10.02.2013

Conversation #197: No longer just a wife, but also a mother

So I didn’t mean to quit blogging for so long, but during the last weeks of pregnancy life seemed to be on fast forward.  Not only were we in full on nesting mode trying to get the house renos mostly done, but I was also busy trying to get work things taken care of as well.  Plus, I was hot and tired so blogging was not a priority.
However, our sweet boy is now already 4 weeks old, and I want to record his birth story so I don’t forget.  I am not sure if this will get long, but bear with me if you want to know how it all went down.
A couple of months ago the hubby and I took our childbirth classes.  Before going to the class, we were both pretty certain I would be getting an epidural.  I didn’t want a c-section, but no way did I think I could handle the pain.  Well during the class we did a relaxation time and I just focused on Jesus.  It was during this time and the remainder of the class (learning about all of the birth options) that I felt God leading me to a natural childbirth.  Well, He was doing the same for hubby so we set forward on that path. 
I am not morally opposed to epidurals, pain drugs, or c-sections.  I just knew it wasn’t what I wanted, and I really didn’t want to be induced.  Anyway, we ordered a couple of books and got to work preparing for a natural birth.  The main book I would recommend is Natural Childbirth the Bradley Method Revised Edition by Susan McCutcheon.  It gave great concrete techniques on how to cope with labor and also explained what would happen along each stage.  We also read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, which had helpful tips, but less on the techniques.
So we moved closer and closer to my due date and knew our babe was probably a good size (they were estimating 8 to 8.5 lbs).  I was terrified I would have to be induced and that a natural birth would become close to impossible.  We (hubby and I and family) all thought baby boy would come labor day weekend so after trying everything we could to naturally induce, we were pretty disappointed when he didn’t come.  My doctor was on call all weekend and I was already at 4cm and 90% effaced so that is why we were sure I would go into labor (plus my doc had stripped my membranes at my last appointment on the Thursday before Memorial Day weekened. Anyway, he didn’t come so back to work on Tuesday.
I had had some mild contractions here and there, but nothing serious.  Well around 3:30 PM while sitting at my desk, things started to feel weird.  I was pretty sure I was in labor, but didn’t know for sure so I tried walking around a bit at work.  However, the contractions never eased and I called my hubby and doctor sis to chat it over with each of them.  I decided that this felt real and I needed to go home so I told my boss that hopefully I wouldn’t be back the next day and home I went.
Hubby was going to come home so we could start laboring.  He was a little late, but I’ll forgive him :)  I actually started to panic because initially the contractions seemed stronger and more intense than I expected them to feel because I just hadn’t felt anything most of the day to that point.  Plus, I felt them a lot in my back and in my front so it was just hard to really gauge what was going on with my body. 
Okay, so hubby got home about 5 and we got down to business.  Since we wanted a natural childbirth, our plan was to labor at home as long as possible so we wouldn’t be tempted into anything at the hospital or pressured by hospital staff to get an epidural/c-section if things weren’t progressing as quickly as they thought they should (more on that later).  Also, we were both insistent upon having the birth at a hospital versus birthing center.  We knew that if something did go wrong, we wanted to be where they could immediately care for us, but we quickly realized we were an anomaly for having a “natural” childbirth at a hospital. 
Okay, back to labor, we spent the next few hours moving between the shower and the bedroom and drinking water, gatorade, and eating popsicles.  We had bought easily digestible food to munch on since we knew we couldn’t eat once at the hospital, but nothing sounded good to me while laboring.  In fact, thankfully my body had emptied itself during early labor at home so I didn’t have to worry about pooping during pushing (well I was pretty sure I wouldn’t and I didn’t!)  In fact, I didn’t even want to sit or lay down.  I knew my feet would probably hurt by the end, but I found it most comfortable to stand in a warm shower or sway back and forth with a heating pad on my back.  Thankfully at some point the contractions in front and back began to coincide so I had some break.  Really, I can’t even remember what it felt like at this point.  I knew it wouldn’t be a sharp pain but a working “laboring” pain of contracting muscles, and I guess that is the best way to describe it.
Finally, around 10:45 PM, we decided to call the doc so we could head to the hospital.  My doc wasn’t on-call so we talked to a different one in the practice and I know she wasn’t sure at first about having us come in.  However, my doc knew once I started laboring it wouldn’t be long and we finally convinced the on-call doc of that when I told her I was 4 cm and 90% effaced 6 days previous.  She told us to go in and we began loading up the car.  I started to worry about the ride (the hospital wasn’t far) but I was really coping with the heating pad and didn’t know how I would do in the car.  Well, genius hubby turned on the seat heater for me and it was perfect!  I remember saying at one point that showers were the best invention ever and then heated seats so I didn’t need much while in labor :)
