Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lovebug is a Trooper

So grateful for the personality God has given Lovebug tonight.  She expresses dislike but also just does what has to be done.  It was a rough one, after an infusion set failed and it took us 3, yes 3, stabs to get a set to go in correctly.  This is why I'm not a fan of the Inset 30 infusion sets for anyone thinking about getting them.  That said they can go in areas with lower body fat than the Insets so sometimes we have to keep some around. 

Set change trash, those pink things are one-time use spring devices used to insert the plastic tube of the infusion set.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Purpose Isn't Defined by Me

Hubby and I led, well started, the youth ministry at a church plant just after we graduated college.  There was a need and I loved working with youth.  I worked in a youth ministry almost every summer of college.  I was also a teacher at a local middle school so it made sense that this was the ministry I worked in.  Hubby joined me partly because he enjoyed the kids we were serving but mostly because he wanted to support me in a ministry I loved.   It was a great way to tangibly serve the families in the church.  We led for about 6 years.  It was tough trying to figure out how to create a ministry that served our church but avoided supplanting the roles of parents and families the way some youth ministry models can tend to do. 

After our 5th year leading, God began to press on my heart that some changes needed to be made in regards to our role in leading.  We just had our first daughter and found out within a few months that we were expecting our second child.  To be honest, I didn't want anything to change.  Having been a youth who accepted Christ because a friend invited me to a church youth group, much of my picture of ministry was wrapped up in the youth program.  I grew in Christ because two lovely women had discipled me through youth ministry.  I was heavily involved in campus ministry (which is very similar to youth ministry) and then worked for a wonderful youth ministry each summer.  I believed that God wanted me to move out of this very narrow box of ministry but I was resistant.  God was patient and so was my husband.  I was overwhelmed by being mom to two babies (the girls are 15 months apart) as well as a youth leader.    I kept thinking about how we could serve with our kids and still meet the needs of the church youth.  At the time our second child was born I finally accepted the change.  As Hubby's responsibilities with his church internship increased, his seminary studies moved forward, and our family grew I could no longer resist the push to step into a different role. 

I kept asking God what he wanted me to do, the only answer I received as I prayed and searched the scriptures was, "serve your husband."  I wanted a list--something tangible.  I like tangible and I like lists because they make me feel productive and organized.  God doesn't have to work like this.  So for a year I stepped back and did not serve in a formal role in our church.  I served my husband by getting the girls fed and dressed for church so he could go early and play on the music team.  I planned fun trips so Hubby could study, write papers or plan sermons with us out of the house (it was a 2 bedroom condo with 4 people, there was not really a place to 'hide' well).  I found babysitters so I could join him when he preached for the women's service at the local prison.  It was a blessing.  By me stepping out of such a time-intensive ministry role it allowed us as a couple to find new ways to serve together and it freed up Hubby to freely serve in the ministries where God was placing him.  Just as he has supported and encouraged me earlier in our marriage by leading youth with me, now I took on the role of supporter and partner as the our family grew and his leadership at church expanded.

There are so many ways to serve in ministry.  I could say being a stay at home mom and supporting my husband was ministry but God wanted me to do more than just say it.  He wanted me to live it.  By expanding my picture of ministry and accepting the places God has placed each member of our family at this point in time its allowed all of us to serve more effectively.  After a year of focusing on supporting Hubby in whatever he needed I've moved into finding other ways to serve in addition to serving my husband and family first.  Sometimes creatively such as sewing or cooking for those that need it or washing baby bottles for the local pregnancy center; sometimes through more traditional means such as nursery helper or Sunday school.  Ultimately, what God has taught me through all of this is that significance is not defined by my perceptions of the value of the ministry I do, but rather by God's plans and purposes for me.

I'm linking up with Christine over at Grace Covers Me today as she releases her book, The Church Planting Wife: Help and Hope for Her Heart, and collects heart stories from church planting and ministry wives. Join us? 


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wow, its been a while...

Wow, its been a while.  A lot has happened in the past 3 months.  We've sold our house, moved in with my incredibly gracious in-laws then moved into our new house.  Oh yeah and there was Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations as well.  I've written about 20 blog posts in my head yet not had enough time to sit down and formulate one that I could post. 

