Summer Travel With Your Baby

August 1, 2014 by sweetexpectationsbabyplanner

deacon flying

I am preparing a  Traveling with Baby class for expecting baby planner clients. As I was adding to my handouts and going over my notes, I had to laugh as I thought back to my worst flying experience with young children, (worst out of MANY!).

I have flown 7-months-pregnant with a squirmy lap child and toddler when the air-conditioning went out, with newborn blowouts that had to be changed next to grumpy business men, and with a baby who, (it turns out), had a double ear infection and screamed non-stop for 4 1/2 hours.

I have stood up to apologize for the noise, begged for help lugging car seats, and cried to ticketing agents over cancelled flights. It’s not easy- I won’t lie. But I digress-back to WORST flying experience I have had followed by how you can be prepared for your summer travel.

 As my husband got up to use the restroom on a flight, I congratulated myself on a successful red-eye with two little ones as I gazed at my sleeping children. As soon as the thought went through my head, though, my daughter sat up, gave a little whimper and then threw up all over herself, the seat, and me. I literally froze in panic and just started saying over and over, “Will? Come back. Please come back!” As horrible as it was, I happened to be prepared with a full pack of baby wipes, plastic bags for trash, and a clean pair of pj’s. We landed to see the grandparents fresh and fairly happy! (That is until the virus spread to all 8 members of the extended family, but that’s another story…)

 All we can do when traveling with children is be prepared, pray for the best, and not panic when vomit, dirty diapers, and tantrums happen.

 If you are flying this summer with a baby, here are some tips:

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  • When flying with an infant in arms, you can check your car seat for no charge with baggage or at the gate. The same is true of your stroller. When going through security, know that you will have to fold your stroller and place it on the belt. With a young baby, it is often easier to check the car seat and stroller with baggage, and just bring him or her in a sling or baby carrier through the airport.
  •   If for some reason, the car seat gets lost, don’t worry- every airport has infant and toddler size for you to use until yours is found.
  •  Always pack more diapers and wipes than you think necessary. Flight delays or cancellations could find you needing more than expected.
  •  Bring at least 2 extra outfits for Baby in your carry-on bag. It doesn’t hurt to bring an extra shirt for yourself, (read vomit story above…).
  •  Milk and mixed formula will have to be tested when going through security if over 3oz., but in a non-evasive way and with you watching, so it is sterile.
  •  To protect Baby’s ears, nurse or bottle-feed during take-off and landing. The sucking helps to keep the ears from stopping up, (and your baby from wailing!).
  •  I love Babyganics All-Surface Wipes for trips. Use them to wipe down the seat belt, arm rests, and tray on the plane to fend off germs.
  •  Babyganics also has a travel size dish soap that is great for bringing to hotels or relatives’ houses to wash bottles, breast pump parts, and pacifiers.
  •  I know it feels terrible to be “the one with the crying baby” on a plane, but it happens. Focus on your baby and trying to sooth him.
  •  Don’t panic! You know what to do.

Faith Journey in Motherhood

May 11, 2014 by sweetexpectationsbabyplanner

Happy Mother’s Day! Whether your are expecting a baby, a mother-in-action, or praying for a child of your own, I hope your day has been blessed and beautiful.

Today I was honored to share my testimony of faith throughout my 6 years of motherhood, and wanted to document it here, as well. My journey has been filled with heartache and joy, struggles and ease; and the Lord has been with me and molding me all the way.

2008 is when it all began. I had never met the housekeeper at my husband’s office, but she was a believer and dreamed that I was pregnant with a daughter. She told my husband that she knew the dream was from the Lord and that she was to tell him. Seeing as I was not pregnant, it was quite a shock! However, exactly 40 days later, I was staring at a positive pregnancy test and we just knew we were having a girl.

Whether through naivety, child-like faith, or a little of both, I had no doubt that my pregnancy and baby girl would be healthy- and both were. My daughter was born at Christmastime in 2008 and we gave her the middle name of Faith.

