Monday, August 31, 2009

Adversity and Bili levels

We are just home from the doctor. The pediatrician said Judah's Bilirubin levels remained the same today! He looked pretty golden to me under the florescent light when they were drawing his blood, and I was starting to get nervous. 

We had to go straight from the hospital to the doctor's office to discuss the results. I felt a weight of uncertainty and worry wondering if we'd be readmitted. I could feel my spirit say, "If we just get through this, then all will be okay."

Then I remembered a few months prior when we had all the VCUG/diabetes scares with Belle. At that time I was 6 months pregnant, and during the midst of that uncertainty, I remember saying the exact thing to myself. 

In that moment I came to the realization that there is always adversity awaiting around the corner. You will never fully escape its grasp. With every season brings new challenges, new difficulties, new uncertainties. All we can do is lean into our Father and walk with him through our circumstances.

My prayer today has been that Jesus would be my sustainer, my breath, my strength. That no matter the adversity, my trust is in Him.
peace and blessings for today - in uncertainty, joy, comfort or fear

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bringing Home Baby

Sweet baby Judah Paul came home with his family last night (Thank you, Father!!) We three are so enchanted by him.

I have moments where I just weep...especially when I look at his feet.  The feet that just days ago took up residence under my right rib cage. Tears of gratitude. Tears of joy. Tears because I cannot capture the Love and freeze the moments that make up this beautiful journey. The postpartum hormones don't make me depressed...just ULTRA emotional. 

Daddy was so proud to place his rock outfit he bought for JudahMan on to bring him home.
Big Sister LOVES her brother. She narrates the world for him . Tonight as we pulled into the parking lot she reached over, grabbed his hand, and shouted, "Baby brother, we're at Erma's! You will LOVE Erma's".
She likes to hold him...but on her own. We're still working on that!
Aron's parents were able to make a quick trip up to see the newest addition and help out with Belle as we stayed longer than anticipated in the hospital.
To catch you up...
At some point during delivery, my blood and Judah's blood mixed. Because we have two different blood types, there was an abo incompatability issue which caused antibodies in my blood to attack Judah's healthy blood cells. When this happens, the blood cells burst. Normally, the liver would clear these dead blood cells, but newborn livers take several days to begin fully functioning, so they aren't fully able to clear the toxin.
This is a fairly common and easily treatable issue...just some time under UV light to help the body transform the bilirubin into a form the body can excrete. So we spent 24 hours under the bililights from Friday morning to Saturday. 

Saturday morning, Judah's levels looked okay, but they needed him to spend 12 hours without the lights to make sure his levels didn't rebound too high. So by  6 pm Saturday night
Judah's Bilirubin level didn't 'rebound' as expected (which I suspect has much to do with the fact that Jackie & I kept him naked in the window all afternoon before his blood draw.) We had to go back to the hospital this morning for another bililevel: this time it rose a little to 11.9
 from 9.7, but the pediatrician said she expected this due to another factor: physiologic jaundice.
Physiologic jaundice is a phenomenon experienced by most breastfed infants as they wait for their livers to begin functioning at an adequate level. It peeks at 3-5 days of age and requires no treatment. So right now, we're just watching Judah to ensure his peek bilirubin levels from physiologic jaundice compounded with the abo incompatability jaundice remains at a safe level. We'll have to do daily blood draws until his levels begin to fall. But should they go to high, we'll have to be readmitted for treatment under the lights again. The next few days are a little touch and go. Please pray for him & us until we're through these waters. Its unnerving knowing we may have to be readmitted, and not being able to just relax and enjoy being home.
Aron has been waiting for weeks for this....relaxing on the couch just holding his son. He is in heaven. In fact, he doesn't share the boy very well!
So another Bili level in the morning...and we're praying for good results. We want to keep our Judah at home with us where he belongs.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Judah Paul Kirk

6lbs, 12 ozs, 21 inches long. Born on August 27th @ 6:09 AM.

And he shall be called, "Judah Paul Kirk". 

