In constant pursuit of coffee and Christ

Friday, May 23, 2014

Let Go - One Mans Trash Should Probably Just Be Thrown Away

No, this post is not dedicated to the ever popular Frozen movie, nor it's theme song. Honestly, I've not even seen the movie or heard the song yet, though I expect this to be fixed soon. 

Today I was blessed to spend several hours with my beautiful sister-in-law and cutie pie nephew on a bargain hunting adventure. 

Every year one of our local communities, Apple Valley, holds their garage sales. There are literally sales on every corner, full of all sorts of things from antiques to, well, TRASH.

The saying goes, "One mans trash is another mans treasure" Well, I'm here to tell you, that one man should probably just throw his junk away and stop trying to shove it on everyone else. 

There's another saying that comes to mind that, I feel, is relevant "ain't nobody got time for that"

I cannot tell you how many people were trying to sell things that should have just been placed in a dumpster (several years ago, at that). I'm talking about worn out shoes, broken coffee mugs, stained clothing... Give these things away, sure - if someone wants to take them. But trying to sell them... not even I am interested in your chipped black coffee mug for $0.50 or your worn to the soul shoes for $2

Every year AV holds these sales and every year you see people put out the same things as the year before. This begs the question, WHY? Their basements and garages must be full of items they no longer want but aren't willing to admit that no one else sees any value in. These items could be donated to homeless shelters, or simply thrown away, but instead they are held onto - kept alive to fight another garage sale. 'Maybe next year we will get our $0.15 for that broken picture frame.'

*I will say, we found some sick deals today. I spent less than $40 on three DVD's, a like new walker, two toys, two dressy outfits (pants, button down shirts, vests), a sweatshirt with his daddy's number on it, and a nice top for Barrett along with a sweet leather jacket and Adidas running jacket for myself. My sister bought a motorized Hummer for my nephew for $20, among the many other deals she found today.  Ahhh... shopping high. Nothing like bargain hunt success! - Oh, and hunting in a pack is that much more satisfying :) 

Anyways, back to my point. 

We are all holding onto things that we should be letting go of. Whether it's time to pass them along to the next person who can use them or time to throw them away completely. The fact is, it's time to let go. 

No, I'm not just talking about that pair of shoes you haven't worn for the last five years or those pair of jeans you've convinced yourself you'll fit into again. Not the power tool given to you for Christmas that you have every intention of basing a project around. Not that god awful necklace that matches nothing...yet. Though you may want to consider having a garage sale yourself if any of this rings a bell. 

...Did I mention we will be having a massive garage sale ourselves in the next few weeks?...

I'm talking about attitudes, mindsets, experiences. 

We all have experiences we've learned from, advice that has seen us through many a hard time, treasured memories and lessons learned, that we want to pass along to others so that they too may benefit from them. These are sale table worthy things, the type of things that people are searching for, that are desired, collected, placed on a shelf with a light hanging over them to accent their importance... you get the idea. 

We also have junk -  hurt, painful experiences/words, that we carry and, sometimes, try to unload onto other people. These things need to be placed where they truly belong - in the dumpster. 

Spring cleaning dons an entirely new and, let's face it, more satisfying meaning when we apply it to more than just our home. It's time to clean out our personal lives, polishing what we value enough to hold on to, releasing what my benefit others, and throwing away all that hinders us from moving freely in our lives.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spite vs Might

This mornings coffee is held in my teal birthday mug.

A few years ago Ben presented me with this lovely mug on my birthday. I loved it so much that I even took it with me to church on Sunday mornings in place of a travel mug. 

Ben made this mornings cup of coffee so I'm honestly not sure what I'm consuming, other than caffeine. After such a fun, busy, weekend caffeine is all that matters. 

After my sophomore year of college I became the Wellness Educator for the Kent State University, Student Recreation and Wellness Center (SRWC). Along with my WE duties, I also took on some reception work. While I do not enjoy sitting around, I do love the organization and relationships built in an office environment. 

