Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Why then do people say, “My way is hidden from the Lord”? (v.27). Yes, billions of individuals inhabit this globe, but no one has been forgotten by God..." I love that. He calls each star by name, and yet He still wants to know me intimately. WOW!
This Christmas, we have so much to be thankful for. What a difference a year makes. I did not know the joy that would be in my heart this year. It's better than I'd hoped. God has molded, stretched, pressurized, constructed, and refined me in ways I couldn't have expected. I pray that each time I'm faced with difficult times, I'll remember that it's always for my benefit.
"Lord, as I thank you every day for my miracle sons, and the precious time we had with Layah, I know you only have great plans in store for my life, and the lives of my children. Remind me not to sweat the small stuff. Give me endurance, patience, faith, strength and wisdom for the big stuff. In your precious son's name, amen"
Thursday, December 17, 2009
On a different note, Ashley Cox Stegall, a girl that I used to hang out with when Matt and I first started dating, and Tobi went to her son Leighton's birthday party, had to take her husband, Jason, 31, off the ventilator Monday morning, the 14th of December, due to him being brain dead. They think that it was from H1N1. He had been a decorated soldier in Iraq, and received 2 purple hearts and bronze star and a few other medals. He'd returned from Iraq and was in El Paso Texas for 2 weeks before coming home. He went to the doctor the Monday before his death complaining of breathing problems and the doctor discovered he was in liver failure. He was flown to DC where he went into a coma. Ashley had posted via her phone, on Facebook, that she had to make the most difficult decision of her life to remove Jason from life support. I wept and wept for her, as my heart broke. It brought back all the emotions from when Dr. Randolph in the RNICU said to me before Matt got to the hospital, "You have to tell us what you want us to do. Do you want us to perform CPR on Layah if her heart stops? Do you want to discontinue care now? or just wait until her heart stops on it's own?" Matt was my support, and my strength, besides the Peace that I experienced after we decided what was best for Layah. Having to make that decision for my husband, I could only imagine the magnitude of pain she felt at that time. She and Jason have a little boy, Landon, just 10 months old. She had 2 boys, Leighton who is 9 or 10, and Logan, who is 8 or 9, with her 1st husband, Leighton, who was in Delta Sig with Matt. It just breaks my heart that Landon will never know his daddy. I'm so thankful that they did have him, so Ashley will always have a piece of Jason that she can hold and kiss. I know that at the time she found out she was expecting, she wanted a girl, but now, I know that Landon is that much more a gift, because he looks just like Jason. She didn’t get necessarily what she wanted, but what she needed. I pray for her many times throughout the day. I think of her having to get funeral arrangements made, go through his clothes, and just try and do mundane chores and “life” for her boys, and how difficult it will be. I hope her close friends and family will help her with those arrangements, as well as take care of getting the Christmas gifts under the tree for Leighton, Logan, and Landon so that Ashley can focus on beginning the grief process for Jason. It's just so sad that he comes back safely from Iraq, and dies from a virus. It just seems so unfair. Why would God allow that to happen? I think it’s okay to question Him, although we’ll most likely never get an answer, and even if He did answer, it probably wouldn’t make sense to us here on earth. Just as there is no understanding losing Layah before she had a chance to live. We just have to accept in faith, with life, comes death.
Matt and I were talking and I think that these soldiers are given so many vaccines and drugs before going over to war that these can cause the body to go kinda hay-wire, and turn on itself, or that they are in such close quarters with one another over there, it could weaken their immune system. This is the second soldier, we know personally, that is our age, late 20's early 30's, that comes home dying or to die of something unrelated. Matt's friend Ian Hogg was diagnosed with ALS a few months ago, and he's so young too.
As I read today, the devotional mentioned Jehovah-Jireh, "The Lord will provide" The verse mentioned was Matthew 6:8, "The Father knows what you need before you ask Him." I read it differently though. It says, 'what you need', not what you want. The Lord knows. I wanted Layah to survive, but the Lord knew I needed Luke's life. I wanted her to be healthy and live, but the Lord knew I needed Luke to be born fullterm, and healthy and whole. He does provide what we need. I cant imagine all the “wants” Ashley has. I know she wants Jason here. I know she wanted to grow old with him. I know she wanted Landon to get to know his daddy. What I also know is the Lord will provide. He will provide Peace to her through the Holy spirit. He will also bring her comfort, throught His spirit and through friends and family. He will provide Joy, maybe not for a while, but one day, He will provide it. I pray that the Lord will provide hope in her. It's hard, even as a Christian to have that sometimes. I know, even though I had so many praying for me, and supporting me, I just simply wanted to go to heaven and be with Layah, and not feel the pain of her loss. I can only imagine the magnitude of Ashley's pain, but the Lord knows. I'm so thankful that she has the boys, and little Landon to have a piece of him always.
