Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fact or Feeling?



Many times, especially as a girl, I find myself in a particular mood whether good or bad based on my feelings. When someone does something nice for me, that makes me happy and puts me in a good mood. When someone treats me unkindly that can put my in a bad mood. Why? Because no one likes feeling mistreated.

I think it's the worst when you don't know what someone is thinking or you assume something bad based on what someone has done or hasn't done for you. For example, if you have a friend who doesn't make time for you, you may assume they don't like you and that you smell like beef and cheese. When the truth is they are just super busy and don't mean to put you off.

This morning after my little ten mile run, I was talking with my sleepy husband and he was responsive. Then he was silent. I thought he was just being silly, but then he wasn't answering me back. So I got upset and left the room to get ready for the day. I thought to myself, James doesn't normally ignore me on purpose, so he probably didn't mean to ignore me. And even though I'm not feeling very loved right now, I will do things to show him I love him. So I made his coffee, got him a fresh towel for his shower and made breakfast. (I know I know- I'm such a good person... kidding of course, but on occasion I have my moments.) After he finally awoke, I gave him a playful glare. He was clueless as to why I would be upset. He didn't realize he had fallen asleep in mid conversation with me. (Okay now I would expect this at night time, but at 9am?! Men...) He apologized for falling asleep in mid conversation with me, and I refused to accept it for a few minutes. Then all was forgiven, and we still live happily ever after.

Now I chose to believe the facts rather then my feelings. I acknowledged that James wouldn't intentionally ignore me, not even when he's upset with me. I realized my husband loves me and wouldn't intentionally try to hurt me. So I got over it and had a good morning because of it. I could have had a chip on my shoulder and angrily made his coffee decaf, but I didn't...thought about it but didn't. :)

Who likes being in a bad mood? Not me! I hate it, but on occasion it does happen. But how we react to the situation can either diffuse it or ignite the situation. There have been many times when I have reacted poorly based on my feelings and it becomes a whole different situation. I know hard to imagine. :) 

A few simple steps to remember:

1) Take a step back and review the situation in your head. Determine the facts and compare them to your feelings. Do they line up? Usually, the person in question isn't intentionally trying to upset you. Believe the best about them!

2) Pray for them or the situation. Leave it in God's hands and let your hurt feelings go.

3) If necessary, Talk to them! Talk to your friend or spouse about the situation and how you were feeling, chances are they could be clueless like my hubby. And then you can laugh about it later.

But may I just encourage you today, whether with your spouse or friend, choose to believe the best about them or about a situation. Your friend who doesn't have time for you may just be super busy or her kids may have her locked up on a short leash. :) You never know what someone is going through, so choose to believe the best, and let God handle the rest! Pray for them and leave it with God.  Be a blessing and an encouragement to them without expectations. Let the world, including your family, see God's light in your actions and reactions!

Have a great weekend!

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:6
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Becoming Four- Macy's Birth Story

It's hard to believe, a week ago today I was in labor. At exactly this time last week (current time: 10:20pm Monday September 15) our little girl had been in my arms for an hour. Allow me to walk you through that day and we can reminisce together.

My morning started like any other morning. I woke up, laced up my running shoes and was ready to go for a run. I noticed a couple of contractions when I woke up and decided to run only 2 miles instead of 5 just incase. When I got home, I sat down to eat breakfast and didn't notice any contractions. After breakfast, I showered and got ready for the day. I was having contractions about ten minutes a part while I was up and about. They were strong enough I had to breath through them.

James had wanted me to go into labor during the day but I didn't think that would be possible. Babies come at night when you least expect them to come, that's just how they roll, right? So it looked like James was getting his wish! We decided to get our bags ready for the hospital. And I did what every woman who thinks she is in labor does-- curled my hair and made sure I looked cute for the pictures.  (Oh vanity!) 

The contractions continued as I FaceTimed my friend in Alaska, Hi Emily! She told me if I laid down on my left side and the contractions continued, then it was active labor. I didn't want to do that because what if the contractions stopped?! I listened to my wise friend. And when I laid down the contractions became further and further a part. Ho hum... not active labor.

I was torn with two choices. I could either try to "speed up labor" by exercising/walking or I could listen to my body and rest. It made more sense to rest and wait for active labor to begin. Labor would happen when it was time. We all took a nice long nap. And by then the contractions had stopped. I decided it was time for a walk. As I walked I didn't have any strong contractions. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon and I just prayed that something would happen within the next hour. It was killing me to be so close to going into labor but not being in labor! Well the next hour went by and nothing. So I sat down and rested some more with James.

At 5:30 the contractions started again as I was sitting down. I wasn't sure what to expect so we planned to go to the mall. The contractions were about 6 minutes a part and soon 3 minutes a part. By 6pm I sat in the tub to labor in the water. It was very relaxing in between the contractions but the contractions were getting stronger. My contractions went from being 3 minutes a part back to 6 while I was in the water. So after 15 minutes I got out. I thought it would be silly to slow down labor if this was the real deal. As the contractions continued, I found it hard to relax and find my happy place. I prayed for wisdom to know whether or not to go to the hospital. At that same moment, James suggested we drop Jacob off and go to the hospital. Prayer answered.

It was close to 7pm as we loaded in the car and drove to the Jones' house. The contractions were strong and I was starting to feel really discouraged. I didn't know if this was active labor or not or how much longer I would have to wait for my princess to be born. I wanted to cry and decided I needed a focal point. I grabbed a newborn diaper, a big bow, and my pillow. I would look at these in between my contractions to remind myself what the end result was--- our sweet little girl!