*Funny bunny trail: My supervisors name was Ben Cope (great guy, always stole my venison trail bologna when I brought it for lunch, haha). My second week in the office, one of the girls came in and asked how my weekend had gone "Oh, it was very nice" I said, "Ben and I went for sushi and then walked around town for a bit" She looked at me with shock/disgust in her eyes as she said "You know he's married right?? With CHILDREN??" I burst out laughing (which she didn't appreciate) and said "No, no, MY Ben, my husband's name is Ben! Not Ben Cope!!" We both had a good laugh over the mix up. Later on that day, Ben Cope popped his head into my office and, with a huge smirk on his face, said,  "Amanda! I hear we had a sushi date over the weekend!"

Forgiveness. No matter who you are, at some point in your life, you will be on both the giving and receiving end of forgiveness. 

I'll never forget the night I backed into Ben's car. He loved that car (still does, he's still driving it!!). It was a Wednesday night and the cell group that Phil (Ben's brother from another mother) and I co-hosted had ended. As I backed out to leave I gently bumped Ben's car. I mean, so softly that I almost didn't realize it had happened at all. Ben noticed though (he was headed to his car when it happened) and, while both vehicles were fine, I knocked his front license plate loose. "Didn't you look?" he said "of course I looked!" I answered, getting defensive. "Well, I'll just reattach it later" he said "it's not that bad" - "I'm sorry" I told him, feeling like an idiot and searching his face for indication as to how in trouble I was. "It's OK babe" he replied, pulling me in for a hug, "no big deal." That was the end of it, no bringing it up later to make fun of me in front of our friends. He never mentioned it when he got pulled over for not having his front plate attached. I was forgiven, end of story. 

Peter asks Jesus in Matthew 18:21 how many times we are to forgive those who have sinned against us. In Matthew 18:22 Jesus answered, 

"I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times"

One day, as I sat at the reception desk, one of our personal trainers came in and started a conversation based around forgiveness. "So let me ask you" he said, "what if someone killed your husband? Would you be able to forgive them?" I sat for a moment, not wanting to miss an opportunity to shine Christ's love and contemplating Matthew 18:22 when I was given some clarity. "I'm sure it would take time" I replied "and even then, one time would not be enough" he sat on what was referred to as "Amanda's Counseling Couch" and asked "what do you mean, one time would not be enough?" I answered "I might be able to walk in forgiveness towards that person for an hour, a day, a year... but at some point I will relive the hurt and anger that he caused in my life, and I will have to choose to forgive him all over again. Forgiveness isn't a one and done deal. We have to walk it out, we have to live it." He seemed satisfied with my response, got up from the couch, and left the office for a few hours. 

Thank God for the Holy Spirit alive in me to give the right answers! 

"Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude." -Martin Luther King Jr. 

Becoming spiteful is such an easy thing to do, even encouraged in some cases. There is power in forgiveness, not just for the one forgiven but, just as much, if not more so, for the one who is forgiving. 

"Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, 'cause hate in your heart will consume you too."-Will Smith  

Choose to forgive, as many times as you have to.

"When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future"- Bernard Meltzer 

Monday, May 12, 2014

1st Mother's Day

Seeing as how this post is dedicated to the awesomeness of my first Mother's Day, this morning I am drinking from my new travel mug

I was on our worship team yesterday morning so I needed to be early for sound check. Ben and Barrett left before I did to "run some errands". When I pulled into the parking lot they were there waiting for me, holding my new, coffee filled, travel mug and a breakfast bar. "Happy Mother's Day, my love" Ben said as he handed me my treats, "we will see you in a couple hours". 

Steel, Teal, and Ceramic 

I have become a rather large fan of ceramic travel mugs. Not only are they excellent for keeping coffee warm, they don't affect the flavor, no matter how old they get. 

