Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Special Weekend

This weekend is special for a few reasons:
Reason #1: This is the weekend 8 years ago that I gave birth to John Owen. He was born on Friday, April 25, and it was one of the best days of my life!
 Story of my pregnancy/his arrival: I had just started graduate school, and I was coaching volleyball at the middle school where I had been teaching for 1 year when I found out I was going to have a baby. Jan and I were nervous, yet very excited, and we surprised our parents with a poem on Grandparents Day in Sept. of 2002. I had a great pregnancy, I guess. A little sickness in the beginning, only lasting about 7 weeks, and then subsiding. I made it through the sickness period by eating Sprite and Cheetos. Which might explain this next thing. :-) I gained...(Dare I put this?)...60 pounds while pregnant with John Owen. I often was asked by strangers if I was having TWINS. Yeah, that's right. My mother was wonderful, though, when I expressed my concern for my weight gain. She simply stated that I had not gained as much as she did with me, so I was fine. My doctor took about the same approach in taking my weight gain in stride. "You're tall. I think you can handle it." I, on the other hand, was thinking, "I am not THAT tall!" Nevertheless, I just accepted the fact that my mother and I were destined by nature to "pack on the pounds" while pregnant. My mother went with me to nearly every dr. appt. while I was pregnant. (I think it was because we both used it as a good excuse to eat at McAlister's Deli.)
I experienced some lower back pain and a little sciatic nerve pain toward the end of my pregnancy, but nothing I couldn't tolerate. I continued to teach every day (and complete my work/classes for graduate school) until almost a week before he was born. My doctor decided to induce me on my due date since I had reached 2 cm dilated. I had a 3 week break from graduate school classes at that point, so it seemed God's timing was perfect. I went in at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, April 25, and the nurses started me on pitocin. I progressed along, determined I was going to do this without the epidural. When I reached 5 cm and STAYED there for a couple of hours, the doctor strongly suggested I get the epidural. "For some reason, you haven't changed since we last checked you. I'm not sure what's going on, but you might have a long road ahead of you." They hooked the monitor up to John Owen's head to more closely monitor his vitals, and they brought in the anesthesiologist. The epidural was the scariest thing for me at that point. I just dreaded the thought of a needle in my back. All went well, and I tried to rest a little. A couple of more hours passed, and still no change...
When Dr. Stern came in, he told me he would give me a little longer, and that if there wasn't any change, we would talk about a C-section. As he stepped out the door and began to walk down the hallway, the monitor alarm went off. I was having a BIG contraction, and John Owen's heart rate dropped drastically. I will never forget the look on my mom's face as she had the best view of the monitor screen. This alerted the nurses at their station, and Dr. Stern turned right back around and said as he entered the room, "We are not going to wait. Let's go on and get him." The nurses got busy! They threw scrubs at Jan, escorted everyone in the room out, and I started getting upset (probably induced from the frantic state around me and the thought of a C-section). My dad would not leave the room until he offered some comforting words I will always remember. Then I was wheeled down to the operating room (I'll spare the details of the operation itself), and at 4:01 p.m., we were shedding tears of joy as we saw our baby boy for the first time! He was wide awake and looking at me! I cried from sheer JOY and HAPPINESS! 8 pounds and 14 ounces of a miracle sent from God! I couldn't stop looking at him, and let me truthfully say, I did not want him to leave my side while we were in the hospital. I never sent him to the nursery. They asked, I declined. He stayed right beside me (mostly in a football-hold position), so I could see his face at all times. One thing I'll always remember Dr. Stern saying after John Owen's birth is "He didn't wanna to leave his Momma." (It wasn't the easiest of c-section surgeries, he added.) I could never imagine my life without John Owen having been born. I don't ever want to imagine my life without him. I thank God for the gift He gave us in John Owen. I know that God has super plans for him, and I pray that God will lead his life in a big way, and that he'll be smarter than I was in his life decisions. I pray that I can be the mother he needs to help him, and I'm gonna lean on God for that.

