Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Auld Lang Syne

2008 has been a year of personal growth, great change, and immense blessing. The joys of this year have overwritten the sorrows. The challenges have intensified my faith, and its trials have taught me to rely on God instead of self. Here's to a great year that has taught me even more how glorious our great God is and how beautiful life with Him is.

A few favorite moments from 2008 (too many to name in their entirety)...
  • Our first Sunday at Cambridge- Receiving the food pounding was humbling
  • My trip to Atlanta for Promiss- I met so many wonderful people who are so dedicated to protecting the lives of the unborn
  • My Spring trip with Bryan to Destin- Despite the fact that the weather turned to freezing temperatures and that we were wearing sweatshirts on the beach, we had a blast
  • The morning my pregnancy test turned out positive- We were so excited that I took multiple tests just to make sure!
  • My trip with Bryan to Indianapolis- I absolutely loved visiting friends, spending time with family, and traveling with Bryan to new places
  • Spending a few days at the Camp for our 2 year anniversary
  • Closing on our First Home-Such an answered prayer!
  • Birth of our daughter Abigail- Too beautiful for words
  • Our first Christmas with our baby girl
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! May 2009 be another year of blessings and discovery in the beauty of life and glory of God as we journey forth as a new family.



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Wishing a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our happy family to yours!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas in Our New Home


Finally, here are the requested photos of our new home finished and ready just in time for Abby's arrival and Christmas!



Foyer & entrance way between the master bedroom and the rest of the house


Living Room



Dining Room



Kitchen View #1


Kitchen View #2


The plate rack (Bryan built this) and the cabinet area several church members built for us

Master Bedroom- still have to put photos in the wall art

Master Bedroom view #2


Abby's Room





Guest Bedroom

Office & Music Room






Saturday, December 20, 2008

Meditations on the Father

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God; and so we are..."
1 John 3:1



As I fall more and more in love with our daughter each day, I am beginning to realize how significant and incredible it is that God considers me His child. I love Abby so much more than words can describe. I just smile and think, "What amazing love God has for us!"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Life is good

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Loving Life as a New Mommy

Motherhood is such a blessing. It can be exhausting but it is so fulfilling. What an amazing gift God has given us! I am overwhelmed by how good God is to give us our little girl. Abby is such a joy and adds so much to our lives already. Here are some photos that I took of her this week. Enjoy!

Abby taking a nap on her boppy pillow.


Closeup of our sleeping beauty


Giving a sweet smile after waking up from a nap

The most adorable smile ever!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Finally Home Again...


Abby enjoying her sunbath with Daddy today.

We came home from the hospital Thursday around lunch time and Abby seemed to be doing pretty well. Friday, we had to take her back to the clinic for a weight check and to the hospital for outpatient blood work, since she was looking a little jaundiced. The rest of our time at home was uneventful until Saturday night. Bryan and I were tired from being at the hospital and from having a newborn, so we had decided to go to bed early around 8:30 p.m. I nursed Abby well to get her ready to sleep when she began to vomit forcefully. She did not stop vomiting for the next few hours, so we called her pediatrician and it was recommended that we go to the ER if we could not get her to keep down the breast milk or pedialyte. Abby began to have diarrhea, so I volunteered to get the pedialyte to try to avoid a visit to the ER. We were worried about her dehydrating quickly at her size and age. When I got home, Abby was continually getting sicker and unable to keep down the pedialyte, so we left to go the ER around 1:30 a.m.


In the ER, we had great medical care and a very attentive physician. He ordered a chest x-ray and an abdominal x-ray to rule out pyloric stenosis or any other type of blockage, and poor Abby had to have more blood work done to ensure she was retaining enough nursing to avoid IV fluids. By 7:00 a.m., most of the serious conditions had been ruled out, and we were admitted onto the pediatric floor to try to determine what was going on and to allow the doctors to observe her. When she continued to stay sick and her vomiting became worse, her pediatrician decided to have her stay the night, because there were concerns that she would aspirate or choke on her vomit. Thankfully, after two nights of being very sick, it was diagnosed that she probably had a stomach virus, and it ended up being resolved on its own. We were discharged from the hospital around lunch time, and Abby is feeling much better. Her appetite is starting to increase again, and she has not vomited in over 24 hours.


