Not my will, but your's be done.



Friday, December 19, 2008

He Breaks Us to Make Us

As I was reading my Bible and devotional this morning the Lord really spoke to me. I found what I read to be enlightening and encouraging. I thought that I would share bits of what I read. I do want to add though, except for the scriptures this isn't word for word. It is another's idea rearranged by me.(I took waaaaay to many composition and literature classes in college, and the fear of receiveing and F for plagiarism due to improper documentation of my sources still haunts me to this day.)


There is a good reason God calls his people sheep. Sometimes they wander away fromthe paths he has mapped out for them.
A good shepherd will relentlessly search for a wayward sheep. Sometimes, if the sheep refuses to follow his master, the shepherd will take drastic action. He breaks the sheep's leg, places it upon his shoulders and carries the sheep until it learns total dependence. This is tough love-the shepherd breaks the sheep to make sure the sheep always follows the shepherd.
We may think that a God of love would never allow his children to feel any pain. But sometimes God breaks us to make us better. He may break our hearts so we will make room for him there. He may break our will so we can discover his will for us. He may break our physical strength so we discover that God's strength is made perfect in our weakness.

"Consider is pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so thaty you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault."
--James 1:2-5

"Dear friends, so not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you perticipate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."
--1 Peter 4:12-13

Do not allow yourself to become bitter and turn away from God for breaking you. Instead, use that opportunity to develop a full reliance on him and complete trust in his plan for your life.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Lukisms

This one will be very short and sweet. Yesterday Luke made a few comments that were just too funny to keep to myself.

After church on the car ride home Luke informed us that in Sunday school he learned,

"Greet others as you want to be greeted."


Hum. Well, I guess that will work for now. He also said that he learned,

"Do to others as they do to you."

That one had to be re-taught the correct way. We don't exactly want him doing to others as they do to him. That could get nasty very quickly.

Then last night Luke called me in to his room for a little post-bedtime cover straightening. When I was hugging and kissing him again, he said,

"I had fun on the hayride tonight. We sang, Round Your Virgin, Mother and Son."

I couldn't respond because I was choking back laughter. Luke interpreted my silence as an invitation to sing his rendition of "Silent Night".

Hilarious, is all I can say.

And as a bonus, a few days earlier I caught him singing,

"Deck the hells with..."

He wasn't too sure of the words for the 'boughs of holly' part, so he just kinda mumbled something and added, "fa la la la la la la la la!"

That one also had to be corrected. I can't exactly have my child singing Deck the Hells to the shut-ins during the children's Christmas hayride. While I am fairly confident that the old folks wouldn't be able to understand his mispronunciation, I am quite sure that one of the other teachers would hear him very plainly. And we can't have folks thinking that's the kind of things I am teaching everyday in homeschool, now can we? So I said,

"Luke, it is deck the halls with boughs of holly."

His reply was,

"Oh."

Pause.

"What are boughs?"

I found it amusing that he didn't have any questions as to why we would or wouldn't be decking the hells. My goodness.

So, Merry Christmas to all of you. While you are welcome to greet others as they greet you,(as long as they are greeting you in a friendly way, of course), please fore go all decking of the hells and rounding of the virgins.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow Day!

I got up at 3:15 this morning to check on the kids. If I haven't mentioned this already, I check on the kids compulsively during the night every night. Anyway, as I was walking back to bed I noticed an odd glow in the back yard through the kitchen windows. When I went to check it out, this is what I saw.
(Well, minus the cat. She came up later.)


Snow!!! I couldn't believe it! I woke Josh up and we went outside.
Then we woke Luke up and let him go out and play.

When Ray woke up in the morning I took her to the window to see the snow. She stared at it for about a minute and then yelled, "Snowman!" I'm not sure if she was calling the snow snowman, or if she wanted to make a snowman, or if she was just making the connection between snow and snowmen.



The kids had the best time!(even though they don't really look like it in this picture.)



We decided to have a full blown snow day. Snowman, hot chocolate with breakfast, hot bathes in the morning, warm cuddly clothes, and being wrapped up in blankets all day. I can't wait to enjoy the rest of the day!


Saturday, December 6, 2008

On Your 6 Month Birthday

My darling Treyson,

I miss you every second of every day. You have changed my life forever. You have impacted me in the deepest way, my sweet one, and in the process you taught me more about life than any other person. You drew me to the Lord. You strengthened my faith and taught me to trust and depend on the Lord in a way that I had not before. With that, you bought a peace to my life that I had never known. I spent the months before your birh resting in the peace of God. And the months after your birth resting in His comfort. You transformed my prayer life from a struggle and a chore, to a constant communion with the Father. You brought your daddy and I closer together and even further cemented our bond, and you gave me a deeper love and appreciation for your brother and sister.

While you were in my tummy I listened to your heart beat every night before bed. It became the rhythm of my life. Steady. Always beating. And you were quite the little night owl, always wiggling and kicking in the evenings and during the night. Often times I would wake up during the night to find you thumping on my belly, making sure that I knew that you were still there and that you were not giving up.

I always imagined that you had a quiet and somewhat shy personality. You hardly moved when things were noisy and I was busily going about my day. But when things got quiet and I got still you would start dancing. Kicking, pushing, wiggling. All the while, my hand was on you. Constantly letting you know that you were safe with me. I cherish our time together and I would have carried you in me forever if I could have.

In spite of not wanting to let you go, the day you were born will always be one of the best days of my life. Your birth was physically difficult and traumatic. As the doctor handed you to me she said that she wasn't sure if you had been able to survive what you had been through. But when they checked, there was your heart...still beating. That was when I had the chance to get a good look at how beautiful you were. You looked so much like Luke. You little nose was a carbon copy of your big brother's. Your fingers also reminded me of Luke. They were so long. I think you would have been tall.... I guess you get that from your Daddy. You also had a head full of wavy brown hair. When I washed your hair it was hard to get it all clean because it was so thick. Wavy brown hair was not at all what I expected, but it was beautiful. It fit you just right. Your tiny body was so perfect to me. Your eyes were so blue. I know that most newborns have blue eyes, but your eyes were the bluest I have seen. One of my favorite moments with you was when you cracked your little eye open and looked at me. You looked right in to my eyes. You knew that I was your mother, the one who had been loving you all these months.

When it came time to let you go...
God's grace and peace were big enough to comfort the pain.

Oh, my little fighter, thank you for not giving up. You were so very strong. Even with all the adversity you faced in the womb and during your birth you never gave up. You knew how much we all wanted to see you and love you for a while before we had to let you go. Thank you for enduring it all and allowing us to have you for one perfect hour here on earth, before going home to be with Jesus.

Being here with out you has been more crushingly painful than I could have imagined. We all miss you extremely. Your daddy and I talk of you daily, and Luke and Raylen mention you nearly as frequently. The times when we don't speak of you out loud, it is just because sometimes we miss you too much to say out loud how we feel in our heart. Even in the pain, God is still good. He continues to show me ways in which He is using your life. The far reaching good that has come from your life has been overwhelming. I still miss you terribly and long for the "what if" every day. But in spite of the pain of not having you here with me, I would never change the fact that you were here, even if just for a short while. The source of my greatest sorrow has also been the source of my greatest joy. I love you with everything in me and will continue to for the rest of my life. I am so very glad that I was chosen to be your mother.

With all the love in my heart,
Mommy

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Her Enthusiasm is Exhausting

I had a conversation with Ray this morning that kept me in awe of her energy and enthusiasm, so I thought I'd share.

To start with, Ray, like most children, is a creature of habit. She has a routine that she goes through every morning without fail. When she wakes she yells one of three things. "Daddy!", "Mama!", or "binky!". If "binky" is what she is yelling for then the second I walk in the room she starts yelling, "Right dere! Right dere!", all while pointing furiously to where her pacifier is so that I can retrieve it for her. Once she gets it she is pacified, quite literally, so she moves to the next request on her agenda. "Rock! Rock! Rock!", she always chants. So I scoop her up and we migrate to the recliner where she likes to cuddle and rock. She milks the whole being the baby thing for all it's worth. After rocking a bit she starts asking for "juice". Since she repeats this routine every morning like clockwork I always make her juice cup the night before and then snag it out of the fridge and put it beside the recliner before I even get her out of her crib. Once she gets her juice she is right on to the next request, "TB Clues". That translates, "Will you turn on the tv, my darling mother? Because I would like to watch Blue's Clues." Ok, so maybe that isn't exactly how is translates, but I am sure that it is something along those lines. After about 15 minutes of that she begins saying, "Yogurt! Mama, get up!" If you haven't noticed, she is quite a demanding child. I am doing my best to teach her about respect and not having a bad attitude, but that is hard for me to convey to a not quite 22 month old. Luke has pretty much always been a good natured child. He's active and ALL boy, but he is also sentitive to others and has always been a pleaser. Ray, on the other hand, knows exactly what she wants and isn't going to relent until she gets it. She is stubborn and will push every limit. I'm still figuring out what is the best way to deal with her. I feel like all my previous parenting experience with Luke went right out the window and I am starting at square one.