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While pregnant, I felt like I protected her perfectly, especially since I always had her with me. Once she was born the panic rushed over me and I even had nightmares of bad things happening to her. My husband and I became the definition of helicopter parents. Anyone who walked through our door was immediately sanitized, questioned about past illnesses, and stood over while holding our baby!

The fear was crippling and I had to surrender control to the Lord. That was a big step in my faith journey.

My husband’s job was later cut to part time and finances got tight. It was during that time that I was visiting my parents and discovered I was pregnant. I tearfully called my husband- and thank God for him. He told me that the pregnancy was good news, were were blessed by God, and to only cry tears of joy. My heart immediately changed and we dreamed together of our family of four.

One month later, our baby was gone and we were left with broken hearts and a lot of questions for God. I had to take another step of faith in realizing that no matter what, God is always good. He was my comfort and our little lost baby’s.

The Lord blessed us with our first son shortly after our loss and my strengthened faith allowed me to trust that all would go well with the pregnancy- which it did. After he was born, I felt called to earn my Baby Planner certification and to put my faith into how God would equip me to speak into the lives of other parents.

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Just after our son’s first birthday, I went to the doctor in fear that I had appendicitis.

“Congratulations!”

“For what? Oh.my.gosh. For that…”

The faith steps God had led me on already allowed my to see the sovereignty of this pregnancy and know that He was in control and would provide for our every need. As the world shouted at us that we were irresponsible and would be burdened, the Lord reminded us that we were blessed and highly favored.

Bonus Baby, (as I lovingly refer to my second son), is a living, breathing testimony of my faith and of my God’s faithfulness.

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The daily pressures of taking care of three young children has led to my faith that the Lord will grant me the competency I need to do all that I should for these blessings He has given me, (and that I can make it through some days without loosing it!).

He is all you and I need to journey through motherhood and “being confident in this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6.

May you have a blessed and wonderful Mother’s Day!

Taking a Disney Cruise With an Infant- III

May 4, 2014 by sweetexpectationsbabyplanner

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As I was researching and preparing for our Disney Cruise, I wanted to know everything I could about sailing with my baby and could not find much information at all from moms. That is why I am going into so much detail for those families who are interested.

Your Stateroom:

Once you are checked into your room, simply call housekeeping or speak with your cabin steward to request a Pack N Play for no extra charge. Ours was brought to our room promptly and set up for us. If you are staying in a Verandah Room, there is plenty of space for your crib. In our Standard Inside Stateroom it was tight. We moved the coffee table to the side of the bed to make more room, but it was a squeeze. Of course, you could easily break down the Pack N Play during the day and store it under the bed, (which we never did-ha!).

-You may want to bring a night light, especially for an inside stateroom since they are so dark.

-Every room has a bath tub. Some also have a separate shower.

-There is coin laundry on every hall! I would have brought a lot fewer clothes with me had I known.

-The drawer space is very limited in standard rooms.

-There is a clothes line over the tub for drying swimsuits.

Dining:

The buffet dining room and seated dining rooms have high chairs.

I did not see bottles on board, so bring your own along with a travel sized dish soap, (I love BabyGanics foaming), to rinse them out in your stateroom.

There are many baby-friendly foods for solids eaters such as yogurt, mac & cheese, fruits, veggies, soups, and more. If your baby is on purees, bring your own baby food.

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Pools:

There are infant life vests for free use on the activity deck and the infant splash pad was just perfect for our little guy! It is shaded with a slip-free, padded floor. The youngest movers can enjoy playing easily without getting overwhelmed by water or bigger children.

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Character Meetings:

Character greetings happen every day in several areas of the ship at a variety of times. Greeting times are posted each day in the newsletter, in the lobby, and on the mobile app. Sometimes the characters even pop into the nursery to play with the babies!

Lines can be quite long, (30 minutes or so), so another fun option is to attend character dance parties on board and at Castaway Cay. Your baby can dance and take in-motion shots with her favorite “celebrity” without waiting in line.

