Monday, June 29, 2015

Morning Mommy Prayer

A tear ran down my face as I thanked God for Ana Sofia. Because in being grateful for her, I acknowledge that she isn't mine. And when something isn't yours you don't have control . And when you don't have control you realize that it might not always be there. It makes me treasure the moment and admit I'm finite. And a little bit sad.
I just got started in this mommy thing. And it often seems to be about all the things that could go wrong rather that the things that go right. I am constantly checking if she is still breathing when she is quiet, rather than relishing all the times she is breathing. For everything I do, there are ten things not to do.
Coming home from the hospital a family of three means everything is new: how does eating work now? How does sleeping work? Pooping? Conversation? Affection? Visitors? Clothing? Bath time? Trial and error as we not only get to know a new soul, but this soul is brand new and just being made. We are not just discovering, we are creating, and we are creating the future and eternity. I want to do that well.

Ana Sofia is Born

“300,000 women will be giving birth with you today. Relax and breathe and do nothing else. Labor is hard work and you can do it.” ~Unknown

Ana Sofia was due June 17th. By Wednesday, June 24 (Sao Joao), I had contractions starting at 9am, but they didn't get serious until 6pm. By 9pm, we were at the hospital with the doula, and by midnight I was in the birthing pool. The doctor came in the early morning, once I was in active labor, and broke my water when I was 7cm dilated. By 11:30am, the baby and I were both ready to be done. Caid joined me in the birthing pool and over a series of 5 contractions (and agonizing waiting in between), Ana Sofia was born at 12:09pm, all natural.
Ana Sofia started eating right away, and everyone agreed that she looks and eats like her dad.
We rested and were checked on the rest of Thursday and Friday, and then both mom and baby were given a clean bill of health (Ana was 3250 kilos-7.17 pounds and 50cm-19 inches), and allowed to go home Friday evening. 
Thank you so much for your love, care, and prayers!
Birth vlog:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's day Caid!

My amazing husband who went from boy to man to father,
You have done this husband thing so well. I love you more now than I ever have before (and that is to be expected) but I respect you more now than I ever have before and that is surprising: because I know you more. Most of the time, day-to-day living wears that down. It reveals the cracks and says, “Yes, I am committed, but I don’t always have to like it.” You let your cracks lead us both to light, and I am better for it.
A good friend said to me after you played her a song, “You had told me he was good, but I didn’t know he was that good. You just seem to expect him to excel. I’ve never seen you believe in someone that much.”
You never had a father to show you how to be a husband, but you chose to learn and watch and do and give your all. God put people in your life to help fill the void you never fully realized you had. We’ve spent 10 months together as man and wife, and 9 months together as man and pregnant wife. Now we will spend the rest of our lives as mother and father.
You feel it strongly, as you watch the young girl pass by, “Will we let our daughter wear those shorts?” You feel it tenderly, as my belly bumps you, “Stop! I have to kiss her again.” You feel it achingly, as we read the racial headlines, “What are we bringing her into?”
You will be an amazing father. I know this because you want it, and you will not stop until you achieve it: that is who you are. You will kiss her cheeks too much, and throw her too high in the air, and have to leave the room so she won’t see your smile when you try to discipline her—but you will be an amazing father.
You will learn from those around you, and mostly from your heavenly Father—since your earthly father is not here to teach you. You won’t get everything right, but you will love her and you will let those cracks lead our family to the light.
Donald Miller says the number one thing that healthy families do is be honest about their failures: “however, it wasn’t just honesty about a family’s troubled narrative that fueled a child’s health. It was the true story about how the family both succeeds and fails and yet stays together regardless.” I am ready for this adventure with you, my love.
Caid has also been busy vlogging--here are links to his vlogs since the "Ready to Pop" and other ones I posted on here:
Thank you to all those invovled in the Trek!

While I stayed home and rested, Caid got to help at a trip to the botanical gardens:

and part 2:

Check out his amazing vlogging at "Five Minutes of Fergie" on youtube:) 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Baby Girls need Flowers

Pastor Flavio's daughter, Heloise, always has bow/flowers/something cute in her hair.
And my amazing friend Becky makes, sells, and uses them:
Check out her stuff on Facebook at "Sweet Holy Baby"
So I got my Pinterest on and decided to give it a try: (For Ana Sofia, of course)
And this is how I did it:
My awesome friend Lindsay Turner gave me scrap pieces of cool material. I put them together as I wanted them (two kinds for each hair flower).
Then I cut them into squares--3 of one kind, 2 of another, each one smaller than the one before.
Then I cut them into either circles or 3/4 petal flowers (I had bad scissors, so it was easier to do that in two steps). All of this took me about an hour for 10 flowers. 
Then I took a candle (this was fun!) and slightly burnt all the edges (so I wouldn't have to sew them) so they would not fray (this took about 20 minutes for 10 flowers)
Find a clip and some kind of "middle button/bead" thing to add, and then sew it on (just sorta figure this out. It took me over an hour to finish up 10 flowers)
Whoohoo! Two and a half hours later...
Can you tell I am sorta kinda ready to have a baby? 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Nine Months Pregnant

