On the 4th…

So thankful today for…

  • Elena sleeping all the way through the night Monday – 9pm to 6:30am! Didn’t rouse once! (Makes up for last night, getting up at 2am going, “Mom? Mom?! Mom!”)
  • Watching Elena dance her tiny little heart out to some of the best worship music out there. Priceless.
  • Finally being allowed to talk about tentative future plans.
  • Being asked to do some writing for upcoming events.
  • Winter finally settling in. This pregnant body couldn’t take much more hot days!
  • Encouragement from friends, even if they don’t realize how much their words meant .
  • The fact that we’ll be eating burgers tonight.
  • My daughter’s crazy imagination and fun personality.

So, in case you’re dying of curiosity, here’s what I’ve had to keep under wraps for quite awhile:

We are considering the options of changing mission fields. Our board has asked us to consider a new field and Brian will be visiting there the beginning of August to see if this is really what God has for us or not. We’re very excited about the possibility, but nervous about what it all means, if it works out or even if it doesn’t. We can see God’s hand in this and we know He’s leading us on and that makes it very exciting. But, we’re moving slowly, in steps of faith, and trying to keep an open mind to what God may have for us in the next few months.

So, pray for us if you think of it! With a new baby, an international move is not #1 on my list of things I’d just love to do, but God has our best in mind. We’ll just see what happens!

Hope you all have a wonderful 4th, no matter what part of the globe you’re on. We’re eating homemade burgers (with all the fixin’s), French fries, onion rings, and pasta salad. For dessert, I made a “chocolate” pie (I use the term loosely… didn’t have quite enough chocolate chips to make it legit, but I think it’ll be okay). Got my red, white, and blue earrings on. Dreaming of rodeos, fireworks, parades, and warm weather! 

Sunny Day Gratitude.

So, apparently we’re experiencing some form of “El Niño” here in Peru because this weather is so not winter-like! I’d complain, but considering our furlough lands this December and we wouldn’t see warm weather again until next summer if we were really in “winter”, I’m okay with all this sun! It is awfully strange, though, to be the end of July and feeling like spring outside! Better stop talking before I jynx it…

Gratitude today comes in a few different forms:

  • …new friends
  • …email encouragement
  • …surprisingly good news
  • …a spontaneous “I love you” (or a form thereof) from the toddler
  • …kicks and jabs from the new one
  • …hugs from the husband
  • …sun first thing in the morning
  • …decaf coffee

Got to see my little peanut last Friday. I’ve been trying to figure out how she’s positioned for awhile now since sometimes I feel her so high and other times so low. We found out she’s sitting perfectly upright in my uterus, so the jabs up high are arms and the kicks down low are feet. The problem, though, is that all of her little weight is sitting on my scar and weaker muscles from my c-section. She’s not spread out – at all – and has apparently been that way for awhile… and doesn’t look like she has any intention of moving any time soon. This has resulted in quite a bit of pain and I’m not allowed to lift Elena for a week to see if muscles can somewhat heal.

During my first few appointments of this pregnancy, my doctor assured me I could at least try for a natural delivery. She saw absolutely no reason why not. But then on Friday, she dropped a rather nonchalant bomb, saying that “of course” I would be having a c-section; that I “had no other option.” To keep from crying right there in her office, I think my mind just shut down. I didn’t understand anything more she told me that day and Brian had to answer all the rest of her questions.

I almost made it to the car before losing it. Almost. I wish I could say it was the dignified cry of an almost 30 year old woman. I can’t. It was the nasty cry of a 5 year old child. I just lost it. Of all the things in this world that scare me and make me nervous, having another c-section tops the list by far. The last one traumatized me enough that I had counseling when we got back to the States. I couldn’t talk about it for months afterwards and it took me just as long to heal physically. It was a horrible, awful, no good, very bad experience that I have no desire to duplicate. I would pay good money to go through the pain of natural labor with absolutely no medication just to avoid another c-section.

But, I guess even that is not an option.

I couldn’t compose myself last week to ask questions. But, at my next appointment, I plan to hound her and make absolutely sure this is my only option. If there’s any way to avoid this, I’m going to find it.

At the same time, though, Brian was so gentle in reminding me of a few things:

  1. It’s better to know in advance than to find out a week before (or the day of).
  2. It’s better to plan for a c-section than get halfway through labor and need another emergency c.
  3. We’re using a different – better – clinic with better care, so I shouldn’t have the same problems with the epidural.
  4. If it’s not an emergency, there should be no reason why Brian can’t come with me this time so I won’t be alone. 
  5. If I know what to expect, I can be more mentally prepared and hopefully even the recovery will be shorter.
  6. New Baby M. will have the cute, little round head Elena has instead of a cone-shaped one (haha).
  7. If this is God’s best for me and the baby, then there’s a reason for it and He knows what He’s doing. 
  8. I will survive. 