I knew Ben was up to something for Mother's Day, but I must admit, I was incredibly surprised and blessed by how special he made the day. 

Guys, it's noteworthy that he didn't break the bank to accomplish this. Sometimes the most simple of gestures can mean the most. 

"I'm giving you a full, uninterrupted, nights sleep" he told me Saturday night, "I will sleep upstairs with Barrett and Sydney and you can have our room all to yourself"

For the most part Barrett sleeps through the night, maybe waking because he needs a diaper change or because he spat his binky out of reach. I still wake however, even if just to look at the monitor and make sure he's breathing. 

*I may veer more towards the paranoid side of parenting 

Mother's Day Lunch 

After church ended we headed home. I was greeted by beautiful flowers, a card, and told lunch was being taken care of and that I was to nap. 

The gift of sleep is a beautiful thing. 

"You're going to want to change" Ben told me once I woke (I was still in my church outfit) "and wear your old tennis shoes" - "Where are we going?" I asked, getting excited that wearing old shoes meant we're going to be outside "We are going to go explore" he said, with a huge smile on his face. "Sydney is coming too"

Ben and I have been together for almost 13 years. We have always talked about going to Mohican State Park to spend a day hiking/biking. 

We pulled onto the grounds and found our parking spot. I was so excited! The park is beautifully maintained with free access. There are multiple different trails to choose from and Ben had researched the best one for families. The weather was perfect, sunny with a breeze. We could not have asked for a better day. 

Binky in the woods 

We walked, taking in the sounds, smells, and sights of grounds we'd never walked before. The trail was only a little over a mile so an hour and a half later we were back at the car. Ben had timed everything perfectly. Barrett fell asleep as we buckled him into his seat. 

Getting dirty 

We were hot, muddy, messes and I loved it. Even Barrett got some dirt on his shoes. 

Piggy's in the woods

Our jogging stroller was no match for the muddy, rut filled, trails and was quickly returned to the car. Barrett didn't mind though. 

The decision was made that we would stop and get some ice cream on the way home. "I know exactly where we are going" Ben said, as he took us to The Dairy. Back in high school we used to visit on a regular basis. I cannot remember the last time we were there. As he pulled in we noticed how incredibly crowded they were. Neither of us felt like waking our sleeping boy, or waiting in line, so we went on to plan b. "I hear good things about Whit's all the time" I said as we drove along "OK, we'll check them out" he said. 

Let me tell you, I am now a huge Whit's fan! Frozen custard. Oh. My. Gosh. 

cold coffee flavor, of course! 

We had each gotten their smallest size and neither of us could finish in one sitting (next time, which will be soon, we will split a small). 

Once we got home Ben helped me weed the flower beds, and plant my Mothers Day flowers from the church, while Barrett played in his pac-n-play and Sydney napped in the grass. We had just finished when we felt the first few raindrops. 

As the rain came pouring down Ben informed me that dinner was taken care of and I was not to touch any of the dirty dishes. "I'm handling it, you just sit and relax." 

So I did, and it was lovely. 

What a perfect day, full of flowers and memories. 

I should note, Ben does an excellent job of making me feel loved and appreciated every day. I have been blessed with a man who lives Ephesians 5:25

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her"

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Barrett Story - Part 2

This mornings coffee is being sipped from this lovely hand made mug

This particular mug is very special because Ben's Grandma St. Helen made it. I love the earth tones, the shape, the size, and how warm my coffee stays in this mug. Ben's grandparents live in Oregon. We haven't been out to OR since 2006 when Ben proposed (that's a great story, for another time), but plan on visiting as soon as possible.

OK, back to October 6th, 2013...

I was given royal treatment at our birthing center. "What room would you like? Oh, this one is biggest, let's put you in here", the nurse who admitted us chattered, as we walked into a massive labor and delivery room. I didn't care about the room.

How is this baby not here yet? Why isn't he coming on his own? What if we wait another week to see if he comes without help? Oh God, they're going to give me an IV. - My mind was going a mile a minute and room size was not priority on the list. In the end I was very grateful to have the largest room.

