Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Will Patrick Brawner - ONE MONTH OLD!

Will Patrick Brawner
born October 3rd, 2010 at 4:54am
7lbs 14oz, 20 inches long

Will is one month old TODAY! I can't believe how fast it has flown by. Life with two under two is BUSY! But I LOVE every second. Enjoy this video of Will's birthday. Birth story to come...


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sneak Peek

Okay, well this may not be the "filled with pictures" post you were expecting, but I have something awesome to share!

We had an ultrasound today to get one last check on Will's size. The past month or so he has seemed to have been measuring bigger, but last week the doctor was concerned he may be smaller than she had thought. I kinda thought it was silly at first. Who cares if he is big or small, he's coming in 5 days no matter what! But we went ahead with the appointment to check him out (plus, it's always fun to see your lil guy in there moving around!) Well, she did the ultrasound and everything looks great. He is measuring about 7lb 2oz (give or take a pound), but is about a week or so behind in size. That doesn't mean too much though, as he is really healthy. They said the highest score rating you could get is an 8, and Will scored an 8!

This is the third ultrasound we have had. The first was the "gender" ultrasound at 21 weeks, and then I had a precautionary one when I did that stint in the hospital about a month ago. Keith missed that ultrasound as we had no idea what time I was going to have it, and he wasn't able to make it to the hospital in time to go with me. He really didn't want to miss the opportunity this time around, so he took the morning off and brought Jack along as well. Jack got to hear Will's heartbeat and also got to watch, but he was more concerned about all the goop on my belly and what the tech was doing than really paying attention to the black and white blurs on the screen. We could see Will's little profile and head shot, and tried to explain it to Jack, but it is sometimes hard for adults to see, let alone 1 year olds.

Right as we were finishing up, the tech said "I would do a 3D image for you, but this little guy's arm is right in front of his face." I poked my belly a little bit, and Will seemed to move slightly. Then she went from a different angle and said "Well, I'm going to try it anyway and see what we come up with." Sure enough, she was able to get a glimpse at Will's little face! He moved his armjust enough so that we could make out his eyes, nose, and lips. Wow, what an AWESOME thing to see! It finally, for the first time in 9 months, felt REAL! I looked over at Jack, and his smile was a mile wide. It was amazing to see him light up as he got to see his little brother for the first time. What a special moment.

So here is the sneak peek of what is to come in only 5 MORE DAYS!

(he looks a little like his brother, what do you think?)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quick Post

I made it to 38+ weeks! We have scheduled a date for a repeat c-section. If Will doesn't come on his own, and my body doesn't progress into any labor, then October 5, 2010 we will help things along a bit and welcome Will Patrick into the world! This is only 6 days away, and we're THRILLED! Hopefully my next post will be filled with pictures of our little guy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

still waiting!

So we're still waiting on Will. Looks like he may go full term after all! The tease last weekend didn't help, but I go in Wednesday to schedule his "birthday" and it looks like it will be in less than two weeks; that ain't too bad.

We were able to get a few pictures taken, which was awesome. I think it's fun for the kids to see what I looked like when they were still in my belly! Jennie Pyfferoen did our pictures, and she did a great job.



We can't wait to have our little baby in the pictures with us! Next up, Mandy and Dylan are coming to visit and help out this week. With Keith at work during the week, and me still needing to rest most of the time, this will be an awesome help. We're so lucky to have family willing to travel and help us! Jack is also super excited to spend some time with his cousin. Should be a fun week ahead!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More News!

So at today's doctor's appointment I was confirmed that by Sunday, Will is considered full term and it's time to leave it up to him (and my body) to decide when he is coming. I have been told to stop taking my meds on Sunday/Monday and then to go in once contractions start up. Wow, I could technically have this little boy THIS WEEKEND!! So exciting!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What a week!

Sorry for the quality, Terbutaline makes me shake. And pray I make it till Thursday so I can get my hair done! (35 weeks)

Well, what a week! More excitement and adventure going on at the Brawner household. After last weekend's stint in the hospital, being sent home on an eventually modified bed rest, I prepared to sit around until at least October or whenever we decided to schedule our c-section. The reason for the scheduled c-section is because of my lack of progression during labor with Jack (considering his size and also the induction medications) and the probability of that happening again. Even with the strong contractions I was having last weekend, my cervix was showing NO SIGNS of any change. The good news was that everyone is healthy, bleeding had stopped, and bed rest was only precautionary and to prevent any further bleeding or strain. I was released to drive to future doctor's appointments, and even told that I may be taken off bed rest in a week or so, depending, as there was really no sign of risk.

