Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cookie Day

In October 2008, we were getting ready for the first exam in our American Lit class. Fletcher asked if I was interested in a study group. The guy I had been crushing on all semester just asked if I wanted to be in a study group?! I quickly said yes. In hindsight...probably too quickly. Like awkwardly quickly. Whatever. We're married now. :)
I decided that I was going to make cookies. Fletcher had mentioned that he likes chocolate chip. Almost everyone on the planet likes chocolate chip cookies, so it wouldn't seem weird.
October 19th, I made my way up to c-lab when it opened after Campus Church. Found Fletcher in one of the seating areas. He was alone. "No one else could make it," he said.
Do I still bring out the cookies? I mean...I made them for him. But I don't want him to KNOW that I made them for him. WHAT DO I DO?!? 
The cookies stayed in my backpack. We studied for our test (btw...this is where the "Men are like planets" joke comes from...he found a typo in my notes and still won't let me forget it), and then spent two hours talking about our families.
A few years later, he confessed that he never invited anyone else to the study group. And then I confessed that those poor cookies were left in my backpack.
Today, eight years later, we made chocolate chip cookies and ate them with our sons.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Ezra's Daddy

Believe it or not, Ezra is ONE today.   Reminiscing over the past year, I can’t help but think of how wonderful his daddy is. 

Fletcher was an absolute rock during a long, difficult labor, not once pressuring me to get meds and supporting the decisions I made.  Massaging and holding me and praying for 17 hours.

He has been nothing but supportive of nursing, never even mentioning formula during the painful first two months, as he knew that would be even more upsetting to me, and he’s completely supportive of nursing until Ezra makes the independent decision to wean himself.

When we’re having a rough night, he’ll get up and rock Ezra back to sleep, even when it takes an hour or more.

He leads our family, prays for and with us every day, and is willing to take leaps of faith that most would think absolutely ridiculous, but absolutely perfect for us. 

He takes time on his days off, the mornings he’s home, and when he gets home from work around 9pm, to just play with his son, give me time to shower, think, read, and have adult conversation with him.  He’s always looking for things we can do as a family.  He has never once said that he'll "babysit" Ezra.  He is his daddy and loves spending time with him when I have a meeting or run errands by myself.

He has been a huge cheerleader while I work towards a Labor Doula certification and is encouraging me to get a Certified Professional Midwifery license when the time is right.

He’s my amazing husband and Ezra’s wonderful daddy.  And we both love him so much.

Ezra is One!

Ezra is one today.  I’m gonna say it—this year flew by.  Well, parts of it did.  I never thought we would survive the first month.  Nursing difficulties until week 7, never really catching up on sleep after being awake for close to 36 hours by the time he was born, feeling absolutely zero connection to this creature that wanted to be constantly attached to me until he was right at one month old (no overwhelming feeling of love the moment I held him).  It was exhausting and hard.  But, we lived, my hormones eventually got their act together, and here we are 365 days later.

 So much has happened in the past year.  We moved halfway across the country, back to Virginia, when Ezra was 4 ½ months old.  A week of intense packing (so thankful my cousin was able to come out to be an invaluable extra set of hands, driving 1100 miles in 3 days.  Fun times.

While it wasn't what we were expecting, we were blessed that Fletcher was able to be home full time with us from mid-March until July 1st.   Ezra and I were a little spoiled with that, and we’re still not used to him being at work all day. 

Ezra has grown like a weed.  He was never tiny, but here’s the year at a glance:
Birth: 8lbs 8.8oz, 20.5in
Discharge: 7lbs 13oz
2 weeks: 9lbs 0oz
8 weeks: 13lbs 10oz, 22.5in
4 months: 17lbs 8oz, 25.75in
6 months: 19lbs 3oz, 28in
9 months: 21lbs 4oz, 29in
12 months: 23lbs 6oz, 30.25in

And what’s going on now:
He’s eating 3 solid meals a day—loves avocado, peaches, chicken, pork chops, scrambled eggs, grits, green beans, corn on the cob, potato wedges, yogurt, cottage cheese, apples, spaghetti, and veggie chips.
He’s nursing an average of 8 times in 24 hours, including 1-3 times at night.  No plans to stop until he decides to wean himself.
He’s taking water from a straw cup.  I haven’t tried pumped milk in the cup, yet.
He’s cruising EVERYWHERE.  He’ll take a few steps between two people, or let go of a wall of the play yard and walk to another wall, usually falling into the other wall to stop himself.
He still loves to look at books and be read to.  He’s a cuddle bug and I like for him to stay that way as long as possible.

