Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Looking back on year 2012

I have done a lot of thinking the past week, ever since our daughter, Ava Elizabeth Alford, entered our lives.  2012 has had some whirlwind changes.  I feel blessed beyond measure.  I am so grateful for everything, especially because I am so undeserving. 

The best thing that has ever happened to me happened on December 5, 2012.  Her name is Ava Elizabeth.  She came into this world a week later than she was supposed to and would still be in there if she could I am sure.  She was 9lbs. 6 oz. and had to be delivered by c-section.  Doctors talked about me being induced for 2 days if it took that long.  I wasn't thrilled about the idea.  I didn't want to go through 2 days of labor and still end up having to have a c-section.  We were admitted into the hospital Wednesday evening and I started pitocin.  I had pitocin all the next day until about 4 pm and they had given me the max amount.  I was in a lot of pain because I ended up trying to do as much as I could naturally.  After many hours of pitocin, I was not dilating at all and it was time to get my little girl out.  I was sent in for a c-section.  I was terrified.  I knew it was a possibility but when I was told this really is the only option I was emotional and extremely anxious. 

They took me back and separated me from Curtis for a while.  I was not really thrilled about that because Curtis is the calm one in situations such as these.  I got a spinal tap at this point and that was the hardest part.  I was pretty difficult for the anesthesiologist.  Finally, they brought Curtis in and a sense of calm came over me.  I remember asking the nurse if the doctor had cut me and she said that the baby was almost out.  I wasn't feeling a thing.  My doctor did such an excellent job at the surgery.  Everyone in the OR was like rock stars.  Then, at 5:08, my little girl entered this world.  She was so pudgy and I instantly fell in love.  Ever since meeting her, I have had a whole new perspective on life.  If I go back to teaching, I will not be the same teacher I was before I had my own child.  I totally understand a parents desire to always protect their children.  The protective instinct kicks in instantly.  Being a mommy is the best job I will ever have.  She is the best part of me.  I am so happy to have this little girl in my life and I love her so much.  Even though I am extremely exhausted, emotional, frustrated with feeding times occassionally, I wouldn't trade one second of it. 

Thank you God for the many blessings You have bestowed on me and my family.  I am not deserving of any of it, but You have provided it for me anyway.  You have given me Your little girl to raise and it's not a job I take lightly.  Thank you for trusting me and Curtis with one of Your little angels. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

View from the Porch Swing

So, the other day my mom handed me a book.  At first I was thinking...great...another book to read on my list of books I already have.  To make matters worse, she wanted it back by a certain time. This meant that my other books on my list were going to have to wait.  I started reading the book and I had a hard time putting it down.  Needless to say, I have felt bad for my initial reaction of my mom handing over this book. 

It is called View from the Porch Swing by Becky Freeman.  It was my first Becky Freeman book, but definitely not the last.  It is not about anything specific.  Mostly, she talks of ridiculous things she has done and how to not take yourself so seriously.  She says it like it is and doesn't care if she sounds stupid or crazy.  Honestly, she reminds me a lot of myself.  She is also a former teacher like myself and now after reading the book, I am certain as to why my mom wanted me to read it.  Even though it isn't about much of anything, I have learned things from it.  I am a person who takes things too seriously, misses out on the blessings provided to me all the time all day long because I don't take the time to be thankful and I don't take time out to find peace in my day.  I also make things way more complicated than they need to be.  Lately, I have found myself trying to be more simplistic instead of more complicated which is also what this book is about.  Here are some things I have learned:
  • Take time each morning and throughout the day to be thankful and find the little moments to be thankful for.
  • Remember that God is the gardener and there are different "gardens of life" but He is ALWAYS there.
  • Give God whatever is going on in my life and let Him deal with it-isn't He sovereign anyway?
  • Remember that when things don't go according to my plan there IS still a plan!
  • Take time outs.
  • Turn off the TV and turn on the music!
  • Understand I am human and therefore I am a faulty person and that is OK...God loves me in spite of myself.
  • Take time each day to read.
  • Spend time with kids-they help keep me young (even though I have many gray hairs from my teaching years!!! :)
  • Do everything with a smile-remember who I am ultimately doing it for-GOD!
  • When I just have one of those days,weeks,etc-just give it up and throw in the towel...take a break.
  • Write in my journal.
  • Remember that in hard times, when I persevere there is joy in the morning.
  • Spend time with my animals.
  • Be gracious instead of  out to be a winner
  • Listen instead of talk all the time
  • I can't fix everything so LET IT GO!!!
  • Live for God's approval...not for others
  • Enjoy life to the fullest! I've only been given one!
These are just tidbits of what I have taken away with me from reading this book.  I hope that if you are reading this it can help you make your life seem less complicated and more hopeful!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

