Happy Reformation Day

Until recently, I didn't know this existed. Here's part of what Wikipedia has to say:

Reformation Day is a religious holiday celebrated on
October 31 in remembrance of the Reformation, particularly by Lutheran and some Reformed church communities....On this day in 1517, Martin Luther posted a proposal at the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany to debate the doctrine and practice of indulgences. This proposal is popularly known as the 95 Theses, which he nailed to the Castle Church doors. This was not an act of defiance or provocation as is sometimes thought. Since the Castle Church faced Wittenberg's main thoroughfare, the church door functioned as a public bulletin board and was therefore the logical place for posting important notices. Also, the theses were written in Latin, the language of the church, and not in the vernacular. Nonetheless, the event created a controversy between Luther and those allied with the Pope over a variety of doctrines and practices. When Luther and his supporters were excommunicated in 1520, the Lutheran tradition was born....The liturgical color of the day is red, which represents the Holy Spirit and the Martyrs of the Christian Church. Luther's hymn, A Mighty Fortress is our God is traditionally sung on this day. Lutherans customarily stand during the hymn, in memory of its use in the religious wars of the Sixteenth Century....

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still
His kingdom is forever.
(Lyrics from Cyberhymnal.com)


Friday Night @ COSI

Here's the kids in their halloween costumes. We've decided not to go trick-or-treat-ing this year so we went to COSI Friday night so they could wear their costumes. First up is Nathan as a Ninja Turtle (don't ask which one although my husband could tell you). Caleb was an army guy, Elizabeth was Dora (cute little wig to go with the costume but it wouldn't fit), and John was a mechanic with Mater from the Cars movie on his costume. I will say that for anyone who regularly goes to COSI or is thinking about it, the Bob The Builder exhibit is pretty cool! That's our good friend, Fionna, dressed up like a princess in the shot at COSI in front of the Bob exhibit.


Why am I not in church?

Elizabeth has a bad cold so that's why. I didn't stay home to listen to the new CD (although that's quite a bonus) or to recover from our Sunday School bonfire last night. After all, we left the bonfire early. We had a good time, though. I'll post some more later of the kids in their costumes from going to COSI on Friday night.

Guess what I got?!?!

(You should be able to imagine the huge grin on my face right now....!)
Big THANK YOU to Paula & Candace who gave me the new Steven Curtis Chapman CD!!!! I'm rockin' away as we speak to "Children of God":
Who are the treasured and the prized?
Who is the apple of God's eye?
Who is?
Who are the ones who bear His name?
Who are the children He has claimed as His?
Awesome song, I'm telling you! My favorite is probably "Yours" -- very worshipful and so very, very true.
It's all yours, God.
Yours, God.
Everything is yours.
From the stars in the sky to the depths of the ocean floor.
And it's all yours, God.
Yours, God.
Everything is yours.
You're the Maker and Keeper, Father, and Ruler of everything.
It's all Yours....
The glory is yours, God.
All the honor is yours, God.
The power is yours, God.
The glory is yours, God.
You're the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
And it's all yours, God.
I have cold chills....Then there's "Broken" (We're all broken and we all need a Savior") I love that first line "I'm just a well-dressed wreck". And, of course, there's "Cinderella" and SCC's song to his wife "One Heartbeat At A Time", the title track that's playing on radio right now "Miracle of the Moment", etc, etc. Anyway, I think you get the idea. Might end up my fav album but my all-time favorite SCC song (that will probably never change) is "Be Still And Know" off of his "Speechless" album that came out around 1999. I heard our former pastor, Tony, sing that song once as he was guest speaking. I'm a pretty hard sale on anyone other than SCC singing his songs (I can't stand it when someone else sings "I Will Be Here" at a wedding but that's just me) but Tony did a fabulous job on "Be Still And Know". I'll stop at that one lest I go on a why-I'm-hooked-on-SCC discussion that no one wants to hear about! You're probably rolling your eyes already and that's fine.... =)



To the Curry family. Dave has gone home to be with the Lord. Please pray for the Curry family and the church in WV that is now without it's pastor.

Fall has arrived (I think....)

Saturday was the official end of soccer season (how on earth did 11 weeks already go by?!?!) and the soccer awards. First stop, celebratory breakfast at Cracker Barrell (thanks Mamaw and Papaw for the treat!). Here's a few pictures of the boys' with their teams and the (deflated) soccer balls (their awards).

