Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thankful Thursday, Take 35

Thanking God this week for...
  • another week closer to August with no preterm labor
  • Steve's ability and willingness to cook
  • broccoli, cheese & rice casserole
  • the Psalms
  • finding what I want cheaply online
  • hundreds of stamped card ideas available free online
  • ice cream on hot days
  • a desk chair that reclines comfortably
  • ID ringers on my cell phone
  • His sovereignty
  • His mercy
  • His faithfulness
  • His patience
  • grace greater than my sin

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Increase My Faith Hunger

Countless times over the years, I have prayed that God would strengthen and increase my faith, that He would deepen my trust in Him. As I read a beloved Piper book over the weekend, I was blown away and convicted by this simple, obvious response:

"The Holy Spirit does not awaken and strengthen faith apart from the Word of God. 'Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ' (Romans 10:17)."

How foolish and lazy I have been, neglecting the Word, expecting God to snap His fingers and make it so while failing to walk up to the table and feast on the Bread of Life so easily available to me. I pray that God will increase my hunger for His Word, and open my eyes to see wonderful things in it (Psalm 119:18)--and in so doing, that He would strengthen my faith.

A few pages later, Piper adds:

"I have the profound sense that many people who complain of not being able to rejoice in God treat the knowledge of God as something that ought to be easy to get. They are passive. They expect spiritual things to happen to them from out of nowhere. They don't grasp the pattern of the Bible expressed in Proverbs 2:1-6.

"My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding"

"Look at all those aggressive words: 'receive...treasure up...make your ear attentive...incline your out...raise your'--if you do these, then the knowledge of God will be yours. Not because you can make it happen. The giving of the knowledge is still in the hands of God: 'For the LORD gives wisdom.' No, the pursuit of the knowledge of God is not because you can make it happen, but because God freely chooses to bless seeking with finding."

--John Piper, When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy, p. 126

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


The "exploratory surgery" was a success! In all honesty, though I post things like that for comic relief, I really do trust my husband. He has mad home remodeling skills--something I don't take for granted, especially after hearing other people talk about how their husbands can't even change a light bulb or fix a leaky faucet! (In related home improvement news, he spent last Saturday not only replacing the rusted downstairs drain pipe, but also completely re-doing the undersink plumbing in the kitchen because "it wasn't done right" and he had to be messing around in there anyway. Everything works beautifully now.)

He's almost ready to drywall the nursery and guest bedroom upstairs, but the big delay has been the heating/air conditioning. We really don't think warmth in the winter will be an issue, but those rooms will definitely need summertime A/C. And when Steve went to run the ductwork a few weekends ago, he discovered, essentially, "you can't get there from here." We weren't sure what we were going to do, because I wanted to avoid window units if at all possible. Those rooms only have one small window each and I hated to block the natural light with an A/C unit!

But leave it to Steve, he found a way! On Saturday, he cut holes to run the ductwork up through the linens cupboard in the bathroom. This will be slightly inconvenient for a while, as it pretty much eliminates the very limited storage I did have in the bathroom, but we already have a makeshift "linen closet" in the hallway anyway, so it's not that big a deal. And once the downstairs bathroom gets gutted and remodeled (which, realistically, won't happen for at LEAST another year I am guessing, but it will eventually happen), we'll be able to have a real linen closet. Until then, I can deal, if it means A/C upstairs!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Saturday Evening at the Kannel House

Amy is lying on the couch, browsing through the Stampin' Up catalog a friend dangerously gave her last night. Steve enters the room.

Steve: Whatcha doin'?
Amy: Lusting.
Steve: After...stamps?
Amy: (laughing) Well, yes...but more over paper and ink and ribbon.
Steve: OH...because that makes SO much more sense than lusting after stamps.
Amy: I can't help it that I have a stationery/paper products obsession! I don't expect you to understand.
Steve: That's good.

A Southern Confession

I have never seen or watched Gone with the Wind.