Thanks to many prayers, Abby never had to have an IV and was able to stay hydrated enough nursing to keep her safe. If it had not been for all of the people praying for us, Bryan and I could not have gone for over 30 hours without sleep and still been able to care for our little girl and make good decisions while we were in the hospital. Our God is good and gracious, and we are so thankful to have Abby back home again safe and sound. It's a lot different being the parent of a sick child than being a pediatric nurse... I can truly say that only in Jesus is true joy and peace abundant and unceasing, even in scary times. Our greatest gift this Christmas season is our beautiful little girl... what an amazing blessing from the LORD she is!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Abby has arrived!


Introducing Abigail Bryanna Cirlot 3 days old enjoying her papasan swing at home. =c)


Since I am sure everyone is wondering why our induction date changed from Thursday to Tuesday, I thought I would give a quick update and explanation. Monday, around lunch time, I became disoriented and out of it, so Bryan took me to the ER to get me checked out. By the time we arrived at the ER, I was starting to be able to think more clearly, but something was obviously off. They admitted me to L&D, and my doctor decided that my body was just not handling the stress of being pregnant well anymore. I was already having strong contractions 3 minutes apart (which had been happening off and on for the past month), so they decided to keep me overnight and to stimulate my labor the next morning. Since I was unable to dilate past 2 cm on my own, they hooked me up to an IV the next morning and gave me drugs to help my body do everything it was supposed to do on its own. The doctor broke my water at 9:30 am, and I was in labor until 5:57 p.m. (not the predicted 1 p.m. estimate). My labor was long but fairly uneventful, so we are thankful! Abby was born weighing 7 lb 11 oz and was 21 inches long (no wonder why she hurt my ribs every night). She had an APGAR score of 9 the first time and 10 the second time. Praise God! We're both doing well and glad to be at home again. Thanks for the prayers!

Friday, December 5, 2008

6 Days or Less Until Abby Arrives



We had our last prenatal appointment yesterday afternoon. I am still contracting frequently- just not consistently. My body keeps trying to go into labor but then stops after a few hours. Abby has dropped 2 cm lower, and my cervix is becoming stretchier. I have just stopped dilating at 2 cm. Thus, unless Abby decides to surprise us, it looks like an induction will be necessary to have her. I am scheduled to be induced this coming Thursday at 8:30 a.m., and the doctor predicts she should arrive by 12:30 p.m. that day. Pray that we will have a safe and smooth delivery! It looks like Abby's birthday will be December 11 and that she is waiting until after Katie's wedding to appear (which we are all thankful for). God's timing is perfect, and we are leaving the day of our little girl's arrival in His hands.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Eccentric Ways to Celebrate the Season



If you're having a hard time relating to the Christmas story this year...
  1. Rent a donkey for three days to experience travel "Mary & Joseph-style."
  2. Try walking around your neighborhood about fifty times- chances are you're not even close to the Bethlehem journey- approximately 100 miles one way.
  3. Strap a 20 lb. weight to your belly and walk around the mall- imagine being Mary in her 3rd trimester traveling so far away from home.
  4. Eat only bread and water for a few days- it's unlikely Mary and Joseph's food staples on the journey were as satisfying.
  5. Sleep outside underneath the stars one night- you could set up a lean-to shelter if needed ( no sleeping bags allowed).
  6. Recreate your own manger scene- share your bedroom with a few sheep and maybe a cow.
  7. Hang a spotlight over your bed for special effects- the Bethlehem star was big and bright, right?

Beautiful Simplicity- Counterculture Experiment

"The weight of this world is heavy enough. It is better to live without self-imposed weights around your neck. If I am poor, let it be because the Lord ordained it and not because I was lazy or foolish. Bitterness, envy, strife, anger, lust— they all compete with our affections to our Savior, and the love of money or things is just another thing in that list."- Amy Scott


It's almost Christmas time, and I absolutely LOVE this time of the year. This season, however, will be much different for us in our household with the imminent arrival of our little one and the fact that we are now living off of one salary instead of two. Thus, though we both enjoy buying and giving lots of gifts to family and friends during Christmas time, this year's gift giving will be very creative and calculated. Neither Bryan nor I believe in going into debt to give... doesn't really make sense in the long run (yes, we did learn this the hard way our first Christmas).
Every year we have said we wanted to have a less commercialized, less materialistic Christmas, and it looks like this year, our financial situation will guide us towards this goal. Please don't misunderstand me... I am not bashing on anyone's love of giving and receiving gifts. I enjoy and appreciate this Christmas tradition. Just in the Cirlot household this year, some usual distractions for us have been divinely removed so that we can focus on the birth of Jesus, our Christ... maybe, we can celebrate the season a little more genuinely and wholeheartedly in a new and beautiful simplicity with less business. Maybe, as we embrace and love our own child, we will taste and see how good the Father was to send His own into our world one starry night.

