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  • I used Google Maps to find the house where my friend was in labor.
  • I timed contractions using the timer function.
  • I played soothing music on my iPod to keep my friend as calm as possible.
  • I checked the weather to see how long the rain would last.
  • I played Words with Friends while my friend sat in the tub for a bit.
  • I texted with my husband for moral support.
  • I chatted with my midwife friend for general information.
  • I updated Twitter/Facebook to tell everyone I had just delivered a baby.
  • I took lots of pictures.

So I got your attention with the title of the post, now let me share more about the experience itself. My friend, who prefers the term “houseless” to being called “homeless”, told me back in January that she was expecting. For the past several months we’ve been talking and planning what would happen on the big day when it arrived. Being the hippie that she is – and I use that term with love – she wanted to deliver at the campsite she and her boyfriend were staying at, and I begged her to let me be a part of it. Instead she was staying with a friend when the baby decided it was time. (Click on the images to enlarge them.)A week ago today, I got the phone call I had been waiting for and made the drive to be with her as she labored. This being my first experience with a home birth, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had been a doula (care person for the mother) for two of my friends, but it had been in a hospital. I was a little out of my element this time, but tried my best to be prepared for anything. Little did I know that I would be catching a baby.

The dad, a friend we’ve known for a couple of years, was a great support person. I was so proud of him. We passed the day chatting, timing contractions, and doing everything we could to make my friend comfortable as she did all the hard work. Labor and delivery are fascinating! The body knows what to do and my friend had to pay attention and figure it out as she went along with the cues her body was giving her. I tried to make suggestions when I could, but it was up to her, and she was a trooper.

A midwife friend coached me through delivering the baby and the placenta, taking care of the umbilical cord, everything. It was amazing! 9 hours after I arrived, little Christopher took his first breath. I whispered a quick blessing over him as I laid him on his mommy and began cleaning him up and looking him over. I was nervous but had been praying all day for wisdom, guidance, and peace and felt all of those things. God is so good! My friends gained 6 lbs. and 14 oz. of blessing, and I will never be the same for having been a part of it all. There is so much more I could say, but some things seem too sacred to share on the internet. My friends are now learning how to parent and be a family, and I’m honored that I can speak truth, love, and hope into their lives.

Yes, my iPhone came in pretty handy, but it was nothing compared to God’s calming presence as heaven touched earth and I experienced the miracle of new life with my friends.

         

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Today I’m blogging about my love for the Denver Public Library. It. Is. Awesome.

The central library is a 540,000 square foot monstrosity of “public happiness.” Designed by world-renowned architect Michael Graves, the library opened its doors in 1995. The building is a work of art, but nothing compared to the beauty it houses. Just for fun, here’s the Lego version, which we’ve seen in person. Click on the picture to visit the page where the creator posted detailed pictures:

My children and I love spending lazy afternoons perusing the shelves for our next treasured book, and reading in the pavilion. Even though the children’s wing is on the first floor, we always visit the upper floors so they can ride on the escalators. Visiting the library has been a regular occurrence since they were born, but as they grow into independent readers, our library trips have taken on a whole new dimension of fun. They love having their own library cards and checking out their own books. What do I love?

  • They have almost everything I want to read, and if they don’t, they will order it from another library for me.
  • The staff is always friendly and helpful.
  • Their online catalog system makes it easy to put items on hold and pick up at my convenience.
  • They email me a few days before my books are due back so I can avoid overdue fines, and they have a grace period of about a week before assessing fines, which I would never need. Ahem. 😉
  • They have a huge selection of audio and e-books.
  • They have a great summer reading program for my kids. Last summer over 31,000 Denver area children and teens participated in the summer reading program. That doesn’t include the other library districts in the metro area.
  • Their kid’s site offers everything from homework help to book reviews on the latest new titles.