Any way, usual way of demanding breakfast. This morning was no different than any other morning. She followed her usual routine. When it came to yogurt time she said, "Yogurt, Mama, yogurt."

I said, "Ok", but I didn't exactly move. I was exhausted this morning because I woke up at 3am and couldn't go back to sleep until 5am. In typical Raylen fashion, she wasn't interested in waiting for me to get good and ready to get out of the chair and get her some yogurt. She slid out of my lap, grabbed my hand, and started yelling,

"Get up! Get up, Mama! Yogurt! Help you!"(by help you she meant, "help you get up")

I couldn't really argue. She appeared to be starving, and since she isn't even two it isn't like she can get her own breakfast. So I got up and started trudging to the kitchen. Once she could see that I had detached myself from the chair she excitedly took off running for the kitchen. By the time I got in there she was yelling and pointing,

"PiePie boy! Right dere! Pilot! PiePie, right dere!"

To clarify, Pilot(aka PiePie), is Luke's boxer. He spends chilly nights like last night in a kennel in the kitchen. To say that Raylen adores Pilot would be and understatement. The girl LOVES that dog. Since the only thing she meant by all her excited yelling and pointing was to let me know that Pilot was right there, all I could say is,

"Yes, I see Pilot right there."

After repeating that part of the conversation about 3 times, each time her right there's got louder and more excited. By the third time she had reached a frenzy and looked as though she would explode from excitement if I didn't distract her immediately. I turned to the fridge to get out the yogurt. She quickly ran in front of me and started yelling,

"Yogurt, right there. 'Poon, right there!"

She continued to repeat this while pointing back and forth at the fridge and then the silverware drawer. Once I started feeding her the yogurt there was a whole new set of exclaimations. Between bites she was yelling,

"Bun bun, right dere!"(bun bun is her rabbit lovey)
"Good, bun bun! Aww! Good, bun bun! Bun bun wabbit, Mama! Bite yogurt, Mama!"

Very short pause. Just long enough to swallow a bite of yogurt, and then...

"PiePie boy! Awww! Good, PiePie! Mama, Pilot right dere! Bite yogurt!"

Another brief pause, and then back to...

"Bun bun, right dere! Aww! Hug bun bun! Hug bun bun, Mama!"

She barely gives me time to say, "Ok" and reach for bun bun to hug her before she is frantically pointing to the yogurt like she is seconds away from starvation,

"BITE! Yogurt right dere! Bite! Bite yogurt, Mama!"

Before I can set bun bun down and get her a bite she has her hands in the yogurt trying to get a bite herself. The yogurt on her hands causes her to start yelling,

"Sticky! Wipy hands, Mama!"

No sooner than I wipe off her hands and throw away the paper towel, and I have another emergency to deal with.

"Bun bun yucky! Need wipy bun bun, Mama!"

She hold bun bun out to me and adds another dramatic,

"Bun bun YUCKY, Mama!"

I look at bun bun to find the location of the yuckiness, but I can't see anything. My 2 second delay in tending to bun bun's needs causes Ray to feverishly point and bun bun's face, while screaming,

"RIGHT DERE! BUN BUN YUCKY RIGHT DERE!"

I spot a tiny piece of yellow lint. I proceed to pick the minute piece of lint off bun bun's face, look at the clock and realize that I have only been up for 20 minutes, and begin to wonder what adventures the day will hold.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Big Thank You

First off, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who posted scriptures. There were several verses which God used to immediately speak to me. And for all the others, it was uplifting to see how the Lord was speaking to each of you through His living word. Isn't the Lord awesome?! It is amazing to me how He can speak to each of us individually. What a mighty God we serve!

Next, for a Treyson's Purpose update. We would like to welcome Heather(her blog is at http://newbride05.blogspot.com/) to Treyson's Purpose. She will be taking a position on the board of directors as the Treasurer. We are so very excited! She was an exact answer to prayer. The Lord's orchestration of this whole endeavor, thus far, has been supernatural.

The point we are at right now is finishing up our bylaws, finalizing the board of directors, and finalizing our mission statement(which I will share with you as soon as it is finished). Our next step will be meeting with a lawyer and filing papers at the courthouse to be incorporated.

If you are wondering how to pray for us specifically in the next couple of weeks, then here you go:
-Pray that we will find the right person for the Secretary postion on the board of directors.
-Pray that the wording of the mission statement will convey the heart of the ministry that we are desiring to provide.
-Pray that the lawyer that we plan on working with will have a burden on his heart from the Lord to help with this ministry.


Finally, thank you so much for all of your prayers and encouragement thus far. It has been so encouraging to see that others share this same burden to minister to those mother's who feel helpless and assume that abortion is their only option. We strongly desire to provide hope and encouragment through the love of Jesus.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. No matter your situation, remember the many many things that you have to be thankful for.

Until we blog again....

Jessica

Friday, November 14, 2008

Heartbreaking

1.3 million abortions are performed each year.

13,000 of those abortions are on babies 21 weeks and OLDER.

These statistics are from the United States alone.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Challenge

I am issuing a challenge. Meagan and I will be spending this next week(and longer, if necessary) praying a searching scripture for a particular verse that can be a part of our statement of purpose. We are in the process of writing our bylaws and we would like a scripture to be in our mission statement. I have several scriptures that immediately come to mind when I think of what a miracle from God that each unborn life is. But I would like your input also. I challenge you to search the scriptures and let me know what the Lord shows you. Anything that has to do with the uniqueness of each life, the sacredness of life, how much Jesus loves each one of us, or any verse where the Lord reveals something to you that could even remotely relate to our organization. I want all the verses you can throw my way. Feel free to post more than once if the Lord shows you more scripture throughout the week. I am going to compile them all, and then next Tueday Meagan and I will talk and pray through them all. You are also more than welcome to throw your own two cents in if the Lord shows you something. I am praying that the Holy Spirit will guide each of you and whisper something special to you this week.

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you."
-Ephesians 1:18

Happy reading!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lukeism

I am sure that tomorrow evening I will be posting something completely awesome about all the progress that Treyson's Purpose is making. But for now I will leave you with a Lukeism or two.

Tonight at supper Luke made an interesting statement. We were kind of playing a game where Luke called out different statements and if they applied to you you would raise your hand. I wasn't paying too much attention for the most part. I would raise my hand here and there if I thought that the statement applied to me, or just to satisfy Luke. But he decided to make a statement that seemed innocent, at first glance, but in the end came back to bite me.

Luke: "Everybody that wants to go to heaven, raise your hand."

Of course, we all raised our hands. I even think that Ray raised her hand once she saw Josh, Luke, and I all holding our hands up high.

Luke: "Daddy, I think that you should die a little while before Mama so that you can have a little bit of time away from her so that you can have some peace."

Not kidding. That is word for word what my child said.

Josh immediately started giggling as indescreetly as possible. I, on the other hand, started choking on my chicken spaghetti. What in the world?! My child thinks that the only way that his Daddy can get some peace is for him to die before me?????

Goodness gracious! I guess I have some rethinking to do about how I interact with my husband. If it makes me look any better(which now I am thinking that is doesn't), a little later Luke went on the say,

"Mama, you should die before Ray so that you can get a little bit of peace too."

Children.

Way too observant.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Treyson's Purpose

I'm going to try to make this one short and sweet. I just want to give a quick update about the status of the non-profit organization we are in the process of starting up.

First off, we have a name and it is Treyson's Purpose. Meagan came up with it and Josh and I completely LOVE IT! From the very begining Meagan said that she wanted the name to have something to do with Treyson or have his name in it. Being his mother, I, of course, thought that was a great idea. (can't you see me smiling?) So what she came up with Treyson's Purpose I thought it was simply perfect. The name encompasses how we feel about the unborn. They were created for a purpose. Every single life, no matter how long or short, is a miracle from God that has a specific individual purpose. Treyson's life, like the lives of the unborn babies we are trying to protect, also had/has purpose. Treyson's Purpose will carry on his legacy by helping to protect other children. I love the name! Meagan did great!

Now, as to where we are in getting things up and running. We have been doing our research as to where we need to start. We want everything to be done in the right way and in the right order so that nothing comes back to bite us in the end. Plus, as I said before, we believe that God could grow us to be a nationwide organization. Therefore, we need to be organized and orderly from the begining.

The first items on the agenda are getting our bylaws written and getting the roles of our board defined. We are still reseaching and gathering our resources.

Remain in prayer for us please. We have a meeting with the director of the Hope Center for Crisis Pregnancy in Beaumont this Thursday evening. It is mainly and for gathering information. We have also talked to the Birthright Center in Beaumont. They do alot of the same things that the Hope Center does. The lady that Meagan talked to was wonderful. They are very excited about what we are doing and are willing to help any was that they could. She said that the Mid-County and Port Arthur area needs something like this desperately. Her enthusiasm was encouraging to us.

