Thursday, February 17, 2011

15 mos 16 days 6 hours And 2 minutes....

....That's how old Miss Clara Grace is this very minute! :)



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When Broken Hearts Find Healing Hands

Before I start this, can we just all seriously go read the anonymous message on my last post. Is that awesome or what?!?! I love how Jesus does that...love it...love it...and love it some more. I hate that people have to go through difficult, painful situations but how awesome when God brings us the right message at exactly the right time.(Insert fist pumps) :) Praying for you girl!!

P.S. Before I begin...this is long. You know it's bad if I have to start a post with a P.S. lol :)

And now to begin...where to begin? I read this quote from an Amy Carmichael book and it is the only way to truly describe what I'm feeling now...
              
 "The night I sailed for China, my life, on the human side, was broken, and it never was mended again. But He has been enough."


Amy was called to leave all her family, her friends and anyone she held dear in her heart, to set sail for China in March, 1893, because she knew God called her to go there. She obeyed; but it broke her heart...literally.

I know this happens to millions of women. I thought I was prepared for it as best possible. I told myself, if I ever lost a baby I would be "strong in the Lord" and I would be fine. No one would even know I had been hurt because I would handle the situation with such grace. Oh.My.Have.I.Not. And, it quite literally feels as though my heart is broken...never to be mended.

I'm fairly certain the girls in my Monday morning Beth Moore study saw the truth. Maybe it was because I couldn't even get out the words "I'....sniff...'mm...fii...sniff...nnee...snif...." When "I'm fine" proves to be difficult to say, it is most probable to assume they could see I was in fact not fine. So, after accepting the fact that I would just be crying all morning, I let the tears roll and as intently as I could, listened to Beth speak.

Here's the thing...I would have reached full term this past Monday. 37 weeks. I want my baby back. I don't want him or her to be watching me from heaven, I want to be watching them on earth. I don't want God to give me gifts I cannot keep right now. When this all went down back in August, I thought after some long nights, my heart was healed and I was ready to say good-bye. But somehow around October, I realized I was wrong. Dearly Wrong.

I realized not only was I still hurting, I was mad. SO mad! It called everything I believed into question. Was God really good? Could I really trust him with everything? Did He and how could He say He loved me and watch me lay in our bed in what felt like physical, unbearable pain?

When all of a sudden I realized; my faith wasn't rooted in a solid foundation it was simply built on a foundation of beliefs brought to me from my parents and my background, and it was shaky ground. Very shaky. It was actually very scary for me to even realize how shaky my faith was....

So, when I left work in October, I started searching.(I bet you guys didn't know I was doing this did you? Look at me being all scholarly lol!) :) Diving into theologians discussions of the sovereignty of God and the qualities that make Him trustworthy. J.I Packer and A.W. Tozer became my nightly companions. And that Heaven book...yes I needed to be assured there was hope at the end of all this. And thankfully...side note...I was assured! :) Lastly, I listened to sermons on the historical proofs of the bible, and that is exactly what I want to share with you all right now. Because they are of the most importance....and whether you believe in God or not...you NEED to know this. You need to know of the historical accuracy of the bible because I think once you understand that it will change everything. There will be no more room for questions. No more reasons to doubt. No more room for shaky foundations!

If studying the books of Antiquity (essentially old books with a fancy name lol) you will find some of the earliest writings to detail the story of Alexander the Great. Now, what you may not know is that while he lived in Jesus's time...these stories were actually written what historians believe to be 400-500 YEARS after the fact. So, what we as a nation, accept as ABSOLUTE FACT were in fact written hundreds of years later. Do you remember how when you were little you played telephone and by the time it got around the table, maybe with 8 girls relaying the message it sounded completely different? Okay, now take that game and multiply it by like 50 gajillion people and hundreds of years. I'm thinking a few things may have been changed!?!?!?! But again, our society accepts his story as COMPLETE FACT.

Okay, now onto the bible (remember we are looking at the bible from a completely historical point of view). Scholars have found that you can trace Paul's creed to somewhere around 30-40 A.D. meaning this was written 2 years.... are you all listening?? :) TWO YEARS after it happened. FIVE years sits between some of the gospels and Jesus's life, and a max of 30-40 years time difference with the other events recorded in the new testament and the life of Jesus. Okay, so something people have called a fable has at least been written 360 years prior to the writings recording the life of Alexander the Great which in history happened at the same time, as Alexander was alive during Jesus's time. 

So maybe just sit on that a bit...

