Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ahhh....this is the life.

I am super excited to announce that Chris found out last Friday that he got a promotion (and a nice little raise) at work! I was super sad to find out that he needed to spend the next 5 days in Baton Rouge. After a nice long weekend across the state celebrating the marriage of our dear friends, Liz and Philip*, we came home Sunday night - and packed again. I met Chris in BR Monday night and got to stay until Wednesday (he came home on Friday). While Chris went to his training during the day, I partied it up (hahaha) in the hotel until he came home.

*A side note on Liz and Philip - what a gorgeous wedding!!! I have honestly never seen two people that seem  so absolutely made for each other. I couldn't imagine either of them with anyone else. I wish you all of the happiness in the world! Please pray that they have a happy, holy marriage with lots of gorgeous blue-eyed babies :)

This little free vacation leads me to my purpose for this blog post -

Why Every Pregnant Woman Should Live in a Hotel:

1. One word: elevator. Minimal walking (waddling) around everywhere.
2. HOUSEKEEPING. Hmmm...I did fill the trash and use all of the towels this morning, but now the trash is empty I have fresh towels and my toilet paper has that neat little triangle fold on it. Whoopsie! I forgot to make the bed. Thank goodness, it was magically made by fairies while I was (see #3)
3. Out to lunch with my husband. Everyday. A quiet meal. Someone else did the dishes. Could this be
4. Why don't I have a valet at my apartment? I think one of the less finer things about being pregnant (or not pregnant) in Louisiana during the summer is steaming hot cars with seat belts that burn and air that suffocates. I think I would leave the house more if I could call a well-dressed man five minutes before I was supposed to leave to take my car from wherever it was magically hidden and pull it up 5 feet from the hotel lobby with the AC blasting.
5. Cable TV. I admit this shouldn't be as big of a bonus as it is. We don't have cable. I'm at the end of my first trimester and although overall feeling much better, I still have some funky-feeling days. I was so disappointed to find that my first day there was a funky day. I had made plans to get a little crazy and go sit at a bookstore all day and sip lattes while Chris was at his conference. That frown turned upside down when I realized I had a coffee maker, a huge bed with no less than six fluffy pillows and cable to TV to entertain me until the funk passed.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Jump for Joy

I've been actively involved in church groups for a really long time. I've heard numerous talks on how God has intended the relationship between men and women, talks on purity, friendship, courting, etc. Especially through high school, I struggled so hard to follow the "rules", but still ended up with a broken heart or that really awful alone feeling. A had lots of guys as friends. I thought my relationships were appropriate. I never thought that "void" could be filled by having a boyfriend. So what was wrong?  

I had a really strong revelation the summer before I started my freshman year of college. My friendship lack was not with men, but with women. I had become skittish of other girls in high school because of the extreme drama and backstabbing I had experienced with other girls at a really young age. Every time I went to go make a new friend, I thought "Can I trust her?" or "She definitely won't understand me."  I gravitated towards my guy friends because they seemed easier. I wish I would have realized then how much I was depriving myself. 

Right before college started, I actively prayed for a couple of really solid girl friendships...and God blessed me 30-fold!  All during college, I felt like a part of me that was still really young and underdeveloped really blossomed - I know I owe that to my very blessed friendships with my girl friends. I realized that a man and women can only go so deep in their friendship before they have progressed beyond friends, but a healthy friendship between two women can deepen and expand so much it's unbelievable. I so firmly believe that a woman learns who she is as a woman by developing trusting, strong female friendships. 

I've heard so often our gifts are also our curses. Women have this amazing ability of observation and insight...why don't we use it to build each other up instead of tear each other down? Even if we're not catty out loud, I've heard numerous women admit (me included), that we instantly notice SO much about other women, but we've trained ourselves wrong. For a long time, if I saw a beautiful/sweet/charismatic woman, I would instantly feel jealous/intimidated/judgmental. (Of course, I would strive not to say ANY of these things out loud.) A few years ago I started challenging myself to retrain my brain. When I saw a friend who looked especially pretty, I would shut out any negativity and affirm her OUT LOUD "You look really beautiful today, Susie!" I felt really dumb at first. I gave a talk on this at a women's group, and tried really hard to practice what I preached. Gradually, I saw the immediate culture of women around me change.

As always, there is no way that our everyday lives can avoid being intertwined with our spiritual lives. I felt drawn towards all of these really positive, strong women in scripture. Two of my favorite women in scripture are Mary (God's Mom) and Elizabeth, her cousin.  Individually, Mary is...well, she's amazing! I could write endless blog post about my devotion to the Blessed Mother and how she has helped change my life, both through intercession and example. Elizabeth was SO faithful in her old age.

Together, these women are DYNAMITE! The pure explosion of friendship is shown in Luke:

When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled. 

These two super holy, faithful women who love each other so much come together, both carrying extremely holy little boys in their bellies (because one is, you know, God and everything) and they absolutely REJOICE for each other! I read this and think "Why are we, as women, not rejoicing constantly for each other?!" Elizabeth didn't say, "Looks like you've packed on a little too much baby weight." or say condescendingly "That's so cute that you think your baby is God's son...I bet mine's a prophet or something great like that."

That is why this is one of my FAVORITE pictures. I hope to get a print of this eventually and hang it prominently in my house:

Another reason why I especially love this picture right now is because we're expecting a baby in February! As the end of the 1st trimester approaches and we've gotten several indications that this is a very healthy baby, we are so proud to begin sharing our very happy news. 

My blogging had slacked off for awhile because ALL I could think about was the baby and being nauseous and supernaturally tired. Also, I didn't think "Dry heaved today. Going to take a nap now" would make a very interesting blog post ;)  

The other picture right now that is rivaling for the most beautiful picture in the world (for Chris and I) right now is this one:

                   Baby Reed , almost 10 weeks.