Sunday Inspirations~ Blessings

So, as it usually happens with me when I commit to doing something on an ongoing basis I start to struggle.  And I know this is only the second of these posts, but in general I have made a committment to update my blog more often than once every couple of months. My blog started out as a place that I could go and type out and vent my frustrations.  Most of them I didn’t actually post, they were private and if posted could have hurt me and others.  But believe me some of them I really wanted to post so that they would hurt others. Because I was hurting.

So today I really struggled with what to write about for my Sunday inspirations post.  I want these to not only be an encouragement and blessing to you but I want them to be that to me as well.  I like to use my blog as a journal of my growth in my relationships~ with my husband, my kids, my friends, my church and most importantly with Christ.  I can look at my blog and see where things didn’t always look good or go the way I wanted them to and I can see how I responded and how I grew.  And it’s not always good. But even in the bad times and the times of backward growth, I can see that God was there. Always. No exceptions.

So while I struggled to write this post I knew what I wanted to write about.  My main struggle was how much do I share, how deep do I go.  You see, I am relatively a private person; I don’t like to share my struggles, downfalls, or sin with people.  Some of it is because I have been hurt. I have had my struggles, downfalls, and my sin used against me; spread around like dandelions in the wind for everyone to see.  And it is hard to get past that.  But I know I need to. I need to share and I need to be real and honest with those around me.  Its how relationships are built and maintained; its how you know I really care for you and the same for me.

So here is my inspiration for today~ Blessings

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. ” James 1:2-3

How do you count it all joy when you are facing the trials that life throws at you?  I don’t have all the answers and I am sure there are times that I fail at showing joy through my trials.  But I think the main way to do so is to stay focused on the fact that Christ is in control at all times!  There is nothing that ever takes Him by surprise! And I am so glad for that.  Ok, so here is the song that has really made me start thinking about this and wanting to share with you.

I have fallen in love with this song that I was first introduced to by my sister, Ashlee.  I have sat and listened to it at least a hundred times and I have probably cried through at least 90% of them.  The lyrics just reach in and touch something in me, something that knows the truth behind them in my own life.  The chorus is probably the part that really gets me every time.

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

I know that I am not the only one that has experienced trials or testing in my life.  And I know there are those out there that have suffered far more and far worse than I have.  But I know that raindrops do conceal blessings, healing does come through tears and all those sleepless nights have helped me draw closer and rely on Christ more.  And those trials, the things I really don’t want to go through or like, they have been God’s great mercy in disguise.  I can not tell you of the things I have prayed for and wanted so bad that He has kept from me only later for me to realized that they would have been disastrous if He had allowed me to have them!  I am so glad that God knows the outcome of every situation in my life and allows me to experience certain things to keep from other things.  I heard it said once, just because it is a good thing doesn’t mean it is a God thing!  How true that is!

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can’t satisfy?

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Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?

 (This is a republished post. That being said, the thoughts and feelings in the post are still applicable today.)

Do you remember where you were September 11, 2001?  I do.

I was sitting in my living room in Pennsylvania in the house that we has just bought 4 months earlier. Josh has left for work earlier, around 8 am and some friends that had been invited over for a playdate/see the new house time had arrived. We sat around talking as we waited for a couple more moms and little ones to arrive.  I remember that the t.v. was on, but we really weren’t paying all that much attention to it.  Instead, we were more focused on the latest accomplishments of our children, things that our husbands had done, what our upcoming plans were.  We talked about how later I had to bake and frost a cake and decided if we were going out to eat or if I was cooking a special dinner at home.  All for my husbands birthday.

I remember the phone call that changed the light heartedness of the atmosphere in the house.  Josh called to ask if I was watching the news. I said not really and he said turn it on.  So I did.  I remember us moms sitting there in shocked silence as we watched and listened to the news accounts of plane #1 flying into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  We then watched in disbelief and horror as plane #2 deliberately flew in to the South Tower of the World Trade Center.  It was unreal and felt like we were in a nightmare that we hoped that we would soon wake up from.  I vaguely remember the moms packing up their kids, opening their cell phones, making phone calls and leaving.  But I strongly remember sitting on that couch with my baby girl on my lap and tears streaming down my face as the stunning reports of what just happened played over and over, on and on.

