Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bye-Bye to a WONDERFUL Year!

January- I witnessed my first twin birth. We went on a ski trip. We finally got pregnant :)
February- I told JB on the 9th that we would be parents this year... I tried to wait and surprise him on Valentines Day, but couldn't hold out. Tues, the 12th, we announced the pregnancy to our parents, my sister and my grandparents.
March- I was ready for the nausea to end!
April- Our friends Lance & Vanessa had their second baby boy. He was my first pregnancy to go through as the "head" midwife (something we have to do to complete our training). This was such an honor because not only do we love this family, but I had been at their first birth in the hospital and got to take them through this pregnancy and welcome #2 at home. JB & I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on the 26th.
May- Had our first twin birth at the birth center, it was a CRAZY busy month with births!
June- We enjoyed a wonderful babymoon in Hawaii, I got to see my first twin homebirth and breech homebirth
July- We celebrate the 1 year anniversary of our birthing center
August- My wonderful friend, Danielle, and her mom threw me an amazing baby shower- we are so blessed to be surrounded by such incredible friends! I had a pretty bad car wreck and was so grateful for the Lord's protection over me and Harper
September- I took maternity leave, moved into our new house, celebrated my 26th birthday, prepared for Harper's arrival, and completed the last birth I needed for my midwifery training
October- I went into labor on the 19th and we experienced the best day of our lives on the 20th, welcoming Harper Joseph into the world with a wonderful homebirth. He meets JB's parents, grandmother, cousin & sister.
November- Marcy & my grandparents meet Harper for the first time. We host Thanksgiving at our house. Harper attends his first birth.
December- Harper attends his second birth (and almost third :( ), we take our first car trip as a family of 3, packing a lot more stuff w/ us, to see Marcy graduate from Tech! We celebrate our first Christmas as 3! JB turns 28. Mom & Dad celebrate 30 years of marriage!! Millie, my childhood dog, dies at 9 years old :(. We bring in 2009 as a family of 3 (me nursing Harper and missing the countdown :)
Happy 2009, Thank-you Lord for blessing us so richly in 2008!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Daily Lessons...

"The world is not a playground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education." Henry Drummond (from his sermon "The Greatest Thing in the World" thx Delia!)

This quote really stopped me when I read it. It's so simple, but incredibly profound I think. I've realized that most of the time when I'm complaining about a situation I'm in or the way something doesn't turn out "perfect", or how God is constantly taking me through the same lessons over and perception and my focus is really off or shifted. I forget that God cares more about our holiness than our happiness. I lose sight of the fact that everything doesn't always work out like its supposed to just because I'm me and that's what I think should happen. I forget that everything is not about winning & losing or surpassing every goal I set for myself or the people close to me. When I get in that place and I'm frustrated or beat down, God reminds me that it's all about one thing: HIM!!!

Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Notice how it doesn't say, "In most of your ways acknowledge Him..." or "In the good times acknowledge Him...", or "In your toughest times acknowledge Him.." It says "In ALL your ways..." I can't tell you how hard that is for me!! I know I'm probably the only one struggling with this, but God doesn't want me in pieces...HE WANTS IT ALL!!!
So it's all about Him. Doing everything I do to the glory of my Father and then being ok, excited even, and ultimately completely at peace with the end result....because it has nothing to do with me. I'm beginning to think that sometimes God doesn't get the most glory by me always being 1st at everything, or always outdoing the guy next to me. I'm learning that my attitude and the passion with which I love His people, in EVERY circumstance, brings Him more glory and honor, even if I'm not #1 at the end of the day.
I'm a very Type A, full steam ahead, nothing gets in my way kind of guy (high five feltsdia!!) But lately God has been teaching me to ask Him before I jump into things and wait on His direction, guidance, and peace to reveal to me how I may better serve Him and therefore glorify Him in every situation.
So life is an education. God teaches me something every day, but I must first seek Him and listen with a willing and open heart to receive His instruction and to act on it.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

My constant prayer lately..... "Less of me Father, and more of You"


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Understanding my role....

