Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bean Update # 5

Well, it's been about 13 weeks since the last update, so I figure I should do another!
Here's the belly at 32 weeks:
 Here at 33+1:

How far along? 36 weeks (9 months! 34 days --or fewer-- to go!)
EDD: January 31st- it will happen.
Total weight gain:21 lbs.
Maternity clothes? getting tighter
Stretch marks?no new ones yet
Sleep: I had to start sleeping on a little bit of an incline because I can't really catch my breath when supine
Miss Anything? being able to bend over and not get winded
Movement: this child is trying to reposition my insides!
Food cravings: sugar and alcohol
Anything making you queasy or sick: all the movement- rollercoaster from the inside
Gender: still a boy, I hope...
Labor Signs: Ribbons of sensation...I remember having it with Gracen too. It's like the most miniscule ripening of the cervix that will continue over the next 5 weeks until delivery.
Symptoms: Typical irritability and boredom with the pregnancy. Trying to hold off the feeling of being "done".
Belly Button in or out? in, never does pop.
Wedding rings on or off? on. with the cold weather, I have to keep turning my engagement ring to stay right-side up
Happy or Moody most of the time: I think happy, my family thinks moody.
Looking forward to: Saturday, January 12th (baby shower!)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tim "the gun" Bergon

My husband and I dialogue:

Tim: "Your birthday present is shipping from Banglaore."
Me: "Um-Hmm."
Tim: "It's coming from India."
Me: "Hmm...well, if it's coming from India, I am sure you paid more than $3.99 to have it shipped."
Tim: "Well, it is and I'm not sari about it."

I can't remember this one word for word, but it went something like this:

Tim: "I want Kraft Parmesan."
Me: "We always get that; I like the more authentic stuff."
Tim: "But I like Kraft and the one we have is the same stuff that Carl gets at the station. So, when I'm at work, I have to use it there too and it doesn't make my lunch as enjoyable. And then I'm grumpy and it upsets my whole day and that effects my job performance. This is serious; people could die if my job performance is effected."
Me: blank stare

Me: "Fine, I'll get you Kraft."

This one was from a while ago:

Madeleine: Dada, why are we stopping for gas?
Tim: Because we need just a few gallons, we can't drive out to wine country and run out of gas...then we'll have to put wine in the car...and we already have enough whine in the car."

And there was another great one from last night that I cannot remember! Ugh, I will ask Tim what made me laugh and post it. Anyways, hope this makes you chuckle a little.
Love, Lauren

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

October 2012

The month in review:

After Tim returned from his luxurious vacation to Texarakana, TX for 5 days, we settled down into our last month in Bergon Palms. (Ok, he actually went to help his parents move his grandparents into an assisted care facility. His Aunt Lyn lives in Fort Worth area and they needed to be closer so she could better assist them. Grandma Stewart -- Tim's paternal great-grandmother & 103 years old-- also made the move, so now all 3 grandparents are in the same facility. Tim met his parents in Texarkana to pack up the home. He, Aunt Lyn and his parents worked endlessly the entire time to sort, box, ship and organize Grandpa & Grandma Bergon's home down into an apartment. It was a lot of work...for both of us. It was also the longest we have been apart.)

It was still way too hot for Fall, so we spent our last few weeks in Vintage Hills enjoying the community pool:
 Tim was home, but had to work, so the girls and I drove up to Orange to see Unky Lex installed as worship pastor:

Then, things started to get a little silly around our house as we hunted for a new rental, gave our 30 days notice and studied non-stop for the engineer's test:
 I ordered 24 additional 18 gallon purple Rubbermaid bins (I think we own close to 60 now) and started the packing process (again):
 We went a little crazy:
 But thankfully we love each other, and we have lots of loved ones around who helped us with our move:

Tim and I took a preemptive anniversary trip to Temecula Creek Inn just to clear our heads and find some focus as a couple. At this point we still did not have a rental lined up, but we spent a lot of time in prayer and enjoying each other:
 5 years and still "retarded* for each other":