Now the biggest kicker...after Jesus died a dramatic change happened in the lives of the Jews. Millions abandoned their old laws and ways as Jesus dying on the cross changed everything for them. Over 500 people saw that the same man who had been on that cross and placed in a very detailed location, was in fact alive 3 days later. Very alive. This was not a myth, this was fact. A man rose from the dead and appeared to hundreds and then ascended into heaven in front of others.People saw it and recorded it very very soon after the fact. Scholars do not argue that some dramatic event caused this significant change in Jewish customs from that moment in history, they just won't conclude it was because a man named Jesus had risen.

And, with that said, the bible STILL has been (according to historians and scholars) the most accurate history book ever written. The things that can be proven have been...and new artifacts are found as proof every day; even now. The only inaccuracies they've found were grammatical, when translating from Greek to English. But does that surprise me? No. Should it surprise you? No. Because what the world wants to call a story, a fable, God has written to leave no questions. His work and words are perfect, and trustworthy and real.

There is so much more God is showing me daily, to help me trade in my shaky foundation, for a very real one. A solid one. But I think I will save that for another day as this is already an extremely long post. However, let me end with this...

While this process has been at times unbearable when I think of the loss of my sweet baby, I am grateful...so grateful, that it has brought me to a much more REAL place with God and caused me to fall even more in love with MY JESUS. :) While some days are harder than others and tears fall, I am more assured and more confident than ever that he is catching those tears and loves me more passionately than anyone else can.

So, as Amy encouraged us...our human hearts may be broken, never to be mended on this earth; but God's Healing Hand will be enough to carry you on...This is a promise.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Husband To Fight For

Lalalalalala...I thought I'd start this post off by singing to you. You.Are.Welcome. :)

No, but in all seriousness...I was thinking about this all last night while I was busy not falling asleep, so whenever that happens I know I have to write about it.

Last night, me and my "Plan B" friends (that makes them sound like they were my second choice for friends, but I promise that was just the name of the bible study we did this summer lol) went out for supper. 

I love these ladies, like I love Diet DP and The Bachelor, but that is not the point of my post. :)


While, we were eating, Dave (my husband) was watching Clara Grace and Ashley's little girl Abby. Me and Ash both knew he would be great, but I know he was a little nervous about being alone for 2 hours with 2 girls about 2. (That was quite a few 2's...moving on).

When we got back to the house, both the girls were wide awake (at 9:30) and still going strong! I walked into the house to see Dave wearing a big sparkly gold necklace while the two little ones were running in circles around him. It was the cutest sight ever. He informed us that they all basically sang and danced to cookie monster's song "Healthy Foods" most of the night, inbetween playing "mean cow" which I still can't quite grasp but I understood it as though Dave was the "mean cow" and the girls had to rescue all the other little animals in the play room from him. :) I scooped Abby up in my arms when I saw her and asked her if she had a good time playing to which she exclaimed very loudly "Yes!! Mean Cowww!!! :) )

After Abby and Ashley left, I seriously couldn't stop hugging and kissing him. I don't know why but seeing him in that moment, so outside his element, and loving those two little pumpkins made him even more attractive to me. And I realized, all those years of waiting for the right person were worth it. All the times I heard or felt God gently nudge me away from someone were because he had the perfect person for me. Not the perfect person (as they say) but the perfect person for me.

And so that is what I started thinking about, what solidified to me that this was the person God had for me and what should you look for? I am an expert on this so I am happy to let you know. Ha! Totally kidding..but I did realize, I think there are a few essential elements you should absolutely see in a future spouse before you can confidently step into marriage with them. No comprimising. Got it? :)

1. They treat their family with respect.

The first time I went home to meet Dave's parents I witnessed such a beautiful scene..he didn't even know I saw this at the time, but I know God orchestrated it for me to see for a reason. His little sister's boyfriend had just broken up with her that afternoon (she was in 7th grade at the time) and she was so sad. I was in their bathroom getting ready but had the door open. I saw Paige climb into Dave's lap and lay her head against his shoulder as little tears fell down her cheeks. I saw him wipe them away and so gently tell her that he was so sorry she was sad and that he loved her. It was so sweet and real, and the fact that I could see them, but they couldn't see me showed me that he was like that all the time with her. She trusted and loved him because he had proven himself a true big brother to her.

This picture was obviously taken a couple years before I met Dave but I thought it was perfect to show their friendship! :)

2. They respect their parents or guardians.

Dave has, since the day I met him, loved and respected his parents. Thankfully, his parents were great examples to him of what a parent should look like and loved him dearly. I have never heard him speak negatively towards them, or about them. I loved that about him then, and I love it still.