And, here's some pics of some pretty trees we found on our way home. Our camera does NOT do justice to these beautiful trees! I'm so bummed they didn't turn out better. We're thinking about getting an SLR camera after income tax time. We certainly use a camera a lot with school and stuff.


Pray for Dave

This email came to me this morning from one of our former pastors:

To one and all, Please pray for, and have remembered in your church, my brother Dave. Dave has been stricken with a rare auto-immune disease that has attacked his kidneys and lungs. Medications that were being used to treat his kidneys have further damaged his lungs. He is on vent and will remain so until God intervenes. He is pastor of First Baptist Church, Romney, WV. Please pray for his church and his wife Shirley. Thanks and I will update as God does His wonderful work.

Join us in praying for Dave and our former pastor/dear friend, Cliff.



Dr's appointment/ultrasound today....

Everything looks GREAT! The cyst seen on his brain at 19 weeks is GONE (praise the Lord)! Everything else remains unchanged which is a good thing. Weight still down (lost a pound in between last 2 appointments -- can you believe that?!?). BP was good although the top number had crept up quite a bit, although still within the normal range. Unfortunately, I'm no stranger to high BP during pregnancy so we'll have to keep an eye on that. Sugars are starting to get a little high during the day. But, because my fasting blood sugars are still WELL below 100 and they don't want to mess with those, they're going to try and put me on an oral medication during the day to see if that helps control things better. I'm happy that I can try something oral and avoid those insulin shots! As far as my activity level goes, he said that since the contractions I'm having are causing absolutely no change, that he doesn't see any need to keep me on any kind of activity restriction as long as I'm smart about what I do and listen to my body if it tells me to slow down. So -- all in all, this couldn't have been a better appointment. For the first time, they showed me 3D pictures. They showed up in color at the dr's office but the print out is B&W. Still, it's pretty remarkable. Can you see his hand in front of his face and the smirk on his face in the second picture? Cute, huh?? =) By the way, he finally has a name....Timothy Paul Stevens.



In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm what you might call a Steven Curtis Chapman fan (he he). He's got a new album, "This Moment", coming out on the 23rd (mourning the fact that funds won't allow a release day purchase of this one -- will have to wait for Christmas). There's a song on the new album that I've heard on his website and on a few on-line interviews that makes me cry nearly every time I hear it. I have more "Prince's" in my house than "Cinderella's" but the message is so true, regardless. SCC's oldest daughter is 21 years old but they have 3 little girls they adopted from China that are 8 and younger (and 2 teenage boys in between, touring as musicians with their Dad right now). He tells the story of trying to get his youngest 2 daughters in the bath one night, already running behind. While trying to rush through bath, he turns around to realize that Stevey and Maria had disappeard out of the tub. They reappear in their Cinderella dress-up costumes. "Look, Daddy, we're going to the ball." He throws them back in the tub, rushes through bath time, and tucks them into bed telling them to limit their prayers to immediate family only that night ("No praying for the orphans in Africa tonight, girls!" -- hilarious story when he tells it). After he closes the door to go back to "work" writing this new album, he says God whispers to his heart one name -- Emily Chapman (his 21-year-old). He suddenly realizes that God is trying to tell him to slow down, to savor the moments he has with these girls while he has them because he's not going to have them forever. Out of that night, the song "Cinderella" is born. He goes through 3 verses -- one, she's pretending to be going to the ball and needs to practice her dancing; 2nd verse, she's preparing for the prom; and the 3rd verse, she's showing off her engagement ring, asking her dad to help her practice dancing for the wedding. The last chorus:
So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the Prince never knew....
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause I know something the Prince never knew
All too soon, the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone
(Crying yet? Must be my hormones!) The family has gotten into blogging and I particularly like to follow Mary Beth's (SCC's wife). Her latest entries are from visiting Anderson University in Indiana where she and Steven met. Mary Beth says how weird it is to be walking down memory lane with her boys in tow and ends one post with "Time goes by, ya'll....Hug your kids!". I have days like that already and Nathan is only 8! What will life be like in 10 years?!?! I'm going to go hug my Princes and Cinderella now!


