Sunday, January 30, 2011

Counting Blessings

I don't really have much to say tonight- but kind of felt like blogging anyway. I guess one reason is because I have just been feeling so blessed lately. I keep thinking, "Man, I am just really lucky". Sometimes, I complain about things or I let things bother and worry me more than I should, but then I remember all of the blessings that I have received lately and throughout my life and really, life is good.
Here are some of the things I've been grateful for lately.
1) I am pregnant and this pregnancy so far has been wonderful. I have been thoroughly enjoying watching my body change and my belly grow and learning about what's happening inside of me. It's amazing! I love feeling the baby move, I can't help but smile when I do. And I can't wait until Jeff can feel the wee one kick.
2) I keep getting these little assurances that everything is okay and that everything will be okay. Heavenly Father lets me know he's aware of me and my concerns or troubles.
3) I have a wonderful, hardworking husband who, often, when I am struggling with something gently and lovingly reminds me to seek Heavenly Father's guidance.
4) I have a fantastic family. I love being around them- all of them (though sometimes all at one time can be a bit overwhelming :) I married into a wonderful family. I mean, how lucky can a girl get?
5) Though I am still in school, besides our home, we've managed to stay out of debt.
6) We have a lovely home that's just the right size for us and that is comfortable to live in. It feels good being home.
7) I only have one more year left in school. I have really enjoyed being in school and am enjoying it still- as tired as I am- but I will definitely be glad when I can take a break for a little while (I plan to go back, eventually).
8) I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends. Today, I was thinking about the people that are in my life right now- my friends, and even people that I am just acquaintances with, and how I feel that they are in my life for a reason and at this time for a reason. I feel like my life would not be the same without them, that it would be almost incomplete. I'm grateful for good friends and good people.
9) We're able to save for fun vacations. Last year we made it to New York and Alaska and this year we are heading to Nevada. I'm grateful that we can save for these trips and enjoy them- though after this year's trip- it might be a little while before we take another. :)
10) I know who I am. I do not question where I came from. Sometimes, though I question what my duty is and how I am doing on my quest to become more like my Savior, I do not question where I am going.

These are just some of the blessings I've been thinking about lately. And now, for you viewing pleasure-

As you prepare for tax season...

To end on a more spiritual and real note, here is some of what Neal A. Maxwell had to say on the subject:

Various divine observations about human nature, such as the one that follows, indicate why developing and sustaining daily faith can be such a challenge: "And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him" (Helaman 12:3).

Why is this so? Is it simply unintended forgetfulness? Or is it a failure of intellectual integrity by our refusing to review and to acknowledge past blessings? Or is it a lack of meekness which requires the repetition of such stern lessons, because we neglect the milder and gentler signs beckoning us to "remember Him"? Deliberately cultivating spiritual memories thus becomes a large part of maintaining daily faith. Counting ourblessings is one way of discounting our fears and anxieties.

He continues further (and I appreciate this, because there have definitely been times when I have asked for a particular blessing and I did not receive that blessing at that time).

Sometimes in daily life our eyes are "holden" (see Luke 24:16). Things to which we are so close and which should be obvious enough are, ironically, often unclear to us. We can't always make out what lies just two steps ahead. Instead, we are to trust the Lord and walk by faith in such circumstances, taking the next first step, until the wisdom of the Lord indicates otherwise. Later we will see how we stared directly at the obvious but still could not see it. Besides, having received so many blessings involving one divine "yes" after another, we should not be surprised if there is an occasional, divine "no," if only because of divine timing.

If everything in one's immediate context were constantly clear, God's plan would not work. Hard choices as well as passing through periodic mists of darkness are needed in order to maintain life's basic reality—that we are to overcome by faith.

