Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Noah's birth story

As always, when stumbling upon a birth story be prepared for terms that may or may not make you uncomfortable. These terms may be but are not limited to: cervical checks, dilation, tearing, etc.
Not comfy with those things? Don't read! 

Noah Miller Brown
6:32 PM
5 lbs 14 oz
19 inches

Noah was born nearly three weeks early! Whoa! After carrying both of my bigger boys to 40 weeks (literally...they were BOTH born on their due dates!), this was a new one for me. 

My water broke around 2 AM on Dec. 4. Honestly at first I thought I peed myself...then I coughed and ....voila. Water breakage was completely clear and unquestioned at that point. I alerted Josh. I called my OB (who told me I could come in when contractions got uncontrollable or by 8 AM). I sat on towels. Three towels actually. I soaked all of them. Awesomeness! I did laundry, I cleaned the kitchen, I tried to prepare for my mom and dad and in-laws to take care of the boys in our home for the next few days. 
Anita, my mother in law, arrived at 6:30 a.m. We told Owen good-bye and what was happening since he would have to get up for school shortly anyways, and then Josh and I took off. We stopped at Chick Fil a on the way :) Since my water had broken I had not had any sort of good pattern of contractions. A few here and there...but nothing consistent. I was afraid of getting to the hospital and needing pitocin which rules out eating and I didn't want to take this whole birthing thing on with and empty stomach...and what better to fill it with than Chick fil a breakfast! 

I got checked in to the hospital and seen by my OB by around 9:00 a.m. I was pretty disappointed to find out that I was only dilated to a 1 and my cervix was still high and closed. Bad news man. I took some cytotec which is a pill you take when you are being induced to thin out your cervix...after that they have to watch the baby on the monitor for 90 minutes...and after that I walked the halls of the hospital like a crazy person. After walking for awhile I came back and rolled around on a "birthing ball" (exercise ball) since this is supposed to open up your cervix and help bring the baby down. 

Around 1 p.m. my nurse checked me...she felt like I was still at 1...no change. She wanted to have someone else check me to confirm so she sent in another nurse. What fun. Almost like Disneyland. I endured the second most violent cervical check of my life and the nurse confirmed that there really had been no change. I took another dose of cytotec. 30 minutes later I started having contractions! WOOO! They were uncomfortable, but nothing I couldn't handle...BUT they weren't going away and they were consistently about two minutes apart. I labored like this until 4:30 when Dr. Ball (my OB) came and checked me. I was at a 3 and the baby had moved down...my cervix had changed. I didn't really pay attention to "effaced" or "station" so I can't tell you much about that. She told me that she'd leave me alone for awhile to see what I did but she'd probably come back in a few hours to talk about pitocin since I had passed the 12 hour mark where my water had broken. She also ordered an antibiotic for me to help fight off infection (standard when your water breaks and you don't deliver for awhile) and...I requested some nubain to help with contractions. Ah. NUBAIN. I love thee. Or I thought I did. It took a good half hour for the nubain to arrive. I was starting to really be in a lot of pain. I finally got the nubain in my system (through IV) and I felt some relief...SOME. Not a lot. Not nearly as much as I felt when I labored with Wesley. It made me sleepy, but really didn't help with the contractions. I labored on. Heavy breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. It wasn't too long before I started to feel that outside of my body pain and I'm sure I was crying through my contractions. I started to feel pressure but brushed it off because I had just been checked not even two hours ago and I was only at a 3. I couldn't possibly be ready. And then a few contractions later it was that panicky feeling where I knew something was going on. I yelled for Josh to get me a nurse...he ran in the hallway and found someone who wasn't my nurse (oh well :)) and she got me into my bed I asked if I was complete and she said "the baby is right here", told Josh to get a Dr.....lucky for me Dr. Ball was in a workroom across the hall, she along with two other nurses came running in...I saw her scrambling to get her gloves on...I felt my body bearing down and I looked down and saw my baby boy basically slide onto the bed. HOLY SCHMOLY. That was crazy! I had gone from 3-10 centimeters in just a few hours. I was still shaky and a little drugged from the nubain...so when they gave him to me I just looked at him (he looked exactly like Wes and Owen so....nothing real new there! :)) and then felt like I had to give him to someone else because I was so shaky! I couldn't believe that I had gone from walking the hallways crying because I thought I would end up with a c-section to delivering my baby in such a short amount of time. 


