Thursday, October 30, 2008

"What are you Afraid of?"

Lately God has been guiding me back through some of the old testament in my studies showing me profiles of different men and groups in the books of the old testament and pictures of how they either followed God completely (and the successes they had because of it), or how they doubted God and did their own thing (and either the failures or delayed success because of it). Isn't is interesting how you can go back and re-read the same story you've read a thousand times growing up, but God has something new for you every time?! We've talked about it in our life group that we lead and I brought up how it confused me sometimes that Jesus would "Blind their eyes to the truth" in the scriptures to keep them from seeing (like after he was crucified and walked with the disciples and they didn't know it was him); one of the wives in our group (I'll never forget this) said, "God is only going to show you what you need at that point in time, he's only going to show you what you are ready for."

I've been studying about many of the men in the bible who continually said "Yes" to God, without question, and read as God blessed them beyond belief and stood by them through it all. But I knew that there were other great men in the bible who didn't say "Yes" right away, and I wanted to know why?? So God led me back to Numbers, Joshua, and Samuel. In Numbers, the Israelites have just made it to Canaan (The "Promised Land"), the land they've gone through so much to get to that God has promised them (and led them there PERSONALLY!!). When they get to the edge, they send out 12 scouts for the 12 tribes of Israel to give a report on the land. When the 12 get back, 10 of them are so freaked out by what they saw that they are hopeless, blubbering messes about how big the people in the land are and how powerful their cities are, and on and on they go. Only 2 of the scouts, Joshua and Caleb are positive: "Let's go at once to take the land, we can certainly conquer it!" Num 13:30. Even in Exodus 3 when God appears directly in front of Moses to tell him to go to Egypt to free the Israelites....HE ARGUES WITH GOD!!! And in 1 Samuel 10, after Samuel the prophet and judge of Israel had already anointed Saul to be Israel's first King, when he called all the people together to present him to them, HE HID IN WITH THE BAGGAGE!! God himself had to tell Samuel where he was! Now these aren't small people in the Bible, these are some of the greatest names in the book! Why would they balk at God, why would they question his purpose for them, why wouldn't they move forward into the land God had already given them?? One word: FEAR. The Israelites were so afraid of the Amelekites and the Canaanites that they wanted to elect a new leader to replace Moses to lead them back to Egypt and voluntarily re-submit themselves to slavery under the pharaoh! Moses was afraid when he saw the burning bush and heard what God wanted him to do because he was afraid they wouldn't believe him when he came to Egypt and that he wasn't a good enough speaker! Saul hid from his calling (in the bags it says!) because of his fear of failure and of letting the people down. But God is not a God of fear, but of HOPE and COURAGE and TRIUMPH. At the end of Moses's life, after not seeing the promise God had made to him because of his doubt and disobedience (remember when he "struck" the rock instead of "touching" it?), he repetitively told Joshua as he handed over the torch to him to be "Strong and Courageous; for the Lord will never fail you or abandon you." He said it several times like he was re-assuring Joshua that he would be OK as long as he kept God in the front of his life, and his people.

Reading back through these really got me thinking about me. How many times have I missed out on the "Promised Land" because of Fear?? How many times have I either blatantly told God "No" or ignored him (same thing right?) because I was either afraid of what he was going to ask me to give up (remember, obedience always involves sacrifice, but sacrifice is not always obedience), or what people might think of me, or thinking I wasn't going to get to do what I wanted to do (sounds so dumb doesn't it?!?). I've learned in the past few months that my fears are no match for my God. And every time he calls me to do something, no matter how "big" or "small" it may seem to me, when the fear wells up, I hear Moses: "Be strong and courageous!" and I say "Yes" and God has taken me into new lands I didn't even know I was standing on the borders of! My borders have multiplied 100 fold, not because I'm something special, but because I'm not. I'm not the smartest guy in the room ever, or the most talented, or the strongest, or the fastest, or any of those things...but God likes the underdogs! All of those things get in the way because they make me think I can accomplish all that I want of my own strength, when what he wants is for me to be totally dependant on him.

So what are you afraid of?? Chances are, if you're that afraid, then God has something amazing planned for you, and the enemy wants you to say "no". The enemy wants you to have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years because he knows that will keep God's will at bay in your life. So say "NO" to that spirit of fear, and say "YES" to Jesus and let him lead you into your promised land and help you slay the giants in your life. It's worth me.....