(This is a couple of days early, since I feel good today, and who knows when this baby is coming)

For those of you who don't know, I have this human in my belly. And I have a theory. Just as in living in close quarters with my husband we share experiences and it doubles our joy/tears/laughter/love, the same is true of this lil girl creature. My theory goes on to say that the things that Ana Sofia likes--I now enjoy even more. From this, I have deduced that Ana Sofia's favorite things are:
1. Sitting down (I suddenly LOVE sitting down. All. The. Time)
2. French Fries
3. Hot showers (Our shower heater died and in those couple of days I became exceptionally grumpy. But Caid and a friend fixed it. Smiles back)

Last week (week 37 and 38, but who is counting) I gained three pounds. That is pretty exceptional since I've only gained around 20 pounds the whole pregnancy (9.5 kilos). My energy level is way down and my appetite is up. The car trunk is packed with tons of stuff, just in case. And the "going into the waiting game" phase is creeping up quickly.

Unexpected blip: in Brazil, you buy burp rags and then send them to your seamstress. I bought them and washed them instead. And all the ends came out everywhere. And I don't have a seamstress. So I've dusted off the needle and thread and am sewing up a lot of edges. Makes me feel nice and old fashioned.

Most everything else interesting about this last month has been documented in our vlogs (yea!!!), so here are you links: here is about being pregnant in general (it is funny:)) and being preggers in Brazil. Here was our awesome Brazilian baby shower (thanks ladies!). Here is the final vlog before baby comes--Ready to POP!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


I wasn't the pretty one. I was the frumpy one who listened to all of the dress code and didn't get in trouble. I had known about the incessant (and often ridiculous) rules before I had signed up. I was working and living with kids who did not have the emotional ability to handle life and the many traumas it had served them--and so it often got taken out on me. And it was my job to love them. It was one of the hardest years of my life, but through it, I realized what life looked like, walking with/needing/wanting God. That program was called EQUIP, at the training center through the Bill Gothard ministry. Yes, THAT one. The one the Duggar family is involved in. 

I was one of the two out of three girls that did not get molested or abused as a child. I do not say that to belittle the statistic, but as a responsibility to fight for the wholeness of 33% of my sisters who were. My heart hurts for those involved in the ATI program who were hurt or abused. If there was incest or abuse in your family, the issue is far deeper than the Bill Gothard books on your table, and I pray you are able to find deeper healing than joining in bitter dialog of "that program." I am not asking for your silence--I am asking for your wholeness.

Being the victim of a cult will not free you. Complete healing is where bitterness and hate have no hold. Don't stop at being angry at ATI, or IBLP, or Bill, or the person who abused you--move on to healing in Christ! That will probably (most definitely) involve counseling. As someone who's been to college with a counseling major--the first thing they did was send me to counseling. BEST THING EVER. I recommend it to anyone who can--even if you haven't been abused. We all have hurts. And we all need to stop and deal with them.

I understand that those who suffered wrongfully need open dialog to walk towards healing. I desire to help and assist as I can. But hate never has a part of healing. Lashing out, ridiculing, or trying to humiliate others (even those who hurt you) will not bring you freedom or peace. There is a better way.

I do not think that Harry Potter books turn people into witches, and I do not think Bill Gothard books turn people into abusers. I can find plenty of things that were wrong with ATI/Bill Gothard ministries/programs that I was a part of for 15 years. I never walked into it blind. But since Bill Gothard was never god to me, I was never a victim of a cult. I am not defined by his, or anyone elses' (Josh Duggar) sins. My experience with the program was a learning, growing one. I have been made whole and strong through a personal relationship with Jesus, not with Bill.

With the Duggar scandal is a whole new round of ATI/Bill Gothard (even homeschooling and purity values) hate, and I am sure it will not be the last. But let it instead be a call for us to help healing for the abuse victims, not for gossip/hate/slander. Let it be a call to stand up and fight for the things that will matter and change the future--like sharing God's healing love and truly loving our families and praying for our children--and taking practical steps to keep them safe in a way that gives them roots and wings.

No Electricity

I am waiting for the cloud to pass to let some sunlight filter through the tiny window in our apartment. I cannot see well enough to finish reading my devotional without it. It is a long process, as many clouds come and go.
It is bright enough to see fine when the sun is shining, and hot enough that I do not want to light a candle, as we have no fans or other way to cool down. The electricity has been off all morning and we do not know why. More disturbing, we do not know for how long. These things happen . It is a third world country. And so you shrug it off and go on with life .
Or do you? With the next cloud cover, I put my Bible down on the bed impatiently. What frustrates me the most is how obvious it is that I cannot control anything . Most of the time I feel reasonably in control of things, reasonably secure, and reasonably sure that everything is going to be all right. But then something happens: someone dies. Someone does something unforgivable . Nature shows you it is still wild and untamed. The electricity goes out.
Yes, it is a little thing. It could have been worse. But it makes me stop and pause ( with every cloud) and wait . And pray. And tell God the silly little things on my mind.