We named him Noah Miller. Josh and I had two names that we agreed upon. Noah and Cameron. Owen started telling everyone that his name was Noah, so I kind of felt bad to change things up on him. Noah seems to fit him well :) Miller is my mother Donna's maiden name, so we used that to honor her, my Grandma Dixie and that side of the family in general. 

Noah has been nursing great since birth. I have no idea what Owen's problem was! :) We love him, the boys are adjusting well and we are sleeping a little :)

There it is! More later. Gotta feed my hungry little guy. :) He's a great early Christmas present!

Edited to add: A few things I want to remember...

After we were all cleaned up and before visitors arrived, my OB came back in to tell me she'd see me tomorrow. She paid me a huge compliment (for her...who I've come to believe is induction and epidural happy and overall somewhat unsupportive of natural childbirth)...she told me that I had done an excellent job with my last two births and it was obvious I knew what birthing was all about! Whoa! Huge compliment coming from her :) What she doesn't know is that with both births I was probably minutes away from requesting an epidural. Lol! During Wesley's birth she gave me "faces" whenever she would come in the room and suggest pitocin or an epi...during Noah's birth, she pretty much left me alone (except to mention pitocin if my labor didn't take off...understandable). Thinking back, she is probably more conservative than I want to give her credit for. Instead of forcing me into a c-section with Owen, she sent me home after a failed induction and gave me three hours to push him out instead of calling it quits and sectioning me. She also came through for me after Noah's birth when the new OB (fresh out of residency) came to discharge me and informed me she'd be catheterizing me and watching my blood for protein because my blood pressure was slightly elevated....Dr. Ball happened to be in the hospital doing some paperwork and stopped in to check on me and ended up over-riding the new OB, canceling the catheterization and instead just letting me do some resting and follow up with a blood pressure check in her office the following week. (where my blood pressure was normal and good.)
So all in all, I'm very happy with my birthing experiences with Zionsville OBGYN. Dr. Ball has served me well and taken good care of me considering some of the complications I've thrown out there along the way. The nurse staff is excellent and I'll truly miss keeping up with them on a regular basis during prenatal visits :)

Lastly, I want to comment on how blessed I feel to have three healthy, beautiful children. This is truly a gift from God. I don't take it lightly that all three of my boys have been born without complication or medical issues. I understand that we don't know the future and can't predict health issues, but every time one of my babies is born I marvel at their completeness. Bringing children into the world is such a risk. I'm so grateful for healthy babes. So grateful!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wesley is Two :)

Our middle boy (to be)  turned two on 10.9.12 :) We had an "intimate" gathering of family at our house to celebrate his day and I think he had fun. Spiderman is the person of interest at this point in his life. This is no doubt due to influence from his older brother. He also likes trains. Grandma Anita did a great job of combining both worlds on a cake. Spiderman on top, a train on the side. Kudos Grandma, kudos. I've kind of been telling people that Wesley is two for quite awhile now. It seemed easier than "almost two" or 21/22/23 months. So, it really wasn't a surprise when he actually TURNED TWO :)
We love this boy! He's fun, wild and sweet. He's crazy, passionate and loving...all depending on what mood strikes him! Its hard to believe he will be a big brother in a few months. 

Here are some currents..

Likes: Yogurt, cheese-sticks, whole apples, waffles and cereal. Also, spiderman, trains, cars, guns and playing outside with his brother. 
Dislikes: Being put down for a nap (but still sleeps after a fight for 2-2.5 hours), being fastened in his carseat, being told "no",  and currently...any vegetable (except for the night he ate nearly an entire pan of green beans). 
Says: "dat doin?" (what are you doing?), "was dat?!" (whats that?) "Oh" (for "yes") "Beeee" (for please), "O" for Owen...and several other words that seem normal for a two year old (Mom, Dad, car, cup, um..."piderman".. :), rain, "me!" :), ....those are the top ones that I hear on a semi-daily basis)
As I reflect on Wesley's life so far, I can't help but go back to God's goodness to me in what I had hopes for in terms of his babyhood. This is the baby that allowed me to experience labor and childbirth without a whole bunch of drugs. This is the baby that nursed easily for nearly a whole year. This is the baby that let me experience so much of what I wanted to experience that I didn't get to with Owen. I'm so thankful for that. I thought he was my last so I was capitalizing on those experiences. God had other plans and we'll see what baby boy #3 brings us, but at the end of the day I'm so grateful for what God has given me through Wesley. Babyhood is truly behind us with him and the real work of parenting, directing and pointing towards Jesus begins! Bring on the (more) crazy...bring on the hard and the easy. He is worth it! :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Owen goes to Kindergarten :)