I was given a hospital gown and told to make myself comfortable. Comfortable, right. After changing I didn't want to get on the bed, so I didn't. I stood, talking with Ben and Julie, until the nurse came in and said "you can get in the bed, it's all yours." As it turns out, I wouldn't be on my feet again for quite some time. Standing was the right decision.

Typically I am the chilly one, known to wear sweaters and jackets even in the middle of summer. Not this time. "It's warm in here" I said, looking around the room for the thermostat "can we turn it down?" Ben went over to adjust the temperature, "How cold do you want it?" he asked. "As low as it will go" I replied, "and did you remember my fan?"

I've always been on the claustrophobic side and being pregnant had only emphasized this. Having cold airflow was going to be vital to my comfort during this delivery.

What felt like hours later, the head nurse came in to do my IV. "We've had an emergency and all our staff and nurses are in the delivery room" she started "It's been a while, but I'm sure I remember how to do one of these"

YOU'RE SURE YOU REMEMBER? Girl, you're about to run a needle up my vein and you're "sure you remember how"

I have never liked needles. I can remember going in for shots as a child, clinging to the table legs and screaming because I hated them so much. My poor mother. In this moment, as I watched my, hopefully competent, nurse prepare the IV and begin to sanitize my hand, everything in me screamed 'get on the floor and cling to the bed legs!'

"I really don't like needles" I told her, "so I'm going to turn my face, close my eyes, and hum. Please just tell me when you're done." She smiled and said "yes ma'am". Just as I was closing my eyes I caught a glimpse of the needle, the giant 18 gauge needle, that she was about to shove into my flesh.

*A 22 gauge needle is typically used. The higher the gauge, the smaller the needle.

I could feel the panic rushing over me, and she hadn't even started yet. Let me tell you, this was by far the most painful part of my entire labor and delivery experience. I cried, not just a few tears either. "I covered the needle so you don't have to look at it" she said as she gave my shoulder a squeeze. "Thank you" I replied through my tears.

After a few minutes the pain in my hand subsided (no I wasn't hooked up to painkillers) and I was able to "relax" a bit. The room had finally started to cool off and breathing felt easier. I could feel how tired and anxious I was. Around 10:00pm we finally started the inducement process. My Dr wanted me well rested for the next day, so he had given instructions for a sleeping pill to be administered.

When trying to juggle a house, pets, and having a baby, things become tricky. We had decided that Ben would go home after I fell asleep and make sure everything was ready for baby and me the next day. Julie stayed with me all night.

I woke the next day, somewhere around 7:00am, and was very pleased to hear that we had made quite a bit of progress over night. My Dr. came in at 8:00am to check on me, "Wow, it's cold in here!" he said, "I want to make sure you enjoy this experience, Amanda" he said with a smile "that way you'll want to do it again." I looked at him and said "as long as my son gets here safe and healthy, I will enjoy the experience." Ben arrived right around this time. "It's really cold in here babe"

One of my favorite nurses from the office, Jolie, had just transferred back into the birthing center a week or two before I was set to deliver. During my last appointment with her we had discussed how wonderful it would be for her to be with me during delivery. She knew how important it was to me that this was done as naturally as possible. When she walked into my room: "Wow, it's cold in here. Amanda! I was hoping it was you!"

What a blessing to have her with us. She went and got blankets for my mom and sisters and made sure we never lacked for anything.

My water broke around 8:30am and we were moving! My mom and Stacey arrived somewhere around 10:00 "Wow, it's cold in here!" she said, with a huge smile on her face.

Yes, my fan was on as well. Ben was wearing all of his warm Navy gear, including his hat!