The Sail Away and Pirate Deck Parties also have stage shows with Mickey and Friends.

The musical theatre performances revolve around Disney’s best and are amazing. However, your little one may have a hard time sitting still for almost an hour.

You can always take your own photos, plus there are photographers at each character greeting. You may view your photos and purchase them on board.

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Taking a Disney Cruise makes for an incredible vacation with a wonderful balance of family time and adult time. Bonus Baby had a blast and so did we. I knew that we were making memories to last a lifetime the entire trip.

Do you have any questions I didn’t answer? Leave them in the comment section!

Taking a Disney Cruise with an Infant- II

April 24, 2014 by sweetexpectationsbabyplanner

 

stitch family

This is a continuation of the previous blog post on sailing with an infant. If you are considering a Disney Cruise- it is wonderful! If you are already booked- congrats! It is so much fun and a great balance for young families.

Ports

We sailed on the Disney Magic 4-night Bahamas itinerary which docked in Nassau and Castaway Cay. The It’s A Small World Nursery was open while at port! In the Bahamas, your Wave Phone will not work off of the ship, so you would have to keep your cell phone on for emergency contact, (and without an international plan your would be roaming with charges). Keep that in mind with your comfort level leaving your baby on board. My husband and I did check in our baby to have a date at Atlantis, but my father stayed on the ship with the Wave Phone as an emergency contact.

If you want to experience Nassau as a family, I suggest booking a shore excursion through the ship. The ferry boats and taxis available were not ideal for children. There is shopping right outside of the cruise terminal where you could easily stroll your baby. There is a beach in walking distance, but with the lack of sidewalks, it could be iffy with a stroller…

In Castaway Cay, your Wave Phone works all over the island! So you could easily spend some time as a family together and then drop your baby off in the nursery for a bit to relax on the island, ride bikes, or hit the water slide!

Getting on and off the ship is very simple. Adults need photo i.d. and a Key to the World Card, babies need only a Key to the World card. I suggest having your lightweight stroller or Snap-N-Go to roam around ports. (Our baby napped in his in the shade on Castaway Cay). If you want to use just a baby carrier, be aware of how much sun your baby is getting being so exposed.

Castaway Cay had plenty of shady areas and chairs with umbrellas. My little guy loved sitting in the shaded sand playing with sand toys. Unless you want to pay top dollar for them on the island, bring your own! I packed a few and was so glad I did.

-There are also low beach chairs that are nice to take down to the water, and complimentary infant life vests are available to use for the day, which made playing in the water together even easier.

-Towels are also free to use.

-High chairs are available at lunch on the island.

-There are restrooms with changing tables, too.

-Characters even come out during the day to greet the children and have dance parties. It is amazing!

Castaway Cay is so perfectly equipped!

will deacon maddie castaway

 

To pack for port for Baby:

Sunscreen

Swim Diapers

Wipes

Food/Milk/Formula, if needed (lunch is served on Castaway Cay if your baby eats solids)

Change of clothes

Key to the World Card

Sand Toys

Hat

Feel free to leave questions in the comment section for me to answer and check back for more information to come!

deacon castaway

Relax! Castaway Cay makes for the perfect family day!

Taking a Disney Cruise with an Infant

April 17, 2014 by sweetexpectationsbabyplanner

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As I mentioned last week, we recently sailed on the Disney Magic and had the BEST family vacation yet. My husband and I took our 3 children ages 5, 2 1/2, and infant. We love Disney and cruising – in fact in our first year of marriage we earned our Equity cards performing in Walt Disney World, and then traveled the world performing on the Celebrity Galaxy. We expected to enjoy a Disney Cruise vacation, but had no idea just how amazing it would be!

The Disney Cruise is fantastic for all ages, (adults included!), but I will be focusing on sailing with an infant. Also, if you are pregnant you may not sail past 26 weeks, so keep that in mind!