Owen started (full day!) Kindergarten on August 2, 2012 :)

School: Reagan Elementary 
Teacher: Miss Estes

So far, its going really well. I can't believe that he is gone from me every day, M-F, ALL DAY. I didn't really have the opportunity to consider whether or not we wanted to do 1/2 day kindergarten or full day, because Brownsburg just does full day. Unless we wanted to do private school, full day it was. So...for Owen, its going well. I have my doubts about how well Wesley would do someday with full day. We might be making a different choice for him when it comes to kindergarten. We shall see (we have time :))
Today, for the first time, he took the bus to school! He was so excited! His sweet teacher was kind enough to e-mail me and tell me he had made it safely to school. Shew! Hard to watch your little five year old load the bus with all the big kids, but he was so proud of himself! Its also only a 6 minute ride to school and the drop off is at our house. Pretty convenient. And...I can stay in my pajamas and not leave the house to have my child at school? Hmm. I could get used to this. :)
He has little exercises to work on in his homework binder a few times a week, and so far he has learned to count by 10's (I thought I had taught him this because we started working on it this summer, but he assures me it wasn't me, it was at school. Ok. Whatev :)), and he  has learned some new sight words (in addition to the ones he already knew from preschool). He has also bought his lunch at school a few times (I can't even imagine the cuteness!) and his favorite thing so far seems to be playing at recess, seeing Aunt Rachel (first grade teacher at Reagan) and computer lab. 
We are pretty proud of our big boy! Its going to be a fun year!

(Wes had to be a picture too, of course!) 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Philosophy of Education. And Parenting. And Life. :)

(I'm pretty sure that "Philosophy of Education" was a class Josh took in college. I probably stole it for my title. Grace College, please forgive me.)

Disclaimer: This is likely to be a long winded post full of my musings on life, parenting, faith and how I/we (my husband and I) are striving to do these things well. If you aren't interested, no biggie :) Catch ya on the flip side! :)

Longer Disclaimer: Most of my readers/friends/family know that we are a family of faith. Since I link to Facebook for my blog posts often, I wanted to reiterate that...since not everyone I'm friends shares my views(understandably), but this post has a lot to do with our faith background and therefore I'm going to pull from that a lot.
I am/we are, unequivocally and unapologetically a family of faith. Specifically, we are Jesus followers! There have been many ways to describe our particular faith, and there are many different denominations today that seem to fall under the "Christian" umbrella. We aren't Catholic. We aren't Mormon, or Jehovah's witnesses :) Josh and I both grew up with a  protestant (mostly Baptist) background. Today, we attend a church that doesn't subscribe to a denomination, but does a stellar job of following and doing their best to adhere to the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what we believe its all about: Knowing and following the person and work of Jesus Christ. I'm not a Baptist. I'm not even Grace Brethren. (love you Grace College!) We believe in the written word of God, the Holy Bible. We believe it is sufficient for life and godliness. We believe that Jesus, God's son died on the cross to stand in the gap for us. We believe that because of our position in Christ, when God looks at us, he sees the cross, instead of our sin. We are redeemed because we have put our faith in Jesus! We believe there is one way to eternity with God and living life well on earth=JESUS. No confusion, right? That's pretty clear, eh? :) Great. Now that I've defined what faith looks like for us, lets move along. :)

 I've had many friends/family ask me how we decided to pursue the route of public education for Owen (and likely our other children). Well, friends, family, that is a loaded question. That journey of researching, soul searching, praying, seeking and pleading for wisdom began about 8-9 months ago when we needed to pre-register Owen for Kindergarten at his preschool, Traders Point Christian Academy if we wanted to continue there. We began to consider our options.