Reason #2: God has been working on John Owen's heart for a while now. **(See recent post: "Will You Answer?)**
Last Sunday, John Owen told us he was ready to make it known to our church that he had asked Jesus to come into his heart and that he was ready for baptism. I was so proud of him! We both were!! Jan got a little emotional, and I tried not to look at him for fear I would cry. (He really is a BIG softie sometimes!) We stood beside John Owen as Bro. Chuck told the church about his decision and their discussion about salvation. John Owen greeted every one like a big boy as they came to tell him how happy they were for him. I am just so happy that now my son's name is written in God's Book of Life, and that tomorrow we will celebrate with our family and church body as he is baptized on Easter Sunday...What a special day to remember this special moment! I am especially happy that my grandmothers are planning to be there tomorrow to see their great-grandson baptized. I know my Grandmother Caudle has always told me that she has prayed/prays daily that each of her children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren will come to know Jesus as their Savior. I hope when I am 90 years old, that I can testify to the acceptance of Jesus Christ in my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. A legacy worth living and leaving!!

Reason #3: Easter...a time to remember the Savior who gave His life for the sins of the world. I pray that tomorrow we will all remember and give thanks for the Savior who came to the world and gave His life in a way that I cannot fathom. It hurts my very being to think of the pain and suffering Jesus did for me, what God allowed His son to go through for all of us. This weekend is special because this is a time of rejoicing and prasing God that He has allowed us the chance to be able to come to Him and live eternally as His children because Jesus Christ died and rose again! Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. What a day it will be when He comes back for His people!!

I have to end this post with some pictures from John Owen's first birthday sleepover we had last night! (Jan and I survived!) hehe
Funny story...the boys stayed up REALLY late, like midnight! And then, to top things off, they woke up BEFORE 6:00 a.m. I couldn't believe it! I thought everybody slept in at a sleepover! I know I always slept until about lunch time. :-) Did I miss the memo that said your guests are now EARLY RISERS? I took a much needed nap this afternoon which probably explains why I am still up at 11:30 tonight...ho hum! And one of our guests fell asleep in the car as I was driving him home! Too funny!
John Owen had fun and that's all that matters!
Happy 8th Birthday, John Owen!

Umm...excuse me? Who's that trying to stick a finger in the cake?

Yeah, that's right, lick your lips. You can look, but you can't touch!

"The Crew"
Carter, John Owen, Tyler, Owen Thomas
(John Owen informed me right after I took this picture that he was making an "8" with his hands! Pretty creative, huh?)

The birthday boy before blowing out his candles!

Boys will be boys!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's Our Time

To sing together! It's our time to sing together! It's our time to sing together! Sing, "Hello, hello!"
This is how we started off every Kindermusik class with "Miss Ellie" AKA Mrs. Ellen Clark. I put Mary Claire in Kindermusik this year to give her more social interaction with children close to her age and for the exposure to music with such a wonderfully talented instructor, Mrs. Ellen. (Mrs. Ellen is actually family, Jan's cousin...I have learned in the 15 years since Jan and I met and started our relationship that there aren't many people in Tipton County that he's NOT related to somehow whether it be through marriage or blood kin. :-) I, on the other hand, cannot say the same.) O.K., I'll stop "birdwalking" now! Back to Kindermusik memories and our time together...

What will we remember from Kindermusik? Mary Claire proved to be a take-charge type person. (That's a nice way of saying she's BOSSY, right?) She was a little AGGRESSIVE with a couple of the girls at first. Let's see, was it a hug for a new little friend or a choke hold? Hmm...:-) She was very good at "reminding" Miss Ellie that it was time for stickers...WELL BEFORE the end of class time together. A couple of times my mother had to fill in for me and take Mary Claire to class. It was so funny when she called me afterwards laughing and asked, "Does she listen to YOU in Kindermusik?" hehe

Mary Claire loved the washing machine song the best. We would lay a towel on the floor with one adult at each end of the towel. One child at a time would lay on the towel and we would pick up the towel with the child bundled up inside and gently shake the towel while singing, "We are clothes in a washing machine, and we wiggle and we giggle until we are clean. Then Momma shakes us out to dry, and hangs us on a clothesline high!" It became quite difficult, and probably dangerous, when Sam Harris and Mary Claire refused to take turns, and Sara and I had to shake/hold both of them at the same time! That was a sight for sore eyes!
Another favorite was the making toast song. She loved waiting for the toast to POP out of the toaster and then me spreading pretend jelly on her as she pretended to be the toast!