We got to the hospital between 11:15 PM and 11:30 PM.  They direct admitted me and got me to our room.  They asked if I had progressed at all so I told them again about the 4cm, etc.  They said “OK, let’s check you now.”  I climbed into bed and we learned that I was between 7.5 and 8 cm!  We were ready to go.  I should have gotten out of bed at this point, but I thought I was supposed to stay in it so I think I slowed the labor down.  Finally, I knew I needed to stand, and this was when modesty went out the window.  My water was leaking, but it was preventing me from fully dilating so we needed to get it out of the way.  Well, standing next to the bed with nothing but a hospital gown on (and only tied at the top), I began laboring again, and the water started gushing and gushing and gushing.  It seemed like so much.  My L&D nurse, Patrice (who was awesome) kept checking me, but I seemed stalled at 9.5 cm forever and I already wanted to push so bad.  The pressure felt so weird and I wanted him out.  Finally the rest of the water moved out and I was complete.  Time to push!
Now this is the one part I was not prepared for at all.  I knew I would probably have to push more than three times or so, but I did not think I would have to push for almost two and half hours.  It was hard and exhausting.  Also, my contractions were 4 minutes apart, which was weird.  It gave me nice long breaks, but it also meant we had to wait forever to push again and 4 minutes seems like eternity when you want to meet your baby. Our nurse was just so awesome though.  I had prayed that we would have one either familiar with natural birth methods or at least one that wouldn’t be pushy with meds.  She was perfect.  She was supportive and encouraged me right along side Isaac, and I think was pretty amazed at my demeanor.  It was ALL God.  He walked me through it all, and I knew He would.  He was the one who told me to do this after all.
I made it to station 3+ (you have to get to 5+ and that is the baby’s head coming out I guess), and the doc came in and said she could help me with the vacuum if I wanted.  I decided to try a few more pushes, but I finally gave in.  I needed him out and I just didn’t have much energy left.  Once I said “help” the room transformed for delivery and I couldn’t wait to meet our son.
It was time to push with the vacuum, and it felt so weird and painful, but I think in a good way.  I just needed him out so I pushed as hard as I could, and finally his huge head emerged.  Then they told me to stop pushing so they could suction him, and that was horrible because I just NEEDED to push some more to get him out like TODAY.  Finally, we got him all out and that was when we realized our teeny Dean baby was HUGE.  At 6:21 AM on September 4, 2013, our son, Dean William Shutt was born weighing in at 9 lbs 11 oz and 21.5” long.  Yep, I birthed an almost 10 pound baby with no drugs or anything.  I have no idea if I would have gotten his huge head out without the vacuum or not (which I hated to use), but it didn’t matter.  Dean was finally here, in my arms!
Now, the consequence of a huge baby and not your doctor: she gave me an episiotomy during the vacuum pushing and I ended up with a 4th degree tear, the worst kind.  So for the next 45 minutes or so they had to put all of my downtown bits back together with just a local.  I wouldn’t want to do that everyday, but I managed then we finally got time with our sweet baby boy.  It was surreal.  Honestly, it still kind of is.  I look at him and can’t believe he is mine.  I sit in the nursery nursing him at night and forget that this nursery is in my house and I’m holding my baby. 
I will be honest, the last 4 weeks have been HARD, like the hardest of my life.  However, we are getting over the hump and I love him so much – more each day if that is even possible.  Eventually I will try to get back and share more about the first few weeks of newborn life (because I had NO idea it would be THIS hard).  However, I had my post-partum appointment today, and thankfully all is healing well.  We have a healthy baby and a healthy mom and life will never be the same.
Also, this may be the most important part - Isaac was the best labor partner and coach ever!!! Seriously, I can't say enough how amazing he was (and has been after too).  He didn't sit, eat, rest, go to the bathroom, drink, or anything but help me while I was in labor.  He fanned me, massaged me, held the heat pad, encouraged me, calmed me, and cheered me on.  It was an active process the whole way - there was no down time while laboring, and he just stayed with me every step of the way.  It was awesome to experience it with him, and he couldn't have been better.  All I can say about him was/is WOW.  My hubby is awesome!!!
If you made it through the recount mostly meant for me, then BRAVO!  Here are pictures of the sweet boy to reward you :)
2013-09-05 14.46.30 2013-09-06 14.22.10 2013-09-06 15.56.51 2013-09-13 12.38.04 2013-09-15 20.12.53 2013-09-17 15.17.21 2013-09-23 09.04.35 2013-09-25 12.58.16 2013-09-28 10.32.53