Before I delve into the choices we faced, I just want to say...don't you think its great that we are ALL different? God created us to be have convictions about different things, and I think that's wonderful. Imagine if we ALL did the same thing?! Blah. I'm grateful for diversity and the freedom God allows to parent differently and still honor Him in the process. While some of my friends may be driven to school their child(ren) one way, and we are driven in another direction...this doesn't mean either of us are making a wrong decision. I completely believe God can (and IS) be honored within different parenting styles.

Option #1 : Homeschooling. While homeschooling certainly is a viable option and many of our dear friends love it, do it well and know it is the best decision for their family, homeschooling is not for us. We've never questioned that we felt God was leading us to have our children be in a physical school setting. Among other things, we like the fact that our children will be exposed to different types of educators other than their own parents. (Even if these educators don't share our faith or personal views! I know...gasp! :)) We enjoyed attending school (you know, for the most part), and hope with the right perspective and support at home we can encourage our children to be contributing members within their school setting, spiritually, academically, etc. Lastly, on the homeschooling front....I personally feel really, really uncomfortable being my children's academic teacher. I feel really confident in some areas, but know without a doubt that I would be doing them a disservice if I tried to impart knowledge or teach concepts in certain areas. I am not a teacher. I am a listener, I am a helper, I am...many different things, but an actual academic teacher...I am not. I am so glad that there are wonderful people out there who are called to this profession and went to school to further their education and be licensed in their field. This is not me. I could read books, follow curriculum, but I do not possess the skills I believe adequate to instruct my child well in every academic venue he/she would need to be instructed in...nor do I want to. :) I'm a big "it takes a village to raise a child" advocate. I love that my children learn from others. I welcome it, I embrace it. I welcome even the stuff I don't welcome :) There is confrontation in this world. There is and will be resistance to what we personally value and believe. (no matter how you school your children, they will face this) We have to be able to teach our children to work through these challenges...even at a young age, I  believe its so important. Moving on....

Option #2: Christian Education. Obviously, we considered this. At one point I was confident that we would be sending Owen to Traders Point for kindergarten next year. We "like" and consider many things in Christian Education to be helpful, especially at a young age. We talked about how we found it valuable to surround our kids with Christian values and support at a young age so when they were older they would be more equipped to handle opposition to their faith and "the world at large". To be honest, we were confident that this is the route we would take in early education until God changed both of our minds at about the same time. :) We learned a few things about the school that we would be sending Owen to that we weren't especially excited about. We also started to talk more about our own experience in Christian Education (Josh and I both attended Christian school k-12...I was homeschooled 3-5 grade). While we felt it certainly had value and it did help shape our faith...we both truly felt that Christian education had the potential to be more damaging spiritually, that it had the potential to be beneficial. Obviously, this is taken from our perspective and our individual experiences. We also draw a lot from being sponsors at our high school youth group at College Park and seeing our public school kids be genuine leaders and have authentic hearts for Jesus...while the majority (not all, but a good percentage) of the Christian school kids became apathetic, stagnant in their faith ....and we saw some walk away from faith altogether. This apathy, stagnation and turning from faith is what I/we personally witnessed in my own school. While some certainly did have a heart for God and were genuine in their desires to be a follower of Jesus, MOST did not. Most had been fed a diet of Christianity, rules and regulations their entire lives and by the time they entered the critical stage of high school were either tired of it or done with it altogether. Josh and I talked a lot about how we could prevent that with our own children someday.

