26 April 2011

Religious Traditions

Through various books that I have been reading, and different things I have been learning in the past year or so, I have become very interested in religious traditions - specifically Jewish and Catholic.

Being a Protestant (actually Southern Baptist specifically if I had to pick a specific protestant sect), I have stayed away from "traditions" because I know that some traditions in the church have lost their meaning to some people - they just say the words, go through the motions, etc. The Pharisees and Saducces in Jesus' time even did this, so it's not something new. As Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun."

As I have studied the Bible, specifically more recently in the past year, and learned the meaning behind some of the traditions, it really makes me excited to want to partake in those traditions. I don't want to become legalistic about it, but I think it would be really special to do certain things throughout the week, month and year to honor and worship my Savior in a specific way. Ways that I can show the kids how to Praise Him and how to Worship Him (not that you can't do both at the same time, but sometimes they are separate events).

When I read "This is Your Brain in Love" by Dr. Earl Henslin, there was a fascinating Jewish custom that he wrote about that I think would be so neat to partake in. It's called Shabbat. Henslin writes that when the sun goes down on Friday evening (because Sabbath is on Saturday, so for us this would be Saturday evening), it signals the beginning of Shabbat, the time of preparation for worship on Sabbath morning. 18 minutes before sundown, the wife lights a candles, which represent a time of romance with God. She also cooks a special meal, which is eaten on the "special china", and then gets dressed up in preparation of Shabbat. "When the husband comes home, he sees those candles . . . he knows that this time of intimacy and prayer with God will naturally lead to gratitude and intimacy with his life later." The husband would also change from work and get dressed up. The family gathers around the table and each take turns reading Scriptures and praying, including prayers for the bread and wine (perhaps a precursor to Christian communion). Then the husband gets up and stand behind his wife and sings (or says if he doesn't want to sing) Proverbs 31 over his wife. "The purpose is to remind himself and his children about the good things his wife brings to their lives. Then he prays a blessing over her, thanking God for her love and care." Later in the night, the husband and wife are encouraged to make love in preparation for worship the next morning. I really love the idea of doing this, and not because it "honors" me, who happens to be the wife and mother. Can you imagine if every Christian household spent the night before church in Scripture reading, prayer and celebration of family, food and fellowship, and children watched two parents in love with each other, cherishing one another in the Lord, loving each other and all of that was tied to the congregational worship of the Lord with fellow members of the body of Christ the following morning? Wow! What a way to worship the Lord in your home with your children and then in the sacred holiness of sex with your spouse (which the Lord created for us) and then extend it even further to corporate worship. It just boggles my mind really.

I have also been interested in Catholic traditions as well. I started becoming interested in Catholic traditions, such as liturgies, in the month before Easter a year ago. The chapel at Tinker had lent devotions followed by lent lunch the four or so Fridays preceding Easter. I went to those and learned quite a lot. I really loved saying the prayers and readings and passages of Scriptures that had been said by fellow Believers (Protestant and Catholic) over the years (some of them were quite old, hundreds of years). To me, it brought this sense of Christian unity carried out across the enormous expanse of time, somehow uniting in Christians this sense of Oneness in Christ that has not been broken over time.