6.28.2013

Conversation #196: So long Google Reader...and random other thoughts

Nothing new - we all know Google Reader is about to be laid to rest, which I admit, makes me so sad.  It was easy and simple, and the app worked. I tried Feedly for a while and decided I didn't like (I mean I have used it for months now) so today I just decided to go ahead and jump on the Bloglovin train and I at least like the mobile app better.  However does anyone know how to get it to sort from oldest to newest?  Admittedly, I have spent 3.4 seconds on it, but I thought I would ask.  I'll look around more.  Anyway, follow me there these days :)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Okay, so here are a few random thoughts from the week (I am too lazy to officially link up with anyone today so you just get a little brain dump instead):

1. I know you are all dying to see my latest pregnancy fashion concoctions, and I didn't have time to make it for WIWW this last week so here they are for you now (along with my 30 week picture which we hit today!)

Outfit breakdown: Dress, Old Navy (non maternity)
Necklace: ?, Forever 21 maybe
Belt: American Eagle Outfitters
Sandals: American Eagle Outfitters

Outfit breakdown: 
Top, J.Jill, non maternity
Skirt, Target, non maternity
Sandals, Lands' End Canvas

Outfit breakdown:
Top, Oh Baby, borrowed from sis
Jeans (I decided colored jeans don't count as jeans so I wear them whenever at work), Gap Maternity
Sandals, American Eagle Oufitters

Outfit breakdown:
Top, Destination Maternity, borrowed from sis
Skirt, LOFT non maternity
Sandals, Lands' End Canvas


2.  Baby update: I had an appointment this week and all looks well.  Our little boy is growing well (maybe a little too well; he has a big head and I'm not sure how I feel about pushing that out).  However, I am so excited for him and glad that my placenta moved up so that isn't a worry anymore.  God has just been so good and taking care of us.  I didn't even gain weight in the last two weeks, which blows my mind because we took a baby-moon and ate, a lot.  I know you are supposed to gain a pound a week, but since the little guy is already measuring a bit ahead, I am thinking it is OK I didn't gain.  I am not crazy about how much weight I gain, I just don't want to gain an unhealthy amount and so far I seem to be on track.

3.  I had to go back to the dermatologist this last week to have a little mole re-removed.  The path report came back abnormal the first time (not cancer, but abnormal) and so I had to watch to see if pigment came back.  It did.  I hear this if fairly normal when they do just a scrape biopsy so this time they had to cut out more and I got stitches - only two.  That's okay.  I would rather have little scars all over to prevent cancer than a huge excision later on because something grew.  Besides, the last time I had a big chunk removed was in 8th grade and it was awful.  The numbing shots BURNED so badly and I know I was screaming/crying loud enough for the waiting room to hear.  Luckily I have toughened up a bit.  That was also bigger, but still.

4.  The crepe myrtles started blooming around here in the last couple of weeks and I just love the pop of color they bring to the neighborhoods.  We have one in our front yard and one in our back (the pink one below) and they just brighten the yard up.  Now, I hate these trees if you have to park under them because they sap like crazy.  However, having them in the middle of my yard or along the alley - yes please!


6.12.2013

Conversation #195: WIWW at The Pleated Poppy

wiww banner

So I haven't linked up for a while to What I Wore Wednesday, but I thought it might be fun to this week.  I don't have many pictures, and it sure is getting harder to get dressed in the morning between my burgeoning belly and the heat.  I fear I may be dressing inappropriately by the end of the summer, but my coworkers better just be glad I have clothes on at all!  Here are just two looks from this last week:

Outfit breakdown:
Liz Lange Target Maternity Tee, $10
Old Navy skirt, borrowed
Sandals, American Eagle, $? I think they may have been around $20 (they are old)

Outfit breakdown:
Top, Motherhood Maternity, Borrowed
Pants, Gap Maternity, $15
Sandals, J.Crew via ebay, $7 (I think)

Now go check out all of the outfits from the the other lovely ladies for this last week!

