Saturday, August 20, 2011

and life goes on...

Interesting to read back at my old posts. It's been a long time since I've written; I lost interest in blogging which is quite alright with me. But now I might start back up for a different chapter of my life has begun.

I'm pregnant! Bryan and I have made a beautiful baby that's now growing inside me and when I think of that I'm in awe of God. I'm also pleasantly surprised by His timing. This is the time for this child. We're parents! It's so incredible to me. It's early on enough for me to not feel entirely pregnant yet, so it's hard to wrap my brain around. But I know soon enough I'll feel like a full-fledged pregnant woman, which will make that part real but knowing I'll have a child in my arms who's half Bryan and half me, whom God has entrusted to our care for his or her whole life... will probably be beyond comprehension until the day he or she actually makes that happily anticipated entrance into the world.

We knew this year was a year of preparation for this time of our lives. We had a lot of goals we set before us, mostly financial and to-do's for our home, and most of which we didn't attain. Guess that doesn't matter in the eyes of God. And it doesn't really matter in mine either. Finances are definitely important but I feel like there's so many other areas of our lives that weigh heavily into how fit we are to be parents and I know this time is prime. I mostly know that though, because God ordained it to be so. Can't question that! Our child has been conceived, and will be born, and will live for such a time as this. Only because God says so.

My birth philosophy isn't a popular one as I'm sure is the case with most of my life philosophy/beliefs/values in general. I might catch some flack from friends and family but in general those I've told have been supportive maybe with a bit of apprehension lingering around the edges. My philosophy is that of an unmedicated natural homebirth, with a midwife and doula, in my home, in a little pool of water. That is, if the baby and I stay low risk. If the pregnancy isn't totally low key, I'll be finding myself a doctor and hospital to give birth in. (Which I will be doing anyway as a back-up plan in case labor and delivery don't go as planned.) But for now, I have my first appointment with my midwife on Tuesday and I couldn't be more excited for it.

Since this May, I've been writing in a journal to "our future children". And now I get to actually write to my present child. It's going to be so cool to read back on all of those entries one day, and hopefully super cool for my child to read. I would have deeply treasured a gift like that from my parents.

Cissa prophesied over me one day and said, "I just know you guys will be blessed with a child soon. And that's not coming from me." What we didn't know at the time was just how soon - let alone the fact that baby Hamell was already in the works that day and we didn't even know it!

And then today our pastor's wife Ann told me that when I saw her last Sunday, she thought I looked so radiant and the Holy Spirit told her I was pregnant. My telling her the news today confirmed what God told her on Sunday! There again, I was pregnant, but nobody knew it yet. Both of these things give me chills!

And what's even cooler... I've been more in love with God and the Bible than any time of my life. I can only say I've truly been in love with the Bible for only a couple of shamefully short seasons in my life. But this time feels different. It radiates permanency to me. A whole new season of a whole new immovable dependence that I will have on my Lord for life and light and sustenance... I just know that bringing a child into the world will consistently bring me to my knees. And I welcome that.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Life is only a vapor

There have been many reminders lately that life is so temporary. Most of the time I live my life and think my thoughts and say my words as if I have 80 more years to live. But I can't live that way and it's hard to remember that. I have to live just like the cliche - "like there's no tomorrow!" Because honestly, there may not be one! It's hard to wrap my mind around what that actually means.

What it DOESN'T mean is:
1. Resolving to not make plans for tomorrow (or further in the future)because "it doesn't matter"
2. Being frivolous with what you're given so that if you do end up living 80 more years, those latter years are miserable and you end up with regret
3. Being unwise with your plans so that "tomorrow" falls apart
4. Crawling into a hole and blinding yourself to needs and relationships
5. Not praying for the future or losing hope for the future
6. Not having kids because "you don't want to bring people into this world"
7. Doing dumb things because you think life doesn't matter
8. Giving into worldly pleasures because "what does it matter?"
9. Sinning because "life is short!"
10. Not building a beautiful legacy that can be passed down through many generations

What it DOES mean is:
1. Being wise with money and relationships and talents you've been given for the Glory of God and futhering His Kingdom even IF life as we know it ends tomorrow
2. Living passionately to love and reach out to fellow man
3. Upholding God's commandments and obeying Him from the overflow of our love for Him
4. Bring kids into the world so that they can positively affect it
5. Do things with much prayer, wisdom, and discernment because every action DOES matter.
6. Building a beautiful legacy that everyone who knows you can adore you for and can make an impact on generations to come
7. And most importantly... building a strong relationship with Jesus Christ so that you can have confidence on judgment day... whenever that is.

None of us know WHEN that will be. But I could be struck down with sickness. I could have my sight, speech, hearing, ability to walk, or ability to bear children taken away. I could have my most loved ones taken away. Our government and country could crumble. Natural disaster could strike out a whole civilization, and it could be ours. And what will we have to show for the short life we've lived?