I can't explain the amount of stress that Hubby and I were under nor the excitement, but one thing is for sure God provided for us constantly.  Here is my list reminding myself of God's goodness in the past 3 months.
  1. Celebration of Jesus coming to earth as a baby.  The wonder in this story takes my breath away.
  2. Our house sold after being shown once and for full value.  I know this is unheard of in this market.
  3. Lovely friends that cooked dinner for our family so it was easy to be out of the house during the showing.  
  4. Having the ideal buyer for the condo.  He didn't ask for anything to be fixed just the window bench Hubby had made for me to fit the full length of the windows of the house.  A nice pat on the back for Hubby's excellent workmanship and honestly where would we have put it in our new house?
  5. 1.5 month rent back before having to move so we could pack and possibly find a house so we didn't need interim housing.
  6. My parents and brother came down to look at a house we really liked.  Seeing that my dad has built 3 homes its like having a home inspector with us.  It was incredibly helpful. 
  7. Had our offer on a new house accepted the day we moved into our in-laws.
    You can be impressed with this packing job.
  8.    My brother took off work and put his 5 years of working for a moving company to work with our too small van to fit our entire condo into a 17ft. van...yeah just as a note it may say 1-2 bedrooms but unless you are as good as my brother its not happening. 
  9.  Loved living with my in-laws.  Hubby's parents were helpful and so gracious as I'm sure its not easy to live with a 4 year old, 2.5 year old, and 4 month when you haven't had young ones living with you for 30 years.  Although having kids run to give you hugs every time you come in the door does help;)  
  10. I didn't fold a load of laundry the entire time I was living there.  How amazing is this!  I do A LOT of laundry and all of it was neatly folded for me every time! 
  12. Little Man enjoying his Christmas present.
  14.  Little Man is the most easy going baby of my 3 lovely children.  I'm grateful. 
  15. We settled on our house even though the husband of the couple selling pass away Wednesday before our Friday settlement.  No realtor I know has ever had this happen, yet it went smoothly.
  16. We survived 2 weeks of refinishing 1300 square feet of hardwood floors in the month of Dec.  It was a hard job, but they are beautiful! 
  17. Love Bug and Cuddle Bug were in a Christmas play at our church that helped them to memorize the scriptures from the Christmas story.  Christmas morning we acted out the play again to celebrate Christ's birth but switched up the roles our girls played.  They knew most of the lines of the play. 
  18. We celebrated Christmas, with snow!! with my family and all my siblings.  It was so much fun to be with all of them. 
  19. Lovebug and Cuddlebug enjoying our new kitchen
  20. 3 days after Christmas we moved into our new house.  It's been a bit of a construction zone, but the girls have been patient and fairly good about leaving tools alone.  Again God provided multiple people to help us move.  Which was no small task since we were storing all of our stuff about an hour from the house we were moving into.  The reason was because my parents were giving us a mini-storage unit for free at the mini-storage they own.
  21. Our house size is over double what we had in our condo and we have a HUGE (for this area) yard.  That is fenced in.  So grateful!
  22. Many friends and family have babysat our kids, worked on the house, or just covered some responsibility we couldn't cover at church.  We are grateful for how those around us have supported us during this crazy time.  We're also grateful as we're feeling the stress being lifted for all of us.  For example Cuddlebug had many night terrors during all the changes.  She hasn't had one since the first week we moved into our new house. 

Though this list can't possibly contain the swings of emotion, both stressful and joyful, we experienced during this time, anyone who has gone through a similar situation will certainly understand.  Anyway, I'm happy to say that we're on the outset of settling in and I'm ready to get back to writing.  I've really missed it.  You'll be hearing from me again soon!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One Year Down

Enjoying the little painting bellies.

Well one year ago I was driving to St. Agnes Hospital at this time after I was given the most shocking and life changing news I've ever been given: my 2 year old has diabetes.  It has been a roller coaster of a year, but I'm grateful because I have seen God's hand through all of it.  I was told once at a CCEF conference on anxiety that God gives us the grace we need in the moment for the circumstances at the moment.  Similar to when the Isrealites in the desert receiving manna; perfect provition for today with the promise of provision for tomorrow.  Don't get me wrong; I become anxious, but I've remembered where to turn (with the gentle reminders of those around me).

Marian is thriving, growing, and learning.  She can tell you how to test her blood sugar and do most of it herself including change a lancet.  In the past month, she has correctly identified when she was low or getting low with more accuracy than previously.  This would not have ever been my choice for her life and I pray someday there is a cure, but our hope in life isn't set on a cure--it is set on Christ.  I pray that more than anything else she learns this. 

The popular song "Blessings" by Laura Story is such a wonderful reminder of how great God's love is amid tough times. 

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Leaping Letters

Enjoying this BEAUTIFUL weather!

I have slowly been teaching Marian her letters.  We started back up again after a summer break.  Since its beautiful outside I have no desire to do workbooks inside (and neither do Marian or Sofia) so this morning we did one page then headed outside to play "Leaping Letters".