Just so you know how we came to the agonizing conclusion to name him Judah, here's the story:

We've been praying the last several weeks that God would guide us in choosing a name for our boy. My fav was Ezra, and Erica's was Levi. 3 weeks ago on a Thursday night, we once again prayed and asked God to guide us in choosing a name. The next day, Friday, I was reading through the Biblical account of Israel's blessing on his 12 sons. I read Levi because Erica liked that name, and then I came across Judah. I remembered that Judah was the name I wanted for Isabelle if she had been a boy, and I recalled how much I liked it. Here's what I read in Genesis 49:

"Judah, your brothers will praise you;
your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
your father's sons will bow down to you.
9 You are a lion's cub, O Judah;
you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
until he comes to whom it belongs 
and the obedience of the nations is his.
11 He will tether his donkey to a vine,
his colt to the choicest branch;
he will wash his garments in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes will be darker than wine,
his teeth whiter than milk."

This was the greatest blessing that Israel bestowed on any of his 12 sons in Genesis 49. This intrigued me, because Judah helped sell Joseph into slavery early in life, and then later on we learn he hired a prostitute (who turned out to be his daughter-in-law), so I looked down at the text note for the passage in my "Life Application" study Bible. The text note suggested that perhaps Judah was so richly blessed because of the repentance he had showed in his life. While he had been known for plotting against his brother and exploiting his daughter-in-law, we find him at the end of Genesis protecting his youngest brother Benjamin, and even willing to risk his own life to save Benjamin's. This is a different Judah than the one who sold Joseph into slavery so long ago.

Well, I called Erica at work and told her of my intriguing discovery about the name Judah. I really connected with the whole idea that Judah was blessed because he repented and chose to do what was right. After I shared this with Erica, she said, "well, I just read a blog by Holly Furtick the other day about that name, and it really spoke to me." I checked out the post, and here is what I read:

AUGUST 06, 2009


I have been reading through Genesis at break neck speed this week and I have really enjoyed it.  Our church staff and some volunteer leaders have embarked on B90X, an extreme Bible reading plan where we will read through the bible in 90 days (more on this next week).

Anyway, one day this week I was reading the story of Rachel and Leah.  If you have never read the account, you can find it in Genesis 29-30.  The basics of the story are that Jacob had two wives, Rachel and Leah (sisters), but he loved Rachel better.  However, Rachel couldn't have children and Leah could.

When Leah's first baby was born, a son, she said "Surely my husband will love me now." (29:32).  When her second son was born she said, "Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too." (29:33).  When her third son was born she said, "Now at last my husband will become attached to me because I have born him three sons." (29:34). 

Finally, when her fourth son was born, she said, "This time I will praise the Lord," and she named him Judah (meaning: to praise).

This just got me thinking.  What is it in my life that I am trying to use to fill a void in my heart when really the solution is simply to praise the Lord?

I hope whatever situation you find yourself in today (maybe a situation you find yourself in day after day) that this time, you will praise the Lord.

Now Erica and I have been through a lot spiritually since moving to Michigan. This pregnancy has especially been difficult for Erica, knowing that she cannot share this joy with our family as intimately as we might hope. After reading the post about Judah, we both knew that we didn't want to mourn our family's distance so much that it stole the joy of this new life God was blessing us with. I told Erica that I wanted to name him Judah because I just want to be thankful and praise God for our son and everything else He's given us.

Erica agreed, but was still not 100% about the name. Then she remembered something that was pretty cool. She said, "Aron, it's just like your dream. He's a lion's cub!" Right after I quit drinking and started walking with God again back in 2003, I had a very significant dream that I vividly remember to this day:

In the dream, Erica and I were walking down a very wide, distinct path in a dark, dense woods that slowly cirlced to the left so you couldn't see the destination of where you were heading. All of a sudden, a bunch of wolves burst out of the woods behind us. I yelled to Erica, run! We were sprinting and the wolves were at our heels. They began to overtake us, but, to our amazement, they just kept on running! They passed us completely. It seems wherever we were heading, they were going too, and they wanted to get there before us.