Lord, you know Ashley's grief. You have felt what she feels. Hold her Lord, letting her know to rest in you. Give her strength to go on, for her boys. Give her peace, knowing that, as a believer, we can grieve unlike the world, we can grieve with hope and the truth that we will be with them again.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Today's devotional had this verse: "John 14:1-6 Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Here are some pictures of our growing boy. We took him on the 23rd for his 2 month check up, (OMG I can't believe he's already 2 months old!) and he weighed 12 lbs 12 oz, and is 23 inches long. Rachel, my friend wh lost her son Isaac and now has precious Annabella, said that she's gonna be 4 months old and she is 15 lbs, so Luke is gonna be a big boy!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. 25 When they had slaughtered the bull, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, "As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. 27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there." Johanna said that she put that verse in her car. I felt the power of that verse for Luke too. We prayed for him and the Lord granted me what I asked of Him. Thank you Lord, beyond what my words can express, for your amazing love, grace, mercy, favor and blessing you've given me and my family. I pray you will help us raise Luke to serve and worship you all the days of his life.
Friday, November 6, 2009
These photos, again, done my sweet friend Stephanie Fisher who recently had one of her newborn photographs used on Alabama Baby magazine...She's very talented. I will cherish this as long as I live.
Today I read a devotional that had this verse, "Exodus 13:14-16 (NIV)
"In days to come, when your son asks you, 'What does this mean?' say to him, 'With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD killed every firstborn in Egypt, both man and animal. This is why I sacrifice to the LORD the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons.' And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the LORD brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand."
The devotional talked about sharing God's word, and all it's exciting and inspired stories, with our children. I am guilty of not doing this enough with Tobi. I want him to understand then truth in the stories and that they are not "make-believe" as he says about fantasy and fictional movies and books. At the same time it reminded me how much more I need to be familiar with God's word and how much more I need to read and meditate on it. God has a mighty plan for Tobi & Luke. And we have been given the responsibility (and gift) to prepare them.
I'm gonna get on my soap box in a moment. I also read the verse "Galatians 6:7-10 (NIV) Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers, " and thought it ironic, considering that yesterday, a crazy, Muslim US soldier who was a Psychiatrist and treated patients that suffered from PTSD, went into a processing center in TX and started shooting fellow soldiers and 1 civilian; 13 people died and 28 were injured. It was reported he said "Allahu Akbar" which in Arabic means " god (and I use the little g on purpose because this is not the same God that followers of Christ call God) is great" as he unloaded on these unarmed soldiers who were part of a graduation ceremony. He was scheduled to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and had hired an attorney to fight his deployment, probably because he didn't want to fight against his Muslim comrades. (The last time I checked, no one is forced into the military, but when you enlist, you enlist with the understanding that you may have to be deployed to war). He allegedly had been "harassed" about being Muslim. They have found a blog he may be connected to where he compared a soldier falling on a grenade to save the lives of others with that of a suicide bomber for "Allah"...CRAZY! There were all kinds of warning signs that have been discovered but since our society has become so PC and we cant "profile" these people and we have to be "tolerant", the red flags were never pursued. Now 13 people are dead and many, many lives are changed forever. I'm so sick of people making excuse for crazy nuts like this. Anyway, back to me tying this to the verse, "...God will not be mocked.." I thought that was interesting. Claiming to kill others in the name of god, would be exactly that. "A man reaps what he sows...." This went right along with the day as well. The man was shot by a civilian police officer and although it was originally reported he was dead, it was later corrected that he was not. He was on a ventilator. I hope he doesn't die. He would consider it "honorable", a martyr for his jihad war on us infidels. I hope he survives and then the military has a military tribunal. I think they should do the firing squad with him,but let all the first 43 shots be in non-life threatening places....then just leave him there. This man had no regard for these people's lives or their families. He was a radical nut. That may be harsh, but this is not the first time this type of violence has occurred. from someone in the name of Islam Whatever his earthly punishment, he will ultimately have to pay the price for this and I'm positive there wont be 72 virgins waiting on him on the other side.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This was an older post that I've had saved as a draft....(busy being a mom to 2 is wonderful!)
Monday, October 26, 2009
Romans 8:26-29 (New International Version)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."