I chose 4 letters that we've been working on (f, b, m, s) and wrote them in capital and lower case forms in boxes on the sidewalk. 

I then made a starting line that the girls had to line up behind.  The girls would stand at the line and I would give them a command (also works on following directions :) ).  For example hop to the B, skip to the S.
Once Marian was on the letter she had to say the sound, give me a word starting with that letter, and trace the lower case letter (the book we're using doesn't teach writing capitals yet).
Marian had so much fun that we went outside and played it again after dinner. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Jesus Story Book Bible in itunes

I LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible.  It was a gift to us from our pastor and his wife when our daughter, Marian, was born.  We have read the book until its falling apart and have bought another one so that both our girls have copies to read.  I haven't read a children's Bible (and we have many) that does such a good job bringing the Gospel into each story.  I just saw on facebook that until tomorrow the audio version of this Bible can be bought on itunes for $3.99. 

Click on the picture of the Bible if you're interested!  I can't wait to have it for the girls to listen to in the car on a trip!

The Jesus Storybook Bible

Thursday, August 30, 2012

He Hears Your Cries

Our Women's Bible Study discussed how helpful it is to remind ourselves of what God has done in our lives to remember his faithfulness to us and his love for us.  I have found this to be so helpful in my walk with Christ.  In college my roommate and I had a poster on the back of our door that we wrote answers to prayer on throughout the year to remind us of His faithfulness during a crazy time in our lives (I was student teaching with a not so hot mentor teacher and she was in her first year teaching).  I began this blog with the same idea, to remember all that God has done in our life. 

Today I'm getting ready to walk out of the hospital after about 2 and a half days of sitting here holding my little boy.  Monday night Timothy felt hot so I checked his temperature and it was 100.6 under the arm so I knew it was probably higher than what it was reading.  I called our pediatrician's office and they said to bring him into the emergency room.  My prayer the entire drive was protection for Timothy, one because taking him to a hospital freaks me out but also because I knew that kids under 2 months shouldn't have fevers.  Dr. Valente was wonderful.  He was gentle and patient when explaining the tests that needed to be done and the reasons why.  He tried hard not to alarm me while being honest...although the thought of a spinal tap on my 7 week old was alarming.  Every possible test was done to rule anything else out before doing a spinal tap and then he called our normal pediatrician, Dr. Plotnick, and she reassured me that it had to be done.  As a side note, she was on vacation and I'm sure we woke her up or at least messed up her relaxing morning!  By far she's the best doctor I've met and is worth the 35-40 min drive to get to her!  We survived this ordeal and then it was time to sit and wait for the results, however, because Timothy was obviously not looking well we had to stay instead of go home and wait.

It turned out that there were some white blood cells in the spinal fluid so we ended up in the hospital until all the cultures came back 48 hours later.  While I can't say I love being in the hospital, I appreciated the excellent level of care we've received at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.  Every nurse we've had was kind and worked with our schedules, such as working to pair taking vitals with either giving antibiotics or nursing so we're not constantly waking him.  I don't know that I've ever heard "can I get you anything" more frequently than over the past two days (except for after giving birth at Special Beginnings Birth Center).  The nurses and doctors have taken the time to answer my questions and did not make me feel dumb for asking them. 

I also was looking at the hospital from the standpoint of being there with a diabetic (if Marian ever has to come) and I appreciated that the meals come with a list of the carbohydrates behind each menu item and on the menu the carbohydrate amounts are listed behind it.  Plenty of healthy options are available. 

I will say this hospital stay has also been far different from the one we had 10 months ago with Marian.  I pretty much spent the past two days holding my little baby.  Once the iv was in there were not more shots, no entertaining a 3 year old in limited space, no having an incredible amount of information shoved at you while you're still processing the fact that your daughter's life and your own will NEVER be the same.  Just peacefully sitting in a quiet room holding my baby boy.  I'm grateful for the peace only God could give.  This peace allowed me to be grateful instead of frantic; to enjoy instead of fret. 

God was faithful in hearing my prayer and those of our friends and family.  He protected Timothy, our little boy had wonderful care and viral meningitis was a much better diagnosis than bacterial meningitis.  He was comfortable because his Mommy was able to stay with him thanks to family and friends that chipped in to meet Mark and the girls needs while I was away.  If we had a poster in our house with reminders of God's answers to prayer this week we'd have many things to write.

18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah 30:18-20  (NIV)
(Timothy has been out of the hospital a week already, but I wrote this while I was there it just took me a while to edit this post)