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"To Worry or Not To Worry"

I know some of you might be shocked by this since I don't show this side of me very often, but I'm just like anyone else...I worry. I worry that now that I have a son, I want him to have it even better than I did (which is going to be pretty tough to beat!). I worry that with the election here upon us, depending on which way it swings, our taxes are going to drown our businesses. I worry about going back to work and leaving my wife here at home by herself. I worry about not being busy enough in the office to keep everything going so that we can help more people. I worry about being too busy in the office and not getting to spend the time with my patients that I really want and that they deserve. I heard a quote a pastor said one time, he said, "Big worry=Little Faith". He was talking about in Matthew 6 when Jesus is teaching about worrying, he says "Oh you of little faith..." talking about those who are worrying about everything from what they would eat, to what they would wear. And I never understood what that meant, and it actually annoyed me, until recently. The clearer and more audible I hear the Holy Spirit speak to me, the more I'm seeing the things in my life for what they are: tests and opportunities for growth and glory for my God. God has continually been teaching Cindy and I (both severe Type A personalities) to COMPLETELY surrender everything we have to him and allow him to take care of it. Cindy and I are very capable people and we think that in a tough spot (especially me) that we can just cinch our belts up a little tighter and just push right through it of our own strength and abilities. But like what Pastor Robert was teaching 2 weeks ago about stewardship, we don't own a thing, God owns it all.....including our abilities. So even the times that I've felt like, "Man, I did good on that!...Did you see me? Did you see how great I did?!?" (and those of you who know me best can totally see me saying that!! Be quiet Landis!) Even in those moments, it had nothing to do with ME, it had everything to do with HIM. He gave me the talents and abilities so even when I think I'm doing a great's him. Pretty humbling isn't it?? And at first pretty think about laying down everything and giving up ALL control. For me it was even scarier I think because I'm one of the biggest control freaks I know!! My motto, I think I adopted from my Dad, has always been "If you want something done right, do it yourself!" So I would sometimes rather do everything myself and have everything crash and burn around me, and me make myself sick from the long hours and sleepless nights, just to say that success or was all ME. All the while God is watching me saying, "Soon....soon you will get to the point of complete exhaustion and all you'll have is me, and you'll let me take this burden for you....and I'll blow your mind how I'll take care of it for you!" And I finally got to that point this year (earlier in the year...late spring, early summer). One of my biggest strongholds in my life and hardest things to give up is my business/finances. God has always been faithful that no matter what happens, he's kept the accounts just where they needed to be. Well, I got in a really tough spot earlier this year and was contemplating having to sell some of the equipment!! And I felt like God (I hadn't started listening well enough yet!!) asked me to tithe double that week!! I told him that I wanted to, but that there wasn't even enough money in the account to pay the staff or the bills, let alone tithe! But I told him I would consider it and maybe next time. (CAN YOU IMAGINE!!! I WAS SO DUMB!! LOL) But that entire week God bore into my heart to give double our tithe AND he wanted Cindy and I to give 4 figures to the new building at North Richland Hills. It was so strong that I brought it to Cindy and told her what I was feeling and of course (happens every time), she confirmed what I was being told because he had told her the same thing. So probably 75% willingly (lol....good thing God takes the good and the bad..) we gave what he asked of us. We gave knowing that if God didn't come through for us (as if he ever hasn't) that we couldn't pay any of our staff and the electricity might get turned off. And that next day we had so many insurance checks come in the mail that it more than paid for everything we needed and then some!! And God has done that over and over and OVER AGAIN...but I have such a hard head I think it took me watching my incredible wife birth Harper to really finally implant this in the core of my brain that HE is in control of everything. HE is in control of my finances, HE is in control of my family, HE is in control of my staff and businesses, HE is in control of the election and the future, HE IS IN CONTROL OF IT ALL. And all I have to do (and he doesn't say it will always be peaches and cream soda) is put my trust in him and get out of my own way to let God work through us to get his will done. That doesn't mean that there aren't consequences for past mistakes, that's for sure. God is a forgiving God, but he is also a just God and he knows that allowing us to walk through some of our mistakes teaches us and makes us cling to him tighter knowing the alternative. So no, our finances aren't overflowing like the Mississippi during flood season, but they are consistent. Yes, we still struggle to make some of our bills...but some of those bills were unwise and purchases without asking God's opinion, so those are the hardest to meet (go figure). But my heart is happy and my heart is free because I'm not bound to those bills, or to those bank accounts....I'm bound to HIM and in the promises he has shown me about what he's going to do through Cindy and I and through Harper, my son. He's given me visions of what Harper will do one day as I hold him that make me cry. The other day, Cindy needed to shower, so I put Harper in a sling and I put on Kari Jobe's worship CD and we danced in the living room and worshipped God and I cried the whole time, because of the things I saw while I was there. I didn't want that CD to end, believe me.