This verse has many important aspects to me. I feel that on many days, "Lord, I hate to pray the same things over and over every day", but maybe this is what I am to do, stay on those prayers that the Spirit lays on my heart that maybe others are too "weak" to pray. I know at times, going through Layah's death and my pregnancy with Luke, I felt too "weak" to pray, and I know for sure, many, many others prayed on my behalf. He "searched my heart" and had other "saints" who I call my dear friends in Christ, to send up those prayers on my behalf, how awesome is that! Even though we are told to pray, "...ask and it shall be given unto you..." on those times when we just cant, He's made a way for it to still be done!
I think the second part of the verse is equally as important. Many know this verse, but I think a lot of times, we miss the second part..."who love him who are called according to His purpose..." When we have that question, why do bad things happen to good people, this is why. In a weird sorta way in my mind, this is the balance. If we have a heart after God, if we love Him, ALL things, even those things the enemy attacks our body and spirit with, will fall into the plan that the Lord already has planned out for us when we became a follower of Christ. (I don't necessary believe that God has the exact blueprint design created until we make that step. He can make adjustments to fulfill the plan once we give up self and choose to follow Him, but I don't think that He actually has the "details" until we make that decision.After all, He gave us free will.) The verse says "His purpose", so we are not always gonna know, or understand, what that purpose is. Our "good" maybe a different interpretation than what His good is. The point is, we just have to have faith that His plan, no matter what the trials, is better than ours. That's why we gave Layah "Faith" as her middle name. We did not know if she would live or die, but regardless, we had to have faith that in the end, He would be glorified and her life would be complete, and it was.
The last part of the verse spoke tome about Tobi... "29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." I think that this speaks to me so clearly that the plan for Tobi to be allowed to be born so early and survive, having his first and middle name (Tobias Gabriel) mean, "Yahweh is good", and "the messenger" was prophetic. He was declaring this and he was to be our first born son. We were promised life and it was fulfilled!
Well, I have a little guy who's making his "Ton-ton" sound telling me he's ready to eat! I'll post some more pics soon!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Now, Luke is doing great, besides having to get the formula instead of my milk. He seems to be recovering from a case of the thrush, basically a yeast infection in his mouth that can become very painful for babies and even adults. We call him our little "ton-ton" which is the furry white creature in the movie Star Wars Empire Strikes Back (of course) that makes this grunting sound....check it out on this Youtube video, it starts in at 1:04 :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52U2WJyjBl0 I am still so in awe of how awesome a baby he is. God just truely has blessed us beyond what we could ever earn or deserve!
Now finally for a devotional! I read today Deuteronomy 11:13-21 (New International Version) "So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul- then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Then the LORD's anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you. Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth." Following up from the service that was given at COH (church of the highlands) on Sunday, I am extremely aware of what lies ahead for Matt and I in raising Tobi, Luke, and any other children we may have. With the world around us continueing to spew temptation, lies, and false hope and happieness, we have to not only pray over our children but also to pray with our children. Now days, it is more important than every for our children to know where true happiness and fulfillment comes from, and what roads lead to distruction. If we dont discuss how important faith and a personal relationship with Christ is, our children will be extremely vunerable to the lies of this world. Matt and I both did a good bit of regretable activities as young adults, but given that the Lord has forgiven us and wiped it clean with the blood of Jesus, we now have a more sensitive eye to the things that can be thrown at our children. We know what lured us into such activities and how to keep our children from following that path. Many parents think that if they were honest with their children about what activities they were involved in growing up, they will look like hypocrits when "preaching" against it to their children, but I believe that this is quite the opposite. Just because man doesnt always follow God's word, it's still the standard. Just because the parents may have messed up doesnt mean that the standard is any different. We have to make sure that they understand that. We are not the standard, but God's word is, and that is who we must direct our children to follow. Now, yes we do have to be an example, but when it's concerning our past, that's how we have to address that issue. This is what the devotional I read today said, "Telling children the stories in God’s Word is especially crucial because the Bible’s enduring truth can shape character and show consequences of actions (1 Cor. 10:11). Tiny seeds of faith can be cultivated in fertile soil and help children to see how God has worked in the lives of His followers throughout history. Bible stories also show how God is intimately involved in our lives." I cant agree more.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Just a sweet sleeping baby pose...
Now, this one has special meaning. The pink beenie is in the photo (scroll all the way to the bottom of the blog) with his big sister Layah. The blue one is the one that was photographed with Tobi, when he was born at 2 lbs 3 oz. I thought it turned out just perfect.
God is so faithful!