Upon hearing this, my born-and-raised-in-South-Carolina friend Kathryn was completely appalled. She fully intended to sit me down and watch this Southern epic with me the two summers we lived together, but we never got around to it.

Now that I'm on restricted activity, I've got plenty of time on my hands. And now that I'm living in the South, I really should be familiar with this classic. Should I start with the book or the movie?

Saturday Afternoon at the Kannel House

Amy is sitting at the computer. Steve has headed upstairs to work. Amy hears loud banging and the sound of plaster raining down in the walls. Steve comes downstairs to grab a tool.

Amy: Whatcha doin'?
Steve: ...Exploratory surgery.

Oh dear...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Response #4: Pray For 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.)

4. Pray for them.

Last month, I had the privilege of attending a conference put on by The Voice of the Martyrs. Speakers included VOM staff members who travel all over the world to serve the persecuted church, as well as brothers and sisters from other nations who have themselves experienced persecution. Darcie Gill explained that her role is to go to persecuted believers overseas and ask them: What do you need? How can we help you?

Can you guess what is the number one thing they always ask for? It's not food, or shelter, or legal help, or even Bibles. They need prayer. More than anything, they want their brothers and sisters around the world to intercede for them.

A few months ago, I posted a list of suggestions for how we can pray specifically for the persecuted church. In addition to these requests, up-to-date information about specific nations and even specific Christians is easily available through blogs and email updates. This week's requests from VOM:

On May 15, government authorities expelled seven of 10 Christian families from their village in Laos, and transported them to another village 12 hours away. According to The Voice of the Martyrs' contacts, the authorities told the families, "If you want to continue believing in Jesus' religion, you need to leave this village and go live in a village where there are Christians." The husbands were forced into vehicles while the wives were working in the rice paddies and this has resulted in chaos. The families are separated and are having difficulties adjusting at the new village because their tools, utensils and belongings are at the old village. Pray God gives the families grace and protection as they deal with these hardships.

On May 14, Reverend George Minj and Sister Teresa Kindo, were attacked in a village near Ranchi as they returned to their parish in the evening after leading prayers in a nearby village. The priest sustained a blood clot in the head and is being kept under observation. Pray for the priest's speedy recovery and for protection as they continue their ministry in the area.
On May 13, more than 20 Hindu extremists attacked a worship service in the town of Kushalnagar. The extremists destroyed Bibles, and beat several believers. They told the pastors to stop converting people to Christianity. Pray for protection for Christians in India. Ask God to heal the believers that were beaten.

On May 11, a mob of Muslims attacked Christians in Bahma village south of Cairo after hearing rumors that a church was to be built in the village without government permission. Muslims left their Friday prayers and attacked the homes and shops of Christians, setting the buildings on fire. At least 10 Coptic Christians were injured in the attack. People from both faiths took up sticks and hatchets and began hurling bricks and firebombs at each other. At least 27 houses and shops were damaged by fire. At last report, 59 Muslims have been arrested on charges of arson and spreading sectarian strife. Pray these Christians will be encouraged to worship together, despite opposition. Pray they will demonstrate love to their neighbors.

Schumacher's original sermon offers a few more ideas to prompt your prayers:

Pray for their leaders: 1 Timothy 2:1-2 tells us that we should pray for “kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” We should pray that God would ordain leaders in those nations who will allow religious freedom so that persecution will end and the church can live godly lives in peace.

Pray for their deliverance: The early church was not above praying for God to release those who are persecuted. When Peter was imprisoned, the church made “earnest prayer to God” on his behalf [Acts 12:5-12]. In response to that prayer, God sent an angel to free Peter. ...The Apostle Paul sought to be free from imprisonment and requested the prayers of the church (Romans 15:30-32; 2 Corinthians 1:8-11; Philippians 1:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2). ...It may be an indication of self-centeredness and a “love grown cold” when a church (or a Christian) is ignorant and prayerless in the face of persecuted Christians.