Oh, and those of you who have said that you want to help....get ready! Once we get things a little better lined out I will be giving you a call. Get ready to make a difference!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Apology

When I was laying in bed praying last night I became convicted about something. I feel that I may have been a little harsh in my last post with a few of the things that I said. That was not at all my intention. I truly want everything I do in life to be done in love. While the scripture confirms that there are times to rebuke and correct, that also needs to be done in love. The whole, "shame on you" comment probably wasn't the most loving way I could try to move some of you to action and I am truly sorry for that. Abortion is just a very emotional topic to me. I am so angered by the injustice being done that I sometimes let my emotions take over. I get so angry that I see red. Then I start spouting off at the mouth and I don't think about how my words could have effected others until later. I realize this about myself and I with God's help I am working on it. I do believe that there is a time for righteous anger. And if there were ever an issue of be righteously angry about abortion would be it. But even when anger is righteous berating others is never right. Once again, I am sorry. I hope that none of you were turned off to praying for and helping out with this ministry in the future.

Love you all,

Jessica


Oh, on a side note there is something else that I have been wanting to mention. I am angry that abortion is legal, especially partial birth abortion. I am angry at the doctors that spend years studying how intricate and amazing the human body is, take the the Hippocratic oath, and then are able to end the life of thousands of innocent babies.(I heard recently of a doctor that has performed over 10,000 abortions.) This is what I am angry about, not necessarily angry at the mothers who are having the abortions. For a long time I was. It wasn't until I read a book called "I'll Hold You in Heaven" that I changed my perspective. A good friend gave me this book after I lost Treyson. It is a scriptural reassurance to those who have lost a child that there child is in heaven and that if they are a follower of Christ then they will be reunited with their child in heaven.(If you are unsure what that means or are unsure if you are, then I would love it if you would email me at
josh-jesscarlin@hotmail.com and we could correspond.)

Anyway, while reading this book the author, Jack Hayford, really opened my eyes to the fact that I should be more merciful and less judgemental towards those who have chosen to have an abortion. There are many reasons why a woman would chose to do that. No matter the reason, it doesn't make it any less wrong. But still, unless you have walked in that person's shoes you have no idea what they may be thinking and feeling. And what it truly boils down to is this; all sins are equal in God's eyes. He has the grace to cover every one to the fullest. If God has forgiven my many many sins, then I not only can forgive and show mercy, but I am required to.

That is why my heart goes out to these women. I want to minister to them in any way that they need. And through love, show them that they have other options that they might not have known exisisted or could be available to them. Continue to pray as we follow where God is leading us.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

5 Months

Today is Treyson's five month birthday.

Ok, so I know that I kinda left you hanging out there in the unknown with that last post, so this one is to kind of explain our new venture and how you can pray for us.

My sister-in-law, Meagan, and I are in the process of starting a non-profit pro-life organization that provides support, resources, and alternatives to pregnant women that are considering having an abortion.

Meagan and I both have a heart for several different ministries. We both want to help international orphanages and the orphans that are trying to survive in horrible living conditions. We both would like to adopt(international or not), in fact Meagan has a passion for running an orphanage one day. We also both want to help children in the foster system. A good bit(but not all) of the "system" is corrupt and the innocent children are the ones having to suffer for it.

Besides international orphans and children in the foster system, the other major passion in both our lives is doing what ever possible, in love, to stop abortion. (key phrase there being in love) We have both researched it and neither of us are eligible right now to adopt internationally. Also, while as much as we both want to foster children that are in need of a home and foster parents, neither of us feels that God is calling us to do that right now. There is also another ministry that Josh has a strong burden for called Operation Smile. Operation Smile provides medical treatment for children with cleft lips that are too poor to pay for the simple surgery that it takes to fix it. But, what Operation Smile, and the majority of the other international ministries need is the one thing that we don't have right now. Money.

On Tuesday Meagan and I talked about how frustrating it is to have the desire to help somehow, but not the means. In light on the election that day, our conversation turned from orphans to abortion. If you want to get me really low blood pressure up into the normal range in about point 0.2 seconds, then just say the word abortion. I know way too much about abortion for it to be one of those topics that I can sit back speak passively on the subject. (This is just a side note, but if you are a Christian and you are not very passionate about ending abortion, then you need to educate yourself on how an abortion is performed at different stages of pregnancy and the different types of abortions that there are. If you are unwilling to do this or are not moved not only to tears, but moved to act on behalf of the innocent lives that are being killed mercilessly, then shame on you.) Ok, off the soap box and back to business. Anyway, abortion gets Meagan and I both riled up. We decided that we couldn't sit back and not do something anymore. We didn't know that that something would be. Neither of us have the funds to do much in that regards(when I say that Josh and I don't have the funds, I mean that we don't have enough income to even pay our bills every month. God is good though and the bills get paid.) So, not only do neither of us have any extra money laying around, but we completely disagree with the way that alot of pro-life people choose to act. There will be no picketing at abotion clinics. There will be no standing on the side of the road with condemning signs that scream that abortion is murder. While abortion is murder, condemnation is NOT the way to end it. We want to do everything in love. Christ came to love, not condemn. So we want every aspect of anything that we do to be in Christ's love.

From this conversation, we both sprang in to action. I have had the desire to do something in this area for a long time. I have been praying about it since right before we evacuated for hurricane Ike(that and another request that I am sure will be shared in due time). This was, by far, not my first conversation with Meagan about abortion and wanting to do something to stop it. But this particular conversation was the God's nudge. Have you ever had one of those moments? The moment where you do something that you may have done many times before, but God suddenly jumps all over it and it is like you are seeing it for the first time? Well that is what this conversation was for me.

Tuesday evening we talked several more times about where we wanted this ministry to head and all that we wanted it to encompass. God was already moving. I went to bed Tuesday night know what it was that God wanted me to do, but still with no idea how. Wednesday morning Meagan figured out the how. What went from months to years to get running, went to weeks to possibly a couple of months.

Wow, God! That was fast!

Over the past few days we have covered so much ground it is astounding. God is already working in incredible supernatural ways. We still have a ways to go, but God's hand has been so amazingly all over this so far that I would not be one bit surprised if we were up and running much sooner than planned. As we continue in our gathering information and lining out all that we need to accomplish in the next weeks and months I will post more specific prayer requests. I will let you know of ways that you can help out also, whether you live here in this area or not we can most definately use your help. We have plans of going nationwide eventually(told you it was BIG plans), so having help and contacts all over the country is something that we are looking for.

For now you can just be in prayer for us as follow where God is leading. It has only been two days and so far it has been amazing!

Happy five month birthday Treyson!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Doxology

Well, this day has been quite a roller coaster ride. I woke up with anxiety about the election, feeling that I didn't do my part to help my candidates(John McCain and Sarah Palin, no point in beating around the bush at this point, eh?). That anxiety increased through out the day, minus a bright spot where I had an encouraging visit from a little angel mid-day. By the afternoon, though, I was so stressed out that I just had to get out of the house. My sister-in-law and I met at the park for the kids to play. Our conversation, of course, turned to the events of the day and the likely bad outcome of the election. My sister-in-law and I are very much on the same page about who to vote for and our main issue of importance. To put it how I told her and another friend, "I would vote for a two headed monkey if he were the only pro-life candidate to vote for." And in the words of her husband(Josh's older brother), "A vote for Obama is like voting for Charles Manson because they both promote mass murder." If you don't believe me, go to http://americaschoicenow.com/ and see for yourself.

Anyway, back to where I recieved some serious encouragement. As we talked Meagan(my sister-in-law) and I realized that God is leading us both in a somewhat unknow but seemingly the same direction. I know that sounds very vague, but God used it as a huge confirmation in my life. I would love to go in to more detail, but right now there is not a whole lot of details to be divulged. I will say that right at two months ago God laid some things on my heart that I have been praying about. It seems that God has put a very similar yet vague desire and burden on Meagan's heart. We talked at length and I was encouraged deeply. I saw God's hand moving in a big way. I knew with everything in me that God had placed this burden on my heart, but I had come to terms that it may be YEARS before it was anything but a prayer request. Apparently God knew that I needed some encouragement and confirmation a little sooner than that. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't at all stressed about the probable outcome of this election. But I am encouraged that God is still at work in my life and I know know KNOW that He is using me for a mighty purpose. How can I NOT be excited?!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Your Duty

Today is election day. I am urging everyone, if you haven't already done so, to go vote. I have been sitting back the past several months doing my best to not talk politics on my blog. But I woke up this morning feeling that by doing so I may have slacked on my duty as a Christian. I do not 100% agree with either candidate on every issue. Infact, the candidate that we strongly supported in the primaries did not win. But, as a Christian, I do not know how anyone can vote for a man that supports partial birth abortion. I believe that abortion in any way, shape, or form is wrong. But it is beyond me to understand how any person on the face of this earth with more that two brain cells could possible think that partial birth abortion is not as much murder as me shooting and killing someone.
I'm going to stop right there because my pulse is already racing and I am starting to get angry. I may post later if I can calm down. The point is...