So when you feel the worry creeping in, stop the worry and start the worship. Because in the times we are at our lowest, get ready because that is where God is going to use you the most. It is still hard for me to give it all up (because I want to be helpful... ;) but I'm getting quicker to do so....because I want all of my plans to be his plans, not mine. "Pray and then Plan" is my new motto....I'll let you know how it works out!!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

"The Busy Body"

Cindy and I have been so blessed since Harper's birth at the outpouring of prayer, support (food, clothes, gifts), and help we've been offered and received from friends and family. I don't put "patients" down here because we consider ALL of our patients our friends, and some of our patients are our family! As I was praying and reading the Word this morning I was just reminded of a perfect picture of the Body of Christ and what that means and what that was intended to serve: Yesterday Angie Kough brought her kids over to see Harper and Cindy (me too I guess, but I don't think I'm the main attraction!!) and to bring some clothes and a gift from the kids. The kids brought Harper a gift that I've still been thinking about since they left. Some of the mothers at James Avenue Church (now known as Convergence Church at James Ave) wanted to create some creative things for their kids to do together and also to allow them to help bless members of the church and the they helped the kids begin making blankets to give as gifts. So these awesome children made Harper a blanket (super soft, with "forgiving" material ;) and Angie said that when they finished...all the kids gathered around the blanket, laid hands on the blanket and prayed over the blanket!! And they brought that blanket ("blessed blanket" we're calling it) and gave it to Harper!! I was so blown away by that simple act of kindness from the kids of parents of a church that is not even our church home, we just are blessed to have many friends that go there and that we work with in the office. When I touched the blanket, God said to me: "See, THAT is how I created the body of Christ to function....everyone blessing each other, using their gifts to glorify Me as they lift each other up." What a perfect example of how the body is soooo important to us and I think it's fitting that we're shown that by the children! The kids all drew my pictures that we have on the fridge and wanted to see him and hold was very humbling. I hope that we have the chance to always bless others the way we are continually blessed.
But as incredible and awesome as that act is, Satan has a perfect tool to confuse and distract the body so that this simple, powerful act of God's love doesn't's called BUSY-NESS. I know in my own life this is the simple arrow that the enemy keeps in his quiver that always pulls my focus off of Christ and his love and the people he's placing in my path each day to minister to. In Luke 10:38 you read the story about Martha and Mary when Jesus comes to visit. Now in the scriptures it says that Jesus "frequently visited their home" because he loved the companionship and hospitality. But at this particular visit, as Jesus is talking and teaching and probably telling great stories of their travels and just fellowshipping with the disciples....Martha is working her tail off to fix the food, clean the dishes, set the table, find the candles, clean her house, fix her make-up, fix her hair, set out the proper books for him to see, make sure the mirror had been cleaned (you know how Mary gets when she brushes her teeth!), taking out the trash, spraying Aubrey Organics Air Freshener (she new how Febreeze was bad!), and on and on and on, while Mary sat at Jesus's feet and just listened and did "nothing". Marthat gets really frustrated with Mary and even complains to Jesus (this is soo classic!) and the scripture says "interrupts them" in the Message: "Master, don't you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand." (Luke 10:39-40). This shows us a couple things really, 1. Martha had probably already bothered Mary more than once about helping her and she wouldn't pay her any attention since she was so focused on Jesus the entire time which is why she eventually asked Jesus to tell her because she figured if he told Mary to help her that she woul! and 2. Martha was so focused on the "stuff" around her that she had COMPLETELY forgotten who it was that she was complaining to! She was wining to the SON OF THE LIVING GOD that her sister wouldn't help her with the kitchen!!! Then Jesus says this to her: "My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42 NLT) The great thing about this passage is that Mary and Martha were BOTH serving Jesus. Martha's act of service was in the preparation of the meal and the hospitality of the visit, which is huge and is VERY important. Mary's act of service was different, it was simply sitting at the feet of her Lord and listening to him. Both were doing things for Christ, but only one of them was doing something with him. How many times do we get caught up in the process and forget about the person??? I'm speaking to myself on this one more than anyone because if you know me, you'll know that I'm a workaholic. Not in a "I hate to be home so I'll work to death" kind of way, more in a "God has blessed me and I want to do as much as I can so I'm going to work from dawn to dusk to get it all done" as if God can't expand time to allow me to get more done in less time if I'd just give it to him instead of trying to accomplish it all in my own strength. Man, sometimes you wonder how God doesn't pull his hair out with us because we can be so dumb!! So don't forget about Jesus in the middle of all this service. And thank God for the Body of Christ to be able to rely on in times like these: good and bad, sickness and health, prosperity and poverty, succes and failure, happy or sad, encouraged or discouraged, mountain or valley. In all these times, the body is God's hands to reach out to each of us.
"...sometimes my world gets filled with so much noise that my heart gets pulled away but i find my peace in you and if i seek, i will find a treasure in you that time can't take away.." Kari Jobe "Sanctuary"

Friday, October 24, 2008

Listen and Obey

Psalm 128 Says: "How joyful are those who fear the Lord-all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigourous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the Lord's blessing for those who fear him. May the Lord continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live. May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. May Israel have peace!"