Monday, October 12, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, "
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
October 15th is the Remembrance Day of Pregnancy and Infant Loss and I'd like for you to check out a video on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSYvT-Qv_5w it's very touching to me and I hope many of you will do this for me, another friend or loved one, or at least think of us on that day. My mom gave me a poem, that a co worker of hers, who had lost a child, had given her a copy of when a friend of my mom's daughter passed away. I changed it to "she" for my personal reasons:
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
My mom's birthday is May 23, my dad's is June 23, my brother's is January 23, my brother's wife's is Feb 23. I was suppose to be born on July 25th and my parents thought I might come 2 days early, well I wasn't, but I was born at 1:23 in the AM. My BCBSAL employee number has 23 at the end. My ssn has 23 in it. The first house we bought was at exit 231. The house we live at now has 23 in the address. I was married and had Tobi at 23. Tobi weighed 2 lbs 3 oz, (not a good one, but nevertheless), and again not good, but Layah came at 23 weeks. So, if he came tomorrow, that'd be cool.
Also, Layah's 40 week due date is on the 26th as well as that is the day for when my precious Papa, who Layah's buried next to was born and died, on his 80th birthday. So the 26th would be special. Also, my precious nurse I mentioned, her birthday is the 25th, and Dr. Ramsey, who was with us for 8 years and put the cerclage in, "up to my tonsils", his birthday is September 30th, so that would be awesome if he came then too. We have lots of special days that eh could arrive.
My dear friend Amber, who's had 3 losses, had surgery to remove a cyst, and we are now just praying that this procedure will have cleared the way-literally- for her fertility. I pray that this will be her season of life. My friend Johanna, who lost twins back in march at 18 weeks, is having a medical procedure tomorrow to make sure her reproductive system is clear of any blockage, and I guess tumors or tissue, so I pray the same for her. I know how badly she wants to be a mother.
Today I read this verse,"2 Corinthians 10:1-5
By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am "timid" when face to face with you, but "bold" when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
I thought about this verse because it's so true. We followers of Christ do not live by standards of this world. That's obvious by what is considered acceptable in society today which are in direct conflict with God's inspired Word. Just because the world may now consider this to be "tolerant", sin is sin, good is good, evil is evil. At the same time that our society continues to lower the line, or the standard, the enemy is constantly waging war against God's children. We are not fighting a war of flesh and blood, but a war that is invisible to the human eye, but so clear to the receptive spirit a believer may have. While this war does have it share of casualties, as I think Layah is one of many, we have been given "divine power to demolish strong holds", and I interpret that as what the enemy intended for evil, and our destruction, physically, spiritually and relationally, God has given us the power to take hold of that and use it for His glory and our benefit, on earth and in heaven. When life, at many times, feels so out of control, this verse is comforting to me that He has given us power here on earth to direct many parts of our life, as long as we are humble and acknowledge that this divine control is only allowed by Him.
On a seperate topic, my dear brother had a near death drowning yesterday and it really shook him to the core. We've been through a lot, growing up with physical limitations and challenges that kids of divorced parents face, and then all that we've endured as a family with Tobi's early birth and Layah's short life and death. We are very close, and I could tell in my brother's voice over the phone, several hours after the event, that this had changed him. We have always grown up in the "wilderness" with my dad, hiking, biking, canoeing, all of it. My brother had gone down the creek on an intertube behind his house in Trussville many times, but yesterday, alone, and not wearing a life jacket, he quickly became a vulnerable and helpless "object" to the power of the rushing water. He said he was pulled under close to a rock twice and saw his life flash before his eyes. He said of course it felt like forever, but it was just a couple of minutes. He described seeing all of us, his family, having to be notified by a coroner that his body had been found, and also thinking, "I'm too young to die", as well as about his wife and 3 children. He is convinced, as well as I, that the Lord pulled him from the water, and I have no doubt in that. When he got to a rock that he could climb on top of, he screamed and cried out to the Lord, in just thanksgiving for life. I feel that the Lord allows some situations we put ourselves in, in our life, to sometimes be a powerful tool in reminding us how fragile life is, and how quickly it can be gone. My brother knows death very well, as he's a "harvester" for the Alabama Organ Center, and obtains bone and tissue donations when someone dies. He sees death daily, but yet this was the event that was used to give him an awakening. I know that the Lord has already used Derok to share his testimony, his experience with others, with boldness and confidence, knowing it was not luck, nor his physically fitness, or youth, or swimming ability that pulled him from the water. It was God, cleansing Derok in a way from things that may have clouded his mind, and blurred things that God wanted to reveal to Derok that he'd not see without a powerful experience like this. I'm so thankful that he was spared and the Lord has given him a passion and a boldness now, that wasn't there before, to share his faith in a way that simply says what I always come back to as the simple "great commission", I don't know what happened, but once I was blind and now I see." Basically, it just is what it is. Derok had that occurrence. So each of you that read this, be reminded today just how precious your life is, and is to others. It could be gone in the blink of an eye, and what can we leave as a legacy to our families and others?