We managed to almost completely ignore our children throughout the month by packing, looking for a rental and generally being super exhausted/busy, but we felt guilty enough to take them out for some "Harvest activities" to counter our attempts to totally disrupt our home life (I'm joking...kinda):
 What is it about snuggling a barn animal that is so satisfying?:
 Ha ha ha, guess who's learning the art of the goof:
 Because a mall parking lot is not farmy enough, we took them to Peltzer Pumpkin Farm too. By this time, Gracen was spending most days in the cat costume:
 G's favorite goat:
my life, in a corn maze: 
 Dada & baby:

And as if we didn't have enough going on, Dada got the itch to go to the mountains. I woke up and he said, "Woman, I'm taking the children to the mountains today." and I thought "Really? Ok, well at least I can do the laundry then."
 So, it was off to Garner Valley with a stop at Hurkey Creek playground:
 Which is awesome:

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
- John Muir

Then, we finally got to wear our "Ariel" mermaid costume. After reading the Disney Princess Bedtime Stories book, we are now throughly acquainted with princesses. I'm not too pleased, but it appears inevitable. I'm just glad Gracie went along with being the kitty because I'm cheap when it comes to costumes. I was so proud of Madeleine who, last year, wouldn't even go up to the doors. She shuffled in her costume, held her candy basket the whole way and even said "Trick or treat". After the first few houses, she would turn to me and say "Mama, I did it, I said trick or treat". She was a champ all night. 
 Cousin Katie, Aunt Sally and Nani came with us (Tim worked):
 Gracie did a great job too, and she told me every house that her Hello Kitty andy bucket was "heavy". I carried her some of the way, but that didn't last too long with the bulging belly. It was really fun to see them branching out and of course, the sister interaction is always precious (and sometimes precocious). 
That was our October in gist. We did secure a house near the end of October and moved in...but that's the next post.
Love, Lauren 

*some people are offended at the use of the term retarded. If you are, I apologize...this is actually part of a quote from Mallrats that Tim and I have used for a while.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Online Garage Sale

Okay, it finally struck me that we are moving in 25 days. So, check out our stuffs.

Silk flowers. White blossoms, green verigated, blue hyacinth, and maroon weepings. $5 for all

cute little silver lantern- door opens $3
 Bamboo coasters (set of 10) $3
 I adore this shirt, but honestly, I got a few eyebrows last time I wore it. I thought it was innocent and fun, but my husband (and the men at Winco) confirmed that it's a bit sexually charged. Have a cheeky/sexy friend? Motherhood Maternity size Large "burn out" design shirt in Navy. "good things come to those who mate..." how can you think badly of that?!

Retired Princess House "Heritage" lot. 7 wine, 5 champagne, 1 snifter, 1 vase and 1 salt & pepper shaker (without lids-not shown) $100 takes all/obo

Like new! Nike Rival MD III track spikes. I coached track for one season and thought I needed shoes (not!). Unisex sz 8 (men's) but I wear a solid women's 9 and they fit. Red & Pearl White. $40/obo

Steven Madden "Erica" sz8. Not sure why they fit me (like I said, I'm a 9). Natural leather wedge.

Cuisinart fondue set- used once because I felt obligated. All manual, pieces and box included. $20/obo. 

Brown Paisley couches with pull-out sofa. Very firm and lots of pillows. $400/obo

No idea how I obtained this, and looks brand-new. Collectable? Simpson's Clue game $15/obo

Feel free to pass any of these on to someone who might be interested, and keep checking back for more stuff as we try and unload. I'm in a HUGE purge mood. So if there's something you've always wanted in our house- ask now! ;)
Love, Lauren

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bean Update #4

Tim was a wonderful husband and made it his priority to take my 22 week picture, I am not sure why I don't look bigger, I really don't know why the "round, fat belly" (as Madeleine calls it) isn't showing up in these pictures! When you see me in real life I am bigger. I think I'm huge lately. At our 20 week ultrasound, the tech said she thought Bean was about 12oz. (a can of soda). Of course, we also found out we were having a boy! Can you believe it!? I shed a little tear of disbelief and happiness; Tim never cries, but some dust flew in his eyes too. God's so awesome to us. Of course, I was a little sad at losing the potential of a third girl, I had a name all picked out, but this is what God wants, and what we all wanted too. 

