Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Four years ago right now (5:39 pm on the 26th), I was still full from Thanksgiving the day before. When you are over 7 months pregnant, Turkey dinner stays with you for a while! I had spent several nights having contractions, getting into a deep tub, praying them away, and on and so on. It wasn't a fun time for me. We had decided to postpone our move to NC for a few months, because we felt led to do just that. (Somewhere around our 4th month of pregnancy, we both felt as if God was keeping us in GA until after the baby was born. ) We were so excited, because we didn't know who this little person was-son or daughter. It was the first time, in four pregnancies, we had waited to find out.

Probably, right at this moment, I was sitting on the couch while Nathan was bathing our three little ones and getting them into jammies. I would spend a little while reading to the kids from a devotional book. We would pray with them and Nathan would tuck them into their beds. AS soon as they were asleep, Nathan would go to PF Changs and get me some spring rolls and cashew chicken (Mmmmmmmmm!). When I finally carried my over-bloated self upstairs, it was almost midnight. As I aid before, we had spent the last several nights playing the should we go or not-game. On THIS night though, I distinctly remember telling Nathan, "Ya know what Nathan? I am going to sleep tonight. I am not going to sit up all night worrying about these contractions. If the Lord wants me to go to the hospital, He will make it abundantly clear to me. With that bold statement, I laid down, closed my eyes, and zonked right out.

Around four hours later, I remember dreaming that I was sitting in the rain on metal bleachers (weird I know). I kept getting up and moving, but everywhere I sat on those bleachers, it was wet. Then I woke up for a brief moment and just before I fell back asleep, I realized that I was still sitting in that wet puddle. I reached underneath myself and (PANIC!!!!!!) my water had broken!!!!! It took me just a split second to gather my thoughts and I reached across Nathan's chest and patted him to wake him. When I got him coherent enough to hear my words, he jumped up and ran out of the room. Just like that. I started to giggle and then he came back in and turned the lights on. By then, I was standing and I saw his face turn the palest shade of white I had ever seen. Where I had been laying was a good bit of blood. This is when the Holy Spirit came and just settled me. Honestly, I am a panicky person when it comes to medical things, but I completely remember feeling so peaceful and joyful about going to the hospital, which was about 45 minutes away.

By the time my in-laws got there to say with the kiddos, Nathan had packed the car and was still running around with his shirt off. He was so panicked, that his Dad asked if I should drive :o) We got to the hospital. I got set up in a room quickly (they don't wait around on a 4th time around Mama with broken water!! Hahaha). I sat through the epidural. The next few moments change my life forever in so many ways.

Two minutes after my epidural, I coughed hard and (we later learned) had a complete abruption (placenta completely tore from the uterus). My baby and I were bleeding out rapidly and Nathan didn't know if either of us were going to make it out of the O.R. , the Dr. had quickly told him that "they would do what they could." For me, it was a blur of bright lights and fuzzy vision. I heard Nathan's voice and then I was out again. I heard a baby crying and something about a daughter and then I was out again. Finally, I remember waking up in a different, darker room and I was looking straight up at the ceiling. There were 45 blankets on me and I could hear Nathan crying and trying to speak trough his tears next me. When I turned my head, I saw him standing over an isolette. There was a swaddled baby in it, but he was reaching over the baby. He had my Bible and was pointing to something in it and showing it to a nurse, who was also crying. Later, he explained that he was showing her the verse that the Lord had given him during his time, waiting for word.

When I could finally muster enough noise out of my throat to get his attention, he was immediately at my face. We cried and cried some more. He told me our baby, our Ella, was here and miraculously healthy. I couldn't move to hold her, but I could barely see her. We cried some more and I insisted that he follow her up to the nursery. When they FINALLY (after 3 hours or so) wheeled me up to the room and brought her in, I was a wreck. I held her and just sobbed. It was just strange crying. Like I was just catching up to what had transpired over the last 10 hours and all the crying I would have done if I had been conscience was coming out.

Tomorrow Ella will be four years old. It is completely unbelievable to me that she is four. She is a spunky and spirited little girl, who can't help but rock and shake her fanny to a good beat. When she is describing something to you, her eyes tell the story as much as her mouth does. She uses words like terrific, beautiful, and amazing and when she uses them, they don't seem lessened by their overuse. You can SEE what they mean to her in her expression. Nathan has always said that she is our Philippians baby, because she is just JOY. She can be a typical toddler, with her sometimes sassy attitude and rolled eyes, but it is all part of her spirit. Passionate is not a word that I would use to describe a lot of children, but I would use it for Ella. She is so passionate about everything-when she dances, when she sings, even when she just plays, she is doing it with 100% commitment and JOY. It is so fun to watch. Her smile and laugh are contagious. Believe me, it is hard to discipline those sweet cheeks sometimes :o)

The Lord used that day four years ago to teach me a lot about my heart for my husband, about my love for my children, and about others that care for us. However, the most miraculous thing He did was create for us our Ella. I can't imagine who ANY of my children would be now without having had her as a sister. I can't imagine being a Mommy without my Ella.

