Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"It's a baby" Announcements

982a88549af4ba49b2b3d3b0dd23f5ae.jpg 600 × 611 pixelsBaby announcement                                 When I found out I was pregnant, I went on pinterest to find a cute way to announce Baby B. However, I was so exhausted that by the time I did announce it was nothing like I planned, BUT I had to share what I found. These were my favorite. Thanks to pinterest for all these cute ideas.

Baby Announcement
baby announcement with sibling  Brianna Record PhotographyOur Pregnancy Announcement Photo

Pregnancy announcement picture! Haha this is so funny but would probably be Casey! Lol
Baby announcement

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

THE LAST CHALLENGE: Making Your Home a Haven Wk.4

Hey Ladies! It's the last week of Courtney's Challenge. I hope you have been following. In fact, if you have, leave a comment about what you did! - Rejoicing in the Present
We are to our final week of our Making Your Home a Haven Fall Series…and the holidays are almost upon us!
First up, Thanksgiving and on the heels of Thanksgiving is Christmas!  And typically with the holidays comes decorating.  I so desire to make my home warm and cozy for the family.
Think for a moment about how God has surrounded us in the fall season with scenery that is just gorgeous! If you live where trees change colors, the bright reds, oranges and yellows on the trees display God’s glory!
Think about the crackle of dry leaves below your feet as you walk – the same crackle sound you heard when you were 5 you hear at 55. There is a continuity about the remembrance of the crisp air and the smell of a bonfire that brings joy and peace. In the same way, our holiday decorations that we pull out year in and year out bring continuity, memories and a warm glow to our homes.
Though heaven is our eternal home, God has given us gifts of beauty here on earth – there is beauty in the fields covered with snow, in the sunset over a chilled pond, the frost in the morning on the blades of grass and smoke rising from the chimneys.
Our homes are temporary but they are an opportunity to reflect God in a small measure. Genesis 1:26 says “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.”
We have been created in the image of God and some may be very talented in the area of decorating while others are like me – not the queen of decorating –  but we all have the ability to create something special for our loved ones.
Edith Shaefer says “For the Christian who is consciously in communication with the Creator, surely his home should reflect something of the artistry, the beauty and order of the One whom he is representing, and in whose image he has been made!”
God has given you a home whether it’s an apartment you share, a farm house, a city home, or a home identical to all your neighbors – it is your ONE home to reflect God’s artistry in.
Here is this week’s challenge:
Imagine – plan – Decorate! The holidays are almost upon us.  Ann Voskamp says “Creating is good theology.  In the beginning God created.”  Be creative as you make your home warm, cozy and inviting for the holidays.  Think about ways you can keep Christ in Christmas even in the way you decorate.  Give thanks to God for the home He has given you in which to create a haven for your family.

thanksgiving journal
To go along with the second half of this week’s challenge – I’d like to share one of our Thanksgiving traditions.
I started a family ”Thanksgiving Journal” 5 years ago. Every year on Thanksgiving, I sit down with the family and have them list some of the things they are thankful for.  Then I write them into the journal. It is so fun to reflect back over the years and see the blessings God has brought into our lives – year – by – year.
The turkey in the picture above is something the kids make each year.  I have them write on the feathers things they are thankful for and I add them to our journal each year.
Some of the things listed give me a chuckle –like when 3 year old Alexis gave thanks for sparkling grape juice…a treat we had with our Thanksgiving Dinner or when 5 year old Alex gave thanks for Ohio State Football! lol!  Also, toys like their pillow pets and Wii made the list along with some favorite books and vacations.  The yearly lists bring back memories of friends and favorite teachers and life happenings – everything is recorded so we can rejoice again and again over the abundant blessings God has given us in our lives.
If you are looking for a Thanksgiving tradition and treasure to implement in your home – this is an inexpensive way to bless your family.
And remember – give thanks to God for the ONE home he has given YOU to make a haven for his glory!
Chime In:  How has God used this 4 week series in your home?
Walk with the King,

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pocono Vaca 2013 - Crayola Experience

This was probably the highlight of my trip, most likely, because I am a big kid.  If you live nearby this place, you HAVE to go. There are so many things to do, from toddlers to big kids.