6.08.2013

Conversation #194: A quick idea

So I have wanted a barrister’s bookcase for ages and we finally got offered one for FREE!  Of course I took it, but didn’t really know where to put it in our new house.  Well, the husband and I had a brilliant idea (I will give him some credit).  We put it in this little nook in our bedroom across from my dresser and I filled it with shoes – I LOVE IT! barrister bookcase before barrister bookcase after

Don’t you kind of wish you had one too?  (The top part is a little secretary desk so I can hide books and bills and magazines in there)

6.07.2013

Conversation #193: Life is on lightning speed!

Wow - I am so sorry! I did not plan on waiting 2 months to update y'all on life.  Really, I keep going back and forth on trying to keep a blog going or just throwing in the towel.  If I had more free time, I would be all over it, but I just feel like I have so much going on that I have to do that it is hard to find time do things I would like to do.  Between working full time, house projects, growing a human, and then the other things that come up in life, writing a post just falls way to the bottom.

Anyway, I did decide that today I wanted to take a few minutes to at least update about my pregnancy for my own sake if nothing else. Now I had every intention on taking a picture every week in the  same outfit for fun to watch my belly grow, but that has just been hard to do at home with the hubs.  Most times when I think about it I am too tired or in the middle of a project to take the time to stop and change.  However, we do still have some so I will post those whatever day I decide to download them from the camera.  Thankfully, in the meantime, my office has a full length mirror in the bathroom so I do snap phone pics in there with more regularity so I have compiled those for you here.  It is kind of fun to watch the belly grow, and it totally amazes me.

Being the first time I have ever been pregnant, it is fun learning what that is like.  I have had many family and friends experience it, but every woman's experience itself is so different.  Some bullet points on my thoughts:

- Having extra saliva was a symptom I didn't know about, but really notice; I wake myself up drooling in my sleep all of the time (was that TMI?)
- My skin can be so itchy sometimes so I must hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- I feel like I look huge.  I am measuring right on track and not out of whack on the weight gain, but I feel like my belly looks huge already!  I know everyone shows differently, and although I am pretty tall, I have a short torso (my height is in my legs) so there really isn't anywhere for baby to go but out I guess.
- Apparently I now snore like a lumberjack - sorry husband!
- Oh and we are having a BOY!!!!  We are beyond excited and I just can't wait to meet him; well I can wait the remaining 13 weeks because I want him to be fully cooked :)

Okay, there is a glimpse into my pregnant brain and here are some weekly pics for posterity sake:

8 weeks

9 almost 10 weeks (horrible bedroom pic)

13.5 weeks

15 weeks, 5 days

15 weeks, 6 days

16 weeks

16.5 weeks

17.5 weeks

18 weeks

18.5 weeks

20 weeks

20 weeks, 6 days

21.5 weeks

22 weeks

25 weeks

26 weeks

27 weeks

4.04.2013

Conversation #192: Can you guess?

I am so so so sorry I told you I would have a surprise for you on Monday and didn't follow through.  It isn't because I didn't want to.  My job has been CRAZY for the last few months, and right now it goes up and down with plan submittals and revisions.  Therefore pretend today is Monday.  Although I am glad it isn't because I really would like to be enjoying the weekend!

So I wanted to share my Easter outfit with you just for fun.  I know there was a link-up for it on a lot of blogs, but clearly I missed that!

So it was pretty simple, but I am loving mixing my jean jacket into outfits right now.  However, I know the heat is coming so I actually ordered a jean jacket vest to throw over dresses in the summer for a little warmth in the A/C and also to add some layers without adding a lot of bulk.  It was actually pretty nice on Easter (I totally wore my outfit again to work on Monday - I like to wear Sunday church outfits on Monday - it is an easy way to not think much on a Monday morning).




 

Okay, okay, that wasn't the big surprise.  If you guessed.....PREGNANT.....then you are right!

It was so hard to not spill the beans on here in the beginning, but then I got so busy that I just hadn't even had time to blog at all!  We are definitely working overtime on the house now to get as much done as possible before baby.  I am 17 weeks and 4 days in this picture.  I will be 18 weeks tomorrow.  My due date is September 6.  We do plan to find out the sex, and that will happen in about 2 and a half weeks.  I can hardly wait!!!