Pray for their witness: In Ephesians 6:18-20, Paul requested of the church, "[pray for me], that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak." We should pray that the persecuted church would be bold in their witness and that through it the world would come to believe in Christ.

Previously in this series:
Response #1: Do Not Be Surprised
Response #2: Remember Them
Response #3: Research Them

Bad Idea, Birdies

Again this spring, we have had some visitors of the small, winged variety. How I would love to watch baby robins hatch, like last year. However, in choosing where to build their nest, this year's birdies have really blown it. They thought inside our grill would be a perfect spot.

It started happening several weeks ago--maybe different birds--but we noticed before they could make too much progress, and Steve cleared it out. Now, either the same dumb birds are back, or another family had the same dumb idea...because I am sitting here hearing a whole lot of twittering right outside the screen door, and I just caught a glimpse of a bird with nest materials in its mouth perched right underneath the grill. Also, I can see twigs/bits of grass sticking out the bottom.

I hate to be the mean girl who destroys their happy li'l home...but if I don't, it's going to go up in smoke...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What You Feel vs. What Is Real

The series over at girltalk this week has been speaking so directly to my heart and my circumstances. They're blogging about trust in the Lord and the contrast of what you feel vs. what is real. This excerpt from today's post is a helpful exhortation to me as I prepare for motherhood:
"If you could parent your daughters all over again, what would you do differently?” It was not a tough question. While I am aware of numerous ways I would want to be a better mom, one thing stands out far ahead of the rest.

I wish I had trusted God more.

Check out the rest of this week's posts and be encouraged by the faithfulness of God and the truth of His promises:
Shall I Indeed?
Do I Believe It?
Never Dream of It

Thankful Thursday, Take 34

Thanking God this week for...

  • blog entries everywhere that seem to be speaking directly to me
  • no preterm labor symptoms
  • the fact that my health is not in danger in this pregnancy
  • Steve's uncomplaining servanthood
  • having a husband I can trust and lean on 100 percent
  • the midwives who are giving me such personal care and attention--I am SO pleased with my choice to use them
  • strawberry shortcake made with fresh strawberries
  • the gooey Cinnabon that Steve brought home with him from the airport this afternoon
  • the fact that he doesn't have to travel on business very often
  • my friend Debbie, who spent all Monday afternoon cleaning and preparing food so I could still host a baby/maternity shower for Hope Clinic for Women
  • the rest of the ladies from church who came over on Monday night to bless Hope Clinic
  • the way our house stays cool so we don't even have to run the A/C
  • the low utility bills that result when we don't run the A/C
  • the unusual treat of long, nice-looking fingernails
  • the beautiful peony photo I found on Flickr to spruce up my desktop

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Grant a Simple Wish

Shane, who lives in Ontario, Canada, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was five. He's turning eight years old on May 30, 2007, and his wish is for ONE MILLION birthday cards. Check out this video about his birthday wish. (It's real, too--besides the authentic looking video on YouTube, I checked Snopes.)

Why not take a few minutes to be a part of blessing this little boy? Cards can be sent to:

Shane Bernier
Box 484
Lancaster, ON K0C 1N0

First class postage to Canada from the U.S. is 69 cents.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Put to the Test

This little snippet from a stranger's blog was a great challenge and encouragement to me this morning:

So often when I'm walking through "trials of various kinds," I only feel that I am the one being tested. God is testing me in order to bring about steadfastness and other Christ-like character. While this is true, this morning God provided a different perspective on trials. When we walk through trials, it is not only we who are being tested; it is also God and His Word that are being tested and as I have found, always proven true.

...My prayer that morning went something like this, "God, this is what your Word says, so let me see you come through today. Let me see you be true to Your Word." Now, while this may sound and can be the prayer of a cynic, by the power of the Holy Spirit I was able to offer it as a prayer of faith, knowing that God would be up for the challenge, so to speak.

