Dear Emmalee 10/11 Months

Dear Emmalee,

You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I love watching you WALKING!! You walked for the first time at 10 months. Way to go!
I love you beyond measure!

Here are the 10 months pics: pool day!

Here are the 11 month pics, a parisian photoshoot!


Oh, poor you!

I am not one to be excited of sharing with you that I've been depressed this past week.
I have been meditating on James 1 and trying to be joyful on my many trials.
"But, Lord, how can I not be depressed when everything just piles up?"
Oh poor little me and my many tribulations.
The house we had picked and had supposedly already signed for got snatched by another person who made business directly with the house owner while we dealt with the real estate agent. We were really bumbed to loose that house because it was better and cheaper than the one we ended up with. (Such murmuration.)
The car was not fixed properly and had to be taken back to the mechanic. Let's cross the fingers it's not something new and there is no extra charge.
I kept my murmuring state Sunday afternoon when friends from church said I could "count on them" on helping with the move and all of my church friends where a no-show.
Emmalee got a cough and was feeling pretty bad from Wednesday to Friday
I had a bad experience at work that left me preocuppied and with a bad taste.
All those "piles" piling up kept me from sleeping and I couldn't sleep well all week, waking up every two hours to continue to ponder on my vicisitudes.
Oh, boo hoo... Poor little Linda.
"Nothing goes right."
I knew my heart was not in the right place and I needed a change fast.
I prayed for a change of heart. I know when my heart is away from God's and my eyes off of Him.
I kept trying to talk some sense into myself.
"God knows why we didn't get the other house and why this one will be better. Trust Him, at least you get to keep the dogs."
"Thank God nothing happen to us when the car started failing and hope for the best."
"The brothers and sisters in Christ have been there other times."

It was no good. I was depressed. My soul was downcast, the affliction in my heart too great.
(Please take into account that a pregnant girl who has been sick for two month and then had a lot piling up feels more overwhelmed than she actually should, and sometimes depression is also physical)
Sunday night while laying in bed lamenting how tired I was from a weekend where I had to work on Saturday and spent all Sunday moving heavy stuff and how little rested my body was to start a new week full of work, I opened my facebook and a friend share this video.

Please watch it.
I couldn't watch it without bawling my eyes out.
When the little boy who is 7 and weighs as much as my 10 month old baby cries in despair as his little sisters bathes him with all her strength, my heart truly broke.
My heart brakes when I think of the extent of my selfishness and my ingratitude.
How can I lament a house having one? Curse a car having one?
Feel sorry for myself for waking up to work having one that lets me feed my family?
How come I haven't been searching to be the hands and feet?
How come knowing children are wanting not being the reason I loose sleep?
I cried long and hard. My babies are so blessed and I'm feeling sorry for us.
I really needed that.
I needed God to give me true brokeness, the type of brokeness that has meaning and purpose, not the petty broken heart I was having.
I need to get my heart right back with God's and my eyes steadfast to Him.
Today I woke up to new things piling up, yet I feel lighter and joyful.

Writing and remembering that video makes me cry again, but I feel a good heart crying, not to self pitying heart I had been carrying around.
I feel a heart ready to receive all the beauty God has for me on this day that He made and a heart willing to take it's eyes from within to try to do a better job at being the hands and feet.

Thank you Lord for only You transform the heart and make it new.For only You can break us and make us into something beautiful. Help us not to desire the things of this world but to desire passionately the Kingdom of Heaven. Let this not only be a lesson on how blessed we are  but also ln how much more for You we need and should be doing. I love you, Jesus.


To Those Who Wait

There are many, many things I NEED to do.
I emphasize the word need to strongly claim these things I MUST do, not wish I could or hope I can.
In my piling list of needs there are also wants/needs that although I could live without, I wish I didn't have to.
My heart has been really tested as I didn't see how I was going to get anything on the list done.

I need:
1. To finally get healthy. I´ve been sick for almost two months now and it´s taking a toll on my family, my body, and my finances, not to mention I worry on the toll it might be taking on my unborn child.
2.  I need to fix our car. When we took it to the mechanic we were hoping for an easy and inexpensive fix. No win there. The fix is gonna cost me $400. With all the medical bills from being sick so long and going to the doctor so much, I don't even have enough money to make it to the end of the month, let alone fix the car.
3. I need to find a new place to live. The house I´m renting is no longer available and I need to move as soon as possible. We found a house that meets our needs better than out actual house, except that I have to pay the first month of rent plus the deposit. If I don´t have money to fix the car, I have even less to pay that deposit.
4. I need to go to the gynecologist to check on my baby and I need to take Emmalee to the pediatrician.  I need to inscribe Emmalee on the medical insurance I get from school but for that I need a birth certificate. I was going to get one last Wednesday that I had no work but our dear president declared it a holiday because the Honduran team classified to the world cup. I was also going to go to the public health hospital to get the baby checked because my medical insurance doesn´t cover maternity but the holiday also interfered with that. And now with no car and those places closed on the weekends I don´t know when I´ll be able to do either.
5. I need to find my dogs a new home. (Pause for small sobbing time) The new place doesn´t allow pets. I´ve been spending time with them and imagining my life without them and it´s a hard blow.

I want/need:
1. A carefree day. Seriously. It doesn´t need to be a luxurious getaway. I just need a day where all my troubles don`t follow me around.
2. To sell many stuff I can´t take to the new place (beds, tables, and more)
3. To talk to the school of the possibility of offering tutoring services.
4. Enough money to be able to save for my child´s birth.
5. Find helpers for the move. (I´m hoping this won´t be hard to do and my brothers and sisters in Christ will be there like they always are.)
5. I really want to see that baby darn it!
6. To be kinder and nicer to my loving husband who has been nothing but patient with me.

Things really piled up this month and it´s felt like an avalanche of bad piled over bad.
I was goofing off making Emmalee laugh. She was giggling so hard oblivious of her parents struggles and I felt at peace. I don´t have a place to live or a car or health, but my baby is able to laugh and giggle and she is healthy and happy. It makes it all worth it.