Here are a few of my favorite activities:
  1. Wrap it Up:  Print authentic Crayola labels and wrap your own crayons
  2. Toddler Town:  You can hang out in toddler town and play with the multicolored peg board. (A's FAVORITE)
  3. Everyone's a Star:  You can appear in their very own coloring page along with some Crayola characters.
  4. Marker Mania:  You can create a custom marker by injecting two ink colors into the marker's center, then watch the process of putting all the marker parts together.
  5. Drip Art:  Load a fresh crayon into the Drip Art machine and watch it melt and drip crayon wax onto your paper as it spins
  6. Crayon Clinic:  Melt a crayon into one of your favorite shapes.

To check out an actual map of the Crayola Experience, go to this website. - Rejoicing in the Present

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pocono Vacation 2013 - New York in a Day

I didn't go to New York City but my dad, grandma and husband went.  So how do you see NYC in a day without pulling your hair out? They found a bus system where they were able to hop on and hop off all day.  A bus came through every 15-20 minutes. So, they were able to get off, explore and then get back on.

Some of the stops that were offered were: Times Square, Madison Square Garden, Macy's, Empire State Building, Soho, Chinatown, Little Italy, Site of the World Trade Center, Wall Street, Financial District, Battery Park South Street Seaport, Lower East Side, United Nations, Rockefeller Center, Carnegie Hall, Broadway Theatre District.

They came back with great reviews.  My dad said that he used this type of transportation in Paris, London and other big citys as well. It's hard to see a city in a day, but here's to trying! - Rejoicing in the Present

Friday, October 25, 2013

jbw Pocono Vaca 2013 - Eating

We had some great eating on a trip.  A two of our favorites were...

Photo: Lombardi's. Famous pizza in little italy NYCLombardi's Pizza: I didn't get the pleasure of eating there but my dad, husband and grandma did. They ranted and raved about how delicious it was.  Both guys said that it was the best pizza they had ever eaten and that it was all in the sauce.  So if you get a chance to visit New York City, go by Lombardi's and pick up a pizza!

Alaska Pete's: My mom and I discovered this grill, situated 2 miles down the road from our timeshare, on Wednesday while the others were in NYC. I fell in love with their New York strip steak.  It was soooooo yummy that we had to take the others back on Thursday.  They really liked it as well.  So if you like good steak and seafood and are in the Poconos drop by Alaska Pete's.

There are lots of good bites in the area but you have to drive a bit as they are spread out.  Yum Yum Good! - Rejoicing in the Present

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pocono Vaca 2013 - Sight and Sound Theatre

About 6 years, I was given the wonderful opportunity of seeing "The Miracle of Christmas" at Sight and Sound Theatre near Lancaster, PA.  It was a story of the birth of Jesus.  It was done so well and it brought tears to my eyes as I watched the play.  It brought the Christmas Story alive.

The neat part of the theatre is that it's very 3D.  The stage literally goes around you, so it's in the front and on both sides (left and right). Also, they bring live animals on stage and actors walk up and down the aisle making you feel that you are part of the story.

It was such neat experience that I had to take my husband back!  We talked about going on our honeymoon, but when that didn't work out, we just put it in the back of our minds.

When we decided to go the PA this fall, we put it on our schedule to go to Sight and Sound.  We saw Noah and it was really awesome! Check out their website for more info.

One complaint:  They don't have a nursery but they do have a family room, to where parents can take their children if they are loud.  Baby A is about 16 months old and started making noise within the first 2 minutes.  So, sadly I had to take him to the Family Room.  I was very disappointed as I paid $50 for my ticket and sat in a little play room and watched the show on a TV screen.  I think with as many workers as they have they should have some type of nursery that you can pay $25 or more to put your child in. Otherwise, you may want to take a sitter if you have a baby.

So that said, it's a great show for children 5 and up or children that can sit through a 2-hour play. - Rejoicing in the Present


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pocono Vaca 2013 - BEAUTY!

We just got back from our vacation to the Poconos in Pennsylvania.  It was soooooooo beautiful.  A friend gave us the place for a week and we invited my parents to join us.  It was such a wonderful time!