Erica and I kept running, and soon the turning path ended into a giant clearing of thick, lush grass. As we came to the edge of the clearing, we stopped and stared as the wolves rushed past us to a figure in the middle of the clearing. He was a tall man, dressed completely in white, with long white hair and a long white beard, holding a white staff. The wolves ran up to him, but he dwarfed their size. They surrounded him, jumping and biting at his face, though they were too small and only came about up to his waist. The man just stood there--still, calm, his eyes fixed on mine. After a few moments, in one swift movement, he held his staff above his head and as he yelled the words "No! I need a lion!" He brought his staff down and slammed the point into the ground. All of the wolves around him were knocked motionless to the ground as a great shock -wave came from the staff.

In the stillness after the blow from his staff, the white man stood again--straight, still, calm, and again his eyes looking into mine. All of a sudden, I had the feeling of a great presence--strong, powerful, wise, true-- all around me. Finally I broke away from the man in white's gaze and looked to my right and left. All around me were giant lions, their backs coming up to my shoulders and their heads as big as an elephant's. I looked back at the man in white, and it was implied that I was to join the ranks of these lions. He needed a lion, and I was the lion he needed. 

Then the dream ended and I woke up immediately.

Part of Judah's blessing in Genesis 49:9 says, "you are a lion's cub, O Judah." That is what Erica was referring to when she said, "Aron, it's just like your dream. He's a lion's cub!" Now, most of the time I don't feel like some great lion for Jesus, but more than anything I want to be. And more than anything I want to pass on that wild love of God to my son.

So, although we were incredibly indecisive for the last few weeks, in the end we decided to go with the most meaningful name. Since we made the official decision, I've been convinced that God truly answered our prayer and guided us in choosing a name we will grow to love. And so, as the meaning of the name implies, we praise God for his goodness, for our son, and for answering our prayers. 


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fully dilated and ready to go!

After visiting the Schreiber's Wednesday evening, we went to Erma's for some ice cream. Erica started having a few light contractions while we were there. We went home and as we got ready for bed, Erica started having more intense contractions about 8 minutes apart. She told me, "I think I'm having this baby." I told her if she's going into labor, then I needed to get some sleep. She did not like that. But, we got a few hours and at 1 AM she woke me up. She was having Intense contractions and she knew it was time to go.

I called Bernadette about 1:30AM and she was at our place to be with Belle by 2AM. We were at the hospital by 2:30AM and Erica was 5 cm dilated. By 3:30 she was 8 cm and got an epidural. So now it's 5 AM and she's completely dilated and they're getting ready to break her water. That's all for now and we'll keep you updated!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Hope Of Childbirth

"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." --Romans 8:22

All this talk about childbirth made me think of this passage in Romans. Paul wrote 2000 years ago that creation was in the pains of childbirth. Now that's a long labor! Erica is currently 2 days overdue and is sooooo ready to have our baby. A lot of things come with being overdue: aches, pains, nausea, cramps, contractions, etc. But the suffering is all worth it, because we have such a glorious hope of what is to come. In the same way, Paul goes on to write this in Romans 8:23-25:
"Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."

So many times we have this assumption as Christians that once we are (re)born, it's all smooth sailing. But Paul compares his spiritual walk to the labor and pains of childbirth. I can definitely relate. And yet, he goes on to write that though we groan and suffer, we eagerly await what is to come because we have such a glorious hope.

God has such good in store for those who have put their faith and trust in him. My wife would tell you that she would gladly undergo all the suffering of pregnancy and labor all for the hope of a beautiful new life. That's a fresh perspective for me in my spiritual walk with God, and when I think about it that way, I will consider these present troubles as blessing if they allow me to inherit a new life with God. The beautiful part is that God allows us to experience the "firstfruits" of our faith here and now as we place our trust in Him on this earth.

Jesus said, "in this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world." This life is hard, but I can't wait for what is to come. My wife is 2 days overdue, and with each day comes more suffering, but I can't wait for what is to come.

Monday, August 24, 2009

At peace and waiting

Well, d-day has come and gone and still no baby. But I am very thankful for the extra time I've had at home to savor my husband and daughter and finish up a few projects. For the last few weeks we have been praying for God's perfect timing in the arrival of our son. I am confident He knows just what He is doing...although it would be nice to be let in on his plan as the anticipation is really killing us!