I´ve obviously been crying out to the Lord for help and relief.
This verse is forever on my mind on times like this:
Psalms 46:10
 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
 I will be exalted among the nations,
 I will be exalted in the earth.”

Be still and know that I am God. Such powerful words. It reminds me of when my friend Joseph used to say: "Do you tell God how big your problems are or do you tell your problems how big is your God?"
God is able and He is good. 
The verse brought me to the song "To Those Who Wait" by Bethany Dillon; it has been my battle song this month. 
Here is my rendition of the song:

The Lord is always at work and He is always faithful. 
Can I brag at the fact that I am finally learning to rest in Him? Finally not doing it on my strength and truly trusting Him! 
Rodol was feeling a little overwhelmed and I reminded him of the same words he had used to help me: "Don´t be a Thomas. Don´t wait to see Jesus risen with your own eyes to believe." and I also added: "Has He ever forsaken us? Hasn't He always taken care of us even when there seems to be no way? Why am I going to believe this time He will fail? Isn't that diminishing the faithfulness He has always shown?" 
It has been hard on him. It´s been good because we´ve been having praying sessions like we haven´t had in a while. How wonderful to seek the Lord together and bring our weakness and brokenness to the foot of the Cross.

I like that the song includes this verse:
Romans 7:24
O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

It is not pretty when we are being tested. It´s not pretty with your spouse who watches you complain or wake up cranky or cry in tearful desperation. It´s not pretty before the Lord Who knows your thoughts and your inner questioning. This body of death of mine, although it knows of God´s greatness, is weak and sinful and continuously fails. I thank God through Jesus Christ and I praise Him for making His mercies new every morning. 

The song took me to lamentations 3. Oh how appropriate this scripture was for me. Read this masterful piece of the precious Bible:

Lamentations 3
19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
    the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it
    and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[b]
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man that he bear
    the yoke in his youth.
28 Let him sit alone in silence
    when it is laid on him;
29 let him put his mouth in the dust—
    there may yet be hope;
30 let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
    and let him be filled with insults.
31 For the Lord will not
    cast off forever,
32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
    according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
33 for he does not afflict from his heart
    or grieve the children of men.
34 To crush underfoot
    all the prisoners of the earth,
35 to deny a man justice
    in the presence of the Most High,
36 to subvert a man in his lawsuit,
    the Lord does not approve.
37 Who has spoken and it came to pass,
    unless the Lord has commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
    that good and bad come?
39 Why should a living man complain,
    a man, about the punishment of his sins?
40 Let us test and examine our ways,
    and return to the Lord!
41 Let us lift up our hearts and hands
    to God in heaven
I haven't been able to go check on the baby or take Emmalee on her monthly check. We will have to rest in the Lord that both of them are well and healthy, and I truly believe they are and I am not worried. I just have a really strong desire to see my baby´s heart beating and his developing body u_u

My mom helped us with the money for the car and my sister helped us with the money for the deposit (Bless them!). I hope to have our car back soon and the contract to our new rental soon. 
I am confident my girls Terry and Lanky will find a good home where they are cared for and loved. Emmalee wants so bad to say Terry she says YYYYYY everytime she sees any of my dogs. She really likes them and they are kind and caring with her. I´m sad to let them go but I have two babies to think of. 

I truly believe all the changes we are suffering are for the best.
He truly does more in my waiting than in my doing, though I would say that He does more in my trusting His work than in my trying to do it myself, which is why He continuously teaches me to wait. I´m glad I wait on a faithful God with a steadfast love.

Check out the Spanish version I made for this song here.


Dear Emmale 8/9 months

Here are the pics of her eight month photoshoot. Fastest photoshoot ever. She was just gleaming.

 Made that pose on her own. So adorable!

In the pictures she only had two teeth. She has four now but you can't see them on her next photoshoot.

Here is her 9 month photoshoot. It was a laid back photoshoot due to mommy's health, but she rocked it anyway.

Dear Emmalee,
You get more amazing with time. Hearing you say "ma ma" and "pa pa" is the most darling thing in the world. Seeing you say bye bye with your hand or the glimpse of joy in your eyes when you clap along makes my heart melt. You LOVE music and will dance to any tune you hear, even if it's a commercial. You have four teeth and you look so different with your upper teeth. You are still the cutest thing my eyes have beheld.
You are a little tornado. Since you can stand up and move around on your feet, you are a little trouble maker pulling down adornments and gadgets. You even dropped daddy's heavy laptop.
I'm sorry I haven't been with you as much as I've wanted. Mommy has been sick the past month. You've been spending more time with your caring and loving Daddy. When I do spend time with you, you don't let go and won't let anyone take you away from my arms.
It's so wonderful to see you light up when you see me or daddy come home.
I am glad to tell you that you are very well behaved in the car now and that is a huge relief for mom and dad.
You have become more independent and it's so funny to hear you play alone and talk to your toys.
Bath time has become our thing. Mommy feels better under the hot bath and you love playing on your bathtub. You are so daring trying to stand up in the tub. I have to keep a watchful eye. Wouldn't want you to lose a tooth.
I've told this to other moms and they agree with me, I think you know or sense you have a sibling on the way. You are gonna be such an awesome older sister. I hope your sibling is as well-behaved as you are. You have not been hard one bit and I see other babies and I'm glad I lucked out with your easy going personality.
I finally caved and cut your hair. I had been controlling it hair clips and headbands, but you were just tired of them and your hair was over your eyes. 
We are going to learn so much together. I'm sure I'm gonna learn more from you than the other way around. Watching your joy and innocence brings such peace and understanding to my sometimes troubled heart. Just a look on your eyes and everything in the world is perfect, no matter how hard the days can be. I pray I might live like this forever at your side.
I've started reading to you and soon we will start learning christian songs and children songs. I pray your heart might have a fiery pasion for Jesus. He has been so good to us and has sustain us through this year.
Baby, I pray you know how loved you are and what an HUGE blessing you are in our lives. We love you so much!
Mom and Dad


Negativity: sick and tired of being sick and tired

In past posts, I´ve wondered and questioned if I´m suited for a big family. My health is very fragile and, more than often, my strengths abandon me.
My negativity levels this past week have scalated higher than I had allowed them to in more than two years. More than two years ago I discovered the healing, magical, happiness-inducing power of gratitude. Gratitude had saved my life (without exaggerating). What happened?