GO VOTE!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mirror

I have found one of the best windows into my own heart is my children. By observing the things that they say and do, and how they interact with others, I can see some of my own actions and attitudes. I see things that I know they saw or heard me say or do reinacted by them. Some things I have seen them say and do have been encouraging and have ministered to me deeply.

About a week ago I was driving home from the grocery store with the kids in tow. I was feeling down and in need of some encouragement, so I was excited when one of my new favorite songs came on the radio. It is "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong. I had just fallen in love with it and was super excited when we started singing it during the worship service at church. As soon as it came on the radio I turned it up a couple of notches. When the chorus started I could hear Ray clapping in the back seat. I turned around to see her holding her hands outstretched in praise with a huge smile on her face. My heart smiled as I saw my 20 month old daughter worshipping the best she knows how. She was imitating what she has seen from me when we listen to that song. It was the absolutely perfect encouragement. The uplifting that I so badly needed at that moment.

There is other ways that my children bless and encourage me daily. Luke will not go to bed with out family prayer time.

Ray will not eat a meal without covering her eyes and saying "pray". We all bow our heads while Ray mumbles a few sentences and then yells, "Maymen!"(That's "Amen", incase you were wondering.) She is very adament when she wants to pray. Some times we thank God for our food 5 times in one meal. Lately she has wanted to stop and pray at random times during the day. A couple of days ago I was sitting on the floor in the living room and she crawled up in my lap and wanted to pray.

Anytime there is an improtant issue that our family is dealing with Luke tells everyone he sees to pray about it. This past Monday at co-op he went up to a total stranger and asked them to "pray for his Uncle Erik's head because he fell down some stairs and had to get alot of staples in it". When I was pregnant with Treyson he told everyone to pray that God would give our baby some kidneys.

For my birthday Josh gave me a freestanding swing for the yard so that I can sit and swing when the kids are out playing(Which would be all day every day if I would let them.) When Josh gave it to me I was thanked him, but I also semi-scolded him because he spent more than the allotted birthday amont on my gifts. He explained that the day he went to get the swing it had gone on sale. When Luke heard that he blurted out, "Thank you God that the swing was on sale and we got to get it for Mama's birthday! Thank you! Thank you, God!" Not only was he emphatically thankful to God, but that was his first reaction.

Also, Luke tells me almost daily that he loves me SOOO much, but that he loves God more because he loves God more than anything in the whole world.

All of these things are more than just cute and heart warming. It shows me where their hearts are. It shows me that they are devoloping a love for Jesus. As a parent, that is my upmost goal. To teach my children to love the Lord with their whole heart. If they truly do that, then everything else will fall into place. If they fully love Him then they will accept, trust, obey, and follow His will for their lives.

Of course, not every action that they pick up from me is a positive one. Some times the reflection of myself that I see in my children is down right ugly. I've heard Luke from the other room yelling, "Raylen Jayne! I'm not going to tell you one more time to stop touching that!" He sounds just like me, except for the whole five-year-old-boys-voice thing.

Two days ago I walked in the kitchen to find Raylen spanking her baby doll. I have full confidence in Ray that the doll had committed a spank worthy offense, but it still stung a bit that she had choosen that aspect of mothering to reinact with her baby.

Another time, Josh and I were disagreeing about how to do something and Luke piped up, "Daddy, you need to do what Mama says 'cause she is the boss of this family." Ouch! That one put me in my place. Do I really give the apperance of being the boss of the family? I know that I'm the more outspoken one out of the two of us because Josh is just so easy going. But apparently I look like the boss of our house, and that is not at all the way I want my children, or anyone for that matter, to view our home and Josh and I's marriage.

Leave it to your kids to open your eyes about how you really are.

I know that I am FAR from the perfect parent. Some days I feel like a complete failure in that compacity. It is THE most important job that God has entrusted me with and I don't always give it the attention and energy that I should. But it is exciting and encouraging to know that God not only can use me, but that he already is using me to help develope a love for Christ in my children.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

29

I had a good birthday. For those of you who didn't know, yesterday was my 29th birthday. When my dad called to wish me a happy birthday he asked me if I felt older. That is a traditional question that every member of the Autrey family(Autrey is my maiden name) asks each other on their birthday. I, too, ask other members of the Autrey family the same thing on their birthday. The question comes out without even thinking. It is kind of a silly question when you think about it, but it is just so ingrained in all of us that we say it with out even thinking. Any way, I told him that I didn't feel any older because the whole past year I couldn't remember if I was 28 or 29. So now that I am actually 29 I don't feel any different.

My birthday was a nice one. Josh and the kids gave me several presents, one of them being especially thoughtful. Just in case you didn't know, I have my lip pierced. Josh bought me a heart shaped lip stud and had a very very tiny "T" engraved on it. I was so impressed! Not only was it sweet and thoughtful, but pretty darn creative too. He and Luke gave it too me the night before my birthday. That is a little tradition around our house for Christmas and birthdays. We each can open one present on Christmas eve night or the night before our birthday. It is just a fun family tradition.

It was a nice day, full of thoughtful cards and gifts and feeling very loved.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Runaway Train

Yesterday was not a good day.
I kept asking myself,
"Am I having a nervous breakdown?
If I am then how do I know?"



I haven't slept good at night in many years. If I tried to pinpoint my when my sleep problems started I would have to say my junior year in high school. That is when I began being plauged by nightmares almost every single night. That lasted until around the time I began college, when at that point they began to lessen. It was several more years before they faded off to what I would call normal. And by "normal" I mean once or twice a week.

Starting college, while it brought some relief in regards to the nightmares, it brought on a whole new set of problems. Very soon after I began my first semester of my freshman year I began to struggle with depression. I had never dealt with this before, so it took a little while to pinpoint what the problem was. And then even longer to accept that I was actually,(in my point of view), a number. I had read the statistics of how many people suffer from clinical depression. I did not want to be one of those people. I thought that I was stronger than that. By the time I was 18 I had dealt with alot of adversity. Never once did I lose sight of my faith or question God and His goodness. I just kept on going. I was pretty judgemental towards those who I thought were weaker than I. I don't know if my freshman year in college was all of that junk catching up with me or if it was other things, but I began to struggle big time. If any of you have ever struggled with depression you know that it brings on sleep issues of its own.

I spent the rest of my college years bouncing between depression, substance abuse, a couple of bad bad relationships, or a combination of the three. Why I didn't sleep well during those years is pretty much self explainatory.

I'm way past college, but I still don't sleep well. It usually isn't that I have a problem falling asleep. The problem is that I toss and turn and wake up pretty much every hour. The past few weeks my sleeping problems have worsened. I have been waking up in the night with anxiety. The anxiety keeps me wide awake. I either end up having to get up and start my day(that has sometimes been at 4am), or if it is so ridiculously early that I can't exactly start my day(say, 1:00am), then I just lay there and pray.

Anxiety.

It has taken several years for me to be able to put a name with my feelings. Now that it is named I still haven't been able to beat it. I have a protocol: distraction, deep breaths, happy thought, praying. All of these things have worked pretty well as coping mechanisms in the past. So far, though, nothing seems to be working with the night time anxiety. It can be very frustrating.

When I was pregnant with Treyson and I found out about the complications I thought, "This is going to be a rocky ride." I thought that I'd be a nervous wreck. It didn't quite work out that way. While there were moments of worry and anxiety, the four months from when I found out about his problems up until his birth was the most peace I have felt in my entire life. I know a HUGE part of that was all the many many people that prayed so faithfully for us. I don't know if I could have functioned with out those prayers. The other cause for such peace was the fact that I totally and completely put the entire situation in God's hands. It was beyond me. I allowed myself to rest in His peace and be carried by the prayers of the saints. In the weeks following Treyson's birth and passing, that peace slipped away, and the anxiety returned. We seemed to be faced with one obstacle after another and sometimes it was easier to let yourself hurt and be angry, than it was to sit back, rest in God's comfort, and trust Him.

Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anious about anything". It doesn't say, "try not to be anxious". It says, "DO NOT be anxious for ANYTHING". I understand this and I don't want to be anxious and I feel like I am doing everything in my power not to be...but I still am. The really frustrating part is when I'm laying in bed asking, praying, begging God to take it away. For a while I feel like He has been just sitting there, watching me suffer, watching me plead, but not doing anything. I KNOW that God does not enjoy watching me suffer and that He truly cares about every intricate detail of my life. But there are times when He seems so apathetic to me. I keep trying my best to give it to Him and He won't take it!