How far along? 23 weeks

EDD: LMP suggests January 25th ; Kaiser says Jan 30th, I am hoping for January 31st (I can will myself into labor right?) MJ was due May 25th and came on the 2nd. Not sure if this babe will be different with different gender. Grace was only 6 days "overdue" due the 7th, came the 13th. I think 1/31/13 is totally doable for this little guy. 
Total weight gain: 9 lbs.- still not exercising...being lazy, I guess.
Maternity clothes? oh yea!
Stretch marks? please...I've had them since I was 14, they're proof of power :)
Sleep: could be good, if i went to bed earlier than 12am
Miss Anything? beer, beer and beer.
Movement: Tons: baby is super active lately and especially at night. sometimes, he keeps me up.
Food cravings: breyer's cookies & cream ice cream 2/$6 at Albertsons and distilled water, though i quit drinking it after reading that it can strip your body of minerals.
Anything making you queasy or sick: i get super hungry, then gorge, then feel sick. my eyes are way bigger than my mouth, but i let so much time elapse between meals it's hard not to stuff.
Gender: BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! holy cow, we're having a little man!

Labor Signs: Thankfully none.
Symptoms: I thought I was supposed to have energy in the 2nd trimester? I'm just plain exhausted all the time. Oh, and how is it possible to be this hungry all the time? Wow.
Belly Button in or out? in, never does pop.
Wedding rings on or off? on. my ring is still slipping a bit, might have to re-size it after baby.

Happy or Moody most of the time: moodily happy?
Looking forward to: Monday, October 1st 

In other news, our lease is not being renewed, so we have to be out of our house sometime (not sure when). At first, we were asked to be out by October 31st, but we said we'd need more time. Tim is already super stressed studying for the Engineer test at work Oct 5th, and he will be helping his grandparent's move this week. We had an 18-day RV vacation planned for mid-November, but that might be the time that we are moving. Not our first choice, but blessed that the Lord foresaw our situation and granted us that time off. Everything feels incredibly unsettled and disjointed. I'm trying to take it one day at a time. The baby is definitely taking a back seat to all the other pressures we're facing as a family. The thought of packing and moving again in about a month or two is a bummer, but I'm fine with it, I know the Lord is faithful and true to our family. I trust Him. 
Love, Lauren

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Green Bean Update #3

This is the last green bean update. In only 10 days (start the countdown) we'll get the chance to take a little peek at our growing babe. Hopefully he or she will cooperate and we'll know...I don't know why it matters so much, it just does.

19 weeks + 1 day:

It's bigger in real life. Not sure why. Not much to report other than I'm still totally excited and so amazed that I am co-creating and carrying life! It still blows my mind to know that there is this little growing person inside of me with predetermined genetic code (gender too!). I was praying this morning, thanking the Father for allowing me to be guardian to these little lives. Practicing gratitude for every day that I get to have Bean because He could choose to take them from me. They are ultimately His, and so I want to be ever thankful for the days I get. Of course, this attitude is easier to maintain with the babe in the belly than with the two out of belly. But, growing a new life keeps my perspective on the ones I've already delivered. So, I try a little bit more patience, a little bit more grace with Mads and G, because I still feel about them the way I feel about this new life. 

I had a long conversation with my midwife. Tim was supposed to be at a class the Monday I had my appointment, but as I was taking my blood pressure, I hear his voice outside the door. Can I just totally brag on my loving husband that he left his class early to surprise me and be at our appointment? He ALWAYS makes the effort to be there with me, and as I think back on all our pre-natal visits, I can remember only a few appointments (mostly with my midwife at home) where he wasn't able to make it. 

Anyways, it was good because I had a bullet list of talking points for my CNM and thankfully, I was her last patient of the day. After reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, I wanted to get a feel for basic hospital protocol upon arrival. Things like a blood draw, heparin lock or IV placement, electronic fetal monitoring and urine analysis are all standard. I asked if there was a time limit on labor and delivery. I asked to meet the other midwives who might deliver me. I wondered if she felt pressure to adhere to the medical model and to what extent she felt she supported the midwifery model. 