Some people question the reasons why I write. To me it´s clear: I write because I forget. I write because it gives/keeps me focus. I would more question the publishing than the writing, but I  share because somehow some people appreciate knowing they´re not the only ones going through the same things.

I haven´t been here in a whole while. I even missed Emmalee´s Letter for when she turned eight  months. She is already nine months and I haven´t done that letter either or her monthly photoshoot.

I´ve been very sick. Yesterday was the first night I slept in three weeks. This has made me really tired. I didn´t go to work last friday because I just couldn´t move anymore. I thought a three day weekend spent in recuperation and resting would do the trick. It didn´t.

I am beyond blessed for the wonderful God I have and the wonderful husband He gave me. I woke up in the middle of the night with a mega allergy attack with my eyes swollen, a sore throat, a congested nose, a huge headache, and body ache and I burst out in tears. It didn´t matter that Emmalee was sleeping next to me because she woke up in the middle of the night and I brought her to my bed to feed her. "The baby can feel your sorrow and it will affect her," my husband says, trying to get me to get a grip. My sobbing just became louder. He picks up the baby and takes her to her room. "You have to control yourself. Crying will only make you cough more and worsen your headache," he keeps trying to console me.
"I just had enough! Why does everything have to go wrong all the time?" I exclaim.
"What is this everything that has gone wrong?" He asks.
"Everything!" my childish self keeps exclaiming. "My health only worsens. Me being sick only makes our already growing bills grow more. I can´t seem to do anything right. Nothing ever goes right!"
"Are you sure about that?" his voice always soft tells me, "Do you not have a roof over your head, a job, food on your belly, a daughter and a husband still breathing, a life in your womb still growing, the love and strength of a Savior?"
Remember the post I wrote some time ago where I wrote how my husband never knew what to say?Thank God that is not nearly the case anymore. He is so wise and knows exactly how to bring me back to the ground.
GRATITUDE! You forgot to be grateful and that made you have your sight only on the bad things. Let me tell you, when the bad is all you see, it´s all you feel. and that is Satan at his best work.

One of the things I pray the most is for God to be my strength. I pray this alot because I am so weak. But how will God be my strength if my prayer is not accompanied by gratitude?

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

And if I´m honest I haven´t even been praying for Him to be my strength either. No wonder I questions if I can do this. I most certainly can´t.
I´ve been failing as a wife and as a mother not because I´m sick and unable to do alot, but because
I´ve been carnal and not seeking the Lord and His strength and rest.
He is my restorer! Whom else will I turn to!

Dear God,
Sorry for forgetting. Sorry for my sinful nature to gaze into the storm and lose my sight of my Saviour right in front of me.  Help me Father to be grateful always. Thank You for my loving husband. Thank you for my wonderful baby girl.  Thank you for the blessing in my womb. Let me be grateul and joyful for the lot you have given  me.  Thank you because I´m starting to feel better. I love you, Jesus. Always


"Happy birthday, Linda" said God

If I were pregnant today, I would be pregnant without medical insurane.
If I were pregnant today, I would be pregnant without my c-section fully healing and with the dream of a natural birth in my next pregnancy gone.
If I were pregnant today, I wouldn't know if I would still have a job or if my employers would fire me.
If I were pregnant today, Emmalee won't even be 1 and a half when the baby is born doubling my diaper expense and having to care for two infants.
If I were pregnant today, I would have not taken the five days of strong antibiotics I took for a throat and sinus infection, possibly harming the baby.
If I were pregnant today, despite all of the above, would I be grateful and joyful?
It is a really good question because the only untrue statement of everything above is that I am indeed pregnant.

Yesterday I was called a Thomas by my husband.
The doctor told me the baby looked in perfect condition and was most likely not harmed by the meds I took, yet there I was trusting my good old pal Saint Google. "You are Thomas," my husband said, "You'll not believe until you see the baby; just like Thomas, the disciple, wouldn't believe Jesus' resurrection unless he put his fingers through the scars in His hand." There is so much truth in his words that I can feel the shame feeling my cheeks. "Will you not trust in God's will without an ounce of hesitation?" he ends, giving me a good challenge.

Is the challenge what's to come with this pregancy or my trust in God? Will I not live by the words I preach? Will I not show that a child is a blessing no matter the situation?
And take my situation into account. The probabilities of us getting pregnant while using protection according to most condom boxes is of .03% against a 99.97% of effectiveness. Talk about God's sovereignty! Talk about hushing the preacher preaching reproduction shouldn't be in your hands and trying to control hers!

There is life growing in me again. I hadn't even lost all the weight I wanted to, and I'll be real honest, I'm not looking forward to blowing out again. But it's life. Life! Is there a greater miracle? A greater joy? A greater blessing?

I had my first sonogram last thursday. You can already make out his head and hear his heartbeat. I cried at his sight and left the room with a smile from ear to ear. Did I mention it was my birthday that day?
"Happy Birthday," I could hear God saying.
Have you heard a happy birthday from God like that one?
One of my first reactions: "I got pregnant before I turned 28!"
Women! But hey, I wanted lots of kids in my youth!

Then comes the typical comments: "Now you won't be able to have all the kids you want because you can only have three c-sections!" As if I or God would let that be an obstacle. Maybe I'll just adopt more than one child (For those of you who don't know, adoption has always been part of the plan anyways)

I've written of the amazing testimony of my friend Isaac and his family and the ordeal they lived with the heart defect of their newborn baby girl. Isaac words were "This is just a time to show I have a real faith in a real God." Their baby girl got her heart surgery last month donated by an organization and she is recovering completely normal and healthy. God is great. I won't act like one who questions that!

And so, you can congratulate me because before you know it we'll be a family of four, by the grace of God.