Jolie knew how important it was to me that I have my baby naturally. Being induced kinda put a kink in that plan. She made sure that my pitocin drip was at it's lowest setting to affect me and fought for me every time my Dr. recommended it be increased. "What level is she on currently?" he asked, "she's making great progress on a 2" Jolie replied. "Bump her up to at least a 5" he told her. "She wants to do it on her own" Jolie said.

*A pitocin drip maxes out at 20

She was a God send.

After several hours of contractions I was exhausted and frustrated. My boy wasn't dropping and had started to work against the contractions. "Jolie, I think I would like a dose of Nubain" - "are you sure? You're doing great and it will only make you sleepy" - "I'll still feel my contractions right?" she nodded, "yes, please. I'd like to try and sleep a little" - "Coming right up". I made this request only twice, and while the pain remained the same, I was able to sleep a little.

Ben and I had opted out of birthing classes. I knew that, in the moment, I was going to handle things my way. Yoga breathing. If there is one thing I can tell you to practice it would be deep, controlled, focused breathing.

Contractions were coming about every minute and lasting for at least 30 seconds.

~During a contraction: "Ben, hand. Sucker." - He took my sucker (all I was allowed to have besides ice chips) while I squeezed his hand, closed my eyes, and focused on my breathing and feeling my body prepare for it's finest moment
~After a contraction: "Thank you, may I have my sucker back now please?"

This was the routine for 11 hours.

*There was one time when I only had Ben's finger. " I think you may have broken it" he said after my contraction subsided a little and I finally let go. "I said 'hand', you were too slow" I said, as he massaged and wiggled his finger around "nope, not broken".

After 10 hours of labor my Dr recommended I get an epidural to help my body relax, in hopes that this would help baby to relax and finally start to crown. The anesthesiologist was sent to my room and as we talked he asked "you're not ready to give up yet are you?" - "No" - "you can always call me back if you need me. I don't want to start this unless you're 100% sure" - "Thank you, I'm not ready yet"

Again, Jolie was amazing. She was my nurse, my cheerleader, and my friend who wanted to see me do things my way. She was my backbone when I felt weak and she was my brick wall of protection when my wishes were questioned. I could probably write and entire blog post dedicated to her and the conversations we had during my 12.5 hour labor.

After hitting the 11 hour mark I could sense the worry in Ben and my family. "Amanda, I'd really like you to try the epidural. If we don't see progress soon we will have to consider our alternatives" Dr S said as he looked over my charts. Barrett was continuing to have negative reactions to the contractions, working against them instead of with them. "If your charts looked different you could keep going, but we don't want to put you or your baby at risk. You're exhausted, Amanda, and you want to be able to enjoy your baby when he gets here. We want to avoid an emergency situation." I felt so defeated as I agreed, "OK, I'll take the epidural now"

We tried with the epidural for an hour (now up to 12 hours of labor), and still no progress. Having contractions that you don't feel was odd. I had grown accustom to how they felt and to see the numbers jump and feel nothing was such a weird experience. "At this point I'm concerned that he is being held up by the umbilical cord. His heart rate is fine, but his leg or arm might be caught. There has to be a reason he hasn't come down and is working against your contractions. I think it's time to consider a c-section, Amanda. Take a few minutes and let me know how you feel"

As soon as the words "c-section" came from my Dr's mouth Ben dropped his head into his hands. My mom and sisters had tears welling in their eyes.

Despite all that was going on, I had peace. I didn't need time to think it over.

"Let's do it"

I was prepped for surgery and the anesthesiologist came in to remove my epidural needle and prepare for a spinal tap. "Do you have any concerns Amanda?" he asked. "yes, will the room be cool enough? I'm struggling with claustrophobia and if I don't feel cold air movement I might panic." He smiled and said, "I can tell you like it chilly. I'll fan you myself if I need to. We will make sure you're comfortable."

