Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Attempt at Rest

Thanks to the flu and a week's worth of high dose of naproxen sodium, my Meniere's disease has flared up with a vengeance. The last horrible flareup was when Abby was a few months old, a lifestyle change of low to no sodium everything corrected it. This time, I'm just waiting for the effects of the flu to pass, so my buzzing, spinning world will return to normal.

Unfortunately, the only way to make the symptoms of Meniere's disease go away is to stop. Be still. Wait.

Today, I have tried to take it as easy as possible, even though every room in our house is a complete mess. I fought the urge to clean it and rested in hope that tomorrow will be a better day for it.

Here are a few snapshots of what slowing down looks like for me.














A spot of egg nog in the morning with a cockatoo.













Lots of cuddle time with Princess Abby.













Another creative craft project with these well-loved shoes and a sweater that no longer fits the hubs.



















Woolah! A new pair of sweater boots.













So cute! So chic. So ummm.... snowy white?

Sadly, they only lasted 30 minutes.

Abby came by to admire and wiped some extra dark grime on them that stained their front. Once I get to a thrift store, I'll buy a much darker sweater and do a try 2. I liked them!

After that, I baked a ham for supper and whipped up some potatoes with steamed veggies on the side. We all bunkered down on the couch to watch a good Disney movie on our new TV and blueray player (thanks parents!) and then decided to call it a night.

Hope your Sunday was great too!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Bryan!

This has probably been one of the worst birthday weeks Bryan has ever had.

Seriously.

His wife gets a horrible case of the flu and is down for the count. Mostly bed-ridden for days.
She can't cook, clean, care for their kid, do laundry... nothing. She's too dizzy to walk more than a few feet and too weak to sit up for more than a few hours. She's too out of it to even remember when her next medication dose will be. It's all on you. Happy Birthday.

Instead of sipping a full glass of OJ in the recliner and staying in a separate room with a can or two of Lysol, Bryan tirelessly served me while I was sick. While I have felt guilty enough for both of us for being down for so long, Bryan didn't complain or treat me with resentment. He was loving and patient. He worked HARD.

Today, I'm not back to 100% but I am able to celebrate Christmas Eve today with our families and to celebrate Bryan's birthday with him. Because he gave me the chance to rest, I am so much better than I was a few days ago. Yay!

Bryan... When I married you 4 and a half years ago, that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I respect you so much Bryan and am so thankful that I married you! You are a great husband and the best daddy! Happy, happy birthday! I wish every pastor was like you. If they were, I think pastor's wives would be a whole lot nicer and their kids wouldn't go AWAL. You are the kind of guy I hope Abby finds one day. I'm glad you are mine. (Back off ladies *warning eye*).


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Flu Empathy

This morning I woke up feeling much more human again.

I still don't feel great, but compared to death warmed over, I am sooo much better.

As I began praying to feel better today, I realized in my heart I was praying this detached, kind of half-hearted prayer. Almost like I really didn't believe that God cared that I was still sick and wanting to feel better.

Then, it hit me. The reason Christmas is a big deal is that Jesus was made flesh. We don't have a High Priest who is unable to relate to our weaknesses (remember that verse in Hebrews 4?).

Jesus has been sick. He has been me. He cares a whole lot.

Right now, if you told me you were sick with the flu, I have an ocean of empathy for you. Last week if you had told me, I'd care but not that much. Without having the flu before, you can't really understand how miserable it is.

Jesus took on flesh for us. Got sick. Felt miserable. Loved us. Died. Rose Again.

We have a reason to celebrate this Christmas. What other god has done this for man?

Only Jesus.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas to me!

Much to my relief, I'm not a wimp. I have the flu.

I may be too delirious right now to write anything worth reading, but this is what is on my heart.

I am miserable. I can't remember ever feeling this sick before.

My body aches. My head is swimming. Even my eye sockets hurt.

Hello flu.

Right now, even though I feel awful, I am inwardly at peace. Thank You Jesus.

I have the hope that I will feel better soon as my prescriptions are being filled now.

I have an awesome husband who is caring for me while he fights a cold and a loving family that is supporting me by watching Abby and keeping her away from my germs.

Out there in the world, there are other sick people feeling miserable without the peace of Christ and without the hope of getting better ever... no medications are available to them. They don't just feel alone- they are alone.

Let's continue to give generously to Lottie Moon this Christmas so that the sick can be treated. So those who are alone will find out they are not.

May you have a very blessed, healthy Christmas.

Get a flu shot.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Forgotten

Last night, I dreamt this really crazy dream. Bryan, Abby, and I were in a small trailer in the middle of nowhere fighting off people that wanted to kill us. In one part of my dream, Bryan left and never came back then I was killed a little while later. Instead of my dream ending there, it turned into this odd slow-mode slideshow of photos of Abby growing up without parents. It had her playing with her toys alone afraid at night. Getting more independent as she needed to be to survive but all of the while sad.

When I woke up in the early hours of the morning, I was so emotional. Obviously, it's a dumb dream, but the horror of a child... my child not having a family to love her and to care for her. The way it felt to see her alone was crushing.

God spoke to me in the quiet. This is what it is like to be one of the forgotten children in the world. One of the orphans on the street. This is why you should care.

At Christmas time this year, we're overwhelmed with our own needs. We're finishing paying off medical bills from my miscarriage and now my MRI stuff with my knee. We're working hard to save up for Bryan's seminary tuition which is a good chunk of money. So, this year, wonderful things like Lottie Moon just seem a little too much at times. I really do love to give. I just know how far our money needs to stretch.