Aron & I are usually in conversation several times throughout the day . Today around lunch we were discussing our afternoon plans...which included a trip to JoAnn Fabric for us both. He needed to pick up felt for a drum cage he's building at work, and I needed supplies for Belle's birthday fairy princess dress. Since Starbucks is right next door, we decided coordinating our trips and a moment shared together over a cup of coffee was a must! Aron shared how awesome it was to have me home and not working...and I agreed. Nothing better than a mid-day coffee with your loves.

I feel so incredibly blessed at the close of this day. A pregnancy completed (there something in me that feels like "I did it!" now that my due date has come and gone). There was a time around the end of the 2nd trimester that I wondered if I could really carry this baby to term because I started contracting so early. But God has truly seen us through and protected this little one from the craziness of life outside the womb.

And now tonight, this is the view from my blogging chair (soon to be nursing chair):
I sit listening to the acoustic folk originals of this amazing man I have the privilege of calling 'husband', and there is nowhere else in the world I'd rather be. He is such a good man, and so good to Belle and I. God has sheltered us and loved on us in ways we cannot even explain.

And as I said earlier, the last few days at home have allowed me to prepare for Belle's upcoming FairyPrincess enchanted birthday party. She really LOVES the color blue, and when I asked about what kind of Fairy Dress she'd like to wear, she just wanted a blue one. I've had trouble finding one in her size, so we had to get creative...
This princess dress (which she has worn so faithfully, the beautiful white tulle was really beginning to look oh so shabby - and not in a chic way).

Became this FairyPrincess dress:
With the help of some fabric dye, new tulle, and some embellishments.

Now, I am by no means a seamstress...just resourceful. Infact, I wouldn't let someone who really knows how to sew come within 10 feet of it for fear they'd break into tears over the poor craftsmanship. But its together, and it will certainly make a little girl very happy for her birthday.
Well, Aron has packed up his guitar, and declared it is time for bed. I am right behind him.
much love

Sunday, August 23, 2009

my 'pregnant' husband

***disclaimer...the story and photo below is posted with the expressed permission of the party involved***
I am not kidding you, the last few days Aron has been completely having 'sympathy' issues, i guess you could call them. You know this stuff really happens...when husbands start to have all the symptoms their wives have during pregnancy.

 took this picture a few months ago when he and Belle were mocking mommy, but now who's laughing?!?! (he he)

Anyway, so Aron has been totally exhausted this weekend, and even though he sleeps he just cannot conquer this fatigue. He has been telling me about it all day. He naps after church, but the nap doesn't ease the tiredness. Then later in the afternoon his lower back is just killing him and feels that he may need a hot bath and a massage. By 6:00 its dinnertime and I offer 3-4 choices of what I can cook. He says to me, "I am just craving Chinese so bad, I don't think anything else will do." I offer a few alternatives, but he can't quit thinking about Chinese. Then he looks at me as serious as can be and says, "Hun, you're only pregnant a few times in your life. You've got to enjoy these things while you can."  To which I reply, "I agree, but I'm the pregnant one, and I'm not craving Chinese!" 
We went anyway, cause the boy was needing some Chinese. As we made our way up and down the aisles of the buffet, he kept exclaiming how he was so glad he had thought of this idea to eat Chinese, and how awesome the food was tasting. 
On the way home he was pretty insistent on getting Erma's, but I told him I would explode if we even went near there...the rice must have expanded in my tummy and there was NO ROOM for anything else (that's real pregnancy for ya!) "Besides," I reminded him, "You had to have not one but 2 cartons of Chocolate Moose Tracks at the grocery yesterday...there's plenty of that at home!"

Oh, and here's the kicker. (All of you women who have birthed children will probably come after aron with a club after you read this, but please resist...I do love him very much! Just roll your eyes and chalk it up to "Men...they'll never understand!".)  So we are almost home from our Chinese run, and he says to me as innocently as can be, "Oh man, I really need to go number 2. There's so much pressure down there and my back is killing me. That must be what labor is think so hun?" Right, exactly like that. 