It was horrific to watch and numbing to think about what had to be going through a persons mind to be able to carry out acts such as these.  I can not even imagine, even to this day, what the families of the victims, survivors and rescue crews went through.  I can imagine that their pain and suffering, their thankfulness and their sacrifice goes on; it is something that will stay with them for the remainder of their lives, never letting them forget that day.

And although we try to move on as a country, as we limit the mentioning of those horrific acts or the showing of the images (except on the anniversary), as we are told that terrorism is really not that big of a threat any longer, we can not forget what happened on that day. Nor should we!  People gave up their lives that day, knowingly or unknowingly; willingly and unwillingly.  We should not take for granted those that were lost and why they died.

The following pictures were saved to my computer in the weeks and months that followed that memorable day.  However, I no longer have the documentation of where they came from or who to give credit too as I lost my PC hard drive.  Thank you to the many, many people that shared these photos with the world.  They are in no particular order.

Baby Update~ 33 weeks 4 days

Well, at this point in my previous pregnancy I was giving birth to a 4 lb 9 1/2 oz, 19 1/4 inch long baby boy that we named Micah John.  He came into the world at 6:15 am on a Monday morning after a week long stay in the hospital because my amniotic fluid sack had developed a small high leak the week before and they were concerned that I would go into labor anytime.  I had already been dilated to  2-3 since about 22 weeks and this was at least my 4th (maybe 5th) hospital stay, and the longest.

However, this pregnancy things are looking good still and as far as I know I have not started to dilate yet.  Really there have been no checks (which is a good thing), so if I am dialted I wouldn’t even know it.  But I am ok with that.  I haven’t really had any contractions that have done anything.  I am having them but they are not consistent or regular, so I would say they are just BH contractions (practice ones!)  Zephaniah finally turned head down at the last appointment, which made momma a vary happy girl. However, the other day my belly was rolling around and I told Josh that I was afraid he might have turned back over.  Josh said there is nothing to worry about.

But of course he was right! Figures! lol  Zephaniah is pretty much straight up and down in line with my belly button, head firml down and ready to go!  At least that is how I think of it.  He had both of his arms up behind his head and I think one foot was up there too.  It amazes me the postions and poses they can get into while in the womb, like little Houdini’s.  He gave us one good kick during the ultrasound that the nurse was not expecting. She even commented that he almost knocked the wand out of her hand!  It was pretty funny!

Headed into the NST and I fell asleep again and started snoring! Josh was making jokes about there being a bear and then a buck in the room! He thinks he’s pretty funny!  Didn’t really have any contractions and there was very little movement from Zephaniah at first.  Towards the end he started to move a little more, so that was good.  A couple of times he must have changed positions because his little heartbeat got so much stronger and louder; Josh and I just chuckled.

Dr. Grant came in and said things looked good.  He then proceeded to tell me I had 3 more weeks of shots, but who’s counting. Of course I said I am! And he laughed becuase he knows how much I can’t stand the things.  We talked about how I have been feeling more pressure, mostly when I go from sitting to standing and he said as long as it goes away when I sit or lay down then it was fine.  He is adament that I am going to make it to 37 or 38 weeks, but like I tell Zephaniah most every night I will be glad to go to 36 weeks, maybe even 35.  But we will see!

After the appointment, we stopped at Bass Pro so that Josh could look at some deer hunting stuff.  I am not sure if it was the walking I did but on the way home I had a couple strong contractions and even one or two in my back.  But things had calmed down by the time I got to Macon, so I think we are good.  So until next week there you have it.  We didn’t really get any good pictures of the baby today so hopefully next week.  Especially since the will be doing another biophysical profile. And I will be meeting with one of the delivery doctors, so that should be interesting.  Guess it is time to actually get my Birth Plan typed up and have it ready to present!

Baby Update~ 30 weeks 4 days

So off to Columbia we went again today for another check-up with Dr. Grant.  All in all it was more of the same.

So I was getting ready to go when the phone rang.  It was Josh, which immediately made me wonder what was up since he was out running and doesn’t usually call during that time.  Seems while he was out running, two little coon hound pups decided to follow him down the road.  He was afraid that they would also try and follow him out on the highway and end up getting hit.  So he wanted me to come and pick him and the pups up.  I do have to admit that they were super cute.  And they were well taken care of so I didn’t really think someone would have just dumped them but we didn’t know anyone close by that owned hunting dogs.  So we took them home, fed them and then locked them in the garage while we headed to Columbia.