We love our baby boy.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nine Months Old!

I can't believe Ezra is nine months old today.  Time is flying by way too fast.

{I'll have weight and length stats later today}

He started crawling at the beach, at 7m13d.  He has all four central incisors now, too.

We've switched to Baby Led Weaning when it comes to solids.  He despised purees and loves to feed himself.  He still loves avocado and enjoys green beans and chicken, too.  He continues to hate carrots, though.

He's nursing 8-12 times in 24 hours.  Sometimes he'll sleep for 4-5 hours at night before waking the first time, which is glorious whenever it happens.  He's on the move so much during the day that he's only "snacking" and nurses much better at night.

Ezra has been pulling himself up for a while and is cruising everywhere.  He's letting go of things and standing for longer periods of time every day.  He hasn't taken any steps, yet, but we're expecting it any day now.

He said "Dada" first and usually goes into, "Dadadadadada," when he's happy about something.  Up until yesterday, he would only say, "Mama," if he was mad.  He's used it happily a few times now.  And a few days ago we heard, "Nana," which I finally caught on video today.

He also went to his first baseball game last month.

Only three months until his first birthday...yikes.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ezra- 6 Months Old

Hard to believe we've made it survived blissfully soared through the last six months.  Ezra is growing fast and hitting new milestones quicker than we've been prepared for.

Height: 28 inches (93rd percentile)
Weight: 19 lbs, 3.2 oz (80th percentile)

He's nursing on demand anywhere from every 2-4 hours.  Still won't take more than an ounce from a bottle of pumped milk, so we're just nursing.  Sometimes he'll sleep for a 5 hour stretch at night...other nights he's up every 2 hours.  Keeping me on my toes.

We've "played" with solids a few times and totally skipped rice cereal.  He really likes avocado and pears, and last night he was sucking on an asparagus spear like it was a candy cane.  He's not too sure about bananas.  But we're taking it slow and not rushing anything there.

Every baby book, parent, and pediatrician told us he would roll tummy to back first around 3 months, then back to tummy, and then he might be sitting by 6 months.  He was sitting unassisted at 4 months, 2 days, rolled BACK to tummy at 4 months 16 days, and the stinker held out on rolling tummy to back until 5 months 24 days, just last week on my birthday.  In the last week, he's started pushing himself up on all fours...not crawling, yet, but pretty darn close.

He LOVES books.  Being read to, looking at the pictures...chewing on the corners (trying to stop that before the teeth come through).  We have three songs we sing to him that usually calm him down.  When they don't work, Hush Little Baby (such a weird song when you think about what papa's gonna buy)...and then music from the Baby Einstein World Music album.

He's a really happy baby, except when he isn't.  He doesn't have an "in-between" mood.  He's either all giggles and smiles or in super-mad "my world is ending," mode.  He nurses himself to sleep around 9pm and usually goes down for at least a few hours after that.  At night, he only wakes to nurse.  He's not a "3:45...must be playtime" kind of baby.

The last 6 months have been FULL of learning as we go (as I know the next 20-some years will be), changes (some expected, some not-so-much), late nights, early mornings, and learning how to "be" as a family with a baby.  We'll see what the next 6 months will bring.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ezra's {Almost Unmedicated} Birth Day

At my 40 week appointment, my blood pressure was much higher than it had been.  My feet were swollen, everything was sore, but I wasn't quite ready for an induction, yet.  I wanted him to come when he was ready.  At my 41 week appointment, everything was worse, and I was just ready to be done.  My midwife said I could hold off until Wednesday evening to give little dude a chance to come on his own, and I agreed to that.  She said they would use Cytotec, which I had researched during pregnancy.  I was very concerned about using it, but I was assured that most of the negative outcomes were due to overdosing and that we would only use 1/4 of a tablet, and MIGHT need a second 1/4 tablet 4 hours after the first.  