My father and stepmother got into town late Thursday night to spoil me for a weekend and help watch Jack. What a BLESSING that turned out to be as the turn of events on Friday took Keith and I BACK to the hospital! I woke up Friday morning only to see more bleeding, and enough that it shook me up quite a bit. I hadn't done anything! No lifting, no straining... I had driven to a doctor's appointment the day before, but it was more sitting around than walking. I couldn't figure out what could be wrong, and assumed the worst. (though I felt normal) I had noticed that the night before the contractions had been stronger than usual (since I had been taking a procardia every 6 hours), but nothing else out of the ordinary. When we got into the hospital, the nurse told us that there was really no other tests that could be done. I had already passed all the tests, and the placenta looked great, cervix had showed unchanged, and I wasn't a risk for preterm labor. Plus, at this point, I was almost 35 weeks (which can be considered full term over 37 weeks in some cases). I had already had the precautionary steroid, and there was really not a whole lot they could do. She hooked me up to the monitors to make sure the baby looked ok (which he has never looked anything but) and she decided to check my cervix just to see... Well, it turns out that I was 1-2cm and 90% effaced! That's farther than I ever got with Jack! So it turned out that the bleeding was natural cervical change, the contractions were true, and that Will was just on his way EARLY!

Because I'm as far along as I am, they didn't pull out any of the "big guns" to stop the contractions. They gave me a few more doses of Terbutaline and a prescription of it to take home. My next orders were to sit and wait. Since no medication can stop TRUE labor, when the contractions come back, just like in any situation, we are gonna have a baby! WHAT EXCITING NEWS!! This could be ANY time, ANY day!

So that puts me to where I am now. It's Sunday afternoon, I'm still technically on bed rest. We'd like to keep Will cooking as long as possible, but I'm sitting and waiting, and counting any contractions I may feel. I still have some here and there, but nothing substantial. 6 is the magic number; if I have 6 in an hour, then we go in. This has made it so much more exciting because there is no "planned" date and time. We truly get to wait until Will (ultimately God) is ready. We still get the element of surprise. Also, if I continue to progress, there could always be a chance that when the contractions come back I will have dilated enough to proceed with a VBAC. That would be a totally unexpected and exciting experience!

Yet again, my socks have been knocked off at what God's will is revealing throughout this whole pregnancy. So excited for the next chapter to unfold!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Well, well, well...

It's been FOREVER since I posted. And I didn't expect to be posting the first half of a birth story! (hopefully a REALLY EARLY first half!)

What a crazy weekend, but again, how amazing is God's provision in everything?! Praise the Lord we have health insurance, amazing doctors, serving family and friends, and, as of right now, HEALTH!

(*okay, any guys reading this, I'll try not to be too "detailed"... but read at your own risk*)

Friday morning I noticed some spotting and some strong contractions. I didn't think too much of it, and tried to ignore it, but it continued through Sunday morning. I called the "on call" doctor to see if I should be concerned. He suggested that I come in and get checked because Will is not full term until at least 37 weeks. It is a bit early and they wanted to make sure everything was ok. This is what I've noticed about this hospital and these doctors. They are SO thorough, and I really feel like I'm in GREAT hands! They take precaution and really make sure that it's in baby's best interest. The attention to detail and desire to educate has been awesome.

So after church on Sunday we came up to Baptist hospital. I'll spare the whining about how I hadn't eaten since 9:30am and wouldn't get to eat again for over 24 hours, because that was my own fault! They checked my cervix, and there was no sign of any dilation or change. This was GOOD news. They took some samples to make sure that the blood they were seeing had nothing to do with the fetus or any preterm labor. I passed all of the tests with flying colors. Then I met with the on call doctor who I had talked to on the phone. He told me that because the bleeding wasn't from my cervix or the baby, there was a possibility that it was placenta related. They asked me to stay overnight for some monitoring and gave me two shots of Terbutaline to slow/stop the contractions. Keith took Jack home and came back later with my laptop. Lifesaver!! Though Jack was having fun in the "stage like" window sill, there wasn't too much for him to do in the hospital room. It was a good run through for when Will gets here! Now we know to pack Toy Story to bring along.

