Blog Updates!

Congratulations Fiona & James on the birth of Lilian Angela!!! Lily was born 4:53am on Friday, August 13th. You may remember that I featured Fiona as a guest writer during my Mother’s Day series. She described her experiences as a first time pregnant mom (“mum”-in Australian). If you missed her post; check it out here. Next step is trying to convince her to write about her first few weeks of motherhood 🙂

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The Countdown has ended and we have arrived in North Dakota! God has blessed us from the moment we arrived (more on that soon)! We are in a new home but we are still waiting on all of our belongings to travel here from Japan. We have been told that our express shipment with all of our clothes, all of our kitchen, homeschooling materials, and the girl’s beds will arrive next week. Of course we were originally told that they would arrive this week…so we shall see 🙂 The large shipment which has all of our furniture and everything else could take up to November to get here. I am praying that it arrives much sooner! In the meantime, we are living on borrowed air mattresses and minimal kitchen supplies along with what we packed in our suitcases. We have bought a few things that we know are not coming in shipments but without the furniture our house is mostly empty. Shane’s parents are coming for a visit tomorrow and staying for a week. Hopefully they won’t be bored out of their mind!

My biggest concern about moving here was the climate…and yes it has been a shock! The first day here it was ND’s hottest day (upper 90’s) of the summer which was perfect for us; but it went downhill from there. We are now in the 70’s in durning the day and lower at night. I have already turned on the heat and don’t plan to turn it off any time soon. I have collected basic items such as candles, flashlights, batteries, etc. in case of a power outage this winter. We still need to stock up on can goods and extra water though.

If you missed my posts about our moving journey before arriving to ND check out the following: “You Are God Alone”The Countdown BeginsThe Countdown Continues.

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The Anger Series will continue soon (now that we have internet in our home and are starting to get into a normal routine). If you have not already; be sure to catch up with the previous posts in the series which are all listed here.

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I look forward to getting back into the blogging routine! I’ve missed being at my computer!

Mom or Mum? (Mother’s Day Series- 5)

I had asked a friend to write about her pregnancy experience for my Mother’s Day Series (if you missed any of the series; see bottom of post for links). Unfortunately her internet connection has been on and off for the past few weeks and she was unable to get it to me in time. I personally feel that Mother’s (and Father’s) can be celebrated any time of the year! So today I am going to feature her story. I call her a “Mom” but because she lives in Australia she will be known by her baby as “Mum” 🙂

We have never met face to face but have become very good friends over the past year. We met online through a facebook game called Hatchery and have been co-admins for a facebook group that supports the game. Through our frequent e-mails about the game we also started talking about real life. Probably because we didn’t really know each other; we really clicked and felt comfortable talking about things that we didn’t really share with other friends who knew us personally. We have prayed for each other and encouraged each other a lot. I hope that one day I can give her a hug 🙂

So without further ado; I would like to introduce my guest writer Fiona!

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I’m not one of those women who gets clucky at the sight of every baby or toddler and declares, “ooh, your thighs are so cute and chubby I just want to eat them up!”

In fact, when we first got married in 2004, my husband [James] was probably the one who loved kids the most. If it had been solely his decision, we would have started having kids one or two years into our marriage. As for me, when asked when we were thinking of adding children to our family, my vague reply was usually, “maybe next year we’ll start to consider it”.

It’s not that I was scared of being a mother. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I was! The idea that from the very moment you conceive, you are completely responsible for the life of another human being, a little person who is completely dependent on you in EVERY way. And what’s more, any of your own character faults are most likely going to be amplified in a little person who imitates everything you do, whether consciously or subconsciously. Talk about the hugest responsibility of all time.

And then there was the element of being pregnant for 9 months. Not having any control over my own body’s eating desires (or so I had been told), gaining weight, acquiring stretch marks, being sick all the time, sore back, squished organs… the list goes on… and that is only if the pregnancy progresses normally with no complications whatsoever (that whole “glowing” thing? I just don’t buy it)! Let’s just say I had plenty of reasons to hold off from having children.

But, at some point, enough time had passed and I found myself deciding it was time. Was I ready? Probably not. But I told my husband I was probably about as ready as I’d ever be. And on Christmas Day 2009, James and I announced to all four of our parents that they were going to be grandparents for the very first time. And the rest is history.