Suffer well. Draw close to God in trouble. Adhere to a life of loving Him first and putting others before ourselves. Live with JOY no matter our circumstances. Because that is what God calls us to do as Christians.

Defend God and the Bible with humility. Love others so passionately that you are a good vessel for God to use to bring people to Him so that they may have life everlasting with Him in Heaven and on a new perfect earth.

I'm feeling this so passionately right now it makes my heart stop. I feel so invigorated when I'm in the presence of someone who obviously loves the Lord. I want to soak them in. I want the world to be saturated by this type of people. And that makes me want to be in the presence of the Lord so badly that I can barely think of anything else. The best part is... I know that someday I will be in His presence. NOTHING can amount to that comfort and joy. Nothing can amount to that.

Someday Lord, I'm going to be with you and that makes me so happy! But in the meantime, while I'm here doing your work however short or long a time that may be, I pray that I can build a relationship with you so strong and help others to do the same. Amen.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Prayer Stones


A sweet woman I adore started a cool thing that she shared with me and group of some ladies. Prayer stones. She gets stones and puts them all together out on a plate in her entry way so that guests can ask what they're about and so that she and her family can have constant reminders. On these stones she writes a word or short phrase to describe a prayer God has answered or a big move in her life He's made or a miracle or just something cool to remember that God's done. On the back of the stone she writes a number, and in a journal she writes the story down in detail. When the stone is read she hopes it jolts the memory of God's goodness and faithfulness, and the number serves to tell where to turn in the journal to read the full story. She gave each of us in the group our first bag of stones and told us to start doing the same thing. Our stones are out in our living room on a plate. I can't wait until I have too many stones to contain. God is so good.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

God, I want to love you more than...



You know that empty feeling in your soul? That incessant hole in your heart that just won't go away. Like something with a dagger dipped in poison has stabbed away at your guts and now the poison burns fiercly at the edges? It throbs. It shoots piercing pain all the way into your brain and down to your feet. It can be debilitating. It can drive you deep into sorrow. So what can you do? Oh how you try to soothe yourself. You try lathering on a salve by engulfing yourself in friends, spouses, children. Or maybe it's fashion, beauty, shopping. Or working out, reading, eating, Facebook. Or maybe you try a shot to numb it... maybe it's drugs, alcohol, sex, or TV. All you know is, you need more of something. You have to kill this pain somehow. You need more of that thing that gives you the temporary happiness. Maybe you just need even more and more of it so it will sustain you longer next time. Maybe more love. More attention. More sweet kind words. More knowledge. More of the hobby that makes you happy. Better of something; everything. More money. Nicer house or car. More self-control. More more more... better better better... need need want want. The addicts, the self-destructive, the lonely, the depressed, the ones who give up and shut down and feel they can't do anything right... Is that you?

Something just needs to go your way for once. And then you'll be happy. Right? Something needs to change, and then you'll be happy? Something needs to improve, and then you'll feel better?

Circumstances.

Can you notice a pattern? Noticable behavior, recordable data... heavy, colorful feelings and desires... in yourself and in others? Deep things you won't be very likely to share with very many people, if anyone. Yeah, those desires.

And that gut-wrenching feeling... yeah that one you can't handle... the one you'd do anything to keep away forever...

The one that can range from a day-to-day funk all the way to can't-get-out-of-bed draining, weakening, exhausting emptiness.

That's there to stay.

Why?

Because we were Made that way. Yes, God made you that way. He designed you to be an empty vessel that needs to be filled. Filled with what? Well, not with fashion, or stuff, or money, or sex, or alcohol, or music, or art, or friendships, or marriages, or kids or any amount of strength, character, experience or achievement. None of that will do it. None of that will sustain you for very long. It will always drain out the bottom. Something will go wrong. Someone will let you down. A tragedy will happen in your life. And what will you do then?

God designed us this way in order to make it impossible for us to live life in any way except fully dependent on Him. He made us with that nagging throbbing hole in our heart to entice us to come to him for fellowship and love and no one else. Nothing else. Every day. Him. He fills us. He loves us. He forgives, and accepts, and affirms, and strengthens, and defends us. And he designed it so that nothing else will do. At least not for long.

Take His hand. He's reaching out for you. Every moment of every day He's waiting for you to choose him. He can alleviate all your pain. He will inspire you to depths you didn't know existed. He will give you a life richer than you knew to be possible. He will redeem you. He will make you brand new.

God is alive and He is the Father of light. He will light up your life. He will make you a light. He will give you meaning and purpose and He will fill your heart. That hole is God-shaped. Only he can fill it. And you have to allow it.