Oh my goodness! What fun!
So much fun we have signed up for more! This June, she'll do another class with Miss Ellie. I think it has some sort of adventure theme, and we can't wait! With Mary Claire, it's always an ADVENTURE! Here's a couple of pictures from our 1st Kindermusik class.

Lane, Clara Lee, Drew, Miss Ellie, Tatum, Faith, Mary Claire
Missing: Griffin, Sam Harris

Fun with pots and pans!

I'm pretty sure that's not what the scarves were intended for, but what do you expect from a 2 year old?

Toast in the toaster...ready to POP UP! :-)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Will You Answer?

This past Sunday, our pastor shared in his sermon about knowing and accepting Jesus into your heart. He read aloud and included in his sermon notes for the day, the scripture from John 14:6-"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me." He then showed an illustration on the big screen of Jesus knocking on a door and he described how Jesus stands at our heart's door and knocks. It is up to us to answer his call. And I can testify that He is most certainly knocking because my almost 8 year old son, John Owen, took me completely by surprise when he touched my hand as Bro. Chuck began his closing prayer, and he said, "Mommy, I want to be baptized." For a split moment, I didn't know what to say!! I leaned in and whispered, "Do you want to share this with Bro. Chuck or Bro. Cliff?" (You see, Jan and I have always said we want our children to make this decision on their own. Of course, we will try our best to give them guidance in this matter, but we do not want to force our children to accept Christ. We have had a couple of "bedtime discussions" with John Owen over the course of the last 6 months or so, but he has never expressed a desire to be baptized. He said he believed in Jesus and God, and he asked alot of questions. And I have prayed, as I do for all 3 of my children, that God would open his heart to hear and confess Jesus as his Lord and Savior.) So, when he said he wanted to go down to tell Bro. Cliff or Bro. Chuck, I didn't dare want to tell him to wait. I have this idea that so many, and I stand guilty as well, think that that aisle in church is only for those who have a decision to make public. Why is that?
So, I said, "Let's go down and pray with Bro. Chuck, o.k? And we'll see what he says." At the same time the invitation began, we stepped out into the aisle with our son who will turn 8 in 20 days, and made our way to the front. I knew that our good friend, Ella, who recently made a decision for Christ was making her decision public, and I couldn't help but think how ironic it was that Ella's mom, Kate, and I were baptized together, and that today of all days, God chose to speak to my child's heart. He knocked, and I believe John Owen answered Him. I am without words to describe how happy we are! We prayed with Bro. Cliff while Ella talked with Bro. Chuck. Then we shared with Bro. Chuck John Owen's decision, and we agreed to meet with him this week. Later, when we discussed this with John Owen, Jan asked him why he wanted to be baptized, and what made him think about it today? He said, "Well, Bro. Chuck was talking about Jesus knocks on the door of your heart, and you have to answer his knock. I think He's knocking on my heart, and I want to let Him in." :-) Of course, we asked him if he knew his friend had made a decision to be baptized, and he said he didn't. (I hope no one thinks badly of us for asking that, but we wanted to be sure his decision was made for the right reason.) Please say a little prayer for our son as he meets with our pastor this week and as he answers the Lord's knock on his heart's door.

I close with a funny prayer Mary Claire prayed tonight before I put her in bed. (I think it might have been an attempt to keep from having to go to bed so quickly.)
She always says the "Now I lay me down to sleep..." prayer, but I usually lead her in a prayer afterwards, and I'll thank God for her and her brothers, other family, Jesus, etc. Well, she has now started picking up if I slow down with my list of "thank-you's" and here's what she said tonight, plus my thoughts as she prayed :-).
"Thank you for Mommy and Daddy and Mommy and Daddy (o.k., I think God got that one!)
and my animals (??...Then I quickly realized she was looking at some stuffed animals in the basket beside the rocking chair)
and Mommy's music (??... Maybe because she heard the music playing on the CD player...I could sure use that prayer, though, since this laryngitis has kept me from singing for 2 weeks now!)
and for my books (O.k. now she's looking at the bookshelf...)
and for Jesus. (There you go! Good girl. Be thankful for the other things, but this one is most important.)
Amen! (and AMEN!)