I think the most important concept I have taken away from my readings and from my own experience is the idea that fear, or the perception of fear, has a incredible impact on delivery. Gaskin's calls this the law of the sphincter. She has found medical books, anecdotes and literature from the 1800s that attest to this phenomenon. Attendants were advised to not startle the patient, nor walk in on them suddenly for fear that the sudden shock of being caught in a position of vulnerability would reverse the labor of the woman. The best way to akin it is like a gazelle who is birthing in the wild: if she is suddenly attacked, God has mercifully allowed the animal to retract the spawn back into the uterus in order to escape with a live baby. But this is not just biological animalistic behavior. These doctors of which I spoke earlier recorded several instances when the laboring mother was deep into delivery and because of the disturbance of the male doctor and a sudden presence that made her uncomfortable, labor ceased and one doctor recorded that it did not start again for 2 weeks. And I'm not talking Braxton-Hicks here, the records show that the delivery was immanent. As I talk to friends--one who was told not to deliver because her doctor was not there and then watched as 4 nurses stepped back and stood watching, and to another who delivered in the back of an ambulance-- they attest that although labor was bearing down (literally) on them, they did not feel safe enough to "release" their baby until they were assured that someone was there to catch him or assist them.

Sometimes it's hard to imagine that fear could cause such a reversal, especially for woman who have felt the overwhelming urge to push their babies out, but imagine sitting in a circle of 6 people with a bowl in the middle and being told that the first one to poop in it will get $50.00. Or, have you ever been in a bathroom stall that does not lock and realized how the little fear of being walked in upon effects your ability to use your sphincter? This is the theory that Gaskins presents: the same laws apply to anus, bladder and birth canal. Many a labor has been draw beyond its natural course due to fear. I believe my 30+ hour with Madeleine was effected by fear. With Gracen, I was doing great until we transported and I lost it. I lost my coach who was having to drive (and fast) and there was a lot of fear because of circumstances, not because of my own body. But, I ramble. Read the book for yourself, it's one of those things that you read and go, "Duh, why doesn't everyone know this?" Well, medicine is politics, and if you watched the RNC then you can see how commonsense can be overruled by those who have the most money. Hospitals make money. Doctors make money. Why do they want you to do naturally what they can help you do and make a lots more money. She needs pitocin, ch-ching; she needs a blood draw, ch-chaing; she needs an epidural...well the anesthesiologist just bought an Audi, so let's get him in here. ch-ching. 

But, there is a revolution rising. I just found out about the Improving Birth Rally taking place all over the nation and there is a group in Murrieta. or you can visit the national site

Birth matters. Do you believe that? Do you believe that the way that the mother brings her children into the world absolutely impacts both in ways they don't fathom? There are reasons to induce; there are reasons to c-section. But, for the majority of healthy, pregnant women like me the most empowering and effective birth for me and my baby is one that values us, not the litigious or monetary interests of my hospital, caregiver or insurance company. I encourage all women, but particularly pregnant ones to research alternatives to the procedures of the medical model. Question why they are asking you to do the things you do. And remember the 4 magic words:                    I do not consent. 
Love, Lauren

Friday, August 17, 2012

Green Bean Update #2

16 weeks:
Chugging right along, today we are 17 weeks with only 27 days until our anatomical ultrasound. As of now, we are finding out what we're having, but I want to do something fun for a personal reveal. I was hoping that if we had enough time together (like a dinner date after the appointment in Riverside) that we could have a special time to reveal the gender with each other instead of right in front of the technician. I imagine giving the tech a card with "boy" and "girl" written on it, and asking them to simply circle the gender. Maybe we could look away at the revealing images and have them take a few pictures for confirmation without us knowing. Then, at dinner we could share the info. That could be fun!

