am not going to lie...it's been hard.  Very hard.  But...also, very very good. Between pregnancy complications, adjusting to a 2 year old and an infant, trying to figure out how to do life...I have been overwhelmed.  Scared. Fatigued. Wrestling with my heart. Feeling...stuck. 

Also, I have been overwhelmed by God's goodness. Grace. Provision. Nearness.  

Here's the thing.  I am now a parent of two.  That comes with certain difficulties but it also comes with many opportunities and reasons to rejoice.  I have been reminding myself to "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say rejoice"  (Phil 4:4).  That the "Steadfast love of the Lord never ceases and his mercies never come to an end" (Lam 3:22).  So.  I have my role and my blessed gift of children to parent, therefore, I am in this thing for keeps.  I don't have an option to not parent (well, I do but that would be a whole other problem!), but I do have the option to choose to find joy in my role OR to let myself be miserable.  I choose joy.  I don't just get the gift of joy thrown in my lap, however...I have to posture myself to "rejoice!"  I have all that I need to get in this posture.  I can ask God for wisdom every single time I am overwhelmed and at a loss how to parent my toddler who thinks diversion is a great tool, and receive it (James 1:5) ***Thanks, Karen (if you're reading) for sharing that verse! (And of course James 1 doesn't include the part about diversion...obviously). *** I also have the very greatest need I will ever have, met, and that is my salvation.  My sin, washed clean.  If I reflect on how little I deserve this forgiveness, and the totality of that which I've been given, it will give me much reason to rejoice.  I have what I know of God...that He is always good and always kind and full of grace.  He tells me not to worry about tomorrow as tomorrow has it's own worries (Matt 6), so I can't look ahead at tomorrow's grace.  I need to look at the grace that He promises to give in the current day.  So, when there has been noise and chaos and no ability to shower for 48 hours, and I have to take an entourage into the bathroom with me just to make my bladder gladder...I can ask the Lord to give me grace by way of patience, a supernatural ability to not have my ever loving nerves fried, and wisdom how to love my children well and at the same time...ENJOY it! 

Every time...seriously...every time...I have asked the Lord to give me grace and strength and joy in my day for what He has called me to do, He has faithfully answered.  So, if I have this wonderful source and provision, this way to find joy in what I wouldn't normally "enjoy," why don't I just ask for it all the time?!  Because, I'm a sinner.  I try to parent by myself.  I try to be the wise one, the capable one, the..(gag me) "supermom." 

I don't want to be anything "on my own."  Actually, it's when I try to be self-sufficient, and realize how hard it is, and how much I *feel* alone, I struggle with discouragement and wanting to feel sorry for myself...even give up.  I don't want to self-parent; rather, I want to parent along side of my Father God.  

So, for the rest of 2014, and, well...my life...here is what I want and pray: 
-For a hunger for the Word (already answering!)
-For me to be intentional to ask for help daily from my Father
-To be an encouragement to my husband and family and friends 
-That my joy would be sourced not out of circumstances, but rather of what I have in Christ. 
-That the mundane "non-enjoyable" tasks of being a mom (be honest, there are a lot of these) would be seen as nuggets of gold, used to build character. 
-For me to find rest in the Lord when life doesn't seem to offer a whole lot (at least at the present moment)
-To remember that my best offerings are but filthy rags without Christ.  
-To have a heart of thankfulness.  Deep thankfulness. 
-To honor God by being a faithful wife and mom. 
-To choose the freedom of joy when I feel stuck. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

JERICHO MALIYAH: birth story





                           Introducing Jericho Maliyah, born December, 2013 at 11:36am, 7 lbs, 5oz.
We love her so much and she is such a joy already! We prayed for a cuddler and she most definitely IS. a cuddler. And...a squawker.  As her daddy says, she sounds like a baby parrot.

Anyhow, I thought I'd type up Jericho's birth story as a few people have already asked to hear it.

Due date was December 12, and my mom arrived from Indiana exactly on the 12th.  We were so hopeful that somehow her presence would "trigger" my body going into labor (as with Israel, I went into labor only hours after my mom arrived).  Alas, she waited a few days.

The fun part was that Joshua and I got to go to the theater for the first time in...well...I think since before Israel was born.  On the 14th, both Joshua's parents and my mom and us got some yummy burgers and then my mom watched Israel while we viewed the Hobbit.  During the movie, I started having contractions, so I just tried to subtly time them while we watched on.  Nothing was really consistent at this point.  However, when we got home, after going to bed around 11pm, I started really getting timeable (but still spaced out) contractions.  After an hour of timing and knowing that I wasn't going to be able to fall asleep (coupled with the feeling of "I just really think this is IT"), I woke up my poor husband who had just managed to get in about 30 min of sleep after pulling a 24 hr shift the night before. I KNEW he was tired, because he was asking me questions about going in "right now" being necessary, and before bed he was all "bring it!" excited for labor time.  I called the on call midwife and she told me to go ahead and come in.  We arrived at the birth center at 1am and I was only 3 cm dilated but fully effaced.  So, the midwife just told me to get some rest if I could.  Joshua and I were laying on the double bed, him trying to stay awake and me trying to fall asleep.  We both failed.  Throughout the night, the contractions were getting stronger and harder to work through but not much more frequent.

Now, we had prayed specifically for a certain midwife to be on call when I went into labor.  The first half of the night was not this particular midwife, but come to find out, the one we prayed for was taking over at 8 am.  I was so very thankful, because out of all of the midwives who I had met, I felt most calm with this one, and she was also the midwife who had evaluated me for miscarriage the year before.

By about 6am, the contractions were getting really intense and by 8 am when the midwives switched out, I was "controlled-ly bellowing" (if there is such a thing).  Ok, so I forgot to mention that Joshua had forgotten to bring coffee for the coffee pot at the birth center.  Poor man, he was so blitzed after having come off a 24 hr shift and then coming out of a deep 30 min sleep that coffee was absolutely essential for the night.  It was rough for him, but looking back, makes for quite an amusing story.  Whilst laying face to face on the double bed (I had the midwife massaging me through contractions at this point), practically nose to nose...and with me squeezing his hand to utter oblivion, Joshua slept peacefully on through 3 of my "controlled bellowing" episodes.

Shortly after this catnap, I was moved into the tub to finish up laboring there.  By this time, I was about 6-7 cm dilated.  Then...our dear midwife asked my husband "Would you like a cup of coffee?" Oh, his face lit up and she was definitely as close to an angel as it comes in that moment.  From there, we were ready to roll.  At 8.5 cm, I was growing exhausted from not sleeping at all for so long, so I agreed to have my waters broken.  After they were broken, the midwife worked on moving aside the rest of the cervix (so SO painful) so that I could go ahead and push.  Well, I was so exhausted that it took about 6 or so tries (Purple pushing) during contractions before the cervix was completely dilated.   Also, during this time, my shins decided to both charlie horse at the same time.  I was growing hopeless to keep on going, but my hubby kept assuring me sweetly that I could do this.  He is such a rock and I was so thankful for his care and support.  FINALLY, I moved to a different position to get more bearing and with about 6 or so pushes (ok, not gonna lie, the worst pain I've ever had in my life), Joshua took over and was able to deliver her!  Everything looked different for him and he was having to go by feel this time as I was in a different position than with Israel.  But...he did a stellar job and finally, FINALLY I was holding our sweet baby girl in my arms.  The Lord is good and gracious.  Total labor time (just active labor on) was 12 hours.

So thankful to all who prayed for us, and the Lord was so kind in answering our specific prayers for Jericho's birth.