Last fall sometime, Pastor Robert (our senior pastor at Gateway Church) preached a sermon on "How to hear God". He always talks about having conversations with God (Holy Spirit) as if they're sitting next to each other and just gabbing away. That fascinated and excited me, because Pastor Robert talked about how anyone could hear the Spirit as clearly as that if they do one simple thing: Listen and Obey. I was raised in a very traditional Southern Baptist Church. I had an amazing childhood so I'm not complaining, but it's just a fact that the Baptist Church doesn't teach or talk about the Gifts of the Spirit or about actually talking to the Holy Spirit that much so I had not been exposed to this until we went to Gateway. Pastor Robert said that the Spirit is continually speaking to all of us, but only some are actually listening, and even fewer are listening and obeying what they hear. He said that the Spirit will speak to you, very quietly, and if you listen and obey...then he'll speak to you again, but get a little louder. Then if you listen and obey, he'll speak again, even louder this time...and on and on...until eventually you'll be audibly having conversation with the Holy Spirit. I so wanted this and prayed and sought the Lord over this and asked for this very thing...but heard nothing. I heard nothing for months actually and got really frustrated (some of you know this story already so DON'T RUIN IT!!). A few months ago Cindy and I were candidates in a prophetic service for small group leaders at Gateway (if you're not familiar, leaders in the church who are gifted in the prophetic pray over you and then give you any word that the Lord has for you and they prophecy over you). In the service, one of the ladies who was a leader in our group (gifted in the prophetic) said to me..."You need to listen to your wife, as if she's the Holy Spirit.".....and........I said....."Ok". But left thinking "That's nice, but I listen to my wife pretty big deal". For months I was still frustrated in my quiet times and in not hearing the Spirit but I kept hearing that woman's voice in my head every time I would pray or read scripture, "Listen to your wife as if she's the Holy Spirit". So finally (and those of you who know me well won't be surprised by this at all lol) I made God a deal. I said, "Fine, God. I'm going to prove you wrong. I'm going to say "Yes" to Cindy on anything she tells me that is different from what I was already going to do even if it is as simple as what shirt to wear that day, and I'm going to prove to you that she's not always right!" So I did, I started saying "Yes" to my wife and following her counsel to the "T" and guess what?? I've started hearing the Spirit so clearly sometimes I think another person is in the room with me! The blessings God has poured out on us since that time have been too many to number and some of them you wouldn't believe me if I told you. Which brings me to my point: Listen and Obey. Listening is the easier part by far. We all can say, "Sure I listen to God"...but how many of us (myself included) are actually following through with what he's asking of you? Our God is a just God, and he's a loving God, but he also is a selfish God: he will NOT share glory with anyone or anything. That includes your family, your job, your money, your talents....none of it. And it's been hard lesson for me to come to the point of telling God "sorry" for not giving him back 100% all the time of what he's given me. Last week Pastor Robert talked about the fact that God gave us EVERYTHING that we have. Everything we own, every talent or ability, every friend, EVERYTHING we have is a direct result of God working in our lives. So we don't own anything, we're stewards. We are just holding all of this for him and are supposed to be improving it and sharing it with other people. Here's a perfect example of opportunities he'll throw at you if you're listening. Last summer Cindy and I went to Panera for breakfast one morning. Cindy wanted to sit out on the patio (which she never does) so we got our food/drink and went out on the patio. Now I have really bad hearing (from shooting shotguns professionally for almost 20 years, and 5 sets of tubes in my ears). When we sat down, about 3 tables over there were two women, one older, one alot younger talking. As I was eating, I could hear every word they were saying. The older one says, "But you can't kill this baby, that would be murder, God wouldn't want that, couldn't you just give it away?!?", and the younger replied, "I just couldn't go through 9 months and then give it away, I have to get rid of it" Now one thing you may not know about me is that I'm adopted, and my birth mom contemplated aborting me but one of my family members (Grandmother I think,dont' ask why) talked her out of it and talked her into putting me up for adoption instead. So Cindy says to me, "Can you hear them", and I told he I could and she said, "You have to go say something!!!" I sat there a sec and drug my feet and then felt myself lifted out of my chair and before I knew what I was doing I walked over to the girl, clearly upset and said, "I'm sorry for listening in but I couldn't help hearing what you were talking about and I wanted to come tell birthmom was in exactly the same spot you're in right now over 27 years ago. She was going to abort me, but she changed her mom and put me up for adoption and now, because of her gift and sacrifice, I'm married with a baby on the way, I'm a doctor with a huge sphere of ministry and none of that would be possible if I had not been allowed to come into this world. So please reconsider and please give your baby a chance!" She broke down and bawled harder than I've seen many people cry. The older lady jumped up and hugged her and said, "SEE THE PEOPLE GOD IS BRINGING INTO YOUR PATH FOR THIS BABY, CAN YOU SEE IT!!" And then turned to me and said thank you as she cried as well. We gave her a card and told her to call us if she ever needed anything. I never heard from her, but I know she had that baby and I pray God uses that child as much as he's using me right now. I still get chills thinking about it.

So think about it, and practice your listening skills. Everyone has heard the addage "You've got 2 ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you talk!" Well, that goes for God too! We pray to him every day but don't give him a chance to respond. Listen to him, and obey him, and then watch what he'll do in you and through you!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lessons earned, Lessons learned...