Checking in:

I was very impressed by the convenience of the check in process to board the vessel. You may pull your car right up to drop off your luggage, which is tagged to be delivered to your stateroom by evening. Make sure to keep a bag or small suitcase with you containing diapers, change of clothes, etc. in case you don’t have your luggage for a few hours. I also kept swimsuits, toiletries, and a change of clothes for dinner just in case.

If you are parking your car, of course you can leave your car seat in it. However, we flew in and rented a car, so we had to take ours on board. With the infant seat, we found it convenient to just pop it in our Snap-N-Go so that we did not need an extra stroller on board and at port. Then you can just store the base under the bed for the duration of the cruise. (The beds are raised for lots of storage!).

If you are leaving your car seat in your car, I recommend bringing on a small, lightweight stroller. We used it walking around the ship some times and also at Castaway Cay. When not in use, it folded and went under the bed. If you have a baby carrier, bring that along, too. The elevators get busy on the ship, so it was nice to take the stairs when not using the stroller.

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When you check in inside the cruise terminal, you will need your infant’s birth certificate. Don’t forget it and don’t misplace it, as you will need it to debark, too. When you pack your carry-on bag, be sure to have all documentation with you.

Childcare:

Children under the age of 3 may stay in the “It’s A Small World Nursery” for $9 per hour. 75 days prior to your cruise, you will be able to reserve 10 hours of nursery time. Definitely do this if you plan to use the childcare! Cruises with lots of little ones book up quickly. As soon as you board the ship, you may tour the nursery and also reserve more hours. Throughout the cruise, you are always welcome to call or drop by to see if space is available. We had a very easy time in doing this, though every cruise differs.

I could not have been happier with the nursery and Bonus Baby loved it! The childcare workers were so kind and capable. They greeted us by name after the first day and it was obvious that they loved being  with the children.

Security is top-notch! Bonus Baby was given a bracelet that stayed on the diaper bag when he was checked in that had to be scanned in and out. My husband’s picture and mine came up on the screen when we scanned our “Key to the World” cards, we had to sign in and out, AND we had to give a secret word each time we picked him up.

Each cabin has two Wave Phones that are free to use. They are just like cell phones where you can call and text others on board! Therefore, the nursery staff can contact you any time. One afternoon, I went to pick up and he was asleep, so they texted me on the Wave Phone when he awoke and I returned to get him.

The nursery has a play area, t.v. area, and then a quiet zone with cribs and gliders. Have a diaper bag with you to leave each time you drop off your baby. You may bring baby food and formula on the ship and the nursery workers will feed on the schedule you give them. If your little one eats solids, you can request that they nursery workers feed your baby lunch or dinner, (that will be delivered from the kitchen), for no additional charge.

The $9 per hour fees will be added to your stateroom bill and charged on the last day of the cruise to your credit card on file.

One night, Stitch paid a visit to see the babies! Apparently my little guy was so happy. I asked if they took any pictures, and was told that photos may not be taken of groups of children for security purposes- another plus for safety!

Bonus Baby was happy to go to the nursery to nap, and I was glad to be able to sit by the pool while he rested instead of in a dark room on vacation.

Feel free to leave any questions in the comments section for me to answer. I will post more soon!

You Can’t Do It All

April 7, 2014 by sweetexpectationsbabyplanner

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34

Pregnancy comes with a long list of “no’s”- foods you shouldn’t eat, activities you shouldn’t perform, and places you shouldn’t go. (In case want to know what you should be saying no to these days, look for the lists at the bottom of this post). As a Certified Baby Planner, a big part of my job is keeping up on the safety guidelines for expecting moms and teaching clients about the risks to avoid during pregnancy. It is important to know your limitations- and not just according to safety, but also to sanity.