I thought this was a cute picture to use because he looks just about Clara Grace's age here and oh.my. can you see the similarity??? :)
3. They have solid friendships with positive role models.

I think a guy's group of friends says alot about them. The people he hangs out with are so important to who they are. Dave's friends did normal guy stuff, they played sports together, hung out constantly, did freeze outs in their cars on the way to school in 0 degree weather (which even for guys I will never understand). :) But most of all, they loved God. They encouraged eachother, held eachother accountable and tried to be the men God called them to be.

I'm not sure how old Dave is in this picture, but I think he was a Sohphomore in high school. I can't even tell what the theme of this party was but now I'm going to fast forward about 8 years.


Same guys, however in the previous picture you would have found Matt in the orange suit, Judd the purple, Nate the green, and Dave the creame. Their friendship was always noticeable. :)

4. They treat YOU with respect.

I know that sounds like a given, but speaking from personal experience, I let so many guys walk all over me, making excuses for them every step of the way. Why do we do that girls??? If he didn't open a door for you the first time he met you, her certainly isn't going to open it 5 years down the road! So, yes, this is important. Dave opened my door on our first date and he still will if his arms aren't full. He tells me I'm beautiful when I'm covered in baby food and haven't showered in 2 days...okay 3 days...and he always calls to check on me each day. I still love that. So please, again, remember...if he doesn't treat you with respect now...he certainly won't in the future.  

This picture was taken almost exactly 5 years ago to the date...


and that same man still treats me with the most respect I've ever known.

It shouldn't have come as a surprise to me that he is a wonderful daddy as well.


Yes, we've deffinitely had our rough spots, and we don't wake up every single morning singing "Good morning, beautiful" to eachother lol, but when there is a problem we work at it and we pray together and work on comprimise and understanding and trust each and every day because a marriage just cannot last without those things.
So, to surmise, finding someone to spend the rest of your life with is so incredibly important but thankfully, using wisdom, you can look for important aspects in a future spouse and also find assurance that there is a God up above who knows exactly who each person needs if you are listening to Him. And we can be assured He will find us the absolute best! :) Yay! :)

I don't know why I felt it laid on my heart to write about this, but I did. So I hope, someone out there needed to hear this. I have had too many friends get divorced after only a few years...so this is a subject close to my heart!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cake KAPOW!

Hey Everyoneeeee! I'm back. (Kindof) Really what that means is I'm going to be back to blogging without the pressure of blogging. And I know all you non-bloggers are shaking your head like "Yes Amber, I'm sure there is lots of pressure with blogging (and secretly doing a semi-mean eyeroll)...but I'm serrrioouusss...right all real bloggers??!?!! There really is...SO...now that we've got that cleared up! :)

I heard this recipe on "The View" last week and I absoultely tinkled in my pants...not reallllllly but I was crazy excited about it!

It's chocolate cake...made with......

 DRUMROLLLLLLL..........

Diet soda?!?!?!? And you save like 150 calories per piece of cake!?!?!

I'm serious!!!

And for everyone who has heard of this before and not shared it with me, you are seriously not even my friends anymore...at all...I'm serious.

Because all my real friends would know that I LOVE chocolate cake to pieces and if I can save myself that many calories,well, that's just too cool to even imagine. So essentially what I found out was you can eat a whole cake for as many calories as eating a piece of cake if you substitute the eggs etc, for soda!!! Whooopeeee!!

Now, before I just went and told you all about this amazing, stupendous, marvelous secret... I tried it.

Here it is.


Mixing Mixing...bubble bubble, pop pop (It was like making rice krispies but without the rice krispies or any of the other components that go into making rice krispies) How do you like that explanation? :)


Meanwhile, my assistant was busy adding up all the calories we were saving!


(P.S. Who is jealous that we are living with no kitchen floors (only sawdust and subfloor) because my husband is insiting on doing all the work himself? Anyone?) :)

And now the revealing....



Okay, so I'm so dead serious, it (to me) tasted exactly the same IF you add frosting (key component). If you just eat the cake alone you can tell a little bit, but I can't ever imagine making cake the regular way again when it's almost like you're just eating a 100 calorie treat! And, I never eat cake without frosting so that was deffinitely not a problem for me either! :)

So, overall, me and my assistant were well pleased with our results and have managed to nearly eat the whole cake in about 3 days. Us girls really like our chocolate cake!


Okay, so to tell you exactly how this is done (because I realized I haven't done that yet)

You just take your cake mix of choice
Add one can of ANY 12 oz soda that you think may compliment the flavor of your cake
mix and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees

And KAPOW...your nearly calorie free cake!! :)

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