So what do I do to ward off the horrible feelings, the dark thoughts, the sadness and lonliness, the temptations and tendencies to fall into bad ways? How do I manage to have any discernment in my words and actions? How do I pull off a completely full life with an overflowing heart of love? Only by God. Only because I choose to fellowship with my God. I read his Word - the Bible. I want to understand his heart and character. I desire to know him more every day. I endeavor to talk with him throughout my days fully dependent on him to guide my every step. I desire to trust him fully. I give him the reigns on my life. I die to myself not only daily, but moment by moment. Because I know I can be corrupted. I know my heart will lead me astray. But with God's spirit inside me, I can allow myself to be led. And he will lead me, fill me, and love me.

Besides reading the Bible and praying and going to church and fellowshipping with other Christians to keep the right perspective, one phrase I have found in the past couple weeks to be life-changing for me is...

God, I want to love you more than...

When I'm feeling hurt I think, "God I want to love you more than these hurt feelings." And it instantly changes my perspective and allows me to forgive the offender.

"God, I want to love you more than my husband." And I stop expecting too much of him; expecting him to do for me what only God can. Which causes bitter roots in our marriage.

"God, I want to love you more than my belongings." And I can let go of them with no problem. Sell them. Move in a new direction. Not fear a material tragedy.

"God, I want to love you more than being pretty." And I don't fret about a zit (or a bazillion). I stop desiring to spend money frivolously on fashion or false promises. I find my beauty in the way God made me, perfect in his design. No matter how I'm housed.

"God, I want to love you more than money." And I'm able to give with more joy. I'm able to be frugal with more joy. I'm able to appreciate what I have with more joy. I'm able to align my actions with the bigger picture.

"God, I want to love you more than my friends." And I stop expecting perfection from them. I stop fearing the loss of their friendship. I don't depend on them for what they're not designed to provide me. I take the pressure off of our friendship.

"God, I want to love you more than my family." And I let go of bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment and hurt feelings. I don't fear old age. I don't fear death. I cherish each moment I'm given.

"God, I want to love you more than _________."

What will you fill the blank with?

When my thoughts start to go dark, and I feel my heart slipping into that searing pain once again, I think on this phrase. Then the door is opened like a floodgate and I can think on how God loves me. I can think on his promises. I can think about how he sings over me. How he wants to give me joy. Then I make a choice. Do I choose him? Or do I not?

I want to choose him.

God, I want to love you more. More than it all.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Character of God




I know one thing is FOR SURE. God is good. He is infinitely more good than any of us can even fathom. He loves us with more love than each of us inhabits put together. He loves us more than we love even our own children. Because he doesn't just love us, he IS love. And because of that, He wants good for us.

This is the first thing anyone seeking the character of God learns about Him. He is good. He is love. And no matter what different theologies throw your way, always know: God is GOOD. God is LOVE.

For many people it is difficult to wrap their minds around how tragedies like terminal diseases, tsunamis, earthquakes, wild fires, war, or death could exist with such a good and loving God. The best thing one can do is go straight to the Word of God - the Bible - to explore God's character. But also remember, God's ways are unfathomable and unscrutible. We won't know EVERYTHING in this life. But if we submit to God, in eternity, we will know the answers to all of our questions.

God will reveal things to us when we seek Him. In His perfect timing, we will hear or read something and the meaning of it will be revealed to our hearts in a whole new way. This is a journey. It is a relationship. Just seek. Always seek.

Don't become overwhelmed or frustrated with questions. That is a pitfall Satan is loving. Stand firm against spiritual warfare, gird yourself with the armor of God, and battle with the best weapon He gives us - His Word. Read, and pray for God to reveal the Truth to you. He will. Every time.

This is a journey I've been walking through hard lately. I've been cutting down heavy brush with my Sword. At points I've felt so confused, frustrated, and tired. But God brought me sparks of encouragement in different ways and every time it all made me into a different person. Refined.

I would love to talk with anyone who has questions or needs encouragement. I'd love to explain why I believe what I do. We're all on this journey together. Nothing in this world is better, or more important.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And "if the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

1 Peter 4:12-19

Monday, March 21, 2011

Babysitting!



I just met a wonderful mommy who is hiring me to watch her sweet 7 month old son a couple days a week. I'm very excited to serve her in this way and get experience caring for babies! I can tell it will be a great connection between she and I and her son. Thank you Lord for this opportunity! It's so amazing and restful to know that God knows the desires of my heart perhaps even more intimately than I do! He sees it, knows it, feels it, even before I do and has a plan in motion! I know I will grow to love this family quickly.

Transitioning from being a desk girl, to a stay at home wife, to part stay at home wife part babysitter, is exactly what I hoped for! I'd learned all I felt I could from my office job and desired something else that would be part ministry part experience for the direction I want my future to go in. She may not even realize how awesome this is for me!

Very excited once again, for the way God orchestrates things!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Money Talk




Why does it seem as though all too often our hopes and dreams are all tied up in dollar signs? Because of fear. Worry. Control. Misplaced idol.