Option #3: Public Education. Early(ish) in our marriage, this is what Josh and I both believed we would do with our children. Ya'll know that we recently moved out of Indianapolis (Pike Township) to Brownsburg...for many reasons, but the biggest being that we wanted to be in a better location for public schools. I won't lie, with the decision right before us, we started to get nervous. After all, these are our precious babies that we are in essence sending out in to the world! Seriously, nothing about being a parent is for the weak of heart. But...when it came down to it...deciding on public education had me really looking at the core values of my life! Why did I desire to become a parent in the first place? Why did God give me these children? What am I to do with them?! (seriously I ask myself that question every day!! :) I tried to answer these seemingly basic questions. Well, I desired children. God placed something in me that wanted to mother. I wanted to parent because I wanted to pass on a life of faith and values....but at what cost? Did I want my children to inherit my faith? Certainly! But I wanted that passing of the torch to be all about the work of Jesus Christ in their life....leading them....drawing them...and NOTHING about me. Sure, I want them to have an example to look at...to draw upon, but man am I a sinner! Geez do I mess up ROYALLY! I want no part of my children to grow up thinking that they have Jesus because their parents had Jesus. Or that they have faith because they grew up in a Christian school or a church. When the time comes for them to make a stand and claim faith....I want it to be that without a doubt, Jesus Christ has stamped His names on their hearts and they have felt and recognized that pull on their lives. No confusion...its all about Him and what He has done...its not about us and what we have done! This line of thinking eventually led us to believe that public school was the best choice for us. Academically, the elementary that our kids will attend has passed ISTEP at a rate of 94%. We feel pretty good about that. Spiritually, we know that there are believers at this elementary school, but of course we know that our faith won't be capitalized on or celebrated. This has caused us to have several honest and valuable conversations with Owen about what he will face in this world. Obviously, he is five so we've done our best to explain in a way that is useful and understandable to him. We will continue to receive excellent support from our church in the way of AWANA, Sunday School, VBS and other special programs. We know the real work is for us at home, which would be true no matter how we schooled our children. We hope to help grow children that have such a heart for Jesus and the gospel that putting them in public school will honor God and help point others to His fame and glory. I'm not saying it will be easy. It will be work, we will be met with challenges and we of course run the risk that our children will choose difficult paths. We run that risk living life in this world....no matter what! Having children is a risk! We can't control them...we have to end with knowing and believing that they are on loan to us from God for a season...and that we have the big responsibility to love on them and instruct them in the best way we know how...for such a short time! So short it hurts my heart! :) (don't make me cry! ;))

At the end of the day, this all has to be about weighing the benefits against the risks. Knowing ourselves as parents, knowing our children...considering all of the factors...and good grief...trusting the LORD! So. This is where we are coming from. This is where we are and the direction we are headed in. We hope and pray for God's covering over our children. For his favor and grace to be upon them. We trust and know that He is Good and move forward knowing that he knows better than we will ever know what is good and right for our babes. We pray for sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit and trust that God will move us when we need to be moved!

I want to reiterate, that this is what God has led US to. We know that God leads different families in different directions for His glory and purpose. I truly do not sit back and think any of my friends who are doing things differently than we are are doing it wrong. And I know I can expect the same respect from you in return :)

On that note...I've taken almost the entire nap time to get this out. :) I need to wrap up and make dinner, get laundry done and concentrate on Owen's first day of school tomorrow! He is pretty excited and you can be sure that I'll have pictures and updates to come.

Thanks for listening...and for possibly partnering with us in prayer as we look to raise our children to know and follow hard after Jesus!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wesley, 21 months

Wes had a well child check up yesterday.
Here are his stats: 

Weight: 24 lbs, 15 oz (41%)
Height: 34 1/4 inches (70%)
Head cm: 48.2 (59%)

I really can't believe how tall he is! I keep thinking he seems short and stocky to me, but he is definitely not short. :)

He had a good check up. He is done with shots until kindergarten! Yay! Dr. Pedersen and I talked briefly about language development and how I feel that he is probably technically a little behind...but I know that he understands things well, and he really is busting out new words all of the time...he just doesn't talk on a super consistent basis, he prefers to jabber. She told me that it would be easy to do a speech eval., but based upon other points, like how social and interactive he is, she doesn't worry about anything like autism. 

Wes still vacillates most days between sweetness and pure crazy-ness :) We have decided that some of his crazy-ness is most likely in direct relation to his teething. I feel like he had a bout of about 4 weeks where he was pretty chill. The screaming and mania has picked up again in the last four weeks. 