Walk By Faith

For someone who claims having difficulty wholeheartedly having faith, taking steps in faith is vital for that believing growth. And that is what I've been doing.
I was in a job that, although it kept me away from home at least 11 or more hours a day (also taking driving time into account), it gave our family many benefits (health inssurance) and a good salary.
I had some of the best bosses I've ever had and made some good friends in the working place and learned alot. But time away from my baby girl was taking a toll in my heart.
A friend from church posted a vacancy in one of the country's most prestigious schools for a computer teacher graduated in computer sciences. I've worked as a teacher before and most know I'm very passionate about it, but I also knew teaching positions didn't pay as well as programming positions. I took a shot and sent in my CV and I gave them a salary expectation.  It was a lower number than my current salary, but the husband said with him getting a job we could be fine with my new salary.  He gave me his full support knowing I would get to spend more time at home and with Emmalee and I would be much happier working in something I love.
My salary expectation was accepted and I turned in my ressignation, finishing my duties in my previous job by the end of July.
And then disaster struck!
Two weeks ago my mother-in-law suffered from a stroke that left her with a temporal paralysis in half of her body and temporal speech impediment. Her stroke was very mild and, eventhough she recovered full body function and speech ability, was left feeble and with a long recovery ahead unabling her to care for Emmalee while we are at work.
So today we are left with a reduced salary and my husband having to stay as a caregiver untill he finishes college (which is pretty soon... Can I hear a hoooray? Hooray!!).
Tthe budget is tight and we are looking into ways to cut expenses to get to the end of the month. We knew this could happen and we still took the chance.
I am running numbers and making proyections to stretch my salary to the fullest, but I am also at peace. I have known Jehova Jireh, the Lord provides, firsthand and He has never been late to give us clothing, shelter, and food as He promised He would while also feeding the birds and clothing the flowers.
I am beyond myself with excitement for this new chapter in my life in this new job. It is a dream come true to be back teaching and doing what I love. And getting home at 3:30 p.m. to be with Emmalee instead of 10 min. to!!! Give me another hooray, please. Hooray!!
Did I mention the teacher's vacation schedule? Or the fact that in my next school year I'll be able to take Emmalee to school with me and drop her in the school's daycare?!

My husband has no regrets on letting me take this job. Just like me, he can only see blessing. Will it be hard? Yes! We don't know if we'll make it to the end of the month. We knew this and that is why it was a step of faith.
I believe and the Bible also teaches that when you base the decision in your life seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven and not the things of this world God will bless you. I know that while putting my family first and my time with my daughter teaching her life in the Word since a very young age I have God's full coverage and somehow He'll get us through.
I'm grateful He has put my mom and my in-laws in our lives to help us get through and our parents continue to be a huge blessing in our lives and in their grandaughter's life. We wouldn't get by without them.

Please join me in prayer for my motther-in-love's full recovery. We are inmensely grateful to the Lord for having spared her life and her body and allowed her to stay with us longer with her cognitive and physical abilities intact. Not everyone is that lucky, and while her medical bills have left in a pickle, they are unimportant as long as she is okay.  Pray that my family can overcome this economical challlenges. Pray that the Lord might use my in this important position of teaching for His glory.
I don't remember the last time I was so excited to go to work. The school is beautiful and the teaching  and administrative staff I've met so far are wonderful.


Dear Emmalee/ 7 Months

Dear Emmalee

You turned 7 months the same day your parents celebrated their third wedding anniversary. We are so blessed to have you and can't believe it's already been 7 months. You are on your way climbing on things to get on your two feet. We think you'll be an early walker. You have mastered crawling to our delight and demise. You had your first fall falling off the bed a week ago. Mommy cried more than you did, but thankfully our bed is not very high. I won't take my eye off you for even a second again. You've had your first taste of discipline as well. It has given fruit because you are no longer fuzzing on the car seat. You actually had your first trip and, even after hours in the car, you were on your best behavior. You are such a joy to be around as always. The girls from the group and church are totally in love with you. And how wouldn't they? Your smile with your two little teeth and your giggles just bright everyone's day. This month you got to share some quality time with your grandmother who, as always, made you laugh like crazy. It is truly a joy for me to see you spend time with her. She loves you so much. Your grandma Martha had a health problem and her first concern was being able to care for you. We thank God that she is recovering and getting to enjoy your beautiful heart and delightful company. Your mommy will be changing jobs by the end of July so she'll get to spend more time with you. I'm so excited I'll get to have more time with you and see you learn new things. You are such a good eater. You tasted fruit for the first time. Mommy gave you pear puree. You made a funny face the first time you tried it and then you would open wide for more. So adorable. You are so loved, my darling. You have no idea. Can't wait to see what you'll do next.
I love you,

And I want to give thanks:
*612 Thank You for letting us enjoy my mom during her visit. 
*613 Thanks for the time together my mom and emmalee shared together.
*614 Thank You inmensely for guarding my mother-in-love's life. Thank You greatly for her recovery.
*615 The car was fixed.
*616 Thanks for out trip to SPS.
*617 Bless Jorge and Mariely and their new life together. 
*618 Thanks for the time shared with Rodol's family. 
*619 That the car didn't malfunction on the trip and we got back safe and sound.
*620 My garden got started with some nice herbs and flower bushes
*621 Our Third wedding anniversary. 

I love You, Lord


25 things you probably didn't know about me

I meant to write gratitude monday but left the computer at the office when I left in a hurry. So many things that are changing and so much to be grateful for I can't miss this week.
But before that, I'd thought I'd do a whimsical post on 25 quirks of mine you might not know and it will be fun for me to read in the future and see if I have changed.