I want to scream, "Why won't you just take it?! Haven't I suffered enough?! Didn't I tell you over and over again that inspite of everything that I've gone through I still trust you?! Yet it feels like you have completely abandoned me. I trust you, so just take it already! Why? Why? WHY?"



Silence.




I know that I am still growing and learning about God and His nature and who He is. But I know enough to know that God is most absolutely not just sitting back watching me suffer and not caring enough to intervene the way that I want Him to. He suffers with me every second that I do and catches every tear that falls. Even when I feel like I'm alone and that He isn't listening. I am so glad that who God is isn't based on how I feel. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, no matter what I think or how I feel. I'm at the point where I have to choose to trust what I know and not how I feel. Feelings lie.

The rest of that verse in Philippians and the one following says,
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the pace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 4:6-7



So that is what I have been trying to do when I feel anxious. Present my requests to God with thanksgiving. I'm still waiting on that peace which transcends all unstanding to guard my heart and mind. For now it is my thorn in the flesh. I know that without it I would probably try to handle my life on my own, since I don't feel like He was doing such a great job and I didn't really like the direction it seemed to be headed with Him being the one in control. But my burden, the burden that is much to heavy for me to carry alone, causes me to return to His feet.

Today has been a much better day. My burden has not been lifted,(I have come to terms with the fact that it may be a long time before that happens), but it is bearable. With the circumstances in my life the way that they currently are, bearable is good enough for me.

I added a Casting Crowns video at the bottom of this post. This song has ministered to me many times in the past several months. The words portray where my heart is right now. No matter the circumstances I still choose to praise Him. (Before you play the video scroll down to the bottom of the page and pause the music.)


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15th

In memory of Treyson Kemp Carlin.
June 6, 2008-June 6, 2008

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Please keep those who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, early infant death, and SIDS in your prayers today.

I'll love you until the day after forever, my little one.



To learn more, go to http://www.october15th.com/

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Past 24 Hours

Yesterday evening while I was cooking supper I very mistakenly thought that I had everything under control. The garlic bread was the oven toasting, the green bean casserole was cooking, the broccoli was steaming, and the penne pasta with garlic alfredo sauce and tomatoes and black olives was warming in a pot. Luke was zoned out watching cartoons, and Ray was outside with Josh collecting wood for the fire that we were going to burn in the fire pit later that evening. Sounds like everything is under control, eh? This was my chance! 10 minutes to myself. I went straight to the computer. I thought that I'd quickly check up on some of my friend's blogs. I have been so busy lately that I've hardly had time to post, let alone read about what is going on in everybody's life. I was happy for a few minutes to sit and catch up.

The first person I checked on was my friend Jennifer on her blog LIFE(I would attach the link to it, but I don't know how to do that. Want to help me again, Heather?). She had a new post and I loved it. Jennifer and I were accountablity/prayer partners several years ago. It was during that time that I realized what a wise person she is and I have always valued her thoughts and opinions very highly since that time. After reading what she wrote I was totally in blog surfing mode. I started checking up on everyone, and let me tell you, it seems life almost everybody had something new up that was either really deep or really hilarious. I was having a great time! For some reason I decided to look at the clock. It was 6:12. 6:12!!!! I had been at the computer for almost 40 minutes!! I got up and RAN to the kitchen. Just as you would expect the toast was burned to a crisp, half the pasta was permanetly charred to the bottom of the pot, and the broccoli was steamed beyond recognition. The only part that survived was the green bean casserole. But, as we later discovered, it wasn't that great either. I used the off brand cream of mushroom in it instead of Campbell's because it was almost half the price. Well, as it turned out, it was half the taste also.

Josh and I ate what could be salvaged, but the kids looked at their plates like I was possibly trying to poison them. I don't completely blame them. It wasn't good.

The night improved, thankfully. After putting the kids to bed, Josh and I sat on the porch by the fire pit until after 11:00 pm listening to music and talking. That is late for us. We are pretty much in bed by 10:30 every night with out too many exceptions. It was very relaxing. The night was cool and the fire was warm. We had a great time, inspite of Josh telling me several times that various parts of my body were about to get burned because I was too close to the fire. I can't help it. I'm cold natured. That's why I look forward to summer all year. If you ask Josh, though, he'll tell you that it is summer 10 months out of the year here anyway.

Today has gone well so far, with only one minor mishap. I took the kids to the Nederland pep rally. My mom's boyfriend's daughter is a varsity cheerleader, and one of Josh's cousins is a twirler. The kids love the pep rallys anyways, but they really love to see Jenna and Virgie. Luke spends most of the pep rally yelling, "JENNA!!", "VIRGIE!!" over and over again. He hasn't quite grasped that they can't hear him over the band, which is directly behind where we sit. Any way, the mishap was my over zealous Aunt Flo(code word for period), leaked all over the place, including through my jeans that I just washed and dried specifically to wear tonight. And yes, I do mean through my jeans at the actual pep rally. Darn the luck. (Oh, and on a side note, I feel like I can mention things like my period and so forth because I don't know of any men that read my blog, with the occasional exception of my husband.)

After the pep rally I took Luke to get his hair cut. On the way there I was listening to the radio. When I am in the car by myself I do one of three things. Completely jam out to very loud rock music. Listen to praise music and sing very loudly. Or sit in silence, enjoying the fact that I can actually have a few minutes of silence. When I listen to praise and worship music it usually involves me with atleast on hand outstreched and those in the vehicles around me giving me some very strange looks. Today, even though Luke was with me I was in the mood to worship. I had one arm outstreched as I sang. Luke was in the back seat talking non-stop about an array of topics, most of which I was not listening to. I did hear Star War: Clone Wars mentioned several times, but besides that I was pretty tuned in to what I was singing. At one point Luke asked me who I was waving at. I told him Jesus. He found that pretty amusing and had to think about that for a minute, but then it was right back to talking. While getting his hair cut, he gave the hair lady a detailed description of Dr. Octopus's "antentacles". I think antentacles are kinda like tentacles, or maybe more like antennas. I'm not really sure.

Right now we are about to head out to see the Nederland Bulldogs play the LCM Bears. I'm pretty sure this will involve alot more yelling for Jenna and Virgie. Pray that the girls with see him and wave at some point in the first quarter.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Her Name Is...

Anne Elizabeth Andrews.

She finally got a name last night. Hannah has always loved the name Anne, and Elizabeth was my dad's mom's middle name and it is Biblical. Mom and baby are both doing good and are coming home later today.
As for pictures...when I put my memory card in to the computer to download the pictures so that I could put some up, something happened and now that card appears to be bad. I guess it got some kind of virus from the computer. I'm hoping that I will be able to retrieve them somehow, but I'm not counting on it. I'm pretty upset about it because I had some really good pictures. Oh, well.

Hannah did awesome during labor and the delivery. She always does great giving birth. No epidural, no pain killers, no nothin'! In fact, the rule Hannah made ahead of time is that she didn't want anyone to even ask her if she wanted anything for pain. Towards the end it was hard to not at least ask her if maybe she wanted something. But I bit my tongue and went along with her requests, and before we knew it baby girl was here. It was very exciting!

The room was very calm and quiet. There was one mid-wife and one nurse present and they were both incredible. It was a beautiful experience.

Luke did well with the whole thing. I was expecting him to ask Hannah or Stephen if we could have her. Over the past couple of months he would randomly tell me, "We need to ask Aunt Hannah and Uncle Stephen if we can have their baby since our baby died." I've tried to explain to him that it doesn't quite work that way, but it still seemed logical to him.

Thankfully he didn't ask. There was also no more talk about babies dying, so that was good too. He did tell Hannah that the baby looked like it had been at the beach too long and got a sunburn.

After looking at her another minute he added, "I think she's gonna be a beach girl."

That would make her aunt very happy. Good call Luke!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

She's Here!

Baby Girl Andrews was born October 7, 2008 at 6:31 pm. She weighed 6lb 3oz, and was 19 inches long.

She is BEAUTIFUL.

I will post more details and pictures tomorrow. Right now I'm going to bed. I am completely exhausted.

It worked!!

It looks like the prayers worked...and very quickly! I am about to head to the hospital for the birth of my niece!!! Hannah went in to labor during the night, and in her words she said,"I'm having the baby today." She is just leaving her house to go the St. Luke's. My mom and I have been waiting all day for our cue to leave.

I'm so excited!! Keep us in your prayers though. Pray that Hannah will have a quick and easy delivery. Pray for the safety of Little Girl Andrews. Pray that will be able to hold my emotions together at least somewhat. And pray for Luke. He is pretty worried that the baby is going to die. He has mentioned in several times just today. I know that he doesn't fully understand everything, but aparently he still has some bad memories from Treyson's birth and passing.

I'm off now! Go Pray!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Playing Catch Up


I keep wanting to post, but I feel like there are so many things that I need to catch you up on before I start talking about feelings, issues, etc. There may not be a one of you that cares about all the things I am about to inform you of, but once again my obsessivness kicks in. I can't move on with out a mental clean slate. So here goes...