And finally, to finish off, he says this:

Even so, life is full of so many wonderful and beautiful things. These we are to appreciate while we endure other things. God, who has given us so much, desires that we develop our capacity to appreciate further the beautiful scenery, the gorgeous sunsets, and a rich earth which has resources and beauties "enough and to spare" (D&C 104:17), though mortal systems may contradict and interdict that abundance. Even so, few lives, indeed, are so barren or so incessantly beset that there is not cause to appreciate and to enjoy all that is lovely and praiseworthy. Part of worshipping God is to appreciate the blessed and happy things even as we pass through the noxious and obnoxious things. True, life's recesses and reveries do not last for long, but they are there, as a foretaste. The many blessings to be counted far outnumber the trials which press upon us.

If you ever get a chance, this comes from his book, "Lord, Increase Our Faith"- Chapter 7, Faith that Takes up the Cross Daily. It's a good read and helps to put things into perspective.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dr. Appointment Joys and Frustration

Yesterday after work, I headed towards home for a dr. appointment. I was so excited to go to the doctor and to hear my baby's heart beat. I had been feeling anxious and just needed the reassurance that everything was okay. And, so far everything is okay. When I got there, I had to pee in a cup of course, and boy was I ever grateful. And then I had to stand on a scale. In all honesty, I really thought the scale was broken. I weighed more than I ever had before. I'm sure I should come to expect that at some point, but I seriously just weighed myself a couple of days ago and did not weigh that much. So, I told the nurse that I thought the scale was off. She assured me that it wasn't.

Afterwards, I met with the doctor. She checked my belly, told me my uturus was in the right place (I have no idea how she knows that from feeling my belly... I've been trying to figure it out) and we listened to the heart beat. It took a little time for her to find it, but she did- the baby was moving a bit, I suppose. It was such a relief to hear that precious dub- dub. She said it sounded great. Then, I told her I had a ton of questions to ask her. I asked her all of my questions and finally, she told me that she didn't think their practice would be a good fit for me. I felt so discouraged. What am I to do now. Partially, I feel like I should just give up... it's so much easier to just go through a traditional hospital birth, but partially, I want to fight my cause. I don't want to deliver my baby laying on my back, feet up in stirrups. Is that strange? And, I would like to have my OB, the person I'd been seeing throughout my pregnancy, deliver my baby, not one of 10 other physicians whom I've never met- is that so wrong? I want to have a natural birth (and yes, I understand that sometimes that isn't possible and I am preparing myself for that as well- but if I can, I really would like to go naturally). Anyway, it was so discouraging... and maybe because the doctor wasn't use to hearing those kinds of questions and maybe because she was stuffed up, she seemed pretty annoyed with me by the end. Gah! I hate leaving negative impressions of myself on people. Anyway, so now... I am just not sure what to do.

Anyway, this morning, I decided to weigh myself- the doctor's scale wasn't off. :/ I really did gain four/five pounds in like two days. And, when I got dressed this morning I had a really, really hard time finding anything to wear. It was a bit frustrating. Guess this just means I get to do some more shopping. :)

Okay, I am switching topics really quickly... so I feel like Heavenly Father has really blessed me throughout this pregnancy so far. For one, I have not had any morning sickness. I've only vomited once when Jeff burped (I couldn't -and still can't for that matter- stand the sound) and several times while brushing my teeth. I'm getting better at brushing without gagging though. I feel really blessed with being able to stomach most food... though there isn't much that I like to eat. I go through phases- last week it was Arby's Roast beef and cheddar sandwiches and Reece's puffs cereal. This week, I haven't had any desire at all for Arby's. One day I like one thing... and then the next, I can't stand it. I feel like if I eat it, it will make me vomit. It's so peculiar. I am so exhausted all of the time as well. They say that once you get into your second trimester, you usually get an energy boost. Well, I guess I am not one of those lucky people. I cannot even explain how tired I am- it's like nothing I've ever experienced and it certainly doesn't help that I am working full-time and taking four classes this semester. So those are my basic symptoms- though recently, I've started feeling some pelvic pain (I guess that's what it is).