On that note, there was a drawback.  We drove.  My husband and I said after the fact. "NEVER AGAIN".  Never again, will we drive.  We left early morning, at 6AM, and didn't return home until 2AM. We didn't stop except for gas or food. So, I would suggest if you live a distance from PA, don't drive, FLY!!!

But on a good note, it was soooooooooo beautiful.  I grew up farther north and, since moving south, I have missed the changing of the leaves.  The beauty was out of this world.  It looked almost fake it was sooo pretty.  I would definitely encourage every one to visit in October and especially on the weekends.  They have fall festivals almost every weekend in October.

We also got to visit a cute little town in PA named Jim Thorpe and to bike through the area.  It was refreshing and beautiful; afterwards we enjoyed ice cream at a quaint little sweet shop.

Plan to visit!  It's so beautiful and lots of fun.  This whole week I am going to tell you about our trip and different places we visited.  I hope this will encourage you to visit as well. - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, October 21, 2013

Guest Blog: Making Your Home a Haven (Week 3)

Courtney from Women Living Well shares yet another great challenge in her Making Your Home a Haven Challenge.  This is week 4 and I have really enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, I am expecting a baby and can't cook right now, but I love the idea of bringing your kids into the kitchen. -Rejoicing in the Present
This week’s Challenge: Focus on the kitchen, the heart of the home.  Cook things with pleasant aromas  like homemade bread, pies, and cookies.  Don’t wait to have a reason to make something special – do it simply to show love to your family. Invite your kids and/or hubby to cook along side of you – make memories in the kitchen – test tasting, being creative, laughing and loving. Remember the importance of dinner time around the table as a family. Work on showing love to your family this week.  
This is such a fun time of the year for cooking.  The holidays mean we have reason to be in the kitchen! But sometimes all the kitchen work can be overwhelming. Let’s face it we eat over 1,000 meals a year (that’s counting breakfast, lunch and dinner) - and if you have a family you provide all those meals for – and snacks too – cooking can become a chore.

When I first had children, I dreamed of them cooking along side of me.  Then reality set in.  Bringing my kids along side of me in the kitchen was more work than I expected. They were messy and needed constant instruction – “stir slowly”, “stay away from the hot pot”, “be careful with the knife”, “don’t wipe your hands on your shirt”, “stop eating the dough”, “one at a time on the stool” and the list went on.  At some point, I threw in the towel literally and sent them off to play or watch Curious George so I could get dinner on the table in a timely fashion. And my dream bubble popped with the reality that inviting my children into the kitchen would be a sacrifice.

And here’s where “Making our Home a Haven” comes into the equation.
It is only when we as women learn how to lay down our lives for those in our home, that the home will begin to thrive. 
When we learn that creating a culture of love means sacrifice on our part - our homes will transform from being a shell – to being a place of hospitality, the breaking of bread, laughter, training, deep talks, loving embraces and fun memories.
Bringing the kids into the kitchen has been hard for me – but it’s worth the memories!
It starts with following Jesus – laying down our lives and our desires - so we can bless those who sleep under our roof.  And as we learn to lay down our lives – we model to our children how to lay down their lives for others.

We aren’t responsible for every home on the block…just the one God has given us.
God has given us one home to turn into a haven for his glory.
One home to use to shine brightly for him.
One home to subdue, manage and cause to flourish.
And when one home is flourishing – the souls that pass through that home are forever touched and changed by the work of your hands.

Keep your candles going this week  and add in some soft music and tasty treats full of love.
Edith Shaeffer reminds us of how deeply food can bless those we prepare it for:
“Food cannot take care of the spiritual, psychological and emotional problems, but the feeling of being loved and cared for, the actual comfort of the beauty and flavour of food, the increase of blood sugar and physical well-being, help one to go on during the next hours better equipped to meet the problems.”

Chime In: What are you cooking this week? And do you bring your kids into the kitchen with you? Do you have any tips to help other moms manage little ones in the kitchen?  We’d love to hear them!
Walk with the King,

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cooking W/ Brandy: Apple Crisp

It's Apple Pickn' Season! We are taking the girls and going picking this weekend. So, here is a yummy, yet easy, 6-ingredient apple crisp. 

What you need...
  • 5 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

What you do...