soap box

Since when did using your freedom of speech and sharing your personal opinion mean you are a bigot, hypocrite, and hater?  I am so tired of all of this.  I am of the personal belief that same sex marriage is wrong and not what God intended for His people.  Does that mean I don't love or like gays and lesbians? No, it doesn't.  I have some gay friends and they know where I stand.  They know I do not agree with their lifestyle but they also know that I care about them.  I am not a bigot because I don't agree with their lifestyle.  Yes, we all sin and yes all sin is the same in God's eyes.  The difference here is when I sin I ask for forgiveness and try to change that part of my life.  I will not sit here and approve of a lifestyle that I know is wrong in God's eyes...just like I don't sit and approve of the wrong I do in my own life that goes against God's will.  God gave us free will to choose the paths we want to take and He is always waiting for us to grasp onto His hand.  I think we need to stop calling each other names because that is just as hypocritical some people are claiming those who speak their personal views to be. 

Yes, I support Chic-Fil-A.  First of all, Dan Kathy was making a personal statement of his belief, not the company's.  Yes, they are a Christian organization but they do not discriminate who they hire and they do not discriminate those who walk into their doors.  I have worked for Chic-Fil-A and it is one of the best run establisments I have ever worked for where the workers are loved and cared for and that reciprocates to the customers.  Second, we all have the right to say what we want.  It is called Freedom of Speech!  Dan Kathy was only practicing that which he has every right to practice.  Third, I support marriage  between a man and a woman. 

I am not writing this to upset or hurt any feelings.  Just getting it off my chest! I am practicing my freedom of speech.  You don't agree with it, fine!  I don't expect everyone to agree.  That is our GOD given right as an American.  We can think and feel and say what we want and shouldn't be backlashed because of it. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Toxic Words

So, the past 2 weeks I have gone to 2 different churches BUT they spoke on the same subject...toxic words...speaking words of life and speaking words that bring death.  Is God trying to tell me something here????  I think so. 

I have a BIG mouth...anyone who knows me can attest to that.  I say it like it is, don't really hold anything back and many times that gets me into a LOT of trouble. Even as I walked out of one church service, I was extremely worried if me taming my tongue meant that I couldn't be sarcastic because I LOVE to shoot out a sassy, sarcastic remark, especially towards my poor husband.

 I never have really cared about how the things I say can bring hurt and death to others. Then I thought about all the words I like to spew out and in Proverbs 10: 19 is says "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." Ouch...I am a talker...

Then you read James and honestly, feel like a crummy person.  James dedicates chapter 3 to Taming the Tongue.  I read this and feel like I am such a failure. I am guilty of using my mouth as a weapon to hurt others too many times.  He says in verse 9 "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 

any material that can cause sickness or death

 I read these verses in church one of the Sunday's and have been thinking about them ever since. 
In Proverbs 18: 21 "The tongue has the power of life or death." and in Proverbs 12:18 "Reckless words PIERCE like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 15:4 " The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit." Ephesians 4: 29 "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

These 2 lessons and reading about them in the Bible have really been playing over and over in my mind, especially as I am preparing to bring a little girl into this world.  We all know that girls can be caddy and down right brutal, but little girls are also wired with a tenderness and sweetness and I need to bring those qualites out in my little girl and one important way I can do that is by being that role model. I need to be using my words and mouth to build her and others up, not shoot them down. I don't want my child to be one of those sitting in the corner with her friends giggling about somebody.  I want her to be the friend to that someone others are giggling about. 

I have a lot of work to do to get myself on the right track when it comes to taming my tongue.  I know I can do it because with God all things can be accomplished.  I am truly thankful for this child and thankful that God is going to trust us with her, because ultimately she will be His. 