Last week, in the PWOC study I am doing by Beth Moore (Stepping Up), we happened to be covering the Feast of Tabernacles. I really loved learning about the Feast of Tabernacles and how everything that Jesus said and did at that time was so symbolic of the past and the future; how He was the tie between the two - truly the Alpha and Omega. As far as traditions with that go, I have been interested in doing some of the things that take place at the feasts at that particular time of year. For example, singing the Psalms of Hallel. (I really wish I could have gone to the Seder Dinner at the chapel before Easter, but I digress . . .). The Psalms of Hallel (Psalms 113-118) are sung at the great feasts (Passover, Weeks, Tabernacles, Dedication, New Moon). According to my NIV Study Bible, Psalms 113 & 114 were sung before the meal (before the second cup was passed) and Psalms 115-118 were after the meal (when the fourth cup has been filled). I really need to learn more about what the four cups symbolize, which I think I would have learned at the Seder meal, which is why I'm sorry I missed it. :( But anyway, it couldn't be helped with a sick toddler. Now, take for example, the words on these psalms, which are meant to be a testament of the Lord's Salvation to Israel (coming out of Egypt, then again rejoining of nations after the Diaspora): one of the last things that Jesus sang at the Passover dinner hours before his arrest in the garden of Gethsemane was "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you." (Psalm 118:26). Jesus sang these words with His disciples, knowing that in a few hours He would be arrested, tried, beaten, mocked, scourged, crucified and killed. Wow. Just wow. When Jesus made the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, these same words were also sung by the people as they waved palm branches and laid down their robes for Him. This was an invitation sung for generations to bring the Messiah; to save the Jewish people.The triumphal entry occurred on Sunday of the Passover week, the beginning of the Passover week - so it fits perfectly that the people were crying out the words of the psalm to invite the Messiah and I am sure no mistake that Jesus was there, entering the city. The triumphal entry also began Passion Week, Jesus' last week of ministry on Earth before His crucifixion and resurrection into Heaven. When you look into the timing of events and words spoken in Jesus' earthly ministry, it is just so amazing how it all fits perfectly with what the prophets have said hundreds of years earlier, and even what Jesus said in His early ministry and things He told the disciples that would take place. I just love it!

Another tradition that I want to learn more about is another Catholic tradition. One that I actually read about just last week on Cat's blog. She posted a song that was sung (I'm assuming at her church) during Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter on her blog of Easter traditions. On her blog she posted a song about Moses parting the Red Sea - it's actually the passage from Exodus, just sung. I thought it was really beautiful. I learned from her post that at the Catholic Great Easter Vigil, they read different passages from the Bible and they celebrate the time leading up to Easter with a long and beautiful service. I like that idea. Also on Cat's blog, in another posting, she wrote about some of the liturgical singing that is done during Holy Week and how it is supposed to be the backdrop for prayer and reflection of what Jesus did for us on the cross. I really like that idea as well - spending a week in holy contemplation of the cross that Jesus bore for our sins, how He died so that we might live and what that really means - for the world and for us personally, in our lives and in our personal relationship with Him. I also like how that ties into the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles which started five days after Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement. The Jews also spent quite a bit of time in solemn reflection of where they had been and what the Lord had done for them. At the culmination of Holy Week is the celebration of Easter -a joyous time celebrating the Risen Lord! At the culmination of Yom Kippur, the Feast of Tabernacles brought a feast of joyous celebrating to the Lord. Both joyous celebrations seem to be made heightened following the time of solemn reflection - making the gratitude seem to be all the more grateful.

There are so many more things that I have to learn about the Lord - one can truly spend a lifetime in deep study of the Scripture and daily prayer with Him and still not know or understand everything. How is awesome is our God!

For my friends from Bible study in Oklahoma who might be thinking "what am I saying?? Going to traditions??", I want to point out that I do not think any traditions should replace daily Scripture reading, Scripture memorization, Bible study or prayer with our Savior. Rather, I feel that they stem out of deep passion to learn more ways to worship our Magnificent Creator and gratitude for all He has done. As I wrote above, I like the feeling that some traditions bring of uniting Believers from across the ages in a voice of united worship to a God who does not change and who is forever more. If a tradition becomes one more thing one has to check off the list, or something where you just go through the motions, then you're doing it for the wrong reasons and it would be better if it weren't done at all. The traditions that I have mentioned are some that I have learned about it the past year through various channels and they have piqued my interest in the Lord in new ways - looking at Him in new ways, loving Him in new ways, worshiping Him in new ways. And I want to live my life entirely for Him. I know that I fail on a daily basis in this, but I do desire Him and I do long to be closer to Him. I think that participating in some of these ways of worship is another way that I can grow closer to Him.

I leave you with this thought from Martin Luther's preface to "The German Mass and Order of Divine Service, January 1526", " -->Above all things, I most affectionately and for God's sake beseech all, who see or desire to observe this our Order of Divine Service, on no account to make of it a compulsory law, or to ensnare or make captive thereby any man's conscience; but to use it agreeably to Christian liberty at their good pleasure as, where, when and so long as circumstances favour and demand it."

The Saga of Jack, the Cat

So about a month ago our kitty Jack was let out at night and he didn't return in the morning.