He is eating well again, not being quite as picky. He continues to be my "foodie". He prefers homemade food to any kind of convenience food :) Although there seems to be no method to his madness...he will eat a well rounded meal for lunch and then eat barely anything for dinner. Its the toddler in him I'm sure. I don't worry. I know before long my boys will be eating me out of house and home :)

He loves to look at books, play cars, play with trains (read books about trains, watch "Chuggington" on Disney, make the "choo choo" sound :) you get the idea)...playing outside is a favorite, he prefers to slide and doesn't care to swing. 
No question, he has a temper. He has started to hit for no good reason, and have traumatic break downs and screaming fits of "nooooooooo!" :) He is strong willed and determined that is for sure. He reacts to discipline from Josh much better than he does from me. He doesn't seem to take me quite as seriously for some reason...even though I discipline him! I promise! I do :) Not to make it sound that all of his days are filled with chaos and craziness. He can play happily and be quite agreeable when the mood strikes him. He is just a different personality from my easy-peasy, laid back Owen. I pray that his passion will serve him well in his adult years! ha!

He is a good sleeper, and recently in the last month transitioned down to one nap a day...which usually ends up being from about 12-2 or 1-3. Somewhere in there. The best thing is that he sleeps around 11-12 hours every night. I can lay him down for bed around 7:30 and he will often sleep until 7:30 or even 8 AM the next morning. He needs all that sleep to build up the crazy :)

We love our crazy lovey :) He is almost two! Hard to believe!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Owen, Age 5 (and some change)

For recording purposes.....
Owen had his five year old check up on Monday with our lovely Pediatrician, Katie Pedersen, MD.

This visit involved the dreaded shots required for kindergarten. They are over. We all survived. Josh stayed with him while I entertained Wesley in the waiting room...he actually does better with Josh than me over things such as shots. I'm ok with that. So glad its over. So glad.

Anyways. The stats:

B/P : 94/52 (must be nice to have a blood pressure like that, right?!)
Weight: 36.4 lbs (14%)
Height: 42 1/2 inches (32%)

Dr. Pedersen said he was growing just fine on his growth chart. He is still decidedly skinny. No real shocker there. He has definitely grown taller and I feel like his appetite is really picking up.
No real concerns. He sleeps well, eats ok, no potty troubles, no issues/symptons of note....he's lookin' good!

Some of the things he is really into right now:

BATMAN! (and most all super heroes, but Batman takes the cake)
riding his new big boy bike
Cars 2 and playing "spy games"
NOT taking naps :)
Macaroni and Cheese
Carrots! (cooked...in butter and...salt....but hey. its a veggie. We'll take it!)
Successfully maneuvering the monkey bars
video games and campouts with dad
helping mom bake
NOT cleaning up his mess :)
"helping" his little brother, usually to Wesley's disapproval :)
silly string
playing with friends
not knowing a stranger
asking really difficult theological questions that make me scratch my head and plead for wisdom!

Some of the things he has done or will do this summer are:

Another week of swim lessons at the Mylin Swim School (he already did this...first week of June...it was helpful! He really worked on getting the free-style stroke down and taking breaths while swimming with his face in the water)

A week of day camp at Eagle Church in Zionsville with his buddies from preschool, Graham and Qwentin. (He did this already too...he had a blast. The week we sent him was "Ooey Gooey Science week"...and he brought home all sorts of goo...and slime...and ya...what AM I supposed to do with that?!)

Indians Game with "airplane" Grandma and Grandpa

Playing T-ball with the YMCA on Saturday's (right now he is just practicing, but his games start after the week of July 4)

Going to French Lick for a few days with mom, dad, Wesley and "airplane" Grandma and Grandpa (right after 4th of July)

Endless days of fun at "Patches" Grandma and Grandpa's house where we swim, fish and occasionally play with our cousins :)

VBS at College Park for the first time (he's finally old enough!) the week of July 9! Fun!

As you can see, we aren't truly vacationing this year. Adding to our family unexpectedly and realizing that we have given away a majority of our baby things made us reevaluate our frivolous spending budget :) Still, I think the boys are having a pretty happy summer.

Thankful as always for a healthy, sweet, growing boy...growing too quickly. I treasure these days. He still kisses me and loves on me with great affection. I know my days of public displays of affection are numbered. Thank you God for our beautiful child. We are grateful!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We need a new car

Which means...surprise! We are having another baby! The Facebook world already knows this, but it should be recorded here too. 
Big surprise. Big. God is good. We'll trust He has great plans for us and Baby Brown #3. We know He does :) Due December 23! Merry Christmas!

