Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Snowy Promises

The Lord has been gracious to use snow as a sweet reminder of His promises. When I was in college and in the midst of a spiritually tumultuous year, He sent a beautiful, quiet snow to remind me of His promise to "wash me and I will be whiter than snow." A few years ago an unexpected snow in an unexpected season (and fulfilled dream) of life reminded me that He can bring beauty to barrenness.

So, when Christmas Eve offered up a beautiful White Christmas I couldn't help but be giddy. I couldn't help but remember the promise of the manger, the promise of the Messiah, the promise of the Cross and the promise of the Resurrection.

The promise of the manger: the promise that we would have a high priest that would know what it's like to put on flesh.

The promise of the Messiah: the promise to be delivered from the slavery of sin.

The promise of the Cross: the promise to know suffering at its greatest extent and through that suffering absorbing wrath, imputing righteousness, atoning our sin and making all the Father's promises be a resounding YES.

The promise of the Resurrection: it's done--all our debt is paid in full--the pain and suffering will be but the pain of birthing new life.

"For all the promises of God find their yes in Him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory." 2 Cor. 1:20

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Lord, our fire in the hearth--His promises, our coat

photo courtesy of this site

I had to share the following devotional that I read this morning. The Lord is so sweet to not leave Matt, our family and me alone in this. What a tender Father to warm my heart this morning with a precious flame:

Morning + Evening by C.H. Spurgeon--December 1, Morning:

"Thou hast made summer and winter."
--Psalm 74:17

My soul begin this wintry month with thy God. The cold snows and the piercing winds all remind thee that He keeps His covenant with day and night, and tend to assure thee that He will also keep that glorious covenant which He has made with thee in the person of Christ Jesus. He who is true to His Word in the revolutions of the seasons of this poor sin-polluted world, will not prove unfaithful in His dealings with His own well-beloved Son.

Winter in the soul is by no means a comfortable season, and if it be upon thee just now it will be very painful to thee: but there is this comfort, namely, that the Lord makes it. He sends the sharp blasts of adversity to nip the buds of expectation: He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes over the once verdant meadows of our joy: He casteth forth His ice like morsels freezing the streams of our delight. He does it all, He is the great Winter King, and rules in the realms of frost, and therefore thou canst not murmur. Losses, crosses, heaviness, sickness, poverty, and a thousand other ills, are of the Lord's sending, and come to us with wise design. Frosts kill noxious insects, and put a bound to raging diseases; they break up the clods, and sweeten the soul. O that such good results would always follow our winters of affliction!

How we prize the fire just now! how pleasant is its cheerful glow! Let us in the same manner prize our Lord, who is the constant source of warmth and comfort in every time of trouble. Let us draw nigh to Him, and in Him find joy and peace in believing. Let us wrap ourselves in the warm garments of His promises, and go forth to labours which befit the season, for it were ill to be as the sluggard who will not plough by reason of the cold; for he shall beg in summer and have nothing.

Monday, November 30, 2009

We had this picture taken well before our world was turned upside down by Matt's seizure + the news of a "mass" in his brain. I can't help but imagine the brilliant light as God's sure presence.

The Sunday before the "event," I opened my Bible intending to study a specific text in John. When the pages fell open, the title page of the book of Job stared me squarely in the face. I'm not normally one to play the magic eight ball game with the Bible but I'm also not one to believe in mere coincidence. The Lord--in His sure presence--was readying my heart. He was reminding me that nothing, absolutely nothing, can happen to Matt, the kids, other loved ones, or me without first passing through His hands. Satan had to ask permission to sift Job. The prince of this world is but a pawn in the Lord's plan.

This mass, tumor, whatever it is, is but an agent to bring Him greater glory and us greater joy.

Matt and I were both encouraged to read this Scripture from a brother in Christ:

For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steady;
he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.

Psalm 112:6 - 8


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Irresistible Invitation

Three weeks ago Matt preached perhaps one of my favorite sermons. The message was quite simple: pray. There was no guilt trip. No, it was an irresistible invitation.

Pray. For it is fellowship with God.
Pray. For it is a beckoning to join with God in accomplishing His eternal purposes.
Pray. For it truly changes things.
Pray. For it is a means of confession + fighting sin.
Pray. For it is an act of humility.

