Monday, January 26, 2009

Let me introduce you to....

Our little miracle! (and I do mean LITTLE:)
Praising the Lord for a strong flickering heartbeat!

Chris has already declared that the baby looks just like him. Can't you just see the resemblance?

After today, Park, on the other hand, voiced some serious concern.

"Mommy, I'm afraid our baby will come out looking like a peanut. Don't worry, I'll still love him, though. And I'll try not to eat him."

What a great big brother he is going to be!

I claimed this verse when I was believing for our baby, so it is especially sweet to read it now, as I turn in for bed.

(And for those of you still waiting for your miracle, I claim it on your behalf tonight.)

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

Psalm 139:13-17

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rough, Rowdy, Rambunctious and Tiffany & Co.

Last week I headed to my sister's and our boys enjoyed some serious playtime.

Those three little men simply adore each other. Krew and Park spent most of their time throwing the ball back and forth to each other, while taking turns falling to the ground over fake injuries that caused them to giggle hysterically. Not to be excluded from the action, Kage would also periodically collapse, eliciting excited hoops and hollers from the older boys.

They were rough, rowdy, and rambunctious and loved every minute of it. Park is definitely the ring leader, but Kage's innate knack for mischief puts him at a close second. And somehow the two of them even manage to corrupt Krew, who typically tends to be the most trustworthy of the group.

In the early years, while I was busy dragging Park out of cabinets chasing him from room to room, and putting locks on our toilet paper, Challi was sitting idly by watching Krew, who couldn't be more content on the same spot of blanket where she had set him an hour before.

It all seemed mildly unfair, until Kage came along and she hasn't sat since.

And did I mention come March she will have three kids ages three and under? I don't see much rest in her near future. However, after undergoing in vitro with Krew and then God miraculously giving her the next two "surprise" pregnancies, I think she would argue that rest is overrated. I've never seen someone more thrilled to sacrifice her sleep and energy.

Challi and I discussed the possibility of my parents having FIVE grandsons. With her due in March and me in September and neither of us finding out the gender ahead of time, it could actually already be the case.

Then we spent some time trying to decide what gender we would choose if God put the ball in our court.

And what did we come up with, you ask?

That we are thankful God has the ball.

Neither one of us have any preference toward anything other than two healthy babies. Girls, boys, or both, we believe His plan for our family is perfect and complete.

Now, if only Park can grab hold of this concept. When he overheard us discussing the matter, he piped in with, "We want more brothers! We don't need any stinky girls in this family!"

Perhaps he is taking after his Pops, who at the tender age of 4, chased his babysitter around the house with a bat after she informed him he had a new baby sister.

Turns out, Pops wasn't playing around about wanting a BROTHER.

However, all these years later, you'd be hard pressed to find a man who loves and takes care of his baby sister better than Pops. Aunt Phyl even has some pieces of Tiffany jewelry to prove it.

But there is one thing we decided Park is right about. If we do end up with a girl, she will probably be stinky. After all, what chance does she have with monkeys like these for her brothers?
Our only hope is that she might just grow into some Tiffany jewelry down the road.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Death Defying Household Chores

Math has never been my forte, but apparently I should have familiarized myself with this little equation pre-Christmas shopping:

2 loads of freshly washed clothes + laundry basket = hours of entertainment.

Who said chores are boring?

Oh, the fun of being a little boy! (Or even just being his mommy)

And speaking of equations, here is another one I learned today:
dirty lens + using camera anyway = pictures with random spots


Monday, January 12, 2009

Believing God

Well, we haven't peeled ourselves off the ceiling yet, but if I waited for that day to come I may never blog again! Thank you for all your warm wishes. It truly makes it sweeter to be able to share the joy and excitement of those who have prayed alongside me.

I want to take a minute to record the events leading up to finding out about the pregnancy. After blood work and fertility testing throughout this past year, it was a mystery to the doctors as to why I was not yet pregnant. Everything looked great on paper, yet after over a year of trying, we were still without a second child.

Because my progesterone levels did seem a bit on the low end, we decided to go ahead with natural progesterone supplementation. The first month, I was very hopeful. But after seeing no results as late November rolled around, the doctor concluded it was time for me to move on to a fertility specialist. Her exact words were, "The progesterone is a long shot. It my opinion you need a miracle for it to work. If I were you, I wouldn't waste any more time on it.... just go find a fertility specialist."

