Saturday, March 31, 2007

My Child, Without a Doubt

Introducing...Baby Kannel!

Any time I've ever seen other people's ultrasound photos, they always just look like gray fuzzy blobs to me. I had heard that when you're in there seeing your own baby moving on the screen, it's a lot clearer...not so much, at least for Steve and me on Tuesday. The technician did say Baby was lying in a difficult position to take good photos (spine up). We did get to see the heart beating, which was neat, but otherwise it was hard to see what she was talking about as she pointed out different body parts. (She turned the screen away from us and was able to identify gender, but we definitely want to be surprised!) Anyway, at the end, she pulled out the 3D wand to get better pictures of the face, and that was MUCH better than the regular 2D view.

The baby was being pretty stubborn (though as Steve's and my child, this baby has practically no chance of NOT being stubborn). Apparently he or she was napping and didn't care to move around for us. The technician was not all that gentle as she pushed and jiggled my stomach, trying to get the baby to move around--she even had me fake coughing--all to no avail. I was disappointed as I had hoped to be able to see the movements I have been feeling! But apparently it was naptime and Baby didn't want to be bothered :) To those of you who know Steve or me well--does this sound familiar??

This photo is my favorite--it makes me laugh because it screams, "I am Amy's child!" Baby has an arm across the face and is making an angry face--because he or she is SLEEPING and the ultrasound technician won't stop poking. I can just imagine him or her thinking, "LEAVE ME ALONE! I don't want to wake up!" All of you who have ever tried to wake me in the morning are laughing and shaking your heads right now.

Since the baby wouldn't move around for us, most of the photos are pretty similar (minus the angry face)--just up-close shots of the left side of the face, with the left arm across part of it. In the one on the right, you can see that the mouth is slightly open--lips were moving and the tech said Baby was probably drinking amniotic fluid. Crazy!

He or she weighs about three-quarters of a pound at this point, halfway through the pregnancy. I can't believe it's half over already!

Friday, March 30, 2007

By Popular Demand...

Here it is--the much-awaited (by all two of you) belly shot :) My trip home wouldn't have been complete without seeing Jules. Here we are in all our pregnant glory! She's due about a week before me and we are having a blast experiencing this season of life together. If only we lived closer than seven hours apart...

A disclaimer: I do tend to get bigger at night and look smaller in the morning (no kidding--ask Steve), and this photo was taken before lunch. I have grown a lot in the last 2-3 weeks, though! Baby weighs about three-quarters of a pound right now and very active. It is the strangest sensation to feel a little person poking you from the inside!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thankful Thursday, Take 26

Thanking God this week for...

  • last weekend's trip home
  • my parents
  • a drumstick from Dietsch's...OOH, there's no better sweet treat
  • safe travels
  • Stephanie's visit
  • getting to see the baby
  • new windshield wipers
  • warm chocolate chip cookies
  • sunshine
  • blue skies
  • no rush hour traffic on the way home from downtown yesterday afternoon
  • backrubs
  • cheap maternity clothes
  • white hyacinth
  • gentle breezes
  • perspective
  • trees in bloom
  • being in the "feel-good trimester" of pregnancy
  • His sovereignty
  • the way He wounds us to heal us
  • the way He uses brokenness
  • His goodness
  • His mercy
  • His wisdom

Trip Home

Thanks for faithfully visiting despite the lack of updates lately...why is it that when I have tons of things to post, I have no time to do so? Seems the blogging goes in spurts around here, so get ready for a big spurt--starting with a recap of my weekend at home.

I made the trip by myself this time, as Steve couldn't spare the vacation days. I hated to go without him, but it did work out well in that I was able to stop in Indiana along the way and see friends I hadn't seen for a year or more! My first stop was lunch with Kelly (no picture, unfortunately), followed by a visit with the ever-adorable Silas and Aynsley (top left) and their mom, Emily. The last time I saw these two was out in Denver, when they were 3 1/2 and 5, respectively--now they're 5 1/2 and almost 8--so grown up now! Emily and I had a great time catching up before I headed to coffee with Aeron (bottom left).