I was wheeled into the OR, given my spinal tap (which I almost fell asleep during), and laid on the table. I kept asking if Ben was in the room yet, I didn't want him to miss anything. They assured me that they wouldn't start without him. As soon as he came in I felt so much better. Then, the spinal tap kicked in, really in. "I'm not breathing" I started saying, feeling panic rush over me. "Amanda, you're talking, you're breathing. The ST has numbed you up to your chin so you can't feel your rib cage rising and falling. You're breathing, just keep talking to me."

Yes, that makes sense. As much as I tried, I couldn't control the panic. This is not how it was supposed to be! I was supposed to go into labor on my own, to experience pushing and the joy on my husbands face as he saw his son for the first time. I was supposed to experience his birth, not be hidden behind a curtain waiting for him to be taken from my body.

"tell me your address Amanda" - "204... I still can't breathe" - "Where were you born Amanda?" - "Newark...I'm not feeling well" - "Put your hands over your mouth so you can feel your breath" - "ok, that's a little better" - "tell me your address again"

My anesthesiologist did a wonderful job.

All of my panicked thoughts were hushed as I started to pay attention to what the Dr's and nurses were saying.

"do you see the size of that head"
-oh no, our son looks like Stewie from Family Guy!

"I may have to make the incision longer"

"Oh wow"
-Oh no

"I severely underestimated the size of this baby, Amanda"
-How big is he?

- Anesthesiologist to Ben: "You're going to want to watch this part." Ben was amazing, all of his focus had been on me and keeping me calm.

"You have a beautiful baby boy, Amanda! A BIG beautiful boy!"
-How big is he??

Ben, "He's here and he's perfect baby! I'm so proud of you! He's big, he's really big!"

Ben was so perfect, running back and forth from me to baby and back again.

I hadn't heard him cry yet. I wasn't going to be happy until I heard him..."waaaaa"

I was so happy! All in one instant I no longer noticed the room temperature, or the fact that I "couldn't breathe" My baby was here, he was healthy, he was big, and he was crying.

The nurse brought him over to me and placed his perfect little face next to mine. I kissed him and told him how much I loved him and that I couldn't wait to hold him.

Then, just as quickly as I was wheeled in, I was taken back to my room. "What's his name?" everyone was asking Ben, but he still wouldn't budge. Once we were back in the room with my mom and sisters he finally said, "everyone, meet Barrett"

Barrett Michael Potter was born on October 7th, 2013 at 9:48pm weighing 10lbs 1oz, 22" long and already wearing a size 3mo.

I was weak and exhausted when they brought him in to me. They actually had to help me hold him. He was perfect.

He still is.

Last baby bump picture, taken at 40 weeks 

Coming home outfit, size 3months

Daddy holding his boy the night he was born

Happy baby, two days old

"You will increase my honor and comfort me once again. I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Isreal. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you- I, whom you have redeemed." - Psalm 71:21-23

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Barrett Story - Part 1

The creative side of my brain has waited until now to kick in, or maybe I'm just finally ready to write about our experience. Either way, my coffee mug has been replaced with a jar of water (my favorite way to drink pretty much anything other than coffee).

My water this afternoon is being guzzled from a Ball mason jar that once housed tomato. My parents almost always have an amazing tomato crop and last year was no exception. My mom and I spent an entire afternoon preserving their, seemingly endless, supply of fresh off the vine tomatoes. I LOVE tomatoes, so much, in fact, that I have been known to eat them like apples. My Grandma D likes hers sprinkled with a little sugar (trust me, it's worth trying), while my Grandma B always makes cucumber tomato salad in the summer.

Having a family is the one single thing I have always known I wanted out of life. Should my life amount to nothing else, I will be able to say I was the best wife and mother I could be. 

Back in high school we used to watch a show on TLC called A Baby Story. The show would highlight a couple different families, their pregnancy stories, then be in the room during the birthing experience (no explicit views). I say we because Ben would even watch with me, then we would discuss the episode afterwards (he's always been a keeper). 

Saying I'm a bit of a planner would be a severe understatement. I am a major planner, you know, the kind that really doesn't like it when things don't go her way. I'm getting better at letting go and letting God do His thing - which is always the best, despite how well organized and prepared I attempt to be. 