Well, Jack is back! Or so we thought . . .

No, we didn't catch him and no, he didn't return home.

I had placed an ad on Craig's List for Jack. A neighbor in the circle down from us had emailed me three weeks ago to tell me there was an unfamiliar black cat in his neighborhood the night before. Of course Mike and I went down there several times calling for Jack and looking for him. Mike even left a food trail all the way from Wyoming Road to our backyard (that's probably between a 1/4 and a 1/2 mile long). No sign of Jack anywhere.

We didn't hear anything for about a week and a half or two weeks.

Then I was taking the trash about two weeks ago and I look over across the cul-de-sac and there is Jack! Sitting right by the bush in the rock island in the middle of the cul-de-sac. Even though I didn't have shoes on, I walked over, calling his name the entire time. He didn't move. I got about two feet from the bush and he went into the bush. I started to lean in to see if I could catch him and he popped out and ran across the street. I called him and followed him until he went into someone's backyard.

I told Mike about this over texts and when he came home for lunch about 30 minutes later, he went out to try to catch Jack. He couldn't catch him either.

Then that night I was looking out the bedroom window before I went to bed, and there was Jack again, sitting next to the same bush. So we both went outside to try to catch him, but he ran away. Then there was no sign of him for a few days.

Then on Sunday I got an email from the same guy one circle over saying he found a black cat in his garage and to come and see if it was our cat. So I immediately called the guy and was at his house about five minutes later (so glad Mike was home to watch the kids!) and it was Jack! Dirty, terribly frightened, but it was him. Or so we thought . . .

So I brought him home and Mike and I just loved on him. He was very thirsty, and he just drank and drank. He rubbed on us and rubbed on us. Mike and I looked him over and looked him over and we started to have a sneaking suspicion that his black kitty loving on us like he'd missed us terribly wasn't our Jack. There was just something not quite right . . .

But it was hard to tell . . . we poured over every picture we have of Jack and compared the pictures of Jack to this Jack. It was very hard to tell. We decided to take him to the vet and have him scanned, just to be 100% sure, even though we were already 95% sure it was Jack.

We had to leave for community group a little later, and after we got back, Jack didn't let us out of his sight for the rest of the night. The kids were really happy to see him and he let them give him hugs and pet him. He even tolerated Edward trying to eat his tail (we put a stop to that before Edward actually bit down of course). When we went to bed, Jack spent the first half of the night sleeping right up next to my pillow, making sure he was touching me. Actually he was practically hogging my half of the bed. I got up about half way through -->the night to get something to drink and Jack was just about attached to my leg the whole six feet to the sink and back. Then he curled up next to Mike for the rest of the night, keeping himself touching Mike the whole time.

It was so great to have Jack back! Or at least, to have a kitty in the house again. He was not acting like himself completely yet though. He hides a lot, which is really unlike Jack. He must have really been through an ordeal - when he came home he had such a wild look in his face and eyes. He is starting to lose that a little, but it's not gone all the way. He's pretty skittish still. All these things also made us wonder if this was really our Jack.

He also has an injured paw that he favors from time to time and he's been sneezing a lot. I called the vet the next day, but they were closed for a training day or something. So I called on Tuesday, the following day, and was able to get him in that day for an appointment. His paw was strained or sprained, which they gave him pain meds for, and they gave him an antibiotic injection for the Upper Respiratory Infection (it was a virus, but it can turn bacterial, so it was a just in case thing) and I had him scanned. I didn't write down the number, but I memorized enough of it to compare the number we have written down in Jack's vet records at home.

So I brought Jack home and looked up the microchip information and compared the numbers. They weren't even close! So we didn't have Jack; Jack was still at large somewhere . . . So the questions became: Whose cat do we have?? And where is Jack?


On Thursday I took Imposter Jack, as we started calling him, to the vet on base to have him scanned and see if he was in their system. All animals who live on base are supposed to be registered with the vet on base, even if the owner takes them to an outside vet facility for shots and all that good stuff. He wasn't in their system. But they did give me the microchip number and the HomeAgain number. So when I got home, I contacted Home Again and reported that I had found a cat. He was in their system, but he was not listed as missing; there wasn't even a name listed for him. They tried to contact the owner and put me on a conference call with them, but there was no answer so they left a message with my contact information for the owner to contact me.