I pray that God will stir your heart too this season to give generously until it hurts... so that forgotten children will meet Jesus, the One who has been there for them all along. So those who are hungry will be fed. So that those who walk in darkness may see the light... our Light.

Let's be like King David, a man after God's own heart, who said, "I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing." Let's not give in a way that does not cost us anything. After all, Jesus has given us everything.

Let's be joyful givers this season so the world may know and love Jesus too.

I am praying you will. I will.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Daddies Matter...

Today, I took Piper to a new groomer, because it really needed to happen soon and because the person we usually use was booked up for a month out.


When the lady found out I did web design, she asked me to post this letter and to spread it to all of my friends. Her dad abandoned her mom and her when she was only 3 months old, but she still thinks about him every day. Here's the letter she has written to her dad.


Peter David Hitz,


Beverly and yourself in March 1960 had a little girl. I have spent lots of time and money trying to find you. This is my last effort. All I would like is some of your time, and some answers… like you are happy and well? Do you have children other than me? Do you ever think of me? I would love to tell you about my life, my children, my grand children, my dog, and my home. In short, I would love to share a small part of your life.


With love to my father,

P.T.S.


-Please email her at cynetss@yahoo.com if you know anything about the whereabouts of Peter David Hitz.-


So daddies out there, if you wonder if you matter, you do. This grown woman still aches for the dad she never had. You matter a lot.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Living in Purgatory... Welcome to the South

I'm reading through 1 John again this morning for the second time in the past month. There's just so much good stuff in here.

"We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother." 1 John 4:19-21

These words are weighty... serious... life-changing. Not everyone is easy to love... Not everyone do want to love.

Down in the deep South, I refer to it as "purgatory." Most people I meet think they are "saved" but seem to be continually trying to earn God's approval. They seem to think, "I'll do this "blank" God, so you can answer"blank."" It's this horrible cycle of guilt, try to earn back God, fail, guilt, try to earn back God, fail, guilt... you get the point.

Jesus told us that He came to give us life and to give it to us abundantly. This cycle is not it.

Why the cycle?

1) There are many Christians out there that don't know the Word and do not live in it. They try to do the Christian life on their own when God has ordained for the Christian to do life within His body- the Church.
2) There are many "Christians" out there that aren't Christians at all. They have been in church just long enough to learn enough to "inoculate" themselves from the true Gospel. Feeling confident of their salvation, they live in purgatory- unable to help themselves or anyone else. Doomed to hell. They hate themselves and everyone else.

How can we be confident of our salvation?

It goes back to the verses I quoted in 1 John. Do we love God? If so, do we love others?

Just in case we might misconstrue the meaning of "love," God included a nice breakdown of the word in 1 Corinthians 13 (not self-seeking, not rude, not arrogant, never fails, etc...)

Check your heart. Don't be deceived. Too many are. John wrote at the end of 1 John, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may KNOW you have eternal life. (emphasis mine)." 1 John 5:13

Do you know?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Preachers Can Dance

Merry Christmas from the Cirlot Family!

Watch this if you need a good laugh! ;)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Peripety Designs













Peripety Designs is in the East Central/Vancleave Link Newspaper this week.

Click here to see where newspapers are sold or to buy an e-edition!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Can You Believe It's Been 2 Years?

Abby is going to be 2 years old December 9th, so we are throwing her a princess party this weekend. I can't believe it's already time... wow! Come join us for a great time, but be sure to RSVP so we have enough cupcakes for all. :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Worship in America...

The Three Most Disturbing Words on TV...

This article really makes you think.

I read it a few days ago and am still convicted. It's well worth your time.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2010/11/22/the-3-most-disturbing-words-on-tv/

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Here's the "Easy" List

Here are the "easy" things I am thankful for in 2010...

- Jesus- Where do I even start? I love Him so much. I'm a mess with Him but an even bigger mess without Him. He is my life source... My joy.. My hope. I don't mean to sound cliche, but I am so overwhelmed with how much He loves me. I am so thankful He never changes and is crazy about me too.

- Bryan- We have been through quite a bit of heartache and tragedy in our short four years together as a married couple, but I love my husband even more with all we have been through together. I appreciate his steadiness and kindness. I love that Jesus is His strength. I couldn't ask for a better husband and Daddy to Abby. I am so proud of the man he is.

- Abby- She is my little firecracker. She's a bundle of noisy bright energy and such a joy. She has been my greatest tool for sanctification so far, and I have no doubt that will be true in the future too. I am crazy about our precious daughter, and I enjoy her so much.

- Family- I love my family both new and old. I am so thankful to have so many people in my life who support me and love me well. I am very aware of how blessed I am.

-Friends- I am thankful for new and old friends this year. I am so grateful for the old friends who have put up with me and who have been there for me for years. You know who you are- I love you! For the new friendships that God has been growing this year, I am thankful for you too! You've had to walk through some times with me this year. I am so thankful for friends who encourage me when I am down, love me when I am imperfect, cry with me when I am sad, and rejoice with me when I am happy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful...

Instead of following the usual Thanksgiving routine for being thankful for the things that are easy to be thankful for, here's how I am learning to be thankful for the difficult things in my life this year.

- I am thankful that Bryan has a physical illness that comes and goes that we couldn't get diagnosed this year, because despite the stress of the unknown, it has taught me more about God's sovereignty. God is good, and He brings even illnesses into our lives for our good and His glory. If I can trust Him with my salvation, I can trust Him with my husband's life. Even knowing a diagnosis wouldn't make us more in control, it would just seem "comforting" to explain away a chronic illness.

