Tuesday, May 31, 2011

He's Here!

There will be more pictures and posts later, but for now I just wanted to announce my little man's arrival.

Carter Ashton arrived on Saturday, May 28th at 10:47pm by C-section (labor story to be posted later). He weighed 7 lbs, 9 oz, and measured 20 inches long. He has a little bit of blonde hair with no signs of red at this point. He very much favors his daddy right now. There are certain faces he makes that will remind us of me-especially around his mouth, but he is very much his daddy's boy! More about Carter's first few days coming soon. For now, I leave you with this:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Random Thoughts Before Life as I Know It Changes

This is just a series of random thoughts I want to throw out into cyber space before Carter arrives and my world forever changes.

-There are plenty of things I will NOT miss about being pregnant. Things that really aren't even appropriate for me to put out into public airways. If you've been pregnant before, you'll know what I mean. Suffice it to say, pregnancy-while beautiful and amazing-isn't always glamorous. :)

-I will miss feeling my little one move inside of me. I am at the point now where I'd like to have my abdomen back, but it is such an awesome feeling as he moves, kicks, wiggles, hiccups, and stretches inside of me. I was thinking this morning that despite the pain and discomfort it really is amazing how God created the female body to prepare for childbirth. The way that our entire body changes, adapts, and moves to make room for this child and then to birth him into the world. I will miss watching my husband be in awe of the process. Taylor is very ready for Carter to be here so that he can begin bonding in a way that I have already bonded, but there is something about a husband watching his wife through this process that is very special.

-For awhile now I've been done with advice and preparation. I am a student by nature. I like to study up on things, read, ask questions, and learn. So, for the majority of the pregnancy I have soaked up all I could in mental preparation for the changes. I've read a couple great books, taken several classes at the hospital, and of course visited with good friends and my mom. But, about a month or so ago I realized I was done with that. I had enough mental foreknowledge, and I was ready for the baptism by fire that only comes from experience. It's true there is only so much you can learn by reading and studying before you just have to do it. I'm ready for that. It's going to be new and probably difficult, but let's get on with it! :)

-I'm also tired of well-meaning advice from individuals that is not very helpful at all. I really get tired of being told, "Just wait until..." "...you are sleep deprived..." "...you try to nurse, then you'll see how hard it is..." "...your life will never be the same..." "...you will never have time for that..." "...good luck following that plan..." --- all said in a way that makes it sound like being a parent is the most terrible thing we could have signed up for. I appreciate genuine advice that helps me prepare for the reality of parenting. I do not appreciate doom and gloom put upon me about parenting and decisions we want to make. Especially from fellow Christians. This is a time to rejoice with those who rejoice...not fill our minds with negativity and pessimism. I would be naive to think this will stop after Carter is born, but I pray that I will be able to cling to positive thoughts and surround myself with those that want to encourage and lift us up during a time that will be both incredibly special and hard.

-Taylor and I were given advice by a friend last month to do everything in our power to treasure the first few weeks while the adjustment is difficult and the sleep deprivation gets heavy. He encouraged us to find ways to use the extra awake time to praise God and pray over each other, our marriage, our son, and others as well. I read in my mommy journal today about the suckings of babes as they eat is praise to the ears of God. I pray that as I am awake at 2 am listening to Carter eat that I can soak up those moments that will be so fleeting, and also praise the Lord along with Carter's sweet suckings. I pray that we can remember these sweet, newborn moments,, while exhausting and seemingly long are but a very short time. I want to use these early weeks as times to learn as much as I can about my son and pray over our future as parents. I pray that I will remember that the exhausting cycle and schedule of a newborn and my role in that cycle is to the glory of God. My most important goal as a parent during those first weeks is to provide for Carter's needs. I'm glorifying God by doing that. It will become tiresome and mundane. I will be exhausted and emotional. But, God created this process. It is to His glory, and He will sustain us through this time. I pray that I will not complain nor wish away this time too quickly, but that I will choose to glorify the Lord and bring Him praise as He carries us through the early stages of parenthood.

-While we hate it when people tell us, "Your life will never be the same." in a manner that is just plain negative; Taylor and I have admitted to mourning the end of this early era of marriage. We know life will never be the same. We are looking forward to the change and the next stage of our lives and marriage. We made this choice to start our family, and we are very excited about it. But, we do have moments when we just want to cling for a little bit longer to being just the two of us. In many ways, I think that realization has been very good for us. It has caused us to have several conversations about how to protect and encourage our marriage through our years with children at home. We want to get to the other side of parenthood-to our next set of years just to the two of us-and still know why we enjoy spending time together. We want to look forward in eager anticipation to the time when we can once again be "just us." We don't want to rush our years with children at home, but we absolutely do not want to forget the fact that the children will leave. We pledged to live together til death do us part, and it will be the two of us until that time. The children will be such an incredible part of our lives, but in the end it will once again be just us-and we want to protect that and cherish it even through these years with children at home. I'm thankful for the conversations we have had in this regard, and I look forward to finding out how we can creatively put this into practice.

