ETC: Week 40

Hello friends!

I hope all is well! This past week, we made it to 40 weeks! It’s very bittersweet because I am very happy baby girl is fully cooked, but I’m also very anxious to meet her already!

We had a rather busy week and even had some visitors, but still, no baby!

Our 40-week weekend was beautiful; warm and filled with sunshine! Saturday we ran our weekly errands and Sunday we didn’t move until about 1pm. After relaxing all morning, we decided to go on a long walk. We walked down to the lakefront path and took a stroll through Andersonville on the way home. It was nice to reminisce along my old running path. Once Naomi is here and old enough to be in the jogging stroller, she will quickly become well acquainted with that path as well!

I worked from home this week which was extremely stress relieving. Not having to commute on crowded public transportation or worry about my escape route from downtown to up north if labor were to start was a blessing. Also, not having to try and fit in to office maternity clothes was pretty nice. At this point, a few maternity items still fit because they are stretchy, but are they by no means comfortable.

My mom and sister also came to visit this week. Unfortunately for them, when they booked the trip, they had planned to spend time with the baby since it was technically 2 days passed my due date that they would arrive. Joke was on all of us because, Naomi never made her grand entrance into the world.

It was nice to see them both one last time without a baby though. We went to Homeslice pizza one night and Xoco another night. Two places we wouldn’t have been able to check out with a newborn. We also stopped and walked around Oz park. Did you know, the statues can talk to you?!?! You enter a website on your phone then Dorothy or Tin Man will call you and talk to you for a minute or two. It’s a neat idea and I can’t wait to take Naomi to see them, once she’s old enough to understand the hype.

My mom and sister left at the end of the week but booked another stay the first weekend in May. They will be guaranteed to meet Naomi this next time around!

It was also our precious Pumbaa’s birthday this week! He is 7 and I cannot believe where the time went. I adopted Pumbaa when I moved to Whitewater for college and since then, he’s become such an important part of our family. I hope he loves Naomi as much as he loves us. It may take some getting used to, but he’s a cuddly lover so I have faith in him.

We made it the entire week, everyday asking ourselves ‘is today the day?’ We’ve tried nearly every home remedy people suggest and have answered the “where is she” or “how are you feeling” question at least 55 million times (little to no exaggeration on that estimated number). I’m fully convinced that all of these “at home labor inducing tricks” only work if baby is ready and Naomi is just not ready yet.

It’s definitely bittersweet going past your due date. Yes, I am so happy she’s fully developed in my belly, but we are anxiously awaiting her arrival. There’s a sense of frustration that kicks in when you wake up in the morning and realize it’s time to get up for work but you haven’t had any contractions and today may not be the day. However, it’s a blessing to continue feeling her movements. Soon, she will only be able to kick me from the outside 🙂

Currently, I am 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Our next update WILL have a baby update because I will be induced at the end of the week if she doesn’t come out on her own. I personally think she just wanted to wait for the month of May because Te’s birthday is also in May; so we have a serious daddy’s girl on our hands! 🙂

We cannot wait to meet our little bundle and I cannot wait to be done with pregnancy! We’ve got quite an exciting week ahead – Stay tuned!!

Until next time..

Thank: [full]

Do you ever cop a bad attitude? Everything seems to be spiraling out of control, you lose focus and walk around being a negative nancy? Unfortunately, I get stuck in these ruts from time to time. ‘The journey’ is the part I’m still learning to appreciate.

Maybe it’s the culture we live in, or the city in which I reside. I’m constantly looking for the next thing to happen; the next opportunity, the next move to make, I forget to enjoy the present and cherish every opportunity for what it’s worth; even when the present moment is mucky and difficult to understand.

Eventually, the pieces all fall in to place and I realize, WOW, what have I been worried about? How did I completely forget that God ALWAYS provides. Even when I feel like everything is going wrong, I must remember that He is working in me with each experience.

Today was a day that a lot of my pieces began to fall in to place. It’s just one of those days where everything you’ve been working SO DAMN HARD for, everything you’ve been praying for, everything you’ve needed to keep you sane, happened.

With the blessings pouring in, I realize how much of a sour puss I was the past couple of weeks. Don’t get me wrong, transitions are difficult and stressful, but as everyone (including my wonderfully patient and supportive better half) reminds me, negativity gets you no where; it literally just wastes energy! Being the efficient and resourceful person that I am, I do not like to waste anything, so WHY in the world was I wasting so much energy on stress and negativity??? Things are going to be mucky and hard in life, it’s all about the attitude we use to plow through them that makes all of the difference.