In the meantime, Mike and I have really been hoping the owner doesn't contact us, because Imposter Jack, or Galileo as we have re-named him, is so sweet and loving that we want to keep him. We have not heard anything from the owners after several days. To be honest, I am torn between contacting Home Again just to say that I tried to contact the owner several times (or at least more than once) and not contacting them so we can keep him.

The story does not end here, however. The day after I took Galileo to the vet for the second time, I was leaving to go shopping with the kids and right after I pulled out of the garage onto the street, I happened to look over and there was a black cat that looked just like Jack (how many Jack look-a-likes can there be in our neighborhood???) sitting by a bush (not the same bush as aforementioned). So I immediately pulled the car over and got out and called Jack. He looked at me and stayed where he was. So I started slowly walking towards him, calling him. When I got within a few feet, he started to run. He went to a neighbors house and I tentatively followed him. I stopped though when it became apparent that he was just going to keep running.

Later that day, after I got home, I posted a Lost Cat Notice, for the second time, on Home Again with a picture of the real Jack. That very same night I got a call from a lady who lives off base several miles away saying there was a new black cat that "looked exactly like the cat in the picture" in her neighborhood that had showed up several days before with a bunch of other semi-feral cats that she feeds every night. What are the odds?? I mean, really? I did go and check out the neighborhood looking for Jack, but there was no sign of him.

So now we have Galileo, who looks (and for the most part acts) just like Jack and Jack is still missing. I really hope that he comes home soon! One of our neighbors has tried to catch the Jack that is in the neighborhood four times, but no success. I'm actually a little afraid that chasing him is probably making the likelyhood of actually catching him worse. I also handed out flyers to all of our neighbors just in case they see him. No calls yet. ::sigh::

And the saga continues . . .

Galileo by Mitch Stokes

I have always found the relationship between science (natural science specifically) and religion to be intertwined – to study natural science is to study God’s Creation and explore it in wonder. A statement like that in today’s world is shocking to most people, and this was apparently also true during European Renaissance times in the early 1600’s, as we see in Galileo, a biography of Galileo Galilei’s life. Mitch Stokes’ Galileo, from the Christian Encounters series, gives up a beautiful portrait of the life of Galileo, whom we find to be a devout Christian whose goal was never to undermine the authority of the church, but to try to determine the way the universe worked through mathematics, while refuting theories of the time of natural philosophy [science], mainly Aristotelian.

The book starts with Galileo’s early life, during which we learn that he was accomplished at many musical instruments, had a love for literature and writing and when he did go to school, to study medicine, he secretly eavesdropped on mathematical lecturers and studied math in secret. The book goes on to cover the remainder of his life, and even into the legacy he left behind in such a way that it feels as if you are reading a novel about a fictional character. Stokes, however, does not make up his information, which he validates with numerous references throughout the novel (one can immediately tell that Stokes is an academic writer who knows how to document his thorough research).

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Galileo and enjoyed Stokes’ writing style. I also loved how different philosophies, specifically Aristotelian, and mathematical theories were explained in order to understand where Galileo was coming from. The direct quotes from letters written by or about Galileo were also very intriguing – one can tell that he was either well loved or well disliked. I also found the peak into the socio-cultural and political aspects of the Renaissance and Catholic Italy extremely interesting. Finally, it is always inspiring to me to read how people know Scripture so well they can reference any particular verse or passage, and this is not strictly speaking in regards to Galileo – many of his counterparts really knew their Scriptures. Though this is only subtly mentioned on a few scattered occurrences in the novel, I found it to be motivating to try to learn the Scripture so thoroughly so as to defend or refute a theory by recalling what I have read and studied and applying that knowledge to the argument, as Galileo and so many of his counterparts did.

I would recommend this book for those who have an interest and/or love in science, Renaissance history and/or exploration. I plan on saving this book for my children to study when they are of an appropriate age to understand the material (not recommended for toddlers).

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

24 April 2011

Stampin' Shorty Blog Hop

I just found this blog through another blog I follow, thank you Destination RN! and so I thought I would join in on the hopping!