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
  • Place apple slices in a 8 or 9 inch square baking pan, sprinkle with 1 tsp.  of cinnamon.  
  • Combine butter, oats, brown sugar, and flour in a bowl and sprinkle mixture over apples.  
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown.

Keeping your toddler active

That's almost a hilarious title because all moms of toddlers know that they ARE active.  A better title would be:  keeping them educationally active or actively out of your stuff and into productive fun.  So here are a few of my favorite ideas from - Rejoicing in the Present

Building with Blocks


Make- You - Own Obstacle Course

We hope that this will give you some ideas. For more ideas and pictures, go to

Monday, October 14, 2013

Guest Post: Making Your Home a Haven 2

Hello... from "IT'S officially FALL in the Pocono's"  Yes, my dear friends, with the sweet cool fall air, a warm fire in the fireplace and leaves the color of fire, I am eating this up, and as well, I am enjoying my time with family! Well, I hope that this Fall Challenge from Courtney will encourage you this week to "Make your Home a Haven". - Rejoicing in the Present 
Also don't forget to stop by Woman Living Well to enter to win some AWESOME prizes.
You all are doing great!!!  Let’s keep the candles and prayers going this week and add in this challenge.
Week 2 Challenge: - Plan a Family Fun Night.   Have a pillow party in the family room and get out every blanket and pillow in the house and be cozy with the kids and your hubby! Even if you live alone you can do this. Enjoy a cozy evening of hot cider and caramel corn.  Bust out some old fashioned games and take the time to savor these moments with your loved ones.  Work on gentleness this week.
J.R. Miller says “The richest heritage that parents can give is a happy childhood, withtender memories of father and mother. This will brighten the coming days when the children have gone out from the sheltering home, and will be a safeguard in times of temptation and a conscious help amid the stern realities of life.”

~An excerpt from the book titled Women Living Well~
In our home, I’m the family night coordinator.  If there’s going to be a game night, pizza night, movie night, or a social happening, it’s because I planned it.  I’m guessing I’m not alone in this.  Growing up, my mother did a great job of creating fun family memories.  They weren’t complex or over the top, but they happened!  They happened year in and year out, and now the memories of those fun moments give me security, comfort, joy and a bond with my family that will never be broken.
My children enjoy long evenings of playing Monopoly, watching re-runs of The Brady Bunch, lots of Chex mix, and enjoying lots of cuddles and back rubs, and even wrestling and nerf gun wars (my husband loves to flip couches and make forts).
A wise mother knows how to have fun and how to be tender. She knows the healing touch of her hands. Jesus used his hands to touch and heal many.There is power in the gentle expressions of love through warm embraces and cuddles.
Mark 10:16 says that Jesus “took them {the children} in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” 
Bless your family with tender, physical love.
~Page 178

4 Ways to Pursue Gentleness in Your Home

1. When you feel tempted to raise your voice, use a child’s name in a snarl, furrow your brow into a scowl or speak rapidly in anger…purposely lower your voice to just above a whisper.
Proverbs 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Focus on gentle words, facial expressions, and touches.
2. Purpose to not let someone else’s anger make you angry.
Many times as a wife and mom, I find myself responding to other’s emotions. Someone in the family is grumpy and two minutes later I’m grumpy too. Someone in the family is speaking harshly and two minutes later I’m speaking harshly too. Purpose to stay in control of your emotions and not let the other members of your family dictate your mood.
3. Yelling at a bud won’t make it bloom.
Your home will not blossom into a haven, if you are not controlling your temper.
4. Continue to light your candle and pray for peace in your home.
Persevere in prayer for your family. James 5:16b says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
**Chime In: Share with us what you have planned for your family fun night. What is your favorite game to play as a family?
Walk with the King,

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fall Arrangments

It's Fall YA'LL!!! Here is the arrangement that I did for our Kitchen Table. Hope you like...

