Thursday, April 30, 2009

Drumrollll....


This diaper bag is $27
at WAL-MART!!!


I'm glad you thought it was worth considerably more because I ordered one for myself!  Maybe I should have just let everyone think it was really expensive, hmm....

Isn't it strange that we as women can persuade ourselves into believing that sweet little lie that we are saving money when we find a good deal?  Well, it happened to me.  I have another bag that will be my "everyday bag" and would have been my only diaper bag, but somehow after seeing this one, I convinced myself that I needed a nicer tote if I ever cared to match for a special occasion, ha.  (I know, completely unrealistic.)  I can hear all of you moms now..."she will never switch bags."  Just because you said that, I will.  :)

P.S.:  Happy Birthday Auntie Meg!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Appointment Update



Once again sleep eludes me, so I figured I would let you know how our appointment went yesterday since I've been meaning to do so anyway!  (And, don't worry about me because my sleeping is not so great.  It's not that I'm uncomfortable or in misery; it's simply that when I wake up to go to the restroom, I just cannot always seem to fall back into my former peaceful slumber.  Oh well, I guess God's preparing me for something?? :))  Okay, back to the appointment.  It went so well, and once again, there is much to be grateful for!  Anniston is measuring right on target in every area...Praise God!  The doctors did seem to think that they saw what concerned them from the beginning, but they also said that because her bones are more dense now that it's later in pregnancy, it's harder to see, and there are many shadows being cast on the image.  Her heart is still SYMMETRICAL, so that is such a blessing!  They basically said that they will have to take a look at Anniston when she is born to know if the same issues are there that they saw during all of the previous appointments.  

SPEAKING OF "WHEN SHE IS BORN"...they told me that they want to INDUCE labor in Jackson somewhere around the 1ST OR 2ND OF JUNE!  I knew all along that an induction was most likely the route we would be advised to take, but I was still a little bit disappointed selfishly that I couldn't just wait until Anniston tells us she is ready (or at least closer to her due date)!  I'm over that now, and I am comforted to know that God has a plan!  I will be about 37 1/2 weeks, and that is considered full-term, so we are trusting that all will be well no matter what happens with this sometimes moody process called labor!

**We're not giving up our prayer for Anniston's healing and our belief that she is healed!  We would not give up on that prayer, even at the bitter end, because we know this is how God has called us to pray!**

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mother's Day Gift Idea!



As many of you know, I am pretty involved with an adoption agency/crisis pregnancy center here in Hattiesburg called Bethany Christian Services.  Bethany is actually the largest adoption agency in the United States, and we even have locations around the world!  As a non-profit, pro-life ministry, Bethany provides complete adoption services to couples looking to adopt and free pregnancy testing and counseling to women.  One of the main goals of our local office is to assist young women as they explore all of the options that may accompany an unplanned pregnancy.  You can check out Bethany's site www.bethany.org for more info if you'd like!

It has come to our Board's attention that it has been statistically proven that during a time of economic crisis, abortions increase.  For this reason, we feel a pressing need to get Bethany's name "out there" so that more young women will know that we are a non-judgmental, safe haven to come to for help.  Often, just having a listening ear to hear their distress and to know that they are not alone is all these beautiful women need.  Bethany desires foremost to help these ladies choose life for their babies, and from there, we assist them with parenting skills or with choosing adoption.  It of course is also of great importance to us to discuss abstinence, STD education, future career goals, etc. to assist these women as they plan for their future.

You're probably wondering what any of this has to do with Mother's Day, right?!!  Well, we've decided that for our Spring Fundraiser, we would give people the opportunity to honor their mothers in an extra-special way because they chose to give them life!  If you would like, you can send a donation to Bethany in honor or in memory of your mother, and we will send her (or the person you would like to accept the memorial) a Mother's Day card telling her that a donation has been made in her name, and that you are grateful that she gave you life!  This gift will go on to help other women choose life for their babies as Bethany continues the awesome work that they do!  Isn't that a great idea?!  I'm doing it for our moms (sorry moms to let the cat out of the bag), and not just because I help out with Bethany, but because I truly think this is a great idea and is for a great cause!

This is the formal appeal.


And, here is the response card that you should be able to print on your home computer and mail with your donation if you feel led to do so!  (If you can't print it, let me know, and I will see what I can do.)  Also, note the address at the bottom of this response card that donations can be mailed to :).