Today, despite my poor attitude, my negative outlook, my anger, frustration, stress, worry, God provided, AS HE ALWAYS DOES. He knew the plan all along and was waiting for me to trust; I didn’t (fully). I still worried and got upset. I prayed and repented; I asked for help and forgiveness at the same time. Despite everything I did wrong, He still provided. He always provides.

Today, I am feeling so thankfull. Yes, thankfull. I am thankful for all of the blessings I’ve been given and all of the lessons I am learning on this journey called life. I am thankful for the journey. I am thankful that my Lord and Savior provides when I need it the most. I am thankful I have a Lord and Savior I can trust. I am not only full of thanks, I am full of positivity, I am full of a little bit more wisdom and experience, I am so full of trust for God.

Through the trials and tribulations, God is there. We are not perfect and cannot be perfect, but we can pray and trust that He will always provide. He is a kind and loving Father and even when times are tough, we must trust that He knows what’s best for us.

If you’re struggling with a situation right now, I pray that you are able to stay positive and trust that God is working it out. I pray that you soak up the journey and learn from the experiences. I pray that you are able to find joy in what may seem like a mess.

I am so blessed. I am so thankfull. There is NO reason for me, or any of us, to be negative, ever. I am pledging to use this experience to turn my negative thoughts and my fear into positivity and hope while realizing that there is beauty in every step and that God always provides.

Have a blessed week.

Until next time…

Thank: Thankful Throwback Thursday

Happy Thursday everyone! I hope your weeks are going very well!

I’ve been meaning to post this message for a couple of weeks now but haven’t gotten around to it. So without further ado, here it is!

Lately, I’ve had a few songs stuck in my head. I’m not exactly sure when it started or how it started, but it did and I’ve felt compelled to share them with you.

Years ago when I was attending youth group, I heard songs by Jeff Deyo. They were up-beat worship songs like I’ve never heard before. I thought, how awesome?! Don’t get me wrong, I love to hear the slower songs that I belt out in my head in my Celine Dion voice, praising God. Sometimes though, I just want to shout out a faster, up-beat, tune because loving God is fun and should be celebrated both ways.

Jeff’s song ‘These Hands’ has been playing in my head nonstop. It’s an awesome #tbt song, as it takes me to my youth group days. It’s a fun song and the words are a great reminder of why we are all here. Check it out below:

As I began to mention, this song truly takes me back to 7th and 8th grade when I was attending a non-denominational church in Wisconsin with some of my best friends. We were an inseparable group of girls who loved each other, Starbucks, and Jesus. It was during this time that I realized church wasn’t always confusing or filled with adults who couldn’t relate to the problems of a 14 year old middle school-er. It was really cool because our youth group was filled with close knit friends, the message was preached in language we understood and, with catchy tunes like the above, it was fun to worship God.

Since then, I’ve gone through seasons where I haven’t been as focused on my relationship with God. I have always believed in Him, I just haven’t always put Him first. Through the involvement in my new church, Destination Church, it’s brought back the realization that God should always come first. It’s also welcomed me in to a community who loves God and encourages one another to continue seeking Him.

If you are in Chicago and haven’t found a church home, check out Destination! We have an awesome worship team who can rock out these throwback songs along with many others! 
The below song, Satisfy, is seriously perfect to describe the up and down relationship I’ve had with God. It’s like, I’ve always known He was there and that He was the one and only savior but I haven’t always been obedient (it’s impossible because we are all sinners) and I knew it hurt God. But seriously, I just want to live for God. He is so amazing and His grace is so amazing and through Him ANYTHING and EVERYTHING is possible.

Learning how to die to my old self so I can dedicate my new self to God was an unbelievably awesome decision. Just like Jeff says in the song ‘But now I’m letting go and reaching out to You’. Such a good jam. Listen below:

In addition to #tbt , this post is also simply, a thankful post. I am so thankful for everything I have and I don’t say it enough. I’m thankful for my life, my health, my job, my family and friends, my happiness, my church and church family, I’m so blessed beyond belief. We all are so blessed. Honestly. And it’s so easy to forget how blessed we are.