This past year has been a lesson for me on the importance of my role and how important the man is in the structure of the marriage, the family, the business, and every other structure God has created. God has been refining me and rebuilding me (isn't He doing that to us all?!?), especially since Cindy and I got married.

Ephesians 5:25 says "Husbands, love your wives as Christ has loved the church, and gave himself up for her.

But the next verse is really awesome and we leave it out all the time, verse 26 says: "to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word."

But in order to love my wife the way God is calling and leading me to there is one thing that gets in the way and prevents this from happening.....SELFISHNESS. In order to love her as Christ loved the church, I have to be selfless. I lived by myself the entire time I was in college. I had the opportunity to move in with a couple different sets of guys, but like doing my own thing all the time so I stayed by myself through undergrad and grad school. So when I married Cindy and we got an apartment together in Dallas, needless to say it was a huge adjustment for me because I was so used to thinking only about myself all the time. The same thing happened when Cindy graduated and started working in the office with me. I had already been out practicing for about a year and a half and so I had always just done everything I wanted to do, because I was the only person in the office so when she joined me, I had to adjust to not being the only doctor in the office anymore. Even more so lately since we've had Harper. Both of us have had to adjust because now it's not just about us anymore!! Someone told me not so long ago that the reason God doesn't just show you everything you need to know or change you all at once was because if He did you couldn't handle it and now I understand that alot better. I'm glad He teaches us in steps and leads us down the path He has for us as slow or as fast as we require to understand Him and give Him total control.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

The problem with our entire culture is that we've been fed a lie that says the opposite of this verse. The world we live in tells us to do everything for ourselves and let others take care of their own problems. It says to look out for "numero uno" and not to worry about anyone else. But that's not what God wants from us at all. The love that God has for us and wants for us to have for others is totally dependant upon us putting others before us and putting ourselves second in every situation.
So I'm learning my role. My role as a husband, as a father, as a boss, and as a friend. And in each situation, God's teaching me to be self-less. With Cindy and Harper that means that I may not get to go do some of the things I had on my schedule that I thought I would because I need to take them somewhere or need to take care of Harper for Cindy so she can get some stuff done. As a boss I have to always think of myself second when I ask the employees to do something for me. As a friend, I'm trying to be here and be available and not always be the one to need favors or try and keep up with my friends better and not be the one who never calls. Sometimes I get convicted that I'm so busy all the time that I let down in one or all of these areas so I'm trying to work on that some to be able and balance my schedule a little more.
As a man though, I think me take our role and the importance of our support for our wives and kids lightly. And I'm learning more and more how vital the selflessness and unconditional love and support is from us as guys. It's convicting and scary, but challenging and exciting all at the same time.
I think a good gauge for how selfless you are is who you actually think about before you do something, or who you think about when you're setting up your schedule.....are you the first person you think about?? Or someone else? Something to think about I guess.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Toxicity and Purification

For the past 3 weeks I've been going through a "21 Day Purification Program" to cleanse my vital organs and repair my digestive system. Why did I do it between the hollidays??? Because I was tired of not feeling 100% and was ready to. Cleanses are never easy even though they offer enormous benefits. I've lost a little over 20 lbs, I have more energy, I can think clearer, the list goes on and on. But while I was on the cleanse God was showing me how me cleansing physically is exactly what He's been doing with me over the past few months spiritually.
There are so many parallels. With a detox program, your goal is to get rid of all the things in your body that are not good for it so that you can put good things back in to improve the health of your body. Isn't that exactly what we do when God leads us through a spiritual cleanse?? We're looking inside to see the things that are not healthy for our spiritual body and "detoxing" them, giving them to God, so that He can replace them with the things of Him.
The Bible has this to say about cleansing:
2Cr 5:17
Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
This is talking about detoxing the "old person" that was you and becoming a "new person" in Christ. All the "old things" have passed away and ALL things have become new.
So where do toxins come from anyway?? Physically we can become toxic from eating food that isn't good for us like fried food, fast food, processed food, artificial sweeteners, sodas, medications, etc. The environment is a big source of physical toxins as well. Things like: tap water, pollution in the air, cigarrette smoke in public, household cleaners, perfumes and makeups, and deodorants can all add to our toxic load and we don't even realize it. These things build up in our detox organs like our liver, kidneys, and lungs and begin to cause dysfunction (bad changes) in our body that can lead to decreased function in our body or eventually....disease and sickness.
Spiritually, toxicity happens the exact same way. We think thoughts or have attitudes that pollute our hearts and minds and make it impossible to hear God's voice to begin with and make it even harder to carry out his instructions. How many times do we neglect to help someone else because of self pitty, or because of bitterness over past circumstances, or because of un-forgiveness???
Phl 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things
The bible also says that "As a man thinketh in his is he." Prov 23:7. It all starts with our minds and what we think about all day long and what we meditate on. Toxic thoughts turn into toxic attitudes, and toxic attitudes turn into toxic actions. Everything that goes into our minds either from what we read, what we watch, what we hear, or the people that we associate with has an impact on us and it can either lift us up and make us better, or it is going to make us more toxic and tear us away from the will of God.
Cleansing is not fun and it is not comfortable, physically or spiritually. But the reward on the other side of being able to function better and accomplish more in our physical body or in our spiritual walk with Jesus far outweighs the cost.
Have you cleansed lately??