-I am thankful that we serve at a small church where our finances are tighter at times than we would prefer. I could go on and on about this one. I have a love/hate relationship with this situation. It has taught me how much I lean towards making money my "god." I have had to learn that God is my Provider over and over again. I have learned how to live more simply than I ever have before. I have learned that much of what I "needed" before wasn't really a need at all. Because of our finances, we were prompted to turn a business idea into a reality, and I have had so much fun doing graphic design and building websites.

-I am thankful that I have lost friends this year. This one has been a tough one for me. I am more aware of my need of a Savior in a thousand different ways. I am thankful that Jesus can work out all things for good in the end. I am thankful that there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Jesus Christ. It's been my lifeline verse.

-I am thankful that I had a child born with allergies almost two years ago. I would have never realized how much food can be an idol in our culture had I not had to give up most "normal" foods for over a year. While Abby has finally outgrown most of her dietary issues, it was a real eye opener. I think I finally eat to live instead of living to eat (but I sure do enjoy food)!

-I am thankful that we miscarried again this year. Don't get me wrong- I hate that it happened- oh, how I hate it. It's in the moments that threaten to rip you apart that you learn how much Jesus loves you- really loves you. I have learned how precious and constant His peace is when we are spending that daily time with Him and how quickly it leaves when we try to live life our own way in our own strength. I am thankful that I have two children waiting for me in heaven when Jesus brings me to my final home. I can't wait to meet them. I like knowing that they will never know a life apart from Jesus- they get to start enjoying Him in His fullness now without any pain or sorrow.

-I am thankful that I am so imperfect that I can't pull it all together most days. I'm often late, sometimes disorganized, and too often opinionated. With such obvious pitfalls and shortcomings, two things are obvious from my life. Jesus really does love sinners, and Jesus doesn't give up on sinners. I am thankful that I am so greatly loved by my Jesus and that He sees something beautiful in the mess I am.

How about you?

What tough things can you be thankful for this week?

What painful confessions of thankfulness do you have?

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Little Details

God's sovereignty in the little details still gets to me. I just can't get over being amazed at how intimately He is ALWAYS working through every situation good or bad in my life and yours. Here's a classic example tonight.

Let me run through the steps that led us to the present.

-2 years ago, we buy a house and my parents give us their old queen mattress and box springs.
- 8 months ago, we find a nice wooden bed frame beside a garbage dump that just needs to be sanded down and painted. Since someone had just given us their old van, we were able to load it up and carry it to our house to be restored.
- 2 months ago, we finally find the time to restore the bed and paint it to get our guest bedroom ready for out of town guests.
- 1 month ago, a single mom of 4 gives her life to Christ and begins coming to our church.
- 2 weeks ago, we find out that we can get a huge tax deduction if we give up our guest bedroom and turn it exclusively into an office for our web design business.
- Yesterday, we post our bed frame on craigslist to sell it to help pay for Abby's playhouse that we are building her for a birthday/Christmas gift. At Bible study that night, we find out the single mom needs a queen mattress and box springs. She's been making do with sleeping on the couch or on box springs for a while.
-Today, we sell the bed frame to a guy that needed a frame cheap for his college-aged daughter who is coming home for Christmas from Minnesota. We give our queen mattress/box springs to the single mom so she can actually sleep comfortably at night for the first time in a while. Our guest bedroom can turn into an office now as needed. With the $50, we can buy leftover lumber for Abby's playhouse that we found tonight on Craigslist for really cheap.

Doesn't God's sovereignty in the small things just blow you away?

God is just so good- so involved- so present- always.

Incredible.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh How He Loves Us

Have you ever had an off day where you just felt unloved and unloveable? Well, that was my day today. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I was running off so little sleep wide open on a busy day. It was just one of those days where EVERYTHING seemed to go wrong that I touched. You know what I am talking about. My hair was bad. My house was dirty. My kid was fussy. Just one of those days.

Tonight, as I wrapped up a few things online, I saw a contest on Devacurl for 50 lucky curls from 50 states, so I submitted my email address just for a shot. Can you believe I got an email back saying that I had been selected from MS for a Devastylist to come cut my hair?!!!

At that moment, I heard God whisper... See I can provide for your wants with even impossible odds against them. This may seem like a shallow thing to be humbled by, but this is what you don't know.

I have secretly really, really wanted a Devacut, but there aren't stylists anywhere near me. It would be an overnight trip to do it, and with saving up for Bryan's seminary tuition, it just wasn't going to happen.

Out of the blue, a Devastylist is traveling to Gautier, MS to cut my hair!??? Coincidence. No. That was a love letter from God to remind me how closely He knows even the stupid, selfish desires of my heart that not even my closest friends know. That's how intimately He cares for me... and you. (If that doesn't make you tear up, something is wrong with you. He loves you that much too.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Day

Summary of My Day:

Manage websites. Check.
Design & order banner. Check.
Chores. Check.
Walgreens trip. Check.
Client Website down. Check.
Abby drinks 1 oz. of Benadryl while fixing Website. Check.
Call ER. Check.
Call Poison Control. Check.
Fixing Website while Abby moonwalks in the Living Room. Check.

Dear Dr. James Dobson,

I would like to introduce you to the new strong-willed child. She puts all of your examples in your book to shame. Also, she can climb really well to reach things put away and can pop a child-proof cap in less than 10 seconds.

This is Abby.

Kind Regards,

Her Tired Mommy

Sunday, November 7, 2010

True Gospel

Many of you have wondered why I would share our journey through this miscarriage so openly. Honestly, I believe it is God's will for us to suffer publicly this time. Three years ago, when we miscarried shortly after sharing our good news, I decided that I never wanted to go through grieving in the public eye again. However, God's will for us was different than mine.

