Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. --John Milton

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Close to His Heart

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young. 
What is near and dear to your heart? For God, that's lambs and their mamas.

The passage beginning "Comfort, comfort my people" speaks tenderly of a highway through the dessert, glory, a sure word, Good News, a debt more than covered, the Sovereign LORD, a hand cupped with oceans, stars by name, wings of eagle strength.

And there -- tucked in the middle -- lambs and their mamas.

Gathered in his arms. Carried close. Led gently.

More? Read Isaiah 40

Monday, March 21, 2016

Talk about a Happy Place! (five months pregnant)

I glimpse him, though my fingers haven't yet traced his nose. The ultrasound projects his lively image for me to savor. There are his limbs, his fingers, his four-chambered heart, his nose.

He nonchalantly pushes his knees up against uterus and presses his hand to his face with a "peek-a-boo!" I channel a message: "I love you."

His flexing fingers grab hold of distinct toes. And I realize something - he feels entirely secure.

The complex world has yet to bombard him. Nothing worries him. He knows with every cell that he is safe. He swims carelessly within his sphere of love. God's love and my love nestle him.

So he pulls on his toes. And rocks contentedly.

More beautiful baby info? BabyCenter has a precious video on YouTube

Monday, March 14, 2016

10 Minutes Makes Labor Easier

I enjoy this simple, relaxing 10 minute workout. Well, I haven't been enjoying it as often as I intended. I tried during bath time - hard to focus with two little boys splashing. Now I'm making it top priority during that precious nap time window.

I believe this deep-breath exercising helps labor two ways. One, it makes key muscles stronger. Two, it trains me to focus.

Just one squat tells me that my thigh muscles aren't in any shape for delivering in the classic squat position. By the way, Kegel exercises are also important for pelvic floor muscles.

The anchoring breaths of yoga prepare me to focus during contractions. Focus feels impossible when the waves crash over me. I have to train to relax under that much pressure.

How do you train for labor and delivery?

More info? Fit to be Pregnant offers a training plan

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Completely Given

Has your mama heart longed and waited and trusted ... and then held God's lavished love? Laura has years of wisdom to share with us. This is also special to me because I was born in an Amish midwife's house too!

It was my fourth birth and second at the Amish midwife's house. Folks were telling me, "Aren't you afraid to have a child when you are so old?"

I so wanted to have another child, but, I guess, because of miscarriages, my periods were very irregular.  Each month was disappointing, and I wanted to not have to be concerned about it and thought of using birth control. When I told my dear husband, he said, "Are you sure that you want to do that?" I said, "no" and turned it over to the Lord.

When I went into the doctor's office because of terrible lower back pain, she asked about when my last period had been. She said that she would take a pregnancy test -- just in case. I had so completely given my desire to the Lord, that I was surprised when it was positive. The nurse said that I looked a lot happier than when I came in!

I found that I was more concerned with this pregnancy, but every thing went well. I had made a couple of "false" trips to the midwife's house. She finally said that sometimes older mothers need a little help and gave me pitocin. It was wonderful to be at her house while I waited. The back of their house was set up like a hospital, but comfortable. They welcomed me into their home. It has been over 20 years now, but I remember, especially, the two quart canning jars. They had a large family!

Our fourth girl arrived shortly before midnight on Father's Day! She was a healthy 10 pound 11 1/2 oz red head!  My dear husband preached his Father's Day message and  five year old Raquel and him came to pick up baby and I that afternoon.

As with all our pregnancies, we did not know the sex until they were born. I had reminded Craig on the way to the midwife's that we did not have a girl's name yet, if it was a girl. He said, Yes, we do. If the baby is a girl, the name will be Merrianna and he spelled it just that way!

Each birth, each child has been special and we thank the Lord for His goodness to us.

PS: With both hospital births (8lb3oz & 9lb3oz) the doctors gave me an episiotomy, which resulted in stitches and weeks of discomfort. By way of contrast, both deliveries by midwife weighed in at over 10lbs, but there was no tearing and therefore no stitches required. May I add that Molly also served us a wonderful meal after each delivery. Good Amish cooking.