25 things you probably didn't know about me. 
1. You drink coffee for the energy. I drink coffee to help with bowel movement (Embarrassing but true)
2. I can re-watch all seasons of the Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Friends, but as much as I'm a huge Grey's Anatomy's fan, I will not rewatch an old season.
3. Grey's Anatomy is the only series I watch on TV every Monday on Sony. If I watch other TV series, I do it online and I watch the whole season in one or two seatings (Not gonna be able to do that with Emmalee anymore.)
4. I enjoy DIY (not new) more with company (totally new). It could be that I'm finally placing more value on friendship and company instead of my inner control-freak and the thought of I-can-do-it-better-alone.
5. I will give a sneering look if you use the elevator to go up just one floor. The judgmental thoughts I'll give you if you use the elevator to go down one floor are far worst.
6. I would rather you (stranger) enter the elevator and stare at the floor uncomfortably along with me instead of trying to start conversation. Nerve wracking!
7. If the water in my shower could go any hotter, I'd boil myself before feeling any pain. I have burnt many showers seeking hotter water.
8. I have never condimented my meats or poultry with natural condiments. :S (Talk about hypocritical self-proclaimed organic lover)
9. I hate to eavesdrop. If you want to indirectly say something to me by trying to get me to eavesdrop on your conversation (and people actually do this), your action is moot.
10. Burger King's French Chicken King is still my favorite food since highschool (sans the fries)
11. I LOVE to read about the middle east. I can read about Muslims and Jews and their religion and customs and conflict all day long. (I even paused reading A Song of Fire and Ice to make more reading time for this.)
12. I prefer to work under pressure. It's stressful, I know, but I prefer it. It very rarely gets me in trouble and most likely gives me good results and thus I don't change my ways. Guess it's time to start.
13. I am extremely, EXTREMELY, jealous of morning persons. I wish I were one and in all these years I still feel the worst in the morning when I have to get out of bed and have a hard time getting up. (And in accordance with point 11, I'll wait til the last minute possible to wake up and get ready. Probably why I put make up and comb my hair in the car.)
14. I just recently learn to wear earrings and only use them because my husband likes them. If not, I don't think I'd wear them at all or even own some.
15. All the jewelry I own has been gifted, eventhough the people close to me know I don't consider them a great gift. My mom and mother-in-law never give up! They just keep believing in a fashionable me burried deep inside.
16. I can't fake excitement for a gift I really didn't like from my close ones. I'm so outspoken of the things I love that when what you give me is not one of them, I just can't fake it is. (I've tried, trust me.)
For instance, my husband knows he must never hire mariachis for me. Serenading rubs me the wrong way.
17. I can (do) wear my sneakers untill they just fall apart. Not interested in buying new ones and actually prefer using my old ones (if still possible) even if I have new ones.
18. Eventhough I am a computer science engineer, I have no crave for new technology whatsoever. I could still be using cds, dvds, simple phones, and boxed tvs for the rest of my life. Spend $300 on headphones? Never! New techonology is bonkers to me. The minute you buy it something new is out.
19. After three years of working in an office and having to dress formally every day, I'm still unable to use heels. I don't get use to them and my feet still suffer every afternoon when I get home. How do women get used to them? I envy them.
20. I have never ironed my clothes unless the creases are VERY noticeable. Unlike my husband who will never put on anything that is slightly creased (hence, the only reason I iron)
21. I dream every night and I remember alot of my dreams. I almost always dream I have super powers and/or I'm in a foreign war, alien invasion war, demon/supernatural war, a zombie war, or dinosaur attack. (I blame this on all the anime watching in my youth and Jurassic Park. Jurassic Park left a mark on me and I will probably cry in the real world while sleeping if I dream about dinosaurs.)
22. I routinely check if Emmalee is breathing while sleeping (you know that), but I sometimes check Rodol's breathing too.
23. I question your intellectual level if you dislike 9gag (the censored version).
24. I envy Paolo's nonchalant grammar naziing. I see the mistake and refrain from commenting (usually), but I secretly wish to rub it on your nose. :P  I'm a grammar snob.
25. My husband's and my favorite song right now is "Thrift Shop". (And we hear it with Emmalee in the car and she digs it.... Please don't judge me.)

And now the wonderful and surprising gratitude list:
*586 My mom comes to Honduras tomorrow!!! Can today go faster please???
*587 I'm changing jobs!!! I'll be a Math and Computer teacher for Del Campo school starting this August.
*588 My current bosses took my departing very well. Some of them even commended me for chosing a job that will give me more time with Emmalee. They even agreed to give me severance pay.
*589 Hearing my bosses all tell me I was a valuable asset to their company and they were very satisfied with my work.
*590 My bosses telling me I have a job in their company if I ever need employment.
*591 Steps taken in faith as my new job has a pay cut from my current job.
*592 Rest in Jehove Jireh, the Lord provides!
*593 No more vaccines for Emmalee until she is one. No fever or reactions from her previous vaccines. We paid big bucks for her private vaccines (thank you, grandma) instead of using the free vaccines given by the government, and I don't regret that decision at all.
*594 Emmalee reaching all the milestones for her age and older milestones and reaching most of them ahead of time.
*595 Very, very grateful and humbled for a happy and healthy baby.
*596 Extremely grateful to wake every morning to a baby's cry and when I open the door to her room be greeted by a baby smile when she sees mommy.
*597 Grateful for awesome new friendships forming, like Gaby and Fer more in our lives!
*598 Loving all the time working out (REALLY hard) on our yard. It's taking form, but there is alot to do still. It's a great time together with the hubs and even with dandy danny. (Thank you, Danny V.!)
*599 We started a new tradition to walk the dogs and give Emmalee a stroller ride at the Villa Olimpica's parking lot every Sunday before Rodol's soccer game.
*600 The dogs first walk with a dog chain on. They were resisting it at first but it only took one trip around the parking lot for them to get the hang of it.
*600 Grateful for my brother's graduation! Congrats baby bro! I'm proud of you.
*601 Grateful the bro and his girlfriend are going to church on their own. His girlfriend is even going to baptism classes.
*602 Grateful for the wonderful girlfriend my brother has. Lia, I hope you join the family soon!
*603 Grateful for my sis' foreign papers in Panama finally being processed.
*604 Grateful for her understanding and loving boyfriend Rodrigo.
*605 Excited for the new opportunity to do what I love: Teaching.
*606 Grateful for the counsel of wise close friends in this new course.
*607 Grateful for a supportive husband that allows me to take this new path and that understands my time with my daughter is more important.
*608 Ten classes to go for the hubs to finish his engineering degree!
*609 A savvy mom being budget-smart by planning, preparing, and paying Emmalee's birthday since June. It will be legen... wait for it.... dary!!
*610 Amy came visiting from the US and spent some time with Emmalee. Plus she came bearing beautiful gifts for her niece. I had never heard Emmalee laugh so hard with new people before as she did with Amy and Andrea P.
*611 Dad is recovering from his sickness and is visiting more often.