What you don't know is that when we found out we were pregnant, we were only 3 weeks along. We kept it a secret until weeks later when we had went through repeat HCG levels and an ultrasound that confirmed the pregnancy was healthy.

Days after we began sharing our good news, I began bleeding- at first, in a way that looked like spotting. After a doctor's visit where they assured us that everything was normal, we continued to share and trusted that the bleeding would stop without any problems. I even heard God whisper to me leaving the office that day, "That everything would be ok- to trust in Him." We did... and still do.

I haven't shared our journey for attention or to make myself look strong, because I'm not. I'm actually the weakest, most insecure person you will ever meet, but my Savior is so faithful, so sure, so strong. He has given me a strength, a hope, a peace, and a joy along this difficult road that I have never known before.

Everything is ok. Not in the way I wanted it to be. I want to still be pregnant. I want to give Abby a baby brother or sister in June. But, I trust God. I trust that He has a purpose in our suffering. I trust that He has a purpose in us sharing this journey with you. I have no idea what it is. Maybe you need to know what the true Gospel is.

The true Gospel is not that life will always go well for believers and that they will have abundant health and financial prosperity in this life. That's a lie from hell.

The true Gospel is that we are weak and pitiful in a horribly broken world and that God in His great love for sinners like us sent His only Son Jesus to die on a cross for our sins that we might have hope in His resurrection. That we, His children, would not fear death and eternal separation from Him or our loved ones that believe in Him. The true Gospel is that Jesus is enough for us here in this life and the next and that we do not have to be alone. The true Gospel is why I can rejoice in my grief knowing that one day our family of three will one day again be a family of five. This true Gospel is why I can get out of bed each morning smiling and with joy in my heart- it is why I live.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Launched!

The new business site for Peripety Designs is launched!

Check it out & give me feedback:

http://www.peripetydesigns.com

Thursday, November 4, 2010

When a Nerd Becomes an Artist

I've been working like a mad woman on our new business site this past week, and I am close to being finished on my end with the design elements. Yesterday, I realized I didn't have a current family photo to add to our "About" page, so I created my own.

Here's what I started with...


After about 30 minutes of digital manipulation which included erasing both backgrounds, color desaturation, and a digitally hand drawn new shirt for myself, I added the sketch overlay and woolah! A modern family photo for our new site without the expense of a photographer.

Looks are deceiving, huh? I heart Pixelmator.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Devacurl

So, this isn't a super spiritual blog moment, but you could show me some love!

I'm in a competition on facebook's Devacurl page showcasing a horrible hair photo and a recent hair photo. I need as many friends as possible to "Like" the photo below. (A few of you helped out earlier today, and I need you to do it again- the results weren't registered.)

The voting ends soon, and I need at least 30 friends to "Like" my photo to stand a chance.

If I win, I get free hair products. Check out the link below.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=544853362948&set=o.84598267050

"Like" my photo and laugh with me at the BAD one.

Thanks!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Journeying

The last few weeks have really been quite the journey for me. I've walked through the joys of being pregnant to the sorrows of losing that little life. It's been a slow, sometimes difficult journey this last week. Unlike last time I miscarried, I am constantly reminded that I am not pregnant anymore but was. From the tiny bit of baby weight that I am trying to lose to the whole process of actually miscarrying naturally, it has been a painful, sad, bitter thing. Jesus has been so faithful this whole time too. While I am grieving, His Presence is so close. I'm finding that I am so much more aware of other things right now too. Sin breaks my heart more. I hurt more for people that are hurting. I think I smile more for those who are rejoicing during this season too. I feel like I am really beginning to learn how to "practice the presence of God" in the mundane moments of life. I love Jesus more now than I did a few weeks ago. I've been struggling the last few days with a question that God asked me during my quiet time the day after I miscarried. He asked me, "Will you still love me if things don't get better?" You see, this whole time I have been comforting myself thinking, "Surely. Things will get better." But, what if they don't? What if God doesn't give us any more children? What if we miscarry again and again? What if I lose even more than I have already lost? Will I still love Him if things just get worse and worse here on earth?

I'm convinced that when things go wrong that God doesn't want us to comfort ourselves with the idea that things will get better. They may not. In this world, Jesus promised us we would have trouble... tribulation. So, where do we turn to when things just keep getting worse... when we feel like our hearts will break if we hear any more bad news or hear one more harsh word said by those around us?

Jesus. He told His disciples, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Jesus knew what was coming. His disciples would be cast out from their families, imprisoned for His name, and rejected by the world. For us too, Jesus has to be enough. He has to be what satisfies. In the end, He is all we really have here on earth. Nothing else will make me o.k. or make me happy. Jesus has to be everything. He is.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grief

Grief this time has been different for me. Last time, I worked through a lot of anger towards God when we miscarried. It seemed unfair to lose our child while I worked daily with so many children that were abused and unwanted. It was a bitter and raw time for me, but God is so faithful to work with His children when we are hurt and confused. Slowly, He pulled me from anger to peace.

This time, I am sad. Deeply sad. I have cried over the child I wanted so desperately to meet. I have cried over the boy I know Bryan so desperately hoped he would be. I have cried over all of the joys with this child I will never know on this side of eternity. I am not angry... at least not at this point. Grief is a crazy, unpredictable thing. It comes and goes unexpectedly and without real warning. I know it has different stages, and you may or may not go through them all.

Right now, I am at peace. I am experiencing the peace Jesus promised- the peace that passes all understanding. I hate what has happened. It is horrible. It is tragic. It hurts. A lot.