When we're walking through trials of various kinds, remember we are not the only ones being put to the test. God and His Word is being put to the test, and you will find it is an opportunity to see the faithfulness of God and certainty of His Word.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Promises and Gratitude

Needless to say, after the events of this week, I've been feeling emotional and overwhelmed. On Wednesday night I turned to the Psalms for comfort, and this verse jumped off the page at me:

"The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace" (Psalm 29:11).

God has been bringing it to my mind again and again ever since. In the midst of so much unknown, I am trying to cling to this promise. His strength is perfect in our weakness, and He will provide the grace we need for whatever trials we face. In Christ, I can have a deep, real, lasting peace--not a tenuous peace that comes from odds in our favor, or reassuring baby kicks, or midwife checkups, but a peace in knowing that our sovereign God holds me, this baby, and Steve in the palm of His all-powerful hand, and that He is at work for our good and His glory.

I thought a list like this might also be appropriate in light of Thursday's timely reminder...

  • I'm thankful that since we can't go to DC, Steve now has five more vacation days to use after the baby is born. (Well, four and a half, after he came home early Friday when I was a bit of a mess.)
  • I'm thankful that we were able to cancel our Chattanooga hotel reservations and return our attraction tickets without any penalties or money lost.
  • I'm thankful that since we can't go on our trips, Steve has more weekends to work on the house.
  • I'm thankful that I passed my glucose test, so we could stop for comfort food on the way home Friday. (And that the DQ guy was overly generous with the M&Ms.)
  • I'm thankful that my midwife encourages me to call her at home with any questions or concerns I have.
  • I'm thankful that I was even able to get pregnant in the first place!
  • I'm thankful that we've made it to the point where the baby's chances for survival are excellent, and that I'm scheduled to deliver at an ideal hospital for neonatal intensive care.
  • I'm thankful that the baby hasn't been born yet and I'm not having contractions.
  • I'm thankful that most of my maternity pants don't have buttons or zippers, so it's easier to go to the bathroom five hundred times a day (which is totally not an exaggeration now that I have to be extra careful about drinking water to prevent contractions).

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Too Good to Last

"You know, I feel fantastic! I've really been blessed to have an easy pregnancy so far."

Famous last words.

As of yesterday morning, life has taken a surprising and disappointing turn. I'm okay, and Baby is okay, but my third trimester is looking vastly different than I expected or hoped.

The basics: My midwife has determined that I'm at increased risk for preterm labor. This doesn't mean that I'll definitely deliver early, but that due to a couple of factors, my likelihood of delivering before 35 weeks is higher than normal. I'm about 27 weeks right now, so the baby's chances of surviving if born now would be excellent--especially since I'm scheduled to deliver at the best hospital in the area, the one where the other hospitals transfer their NICU preemies. But obviously it would be a long, uphill battle. (Not to mention we are not ready for this baby to come yet!)

I had to go in for steroid shots yesterday and today, to help the baby's lungs mature faster, and my midwife has put me on restricted activity. It's not bedrest exactly; she said that there are conflicting opinions about bedrest. Some people think it really doesn't make a difference, but her experience is that it is helpful. So she gave me a few specifics (no out of town trips, no grocery shopping/vacuuming/anything that taxes the lower back and abdomen) and told me to limit being on my feet as much as possible, but said she'd leave it up to me as far as testing the waters and seeing how I feel--I just have to monitor how activity affects my body. I also have to go to the midwife every week now so they can keep a closer eye on me.

What this means: No babymoon in Chattanooga next weekend. No family vacation in DC with Steve's parents and brothers in June. No more daily walks for Hank. And a huge burden on Steve as he now deals with a full-time job, house remodeling projects, and picking up the slack with housework things I'm not supposed to be doing anymore.

The crazy thing: After all this drama, I could end up going past my due date. You just never know.

The good news: I'm not dilated at all, my water hasn't broken, and the baby isn't down in my pelvis putting pressure on my cervix.