Father, help me to be the mother you have created me to be.  Help me to be a mother made in Your image.  Father, I pray that I will become a person who speaks words of truth and life and wisdom and that my little girl will have a role model that will help her to embrace her sweetness and tender heart.  Thank you for this little girl and giving us a child to bring up knowing You. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Good news---God News!

 I'm bursting with God-news; I'm dancing the song of my Savior God- Luke 1: 46-47 (The Message)

Well, God did it again.  He provided Curtis with the wisdom he needed to make it through his Nurse Practitioning Boards and pass!  I knew God would carry Curtis through it and we had a lot of loving friends and family rooting and praying for him.  The hard part is finally over and he can now focus on paperwork and getting ready to start his new job in July!  

We went and got breakfast this morning at Panera before he headed out to take his test.  As I was driving home, I prayed again that God would be with him throughout the morning.  I remember feeling so bad for Curtis because I have been there.  I have had to take tests like that where your career depend on it if you want to move forward.  I am not a good test taker AT ALL!  I also felt so bad for Curtis because he has so much pressure on him to pass this test.

He has supported me and my decision this year to resign from teaching.  But, since I am resigning, if he was not able to start his new job we would be in some financial trouble.  So, he really didn't have much of an option but to pass.  Poor thing!  

Now that the hard part is over and he can be confident that his floor nursing job is coming to an end and he will be beginning a new phase of his career I am so excited about this new phase in life God has blessed me with.  I am looking so forward to be a mommy.  I have wanted this my entire life and now it is coming to real life for me.  We find out (hopefully, if baby cooperates) on July 5 what we are having and I can hardly wait.  I cannot wait to hold this baby girl or boy in my arms.  Everyone tells you to enjoy being pregnant because baby will be here in a blink of an eye. Now that most of the sickness is over, I am enjoying it more and more, but there is still that anxiousness of meeting the baby!  I can't wait.  

I have spent much of my summer addicted to Pinterest.  A friend told me I would get addicted and she was SO right.  I love that site.  I get so many good and cute ideas on ways to make me a better wife, mom and homemaker.  I have decided to try and tackle a new thing every other day.  Here is my newest project I would like to begin:

So cute

I hope I can do it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When God closes a window, He opens a door

Well, yesterday I closed the door to room 504 at my school and realized I was closing that door of my life (lovely metaphor I know!).  I cried for a few minutes.  Teaching has been such a part of my life and such a passion of mine.  I am shocked that I am saying goodbye to that...and I don't know for how long, but for now that part of my life is over.

BUT...God has opened such a fantastic door for me and something I have wanted my whole life and especially after I met my husband.  I am truly blessed with the opportunity to be a stay at home mommy.  I know not everyone is given that opportunity and I am very thankful that God has provided this for me and my husband and baby to be. 

While I will miss teaching and miss the friends made along the way, I am so looking forward to this new chapter of my life.  I have a lot to learn, a lot to look forward to and a lot going on! 

YAY to new beginnings!!!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

its been a while

So much has happened since I have last blogged.  This year started out rough when my husbands father passed away on my birthday.  But so much has happened since that I am truly thankful for and feel so blessed.  Curtis graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with his nurse practitioning license.  He got a job where he will be working for the Sangor Heart Clinic at CMC on the pediatric side (although he still has his boards to take, but he will do fine!)  I have decided to quit my job, am going to be watching someones child.  And finally after almost 9 years of marriage we are  due to have a baby in November.  This has been something I have been keeping wrapped up inside for 14 weeks.  I haven't known when to tell everyone.  I don't want to hurt feelings of friends who are hoping for that same news.  I know what it is like to be on the  other side.  But, as I look at it, they are going to find out eventually when there are random photos posted on facebook...

