Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Blessed and a Baby Update

Hi again! I`m back :) And thanks to a special provision from a completely unexpected source made especially for internet time, I`m back to stay (at least for a while)! :)

The provision for internet time and the fact that I am getting tax refunds from both the state (unheard of for me) and the federal governments, along with that economic stimulus rebate, are the small but significant financial improvements in my little world. And somehow, by God`s grace, yesterday`s paycheck should cover the things we still need to cover from the beginning of the month as well as everything left till the end of the month, and there may even be a little bit left over. So, no huge changes, but the Lord is providing enough, and for now, that is enough.

I`d love to see the whole plan of provision at least through the baby being born - you know, how we will aquire everything we need for the baby, continue paying for prenatal check-ups and the birth, etc. But I think I`d better follow the advice of scripture and not worry about tomorrow. For today, there is enough, and I am grateful. And the special blessing of internet time reminded me yet again of God`s faithfulness and love for me. Internet time falls at the bottom of our list of priorities (you know, somehow food and electricity and things trump email and blogging). But God knew how special it would be for me to continue staying connected in this way and put it on a special friend`s heart to provide a means to do so.

Let`s see, a quick recap of the ways I`ve been blessed since my last post, and felt God taking care of me:
-Last Sunday a conversation began with my husband that opened up all kinds of things inside of him to receive healing and forgiveness and restoration from the Lord. We are still walking it all out, but are very blessed at what the Lord is doing, and know that, `He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion`.

-Last Tuesday, I burnt myself pretty badly (I foolishly reached out to catch a falling frying pan while making breakfast, giving myself blisters on 2 fingers of my right hand). You may be wondering how this could possibly be a blessing, but it worked out that one of my closer friends here, when she realized I basically couldn`t do a thing for the day, invited us over to eat. I ended up staying thru till my love finished work, and we hung out even a bit longer when he came for me. It was a really good time of hanging out. And my friend`s mom prayed over my hand, and within about an hour all pain was gone!

-On Thursday (I think) one of my best friends called me for the first time since I moved here. She had fun news to share, plus we were able to share and encourage each other in something similar we are each walking through. Very encouraging!

-On Friday, I received a really fun package from my aunt (Thank you sooo much!! Real thank you letter to be forthcoming!) She sent along a few things that are hard to get here, as well as baby gifts - and every single item was wrapped in pretty paper. Such fun to open :)

-On Saturday, I went to a baby shower for the Pastor`s wife thrown by a cell group (a Bible study type group). Several of the women there I have only interacted with a handful of times, but they were already working on planning a baby shower for me in the not so distant future!

-On Monday, I received a letter from a good friend I miss very much. I`m so glad she`s a letter writer :)

-On Tuesday, I received a letter from Inkling, a blogger friend with whom I have made a very special connection. Thank you soooo much for blessing me!! Real thank you letter to be forthcoming!)

So, as you can see, I have been blessed by a variety of friends and family. I was a little worried about feeling lonely during my `leave of absence` from the internet. But God is faithful and loving!

Now, for a baby update :)

We headed to the Dr about 10 days ago now. I`d had a blood and urine analysis done earlier in the week, and so the first bit of good news was that all my levels were perfectly normal and healthy and where they should be. He gave me a couple of tips to avoid some random, mild symptoms I`d been having, and prescribed a mild daily medicine to try and curb the many intense headaches I`ve had. (We only just managed to buy the meds this week, but so far so good...) He was extrememly pleased that I only gained about a pound and a half, and all in all I came out with a clean bill of health.

As for the baby, we had another ultrasound. It was amazing, again! The baby had almost tripled in size (length) since the last appointment, and was moving quite a bit - at one point obviously in reaction to the Dr moving whatever you call the thing he uses to do the ultrasound. All the measurements the Dr took of the baby showed healthy and appropriate growth, most of them predicting due dates 2-7 days earlier than the calander due date (I just take that to mean that the baby is growing well). The Dr showed us that there don`t appear to be any signs of birth defects or other signs of worry at this point.