So all of that to say...I hope all of these sympathy pains mean the baby is almost here!! There just isn't room for 2 pregnant people in this household!
ps...on a positive husband did volunteer to spend the rest of the afternoon with me (after his nap) shopping for all the supplies I needed for Belle's birthday. This is definately a torture task for a man, but he did it anyway so we could spend it together. He chased Belle through aisle after aisle of the Flower Factory, and didn't complain once. This is how I know he loves me!

it is for freedom you have been set free...

I woke up with this verse repeating in my head, and I'm still not sure the implications. But I went first thing to to find the reference and read on. The truth of this passage in Galations was so beautifully paraphrased by Eugene Peterson's Message (I like to read a passage in several versions when I have time..) I thought I'd just let it speak for itself...check it out:
Galatians 5
The Life of Freedom
 1 Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

**Paul takes a few paragraphs to specifically address the legalism involved in circumsion...but I wanted to get to the part that really spoke to me for the sake of we'll skip to verse 13

 13-15It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

 16-18My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don't you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

 19-21It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. 

   This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.

 22-23But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

 23-24Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

 25-26Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

be free...ejk

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Plan B

As I said above, Plan A (hospital with bundle of joy in our arms) didn't come to we activated plan B: 
Family Night featuring homemade Calzones and Chocolate Chip Cookies with a little movie action to go along.

The calzones were Aron's brainchild, and he wanted to take control of the kitchen...I gladly handed over the reigns. He fried up some sausage and also some peppers and onions. We took a little advise from our buddy, Mike...a New York native and resident calzone expert. Pizza sauce, ricotta & mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and banana peppers along with the sausage/peppers/onions combo...ummmm. They were goooooood.
apk made belle her own personal cheese pizza; she was in heaven...

after washing it down with a little of dad's diet pepsi.

We spread out the picnic blanket and watched "WaterHorse"...still a kids movie, but far better than Barbie Mariposa...again!

Then we finished the evening with a party at 'Belle's house'. Here she is pulling the freshly baked cookies out of the oven for us.
She used her teapot and poured us each a glass of milk after serving us cookies.
A delicious evening indeed. It was nothing special, but the house was filled with excitement simply because we were concentrating on the joy of being together.
Maybe next weekend we'll do it again with another little Love to join in the fun!

Friday, August 21, 2009

all about my girl

The last few days I've really been soaking in time with my girl...
I'm feeling slightly anxious about having my time divided between two babies very soon, but Isabelle is sooooo excited to have a brother, so that helps ease my worries a bit.

Wednesday I took her shopping for a little mommy-daughter time. She picked out an adorable pair of purple shoes from H&M for only $9.00.  But her favorite find was a pack of 7 little girl rings...if you look closely in the picture you can see she has one on. She just LOVES these rings!
I had the hardest time getting her to sit still for a picture...finally she started giving me these faces. Nice.

There may be a reason little brother has decided to stay inside of Momma as long as possible...
I have a feeling he'll be giving little Miss Personality a run for her money if he's anything like his dad, though.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

the baby dance

Due date: August 24
Today's Date August 19

We are ready & waiting for you...
We weren't sure where or how we could squeeze a baby in our current condo, but we found the space. You are already in our hearts...just had to make a little room for you in our bedroom.

I couldn't find any crib bedding that did anything for me. So baby's bed turned into a hodge podge of fabrics and designs from all over, but I am so happy how it turned out. I found the plush Pottery Barn bumper pad brand-new on ebay for a fraction of its current cost, and a few weeks ago I grabbed a Carter's sheet that went just perfect with it here locally. I have been looking for months for the blue cable knit blanket, and finally snagged one on ebay as well. They were limited edition Amy Coe in Target stores when Belle was born. We had a pink one for her, and I absolutely LOVED it. It took me forever to find one within our price-range (people really cranked up the price on ebay...and they are all used!), but alas we did.
The changing pad is so soft, and the quilt is handmade by Great Grandma Kirk...and it couldn't be more perfect!