I kind of feel like I am rambling here, but I also want to mention this: I have felt the baby move!! It's the most amazing feeling. I first felt it on Saturday, but seeing as how I've never felt a baby move inside of me before, I really wasn't sure. Then, I didn't really feel it on Sunday. On Monday, I was really stressed out and worried about my little one and while I was sitting in class, I could feel it move. I knew then, that it was definitely the baby and I was so grateful. And I've felt it a couple of times since. I can't wait until Jeff can feel it :) It is so amazing- literally awesome. And it fills me with such joy. There really is a living thing inside of me right now. I love it. I love this whole experience and can't believe that I get to do this. And, I can't wait to be a mom- though I still have a lot of preparation before this baby comes.

We get to find out what we're having on February 10th- so stay tuned!! :)

Man, I really need to work on my posture... for the next photo, I will...maybe... if I remember. haha... I was too tired to try to get a better self-portrait of myself. Anyway, this is tonight at 18 and a half weeks. :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The story

So... I must tell the story of when I found out I was pregnant.

Well, I decided to take a pregnancy test one night, even though I knew it would be negative. How did know, you might ask? I dreamt that I took a pregnancy test and it was negative and had a feeling as I unwrapped the wrapper that I what I was doing was a waste. I did it anyway. A few nights later, I had another dream that I took a pregnancy test and it was positive... so later on, remembering that dream, I decided to go for it... having a feeling that it would be positive. I didn't tell Jeff that I was going to do it. It was kind of impromptu. We ate dinner and he started washing dishes. I decided to get ready for bed and headed to the bathroom and made the decision then. I did it... and then I had to wait... so I started to brush my teeth, the whole time staring at the blinking hourglass that tortured me. "Why is it taking so long?" I wondered. I then calmed myself by reminding myself that I should brush my teeth for 3 minutes anyway (the time that the blinking hourglass would blink before giving me an answer). That whole time I tried to brace myself for whatever the result would be... remember, I had a feeling that I would be pregnant, but still not too sure. It wasn't quite time for me to know yet. Well, finally the blinking stopped and "PREGNANT" was displayed on the screen. I nearly choked on the spit and toothpaste concoction in my mouth. I looked at the display in disbelief, holding it up to the light just in case, I was missing the "NOT" part. I wasn't. I started to hyperventilate (mildly of course, not the kind where I had to get a brown paper bag and take deep breaths into it to keep from passing out- though that's what I felt like doing- passing out). I rinsed out my mouth and my toothbrush, tried to calm myself and walked into the kitchen. I didn't say a word to Jeff who was still washing dishes. I grabbed my laptop and went into the bedroom where I immediately dropped to my knees and started praying and sobbing. My prayer went something like this... "Heavenly Father, what in the world were you thinking?" (I know, how dare I ask that question). "This is not a part of my plan, I mean, not right now, not so soon." (I know, I sound a little ridiculous... and this is where it occurred to me that well it was part of my plan). "I know we've been praying about this and trying to figure this out, I just thought it would take longer. What are we going to do? How is this going to work?" (About this time, my sobs quieted and my tears lessened. I began to feel calmer and a reassurance that it would be okay... somehow). I thanked Heavenly Father for my blessings, ended my prayer and dried my eyes... then I sat on the bed (and got onto the computer) as I waited for Jeff. Now here, I should remind you that I did not tell Jeff I was taking a pregnancy test. He had no idea that any of this was happening and that he was going to be a daddy. And, I didn't know if I could tell him... so I left the pregnancy test on the back of the toilet so that he'd find it. I was sure he would use the bathroom before bed. I hear Jeff come down the hall and head to the bathroom to brush his teeth. When he was done in the bathroom, he came into the room and I gave him this look like, "Well?" but to him it looked more like a "Uh oh, you caught me" face... or something along those lines. Because he looked at me and said, "What?" and at that time I realized that he didn't see the pregnancy test. I quickly said, "nothing". "Are you hiding something from me?" he asked. "Nope"... and that was pretty much it. We decided to watch a tv show in bed on the computer. As we were watching, I asked, "Did you go to the bathroom?"
"No," came his reply.
"Don't you normally go to the bathroom before bed?"
"Only if I have to," he answered, "I didn't have to."

