Monday, March 26, 2012

Reflecting on the Past 9 Months

In case you've missed the Pax photo storm on facebook, our little man is here!  He came into our world two weeks early thanks to a nasty gallbladder attack, but we couldn't be happier to have him safe in our arms now.  I can't wait to share his delivery story with you (guys, I know you could probably care less), but I will save that for another day.

I'm feeling rather sentimental as I collage all of my pregnancy photos together with this last snapshot I took tonight with Pax in my arms.  You see, bringing Pax into this world is the hardest thing I have ever done.  Sure, I'm smiling in all of the photos, but the photos are deceptive.  What you don't see are all of the days of vomiting my insides out, the many trips to the ER, the hours I've been hooked up to an IV pump for pain meds, and all of the days and nights I have spent crying because the pain just wouldn't go away.   Trust me, I know that women have endured tougher pregnancies at greater costs, but for me, I assure you that I felt more like I had a deadly cancer than a living, breathing, little person inside of me.  As my due date drew closer and closer, I worried about what kind of mom I could be to this baby I was carrying.  I didn't feel particularly bonded to him- I just felt miserable and sick.  It felt so different from my pregnancy with Abby.

The moment after I delivered Pax, my doctor placed him on my chest, and I looked at him in disbelief.  It didn't seem real.  I was almost in shock that I really had been pregnant... not just sick.  I held his tiny hands in mine, and I studied his little face as he cried with the cold air hitting his wrinkled little frame.  As the nurse took him away to clean him up, it hit me.  God had given us a son.  I cried with relief, because I had made it.  I had carried him to full term, and by God's grace, he was here and well.  Healthier than I had dared to hope for.  He was perfect.  Pax was mine.

Not even a week later, I'm sitting here typing this with tears streaming down my face.  It makes me smile to think that I was worried about bonding with him.  I'm completely enamored with this little guy.  He has my heart.  We have been through so much together, and yet, our journey is just beginning. Many of you have labored with me in prayer along this road, and I will forever be grateful.  As I look at his tiny little face sleeping soundly against my chest, I have no regrets. His name Pax, Latin for peace, couldn't be more prophetic now.

I can't help but keep thinking about what Jesus told His disciples when He was trying to prepare them for the suffering they would endure but the joy that would follow. "When a woman is in labor she has pain because her time has come. But when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the suffering because of the joy that a person has been born into the world. (Jn.16:21)"  It's true.  I'd relive the past 9 months in a heartbeat to have this little guy here with me now.

So tonight, it is with great joy that I introduce to you my son Pax Bryan Cirlot.  God is good.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Changing Expectations...

Since the beginning of this pregnancy with our sweet son, it's been about adjusting expectations.  Once again, our plan has changed a little.  Here's the deal.

For almost a week, I have been stuck in prodromal labor.  Basically, it's labor that helped me dilate and efface to a certain point that has just stalled and is accomplishing little more than making me miserable and tired now.  Unlike Braxton Hicks, these contractions are the real deal and come about every 5 minutes when they are cranked up, but my body stopped responding to them last Wednesday night.  Apparently, when I was having a massive gallbladder attack in the ER, I was also beginning to go into early labor.  When I received my pain meds to control the gallbladder attack, it likely stalled the labor as well.  I've been stuck in this early labor cycle ever since.

Unless my water breaks or something changes again, Pax is going to need a little help to make his entrance into the world.  It looks like he is following in his sister's footsteps.  Abby did exactly the same thing!

Even though I wanted to go into labor naturally on my own, it may not happen.  Since I'm halfway through week 37 right now, we are going to wait another week to let my body kick into gear.  If it doesn't, I will be induced Thursday morning, and Pax will get to join our family under my doctor's supervision.  I think Bryan is relieved that either way Pax isn't going to be crashing Church@The Square's Easter service. :)

We appreciate the prayers we have received so much to make it to this point!  God has been so good to us so far, and I can't wait to introduce our son to you.  Keep praying for us!  We are almost to the finish line.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chasing Rabbits

I've been thinking.  Chasing rabbits.  I need to write to make sense of all that has been spinning in my mind.

A year ago, Bryan and I went to an Acts29 bootcamp to explore planting a church in our town.  We were exiting a difficult ministry situation and feeling called to start something new.  During those few days, God clearly confirmed His plan for us to start what would become Church@The Square.  It was an amazing time of worship, Bible study, encouragement, and preparation for what would be ahead for us.  One of the speakers told us that Satan might not know where our neighbors lived but if we started a church, he would know where we lived.  Spiritual warfare wasn't a spooky ghost story.  It was a reality we would live in if we moved into enemy territory and became a threat.  As a pastor and a church planter, he wasn't trying to use scare tactics, but he did want to remind all of us that the price of obedience was high and that it would cost all of us something.  In the New Testament, Jesus said the same thing.