We got to the hospital at 7pm on Wednesday, October 24th.  I was 3cm, 80% effaced, and contracting on my own every 7 minutes, before anything was given.  At 8pm, ¼ tablet of cytotec was placed.  My midwife was convinced that was all I would need to kick start labor.  I wasn’t so convinced, though, for whatever reason.  Fletcher and I watched TV and just…waited.  Around 11pm, I could tell the contractions were getting more intense and asked him to turn the TV off and plug my computer in so we could listen to a playlist of instrumental Hymns.  I asked for a birth ball and sat in front of Fletcher’s chair so he could apply counter pressure to my back and hips during contractions. 

At 1am, I asked to get in the tub.  The hot water and the jets on my back felt good, but I just couldn’t find a comfortable position to work through the contractions.  Leaning back into the jets made them worse, and my legs were so swollen that getting on hands and knees just wasn’t working, either.  My contractions were coupling for two minutes every 2 ½ to 3 minutes, so I had maybe 30 seconds of a break between them during transition.  All of the pain was in my lower back.  I don’t even know how to describe the intensity.  

A little after 3am, my nurse asked if I could get out so she could do a 20 minute strip on baby and then my midwife would break my water.  I was 8-9cm with a bulging bag.  Someone told me once that cervical checks during labor didn’t phase them at all.  BOLOGNA.  Holy cow, they hurt.  I thought maybe laying on my back was making them worse, so I asked if I could lay on my side once…nope…not cool.  Next time, they said I could leave the bed raised and put my feet on the squat bar.  That didn’t help, either.  I had Fletcher in a bear hug with my head in his shoulder every time.  

A little before 4am, my midwife broke my water, which felt…weird.  There was a little meconium staining, so she called the pediatrician on call to give her a heads up that she might need to head in soon.  Everyone thought it would be just a couple hours before Ezra was here.

With the hymns playing and a lavender block in the hospital-provided Scentsy burner, my midwife and nurse both said it was the most relaxing labor they can remember attending.  And, it kind of was relaxing at that point.  I felt in control, I was still able to smile and laugh (which shocked them) but I knew it wasn't going to be that way for long.

At 8am, I was still at 9cm, with a lip.  For those 4 hours, my midwife and our L&D nurse had been right there.  Helping apply counter pressure, giving Fletcher bottles of warm saline to hold on my back, helping me get on hands and knees to help Ezra get in the right position.  I got back in the tub for a while, but I can’t remember what time it was.  

At 9am, having been stuck at 9-9.5cm for over 4 hours, I looked at Fletcher and said, “I just need…something.  I don’t even know what they can give me now, but I just need a break.”  My nurse had stepped outside for a minute, and when she came back she said, “Deann just called and said that she doesn’t want to offend you and knows how badly you want to get through without medication, but she was wondering if we could just offer you something to help you rest for a few hours so you have the energy to push, and it’ll probably relax your body enough to finish dilating.”  It was just perfect timing.  No one had said a word about medications before this, but everyone, including me, knew I just needed a break.  

I got back in the bed and the nurse brought the Dilauded in.  I had a heplock in place (that bugged the tar out of me, by the way) and she pushed half a dose during the first contraction, waiting for the second to push the rest.  That stuff stung.  Just a few contractions later, I could tell it didn’t hurt nearly as badly.  Fletcher was sitting in a chair next to the bed, dozed off, and almost fell out of the chair.  I was getting sleepy, too.  Both of us had been up for over 24 hours.  The nurse looked at him and said, “Go lay on the couch for a little bit.  I’ll sit with her.”  He looked at me and I said, “Go lay down.  This stuff is about to knock me out, anyway.”  I drifted in and out.  I could still tell when contractions were happening, but I didn’t feel them.  The nurse said she could tell the intensity was getting higher, though, because I was curling my toes more and more with each one. 