I know Father God has a plan in all of this, and in that, I find great comfort.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

End of Limbo

I just got off the phone with Dr. Sams, and the news wasn't what we wanted to hear. We now have one child here with us and two in heaven. We are grieving and comforted that one day we will get to meet this child along with the other one we never met. For those of you who have waited and prayed with us, thank you so much for your encouragement and support. God is good... all of the time. He has been our rest to this point in the journey and will continue to prove faithful to us.

I read a quote last night in a book that I thought was timely. It said, "Boiling water makes carrots soft, eggs hard, and coffee beans useful. Which are you?" Suffering comes for us all. It is part of life in this broken world. I pray that when it comes to you that you will choose to be useful to the Master. His plan is higher than ours. Even our unanswered prayers and the things we don't understand or even hate that happen to us somehow work toward "good" in the end (Romans 8:28) when we love the LORD. So for now, I will rest in Him as He heals my broken heart and gives me the strength to serve Him another day.

Psalm 73:25-28
"Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Resting

Yesterday when I blogged, I didn't expect to have so many people care and to have so many people agree to join us in prayer. While I am usually on the serving end in the body of Christ, it is a humbling thing to be part of the receiving end this time. We appreciate all of the prayers so much and really feel them. Last time I miscarried, I remember praying frantically and being distraught. This time, I am obviously upset but I am at peace while we wait. I am still bleeding today but it has slowed down quite a bit. I am confident that God hears our prayers and will answer them according to His perfect plan.

Right now, with having so many people join us in prayer, I do want to be clear as we pray. If we miscarry, it does not invalidate God's ability to answer prayer. God is able to protect our child and keep him healthy if that is His will. Bryan and I also know that our will isn't always best. It may be God's perfect plan that this child join his brother/sister in heaven that we lost three years ago. Either way, we trust God to know what is best for us and for this child. Whether we birth a child on earth next June or birth one in heaven this week, God is still very good and very loving, and He cares about us more than we can know.

In the end, our hope and joy has to be in Christ. Nothing else can satisfy.

Revelation 21:1-7 "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be His God and He will be my son. (emphasis mine)"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Here We Are Again

Yesterday was one of those days. It started out with church and a sweet birthday dinner at one of our church member's homes. What should have been a happy time turned out to be quite stressful. I woke up that morning and was already spotting. For any pregnant woman who has ever spotted, you really wonder why they chose such a deceiving word for what the experience is actually like. As the day matured, the bleeding began to get heavier until I became weak and dizzy. Sadly, we had to excuse ourselves from my birthday meal early in order to go to the ER via doctor's orders.

Bryan's mom came and picked up Abby while I was tested in every way possible to try to determine if we were miscarrying or not. The end test results were inconclusive, so I was sent home and told to rest. According to the ER doctor, the bleeding seems to indicate a likely miscarriage but the acceptable HCG level did not confirm it. I am at home waiting now to hear what my obgyn wants to do.

I am at a place of waiting that I prayed I would never be at again. No one welcomes suffering, but I am reminded here again how sweet the presence of Jesus really is when His children hurt. We are experiencing a peace that passes all understanding as we wait on the LORD to accomplish His will in our lives and in the life of this child. I trust Him. This time, I know confidently that He can heal me and save our child from a miscarriage. This time, I also know that if we do miscarry, He will carry me through the grief and use this pain for His glory. Either way, in life or death, God is good. We will rest in Jesus.

Please join us in prayer that God will use this child as an example of His miraculous power to do the impossible that even modern medicine cannot do. We are praying for a healthy baby and for the bleeding to stop. If touching Jesus' robe caused a woman's blood flow to stop in the Gospels, we know that God is able to do the same so that we do not miscarry. Thank you for praying with us and for waiting with us to see God work.


Friday, October 15, 2010

October Joy


Job 1:21 "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Three years ago, Bryan and I found out unexpectedly that we were pregnant and were surprised but excited. Shortly after we shared our good news, we miscarried and were devastated. Less than six months later, God gave us Abby to our great joy. Parenting has taught us so much about God's intense love for us and how carefully He disciplines and nurtures us. Through the furious pain of miscarrying, I felt Jesus carry me through my heartache and through the beautiful excitement of delivering a healthy child, I felt Jesus rejoice with me, His child.

Every October now, we celebrate what God has given and what He has taken away. Through both children, we have seen the beauty of the LORD and for that we are thankful and forever grateful for both lives that have permanently touched ours.

Today, we are excited to share that God has given us another child that we expectedly wait to meet next June. We praise God that He has given us another child to love. Bryan is praying it is a boy!

Here's a snapshot of Abby in her "Big Sister" shirt I made for her to wear as we shared with the grandparents a few weeks ago. She's still trying to figure out what "Big Sister" means.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Master Bedroom Remodel

Here is a late post about our Master Bedroom that we remodeled last weekend. Here's what it looked like around Christmas time.

Master Bedroom Before:

Master Bedroom View #2 Before:

Here's the skinny on the Master Bedroom. We only bought paint, a few dollars worth of sheets at the thrift store that I turned into curtains, a few dollars worth of thrift store pillows and pillowcases, a $2 thrift store table runner, and a $20 clearance rug at Lowe's. Everything else we already had and just moved into this room for decor or furniture. It looks like a completely different room. I love how relaxing and tropical it is! I've wanted a blue bedroom since middle school, so I am so glad that Bryan agreed to let us do this. Yay! God is so good to give us not only what we need but often what we want as well. Bryan and I had so much fun working on this project together. I love my hubby!