I was devastated. Having walked that road with my sister to achieve her first pregnancy, I knew all too well about the decisions I would be facing and it completely overwhelmed me! After much discussion with Chris, we decided to do nothing but pray about the situation until the New Year.

During that time, I told God that I was in need of some major encouragement. I desperately wanted to cling to and believe His promises, but my heart was getting weary. I begged Him to renew my spirit.

That afternoon, I "happened" upon Beth Moore's book Believing God at our library. By no accident, it was the exact encouragement I needed. I clung to the truth in her wisdom and was once again reminded of God's faithfulness to me. With her urging, going back through all the times He had come through for me in the past, pushed me to truly BELIEVE He would do it for my future.

I faithfully recited the pledge, "God is who He says He is! He can do what He says He can do! I am who He says I am! I can do all things through Christ! His Word is alive and active in me!" Park belted them out right alongside me. He even wore a blue bracelet on his wrist, too.

The night before I took the pregnancy test, I finished Chapter 15 entitled "Believing God When Victory Requires Your All." I read in the Bible of the time that the Lord caused the sun and moon to stand still, simply because Joshua asked and believed Him for it. Joshua had a deep need that caused him to pray a big prayer to His big God. Beth's words jumped out at me from the page....."You need to know and count on the fact that God is willing to interrupt the very laws of nature to perform his will."

Wow. Those words spoke to the very heart of where I was in that moment.

And so I prayed, "Lord, whether I am pregnant right now or not, you have the ability to make it happen before tomorrow morning. I am counting on your willingness to interrupt the very laws of nature to perform your will. Your word says be fruitful and multiply. I believe you for this! And whether it is tomorrow or five years from now, you will see this to completion because you are who you say you are!"

And I slept in the peace and assurance that He gave me.

That morning (January 4), my hands shook as I took the test, but my heart was still before the Lord. I had renewed trust that His grace truly was sufficient. I knew that He was saying yes to the heart of my request even if He did not say yes to the timing.

And then the double pink lines appeared.

The tears streamed down my face, as I dropped to my knees in worship. I had witnessed His miracle. Moments later, Chris celebrated with me. And I can't even express the sheer joy of seeing Park's eyes light up when we were able to tell him that God answered our prayers.

The Lord could have given us this pregnancy a year, months, or days before that moment. He could have answered our first, tenth or hundredth request. He could have provided before we ever asked.

But He didn't.

Instead, He chose to give us this baby only after he had given us a closer view of Himself. And only in hindsight do I realize how much we would have missed out on, if He had done it my way instead of His own.

Thank you Jesus, that you are never early, never late. Your ways are not ours, they are infinitely better. And I pray that others, currently in the throws of the infertility journey, will cling to that truth even when their heart is breaking. I will be praying this on their behalf, as well.

Our baby is due September 11. That makes me almost 6 weeks pregnant and feeling great. My progesterone and HCG levels look great and next week we will hear the baby's heartbeat. Come September, we will meet God's handiwork face to face and I will hold in my arms the tangible reminder of his favor, mercy, love, grace, wisdom, and willingness to work on my behalf.

(And much to the dismay of Sarah and Bridget, we will once again wait to find out the sex of this baby until he/she arrives:)

Friday, January 9, 2009

He DID It!

"Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and HE WILL DO IT."
-Psalm 37:4,5

Thank you, sweet Jesus!

(And thank you, precious friends, who have covered me in prayer throughout this journey! More details to follow as soon as we are able to peel ourselves off the ceiling:)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A January Christmas Tour

Am I the only one who still has my (gulp, cheeks turning red) Christmas tree in the living room?

I have to come clean. Each January, I go a little further on trying to sneak in extra days of leaving the festivities up. I think my husband is paranoid that a few more years down the road, we might still be celebrating Christmas when July rolls around.

At this rate, he might have valid reason for concern.

There is something so warm and cozy about a home decorated for the holidays. Everything seems more alive and full of love. And with the cold bleakness of the January weather, who can blame a girl for holding tightly to the wonderment of December?

Well, besides her husband, who is ready to get all the Christmas boxes out of his garage and back into the attic. This weekend, hubby, I promise.

Somehow in my "blogging sabbatical", I missed out on Boo Mama's Christmas Tour of Homes this year. Regardless that I am way late to join the party, I'm still going through the links on her site to visit people's homes, while pretending they are all still decorated, as well.

And then it hit me.