And then the Dr turned to us and asked if we wanted to know whether it is a boy or a girl. He said it is still a little early to be sure, and so he`d say he is abotu 80% certain that it is a..... boy! My beloved is thrilled, as he has been hoping for a boy since the beginning, and walked in the clouds the whole rest of the day :) For me it isn`t so important if we have a boy or girl, but it is fun to start thinking more specifically about who is inside of me, and to be able to use his name, etc. Don`t worry, though - we are both well aware that the Dr wasn`t sure, and are waiting for future ultrasounds to confirm.

So, in summary, we have a healthy, growing baby inside a healthy, growing (but not too much) mom.

Oh, and we did take pictures of my belly right around that same time, as I finished my 1st trimester, and plan on continuing to do so monthly. I also want to take pictures of our house to show you all. I just have to figure out how to post them from a public computer. But they are coming...

Now that I am back on with some regularity, I`ll work on getting some of those promised posts written :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Temporary Leave of Absence

Remember that budget I mentioned a coupleof posts ago? And the creative ways we were gonna try to stretch our money out?

Yeah, well, all those creative ideas seem to have backfired,we owe more and have less than we thought, and all of a sudden there is no money to be found.

In part, this is due to the end of last month being especially tight (you can imagine we went through groceries considerably faster with 3 children in the house...), and it´s still affecting us.

But the long and short of it is, after today, I don´t know that I will be able to get online until at least the next paycheck (mid month),and I am not promising anything there. There just is no money for it.

In the meantime, prayers would be appreciated.
1) That the doors would be open for God´s provision to be manifest. I know He is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider - it is just a question of seeing that provision manifested. How cool would it be if the next time I post, I can post about His miraculous provision?!
2) For peace and faith rather than anxiety or discouragement.
3)That I don´t get too ´lonely´ without my online connections.

THank you so much for your prayers - I feel so much better just knowing there are people praying!
Until sometime soon...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Vacation Days, Or Not (and an announcement at the end...)

Week before last was Holy Week - and in a predominately Catholic country, that is a big deal. Everyone gets lots of time off. Kids had last week and this week home from school. Something like 90% of the country got off Holy Thursday and Good Friday. And the way it works out this year, with Easter being so early, 90% also got off last Monday in celebration of some famous President here.

We were under the impression, leading up to Holy Week, that my beloved would have off Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (he generally works 1/2 days Saturdays, which means half the number of clients visited - not necessarily half the time). So we made plans for a day trip on Monday, thinking later in the week we´d have a lazy day. Lazy days are few and far between (meaning in large part we can sleep in, and get up when we are in the mood, istead of rushing out) - since FB works Monday thru Saturday and the last Sunday of every month, that only leaves Sunday. But of course we get up and go to church on Sundays. So, lazy days...? I think we´ve had one since we returned from the honeymoon.

Instead, he had to work Thursday, Saturday, and....drumroll please....EASTER SUNDAY!
I am sure you all understand the logic there - since clients really want to open their door to a stranger to talk about being behind in their payments on EASTER SUNDAY, if they are even home and didn´t take off on a vacation somewhere. No, the logic was - you all had off Monday and Friday - better work Sunday. And since the office closed a little early Thursday, FB had to hit up the office before getting started on Saturday to finish up from Thursday. Then when he finished for the day, he had to prepare all his visits for both Sunday and Monday. So Saturday was a long day of work.

Monday and Friday, the days he did get off, were´t bad, just not lazy days like we´d been looking forward to.

Monday we did the day trip to a pretty and quaint little town about 2 hours away. The 2 of us had been there once before. This time we took along another young married couple and their little boy. I had just recently been thinking we should hang out once in a while (when there´s time - which is the whole issue) with other young marrieds, so I was fine with Herme´s spur of the moment idea to invite them Saturday night. The weather was weird that day, lots and lots of wind, carrying lots and lots of dust. And spring hadn´t quite arrived there like we´d hoped. But we ate at a nice restaurant and then spent several hours at a park where they have created a pond (they call it a lake, cuz there isn´t much water here. but it is only a pond). The temperature was nice, even if it was windy, and we had an enjoyable time, a mix of keeping to ourselves and hanging out all together. Just before heading home, we hit up a vineyard museum, which was interesting, but would have been more so if the guide talked just a little bit slower.