All in all, despite the regular “symptoms”, my pregnancy has been smooth and relatively easy. Apart from the odd bout of emotional outburst. Okay, so maybe it’s been more than a few times.

At first, it didn’t really seem all that real to me. First trimester was not at all enjoyable. It seemed like it was all symptoms and no point to them whatsoever. For all I knew, I was simply suffering from multiple chronic issues including indigestion, constant nausea (wouldn’t it be nice if it were ACTUALLY confined to only mornings?), loss of fitness, general fatigue, and unexplainable weight gain. The excitement was virtually non-existent… except for when I was talking to Kerry, James’ mother and Baby Snare’s grandma-to-be! I did have the 12 week ultrasound (I told my husband that my only goal for that ultrasound was simply to get proof that there actually was a baby inside me!) but whilst it had its magical moments, after it was over it still felt like I was simply watching someone else’s baby video.

Even as the second trimester began all I felt like was fatter and more bloated than ever, with the addition of blotchy, blemished skin. But then came the magical moment – on Easter Monday 2010, as I was lying in bed enjoying a sleep in, I turned on my side and suddenly realised that the little thumps I had been feeling my belly were not my heartbeat, but physical signs of another human life! Maybe there really was a baby inside of me! The thumps gradually became stronger over the next few weeks until James was finally able to feel our baby too.

I am now officially into my third trimester and the reality is starting to sink in. I am now keenly aware that no matter what I do, I am never alone – my baby is always with me, even in my most quiet of moments (let’s just say, she doesn’t stop moving for long). It’s odd to think right now that I have a constant companion, regardless of where I go or what I do.

There’s so much to do to prepare for our first child. But what I need to prepare most of all is myself. I find myself wanting to be the best parent I can be. Not really caring all that much if I do end up being able to go back to work or not after I give birth to our baby. I’m already thinking about what we can do now to start saving for her education so we can give her the best possible start in life.

Maybe I’m not clucky when it comes to babies, but I’m a Mum all the same. Maybe I don’t see other people’s babies as being anything to get particularly excited over, but somehow it’s completely different when she’s yours and yours alone. And in 11-15 week’s time, I will get to meet our little darling for the first time, face to face. And I can’t wait to meet her, hold her, nurture her, and most of all love her.

Besides which, I’m not even 30 weeks yet and she’s already starting to squish me a lot on the inside… so I’ll be more than happy to push her out of there when she’s ready!

(16 weeks)

“[Children] are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3

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Mother’s Day Series:

My Valley (Mother’s Day Series-1)

Mommy Brain (Mother’s Day Series-2)

“The Next Survivor Series” (Mother’s Day Series- 3)

True Beauty (Mother’s Day Series- 4)

True Beauty (Mother’s Day Series- 4)

Mother’s Day is finally here and as Pastor Brian pointed out in today’s sermon; Mother’s Day does not only celebrate moms but all women. I pray that all of you have had (or will have) a blessed day! If you missed any previous posts in my Mother’s Day Series; see the bottom of this post for links to them. Today, I would like to take some time to honor my moms (yes, I said: “moms”). Also, I have a guest writer further down that I will introduce in a couple of minutes.

There was a lot of bad things that went on throughout my childhood; but God put a strong woman in my life who got us through them all. My mom’s strength and faith kept our family moving forward even through the lowest points of life. Until recently my relationship with my mom was always rocky. As the oldest (I have 2 sisters and a brother); I had to grow up quickly and learned how to be independent at an early age. I don’t know where, when, or why my anger started to be a major oppression for me. But, I do know that a lot of it is because of the hardships our family endured as I was growing up. My mom did not have a Godly example for a mother as she grew up. When she raised us; she relied on the example of Godly women who God placed in her life at various times. She was never perfect but I know that she did the best that she knew how. She always put her children before herself; often sacrificing more than most moms do. As we have watched our mom; we have also grown to be strong and full of faith. Her example of what a Godly woman should be; will forever be the reason that all of us are serving God today. Thank you mom. I love you!

God put another strong woman in my life who became my step-mom. Because I was already an adult when she and my dad got married; she did not have the chance to actually be a mother to me. Instead she became a friend. She was unable to have children of her own; but God provided her with 4 from another family who she could call daughters and son. Even though she is no longer married to my dad; she is still a friend, a mom, and grandmother as far as we are concerned. I hope that she knows how blessed we are to have her in our lives.