I do want my friends who are yearning for a child to know...don't give up.  Pray constantly about it.  I don't understand why it is hard for some couples to get pregnant and others to not, why children can have babies and why parents who don't care about their kids can have babies.  But God has a plan.  I wish I would have trusted him back when I would cry my eyes out over the news of a friend getting pregnant, or a negative test.  I wish that I wouldn't have doubted Him.  It is hard to not have control over your own life.  But God does have it in control.  I want you to know that I am praying for you.  I know that prayer can be a powerful thing.  I think about you and the struggles you are facing and....just know, I am always praying about your situation.  Do not blame yourself for this situation.  I know when Curtis and I were going through the struggles of getting pregnant we would ask ourselves what past sin are we being paid back for, are we just going to be terrible parents and God doesn't want to put another child through that, or are we going to get sick and won't be able to take care of the child so God is saving us pain and heartache?  I would sit and stew over those questions countless times....getting angrier by the minute.  You did not do anything for this to happen, but it will happen for you....I am praying that it does!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Everlasting God

This song was sung at church. During this time in my life I needed to hear it. We have an everlasting God. He is always there. I have listened to this song several times since hearing it the other day and I get emotional every time. There are days when I feel so far from my everlasting Father. I know I put myself there, but the feeling is there, all the same. Right now my situation seems unchangeable. So many times I cannot see the situation changing, but this song has reminded me that my God is an everlasting, never-changing, always stays the same God. He can take this situation in my life and change it because He is there...always there.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

God is big enough for BOTH

At church I heard something I really needed to hear. Curtis and I have been trying to start our family and it hasn't been as easy for us as it is for others. Because of this, we are taking steps to plan this happening. Everyone tells you to just have faith and believe it will happen. So, when we have been "planning" the next steps I felt guilty--like I was not trusting God to allow this to happen on His terms. The lesson at church was on dumb dichotomies. The question Steven Furtick posed was, Should I make plans or should I trust in God? The answer is BOTH! In Proverbs 16:9 it says, " In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." I am not wrong in taking the necessary steps to make this happen and to figure out what is wrong. But I also have to allow God to hold me by the hand and take me where He wants me to go.

I love to control things...especially my life. One thing I have learned the past year and a half as Curtis and I have walked this long, sad, extremely hard and frustrating road is that I am not in control. If I were, I would have 2-3 kids by now. I have seen that I never was in control. However, even though I know this to be true, I still struggle with letting go of the control I already know I do not have. Even though I know that ultimately God is going to do what He wants to do, I still feel that this is my life and I do have some control over it. I know it is true that I should have faith. I know it is true that I should completely trust in God. I know that He loves me and wants the best for me. I don't, however, always see that. Just the other night, I cried and cried over the fact that all my friends are getting pregnant and the one thing I want most is to have a baby and for some reason I can't help but feel I am being punished for something or God doesn't trust me with the task of being a parent. I know these are irrational. But, I am sure, any of you going through something similar, totally understand.

God is big enough for this season in my life. I don't know what that means necessarily. I don't know where He is taking us. But, I am trying to know that He is with me here and that His love will light my way. I know that not everyday is going to be easy. But, as I surround myself with songs of His love and faithfulness, and the peace that I find in His word, that He is there with me...always.

As Steven Furtick said-"With God, you CAN have your cake AND eat it too!"

Monday, January 2, 2012

Skeletons in the closet

I was reading the first chapter in Matthews. It lists the geneaolgy of Jesus. WOW! He has some very questionable members of his family. There are people like Rahab-a prostitute, Jacob-a cheat, David-an adulterer and murderer and Solomon-a man who had many wives and concubines and turned his heart from God. Had Jesus not been named Immanuel-GOD WITH US, this could have put Jesus to shame. Jesus chose to be a part of these people, to save them and be a part of their story.
There are skeletons in all of our closets. Most of the skeletons in our closet are from our own poor choices and decisions, not from a genealogy of which we have little or no control over. The skeletons in our closet can haunt us, make us feel worthless, miserable, name it, they can do it AND that is exactly what Satan wants. He wants anything possible to get in the way of us seeing ourselves like God sees us. He wants us to be miserable all the time, lonely all the time, to feel worthless and useless all the time. He wants us to die and that is what he is working so hard at every second of every minute of every hour of every day.
But GOD IS WITH US-IMMANUEL. God loves you. He died for you. He thinks you are worthy and He thinks you are so useful. He has given you talents to use and he thinks you are awesome at those talents. We can never repay Him for the sacrifice He made for us, but we can look to Him, call on Him and know that He is God WITH us...all of matter the skeletons we have hiding in our closets.
So, what skeletons do you need to hang out to dry and wither away? Get rid of them, don't give Satan the power and remember "...they will call him Immanuel-which means, 'God with us.'" Matthew 1:23