Baby Weston...My cousin's baby is home and doing great! He was released from the hospital about a week after Ike hit. He has been doing really well. Thank you so much for your prayers for him!

My sister hasn't had her baby yet. They recieved damage in the inside of their home from Ike, and they were without power for 2 1/2 weeks(most of that time they spent at home because Hannah didn't want to get too far from the hospital. Now they are up and running, so it is time for that little one to get here. The new prayer request is that she will have the baby some time in the next week. She has gestational diabetes. With gestational diabetes the rate of still birth goes way up if once you pass your due date. Not sure why, it just does. If she hasn't had the baby by next Tuesday, then they will start the induction process just to be on the safe side. She has wonderful mid-wives and completely trusts their judgement. So pray that Baby Andrews comes soon!

Our house didn't have any damage on the inside. Part of the fence are damaged, several trees were down(and a TON of limbs), one wall of the water heater shed was torn up, the roof is pretty messed up, there is damage to parts of our siding in the front and on both sides, and a twister completely destroyed our storage builing. But God is good. The storage building is laying against our back fence in a heap of twisted metal, but almost all of the contents stayed right where they were. Not only that, but the majority of the stuff we were able to salvage. The insurance adjuster and FEMA have both already been out, we are just waiting to hear from them.

Everyone in the Carlin household is finally well! Ray gave us a bit of a scare, and I seriously though that I would go insane before I got my voice back. But I finally have it back,(much to the disappointment of the kids and Josh).

We are finally getting back in the swing of things with school. We are part a GREAT homeschool co-op that meets on Mondays. It started back up today. Even though we have had some kinks in the plan in regards to homeschooling, it has been going really well. I am so glad that we chose to do it this year. I was on the fence up until the last minute, but I don't regret our decision one bit.

Today is Treyson's 4 month birthday. I purposely left this tid bit as the last thing because I didn't want it to set the tone for this post. I really am ok today. I do pretty good with his month birthdays. The hardest part is that every month is closer to his one year birthday. I already know that that is going to be very difficult. I am dreading it. But his 4 month birthday today wasn't anymore difficult than his 3 month and 29 day birthday yesterday. Another day. I still miss him.

I am going to try my best to write again soon. It isn't that I don't want to, I am just still trying to work out a good schedule in which I actually have some free time to do things like read, write, and surf the internet(since no other surfing will be taking place any time in the near future, unfortunately).

Until we meet again, I love you all.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Infirmary

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am still alive. Since we got home Raylen has been sick. She is just now almost well today. I haven't been feeling well since last Wednesday evening. Right now I have completely lost my voice, which is very frustrating. When I get frustrated I want to yell. So you can only imagine how insane I have felt not being able to speak above a whisper, let along raise my voice. I've decided that God may be telling me that I need to find a better means of communicating when I am frustrated. (I'm pretty sure I just heard a big "AMEN" from Josh and the kids!)

I have so much that I want to write about. Our evacuation was quite an adventure that very much deserves being written about. I have also been on somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster. Stress is partly to blame for this, but the other part is that God has placed some very strong and serious desires on my heart that I have been wrestling with. I am longing to share with you all and give you some specific issues to be praying about(we all know how my obsessive self loves to pray as specifically as I possibly can. Can somebody say "Control freak!"?)

Anyway, I told Josh that if I'm not feeling better by tomorrow that I'm going to go jump off a bridge. (I am totally just kidding. I just haven't been this sick for this long in many years. Seriously.) But hopefully everyone will be feeling great and things will be back to normal in the next couple of days and I can get to posting! I have been missing ya'll very much and I am dying to catch up.

Much love.

Love you

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Home

We are home. We got here around 5:00 pm. Driving down our street there were power lines down all around. We knew we wouldn't have power, and by the looks of it, we wouldn't for awhile.
But....
the power came on about 20 minutes after we got here. Amazing!

It is good to be home, and I'm sure that I will post about the adventures of our evacuation, the damage, and what the clean up is going to be like. But right now I'm watching the news and crying. They are showing pictures of the devestation the occurred from High Island to Bolivar. So sad. A little too much for me right now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Take a Hike, Ike!

Well, I just got back from my sister's this morning. It looks like we might be evacuating in the morning, no matter how much I don't want to. It looks like we have a pretty good chance of flooding. Apparently the levees here aren't expected to hold.

After talking it over with Josh, we decided that we didn't like the image of hold Luke and Ray over our heads as the flood waters filled our home. So we decided that we would probably leave tomorrow. I still don't want to, but I left the judgement call up to Josh. Somebody,(somebody most likely meaning me), will get up in the wee hours of the morning and check the weather....yet again.

An update on my sister....
She is pretty much the same. She begins having contractions any time she gets up. But she saw her midwife today and she still isn't dialated. Which is a very good sign. She only half jokingly asked her husband to research how to deliver a baby during a hurricane since they are right in the middle of the projected path of Ike. Inspite all that they are not evacuating. Hannah does not want to risk getting stuck in traffic while in labor. So they are going to hold down the fort where they are. Which is, uh, in the eye of the storm. Oh well. Maybe that is better than being on the dirty side, which is where we are.

Now for an update on baby Weston. He is doing great and is pretty much ready to be released from the hospital. The doctors at the hospital are ablsolutely wonderful and they are keeping him in the hospital until Ike passes through.

Thanks so much for your prayers for both my sister and baby Weston. Just continue to pray that my niece won't come for another week or so.

I will try to let you know our status if we have internet access in the next several days.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Brief Update

I only have a minute to post, but I wanted to throw out a couple of quick prayer requests and an update on baby Weston.

Weston has made alot of progress. He is doing better every day. His heart and blood oxygen levels are improving every day. He is able to take a bottle, but I am not sure if he is completely off of the feeding tube that goes in through his belly button. My cousin, Kami, was finally able to hold him for the first time a few days ago. Now she is able to hold him during feedings, so he is much improved. Kami has been discharged from the hosptial. She is healing well from her c-section, and she is holding up good emotionally also. It is still a very stressful situation. They are hours away from home and having to stay in a hotel indefinately. Keep the whole situation in your prayers.

The next situation that needs prayer is my sister's pregnancy. She was having strong regular contractions, so she made a special visit to her midwife. She is only 34 weeks pregnant, so she is on bedrest now. They want her to try to keep the baby in until 36 weeks, if at all possible. Hannah seems to think that that it not very likely. She is trying to stay off her feet as much as possible, but with 3 and 5 year old boys that is not very easy. Every time she gets up she starts having contractions.

I am heading to Houston tomorrow to keep my eye on her. I'll tie her to the couch if I have to.(I'm only partially kidding.) I'm going to try to finish up any last minute baby stuff, help with cooking and housework, and fend off her boys.

Pray that baby girl(she is yet to be named!) will relax and wait a few more weeks before making her grand entrance.

Last, but not least, we start school tomorrow. We are homeschooling Luke this year and tomorrow is the first official day of school. He gets a big breakfast of bacon(turkey bacon, of course) and what ever else he wants. I am so very excited!

I will do my best to post from my sister's house and let you all know how things are going there.

Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tailspin

It is so strange how the saddness can just hit you. Overwhelming grief. Within minutes I can go from feeling fine, to drowning in a sea of saddness. I haven't at all been able to figure out what triggers it.

I can talk in detail with my sister about her pregnancy and upcoming labor and delivery,(which, God willing, I will be a part of), and I feel anticipation and happiness about the big event.

I can hear that one of my closest friends is expecting. And all I feel is excitment for her.

I can hold, cuddle, and kiss my 6 month old nephew, and feel nothing but love.

I can work in the nursery at our church with babies and toddlers and feel right at home playing down on the floor with them.

I can see my cousin VERY pregnant with her first child, and feel completely excited for her.


Then I get the news.

My cousin delivered her baby by emergency c-section, and there were some complications.

Even though baby Weston is stable, something about the whole situations sent me into a tailspin.

I am completely blindsided by my emotions. I feel so frail. Josh went back to work tonight, and I was about to die at the thought of him leaving. I had to refrain from begging him to stay. There are many people that I could have called, and they would have been here in a second. But I didn't want anybody but him.

I have been anticipating the birth of my sister's baby. She is finally having a girl, and we are all so excited. (I'll let you in on a little secret, though. We would be excited no matter what she was having. We just love babies!). I have been able to witness the birth of her first two children, and it is EXTREMELY important to me to be there for the birth of her baby girl. I am confident that God will give me the strength and grace that it takes to be present for the birth of my niece. I know in my heart that it will be a completely joyous occasion. I just pray for the Lord to sustain my emotions. My sister is a very sensitive person. She loves me deeply and I don't want her for one second to restrain her delight in her daughter because she feels that it would benefit me.

You would think that all of the pregnancies and new babies that I am surrounded with would give me "baby fever".

But it doesn't.