Last night around 3am some contractions started up again, so they gave me a third shot of Terbutaline. (I won't be getting anymore shots, they have prescribed an oral pill if any contractions continue) This is a drug given in pill or shot form to relax things in the body; most commonly for people with asthma and breathing problems to relax their lungs in an attack. It just so happens to relax the uterus too, so it helped stop/slow my contractions. (this is important, because having a prior incision in my uterus, continuous contractions aren't a good thing...) Then this morning I met with my Doctor. The good news is that I'm not bleeding anymore, and barely contracting, and all my tests have been GREAT! So REST has been successful! The bad news, is that REST has been successful... Especially for a mom of a 17 month old. My doctor recommended me staying on bed rest to make sure that the bleeding doesn't come back.

Most of what I was told today was precautionary, and "worst case scenario" because it is really up in the air what can happen next. Bed rest means getting out of bed to use the bathroom, and possibly a quick shower once a day. That's IT! There are a few things still up in the air. First, how long I will be on bed rest? This can be anywhere from 2-4 weeks. I'm 4 weeks from Will being full term. Second, WHERE will I be on bed rest. It's still up in the air if they want me at the hospital for safety, or if they are okay to release me to rest at home.

I was scheduled for an ultrasound this morning to check on Will and my placenta and cervix. Also, I met with a "high risk" doctor. This again is precautionary because my doctor thought it would be a good thing to meet the "high risk" doctor ahead of time so that I would know him in case for any reason we need to use his team. Plus she wanted me to talk with him and see what he thought about everything going on. I'll tell you, it all sounded scary at first, but as the day has gone on I'm realizing that I'm passing EVERY test and EVERYTHING is really looking GOOD! So this is just precautionary, and that makes me feel like I'm really in good hands!!

The ultrasound went PERFECT! Will is doing amazing, my cervix is FAR from any kind of labor, and the placenta looks great. I got a few little pictures of Will too which was great, considering he wouldn't move enough at our 20 week ultrasound and we never got a good profile view. He is measuring over 5 pounds (which can be give or take 14 ounces, but 5lbs is a safe birth weight), his bones are nice and dense, heart is pumping beautifully, and he looks happy. The "high risk" doctor was very optimistic. He asked me a lot of questions about my family history, my personal medical history, and told me he doesn't see any reason for this to be a high risk pregnancy or delivery. But that doesn't mean I'm off the hook. Anything can happen at any time.

Another precautionary measure was taken to make sure that if an emergency happens Will is ready for the outside world. They are all very happy that I'm so far along... This means he has wonderful chances of being born healthy. But one thing they want to make sure, is that his lungs are fully developed. The high risk doctor said, that say I were to go home tomorrow, everything is fine, and in 2 weeks I start bleeding again. Because at that point I'm so close to full term, it may be easier to deliver Will than to wait for something bad to happen. Him and my doctor both recommended a steroid called betamethasone. This will give Will an extra boost in lung development, should early delivery occur. All in all, I was really impressed with the high risk doctor. He seemed VERY optimistic, and again, everything so far is looking normal and great!

We're still at a waiting game. I'm sure my doctor needs to review what the high risk doctor has said, along with the ultrasound results. The steroid comes in 2 doses that are 24 hours apart. I had one around 10am and will have another tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, that means I'm stuck here till at least 10 tomorrow. We just have to see what the next steps are, and how comfortable they feel with me leaving. As of right now, Jack is at a friend's house living it up with his buddy Phoenix. Next step is to see what we can arrange for him as far as being watched over the next few weeks. But we can only do one thing at a time and waiting is the first step.

I'll continue to keep you all updated on everything. I feel great and Will is also doing great, and that's most important! Thanks for all of the support! This hospital has pretty good food too, and I've been released to eat! Plus, I get cable and free wifi. Life is good.

**UPDATE**
I've been taken off my monitors because everything has looked great. The nurse said the doctor was hinting at me going home in the morning after the steroid shot. This is great news. I can't wait to be home again, I miss my family! Thank you for the prayers, I'm so glad my stay here was a positive one (and my tests came back negative) and that it was SHORT! Home to my own bed!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Quickfire

Yea, I'm back on a Top Chef kick... ALWAYS loved the show, but this time around I know someone competing! So, this is my show for the summer. I mean, what else is there to watch! (especially if you're like me and don't have cable.) SYTYCD is my guilty pleasure, but I only like to watch the dancing, I don't really care who wins.

So anyways, back to US! I mean, I guess that's what you guys want to hear about. And now that I write that out, and look at the title of my blog, I'm feeling a little self-absorbed. Who am I to think that everyone wants to hear about "my wonderful life"? I guess maybe that's why I haven't written anything in a while. Not that everything isn't wonderful, but I just don't feel like anything has been that SPECTACULAR to blog about. But I'll fill you in, none the less.

