Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 31, 2004

On this day, seven years ago, in the early hours of the morning, I was admitted to the hospital to be induced. An ultrasound done the day before estimated the baby I was carrying to be between 9-11lbs, with eleven days left until my due date. Given my history with my pregnancy with Hannah, going over two weeks and her being 10lbs at birth, my OB felt it best to induce me, and avoid the baby getting any larger. Shortly after arriving to the hospital, I was hooked up to the drugs that would bring on labor and after ten hours and not making any decent progress, my OB felt it was in my best interest for the safety of the baby, and for me, to proceed with a c-section. I was prepped, Steven was gowned up, and two hours later I was wheeled into the delivery room.The delivery room was cold and sterile. Nurses were busy about their business while they finished up last minute preparations for the soon to be delivered baby. They made Steven sit on a chair just outside the door until they were ready for one more body to be in the room.

And then the time came...

My wonderful OB came in, and someone escorted Steven in to be by my side. I could see nothing as a curtain had been put up across my chest. Blocking me from seeing what was going on. There was the smell of cauterizing flesh. There was tugging. And then there was complete and udder silence. It was my OB who kept moving forward in a business fashion sort of way giving the medical team in the room the news they all needed to know, "We have a baby girl with a unilateral cleft lip and palate". The way she said it, was calm. And upon hearing that, I knew I had just given birth to a baby born with an undetected birth defect. I remember that moment like it happened yesterday. I can tear up just thinking about it, as I am writing this post, reminiscing about the day our Rachel was born.

The days that followed Rachel's birth were very tough ones for our family. We had been praying for nine months for a healthy baby. We had already had a difficult babyhood with our first baby, we were ready for a healthy, normal baby. It was very much like a time of grieving. I remember being very removed and detached for the first few days in the hospital. I know a lot of it was due to an anti-anxiety drug I'd been given in my IV following the immediate delivery of Rachel. One thing we did know was that we had a long journey ahead of us with Rachel. A long journey that has been blogged about and shared all along the way at Rachel's Journey.I had Rachel on a Tuesday night (9:21pm to be exact) and I remained in the hospital until Friday. In the evenings, after all the visitors had gone home, after Steven had stayed late into the night and went home for some rest, I was left at the hospital alone. The baby went to the nursery. I had my iPod with me and the song I remember listening to over and over and over again was Fernando Ortega's "The Joy of the Lord". And that's kinda been my 'theme song' all theses years...

The joy of the Lord
Will be my strength
I will not falter
I will not faint
He is my Shepherd
I am not afraid
The joy of the Lord
Is my strength

The joy of the Lord
The joy of the Lord
The joy of the Lord
Is my strength

Thy joy of the Lord
Will be my strength
He will uphold me
All of my days
I am surrounded by mercy
And grace
And the joy of the Lord
Is my strength

The joy of the Lord
Will be my strength
I will not waiver
Walking by faith
He will be strong
To deliver me safe
The joy of the Lord
Is my strength


Here we are seven years later, and I am extremely thankful for the gift the Lord gave us in Rachel, birth defect and all.

Monday, August 29, 2011

God Works the Night Shift

I read the following devotional on Greg Laurie's blog over the weekend and I wanted to share it...

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It is 3:00 A.M., the house is quiet, your family members are asleep, it is warm, it is dark, and you should be asleep too . . . but your mind is racing, your heart is pounding, and worries overwhelm you. You might be thinking about the pressing needs of a tomorrow that will find you unprepared, or it may be an area of concern—financial, relational, or employment. You may even continually find yourself in a place where you are out of hope and out of peace. A place that points to a spiritual separation from God that leaves you vulnerable and open to attacks of anxiety from the enemy. There is something about this part of the night that seems to magnify all of these problems, and I am not sure exactly why that is. Maybe that is why the psalmist said "He guards us from the flaming arrows at night."

I am convinced that we need God's help, not only when we are alert and awake, but even when we are sleeping. As you get ready to go to sleep, I think that it is a great thing to end the day in prayer. It has been said that God works the nightshift, and it is so true.