He’s right. I know he’s right. In my head. In my heart, I’m still petrified. I’m working on giving my fear to the Lord because I just don’t want it. But, let me just say here, it’s hard. So hard. Not impossible. Just hard.

A Good Week.

It’s been such a nice week already, I just have to say! 

It actually starts last Saturday! I had an awful, awful cold all last week that just knocked me out Friday night. But, I was feeling much better Saturday, so I begged Brian to please let me get my hair cut! We went to my normal salon and got my usual lady (phew!). She chopped it a little shorter than I’d wanted, but overall, it’s fine and I figure it’ll grow back out, so I’ll be okay. We took some friends’ advice and went to a new Taco restaurant and got actual Mexican food (a rarity in Peru!). It was absolutely wonderful!

Sunday was Father’s Day and we actually got to go to church (Brian was to do guard duty, but he found a replacement last minute) and then I spent a few hours after church, with my husband and a friend, making a nice meal which tasted suspiciously like Thanksgiving. 🙂 I had tried super hard to get all my weekend work done on Friday so I could be sure to have time Saturday and Sunday to do whatever. I’m so glad I made that a priority! We hung out with the two friends we invited over (one a teen from Ireland visiting Peru for two weeks, the other a girl from the States doing Bible school here), shared a yummy strawberry dessert, and played a game.

Monday was our 7th Anniversary. Wow, how time flies. Mondays are quieter for our students, so Elena’s babysitter was able to come earlier and watch her so we could do lunch and be out for the afternoon. We had a really nice lunch… so weird not having little hands in your food the whole time! We bought Cinnabons afterwards. Wow, it’s been YEARS since I’ve had one of those! So thankful for the little store that just opened in our mall! They were a-ma-zing!

I have to admit, though, it was so strange being out without Elena. I don’t have her most afternoons, but I’m nearby and it’s really just a few hours a day. This time, though, we were quite a ways away (about an hour’s drive) and we were gone most of the day. We have only been out without her three times she was born because we just don’t have babysitters here. I felt absolutely lost and wasn’t really sure what to do with my hands. My purse was substantially lighter, too, with no crackers, sippy, diapers, wipes, binky, toys, or books! The drive to the mall was rough, but by the time I got there, God had given me the peace of mind I needed to just enjoy my time with my husband and trust that she would be fine. Which, of course, she was. And it was wonderful being alone with Brian. Uninterrupted adult conversation has never been more of a gift! 

Now, I’m in the middle of planning a bake sale for my students. They’ve never done anything like this before (and neither have I, to be honest!). Every Friday, we do a “special” class – music, baking, art, or geography. I thought one of the goals for baking should be to have a bake sale with the kids and put the money towards a nice field trip, like a museum. The kids have never been to a museum and there’s a bunch of really nice ones in downtown Lima. So, I’m collaborating with some friends to come up with a strategy and hopefully we’ll pull off a nice bake sale the end of July during our Bible school’s big annual open house! With any luck, the kids will earn enough to at least help them get to the big “Museo de la Nacion.” Fun fun!

Our “future plans” are coming together so well… it’s almost as if God has a big part in it. 😉 We got yet more news this week about some stuff and it was just – wow – so encouraging and so much better than we’d planned or hoped. We’d talked last week about our “ideals” for a few things and in the end, the news we got this week was so much better than the ideals we’d both come up with. Isn’t it funny how that works sometimes? I am scared as all get-out about this future possibility, and yet so excited I could spend most of my day jumping up and down like a little girl. This is so unexpected, so incredibly not what we would ever have planned, and yet so… right.

I must add one more item to my “good week” post. This is a tad selfish… I don’t care. I was told at the beginning of my pregnancy that the one thing I can really do to help prevent the need of another c-section is to keep my weight down. With having no existing thyroid (therefore no metabolism to speak of), this is super hard. But, I’ve been very careful! Last month, I gained weight. It was the first time I’d gained weight this pregnancy (5 months in), but the number on the scale was still higher than I cared to see it go! This month, I’ve been working out daily, watching what I eat, and weighing myself on the Wii once a week. Last week, I’d gained two pounds and I cried and cried because if that is the norm and I have 20 weeks left, that is NOT a good thing! This week, after all those wonderful meals and two days with dessert, I thought for sure I’d gained! But, I actually lost weight! So now, instead of thinking I’d gained a whole kilo (about 3lbs, give or take) this month, I’ve gained less than that, if I’ve really gained anything at all. I’m amazed! And so happy! All my literature says the baby is now a foot long and weighs over a pound, but obviously the rest of my body is not adding extra poundage! Phew! I’m almost six and a half months along now — just a little more to go! Hopefully I can keep this trend up!