There was a lot of traffic but I was prepared to get through my contractions in the car. When the contraction would come on I began to cringe and bear through it. I found it took almost another minute after the contraction had passed for me to feel relaxed. As the next few came on, I breathed through them mentally telling myself to relax. It was difficult to relax but it made the contraction so much more easier to handle. I asked James if he could help remind me to relax as he saw me having the contractions. When the next one came on he told me to relax and reminded me of sunny Florida and putting my toes in the sand. If I wasn't having the contraction, I would have laughed. But it was working. We pulled into the Jones' and thankfully their daughter was down stairs waiting to bring him  up. I had just had a contraction and wasn't ready for small chat. My friend Jess hung out the window all excited and happy for me. In my couple of minutes of relief, I was able to talk with her. I told her I can understand now why ladies get epidurals. I wasn't sure I would make it much longer!

7:45pm: Another contraction came on as we were entering the hospital. I stopped in the entry way which doubled as their smoking area and tried to relax and breath through this contraction. Nothing like the smell of smoke, I thought to myself. We walked down the hall to check in, and it smelled like beef and cheese not much better than the smoke. I just wanted to get off that floor and in our room. The two ladies that helped us were their sweet cordial Russian selves. And by that I mean, they were pretty rude. :) Thankfully, the language barrier kept me from understanding what they were saying to James and I could concentrate on getting through my contractions while inhaling beef and cheese fumes. They gave me this awesome garment to wear and had me sign a million forms.

Now in their defense, the Russians usually don't have a lady coming into the hospital in active labor. The ladies all check themselves into the hospital about a week prior to their due date and wait to have their babies. It's like a college dormitory filled with preggos!

We got through the painful process of checking in and headed upstairs. Where I could finally go to the bathroom that wasn't being hogged by another pregnant woman. The doctor was very very friendly (no sarcasm this time!). She asked me how I was and I said good. She laughed when I said good and gave me a hug. It was very motherly and soothing :). I got up on the table and she checked me and broke my water without asking. She told James I was 10cm dilated and would have the baby soon and that my contractions may get stronger now that she broke my water. And I thought we were friends! When James told me the good news, I was so relieved!! It was about 8:15pm and I couldn't believe I was fully dilated!!

James had to fill out more paperwork before she could deliver the baby. At the moment that was fine because I wasn't feeling the need to push. They monitored the baby's heartbeat and had me lay on my side. Laying down on my side was a lot easier than laying on my back, but I would have rather been standing. Meanwhile, a nurse came in and took my blood, another nurse was answering her phone while in my room, and the best part was hearing the lady in travail in the room next to me! My room door stayed open the whole time. So I got to hear this lady screaming through her contractions. Which kinda made me laugh.

James came back in and I asked him if I could get a drink. They didn't want me to drink much but I could have a few sips of water. I found that odd because in the States they kept me drinking water throughout my labor. I was so thirsty but the doctor wanted me to wait since I would be pushing soon.

The doctor had me hold my legs and push. Again this was odd for me to hold my own legs and push, but I did. I believe she was checking to see where the baby's head was. She wanted me to stand up and have 4 or 5 more contractions while swaying my hips to help the baby move down. 4 or 5 more?! I was ready to die!  Okay it wasn't that bad, but I was hoping to be on my way to pushing. By now my contractions were very close together, so the time passed quickly. We heard the lady next door screaming again, and James kept saying he was so glad I wasn't like her. He later told me the nurses were yelling at her to shut up and relax. I should have loaned her my Hypnobirthing Book.

The doctor had me push one more time holding my legs and said I was ready to go to the delivery table. They wheeled my little bed over to the bigger delivery bed and had me crawl over. They kept telling me not to sit on my bottom but lay on my side and then roll over to my back. So I did my best to do just that. (They said sitting on your bum may push the baby back up.) There was now four ladies in the room all geared up to catch this baby!

9:00pm Pushing time! I was pushing against the stirrups rather than two people holding my legs which was a little more difficult. James grabbed my one leg because I was almost kicking the doctor each time. Oops. After two contractions of pushing her head was out! With each push I heard my doctors sweet little voice "Davai, Davai, Davai!" Which is "Come On". It made me smile as she would say it. Next the shoulders. The shoulders were almost out when they told me to stop pushing. What?!! Stop pushing! I feel her shoulders and need to get them out!  I looked up at James so confused and in pain. The nurses and doctor were all saying different things and telling James to translate. Push--- Don't Push. They had me wait until the next contraction came on and then finally relief! She was born! That was a pretty painful 30 seconds of having her shoulders almost out but I got through it.  I couldn't believe I was now holding my girl!

At 9:20 she was placed on my chest. Macy Kate Pranger, 7 lbs 21" long and perfect! I couldn't believe she was here and in my arms!! Then the worst part came. They started poking my belly without warning. That was the first time I was really vocal. It caught me off guard and I wasn't ready for that. I asked James what in the world they were doing. I knew what they were doing but a little warning would have been nice! Sheesh. The doctor asked how I was and I thought, much better than the lady next door! But I said, great! She smiled and gave me a hug and kiss. She was so sweet!

Well there you have it-- my first birth experience in Russia! The Lord truly blessed every aspect of my labor and delivery and I give Him all the honor and glory! I was so thankful there was no tearing or anything that went wrong. I felt great afterwards! With Jacob I felt like I had just given birth but with Macy I felt fine! All that running must have paid off! And the best part was we were able to leave the hospital before noon the next day! Thank You, Lord!

**Read Jacob's Birth Story Here**

What I liked about giving birth in Russia as opposed to the States:

1) They are more naturally minded. They don't offer you pain medicine but you can get an epidural if you ask for one. In my birthing class the lady talked about your mind controlling your body and being able to relax during the contractions.

*I loved that! That is exactly what I had taught myself when I was pregnant with Jacob and was able to do with this birth. Birth is mostly mental. You must mentally prepare for it and teach yourself to relax your body through pain. It can be done! :)

2) They left us alone in our room all night long! In the States they poke and prod you and your baby every three hours or so. No one gets any sleep that way. And we were thankful to get some sleep that night. After the drunk man stopped yelling "I love you, Tanya!" at 2am. I thought it was another lady in labor telling her baby she loved them trying to get through the contractions. haha

Dislikes about birth in Russia:

1) My private room wasn't too private during labor. But I managed to get through it anyway!