Stampin'Up with Rosie
The blog is an Etsy shop (I think) for Stampin' Up products, which I have to admit I am not familiar with at all, but they look fun!

When I was at the PWOC Spring Retreat in Glorieta, (have I written about that yet?? I haven't? I'd better get on that!), and some of the ladies brought some stamp things and showed whoever wanted to learn (me!) how to make some simple cards and a little gift sign thing. I thought it was really fun and it gave me the motivation to start making my own cards, which is something I have wanted to do for a while (I even bought some construction paper and a stamp last fall!). Anyway, I don't consider myself crafty in any sort of way, so doing those two cards showed me that I can do stuff like that, and it looks cute! I'll probably have to rely on other people's creative ideas and just follow the steps, but I can do that! :)

So anyway, head on over to Stampin' Up with Rosie - she's giving away something every day this week because it's her birthday week! :) Happy Birthday to Rosie!

HE's Alive - Easter Video - Don Francisco

20 April 2011

A Testimony of Restoration

In 1994, when I was 11 years old, my Mom picked my brother and I up from a friend’s house to go home. Except on the way home, something didn’t feel quite right. She said that we are going to a new home: that she was leaving Dad. Having grown up in a Christian home, my brother and I couldn’t understand how our Christian parents were going to divorce.

There was a lot of crying alone in my room every day after school for many, many months.  I cried so much that my white bear’s face turned brown with the salt from my tears.

In the years afterwards my Dad, in his great pain, withdrew emotionally from my brother and I as well.

I felt very alone, abandoned and rejected. Because of feeling abandoned and rejected, I developed a Rejected Locked Heart along with a core belief that I was not worthy of being loved. I could not accept love.

Looking for love in the all wrong places and in all the wrong ways, I married at the beginning of my senior year in high school, to the first guy who said he loved me. The relationship was not good and had many abusive aspects. Four long, lonely and painful years later we were divorced.

During my previous marriage and other relationships with men (still looking for love in all the wrong places), my core belief that I was not worthy of being loved deepened and feelings of abandonment haunted me almost daily. I rarely shared these feelings with anyone.

I came to know Christ as my Savior when I was 23 and turned my life around. I stopped looking for love in all the wrong places.  I knew, intellectually, that Jesus loved me and that He died for me, and I believed that with all my heart, but I didn’t understand it. I just couldn’t get how He could love me like that. Even though I turned over pain from relationships over to the Lord and sought forgiveness, it never occurred to me to turn over the pain from my parents’ divorce to Jesus. I had a core belief that I would just always have that pain to live with. I didn’t talk about it – not to anyone. What was the point? It was there to stay.

In 2006, I met Mike, my husband. Mike and I started courting in 2007 and I felt unconditional love from Mike. Mike loved me so much that we waited to make love until we were married – he thought I was worth waiting for. Even after we were married, I could not fathom how he could love me like he did. I just didn’t get it; I couldn’t understand it.

In 2009, when Sophie was 2 months old, I got pregnant with Edward. Mike was not ready for another baby so soon and he didn’t want Edward. He had little to do with the pregnancy, or even me or Sophie for the entire pregnancy. I felt very alone, very abandoned and very rejected and spent many nights crying into the night as I rocked Sophie to sleep. I wondered what I would do with a newborn child and a 12 month old and how I would do it alone. I closed myself off to Mike and we hardly spoke for many months. My depression was so great that I contemplated suicide.

This was not the first time I had been severely depressed. I had been severely depressed at several other times in my life since I was an early teenager. I had even been hospitalized once my depression was so great.

After Edward was born, things got a little better. Mike became involved in our lives again and things were going pretty well. We moved here to Kirtland and Mike went on a 2.5 month TDY. Not too long after he got back, we unexpectedly got pregnant again.

Mike was excited about this third child I was carrying, but I was not. Because I was afraid of being abandoned again, my heart started to close and I became severely depressed. I couldn’t feel anything except deep pain. I didn’t feel anything for Mike, I didn’t feel anything for the kids and most days were spent on the floor crying, trying to hide from the kids and avoiding everyone. My heart was starting to lock towards being able to give love.