Sunday, December 14, 2008

On The Other Side

Being pregnant and becoming a mother has been such an incredible blessing and eye opening experience; so much so, that it is hard to express with words. I feel like I understand so much more; and, eventually, when I go back to practice I feel like this experience will make me a much better doctor and caretaker. Even though I have worked with moms through these experiences for years, it's like they say- it is TOTALLY different when you experience it first and and walk in these shoes...

One thing that has surprised me and aggravated me more than expected is the experience of nursing around other people- whether in public or in my own home. Because of this, I am so appreciative of my friends- the O'Briens- for doing the NIN Project, something I look forward to participating in with Harper. You can watch it at (scroll down to the "NIN Project"). I know friends and patients who have either chosen to not breastfeed their children or have stopped nursing sooner than expected because of our cultural perception and what others think is normal or not. However, I did not expect our culture and people's opinions to affect me as much as they have when it comes to nursing.

It all started at my baby showers, actually. I received several versions of what is known as a "Hooter Hider". Most people who have children or are around women who do, know what this is. And, I can not tell you how many times I have heard, "That is the neatest invention, I wish I had had one of those!" I politely smile at every person who says this to me, but honestly, I hate them! However, I do use mine religiously because it is just one of those things that I do- like many others do too- to conform to society and be respectful of people's feelings around me. Babies are not too fond of them either- notice how they kick around and try to move them out of their way when old enough to do so? It blocks their view of trying to bond with their mom and take in the world around them. And, seriously, we come up with an invention that is a major seller to hide something that is totally normal that we should be unashamed of?! Not to mention we give it this hidious, trashy name... Such is our culture! Then, I can not tell you how many times I have heard different versions of this same story any time La Leche League meetings come up associated with nursing conversations: "I went to one of those groups because I was the first in my family to nurse. It was all I could do to compose myself because you have all these 5 yr. old kids walking up and lifting their mom's shirts to nurse- ugh!" And this one is classic, at one shower this lady that I had just met walked up to me and my mom. She was wearing poor fitting clothes that revealed a decent amount of herself. I only say this because I laughed about her attire after she shared her story. When Harper was acting hungry, she starts in, "Yeah, I was at the grocery store this one day, and this lady was walking around nursing her baby under a blanket and her stomach was totally showing. I just can't believe people do that in normal places like the grocery store- yuck!" To which I responded- well if your child nurses for half an hour about every hour, you are forced to nurse on the go sometimes otherwise you would never go anywhere or get anything done.