And so much more…

My library card is the key to a vault of treasure, my passport to free adventures, and one of many tools I’m using to shape the young minds in my care. The Denver Public Library partners with me to pull it off, and for that I am so grateful!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

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My Zoe is the sweetest girl. In the 8 years she’s been brightening up this planet, she has taught me nearly as much as I aim to teach her. I don’t remember anyone ever telling me that parenting a little girl would be this big of a learning experience for a momma. Guiding such a beautiful creature through the minefield of childhood has forced me to swiftly unpack and de-clutter my baggage so that I don’t pass it on to her. It’s not hers to carry, and just having her around like a mini-me mirror has made me painfully (and joyfully) aware that I don’t have to continue carrying it either.

Before I ever saw girl parts on an ultrasound, I knew that’s what we were having, and I was terrified. Paralyzing questions plagued my dreams and my fierce, mama bear heart grew stronger with each stretch of my belly. How would I protect her? How would I teach her to protect herself? I know these words are telling as much as I know that it is difficult to be the daughter of a survivor and I want more for her than that legacy. As is the pattern of my life, when I was sure I’d be overwhelmed, God stepped in and calmed my fears with two simple, difficult, beautiful words, “Trust Me.”

I was reminded that the very first mother had no mother of her own to call for advice. It was just her and God. She had no other option but to trust Him. Choice sometimes makes things harder, don’t you think? If Eve could do it without the support that I have from the incredible women in my life, then I can certainly do it. Have you ever trusted God out of sheer determination to do so? Or are you giggling at my silliness? 😉

How do I parent my pink-loving spitfire of a child? Very purposefully.

Like all children, she knows how to stall at bed time, and her favorite excuse goes something like this: “Can we have Mommy/Zoe time tonight?” (Cue the dimples and the sparkling chocolate-brown eyes) And when the answer is yes, we lie on her bed and star gaze as we chat about her tragedies and triumphs, and dream about the future. I answer her questions in honest, age appropriate language, and ask her some of my own. It’s in this place of comfort that we giggle and listen to Beethoven at Bedtime, talk about her first crush – JB, how annoying her brothers are, her crazy unique fashion sense, and whether or not I think she’s pretty. Yes, she’s already asking that one a lot. This time is precious to us both, but she needs her sleep, so we either need to find a better Mommy/Zoe time of the day, or she needs to go to bed earlier.  It’s imperative I work that out because my window of opportunity is shrinking. Want proof?

Try this eye-opening exercise:

Take out a sheet of paper and turn it horizontally. Draw a straight line across the paper. At the beginning of the line, make a mark indicating the day you were born. Now keep making marks across the line to represent every five years of your life until you reach 100. Next, mark off the years you spent in school (K-12, college if you attended, etc.), your wedding date if you’re married, and any other major life events you’ve experienced so far. Mark off the year you plan to retire. Here’s where it gets interesting. Make a mark on your time line to represent when your child was born, then tick off 18 years – assuming he/she moves out of your home at that age. If you have multiple children, put them on your time line too. Now put down your pencil. What do you see?

When someone taught me this exercise several years ago, it helped me put the “toddler and 2 babies in diapers” phase of my life in perspective. I needed this visual to convince me that the day would come when everyone in my house would be wiping themselves, they would grow up and eventually move out on their own, it had not taken up my entire life, and though I was a mom, I was so much more than that. There is life before and after kids.

I am grateful for this parenting time-line exercise and now and then I repeat it. But now it’s to remind me that my window is a small one and I want to savor these Mommy/Zoe moments while I can because one of these days I’m going to blink and she’ll be having those moments with her own child.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

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I was raised in a church that taught me that miracles died with the Apostles. It was said that those who practiced these things were out of God’s will and they were frauds. Then last week my son was healed of a life altering allergy. Now I’m standing in my faith taking baby steps towards whatever God has planned for my family through all of this. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them)

Last week Benny went to a healing conference with our friend Zack. He learned some amazing things and we are now pursuing God in new and powerful ways. Among them, believing in God’s power and what He’s doing in the world, and discarding what we were taught by people who decided what God can and can’t do. Or is it what God does and doesn’t do? Do we really think we can tell God what He can and can’t do? How arrogant is that??