I've had 2-3 vivid dreams delivering a girl. I would be so happy to have another little lady in the house. Girls are awesome! And, they're what I know. Also, our girls name list is SO much longer. I have one name in particular that I am about settled on, of course, this is if it was me alone. Tim and I might be in for some longer discussions regarding names for baby #3. With Madeleine, we made our list and started getting aggressive in eliminating names around month 6. Not even sure how we came across it, but we went back a few times between Grace and Madeleine, decided on Madeleine and then started fishing for an unusual biblical middle name. Because we eliminated Grace, it made it super easy to name Gracen when she came along. I simply suggested a two-syllable name for "formality", googled "Gracen" to be sure we were in the clear (biggest hit was for a lovely dress at J. Crew named the same) and just sorta tried out middle names. Usually it has been me suggesting with Tim responding as we both work out the name. This time, I'm not sure what's going to go down. I am sure whatever we decide, we'll love it! Of course, boys names are SO much more difficult. There really hasn't been any one name that I've heard or read or searched that has struck me. So, for those of you who have boys name lists and you actually share (unlike me) then leave a comment with your suggestions. The only parameter at this point is a little gray...if we go with another 'n' ending. So far it's, Tim, LaureN, MadeleiNe, GraceN and...I don't know if we want to get stuck in a pattern of any sort. Now I'm getting excited thinking about what will be suggested :)

So far, I'm sleeping fine, only gained about 3 lbs and am loving this growing belly. Even now little bean is kicking at me and it's nice. It's nice now that the little one is only 5 ounces. When Bean gets to be 8 lbs. 5's a different sensation altogether. There have been some different symptoms, the freezing cold for the first 3 months (yes, I am hot now...bless those of you due in Sept/Oct), a stretch of deep blue veins is showing up over the side of my abdomen and chest which I never noticed before; they even stretch to my shoulders. Frequent headaches--which I attribute to my lack of water which I'm finding tough to get down with the pressing demands of two other little ones (second food on that one). And I'm still exhausted...more than I think I should be. But, I am so grateful that God looked upon my weak soul and blessed me. No throwing up, no debilitating conditions, no pre-term labor, no Braxton-Hicks...I am grateful and humbled at my body's ability to co-create a life. A tiny little human I can hold and have to love. For some reason, I can carry to term and deliver them and I praise God for that. There will come a time when I won't be able to sustain a life. I'm grateful for this time- this season of fertility: it's like the joy of fruit ripening on the vine through a honey drenched summer.

And with that beautiful thought, a confession. I'm getting a little concerned...I think it struck me when I was at Walmart three days ago, along with everyone else in need of school supplies. I had already shopped and gotten in line when Mads told me she had to go. G was not interested in coming with us. So, I picked her up football style, moved my cart out of the stretching line and took Mads to the restroom. Cynthia Bonner called out to me a friendly hello, but I wasn't really able to say hello with a kicking, fussing Gracie and a scurrying Madeleine. We made it to the bathroom where there are no hooks for purses on the doors and Mads goes, then as I'm helping her get down and dressed, Gracie (who has taken to potty training herself this last week) sticks her hand in the toilet. She starts talking to me and pointing her drenched finger to which I try and keep it out of her mouth as we head out the door. Madeleine wants to twirl and stay under my feet in the crowded bathroom while I am trying to get myself, my purse and two girls to the sink, so I can pick each one up in turn and wash their hands. I think it was after G was done and I went to pick up 40 lb Madeleine that my belly bulged in my maternity shorts and I had a panicked, "What in the world am I doing?" go through my head. "I  must be crazy" and I pictured all that had occurred with a newborn too. But, I didn't  have time to dwell for I needed to return to line, pay for our items rally everyone into the car and get lunch down before hustling them to naptime. I have school dreams for Madeleine and things are getting easier with the girls every day. Now we're going to throw another little slug into the mix in 5 months? What am I thinking? So, the next morning I was up early to spend some time in the word and get some perspective.

I love my girls, and I love this new baby too. Bean will become a part of our family, a person who will shape us in ways we never thought and it will be wonderful. So I dont need to be afraid, or anxious about God will equip me to do what He has called me to do. And for now, that is just grow a baby. I can do that. Go to sleep tonight at a reasonable hour. I can do that. Drink some water. I can do that. Taking each day one hour (or minute) at a time and fighting for JOY to prevail against concerns.

Love, Lauren

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Green Bean update #1

We made it to the 2nd trimester! Yay! It seems like I'm fibbin' when I say I'm 4 months pregnant, but according to the baby books, it's true (of course, it's just the first week of month 4, but it counts!)