We have all heard horror stories about in-laws. I never assumed that I would have a good relationship with the mother of whoever I married. But God had a different plan. He gave me another strong woman of faith who has to be the best mother-in-law in the world (I have the best father-in-law too)! I know that she loves me like she loves her own daughters. She has been supportive of me in good and bad times. I’m not sure that she has completely forgiven me for giving birth to and keeping her only granddaughters in Japan but since we have skype she doesn’t complain (too much :)). I am truly blessed to have her as another mom.

God also blessed me with a Godly heritage from my Grandma (and Grandpa) and other women in my family. Thank you for always being there and supporting me through prayer and encouragement. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all of the other wonderful Godly women who have become my family. They will always be apart of my family no matter where they live or how often I will see them. So that I don’t offend (in case I accidently miss someone); I am not going to post names. But most of you should know who you are. If we ever had a deep emotional conversation (laughing and/or crying), if you have at some point held me accountable by asking the tough questions or confronting my sins, if you ever listened to me as I leaned on you and cried my way through a painful moment in life; then you are one of these women. Thank you!

I am going to stop tearing up now and end on a more humorous note. Remember those Kendal Bloopers that I posted last month? Well today; Shane sneakingly gave Kendal a rose to give to me (and of course, I did not notice it behind his back before he gave it to her). She handed it to me and said, “Happy Mother’s Day”. I said, “Thank you! Its so pretty! Did you get this for me?” Kendal immediately and excitedly replied with, “No Mama, it’s my pretty flower. Daddy gave it to me!”

Now I would like to introduce you to my husband Shane;

who graciously honored my request to write a message for my blog today.

As long as I can remember my mom has been my biggest fan. In good times and bad, in right, and especially in wrong. She was always in my corner. Through her love and even her discipline; she did her part to raise me and make me the man I am today.

I later got married and found myself with yet another mom in my life. I was in awe of her strength and virtue. I don’t believe that I could “do no wrong” in her eyes (because I most certainly have). But I do believe that she never turned her back on me. Even when I was at my worst.

It must have been gut wrenching for my mother to watch me grow, invest time and energy into my life, only to let me go. I can honestly say that my mother did her job well in preparing me for that next chapter in life; but I didn’t really understand forgiveness until I met my mother in-law at my darkest hours in life. When I turned my back on my family, they both loved me through it. Though probably not “my biggest fan” they were one of my biggest supporters. Through both these lady’s example; my wonderful wife has learned how to be a woman and a mother of love and virtue. A fact that holds my respect.

My life in the military has allowed me to meet all kinds of people. I’ve been “adopted” over and over again by the families of my buddies. When one of us would go home for the weekend; we would all tag along. This would and probably did overwhelm the families houses we invaded. The couches we’ve slept on and the refrigerators we’ve raided. But the “MA” would love on us and invite us in as if we were her own. What is it about a mom that makes her want to do such a ridiculous thing as to raise more children. In our case, five or six hungry Airmen. I recall one particularly special woman whose hospitality helped me in a time when I was away from the home and life on my own was very new. She brought reliability back into our lives. Because she made it ok for us to to always “come home.” Interactions with my new found brothers at her house will always remain among my fondest of memories. I was deeply pained when I learned she had passed away. Though my pain was not the same as her real family; we all can say that we were truly affected as she was mother to us all.

It would be very easy this time of year, for all of us to get carried away, with yet another “Hallmark holiday” by paying our simple lip service to these ladies. Send them a card, make our  phone call and then go about our day. I challenge you to take this time to reflect on how your mother has helped you to be who you are today. I know that not all families were as complete as mine growing up. Maybe this time of year is yet another painful reminder of this fact. But I submit to you all that whether or not we had a good mother;  she has left an imprint on us in one way or another anyway. The simple fact that she gave us life is good enough for me. It’s what we choose to do with the life she gave us is what makes us who we are today. From her example good or bad we still learn about who we are and who we want to be. I am truly blessed and thankful for all the experiences I’ve had with my mothers. Everything from the good to the not so good has helped me become the husband, the father, and the man that I am today.

My hats off to you ladies. I am your biggest fan. ~~Shane

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“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;

but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:28-30

To all of the wonderful women in our lives: HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

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Mother’s Day Series:

My Valley (Mother’s Day Series-1)

Mommy Brain (Mother’s Day Series-2)

“The Next Survivor Series” (Mother’s Day Series- 3)