So, there’s my reasons for my “good week” thus far. It’s not a Thankful list, but it’s the same idea! Hope you can find some joy in your week, too. 

Gratitude.

This sunny Wednesday morning, I am thankful for…

  • …a husband who stands up for me and takes over when I just don’t know what to do anymore.
  • …roasted red pepper potato soup and garlic toast.
  • …sunny days even though we’re supposedly in winter right now.
  • …having extra helpers in my “school” this year so when I don’t have a babysitter, I can actually stay home and my students don’t miss a day of class!
  • …in light of that, I’m also thankful for the 2 days off of afternoon school I’ve had this week. Yesterday, I could’ve taught, but ended up with a migraine by mid-afternoon, so I’m glad Brian told me to just take the afternoon off anyway!
  • …weekly Bible studies with other women from North America.
  • …the opportunity to be at home most of the time this year. My house is cleaner, my laundry is (almost always) caught up, and I can spend more time with my child.
  • …clarity on the future.

…sweet notes from my students

On This Tuesday…

I’m thankful for…
  • bananas in my cornflakes
  • having a voice after two full days of being without
  • getting a good night’s rest after a week of not sleeping well with this awful cold
  • emails with specific details about future plans… those are always helpful!
  • the annual yardsale here in our area — we found stuff for Elena including books to finish a series her aunt started for her and we found items for the baby, including a warm carseat cover of all things (sold to us for $2!).
  • curly hair on a toddler’s head. We’ve waited so long for hair – I’m excited it’s curly!
  • resources that help us know if people are actually reading our newsletters!
  • a jabbering toddler. We don’t understand everything she says, but we’re sure it’s just fascinating so we spend a lot of time going, “Wow! Really?”
  • Chinese takeout on a Sunday afternoon. Not the same as in the States, but still pretty darn good.

Tuesday!

I am thankful to the Lord today for…

  • …a sleeping baby on my lap and another in my belly.
  • …a wonderful, encouraging, long-awaited for email that finally came through yesterday! woohoo!
  • …watching plans unfold like a slowly opening flower – it’s taking awhile to see the whole picture, but it’s going to be just lovely when it finally blossoms!
  • …Elena’s new words and sounds. She can now “meow” like a cat, “roar” like a bear, make a “fish face”, say “thank you, God” at dinnertime, and she tells us “I love you.”
  • …unexpected, but very pleasant news, from a friend this morning. =)
  • …wonderful books like the A.D. Chronicles that are so encouraging, challenging, and just a joy to read.
  • …my students – their quirky, funny personalities and the way they love so openly on my daughter.
  • …a day on Thursday to drive around with Brian and just talk. We had two hours in the car while he ran in and out of stores looking for parts and we talked and talked – it was so nice. We had a lot to talk about apparently!
  • …maternity pants from a friend, bringing my quota up to a whopping 3 pairs! So generous of her and so incredibly comfortable… I just want to live in them (especially compared to today – non-maternity jeans… my pj pants have been calling me since 10am).
  • …seeing little Baby M. kick my tummy last Wednesday for the first time and having Brian feel her kick last night for the first time. Just a few more months left!!
  • …having a doctor who did not yell at me for gaining weight this month.
  • ….having our Wii Fit which is turning out to be a great tool for working out this pregnancy.
  • …turkey and homemade stuffing [you didn’t really think I’d do a “Grateful Tuesday” without mentioning food, did you?]

A Tuesday of Gratitude.

This morning I’m thankful for…

  • …the new little GIRL growing in me!
  • …the chance I had to stay home in the afternoons all last week.
  • …a date day with my husband after he was basically not home for 4 straight days (rare for us).
  • …soft pretzels have arrived in Peru!!
  • …my happy little girl with the infectious personality.
  • …a clean house.
  • …cooler temperatures (finally) so we can enjoy homemade tomato soup and Ecco (Peruvian drink made from barley).
  • …that I am halfway through this pregnancy and feeling absolutely wonderful – to the point where I forget I’m pregnant sometimes (until I get socked from the inside!).
  • …hair long enough for pigtails (after only 19 1/2 months of waiting!):

 

Grateful For…

Yup, I missed a week. Oh well – here’s my list for the last couple of weeks then!

  • A “date day” with my family. We went to our favorite place (Chili’s, of course) and had a lovely lunch. They added to their menu which is always a great surprise. 🙂 We had a nice afternoon walking around the (absurdly busy) mall afterwards.

