Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Birthday Celebration!

Today is Isabelle's Princess Birthday Party! (Tomorrow is the actual day). Hopefully we'll be able to hold the festivities as planned at the park- but we'll see if the weather clears up- otherwise we'll be royalty in the garage! I made my first attempt at a fancy cake- I usually leave this up to the Grandma's. It turned out ok- but I think I'll leave it up to them next year. My favorite part is the pink moat made of fund dip and icing.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Shock and Awe

I remember sitting in my dorm room sophmore year of college with then President Bush ordered the attack on Iraq with the now infamous "shock and awe" approach. It was something to behold. I remember mourning the fact that we were entering a state of war, that lives of those living in that region would forever be changed (in some ways for good, in others for bad). I'm not going to get into whether or not this war was a good choice- its not the point (and any comment left pertaining to such will be deleted).

The point is that with something so sad, yet exciting came exactly what it was named- shock and awe. Shock of the power of our forces. Shock at the power of our weapons. Shock at the humanity that had been lost under such a terrible dictator. Shock that life as we knew as Americans and Iraqi's had changed forever. But at the same time Awe. Awe in the power. Awe in the amazing commitment of our armed forces as a whole and as individuals. Awe in the unity of our country (at the time).

Strangely enough, I approach today with many of the same feelings. Shock. Awe. Life as I have known it has forever changed. Life as my husband's family has known has forever changed.

On Friday, my husband's maternal grandfather- Grandpa Morgan was rushed to the hospital with what appeared to be a stroke. We were all concerned and knew life would change- but knew that there was recovery. Stroke symptoms can be reconciled. Things can get better. Things change- but there is hope.

By Saturday morning, hope seemed to have faded. Grandpa did not have a stroke. Grandpa had a brain tumor. The worst kind of cancer you can have. The tumor is covering half of his brain. This tumor has grown fast. It was not present less than a year ago when he had a cat scan after falling last september. Surgery is not an option. Chemo and Radiation would not extend his life much, if at all, and without much quality. Grandpa has cancer. Grandpa is dying.

Thats the first time I have written or said these words since we found out. Its hard to accept. Its hard to move on.



Shock at what will now be a hard, uknown road. We don't know how long. None of us know the number of our days- only our God, our Creator knows- but the wisdom and experience of doctors tell us it will be months, and perhaps not many, 3-4 is what I'm hearing often.

Shock as to what is to happen next. How do we cope? How do we function? How do we care for him? How do we care for his wife- dear Grandma? How do we explain to the many little great grandchildren all under the age of 10 or so- most of them 5 and under? Shock as to why this is happening. Cancer. Out of no where. No warning. No symptoms. Shock.

As I lay in bed early this morning, unable to sleep- I suddenly felt a sense of awe. Awe in the fact that we serve an Amazing God!!! A God who is not surprised. A God who is all knowing. A God who is in control. A God we can count on. A God who mourns with us. A God who grieves with us. A God who rejoices with us.


God loves us so much that He hurts when we hurt.

God enjoyes us so much as His children that He is glad when we our glad.

A God of emotion.

But yet, a God that is not surprised. As shocked as we are all feeling at this moment, I find comfort in the fact that God is not surprised. God is not shocked. God knew. God cares.

God knows. God cares.

God Loves.

I pray this is the catalyst for something great. This is what was needed to do something big, something unexpected. I'm not sure what it will look like. God does.

Please pray for our family. Pray for Grandpa and Grandma as they face the coming days- that clarity of what is happening comes. Pray for their children. Pray for their grandchildren. Pray for their great grandchildren.

I've lost one grandfather to cancer. I didn't think I would be asked to walk this road again. But I am. Pray for my husband. He has rarely walked the road of loss. Pray for me as I help him on this journey. Pray for us as we try to explain what is going on to our 3 year old. Give us comfort as we come to grips that our grandfather will most likely not meet the little one that is moving inside me at this moment.

Shock. Awe.

Shocked by circumstance. Awed by God.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Life sure is crazy around here!!! To highlight the major points, I am resorting to a bullet list!

  • We went from $0 account balance to having 3 closings in 3 weeks, with one more scheduled for August- praise the Lord for his provision! Down to the day and dollar!
  • Paul's parents sold their cottage and house in the same week- one at full price! Their new house is almost done!
  • Baby is growing and I'm feeling huge- I should really post a picture- but I might just 'put it off' for a while.
  • Grandpa Morgan (Paul's Mom's dad) has been in and out of the hospital lately. He had a 2 stents put in a few weeks ago (99% blockage and 70% blockage in two places of the same artery!). He mixed up his meds and was taking sleeping pills in the morning plus a dramamine type pill that he takes for another problem at the same time. Now, we have found out he had a major stroke up at the cottage this morning. He is being rushed to GR. Please pray for him. This is so hard on Paul's mom plus she's got two houses to pack up and a move coming up in the next couple of weeks.
  • Izzy has a new irrational fear of any live creature- screaming ensued at the zoo and when she saw a costumed person of curious george.
  • Panera's Asian Sesame Chicken Salad may be my new favorite food!! Oh so sweet and yummy. I want one now!
  • I'm going to my first Tiger's game in August- but I'm more excited about shopping at Birch Run first! (not a huge baseball fan)
  • I'm so anxious for my best friend Emily to have her baby in mid/late August- its a surprise gender too!!!
  • I'm so excited for my ultrasound a month from today!! (And, yes we hope to find out what it is!)
  • Beach days have been too few and far between
  • Visits to Pentwater have been too few and far between
  • I miss being able to garage sale...just not in the budget right now
  • I'm planning Izzy's birthday party- someone turns three next week!!!!