The last statement is what has lingered in my heart and mind. Too often I neglect prayer because, ever so subtly, I am convinced that I have enough control in a situation to effect a desirable outcome. In other words I'm saying, "It's alright, God. I got this one."

"It's alright, God. I can try to be a good wife and do all the good wifely things so that my husband and therefore You are pleased."

"It's alright, God. I can just try to have more patience with my children. Maybe I won't ruin them forever. Maybe if I read the right Bible stories, pray the right bedtime prayers and be a good, happy Mommy, they'll know you."

"It's alright, God. I can give good enough advice and the perfect Bible verse to a struggling saint so that she can struggle well."

And so on, and so on.

Now, I'm not saying that any of the above actions are bad. On the contrary, they are all good and wise things. However, it's where I am starting that is sinful. I'm not beginning with Him, His Son's work on the cross and the Spirit's power. I'm beginning with me--what I can do. To put it simply, I am prideful and presumptuous.

What a weight to bear. Too much, really. How silly to presume that I can carry all of that on my own.

So, instead of trying to "be good," I'm giving it up. Or, I guess, lifting it up. As a mother of three now, my prayer closet looks more like vacuuming or mowing or folding clothes than an actual closet. But it's happening. I'm praying because I want to know Him. I want to be a part of the advancing of His Kingdom. I want to see change--in me and in others. I want to fight sin. I want to humble myself before the Sovereign King.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


It has been far too long that I have neglected this little blog (aside from photo updates). I feel my heart awakening. Nine months' gestation can send it into hibernation - like Mary, treasuring things up during the winter to share with others in the spring. Soon.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

First Day of First Grade + Other Fun Things

Audrey's first day of school

Audrey's oldest friend that's a boy (note: not boy friend) = Parker
Reid + his very best friend Cole
Parker again - such a cutie.
Parker's + Cole's little brother Ryder - don't you want to just eat him up??
Cole + Reid keeping track of downs.
Norah + Ryder
Racing towards a touchdown.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm worn out. So this is what you get.

Norah at two weeks. Nine + a half weeks ago. Funny look on her face.

Reid and his buddy Truman at Family Camp.

At the Goat Cave. Quite a hike.

Audrey in a huge chair.

The Bleeckers in a huge chair.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Because Time is a Hot Commodity with Three Kids...

This post will be short but filled with great pictures from Jamie. She specializes in newborn photography and is amazingly talented! Check out her website: www.jamierogersphotography.com.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Norah's Birth

Because of the false alarm the previous week, I had requested to be induced early in the morning on Friday the 29th. This would insure that Matt would be present at Norah's birth. They admitted me at 6 a.m. and started Pitocin around 7:30.  I knew it would be after noon before I would see my doctor so I settled in for a long morning. Thankfully, I was a 3 and 50% effaced and thus the nurse (sweet Melissa) said I could go ahead and have the epidural. It was honestly the most comfortable I had been in 3 months! 

Melissa continued to check me every hour or so. I was progressing but slowly because my bag of waters was still intact. My nurse said if my water had been broken I probably would have already had her. Before the doctor arrived I maxed out at 6 cm and 60%. At 2:30/3:00 p.m. the doctor broke my water.  At 3:30 they checked me...9.5 cm and completely effaced. I was to have the baby soon. 

I could "feel" the pressure and knew it was close. The nurse checked me (this had to be around 3:50) and immediately said, "oh, we're having a baby!" She called in every available person and my doctor. They got one stirrup up but Norah wasn't having it. She literally delivered her head and shoulders by herself. The doctor was there, thankfully! I remember feeling her in my abdomen, feeling a contraction and then feeling her "disappear!" It was truly wild.  Much to my delight there were no "repairs" to be done. This makes all the difference in recovery!

She weighed in at 7 lbs. 8 oz. (exactly what her Momma predicted) and measured 20 inches. She is beautiful, of course :) I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

Early that morning

Waiting...epidural was working, if you can't tell :)

Getting ready

She's here!

Daughter & Daddy

Sweet story: Audrey was incredibly tender at this moment. She was literally overwhelmed with joy and awe to the point that she started laughing and crying. So precious...my heart swells every time I think about it! She later told Matt, "Daddy, I feel kinda funny. It's like I could laugh and cry at the same time!" *sniff* *sniff*

Monday, June 1, 2009

She's Here!!!