  • Brian finally decorated Elena’s room. He made all these butterflies and flowers before she was born, but circumstances as they were, he didn’t get to hang them up. But, it worked out fine. She’s old enough to enjoy them now and enjoy them she does! They make me happy when I go in her room.

  • We had a Mom’s lunch for all the moms I work with and my good friend, Zarela, was there! She moved to the jungle a month ago and was home for the weekend. It was wonderful – absolutely wonderful – spending a few hours catching up with her (no kids or husbands to interrupt either!).

  • Mother’s Day wasn’t the best day I’ve ever had, but it was pretty good. Brian did his best to try to make it special and in the end, it was nice, despite all the blecky stuff in the middle. I’m thankful I got to celebrate Mother’s Day at all. There’s just nothing like being a Mom.
  • We got a box from my parents last week (courteous of visitors who flew down) and it had basically all the clothes I need to get Elena through winter. Phew! Such a blessing!
  • Fall is not quite here, but it’s getting close. I’m thankful for chamomile tea with honey and homemade chicken and dumplings for supper.
  • This week, I’m not teaching in the afternoons and it’s like a giant, enormous burden has been lifted from my shoulders. I had SO MUCH FUN yesterday and I get to do it each day for more than a week! I like being home with my baby.
  • My husband bought me the next 3 books in my favorite series for my Kindle for Mother’s Day. *love*
  • The free download of Kelly Minter’s “The Fitting Room”. So good.

 

Choosing Gratitude.

I got side-tracked today and ended up reading a bunch of my old blog entries. I had forgotten that I used to do “Grateful Tuesday.” I’m not savvy enough to link myself to any other blogs; it was just something I did on my own. I think I might start that up again. So, today, I will choose to be grateful and I thought I’d share a few of these things with you. We’ll see how long I can keep up “Grateful Tuesday” this year.

Our gas for the shower ran out today. This may not sound like something to be thankful for, but really, it’s the fact that it JUST ran out TODAY that is note-worthy. We change our gas like clockwork every month. We have never gone more than a month and a half on the same tank of “shower gas.” This time our shower gas went a solid four months. We changed the gas for our oven twice in that time frame. We are 100% positive this was a miracle. No other explanation. Thank you, Lord, for our seemingly never-ending gas! It was a true blessing to not have that expense the entire summer.

This little one started moving to where I could feel it yesterday! Actually, technically, I think I felt it last Wednesday, but yesterday, there was no doubt in my mind! So exciting.

My other little munchkin is a super blessing – something I’m thankful for every day, regardless of the snot nose, the tantrums, and the blatant disobedience. Just last night, I looked at Brian and said again, “I don’t know what we ever did without her!

[The rest of my list is pictureless…]

  • The school year has gotten off to a good start. I have three helpers and a greatly diminished work load.
  • I am involved in a Bible study for North American women (only 2 of us are missionaries) that I love, love, love. I even got to lead it last week!
  • The nausea of the pregnancy seems to have [finally] passed.
  • We are, like I said, in a transition phase and it seems like we’re getting closer to answers. They may not be exactly what I wanted, but as I’ve been reading in some devotional books lately, obedience doesn’t mean you’re thrilled and ecstatic about it. It just means you love the Lord and want to serve Him. We aren’t called to LOVE what God is telling us to do and THEN do it. We’re called to obey because we love. I’m getting there. Slowly, but surely. I’m getting there.
  • My husband who lets me scream and cry and get mad about transitioning and then calmly says, “I’m not going to leave you. It’ll be okay” every single time.
  • The sermon series by Max Lucado we’re listening to right now entitled “You’ll Get Through This.” If you need something super encouraging, look it up online (oakhillschurch.com) and download the entire series. It’s on Joseph and well worth your time. “I’ll get through this. It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but I know that God will use this mess for good…”
  • And at this very moment – I’m thankful for a super (almost above and beyond super) quiet house – a baby asleep on my lap and one growing in my belly, students working quietly on their schoolwork in the corner, the smell of, what is that, potatoes? drifting through my window, and the sounds of a distant lawn mower. It’s just really soothing to the soul.

Healthcare and End Times. My two cents.

For Thankful Monday…

  • A good, productive week last week. I felt good 90% of the week and was able to get a lot done.
  • Homemade dinners that make the whole house smell like home.
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and mini Cadbury eggs from the States!
  • The safe arrival of new co-workers.
  • A fun birthday party for the newest 7 year old in our BCM family.
  • Good conversations with great friends.
  • Curtains that we bought in June finally getting hung up – the baby room already looks better!
  • The funds to buy the rest of the curtains for the upstairs! Finally!
  • Warm, summer weather, despite all the flies.