The best place to start is back at the beginning of each new day. Start your day in prayer, committing your decisions, your challenges, and whatever you are going to face that day to the Lord. Then, as I suggested, end your day with prayer as well. In each instance, our prayer should be, "Lord, here it is. I commit it to You." It reminds me of a quote from Martin Luther, "Pray and let God worry." I like that. Not that God worries, but the idea is that you should pray about it, rather than worry about it.

Let me ask you right now, is there something troubling you? Is there something eating away at you? Bothering you? Irritating you? Causing you to be afraid? Pray about it, right now. Just say, "Lord, I can't handle it." Philippians says, "Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. The peace of God that passes all human understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus."

So don't worry. Pray. You will sleep, and live, much better.


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I love the title that Pastor Greg gives this devotion, "God Works the Night Shift".

It is the nighttime when I often find my mind unable to shut off.

Just like Pastor Greg wrote in his opening of this devotion, it is in the darkness and the quietness of the house, when the girls are sound asleep, Steven is sleeping, when the day has come to an end, it is then that the enemy gets foothold of my thoughts and I start thinking, dwelling on things, worrying about things, pondering things.

Often times the longer I lay in bed, the worse it gets. So most often times I get up, sometimes busying myself with surfing the internet. But more and more times, I'm going into our family room and praying. There's always things to pray about. People to pray for.

Perhaps there's someone reading this today that needed to hear, needed a reminder, of who they can call upon in the night, when they find themselves lonely, alone, and afraid. Always remember, that while stores have closing hours, God is always working, and He's always working the Night Shift!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pioneer Woman is Coming to Food Network!


I don't think there's many people out there in the internet world that doesn't know the name "Pioneer Woman".

Her blog 'Confessions of a Pioneer Woman' is read by thousands every day. She has a cookbook, a book sharing the courtship with her now husband, and starting this weekend, she's coming to Food Network!!! We already love to watch Food Network, and I love to read PW's blog, (even met her in person once), combining the two are going to be awesome!

Check your local listings for the Saturday Premiere specifics. For me, its shows at 8:30. In honor of the day, I think a special PW breakfast might have to be in order!


Being a Wise Woman

Have I mentioned before how much I'm loving these Beth Moore Bible Studies?? LOL.

The last Beth Moore video we watched was on being a wise woman. The wise woman...

...Is a former fool - Proverbs 26:11, Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 15:5

...exercises patience - Proverbs 14:29. Proverbs 29:11, Proverbs 14:16-17

... is not easily annoyed - Proverbs 12:16

... makes amends - Proverbs 14:9

... knows that God's way is life's ultimate way - Proverbs 19:3, Proverbs 19.8

So, truth be told, Beth was going through the first part of her message, and nothing was hitting home for me. In fact, I was thinking about some women who'd I'd encountered in recent weeks that were acting as fools. LOL.

And then, Beth got to her third point. The wise woman is not easily annoyed. And had scripture to back it up! YIKES!

Am I an easily annoyed person you may ask? Yes, yes I am.

You know what Beth had to say about the person who is easily annoyed? That it is a character flaw in me, not that of the person who I am being annoyed by!

Since watching that video, I've really, really (and man is it hard sometimes!!!) been trying to remind myself when I find myself annoyed at someone, that it's me that has the problem, and not them. It's been tough. But I am finding myself just a little bit more accepting.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How Quickly Life Can Change

Last week, I learned that a little girl who was in Rachel's class last year had lost her Daddy unexpectedly. He had died the Thursday before, due to a massive heart attack.

As I learned more details throughout the week, I learned that the morning he died, he had actually gone to Urgent Care with chest pains, they sent him home with an aspirin and never batted an eye any further than that. No EKG. No blood work. At the end of the day, he suffered a massive heart attack in the midst of his seven year old daughter.

He leaves behind a loving wife. His seven year old daughter as well as a five year old daughter.

I didn't know the man other than the fact he was "Lindsey's Dad". Every day last school year he would walk hand in hand with her in to the playground, and stand with her until the bell rang. Always smiling, always the example of a loving father.

Since school started this year, the girls and I have been walking in with Lindsey and her Mommy. Always nicely put together, on her way to work, a beautiful woman, on the outside and the inside. This last week my heart has been so heavy for her. In my thoughts and prayers. I could barely hold it together when I offered her my condolences last week when I found out.