It humbles me that we serve a God who is patient enough with us to actually teach us things on a daily basis and is patient enough to lead and guide us through journeys of total discovery. Because He is God that blows me away, because He doesn't have to do that. He could just think it and we would do, and be anything He wanted us to be, but that's not His will. His will is for us to have free will and to CHOOSE Him and His lessons.
Well, I'm no less overwhelmed and overjoyed at the goodness of God after what I witnessed here with Cindy 2 nights ago (has it been that long?!? "Stop growing up so fast!!" *tear*), but He has been bringing back to mind things He taught me during her birth and things He is teaching me even now. The verse: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." kept coming to mind during the entire labor. That verse says so many things but I think people don't take the entire verse to heart, I know I didn't until 2 days ago. I think we get too comfortable (especially here in the states) and just read that verse as "I can do all things...." and just leave it at that because we've created a culture and a society that doesn't "need" each other. But it doesn't say that we could do all things on our own at all. It says that we can do anything we could ever imagine, or anything we couldn't ever imagine.....through CHRIST who gives us the strength to do so. When Cindy was pushing and trying to coax Harper out at the end, I felt such a piece and such an outpouring of God's grace and love because He said to me, "See, she couldn't have done this on her own...that strength you're seeing in your wife right there, that's me." So as much as I learned about how incredible my wife is, I learned how ultimately incredible my God is and how much He loves me and my family. When I held Harper after he was born and when I brought him up to Cindy's chest (that's right ladies and gentlemen, I GOT TO BIRTH MY BABY!!!), God told me that he was going to be the salve that would heal the wounds in my family, and the bridge that would cover the gap in the relationships with my parents and sister that needed healing and I'm already seeing that happen.
The bible also says that God's grace and strength is made perfect in our weakness. It was so incredible to see that when Cindy got to the point of total exhaustion and total human weakness, outloud she prayed right there in the birthing tub and said, "God, I can't do this without you, I get it now...I give you total control. Please give me the strength to have this baby." And God was faithful and he answered her simple, humble, perfect prayer of petition and submission to His glory and His will. In me He gave the ability to go over 30 hours with absolutely not one second of sleep because He knew, and I knew, and I knew that He knew that she wasn't going to be able to do this alone and that she needed every person on our team at their best with me most important of all. He gave me the physical strength to physically support her for over 18 hours actively, climbing into positions to apply pressure to her sacrum that I didn't know I could get into. But more important, He gave me the mental and spiritual strength to lead my family and take hold of the promise that God had given me months ago when He told me that He had some things to work with Cindy on during her birth but He promised she would have a perfect labor.
Those of you who know me and know what all God's been doing with me in the past 2 months know what this means, and those of you who don't know me or what I've been doing with God, you'll understand: please just say "YES!" to God, no matter what it is and no matter what it takes and no matter what He asks of you. It's worth it all. So just say "YES!"

Monday, October 20, 2008

That was the absolute most incredible 18 hours of my life!!

I've been blessed to have been involved with and witness to many truly awesome events in my short 27 years....but NOTHING tops what I saw my wife do for the past 18 hours.

Cindy started into "labor" around 3:00 in the afternoon yesterday (Sunday, 10/19/2008). She wanted her mom there first so we called her and she came over and sat with us for a little while and when we clocked her contractions at around 3.45 minutes apart, we called Susan Hulet, our midwife to go ahead and come out to check Cindy to see where she was at at this point. Susan came over to the house around 6:00pm and when she checked Cindy she said she was at about a "4" so we knew we were definitely in labor, but it would probably be a little while. In the back of my mind though, I arrogantly thought it would be super quick and that would be that. Nine hours later Susan checks Cindy and she's at about a "7 or 8" she says. By this point we thought Cindy was transitioning because she was having such intense contractions so to hear that she was about an "8" was pretty frustrating. By this time we had our entire team at the birth (and had had them there several hours!). Even though Cindy did get frustrated, she birthed a beutiful, healthy 7lb 5 oz baby boy at 7:45 AM the next morning after 11 hours in active labor, 2 of those actively pushing!! His name is Harper Joseph.

Watching my wife go through that for the past 18 hours has literally changed my life forever. To watch her go through such trial, difficulty, dissapointment, pain, exhaustion, and "push" through it all to get to the other side and be the most hospitable person the entire 18 hours I could ever imagine and still have a smile on her face at the end, has made me fall in love with her all over again. Nothing I could ever say or do could ever match or top what I saw her do today. The amount of power and strength that God infused into her was so mind boggling that I'm still having a hard time sorting everything out. She went from being super confident, to totally destroyed and ready to transport, and all the way back to determined and hanging onto the promise God had made up about her birth from the beginning and persevering through to the end. At the end I literally burst into tears because I was so overwhelmed by the magnificent person that I'm blessed to call my wife. And to think, the entire time she was in labor she was only concerned about me and everyone at her birth. Wow, that's all I can really say right now because, for one, I haven't slept a wink in over 30 hours, and I just went through the most mind-boggling experience a person will ever have the blessing to go through once, let alone multiple times. So this post is to say I love Cindy Haggerton, my wife, and the mother of my son: Harper Joseph Haggerton. She blows me away in every way. Thank you God for blessing me so....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Guess Date Is Here!