Friday, November 14, 2008

In Memory of Austin

A nurse I worked with at the children's hospital in Jackson called me last night to tell me that a patient I had worked closely with for a long time had been murdered by his family. The sad thing is that as a nurse I had done everything within my power to try to convince state officials that Austin, a 3yr old at the time, was being abused by his family and did not need to be sent back home with them. As usual in the abuse cases I cared for, the family still took the patient home. I really cared about little Austin and tried to show him Jesus the best I could while he was under my care. Honestly, I became very attached to him for the months he was on my floor, and I will miss him. At least now he is finally safe in our Father's arms. How the world needs Jesus... we starve and neglect our children and think nothing of it. God save America.

Copy & Paste the Link Below for the Full News Story.

http://www.wlbt.com/global/video/popup/pop_playerLaunch.asp?vt1=v&clipFormat=flv&clipId1=3134304&at1=News&h1=Grandmother, aunt charged in starvation death of child

Thursday, November 13, 2008

One Year Anniversary



"Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;

when I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be a light to me."
Micah 7:8




I realized this morning that it has almost been a complete year since we lost our first baby in a miscarriage. It's amazing how different things are only a year later. A year ago, I was a nurse on a busy pediatric floor and now I am staying at home learning how to truly be the helpmate God has called me to be. A year ago, we were heartbroken and trying desperately to understand why God would take our first child from us before we had barely had a chance to process the news that we were expecting. This year, Abby could come any day, and we are so excited about her imminent arrival. God has grown my faith so much in the past year as I have had to trust Him deeply in multiple situations of loss even when I did not understand or truly like His ways. I praise God that through my brokenness, He has cleansed me and led me closer to Him each day. I worship My Savior for His healing touch that can bind any wound and make even the most bitter moments beautiful with memories of His presence. I exalt God for His Holy Spirit that has comforted and guided me so diligently through gloomy days and darker nights until we could see the sun rise again. I praise God for His Word that remains steadfast and true and applicable for every year and every season of life.

"But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness
shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall."
Malachi 4:2

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Update on Our Pregnancy

I had a doctor's visit today, and everything looks great. He says that he estimates that I still have about a week and a half or so to go if everything continues the way it is now. He said from this point on they won't stop labor and that she will be fine arriving a little earlier than expected. Also, I'm off of bedrest again and allowed to continue normal activities until Abby comes. Yeah for good news! Maybe, Abby will wait to come until after my last shower this coming Sunday. Thanks for the prayers!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Benched during the last inning


Yesterday afternoon, Abby decided she was tired of waiting and tried to come early. We went to the L&D floor at the hospital, and they hooked me up to monitors and measured my dilation. Since my contractions were frequent and measuring fairly strong, they held me for a while and ended up giving me Brethine to stop the contractions. My doctor is out of town this weekend and the on-call doctor did not want to deliver a 35 wk baby. I'm back at home again and on bedrest until my doctor can see me again this next week. Other than being restless, I'm doing fine, and Abby looked great on the monitors. Keep us in your prayers. Either way, it looks like she is coming soon!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hope of the Nations



The last few days have certainly been eventful for our nation. My coping method for election night has always been the same as the way I treat hurricanes... I sleep through them then get up in the morning to find out the results of the storm. However, this year, Bryan wanted to stay up and watch the election polls and the announcement of our new president. He reasoned that this was to be a historical and important event no matter the outcome and we should be awake to experience it. He was right... it definitely left an impression on me.

I think what was most striking was not necessarily who won the election but how people responded to the winner. As we watched the cameras pan around the crowds, I watched thousands of people my age of all races rejoice as their favorite candidate gave his speech. What really disturbed and broke me was the hope I saw in each of their tear-brimming eyes. The hope that no man can fulfill, not even Senator McCain. The hope for a new life that only Jesus Christ can provide.