A little history:

Almost since birth, Pete has suffered from food allergies – dairy being the most severe. Nursing him resulted in projectile vomiting and we didn’t know why. When solid foods were introduced, certain foods (like eggs, wheat, soy, and many more) made him break out all over.  As a mom, I felt sorry for him and myself that I could do nothing to help him. His little body was covered in raw patches that he couldn’t stop scratching – causing him to bleed. I prayed all the time that God would take away his eczema. We tried everything and our doctor was stumped too. He recommended a dermatologist and the guy we saw was a cocky jerk. His expensive creams didn’t help at all. He was almost 1 when it was finally diagnosed as food allergies. While in the middle of trying an elimination diet, we moved to Colorado and began looking for a church. I got a small glimpse of what leprosy must be like as we were kicked out of nurseries when the workers saw his skin and feared for the safety and health of the other children. My explanation of his eczema went unheard. Then we visited the church Heather (my good friend now) goes to and she was the one in the nursery. Instead of shunning me, she told me she thought she could help us. Pete was 2. Between Heather and our friend Dr. Brian, they were able to heal most of Pete’s allergies through allergy desensitization, but dairy still remained a serious problem. Fast forward a year and a half to the healing conference…

On Friday night the kids and I drove to Castle Rock to attend the evening worship service. Hundreds of people had been healed the night before and Benny and I wanted healing for Pete. I was skeptical, but extremely hopeful. Throwing off theological baggage is hard work and I wasn’t there yet. I was the parent in the Mark 9:24 statement, “I do believe, help me in my unbelief”.

I felt a little out-of-place as we stood in the back, but I could not deny the energy in the room. The Holy Spirit was poured out on this place! Sometime I’ll share some of the other healings that took place that weekend, but this is Pete’s story. The kids were getting antsy so we took them out in the lobby for a bit. A woman saw our energetic 3-year-old running around and asked Benny if her family could pray for him. They went to a quiet room away from the crowd and began praying healing over Pete. Suddenly Pete said, “Popa! What’s that singing?” Benny told him that no one was singing, but Pete insisted that someone was singing even though no one else in the room could hear it. Angels singing over my little boy? Wow. Were they praising God for His wonders? Were they ministering to Pete’s spirit? I don’t have an answer for that.

Later when our family surrounded Pete in prayer again, Max put his hand on Pete and looked like he was concentrating hard. Then he said, “Popa, I think God just gave me a message in my heart…He said Pete is going to be healed by midnight.” Was this my 7-year old prophesying??? I was stunned. He is a baptized believer, but this was new to me and strange. Throughout the night we received confirmation in so many ways that we chose to believe what the Holy Spirit was doing and embraced the promise that Pete was healed. I was so incredibly tired as we drove back to Denver that night that I prayed the whole way home. “Please God, keep me awake and get us home safely. Please God, heal my little boy! Please God, help me believe in healing. Please God, show me what to do. Please God, let this be real.”

We all woke up on Saturday morning and it was time to test the healing out. The kids had cereal for breakfast and I put regular milk in Pete’s bowl instead of the rice milk he usually drinks. His only reaction was “Mommy, rice milk tastes better than this.” Nothing physical happened. His reactions usually occur within seconds of coming into physical contact with dairy products. I immediately thanked God for the healing and continued to wrestle with this new-found step of faith. For lunch, Pete had a cheeseburger. He picked the cheese slice off and asked me, “Can I eat this?” “Yes Pete, God healed you.” So he ate the cheese first. Still no reaction. Well, being the giant of faith that I am, we had cheese pizza for supper. 😉 No reaction. Sure, we ate unhealthy food all day, but I was testing God’s promise. I wanted to believe so badly and yet there was still a small part of me that was bracing myself for a let down. But here’s the truth of our situation:

My son, who has never been able to touch let alone ingest dairy products,

is now completely healed of his dairy allergy.

I wish I could say that I’m not stunned, that I knew it would happen all along, but I can’t. Here’s what I know now – I’m believing the promise and proclaiming God’s power! I’m so incredibly grateful for what God has done and is continuing to do in my heart and head. I can’t wait to see what He’s going to do next…

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