And for healthcare…

So, I guess the healthcare bill passed. I have purposefully kept myself out of the loop on this whole thing. To be honest, I don’t understand everything because I just plain haven’t read enough. If we had TV and the news or something, I’m sure I’d be much more in tune with what’s going on. I know it’s bad. And I know it will affect us, even though we’re thousands of miles away. It’s incredibly disappointing that our “representatives” didn’t listen to the voice of the American people. Defeats the purpose of a democracy. I watched one interview last week online with Obama and Brett from Foxnews. I was honestly surprised that in twenty minutes, Obama basically said nothing, never answered one question, and yet complained when Brett would interrupt to get him back on track. Twenty long, long minutes of NOTHING. Only a politician. If he was in my class, I’d fail him for public speaking. You need to say SOMETHING and “uh” is not a word, Mr. President. If my tenth grader can’t use it, neither can you.

There’s a reason I keep myself out of the political stuff. I get too heated up over it and then I can’t sleep and it’s all I talk about and I get really worked up…and Brian gets really upset. I cherish my marriage. Therefore, I don’t watch politics. 🙂

On the plus side, I agree with one of my friend’s Tweets – God is still on His throne. He’s still in control. None of this has surprised Him. Once again, going through the Daniel study is just perfect timing for this. God sets up rulers and He dethrones them. He gives them their power and He will take it away. They are ultimately responsible to Him and we can know for sure that God, as Judge, will vindicate.

However, I am always appalled at the reactions of some believers. It’s like they honestly think that just because they’re elected officials, they’re going to make the right decisions and then are shocked when they don’t. Well, duh. America is not a Christian nation anymore; we can’t expect non-believers to act like they’re believers. I think there’s a couple of things to keep in mind, for those that are hyper-worked-up over this whole thing.

#1 – You still need to respect authority. I know, they made an awful decision and it looks like things are going to go downhill. I know your life is going to drastically change and the lives of our children will never look the same. But – for whatever reason – God has ultimately been the One Who has allowed these men and women to be in charge, at least for the time being. It’s our job to respect them. We don’t need to agree with them. But, we do need to respect them.

#2 – We know how this is all going to end. Why are we worried? It’s like global warming, for instance. I know that there will never be a worldwide flood ever again. Therefore, I’m not worried if a few glaciers melt. I also know that the world is not going to spontaneously combust. That’s not how it ends. We are protected. Stuff like that doesn’t bother me. Now, according to my eschatology, I don’t believe the U.S. is going to be a world power when the end times do arrive. So that means that the U.S. needs to go down in power before the end times can begin. I don’t know if that means the U.S. will cease to exist or if it will just no longer be as powerful – or powerful at all – I just know that the U.S. is not on the screen during Revelation. Which means something has to happen, probably before the Rapture. Now, the same people that are freaking out (and I do mean freaking out) over the government right now are the same ones that are convinced the rapture will happen in like the next ten years. Well, then it stands to reason that something substantial has to happen to the U.S. before then. I’m not worried. I’d much rather usher in the Rapture and the reign of Christ than have it be stalled another three hundred years, wouldn’t you?

#3 – If you’re of the bent that the end times are rapidly approaching, then you should also realize that the world is going to get worse for believers. The U.S. has had it so easy for…. well, the entire time it’s been in existence. Jesus promised that each of us would face opposition and it would get worse as time went on and the end times approached. Something, therefore, needs to happen in the U.S. for it to “get worse.” Face it. We’re living in a world where things go downhill, not up. If you want Jesus to come back, realize it’s going to get harder, not easier. Realize the world we’re bringing our kids into is going to be worse than the one we were born into. It’s a sign of the times and it merely means that Jesus is coming back a whole lot sooner than we thought.

Now, personally, I’m not of the bent that the Rapture will happen during my lifetime. I do believe it will happen soon, but “soon” on the scope of eternity is still long on the timeline of humanity. I think we’re much, much closer than we’ve ever been. Every day brings us closer than we were yesterday. We’re getting there, of that I’m sure. And honestly, if I see it in my lifetime, that’s fine with me, too. Regardless, the world has to get much, much worse before it does happen and I don’t think we’re there yet.

All that to say, rest. Rest in the assurance that God has it under control. That sounds trite and trivial, but honestly – what else can we do? Worry doesn’t add anything and it’s a sin TO worry. Just let it go and trust that God knows what He’s doing. We’ll be okay. Maybe it won’t be ideal, but we’ll all be okay. This isn’t home anyway. We’re just passing through.

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