2) We heard every noise and sound in our room that night.

3) The garments and linens they used were very used. They had stains on them and were just hideous. They sanitize and sterilize everything so they look at it as clean. But it was pretty yucky to see stains on the clothes I was wearing.

All that aside giving birth in another country wasn't bad at all. The Lord truly blessed it all and I am so thankful. We are just in love with our little princess. It's so weird to say "the kids" but we love it! God is good!

Getting ready to go to the hospital! Let's do this!
Just found out I was 10cm dilated!!
Just gave birth! Can't believe it! She's here!!
My awesome doctor! :) And Awesome daughter!
Ah fresh out of the womb!
This was funny to me.
They wheeled me like this to our room.
Daddy holding his daughter for the first time!

The next day after we left the hospital-- first family photo!



So in love! 



Monday, September 1, 2014

Confessions of a Hormonal Pregnant Woman: 4 Tips on Keeping it in Check!



Many of you know the roller coaster ride of emotions a pregnant woman goes through during her pregnancy. Whether you are the poor bystander who bears the brunt of this roller coaster or the one on the roller coaster---it's never a fun ride. Some women are less discreet about their emotional state while others do their best to put on a happy face. I choose to put on a happy face and pray hard. (Notice I said "choose" it is a choice!). 

So I will confess I had one of those days the other day. I was so emotional and cried a lot. 

It started with a cute little toddler waking up way earlier than he was supposed to. I decided to be a good wife and get up with him so James could sleep. This meant no run, so no happy endorphins for me. All was going well, until the little guy became a handful. I was starting to get frustrated at him but doing my best to keep it in. James had to run an errand, so that meant me alone with the booger. While James left, I was able to squeeze in some time to read my Bible and pray. I didn't want to take out my frustrations on James because he had done nothing wrong. It wasn't his fault we birthed a booger. So I gathered myself together, prayed and wrote him a nice note.

*Insert deep breath and a refreshed zeal for the day.

Then 15 minutes later...

I was being a typical girl and let my thoughts get the best of me. And then I became emotional again! We were now on our way to a church picnic and our drive was all of 15 minutes. I had 15 minutes to pull it all together again! Poor James had no idea why I was about to start crying and was doing his best to be supportive. Then the water works came and just flowed. I must admit it felt good to cry. Crying is not something I do often, nor do I usually enjoy it.

I was able to pull it together for the four hours we were at the picnic and all was well. I cried more later. James had been asking me what was wrong. But I knew if I answered him in my emotional state, I would regret it later. It would have been so easy for me to find something "wrong" with James or our marriage or whatever and take it out on him.

I believe at these moments Satan starts creeping lots of thoughts in our heads. He would like nothing more then for us to be at odds with each other. After all if he could get us wrapped up in ourselves, our focus would be off of what it needs to be, reaching others and being used of God.

I reminded myself of what was true and tried hard not respond or react off of my feelings. James truly had done nothing wrong, and it would be wrong of me to blame him or treat him like he had done something wrong. I knew it was my pregnancy hormones just getting the best of me and James did as well.

So later, after I had taken a nice long nap, he asked me what was wrong again. I began to cry again as I told him. I was able to sort out mentally and emotionally just why I was feeling so bad and not target my husband. We had a nice talk and I felt better by the end of it. I was thankful I hadn't exploded at him or blamed him for my emotional state.

I wish I could say I have mastered the art of controlling my emotions all the time, but I can't say that. But why is it so easy to target those closest to us? It's easy for us to put on a happy face for others, but we go all crazy on the ones we love. Why? Probably because we know (hope) they aren't going anywhere. What if we treated our spouses like a good friend rather than a punching bag or place to dump all our baggage on? Okay ladies, here are some simple steps to helping you keep it in check! Why? Because our husbands deserve it and the Bible commands us to respect our husbands no matter how we are feeling.

How to Keep it in Check when you Want to Jump out the Window:

1. Think on what is true not what you are feeling. 



Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praisethink on these things.

 We must think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, --anything that brings glory and honor to God. It's so easy to let our minds wander and think on everything that isn't perfect in our lives. But don't do it! Now is not the proper time to try and fix everything that is broken. Write it down, pray about it, and in a couple of days if it's worth mentioning then sit down and talk with your husband or whoever about it. 

2. Grab some quiet time if you can and pray. 5 minutes - anything and just pull yourself together. If possible, an espresso or latte. 

It helps if you look at yourself in the mirror for a minute...you'll see how others are seeing you and you'll want to change or at least smile. :) And just pray. Pray all day. It won't be a magic trick that will cure your emotional state but it will help you to think on the right things and hopefully not go crazy. 

3. Do something for someone else other than yourself. 

When you do something for someone else you are being selfless. Think of a way to encourage or show kindness to someone (for me I chose my spouse). It's hard to have a pity party for yourself when you are loving others. And don't expect anything in return. Just do it because you love them! 

4. Smile. 

They say fake it until you make it! Smile or find something or someone to laugh at. A merry heart doeth good like a medicine! Realize this emotional roller coaster will pass- you just have to get through it- hopefully with little to no damage to those around you! Tomorrow is just a day away! 

These are just some practical tips I try to do while I am not feeling myself and the hormones have me on a crazy roller coaster. Have I mastered this? Not at all. And I know it's easier said then done. I loathe my hormones when they make me feel so crazy. But soon I will have this little lady in my arms and my hormone levels will be back to normal. Well as normal as any woman can be! Ha! 

And to those innocent bystanders, this is the day to show extra love and grace. Unconditional love at it's finest! I'm so thankful I have an understanding husband who knew that it was just one of those days for me. 


And next time you have one of those days remember to try to keep it together. Although it's tempting, don't just use your hormones as an excuse to go crazy on those who love you or are just in the wrong place at the wrong time! :) 


Until next time! 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Running for Two- 5 Simple Tips

I began my journey into running while I was pregnant with our son Jacob. I waited until the second trimester to begin my moderate exercise. I figured I could power walk a mile, so why not? I didn't realize that first mile was going to be the first of many!