A few minutes later...

"Jeff, can you get me a glass of water, please?"
Before he could respond... "Nevermind, I'm not really thirsty".

Pretending to sniffle a couple of minutes later, "Can you go get me a tissue"
Again, before he could respond, I pretended to wipe my nose on his shirt and said, "Nevermind, I don't need one anymore." He didn't really respond. I think he was thinking I was just a weird cat.

Finally, the show is over and I ask, "Jeff, do you normally use the bathroom in the morning after you wake up?"
"I don't know. It depends on if I need to. Why?"
"Just wondering."

Okay, so then we have prayer. He asks, as he usually does, "Is there anything we need to pray about?"
"Just peace and comfort"
"Peace and comfort? For what?"
"Just peace and comfort"

He prays and we go to sleep.

The next morning, we're laying in bed after we wake up. I snuggle up to Jeff.
"Jeff, maybe you should go to the bathroom before I take a shower"
"I don't need to."

We say our personal prayers. Then he says, "Man, you've jinxed me." and heads to the bathroom.

I sit on the bed, waiting for his return. What seemed like hours later, he comes running in like a kid at Christmas. He jumps up onto the bed and starts rubbing my still flat belly and says, "Hi baby, I'm your daddy!" He was super excited and I smiled.

So, there you have it. We're having a baby (which you've already gathered from the previous post) and we're thrilled. I must explain here that it wasn't that I wasn't thrilled to begin with, I was just so nervous and worried about how it would all work out. I mean, I am still in school and I have to finish (or else I fear I never will and I am so close). We only really tried for one month and well, it ended up being our lucky month. I just didn't think it could happen so quickly- so I wasn't quite prepared for that. But, I am grateful that I had a dream that my first pregnancy test was false and I knew it would be false, because when I dreamt that it was positive, I kind of had a feeling that it would be positive, which helped me sort of come to terms with it quicker. Ooh, "come to terms with it"? That's not exactly what I mean, I just don't know a better way to say what I mean. Anyway, it didn't take me long to be just as thrilled as Jeff was when he first found out. I will admit that I did take two more pregnancy tests a couple of days from each other... just to be sure. But when I knew that it was real, I couldn't believe it and this time it was happy awe. I am so, so happy that I get to be a mom. I can't even believe it sometimes. I am going to be a mom. And really this is all I've ever wanted (well and to be married, of course).

P.S. I found out on October 19th that we would be welcoming a little one into our family. Jeff found out on October 20th.

We told our parents on Nov. 19th at Olive Garden.

We told the rest of our family members on Thanksgiving (at our bajillion dinners- I love Thanksgiving!).

I had my first doctor appointment on Dec. 21st. I thought I was 12 weeks and a couple of days. They let me know that I was 13 weeks and 1 day. It as one of the most amazing experiences I'd ever had- hearing the heartbeat and seeing the baby move around. So amazing!

I told my job just last week.

Today, I am 16 weeks and 3 days pregnant.

I am due on June 27th.

From my appointment at 13 weeks.

From my appointment at 13 weeks.

From Today... I look a lot bigger sitting down. Really, if you're just looking at me, you wouldn't be able to tell I was pregnant. Today, someone at work told me that I just look like I ate too much candy this week (ironically enough because- though I haven't mentioned it here, I am not eating sugar or anything like unto it- at all- this week)

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I have secretly always had the desire to create. It's clearly innate in me. When I was younger, I used to save up my money to secretly purchase sketchbooks. When I was supposed to be doing homework or cleaning my room, I would quietly sketch things that I drew. I was never very good, but I was convinced that I had (and still h
ave) the eye of an artist. I see things that I am not sure others see the same way, I just haven't yet figured out how to get it onto paper. I see "art" everywhere and I am grateful for that part of the gift at least, though I wished desperately to be an artist. As I got a little older, I decided I wanted to be a writer. So, I did the same thing, I began to secretly keep journals where I would write down lines to poems that I'd never finished or the beginnings of stories that I would come to never complete. I had the heart and soul of a writer. I still do, and yet I struggle to get the words down on paper the same way that they're conjured up in my head.