Once all the dust had settled in the hospital and the Dr had a chance to come by and sit with us. We learned that I had, more than likely, begun my abruption at home in our bed. His words shook us to our core when we learned that I should have died before an ambulance could have reached our house. Instead our sweet Ella, moved herself (or was moved by a Divine hand) into a position that literally held everything together until we were at the hospital.

Tomorrow we will give thanks for ALL that we are blessed with and we will, undoubtedly, recall the amazing story of Ella's birth and we will again Praise HIS Holy Name for His work that day.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my sweet Ella-Bella-Buttercream! I love you and I cherish every minute that God has given me to be your Mama. You are our blessing.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Haircut, The Concrete Dive, And A Glimpse Into The Life Of The Busy Mama

Yesterday was a BIG day for my little Ella (age 3- until Thanksgiving Day when she turns a big ole FOUR!!) She had her first "real" haircut with "Mrs. Kaffween". I have always trimmed her hair, as I have all the kids while they are little. My two oldest girls have had their hair cut by Kathleen once already and Ella was just chomping at the BIT to have hers done.

At first, she said she wanted her's cut like a Monkey. Then she changed it to a helmet. Then, after Kathleen got one side finished into the "Murray Bob", she decided she wanted the other side done "pretty like that too."

She looked ABSOLUTELY adorable! She could hardly go to bed for wanting to look at her "new hair" in the mirror. She was equally as cute this morning as she pulled her hood up over her head to "protect her new hair" as we headed out the door to take Graycen to school. Those of you that know her probably can picture her little roly-poly self, skipping down the walk with her hands in her pockets, just happy to be along for the ride.
Then, THIS happened:

While skipping along with her hands in her pockets, she tripped and dove face-first into the concrete It was AWFUL! I was sure we had lost some teeth in it, but ended up with just a ripped up, but still precious little face. I took her to Target to get some liquid bandage to put over it and attempted to put it on her in the parking lot. (By the way, if you see footage on the evening news that resembles that footage taken at the WalMart last year, I WAS trying to get the bandage on her face!!!) Needless to say, she wasn't down with me spraying anything on it, but we finally got it covered. This is from later in the afternoon, when the swelling had gone down.
** I took the pics with my phone to send to Nathan. We were trying to dermine whether or not she needed to see a Dr.***

My poor, little Ella Bella Butter cream.

On a funnier note, I found this photo on my camera phone while uploading the pics of Ella. If you have ever wondered how a busy mama of five goes to the potty on a road trip with all the kids and without her husband...

I feel like this should be posted on one of those motivational posters with the word "TEAMWORK" printed underneath it. Hahahaha!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Erin at Glimpse Into the Life of the Stanfords tagged me to share fifteen things that I'm not afraid to admit. She only listed thirteen. We'll see if I can think of that many.

1. I am married to "Raymond Barone" from Everybody Loves Raymond-minus thereal jerk moments Ray has AND minus that awful mother. I will promise you that we have had many of the conversations that those characters have!!! It makes watching that show, even for the thousandth time, that much better.

2. One of my all-time favorite movies is Clash Of The Titans. Remember the one with the computer animated Medusa and the robo-"Cracken"? I just love it.

3. I don't pursue perfection."Good enough" is good enough for me.

4. I am often unrealistic when it comes to my expectations of other people. I don't pursue perfection in them either, but I often expect characteristics in people that just aren't there.

5. I don't really like to watch Extreme Home Makeover. I just can't stop the tears and I am way too sappy to need MORE reasons to cry.

6. I don't like to be present when people embarrass themselves. Even if it is someone on TV, I HAVE to change the channel or leave the room. I can't stand to watch.

7. My favorite candies are hot tamales and swedish fish. I could (and HAVE) made myself sick on those little boogers.

8. I don't keep Tupperware or any food storage container that is left in the fridge too long. "If in doubt, throw it out" is a motto I use that drives my hubby insane :o)

9. I love, love, love being at home for Christmas with my "little" family. It is such a sweet time of fellowship just for us. I *love* that we stay in jammies all day and take our own sweet time opening gifts. The kids are free to stop and play with whatever they want and there is no, "Ok, we'll play with that (great, fanastic toy that you want so badly to open and explore) later." It is a great tradition that I am thankful the Lord led us to years ago.

10. I am terrified of the dentist, as evidenced by the throbbing pain in my tooth that I have had for the last couple of weeks from a root-canal-gone bad in 2006, that then turned into temporary cap that fell out a month ago. Follow?

11. I want very badly to be THAT child of God. I want to long for nothing more than Him and to be satisfied, even joyful, about those things in my life that cause me pain-staking growth. However, I am not THAT child......................yet.

12. I enjoy serving my friends. I know that sounds like a brag or even a LIE, but I really do enjoy serving others. It brings ME so much happiness to make a meal for someone that needs it, that I have wondered if it is indeed a selfish indulgence. I *love* it.