Great mothers and husbands :)

I promised my lovely daughter Adina I'd bring gratitude mondays and prayer fridays back. I definitely need to bring gratitude mondays back... I'm in desperate need of the transforming power of gratitude in my heart to learn patience and perseverance on things that have been happening in my life. Due to the fact that I didn't do a gratitude monday this week I'll be posting it here along with prayer friday.
So here we go again.

*565 Feeling great at our new youth group that will soon have another baby in the mix.
*567 Super excited about the professionals youth church and getting there more.
*568 Can't wait to see my mom next month on July 10.
*569 Speaking of which, super duper grateful my mom is turning a year older today.
*570 Grateful with God for giving my mom another year and for letting her enjoy her birthday with my sister in Panama.

*571 Grateful for July to get here to celebrate three years of marriage the day Emmalee turns 7 months of age.
*572 Happy to watch Emmalee grow and develop. She is so funny trying to crawl.
*573 Thankful for the awesome worship time last Wednesday that was much needed for some brokeness and praise to You.
*574 Grateful for friends that remain through the years and whose friendship only get better with time.
*575 Grateful for Luis Andre's birth and that his mommy is also doing good. Thank You that we were able to visit him on his first day on earth on his own.
*576 Grateful for Abi's birth and how much she is making us learn and come together in faith.
*577 Grateful for Abi's parents and their amazing example (Read more of them here.)
*578 Grateful for Terry and Lanky's first encounters with Emmalee. They are so respectful of her and her space. I love my dogs.
*579 Grateful for a patio much improved after much hard work. Grateful for the work still needed for it to be done and for the strength, will, and health to do it.
*580 Grateful that my lactancy hour is over. It was good while it lasted and much appreciated.
*581 Grateful for losing weight! It's a long journey ahead to be in an ideal weight for my next pregnancy, but eating well no longer feels like a sacrifice.
*582 Grateful for understanding and loving husbands, for me and my friends (especially my pregnant friends)
*583 Grateful for Gaby and Gaby's pregnancies. Praying the pregnancies can go with the least discomfort.
*584 Blessed to be surrounded by women who love and fear the Lord and are everyday closer to being like You.
*585 Thank You for letting us share time with the Millers. I loved watching Kristine as a mother and realize our lives have changed so much with being parents we spent almost three hours speaking of babies.

Dear Father,
I am blessed beyond Your grace. You are just to good to me, as You are with all Your children. This is something You have been teaching me. In a personal level, You have taught me Your goodness and mercy with how normal and "easy" my pregnancy was and how healthy and perfect Emmalee is. Thank You because You have been showing Your goodness, faithfulness, and care for  my dear friends and their baby girl's heart condition and with my dear friend Gaby and her delicate pregnancy. Father, You are shaping these dear brothers and sisters of mine into faith warriors and fierce lovers of You that I want to immitate. I pray that my dear friends find the correct doctors and financial resources to do Abi's first surgery and the consequent surgery as well. Give the baby girl strength and health to go through the surgeries with no complications or risks. Let our hearts be resting in You and constantly praying for You to show Yourself to us through these times. I pray that Gaby may soon be freed from her bed rest without any abortion threats. Let that baby form perfectly inside her and that we may gaze into those eyes soon. And, because You are a Father that listens to Your children, can we be picky and ask You that the baby be a girl? We want a girl, but we would also love a boy. We just want that baby here with us. Let us join not only in prayer but in action to be there for them as Your hands and feet. Thank You for all You've been teaching me through these amazing mothers and fathers. Thank You that these two fathers are also wonderful husbands that care for their wives and children and are their wives strength, calm, and support. Thank You for my man and for him being all of this for us. I pray that all my girlfriends know the joy of being marry to such men. I pray that all my male friends are/become such men for their wives. Let us grow as a church and as Your body in strong families that seek You wholeheartedly. That we may be a strong generation that seeks to honor You with our lives. Let us not put our eyes in this world but in what brings You glory. Let our hearts not covet earthly posessions and experiences and replace what You have called us to be and live for them. Keep moving us towards You and daily transforming our hearts to be more like You.
Thank You because You gave me the best mom I could need and thank You for giving her another year of life. Give her a great day next to my sister.
I Love You


Other's Faith

One thing motherhood has done in me is make me more sensitive.
Everything makes me cry. From hearing Dumbo's "baby of mine" to any sad story I hear, I'm in tears in no second. 
It is no news for anyone who frequents this learning place of mine that I struggle with disbelief. 
It was hard for to believe everything was going to be fine with my pregnancy, birthing, and child. 
Everything did go fine with my pregnancy, birthing, and child.
Recently, I have stumbled on the web on stories of parents who tell a different story. 
Stories like Lacey and Christian's story and Eliot Mooney's story have made me cry and reflect on my blessings and on the power of their faith. 

I didn't think I would have friends amongst me in a similar situation. 
The dear friend for whom we hosted the baby shower mentioned here had her baby girl three weeks ago. 
Her baby was diagnosed with a heart condition that will require her to have heart surgery at 3 months and at 6 or 8 months. 

When I heard of the struggle my friends were going through I thought how I would handle it if it were me. 
The first thing that came to my mind was that I would never sleep watching her like a hawk 24/7. I was like this with Emmalee even though she had been born with good health. I would not sleep checking on her constantly always fearing that SIDS would take her. You have heard of my husband's help in my learning to wait and rest in the Lord. 

We visited our friends and their baby girl last Sunday. I wanted to take her some of the breastfeeding and baby stuff that were to help mommy. Boy did we leave there feeling uplifted! It's those kind of situations were you are supposed to be the one to offer encouragement and support and leave having been encouraged and supported yourself instead. It is in those situation where you can see God's joy beyond reason and His work at hand. 

