Saturday, August 4, 2012

a DIFFERENT perfect house

          Settle down, it'll all be clear
          Don't pay no mind to those demons
          They fill you with fear
          The trouble it might drag you down
          If you get lost you can always be found

          Just know you're not alone
          I'm gonna make this place your home

The lovely Elizabeth Kosorski posted this song on my Facebook wall the other day, and her timing couldn't have been more perfect. It was the word of the Lord to us.

We were discouraged, see? Before we moved out here, we had an apartment all lined up and just needed to sign the papers, but JM and I both felt like the Lord had something better for our family. So we took a step of faith and didn't sign the lease. My brother-in-law's brother-in-law's parents (Larry and Suzanne) live in Redding, and very graciously brought us into their home so that we could be in the area while house-hunting. We thought for sure we'd find a place within a few weeks and be out of their home by August 1.
We applied a rental house which we thought would be perfect for our family. The day we were turned down for that house, we found a townhome that was possibly even more perfect for us. We were so excited! This must be it! Well, the townhome came down to a toss up between us and another family... and the owners chose the other family.

Enter discouragement. Our month was nearly up. We thought we had heard from God all along the way, but it wasn't looking good for us. I should know the faithfulness of God by now. And yet I was asking "Why, Lord? It came down to a coin toss, and you let us lose? Aren't you supposed to give us favor? What happened? Did we hear wrong? Should we have gone with the original apartment?" Sometimes I can't believe how easily I doubt Him.

I spent about a day feeling rather blue. The next morning, JM found a house on Craigslist that was within our budget, and he called and left a message about it. The owner called back and they talked about the house and JM ended up telling her that he didn't think the house would meet our family's needs.

Meanwhile, I was making lunch in the kitchen, and Suzanne came in and told me about how she had just come back from having lunch with a friend, and how this friend has a house for rent. Suzanne told her about us, and the friend got really excited. She loves to rent to Bethel students, and told Suzanne that she would love to rent to us if their house fit our needs.

Can you guess? It was the same house JM had found on Craigslist that morning, and Suzanne's friend was the one he had talked to on the phone. Ha! So he called her back and said maybe we would come look at the house after all! We went and fell in love with the house and with the owners, put in an application, and within two days we were approved! Praise Jesus!

He does take care of us. Every time. Now we have a wonderful house, plus wonderful landlords who will be living across the street and want to get to know us and make sure we're not alone out here. The Lord is surrounding us with family and meeting our needs. He is so faithful.

Our House! Nice little porch on the front, for sitting and spying on the neighbors.

And this is what the inside looks like right now.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Six Months

Samuel had his 1/2th birthday this month. My little newborn became a six month old. How did that happen? This is how life goes from here on out, I guess: FAST!

Milestones: This month he decided to try everything at once. He's sitting up, lunging forward, rocking on his hands and knees, pulling himself to standing while holding onto our hands. He's adventure boy! I love watching his wide eyed wonder about the world he's just discovering. He's gonna be all over the place before we know it.

Sleep: is for wieners! (I wish I were a wiener.)

I put Sam, asleep, in his own bed at the beginning of the night, in hopes that he'll stay asleep longer than he would if he were in bed with us. (All just wishful thinking, of course) He wakes up every 1-3 hours to make sure I'm still there, and to have a little snack. After the first waking, I just bring him to bed with me so I don't have to get up and down again all night long. This would be a bigger problem if I had to get up and go to work every morning, like many moms do, or if I had older children who needed me. I don't know what I would do if I did right now. As things are, I'm able to stay in bed til late in the morning to try to make up for the sleep I lose at night.

I have mixed feelings about the nursing-all-night issue. On the one hand, it would be wonderful to experience just 4 or 5 hours of unbroken sleep every night. On the other hand, to watch him nestle down to sleep next to me, so peaceful and happy, is the sweetest thing. We both feel right, laying there together. There's such a feeling of well-being. I may try to encourage other sleep associations for him here in the next few months, for the sake of us all getting a bit more solid sleep. But, for now, I think I'll just enjoy the closeness.

Likes: Waking up next to Mommy and Daddy; his new stuffed monkey that sings the ABC song; ice water; long kisses on the cheek; rhythm and melody; chewing on carrots; to be held horizontally as though he were flying; climbing and grabbing all the things!

Dislikes: Smashed banana; getting stuck on his tummy where he can't get to his toys; his carseat, with a passion; playing with the same toy for more than 30 seconds.

Mommy: is the comforter after bonking one's head; is able to accomplish a little more during the day than she was a few months ago; is snappy when tired and is learning how much she needs the work of the Spirit to make her more like Jesus.

Daddy: is FUN; makes Sammy laugh a lot; is the one Sam looks to for affirmation after accomplishing something new, which I think is interesting and very cool.

Most Common Grocery Store Comment: "What a happy baby!" That makes a momma feel good. 

Sam's first taste of banana.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Update on the Move

Here we are. Redding, California. Which, by the way, has a pretty decent 4th of July fireworks show. Especially when viewed from a back porch on top of a hill overlooking the city. We spent the holiday with some new friends, extended family really, who opened their home to us until we can find a place to live here in town. Such a blessing.

I think my definition of family is being expanded a bit. Nothing will ever replace my parents and siblings as my first and closest family, but I am finding family now in unexpected places. I think this has got to be the grace of God for this season, as JM and Samuel and I are moving farther away from family than we've ever lived before.

