Happy One Year Anniversary, My Dear.

My husband is a darling. Always patient, always kind, he lacks envious haughtiness. He is incredibly humble, is concerned about others feelings, and always places himself last. He is very evenly tempered, and easily forgives. He delights in truth in whatever form it may come in. He is a wonderful protector and provider. He is trustworthy and offers me his trust in return. He is relentless in hope and optimism, and he never gives up, never gives in.

My husband speaks wisdom and offers fervent prayer for our family. He is the first to rise and the last to fall asleep. He has a spirit of peace that emanates from his presence.

My husband is a gift that only God could have given me, and through him, the Lord has shown me just how much He loves me.

So on this day exactly one year ago, I married my best friend, the one my heart adores. Here’s to many, many, many more years full of amazing adventures, consuming laughter, and fiercely determined love.

When we first saw each other... Oh the tears.

When we first saw each other… Oh the tears.

I do, now until eternity.

I do, now until eternity.

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PREGNANCY:15 Weeks

15 weeks 001

Sweet baby, you are developing so well. Your heart rate is around 140 beat per minute. You are able to move fluid through your nose and respiratory system, and your legs are now growing longer than your arms. I feel you move every other day now, and it’s the greatest. We get to find out if you’re a boy or a girl in a little over three weeks!!

I had a doctor’s appointment on Monday. Hearing the heartbeat makes my heart soar.

I am going to a practice where there are four doctors, and I see them all throughout my pregnancy. So far, I’ve seen three of the four and I am completely sold on them. I was curious about whether or not I wanted to go the midwife route, but I’m so glad that I chose this way. Theirs is a Christian practice, and that’s so important to me. Knowing that I have doctors who will entrust me into the most capable hands of all, makes me very comfortable.

While meeting with my doctor this week, I had a ton of questions that I had written down, and he was more than willing to take his time to answer each of them with patience and kindness. Some doctors can come across as in a hurry and condescending, but my doctor this week was wonderful. He told me that I was the boss, which confirmed that I am at the right place :).

I have been extremely tired this week. Extremely. I basically slept all day Monday and all night. I really hope that this is completely attributed to baby growth and not to my compromised immune system fighting off some yuckiness.

My weight has fluctuated majorly in the last two weeks. First I lost a few pounds, then I gained a few pounds, and then I lost a couple more and was back down to my normal weight again this morning. I’m still at +1 lb.

I’ve been wanting sweet things this week, cinnabon, cake, hershey’s bar. I haven’t eaten so many sweet things in months, but it all just tasted so good!

I’m having some round ligament discomfort in my lower right quadrant, but I’ve been doing some mermaid stretches to help with this. I’ve also been kind of a grouch this week, but I think that is related to my excessive tiredness.

Next week is mine and my husband’s first year wedding anniversary, and I can’t wait to celebrate!

10 Minute Prenatal Workout with Heidi Klum’s personal trainer

As with any workout program, you need check with your doctor first. If you have any abdominal separation, you should probably not do this workout.

I found this prenatal workout to be very effective, and I plan on using it throughout my pregnancy.

http://www.fitsugar.com/10-Minute-Prenatal-Workout-Routine-From-Heidi-Klums-Trainer-23784251

Medicated vs. Unmedicated Birth

As I am contemplating my upcoming labor and delivery, I debating over whether or not I want to go the medicated or un-medicated route.

Since this is my first time, I’m thinking that I want to labor at home as long as I can before going to the hospital. I’ve read that this can reduce the risk of using interventions, but I’m not too proud to say that I’ll be willing to get the epidural if I’m needing it. However, I do want to wait until I’m more than 4cm dilated because this can reduce the risk of having to have a C-section.

I found this video very interesting. This woman has had three births, two medicated and one un-medicated.

I’ve still got a while before I need to complete my birth plan, and I am fully aware that even with a birth plan things are subject to change, I was just wondering from you mamas and mamas-to-be, what are your thoughts on medicated vs. un-medicated labor and delivery?

Thoughts on Worship Leading

My first job as a teenager was in a church as a worship leader, and after nearly 10 years of working in and out of different ministries in the area of worship, this topic has become a huge part of who I am.

Though I am not currently working at a church in this capacity, I am I teaching almost all of the arts to a group of young teenagers at a Christian school. I will be the first to chime in about how the art form alone is not worship, but about how worship is a lifestule. There are plenty of arts challenged people in the world who are excellent worshipers because of where there heart lies, but there is also great value in using the arts as a vehicle to worship because there is something wildly freeing about them.

Songs can lift the spirit and allow people to say what they did not even realize that they needed to say. There are healing properties in music and when paired with dancing, really picking up your feet and allowing all sorts of bondage to fall off of you, there is such liberty. When you lift up your voice in a shout of adoration for your Lord and creator, there again is freedom. When you see a dramatic expression of some spiritual truth, we always rejoice when God overcomes evil.

The arts are such a beautiful way to worship the Lord, and have been used for thousands of years as a means of worship and as a means of teaching new believers how to worship.

To a new believer, the whole worship experience is probably painfully awkward. People singing to the top of their lungs, raising their hands, possibly waving flags, or dancing around in their pew.

To me as a worship leader, it is so important to be constantly teaching about worship not just simply leading.

The worship leader is responsible for preparing the atmosphere, for setting the stage for the word of God that will come through the pastor. They are also responsible for directing attention toward God and leading other believers to a state of worship. It is not a concert or a light show.

While leading worship, I feel it is important to explain why we do things. For example, why do we raise our hands? We raise our hands as a sign to bless the Lord and to receive blessings from Him (Luke 24:50, Psalm 134), to stand in agreement with other believers whether it is during prayer or during worship (Nehemiah 8:6), to confess our sins and cry out for help (Lamentations 3:41,42, Psalm 28:2), and as a sign of surrender by lifting up ourselves as a sacrifice (Psalm 141:3).