The baby's father began explaining to us his daughter's condition and the surgeries she needs. He talked so calmly. His calm was contagious. I'm sure his wife has been basking in that calmness and taking strength from it. He told us of how he was grateful they were going through this situation because he could see the work God was doing in his family, in his wife's family, and in their home; see how it was bringing them closer together and bringing hearts closer to God. 

"I had never experienced a situation in my life were my faith was truly tested," he said, "so I want to stand firm in God's goodness and His provision for us. I tell my wife to enjoy her daughter, because we don't know how long she will be with us." Wow, just writing his words down makes my eyes watery. What an amazing man of faith!

I remember when I was pregnant people would always tell me they prayed God would give me a healthy baby. I was showered so powerfully by prayer I felt love and kindredness by people miles away (my mom had a praying campaign on Panama) But I remember once telling God that I wouldn't mind if my baby wasn't healthy as long as it was alive and by my side. God's goodness is in giving and in taking, but He cares about the "blessed be His name" part. I don't know if I would have a "blessing-God's-name-amidst-tribulation" testimony, especially seeing how in my non-tribulation I fail to trust Him wholeheartedly. 

When I saw my friend holding her baby girl carrying a huge smile on her face I did my best to hold my tears. Her smile was not a smile put on for us; it was smile put on her by God and you could feel it. The baby woke up and opened her eyes at the sound of Emmalee's babbling. She looked more alert than most newborns, more than Emmalee did at her age. We shared breastfeeding and birthing stories and laughed at Emmalee's now loud babbling asking for attention. Emmalee was getting tired so we said our goodbye's.

My husband and I entered and we both looked at each other in amazement. "What a great example they are," my husband said. "I know. I feel they did more for us than we did for them." I replied. And they surely did. I think of them constantly, more than they will ever know. They are in my prayers and in my heart all day. The sensitivity motherhood has brought upon me has made me become better at praying for others. 
I don't want my sensitivity make me into an unbeliever. I want, like they do, see God's glory in everything that happens even if we wished it would go away and the power of God's work in the lives of everyone around us. I want my faith be contagious to others like theirs has changed me, like Eliot and his parents and Lacey and Christian have impacted my life and the life of millions. I want to enjoy Emmalee growing up under God's wings, not under mommy's.

Thank You for my friend's lives. Thank You for teaching us through them. Help them, Father. Let us all be joined in prayer for their baby's upcoming surgeries, for the provision for such surgeries, for the doctors, for the place they'll do the surgeries (they will need to travel to a different country), for strength and joy for her parents. That little baby girl has already brought glory to Your name and may she do so for many years to come here on earth. Her parents are heroes in the faith. Let us all learn from them and give them our support, however we can and with what has been given to us to share. Thank You for Your goodness in their lives and mine and in all of us. Thank You, Lord. 
I love You. 


Dear Emmalee / 6 Months

Half a year already!
I've been a mom for half a year!
This year is going pretty fast, but I have to confess I'm happy about that. It's been a great year filled with tons of lessons both in parenting and in marriage. It has been hard to learn to put my husband before the tiny little baby that asks my attention with cries. I'm still getting the hang of it.
Emmalee has reached all her milestones for which I am very grateful.
She is sitting down unsupported and on the verge of crawling. She is laughing and babbling alot. She even plays peekabo at such a young age.

Dear Emmalee,
Do you know how happy you make me? 
Every morning you are on your knees and arms trying to move past your crib's corner and when you hear me you turn with a big smile. You are such a good sleeper you give mom and dad peace of mind. 
Everything seems to appear tasty because you take everything to your mouth. Thank heavens you haven't gotten sick. You are so engaging and demanding too. You are so eager to crawl you get very upset when you're on your knees and arms but unable to move forward. You just stay there and begin to cry as if that is going to make you move forward. You are so funny baby girl. You laugh so beautifully now, all cute giggles. You love watching mommy and daddy make fool of themselves to make you laugh and you comply. You started eating solids!! Mommy loves cereal feeding time in the morning. It's the push I need to start my days earlier. You don't make a mess at all and you eat all opening your mouth wide to eat your goods. Grandma Martha is feeding you veggies in the afternoon and you also love them. Baby girl, thank you for existing. Thank you for coming to our lives and making it wonderful. We love you. Happy half year.

And I promised Adina I'd bring back gratitude mondays.
*556 Emmalee is growing healthy and perfect and beautiful
*557 I have a mom I can always count on that makes my life better with a single phone call
*558 A very patient loving husband
*559 The great example of faith from the Martinez family and their baby girl Abi
*560 A great beginning at the 180° professionals church feeling encouraged
*561 Our first wedding as a family. Grateful for the Solorzano family and my wonderful coworkers.
*562 Wonderful in-loves that love Emmalee to death.
*563 Pit is reunited with my mom and on to a new beginning
*564 We finally started working on the garden and it seems to be progressing.

Thank You for Your blessings Lord. 


Rise to the occasion (Adding goodness to your faith part 4)

Sometimes I don't want to. I don't want to say yes. I don't want to be there for that friend.
Sometimes being a friend is hard to do.
Especially if the past hurts me.
When they discarded my friendship but require it when they are in need.
When they betrayed my trust.
When they distance themselves from me because they don't like it when I confront them with their sin.
When they have been dishonest.
When they are only there in the good times.
When they just want to talk of their needs but never listen to mine.

And the list could go on.
And then I stopped and realize I have been that friend to Jesus. I have...
And yet, He is always there.
Always loving, always receiving, always with arms stretched wide.
And I want to be like Him, don't I?
And what am I doing to be more like him?

And that is just a small list of people I don't feel like being their friend anymore.
What about those I don't even want to befriend:
The preachy guy who always has an opinion on what I do.
The talkative girl who exaggerates every thing she says.
Those who seem too weird.
Those who only speak of the mundane.
The guy who is a little harsh and cold when he talks to you.
The girl pretending to be something she is not.
First of, those are ALL judgments and again God NEVER gives us license to judge.
Secondly, maybe I'm the preachy, talkative, exaggerating, weird, mundane, harsh, pretender to others. (Most likely and altogether)

There is someone in my life I noticed calling out for help. That person has been trying to get close to me. I didn't want to let that person close. I resisted that friendship. We had been friends in the past and that friendship had been disappointing to me.
"Is it my obligation to be there" I asked myself. "Does God require it of me?"
The answer is yes, but the problem is not in the command to love others but in the fact that before I say "no" I am seeking if it is "required" and if I have a way out of it instead of rising to the occasion with a prompt "yes".
The problem is not the others.
The problem is my heart.