I have been asked how can I run while pregnant. Well without trying to be sarcastic, I run the same as I did not being pregnant. The weight gradually comes on as I progress into my pregnancy, so my body gets used to that extra pound or two here and there. It's not 30 extra pounds all at once. And no, my belly doesn't plop up and down as I run, as a friend asked me the other day. :) However, only one of my running shirts is long enough to cover my belly. So I have an undershirt I wear that is long enough and helps keep it all in and allows me to wear the rest of my shirts! I don't wear a belly band while running because the undershirt does the trick for me. I would recommend the belly band if needed! Just some free advice for those wondering.

My objective while running for two is not to work on speed or run a marathon. It's to simply keep myself and the baby healthy in preparation for delivery (and then train for a marathon!). Although I may have been trying to work on speed earlier in the pregnancy, it's not a good idea now. Now I just read about fast runners and how to improve my time for after I give birth. 

A few simple tips for Running For Two:

1) First and foremost, listen to your body!
   
      I must admit this has been a humbling experience for me. As I have had to cut back on my miles and slow my pace down quite a bit. I don't like feeling like I "can't" do something. But I know it's what's best for me and the baby. I went through a period of time when I would limp with a sore leg from my runs. My sweet husband laughed at me as I would try to walk normal. A lot of stretching before and after my runs helped fix this issue. But let me tell you, it was awful! I would start off my run limping but get in a stride and be fine. But then afterwards I could barely walk. I took a few days off, and would stretch a lot and make sure I was taking my vitamins. I added Calcium and Magnesium supplements into my daily intake and made sure to eat enough iron as I was low on that also.

   I now take small walk breaks when I need to during my runs. If I push myself to run the whole thing or go further when my body is tired, I exert all my energy for the day and am useless to the world. I decided that having a great run wasn't worth losing all my energy for the day. So I settle for a good run and conserve my energy for the rest of the day. I say all that to say, listen to your body! The time will soon come when you can push yourself to great limits if that is your hearts desire!

2) Stay hydrated. 

    I always always always carry water with me on my runs. I have two fuel belts and one water back pack that I love! Water is crucial if you're going to be outside in the heat and doing distance. Even if it's just a mile or two I still bring a small water bottle with me. And of course as an active pregnant woman, you need more water.

3) Make sure you are getting the proper nutrients you need and stretch. 

     Along with my prenatal, I take a multi vitamin and calcium with magnesium vitamin to help replenish what baby is taking from me. Also your blood work will tell you if you are low in an area. For me my iron was low, so I've been eating more iron enriched foods. Your body goes through quite the change throughout your pregnancy. I had problems with my legs when I have never had any problems while running. So take it a day at a time and make sure you are getting the proper nutrients and stretching to avoid injury.

4) Make sure you have good shoes!

    If your shoes or worn out then you'll soon be punishing your whole body. It's important that you have the proper shoes especially when doing distance. It's worth the extra $50-$75 to buy a new pair of shoes that will keep you going for the next 400 miles then replace them again. It's recommended to replace your shoes every 300-500 miles. For me that's about every 3-4 months. Again if you do shorter distance, your shoes will last longer. Just keep track of your miles and the condition of your shoes...speaking of which I could really use a new pair!

5) Lastly, enjoy the run and make sure there's a bathroom close by! 

    I've learned to just enjoy my runs these past few weeks. Sure I may be going slow, but I'm still going! I've turned off my pace on my Nike+ app so now I don't get sad when I hear how slow I'm going. I just run and enjoy the great outdoors. Do what your body will allow you to do and enjoy it! Soon I will be pushing myself to do speed workouts and distance, and cross training. So for now, I will enjoy the easy run!

While in the 6th month of this pregnancy, I wasn't sure if I would be able to keep up my running. I was determined to run the entire pregnancy but I was having signs of early labor. After my runs, I would get Braxton Hicks that wouldn't go away. So I slowed it down and took it easy. It's so important that you listen to your body.

The Braxton Hicks went away after a couple of weeks and I resumed my normal workout routine. At times during my runs, I would think how will I make it to the end of my pregnancy and still run?! But I would tell myself just to get through that run. Get to the end of that week. I look forward to my Saturday runs because that marks the beginning of a new pregnancy week for me. Last week, I entered my last and final month and did so buy finishing a 9 mile run. And now I'm in my 37th week of pregnancy with just 3 weeks left! The finish line is so close! I actually feel great this last month compared to a lot of my other months. Let's hope it continues!

Running just 1-2 miles a day with my last pregnancy really helped with labor and delivery. My entire labor was about 6 hours long. It went really quickly and smoothly- praise the Lord for that! I had a med free, pain free natural child birth. I'm praying for the same with this little princess. I will keep you posted on the outcome of this labor and delivery when the time comes! And I realize, everyone is different, every pregnancy is different and every labor and delivery is different. And I can't guarantee the same results for you as exercising had with me. But allow me to encourage you to not allow pregnancy to be an excuse to not exercise. Rather let it be a strong motivation to start or continue! Do it for that sweet little babe growing inside of you! You won't regret it!

Here are a few other perks for running while pregnant!

1) You never have to guess which direction to go because your belly button will always point you in the right direction. 

2) Whenever an older person or any human passes you, just grab your belly and pretend you're in labor but then walk it off and give them the ole' head nod as they run by. 

3) That sudden urge to go potty is a great excuse to stop and visit friends and family along the way. And don't forget to always carry tissue just in case nature calls before you reach your friends house. 

4) Talk to your baby along the way. Sure they may think your crazy talking to yourself, but your baby will remember these times. So go ahead, cherish these moments. 


Until Next Time! Happy Trails!




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Coming Soon!