Well, that's enough randomness for now. What an amazing time this is-unlike anything I have ever experienced!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Memory Verse 10

Hello all!

It's time for my next memory verse. The reason behind this one is very short and sweet: I'm due to have our first child in 18 days. It's a time of so much excitement that is occasionally mixed with fear and worry. I want this verse buried in my heart in the delivery room and during the weeks that follow.

Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Back to Infusions

A few weeks ago, my hematologist suggested waiting a little bit to redo blood work and then determine if I needed more iron. During the break I worked to transfer us to a hematologist here in Arlington to keep us from even more long trips to Frisco. That ended up being a disaster. The Arlington office was extremely unreliable and even rude at times. So, after waiting too long, I decided to just suck it up and go back to Frisco where I was taken very good care of anyway.

We went in last Friday for blood work to check and see where my levels are. I didn't get exact numbers on the phone today, but Dr. T. does want me to receive more iron. So, I go back in for another infusion this Thursday. We will also see the dr at that time to determine how many more infusions he wants me to have.

I'm definitely ready to be done with all of this, but we are so close to Carter's due date it can't last much longer. Lord willing, I'll soon be back to my normal blood levels! We shall see. Thanks so much for your prayers!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Resurrection Unleashed

I'm still processing so much from our retreat this weekend. In an effort to help process, I decided to just get on here and bullet some things that were said or talked about this weekend that made an impact on me.

-If we say we need resurrection, then we have to die because God resurrects dead things.

-There are a lot of people living like they just want Jesus' blood (like a get out of hell free card), BUT Jesus is a way of life!

-In Luke 22, Jesus looks at Peter after the third rooster crows. What face do I picture on Jesus? Is it disappointment? Is it compassion? Is it shame? Is it the same face I see on God in response to my sin?

-Jesus' Resurrection reverses the shame of the Fall in Genesis 3. He is alive, right here, right now.

-Sometimes we are living under the guilt and shame of past sin letting the guilt and shame guide our lives. So, what do we do to open ourselves up to the Power of the Resurrection that will take away the guilt and shame?

-Do I believe the resurrection is the best news for the world?

-How do we measure the fruit of the resurrection and how it's unleashed in our lives? Maybe using Galatians 5?

-In Genesis 1 and 2, the stage is set for the resurrection. The Hebrew word for "formless void" means "chaos." God created out of chaos. The God of the Resurrection is the same God that created out of chaos. He created out of chaos in the beginning and He can create out of chaos in my life right now. THAT'S the power of the resurrection!

-In John 19, we see that Jesus is buried in a garden. When Mary comes to the tomb that morning, she mistakes Jesus for the gardener. In a way, Jesus does become the gardener restoring life to the way it was meant to be. Am I willing to let Jesus be the gardener in my life?

-If I was followed around for a month, what fruit would be represented in my life that shows I'm living the power of the Resurrection?

-When we come to believe in the Power of the Resurrection, then we believe that sin, shame, guilt, cities, families, etc. will bow down to the power of God.

-Have an imagination with God so that we can dream with Him of the possibilities that He can redeem.

-What does it say about a God who would choose to descend and get into the middle of brokenness with people? There is a God who enters into the brokenness and mess of life to REDEEM IT! (If you read my Memory Verse 9, this is the other reason I chose John 1:14)

-Do you believe that God has the power to enter your life to rewrite the next _______ years of your life? To redeem what's happened in the previous________ years of your life? This is the Power of the Resurrection!

Like I said, so much to process! Biggest question right now: Am I letting the Power of the Resurrection be Unleashed in my life???

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Memory Verse 9

It's time for my next memory verse! During the last couple of weeks I discovered that going over my verses while I"m putting on my makeup or drying my hair is a really great time for me. I think using that time in this way is going to make a big difference in how ingrained in my brain and on my heart these verses become!

There is actually a couple reasons for this next verse. The first reason has to do with the weekend retreat we just had at our church. I am going to post my thoughts about that in the next couple of days, so I will address how it relates to this verse at that time. The second reason has to do with a lot of thought and conversation I've been having recently about being a person that is full of both grace and truth like Jesus. As Christians we tend to fall one of two directions-either fully on the side of grace that we forget to hold people accountable to the truth. Or so focused on truth that we forget to be gracious and forgiving. When Jesus came into the world, He was full of both and represented both in all his relationships throughout Scripture. I am needing to learn how to do that. So, here's the verse I am going to be learning and meditating on for the next two weeks:

John 1:14
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

More to come about our church retreat in the near future!