Anyway, we arrived here July 1 and frantically began searching for our new home, in hopes that we would be able to move in before the Fridenparents went back home to Phoenix. We had hoped to avoid putting our things in storage, just to move it all out again a few weeks later. So we looked and looked, but nothing came up. We were frazzled and pressured and exhausted from the drive and the unsettled lifestyle of the last week. Moving across the country is no walk in the park!

Then we realized that everything would be closed July 4. At first we were irritated, because that meant that we were losing a day and would pretty much have to put our things in storage because the moving truck was due back. But the holiday ended up being a blessing. It forced us to relax a little bit and remember that we were in God's hands and that He has a plan for us. Boy, was that a relief!

So. Our things are in storage, and we're still searching for a home. But we're with family, and in God's hands, and I think this is all going to work out.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Unmedicated Birth: You Can Do It!

This is the first of a couple of blogs about labor and birth, so IF any dudes are tempted to read, beware! I've kept it pretty PG, but I'm sure there are some things I'll write that you're really not gonna want to think about. :o)

This blog is for mommies-to-be who are interested in having an unmedicated birth, and for all those who have heard the horror stories of labor (oh, how we women like to tell them!) and caught the terror but not the wonder of it all. After the unmedicated birth of my first baby in January, I wanted to shout to the whole world of women: It's awesome! You were made for it! You can do it!

All said and done, my labor was about 18 hours from my first real contraction to Samuel's birth. There were no complications, he was in the perfect position, and it went smoothly. So my experience is based on a pretty much perfect scenario. I know many times there are issues with women's bodies or the baby's position, and that these introduce more difficulties into the process. But I just want to alleviate some of the fear about labor in general, and the idea that it is to be feared, dreaded or avoided. Labor, at its best, can and should be a bearable and even exhilarating experience!

My testimony is that it was exactly that! For sure, it was the most intense thing I have ever been through, and there was definitely pain involved, but our bodies were created so amazingly that if you work with the process instead of fighting it, you can actually enjoy it!

Here's the thing. Left alone, our bodies release hormones that work like natural drugs. Oxytocin, prolactin, adrenaline and noradrenaline, and beta-endorphin are all involved in the process of labor and delivery. My favorites, if I can have favorites, are beta-endorphin (your body's natural pain-killer) and oxytocin. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for your contractions, among many other things, and also for a euphoric emotional high when the hormone peaks at delivery. I like to call it my "happy drug." I was FLYING emotionally all the way from the pushing stage til 48 hours after Samuel was born. It's these hormones that help you cope with the intensity of labor and delivery, and come out of it all with the most glorious memories.

It has been noted that the use of epidural anesthesia actually inhibits the release of these hormones. Likewise, pitocin (the synthetic form of oxytocin, given to intensify or speed up contractions in the case of a slow-moving labor) is injected straight into the blood stream and doesn't enter the brain and therefore doesn't contribute to a post-birth "high." Pitocin can also reduce the mother's own oxytocin production/release.

Our bodies were made to handle the physical stress of labor and delivery without any man-made drugs. When you prepare for the process as adequately as you can, and learn to work with your body, relaxing and surrendering to each contraction instead of tensing up against the pain and fighting the process, it really can be a wonderful and exhilarating experience.

Oh, and the fear of tearing? Don't worry about it. I was freaked out about the idea all throughout my pregnancy, and when it came down to it, I tore and got stitches and the whole shabang, but it was the least of my problems. It was really no big deal. I know some people have a harder time with the tearing thing than I did, but I don't think worrying about it beforehand does any good when it comes down to it. :)

Here's something you may not know. In the book of Genesis, when the Lord curses woman by saying "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth," the word for "pain" is exactly the same word that's translated "toil" when He curses the ground and says to Adam "in toil you will eat of it." Having children is that: really hard work. And yes it hurts. But it shouldn't be unbearably excruciating, any more than a farmer's (do those still exist?) work is unbearably excruciating. AND you get a baby out of the deal! WIN!!!

So, that's my bit about that! As I was first writing this blog, I started to include my birth story, but then realized it would be WAY too long that way, so decided I'd put that in another post. So again, my whole message to women who will one day soon bear children is this:
It's awesome! You were made for it! You can do it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Negativity, and how it's so negative...

Last week I realized I needed a serious attitude adjustment... All my thoughts of the future had a negative edge to them! I'm never going to finish everything I need to finish before the baby comes. Where are all my family members going to stay? It's going to be so lame to give birth in a hospital instead of at home. We don't even have a good name for the little guy. What if the baby comes late and JM has to leave for a Radiant trip before I'm ready for him to? This whole labor thing is going to be terrible. Blah blah blah blah...

Yeah. All negative. It was totally weighing me down! The Lord had to come in and lift up my eyes to see that He has GOOD plans for me! That He has multitudes of thoughts toward me (Ps 139) and they are of PEACE and not of evil (Jer 29:11)! I so want to live a life of faith and expectancy. One filled with the knowledge of His ever-Presence, His goodness toward me, and the joy of being near Him.

Maybe everything isn't going to be so bad after all. Maybe my future is destined to be full of joy and peace, and maybe He will actually be WITH me through the whole process of delivering this child. Can God be in a hospital, too? Of course!!! Silly Han.

Ah, the power of renewing one's mind with the Word of God...