Luckily, I had a fairly easy 1st trimester.  Not a lot of sickness and who knows why I was tired: being pregnant or working on our house.  We have been working on renovations for so long now that I have been perpetually tired since the end of August!

So far the second trimester has been great too - although I am starting to feel more stretching pains in my stomach.  Oh, and I think I wake up to pee every 1.5 to 2 hours during the night.  Which is kind of annoying, but worth it.  Although I thought it wouldn't get that bad until later on so I can only imagine how much I'll have to go in the third trimester.  Maybe I should just sleep on the toilet.

One of the weirdest symptoms I didn't know about until being pregnant and reading books: extra saliva.  I notice it often during the day, but I wake myself up when drooling.  It is weird. And kind of gross.  Pregnancy is an awesome miracle, but maybe not so glamorous.

Something hard not to do during pregnancy: compare yourself to others.  On one hand it is nice to find out what others are going through or getting tips, but it also makes me question everything.  For one thing - a lot of people that seem to be on their first and around my due date are not showing at all and wearing pre-pregnancy clothes.  I have been in maternity pants regularly for about 4 or 5 weeks now.  I feel like I have a very noticeable bump in most clothes and then worry I am gaining weight too quickly.  I am not really worried about gaining weight in general - I know it is important.  I just want to gain it the right way. 

I will say that pregnancy has done some weird stuff to my body though.  I have pretty good acne going on right now - which is actually a bit new for me.  I'll deal though.  I also had to have a couple of moles removed because they looked  irregular.  One was fine.  One was weird so I have to watch that spot now.  Then I went to the dentist and got a crown put on (how old am I?)  That wasn't so much pregnancy related, but happened at the same time as other weird stuff so it made me feel like I was falling apart.  Lastly, I started seeing this black spot in the center of my vision.  That freaked me out!  Luckily, it wasn't dangerous to me or the baby, but still annoying.  I had a cyst under my retina on top of my macula so I couldn't see right in the center of my eye.  Usually caused by stress, but heal on their own.  It can takes months to heal or even so medical intervention, but God is so good and started healing my in the last two weeks!!!  It isn't completely gone, but it is much smaller and hopefully will be healed entirely soon.

Weird things happen when you are pregnant, but honestly, I don't care (as long as the baby and I are safe).  I can't wait to hold this little life (well I can wait the appropriate 40 weeks, 22 more), but I am just so excited to be a mom and meet our little baby.  I don't know how often I will share about it on here, but I will definitely keep you updated.  I have been taking more official bump pictures that I will try to share soon, but I just wanted to let you all know the going ons around here.  I hope you are each having a great day!!!

3.29.2013

Conversation #191: He is MY King

Sorry for the radio silence - we have had a lot going on but I have some news to share with you on Monday so stay tuned!

In the meantime, I wanted to share this video our pastor shared at church recently.  It gave me goose bumps.  As our pastor said on Sunday, some of Jesus' last words were "It is finished." (John 19:30).  However, it was finished, but it wasn't over.  Today it was finished, but Sunday was coming, and it wasn't over.  He rose!  He redeems!  He reigns!  And I am so glad because He loves me, redeems, me and saves me everyday!!!  I really don't know how people get through one day without Him.  Watch the video - it gave me goosebumps and smiles and JOY.  I hope He is your King, and if not, He can be and WANTS to be - He desires it!!!!!!!


3.12.2013

Conversation #190: Build 'Em Up

I was so excited when I read about this new blog link-up happening.  I love Erin and Kelly's blogs, and I love the idea of women building each other up.  There is so much negative and sadness in this world and that just gets me down some days.  So let's build each other up and encourage each other!  I invite you to take part!
The topic this week is "Bringing Faith to Life."  If you had asked me to write about this a year or two ago, I would have written such a different pose.  God has opened my eyes and revealed so much of His truth to me over the last couple of years that my Faith has just grown and changed so much in such a good way.

If you are a long time reader, I shared some of my faith story a while back, but I will give a brief overview real quick. I grew up in a Christian home, became a believer and was baptized in August 1999 (between 8th grade and my freshman year), and then tried to live life following a bunch of "rules" that were probably noble and good, but I felt I was always failing.  I felt bad for not reading my Bible enough, not listening to only Christian music, not watching the right TV shows, not having a daily quiet time, not converting enough people, etc.  The list could go on.  I was sure of my salvation, but I felt a little stuck and empty.  I just felt like I wasn't doing enough or not enough right so then I could of just became complacent.  I began to grow restless at our church (married now) and so we began looking.  I knew God had stirred this desire in me, and man has He delivered.

