Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Starting Point of Shape Up

The lady said, "Let me take a picture of you. You all look like you're having so much fun! You're so picturesque."

I happily handed her my phone and smiled for the camera. I had no clue what I was going to see when she handed back my phone. UGH! Who is that in the white shirt with all of my family? It was me!! I was disgusted. I wanted to immediately delete the picture, but I couldn't. I knew that one day it would be evidence of how far I've come. This picture was taken just a few weeks after we moved across the country. Deklan was about 2 months old and I was still recovering from a cesarian birth and congestive heart failure. It was a daily struggle to find joy in life. So much change and transition. On top of that, I felt terrible. I couldn't move around very well. I was out of breath all of the time. I felt like I woke up and went to bed sweating. I was miserable. At that point, that's how I thought life was going to be. A new baby, a new town, new climate and a ever growing list of health problems.

After this picture was taken, I attempted to start eating healthier...most days. When a bad day hit (which seemed like every other day there for a while), eating healthy went out the window. Food was my companion and my comforter. In my head, I knew that I was supposed to rely on Jesus during those moments, but that head knowledge wasn't any more than that. Instead of applying what I knew, I ignored it, which lead to guilt. I was in a vicious cycle. During that time, I heard a quote: The pain of change must outweigh the pain of staying the same. I was in so much pain emotionally, physically and spiritually, I couldn't imagine that the pain of change could be any worse.

I had a friend who had recently lost quite a bit of weight with Shape Up Church, so I started asking around to get an idea of what the program entailed. With the tagline, "Are you physically ready for God's call?", I was more than intrigued. The answer for me was NO in every way possible. A few months after the picture above was taken, I decided to jump in head first, literally. The Shape Up program challenges you to first engage your brain. You must change your thought life. The next step is to engage the tongue. It has you do these 2 steps before even getting to the eating plan. This was so different than anything I'd ever experienced. I started learning and applying all of the the things that God says about me, which completely contradict all of the things that I was saying about myself. It became more clear that by remaining in a unhealthy cycle of depression and eating that I was disobeying the call God has on my life. I WAS IN DISOBEDIENCE! (This was my own revelation and not anything anyone had forced on me.) I decided to take my new knowledge and apply it. I am still in the midst of getting #fitforthecall, but as my health improves, I am more and more ready and able to do what God has called me to do.

I shared this picture on Facebook a few days ago and along with it this testimony:
A few months ago I decided to get serious about my health. I was challenged by Dr. Jeff Rebarcak and his question, "are you physically prepared to do what God has called you to do?" The answer was simple, No. I felt exhausted, easily winded. Getting up and down from the floor was a challenge. I am a young mom, and the call I have right now is to be available to my children. With a little boy, crawling around and getting into everything, I didn't want to be worried about getting out of breath chasing him around. I was crashing around 3 PM everyday, right when Karrington was getting out of school. She was getting the worst part of me, the most tired, the most grouchy. I felt guilty all the time for not having the energy I wanted to have for my babies. It was time for a change. I started the Shape Up Church program and almost immediately started to feel better. The program challenged me to deal with my thought life, before I tackled my eating. After doing countless weight loss programs, this was the one that deal that with the mind and spirit first and that has made all of the difference. I decided to look back at where I started and am encouraged more than ever to keep going. I am still in process and have lots more to lose, but I am excited and feel sooooo much better.  If you are interested in the program or the product they offer(their protein is the best I've ever had!!) then let me know.
This is 40 pounds down.
If you're interested in Shape Up Church, you can get more information here. Since I've decided to share my story there has been some interest in the program. For that reason, Shape Up Church is offering my friends and family $100 off of the Shape Up Church University Membership, which will get you all of the tools, as well as the rapid weight loss program with the code BOSS. This code is good through the end of the day (May 31, 2016), they are offering 

Friday, December 4, 2015

What if all of the Christians of the world were to REALLY pray?