We cannot wait to peek over the rails and see you sleeping sweetly.
The handstitching is my absolute favorite part of this crazy quilt. We purchased fabric for Grandma to use in the quilt, and then she added some of her own - which was perfect because we wanted it to have her unique signature. This quilt will be cherished forever.
So we are 39 weeks and waiting...
This is us just before our anniversary date Saturday. If we make it to another Saturday, we're going out again, because it will certainly be awhile before we get time alone again!

Little one, Belle and Daddy are so excited to meet you they can hardly stand it. Mommy is excited too, but I feel as if I already know you...we spend every moment together. Daddy & Belle are itching to get the opportunity to cut in on our pow-wow! Here is a video of them doing 'the baby dance' ...kinda like the 'rain dance' the Indians would do...hoping it will expedite your arrival!
waiting anxiously...
ps...i thought this was so sweet...
sleeping beauty, indeed, ...fell asleep right in the middle of the floor today.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Faith vs. Faithful

Song: "Bicycle" by Queen

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." Romans 12:3

I think I spend way too much time wishing I had more faith instead of just being faithful to what God has given me. Can you relate? This is a surefire way to feel "stuck" in your spiritual life, because God grows your faith when your are faithful. Kind of like learning to ride a bike: if you never get on the bike, you'll never learn to ride. If you sit around wishing you could ride (faith) instead of just trying to ride (faithful), you'll never ride.

The beautiful thing is, anyone can get on a bike--it's really quite easy. Anyone can try to ride a bike, too. Some get it their very first try (perhaps it was their overwhelming faith in their ability). Other fall (perhaps they were less sure of themselves). Still others fall a lot (not much faith in themselves). But sooner or later, if you just keep trying, you begin to have more faith in your ability; you learn from your mistakes; and before you know it your riding just like the guy who got it on the first pass. 

We've all been given a measure of faith. Perhaps you can't ride on your first try. But if you're faithful to what you can do (sit on the seat...foot on the pedal...go for it!), even if you fall, eventually you'll learn to ride. I want to quit letting my fear of falling stop me from riding. I want to quit wishing I had more faith and start being faithful to what I can do. As Freddie Mercury once sang so passionately, "I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike. I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride it where I like."  

Monday, August 17, 2009

4 Years, 4 Quotes

For my final "4th Anniversary" post, here are my four favorite quotes from Erica:
1. "Just be..."--whenever life's been hectic, or we feel like we've lost ourselves in trying to serve other people's expectations, Erica will say, "we need to just be..." or , "let's just be..." It's more than 'just being yourself'. It's a state of existence where Peace is the government and rest is its currency.
2. "Naguntum." (pronounced na - goon - tum) -- okay, this one's sappy. When we were young (like 16 years old young) we used to do the whole, "i love you more." "no, i love you more," "no, I love you most, infinity," thing when we were getting off the phone. We would always get to infinity, and then the banter would continue with "infinity plus one," and "infinity times infinity." We always tried to top each other to no avail, until one night we made up our own word--the aforementioned "Naguntum"-- which means love beyond infinity and forever which cannot be measured or fathomed. Whenever she pulls out the "naguntum", I know she's for real.
3. "eeeeeeeeeeee..." (falsetto-like screech used to express extreme excitement)-- She usually whips this one out whenever she finds out someone we love is pregnant or is getting married. You know, the real mushy kind of stuff that girls get excited about. It's cute, and it's my favorite to observe when she is unaware.
4. "Aron, you are the Master of my world. Ruler supreme of my existensial experience. Crown jewel of all of God's very creation-- and worthy of my undying devotion and love. Were I to recount the wonders of your love, the perfection of your physique, or the enjoyments of your personality, they would out number the sand on the seashores, etc., etc., etc." --Okay, so she's never pulled this one out VERBATIM, but there have been similar remarks made, and I see it in her eyes every time I have my shirt off drinking an ice cold diet Coke. If you doubt the truth of that, I only say this: two babies in 4 years of marriage. That's all I'm gonna say, but at this rate by the time we're 42 we'll have 10 kids.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

life - these are the moments

Just wanted to share a little glimpse into the personality of our little BelleRose as she is ever growing into herself. This is mostly intended for grandparents and the like who treasure getting these types of things. For the rest of ya, your welcome to watch, but you won't hurt our feelings if ya skip this one:)

But for those of you who want to watch...this was Saturday morning. Belle came into our room about 10 am to wake us up. She jumped into bed next to aron & here is what i caught...
the next scene is a surprise...and the last is about 2 minutes of her singing a song she wrote...she ends it by saying, "That's a beautiful song!"