Well it has been too long since I have written a post! There's been a few reasons. One, I have been trying to think of a new blog name and theme-- which may be finally getting somewhere. And two, life has been a little busy! Four weeks straight of VBS, then we had a house guest, then potty training, then James' birthday, and so on and so on. And when life hasn't been so busy, I've been too tired to write. But I'm hopping back on the writing horse with the intention to keep it going! 





As I sit here and write, I can't help but be consumed with thoughts of my little girl who is coming soon! Lord willing, my new blog will also be up and running soon. But that's not as exciting as a sweet little baby! This pregnancy has been much different than that with our first, Jacob. It seems each new month brings a new challenge. Just typical pregnancy stuff- heartburn, charlie horses at night, nose bleeds, limping from my runs, extra potty trips, nauseousness, easy gag refluxes and sensitivity to smell. Each symptom would last a few weeks and in time either go away or ease up considerably. Every now and then they'll creep up but I can't complain. The end is in sight! The best part is feeling her move all the time. She is a lot more active than Jacob ever was. I would have to poke my belly to get him to move. But with her, I have to push her back in place. I feel her foot poke out a ton on my right side and usually her bum will then poke out on the other side. It's the greatest! I just love our little princess!

This last month so far has been great! And for those who are wondering, I am still running! Last Saturday, I ran 9 miles to celebrate the milestone of reaching my 9th month of pregnancy. It was a slow run but I did it! Soon I will be back on the roads and running faster. Maybe I'll be able to pace myself with the super fast Asian man. And the looks on people's faces will soon go away when my belly shrinks down. I'm sure it's pretty amusing to see a 9 month pregnant woman running. I laugh at myself when I see my reflection in the store window. :) Running has kept me focused each week on my health and on the end goal, giving birth. And I can't wait to give birth and meet our daughter!

I believe it is safe to say, we are as ready as can be expected for the little princess to arrive. Today, we finalized everything at the hospital and are all set up there. The kids room is remodeled and decorated, the hospital bag is all packed, maternity photos taken, so now all we need is her! There are a few more finishing touches that can be done, but isn't there always one more thing that can be done?! Just one more bow to make?!

As the end nears, I am trying to soak in every moment before her arrival. Soon I will be busy with a newborn and a lot of my time will be dedicated to taking care of her- which is a great privilege! I am so excited to meet her but at the same time, I'm not wishing this time to pass too quickly. I'm enjoying the time with James and Jacob. We've been taking lots of trips to the playground and just having fun together. I try to make spending time with him a priority each day, I don't want to be too busy for him. I pray that I can still keep that balance once the baby arrives.

The thought of another child just makes me so excited. Two Jacobs running around?!!?! Just one with a bow in her hair.  Not sure if we are quite ready for all that excitement, but ready or not! Words can't express how much I love our son and I know I will feel the same about our daughter. The Lord is good, isn't He? I just feel so blessed that He would give us another child to raise for His honor and glory.

May I encourage you to enjoy whatever season of life you are in. If you are expecting your first child, enjoy the time alone with your husband before the baby comes. You won't regret soaking up that time! If you are awaiting the arrival of your second, third, or  eleventh child, enjoy the time with your kids before the new babe arrives. And of course enjoy the time with your newborn once he or she arrives. Yes, you'll be sleep deprived. And yes, you'll groan when the baby is hungry after he just ate 5 minutes ago (or so it seems). There will be days where the greatest thing you accomplish is taking a shower and reheating leftovers.  But that's okay! Enjoy that time because soon they will be grown and gone. Don't wish for the next season to come, enjoy the season you are in right now. And I will remind myself of this truth when I'm up in the middle of the night nursing the baby and dreaming about being asleep!

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1


Here's a few sneak peeks of our maternity photos! 



My Little Blessing :)

Can't wait to dress you up!



 


Jacob Reading "I'm a Big Brother" as Mommy
reads up on how to stay relaxed during labor
What were we thinking?!





Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"How to Train a Parent" - 4 Simple Steps to Encourage the Discouraged Training Parent

 One of the hardest things of parenting is correcting your child. Most parents don't enjoy correcting their child. Some think if I just let it slide, they'll magically obey eventually, right? Don't they know how much they are frustrating their Mom?! Surely they love me enough, they'll obey. Well it doesn't work that way. Unfortunately, we have to correct and train our children on purpose.


You have two options:

1) Your kids will either train you how to obey them on command

or

2) You can train your child to obey you on command

If you choose the first option, you get out easy. You don't have to discipline or train your child. You give them what they want when they want and let them run your lives. Most parents wouldn't intentionally choose option 1 but a lack of training and discipline will lead to option 1. If you love your child, you will do the work to train them. Don't let those sweet big ole eyes and the quivering lip fool you. They are just trying to train you to do what they want.

Allow me to share with you the past couple of weeks in our home...

I was ready to throw in the towel and just give up on training Jacob. Okay not really, but it seemed like he just wasn't getting it!  I'm sure you all have been there!

Since we are expecting our second child, we have been training Jacob to sleep in his big boy bed for the last two weeks. I can now say, he goes to bed without a fuss and sleeps much better. Praise the Lord!! Well the past two weeks, this little guy has been a stinker. Cranky during the day not obeying and just a handful. I know some of you are thinking how could that sweet wittle boy be bad?! My thoughts too! Maybe because he wasn't getting as much sleep as he used to in his crib. Either way we had some longs days and nights.

If bed time wasn't enough correction, we had to correct him during the day too. It seemed we were in a losing battle with him. I felt like all I ever did all day was correct him. Is it even worth it?! I thought. He just isn't getting it.

Tuesday, I just prayed, Lord please give us a sign that we are making some progress with Jacob. Please give us wisdom in training and raising our son. And Tuesday the little booger seemed back to his normal self! Finally, after two long weeks! He was so great all day and obeyed when we would tell him to do something. It was refreshing to enjoy our little guy all day instead of dreading having to correct him.