I had what you might call an "easy" pregnancy. I did not suffer from morning sickness, I did not have any weird cravings (I wanted doughnuts and cheeseburgers, weird for me but welcome compared to others I've heard of), I did not gain a ton of weight, I wasn't moody (yes, Ben agrees with this statement), I did not break out, I did not suffer from lack of bladder control, etc., etc... 

* I did suffer, and I mean suffer, from round ligament pain. There was a point where I was in so much pain I ran to the bathroom to make sure blood wasn't gushing from my side where I was hurting. I felt as if I had been stabbed. I would all but pass out from the pain, and I came close several times. 

After entering the third trimester I began to feel very uneasy about the delivery process. Honestly, I was completely terrified. I began to pray for peace, knowing that all the planning in the world wouldn't matter in the end. That being said, I did have a detailed birth plan that included not being given any drugs/pain medications unless requested, no episiotomy, skin to skin immediately, Ben cuts his umbilical cord, no binky, no bottle, etc., etc. The staff we were blessed with followed my every request, as best they could anyways, but I'm getting ahead of myself. 

I would try to envision my birthing experience, and couldn't, not the way I wanted to. Every single time I tried to relax and think about delivery I was instantly transported to having a blue sheet draped in front of my face and people swarming all about. Believing in taking every thought captive, I would open my eyes and say "no, I'm not having a c-section, I'm doing this the right way, the natural way. I rebuke that fear in the name of Jesus". I could have taken them captive all day and still all I could envision was laying on an operating table. 

Due dates are funny things. After our first ultrasound I was told we were seven weeks along, with an estimated due date of September 21st. After our second ultrasound this date was pushed back to October 1st. So, when I started going into labor at the end of August, there was room for concern. We followed the instructions given by the on-call nurse (they started at 10:00pm on a Friday) and after several hours they finally started slowing and eventually stopped. 

I had been experiencing Braxton Hicks for months, like, literally since entering the second trimester. After making labor stop, all contractions stopped, and never came back. 

As we approached our due date I was more than ready to have my baby out of my tummy and into my arms. He had run out of room, I had run out of room. 

I stayed active throughout my pregnancy but the last week of September walks became longer and included more hills. I felt as good as a full term mommy in an Ohio September can. I was sure he would be here any minute. 

My last Dr. appointment came and, to my great disappointment, I had made no progress. I looked at my Dr. in great surprise as he said, "Well, we're still just at 1cm Amanda. Come in on your due date and if you've not made any progress we will discuss our options from there. I bet you go into labor right on your due date. Let's get you in for another ultrasound to see how baby is doing." 

I had made it very clear that I wanted to have this child as naturally as possible, so being induced was out. Simple as that. Right? 

Our third ultrasound was amazing. He was such a little person! Always moving, not sucking his thumb - thank God, and still a boy (yes, Ben did ask that they double check, haha). As our ultrasound tech took the many measurements to approximate weight and length, I was glued to that screen showing my perfect little boy. "Looks like he is right around 8lbs" she said after all her measurements and calculations were completed. My face must have given away my concern, as she quickly stated "but they can be off by 2lbs, and you're not that big, so I'm sure he's no more than 7lbs".  

*A note about my Doctor. Three weeks before my due date the Dr. that I had been seeing, that I trusted, that Ben trusted, had an event in her delivery room that resulted in her discontinuing her practice. I knew very little about my new Dr., except that he was a HE and I wasn't all too comfortable with that idea. He was exactly what we needed though, and did a wonderful job. 