What if all of the Christians in the world were to really pray? Not just say "pray for ..." or "I'm praying for you", but really pray?

I have been mulling over this idea for the past several weeks.

After the events in the past few weeks, I have been convicted for myself and my Christian friends. We all change our pictures on social media and hashtag #prayfor..., but are we really hitting our knees and crying out to the God of the universe, the creator and sustainer of life to change our world. I don't think that there is one person who can imagine the change that would come if we were to join forces and fight the battles of the world with the only One who can truly defend us.

I will be the first to admit that I have told people that I would pray for them and then gone on with my day, forgetting to ever once mention them or their problem/issue/sickness to the Lord in prayer. What would happen, though, if I didn't forget. What would happen if everyone who said they would pray, really did?

"Submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee." James 4:7

I was really disturbed by the front page of the New York newspaper yesterday. It stated, God is not fixing this. From what I gather, the post was referring to the "thoughts and prayers" of Christians after all of these tragedies, yet there continue to be tragedies. The truth is that we are in a lost and dying world. Our only hope is in Jesus and his return. While we anticipate his return, we have been given the tools necessary to fight the enemy. Our strongest and most powerful tool is prayer. God knows and sees everything, but it is our duty to petition Him, to call on Him.

I am not saying that everything bad in the world will stop happening. We all still have our free will. But, God can and will intervene on the behalf of His people.

I challenge myself and all my Christian friends and family to battle in prayer. Let's not simply say "I'm praying for you" or hashtag #prayfor... as a glazed over comfort to those who are hurting. Let's go to battle and pray for hearts to turn to Him, pray for those who are lost to find the only one who can save us, pray for the Lord to foil acts of the enemy all over the world. Until He returns, let's use our greatest weapon, PRAYER!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Baby #2: My Birth Story

April 6, 2015. That was the day we had scheduled to meet our miracle, Deklan Robert. After much prayer and discussion between us and with our high risk OB, we decided that a scheduled c-section was the safest way for Deklan to arrive. We got to choose our scheduled day and I was excited to get April 6 on the calendar. April 6 was important for several reasons. #1, its my brother's birthday and I thought it would be super special for Deklan to share a birthday with his uncle. #2, my dad was on his way to Scotland and the 6th was the only day that he could be in town between his Easter church duties and his travels.

3 weeks before I was scheduled, I came down with an upper respiratory infection. I have dealt with asthma my entire life and for some reason my lungs really don't like me being pregnant. Needless to say, I went through several rounds of meds in order to get well for the arrival of our miracle. The Monday before I was scheduled to deliver, I was still having issues and started another round of meds. I was planning to work right up to d-day, but wanted to be well so I scheduled to take off Wednesday, April 1st in order to get a good day of rest and help my body get over this yuckiness.

At 4:57 AM on April 1st, I woke up to my water breaking. I was not prepared at all. I didn't have my hospital bag packed, I didn't have a plan for Karrington and her bag wasn't packed. My mom and dad were not in town yet. It was clear that even though we had tried to make a plan, that was all quickly changing. I woke Anton up and called my OB. He told us to head up to the hospital. We quickly threw together our bag and woke up Karrington to let her know that we were headed to the hospital and that someone (thanks Carrie!!!) was coming over to get her ready and take her to school.

We got to the hospital and they were waiting for us. They quickly prepped us to go back for surgery. With my birth history, my OB was anxious to get going so that there was the least amount of stress on my heart as possible. The nurses got me prepped in record time and we were headed back to the OR. I was still in a bit of a daze. Everything was going super fast and I couldn't believe that were about to meet our little guy. The day was finally here!

We got in to the OR, they gave an epidural and within minutes were slicing me open. OUCH! I don't know how vaginal birth feels, but I can tell you that c-sections are definitely not the easy way out. Tugging, pulling, pushing...I felt like the entire insides of my body were taken out, squeezed and then put back in. Somewhere in there, they pulled out a giant 9 lb 8 oz baby. I could tell he was a big one!