Please don't misunderstand me... I do not think Obama is the antichrist... I think that is a ridiculous statement. I was just reminded how lost America is as a people, especially my generation. We all want a Savior... just some have a misplaced hope that this will be a polished political leader with a smooth tongue and a campaign for change. May we not be caught in the same mindset of deceit that any man can fulfill our deepest desires and longing. May we place all of our hope in Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded,
set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at
the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:13

Friday, October 31, 2008

Preparations for the Big Day


Our prenatal visit this week confirmed that Abby now weighs 5 lbs and is ready to come at any time. Even though her due date is still a little ways away, the ultrasound is dating her as being older and all of her organs and bones look well developed. During the ultrasound, she was practicing how to breathe and waved at us on the monitor as if she knew we were peeking in. The ultrasound even revealed that our little girl will have a full head of hair (which our hair stylist predicted). As I watch her grow every day and stretch my belly more and more, I'm more and more aware of how much my love for her is growing. It's an amazing thing... God created this miracle within me, and I will get to love and care for her for the rest of her life- as long as I am alive. God is not only helping her grow and develop... He's preparing me for a huge transition and is developing within me a love that I cannot describe or even measure. What a wonderful God we serve! What a good Father He is!

For a quick laugh

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Little Scare


I had woken up yesterday morning a little concerned because Abby wasn't moving, but in the business of the morning and early afternoon, I decided not to worry until I had time to do my kick count later during the day. For all of you who do not know what a kick count is, I am supposed to rest for 30 minutes each day and make sure I feel Abby move at least 6 times during that period of time. Since I have a very active and feisty little girl, I have never had a problem... she usually kicks 20 times within 5 minutes while I am going about my usual routine. So, when I didn't feel her move much at all during the day or after laying down for an hour, I began to get concerned. I ate a piece of pound cake and drank a glass of water then laid down for another hour. Since she only kicked four times, I ate a sandwich and laid down for another hour and only counted her 6 times. I called my doctor, and he wanted me to try to eat something sweet again as a last resort before going to the ER. I ate an apple dipped in caramel and only counted her 5 times within 30 minutes... not the 6 times that would have saved us an ER trip. Bryan and I went to the ER where I had a non-stress test and a cervical exam (definitely not fun). Thankfully, Abby was completely fine... she was just not as active as normal. I was surprised to find out that I am already dilated 1 cm. Dr. Sams is going to follow-up with me this Thursday to repeat the non-stress test to just make sure everything is still ok and to monitor my dilation. I have to say- last night was stressful. Praise God that everything turned out well.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Love & Respect



I watched this video clip this afternoon out of curiosity because so much media attention has been placed on Christie Brinkley and her husband's affair. It was sad to hear his side of the story. I can't help but wish that they both had read the book, "Love and Respect," before their marriage disintegrated. It would've helped them both so much. So sad! If you're married, I highly recommend your spouse and you checking this book out to help you learn to relate to each other in the ways that God intended.

Click below to watch a clip of the interview with Barbara Walters and Peter Cook.
http://television.aol.com/tvtop5/fried-cook-20-20/2277056

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Reflections





(This is a photo of a chandelier that was given to us yesterday as a birthday gift for me. Isn't it beautiful? It was a WONDERFUL surprise. I have always wanted a dining room with a romantic chandelier. Now I have it!)

Choosing to stay home with our little girl once she is born this December was one of the most difficult decisions God has asked me to make. I've always been career-minded and independent as long as I can remember, and for once, God was tugging strongly at my heart to trust Him to provide for us during this period in our life. Bryan and I prayed about this for months before we finally agreed that God was directing us to do this, and honestly, I have been surprised by how many people have disagreed adamantly with this decision. In our culture, staying at home is ridiculous, especially if you have a degree that enables you to make good money. Being a natural people pleaser (not that I am proud of this fact), I have really struggled with this decision at times. God keeps speaking into my heart over and over again... "Who do you really want to serve Anna? Money or me? I will provide for you. Trust in me." As I sit here in our living room this morning, I am humbled by how strongly and carefully God has provided for us so far. He has provided for our needs and even wants. While I am not writing this to condemn any woman who works outside of the home, I just wanted to say that for one who decided not to for right now... God is sufficient to meet our needs, even on a modest, single income. God is enough, because He is abundantly good and loving to His children. He is faithful to take care of us when He asks us to step out in faith and to walk a different path than the one we had imagined for ourselves.

What I have found out so far... His path is more beautiful and more satisfying than the one I had mapped out for myself. To God be the glory.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My Ever Logical Husband =c)


The conversation we had recently about how big my pregnant belly was growing...

Me: I'm starting to feel huge... like a white whale.

Bryan: Anna, you have a person growing inside of you.