He brought people into my life that He has used to help reveal more of Him to me and now as I spend time with Him, I realize just how amazing He is and wonder how I have missed out on this for so many years.  When I was contemplating baptism and accepting Christ, I kept feeling like I wasn't good enough.  Luckily, in one moment, the Holy Spirit (that I didn't really know until two years ago) got through and said, "Duh, that is the point, you aren't good enough, but with Jesus your are - He makes you whole and complete and righteous."  Well I guess I forgot that for the next 12 years or so.

The revelation of the Holy Spirit and who He is in my life has been transforming.  I ask for His power daily, and I have even experienced moments where I could literally feel Him guiding me and helping me.  You see, I am weak.  I can do nothing on my own.  Nothing right.  My flesh will fail every time.  But Jesus crucified my flesh on the cross.  He killed it.  He sees me as whole and blameless - He chose to do that for me.  Let that sink in.  He died for me!  He killed the "law" under which I was still living (and feel like many Christians do to).  I have freedom in Him.  This is HUGE.  This is everything!  Studying the Bible, singing praise songs, ministry - those are all great and I like to do them too, but that isn't Faith.  That comes after.  All God asks of me is to love Him.  To trust Him.  To fear Him.  I say "all" but there are days where that seems huge.  I am still learning.

However, how do I bring Faith to life?  I think there is only one way - to abide in Christ.  Every second of every day.  Again, let me say, I am still on this journey, but it is an amazing journey.  If I abide in Christ every moment, then all that other stuff just comes.  My fears go away.  My worries, my anxieties - gone.  My "to do" list is history.  No guilt at the Cross.  God forgave me.  He doesn't condemn - He loves me unconditionally.  When I abide in Him - I get to do it all of the time.  While working, cleaning, driving - I don't have to "set aside" time for it.  Now I do like to spend time focusing on just Him, but I don't have to feel guilty when that doesn't happen because I get to be in constant communion with Him.  Sure, my flesh gets in the way, and I forget.  But as soon as I remember, He is there waiting for me.

When I say all of the other stuff happens, I think about the Fruits of the Spirit.  You see, under law instead of grace, this becomes a "to do" list.  I think I have to figure out how to accomplish all of this:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23


That is all wrong.  These are the Fruits of the SPIRIT - not Sassy Engineer.  When I abide in Christ and don't get in the way of the Holy Spirit, the fruits are just there.  They are from Him.  If I try to achieve those on my own, I will ALWAYS fail.  I can't do them.  He does them in me.  So for me, bringing faith to life is this: abide in Him.

If you want to read more on this I recommend the following books:
The Green Letters by Miles J. Stanford
Problems, God's Presence and Prayer by Michael Wells
Abiding in Christ by Andrew Murray

Also - if you want to read an AWESOME daily tidbit, I recommend Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  All of these are rocking or have rocked my world!

Check out more sharing here!

3.01.2013

Covnersation #189: Does anyone else feel unsettled?

Maybe it's politics.  Maybe it's the weather.  Maybe it is the amount of stuff going on in my life.  Maybe it's the fact that I let work overtake me again this week and stopped actively abiding in Christ.  Okay, that last thing is the real reason, because that other stuff wouldn't get to me otherwise.  I just feel unsettled right now.  Like I am forgetting something or not worrying about something.  I mean you have a sickness when you worry about not worrying -  I know this.  I just feel like something is amiss, but really that just means I need to go back to God.

I stopped reading much about politics and issues facing the country (or listening to stuff about it) because God really just hit me with the fact at the end of the year that I have NO control over it.  Not that I ever do, but the decisions made in D.C. will be made regardless of my wishes at this point.  There is no election on the horizon, there is no avenue for change.  Living in Texas (which is great and I love) means that I don't even really need to bother my congressmen because they already vote how I want them to.  Anyway, in a way that was really freeing and helped me to find peace and joy.  I was able to let go of feeling like I had to worry and fix the problems of the country (doesn't that just sound crazy?!)