Master Bedroom After:


Master Bedroom View #2 After:


Master Bedroom View #3 After:

Guest Bedroom Remodel

After owning our home for a little over 3 years, we finally tackled our guest bedroom. It had a terrible paint job and absolutely no character. This is the only photo I could find of it. I was so embarrassed of it before the redo that I haven't really taken photos of it, and I forgot to take pics before we started painting.

Guest Bedroom Before (This photo makes it look deceptively better than it actually was):

The painting begins with everything piled in the center of the room.

Our fantastic head painter.


Here's the scoop. We simply rearranged things throughout the house and used what we already had to decorate. We found the nice wooden headboard and footboard beside a trashcan in our neighborhood. We already had hand-me-down newlywed furniture that was really worn. We repainted everything, and it looks brand new. Everyone else's junk just became our treasure. We already had artwork that I had made throughout the years framed in a way that matched the freshly painted furniture perfectly. Ta-dah! Here is our cheap remodel. The only thing we paid for was paint. Isn't God good?

After: Guest Bedroom


Friday, September 24, 2010

Cheap but Chic Kitchen Update

So, I really have been repurposing. I've just been too busy building websites the past 2 weeks to post much. Here's a few kitchen projects that I have done.

I saw this project on a diy blog for remodeling cheap. You spray paint stick on vinyl floor tiles in silver to make a cute and easily cleanable back splash. I hate trying to scrub splashes off of paint. Yuck!

Long Kitchen View Before:

Our Kitchen Hutch Area Before:



After:
After:

The best part is this little update only cost $4. Thank you Lowe's!

Here's a tray table that I have posted above our fridge for Abby's latest artwork.

Here's a rusty piece of metal that Bryan brilliantly framed for my recipes and etc. Love it!

More repurposing projects to come!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Video Message of My Rough Day

Ok, so being a mom isn't for wimps... here's the story.
(Bryan wanted to try out Peripety's new video player)

Anna's Bad Day from Peripety Designs on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Beautiful Old Puritan Prayer

Holy Lord, I have sinned times without number, and been guilty of pride and unbelief, of failure to find Thy mind in Thy Word, of neglect to seek Thee in my daily life. My transgressions and short-comings present me with a list of accusations, but I bless Thee that they will not stand against me, for all have been laid on Christ. Go on to subdue my corruptions, and grant me grace to live above them. Let not the passions of the flesh nor lustings of the mind bring my spirit into subjection, but do Thou rule over me in liberty and power.

I thank Thee that many of my prayers have been refused. I have asked amiss and do not have, I have prayed from lusts and been rejected, I have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness. Go on with Thy patient work, answering 'no' to my wrongful prayers, and fitting me to accept it. Purge me from every false desire, every base aspiration, everything contrary to Thy rule. I thank Thee for Thy wisdom and Thy love, for all the acts of discipline to which I am subject, for sometimes putting me into the furnace to refine my gold and remove my dross.

No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of sin. If Thou shouldst give me choice to live in pleasure and keep my sins, or to have them burnt away with trial, give me sanctified affliction. Deliver me from every evil habit, every accretion of former sins, everything that dims the brightness of Thy grace in me, everything that prevents me taking delight in Thee. Then I shall bless Thee, God of jeshurun, for helping me to be upright.


May we all be willing to pray such a bold prayer.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Shoe Redo

I love cute shoes. I must have inherited that from my mother (apparently Abby has the shoe gene too). I've been wanting a pair of metallic flats to go with jeans and skirts but did not want to flip the bill right now. I decided to take an old, well-loved pair of shoes and turn them into a new set. It was a ton of fun. I'm going to try to repurpose or "update" something every week this month. Last week was Bryan's old polo. This week we are starting off with these shoes. Next week? Stay tuned...

Before:


After:


Demonstrating with my favorite pair of worn jeans.


Yay! Mission finished.







Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Repurposing Fun

Bryan's favorite polo shirt was recently ruined by ink stains. Feeling crafty and inspired by a photo I had seen on a sewing blog, I decided to try to turn his old polo into a cute dress for Abby. I'm pretty pleased with the results. It's not master craftsmanship, but it works just fine for a flirty toddler outfit. It's my first project besides burp cloths to try by myself. I think I am hooked. I'll be sewing again soon. I had a ton of fun!

Check out the photos of Abby dancing with her Daddy in her new outfit.





Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Look & Site Coming Soon!

I have about 4 websites and counting above this project but we're hoping to launch a family blog site by the end of August. Here is a sneak preview of what the site will look like. I'm excited!

Friday, June 18, 2010

What is Your Bride-price?

An awakening is happening. God is calling His sleeping beauty, the Church, out of a deep slumber and back to her created purpose. This week at the SBC convention I was amazed by our God. The past couple of months God has been strongly dealing with me in several different areas that are sensitive and controversial. I have really been struggling with the Spirit over everything. God is God over all- not just me.

This week at the convention speaker after speaker began to share what God was personally doing with them, and I listened on the edge of my seat. God has been convicting them of the same sins and has been challenging them in the same ways. As a convention we repented of being far too much in love with this world, we voted on the Great Commission Resurgence report's recommended goals to become more effective as believers and Southern Baptists.

Persecution and trials will come. Jesus has assured us of this. I welcome them both. Maybe then the Church will remember her first love again. Maybe I will too.

God is calling each of us to wake up. Countless souls are dying into eternal damnation every second we sleep. We are accountable. Just as the Nazis were accountable for the Holocaust, we are accountable for our apathy and self-indulgence as millions die without basic needs met and without the knowledge of the Savior who died for them. The sin of omission is just as deadly as the sin of commission. Jesus said whatever we do unto the least of these we do unto Him.

Wake up.