I then drove the rest of the way home and, on Saturday, got to celebrate my grandmother's 85th birthday with my family (top right)! And I have to say, I rejoiced as I sat around the table with my mom, grandma, and favorite aunt, and found out that the women of my family have relatively short, uncomplicated labor and childbirth :) I got to visit my in-laws, a couple of other friends, and my old church, then wrapped up the weekend by stopping in Indy for lunch with Sandra (bottom right) on my way home.

I missed my hubby, but it was a lot of fun to spend some quality time with beloved family and friends, including leisurely, un-rushed time with my wonderful parents.

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Mess Worth Making

I'm heading on a road trip to Indiana and Ohio gracious husband has encouraged me to go visit family and friends even though he can't spare the vacation time (we're saving up a few for this little event we have going on in August ;) While I drive, I might be pondering this:
In certain situations, your relationships will leave you disappointed and discouraged. They will require what you do not seem to have, but that is exactly as God intended it. That is precisely why he placed these demanding relationships in the middle of the process of sanctification, where God progressively molds us into the likeness of Jesus. When you begin to give up on yourself, you being to rely on him. When you are willing to abandon your own little dreams, you begin to get excited about his plan.

Head over to Carolyn's place to check out some thought-provoking perspectives on relationships (not just romantic ones, but friendships, family relationships, and all kinds of interactions between people). The above quote is from the book Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp--sounds like a book worth buying.

Now I need to get going or I'm going to be late for lunch with one of my dearest friends! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thankful Thursday, Take 25

Thanking God for...

  • sunshine
  • capris-and-flip-flops weather
  • big blankets to lie on in the grass
  • pink blossoms on trees
  • the GEMS coming to my house last Friday
  • the getaway Steve and I had in Louisville Sunday-Tuesday
  • dinner at Bravo!
  • friends who watched Hank while we were gone
  • birthday cards in the mail
  • birthday wishes via email/blog comments
  • free maternity clothes on loan from ladies at church
  • ice cream cones
  • Nichole Nordeman
  • the color green
  • a car to drive
  • Steve getting to feel the baby kick
  • a new filing cabinet
  • a husband who makes me laugh all the time
  • sacrificing His beloved Son to reconcile me to Himself
  • patient mercy when I fall again and again

Fried Crispy

I should totally know better.

I spent about 3 or so hours at Centennial Park yesterday morning/afternoon--decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and head outside to read/pray/enjoy creation. The sun was warm on my face, a breeze blowing. First day of spring--the sun's not direct--surely I'm not going to actually get sunburned, right?

Tell that to my impossibly fair-skinned arms and chest. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Started out a tiny bit pink yesterday afternoon and went to bed lobster-red. At least the daily moisturizer I use on my face is SPF 15, or I'd be looking even worse. The calendar may say March, but my warm red skin says July. You would think I would learn. It will be a miracle if I don't get skin cancer before age 35.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Quarter Century, with Rainbow Chip Frosting

Allow me to introduce my precious GEMS girls (minus one of the co-counselors and her daughter, who couldn't make it). I've been wanting to have these girls over for dinner for a while, but we had to postpone for three Fridays in a row. It was just as well, because having it this week meant we could have a little birthday party. (Don't tell me you've forgotten what tomorrow is...consider this a friendly reminder.)

Steve was a great sport as the house filled up with girly giggles. We enjoyed spaghetti (to my surprise, all the girls ate green beans--something I wouldn't touch without a lot of drama when I was their age) and pigged out on birthday cake and ice cream. Then we spent some time crocheting--Elizabeth (the head counselor) started teaching the girls a few weeks ago. I was totally worn out by the end of the night. But fun times were had by all, I hope--at least, by me. And Steve makes a mean birthday cake, even if it does come from a box. He even made the layer kind, not in a 13x9 pan. AND, I found my must-have candy decorations in a princess theme. Awesome. Should have snapped a picture of the cake ablaze with candles--alas.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Response #3: Research Them

(The following is part of a series of "responses to the persecuted church" based on a sermon by Eric Schumacher at An Infant in a Cradle. As a preface to his sermon, Schumacher noted: "It is important that we hear these stories. However, hearing them is not enough. We are called to respond. So, I want to ask this question...: How do we respond to the persecuted church?" I'm breaking down his "ten responses to the persecuted church," listing his suggestions and adding my thoughts.)