Her life is forever changed...

Her kids lives are forever changed, as well.

It really struck me this week just how quickly life can change. Who would have thought that at as the sun rose and the day began on August 11, that by the end of the day, her husband, and their Daddy would be forever gone. Thankfully, this is a believing family, and they have that hope of seeing him someday again in heaven...

Friday, August 19, 2011

What a Week


The end of another week and what a week it's been!! I've been the PTA President officially for over 2 weeks, but I feel like this week was the first real week of that position. And I'm tired. LOL.

Tuesday after school we held our first PTA meeting of the new school year. I must say I was nervous leading up to the meeting. I kept hearing that many people were coming, but truth be told, people like to talk, but not commit, so I wasn't really holding my breath until the meeting actually came about.

We had over 40 people in attendance for the meeting!!! That is the most people we've had attend any single PTA meeting in YEARS! Last year, the most we ever had at meetings, not including the teachers and principal were a dozen. I was overwhelmed with the support and it was refreshing to see so many people come to the meeting, and offer up ideas when it was appropriate to do so.

I've learned quite a few things this week:

1) My crockpot is still my friend. There was one day I had a meeting with the 6th grade teachers after school and while it didn't last long, the other little 'hallway meetings' I ended up having did. I was happy to not have to think about dinner when I didn't arrive home until after 4:00.

2) I need to take a couple days a week where I'm not so visible at school. Because I am the new kid on the block, and people and teachers are excited that I've taken on this position, and I'm approachable, I appear to be the 'go to person' for everything, even unrelated PTA things.

3) People have misconceptions about what it is that the PTA does and does not do. Here are a few examples:
* It was not the PTA's choice to do away with the crossing guard, nor will we pay to have a new one put there.
* It was not the PTA who thought up Saturday school.
* It is not the PTA who came up with the nutritional rules that we now must abide by in our contest rewards, etc.
* It is not the PTA who buys 5-6 dozens of donuts every Friday for the staff and teachers and places them in the lounge.
* In addition to a few other misconstrued thoughts of PTA.

4) I do know it was the Lord who put me in this position. It is my hearts desire to be the best example I can when dealing with tough situations, tough emails, and tough people. The vice president is also a believer and it was such a blessing to quickly get together prior to our meeting on Tuesday and pray. And after dealing with some unhappy people this week, I think prayer is going to play a lot bigger factor for us as we endeavor things this school year.

I've probably put in 20-25 hours this week of time between the many duties I have at the school - Box Tops Coordinator, PTA President, Room Mom, and another committee I got involved in this week. My goal for the weekend: NO PTA or work associated with school. I'm taking the weekend off.

Tonight, Steven and I are going on a date night and I'm very much looking forward to that!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Separation of Church and State

This evening, I went to the city council meeting in the city where the girls go to school in, the city I was raised in.

I was there as our schools PTA President, on behalf of the concerned parents and families of our school in regards to the recent elimination of crossing guards as a result of budget cuts by our school district. I got up before the council and spoke.

As I stood there, with my eyes shut, listening to the opening prayer of one of the community's pastors, and then following the prayer with the reciting of the pledge of allegiance, something struck me as funny...

The world is so worked up over "the separation of church and state" and yet, we just opened up the city council meeting with a prayer, followed by an allegiance that states we're "One Nation Under God".

What is wrong with society?? Choosing when to let God be a part of government, etc.

It reminded me that it's how sometimes we as Christians can choose the things that the we 'give' to the Lord to work with, have control over, in our own lives. Do I have a "separation of church and state" attitude in my life?? Do You??


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The Outcome of my Speaking: After I spoke, I left the meeting. I needed to get my girls home to bed, and about an hour ago, I received word that the city council voted to approve paying for three crossing guards for 30 days until a volunteer program can be put in place!!!! Yipppeeee!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Acquaintances VS Friends

We are continuing on in our Beth Moore Bible Study Video Series. Last week's video was on Friendships and boy did I learn a lot and it confirmed a lot of feelings I already I had in regards to friends.