On March 12th, Mike and I left for Restoration Ministries in Nebraska. I told everyone it was a marriage retreat, but it was really 5 days of intensive counseling for just the two of us. Driving there, I was very skeptical about what could change in that amount of time. I had been in and out of counseling for over ten years collectively.  I had stopped talking about the pain I carried around from my parents’ divorce because it had been 17 years and let’s face: I needed to move on already. I talked about other problems I had instead.

The very first day we met with Roger Daum at Restoration Ministries, we talked a bit about our childhood history. After I briefly mentioned that my parents were divorced, Roger had me & Mike face each other and hold hands and look into each other’s eyes and he started asking some questions that no one had ever asked before: What did that feel like? Did I feel like I was emotionally still that 11 year old girl crying into her bear, alone in her room? Had Mike ever caused me to emotionally feel like I was that abandoned, rejected, little girl, all alone? Suddenly that 11 year old girl came out of me and sobs racked my body as Mike held me in his arms with tears in his eyes as all that pain from 17 years ago came flooding back.

Then Roger had Mike lead me in a prayer to Jesus. I asked Jesus “Were you there when I was that little girl, all alone, crying in my room?” And Jesus gave me a picture in my mind of a time when I was sitting on my bedroom floor, crying into my bear, and He was there, right beside, crying with me because I was in pain.

“What do You want to do with that little girl, Jesus?” Jesus gave me a picture of taking me into his arms when I was there in my room and just holding me and loving me like I needed to be held and loved.

“Jesus, how do I know you love me? How much do you love me?” And Jesus, still holding me crying in His arms, looked at me in the face and then lifted an arm and swept it to the side, showing me the cross behind and slightly to the side of Him. And for the first time ever, I realized how much Jesus loved me – He died on that cross for me. That He really did love me. That He was there with me all those times I was alone and crying.

“Jesus, will you take my pain that I have been carrying all these years?” Jesus would take my pain, He
didn’t want me to carry it anymore.

“Jesus, what will you do with my pain?” Jesus gave me an image of throwing the blackness of that pain far away from me, never to return.

“Jesus, was there a demonic oppression of depression that attached to me at that time?” And a picture of a dark, eel-like monster in a cloud of black came to my mind and I was shown that there was. “Jesus, will you take that demonic oppression from me? What will you do with it?” Jesus showed me that He wanted to take that oppression that come in the form of my depression and fling it far away into the sea, never to return. And I felt my depression leaving me – depression that followed me for many, many years.

Roger asked Mike if Mike wanted to ask forgiveness for anything, and Mike asked if I would forgive him for how he acted during Edward’s pregnancy, for causing me to feel alone and abandoned and rejected. And I just clung to Mike and cried and said that I forgave him.

And suddenly the tears stopped, and I looked up into Mike’s eyes, and I felt free. I felt light. The heaviness and weariness of the pain that I had carried for 17 long years was gone. The pain from Mike’s rejection of Edward was gone.

Roger had Mike take me to the bathroom and look in the mirror. I was glowing like a radiant bride! I was loved! By Jesus! And by Mike! How great life was and is and is to be! How great is our God who loves us so much that He died for us! That He took our sin, and takes our pain and just loves us! Hallelujah! 

***********************************
I would like to say that even though Jesus showed me that my depression stemmed from a demonic oppression that had attached to me, I do not think that every person's depression comes from such a source. I realize that there are times when brain chemicals are just not functioning the way they should, or just aren't there at all. This was not the case with me, which explains why antidepressants never worked for me in the past - and I have been on more than a dozen different kinds of antidepressant/mood stabilizing medications in my life. Doctors just thought I was a tough case. I'm sure there are other people who suffer from depression that was caused by a demonic oppression, but I don't think that is necessarily for any person to say- only the Lord can reveal to that to them. 

I will be posting other testimonies of healing that Mike and I went through at Restoration Ministries, and with each pain area/problem that we went through, we asked the Lord if there was a demonic oppression that had attached itself to us. For me, this was the only one.  Other things were caused by other reasons, including sin, not being able to forgive, etc.

19 April 2011

EDU4PKD

My best friend Nikki and her husband started a non-profit scholarship program called EDU4PKD, which stands for Education for Polycystic Kidney Disease.

You can read about Nikki's story with PKD on her blog here: Nikki's Notes. She has a blog for her non profit at the EDU4PKD blog.