Around 11, Fletcher woke up.  The Dilauded was starting to wear off and contractions were hurting again.  Our midwife had gone up to the clinic for a few hours to get some of her appointments in.  She came back down around 11:30 and checked me.  I just had a little lip of a cervix left, so she held it back to see if pushing a little would make it go away.  Um…that hurt.

At 12:15, I felt his head just drop. I screamed.  I had been telling myself for months that I would NOT scream, grunt, say “Ow,” or get mad at anyone.  I was choosing to do this without medication and just needed to suck it up and deal. 

They broke the bed down, called everyone who needed to be there back in the room, and we thought we were going to have a baby pretty quickly.  I didn’t like my feet being in the low stirrups (bed was sitting straight up because I did not want to lean back for anything) so they pulled the high stirrups out.  I never thought I would deliver like that, and my midwife was really surprised that’s what I wanted, but it worked. 

I started pushing at 12:15.  I have no recollection of time between then and 3:02, when Ezra was born.  I remember Fletcher saying, “I know, I know,” during the contractions, just trying to be sympathetic.  It got to the point where I just wanted to grab his face and say, “NO, YOU DON’T!!!!!!” but I didn’t.  I remember one nurse (not the one who was with us the entire time) coming in for a few minutes and saying, “Honey, don’t just breathe in and out.  You need to be pushing,” and my midwife saying, “She is pushing.  This is the best open glottis pushing I’ve ever seen.”  Heh…I was just doing what my body told me to do.  Amazing that I didn’t need to hold my breath and have someone there counting to ten over and over.

I remember hitting a point where I was just done.  It felt like he was never coming.  I just knew he was stuck and I was going to end up with a c-section.  But, no one else in that room was going to let that happen.  At one point, the fetal monitor started picking up my heart rate, which caused a bit of a panic.  The nurse put a pulse ox on my finger to see if that is what happened, and then she just left it there.  I wanted to throw that stupid thing across the room.  After a few contractions, I remembered that I COULD just ask if she would take it off and not risk hitting someone with it.  And she did. 

I remember my midwife saying, “You’re tired.  Baby’s getting tired.  You need to push him out.”  So, I pushed…and screamed…and grunted…and yelled, “Ow!”  I said “I can’t,” several times.  The contractions spaced out at one point, which was super frustrating.  Like my body just decided it didn’t want to do this anymore.  They picked up again, still coupling, still in my back.  Precious.  My midwife said, “One more contraction, and we’ll have a baby.”  I thought, “Yeah, right.”  I thought maybe 3 or 4…but 1????  She was right.  One more contraction and he just slid out with 2 pushes.  Granted, it took 3 hours of pushing to get to that point, but still.  I had closed my eyes and had no idea he was out until I heard him crying.  Fletcher was looking at me and didn’t know it, either.  But, there he was. 

She placed him on my chest so she could clamp and Fletcher could cut the cord.  They let him stay there for a few minutes before the pediatrician and respiratory tech wanted to look at him to make sure he didn’t aspirate any meconium.  Just a few minutes later, they handed him back and we did skin-to-skin for about 3 hours.  20 hours after my admission, after 17 hours of back labor and 3 hours of pushing, we had our 8 pound, 8.8 ounces, 20 ½ inches of chunky baby.  Who, even though we tried to evict him, decided to still keep his own timetable.