My state of mind: Yesterday afternoon, I felt silly being so lazy, because I'm not having contractions and I felt fine. But of course I also don't want to overdo it and end up going into labor, when if I had just rested more I could have prevented that longer. Last night, I was feeling tight again and a little crampy, and it scared me. I realized it's much better to err on the side of caution than to push it unnecessarily.

I'm feeling good today, and have some other thoughts on the whole thing but will save them for another post. Meanwhile, we would definitely appreciate your prayers: For the baby to grow strong and hold out for at least eight (preferably 13) more weeks. For my attitude and emotional/spiritual well-being. And for Steve, as the load gets piled on him. Thanks so much :)

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Blessing of Reconnecting

Yesterday morning was marked by a wonderful surprise: coffee with Heather Lang, whom I hadn't seen in over six years. Heather and I were freshmen at IWU together, but she had to leave school due to some health problems. We've kept in touch over the years, and thanks to the wonders of blogging, she was able to get in touch with me to say she was coming to Nashville this week. As it happened, I had a midwife appointment downtown yesterday just minutes from where she was staying--so she met me at Starbucks and we spent a couple of hours catching up.

What a tremendous blessing that was! I loved hearing about her new fiance(!) and about her life at Moody Bible Institute, where she's now finishing up college. Even more, I loved seeing the joy of the Lord overflowing from her. Heather is just lit from within--she has a peace and a hope that are unmistakable, gifts of grace after years of unimaginable trials that Christ has brought her through. She was such an encouragement to me and it was beautiful to see the woman of God she has become. (If only I could have heard her famous, one-of-a-kind laugh, the morning would have been perfect. I should have come armed with a really, really good joke or something :)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thankful Thursday, Take 33

**We interrupt this Thankful Thursday for a powerful quote from girl talk:

"God’s Word commands us to give thanks in all circumstances—not only when things are going well (1 Thess. 5:18). We can take our cue from biblical commentator Matthew Henry. He wrote the following in his journal after being robbed:
"Let me be thankful—
First, because I was never robbed before.
Second, because although they took my wallet, they did not take my life.
Third, because although they took my all, it was not much.
And fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

All Grown Up

When did my baby brother get so grown up? It seems like just yesterday I was beating this kid up (can you believe I actually used to be able to do that?).

Josh got his bachelor's degree in Fire & Safety Engineering Technlogy from Eastern Kentucky University this past weekend. Steve and I made the trip up to Richmond to watch him graduate and spend a little time with my family. The reading of names during the ceremony took, I kid you not (my uncle timed it), 90 minutes. They could easily have gotten through those names in half that time. Oh well--Steve passed the time by reading a novel and I scanned the program for baby names :) Some, er, interesting possibilities...

The fire & safety department at EKU has a cool tradition where, after the students get their diplomas, they replace their mortarboards with their fire helmets. Made him easy to pick out of the crowd! After the two-and-a-half-hour ceremony (made more bearable thanks to my amazing dad, who went hours early to save us seats with backs instead of a spot in the bleachers), we took some photos and then my parents treated us to a really nice celebratory dinner.

Josh has had a really successful four years at EKU--I was a proud big sister. He was the president of the fire guys' student organization and was even named the Outstanding Senior in the College of Justice and Safety! (If I can't brag on him at my blog, where can I?) He was planning to head south and start working as a firefighter, but a couple of his professors asked him to stay on as a graduate assistant and get his master's at EKU. So he'll be staying in Kentucky for another year. (He has become a bonafide hick, country music and all...)

Of course I have to post this lovely picture. Josh never ceases to crack me up. After we posed for a regular shot, he turned to face me and said he wanted a belly shot. I almost died laughing. He's in good enough shape to have passed the demanding physical tests for several fire departments this spring, but unfortunately he's got a gut earned in the popular college way. (He is sticking it way out on purpose in this shot, though.)

Congratulations, Josh!