What you need.
  1. Corn Kernels
  2. Candles
  3. BIG GLASS Jar
  4. Leaves and buttons
What to do.
  1. Fill up the glass vase with raw corn kernels
  2. Place your candles inside jar
  3. Then sprinkle leaves and buttons around the bottom
Simple and Cute - Rejoicing in the present

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bow/Headband Hanger

 I like to pretend I’m a girly girl and so I have lots of accessories.  In fact, before I was married, I had A TON of stuff. I  have given away a lot of that type of thing, but I do still accessories a bit.  I have about 8-10 head bands and I didn’t like the pile they were making on my dresser, so I decided to make them their own hanger.  Here is what I did:

What you need:

  • Ribbon (About 1-2 yards)
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue  
What you do:
  • Tie a big bow in the center of the ribbon.
  • Then take 1 side and make a 1-inch loop with the ribbon.
  • Glue the loop shut.
  • Let it dry and then go about 4 inches down the ribbon and make another 1- inch loop
  • Do this all the way down the ribbon or until you get the length you desire.
  • Then do the loops on the other end of the ribbon.
It’s super simple, see the pictures for better clarification

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ink Be Gone

My Baby A is an active toddler and that is saying the LEAST.  Just today he managed to empty a bottle of water on the ground and then within a few seconds threw a can of Coke across the tile, making it explode onto the walls, floors, rug and me. I t was a great night.  I know what you’re thinking, “wow, do you ever watch your child?”  The answer is yes, he does these things as I am watching him.  The problem is that I can’t get to him fast enough to stop it.
So I never know what to expect.  The other day, he found a pen and decided to write on our wood table. I called my mom and she found this little trick on the Internet.  IT WORKED! Here is the recipe.

What you need:
  1. Baking Soda
  2. Water
  3. Pledge (optional)

What you do:
  1. Mix some soda and water into a paste
  2. Then, take a little bit on a soft rag and rub it on the area. S lowly but surely, it will come off.
  3. After I got it off, I cleaned the table and then sprayed it with Pledge Wood Oil Cleaner to give it the polished look. 
IT WORKED - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, October 7, 2013

Guest Blog: Enviroment of Peace

Courtney with Women Living Well is starting a "Making your Home a Haven" Fall Challenge. This is the first week and it was very convicting. Due to some health reasons, I have been quite hard to live with. We need peace in our family and I know I starts with me. Thank you Courtney for this challenge...
Edith Shaeffer says:
“We are an environment, each one of us.
We are an environment for the other people with whom we live, the people with whom we work, the people with whom we communicate…our conversations, attitudes, behavior, response or lack of response, hardness or compassion, our love or selfishness, joy or dullness, concern for others or self pity – all these things make a difference to the people who have to live in our environment.
Enthusiasm and excitement infect other people: expectancy that God can intervene and do something in this moment of history and doing something practical to show that expectancy in prayer, affects the attitudes of other people.”
Have you ever considered that you are an environment?
What type of environment are you?
Do you lay in bed, with clothes in a heap on your floor, sighing and moaning about all the work that has to be done in your day or are you cheery in the morning, welcoming your children to the breakfast table, praying with them as they enter their day, tidying up morning dishes without complaint…
Life is certainly not all butterflies and roses…but because we are Christians – we are to reflect Christ in our environment.  And the only way we can reflect Christ and his peace is by going to him and asking for it.
Seeking it.
Pursuing it.
It won’t happen by accident.
Here is this week’s challenge:
Go buy an extra large candle and light it everyday in your home. I will be starting mine in the morning but if you work – you can start yours at dinner time and let it burn until you go to bed. Do what makes sense for your family. I will be placing mine in the kitchen – the main hub of my home.

Each time the candle catches your eye, say a prayer for peace in your home.
Philippians 4: 6,7 says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Prayer brings peace.
I love vaccuum cleaner lines on freshly vaccuumed carpet.  I love the sound of the dishwasher running at the end of the day – signaling the kitchen is clean and closed.  I love warm towels fresh out of the dryer.  I love the way the house is sparkling clean ALL at once right before guests arrive.  And I love a flickering candle on my kitchen counter.
I simply enjoy these gifts in life.
They are momentary.
Soon the kids will come running into the room and wrestle around and the vaccuum cleaner lines will be gone. The dishwasher will stop running and need emptied – that’s not so fun! The towels – they’ll be cold and wet soon. And most likely, left laying on the floor somewhere. After the guests leave, the house will need cleaned all over again.
It’s the cycle of life.
But my candle.
My candle just keeps on burning.  Morning, noon and night it serves me.  It serves me with a flickering warm light, a pleasant scent, and a reminder to pray for peace in my home.
I remember long ago when I first started daily lighting my kitchen candle.  The kids came down for breakfast and asked -
“Who’s coming over today mommy?“
“No one“, I answered.
“Then why is there a candle lit in the kitchen?” they asked.
“For us!” 
I light the candle for us - to bless my own family.