First and foremost, WE ARE HAVING A BOY! Another boy! :D Most of the people reading this probably already knew, but I felt the need to say it. Will Patrick Brawner is his name, and it shouldn't be a surprise, but I'm ready for him to BE HERE! You'd think I'd love that I have 3 more months to plan and get ready, but waiting has never been a strength of mine. I'd rather him just get here, and then I can figure it all out. We are TOOOOOO excited to be having another awesome boy (they are so fun!) and Jack is going to be an awesome big brother. He already loves kissing mommy's belly because "babeeee lllllaa" is in there.

Jack has become very VOCAL as of late. Not that he wasn't before, but he can kinda say words now and is adamant that we hear, listen, and DO what he is asking. Part of this is really fun, finally able to communicate and find out what makes the little guy tick, but the other part can be exhausting. He always has something to say/sing, and is rarely quiet. (not that he's not adorable) He has taken a huge liking to a few different things, and wants to do them ALL THE TIME. If he had 10 hands, he would do them all at once.

He LOVES "Wooodee", "Ba" and "layloolayloo" (Woody, Buzz, and Jessie the yodeling cowgirl, yodelehee-yodelehee) He loves to point them out wherever he sees them, and scream their names. Sometimes I don't know HOW he spots them, but he does. He does this with "melmo" too (Elmo), but often in his excitement says "mama" instead. This get some interesting looks at the store when a child is screaming "MAMA MAMA MAMA MAMAAAAA" and pointing at the ceiling. It's the Elmo balloons that are up in every store, everywhere, that really gets him.

He is fascinated with Thomas the train. His cousin Cody handed down his massive Thomas collection over Father's Day weekend, and Jack hasn't stopped playing with them yet. He knows a few of the trains by name, and carries them everywhere. Last night he actually took each train (he has probably 20+) and set them up one at a time, in line, on his shelf. He even made sure to carefully place them on their wheels, right side up. Towards the end he started running out of room and started stacking them, but none the less, he LOVES his "choo choo"s.

He's become quiet interested in coloring as well. He wants to do this ALL THE TIME. I mean, maybe it isn't the coloring. He really just likes to hold the crayon and make one line on each page. Either on the characters nose, or whatever is in the picture that he can recognize and call out. He has a Sesame Street coloring book full of Elmo, balls, fish, birds, all the things that he loves. He won't let the page stay open long enough for mom to color anything, so I just let him flip through it a million times, front to back, to add a few dozen lines each day. One amazing thing about it, he holds the crayons correctly. He did this on his own, and won't hold it any other way. Mind you, he holds one in each hand, but the correct way. This makes for some very pretty lines.

He also loves "shh" (fish). He loves to eat them, color them, visit them at the pet store. I'm really considering getting him a little goldfish for his room just because he loves them so much. I think he wishes he was one. He LOVES the water. It would probably be impossible to get him out of the water if he knew how to swim and didn't need us. His need for independence still dominates and after a while he will want to squirm away from us and get up on dry land where he can do his own moving around. In the baby pool, that's another story. There is no getting him out. There is also nothing keeping him from wanting to go under. He taunts and teases, and occasionally succumbs to currents in the baby pool, but never getting upset enough to stop. Can't wait to get him to the ocean and see how the little "shhh" likes the waves!

Oh, and for the family that's interested, Jack had his 15 month checkup this week. He is 32 inches tall, 22lbs, and is "one of the healthiest babies" that our doctor knows. Still never been sick (besides the one time 105 fever that lasted a day), and still no ear infections (even with his fish-like instincts). Our lil boy is growing up!!

So what else? Well, for me, not too much is new. I take my GD test next Wed. I'm PRAYING to pass. Even if I do pass, I have to take it again 2 weeks later "just in case". I'm a little worried I won't pass, because I've been craving sugar lately. I'm hoping this isn't the case though, because taking my blood levels 4 times a day was one of the most unenjoyable things I've ever had to do. Plus, I gave away my blood level tester thingy, and those strips are EXPENSIVE! My sciatica has also been acting up, but luckily I have a chiropractor this time around to stretch me out and help with the pain. I still love being pregnant, and am having no big issues. I have the ability to take naps in the afternoon this time around, and don't have to wear heels. Life is good.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pics n'at

went to the cabin, had an AMAZING time

told lotsa stories

played a little music

even danced in the rain.
Brother and sister, WE WILL MISS YOU!!