Thank you for considering!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fight of Faith


I can't go back to sleep, so I thought I'd type out what's been mulling around in my head as I lay in bed :).  We have a doctor's appointment next Friday, April 24th, one at 8am and one at 9am.  It's really incredible the amount of peace that Stan and I have felt the last couple of months.  I can't explain it, and I guess that's how it's supposed to be, right?  :) "A peace that surpasses all understanding..."

During these months we've been given to pray and believe for Anniston's healing, I have searched Scripture more for examples of healing, and God has brought to my attention some extremely encouraging stories of healing while bringing to light more about HIS DESIRE to heal.  

Yes, there were times when Jesus chose specific individuals in a crowd to heal (and I think that's awesome and shows just how personal He is!), but, correct me if I'm wrong, I have not found a verse where someone comes to Him asking for healing where He does not heal.  How amazing!  I just keep finding verses like this:  "Now when the sun was setting, ALL those who had ANY who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him, and He laid his hands on EVERY ONE of them and healed them."  (Luke 4:40)  Doesn't it seem like this is what God desires for us?  I cannot imagine any of these people standing in line, waiting to be healed, wondering if God was really going to heal their sick.  They just knew.  They saw Him heal others, and their faith was strengthened to the point that they did not doubt.  WOW.  Then, I read in Acts about the apostles, and a similar verse to the one in Luke says that those who brought their sick were "ALL healed"  (Acts 5:16).  It sounds like we just need to come to Him and believe without doubting...easier said than done, I know.

Jesus even said:  "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask me ANYTHING in my name, I WILL do it."  (John 14:12-14).  WOW again!!  I think it's of the most importance to note the end of this verse that says "that the Father may be glorified in the Son."  That is what it's all about:  bringing Him glory.  When people were healed in these stories we read in the Bible, MANY believed, and that point is almost always made when a healing takes place.  Yes, God cares about us and that we are in pain here on earth, but His main concern is that others know Him and that He is glorified.  I pray that God is glorified in our situation.

Stan and I were driving back from Louisiana a couple of weeks ago, and I just started pouring my heart out to him.  He is so wise.  I was just telling him about how I'm trying to have that kind of faith that doesn't doubt that God can and has healed Anniston, but it is sometimes hard to keep that faith up when I talk to other people.  It honestly makes me cringe when I'm asked about the surgery the doctors predicted or about going to Pennsylvania.  Don't get me wrong, I would have probably asked the same questions before going through this myself, but it's just hard when I'm trying to have faith and not doubt.  We have had countless people encouraging us and believing for healing (and, you really don't know how grateful we are for you!), but it's amazing how one little question or statement can set me back.  It shouldn't though, right?  Isn't that exactly what the Devil wants?  I have never understood this phrase more than I do now:  "Fight of Faith".  SO true.  

I LOVE doctors, and I am SOOO thankful for them because without them, we would not have known about Anniston's heart, but their report is not above the Lord's report, and their name or the name of the ailment they've given us is not above the name of Jesus.  That day, Stan brought up the fact that years ago, when people needed to be healed, believers just gathered together and went straight to God because they HAD to.  How sad that we don't always feel like we have to anymore....just a thought to ponder...

I must have had a lot on my mind because I have written a novel!  Thank you for letting me vent :).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter!!



I am not certain if you could potentially classify this new infatuation of mine as “nesting”, but I must say that I am LOVING sugar cookies!  Okay, so maybe it’s what you would be more likely to call a craving, ha.

So, to celebrate Easter, and in honor of the sugar test that I took and hopefully passed yesterday, I have decided to share this recipe with you guys!  **Disclaimer:  None of the credit for these sugar cookies can be given to me because allrecipes.com makes cooking and baking so incredibly simple while causing you to look June Cleaver-like, as if you’ve been slaving away over a steaming hot oven while still managing to glow in your pearls and pumps.  (So, maybe it doesn't make me look that way, but I'm sure you will.)**

Instead of typing the entire recipe for both the cookies and the glaze, I have decided to just give you the links :).

For the Sugar Cookies, click here.  I would definitely recommend chilling the dough for at least 2 hours before rolling if you have time. 

For the Glaze, click here.  I made the mistake of adding a little too much milk, and the icing did not harden as much as I would have liked.  Don’t do that :).  Also, this glaze recipe doesn't make much, so you might want to double or even triple each ingredient.