Truthfully, I did not expect breastfeeding to be such a sacrifice or as time consuming as it has been. For instance, when Harper was trying to bring in my milk, he nursed non-stop for 13 hours straight. I am not joking or exagerating, ask JB! I thought my life was over... However, even though it is hard at times (it has gotten easier and become a more normal part of my life), I am very grateful for the experience. Like the fact that sometimes I am the only one who can comfort my son. I have the perfect food for him at the perfect temperature, ready at all times. I am decreasing my chances of illness and his and increasing both of our chances of health and wellness by choosing to nurse exclusively! His diapers don't stink. It forces this A-type personality to slow down, sit down and make my son my number one priority, letting everything else go. And best of all, nursing is often the perfect excuse to leave any situation I want out of. Ha! Thank goodness for awesome, encouraging moms and friends who make it easier because it has been hard enough! I had one patient/friend/mentor email me something that JB and I still smile and laugh about. It was the perfect word and came at the perfect time. She reminded me of Psalms 22:9- "Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother's breasts." Telling me to remember that Harper was learning to trust the Lord everytime I nursed him; I am a part of teaching him this! Then she joked about how she told her husband one day, "I am never going to be able to wear a shirt again!" I did not even realize I had felt that way, but boy had I ever! Despite all the encouragement, I have been met by plenty of opposing opinions. Even those who are in support of nursing often do not seem very happy that you are nursing around them. Like when I walked into the nursing room at church the other night. I laughed to myself at a room full of women all very diligently using their Hooter Hiders. Seriously?! Hooter Hiders in a room full of nursing women?! First of all, we all have them- boobs or hooters I mean- and second of all we were all using them to feed our children... Meaning you honestly think I have time to stare at you when I am trying to feed my child?! Pathetic culture of ours! Then there is my poor dad, who I told after he commented several times on how uncomfortable my nursing made him, that he was just going to have to get used to it if he was going to be around us. He quickly realized I was right, since it seems this is all we do these days; and now he sits around like it's just normal- because it is! But, I still have other family members who simply walk out of the house when I nurse. Oh well, we spend too much time doing it to have to go to another room everytime we have to eat! And, then there is my precious mom, haha! When we were out shopping at Southlake, she freaked out that I might get arrested because I had to nurse in the park and had forgotten my hider in the car. I informed her that it is the law that a woman can legally nurse anywhere she is allowed to be. At my sister's graduation the other day, she kept re-arranging my hider because she was nervous that the guys behind us were trying to gawk at my breasts. And, she is constantly telling her friends that everyone in the metroplex has seen my boobs because I just "don't care who sees them". I constantly remind her that it really doesn't matter because they don't look like mine and aren't really mine anymore anyway! She is extremely supportive of me nursing Harper, but all of the things she says and does just remind me of how abnormal and uncomfortable our culture has made this NORMAL process. UGH! Also, we recently played Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus at my dad's church in the Christmas Play. I can not tell you how many times I heard the joke of Mary "having to pull a Janet Jackson on stage if Jesus got hungry."
One of my favorite reminders of what an awesome Creator we serve is breastfeeding. Did you know that when a baby latches on to its mother's breast, the baby's saliva tells the mom's body exactly what milk to make for the baby? This fact just gives me chills! God did such an incredible job when He knit our bodies together! In other words, each feeding the milk is different because the baby's needs are different. Sometimes it may need more fat and other times more protein. This is why the same mom can nurse a newborn and a toddler and both will get exactly what he/she needs- NOT the same milk but the perfect recipe for that specific child at that time from the same breast! God created the saliva to tell the mom's breast what the baby is ready for and needs. Pumping, pacifiers and/or formula can NOT come close to doing that! Why do we try to run so far from what we have been created for?!

So this is my soap box to say I have now experienced it firsthand, and it drives me crazy and makes me so sad to live in this culture that shuns normalcy and health. I should not be made to feel so bad about something that I am created to do for the benefit of my family. I mean the fact that a girl can walk in a the room scantly clad, revealing more of her body than I would ever dream of revealing, and I will get more judgemental looks/comments from discreetly nursing my child than her outfit will generate is insane. We could be such a healthier, happier nation if we would spend more time and money on teaching and encouraging moms to nurse rather than freely offering formula. This is a reminder to encourage moms who choose to nurse because they are getting plenty of encouragement to pop the top of the formula can and heat, shake, and serve... More blogs to come later on the wonderful formula recipe and why it is quite possibly one of the nastiest things you can give your child!