We had our first ultrasound around 11 weeks and the doctor measured the baby and put us around 10 weeks, 1 day. He gave us the due date of January 30th. Based on LMP, we're due January 25. According to me, this has been the hardest one to pinpoint. I guessed Madeleine's, was off by one day with Gracen, but this bean has me stumped. I'm just hoping for a January baby. We already have 8 birthdays to celebrate in February! 1/31/13 would be a fun date to be born on!

10 weeks:

13 weeks:

See any difference yet? We have our 20 week ultrasound set for September 13th and I cannot tell you how much I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas. We will be more than joyful with whatever the Lord determines for our family, but it's no surprise most everyone is hoping for baby to be a boy.

I'm trying to work every angle with Kaiser to have a water delivery, but I am not having much success. We have our first meeting with Kaiser's Certified Nurse Midwife who will supervise my development and hopefully that conversation will merit some headway into my preferred method of pain relief. And while I'm trying to avoid being that girl, I am ending up being THAT girl. I refused my labs at the intake appointment because they wanted my blood to test for anemia and sickle cell and Rh positivity and other things that I don't have. They wanted my urine to test for gonorrhea and chlamydia and syphilis which is almost an insult should it come to a legal battle (if I really wanted to be THAT girl).

I want Kaiser to tell me that it would be cruel not to offer pain relief during labor and delivery and then explain why they can't allow me access to personal pain relief. I want them to tell me why they are willing to pay for the drugs and the anaesthesiologist to skewer me, but they absolutely refuse to fill a big tub of warm water for me. I'm not so sure why my preferred treatment for pain relief is unavailable under their plan anywhere but Roseville, CA. We'll see what we yield as we get farther along.

My favorite part of our intake appointment is when the nurse was listening to me explain my philosophy of birth and how I wanted a water birth and what info she could give me to help me figure it all out...she started telling me that Kaiser uses the best research to facilitate care in their hospitals and how those other alternative practices are not deemed safe by Kaiser. That Kaiser wants me in a "controlled environment, that way...if the baby's heart drops, we just c-section them out and they are safe." Honestly, it wasn't the place to start a dogmatic discussion on the medical model versus the homeopathic one, so I just tried to focus on the necessary information and requirements at hand. As I started to kindly counter her with reasons I didn't want to do the glucose test and other future labs, she looked straight at Tim, whirled our paperwork from in front of us and re-checked some information saying, "You're a firefighter/paramedic right?" as she checked over his employment history. "Yes, you're a paramedic...and you agree with all this, all her opinions about this?" she asked pointing her finger back and forth between us with an aghast look on her face.

"Yeah, I do" the devastatingly gorgeous and overwhelmingly manly firefighter/ paramedic replied.

Between the appointments, just enjoying dreaming of that sweet little babe coming soon.

Love, Lauren

Friday, July 20, 2012

When You're At War

Tim and I were finally able to go see The Avengers yesterday. Yes, the day Dark Knight Rising opens and tons of little twenty-somethings have nothing better to do than stand in line for 5 hours to see a midnight premier. Ah, youth. We were gifted this date by Tim's mom and our nephew, Daniel, who took our little chicks to play after naps. Sitting in the theater and criticizing dissecting the plot or the script is something fun Tim and I like to do. We're pretty hard to impress when it comes to all things Hollywood. One line that really struck me to the core was just about 8 minutes into the movie. The agency director, Nick Fury, and his right-hand man, Agent Phil Coulson, are in a secret hangar working on the perfect sustainable energy source, the Teserract. Unfortunately, Loki (Norse god of mischief) arrives to steal the energy cube and basically blow the secret steel compound to smitherings. In the wake of catastrophic agent death, and loss of the most powerful potential weapon on Earth with the capability to destroy the planet, Fury tells his people, "This is a level seven. As of right now, we are at war." To which agent Coulson responds, "What do we do?"


Now, I don't know about you, but if I were the commanding officer of an army, and my right-hand agent turned to me --after a Congressionally declared war, of course-- and said, "What do we do?" I would be very, very scared.

What do we do? What do we do!?! Are you flip out of your mind!? You do what you were trained to do. You go to war!

And as I sat there in the theater, asking Tim, "What do you mean 'What do we do?'" with just a smidge of smugness, it instantly hit me that I am just as unprepared as Agent Coulson.

I'm in a battle--every day-- and I'm undone.