Church we were bought for more than this.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

So Thankful



I have to say with much relief that God apparently knows what He is doing. Yes, chuckle if you must. You've all felt that way before. Being the sinful humans we are from birth we all doubt if God made a "mistake" with us. Maybe you don't like your crooked nose, your short legs, or your high-pitched laugh. I don't know what "that" is, but, I am confident that you know.

For me, after I went to college and became part of the nursing program, I just hated "me." I tried to think like the other nursing students or nurses I admired. They were so analytical, so fluid with procedures, so mechanical. If you know me at all, you know I don't think that way. According to Bryan, while most people go from A to Z by reciting every letter in between, I just jump from A to Z and have no idea how I got there.

I felt ashamed of my creativity and tried hard to work on the "weak" left side of my brain. I always found myself back working on a piece of art or a craft whenever I was completely stressed out. The right side of my brain could be ignored but not forgotten.

Since we started Peripety Designs, our web design business, I have had an amazing outlet for doing the creative stuff I used to just do for fun- no pay. Being able to support Bryan's ministry by helping our family financially has been a God-sent for me emotionally. The funny thing is that the dominant "right" side of my brain that I was so embarrassed of years ago has become my best friend. USA today wrote an article a year go titled, "Retrain your brain from "left" to "right" to fit into the new economy. Pretty neat.

I'm thankful now that I am wired to be creative. Just like the "left brainers," I have my place in this world too. It's rather beautiful the way God has set up such diversity among all of us. I find great comfort in this journey knowing that all of His details in creating me were purposefully planned. What a glorious God we serve! What other religion can brag about a god who intimately orchestrates the quirks in our personhood for a joyful, divine purpose? Praise Jesus, we can!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fingerprint of the Creator

"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." Romans 1:20

This weekend Bryan, Abby, and I had a fantastic time in New Orleans. We spent the night in the luxurious Roosevelt, ate beignets at Cafe Du Monde, and visited the Aquarium of Americas. So much fun! During our trip to the aquarium, Bryan snapped this incredible shot of a jellyfish. The way the light passed through it formed a cross, and this verse came to mind. Jesus is everywhere we go if we will only open our eyes and see. His fingerprints are all over the world. To not see Him is to not look.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Many Lessons of Motherhood

When Bryan and I found out that we were pregnant in March of 2008, we had no idea how much our world would change. It is impossible to prepare for the "high" high's and the "low" low's on this journey.

Last night, our adorable toddler decided to end our night at a friend's birthday party with taking a chunk out of another kid's shoulder (PK stereotype early?). Talk about an embarrassing way to end the evening. You leave wondering how you could have failed so miserably at teaching your child to be loving and kind and begin questioning whether or not the Bible is positive that the rod will correct in its time. Every parent has been there (or will be), but it still doesn't make those situations more bearable.

What I didn't expect, however, was how good the good times would be. This morning, Abby and I went out into the backyard for her to swing. Doing our normal routine, I sang praise songs to her as I pushed her back in forth in the swing and smiled as she sang along with me in her sweet toddler voice. Softly and slowly, her voice faded as her eyelids grew heavier and heavier. This is how our special time ended (see photo below). No one could have told me how precious it was to watch a baby fall asleep so peacefully and how much I would love her before she was even born. No one could have told me how absolutely certain I would be that she was the most beautiful child in existence (of course, she should be the cover model for every baby magazine).


I didn't expect all of the chaos that parenting has brought into our lives. I naively thought that "good" parents could contain it somehow. I do appreciate the humility that flows into our world daily as we learn that only in Jesus can we learn how to love our child as He loves us... unconditionally and completely. No, I didn't expect all of the messes and the "I'm sorry's," but I didn't expect all of the joys and blessings either. How thankful I am to be a mom! It's the most challenging and most rewarding experience I have ever had. It makes me appreciate my mom even more!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What Is Your Grace?


"To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ..." Ephesians 3:8 (Emphasis Mine)

Paul was speaking about his ministry to the Gentiles being his "grace" from God. What grace has God given you during this season of your life? This morning I finally had a chance to be still for a couple of hours before the Lord, and it was so refreshing. The past two weeks have been a frenzy of deadlines, household chores, and church activities. In the blur, I almost forgot that the responsibilities I have been entrusted with right now are "grace" to me from God.

How thankful I am that He has called me to "good works" (Eph. 2:10)! What "grace" has He lovingly called you to this moment? Maybe it's for "such a time as this" (Esther 4:14)? May you be strengthened by the Scriptures that encouraged me this morning.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2

May we run the race well for as long as we have here on earth (Eph.5:16), so that we may hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master (Mt.25:23)."

So for the joy set before me, I run.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gluttons for Punishment

As many of you know, our cockatoo Peeperz has been plucking severely since Abby's birth and is showing no signs of stopping. We've tried almost everything we can think of to eliminate this dangerous behavior, but we still have a bald little chicken with bleeding sores. We're trying our last possible shot at curing Peeperz' insanity... love.
For a couple of days, we are borrowing a female goffin cockatoo from a guy we met to see if Peeperz will be happier with a mate. Yes, I know. We are crazy. Crazy pet people.

Peeperz' first date with "Nemo" was last night. So far so good. Nemo is very, very calm and seems to make Peeperz chill out as well. Nemo is incredibly friendly, even with Abby, so maybe that will reassure Peeperz that Abby is o.k. too. Here's a photo of what last night looked like, so you can enjoy the humor of the situation.

Bryan was chaperoning. Nemo is on the left and Peeperz is on the right.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Something You Should Listen to!