Me: Good point. When you say it that way, it makes me feel better. I guess this isn't too bad.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Abby's 3d at 30 weeks

Click to play Abby's 30wk ultrasound
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Once again, Abby was more interested in napping than cooperating with the 3d ultrasound. Because she had her face buried into the placenta and had her arms and legs bundled up close, some of the pictures were a little distorted. This was our last time to get a 3d before she is born, since she is getting too big for a clear image from this point on. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, October 3, 2008

God's Goodness in Life's Little Details



Yesterday, I began prepping the seasonings for a roast that I was planning on cooking for supper last night. When I took it out of the fridge, it had spoiled, and I was upset. I had really wanted to make a nice supper for Bryan, and being at the end of our grocery budget, I only had frozen chicken to replace the meal. Disappointed, I cleaned up the mess I'd made in the preparations for the roast and continued my day. That afternoon, a couple from church dropped by unexpectedly and handed me a brown bag before leaving. Inside it were four beautiful T-bone steaks and a huge stack of ribs. God used them to replace a failed meal with an even better one than I had planned. I know this may not sound like much to some, and others may just bypass this as a coincidence. However, I know that God was being intentional in ministering to me, and I am so thankful for His steadfast goodness in the little details of life.

Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reborn Dolls

I saw this video this morning about a new type of doll that is so lifelike it is impressive. The sad thing is that women are buying them to replace a child that was lost to some tragedy or to provide them with the child they were incapable of bearing themselves. Heartbreaking. With so many children abandoned in orphanages needing moms, how sick has our society become that we would rather nurture an expensive doll instead of a real child just for convenience's sake? May God have mercy on us.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

An oxymoron, perhaps?

I have a confession. I am addicted to reading news headlines daily. Maybe it started when I was in Jr. Miss trying to prep for interviews... I don't know. Sometimes, the articles I read just leave me speechless and stunned. A recent headliner showed the most recent issue of People magazine with Clay Aiken on the cover. Check it out below.
This is what really struck me as odd. He is stating that he is "gay" but is holding "his" son. Last I checked it is still impossible for a man (who has not had a sex change... not talking about the weird situations of our day and time) to carry and birth a child. Undoubtedly, at some point, Clay Aiken must have been heterosexual. If you were going to come out of the closet, wouldn't this be the last photograph you would want to be published nationally for the title, "Yes, I'm Gay"? Am I the only one skeptical?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Introducing Abigail Bryanna Cirlot at 29 wks

You can watch the scrapblog on this site or you can click on the word "scrapblog" at the corner of the screen and go to its original site. I would suggest going to it, so you can choose a slower slideshow speed (5) when you view it in full screen (you'll see an adjustable bar with a turtle and a bunny on it in the lower right side of the maximized screen). Otherwise, the words are too small and it plays too fast. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Shelling Pancakes

Did you know it is possible to shell a pancake like a nut? Peeperz, our cockatoo, has the remarkable talent of shelling practically anything. He shells french fries (eating the inside and leaving the skins empty), chicken nuggets, previously shelled sunflower seeds (yes, there is a tiny, transparent skin left on them even after we shell them and think they are ready to eat), and as of this morning, pancakes. You see, no matter how domesticated our little bird is, it is still in his nature to shell everything as he would in the wild. Yes, our cockatoo may be potty trained and may have developed a hankering for chocolate milk, but you still can't get the "birdy" nature out of him.

So this morning as I sat here watching Peeperz shell pancakes, I started thinking about what my nature was like. The Bible teaches us that we have the nature of our father. Either as new creations in Christ, we have the very nature of God in us now, or as fallen beings with misplaced affections, we have the nature of the Enemy. What is my nature when no one is looking... no matter how well trained I may be?

May it be said of us that we are living up to the nature of our Heavenly Father and are walking diligently and steadfastly in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. May every idiosyncrasy and quirk point others to the truth that God is our Father and bring Him much glory.


"May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire."
2 Peter 1:2-4 (Emphasis mine)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

So Close!

Yesterday, four of our church members gave up their day to complete their final project in our kitchen. They cut out a hole in the false wall, framed it, trimmed it, and put in our fridge. They even installed a new electrical outlet over our fridge for convenience. It looks great! Here are some photos of the progress. We should be finished with the kitchen remodel soon! God has blessed us so much!

The cutout is finished.

Carla is caulking the trim and framework.

The electrical outlet is being installed.

Yeah! Ready to use!

Nice fit! Our fridge is welcomed into the kitchen again.

Our new shelving unit in the pantry area.

***With a little sanding and paint, this project will be complete!***

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