Thats all. Hopefully I'll have something more riveting next time. Thanks to all of you who had such great thoughts and ideas! I'm ebaying/craigslisting for a video monitor at a good price now and will pay more as we get closer to the time. The other stuff will have to wait until a moms2moms sale or something.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Need ideas!

I'm now nearly 15 weeks along and starting to brainstorm the things we will need for this next baby. I forgot how much stuff a kid requires. Luckily, we have a lot from Isabelle, but I know there are going to be holes to fill. Thus- feel free to reply to any products you would suggest to the following:

-I would love to get a 2nd a monitor, preferrably a video monitor. Which one do you have? Do you like it? Is it worth the $$$? I have a plain old monitor with Iz I got from a garage sale, but know I'll need another one for baby.

-Baby carrier. Never had one for Izzy. Would love to have the hands free option with a 3 year old running around now. Which style/brand do you like? I've been looking at slings and wrap styles (moby, hotsling, etc.). If you had a c-section do you know which one would suit best with the healing that has to take place?

-Winter stuff. Izzy was born in mid July in a 90 degree heatwave. She lived in onesies. I lived in old navy tanks and yoga capris. Any suggestions to what we'll need for a winter baby (brrr...January)? I'm thinking along the lines of carseat covers, sleeping sacks, etc. Or suggestions for a winter postpartum me (c-setion remember).

-Bottles, Pumps, and Paci's. Izzy always refused bottles and pacifiers. I had a collection of a few we tried, but since she never really got into them, they never got good use. Any special brands that you love? I'm also interested in a pump. I will be b*feeding most of the time, but would like the option of pumping and bottle feeding. I had borrowed a nice hospital grade electric pump before, but don't think its available/working anymore. Any cheap, but good options out there for the occasional user?

-Any other suggestions for a new baby. You'd think I remembered what it was like just 3 years ago, but alas, I don't! We have stuff, but would be open to suggestions of things tried and true by other babies- because every baby is different!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Book Review- The Hole in Our Gospel

As you may remember, I am a Thomas Nelson Publisher book reviewer. Its a great program and I enjoy doing it. The book I recently finished reading was The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. He is the current president of World Vision- an amazing organization that is commited to serving and helping the impoverished around the world.

The Hole in Our Gospel has many angles that I can't really summarize its purpose into one sentence. In masterful seamlessness, Stearns incorporates his own spirtual journey, his personal and career journey (from poor teenager to corporate CEO of Lennox to President of World Vision), his quest to discover God's plan for him at World Vision, and his amazing stories and adventures from the various fields that World Vision supports. Intertwined with these personal stories and testimonies are Biblical truths (stewardship, giving, serving, helping the widows and orphans, verses, teachings of Christ) to challenge the reader in what it means to be a Christian.

The hole that Stearns gets his title from is twofold. There are two camps that dominate the Christian sector of beliefs. Those that believe that are 'works based' (believing our actions are what set us free in eternity) or those that are 'faith based' (believing that only faith is required to enter heaven). The problem that Stearns presents is that both of these belief systems are incomplete- they have a whole.

For it says right in scripture (Ephesians 2:8-10) "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

If we leave faith out- it takes away the gift of Grace, and we cannot earn our salvation. However, if we leave out good works, we are taking away one of the primary reasons we were created. We were created to be the hands and feet of God. We were created by God for His purpose to serve His people.

Stearn is an amazing storyteller and has amazing experiences to show the reader what serving God's people could really look like. Stories of impoverished nations. Stories of incredible courage and miracles. Stories that could make your stomach churn. (Did you know that 257,000 children die EVERY DAY due to poverty related issues?). The statistics are stagering- but the faces and individuals that Stearn presents tugs at the heart.

What I loved about Stearn's book is that it wasn't simply a book about all the bad things that are going on in the world- but that there are solutions! (It only takes $1 a year to give a person clean water! If every church gave their true 10% tithe- we could bring the world out of such poverty! Stearns challenges the reader to discover the true definition and meaning of stewardship. We are all stewards- everything we have is God's. Even if we have very little- we are still called to be good managers of it. This book is challenging, thought provoking, and while it had its moments of despair- I felt encouraged that the world's problems are not to big to get a hold of.

As a person with a deep passion for world missions and impoverished nations and orphans (I have done ministry work in Bangladesh, Guatemala, Jamaica, and Grenada), and as someone who is passionate about stewardship and giving, I felt as though this book could have challenged me more. I am already giving, praying, doing- what can I be doing to help save our world? Stearns main focus was to get the church and its members to give their tithes- to get involved with the global community as opposed to the bubble of our own. A step beyond this challenge would have been helpful for me as the reader.

Overall, this was an excellent book and I would quickly recommend to any Christian.

Going with the theme of the book, "Lord, break my heart to what breaks yours."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dr. Visit Update

I had my first official Dr. visit today for baby. It went wonderfully. All the labs came back perfect and everything looks great. Heartbeat is at 168 which is 'girl territory' if you follow some of those old wives' tales.

My doctor and I agree that a c-section is going to be the safest and best route for both me and the baby. As long as the due date remains January 6th after the ultrasound, the delivery will be between December 28 and January 6th.

I'm super excited for the ultrasound- scheduled for August 17th. I hope they cooperate so we can find out if Izzy is going to have a little brother or sister. My intution has said boy from the beginning- but who knows?

So at 13 is aobut 3 inches long. They are starting to grow hair on their head and eyebrows. The fingers are separating and good news- the head is becoming less disportionate! Oh- and our baby has their own unique identity in their own fingerprints!