Ha! After all those years of being scolded for bad posture...well, OK, Mom never really scolded me much, but I've secretly harbored a little guilt, occasionally. Come to find out slouching is a GOOD thing! I often find myself sitting in my desk chair similarly to the guy in this photo as I type or surf.

Healthy Habits That Aren't: Sitting up straight
According to a study presented in 2006 at the annual conference for the Radiological Society of North America, so-called “perfect” posture might actually be contributing to back pain. Go ahead, call your mom and gloat. But make sure you get your facts right. When this story first came out last November, many newspapers incorrectly reported that slouching was the better way to sit. The problem turned out to be a “slanguage” barrier. In England, where the story was first reported, “slouching” refers to reclining backward, which is, according to the study, a great way to relieve pressure on your lower back. Translated into American slang, however, the news reports gave many people the impression that hunching forward was healthy, when, in fact, it’s actually worse than sitting up straight.

And THEN...this one! I can never manage to be consistent about drinking all that water every day.

Healthy Habits That Aren't: Drinking eight glasses of water a day
Admit it, this is one healthy habit that’s a royal pain. Luckily, it’s also completely unnecessary. For some people, eight glasses a day might actually be far too much, leading to sodium deficiencies and potentially life-threatening water intoxication, caused by kidneys not being able to keep up the intake of liquids. In 2002, a kidney specialist tried, in vain, to find any scientific evidence supporting the eight-glasses-a-day myth. His report, published in the American Journal of Physiology, concluded that this standard health advice was complete and utter bunk that, like many urban legends, stemmed from a tiny grain of truth...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Visit a Junkyard

Steve and I re-did our budget last night, to account for all the changes since we first composed it almost two years ago (raises, house instead of apartment, dog, baby on the way--just little things :). My weekly discretionary money, sadly, got slashed. But in thinking about that, I was reminded of this recommendation from Randy Alcorn, author of The Law of Rewards:

Gather your family and go visit a junkyard or a dump. Look at all the piles of "treasures" that were formerly Christmas and birthday presents. Point out things that people worked long hours to buy and paid hundreds of dollars for, that...marriages broke up over. Look at the remnants of gadgets and furnishings that now lie useless after their brief life span. Remind yourself that most of what you own will one day end up in a junkyard like this. And even if it survives on earth for a while, you won't.

When you examine the junkyard, ask yourself this question, "When all that I ever owned lies abandoned, broken, useless and forgotten, what will I have done with my life that will last for eternity?"

Monday, May 14, 2007

Stephanie's Visit

So my beloved college roommate, Stephanie, came to visit me over her spring break a few weeks ago, and I never even posted about it. We didn't get any good photos of the two of us while she was here! Well, it was a decent picture of her, but I hadn't even showered yet and wasn't about to post that lovely photo on my own blog :) But she came to my shower and we got a good picture, so now I'm finally giving her a blog post.

I had a blast catching up with Stephanie while she was here. I took her to Qdoba and then we had a crazy adventure at 100 Oaks Mall, which I didn't realize was completely dead. It was kind of creepy! Later that afternoon, the rain cleared off and we traipsed around Centennial Park, pretending to be photographers.

It is always a blessing to see old friends, especially when they are willing to make the effort to drive several hours to come and see you!

Strange Icon?

Is my favicon showing up as this weird, ugly, yellow and green hiker, instead of the normal orange and white Blogger B, to anyone else? What the heck?

UPDATE, 3 PM: Now it's back to normal. Weird.

UPDATE, 3:20 PM: ...And now it's the ugly icon again. What is going on?!

Friday, May 11, 2007

It Pays To Be a Packrat

What kind of nutjob saves a printed email with driving directions to someplace she visited in November 2005 but hasn't been since?