Another thing that is ardently important is using scripture while leading worship. You do not need  a long sermon, but a time that causes people to reflect on the truth. Our words will quickly fade from others minds, but God’s word is eternal.

One thing that is my constant reminder is that a worship leader cannot lead worship if they are not actively worshiping both on and off stage. A worship leader needs to set the example. That is the best tool any teacher can utilize, practicing what you teach.

It is important to know that you can worship God in silence, in a crowded subway, or from your desk at work. There is no perfect formula, no certain ritual that must be observed. Worship is freeing and it is free for all who come to the table.

May our words always be pleasing to His heart, may our actions give Him glory, and may we always keep learning more and more about His beauty and grace.

PREGNANCY:14 Weeks

14 weeks preggo

Sweet baby, you are getting so big! You’re making mommy’s belly sore with all of this growing you’ve been doing, but I couldn’t be more proud. You are able to suck your thumb, swallow your amniotic fluid and tinkle! You also have some little, downy hairs growing all over your body to keep you warm. Keep up the good work. I can’t wait to hear your sweet heart beat next week.

Well this week has flown by. I have been feeling pretty good, I just have excessive exhaustion. I am not sleeping the best at night, so that is probably why. My wonderful husband bought me this amazing body pillow for Christmas that I have affectionately named Rosa because it is pink, plush, and my new favorite thing. She helps me to get comfy every night around midnight,  but I have been waking up around 3:30-4:00a.m. most nights wide awake and starving. It’s really hard for me to get back to sleep after waking up at this time, so I usually get back to sleep around 7:00 a.m. and sleep for a couple more hours.

I have started limiting my liquid intake before bed because it’s kind of a pain to have to go potty once me and Rosa get all situated. However, I’m usually most thirsty right as I lay down.

I have not felt much movement this week, which had me kind of worried, but since it is still early on I guess it is normal.

I lost three pounds at the earlier part of this week, so I tried really hard all week to get back to where I was, and this morning I had accomplished this difficult task, Woohoo!!!!

I’m still craving green smoothies and fruit. I’m not so big on spicy things still after my run in with some devil’s sauce, and I have not wanted too many sour things like I did early on. I have been wanting more sweet things, which I am not a sweets eater. I have also been wanting coffee, but I’m having to stay away from caffeine because it increases symptoms of anxiety and depression, so boo :P.

Other than just being tired, I am still feeling great. I am very happy, and counting down the days to our wedding anniversary which is coming up SO soon.

Did you have lots of exhaustion? What did you do to combat it?

Words are Weapons

It is incredibly easy to destroy someone’s day. You just have to know exactly what to say. Vulgarity is not necessary, but there is a certain foulness that accompanies the pain that ensues.

 I recently read that 1 in 25 people have no conscience and do not feel remorse for any of their words or actions. I do not know how true this is, but I have certainly encountered people throughout my lifetime who would seem to fall into this category. These people are typically the ones who are brazen enough to spew putrid words straight from the devil’s pits with the sole intention of ripping you to shreds.

However, the other 24 people in this group, though fully capable and inevitably probable, will say hurtful things with no ill intent. It will come as a slip of the tongue, as an accident, something that happens out of laziness, lack of thought, or anger.

Proverbs 18:21

“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” (NLT)

If the tongue can bring about life or death, I would liken it to a weapon.

In the U.S we have four different degrees of murder. First degree murder is planned out and premeditated. Second degree murder is not premeditated such as a random street fight that turns sour. Then we have voluntary manslaughter which happens in the heat of the moment and is not premeditated such as a person who snaps when discovering that their spouse has been cheating and kills their spouse and lover. Finally we have involuntary manslaughter which is the only degree that lacks the intent to kill, there is absolutely no desire to kill someone else, it is a complete accident. For example a drunk driver that hits and kills someone.

We can take our words and plan how to use them for evil. We can think about exactly what to say to inflict pain and suffering onto to someone else. We can premeditate on the situation and the outcome. We can destroy someone and feel a sense of pride in what we have said.

We can become offended by what someone says and retaliate with the intention to silence them indefinitely. We can also lose control and say injurious things that do not even make sense when we are angry.

We can also say things that would not hurt our feelings to hear, but come across as hurtful to people we care deeply about.

I was recently on the receiving end of 1st or 2nd degree “worder.” For me it was hard to tell if it was premeditated, but the sheer hate that breathed them into existence was certainly felt as an intention to destroy.

Recently, I was also on the giving end of involuntary “wordslaughter” where I said something to someone in my family with zero intent to hurt their feelings, but that is what the consequence was. I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. The thought of hurting them hurt worse than the evil words that were doled my way.

Eccleciastes 5:1-7

As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. 2Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.

Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.

When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it. Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved.

Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead. (NLT)

This portion of scripture has been burning in my mind for over a month now, and it has become my prayer. In another translation it is said in verse three that ” a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.”

When someone says hurtful things to you and have the intention of killing your spirit, it is usually because they are battling with their own darkness and feel the need to impede you to make them feel as if they have received some sort of personal gain. These words can make us mad, and rightfully so, but try to remember, what they are saying is most likely a lie. Which means it is untrue and you have the option of not believing what they have to say. You also have the option of responding in anger by saying hurtful things right back or you can defend your position by saying nothing or declaring the truth.

When someone hurts you and they did not mean to, talk to them about it. Do not let bitterness bury itself in your heart.

My prayer is this: if my words are not being used as instruments of life, then I do not want to speak at all. So Lord let my words be few.