The seasons of life that have been ushered in with following our call as a church planting family have been completely unlike anything we have ever experienced.  The ways God has provided for our family's needs have been nothing short of supernatural and amazing at times.  Money for bills and needs has appeared in the strangest of places, and seeing God touch lives is beautiful.  I wouldn't trade what we have seen for an easier journey.  I love what God is doing through Church@The Square.

The cost has been high.  Since the blog I wrote at the beginning of December about our family leaping into church planting full-time, we have been tested incredibly.  It's almost like situation after situation has arisen to challenge us and say, "Are you really serious about this church planting thing?  What if it costs you _____?  Will you really stick with it then?"  By God's grace, we have been able to say, "Yes!"

I don't think it is coincidental that my health has taken a nose dive since December.  Even the doctors don't really know what is going on exactly, and since I am pregnant, their ability to run tests has been limited.  A couple of weeks ago when I was hooked up to an IV pump in the hospital, that same voice asked me again.  "Is it really worth it? What if you don't get better?  Does God even care? If He is Sovereign, You know He could heal you.  Can You really love and trust a God who plays with your health... with your child's health?"  Shutting the voice out, I responded, "Yes!"

You see, I don't understand why God has not healed me completely.  I wish He would.  But, God was gracious and has given me some unexpected really good days since I have been released from the hospital.  I know He could heal me, but He hasn't.  Maybe it's so I can write this blog.  I have no clue.  There are times when God acts in ways that are completely beyond our understanding, and we are asked to trust Him.  When I don't get life, I have to preach to myself and remind my heart what I do know is true.  God is good.  God loves me.  God is for me and not against me.  His ways are greater than my ways.  Just like an ant can't fathom the brainpower of a nuclear scientist, I cannot always understand the mind of God.  I can trust His heart.  He is a good Father, and I am His child.

Today, I woke up with one of the worst gallbladder attacks I have had so far.  The Lortab and the other medications I took didn't touch it.  I was discouraged. I cried in the obgyn office.  I hate crying in public.  A lot.  I am so close to delivering a healthy baby.  I don't want to go back to the hospital to get hooked up to an IV again.  I don't want to let Abby see her mommy cry anymore because she can't handle the pain.  I definitely don't want any more medical bills coming into our mailbox.  However, if God somehow gets glory in my suffering, I have to submit to Him.  Life was never promised to be easy, and even if I have to deal with pain more than I would like, God has been incredibly good to me and my family.  God has faithfully protected Pax and kept him safe throughout this whole pregnancy.  I am finally able to eat meals again and gain healthy pregnancy weight to be able to deliver safely with strength.  Easter Sunday is our due date.  Not too much longer until our sweet boy will be here!

Healed or not, God is kind and loving.  I will find rest in Jesus.  On the other side of eternity, I will look back and know that the cost was worth it.  As Jim Elliot said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."  Even if planting a church costs me my health, I'd agree with Bryan to do it again.  The Enemy may not play fair, but Jesus is worth everything.  In the end, Jesus wins.

"1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:1-5

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

So I Poured Molasses Into My Hair...

It all started with browsing Pinterest when I couldn't sleep.  I found a pin about natural hair care that led to browsing Crunchy Betty's blog.  I ended up on this article, because I love homemade skin and hair treatments.  Because I am crazy brave, I decided to try out molasses as a deep conditioning hair treatment this afternoon while I was working from home.

If you want to try it, here's what you need.

I already had this on hand. Convenient.

Simple, huh?  I love one ingredient recipes.

All you do is flip your hair over in your sink and rinse it out well.  Once it's wet, squeeze the excess water out, and coat your hair with as much molasses as you need to cover it well.  My hair is long and thick, so it took about a 1/4 cup to do it right.  Once you finish, secure your hair with a plastic shower cap and drape a towel around your shoulders to catch any drips.  Wait at least 30 minutes (I left mine in for 2 hours because I got sidetracked on a project that I wanted to finish) before rinsing it out in the shower with warm to hot water.

Surprisingly, it rinsed out like a breeze.  I had baking soda waiting outside my shower on standby in case of emergency, but I didn't even need to nopoo my hair (I don't shampoo anymore but that is another blog waiting to happen).  I just used my Devacurl One-Condition as usual and styled my hair with my usual products when I got out.

So what's the verdict?

Using molasses to condition your hair as a special treat is cheap, easy, and it works really well.

My hair looks super shiny and healthy again.  Considering I am 9 months pregnant and my little boy gets first dibs on any nutrition I take in, I think that's impressive.  On a side note, my hair has been silicone free for over a year now, so the shine you see in the photo is legit.  Considering this is a low quality iphone photo shot at night, I think it is telling of how well this stuff works.  My hair apparently likes sweets.

If you get enough courage to try this, let me know what you think.  I'm curious how it would work for someone with straight hair.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Viral Brooms

In case you haven't seen the viral photos of standing brooms, they are everywhere.  Here's how we do it in the Cirlot home.

Introducing, Mr. Peeperz, the ultimate broom master... take that broomers.

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