Now these last few days I have been listening a bit more to what is happening in D.C., and I think that is partially why I am down and just so frustrated again.  I'm sorry, but our President lies.  He is blaming Republicans for the budget cuts across the board that are about to happen, but they were his idea and his plan.  Now I think all along it was his "plan" to try and scare, bully, and force the GOP to submit to his true plan (of raising taxes), but they didn't cave so now he blames them.  I am so sick of it.  Frankly, I thought this email I got from one of my senators really summed up nicely what the across the board budget cut will actually mean (next to nothing) and really the President should just stop using scare tactics to frighten the American people.  Here is that email from Senator John Cornyn:
Putting the Sequester in Perspective
What Does it Mean to Cut 2.4 Percent?
Every year, Texas families set budgets for their households. They determine how much to spend on necessities like groceries, rent or mortgage, gasoline, clothing, and more.
For nearly four years, Democrat leaders in the U.S. Senate have failed to pass a budget for the nation. This is a basic and important responsibility that ensures our country is on sound fiscal footing. As a result, federal spending has gone up by 19 percent since 2008 and our gross national debt is now larger than the entire U.S. economy. Every child born in Texas and across the country comes into this world already responsible for more than $50,000 of our nation’s debt.
Now, a spending-reduction plan called the “sequester” is scheduled to go into effect in a matter of days. It would cut federal spending by 2.4 percent. The sequester was proposed and signed into law by President Obama, but he now wants to avert the sequester by raising taxes on hard-working Texans.
To sell his tax hikes alternative, President Obama is creating a state of alarm over cutting 2.4 percent from $3.5 trillion in government spending.
To put this in perspective, let’s look at what a 2.4 percent cut to a family budget would look like. To reduce their spending by 2.4 percent, the average Texas family would need to:
    - Run cars on 94.7 gallons of gasoline a month instead of 97 gallons per month
   - Find $6 in savings from a $250 monthly grocery budget
 - Look for ways to conserve $4.20 from a $175 monthly utilities bill
All working Americans had to figure out how to make ends meet with 2 percent less in their paychecks last month when the payroll tax expired. How is it that Washington can’t do the same?
 
So with all of that going on, today I tried to take a minute and remember a little gift God gave me a few weeks ago when I was feeling overwhelmed by the future and worry in this world.  He gave me these verses in Psalm 31 (19-22) (from BibleGateway.com):  Read all of Psalm 31 though - it is all comforting!!!
How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
20 You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man;
You keep them secretly in a [h]shelter from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the Lord,
For He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city.
22 As for me, I said in my alarm,
“I am cut off from before Your eyes”;
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried to You.
 
He also gave me this picture of Him pulling back his robe to reveal this little table for me to sit at - this secret place where I would be hidden from the "conspiracies of man" (another version says the plots of man).  It helped me believe that no matter what Obama decides or other people in "power" God is protecting me.  It may be painful sometimes, but ultimately, HE has me.  So comforting!
 
I laugh at myself sometimes because even though I believe the Old Testament to still be relevant, I fear that I don't read it enough.  Well in searching for the above verse again, I stumbled over some other Psalms.  They are amazing!!! This one also spoke to me today and I leave you with this passage.  May you know the God of peace and power and love - I couldn't make it through one day without Him:

Psalm 91

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Security of the One Who Trusts in the Lord.

91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that [a]stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
[b]For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your [c]tent.
11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
12 They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the [d]serpent you will trample down.
14 Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in [e]trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 “With [f]a long life I will satisfy him
And [g]let him see My salvation.”

2.21.2013

Conversation #188: A Downton must see

ALERT: sort of spoilers if you still haven't watched season 3 Downton finale!!!

We all know Downton Abbey is the hot show these days.  It is funny because I actually consider myself having just been on the brink of it's major popularity explosion.  This doesn't happen often.  We do watch a lot of TV (probably too much) so we find a lot of new shows and share them with our family.  This was one of them, but we were actually informed about this show from another friend first (who also recommends great TV).  He told us about it after the first season ended so we caught it after the fact but before the second season started and we were hooked.  It was so hard to wait each week to watch the new episodes when we had been able to knock out the first season in a couple of days.  Like I said, we were hooked.

Anyway, this season was just so happy and sad all at the same time.  I kept trying to guess what the tragedy would be in the last episode.  Mary also dying in childbirth - nope.  All of the family getting in a train crash on the way home for the birth - nope.  Hoping Thomas' injuries were the worst - nope.  As soon as I saw Matthew in the car, I knew.

So I saw this video on Big Mama's blog and it made me smile so I wanted to share it:


Hopefully it lightens your mood a bit after that finale.  Also, my sis-in-law sent me this funny cartoon: