Thursday, January 31, 2008

So I was reading tonight and doing some poking around and I found myself in the Word. I just felt it kind of calling out to me. So while I was with it, I thought I would try and find some scripture that specifically deals with some of the things my Nathan had been "battling" lately - fear, worry, etc. If you read scripture, you are more than likely familiar with these verses, but I always feel like having them right there at a moment's notice to combat the devil in our weakness is so much more powerful than taking time on our own, or trying to ignore it, or stumbling around trying to find what we need in the moment. I have been convicted about not memorizing scripture as I did in the past and when I came across these scriptures, it reminded me why I did it and how powerful it is indeed. With a little willpower, we will be able to quote these (amazingly through the Holy Spirit) even in our moments of weakness in dealing with the issue at hand. I thought it couldn't hurt to give him (Nathan) some ammunition as he battled it (and wins!). For my own good too.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but (He has given us a spirit) of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. II Timothy 1:7

This scripture has always been a favorite of mine and I use it often...to combat the belief that I don't have what it takes, because I do indeed...and with Him living in me, I have more power, love, and sanity than I could ever imagine. And it's right at my fingertips, if I only believe.

There is no fear in love (dread does not exist) , but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment and (so) he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love (is not yet grown into love's complete perfection.) I John 4:18

I really really love this second one - because it says that LOVE defeats FEAR and stops it dead in its tracks, in fact, fear goes running for cover! And in the end, if we fear, we haven't fully grown in our capacity to love and experience love. This fact was a huge ah-ha! for me tonight as I read it over and over. As I thought back to the times I was the most fear-ridden, I realized it was in the times when I either wasn't loving myself, wasn't allowing God to pour out his love on me, or didn't trust that anyone (God or man) loved me.

Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared. Proverbs 3:25-26

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. Psalm 91:4-7

These two are more or less for comfort, David has a way of doing that in the Psalms. It is so healing to know that He WILL be your confidence, he DOES provide shelter for us, he DOES protect and shield us from the things we could fear. He has us in the palm of His hand and will not ever let us go...no matter what circumstances we think will let Him leave us, he won't. He is there and can absorb your fear, worry, and doubt. Let it sink in.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Time. Where does it go? I know we all wake up and have the same 12 - 15 hour days in front of us just wide open and waiting for us to accomplish the tasks we have planned, but where does the time go and how do we not get those things done we set out to do? Personally, I keep lists. And I have lists everywhere and for all things. Lists for groceries, lists for items to follow up on, lists of things I want, lists of things we need for the house, right now I have a list of names (for the baby), I could go on. Nathan makes fun of me for having so many lists, or for keeping them at all, but there's a part of me that feels SO GOOD when I get to cross off an item and say it's been done, or I have that, or I don't want that anymore. It's finished and I have one less thing to accomplish with the little time I have left.

What I realized recently is that I don't really have a list of scripture verses I want to memorize, or things I want to do to improve my marriage, spiritual life, other relationships, etc. I have a list of things to accomplish in my professional life, but not on my own, just the one mandated by my company. So I am challenged with this...having so much to do already and so feeling like I have so little time to do it all, how can I add one thing...just one wise thing to the following areas of my life that will make a lasting difference:

  • My spiritual life
  • My relationships/marriage
  • My personal life
  • My professional life
There are so many things I can do that are worthless, and will add no value in the long term, so I'm looking to cut those out and instead replace them with one thing that is wise, that will add lastng value, and will reap a harvest over time. Paul says it well in Ephesians 5:15-17 with candid reminders that we need to make the most of every opportunity because before we know it our days will be gone. I know I spend my time on a lot of things that don't add value and that's definitely something I want to change, especially before this new child comes into our lives and changes it all up anyway. Spending less time focused on my job and more time focused on my family...for me, that's a wise move. At the end of my life, I won't want to say I put in "this many" hours at a job, but I will want to say that I spent "this much time" with my family...and I would never trade it for the world.

I haven't thought of my one thing for each quite yet, but I'll update it when I get there. I challenge you to do the same...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Judgement

Have you ever been blamed for something you didn't do and had to suffer consequences on behalf of someone else? This situation is one I am stuggling with right now and the consequences were so severe they will have lasting impact on my life and any large life decisions I make in the future. I have had a difficult time explaining how this situation feels to me on the inside, and how it feels to have the other person (whom I am suffering the consequences for) completely oblivious to the situation, outcome, feelings, etc. of what I may be going through. In more ways than one, I have felt so much more connected to the gift Christ gave us when he gave his life for us sinful, rebellious, ungrateful beings...people that he knew would never fully understand his sacrifice, and yet he gave anyway. To make matters worse, I have had a hard time not being angry at God for "letting" this happen to me. It's one of those things where you know the appropriate response, and if it was happening to someone else you would be right there giving them that schpiel about how "God is going to use this in your life" blah, blah, blah. But seriously, when it's you, and you're trapped like a caged bird who was only trying to rescue her chick, it feels quite a bit different and it's a lot more difficult to find perspective in the moment.

Being that I've felt angry at God for this, I haven't pressed as firmly into him in each passing moment to find out the reasons why and to get on my knees to discover what the hidden secret lesson is behind all this pain, suffering, and innocent guilt. We were in Ephesians for a bit at church on Sunday and I found myself perusing the surrounding pages a few days later. I came across
Ephesians 1:4-10 and was instantly reminded that even though I feel like I'm being blamed, for something I didn't do, ultimately, I am blameless in God's eyes. And let's all be honest, his are the only ones that matter at the end of this whole game we call life. So I'm redeemed, forgiven, I have riches in his grace, and I have his power, wisdom, and understanding all at my fingertips. Now it's just a matter of understanding what all this is about. Not for this moment, necessarily, but for eternity. How I can use this for HIS name, not mine...it's not about me, my blame, my guilt, my anger, but about how HE can use that in me to glorify him.

And while I will admit I don't feel that way at all right now. And I mean, at all! I do KNOW I will be able to see a bigger picture on the other side. "The other side of what?," you might ask...well, I'm not quite sure. But how about I'll let you know when I get there.

Monday, January 21, 2008

So we were off to Boone, NC this weekend with some friends of ours, namely Ben and Nathan to relax and be cold. And cold it was. We left from Nashville during rush hour on Friday evening and sped, literally, to Asheville to pick up Ben's two kids, Caroline (13) and Matt (8). Due to the snow in the mountains, portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway (where we were going) were closed off, so we had to make alternate routes. I'll be honest, I feared for my life at times. Ben, bless his heart, is a very talented and gifted surgeon, but a skilled driver he is not. But we love him anyway...after all, it was his parents house we were staying at, so I need to keep in good graces.

We finally arrived (alive) in Boone around 11 p.m. and got the kiddies into bed before sitting by the fire and having some nice chat time among us adults. This chatter lasted until around 2 a.m. when we finally headed off to our own beds. Our room was incredible and is the second phase of their new renovation to their home, which is enormous. I took a few shots...check out our room


And the great room...


Saturday morning we bundled up for breakfast at The Mountain House and then came back to snow falling...so of course, we played. That was fun - feeling like a kid again and throwing snowballs, wrestling, etc. Well, no wrestling for me, but the boys did rather well at that. After hot cocoa and naps, we were off to see Vicki before her performance. She was leading worship for a high school church retreat, so that was fun to see her. Then we headed to dinner (way too late and everyone was cranky)...First to Mellow Mushroom where there was more smoke than a forest fire and who happened to be out of small dough, why they can't make small dough from large or medium dough I do not know, but they couldn't, and they didn't want to make any accommodations for it either. Second to the place across the street, where there was a twenty minute wait, and knowing how cranky we all were already, this was not an option. Third to the place Ben wanted to go in the first place - oh well. We went, the menu was huge, it took forever to get our food, but it was good. Very good. Back to the casita to continue in our chats from the previous evening. Again very in-depth, challenging, engaging - just plain good stuff.

Sunday morning we woke up and the crew went to Hardees for some good old fast food breakfast items. Then it was time to pack up and head for Charlotte. We met Mom in Hickory and headed home. Overall, though it was cold (never got to 30 degrees) it was great. Really good to not think about work, talk about work, but only to engage in deep and meaningful community with fellow believers. I have more on this, but it relates more to the "drama" of tomorrow, so I think it will make more sense to pair those thoughts together. Thank you Ben for the pleasure of staying at your parents house, complete with treadmills and racquetball court, and more rooms than I know what to do with. Thank you Ben and Nathan for the incredible conversation, challenging mantras, and encouraging verse that was spoken from both of you. What a blessing you have been since we arrived in Nashville. Thank you God for such an inspiring and fulfilling weekend away. And thank you that it's almost spring!

Friday, January 18, 2008

So here comes the weekend, and here we go leaving town, again. Feels like this is becoming way more of a lifestyle than an every-now-and-then adventure. But I'll take it while I can get it. Off to Boone to forget our troubles and cares of this week - as you can see, what a week it was and much in need of forgetting. And next week has even more drama tied to it. A nice break (a cold break, but nice) will be very refreshing, I have a feeling. Will let you know if it ended up being stressful or refreshing in about 48 hours. 

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bad Day

So yesterday was a really, really bad, awful day. Not so much a bad day in life, just a bad day at work. Should I let these types of days get to me and impact the other areas of my life? No. But did I anyway? Yes. It was just so hard to let go of for some reason. Maybe the biggest reason is because I had plans for the day and ALL of my plans were put on hold due to really dumb things that tied me up at work. Ignorance, lack of paying attention, lack of listening, careless errors - all on behalf of others - impacted MY day. So when I have these bad, awful days the hardest thing to do sometimes is to break away and do something for me. Since I didn't get to do that yesterday, I decided I would spend some time in the Word this morning and try and just forget the day, move on, start fresh, and live.

I turned to the ever-helpful Psalms. David just seemed to know what he was talking about way before the coming of Christ, which to me, is a huge feat in and of itself. His intimate knowledge of the wonders of God before He fully revealed himself. I just think that's pretty amazing. No wonder he was a man after God's own heart. But anyway, I came upon Psalm 116 and discovered a few notes in the margins that led me to believe this scripture had been there for me on previous occasions during some other rougher days/weeks. All in all David's words brought encouragement and refreshment, both of which I needed. In Psalm 116:1 - 11 he just reminds us that God hears us cry out in our worst days and is gracious to us no matter how tired or fed up or angry we are...He holds us tightly in His loving arms. And in the middle of it all, he encourages, "Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt BOUNTIFULLY with you." (NASB). The Message says it another way, "I said to myself, 'Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.'"

How often do we forget the blessings and bounty that surrounds us when things don't go our way, or when it seems everything is going wrong? God is still gracious to us and he longs for us to recongnize and rest in the blessings he's placed around us in the most unsuspecting places. In my case, my hubby came home that night and what a blessing it was to be able to forget the frustrations of the day when I felt the warmth of his hug at the airport. It melts away all the pent up frustration and agnst and reminds me once again how blessed I am.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

15 weeks

I am 15 weeks pregnant this week. It seems like so long, yet I still have at least 25 more weeks to go! It's amazing what I learn with each week about the tiny child (BT - "baby tabler") growing inside this belly I have...so after my reading today, I thought I'd give the highlights of what's going on in there:

  • Baby Tabler is now 4 inches long and weighs only 2.5 ounces (to put this in perspective, think apple)
  • The amniotic fluid he/she is floating in floats in and out of his/her nose and respiratory system, helping his/her lungs develop
  • Baby's legs are growing and are longer than arms, plus all the joints & limbs can move
  • Baby Tabler can sense light (even though their eyelids are shut)
  • Taste buds are forming
  • Baby is kicking and moving and can suck his or her thumb with the best of them (only a few more weeks till I can feel that stuff)

As for the crazy changes going on with me, most have been pretty far off up until now. For example, I didn't have any morning sickness, but I did have to back off completely from working out for a few weeks per my Doctor's orders. So, as of now, most people have typically gained about 5 pounds (4 for me), and to be honest, that kind of scares me because I don't want to gain an exorbitant amount of weight and am trying to stay under 20 pounds if I can help it. We'll see how much of a reality that is. I guess that's where it helps to have morning sickness - no weight gain in your first trimester. Okay, I'm over that. I'm taking it in stride. In addition, I have definitely had "rhinitis of pregnancy," which is basically a persistent runny, stuffy nose...and that has been with me from the beginning. It gets old, but I'll take it over nausea any day!

All of this to say, wow! How amazing is it that this baby, inside my stomach, is growing at a phenomenal rate, is moving around at a crazy pace, and is going to be ready to come out in 25 weeks. God, in all is majesty, designed this process in such an amazing fashion.

One of my "homework assignments" from my Dr. was to read Psalm 139 every day. I haven't been as diligent about this as I should be, but I have read it at least once a week, and every single time, it blows me away, it never gets old, and something new stands out to me every time. Today it was verses 15 and 16 "My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in your Book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them." (NASB) I like how the NASB puts it, so clearly the writer states he KNOWS God saw him from the moment of conception (in secret) and that even when the child was not formed, all his days were written out for him. You can read it the whole passage for yourself here.

But the amazing part is that while God is doing that for this child inside, he did it for me 28 years ago, and I should never forget that. Every day, every move, step, decision, fear, happy moment, whatever...was ordained for me in the moment I was conceived. Well, even before that...but the point is, I should live in that confidence more readily, more freely. We all should as he's done it for each of us - for every day.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Oh the battle of working in the office vs. working from home. I am in Charlotte this week, working at the office. My how different it is after working from home for only the past two weeks. Let me bluntly say, I hate it. :) Not all jobs at the office, and not even this job at the office, but just the comparison of working at the office vs. working at home. There are definitely pros and cons to each, though I am beginning to see the pros of working at home far outweighing those of working in the office. Now, if I had a bigger, more exposure-based role that I could not due from another location, I might very well feel differently. But, in my case, my role is very much one I can do via email, conference call, and phone conversations with the greatest of ease. The slight number of things I cannot do from the house are so slim that this week during my annual review, my change-averse boss gave me the green light (hooray!) to work from home until she "needed" me to be in the office for something.

So, today Nate and I had to go to Columbia, SC to pick up some furniture from Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Joe's shop Metanoia (which means to think differently with a new purpose and new direction. They have an interior design firm and do work all over the country, but have recently opened a storefront which will supplement their interior design work. We picked up some incredible pieces while we were there and hope to pick up a few more once our budget recovers! They have amazing stuff...incredible taste.
(click the pic to take you to their site)
Anyway, after a few days in the office, it was just nice to not be there. The opportunity to do something personal during a work day and still get 98% of my work done, is a nice feeling amidst a stressful week. But during our drive, I realized the vast difference in myself when I am in the office vs. at home, or working remotely from anywhere for that matter. Everything is better - my personality, my mood, my stress level, my outlook, my ability to separate work from personal, etc. It's all just vastly different. And this is when I realized the value of working from home. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't realize it before, but it was just amplified this week once I realized how much I really don't need to be there.

There was a time when I worked from home and didn't like it all that much because I wasn't around people enough. But now, I'm at a different place in my life and I can realize all the added benefits of the advantage it truly is and who cares if I'm around a billion people all day or not, it's one less hour I have to be "on" and let me tell you, that's a breath of fresh air. In addition, it was only this week I realized the huge benefit this is going to be. I'm not sure why it didn't really sink in until now, but I knew once I had kids I would not want to go back to working, not full time, not part time, not at all - at least until they were in school or something! However, I did not want to give up the opportunities I had in a career, or in pursuing things that were adult stimulating rather than child-stimulating and experience that "WHO AM I?" thing after a few months/years. So here I am talking with Bonnie and it was in this moment when I was telling her how great working from home is and once the baby comes, I'll be able to work and be a stay at home mom and it hit me...like lightning...THIS IS WHY WE MOVED TO NASHVILLE. I mean, not the only reason, because I know God has huge things for us here, but seriously. I get to be a stay at home mom and work, but since it's at home, I get to do both. Had we been in Charlotte, I most definitely would have either had to quit or do something to fix up a part time schedule, which would have most definitely required me to be in the office one or more days a week...and I didn't and don't want to do that. So here I am, stoked, and praising God for allowing me to see a glimmer of a reason for our move and having it all make sense in a split instant. I was just in awe of how He doesn't give away the whole picture at once, but he fills our puzzle in piece by piece. I knew all along I would get to work at home and be a mom, but it just hit me in that moment how ordained it all was. Crazy.

So I'm rambling now, I can feel it. But I just had to share that insight amidst my joy in discovering how much I value working from home vs. the office. I'll post my list in a few days. Just want it to be organized. You know? And, plus, I'm bound to think of something else to add on our drive back to Nashville this weekend...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

155

Today I went to the doctor and mom came along. It was her first trip to my OB's office and I was meeting with OB #3 in the practice. I really wanted her to be able to see the baby, but due to the late notice of my call that morning, they couldn't squeeze it into my visit. Oh well, next time. So, the doc and I just chatted - she was very nice and had some great advice as well as some good insight about things I'm experiencing. Not like morning sickness, because luckily, I have skinned by that part of pregnancy. But instead, my skin decided to go crazy during my first trimester. It should have been a key indicator to me that I was pregnant, because my skin has always been nearly flawless most of my life. Don't get me wrong, I have had my occasional pop-up, but nothing like what I've had the past few weeks. It's been drama and I feel like a teenager. Anyway, the OB consoled me by letting me know my case was very mild and that I should do this and that, but not over-react as it would go away very soon. Me, overeact? Never. Well, maybe occasionally.

Anyway, after all that she did have her handheld device with her and as she strode towards me I began to cringe at the cold jelly she was about to put on me. Gosh, I hate that stuff. :) She put her device right there and there it was...the most beautiful heartbeat one could ever imagine. A whopping 155 bpm. Pretty amazing. Mom, of course, was in tears. Such a sweet grandma (Mia, K-K, whatever she calls herself) she will be. The doctor seemed to think that the combination of my skin craziness and the higher heartbeat of the baby may indicate that it's a girl. She said her she has one of each and her son was lovely to her, but her daughter made her skin go crazy...something about the duality of hormones floating around in my body, but who knows. Most people I have talked to said the lack of morning sickness may indicate that it's a boy. All of it's sheer speculation for a few more weeks when we actually get to find out what it is in there, but until then, we'll just have fun guessing.

What amazes me is that this little person, who is the size of a mere lemon right now, has a heartbeat that beats more than twice as fast as mine. My RHR is around 60 - 65 on a bad day and this little tiny person's heart is going at a phenomenal rate...just pounding away. So here is this little being, with a crazy heart rate, who has fingernails and toenails, who is learning how to suck their thumb and pee (thanks for the double peeing!) and if it's a girl, who has all the eggs she will ever have in her life, the list goes on...that is just growing away inside me. Though I don't really "show" to most people, all of these things "show" in such an amazing way in and through me. I cannot wait to see what I'll look like in a few more months. Right now, at 14+ weeks, I look like the skinny girl who ate too many donuts. I think I'm ready for this phase to pass, and can't wait to see the little person again. Just two weeks...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Growing

So we're only a few days (three to be exact) into the new year and I'm already seeing continued areas I need to grow in - especially before I take the plunge into mommy-hood. A woman's weight - it's one of those things we just don't talk about, right? Well, that would be true if you were anyone other than my husband. God love him because sometimes I could shoot him. Last night we got into this completely pointless conversation about how I should be viewing myself and what I do now that inhibits me from viewing myself correctly and in theory this sounds so grow-worthy, but in reality, it just wasn't. Anytime someone I love harps on something and comes "at me" rather than comes "to me," it all ends up in a ball of tangled mess. So that's what happened. It was a mess. Nathan trying to be logical with absolutely no emotion or feeling behind it and me trying to be logical, which is impossible when you are a ball of emotions, add to it the amount of pregnancy hormones pumping through me and there's NO rationale other than crazy! Like I said, a mess.

But after a nice long sleep, I think both of us were able to see more clearly what the issues were with our lack of ability to communicate with one another effectively. We communicate rather well with one another - I would even venture to say better than most couples do - except when it comes to sensitive issues or issues that have roots of pain or hurt, bad memories, etc. behind them. When this is the case, whatever happened last night, happens. I wish it didn't and that's what I'm really getting at. I'm growing, trying to change that, and learning to realize that no matter what it "feels" like, he's not ever coming "at me" by intention, but trying to come "to me" even if it doesn't seem so to the emotional girl behind the brown eyes. And there it is...point of growth #1 for 2008 - "Learning to hear what people are saying and understanding it for their true intention (love) without becoming defensive and irrational." In Titus, Paul challenges us to say, "No" to our own selfish desires, to worldliness, to losing our self-control and becoming overcome by it, but instead to trade that in and live self-controlled and to live in hope...for we have so much to hope for! This hope is what we all should remember when the moment of losing our self-control is upon us...well, me.

The second underlying growth point of this particular lesson is for me to continuing to relenquish the stronghold that is my weight. This one is so easily found in women it's hard to tell when it's there and when you're free, but I would venture to guess we are never really free. I'm sure there will be more to come on that, but for now, let's just stick with the one.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

It's snowing

Happy New Year 2008! It's snowing in Nashville (well, Franklin, but it's really all the same). What a great way to welcome in the new year with something that puts a smile on everyone's faces. 


As I watched the neighbor children get bundled up with their dad's and come outside to see what snow was, I was excited to think about this time next year...we'll have a little one ourselves who will be able to view the awe of snow. Who knows what that will look like (the child and the experience), but how exciting nonetheless. 

I have been feeling great with the pregnancy and am just over 13 weeks. My next Doctor's appointment is next week (14 weeks) in Charlotte and I probably will need to figure out how to tell my boss (Marye Pat) the big news.  I am anxious to see how he/she has grown since my last visit and I can't wait to be able to find out whether it is a girl or a boy. Picking out a name will at least become easier in that it will narrow down our choices - if even by a little.  Still praying for Nathan and his ability to "be on board" with the new arrival, but know God will take care of that in His time. 

It's 2008...where did 2007 go? While I'm not really sure where it went, I do know mine was quite full of things I failed to capture due to a lack of  journaling and keeping up with myself and the goings on of life. However, to amend this dilemma in 2008, I have set in my mind to pursue writing more often (4 - 5 times per week at minimum). It may be in form of a journal entry, blog, or just some quotes or scripture I came across during my day, but I don't want another 365 days to pass without capturing what I am going through, experiencing, thinking, and how I'm growing amidst it all. Other than that, I don't have any "New Year's Resolutions" per say as to me, it seems like only another way to fail before I even start something. So that's it. Write more. Done.