Me, that's who. Saved my brother from having to type them out again, anyway. And how sick is it that I was able to find the directions in under 60 seconds?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thankful Thursday, Take 32

Thanking God for...
  • Our trip home last weekend
  • The baby shower my friends and family threw for us
  • Lessons learned reinforced about grace and judging people without knowing their story
  • All the rhubarb we cribbed from my in-laws before we left
  • Flowers from Steve for no particular reason
  • Steve's humble servanthood--the way he leads by example even when I don't follow well
  • GEMS who come running to give me hugs when I arrive at church
  • the way many hands make light work when it comes to weeding a garden
  • the spiritual truths God embeds in His creation
  • cool breezes
  • packages in the mail
  • chubby babies
  • writing His Word on my heart
  • sending His Son to bear the wrath I deserve
  • seeing me in light of Jesus' perfect obedience

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Just Because He Loves Me

Two Down, One to Go

Julie and me at the shower: quite a difference from six weeks ago! Here we are at the end of our second trimesters--most likely the last time we'll see each other before our babies are born

Baby weighs about two pounds at this point. I believe he or she has taken up kickboxing as of last week. All the movement isn't uncomfortable, though, at least not yet--I'm delighting in every little jab and wiggle, amazed (and still finding it hard to believe) that there is a baby growing inside! I just wish I could see what's going on in there! Bending over has gotten difficult, but otherwise I feel fantastic. I have been so blessed to have an easy pregnancy so far--I realize this and am not taking it for granted. And it is FLYING by!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

If April Showers Bring May Flowers, What Do May Showers Bring?

Answer: Onesies, blankets, books and burpcloths! In other words, many blessings for me, Steve, and Baby Kannel.

We went home over the weekend, sadly for what will probably be the last time until Thanksgiving. And on Saturday morning, my best friend Julie, my sister-in-law Michelle, and my mom and mother-in-law conspired to throw a wonderful baby shower! I was surrounded by so many loving family members and friends as I opened a mountain of gifts to help Steve and me prepare for Baby's arrival. The ladies all shared their parenting advice with me and overwhelmed me with their generosity. We couldn't even fit all the gifts in our car to come home! (Thankfully, we'll be seeing my parents this very next weekend, so they'll bring the rest of the gifts.)

A few pictures from the shower...

My two best friends from high school, Julie and Jill--and four-week-old Sophie! So excited to meet her. It's crazy to think that this Christmas, Lord willing, our photo will have SIX people in it! Last Christmas, our conversation went something like this:

Jill: Can you believe I'm having a baby?
Julie: Guess what? I'm pregnant too!
Amy: Guess what? So am I!

Here's my fabulous mom-in-law, Sue, and my sister-in-law, Michelle. Could not ask for better in-laws! Michelle and I are the only girls she's got--and after three brothers and then three sons, she is hoping to be able to buy PINK clothes :)

The ladies of my mom's family: Mom, me, Grandma June and Aunt Judy. Found out in March that all of these women had quick and easy labors & deliveries, with eight kids between them--I am hopeful!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Old House Tip #47

Generally, if you can pierce your cast-iron drain pipe with the edge of a putty knife, that's a bad thing.

However, on the bright side, it does give you blog material.

Thankful Thursday, Take 31

Thanking God for...

  • the members of my church sponsoring ALL TEN of the children whose packets Compassion International sent to me--I even had to request one additional packet!
  • Jaala's visit on Monday afternoon
  • Steve offering to cook dinner Monday night when I got home and was exhausted from being on my feet all day (and it wasn't just throwing together something--he made a crustless bacon, tomato and cheese quiche!)
  • simple pleasures like finding the perfect ribbon to match cards I'm making
  • a friend helping me work on the cards yesterday afternoon
  • finding Bath and Body Works' Sheer Freesia lotion at Opry Mills (the store that's closer to me discontinued it and it's my favorite summer floral!)
  • ice cream cones
  • new books from favorite authors
  • getting a 10% discount off our hotel reservations for our anniversary trip/"babymoon" after finding a cheaper internet rate than the hotel's website offered
  • friendship bread
  • having to recopy my to-do list on a new paper because so many things are crossed out, it's hard to find the ones that aren't
  • a clean, fresh-smelling dog
  • ceiling fans
  • beautiful prose
  • the glorious gospel of grace

Your turn below...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"How Lovely To Be a Woman"?