One highlight for me was a stop at the street market on the way out of town. FB and I had stopped there when we were there a little over a year ago, and he bought me a pink shawl. I wore it when announcing our engagement here and in Rochester, and subsequently on any chilly day when I wanted to feel like my fiance was a little closer to me. It was very pretty, and an important memory item for me. But I lost it a couple of months ago. I think what happened was that it was on my lap in the car, and I forgot when I got up to get out and it fell. By the time we realized it, it was long gone. I was devastated. (And for those of you who know, this happened like the same week as another major possession loss.) But anyways, we found the same vendor and bought another shawl. She didn´t have the same color, but otherwise it is the same, and it comforts me to have it.

Friday, we got up about the same time as a workday and headed to a Good Firday service. It`s a gathering of many churches that all form an alliance, and different people from different churches take turns reading the last 7 things Jesus said during the crucifixion. Afterwards, there was a picnic style lunch and everyone fellowshipped for a bit. And in the culture here, that means everyone packed a whole lot of one thing and shared it with everyone else. Everyone always shares here. It was good, and lasted til about mid afternoon. I got sunburned - didn`t know it was outside, and apparently the tarps providing my shade were not all that protective. AFterwards, we spent some time with my in-laws, then headed home to get that budget done.

Easter Sunday our church did a sunrise service (although the sun never rose, it was one of those rare cloudy and chilly days here), so we were able to go to service before FB had to work, which was nice.

The other part of that week that kept life interesting was that when we returned to town Monday evening from our day trip, we headed straight over to my in-laws to pick up 3 very excited children. Our 2 nieces (10 and 7) and great-nephew (6) had been dying to spend the night at our house for weeks. And since they were on vacation for 2 weeks, they came and stayed with us until Thursday morning. Great vacation for them - a bit exhausting for me!

Remember the weird windy weather we had Monday? Well, Tuesday morning, the temperature dropped to the 40s, and there was so much dirt being carried in the wind that visibility was bad. And dirt was coming in thru every crevice of the house - door jams, windows, you name it. So, I had 3 very excited children stuck inside for the better part of the day. I have no toys other than a game of Dominos, a few childrens books, but mostly in English, and no TV - and a pretty small house. The saving grace was when I remembered late in the day the Play-Doh recipe I had - all dead time from that moment on was spent pretending to be a bakery or restaurant. (By the way, the recipe was from a cook-book the church ladies put together back in Rochester a year or 2 ago. Any one from there reading this - I love that little book and reading what you all wrote, and have used several recipes already!)

The next day we had much nicer weather, walked the 20ish minutes to visit someone from church and later hit up a nearby playground. Still tiring, but in a less anxious, pent up kind of way. I taught the kids Mother, May I? and Red Light, Green Light. Since hardly anyone here has any yard to speak of (homes are usually all built right up against each other), any time spend at a playground or even in an open patch of grass is much enjoyed.

Ok, this post is a book. I promise the others I am planning to write shouldn`t be quite this long. But as computer time in the next few days will be devoted to getting my taxes done, I`m not sure when the next post will be. I do hope to write fairly soon, though, because my second prenatal appointment is Friday. Can you believe that today officially marks the beginning of my 2nd trimester already?! And yes, I am trying to figure out how to post the occassional picture of my growing belly.

Oh, and I forgot to post last week in the midst of all my catching up, that I am an aunt again!! My brother and his wife welcomed their first into the world Saturday, March 22. From what I am told, she`s beautiful, with lots of hair. It`s crazy hard not knowing when I will meet her. But then, as they live just that far away from the rest of the family, only my parents have been able to meet her so far, and the others aren`t sure when they will. This is the first baby that we all (or almost all) didn`t meet in the first 48 hours - times are changing in our family I guess.