Why does money cause fights in marriages, seemingly no matter what tax bracket the household represents? Insecurity. Mistrust. Miscommunication.

I've tried so hard to loosen my heart's ties with money. Sometimes it feels easy, no problem at all! Other times I feel like I'm getting choked out by the basic fact that money is necessary to live. Sometimes the hippie in me really does wish we could live on love alone. But God uses money to teach us something. It's not just some monster of a thing and that isn't how we should treat it. It can be beautiful. When we're learning a hard lesson we should not fear or worry. We should allow God to take the steering wheel because He has a big plan for us. Something better than we could ever design for ourselves. We should place our security and trust in God. We should also trust our spouses and make 100% efforts to communicate thoroughly with them.

When we can be trusted with little, only then can we be trusted with much.

So times get hard. We dig ourselves into holes. We wake up one day and realize that we've given into too many worldy pleasures and lost sight of the bigger picture. Sometimes this causes us anger and strife but we can't give in to those feelings! We must resist that. We must act. We must surrender our actions and behaviors that have gotten us into this place we're in and ask God to guide us because we want to change it! Who wants to live in a vicious money cycle their whole lives?

I find that money problems, no matter how severe, easily bring us to our knees. They force us to choose. What will we be dependent on? Who will we rely on? Ourselves? Our parents? Our spouses? Our jobs? Our investments? Or will we choose the harder choice, the right choice? To use this situation to allow ourselves to be more dependent on God, therefore closer to Him? Will we allow ourselves to listen for His voice? Will we surrender to His will? We will choose to rely on Him as our Provider?

How we use our money is one of the best, if not the very best, way to determine what order of importance people hold things in their lives. What are we spending our money on? What SHOULD we be spending our money on? How do we want to represent ourselves? How do we want to represent God?

I want to represent God, and myself as a daughter of God, well. I want to suffer well through financial difficulty, I want to learn well, I want to teach well. I'm not asking for perfect financial times. But I believe we set the bar too low for ourselves. Sacrifice and self-control aren't easy and they shouldn't be. How else are we going to learn if not by forcing ourselves to make tough choices?

Admittedly, my default behavior is to give in to what I want when I want it. This is a behavior that I must train out of myself with a series of hard decisions that will become a new habit. That can only happen by submitting to my Lord, remembering the bigger picture, and putting other things before myself. This could be a long journey, but I hope I'm a fast learner. A Kingdom mindset is the only thing that will continually inspire me to make the harder and better choices.

I refuse to fear, worry, mistrust, or lash out in anger. I'm choosing faith, love, forgiveness, trust, grace, and steps forward.

Monday, March 7, 2011

How God Beautifully Orchestrates Things



Let me tell you about a story that happened yesterday; a real life testimony that displays how God uses all things for the good and how His love doesn't want to leave us how we are, but rather desires take us to places we've never been. (I have permission to tell this story.) :)

Sunday morning while I was still rolling around in bed, I received a text from my friend asking me to pray for her broken heart; she'd been crying all morning. I texted back that I'd be praying for her, and that I'd check in with her later to see how she's feeling.

I went about the next few minutes normally. I got up, went to the bathroom and started getting ready for church. All the sudden it hit me; an impression on my heart: Invite her to come to church with you.

She's a church-going gal herself. She and her husband and 3 kids. But as soon as I "heard" what God was telling me, I stopped what I was doing cold and ran to my phone. I texted her, "Will you come to church with us? 10:30. We'll pick you up." It was probably 10:00 when I texted her that message and I wasn't sure what she would respond. But she agreed to go!

I got to her house and she had thrown herself and her 3 kids together so quickly! (I was impressed.) They were ready to go! She said she'd actually just planned on watching church online because her husband was working and she didn't feel like going anywhere. But then when I invited her to church with us, she felt she should come.

We got the kids set up in kids church and then took our seats during worship. After the message, two women from our church took the mic and told us about a word God had given them during intercessory prayer that morning. God wanted to heal someone. Not just anyone and not in just any way. Not physically, but spiritually and emotionally. Specifically: a late 20s/early 30s age woman who was deeply hurt by a friend two years ago and still held bitterness and pain over the situation. My friend was listening to this word and broke down into tears. I went to her and hugged her while she cried, and then brought her to a woman on the prayer team to receive prayer for this.

Mind you, I had no idea what my friend had been upset about that morning. But as soon as I heard that word being said to the church, I felt in my heart it was for her. Then I noticed Bryan looking at her, I turn, and see her crying. Praise the Lord He had a big plan for her that day! He had created such a beautiful series of events, heart impressions, whispers to the soul, and gentle nudges to get her right where she was!

That prayer was so powerful. My friend told us that word was for her. We prayed for her healing, for forgivness, and for the cycle of this relational pain to be broken. That morning, my friend was freed!

Oh, how beautifully God orchestrates things! OH how He loves us! He doesn't want us to live in bitterness and pain but desires to set us free from everything! I am in such awe over the whole thing!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Simple



I want to be a simple girl. I don't want to care about expensive clothes or always being trendy. I don't want to care about what make up I may or may not be wearing. I don't want to care if my hair is perfect all the time. I don't want to care about whether my house has the prettiest lawn or if everything inside is matchy matchy or trendy trendy. I don't want to care about those things!

I want to make the most out of what I already have. Because no matter what I add to my life, none of it will bring me happiness. I may get a little momentary high from having purchased a new something that I think will make life better or make me feel prettier, but that fades so fast! I find myself often regretting purchases I've made! I have so much right now. I don't need to add more of the things that aren't necessary!

This is not a legalistic stance I have about my life. I'm totally great with adding things like Netflix and a computer and a shelf to my life. EVEN clothes or jewelry or whatever! But only if I can truly afford it. That is the bottom line. ONLY if I can truly afford something, do I want to allow myself to make this additions to my life. If I cannot, why am I squandering money that could be so much better used elsewhere?? It's selfish!

I love giving. I love buying gifts for people. I love surprising people with something they've mentioned they wanted in passing. I love lifting people's spirits with little tokens that I care. I love being able to respond to people's real needs! I love having the freedom to give when something unexpected arises in life.

We don't have much debt left, but I value the importance of that getting finished off. I value the importance of getting necessary things done around our house in preparation for the day God says it's time to start a family. I value the importance of paying all of our bills, and on time. I value the lessons God gives us on being good stewards of the things He has given us.

I need to be a good steward of the home He's given us. I need to be a good steward of the wardrobe He's provided me. I need to be a good steward of the technology I have. I need to be a good steward of having this little puppy life in my care. I need to be a good steward of the reliable gas-efficient car I've been given. I need to be a good steward of my relationships first and foremost! Especially with God! If I have a sudden "craving" to add such and such thing to my life that I don't need or can't afford, it's probably safe to say that I don't have my priorities in check and that my perspective on life needs to be realigned with God's wishes and purpose.

I'm a giver and I value generosity. I don't desire to charge people (especially friends and family) for things that I can afford to give away. This to me, is integrity too. I want to be a helper. I want to be a blesser. And I want to be a simple girl who doesn't need things to be happy.

As a woman, I enjoy everything being in it's place, and nice smells, and cleanliness, and pretty things, and environments that make me sigh contently, and being able to look in the mirror and wink at myself in my heart because I am fearfully and wonderfully made in God's image; therefore, I am beautiful. I want to clothe myself in righteousness! Not trendiness. I am a lot more beautiful wearing thrift store clothes or hand-me-downs, with God radiating out of my heart, eyes, pores, and lips, than I am wearing my brand new blouse and shoes and lipstick, fussing with my hair and over my appearance and speaking and thinking about who knows what - that is totally unimportant and unimpactful.

I don't knock how big this struggle is. For women especially, it's a biggy. But these cheap substitutes for joy in God I know, are not the things I want to chase after in life, or the things I want to influence future generations with in my legacy.

I want to be simple. I want to love God foremost. I want to exude His joy no matter what.

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Chapter




Well folks, today commemorates the beginning of a brand new chapter in the life of the Hamells. Today was my last day of work at Adfitech. It was a great 2 1/2 years working there. I'm grateful for the opportunities it gave me and especially the lessons it taught me. Lessons like patient endurance, work ethic, self-discipline, self-control, and the wondrous trait of "sticking it out". If you know me very well at all, you know that sitting at a double screened computer pumping out production numbers doing file after file of the same thing over and over again for 8 hours a day 5 days a week, is quite against my nature. I'd much rather be out making relationships with people, laughing, interacting, and creating. This new chapter gives me that freedom. I will be serving, learning, growing, and pursuing my passions. It is so exciting! One thing I want to be sure of is that I take care of this house and my husband. I will have more time to keep up the house, and time for cooking dinners and packing lunches and planning meals, and I also want to learn how to sew! Another facet that's just as important to me, is that I will have more time to spend with God, write, and figure out how to pluck tunes out on my keyboard and write songs; something God has been calling me to do for so long. I want to allow God to guide my creative juices to create music that's meant for Him and makes Him smile at me for using the gift of my voice and love for music that He's given me. I can't go my whole life without putting that to good use. And so I intend to start now. It will be an incredibly emotional journey for me; one that will hold many ups and downs. But at the end of the day, I want to be one step closer to fulfilling the callings God has put on my life. Then also, there's going to be more time for me to spend with my friends; to nurture friendships, spend an uninhibited amount of time with them, and soak in every bit of wisdom, counsel, and example I can from my awesome Christian girl friends.

This is a time in my life that I know is going to be so monumental. A season I will look back on fondly. Someday after we've had a baby, or two, or three, I want to be able to look back on this time and know that I squeezed every moment I could out of it pursuing passions and dreams and just, learning. Because once we start a family life will be so different. Harder. Harder to balance. I will have a very different focus. My calling will have shifted. My purpose for life will have been altered. In a very beautiful way.

I know God is doing something huge right now. He is preparing us. He is molding our hearts. He wants me to dive in deep with Him and trust Him and let Him guide every decision I make. I want to fall so deeply in love with Him.

Kailen Nicole Szymanski

Kailen Nicole Szymanski born February 22, 2011 at 9:44am. 8 pounds 4 ounces and 20 inches long!





















We cuddled for a good long time in that chair and I loved every moment.












3 days old and this picture was already entered into a contest. Hehe! Beautiful 3 day old newborn. I love her so much already!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sick as a dog



This is my funny little storytelling of me having the flu this week. It comes from the perspective of how awful I felt when I had it. Now I can look back on all of this and chuckle, but at the time I felt like a raging lunatic. All of it is true, and none of it was comical at the time.

It was the first time I got the flu. At least the first time I can remember. And, at least we think it was the flu. I woke up Tuesday in ghastly pain from head to toe, couldn't breathe because of chest congestion and cough, splitting headache, cold chills, nausea, and feeling like sheer death all around. Like a truck had hit me. It was pretty darn awful. First I called Bryan with the what-do-I-do's and the man-I'm-so-screwed's and the I-can't-believe-this-is-happening's, and the tears, and then I called my boss who graciously assured me to not worry, go to the doctor, and get better.

I went back to sleep for a while feeling absolutely miserable and then Bryan called me and asked if I'd found a doctor to make an appointment with yet. I said no, then imagined that shoving pencils into my eyes might feel better than looking at my phone or a computer screen which is what I'd have to do to research and call doctors. But, I managed to do it and out of my desperation called the first female doctor that came up on Google for my area. I made an appointment for 2:30, set my alarm for 2, then went back to sleep.

My alarm went off and I literally wanted to just lay there forever. Just the thought of moving made me want to vomit, cry, and curl up into a bawl all at once. But I knew it was important for me to find out what was wrong with me, so after another pep talk from Bryan, I got myself up and into my car. I drove with dark sunglasses and my ball cap pulled down low over my eyes, ranging between hot and cold the whole way there. I had some trouble finding the place but finally did, and then made the trek up a large concrete ramp to the front door. And with how achy and horrible my legs felt that felt almost worse than the CrossFit WODs I do. I scooted my body to the elevator clutching my purse and Smart Water bottle and stepped inside looking down and trying not to breathe or cough on anyone. Understand, I looked as bad as I felt. I didn't even try to tame my hair. I wasn't wearing a bra (not that most even notice when I don't), I was wearing my slippers and black stretchy pants that were horrifically covered in dog hair and I did. not. care!

Finally I made it to the right suite where I was asked to fill out paperwork and not lay on the floor of the waiting room. Really?? You're going to ask a girl in sheer pain and misery to not lie down while she waits to be called back? I ignored them. I laid there until they called me in. The woman snidely commented, "You must REALLY be feeling bad." I ignored her again and just followed her to the room to see the doctor. I took my temperature at home before I'd left and it was 98.4. Well now the nurse said it was 101.1. She said all my symptoms pointed toward flu. After waiting 25 agonizing minutes the doctor finally came and I was shocked to meet an old (very old) woman with bad breath and a mustache. I thought man if I were in my right state of mind (and body) I would not care to be seen by this woman but right now I'm. Just. Goin' with it.

She asked me to lift my shirt for the stethoscope and when she came around to the front of my chest I flinched that she'd see my nudity but she said "Don't worry I don't care." Oh no, she just continued to breathe in my nose her nasty old person breath and it made me want to puke even more. It was horrible. If I wasn't a nice person I would have told her to back off. But. I didn't.

She said the nurse's diagnosis was the flu so she was going to test me for that and see if she's right. She wrote on a little paper and said to go next door and give this order for flu testing to the lab. So I got up (like picking up a boulder from 10 feet of water) and dragged myself down the hall to the lab all the while mumbling to myself about the ridiculous idiosyncrasies of the way medicine works, sending someone who's hurting so badly down the hall to another room to be reprocessed and wait some more, to do something they could easily perform right where I was... but alas... it didn't matter did it. I'd already come that far, so I just had to see it through to the end if for nothing than to find out I wasn't dying. Many mean and horrible thoughts are going through my mind when I arrive at the lab. And as I suspected, it was there that I had to wait even more. Then feed another old woman who typed slow a bunch of information for her data entry screen all the while wanting to scream that I just wanted to go home. Or puke in her lap.

After she'd received all her data, she sent me to the waiting room where I again laid on the floor. After a while the nurse popped her head in, called my name, and I followed her back to a room where she was to do my flu test. I knew she had to swab my nose but I didn't know she'd have to take blood. Without telling me what was going on and only making a dumb remark about the dog hair on my pants and how I should wear light colors instead of black, did I realize she was prepping my arm for a needle. I almost shouted, "Wait! Are you taking my blood?" She said overly calmly as if trying to calm my raw nerves with the sound of her voice, "Yes, that's OK isn't it?" I grabbed my soggy kleenex and stuffed it into my face and sobbed, "Nooooooo...." and just started crying into my hand. She said, "Are you OK? Will you be OK?" And I just whispered, "Hurry up I hate needles and I don't feel good and I don't feel like being a big girl." She hurried and I gasped at the prick and then cried like a 3 year old who can only be soothed by her mommy. After it was all over, she tried having a little compassion for me and asked me if there was anything else she could do for me, but by that time I was so strung out emotionally that her asking that just made me want to punch something. I just weakly said no and started on my way back down the hall to find the first nurse so she could put me in my first room so I could lay down in darkness while I waited for the test results.

They told me 30 minutes. It was an hour. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't get comfortable. The nurse and old lady doctor joked loudly outside my door and described their lunches in detail which again made me want to vomit. Then when I thought about her breath and how she saw my boobs and how I just wanted nothing more than to be home again, I got more and more nauseous.

Finally the doctor entered my room with the results and blinded me by flipping on the light without any warning. Thanks, doc. But oh, at least the results had arrived. I'd just spent the last 10 minutes texting Bryan that I couldn't take much more of this and that that place was just Hell. I was absolutely at my wits end about to walk out of there. But there she came with papers in hand. Hopefully with some sort of diagnosis.

Doctor: "You have the flu"
Me: "What type?"
Doctor: "Well I think you do anyway. Will you lift up your hat? I can't hear you."
Me: "Huh?" (I'm just in disbelief in this moment. That she wouldn't see how miserable I am, and that I'm trying to shield my eyes from the light with that hat, and that maybe I'm not talking at full volume because I feel like crap, and that maybe.... just maybe! She should be a little nicer to me.)
Doctor: "These tests are only 70% accurate. Your test came back negative. But I think you have the flu. Plus your white blood cell count shows you're fighting a virus. So I think you have the flu."
Me: "OK?"
Doctor: "So drink a lot of fluids and don't kiss your husband for a couple days and stay home from work this week and be prepared to be pretty miserable for a while."
Me: "Um, ok.. so that's it?"
Doctor: "Here's a scrip for Tamiflu."
Me: "OK"
Doctor: "Alright, thanks for coming in."

So then I shuffled myself back to the elevator, back down the stupid concrete ramp, out to my car, drove myself home, and realized that 3 hours had elapsed. I wanted to get that Tamiflu in me but I just could not bring myself to drive across town to the pharmacy and wait some more for the prescription to be filled and then finally get to go home. I just wanted my bed. So I drove straight home and eased myself into bed and slept until Bryan got home. Thank goodness for husbands. He filled my prescription and got me all the other little things I'd need to help me feel better and brought it all to me. This is when the anger finally left me and I started to see life as normal again.

Wednesday my amazing friend Mandy asked God how He wanted to use to her to make an impact that day. He told her to bless me. So she showed up at my house with chicken noodle soup, saltines, 7up, and jello, made me lunch, served it to me, then cleaned and organized my kitchen for me while I slept. What an amazing blessing! Even though I still felt like utter death, she made the flu a lot less awful that day.

Thursday is the day everything started to feel like a big blur. I couldn't remember when one day ended and another started because I was sleeping so much.

Friday I finally started to feel a little better. I got out of bed a little bit and did a little around the house. I still wanted nothing to do with leaving the house though and didn't go far from the bed. No energy.

And today is the first time I've felt almost me again. Much better. Thank the Lord for a fast recovery. I thought I'd be down for the count for 7 whole days. Thank goodness I wasn't. Cause who would want more of THAT Mindi around? I know I don't! Phew!

P.S. Needless to say, I will not be returning to that doctors office. Hoodlums.

On Tuesday I'm getting a niece!

Just wanted to share some little pictures I have to commemorate the fact that my niece Kailen is making her entrance into this world in less than 4 days!

This is her beautiful crib and bedding!



These are the invitations I made for Nick & Jenni's baby shower!



This is a little sign I made to hang in her room.


This is the little set up I crafted for loved ones to write notes to Kailen at the baby shower.



This is the onesie and headband and I made Kailen.


This is how I wrapped it!



This is the cake I had made for the shower.



This is the beautiful table set up we had at the shower.




And that's all I got. Just so excited for my niece to arrive! Pray for a healthy baby and smooth c-section for Jenni and quick healing!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Well pleased

Just read a blog Lysa Terkeurst wrote that is a lot like the one I just wrote. Only, better put. Heh! Check it out.

http://lysaterkeurst.com/2011/01/well-pleased/

Monday, January 17, 2011

I don't know what to name this post... So, wanna read about me and God?