Let’s make our homes feel more like a warm hug than a cold shoulder for all those who find refuge under our roof.
Light a candle and begin praying over your home every time the glimmer of the candle catches your eyePray for peace.  Peace with each other and peace within your soul.
Thank you all so much for your accountability. I appreciate you joining me on this journey!  To see the list of upcoming challenges and giveaways -> click here.
**Chime In: Have you begun to light your candle?  Did your family ask “what’s up with the candle?” :) What scent is your candle?  And have you found a deal on candles?  Share it!
Walk with the King,

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Guest Blog: How being a midwife helped me be a better physician

I stumbled upon this blog post the other day and I had to share. As many of you know, I am very PRO-Midwifery. So thanks to Aviva Romm for this insight - Rejoicing in the Present

I have many professional titles and roles: physician, midwife, herbalist, author, teacher.  Of these, being a midwife most informs and enhances all of what I do and who I am.
Midwife literally means “with woman.” But it also means, “to bring forth.” Midwives listen, coach, cheerlead, care, reassure, support, and speak truth. At my best, I am a midwife in all contexts – not just to the women I serve, but to my partner, my children, my friends, my patients. At my best I bring forth their best – their strength, confidence, and belief that they can do it. And as a midwife I am able to be patient about whether this happens quietly or with loud screaming! At my best I am deeply present and listen closely to what the people in my life are telling me. And I listen to the unsaid, as well.

When I graduated from medical school at Yale I was given an award as the most promising primary care physician in my state for that year. This was not a result of what I learned during my medical education. Being a midwife for 20 plus years prior to medical training imbued in me the art of caring that should accompany doctoring but too often doesnt. As a physician I care for my patients with the compassion, deep presence, and heart of a midwife, whether they are giving birth or being treated for pneumonia, whether they are trying to nurse their newborn for the first time, or have suffered a stroke, leukemia, or are in their last days of their life. And because the demonstration of presence and compassion is more rare than common amongst physicians, it was noticed.

It is my understanding and internalization of the midwifery model of care, which places a partnership model and a patient-centered model first and which treats the body as wise and self-healing rather than as a machine that requires repair that makes me the physician I am. It is being a midwife that informs the care in the health care I provide to all of my patients. And it is this true caring that inspires me to do what it best for my patients, and to truly know who they are as people, not diseases.

I not only midwife my patients, but their families at their hospital bedsides and in clinic rooms. I care just as I would for an anxious expectant father or other children at a birth. I bring the whole family in.

One evening a young woman came into the hospital in imminent labor with a 28-week pregnancy. It was the mother’s own birthday. She’d been out to dinner with her family to celebrate when her water broke and she began having back-to-back contractions. She arrived at the hospital “feeling pressure” and was found to be 9 cm dilated – nearly complete and ready to push. The baby was coming fast, and given it’s small size, didn’t even need full dilatation to emerge. We were in a small community hospital unequipped for the care of a severely premature baby, so it was quite a chaotic scene – trying to stall an imminent birth and arrange medical transport for the about-to-be newborn.
Obstetricians, nurses, and neonatal care specialists were frenetically running in and out of the room and the woman’s family had been brusquely asked to wait in the hallway outside of the delivery room. There were so many harried care providers in the room that my assistance at the birth was superfluous. So instead, I turned my attention to the laboring woman’s very scared family – her parents, sister, and best friend, explaining in detail what was going on, and what would happen – that mom was fine, baby would be born any minute and would be resuscitated as needed, and transported to a higher level care hospital. Mom could go with baby, and they could accompany her. I apologized for the chaos, and reassured them that I would keep them apprised. For the next 30 minutes, I did exactly this, stepping in and out of the room periodically to provide reassuring updates.
After baby was born (he was healthy and ultimately did quite well) and safely transferred to a larger facility, and the family was getting ready to leave, the sister came up to me. Unbeknownst to me, she was a hospice physician at a major hospital. She told me that what I had done was the most compassionate care she’d seen, and she wanted to commend me to the hospital. I thanked her and told her this would not be necessary. Isn’t this what midwives do? Care for the whole family?
To be a midwife requires one to step outside of the confines of self and selfishness. To be awake and present and loving and creative and generous and trans-personally connected even when we would rather be in the comfort of our own beds, deep in our own private dreams. It requires one to become truly present with those in our care. Being a midwife allows us to go deeper into the primal relationship of being human than any other experience – other than perhaps hospice, which comes close, and being a mother, of course.