Grace and Truth

I haven't blogged about something "spiritual" or "Jesus-y" in a long time. This post is Jesus-y. No apologies.  :)

I've been thinking a lot about the subject of "grace and truth" lately. Ok, I've also been thinking about sit-n-stand strollers (which...oops...haven't posted here yet that we are having one more baby. hehe :) Poor third baby. Doesn't he/she get their own blogpost? Yes. He/She will.), captain crunch, tacos and if we will buy a minivan :( or a terrain or acadia (SUV with the ability to seat three children) :) However, I've been like an 18th party  (which means I'm not really involved at all) to a conversation that made me start to think (again) about this important subject....that seems to revisit itself over and over again in my life.

Our own Pastor, Mark Vroegop at College Park Church gave a stellar sermon on "Balancing Grace and Truth" last summer. You can listen to it here. I know you probably won't, but you really should. Really.  (have I mentioned how much I love our church? Not in a "my-church-is-the-best-church-out-there-and-does-everything-right-and-is-perfect" kind of way....but because I think that God is being glorified here. Its tangible. His gospel is being furthered, lives are being changed and people are being won to Jesus because sinful people that have been redeemed are being vulnerable and doing life together as a community. I like to call it "one-anothering", or "walking alongside of" :) I think College Park has come a long way in making a "big church" feel small. I have goosebumps every time I sit through a service. And the messages are usually so convicting that I'm brought to tears over my own sin and God's grace and intervention in my life. Anyways. Rabbit trail.

I'm really posting this blog so I can link to it on Facebook and get the input of my highly valued friends across the miles. Perhaps some of my Grace College friends, who are married to Pastor's and who do full time ministry and might have a good angle on the subject. :)

So, how do we balance grace and truth in this crazy world? We are called to love. We are called to speak the truth. How do we do this well and win others to Jesus?

In my former life of conservative baptist church-going, I'm compelled to conclude that the leadership I was surrounded by majored on truth. I saw little love or grace when it came to speaking truth. I saw people shunned, ignored and talked about instead of being sought after for restoration. I saw petty rules become the letter of the law. I saw hardness and legalism. I saw very little of Jesus.

And now, as I watch myself and my peers do church and Christian life....I get a bit worried that our "Christian" culture and society is moving too far in the other direction. Can we love too much? Can we ignore truth to the point that it is dangerous? Well, obviously, yes I believe we can. I completely get wanting to put behind the conservative legalism of the past. I get being open, loving and accepting. But, certainly not everything has become a grey area. Not everything is debatable. Does sitting in silence day after day indicate that we are happy to show love, but unwilling to stand up for what the Bible says is so important? Does silence always mean approval? How do we know when the time is right to approach a situation? (I should go back and listen to the sermon probably! I'm guessing M.V. tells me)

I admit that I struggle with this. I don't want to deal with confrontation. I was an RA at Grace College for two years and dealt with more than my share of confrontation :) I'm happy to say that 95 % of those confrontations ended in lasting friendships and a change and eventual turning towards Christ (not necessarily as a result of me or Grace College...just in general :)) I'm just kind of over all that. I want to peacefully watch the world go by and let people deal with the consequences of their own actions. But...is that biblical?

Well, the moment has passed. My kids are crawling all over me and I have a bad feeling I need to go change an enormously stinky diaper. Such is my life these days :) I guess I'll conclude with....I need to pray for wisdom on this subject and trust the Holy Spirit to lead my encounters. And trust that my failings won't hinder God's glory. Would love to hear your input on this subject.  :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Me :)