What do I mean? Well, as I have mentioned before, I am a Type-A Wanna-Be SuperMom, (who falls short of her pending title daily). I want to do it all and experience all of the wonderful joys in this life with my family. We just got home from a Disney Cruise- it was FANTASTIC and I will be blogging about sailing with an infant in future posts. However, it took me 24 hours to relax because I was so overwhelmed by the plethora of activities and couldn’t figure out how to take my daughter to meet princesses, my son to see a movie, and my baby to the infant splash pad all at once!

“What if I miss an activity?

What if my daughter can’t see Frozen for the 100th time- but this time it is on the ship- won’t that be a  better experience for her? Will she ever forgive me?

I need to make sure the kids get to play in the sand, go on the water slide, hit the splash pad, dance with Mickey, eat some lunch, hit the kids club, rest, swim, and take a family photo while at port!”

Yes- this is my mind on vacation. Imagine what it’s like on a work day!

I was so frazzled the first day that I went to the Lord in prayer. I realized I was so caught up in the “to-do list” cares of this world that I was missing out of basking in the moment-to-moment blessings unfolding in front of me. Once I released the fact that I couldn’t do it all, I was overcome with joy and peace.

Perhaps you are struggling with growing your family and sacrifices that you will have to make, (or are already making). The world tells us that we can do it all- that having a plate overflowing with obligations will give us worth. The Lord tells us that “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” and to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all things will be added unto you.”

We must seek the Lord, His will, and His plan for our lives. It can be hard to decipher, but ask for wisdom and the Holy Spirit for discernment. Doing too much leads to chaos, confusion, and exhaustion. As a parent, you will need to prioritize in a new way. Remember that the Lord comes first, your family second, and all else after that.

Free yourself of trying to do it all.

Free yourself of comparison to other moms.

Free yourself of thinking you will never have time for the things that you are sacrificing again- “There is a season for everything and a time for every matter under heaven.”

Focus on the joy of what you DO have, and not on what you do not.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy according to the Mayo Clinic

-Seafood high in mercury- swordfish, shark, king mackerel, & tilefish

-Undercooked, raw, or contaminated seafood- sushi, raw oysters, lox

-Undercooked meat, poultry, eggs- hot dogs, deli meats, pate, meat spread, runny eggs

-Unpasteurized Foods-brie, feta, blue cheese, soft cheeses

-Unwashed fruits and veggies

-Large amounts of Vitamin A

-Excess caffeine- limit to 200 mg/day

- Herbal Tea

-Alcohol

deacon castaway

Releasing the fact that you can’t do it all can be just what you need for peace!

Judgey Mommy

February 23, 2014 by sweetexpectationsbabyplanner

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

Colossians 2:8

 

“If her baby is a year old and still waking up, it is her fault as a mom.”
“You haven’t gotten on a wait list for preschool yet? You will never get in.”
“I didn’t want my baby to come out drugged so I didn’t have an epidural.”
“Anyone who co-sleeps is putting their baby above their marriage.”

Wow. These are just a few of the quotes that I have overheard from other moms in the past month at baby classes and on the playground. Whether or not you agree with the statements is not the point.

It is the fact that parenting has become, (or perhaps has always been), competitive and judgmental.

One of the reasons I felt called to earn my certification as a Baby Planner is to be able to learn about each family’s lifestyles and beliefs and then present the best options personalized to their uniqueness and allow them to make choices that will best suit their vision for parenting. Not only did I feel overwhelmed by the plethora of information and products while I was pregnant, but even more so by the wide range of advice I was given.

The role of a Certified Baby Planner is not to judge your choices, but to make sure that you are educated on your options and then feel relaxed in your parenting and confident enough to not second guess your family’s style-even when others mock or put down your ways. As long as your baby’s best interest is at the center of your educated and prayerful decision-making, you are sure to be on the right track.

Living like Christ means standing for the truth that is found in God’s Word, being confident in righteous living, yet not gossiping or cutting others down. When I am tempted to judge or “talk about” another mother, I practice taking a moment to think about WHY I feel the need to do so.