I challenge you today to just be thankful. Look at your #tbt pictures and realize all that you came from, be thankful for that. Then look at your present and be thankful for that as well.

I hope the two songs posted above left you wanting more worship in your life today or this week or this year. Below is an awesome playlist I found with an amazing mix of Jeff Deyo songs to get you singing and praising God.

God is good always and for that, I am so thankful.

What are some of your favorite youth group memories? What are some of your favorite worship bands? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Until next time..

Explore: Your Calm Amid the Storm

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” -Unknown

Finding the calm in the storm is definitely a struggle of mine. Sometimes, I get stuck in a rut and my thoughts get dark and cloudy. I forget to put God first, I forget that I’m doing just fine, I forget that everything WILL work out just as it should. It’s like when you see a storm system moving towards your city on the weather channel. I can see myself evolve from sunny and happy to cloudy and blue.  It moves in, takes over for a few hours or days and during that time, it consumes me.

I’m a young woman, in my 20’s, living and working in the city, trying to figure it all out. I’m sure this range of emotions is absolutely normal. I get it. However, to find the calm in the storm is exactly what I need to keep me on track during the noise, trouble and hard work.

This past week has been one of those stormy weeks. You could have compared me to a tornado. I was all over the place with my emotions and my head felt like it was spinning so fast, picking up more and more thoughts as the days went on that I was making myself feel sick. Nothing traumatic has gone on in my life recently. I have no reason to get so upset, but the storm moved in and it did some damage.

Clam-Before-Storm

I needed to get out of this storm. What can I do to make myself feel more relaxed, less stressed, more purposeful? How can I find my calm in the storm? I need to learn how to relax. I also need a new way to identify and express my emotions so they didn’t manifest into a stress storm.

I found a Groupon deal for a 6-week unlimited deal for a Bikram Yoga class in Andersonville. Bikram is a type of yoga that consists of a 26 posture sequence, practiced in a hot studio. (learn more here). I haven’t practiced yoga in 5 years and I have never practiced hot yoga. I stopped practicing yoga because I didn’t enjoy the slowness of it. I prefer cardio and weight training to get out my frustrations. With this particular storm, I could feel the tension throughout my body and my normal routine wasn’t ridding me of the stress so I thought, maybe hot yoga is the best thing. Maybe this time I will learn how to relax.

The class was absolutely phenomenal. The heat took a few minutes to get used to, but I ended up really enjoying it. In Bikram, we were moving around between poses more than the regular yoga that I have practiced in the past so it kept me interested the entire class.

My favorite part of the class was something the instructor said. She said “let it pass”. She said it in the context after we just finished a pose, ‘you may be feeling light-headed or dizzy, this may be uncomfortable but it is normal, let it pass’. Have you ever thought of feelings as something that can pass through, just like a storm front? I haven’t.

I usually think of my feelings and emotions as just that, a static feeling or an emotion. I try and look outside of myself to figure out why I’m feeling that particular feeling or emotion; what caused this? I never stopped to think though, each feeling we feel and emotion we experience, it passes through. It’s our minds that keep them locked inside of us, left to manifest into unnecessary stress. It’s truly amazing how our minds can keep us in the chaotic part of the storm feeling like there’s nowhere to go. It’s also amazing how, if we choose, they can keep us calm and lead us to peace even when everything seems to be falling apart (even if it’s not and you’re just having irrational 20-something young woman feelings).

Suggested steps to take that will help your mind lead you to the calm during the storm:

1. Pray – give your worries to God, always! I can’t emphasize his role enough! Prayer alone can lead you to calm
2. Address the feeling – figure out what you’re feeling and why, write it down and/or tell someone but don’t let your mind manifest it into a tornado – just realize the feeling or emotion and then…
3. Let it pass – attend a yoga class, write a blog post, paint a picture, however you like to expel the remainder of the negative energy and  help the storm pass, do that and be fully in that moment of letting go
4. Enjoy the sunshine that rolls in – even if you’re in the midst of a storm, now you’ll be able to find the calm

Life is a series of seasons and each season brings it’s own slew of storms. Every one of us experiences stressful times throughout our lives. It’s how we deal with the storms that will make us or break us. It’s how determined we are to capture peace, when there seems to be war all around us, that will keep us strong and build up our confidence and readiness to battle the next storm.

How do you stay calm during the storms of life? How do you ‘pass your storms? How do you find peace? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time..