13. I miss my Dad. After 34 years of trying and over 3 years of not seeing him or knowing him at all, I still wake up each day secretly hoping this will be the day that he finds knowing me & my kiddos worthy of good change in his life.

14. I *hate* Barney. I mean to say that I really despise that purple dinosaur. It isn't a religious thing. I just do not like him. I managed to keep him out of the house through the first 6 years of being a parent, but we had cable then. Now, with only limited kids' programming, Barney makes an appearance twice a week (that is all I can take!!!). I still don't like him though.

15. I like peanut butter & syrup on my waffles. Yum-O!

I would like to tag:

& Casey

On my way to check my bloglines and then let you all know!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

8th Verse, Same As The First...(and 2nd, and 3rd, and you get it)

Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends and foes alike,

We have reached that part of the semester that we have come to know as "the trenches". In the restaurant industry, they call it "the weeds". Nathan's school load is at a peak. With school and work, his stress is high. I am supporting him any way can, which sometimes involves just staying up WITH him to make sure HE doesn't fall asleep instead of write his paper, or book review, or curriculum assignment or (fill in the blank). Therefore, I am tired and under stress as well. The kids feel it and they seem a little more...stressed, I guess. It is an acute time in our life, but OH how I can't wait for it to be over!!!

This is the part of the semester that we always try and think about before we say "yes" to service opportunities and commitments outside of the home. In a non-trench time, all of our service and ministry opportunities seem easily achieved. We try (before we commit) to imagine how they will be now, during times when we are already pressed. So, here we are being pressed and serving, and trying to do it with the correct heart-attitude. Being pressed does make serving difficult. Impossible? No. VERY DIFFICULT, yes ma'am! The question I always get asked is why? Why do we teach? Why do we serve in AWANAS? The answer is very simple...

EASY AIN'T A PROMISE!!!! (said with all the love I can muster this morning).

Today, I am tired from AWANAS last night and then staying up to work on crafts for our church's ladies' outreach this weekend. I absolutely DID NOT want to stay up until 2 am to wake Nathan, so that he could get some sleep before burning the midnight oil on a deadline. Never did I think that we would sleep in our bed in shifts. That one NEVER even entered my radar until this semester. These days, it is common.

I am looking forward to being able to post this again. There is joy in the morning friends. The last day of classes this semester is December 8th! It is so close that the release of burden starts to creep into my heart like the sunlight creeps in through that slit that never seems to close in your bedroom curtains. We are pressed right now. We have a lot on us. The past two weeks, in particular, have been heavy laden for me. I am ready to put them down and breathe easy for a few weeks. Nathan's next semester promises to be just as tough as this one, but at the end of it will be a day that we have (until now) thought of in the same way some think of unicorns. He will get his undergrad at the end of this next semester and I know that we will feel SUCH a release! Whew! (I just literally yelped!) It makes me want to push through the weeds even harder now! I know that his education will immediately continue into his graduate work, but OH what a day that will be!!!!!!

So, here I am again friends--asking for your sweet prayers for our family. I am getting over the pride that tells me I ask too much. We need them ALL right now :o) We are pressed. We are weary in our well-doing right now. Last night, after I got the kids to bed (with an elevated tone and a frustrated spirit) I found myself sitting in my chair and just crying. I was so tired and so undone. I ended up spending time curled up with each of them in their beds, just hugging them and reminding them of how much I love them. They were so tired that they had already gone to sleep, but it didn't matter. Just like the 7 before it, we will get through this semester. I thank you for your prayers. The good thing about the weeds is that, as hard as they are to drudge through, you learn to appreciate open fields even more!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thank you Lord.

This morning looked and felt a lot like this when I woke up this morning and started on the route to Graycen's school...

Then, as I drove home, I started noticing the colors in the trees. They were just gorgeous! As the morning went on, it seemed that the leaves on the trees were lit from the inside. They were shining even through the grim, gray day that the weather had brought in.

I had some errunds to run, but I ran home and grabbed my little Mama-point-n-shoot. I just couldn't pass up these colors. Not today. Here is what I found as I ran my errunds and drove around town today.

I think that the Lord sent us a little message through these colors today.

He is with us even now.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A butterfly, a ladybug, a monkey, a frog, and a grouper walk into a church. Have you heard this one?

Here they are! Sorry about the wait. It has been a BUSY weekend. Feel free to refer to this post to find out what in the world I am talking about here :o)

Our froggy:

Our monkey:

Our ladybug:

Our peacock butterfly:

And last, but not least, our grouper:

We had a great time with our friends and family (inlaws in town, YEAH!). The kids just *love* playing the games and it is always so much fun to see how everyone shows up. On the way home, the kids decided on the theme for next year . They came up with it themselves and it promises to be HYSERICAL, but it is under lock and key. There are SPIES among us!
Hee Hee Hee.
Make a note to check back on 11/01/09. Can you even WAIT that long?!?!?!?1