This past Sunday Bryan preached an incredibly challenging message to Cambridge about possessions and the church. You should listen to it. I teased him when we got home and told him if this sermon didn't get him fired- nothing will! Money is such a sensitive topic, and I am proud of how boldly and powerfully he handled the topic using Scripture. If you click on the link below, it'll take you to our church website and the sermon can be found either on the front page this week or under the sermon page later on. The title is, "Church? Possessions." Enjoy!

http://cambridgebaptist.net/

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

PD Mailout

Things have been going well for Peripety Design so far this year. We have built a total of 4 sites and are currently working on 2 more. We are excited about our business and hope for more soon. Here's a copy of a letter we are sending out to all of the local churches in the Jackson County Baptist Association this week.

Dear Church,

We would like to introduce ourselves as a new ministry on the Coast that is created to help serve you! We are a web and graphic design business that is dedicated to promoting your church's identity online and along the Gulf Coast. We are a husband-wife pastoral team at a church in Gautier doing what we love and helping you succeed in your ministry at a price you can afford. We build content-management sites that work within your budget and function
at an optimal level. Best yet, we customize everything to match your ministry perfectly. If you are too busy to maintain a site, we'd love nothing more than to manage it for you.

Our recent clients have asked why we price everything so affordably, and the answer is simple. We believe that great websites are a necessity to reach people for Jesus, not a luxury for megachurches. While similarly built sites cost at least two thousand dollars or more, we price sites according to what you can afford and trust the rest to God. We believe reaching this current generation for Jesus is priceless. When you hire us, you support a ministerial family, feed our super cute kid, and allow us to continue ministering in a small church.

While websites are one of our most popular services, we also specialize in logo design and branding, graphic design for prints, special event graphics, and many others. You can see our recent clients, our portfolio, and a detailed list of our services online at our website: http://www.peripetydesigns.com.

Here a few testimonials about us:

We are so pleased with the website. It looks great! The website looks
very professional and it is easy to navigate. Thank you Peripety
Designs for the great job on our site. We will recommend Peripety to
all our friends!

Jennifer Williams, Club Meth to Christ

Wow! Peripety went beyond our expectations and created us a unique, elegant, and user friendly site focusing on the central
purpose and theme of our church. Peripety listened to our ideas and tailor designed each area to fit the needs of our staff.
If you enjoy prompt customer service, attention to detail, and reasonable pricing, you will not be disappointed with Peripety.

Mitch Osborne, Minister of Music/Facilities, Ridglea Heights Baptist Church

When planning a local community-wide youth rally, Peripety Designs created one-of-a-kind graphics to suit our needs. They
did an amazing job creating a theme design that was used throughout the advertising, planning, and production of the event.
Peripety worked with our church very professionally with our event budget in mind. Thank You Peripety Designs!

Ryan Ogborn, Minister of Youth, Eastlawn Baptist Church

We would love to be your turning point in creative outreach. After all, it's all about Jesus. We'd love to help you point more people to Him. Let us bring your church online with a website that explains to your community who you are and what you offer as a ministry. It's our dream to bring the Jackson County Baptist Association to the web, so that we can reach out to the lost and bring them to Christ. We'd love for you join us in this mission. We look forward to hearing from you!

In His grace,
Anna Cirlot
Owner & Graphic Designer, Peripety Designs
contactus@peripetydesigns.com
http://www.peripetydesigns.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Divine Interruption

Well, it turns out that the reason I was uncomfortable the night before last was because I was developing a sinus infection. Apparently, a sinus infection plus an almost healed nose fracture equals misery. Conveniently, exactly where I fractured my nose is where the infection is the worst. Thanks to my local doctor who called in antibiotics for me, I can already tell after 3 doses that I will survive (I know you were worried).

Besides the facial pain, the worst part is not having the energy I need to keep up with Abby. As always, God times everything perfectly. Since Bryan is preaching a revival here in Memphis, I have had plenty of help during the day in between his times of studying. Since we are not at home, I don't have to feel guilty about resting for most of the day when I can. We may not be sightseeing as I had originally planned, but I am thankful for a time of unexpected rest and for a great husband who practices what he preaches.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How Easy Is Your Life?


It's 3:15 in the morning, and I can't sleep. I have been up since 2:30. My nose is hurting around my fracture site (for those of you who don't know, I broke my nose being clumsy on Valentine's day). I'm miserable. After trying to go back to sleep in vain, I decided to come into the living room and begin reading through the Gospels.

God begins to hammer me once again with His truth. The Word begins to cut out my heart of stone and replace it with His heart of flesh. Everything I am reading is lining up perfectly with where I am struggling right now and with what Bryan has been preaching this week at the revival here in Memphis.

You see, I am unquestionably selfish. My ambition is far too often worldly, and once again, I am convicted that I have taken my eyes of Jesus as being my ultimate treasure. For the past few days, I have been in culture shock. It's easy to forget how poor the Coast is until you go into a more educated place like where we are staying- Cordova.

The houses here are perfect. Absolutely beautiful. Every single person within sight appears to be living out the American dream. Nice houses. Super nice neighborhoods. New cars. Even fancy gas stations with great architecture. It's easy to get sucked into this kind of world and only want that. It's way too easy.

That's where Matthew 7:13-14 struck me tonight. "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."

Let those words sink in and meditate on them. How easy is your life? If everything is always going your way, it may mean that you are walking through the wide gate. Scary.

My prayer is that you will join me tonight and ask yourself. Which gate am I walking through? The verses that follow in Matthew 7:21-23 are the most terrifying verses to me found in all of the Gospels.

Jesus taught saying, "Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness."

May we never hear those words.

How easy is your life?
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