Norah arrived Friday, May 29th at 3:51 p.m. weighing 7 lbs. 8 oz. and measuring 20 inches. Details and photos soon! 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Norah Update

Thursday night we had a false alarm. I'd been contracting most of the day. Once we went to bed, the contractions felt "crampier." I remember with Audrey that I had wanted to "experience" some of the more intense contractions before the epidural. Man, they got intense quickly! I was afraid I would get past the point of no return with this one so I nudged Matt around 10:30. My parents traded off Audrey & Reid duty and we headed to the hospital. 

They hooked me up to all the wires and L&D paraphernalia:

  • the clothespin on my left middle finger that was supposed to monitor my heartrate and oxygen levels (but I swear they just wanted to squeeze my finger until the circulation was cut off)
  • the blood pressure cuff of doom that hugged the life out of my right arm every 30 - 45 minutes
  • the fetal heart monitor that had to stay in the exact right place or else 
  • the monitor that measured the contractions that had the same parameters as the fetal heart monitor
  • not to mention the towel made of sandpaper laying beneath me that gave my bottom a facial
Normally, if true labor and birth were inevitably on the not-so-distant horizon, these wouldn't bother me. However, when I was checked upon arrival I had progressed very little from my doctor's appointment.  I was barely over a 1 and still only 50% effaced. Ugh. As I lay there for the next two hours, I just knew they were going to send me home. This made all of the above monitors, etc. especially annoying. 

The most comfortable position for me was my right side. Unfortunately, the wire attached to the clothespin on my left hand was too short. I had to wriggle my way (without disturbing the fetal heart monitor & contraction monitor) onto my right side while keeping my left hand towards the left side of the bed. It was a terrible game of L&D Twister. I eventually discovered I could put my left hand on my face and this provided a little bit of comfort. 

I had finally settled into a somewhat comfortable position at around 1 am. I couldn't wait to fall asleep.  And then, the cuff. The plastic bore a perfect impression around my right biceps. No rest for the weary. Meanwhile, Matt snoozed annoyingly well in the recliner. 

The nurse came in an hour later to confirm my suspicions. I had made very little progress. After forcing a small dose of Ambien on me, she let me go, saying, "I'll probably see you this afternoon!"

Well, that was Thursday and it's Tuesday. 

Honestly, it's been nice to have the break. Matt took the weekend off just in case. This has provided a sweet retreat for our family before the madness begins. Definitely a blessing in disguise. 

I've included a picture below taken right before we left for the hospital. I pretty much look the same. (This one's especially for my sister-in-law Tiffany :) )

If nothing happens between now and then, I will be induced on Friday morning - a week before Matt is scheduled to be speaking in North Carolina at Advance '09.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Norah's Nursery

A virtual tour of Norah's nursery. I'm still waiting for her quilt and bumpers to be finished. I'll write a special post for that. For now, here's what we've got:

You might notice the tissue pom-poms in the crib. Those will be going up shortly...hanging in the right corner and in the opposite corner not shown. The paint color I chose was Plaster Pink 2 from Laura Ashley home at Lowe's. I originally said I didn't want pink and brown. The bedding is mainly yellow with a wide range of pinks and a hint of brown. I found some beautiful drapes for a great deal and they were, of all colors, brown with light golden polka dots. So - pink & brown (& yellow & green) it would be!

This was the chandelier we replaced in our dining room. Size-wise, it fits better in the nursery. I just added some painted shades and trimmed them with the brown tassels.

My sweet Momma made this for Norah. You can't see it very well in this picture but the print in the upper-middle pane is Norman Rockwell's A Day in the Life of a Girl. Upon seeing Mom's piece of artwork, Audrey immediately asked if she could have a bear like this one. 

Mom and I found this dresser at a consignment store in town (Furniture Buy Consignment). This piece was previously used in a model home. The knobs had been painted like baseballs for a baseball themed room. We just spray-painted them brown and voila :)

This nightstand went along with the dresser. We have yet to paint the knob!

Be looking for a special post on the nursery bedding. I have two friends who have started a baby bedding business and I can't wait to introduce them (and their work) to you!