4 Years, 4 Foods

In my last "4th Anniversary" post, I complimented Erica on her cooking. In honor of that, here's my 4 favorite dishes that she dishes up (in no particular order):
1. Roast with potatoes, carrots, rolls, and corn on the cob
2. Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza
3. Texas Sheet Cake (and any other cake for that matter)
4. Shrimp and pasta in an alfredo/pesto sauce

Saturday, August 15, 2009

4 Years, 4 Compliments

Day 2 of the four day, four post 4th Anniversary blog-a-bration:

Four favorite things I learned about Erica AFTER we got married (and we dated for six years before that!):
1. Her ability to not only still LOVE me, but to still LIKE me after 4 years of seeing my faults up close and personal (not to mention my capacity for annoyance and instigated irritation).
2. She can cook! You know how a lot of guys will say, "man, my grandma's cooking," OR, "my mom's cooking is the best!" Now, I'm one of those guys, because my grandma's (yeah, that's plural) and my mom can flat out cook. But I gotta say, my wife can COOK! Are you tastin' what i'm sayin'?
3. She's an even better mom than I'd imagined. I knew she would be a good mom, but to watch her way with Belle is a sight to behold.
4. Her love for God. She got a card in the mail the other day that read, "Some people walk by faith... with you, it's more like dancing." Ditto.

Friday, August 14, 2009

4 Years, 4 memories

So in honor of our 4 year anniversary yesterday, I'm doing 4 consecutive posts of Four Favorite's Lists for the next 4 days. Today, my 4 favorite memories of the past 4 years:

(in chronological order):
1. Our wedding day--Golfing in the morning with the fellas, seeing the most beautiful bride ever looking at ME as she walked down the aisle, reception at rankin hill, and wisking away with that same beautiful bride.
2. Our honeymoon-- we went to the Mayan Riviera for a week of relaxation and exploration. We mostly laid on the beach, but the trip to the ruins at Chitzenitza were unforgettable.
3. Belle's birth-- in a word, surreal. Other than that, I was pretty speechless, but it was love at first sight. I'm still in awe of her each and every day as she does and says new things (especially when she says, "i love you, dad. You're my best friend."
4. Birth of our son--okay, so this hasn't happened just yet, but I know when it does in the next week or so that it will be incredible.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

August 13th

is a very special day in our world. 4 years ago our worlds collided and we became one. We made plans to celebrate this Saturday since Thursdays Aron is gone literally ALL day and evening. However, when I awoke this morning @ 10:00, he was still beside me. I woke him up in a rush exclaiming he must have overslept. He just grinned...he had wanted to surprise me by taking the day off so we could spend our anniversary together.
While I made blueberry pancakes for Aron and chocolate chip ones for Belle, Aron put on the playlist from our wedding: we danced to a little Cannon in D, then sang a little Danny's song while the pancakes were cooking, and belted some Queen..."You're my best friend..." while we ate.Aron & Belle created some sidewalk art while I showered...a nice touch, indeed.

We didn't do much today...but that was perfect. We spent the afternoon at the pool. I hesitated to put a belly shot on here in my swim wear...but maternity swimsuits are pretty decent, so here is week 38 belly shot:

And NO, my water did not break nor did I wet myself...we had just got home from the pool when Aron snapped this shot.

And we still haven't chosen a name...aron must have been brainstorming...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Miracle of the Cross

"The miracle of the cross is that out of the greatest tragedy, God brings about the greatest good."

To think that the immaculate, perfect, loving, meek, humble, just, innocent Son of God would be wrongly convicted of a crime deserving death and thereby executed is the greatest tragedy the world has ever known.

But this is no tragedy that randomly befell such an unfortunate soul as the result of some accident or morally nuetral act. No, this was a tragedy that was a direct result of our sin, our failure, and our shortcoming. To think that a tragedy would befall someone as a result of an accident is uncomfortable, but to think about a tragedy that is the direct result of a calculated decision is unfathomable.