It's not easy or enjoyable to correct your child. But the Bible says if we love our child we will correct them. It's the parent who doesn't love their child that doesn't correct them.

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Proverbs13:24

That may seem harsh but you must understand, to not correct your child or train your child is laziness. It's taking the easy way out. Sometimes I overlook things because I don't want to correct him or I'm too busy at the moment. But I must to be consistent even when it's not convenient for me.

We aren't looking for ways to correct him all the time, but we want to train our son to obey right away. If we are out in a parking lot with a car heading towards him that he doesn't see, I would much rather him come the first time I call him. If he came when he felt like it, it may be too late. Don't wait until it's too late.

The result of training your child is rest and peace. Happy parents, a happy child and a happy home!

Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
Proverbs 29:17

Some simple things we do to train our child are as follows:

1. Have training sessions on purpose, don't wait until they disobey to train them
      Allow me to give an example: 
We've been sticking Jacob on a blanket in the living room and telling him to stay. We give him toys but he knows he's not suppose to leave the blanket. This helps train him to know when to stay. When we are outside in the parking lot I want him to be able to stand next to the car if I have to set him down for a minute and not wander off. 

If there is an area in your child's life that needs correcting, train him at home. When you're out in public is not the time to train your child. When Jacob does things that he wouldn't normally do at home out in public we train him at home and hope and pray he is better next time we are out in public. 

2. Be consistent. 
     Consistency is key. If you aren't consistent your child will learn that. If you give in after 5,10,15 minutes of whining your child will learn that. The little boogers catch on quickly. 
If Mom says no the first two times, I just have to ask a third time. If Mom is busy I can get away with it. If Mom says no once she doesn't mean it, only when the spoon comes out is she serious. They don't need a book on how to train a parent to learn these tricks. 

3. Make sure to praise your child when he does what's right or when he's being good.       
     Yesterday, we spoiled him with praise and even got him a little cinnamon roll from Cinnabon.  This is a huge thing to remember. We don't reward him every time he obeys because he should obey without expecting a treat. But we do want to be mindful to know how much he is loved and when he does something good, we tell him! There's always room for us to praise him more! 

4. Make time to play with your children.
    Your children need time with you. Take ten or fifteen minutes throughout your day to stop and play with them. Take them to the park for an hour or involve them in things you are doing.  You may feel like you aren't getting anything done, but you are accomplishing way more than you realize.  When a child knows he/she is loved they will naturally have more of a desire to please you. 

Now these are just a few of the basic things we have learned to do with our son. We aren't perfect by any means and Jacob still has a lot to learn and a long ways to go. But we will answer to the Lord one day for how we raised our children. We pray for wisdom in raising Jacob and our future children. We can't do this on our own, we need the Lord. Remember, there will be good and bad days. There will be times you will have to retrain them on something that you thought they had figured out. Remember they are human just like we are -just smaller. :) 
So may I encourage you young parent or parent to be, keep at it! It may seem like you aren't getting through to your child, but stay consistent. They need you to be consistent. If you let it go now, it will only get harder and worse when they are older. Train them on purpose not just when they disobey. Set aside time to train them. And make time to play with them and praise them when they do good. 
Just as God corrects His children because He loves us, so are we to correct our children. We don't correct them and discipline them because we enjoy it, but to train them for a bigger purpose. That's why pain is necessary. A little spanking now to save their life from the car zipping through the parking lot. 


Hebrews 12:6,7
And when you are discouraged pray. Write down some verses on training your child and be reminded you are doing the right thing for them. Print them out and hang them up in your house or on their door. I have to remind myself of this verse when it gets hard. 
Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
Proverbs 19:18
So while there is hope and you still have time, train your child! You will be thankful you did and one day, your child will be thankful too! And remember the end result...

Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
Proverbs 29:17


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Is God's Timing Always Perfect?



Never pray for patience is what I've always heard. Why? Because we are by nature an impatient society. Have you ever noticed how long the microwave takes to reheat food when you're hungry? I am convinced that a microwave minute is way longer than an actual minute. Instant potatoes, instant rice, instant pudding, instant oatmeal, - we want God to answer our prayers as fast as we can whip up a quick meal. But God doesn't work that way.

As I was reading, in John 11 I noticed something I had never noticed before. I noticed a chapter full of grief and sorrow of a very loved brother and friend. Each person in the chapter had a different reaction to Lazerus' death. Now I can't belittle Martha's grief, because I've never grieved for a lost loved one other than my grandpa. Martha gets a lot of grief from us because she is not the best reactor to situations. She's human. And probably the most like us. Which is why we learn so much of what not to do from her.

So let's take a quick look at everyone's reactions.

First up, Jesus:

Mary & Martha sent news to Jesus that his dear friend Lazerus was sick. Upon receiving the news, he said that his sickness would not be unto death but for the glory of God. Then it says he stayed in the town he was for another two days. He didn't rush to his side to heal him, but he waited. He waited because He knew God had bigger plans.

Next to the plate, Martha:

Martha runs to meet Jesus as he arrives to town. She is so caught up in her grief, I imagine her blubbering as she speaks to Jesus. She tells him that if he had but been there, her brother wouldn't have died! Jesus calmly tells her that her brother will rise again. But she doesn't hear his words of comfort. She retorts, well I know he'll rise again in the last days. Then Christ asks her if she believes in who Christ is. Of course, she says.

Mary:

Mary sat still in the house while Martha ran to meet Jesus. When they arrived, she says the same thing Martha said that if Christ had been there her brother wouldn't have died. But she fell down at his feet in a mode of worship as she spoke. I personally believe, she said this not out of anger or hurt but that she truly believed that Christ could have healed her brother if He had chose to. She was sorrowful like her sister, but she had a peace in her heart that passed all understanding.