3. Research them.

It's taking "remember them" and getting a little more personal. It's going beyond, "Oh yeah, I have brothers and sisters in the faith all over the world who are suffering for what they believe" to seeing real people and knowing about their lives, their trials. It's faces instead of statistics.

Schumacher notes:
The early Christians researched the persecuted church: "And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are" (Acts 15:36). [See also: 1 Thessalonians 3:5-7, Ephesians 6:21-22, Philippians 2:19-20.]

If it were your biological brother or sister in being mistreated in prison, you would not only remember them constantly, but you would devote yourself to finding out about their condition. Should we not do as much for our eternal brothers and sisters?It is hard—no, impossible to remember someone if you do not know that they exist. So, we should do all we can to find out about the condition and treatment of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. Genuine concern is the natural overflow of love for the family of Christ.

How can you research them? The Voice of the Martyrs makes it easy with their website, blog, and free monthly newsletter. Operation World also provides up-to-date information about people groups and countries all over the world where the gospel is met with hostility.

Previously in this series:
Response #1: Do Not Be Surprised
Response #2: Remember Them

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thankful Thursday, Take 24

Thanking God for...
  • being able to feel the baby move!
  • the convenience of grocery stores
  • a Qdoba date at Centennial Park with my wonderful husband on Monday night
  • the great swings at the park with a foot platform for easy pushing
  • this wonderful little book, available for free download here
  • flip-flops
  • the chair some friends gave us for free last year, which I've suddenly discovered I love
  • the dishwasher
  • my parents
  • His love which rescued me from His wrath

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Thankful Thursday, Take 23

Thanking God this week for...
  • Afternoon walks with sunglasses and no coat
  • A husband willing to stop at the grocery on his way home from work and grill up dinner so I don't have to cook
  • Precious new babies at our church (five born since last August; three more coming before this August)
  • Our adorable and well-behaved dog, even if he does stink and shed like crazy
  • Assurance of eternal life with Him
  • The fact that I don't have to, and in fact can't, earn that life--it is a gift of His grace
  • The glorious hope that living forever with Him brings
  • The abundant life He offers here and now
  • Girl Scout cookies--specifically, Samoas...ahhhhhh...
  • A washer and dryer right here at our house
  • Rubber bands
  • Sparkly pens
  • Grace that sustains me each moment

Go to it...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Excellence in a Cardboard Box

Since I haven't had much to say this week myself, or rather, haven't taken the time to organize my thoughts, I'll keep directing you to others' valuable insights. Laurie has some great reflections up on being an excellent wife--she mined a lot just from Proverbs 31:10. I think (I hope) she's blogging through the entire passage. Check out her post--it's brief, but there's a lot to chew on here!

Pretty or Beautiful?

Kids have so much wisdom sometimes. A woman I know only through blogging posted this remark from her four (I think)-year-old. It really struck me as profound, so I wanted to pass it along...

I asked Joel one time the difference between "pretty" and "beautiful"; this was his astute answer:

Pretty means you look pretty. Beautiful means you make the world beautiful.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Thankful Thursday Sunday, Take 22

(Had this ready to put up Thursday but was thwarted because of my blog's spam review...)

This week, I'm thanking God for...
  • last week's trip to Denver
  • a husband who wasn't just okay with the trip, but actively encouraged me to go
  • a husband who missed me and who I was so glad to come back home to
  • my wonderful mentor and her amazing family
  • Natalie--her friendship and getting to catch up in person
  • Cold Stone's cake batter ice cream
  • Cinnabon
  • hugs from kids
  • people who are God's love with skin on to me
  • getting my checked bag the next day without further incident
  • Steve's dad coming down to help with the house
  • his patience years ago in teaching Steve how to remodel a house
  • his taking us out to dinner last Sunday
  • all the free resources that Desiring God Ministries so generously provides
  • warmth and sunshine, while it lasted
  • today's storms turning out to be much less severe than anticipated
  • the ways He speaks to me through other people and through His Word
  • being pregnant at the same time as my best friend
  • His indescribable greatness and majesty
  • the beauty of creation, in so many diverse ways
  • His personal, intimate knowledge of me
  • His patience and mercy toward me
  • all of you who have started doing your own Thankful Thursday lists :)

Post yours below, if you're so inclined...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

World Record Customer Service: Hold Time

I ended up on hold Monday afternoon for 3 hours and 42 minutes before giving up--I never did reach a real person. (I do not have the patience of Job; I simply have an earpiece that enabled me to do dishes, laundry, surf the web, etc. while waiting. That, and I was afraid of having to start all over again if I hung up and tried again later.) So I sent Sprint an email complaint about my experience. They responded to my email, but I never got anywhere in terms of a) an official complaint filed about the outrageous hold time, or b) my original billing question. So I decided to risk calling again on Thursday.