Our nurse came in before she left at the end of her shift and told me I had made her feel like a nurse.  That she was grateful she had been able to use her skills and help a mom and baby through labor.  She and every other nurse and physician in the hospital was absolutely phenomenal.  Almost enough to make me say that I can’t wait for it again… ;-)

UPDATE: I'm not about to say that unmedicated labor and birth didn't did...a lot.  But weeks 2 and 3 of nursing hurt so much worse.  I didn't cry at all during labor...I bawled like a baby those 2 weeks every time he nursed.  But, we pushed through it, the pain eventually went away, and we're still exclusively nursing and hoping to keep going until he's 2.  Now I know that child birth actually isn't the most painful thing on the planet and I can get through it next time like it's nothing.  :)

The huge bruise on his head is from being malpositioned while I was pushing.
Stubborn, stubborn child.

My husband's thoughts about Ezra's birth day can be found here.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

If You Want Something Done Right...

Just do it yourself. 

I had the most difficult time finding a maternity swimsuit that was anywhere near decently modest.  So, I found a style at that looked like it might work.  When it was delivered, though, the top was still too low.  Unfortunately, I don't know of anyone who makes camis for swimsuits.

I googled "swimsuit modesty panel" and only found one tutorial using swimsuit fabric.  It's $16/yd at Joann's.  I figured I could make something work with an existing swimsuit.  Took a trip to our local Wal-Mart store and picked up the cheapest black tankini top I could find, a ball-point needle for my sewing machine, and just went for it.

I ended up not needing the bias tape, since the hem of the tankini served the same purpose (to give support to the panel).

After cutting the top portion off the tankini, I pinned around the non-serged edges so the lining wouldn't separate from the fabric.

I pinned the tankini piece to the swimsuit top and trimmed away a good bit of the excess fabric.

Trimmed after sewing.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Attempt to Copycat Chick-fil-a Nuggets

One thing I miss A LOT is Chick-fil-a.  Nuggets, sandwiches, lemonade, waffle fries, Chick-fil-a sauce.  I found several copycat recipes online and decided to throw them all together.  They're still missing...something...but they turned out pretty good, especially with some Kraft Honey Mustard Barbecue Sauce.  And of course we had to have waffle fries.  :)

Here's what I did, and it was a full dinner for 2 adults.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Buttermilk, enough to cover chicken pieces
1 egg
1/4 cup Dill Pickle Juice
1/4 tsp Paprika
2 Cups Flour
2 Tbs Powdered Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper

Cut up chicken breasts into nugget-sized pieces and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix beaten egg with enough buttermilk to cover the chicken pieces (I honestly don't know how much I used).  Add dill pickle juice and a paprika.  Add chicken to mixture

Cover bowl.  Let sit in refrigerator for at least 1 hr, or up to 24 hours.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a heavy pot over med-high heat, or in a fryer, to 375 degrees F.

In another large bowl or gallon-sized zip top bag, mix  flour, powdered sugar, salt and pepper.  Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture and add to flour mixture.  Shake or stir until pieces are well covered.  

Carefully place chicken in oil.  Fry at least 1 minute on each side, until cooked through.  Some of my pieces weren't completely crispy, so they may need to fry a little longer.  Goal is golden brown color on the outside.

Use tongs to remove to a plate covered with a paper towel to drain.

I also had some pieces "slide" out of their coating when removed from the fryer.  A few recipes said to dredge the pieces in flour, place them back in a bowl with 2 beaten eggs, and then dredge them again.  That may help the coating stick a little better.

**I am in no way affiliated with Chick-fil-a and this is NOT their official recipe.  This is an adapted mixture of several copycat recipes and is an attempt to help with being a little bit homesick.  :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

We went to our 18 week appointment this afternoon, just expecting to hear Peanut's heartbeat on the doppler and then make the appointment for the anatomical/diagnostic ultrasound in mid-June.  

Our nurse took us to one of the ultrasound-less exam rooms, got us settled, and our midwife came in with the doppler.  After she said hi and asked how I was feeling, she asked if we wanted to know if we were having a boy or a girl, and would we like to do that now?  Of course, we said yes, so we went down the hall to one of the ultrasound rooms.  