I think part of godly femininity is rejoicing in the fact that God made you a woman. But I have to admit, there is one area of life in which I cannot thank Him for making me female: Hair.

I generally like my hair itself--it's thick and soft, straight not frizzy, doesn't need to be colored. But I generally hate my hairstyle. In fact, I'm not sure I can remember a single time when I left the hair salon feeling really confident about my haircut. No, I take that back. One time: I really liked the haircut I got right before I graduated from college. A friend cut it in her dorm room, for free.

This morning I got a new haircut, and was reminded of this issue in which I hate being a girl. I've been through this before: Guys have it easy. Girls, on the other hand--we have no idea what we might look like when the stylist hands us that mirror. And even if we really like it, our chances of being able to reproduce the look at home are slim to none.

I don't think the last couple of shorter haircuts I've had have been very flattering on me, so I decided I wanted to let my hair grow again. Not that I want it to be waist-length like it was in college (no kidding--I donated 12 inches to Locks of Love and still had hair well past my shoulders), but at least past chin/brushing-the-shoulders length. So I went to the salon because I hadn't had it cut since October. I know. I don't like to go because I never like my haircut!

I was thinking just the minimum off the ends, maybe a little bit of long layering so I can flip it out or curl it a little if I feel like it. I ended up with TONS of layers, from my shoulders all the way up to my ears. Argh. The stylist flipped it all out, and it didn't look hideous, but it was way too frou-frou for me...I don't have the patience to fuss with it like that, and it just wasn't what I had in mind.

And then, how do you handle it with the stylist? I usually just pretend I like it. I did mention that the layers were shorter than I had wanted but the stylist clearly felt bad, so I just was all, smiling, "Oh, it's fine! Not a problem. My hair grows pretty fast anyway." And do you tip if you really don't like the haircut? I did because I felt bad, but that seems a little odd.

Oh the tribulations of being a girl...

Sacrificial Love

This morning was the first time I've made brownies since getting pregnant. Not getting to lick the bowl and spatula...just about killed me. Chocolate chip cookie dough is bad enough, but brownie batter? Don't think I won't remind this child every chance I get of the sacrifices Mama made for him or her.

ETA: ...And the brownies themselves aren't even very good. They got baked too long so they're not even gooey. Blah!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Steve and I had the most fabulous dinner tonight. And the best part is, it was completely easy and mostly leftovers (I'd made the dressing for Sunday's church potluck)! It was seriously so fantastic I couldn't even get over I thought I'd post it here, in case anyone's looking for something easy, healthy and summery.

Salad dressing:
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/3 c. lime or lemon juice
1/4 c. vinegar
1 c. oil
Blend in blender or plastic shaker, adding oil last.

We had it last night over spinach, grilled chicken (leftover), sliced strawberries, sweet onion, and candied pecans (you can candy them yourself--get a pan really hot, pour some sugar in and let it melt, and then dump in pecans and shake and toss them around).

The original recipe calls for mandarin oranges instead of the berries, plain nuts of any kind, and croutons. It got rave reviews on Sunday. But yesterday's supper salads tasted like something you'd eat at a restaurant. They were soooooooo good. I want another one today!

Unexpected Visitor

On Saturday afternoon I received an especially fun surprise of a phone call--my dear friend Jaala from college, telling me that she had made last-minute plans to come to Nashville! Her grandmother was speaking in the area and Jaala ended up riding down with her, so she had all day Monday free--to spend time with me!

I met her at Opryland and we enjoyed lunch at the Rainforest Cafe, then did a little bit of shopping, toured the hotel, and finished off with some yummy ice cream. It was so wonderful to spend a leisurely afternoon catching up with her! Yay for the glorious surprise of unexpected visits from old friends.