I also tried my hand at music. I had the soul of a musician. I'd always loved music and wished that I could create music myself. I know how magical it is. I used to carry around a tape recorder (I really wish I still had those tapes) and record words to songs that I'd try to write- and some vocal journalings.
My family wasn't really musically inclined. None of my siblings played any instruments growing up, and neither did my parents, with the exception of my dad who tried the trumpet for a few months. When I was in fifth grade, I decided to join the orchestra and play the violin. I loved it, but at the time, my family couldn't afford to purchase a violin for me, and so I had to borrow the school's. However, when I was in sixth grade, I decided to join band. When I signed up, I had no idea what instrument I would play, but my band director knew. Mr. Bailey said I should play the flute, so I decided that's what I'd do. I loved it. My dad was able to get a flute for me. I would stay up late practicing, using a rolled up towel in between the gap of the door and the floor. I practiced all the time. I became pretty good and though I started at a beginner level, my band director soon started giving me intermediate music and by the next year, I was in advanced band. It was awesome! I continued to play through about the tenth grade when my flute was broken and so was my heart. Playing the flute had been the only success I'd had at creating something, anything. We couldn't really afford to purchase a new flute, so I had to quit band.

So, you see, I've always wanted to create... always. And, I've always seemed to fail. Now, I know it's not too late and of course I can continue to develop skills. In high school, I decided to take an art class and in college, I took a ceramics course. I loved both. I also decided to learn how to play the guitar and purchased one while in college, but only really learned one song. In college, I took some creative writing classes and came out with a couple of decent products.. But it just hasn't been enough yet to satisfy this longing and craving to create. Since graduating from undergrad, I hadn't really had the time to work on developing any of those talents. I went off to Taiwan to teach English and gave all that I had to teaching and living and surviving in a foreign country where I hardly knew the language. Though it was one of the best experiences of my life and though I learned a lot, it did not leave much room or energies to create (though I did make a greater effort to keep a journal while there... I need to be better about that now). When I came back to Richmond, I started working full-time and going to school again. I kept busy with that and single adult activities like institute. Then, I got married, continued work and classes and started teaching a class to young 12 and 13 year-old girls (oh my beehives, how I love them) on Sundays and participating in Tuesday night activities when I could. Still, not much time is left to developing these skills. In fact, just thinking about adding something else to my very full- plate (I'll be taking four classes this semester) overwhelms me. And yet, the desire persists.

It occurred to me, that I could create and be a co-creater of the most beautiful of creations. Jeff and I talked about having children right when we were married. It was such a hard decision, trying to find the right time to have a baby... is there every a right time? I don't know. We talked about it, prayed about and well, decided to go for it. I'm still in school... that worried me. I'll have to work after the baby is born- that is going to be challenging and hard for me. But we decided to try anyway. Well, I am happy to report that I guess Heavenly Father was ready to bless us with a baby. I do feel so blessed to be bearing a child, the most magnificent creation. How amazing it is to me, to see the physical changes with my own body and to learn of the changes taking place within my body. It truly is amazing. I am truly grateful for this opportunity that I have to be a co-creator with my husband and with God. And though, I'd still like to develop more skills (and even more have been added to the list- like sewing), my desire to create finally is starting to feel as if it's been somewhat abated.

And just for your viewing pleasure...

This is at about six weeks pregnant

The happy dad-to-be

Today- 16 weeks tomorrow. (This picture is really unflattering of me. Please forgive.)