I still was able to stack the cookies, and if you don’t add as much milk, you should be able to stack and wrap them without smudging to deliver to friends!  OR, you can just hoard them for yourself and not mention to anyone that you have these yummies in a stash all to yourself.  (Okay, so I guess it’s nicer to share, but the latter option was beginning to sound pretty ideal for a second.)

****
I don’t know about you, but I often go through Easter weekend without really spending the time that I need to reflect on Jesus and what He has done for all of us.  I am committing to make this year different:  to not get caught up in all of the festivities and cookies :), but to truly get back to the basics.

For all of us, I pray today “that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith—that we, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

Have a beautiful Easter Weekend!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

April Showers


Last weekend was a blast!  Exhausting, yes, but so much fun!!  We had a couple of showers in Louisiana, one in my hometown of West Monroe and another in Stan's hometown of Ruston.  It was overwhelming to look around and see just how many amazing people care about us and baby Anniston...we are so blessed!!  Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to give us these memorable showers, and thank you to everyone who travelled from near and far to make these events extra-special!  Just wanted to share a few pics:


West Monroe Shower!
The food was delicious, and we had a great time playing a
baby name game as well as a game where everyone had to
guess how big around my stomach is!


My mom gave Anniston her "coming home outfit."  
Isn't it cute and sweet?  It has an "A" on it!


Speaking of traveling from afar...my accountability group
from college (made up of some of the sweetest, greatest friends
 ever!) were able to make the trip for our shower!


Mrs. Jan and Meg (Stan's mom and sister) along with me and my mom, Judy.

Hostesses!  (And a lovely side-view of me at 29 weeks, ha)


Ruston Shower!  
(Note the pretty cake in the shape of a gown 
with Anniston's initials at the top...sooo cute!)
Once again...deliciously tasty food and a great time!!

I guess a great time I was having because I forgot to get 
a pic with the wonderful hostesses from this shower :(.
They did a fantastic job of making everything super-special!


Catching up with everyone...


My other sweet friend/roommate/accountabiltiy partner
from college, Carey, came and brought her precious Emerson!


Some of the loot!  We love everything!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Praises!!!



We had a wonderful doctor's appointment yesterday, and I'm sorry to just now post the details!  We're actually in Ruston because Stan's sweet great-grandmother, Gran Gran, passed away on Monday, and we celebrated her life today at her funeral.  Isn't she beautiful?!  I can remember first meeting Gran Gran four years ago, and I cannot recall much about that initial encounter, but two things do stick out in my mind from that day:  After taking two steps through the side door of the Martin house, Gran Gran welcomed me with open arms and the kindest smile that made me feel like I had always been a part of her special family.  Next, she proceeded to exclaim to me with great detail her pride in and her love for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  I can truthfully say that with EVERY greeting from that day forward, I was welcomed by Gran Gran with those same warm sentiments.  She has left an incredible legacy of love that, as the minister said at the funeral today, "will live forever."  We love and miss you, Gran Gran, and I look forward to the day when we can visit again!

Now, about the doctor's appointment!  We saw the cardiologist yesterday morning in Jackson, and she seemed to think everything looked the same, BUT we still had to go see the doctors who are scheduled to deliver Anniston in a separate appointment afterwards.  If I can be candid, I will say that after the first appointment, I was slightly discouraged, and I realized in that moment that I was trying to keep my faith up in order to not disappoint other people instead of trusting fully in God and truly putting my faith in Him.  

At the second appointment, I felt like the pressure was off, and I knew, as well as Stan, that she was in God's hands (a MUCH better place to be than our own).  We called a couple of people and asked them to keep praying as we entered this next appointment, and it was amazing!  As the doctor was doing the ultrasound, he commented that the heart looked SYMMETRICAL!!  Last month, the left side of Anniston's heart was a normal size, and the right side was twice as big!  He saw some good blood flow in both sides of the heart also which was very encouraging to him.  While he was looking for the Aortic Arch (you can look at this earlier post for more details/definitions from the doctor's earlier report) that they haven't been able to see previously and that they said was interrupted, he thought he saw it!!  PRAISE GOD!!  The doctor would not verify that it was the Arch because he only saw it once, but we are clinging to our belief that God has healed her!!  We were so very encouraged by this appointment, and it has definitely strengthened our faith.  I hope this is an encouragement to you that God has heard your prayers and that He is working!

Until our next appointment on April 24th, we will be praying and believing specifically that the hole is closed and that we will be able to get a clear look at a normal size Aorta and Aortic Arch connecting to the Descending Aorta.  THANK YOU FOR PRAYING!!