Silly me! Staying at home really has me confusing my days and dates. I thought yesterday was the 16th- my guess date for baby "Bit"'s arrival. But, to my surprise, when I woke up and saw my phone calendar this morning, today is the 16th- not yesterday. Haha! So when I get the dreaded question, "When's your due date?" a million times a day, I get to say, "Today" for the second day in a row. Pregnancy brain :)... Like it matters anyway- since it's NOT a due date but a "guess" date- and really it's a guess month and NOT a day (hence the reason why the question annoys me). However, not to worry, I will try to get the baby's date of birth correct once he/she arrives. I guess in that case, if I was confused on my days when he/she makes his/her arrival then that could be bad.

Psalms 37:7 "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him, do not fret..."

As the end of this pregnancy has arrived, I am not feeling like most of the moms I hear from. Frankly, I feel like I could be pregnant for at least an entire more month and not mind. I love being pregnant! And, I know- sadly- that this is a precious time that I will never get back once it's gone. I feel so blessed!! However, I know that it is time to start relinquishing this season and allowing things to move forward into the next. I want Bit to have peace that he/she may arrive at any time, and we are so excited. So, I need to switch focus and concentrate on why I am excited that this pregnancy is nearing the end:

1) I am excited to know how great my birth was- that Bit and I did it! I got a text from a friend and fellow midwifery student the other night telling me to hurry up and settle down and have this baby. I asked her why and she said she was excited for me to go through labor and tell her how it really is. That cracked me up (you'd understand if you had our job)!
2) I am excited for JB to experience labor/birth firsthand- poor guy has heard years of my stories.
3) I hope this baby has some hair because I am excited to rub that soft baby fuzz hair against my cheek all day
4) I am excited for JB and I to unwrap our package- is this a boy or a girl?!
5) I am looking so forward to my herbal bath with Bit after birth
6) I am so excited to have my own birth photography by Lynsey (
7) I am so thankful that I get to experience and claim the Lord as my Shelter during labor/birth
8) I am excited for my family to experience normal labor/birth firsthand
9) I can NOT wait to be able to stop answering phone calls/emails/txt/questions about whether or not the baby has arrived. I am so thankful that people care so much, but... I promise we will NOT keep Bit's arrival a secret!!
10) And, finally, I am soooo excited to spend hours and hours a day relishing in the blessing of our baby- counting fingers and toes over and over again, just staring... Cherishing everyday for just like this pregnancy, it all goes by too fast!

1 Samuel 1:27 "For this child I prayed, and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him"

In HIS perfect timing, Bit shall be here shortly... Thank-you, Lord, that YOU have perfect timing!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I love this comparison chart! I have been really frustrated when I hear of friends who I know are believers but yet are strongly supporting Obama in the upcoming elections. I will be the first to agree that there are a lot of things that need to change in our country; and, I can not say that I am happy with every issue the Republican party is standing for either. In fact, I am not really content with either of our options for this upcoming term. However, we can not ignore core issues, and the value of human life- or lack thereof- is a HUGE issue! How can we cry with a friend when she miscarries a baby early in pregnancy and rejoice with another when she births a healthy newborn, and yet completely ignore the fact that a candidate supports making in-utero infant murder legal?! I just do NOT get it!! Do we honestly think our just, fair God is going to be able to continue blessing and protecting our country if we allow things to keep going down this path?
Our pastor said something incredible at church last night that really stuck with me. He was addressing our country's events of this past week and how much fear they have stirred up in people. And here is what he said: We are about to elect someone to set on our country's throne, and they will be there for the next four years. And, they may even be there for four years after that. However, in 4,000 years, who will still be on His throne? God is not surprised by these events, and He is still calling you to do what He has been calling you to do. In whom do you place your trust (in the good times AND the bad)?! Remember so many of the Psalms end and begin with, "Praise Ye the Lord!"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

10 new things I learned from a GREAT seminar this past weekend...

This past weekend I was sooo happy that baby "Bit" cooperated and allowed JB and I to make it to a seminar that we have been waiting on for several years now. It was put on by Standard Process, one of our fav nutritional companies, and taught by a Dr. Angela Hywood. Angela is from Australia, and she is amazing!! I want to download her brain. She has a fertility practice; and, she is known to get a 98% success rate with couples who have already been through the medical model w/ no success. Amazing!! This seminar was entitled, "Top 10 Female Health Conditions"; and, we attended w/ many different practitioners from all different backgrounds and fields. I was so glad several of our midwives and a patient came too. Incredible, priceless info! I always try to take away 1 thing from any seminar or class, and in my opinion, if you learn even just 1 thing it is worth it. However, this seminar was so wonderful, there was so much that we were able to walk out with and put to use immediately. Here are some of the top 10:
1) Fatigue is one of the most common female health problems
2) Average sleep needed for an adult EACH night- 8 to 8.5 hours (this is necessary and required for healing and health in general)
3) Adrenal glands affect so much of our health!! If they are not working correctly (due to stress), they can shut down ovarian function (infertility) and lead to immune system problems (yeast infections, cancer)
4) Sea Salt has 94 trace elements in it, that we know of. We should consume 1/2-1 tsp a day of it
5) Painful Menstrual Periods is the #1 reason why women in the U.S. miss work
6) Yeast loves estrogen, sugar and weak adrenal glands
7) Antidepressants down regulate the pituitary gland (make it not function properly) and thus affect hormonal function adversely
8) Fluoride and Chlorine compete w/ iodine absorption in the body
9) One of the biggest sources of radiation is flying in an airplane.
10) Radiation is scary! It fragments DNA (especially men's sperm- infertility issues and/or fetal issues), one of the best ways to combat it is by taking a bath in Epsom salt