Hearing that baby cry is probably the most wonderful sound in the world. They brought him over for me to see and he was beautiful! They finished stitching me up and loaded me back on the roller bed. Anton had already headed back to the room with Deklan to get him under the warming light and to get vitals.

One benefit of the c-section is that from the time we arrived at the hospital to the time we heard that beautiful cry was about an hour. Super fast!

We got settled in our room and they monitored both mine and Deklan's vitals. After my last birth experience, they were watching me closely for signs of repeat congestive heart failure. There were no signs and so after 2 days we were released to go home.

We got home, had dinner and went to bed. About 4 AM the next morning, I woke up with a cough and could tell that things weren't ok. We were scheduled to go the hospital for a weight check for Deklan at 9:45, so around 8:00 AM, I decided to give my OB a call and let him know that I was experiencing shortness of breath much like I had after my previous birth. We got to the hospital and Anton took Deklan and Karrington up to the nursery for D's weight check, while I went to triage to see my OB. Within a few minutes, it was clear that I would not be leaving the hospital. They admitted me back in and we quickly came up with a plan for Karrington. I was, once again, in congestive heart failure. They ordered lasix right away and sent me for a chest x-ray and echocardiogram. We also gave my cardiologist a call and he headed up to the hospital. Big difference from my last experience: I knew what was happening, I already had established a baseline and had doctors in place, I knew what questions to ask and Anton knew how to advocate for me. (He was super awesome and deserves an award for being amazingly supportive!) Thanks to all of the those things, we caught this early and were able to limit the amount of damage to my heart. We stayed in the hospital another 2 days. By that time, my parents were finally here. It was so good to see them!!!!!

They believe that the complications were caused by the epidural and not my heart. Apparently epidurals dilate your blood vessels and then they gave me fluids for 2 hours. My body wasn't able to get rid of the fluids fast enough and they settled in my abdominal area, including my lungs. Once the fluid was drained, everything was good. My recovery was much better this time around.

We are so thankful for our doctors and nurses. Even though we went through this again, it wasn't nearly as dramatic and we had a wonderful support system. We were able to realize what amazing friends we have and we are very thankful for each and every one of them.

I am glad that we decided to have this baby. He is a promise from God and a miracle. I was able to learn so much about my body and I know that God has His hand on us every step of the way.
He's a big boy! 

Karrington loves her baby brother! 
Isn't he adorable?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Possibilities Turned Reality

This morning, as I sat in the office of my OB, I opened my Timehop and saw this blog post from one year ago. I can't believe that it's been a year since I wrote about the Possibilities in 2014. We were excited to explore the possibilities of a new diagnosis and the potential of adding to our family.

Turns out, we are just a few weeks away from meeting our new addition. The due date is April 18th and we are expecting a boy.

Since the diagnosis:
In March 2014, we had a great visit with a high risk OB in our area. I went in with a note pad full of questions and he was patient with me and answered each one very factually. I appreciated his honesty and left the office with much to think about. The thing that stuck with me the most was this: "There is a 20% chance of recurrence, but 80% is pretty good odds." With how everything else had worked out, it was clear that God had ordered the steps of the 2nd opinion and then this conversation with the OB.

After several months of prayer and a terrible experience coming off of birth control, we decided that adding to our family was something that we really wanted to do. In August 2014, we had a positive pregnancy test and then a few weeks later had an ultrasound verifying the pregnancy. Things have been pretty seamless, minus the morning sickness during the first trimester. In fact, this pregnancy has been relatively uneventful in comparison to my pregnancy with Karrington. The closest similarity is that at week 18 with Karrington, I broke my right foot and at week 18 with this pregnancy I broke my pinky toe on my right foot. Crazy, right?

It is amazing what can happen when you wait on the Lord and allow Him to direct your path.