played in a truck graveyard


had fun in a tunnel

enjoyed the sunshine

ran through the sprinkler
and thanked GOD for beautiful days, and beautiful babies

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

Mother's Day 2010
I had a fabulous Mother's day! It really keeps getting better, my life that is, every second. We went to a great service on Saturday night, and the best surprise was a gift that Jack had made for me in his class. This was my very first handmade gift from my baby boy. I loved it!! He had more fun holding it and smelling the flowers. If you can tell, the stems are a cut out of his little hand. Soooo sweet. We went out after church for ice cream. It was awesome.
Sunday, Keith and I had a class up at church in the morning and afterwards we took a few pictures by the pond. What a fabulous day! The breeze was a little chilly, but the sun was so warm. We went out afterwards to Pie in the Sky, which is a pizza place. (my request) Jack got to try his first pickle, and I was hoping he'd hate it so that I could eat it. The taste was definitely a surprise to him. I asked him if he could say "pickle" and he has not stopped saying it yet! This cracks me up... Pickles are an old favorite of mine.
video

After a trip home and a quick nap, we headed out to Lowe's. Keith and Jack wanted to get me a flowering plant for the yard! Jack had a blast smelling everything in the store. We ended up settling on 2 Strawberry Sunset Hibiscus plants. Since they are annuals, we decided to keep them in pots outside so we can bring them inside for the winter. I can't wait to see the blooms, and will definitely post a picture.

After that, I prepared the sides for dinner and Jack and Keith got in their swimsuits and tried to clean off the back fence from all of our neighborhood birds. It was awesome watching them out there working together. Then Keith grilled up some porkchops and we stuffed ourselves for dinner. We topped off the night with some popsicles on the back patio. What a wonderful day!

Jack's First Popsicle




Friday, May 7, 2010

PRAISE!!!

So, some of you may remember, and some may not. Last year I had a few posts about adoption. This was so heavy on my heart last October. It started out with this huge feeling of LOVE and through some random things, I realized what God was asking of me! I failed to reveal it though, and today God has yet again brought things full circle, and for someone that has become a dear friend, this will be her best Mother's day ever!

God started confirming my feelings by slowly introducing me to adopting families. I learned about Katie Davis that led to The Mayernicks and The 147 million orphan ladies. Then I was searching some ways to complete a project I was working on and came across this amazing blog that has lead me into the lives of The Martins. So I could see that God was trying to tell me something! This all happened in a matter of days! Then, through work, I met The Shorts. They were just starting the process of adoption and were looking to start raising funds. They decided since Mr. was a fantastic photographer that they would have a Photography Fundraiser. For those of you that don't know, the way we do Christmas around here (for our adult family) is to find others that are in need and spend the money we would have spent on "stuff" and donate it to whatever cause God calls us to. It was obvious to me at this point that God was calling me to support The Shorts' adoption, so we set up a time to do a photoshoot right before Christmas.

Well, the story doesn't end here! The money was raised, the papers were processed, and The Shorts left TODAY to go to Ethiopa and pick up their son Eli! I couldn't be more thrilled to see all of this come full circle, and it's been great to walk with April at work and hear the story unfold. Thank you Lord for this amazing gift! Check out the video below to see this little boy that gets to come home in a few days!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Onwards and Upwards!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

GEEZ, it's been a long time since I posted a blog! It's been busy here at the Brawner household, and though I'd like to tell you it's slowing down, I have to confess that I think it's about to get CRAZIER!

As far as "time spent away from home", this may be slowing down a bit. Thursday was my last day working with children up at church. The spring semester has come to an end, and it won't kick back up till the fall. I am SO SAD to see this come to an end! I really fell in love with all my "little people" and will miss them dearly. I don't think I will be able to help out in the fall. I will be ready to POP when the semester starts and then once I do, haha, I'll have to take the time away with baby B. There is a possibility that I could start back up in spring 2011, but we'll have to see how things go. Also, our Monday night CBS (Community Bible Study) is coming to an end! I am also SO SAD to see this happen! I have never had such an amazing time at a bible study. Keith and I have made some wonderful friends, been in our bibles deeper than maybe ever before, and I also have had the chance to share my music in WORSHIP, which has been incredible. So, that frees up Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Keith's Wednesday bible study has finished as well, so that leaves Wednesday open... Looks like the only truly SCHEDULED event we have is Saturday night church service!