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Trust in Pregnancy and Birth? Definitely NOT the American Way...


Sorry this is such a long post, but I have a LOT to say on this one... Let me preface this by saying that I am not a doctor writing this and it is not meant as advice in any fashion or form, these are simply the rantings of a pregnant woman, hormonal, surprised and freakin out that any day now I will be welcoming the arrival of a precious human who will be dependent on me 24/7... And- this precious human has to make the journey out of ME, and I do not even have my entire birth kit ready or the plastic for my bed or... AHHH! So amidst all of this, this week, my precious husband and I have our first appointment with an OB/GYN. Some of you who may not know me or my paradigm are surely freakin out at this point, "What?! Only a few days left of your pregnancy and you have never seen a doctor?" I know, what a freak I am! But, before you get too carried away about what a crazy mother I am, I will say that I have seen a chiropractic doctor (who actually takes more hours of schooling than the regular MD) twice a week at least, and I have been seen by a licensed birth provider throughout my entire pregnancy. Yes, we chose to use a midwife to care for us throughout our pregnancy. And, I know I got a lot more care from her than I would have the average doctor. Considering that I saw her following a regular pregnancy schedule (just like an OB would have scheduled visits, but starting earlier in my pregnancy) and my shortest visit with her was an hour. Compare that with my friends and patients who see OBs- they usually report seeing a different provider each visit (often a nurse or different doctor than the one who will attend their birth) and that each of their visits only lasts a few minutes. I could go on and on, but this post is about my report of my doctor's visits. Everything I am ranting about is backed up by research, and not just my opinion, so feel free to request a copy of it if you so desire.
So why did we choose to visit an OB at all? Well, if you know my A-type personality, except for when it comes to cleaning/organizing my house :), you understand that should the need to transfer/transport during my pregnancy/birth arise, I do not want to meet the doctor then for the 1st time. Therefore, we chose to go in for a consult this week. Now I know first hand how my patients and friends feel when they have to stand up for their beliefs and justify themselves. It is especially not fun when you are pregnant and hormonal. As we walked to the office, I commented to JB about how much I dreaded explaining why I did not want an ultrasound or a vaginal check. We also laughed at how the doctor's face would look when he asked me why I was seeing him... See we know that normally he meets patients at this point who have problems like low iron counts, babies with positional issues, high blood pressure and so forth. Me on the other hand as his new patient: I have only gained 20 pounds, my iron levels have been rather high, my blood pressure has been 120/70 at its highest, and I have done prenatal yoga and weight class 1x/week at least. I am in better shape pregnant than when I am not; but, can you blame me- it is what I preach and do for a living! I have lots of people watching me, I better behave!!
The office was really nice, and the staff and doctor were great! However, let me tell you my problem: I am so saddened by the fact that what I saw yesterday is a better than normal version of maternity care in our nation. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for the doctor we saw yesterday. He has blessed my business and my patients with his care and support. But, he is still a medical doctor in a severely erroneous paradigm! And, had you been there you would have probably seen nothing wrong with the picture I am about to paint, unless you have had maternity care by someone other than a typical OB or have done your research thoroughly.
After the usual paperwork, the visit began with a question from the nurse before taking my blood pressure, "Have you ever had an abnormal "x" test?" To which I replied, "No." She answered, "Great!", and ran off to her desk. JB looked at me and laughed, see my "x" tests have never come back abnormal because I have never had one. Again, this is a whole other discussion for another day... Next came by blood pressure reading- done while I was talking with a digital cuff. Both of these can make the test inaccurate. My reading that day? 130/90! My complete medical records sit in my chart showing how abnormally high this is for me, but nothing is made of this. The one thing that should have been an issue was not! Oh well, taken later with a normal cuff and me relaxing, it was back to normal. Next comes our wait for the doctor. If we complained about this part, our patients would laugh at us because this is a common occurrence in my own office, one I can NOT fault this doctor for. So, we waited patiently without complaint.