3 hours sleep

And that's cumulative, not all at once. That's what I'm running on today -- about 3 hours. That cough I posted about yesterday, well, it's a lot worse. I tried going to bed last night at 10:30 and coughed my way through 'til Jonathan came to be at 11:30. Dozed off and on between coughing fits between 11:30 and 12:30 when John was up. Jonathan and I took turns being up with John between 12:30 and 1:30 and my best stretch of sleep was somewhere between 2:30 and 3:30 when I finally got up and took more medicine although that was not a solid hour of sleep. After going back to bed around 4, I had a good set of sleep somewhere between then and 5 when John was up again. This time, Jonathan put him in bed with me and hit the couch. Another good dose of sleep between 5:30 and 7 or so when John woke me up, kicking me in the back. I was up then for good. Jonathan left at 8 with Nathan and Caleb for soccer. John and Elizabeth watched t.v. and I dozed off on the couch between 9 and 10. Hate leaving them with the electronic baby-sitter but I was beyond exhausted at that point and I really didn't mean to fall asleep. My plan was to get something to eat about 9 and then next thing I knew, it was 10:00. Jonathan got home about 12:30 with the boys and I went back to bed and am relieved to have actually had almost a solid 2 hour block of sleep without a coughing fit. Church is probably out for me again tomorrow -- I don't know for sure if I'm contagious (I don't even know what I have -- no other symptoms really than the cough. My ears hurt today and my throat feels raw so maybe I'm just on the beginning of something?) but if I have another night like I had last night, then Jonathan will have to do it without me tomorrow and it will have been 2 solid weeks since I've been to church (John was sick for a Wednesday and Sunday before all this started happening with me).

If you catch this, please pray for a night of sleep for me and for wisdom -- that I'll get better and/or that I'll know it's time to head for an urgent care or something as I don't really have a general practitioner to go to.


Countdown added

Over to the left, you'll notice a countdown to 37 weeks. That's our goal, when it should be safe to deliver. Several people have asked me with everything that's gone on this week, if that means we'll deliver prematurely again. I honestly can't answer that. What I do know is this -- 1) what's happened this week is more under the category of "irritable uterus" as opposed to "preterm labor"; and 2) things are much better for now. Tuesday was great until after lunch, then I had a few problems. Wednesday was not so great as I was up again at 4 AM with contractions that pretty much lasted until sometime Wednesday evening. Yesterday, I attempted to take the kids to our homeschool co-op where I'm in the nursery as a volunteer for 2 hours. While there, I had about 5 contractions the entire time but felt pretty bad when I got home. I laid down with John yesterday afternoon and was fine after that. I helped make dinner, helped Jonathan put laundry away (he insisted that I do as much from a sitting position and he carried the baskets everywhere), and then went to CVS to get some cough syrup (as if everything this week hasn't been enough, I now have a really bad cough). The weird thing is -- I never had 1 contraction during the entire evening! And, I got up around 3:30 for my middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom (every woman who's ever been pregnant should sympathize!) which was what started things rolling both on Monday and Wednesday. Had 2 contractions after I laid down but the next thing I knew, it was 8 this morning. Now, here it is 11:00 and I'm fine. Not even one contraction this morning and this cough, while highly annoying and sounding terrible, really doesn't bother me that much. I don't feel sick -- in fact, I feel really good. I should be happy, right? Well, I am, but here's the thing -- I'm beyond confused! I've done more in the past 15 hours or so than I've done all week and I'm fine. So what was up with Monday - Wednesday?? Who knows?!?! Oh well -- there's only one thing I can do right now and that's take it one day at a time, giving thanks along the way for another day closer to a safe delivery.

Thanks for all who are praying and please don't stop! Next dr's appt is on Tue. 10/16. Special thanks to Kisha (as my Mom says very often -- "what would we do without her?!?!") who stayed with the kids on Monday, fed them lunch and dinner, did some laundry, cleaned up 2 kids bedrooms, and has offered to take Nathan to a few of our homeschool things we had planned over the next few months if I'm not able to go. We could never thank you enough! And a big thanks to the Wilkes family for bringing us dinner on Wednesday night!! Boston Market -- very yummy! Eating the last of the chicken for lunch today!


Hospital visit today

It's been a long day in the Stevens' house. I woke up about 4:30 this morning and have been battling contractions ever since. (I am 26 weeks pregnant -- 3 full months to go yet.) I spent 5 hours in the triage unit today. Thankfully, the contractions aren't "working", aren't putting me into active labor. Because I wasn't in active labor, they sent me home on restricted activity to see what might happen. They gave me a shot of a drug to stop the contractions but they don't want to keep me on it because it will mess with my diabetes. I've only had a handful of contractions since I got home from the hospital which is much better than the 6-10 I was having every hour. Still, with 4 kids and trying to homeschool, "restricted activity" is going to be very difficult for me. Please pray that we make it at least 10 more weeks before this baby boy is born and that our family will handle the adjustment of Mom not being on top of her game.