Wow! All this free time, you say! Not so fast... can you believe that in 5 months, yes, 5 short months, we will be a family of 4?! It is time to buckle down and start moving towards the fun and exciting craziness that this entails! Oh, and by the way, I'm just realizing that I never posted an official "I'M PREGNANT" blog. So in case anyone reading didn't know, I'M PREGNANT! I'm actually almost 17 weeks pregnant. That means in 3 weeks I'll be halfway through! There is lots of planning and preparing, and I probably need to start now. This is also the time of year when we start planning summer trips and visits. This will make time fly even faster.

It's so hard not to wish life away, by rushing to get to that next "fun date". Currently, the "fun date" I'm looking forward to is a getaway weekend in May. We are headed to Deer Creek Lodge for a going away get together for my brother and his wife. They are moving to Idaho in early June, if I'm not mistaken, and we're going to get in one last "hurrah" before they move and forget all about us here on the east coast. *wink wink* Jack will finally get to play with his 8 month older cousin, and the rest of us can enjoy the much needed break from the crazy jumpstart of 2010. Then on to May 25th, we find out the gender of little baby B! That will be a super exciting day. I still can't believe I'm actually pregnant. There is then a possible beach trip in July, and the next thing I know it, baby B will be making his/her appearance and the fall seasons and classes will all be starting up again. Whew! Let's slow things down a bit!

Here on the home front, we've been making a lot of progress. Good progress on all things emotional, physical, spiritual, financial... the list goes on. It is amazing to think that in 1 month Keith and I will celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary! At our Community Group meeting last night, the question was asked "Why did you get married?" Ya know, it really made me stop and think for a bit. I wasn't really looking to "get married" when I met Keith. And I don't know if I ever really came to the point that I was like "I need to marry this guy!" It was just like there was a "duh" factor in it all. We just always knew we would from the beginning. In the whirlwind of these almost 2 years, (3.5 since we started dating) I never really took the time to say, why did we do this, and how did we get here. But ya know, just like God's will, the coolest part of it all is in hindsight. It's amazing to look back in hindsight and now understand "why" I got married and "how" I've gotten here. It was OBVIOUSLY all GOD! And literally everything in our entire life together has been all GOD, including our current situations and the way we look at our future endeavors. We are living out faith in a way neither of us knew existed, or thought was attainable to us personally.

With all of this "wow, that sounds wonderful" situation (or maybe I'm the only one thinking
that... haha), there is also so much challenge and spiritual attack that we go through everyday. Since we have really made this decision to have faith in all present and future intentions, it seems like recently we have really been under attack by things of the past. Things that haunted us before we changed our life decision. Things that we can't move away from without revisiting them. I hate this. It is such a roadblock and a PAIN in the neck. The amazing thing about it, is that one by one GOD is helping us resolve each and every roadblock so that we never have to see it again and can move forward and keep our focus upwards!

This week we were able to put one more thing behind us that will help us move forward together as a unit. That was awesome. Praise GOD! :D

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Truly a Miracle

It is nothing less than a miracle that I was able to locate my long lost pen pal. I want to try and explain a little bit of how amazing it truly is, but first let me tell you a little about Wren.

When I was about 8, my family and I visited a Christian horse camp, Miracle Mountain Ranch, in North Western Pennsylvania. My parents were in a band called God's Country and had a gig at the ranch. I absolutely fell in love with the place and had always wanted to go back. I think I was about 15 when I finally talked my parents into letting me return, this time for summer camp. It was the first and only time I had been to summer camp. I didn't know what to expect, and though camp was somewhat fun (and I won a few riding competitions), the best part of camp was this awesome friendship I made with a girl named Wren.

I was trying to think of a way to describe her, and somehow this is what came to mind. If you haven't seen the movie UP, you need to check out that video. Wren was thin, short red hair, lots of freckles. She was outgoing, funny, adventurous. We just hit it off. At the end of the week we traded addresses and began writing each other. (Yes, writing. Good old pen and paper. At 15, I didn't have a cell phone, or email address. It was definitely different back then. Though there were some really neat things about that, and the excitement of getting a letter in the mail. There is also something great about the quickness of email, and also the fact that no matter where we move, our email stays the same! If I had met her as a 15 year old today, I'm sure we would have never lost touch.) We continued writing for a long time; even after her family moved her all the way out to California. But somehow, over the years, we ended up losing touch.

I always wondered what had happened to her, and about 4 years ago I started searching. The tricky part about doing the typical internet people search is that Wren was Wren's middle name. Her full name was Carol Wren Compton. Can I tell you how many Carol Comptons there are in California? Even searching by age, it seemed impossible. I even used a paid service once to get an address that I thought might be her, but never got the nerve to write. As MySpace became big, and then Facebook, I would always look, but was never able to find her. Every 6 months or so, she would come across my mind and I'd do a search, always to no prevail.