I wanted to write a quick (I think it will be quick) post to update so many of you who have worried for me, prayed for me, and honestly acted on my behalf while I've been so sick with my RA.
I'm writing today because I realized that I've been able to get out of bed every day this week without tears.  This makes me tearful in and of itself.
A quick background: I was diagnosed with JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis) as a small child. My dad thought I had broken my arm around the age of two, and after a series of tests, Drs. determined that I had JRA. I was moderately-severely sick as a child. I wore splints, did physical therapy. I believe the Drs. told my parents that I would live my life in a wheel chair. This never happened. I began a regimented treatment of baby aspirin and gold injections....avoiding other series medications such as methotrexate. I thrived under this treatment and while I was never an athletic kid, I did ok for myself. I danced (ballet), took piano, swam, and overall lived normally. My parents went over and beyond to make sure I received excellent treatment....traveling to Cincinnati and paying out of pocket when my Pediatric Rheumatologist moved from Riley to Cincinnati and out of our insurance coverage. It looked like by puberty I had all but outgrown this thing. Gold injections were discontinued and I remained on naproxen for a few years more, but eventually that became a thing that I took PRN (as needed :)) I married, I bore children....all without much event or notice of what I thought had become a distant memory. I do remember having a flare here and there, but in general it was nothing that couldn't be overcome with a few days of aleeve and ...honestly time.
This past year, November 2011...I started having more consistent pain. I would wake up every other day with a new pain. Still it would subside within a few days, but something new would surface in the next few days. I made an appointment to see my current rheumatologist (which I had just established recently for "just in case" :)). He started me on an anti-inflammatory called meloxicam which honestly, I didn't think helped at all. He suggested a round of prednisone (a steroid that makes me bat CRAZY and I had stated at one point that I would rather die than take :)), I declined and decided to "push through". Well, there was no pushing through to be had. After struggling for days at a time with little to no relief from pain in between....I started to become afraid. Afraid that this was it for me....the disease has come back and I was in trouble. We had just bought a two story house. I had two young kids (one a little crazy :)) to care for...and I was struggling doing that. My lowest moment came when I literally had to crawl from my bed to the bathroom one morning....this was to be followed by an incident where I literally could not dress my child for school. Owen needed help getting his socks on...and I could. not. do. it. Needless to say there were lots of tears. I went back to my rheumatologist and pathetically admitted that I was "not doing well". We decided together that I needed to get serious and think about long term drugs like plaquenil, methotrexate and a round of prednisone. With a lot of sadness (seriously), I agreed. My walking had become bad, I was honestly suffering going up and down the stairs, and changing Wesley's diaper often involved tears because my hands were so stiff and swollen. Something had to change. And time, aleeve and "pushing through" wasn't working.
At one point, during a low moment, Josh looked at me and asked me how we were going to get through this. He had already taken a day off of work to help me and I was worried that was going to need more help. He can't exactly quit his job! I thought for a long time and said...."I don't know. I think the answer is that we are going to have to believe that God is going to intervene...and I'm going to have to ask for help!" I'd like to tell you that God has, and I have! I've never been a big one for being helpless and having people do things for me that I can do myself...but I had to consider the situation. There were things I couldn't do for myself. People were starting to notice this and offering me help....I needed to take it. Probably my two biggest saviors have come in the form of my own mother and my mother in law, who have come over ever Monday, Wednesday and Friday to get Owen ready for school and help me through my morning when I'm in the most pain. I could not have gotten through this without them. Then, there are my dear, dear small group friends and other close friends who have grocery shopped for me, folded my laundry, brought meals for my family and just come to be with me on bad days when having extra hands was helpful. The help has been irreplaceable and I will never forget how kind you all have been to me.
I sit here today, typing this out feeling better than I have in weeks. I'm cautiously optimistic about the fact that I am turning the corner. I will forever be grateful that this disease that I battle is not fatal...I do not have cancer, this will not kill me. But, I've developed a new appreciation for the fact that living in pain in incredibly terrible, debilitating and miserable. I'm grateful for each new day that God gives me that isn't filled with tears and an inability to move well.
So this turned out not to be very short, but I wanted to give you who have asked a comprehensive look at what's been going on .... and a small chance to thank those who have helped me. Specifically, my Momma, my dear mother-in-law, Anita, Candice, Jodi, Anna, Amy, Jen....you guys have been the front runners in getting me through. I can't forget my husband who has rubbed sore joints after long days of school and soccer, changed more diapers than he ever thought possible, and bravely watched me suffer without knowing much of what to do. Thank you all for loving me more than I ever knew was possible...with your help I'm getting better every day.

The end :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Easter 2012

I know I never really blogged Christmas pictures, but these seemed so fun and bright and cheery :) We had a nice Easter. Love my sweet little family!