But before I share about the teaching, a little history about me and friendships:

Growing up, I did not have a lot of friends, it was that way all through school. Having been raised in a Christian home, where I knew what was right and wrong, I was set apart in High School, I wasn't doing or into the things that the other kids were into. Which also made me different, and not really wanted much as a friend.

In the years to follow, I came to realize that while it was at times painful not to have a lot of friends growing up, I came to appreciate the specialness of having just one or two close friends. The kind of friends you could confide in, share things with, not be judged, etc.

That thinking stays with me to this day. I don't need a lot of friends. I am not one of those people who share everything to a lot of people. I don't need, or want, a lot of people knowing my innermost thoughts and feelings. I have one or two friends whom I confide in, look to for support, ask for prayer from, lean on. And I am perfectly happy with that.

Beth's Video on friendships hit home in so many areas for me. It was just the confirmation that I needed to hear.

First off, Beth Moore gave the difference between acquaintances and friends.

Acquaintances can be classified as those types of relationships that are "head to head relationships" and are socially satisfying. The types of people you can sit down with and have a conversation with, doing things with, but not really sharing a piece of yourself.

Friends are the types of relationships that are "heart to heart". They aren't relationships that are staged in an environment or setting. They happen freely.

I have a lot of acquaintances. Which when you use that word, seems so unfriendly sounding. But they are those relationships that are social, ones I can carry on conversations with, are pleasant to be with. But I don't share "me" with these friends. And then I have a few very close friends whom I call upon, text, and share my heart with, prayers with, etc. Those are my "heart to heart" friends. They encourage me, pray for me, comfort me and I hope I do the same for them. They are treasures.

The book of Proverbs is full of verses on friendships. And I could go on and on about this wonderful Bible Study on friends, but I'll just leave it at saying how blessed I was from this study and how much I gleaned...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Box Tops Bulletin Board

I have once again taken on the role as Box Tops Coordinator for our school this year. We are currently within the top ten schools in the State of California and I want to be the one to move our school closer to the top. How's that for being discreet about the specifics! LOL.

I hold a couple contests throughout the year and it gets quite competitive amongst the classes, and even amongst the teachers in the final days and hours of the contest. So every year a bulletin board is created that sits on the cafeteria patio to show how the contest is progressing.

This is the bulletin board I made for this year. It was my goal to have it up for Back to School night for all the families to see and remember that Box Tops collecting is important. The red colored flowers are for the intermediate classes, grades 4-6th. The purple flowers are for the primary grades, Kindergarten through 3rd. As Box Tops are turned in, flower petals will be added to the class flower stem with the amount of Box Tops turned in. I'm thinking for every 300 turned in, a flower petal will be added.

Here's to a great year of "Watching our Earnings Grow...!"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New School Year, New Position

Before the school year ended, the PTA board positions for the 2011-2012 had already been filled and voted upon. But two weeks after school got out, I received a text that our voted in President had to resign. Her husband who had received a pink slip at his current job, had found a job, two hours away. She was now on a mission to seek a replacement for PTA President.

Within minutes of her text I was on the phone with her asking the details of the job, specifics, etc. And then over the course of the week to follow I thought about it. Talked it over with friends at the school, with my sister in law who was the PTA President at her school last year, and then once I came to the conclusion that I was interested, I asked Steven what he thought about it all. He was very encouraging and told me to go for it.

I texted the resigning President and told her I was interested. An email had already gone out soliciting other people who were interested and no one was, so the position was looking like it was mine. It would become official once I was voted in at the Association Meeting to be held at Back to School night, which was last night.

It's now official, I'm the PTA President for the 2011-2012 school year!

Call me crazy. Call me out of my mind. But I think I can do a great job at the position. I'm a very organized person. I can delegate things well.

I'm excited about the school year ahead. Today, I put flyers in the teachers boxes to hand out to their students to take home, inviting people to join us at our meetings. I also wrote a letter to the teachers letting them know the PTA was there to help and support our teachers and that I was available for their ideas and thoughts, including my personal email address at the close of the letter.

There's a lot of changes at our school this year. We lost a lot of longtime dedicated PTA members who put many, many hours into projects and events. I'm hoping our first meeting will be filled with a lot of new faces (fresh meat as we call them!) and that our year will be a successful one!