A few months ago I came across a search engine called pipl.com. They boast that they search the "Deep Web" instead of just the "surface web", searched my most search engines. When I typed in Wren Compton, a few things came up. There were some male profiles and news articles, nothing that looked correct. There was an old profile at bebo.com, and amazon.com. They both seemed to have the age and dates correct, but no contact information. There was one other personal profile that came up. It was simply a snapshot of a profile built years ago and amazingly enough had a small blurry thumbnail picture of a redheaded girl. IT HAD TO BE HER! When I clicked on it, there was a short blurb about this girl, that she had been married and also lived in a town called Scappoose in Oregon. Clicking around some more, I ended up with dead ends because the profile was so old there was no current information. Trying to go back and get the married last name, I realized that the profile I originally saw was only a snapshot of the profile from years ago and was no longer there! I didn't make a note of the new last name and all I had was Scappoose, Oregon. I searched Oregon for Wren Comptons and Carol Wren Comptons, and no success.

About a month ago, I thought I'd try again. I wasn't stalking, I swear, but there was something fun about trying to find her and solve the puzzle! I did a search of C. Comptons in Oregon, I forget what website, but I came across a C. W. Compton age 26 and underneath there was a sub name of C. W. Rank. So I decided to start searching Wren Rank and see what would come up. I went back to the pipl.com website because I seemed to have found success there once before. Surprisingly enough, the bebo.com and amazon.com profiles came up again. I had a feeling I was on the right track, but as before there was no way to contact through these profiles. At the bottom of the page there was a "document search" that would pull up any and all documents on the internet that had the words "Wren" and "Rank". There was only one document listed, and this document happened to be a church prayer team memo from December 2009. The church was Warren Community Fellowship in Warren, OR. The excerpt simply said "Ladies who are pregnant: Tracey Newton, Cassie Pousson, and Wren Rank."

This is still a long shot. Who knows if the C. W. Compton/C. W. Rank that I found in the original search was even my friend. I was searching the name Wren Rank completely on a whim. I was assuming that my friend from Pennsylvania, that had moved to California, possibly got married, moved again to this tiny town in Oregon, and was pregnant. There was an informational email address on the church's bulletin and I thought I'd write an email seeing if I could talk them into giving me some more information on this Wren Rank. Sounds crazy, I know.

Can you believe it?? I GOT A RESPONSE! I had said in the email that I was searching a Carol Wren Compton, and thought it may be the Wren Rank on the prayer list. The church's secretary confirmed that a Wren Rank attended there (which wasn't really new news) but that she didn't have her email but a phone number. The secretary said that she would call Wren and let her know about my email. I waited about a week, and when I didn't hear anything else I emailed the secretary again asking if she could make sure to pass my email address and phone number along. Well, one month and one day passed, and nothing. I really had forgotten about the whole thing.

Last night, at 11:30 (way past my bedtime), Keith was going through his spam mail deleting it all. My spam mail is set up with an automatic delete. Every 30 days it deletes all emails forever, I never even open the folder up. Somehow we were laughing about the crazy email subjects that make it into our spam and I thought I'd go to mine and join in the fun. There was nothing really funny in mine, so I just started selecting entire pages at a time, and hitting delete. Page after page, delete, delete, delete, del- ...WREN?? Sure enough, the 4th to last email of ALL THE SPAM was an email with the subject "Shanna, it's Wren!” I had already "selected all" on that page and was literally half a second away from clicking "delete forever". I CAN'T BELIEVE I ALMOST MISSED IT! Then, on top of that, the email was dated Feb. 18, 2010. Yesterday was March 19th, 2010 which means it had been 30 days, and somehow my spam had not yet automatically deleted this email! Then I realized it was 11:40; was I really 20 minutes away from losing this email forever?

Well, after all that, I found her, Wren Rank, living in Oregon, married, and due with her first born, baby Isaac, in June. Now tell me GOD didn't make that happen? How awesome to be reconnected with my childhood friend! Hopefully we can have a phone conversation soon and catch up on what we've missed for the past 13 years. I'm so excited!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Eating the Apple

So... I had a WOW moment at church this Saturday.  We have been studying the book of Genesis for a bit.  I mean, we started in Chapter one in September, and we are just now getting to Chapter 3.  It is AMAZING how much is in there if you take it verse by verse and see what the inspired word of God is saying!  We are going to be spending the next 6 weeks, yes 6 weeks, covering Chapter 3.  In doing a short summary of what he wants to cover, Lloyd brought to my attention something that I never quite realized.  It was WOW.