She checked the heartbeat with the doppler, first, and it was 150 bpm.  Peanut's heartbeat has been around 165 the previous visits, so I was kinda thinking girl, even though all my symptoms and "instincts" were leaning boy.  She fired up the ultrasound and we tried for a long time to get a good look. Peanut, like his parents, is an introvert, and wanted nothing to do with being looked at.  We watched some swallowing and the little heart, fingers, arms, and legs.  We finally got a good shot and confirmed that Peanut is a BOY!!

This is our son, Ezra David.  :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

October's Gonna Get Crazy

I've kinda forgotten to update the blog, but we have something to share now!!

On February 7th, we found out that Baby Abbott is on his or her way, due October 17th!!

We've been praying for this for a while now and are SO excited!!!!  We'll find out if Peanut will be a Phoebe* or Phoebo* around the middle of June.  :)

*Not the actual names we have selected for our child.  If you're a fan of Friends, you should get it.  Real names are TBA.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Why We Waited to Kiss

Many people have asked us why we waited until the wedding to kiss. This is our story.
When I was 16, our youth pastor was doing the sermon one Sunday and the ONLY thing I remember is him challenging the youth to not kiss until their wedding. Our church is conservative Southern Baptist, but it's not "Duggar Conservative" (LOVE their family, btw) so it wasn't an idea or guideline I had been raised with. I remember there were about ten of us who took the challenge. I know of 2 who made it all the way to their wedding.

I was in 10th grade and been “going out” with a guy in my class. When I told him I had made that decision, he said it was ok with him, but a few weeks later, he said it wasn't working so we broke up. I went to a tiny public school in a tiny country town, so eventually everyone knew why we broke up, and if being a Christian who didn't go to parties was reason enough to be judged, they were loving the new material. But, I had a great group of Christian friends who said a guy who respected me enough would come along. My commitment also caused my senior year relationship to end, as well, even though he knew about it before we started dating.

I didn't date anyone until I met Fletcher 3 1/2 years later. (This wasn't a "no -dating conviction" thing...I just didn't meet anyone I had any interest in dating). Before we started dating, we knew we both wanted to wait until marriage to live together and to consummate the relationship, but I didn't bring up the kissing thing. I liked him so much and I didn't want to lose another one.

On our first date, we had a boundaries discussion, and he said he was fine with holding hands and hugging, but he wanted to wait on kissing. He never said how long, and I didn't want to say the word "marriage" on the first date. :) I thought about not bringing it up with him...I was 16 when I made that decision, and I was 21 when we started dating. I told myself I was old enough to control myself.

I went home for church one Sunday and one of the younger high schoolers was asking about this boy I was constantly talking about. She asked, "Does he want to wait until his wedding to kiss, too?" I had totally forgotten that I told the younger youth girls about it. So, I decided that if he brought it up, I would talk to him about it.

2 days later, we were sitting on the couch, he kissed my cheek, and his goatee tickled me. He laughed and said, "What are you going to do when I really kiss you?" So...he brought it up. I told him about my decision, scared to death he was going to break up with me, but...he didn't. He said that while he had not made that decision as early as I had, it was something he had thought about and wanted to commit to it.

It wasn't easy. It was honestly more difficult than not sleeping together, because we were raised knowing that's for marriage. We don't believe that kissing before marriage is a sin...but for us, it was a very clear boundary so we didn't have to worry about "How far is too far?"
Our first kiss. June 11, 2011 5:50pm

Friday, March 18, 2011

Quiet Time

I'm going through "Live Intimately: Lessons from the Upper Room" in my Quiet Times right now and Philippians 2:3-11 was part of the reading for today.  I've read Philippians, I've taught a small group on Philippians, and I still find something new every time.

ESV: Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I also love how The Message words this passage:

 1-4If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if His love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

 5-8Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of Himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of Himself that He had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, He set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, He stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, He lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

9-11Because of that obedience, God lifted Him high and honored Him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that He is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.

Have you read anything lately that you've seen differently now than the last 27 times you read it?  Or has anything just stuck out to you lately?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick the Church Planter

 Patrick was neither Irish nor particularly religious, at least not initially. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat in 385 AD as a Roman citizen in the Welsh town of Banwen, and for the first sixteen years of his life he was an avowed pagan.