It just makes me miss Treyson all the more.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Riding it Out

*Before I start I have a prayer request. Yesterday my very pregnant cousin evacuted to Grapevine, Texas. She is due on Sept 3 with her first child. Earlier this week her doctor gave her all her records and they got her set up with a doctor in Grapevine just incase we did end up having to evacute and she ended up having the baby while evacuated.

Well she was feeling weird and went straight to the hospital when her and her husband got to Grapevine last night. After checking her they realized that the baby was in great distress and quickly rushed her to have a emergency c-section.

Baby Weston was born at midnight, weighing 5lb, 14 oz. He has some lung and heart problems and is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Keep both my cousin, Kami and baby Weston in your prayers.*


I thought that I'd update to let everyone know what we decided to do.

We decided to wait until this morning to make a decision about when/if we would leave. After getting up and assessing the situation, we decided that we are going to stay. If we lose power as the storm moves through then we will leave at that point. Either Josh or I will get up and check on the latest predictions at 5am. The only way that we will leave before it makes landfall is if when we check the status in the morning Gustav has taken a drastic turn to the west.

Since the majority of my friends and family are evacuated(the evacuation is still mandatory), so I am posting some pictures for them so that they can see what is going on here(that is if they have internet access where ever they are.

This first picture is of the Market Basket on 27th Street. The majority of businesses and about 1/3 of the homes are boarded up.

This is the Hwy 69 and Hwy 365 intersection. We were the only car in sight at that point. It was rather creepy.

This is one of the Wal-Mart entrances. They are closed and braced for the storm. It was also weird to see the parking lot completely empty. It is open 24 hours, so I have never seen the parking lot empty.

This is what most of the gas stations look like. Alot are out of gas, and the rest are just closed. We saw 3 open gas stations. Th only open business is HEB and it is packed! I braved the crowds and bought some groceries earlier today. I cleaned out my fridge and freezer and when we bought groceries saturday we only got dry goods. So I needed eggs, meat, ect.

As long as we don't lose power or internet then I will kept things updated.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Go Away, Gustav!

I didn't sleep much last night. While watching the news before we went to bed I suddenly became anxious about Hurricane Gustav and what our plan of action should be. Up until this point, I haven't given it too much thought. Josh and I early on said that we were going to ride this one out. Neither of us thought that it would go in close to us, so even if it intensified dramatically, we would only get Tropical Storm to Category 1 winds and rain. Last hurricane season we awoke to surprise Hurricane Humberto moving in. When we went to bed that night Humberto was a tropical storm that was supposed to go in at Galveston. Humberto to a surprise turn and then jumped up to hurricane status, and moved right through where we live. Besides losing power for about 3 or 4 days, everything else went smoothly. The kids slept off and on through the whole thing.


After Humberto last year, and the not-so-exciting Tropical Storm Edouard, we decided to stay this time unless it became a Cat 3 headed straight for us. The plan was, ride it out and leave afterwards if we lose power. IF Gustav intensified and headed more our way and it became apparent that it wouldn't be safe to stay with the children, then we would leave at the last minute so that we don't get stuck in the mass evacuating traffic. We were satisfied with our plan.


When we got home from the football game last night the projected path of Gustav had been inching and inching a little bit more west. Since it is going to be several days before it makes landfall, I got nervous that it would keep inching its way that way and head straight for us. I talked to my mom informed her of our plan. I also made the mistake of telling her that I planned to surf Monday. That landed me with mini-lecture about rip tides. But as I attempted to go to sleep last night my mind was racing thinking that maybe our plan needed a little tweeking. All the many possible senarios of what could happen with Gustav kept running through my mind.

I awoke this morning after a very restless night where I did not get much sleep only to find that my suspicions were confirmed. Gustav the great had grown from a Category 1 with 80mph sustained winds, to a Category 3 with 120 mph sustained winds. Not only that, but the projected path is curved even more towards us now than it previously was.

I let out a long sigh. I knew that the day would be filled with getting gas before it runs out, getting food for what could possibly be a VERY long car ride, and many other decisions(i.e. where we should go?, when we should leave?, what car we should borrow since mine STILL isn't fixed?, and whether or not to board up the windows?). As I drove around running my errands I could see the same exhaustion that I feel on the faces of those in the community. It is less than a month from the 3 year anniversary of Hurricane Rita. The devestation that it caused when the eye of the storm went through our city is all too fresh on our memory. No one was left unscathed.

When I returned home from the store and turned on the news I discoved that there was a huge drop in pressure and Gustav is now a Category 4 with 145 mph sustained winds. Wait, it gets better. It hasn't even hit the "sweet spot" in the Gulf of Mexico where Hurricanes Katrina and Rita exploded.

It is exhausting thinking about what we are going to be dealing with in the next couple of days(possibly weeks...). We've survived it before and I know we will again. But it is still exhausting.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Finally

Today was a big day for the Carlin family. We finalized Luke's adoption today. Josh and I started dating when Luke was very young. Luke has never known any other father but Josh. Explaining the adoption to Luke was difficult. From the time I was pregnant with him I completely intended to be honest with him and answer any questions he may have. I used my pregnancies with Ray and Trey to try to explain things to him. It just hasn't clicked with him yet. I have come to realize that I do not understand whatsoever how a five year olds mind works. The climax of my realization came last night when Luke asked me, " Is ya'll adopting me the same as when we got Pilot." (Pilot is Luke's dog.)

I think that Luke aquated getting Pilot with being adopted is because there has been a good deal of talk in our house lately about adopting a retired racing greyhound. I guess that has been the extent of his exposure to what adoption means. We discussed it further, but he still doesn't completely comprehend it all. He has no memory of Josh not being his dad, so he has a hard time grasping that there was a time in his life that Josh wasn't in his life. I know that it will be years before he understands, but at least there is an inkling of understanding.



This is us being sworn in. (I think Ray was trying to swear in her blankie also.)
My completely adorable baby boy.

The judge reviewed all of our documents and the case study, and then asked us some questions. They were general questions like how we felt about the adoption and so forth.
It was at this point that Judge Shelton asked Luke if he had talked to Pilot to see what he thought about the adoption. Luke said no. Then the judge asked Luke something about Josh. I can't remember what he asked but Luke mumbled an answer, but I could see his wheels turning. If you don't know my son, then I will enlighten you. He is a GREAT kid, and I'm serious about that. But he can talk anybody under the table. He talks pretty much from the time he wakes up, until the time the he is asleep. Once you ask him one question you open pandora's box. He will begin talking non-stop. So once I noticed that his wheels were turning I knew that his mouth would start soon after.

I was right. Soon after Luke blurted out, (while unintentionally pointing his thumb at Josh), "I've been trying to get him to quit eating dead chickens."


I froze.

As a mother I knew that he was talking about Pilot, as opposed to Josh,(although his flailing thumb was pointing at Josh), but I wasn't so sure that the judge would know who he was talking about. I'm sure that my eyes were as big as saucers. I was imagining the judge picture Josh biting the heads off of live chickens like some crazed Alice Cooper wanna-be.

Judge Shelton just smiled and said, "That's a hard habit to break, isn't it?"

Luke just nodded. Whew!
Everyone began snickering,(including the baliff), so I knew that whether or not the judge knew who Luke was referring to, it obviously didn't phase him.
Granny(my mom)and Granna(Josh's mom) participating in the big day.



Afterwards, we went to eat at IHOP(Luke's choice) to celebrate. This is my I'm-so-happy-this-is-finally-done face. It somewhat resembles my football game face, and my I'm-bored-and-playing-with-the-camera face.

Later that afternoon I met up with my great friend, Naomi. Naomi and I were roommates for about a year in college. She has an adorable daughter, Evie, that is about a week older than Ray. Naomi lives about 3 1/2 hours away, but was in town with her husband on business. It was great to get to see her, even if it was just for a couple of hours, and the girls had a blast playing together. Aren't they just adorable?

It was a tiring day, but wonderful, day. Ray decided that she would rest with Daddy awhile.

It was an important day for our family. And I will admit that I breathed a sigh of relief when all the legalities were taken care of for good.
In the words of Luke when he was asked about what today meant, he said, "I'm Daddy's son now. He chose me and I chose him too."

Across the Universe

*The is my second attempt at this post. I posted a couple of days ago, but I decided I didn't like it so I deleted it.

After being scolded for doing so I am attempting to re-write it. The re-writes are never as good as the originals though.



As I'm sure you have noticed I have made some changes to my blog: background, pictures, music, the works! I knew that the majority of you would wonder where the quotes around the pictures came from and their signifigance. All of the quotes around the pictures are from Beatles songs. I am somewhat of a Beatles fanatic. I grew up listening to their music, so at an early age I fell in love with their timeless music and quirky personalities. I have a Beatles song that I have chosen to represent Josh, and each of my children.