When Jesus saw them all weeping he was moved with grief in his heart and asked to see where he lay. Then Jesus wept (or swept if you run the two words together). The Jews saw his compassion and love for Lazerus as they watched him weep over his friend. As he asked for the stone to be rolled away, Martha tries to stop him. She questions his method. But Lord he has been dead for four days and by now he stinky. (Oh, Martha, Martha! What would Jesus do without you reminding him of the obvious--don't you just love people like that?! It's hard sometimes to just close your lips and trust God.) Again Jesus lovingly reminds her that if she would simply believe she would see the glory of God. (I'm sure Martha is scratching her head by now trying to understand his deep words.) 

Jesus begins to speak to God. Here's the whole application, the purpose of Lazerus' death. Don't miss it.

"...Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." (v.41,42)

God had a purpose all along, so that others may believe that Jesus was the Son of God. In verse 45, it says many believed, but verse 46 says but some went there ways and didn't believe. Isn't it amazing that Christ could raise someone from the dead and some who witness it could walk away not believing that this man was the Son of God? But are we not like the some that went there ways when we don't trust God in the midst of a circumstance? Are we not just like Martha when we read the Scriptures of God's promises to take care of His children, yet we question God's timing or methods. Sure we "believe in God" but do you really believe when all seems hopeless? It is at these times are faith is tested. How much do we actually believe God. Is your problem too big for God to handle? 

Maybe just maybe God is waiting to provide your need in His time so that He can get the honor and glory from it. Are we not more thankful when we realize that it is not of ourselves that we get through trials but of God alone? May I encourage you my friend, there is no one that cares for you like Jesus. He promises to provide your every need. He even wants to give you more than you need but you must trust Him before He can bless you abundantly. Don't hold back the blessing of God by a lack of faith. Trust the One who can never let you down. Cast all your cares at His feet and leave it there. (1 Peter 5:7)

Is God's Timing Always Perfect?

Yes it is. It may not be our timing but it is always perfect. God knows your how "stinky" your situation is just trust Him. He allows us to go through trials, pain and sufferings for a greater purpose. Sometimes we may not always know the "why", and that's where trust comes in.

What to Do During the "Waiting" Period?

Find peace like Mary did and worship God. And look for ways to encourage others around you. Don't be like a Martha (sorry Martha) and be miserable.
Get your eyes off of your situation and on Christ and on others. Look for ways to encourage and be a blessing to those around you. Then you will have a joy and a peace like no other. :) 

A merry heart doth good like a medicine! Proverbs 17:22

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.


 Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength: Isaiah 26:3,4

Friday, May 30, 2014

How to Become and Stay a Runner- 4 Easy Tips



You like the idea of running. It seems like a nice easy way to exercise. But how do you get started?

I was looking for an easy way to moderately exercise during my first pregnancy, so I thought how about power walking? I could power walk. So off I began. But then a couple minutes into my mile, I thought to myself, this is taking too long. So I ran for a whopping 10-15 seconds and then walked again, then I ran another 10-15 seconds, then walked and so on. I could barely run, but I would do what I could until I had to stop and take a break. When I finished my mile I felt pretty good, out of shape, but still pretty good.

To my surprise, I kept at it. I kept trying to run a little farther without stopping each time. I had tried running before but would do too much too soon and would quit after a couple of weeks. The difference was this way I was slowly building up my strength and endurance. I remember being able to run with James for .75 of a mile without stopping. I felt like Super Woman! And now I can run 26 miles without stopping.

So how does a person go from one mile to 26 miles?

By simply starting! 

We won't even look at the dreaded 26.2 miles yet, but we will start at just a mile. You probably walk a mile just getting from one end of Walmart to the other. ( Don't you just hate it when you realize you forgot to grab milk and eggs and you're already in the cosmetic section clear across the store?!) 

The Couch to 5K app is a great starting plan for beginners. It is the same basics of what I did on my own. You walk for a couple of minutes and run for 30 seconds then repeat. You slowly build your running time while decreasing your walk time. If you don't have a smart phone then google is your friend. All you need to know about Couch to 5K is online. And who's your best friend? I am-- here's the link: Couch to 5K You're Welcome.

Here are some basic steps to help you get started.

1) Set a goal

     You always want to be working towards something. Sign up for a race that will challenge you. Even if it's just a mile race- a kids fun run with your niece, sign up and get going! A 5K is a great race to work towards. Sign up, get super nervous, and then train!!

2) Find a training plan. 

     Whether training for a 5K or your first half marathon, you need a good training plan. I didn't even know training plans existed when I ran my first 10K. Training plans help keep you on track and working towards your goal. They also have a Couch to 10K. I like Hal Higdon's training plans for marathon training. And Jeff Galloway also has some good plans as well.

3) Get fitted for the right pair of running shoes. 

     Any running store will get you fitted with the right pair of shoes for your feet. I ran for about 6 months before I got my first pair of running shoes. I didn't want to spend money on something I wasn't sure I would keep up with. I was only running a 1-2 miles a day so my pair of tennis shoes worked just fine. But having the right fit of running shoe makes all the difference especially when you are running distance. And dry wick running socks are a must! I bought mine at Target. I was getting blisters on my feet from my socks and my shoes were too tight which I didn't realize at the time, but I didn't get fitted at a running store. I knew nothing when I began running! So learn from all my mistakes. 

4) Get Started! 

    You don't have to wait until the new year to start something new, start today! Running/Walking a mile will only take you about 15-20 minutes. You roll out of bed, lace up your shoes and get out there. Just start. You can't become a runner if you never start. Every runner had to start somewhere. And don't be discouraged if you're not making as much progress as soon as you would like. Your speed will come in time as you build endurance and strength. Your lungs will become stronger so you can breathe easier as your running. And don't be embarrassed by people seeing you walking as you're trying to run- at least you are out there exercising! I recommend running about 4-5 times a week as you start out. Take a rest day every couple of days, but then get back out there.


I hear many excuses as to why people don't exercise. Which is funny because I never ask people if they do or don't exercise. I think they just feel guilty around the 6 month pregnant woman who ran 10 miles that morning.