The GREATER STORY: CREATION, FALL, REDEMPTION, RECREATION

He started with CREATION: Genesis 1 and 2; God revealing His POWER (chapter 1), and His PROVISION (chapter 2). At ths point everything was GOOD"Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. " Gen. 2:15  The words "cultivate and keep it", translated, are always in corolation with priesthood throughtout the bible.  In other words, cultivate and keep it, is simply WORSHIP.  That is all we were to do.  BUT Adam and Eve rebelled.  FALL: Genesis 3 it changes, and instead of everything being GOOD, now something is WRONG with everything.  In our world today, and in every day of our lives, something is WRONG, sin is here.  The importance in this, is that this isn't the end of the story, and of course this wasn't a mistake.  God has weaved our sin into His Greater Story.  REDEMPTION: Genesis 4 through Revelation 20.  With faith in CHRIST there is a conversion from a fallen humanity to chosing to TRUST God to PROVIDE.  God, redeeming us to complete His work by RECREATION: everything is BETTER than GOOD.  Revelation 21 through Eternity, is declaring our Eternal delight in heaven.  God's redeemed creation is BETTER than His sinless creation in the garden.  Isn't that amazing? 

The part that really made me think, was SIN.  I have heard the story since I was a child...  Adam and Eve eat the apple from the bad tree, and suddenly their eyes are opened.  They have sinned because they did something they weren't supposed to do, and all of their offspring, me and you, are born into sin.  I have been missing so much over the years by leaving the story at that.  First of all, who said it was an apple?  And God created all of the trees and said they were "good".  The tree of knowledge of good and evil was never a bad tree, but simply a prohibition.  In a sinless garden, there was still something that was off limits to Adam and Eve.  Interesting, isn't it?  I wonder if there will be prohibitions in a sinless heaven?  But what really got me is the sin itself.  I always thought of the sin as the "eating".  But ya know, Eve had to have sinned in her heart to make the decision to eat.  She had to decide that God is NOT GOOD or TRUSTWORTHY in order to choose to eat of this prohibition.  So it was a WOW to me, that sin is not simply doing something we're not supposed to do, but SIN is the decision that God is not TRUSTWORTHY.  That's what He asks of us in the bible, over and over and over, trust in ME, believe in ME!  SIN is the opposite of this.  Also, God is GOOD. In our world, something is WRONG with everything. Wrong things happen to everyone! Don't look at the world to determine if God is GOOD, go to the cross! He is GOOD, and has sent His own Son to die on the cross and redeem us.  We have the choice; making our own provision, or being broken to realize that we can do nothing without Christ.  With Faith in Him, we are redeemed and TRUST God to PROVIDE.  One leads to Eternal delight in Heaven, and the other to damnation.  Trusting in God is the foundation of our Faith!  That makes me look at Salvation differently too!  Everytime we sin, we are basically deciding to trust ourselves instead of God.  If Salvation is Trusting Him, than it is obvious that we will never be able to save ourselves because daily we choose ourselves over Him.  This is where His GRACE, at least for me, IS A HUGE WOW!  If we truly choose Him, than we are covered by His GRACE, redeemed and forgiven.  Glory be to such a POWERFUL, PROVIDER, GRACEFUL, REDEEMING, LOVING, AND TRUSTWORTHY GOD!

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Year, New Layout, New Post

Last year at this time I was just about to *POP*(inside and out).  So much excitement with my little man on his way!!  This year, I start 2010 as a stay at home mom and a "4 steps" walking 10 month old!  It is amazing how last year has gone quickly, but also memorably as each day was a new milestone in Jack's life and mine as a mother.  So many blessings this past year!  From the birth of an eternal soul, to the outright vanishing of a deadly disease, the amazing growth that I've experienced in my Faith, music restored, LOVE beyond imaginaion... Wow, so much the Lord has poured out on me!  As far as a better year, I don't think I've had one!  It's really hard to resolve to anything greater in 2010, but I will say that my hope is to be more intentional with my words and daily actions, and to read and grow closer to my Savior.  This is always a prayer for me, as my faith is weak in these areas.  (I really tend to lean on what my simple little mind can muster up to say or do, instead of really waiting and praying on what I know He wants me to say or do...)

I always hope to post more blogs, and updates, and will continue to try and acomplish that.  This year is already looking to be full of creativity, business, love, growth, and of course JOY!