From the EDU4PKD blog:

Our goal is to help provide an education by awarding scholarships to those who either have PKD, has a loved one who has it, or have lost someone from it.

PKD is a life-threatening disease that currently has no known cure or treatment available. To learn more about this disease, go to http://www.pkdcure.org/

If you are interested in volunteering or donating to the scholarship fund, please contact us at: edu4pkd@gmail.com.

I hope that my readers will check it out if they haven't already and help raise awareness about PKD and about finding a cure. And if you are affected by PKD, either directly or through a family member, and are pursuing higher education, I encourage you to apply for a scholarship. :)

18 April 2011

PWOC Study

We started a new study in PWOC after Spring Break, and the study that I picked was "Stepping Up" by Beth Moore.

Picture courtesy Amazon.com
It's a study on the Psalms of Ascent, Psalms 120-134. I had actually never heard the term "psalm of ascents" before, even though I have read these psalms before, some several times.

Wow is all I can say about this study. As always, the Lord is giving me exactly what I needed and when I needed and for the reasons I needed it. I don't want to say too much more until I post my testimony from Restoration Ministries after Wednesday.

So much of the study has just been an affirmation to the healing that I had at Restoration Ministries and so much more.

We study one psalm for two days - on the second day we write the psalm in our words and we write it how we relate to what the psalm is saying. It is completely different for each person. I have really enjoyed doing this. It has helped me internalize the psalm and see how the Lord has worked directly in my life just as He promises in the psalms. All I can say is that I am so so so so thankful to the Lord for all He has done in my life! To Him be all the glory, now and forever more! :)

Baby update

I haven't blogged in a few weeks, although I've really wanted to. I've just been really busy with things . . . you know how it goes . . . you're a mom, you have a two year old and a toddler who are into everything . . . and it's nice out, so you go outside a lot . . . Anyway, I've also been reading a few books simutaneously, and that takes time too. Just wait for the review on "Galileo" - awesome book - can't wait to finish it.

So I had another OB appointment today. Everything with Daphne is going very well. I'm measuring right where I should be. My blood pressure is normal (for me) at 100/54. I'm still having issues with getting light-headed and needing to sit or lay down before I pass out, but not as much as I have been. I did gain 5 pounds this month, so that puts me a total of 9 pounds for the pregnancy. I was actually surprised I didn't gain more since I've been eating so much [ice cream/candy/fried cheese products] and my appetite has been really good. Even if I put on 5 pounds for the rest of the months, I'll still gain less than I did with both my previous pregnancies. So I'm not too worried about the weight gain.

Even though I haven't really gained that much weight, I am definitely showing. There is no denying that I am pregnant. Some days I think I am showing way more than I should be, other days I think I'm right where I should be.

I do get a lot of the usual "When are you due?" comments, except the reaction when I answer that I'm due in August is sympathy of some sort . . . like I should be due sooner because of my size or something . . . I'm not really liking that. So paranoid me started looking through the few pregnant with Edward pictures that I have trying to compare whether I am the same size, smaller or bigger than when I was this far along with Edward. I even calculated weeks for the pictures . . . I know, I know . . .sad and pitiful. And the determination was: indeterminate. In other words, I couldn't really tell enough. I know that I'm bigger than I was with Sophie when I was this far along . . . Oh well, it is what it is. I'm just kind of dreading being super huge during the summer. In the summer, when you open the windows, it isn't 30 degrees outside like when I was in my third trimester with Sophie and Edward. (Yes, I slept with the windows open when it was 30* or below when I was pregnant with Sophie until Mike woke me up and shivering and asked if we could please, please close the windows because it was 30* outside. I said yes, but we couldn't turn the heat on. Poor Mike!) Although the summers here are not as hot as Oklahoma and they are dry. And they're cool at night. And it stays cool sometimes until 0900 or 1000. Definitely doesn't do that in Oklahoma!

So anyway, that's the baby update. I get my glucose test before my next appointment, as well as a CBC and TSH. And then I go to two week appointments. I can't believe I'm already that far along that we're just about ready to go to two week appointments! Man this pregnancy is going by so fast! Oh well, I'm really excited to meet Daphne! :)