I know some have valid excuses, but most do not. Mentally prepare yourself each day to get out there and get going. Take it one day, one mile at a time. You can do one day of running one mile, right? Each day, tell yourself you can do one more day, one more mile. And before you know it, you will have become a runner! And believe it or not you may even come to love it like I do!

So how does one become a runner? By being consistent.

Running a marathon may not be on your list of goals and that's fine. Just get started, set a goal, and work towards that goal. Once you've reached a goal work towards another goal. You alone will be your biggest motivator. Get out there and challenge yourself to do more than you did the day before.

Stay tuned for my next running post on how to add distance to your runs!


And just look at all the places you can go! These are all places I've run and races. One perk about traveling on deputation is all the places I got to see while on my morning runs. 

My sister in law Hannah hitting her first 100 miles run! 

First 10K on St. Pete Beach, Fl

Running in Florida and Somewhere cold maybe Oklahoma

St. Louis, Missouri- Ran my first 10.5 miles

First half marathon in Branson, Missouri

First and last Color Vibe Run in Akron, Ohio

First time running 101 miles in one month in Erie, PA

Running in Jersey City, with the NYC skyline to look at! First time I ran 13 miles! 

Running on the Berlin Trail in Deerfield, OH

First time running in 2 states on one run! Indiana and Kentucky!

Running in the heat in Florida! Jumped in the water to cool off! 

Running in Maine 

Running in Brooklyn, OH

Running in Russia!

Trails in Russia


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Is God's Timing Always Perfect?


Never pray for patience is what I've always heard. Why? Because we are by nature an impatient society. Have you ever noticed how long the microwave takes to reheat food when you're hungry? I am convinced that a microwave minute is way longer than an actual minute. Instant potatoes, instant rice, instant pudding, instant oatmeal, - we want God to answer our prayers as fast as we can whip up a quick meal. But God doesn't work that way.

As I was reading, in John 11 I noticed something I had never noticed before. I noticed a chapter full of grief and sorrow of a very loved brother and friend. Each person in the chapter had a different reaction to Lazerus' death. Now I can't belittle Martha's grief, because I've never grieved for a lost loved one other than my grandpa. Martha gets a lot of grief from us because she is not the best reactor to situations. She's human. And probably the most like us. Which is why we learn so much of what not to do from her.

So let's take a quick look at everyone's reactions.

First up, Jesus:

Mary & Martha sent news to Jesus that his dear friend Lazerus was sick. Upon receiving the news, he said that his sickness would not be unto death but for the glory of God. Then it says he stayed in the town he was for another two days. He didn't rush to his side to heal him, but he waited. He waited because He knew God had bigger plans.

Next to the plate, Martha:

Martha runs to meet Jesus as he arrives to town. She is so caught up in her grief, I imagine her blubbering as she speaks to Jesus. She tells him that if he had but been there, her brother wouldn't have died! Jesus calmly tells her that her brother will rise again. But she doesn't hear his words of comfort. She retorts, well I know he'll rise again in the last days. Then Christ asks her if she believes in who Christ is. Of course, she says.

Mary:

Mary sat still in the house while Martha ran to meet Jesus. When they arrived, she says the same thing Martha said that if Christ had been there her brother wouldn't have died. But she fell down at his feet in a mode of worship as she spoke. I personally believe, she said this not out of anger or hurt but that she truly believed that Christ could have healed her brother if He had chose to. She was sorrowful like her sister, but she had a peace in her heart that passed all understanding.

When Jesus saw them all weeping he was moved with grief in his heart and asked to see where he lay. Then Jesus wept (or swept if you run the two words together). The Jews saw his compassion and love for Lazerus as they watched him weep over his friend. As he asked for the stone to be rolled away, Martha tries to stop him. She questions his method. But Lord he has been dead for four days and by now he stinky. (Oh, Martha, Martha! What would Jesus do without you reminding him of the obvious--don't you just love people like that?! It's hard sometimes to just close your lips and trust God.) Again Jesus lovingly reminds her that if she would simply believe she would see the glory of God. (I'm sure Martha is scratching her head by now trying to understand his deep words.) 

Jesus begins to speak to God. Here's the whole application, the purpose of Lazerus' death. Don't miss it.

"...Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." (v.41,42)

God had a purpose all along, so that others may believe that Jesus was the Son of God. In verse 45, it says many believed, but verse 46 says but some went there ways and didn't believe. Isn't it amazing that Christ could raise someone from the dead and some who witness it could walk away not believing that this man was the Son of God? But are we not like the some that went there ways when we don't trust God in the midst of a circumstance? Are we not just like Martha when we read the Scriptures of God's promises to take care of His children, yet we question God's timing or methods. Sure we "believe in God" but do you really believe when all seems hopeless? It is at these times are faith is tested. How much do we actually believe God. Is your problem too big for God to handle? 

Maybe just maybe God is waiting to provide your need in His time so that He can get the honor and glory from it. Are we not more thankful when we realize that it is not of ourselves that we get through trials but of God alone? May I encourage you my friend, there is no one that cares for you like Jesus. He promises to provide your every need. He even wants to give you more than you need but you must trust Him before He can bless you abundantly. Don't hold back the blessing of God by a lack of faith. Trust the One who can never let you down. Cast all your cares at His feet and leave it there. (1 Peter 5:7)

Is God's Timing Always Perfect?

Yes it is. It may not be our timing but it is always perfect. God knows your how "stinky" your situation is just trust Him. He allows us to go through trials, pain and sufferings for a greater purpose. Sometimes we may not always know the "why", and that's where trust comes in.

What to Do During the "Waiting" Period?

Find peace like Mary did and worship God. And look for ways to encourage others around you. Don't be like a Martha (sorry Martha) and be miserable.
Get your eyes off of your situation and on Christ and on others. Look for ways to encourage and be a blessing to those around you. Then you will have a joy and a peace like no other. :) 

A merry heart doth good like a medicine! Proverbs 17:22

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
 Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength: Isaiah 26:3,4