I read a story about a pastor who became imprisoned in another country because of his Christian faith. He was tortured and miserable and asking for deliverance which He was not receiving. He was given the job of cleaning the cesspool of the prison where everyone's human waste collected. He had to get inside the cesspool and scrape out the waste with his hands. This was a job the prison officials gave him to mock him and his faith, in an effort to make him even more miserable. But despite the muck and mire, this pastor realized the cesspool had become his sanctuary because he was able to sing and pray as loudly as he wanted while he worked, because the stench of the cesspool kept everyone including the guards far away at all times. He sang every song and recited every scripture he could remember. This got him through that horrible imprisonment, and despite his awful circumstances, his faith increased because of it.

I felt a call. Even though is it highly unlikely I'll ever be in such a dire situation as that, I want to hold God's Truth in my heart for occasions that this story becomes a metaphor for in my life. When Satan is beating me down with lies and my flesh is agreeing and dragging me further down, I want to be able to make the conscious choice that I will call upon the TRUTH to set me free from that bondage instead of taking the easy route of succumbing to my emotions of the moment. Yes, I felt that call. So now what would I do about it?

I emailed Cissa. I asked her to hold me accountable to memorize the same scriptures she and her kids are working on. Satan didn't like that decision because immediately he put the thoughts into my mind... "You're no good at memorizing things. Scripture especially isn't easy to memorize. We don't talk like that nowadays so it's going to be really difficult for you. Remember how you didn't even get good grades when you were in college? You're kind of incompetent. You haven't memorized a verse since childhood when your brain was pliable like a sponge, so this is going to be extra difficult for you!" But as soon as the "this doesn't come naturally to me" sentence in my email was typed, sent, opened, and read by Cissa, immediately she lovingly rebuked me of those lies. She asked me to commit to the TRUTH that God gave us sound minds and calls us to hold his Word in our hearts, therefore he MAKES us capable - for me to BELIEVE that wholeheartedly and never think "I can't" (in any form or fashion of Satan's cunning words) again! I committed.

So my first task was to memorize 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. I wrote it on a sticky note and stuck it to the bottom of my computer screen. Throughout the work day I referred my eyes to that sticky note. By the end of the day, I realized I'd had it memorized! GLORY! That night I recited it to Cissa and what a wonderful feeling it was! Then I recited it to Sheri and her two little sisters. Sheri told me now I should write another sticky note for my computer screen that says, "I thought I couldn't memorize scripture, but I can, and I did!" A proclamation of Truth for me to consistently see.

My next memorization verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:15. Then Jeremiah 29:11. Then all of Romans 5. I'm excited for this because I've found myself thinking pretty constantly about 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and applying it to my life... and I don't think I will EVER forget it. This does so much more for me than just reading scripture off the page. Because I have amnesia. I will quickly forget the goodness and glory of God as I go throughout my day and face situations where choices have to be made -- flesh or Spirit. Flesh or Spirit. Flesh or Spirit. Every single day is that consistent battle. Every hour. No, every moment! It isn't just a case by case fight, it truly is moment to moment. So as surely as I want to know God more every day, I want the difficulty level of these Flesh or Spirit struggles to diminish within me. For me to more "naturally" make the choice to rest in God's truth and peace. Memorizing His Word and holding is sacred, safe, and untouchable in my heart is one way I am making the intentional effort of growing closer to my Lord.

It's something I've "heard" since I was little but never had the desire for until now!

Thank you for that desire God! YOU ARE GOOD!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The love we always dreamed of

You think fairytales aren't real?
Our fairytale is in the long ride home
His hand on my leg and his music on
It's in my gasp of fear as he drives
When an idiot dares to pass us by
In the argument it starts for us
It's in the sorries, I love yous, and forgiveness

You think fairytales aren't real?
Our fairytale started with a computer message just to say hi
It started when an Oklahoma girl fell in love with a hardcore guy
It started in the joy of hello and agony of goodbye
It started with I'm moving there and don't you even think twice

You think fairytales aren't real?
It's in the dog hair, dirty socks, and cracks in the wall
It's learning how to sacrifice and fight for it all
No matter how much you punish him for breaking your heart
The fairytale lives when you choose to live on







Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Recently...

I've been cooking yummy Zone diet dinners for Bry...









Have been annoyed with my pharmacy/the manufacturer of my acne meds because it is on back order and I've been without it for a week...



Have enjoyed Bry's new work schedule because it means I have lots of time to spend time with God, clean the house, read, & relax...





I got to have my first drink of soda in a year in a half...



We had a famous people siting at Mimi's Cafe! I gave Bry "the eyes" to get him to agree to bothering Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for a picture...



Spending time with my husband is my #2 most favorite thing in the world because he loves me so well and makes me laugh so hard...



Life is...
Good.

That is all. :)