No sense in hanging my head in shame. Since I've already admitted my decorations are still up, why not help keep the wonderment of December alive by giving you a January tour? So, grab a cup of hot chocolate and come on inside.....

Front door
Entry way
Living room ("The Fancy Tree")
Kitchen table close-up

Playroom ("The Sentimental Tree")
Park's Room (The Jesse Tree)
The Back Patio (in search of festive table decor for next year!)
The Little Man who is as sad as his mommy is to see the decorations come down.

Thanks for stopping by and here's to hoping the TRUE reason for Christmas stays our top priority all year long!

And that my decorations find their way back to the attic before next December.

Relax, Chris.... just a joke. (Well, kind of:)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Apparently, Warmth is Out

Has anyone else noticed a disturbing trend in fashion this winter?

Regardless of what store I visit, there are no appropriate clothing options in sight. And by appropriate, I mean shirts with actual sleeves.

After trying on a few of the short sleeve ensembles from various racks, I could stand it no longer. Baffled by the lack of warm attire being offered to the general public, I finally resorted to questioning a teenage sales clerk about the issue.

Without batting an eye, she answered me with, "Oh, long sleeves are so last season. We only carry the newest trends here."

Now I realize that I live in Texas, but is she for real? Who knew that warmth could go out of style?

Perhaps this should have been my first clue that I am not Forever 21, no matter how much I shop there. In my old age, I favor practical over cutting edge. And call me old fashioned, but I need sleeves in January.

It is just who I am, a cold blooded American.

I bit my lip to keep from laughing. Well, that and to keep from shivering as I slipped off the trendy tank top I had tried on in a moment of weakness. As I hung the symbol of youth back on the rack, I made a 31 -year-old executive decision.

I'll be waiting to buy winter clothes until sleeves make a come back.

Until then, I see a lot of scarves in my wardrobe future. Apparently, they are the hot item of the season, anyway.

And with all the freezing cold outfits being sold out there, I'm convinced that something HOT has become more of a necessity than an accessory.

Either way, in the innocence of his youth, Park has totally bought into the trend.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Draw Me Close to You

I didn't realize that I was going to take a mid-Winter sabbatical from blogging, but it looks like I did anyway. Hopefully, the New Year will be a different story, or else even I am going to quit reading this dead- beat blog:).

Christmas was a blast this year. Park could not have had more fun if he tried and we were able to spend lots of time with each side of the family. We also managed to squeeze in some time at the lake, where many hours of intense board game action took place after the kiddos turned in for the night.

Looking back at 2008, I feel like the Lord has stretched me incredibly. There were so many blessings that the year held, but probably the most unexpected one was how He has chosen to refine me through longing.

If you follow this blog much, it is no secret that we have been desperately yearning for a second child this last year. At times I've even felt like it has been the very thorn in my flesh that Paul so eloquently describes.

Over the last year, I have had the opportunity to celebrate the pregnancies of my sister, my sister-in-law, Bridget, my neighbors on each side, and 6 other close friends. Sharing in their joy also increased my own longing. During this season of waiting, there have been points where my heart has felt very alone and forgotten, even though my head knows Jesus has been with me every step.

But, although the road He has had me walking this year has been heart wrenching at times, it is also the very thing that has driven me to believe His promises like I never have before. My longing has given me a new view of His supernatural peace, mercy, grace and perseverance.

It has drawn me closer to the very heart of who He is.

What the devil has meant to harm me, the Lord has used for my good.

And who am I to argue with that?

Too many times, though, my eyes get so focused on what I think He is "not giving me" that I miss what He IS giving me. In my life experience I have found that when God temporarily allows yearning in my life in one area, He is quick to bless me in another.

And that brings me to some exciting news....

Chris and I have experienced a unique, unexpected blessing. Our seven years of ministry together have been centered around high school students. We have seen God do amazing things in the lives of thousands of students and we have been in awe of where he has taken us throughout the journey.

And now, we have a new opportunity to expand our ministry even further. About a month ago our Sr. Pastor asked Chris to become the Campus Pastor for Fellowship Church's Fort Worth satellite campus. We are so excited for the opportunity and for all God has planned for the city of Fort Worth in 2009. If you live in the area, we would love to invite you to our Sunday services. You can find more information here.

As for my personal journey in 2009, I can't be sure what the future holds, but I am certain that the One who holds my future will continue to use my circumstances to draw me closer to the very heart of who He is.

And who am I to argue with that?