At the dr’s office, we went in and I had to be weighed and have my blood pressure taken.  Then over to the ultrasound room for my weekly ultrasound.  Got to see Zephaniah being silly as ever, man he is a mover and does some pretty silly things at times.  Had no trouble getting in his required fetal movements but had to wait a little bit to see him do his practice breathing.  That is always fun to watch.

After the ultrasound, we moved over to the room with the big comfy recliner so that I could have my fetal monitoring done.  I love sitting in the chair and usually comment that I need one in my house.  It is so comfy and this week I actually fell asleep in the chair!  Not really asleep I guess, more like dozed off. Of course it was my own snoring that woke me up!  The heartbeat was fine, got in enough fetal movements and I didn’t have any contractions that I felt or that the monitor picked up.  So that is a good thing.

Then I moved over to another room, got my weekly injection and then moved back to the comfy chair room.  Dr. Grant came in and talked to us.  At first josh and I thought maybe something was up because of the way he came into the room and then just sat there for a moment like he was trying to think of how to say something.  But then he went into asking me how I was feeling and if I was feeling the baby move as much as usual. I told him no and he said that was because of his growth and the shrinking space and that the movements were going to be more subtle now and I might have to really concentrate on feeling them.

The we talked about the fact that Zephaniah is still breech (we’s been there for at least 4 weeks now!) but Dr Grant assured me that since he had been turned head down once that he would get there again. I expressed this was a concern to me because I am so not wanting a c-section.  He proceeded to tell me that there was only about a 1% chance that Zephaniah would be born breech and then went on to say that he understood that my apprehension to a c-section was probably because it was a surgery and most people didn’t like not being in control during that time.  I told him that it wasn’t so much the control thing, well really thats not it at all actually, but it is the needle thing!  I hate needles, absolutely dread getting shots, giving blood, or getting my finger pricked.  Since I typically so feel so much anxiety just doing those things that I am not sure I would be able to even remotely handle having one stuck in my back!!  So please pray that this little guy ends up turning head down and stays that way until he decides its time to be born!

After that we were done and Josh took me out to lunch! YAY! I love to eat.  We went to Macaroni Grill, which was my choice.  But I really should have chose Olive Garden or somewhere else.  We got a fried mozzarella appetizer that was so yummy, I could have eaten the entire thing by myself!  And the we both got Pick 2 combos with their Creamy Mushroom soup, which we both really liked. It was so good and had a little bit of a kick to it. YUMMY!  Josh went with fresh green salad and I went with Carmela’s Chicken.  Mine was not that good really.  It was lukewarm at best in places and kind of dry.  I think maybe if you ordered a regular portion it might have been better.  But as a Pick 2 portion, it wasn’t that good.  I should have went with the Roasted Turkey sandwich that I had planned on getting.  But the chicken was supposed to have a creamy marsala sauce on it and I really wanted to try it.  And really that was only because while at Chris and Sarah’s wedding we has a Chicken Marsala in a creamy sauce it was delish and I really wanted it again!  Oh well, better luck next time I guess.

We did get a cute picture of Zephaniah from the ultrasound but I forgot to take a picture of it with my camera, so I will have to post it at a later date.  And sorry, no baby bump picture this time either!

Happy Birthday Josh!

On this day 37 years ago my husband was born to his parents Jane Ellen Swinehart (now Fountain) and Gary John Monda!  I am so glad that he came into the world and into my life (several years later).  I still remember the day that a friend and I were walking across a bridge in Bethany Missouri discussing guys that we liked.  She said to me one day I am going to marry Ray and I said to her one day I am going to marry Josh! And we both laughed and probably in the back of our minds didn’t believe it was going to happen at all!  But I can happily say that we are both now married to those men!

This year Josh and I celebrated 15 years of marriage! We have had two great kids and one on the way in those 15 years and many, many blessings. We have moved 6 times and he has had 2 full-time positions at 2 different churches plus 3 different positions at another and the Interim Pastor at yet another!  Of course, we have also had the trials that come with life in general.  But God has kept us through that time.  So I just want to say Happy Birthday honey! I am so thankful that the Lord has put you in my life, especially that he has given you to me to be my help meet and stand by my side throuhg it all.  I love you more today than yesterday, and I am sure I will love you more tomorrow than today!