(Thanks, those of you who recommended I actually am familiar with that wonderful database. It wasn't helpful in this case, though, because I didn't have a problem getting out of the automated system and being transferred to a human. The problem was getting out of the hold queue and actually SPEAKING with said human.)

Anyway, I called again and got a real human voice after only about 6-7 minutes. As I was in the middle of explaining what had happened...Sprint dropped the call. Un. Freaking. Believable. All I could do was sit here and laugh. That never happens here at home--but of course it would for this call.

I called back, and again reached a real person in under 10 minutes. As for the wait on Monday, I was promised that my complaint had been forwarded to a supervisor and that our next bill would reflect a $25 credit as an apology. As for the original billing complaint, I didn't get anywhere. They charged us $42 for internet usage...but we NEVER use the phone for internet. And there's no way it could have been someone else messing with the phone, because on the day of all the usage, the phone was either with Steve at work, or in the car as we drove to Ohio. So the saga continues...not my week for customer service, apparently.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Response #2: Remember Them

(The following is part of a series of "responses to the persecuted church" based on a sermon by Eric Schumacher at An Infant in a Cradle. I'm resuming the series after a hiatus as I waited for the green light from Schumacher to continue. As a preface to his sermon, Schumacher noted: "It is important that we hear these stories. However, hearing them is not enough. We are called to respond. So, I want to ask this question...: How do we respond to the persecuted church?" I'm breaking down his "ten responses to the persecuted church," listing his suggestions and adding my thoughts.)

2. Remember them.

Have you ever noticed how we don't think much about specific parts of our body until they hurt? You probably don't think twice about your big toe on an average day, until you have an ingrown toenail--and suddenly it's all you can think about. You don't give a thought to your elbow until you've knocked your crazy bone--and then you can't forget it.

In spite of this, there are parts of our Body that are hurting every moment of the day--and too often we comfortably go on without the reality of their pain and suffering even briefly crossing our minds.

The author of Hebrews commands us to "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering" (Hebrews 13:3). If we were in jail, would we be able to forget it for even one moment? How can we forget or ignore our suffering brothers and sisters in the persecuted church worldwide?

Schumacher provides this illustration:

In Colossians 4:18, Paul tells the church, “Remember my chains.” Imagine that today, on their way home from church, your father or mother, brother or sister, son or daughter is stopped by a police officer. Upon seeing their Bible and learning that they are returning from church, he arrests them and throws them in jail where they are left without food, water or clothing and are tortured until they renounce Christ. How often would you think of them? You would think of them constantly, wouldn’t you?

...If you would remember your biological brother or sister, who will only be your sibling for a few short years on earth, how can you neglect to remember the one who is your brother or sister for eternity in the family of God?

These are real men, women and children who suffer real pain. And their faith, courage, and hope in the midst of their suffering is challenging and inspiring. One simple (and free) way to remember them more often is to sign up to receive The Voice of the Martyrs' monthly magazine. Each issue provides stories and photos of Christians around the world who are persecuted for their beliefs. Or consider adding to your feeds for more frequent updates. Whatever you do, remember them.

See also...
Response #1: Do not be surprised

Very Funny

Okay, which one of you bozos clicked "flag as objectionable" regarding this blog?
Wait, I don't have the NavBar. Never mind. (As I've mentioned before, not on purpose...I'd be happy to put it back in if I knew how.)

No new posts from me since Monday because when I logged in to post, I was greeted by this alarming red and yellow sign:

Nice. I had to fill out a captcha and request for them to review my blog. They "sincerely apologize" for the false positive. Finally I'm back up and running today.

Blogger is not winning any user-friendliness points with anybody these days, it seems...

And for those of you who read via Bloglines, check in every so often. I don't know whose fault it is, but the feed for this blog hasn't been showing up. I've got a few other blogs doing the same thing. I'm posting, even though it's not telling you that I am.