Quite honestly for me, it is usually out of covetousness. Maybe I want to criticize one for hiring babysitters on a whim or buying lavish baby clothes because part of me wishes I could too! Perhaps for you it “helps” you to feel better about yourself to cut others down, or draws you “closer” to a new friend to bash another.

You have to get real with yourself to be molded daily into the image of Christ.

It’s hard.

I hate admitting my ugliness, but through humble defeat, the Lord makes us glorious and mighty in Him.

Let’s support each other as moms. Grab the door next time you see a mom struggling with a stroller. Give a sympathetic smile when the parent next to you in a restaurant has a baby who won’t stop crying- it might just cancel out all of the glares she is receiving. Most importantly, tell a friend that she is doing a great job and is a wonderful mother. I guarantee you she will cry… due to appreciation. 

Liam Splash PadDon’t judge me! I promise I can explain!

The Holiness and Humbleness of Christmas

December 25, 2013 by sweetexpectationsbabyplanner

My husband and I have a Christmas Eve tradition of watching “The Nativity Story” after the children are asleep. Seeing Mary and Joseph journey to Bethlehem and bring the Messiah into the world is such a powerful reminder of what we are really celebrating this season. As a mother, it is so moving to imagine what Mary must have experienced, and as wife to ponder the selfless love Joseph showed for his betrothed, (and his God).

As I put myself in Mary’s sandals for a moment, I feel I would have expected certain aspects of the pregnancy to go smoothly- or at least to have a clean bed in which to deliver the Son of God.

In my own life, if I had arrived at the hospital and been told to have my baby in the parking lot due to a full house, I certainly would have questioned God’s plan and His care for me and my child. Yet, the Mother of Jesus gave birth on the ground with manure, dirty animals, and straw soaked in urine and that WAS the plan. Mary and Joseph were highly favored with an incredible call on their lives, but neat and easy was not the way their lives were ordered.

Divinity was humbled on that holy night.

I often liken things arranged by God to those that work out easily. Looking at the birth of Jesus turns that on it’s head.

Whatever you are struggling with this Christmas, take heart. Perhaps the messiness of it all will give way to the blessings the Lord has for you and your family. Pray for God’s continued protection as He takes you along your own journey and chisels you into His image.

One thing that my children have taught me this year is how amazing Christmas is to them in the little things. Looking at lights, baking cookies, and reading stories about Baby Jesus make them so happy. Lavish gifts aren’t even a consideration in their innocent minds because they understand what many adults have forgotten- to be given even the smallest present is exciting and spending time together is most important.

I say all of this to remind you that the greatest gift you can give your baby is love. Jesus was born in a stable and swaddled in a filthy blanket. God chose a mother and father for Him who certainly didn’t have the latest baby gear and finest furniture. However, He was welcomed into the world by parents who adored Him, scared and unsure as they were. Receive God’s gift of love for you today and let it overflow in adoration for Him and for your baby.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

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Give Until It Hurts

November 22, 2013 by sweetexpectationsbabyplanner

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

2 Corinithians 9:7

From the time your baby is being knit together in your womb, you are giving. Even without your consent, your body is giving blood, nutrients, space, and more to your tiny one. Compulsory giving turns into the best kind over time, though- cheerful and loving. You take care of your health because you want the best for your baby.You gladly spend “manicure money” on nursery items and spend “me time” on cuddle time. It  doesn’t even feel like sacrifice because the gift is so natural.

This is how God wants us to feel about spending time with Him and giving to Him of our tithes and talents.

Tithing has always been a way of life for me. My parents have always given at least ten percent of their income to the church and missions, and my husband has done the same from the time we were married. To me, it does not feel difficult, because I don’t even see that money as mine. I say that not to boast at all. We each have our own struggles, and it is by God’s grace that tithing is not one of mine. However, where I have been struggling lately is with giving my time. Raising 3 young children makes it very difficult for me to leave the house, much less volunteer. I have had to say “no” to so many wonderful service opportunities lately simply because I couldn’t leave my kids home alone!