 He was captured by Gaelic slave traders (some sources say Irish pirates/raiders/barbarians) at the age of sixteen and sold to an Irish sheep farmer. Patrick was enslaved for six years, during which he turned to Christianity for comfort. He escaped at the age of 22, and spent the next 12 years living in a British monastery. It was there that he adopted the name Patrick.  He returned to Ireland after his time in a monastery, along with 20-some followers, serving as a Christian missionary. He remained in Ireland until his death on March 17, 460 AD.

St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity to the Druids in Ireland, who viewed the shamrock as sacred.  Patrick would hold up a shamrock and challenge his hearers,  "Is it one leaf or three?" "It is both one leaf and three," was their reply.  "And so it is with God," he would conclude.

Of the 150 tribes he ministered to, 30-40 of them became substantially Christian. He trained over 1,000 pastors and planted over 700 churches around Ireland. The "wear your green" came from the reminder to wear a shamrock to remind yourself to share about the Trinity and your faith.

The myth that Saint Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland into the Irish Sea is just that -- a myth. Many locals still insist that the serpents were drowned in the Irish Sea by Saint Patrick, causing their seas to be so rough. The truth, however, is that serpents where never native to Ireland. The story is most likely a metaphor for the druidic religions, which disappeared from the Emerald Island after St. Patrick spread the seeds of Christianity. has almost as much to do with Leprechauns and green beer as Easter has to do with freakishly large, egg-hiding bunnies.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Still Kickin'

Kinda forgot about the blog...oops.  I've been home for about 4 weeks now, and it's been pretty good.  Last weekend, the family took a trip up to Fredericksburg for Taylor's high school graduation.  It's crazy that she's going to college this fall.  Wedding plans are going great.  We have a date, a church, reception venue, I have a gown & veil, my bridesmaids are starting to pick their dresses, and we have LOTS of glass for the candy buffet.  We've also picked all the music for the ceremony, which we've decided to keep a secret.  No real reason...just because we can. :)  I get to go down to NC this Sunday to see Fletcher and visit the church he's interning at this summer.  I'm not a fan of being all.  But, we'll be married in 366 days!!  Family vacation is in 36 days...and if that would like to hurry up and get here, that'd be great!  We've been looking forward to Kiawah since the first snowstorm hit back in December.  This year, it'll be the 5 of us, Beth & Taylor, and Sarah!  I'm so excited to get some girl time in.  It's weird to think that next summer is going to so different than what we're used to. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Perfect Day

So, all I knew about the plans for today is that we were going to church and that I should eat breakfast, because Fletcher wasn't sure when we'd get a chance to eat before dinner. After church, we got in the car, and he told me to drive across the street to:

Starbucks on Timberlake
This is where he asked me to officially be his girlfriend January 10, 2009. The day he asked me, he showed me a fortune cookie slip that said, "A thrilling time is in store for you." Today, he gave me that slip to keep, and then asked me to drive to:

The House I Lived In Last Year
This house is where he told me he loved me for the first time, and where we had the discussion that we wanted to save our first kiss for our wedding day. We had many deep discussions at the house as our relationship was beginning to develop. From there, he told me to drive to:

The Dollar Theatre
This is where we went to see Dark Knight November 15, 2008. At the time, neither one of us wanted to ask if that was a date...but now we know it kinda was. After that movie got out, he walked me to my car and asked if I wanted to go get coffee the next day. Today, he gave me the ticket stubs from Dark Knight, and from our first official date. And, since we couldn't make it to the Applebee’s parking lot because of traffic, he gave me the ticket stubs from the play we saw last Valentines' Day. That Applebee’s is where we had our first dinner date and where we had dinner last Valentines'. From there, he told me to drive to:

Dorm 25-1
That's where Fletcher was an RA last year. We would meet outside the dorm to go walk or hang out. Outside that dorm is also where, on December 2, 2008, he told me that he liked me and wondered if I felt the same way. We decided that we would talk over Christmas break, but we wouldn't make the relationship "official" until the beginning of the next semester. From the dorm, he told me to go to:

DeMoss Hall
This is the main academic building on campus, and it's where the computer lab is. Fletcher walked me up to the 2nd floor lab, and we sat on the couches where we would sit and talk after class. There, he got up, told me to wait, and before he left he handed me a letter that said:

Thus far we have spent this day reliving our journey together. I wanted to do this together with you in order to savor some of the best moments in our relationship. Unfortunately I must leave you behind for a little while on the next part of this journey, but don't worry. We have friends who have played roles within our relationship and guided it in ways that we may never have fully expected.
The next part of this adventure is one in which you will need to trust the guidance of some of our friends just as I had to do in the beginning of our relationship. It is my hope that during this time you will be reminded of the role other people have played in our relationship and that they will continue to play a role as we continue on this adventure together.
Don't worry. I may have let you walk alone on this part of our journey today but I am waiting for you on the other side anticipating your arrival. I love you very much and already miss seeing your face even though it has only been for a few moments. Happy Valentines' Day, sweetheart. It is my hope that my creativity on this day thus far has been worthwhile to you. After all, I may not be able to give you riches of kings but I give you my heart. Perhaps that is the most important gift of all I could give you on this day. I look forward to seeing you on the other side.
So sit, wait, and your first guide will soon arrive.

So I sat, and waited, and then I saw Jesse walk around the corner. Jesse is one of Fletcher’s best friends from home, and when I saw that he had driven in today, I knew something was up. Jesse had a picture of Fletcher and I that had 1 Corinthians 13 on it.

Jesse read the passage and then took me down the hall to Eric, one of Fletcher’s SLDs this year and was also on his hall last year. Eric had another picture of us that said,

“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

Eric and Jesse then took me down to Chris who has been on Fletcher’s hall the last two years and was in our English class last semester. Chris’s picture said:

“Love. We think about it, Sing about it, Dream about it and lose sleep worrying about it. When we don’t know we have it, we search for it. When we discover it, we don’t know what to do with it. When we have it, we fear losing it. It is the constant source of pleasure and pain. But we don’t know which it will be from one moment to the next. It is a short word, easy to spell, difficult to define, and IMPOSSIBLE to live without.”

Jesse, Eric, and Chris then took me down to Damian, who has also been on Fletcher’s hall and was also in our English class last semester. {and, thanks to Damian, some of the guys on Fletcher's hall this year heard me SCREAM at SacreMare} Damian’s picture said,

“I am nothing special of this I am sure. I am just a common man with common thoughts. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, that has always been enough.”

The guys then took me to the door of the classroom where Fletcher and I met on August 25, 2008. Standing outside the door was Anthony, who sat in front of me and next to Fletcher during that English class. Anthony read the quote on his picture:

“The dark is generous, and it is patient, and it always wins—but in the heart of its strength lies weakness: one lone candle is enough to hold it back. Love is more than a candle. Love can ignite the stars.”

Anthony opened the door, and Fletcher was sitting in his seat. On the board, he had written: "Lesson #1: Men are like planets,” which comes from the first time we got together to study for an English test, and I had a typo in my notes that he, as you can see, still mocks me for, and has earned him the nickname, “Planet.” We talked for a bit, remembering the first time we met, and when he turned around and said, “Hi. I’m Fletcher,” that I looked like a deer in headlights. He told me not to look for a second, and then, over my shoulder, was another fortune cookie that he used when he asked me to be his girlfriend. This one said, “Your wish is about to come true.” He said (and this is paraphrase, because my brain is still mush right now…but it’s all on video that will be posted as soon as possible), “Last January, my wish was that you would be my girlfriend, but now {he starts turning me around} my wish is that you would be my wife.” {He pulls out the ring box and gets down on one knee and asks me to marry him}. The guys were taking pictures and video the whole time, and after we thanked them, we drove to Roanoke to tell my parents.

But that’s the story…and it was a perfect day.