I started this when Luke was a baby. He was the complete love of my life and I wanted to pick out a song to be "our song". I have a voice that only my mother and the Lord could ever possibly tolerate. But when Luke was a tiny infant I would sing to him as I rocked and nursed him. I sang alot of praise music and 3 or 4 of my favorite hymns, but I also wanted to have a different song that whenever he heard it he would think of my love for him. The warm fuzzies, if you will.

The months preceeding and following Luke's birth were engulfed in turmoil,(through no fault of his. He was practically a PERFECT baby). His song is "Here Comes the Sun". It is kinda a play on words, sun/son. But the main reason I chose it was because it talks about how things may have been difficult, but things are going to be okay.

Next came Josh. His song is "Here, There, and Everywhere". I knew that I wanted a Beatles song in my wedding. This song, although not previously in my top favorites, fit perfectly. It simply states that I need you everywhere for my life to be all that it can be. That is how I feel about Josh. I need him everywhere. Also, My Love is what I have called Josh since about a month after we met. So the fact that it says, "my love" in the lyrics made it even that more perfect.

Raylen's song just clicked. I was able to feel Raylen move what I feel like was pretty early in my pregnancy, at about 14 weeks. I had been feeling her move in my tummy for about a month before we found out that we were having a girl. I just KNEW she was going to be a boy(so much for that mother's intuition, right?), and I hadn't put any though whatsoever in to what her song was going to be. But the day we found out that we were having a girl, the song "Something"(also called "Something In the Way She Moves") got stuck in my head. I couldn't quit thinking about it and singing it(the singing was done in private). After that, every time I thought about that song, it reminded me of Ray. So it just automatically became her song. I didn't really have a choice in the matter. Even if I had mentally picked a different one, the song that will forever remind me of her and make me smile is "Something".

So Ray was born and more rocking/nursing/singing commenced.

Treyson's song is "Golden Slumbers". Before we knew about Treyson's complications I had a song picked out for it he was a boy, and another one for if he were a girl.

Then disaster struck.

Once we learned of Treyson's complications I knew that he needed a special song. We knew that we would probable never hear him cry, because of his lungs being underdeveloped. "Golden Slumbers" was the perfect song. Simple and Beautiful. It was the perfect lullabye for my baby.

I know that I'm a little nutty(Okay, maybe more than a little), but the songs are special to me. I wanted to share that with you.

Oh, also, here is a brief explanation of the songs that play on my blog. The first on is "Bring the Rain", by Mercy Me. Thoughout this difficult time in our life, Josh and I have tried to keep this song as our testimony. It was also played at Treyson's funeral.

The second song is "Held", by Natalie Grant. This song was sung so very beautifully at the funeral. Kelli even personalized the words for Treyson. It could not have been more perfect.

The third song is "Golden Slumbers".


The video below is of the song "Something". The song is special to me, but the reason I love the video is because of that love-in-your-eyes look they all have. I'm a sucker for that. You may not care to watch it. But if you do you need to scroll down to the bottom of the page and pause the music before you do.

One last thing. "Across the Universe" is also Beatles song. The lyrics aren't particularly meaningful(infact they sound somewhat drug induced), but the song is pretty and was part of the prelude music of our wedding. Also, it wasn't until several months after I picked "Something" to be Ray's song that I realized that it was in to prelude music of our wedding.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Perfection

Our appointment went well. We met with both Dr. Lockheart and the genetic counselor. They were both very nice, and had studied all of our records in much detail. Dr. Cunningham had already informed us that when the results came back from Treyson's bloodwork and biopsy that all of the chromosones were normal. Dr. Lockheart started by telling us that we obviously had some incredible doctors. She said that all of the reports about Treyson and I were excellent. She proceeded to tell us that the fact that the chromosones were normal was a really good thing. Abnormal chromosones would put us at a much higher chance of having problems in the future, if we choose t0 have another baby.

Treyson had multiple problems. Besides not having kidneys, he had problems with his lower spine, and some extra fluid in his brain. Dr. Lockheart and her assistant, the genetic counselor, had done alot of research on Treyson's problems. They informed us that everything that went "wrong" with him happened between 20 and 30 days after conception. I asked her if I could have possible done something or have been exposed to something in that time that could have hurt the baby. They said that in all the research done, Treyson's problems could not be pin-pointed on any particular thing. She said that in her opinion that we had only a 3% chance of this happening again.

Josh and I left the appointment feeling as good as you can feel in this situation. We both feel like we had the best doctor doing her absolute best to give us an answer. I REALLY wanted to get to the root of the problem. I wanted to know, was it a bad egg?, defective sperm?, benzene exposure?(my huband works with chemicals), the pollution of our area?(we live in one of the most polluted areas of the country), ect. But even though we didn't get the exact answer I wanted, I still left with a peace. I felt like since we had great doctors that all did their best, even though we didn't get the definative answer that I wanted, that we got the answers we were meant to have. Apparently we aren't supposed to know the exact reason why right now.

There is still a part of me that wants to know EXACTLY what went wrong, and EXACTLY when it went wrong. But after much thought, I think that my baby was perfect and exactly as God intended him to be. Who am I to change God's plan? God did not cause Treyson's problems, but He very well could have prevented them...but He didn't.
Therefore,
Treyson was exactly the way he was supposed to be.

Perfect.

I love my baby, Treyson Kemp Carlin, with my whole heart. I would give anything to have him in my arms now. But I know enought to know that God knows best. If it was meant for him to be healed, than he would have been. Obviously he was perfect the way he was.

I'm happy with the answers we got, as minimal as they were. They confirmed what I had thought all along. Treyson was exactly as he was meant to be.

Perfect.

That is my child.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dr. Lockheart

I'll make this short and sweet.

Tomorrow we,(the "we" being Josh and I), have our appointment with the pediactric genetic specialist. Her specialty is babies with anomolies. We have never seen her before, but she is supposed to be a wonderful doctor that is one of the leading doctors in our country on pediatric genetics(or so the world wide web says.). She has all of mine and Treyson's records and medical reports. She will talk to us about Treyson and answer any questions that we have, but we are also recieving genetic counseling. It is most likely that Treyson's bilateral renal agenesis(no kidneys) was a fluke, but if there is a hereditary connection then we have up to a 25% chance of this occuring again if there is a future pregnancy.

I have a feeling that tomorrow will be an emotional day, so it is likely that I will not give an update about our appointment until Saturday. Plus, we have to drive to UTMB Galveston for our appointment, so I'll be tired and puffy eyed by the time we get home.

I am looking forward to the smell of the ocean though.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Day

Tonight my dad's side of the family,(the local ones anyway), went out to eat for my cousin's birthday. I was completely dreading it, and originally planned on not going. But at the last minute we decided to go. The reason I didn't want to was because I am irritated at them.

O.K., not irritated.

More like completely enraged.

Not a single one of my 8 cousins(15, counting there spouses. and that's just on my dad's side), ever acknowledged Treyson's birth or passing. Not one of them came to the funeral. Not one of them called. Not one of them sent a card, or even a email.

My dad's side of the family is notorious for sweeping any unpleasent issue under the rug and not mentioning them. A couple of years ago my parent's got divorced after 30 years of marriage. None of my dad's family even mentioned it. They basically acted like my mom never exisisted. It was okay with me at the time, because the last people I wanted to talk about it with was any of them.

But, in regards to the complete disregard to Treyson's life, to say that I have been angry would probably be the understatement of the century.

After talking to Josh, I decided to get over myself and attend my cousin's party. As we were walking in to the restaurant I started mumbling under my breath what I felt like saying to certain people. Josh set me straight and in turn I bit my tongue for the next hour and a half. It wasn't fun though, but I did it. It was an extreme exercise of self restraint.

As I was putting Luke to bed I was irritable and impatient. About 15 minutes later I started feeling guilty that we hadn't ended the evening on a happy note. I went in to Luke's room to tell him how much he means to me and that I was sorry for being impatient.

"Luke, you know I love you more than anything, right?", I told him.

"That's not right."

(His reply surprised me, but I knew where he was going with this.)

"You know you are supposed to love God the most.", he wisely informed me.

"Oh, you are right, baby. I love God the most. But you do know that you are one of the best gifts that God has ever given me, right?"

"Yeah, I know.", he replyed

Then he added, "I love God the most too."

He put his arms out like he was hugging a very large person, and said,

"This is me giving God a hug."

"That is so sweet", I told him.

"And this is me sending Treyson a hug.", he said as he continued the hugging of a large person motion.

"Aww. That very sweet, baby."
(on a quick side note: the majority of the time that I go to the cemetary I do it in the evening. Luke always tells me to tell Treyson that he loves him and that he sends him a kiss and a hug.)

"And this is me hugging all the dead babies."

That one threw me off for a minute.

But then I realized that he meant all the other babies in the cemetary, and I quickly recovered.

"That is really nice, Luke."


That short conversation with my son made all the previous unpleasent events of the evening bearable.
My anger immediately subsided.
My five year old had put life in perspective for me.

Thank the Lord for five year old boys.