Finally, in comes the doctor. The first thing he asks us is about how we got into running our birth center and how that is going. After some chit chat he comments on why I am in to see him and that hopefully I will not need him after this one visit, but that our track record has not been that great as of late as far as the birth center is concerned. Again, JB and I had a good laugh about this later... What he was referring to is that he has received a lot of referrals from us. I would not laugh about this as a bad track record. After all, midwives are supposed to care for NORMAL pregnant women. If they deviate from normal, it is our responsibility to catch this and send them out for doctor evaluation. I think the fact that we have done this routinely is a great track record! I would not want to go to another midwife who does not practice within their limits and not do this. Plus, can you even consider it a track record if we are referring out for things we have no control over? Anyhow... Then comes the doctor addressing the fact that we desire to have a homebirth. Again, take your time to freak out about how I am endangering myself and my child if you do not know me or have not done your research... He then says that if asked his opinion (which he was not because I already knew it- remember this is what he does for a living) he would tell me that hospitals are where everyone should give birth. Hospitals, after all, are the safest place to be because there are always emergencies. Well thank God He invented hospital and created medical doctors before giving us the right to procreate because after all, IT IS SOOOO FREAKIN DANGEROUS TO DO WHAT MILLIONS OF WOMEN HAVE DONE SAFELY OVER THE YEARS UP UNTIL RECENTLY!!! Again, if you want the research, just ask me, but only recently did women start seeking out hospitals/doctors for pregnancy care and birth. So we shook our heads yes that we understood. He asked if I had any questions, and when I did not, he told me he felt like he should be saying more but since there was really nothing else to cover after going over hospital procedures with us, he would listen to my baby and measure me and let me go. As he laid me down and approached my tummy, he asked me when my last ultrasound had been. I told him at 6 weeks of pregnancy. He asked me why, and I told him I had had a lot of bleeding then and the only reason we chose to do that one was to make sure the baby was okay and I had not miscarried. Then, when everything was normal, we agreed not to have anymore unless an issue came up in which we felt we needed it. The baby's heartbeat and movement, my measurements and weight have all been normal up to this point so we have not needed another one. He gave me a weird look and asked if I was still opposed to having one. I told him I was because everything was normal. Again, the research on ultrasounds is something that we rarely look at- they are not, contrary to popular belief, proven without a shadow of a doubt to be totally safe. And, like I tell my patients, it is just like our x-ray machines- I am so glad we have the technology when it's needed, but it's not something that I want to use to take fun pictures with everyday just to see. I'll be brief and just say that many inaccurate reports come back and stress moms out from ultrasounds, some research says that they cause hearing issues for the baby, cause cells to divide very rapidly (potentially increasing cancer risk) and the radiation they produce is equivalent to having 250 chest x-rays. So we were not being dumb when we chose to only have one, we had good reason! When he checked the heartbeat, it was normal. Next came the uterine measurement. This was totally different than with my midwife. She will first feel my bare belly and then take quite a bit of time measuring. This is a crucial part of maternity care! Feeling a mom's belly tells you a lot about her fluid amount, baby's position, and her growth. Doctors do not feel bellies a lot because it's not something they are routinely taught, believe it or not, and they do not put a lot of weight on this because they have ultrasound technology. Now you tell me, which is more accurate when it comes to weight and volume evaluation- feeling and holding someone or looking at a picture of them? So I moved my shirt out of the way, and I was going to let him move my pregnancy band on my pants so he could measure accurately. He quickly measured over my pants, and the tape measure was loose. Then he asked, "How big is this kid?" I replied, "Last week they estimated with palpation (feeling my belly) that the baby is at least 5.5 lbs." He looked at me with doubt and shock and said, "Really?!" I did not tell him 3 midwives had been at that particular prenatal visit and all 3 felt my belly and guessed in their heads before all saying their measurements out loud and getting the same guess. I'd say that's pretty accurate! But, with the look on his face, I said, "Why, are you measuring me smaller or thinking the baby is smaller?" He said, "What did they measure you at?" I laughed at this reply, it reminded me of someone saying, "No, I'm not telling you what I got, you go first!" So I said, they got 35.5 centimeters for 36 weeks (2 centimeters either above or below your week of pregnancy is considered normal). He then said, "Well, I got 34!" So I politely replied, "Well I am seeing my midwife this week, and if I have lost weight or measure smaller I will have an ultrasound done to make sure all is well. We then thanked him for everything and left.
All of this ranting to say, I thoroughly appreciate wonderful doctors who will even consider seeing patients who are choosing a different route of care, especially seeing them this late into the pregnancy. But, it is just SO sad that this is considered normal! Oh, we were also reminded to do kick counts all throughout the day to make sure the baby is ok. Question: Why can't moms be congratulated on having a wonderful pregnancy and taking care of themselves?! Why do we have to make them dwell in fear, waiting for something to go wrong. After all, pregnancy is NOT an illness like it is routinely treated. Thank God it is a blessing and a wonderfully normal event because were it not one of us may not be here!! Why can't we use medical doctors like firemen? If there is an emergency, I want them there, but if I used them on a routine basis for regular situations, I have a feeling there would be many more problems created out of what would have been normal. Do your research!!