Well, October 1st came and still no baby. By this point I was downright frustrated. I had tried everything but caster oil (I do not enjoy being sick to my tummy), and nothing, not even a cramp. I was sure I had made progress when I went in for my check up, I was sure of it. "You're still just barley past 1cm Amanda. I see your latest ultrasound results are saying he's right around 8lbs. That can't be right, you're not big enough. You can handle an 8lb baby, I just don't think he's that big". I ventured into scary territory, "the tech said that the results can be off by 2lbs, both ways. What if he's 10lbs?" My Dr. replied, "it's not impossible Amanda, I just don't see how a baby over 8lbs would be fitting in your belly. You're perfectly healthy, your baby is perfectly healthy. I'd like to wait until the 6th to induce, are you OK with that?" 

"Yes, but I hope we don't make it"

The last several weeks of my pregnancy I turned to the song "Light of Your Face" by Kim Walker Smith and Jesus Culture. This song was on repeat almost all day, bringing me comfort. I started focusing less on how my child would enter the world and more on the fact that my perfect little boy would be here soon. I stopped rebuking the idea of having a c-section and instead started praying that I would have a peaceful delivery. Peaceful for me, for Ben, for our son. Why peace out of everything that I could have been praying for? Because fear and peace cannot coexist. I needed to be strong. I needed to be brave. I needed to be able to handle whatever was thrown at me, not just for me, for my son. 

On October 6th, 2013 at approximately 8:00pm I entered the birthing center, accompanied by Ben and my sister, Julia to be induced.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid" - John 14:27 

... to be continued 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Servants Heart

Today's cup of coffee is being sipped from this beautiful, hand made, mug that our dear friends and owners of The White Oak Inn gave us several years ago. 

Not only is this beauty hand made, but locally as well. I encourage you to shop local as often as you can, for as much as you can. The extra money spent is saved in gas you're not spending and food you're not purchasing by going to the mall. 

Today's blend is Gevalia Esperesso Roast. Obviously I did not take the time to make espresso this morning, for this tasty blend, it doesn't matter. 

* Did you know that the longer a coffee seed (bean) is roasted the less caffeine it contains, but a cup of dark blend coffee (when grounds are measured by weight) will still contain more caffeine than a cup of a lighter roast? Why? Because, while roasting diminishes caffeine content, it also decreases the weight of the seed. This means that when you measure 1g of dark roast coffee vs. light roast coffee you are actually getting more seeds in the darker roast than you would in the lighter. That being said, most of us measure by the scoop full, which means that our dark roast coffee made at home contains less caffeine than a lighter home brewed roast would. 

Isn't food science amazing!

These last several weeks have been filled with so many new life adventures, with the most significant being moving with a baby. Oh my, I thought moving was a pain in the youknowwhat before! Having a precious little one to constantly be pulling my attention from the many boxes, bags, etc. flying in and out of one house and into another was challenging, to say the least. 

I have learned so much about myself, my family, my friends, and my relationship with Christ, over this time away that it simply wouldn't be possible for one blog post to contain it all. Well, ok maybe, but I do not possess enough free time in the day to write it and I'm quite sure you wouldn't want to dedicate enough time to read it all in one sitting. 

So, today I will leave you with one of the lessons that blessed me most. 

As a child wanting to be helpful to my mother I would often go and try to do things - the wrong way. My mom would look at me and say "sweetie, being helpful is when you do the things you've been asked to do, when you've been asked to do them". Apparently me drawing her pictures (which she was grateful for and made a big deal out of, like any loving mommy would) was not as helpful as picking my toys up off of the floor. 

To make a very long story short, I was given three weeks to pack up, what we thought would be our forever home, and be moved into the new place. Three weeks. 

Through this experience, what blessed me most, was the servants heart displayed by so many of our friends and family. Not only did we have an "army" of people spend their entire Wednesday helping me finish packing, loading and unloading the truck, etc. they did so without being asked. These wonderful, God sent people, heard what we were up against and said "tell us what you need". 

We are so grateful and blessed by the friendships and family that God has placed in our lives.

What a wonderful place the world would be if everyone would be helpful and fill a need

"Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you?' The King will reply,'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me'" - Matthew 25: 34-40