Have You Seen My Husband Lately?

Have you?  If not, then you are in for a BIG surprise!  I am loving my new guy.  So please if you see him out and about, compliment him and encourage him! He is doing so great and I am so proud of him! Love you Joshua!

Before

          

These pictures are of Josh when he was at some of his heaviest points.  In all of these pictures his pants/shorts are at least a 40 or 42 and his shirts are XXL.

After

        

Here are the afters!  All of these pictures where taken within the last couple of months, with the first picture being taken last week!  And in case you can’t see the difference, he has lost about 60 pounds or a little more.  And his new short size is a 36 and he is wearing Large shirts! WOW!  I am so proud of you honey! Love you so much! Keep up the good work!

Baby Update- 26 Weeks 6 days

Well, I decided to do another post today although I did one only 2 weeks ago.  I wanted to post because over this past weekend we had a little cause for concern and I ended up going in for an ultrasound on Monday.  I don’t want to call it a scare because most of me was sure things were alright but the closer we got to the doctor’s office and the ultrasound, the more afraid I was that things were not right. Let me start at the beginning for you so you understand.

Little Big Foot!

At my last doctors appointment at the beginning of the month, at the end of the visit the doctor gave me a little 4×6 card.  On one side of the card was “Warning Signs of Pre-term Labor” which I pretty  much knew since I have been there and done that twice before!  So I didn’t pay much attention to it only to note that he said if i had any of them I was to call or go to L&D (Labor and Delivery) immediately.  However what really interested me was the backside of the card.  It was the “Fetal Kick Counting” information.  You see this really interested me because in my two previous pregnancies I rarely ever felt Sarai or Micah move or kick at all.  With Sarai, it was once and Josh had his head against my tummy and she kicked him.  It was so neat.  With Micah it was probably a total of 3 times, the best being when we literally watched him probably roll over, as you could see part of him move from one side of my belly to the other.  And other than that, I never felt them even during the ultrasounds when the tech’s would comment on how much they were moving.  So I never really paid that much attention to the whole Fetal Kick Count thing.

you can see the shadow of one of his legs. both feet were up by his head

But with Zephaniah, I have been feeling him move so much for close to the last 2 months!  It has been amazing and I love that not only have I felt him but so have Josh, Micah and Sarai!  It has been a great experience that all of us have got to have.  Getting to the 4 kicks in a hour count has been no problem with this little guy!  So on Friday I noticed later that evening that I wasn’t really feeling him move much and I was also experiencing a lot of tightening high up on my uterus.  I figured it was because I had been active earlier that day since we had went to Columbia school shopping for Sarai.  However on Saturday and then on Sunday I still realized that I had felt him move only a couple of times and getting to my 4 kicks was taking a lot longer than an hour.  I think at one point on Sunday evening after close to 4 hours of monitoring, I still had only counted a total of 3 movements.    So come Monday morning after eating breakfast, laying to count and then getting up and eating something sugary and trying again, I still had not felt much movement and called the doctor’s office.  And in they wanted me to come.  So at about 11:30, Josh, Micah and I headed for Columbia.

you can see more of his feet/legs in this picture

The tech spent a lot of time taking pictures, watching his heartbeat (which was the most glorious thing in the world to me at that point) and just watching him move.  And let me tell you he was being a big ham!  And still all boy as the tech pointed out!   After she was done, Dr. Grant came in and spent some time talking to me about him moving around and how things were going.  He did a great job reassuring me that anytime I had a concern, no matter what it was, to call the office and if need be they will get me in.  Even if it is for my own peace of mind.  I love when my doctors do this because most of the time after I call, I end up feeling a little foolish for calling and taking up their time in the first place.  One of the best highlights was the pictures we got of little guy.  He gave us quite the show and had us all laughing a great deal which was great since I was so close to tears upon entering the room at the beginning.

Ok, this last picture might be a little freaky for some of you.  It is for me but it is also so neat that I wanted to post it.

little man's eye looking at us!

In reality the picture above has nothing on watching it on the screen, he could actually see him moving his eye around!!  It was kind of wild!