And yet, the miracle of the cross is that out of the greatest tragedy, God brings about the greatest Good. Literally. Out of the single greatest unjust act in the history of Existence, God brought about the single greatest Good of the same existensial experience. What Satan meant to destroy the Fullness of God in human form, God used to give that Fullness to all mankind.

Therefore, God has seen fit to declare that the message of the cross is the power of God for our salvation. This power was demonstrated by Jesus himself even as he hung dying, as he uttered the words, "Father, forgive them." The power of God lies in his grace, and that power is made available to each one of us.

So, let us fight our battles in quietness and trust. Let us take hold of the power of grace and forgive as we have been forgiven, even as we nailed God to a tree.
Grace and Peace.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

37 weeks

has almost come and gone, and we're looking on to 38 weeks on Tuesday. I had Belle at 38 1/2 d-day could be any day this week or later. I'm scheduled to work another week...12's Monday, Wednesday, & Friday. It could be quite an interesting next few days.

Friday, August 7, 2009

R U Blameless???

"LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart" --Psalm 15:1-2

In my life, I want more than anything to experience God's favor (not so much in material or emotional blessing, but to just KNOW that God is pleased with me). This Psalm asks the question, "God, who can live in your presence?" The response: "He whose walk is blameless."

Being blameless is a two sided coin. In essence, can God look at your life and honestly assess that you have no blame for wrongdoing. 

Daniel was a blameless man who honored God, and in chapter 6 we find the government officials looking for grounds to blame Daniel for anything in order to have him removed from his position because they hated him. They went over Daniel's life with a fine-tooth comb, but in the end, they could find no grounds for accusing him. Here's why:
"They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent." 

This verse shows the two sides of the proverbial "blameless coin". The obvious side of the coin is avoiding sin. The scripture says Daniel was not "corrupt". In other words, he did not do any thing wrong. As David says in Psalm 19:13, "Keep your servant from willful sins; then I will be blameless, and innocent of great transgression." .

But I believe being blameless is a weighted coin. The other side, which I think much more people struggle with, involves taking action. While Daniel avoided doing bad things, he also did not avoid doing good things. Daniel was not "negligent" as the verse says. James 4:17 says, "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." If we are to be blameless, we can't afford to avoid responsibility. If Daniel saw something that needed done, he did it. He didn't put it off; he didn't hope someone else would do it; he didn't justify the intrinsic importance of the task at hand as menial so as to excuse laziness or apathy.

More than anything, I want to be blameless and experience God's favor. Psalm 84 says "no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless." 

The ironic thing about Daniel's story is that the people conspiring against him made up new corrupt laws so that they could blame him for something--anything. But Daniel knew that being blameless in God's eyes is what really matters. And because he was, God protected him and shut the mouths of the lions meant to kill him. As Proverbs 2:7 says, "[God] is a shield to those whose walk is blameless," and 28:18 says, "he whose walk is blameless is kept safe."

R U blameless?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

false alarm

I couldn't sleep Tuesday night...not a wink. Then at 2 am I started having contractions. After about an hour, they were pretty regular...about 3-5 min apart and very uncomfortable. On top of this, I thought my water might be leaking...I won't go into the details.

When I went into labor with Belle...she came so quickly; so we wanted to give our family plenty of warning. Aron's mom left Ripley about 4:30...and my parents left vacation in Florida about 7.

I went ahead and got an appointment with the doctor to see if indeed my water did break (they don't believe it did). But at about 2:00 Wednesday the contractions slowed and finally stopped.

Oops. We at least got a nice little visit with Grandma out of the ordeal!
And an ultrasound as well....
He is measuring about 6lbs 2 oz...thank you God!
And I am measuring 36 1/2 cm @ 37 weeks...wohoooo!

I also just opened all of my birthday cards, and they were all so beautiful and perfect. Thank you everyone who loved on me in this way; it means more than you know.
Here's a random shot of Belle helping momma bake cookies.
And another of Belle soaking in her Grandma Jackie...serving her pizza and tea.