I  asked God to show me new ways that I could serve Him. Disclaimer: don’t ask that question unless you want answers! Ha!

The first opportunity I was given was to  create an Operation Christmas Child box for a little one in need. It was such a blessing to teach my 4-year-old daughter about giving to others. She could not believe that a little girl had never received toys. “Even on her birthday?”  she asked. That hits home with pre-schoolers. She was suddenly delighted to shop for another and to pray for her “friend without toys in another country.” As I wonder if we have bought enough for our kids for Christmas, it certainly puts things in perspective.

We live in abundance even when we feel we lack.

OCC

Our church happened to start a 3-part series on giving right after I prayed for God’s “suggestions.” Pastor Scott Bland gave a wonderful message with the powerful statement, “Give until it hurts.” I wasn’t quite sure what would hurt. Until I felt the Holy Spirit urge me to donate my hair.

“Um, God, I can’t do that. I’ve never had short hair, it won’t look good, I’m too vain- sorry.”

“But you have been asking me what you can do while caring for your children. You can grow your hair from home.”

He got me there. I just love how God has a sense of humor!

Quite honestly, I didn’t want to do it. I made the appointment out of obligation, but through God’s mercy and grace, He softened my heart. I thought of the Locks of Love child battling cancer who would have a wig and feel pretty. I thought of my aunt who is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. I thought of the blessing of health that covers my family and how giving my hair was the least I could do in gratitude.

locks of love

The Lord has also shown me answered prayers for my friends. I always admired “prayer warriors” but never thought I could be one of them. Through five years of spending a lot time at home, though, I have prayed for others when I couldn’t be there with them. So often I think it is the least I can do, but really it is the best  I can do.

God doesn’t need anything from me. My salvation through Jesus is the only thing that makes me worthy. He knows, though, that through service we are blessed.

Be of good cheer- there is always a way that you can give until it hurts. And then it feels great.

Finding Joy

September 27, 2013 by sweetexpectationsbabyplanner

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Pregnancy is hard. Yes, it is beautiful, amazing and awe-filled, but it is also h-a-r-d. Morning sickness, varicose veins, sleepless nights, heartburn-need I go on? It is a 40-week journey filled with highs, lows, and lots of unknowns- just like life.  You look forward to holding your newborn, but at times that doesn’t take away the struggle and pain of today.

Lately I have been wrestling with being overcome by the daily stresses of life and wanting to know exactly what we can expect in our family’s future, (where we will live, where the children will go to school, etc).

All of these burdens, (along with accumulated weeks of little sleep), led me to crying during a Kindergarten Info Night at my daughter’s preschool. Yeah- that was me-the basket case mom shedding tears over Kindergarten.

There I was, talking to a teacher about my daughter and our school options and- you know how you can feel it coming and can’t stop it? The waterworks flowed, I apologized, a rep from one of L.A.’s top private schools came to meet me, looked mortified at my blubbering and likely posted my picture on the “do not admit” wall in the admissions office. End scene.

I believe in  what God has promised- that if we walk with Him in His ways, He will take care of us and give us an abundant life. I know that everything will more than just “work out” but I need strength for the journey. Do you ever feel that way?

Pastor Care Crawford spoke to my mommy group this week and put it perfectly by saying that ,

“Happiness is due to circumstances. Joy comes from rooting ourselves in Christ’s love.”

Circumstances change. You won’t be pregnant forever, but you will have new challenges as a mom, (like finding a Kindergarten- sheesh…), and many more difficult than that by far.

Our joy must be firm- as solid as our faith in Jesus Christ. Out of that flows the fruit of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. That’s what I want more than a temporary solution to today’s worries. God’s solution is everlasting.

As you face your challenges in pregnancy and beyond, dig deeper past happiness to JOY by seeking the One who knows that it is all going to work out according to the plans HE has for your life.

And if you have an embarrassing sob-session along the way, know that you’re not alone.

sour pumpkin liam

Be joyful even when the circumstances don’t make you happy!