It's no novel idea that our world is getting darker. As Christians, we might continue to be surprised, but we shouldn't be. Much like parents who forget their children are sinners. One kid kicks their sister in the throat, or they suddenly turn into a banshee at bedtime, we get angry and ask, "How could you do that?" We have forgotten that they are sinners at heart. And I just have to wonder at Christians who look at the world with the same eyes as a forgetful parent asking, "How could they do that?"

How could a person arm themselves and walk into a theater and shoot 14 other people point blank? How could you do that? What were you thinking? 

And as Christians, we forget that we live in the sinful world. We forget that given enough anger or isolation or drugs or alcohol or depression or selfishness, we could kill others too. We could drown our children. We could desecrate our marriage bed. Because we're sinners too, and it's only different for us because overwhelming Grace has rescued us.

So, what do you do when you realize that you live at war with the world around you. And that maybe you haven't been training because when sin comes knocking, you turn and ask "What do I do?"

As I pondered this through the rest of the night, I considered why I might not have a plan when war is upon me. Maybe it's because I've always been at war, but it's never been real. Born in 1980, was there ever a time when my country hasn't been at war? A little search under military operations 1980-2012 offers a resounding "no". There was the Cold War, The Gulf War, The War on Terrorism, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Syria, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan. I've not known a day without war. And when you're able to live a "normal" life amidst a "war", you're not nearly as prepared as when a bomb drops right in your hometown.

"What do we do?"

True war--hard battle--will come. It is a guarantee. Now, while it's a great blessing to prepare physically with food stores, water, ammo, provisions and precious's more important that we prepare spiritually. Biblically, we're told to prepare.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

When we forget we're in a battle, we need to allow the Spirit to remind us that there is an enemy out there. Praise the Lord that our enemy is bound by space- he's not ever present. But, we have our own flesh to battle in the meantime and when we start to think that life is normal, that we're "safe" because we live in Temecula, or we have money in the bank or our kids are's time to ask God to show us what we might do to trust in Him alone. Of course, we must learn to praise Him for His many blessings; but we are in a war of souls- ours and others and the Lord has left us some instructions on being a dutiful soldier for His army.

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints  Ephesians 6:11-18 

So, when a battle, spiritual or physical comes my way...I'm going to train in such a way that I'm prepared. I may not win battles, or my wars, but I am forever under the leadership of the God who will rule eternally. I will do all I can to be ready and then rest in knowing that God will win, and He knows what to do. 

The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD. Proverbs 21:31

Love, Lauren

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Green Bean

In case you missed the Facebook post, we're expecting our third little babe in late January/early February. I had been trying to wait until July to announce the news to our families, but it ended up being way too complicated! We're over 8 weeks along and doing just fine. I'm calling baby "green bean" for now...once we find out gender in about 10-14 weeks, we'll go pink bean or blue bean (p.b. or b.b.) :)
So excited!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

WAP with Mama

Usually when Tim works a 48 (or longer), we head down to the WAP or try and do something to distract Mama the girls from the fact that Dada is away. I had never been to the Butterfly Jungle and thought it was a great time to go.

I tried to get Mads to play in the turtle shell, but not only was she not impressed by it, she was equally not impressed that I got in it:
 G wasn't too impressed either:
 Madeleine did not like the Butterfly Jungle- I had to carry both girls and Madeleine was afraid that the butterflies would land on her (which is of course, amazing!). But, at 18 months she hated the hippo, and last week she loved it: ages & stages, as my mother says:

 The park was super crowded with the Butterfly Jungle and we actually waited for the tram over 45 minutes!!! We've never waited for the tram, couple this with a newly potty-trained Mads, a Mama who forgot the packed lunch and snack bag on the kitchen counter and you get for not the most enjoyable day, but...the girls did great despite my hiccups:

 Because I love the man so darn much, I always stop by the station on the way home. G didn't quite stay awake:
 and Sleeping Beauty woke to a kiss from her knight in shining armor:
We hung out with Tim a little bit and then headed home. Thankfully, seeing him makes getting through the days a little easier (wow, do I sound like an addict or what). Yes, you can pray for me since you now see my life's idol.
Love, Lauren