It means letting the fears, dreads, concerns, worries of another wash over you and allows you to take all of these and spin them into a neat ball of confidence, courage, and grace that you hand back to the woman – and remind her that this was hers all along. And it is having a strong enough sense of self that we take no credit for the success of those we’ve midwifed – we are happy to be the invisible wind beneath their wings.

Midwives, in our professional roles, truly see everything life has to offer. We see sorrow, joy, triumph, suffering, loss, and ecstasy, and we see women work so hard it makes our own teeth clench just to watch. We see birth, death, and everything in between. I have comforted women in the hours of a miscarriage, through news of a late pregnancy loss, when an older child in the family is dying of brain cancer, when the story of their child, drowned in a pool accident years before resurfaces at the time of birth, when tormenting memories of child abuse, long buried, resurface in pregnancy, when a husband’s on-going extramarital affair becomes known weeks before a woman herself is about to give birth to same husband’s baby. And we know the intense resilience of the human spirit. We see people go on. And this is a powerful gift in our own “going on.”

We go to homes where there is not a clean surface in site and accept that cup of tea and drink it, regardless. We suspend judgment. We clean the house, wash the dishes, throw in a load of laundry.  Sometimes we do deeper cleaning too — of the heart, the mind, the soul.

We know that the woman’s story is all important to her pregnancy and birth experience and outcome. Unlike many physicians who generally tend only to the physical, we go deeper into the lives of our families, and are witness to aspects of the human experience that few know, in the intimacy of this process that is pregnancy and birth process. We translate this into all of our relationships. And we know when to suspend “being the midwife.”

I am so pleased to see midwives coming into popular cultural consciousness with deserved respect – midwife Ina May Gaskin winning the Right Livelihood Award, midwife Robin Lim being recognized for her work in Bali with a CNN award, Call the Midwife, the popular BBC series being aired by PBS and receiving popular acclaim. This world needs midwives – to care for women in childbirth – and to care. I would love to hear stories about your experiences with a midwife.

Friday, October 4, 2013

It's a date

My husband and I are very blessed with everything God has given us.  Being in the ministry, God provides for all our needs.  I'm super blessed that the income my husband earns covers our bills; but there are not always extras, so dates have to be creative. Here are some cute FREE date ideas:

  1. Star Gazing
    1. Take some blankets a few drinks and go on hike. Then when you have reached that beautiful spot, spread the blankets and sit down and enjoy the stars 
    2. OR grab a blanket and climb on your roof. :-) The stars are beautiful up there
  2. Game Night  
    1. Grab some card games or your favorite board game and enjoy some fun together.
  3. Free Entertainment 
    1. OUTDOOR CONCERTS: Take a stroll downtown or to a local strip mall. Check around for street performers (especially on the weekends)
    2. OPEN Mic: Some coffee houses have poetry reading, stand-up comedy and so on
    3. ART SHOW: Many city's have free art displays
  4. For Pet lovers
    1. Take your dog/s to a dog park and enjoy time, while you watch your little one frolic
    2. Browse the area pound or pet shop and give some animals your love
    3. Volunteer at a pet shelter
  5. Be a kid again
    1. Go to the park and swing. Enjoy being together.
  6. For the athletic couple
    1. Grab some tennis rackets and head to the tennis courts
    2. For that matter, you can enjoy basketball, soccer or catch. You just need the equipment
    3. Go on a bike ride.
    4. Play frisbee
    5. Go fly a kite (you can buy these at the dollar store)
  7. Movie Night
    1. Make some popcorn and enjoy cuddling up with your hubby on the couch
  8. Beach
    1. Go to the beach. Check it out ahead of time, but some beaches are free
    2. Take a walk, have a stone-skipping contest...
  9. Free Zoo Days
    1. Most zoo's offer a few free days through out the year
  10. Attend a Farmer Market
    1. See what is growing in the area. Check out the locals
  11. Go for a test drive
    1. Go check out your dream car and give it a spin.
  12. Winter Dates
    1. Go sledding, skiing or snowboarding
    2. Afterwards you can warm up with some hot chocolate or coffee
  13. Photo Shoot
    1. Enjoy a fun night of taking pictures of each other and together. You can make up lots of crazy backgrounds and costumes
    1. One man's trash is another man's treasure. Try to find a cheap treasure and then take it home and redo it for your house. 
Do you have any ideas? Comment below and add your ideas. - Rejoicing in the present

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Guest Blog: How to Win Giveaways

I thought this blog post was quite interesting. I haven't every won anything online or through a blog but MAYBE after this, I will. :-) This is from barefoothippiegirl. - Rejoicing in the Present 

Ps. I now that I have shared the secret, I'm sure I never will win again. :-) 

How to Win a Giveaway

I can't say I'm an expert, but since I started entering blog giveaways last summer I've won:

a Cradle Rock cd

Neesee's Dress

Deibel 8x10 photograph

a book that changed my life 

5 Caroline G necklaces-in white, navy, purple, coral, and red

A Scoggins Noggins handmade knit hat

A random candle holder

Plus, a Starbucks gift card

a Target gift card
AND ad space on multiple blogs. Not bad...

Based on this impressive list, you'd probably think I entered a ton of giveaways and that I do every possible entry option. Or that I'm extremely lucky. Or that I have a strategy that works.

Or all of the above.

Except, I really don't enter that many giveaways. But, I do have a strategy.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But, I'd say I've done pretty well.

And, I'm all about telling secrets, that are meant to be shared. So here are my winning secrets...

1. Pick the social media sites you want to follow as a win option. Personally, I always follow on Twitter and Pinterest. 

Since I follow on Twitter I still get to see new blog posts and shop offerings, and I have often started following a blog regularly because of clicking to it over and over from Twitter. And I make it a point to go through Twitter everyday, at least once or twice, scanning all the tweets of the past hour or two. This allows me to interact with the people I follow, making friends. Not just following for a giveaway.

And, generally, by following someone new on Pinterest, my horizons get opened to pins that I wouldn't normally pick for myself. Win-win.

2. Do the check out the shop/leave a comment option. It is fun to see what people are making. How do you know you even want to win a product from their shop if you don't know what they are offering?

3. On the multiple giver-giveaways, I make sure I click all the entires of the people I already follow on various social media. It is a free entry, though sometimes it is a forgotten one.

4. Enter the low number entry giveaways. Statistically speaking, in the giveaways with less entries, your chances of winning are higher. Math-you knew it would help you someday...

5. Only spend time entering the giveaways you want to enter. Not all giveaways are created equal. Nor do all contain things you really want. So, if you really don't want a month's supply of natural vitamins, don't enter that giveaway.

What I don't do:

I don't follow on Instagram-I'm not on Instagram. 

And I generally don't do FB follow options either. FB follow options are illegal. It is breaking FB rules. 

I don't follow blogs because that can get really overwhelming. (I heard of someone following 1000s of blogs. Really?) I think you can find good blogs this way, but I think there are other ways to find good blogs too.

I don't usually tweet about the giveaway for extra entries. 

And I never cheat. 

I have heard of bloggers and shop owners running giveaways, picking a winner, checking the winner's winning entry, and finding that they actually didn't do the winning option. Sometimes they have to pick  number after number before they find someone honest. This is bad, people. Bad! I won't follow a blog, or FB, or Instagram, or tweet for extra entries, and neither will I lie, and say I have. Cheating does not get you ahead in the long run. Remember that.

Off my soap box...

Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, sometimes I sing the Blues...

What have you won in a giveaway? What are your tips?