There was once a time were the thing I most strived for in my life was radical living for Christ.
(esp. of change or action) Relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.

I like this part: far-reaching. 
I don't think that someone who is looking for a way out is looking to far-reach, do you?
What is so wrong with my heart that I would rather look at my friend's past transgressions instead of their need. And let me tell you something, if this person is seeking ME it's because this person is desperate because I'm not much help or good company. 
I'm a disappointing friend too. Recently a very dear friend lost her great grandmother and I was unable to go to the funeral and be by her side. I'm also a very absent friend always busy with work, duty, and family. And sometimes I'm too busy for family, barely seeing my sister and father who live accross the street from me. 
Where is my heart of a servant?
Where is my heart that feels compassion for others?
Where is my heart that seeks be like Jesus, love like Jesus, comfort others like He has comforted me? 

If I numbered the reasons I resist this friend you would probably side with me. But in the Christ-centered life they are just excuses and pride. And in the light of Jesus' love for me, they are a reminder that Jesus would have more reasons to resist me. 

Matthew 5
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Let's rephrase that to: "If you love those who like you,", "if you those you like," "if you love those who are good friends," "if you love those who never fail you (and there is not such thing)," what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 
Where are you, Linda, being RADICAL?

Dear Lord, 
I'm sorry. My heart has been self-absorbed, self-centered. I've let my pride take the reigns of my heart instead of love and compassion. Let me not require brokeness always in order to examine this heart of mine; let me be transformed by your example and unconditional love towards this lowly sinner. I've been told I've been more tender and caring since becoming a mommy. Let this be true. Let my heart be more sensitive to others and be radical in my love and life. Let me not be looking to do the minimum but finding ways to do more, to be more for You. This I want for my daughter, this I must live. I often tell people she appears to have her father's tender and gentle temperament. It should be mommy's too. Lord teach me and transform me. You are able to do great things in me and in adding goodness I add faith believing You can and will.
Thank Jesus for loving me as I am. 
I forever love You.  


Learning Whom I have believed

II Timothy 1
12 "...I know whom I have believed..."

II Timothy 2

13 "if we are faithless, he remains faithful... "

15 "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."

19 "Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: 'The Lord knows those who are his,' and, 'Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.'”

24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

Dear Father,

Why is it so easy for us to forget whom I have believed? I hear people sharing phrases like: "Don't tell God how big your problems are; tell your problems how big is your God". This is truthful, then why do we forget so easily? I see how big a difference being firm in this truth makes me surrender and give my life to You. I don't want to live outside this truth ever again. I want to live in the assurance that the Almighty God is Whom I serve, and He looks after me.

If I am faithless, You remain faithful! this almost brought me to tears. Oh Father, I am so faithless. I loose sight of Your power and sovereign and see only what's infron of me. I am so grateful You are faithful. I wonder how greater things You would have done in my life and the lives of those around me had I had faith. Had I prayed more fervently believing I would receive what I asked for according to Your will. Had I preached more constantly believing the power in Your Gospel to reach the lost. Had I taken more steps in faith, and not seeing, again, what's infront of me.
I remember asking my youth deacon many years ago how to have more faith. He said the disciples asked that same thing to Jesus. Jesus answered: "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Mathew 17:20). It is not about the size of my faith, but the size of Him Whom I have faith in! And He is faithful!

Knowing Whom I have believed also makes me conscious of Whom I HAVE to obey. This world has diminished the image of God so much even Christians forget to fear You. Present yourself to God approved and turn away from wickedness; this is not a request! I have been encouraging a dear loved one of mine to not loose sight of this truth. In this world, we are tempted to stray away from good. This feeling is heigthen when we see the wicked prosper; Solomon warns us of this in the book of Proverbs. No, I must remember Who my God is, and I must follow what You has instructed me to do.

Knowing Whom I have believed doesn't make me obey You only because it reminds me I must fear You; but also reminds me that Your promises are true and this world is not my home. It gives me hope that my dear Lord is preparing a home for me in Heaven. It reminds me this world (with all its suffering) will pass ,and I must seek first Your Kingdom.

Thank You Father for Your faithfulness. I timothy 1:9 "
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace."

I love You.


Watch your mouth

"She looks just like her Father," EVERYBODY (except for my family members) says to me.
And it gets to me. It gets to me bad.

"Thank God she is beautiful," a friend from church says jokingly, "She looks nothing like her parents."
"Why did you want to have a girl," a woman who I just met at a birthday party says, "Don't you know girls are nice with their dads but their mother's nightmare. Just wait til she's 12 and your worst enemy. And that hair looks messy."

Seriously, what makes people thinks it's O.K. to make these kinds of remarks?
Why does my daughter have to grow to be a nightmare?
And why do you think you can insult me to my face and call it a joke?
"Everything anyone says of Emmalee affects you," my darling husband tells me.
And so, I pondered on both subjects.

On the first one, I was recalling a sermon my youth Pastor Gustavo had given many years ago. I was probably 14 when I heard it and it stuck. The teaching was about controlling your tongue and my readers will know I have a problem with letting my tongue run away with me. The Pastor was pointing out ways we sin with our tongue so that we may be able to more attentive to these situations and learn to control out tongues. The points I remember are: 1. When we speak of others. 2. When we speak in anger. 3. When we speak untruthfully. 4. When we speak too much.
That last one hit a chord. It's the time we sin with our mouths more oftenly without realizing we are using it to sin. We open our mouths too quickly without realizing that what we said was hurtful. No wonder the Bible says:

Proverbs 17:28
27 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint,
and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.
28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,
and discerning if they hold their tongues.

As to the second point, everything affecting me, he is right. The "he looks like his father" one hits me hardest.
Well, if you look at our baby pictures, she looks more like me than her dad, believe it or not. I'll be posting evidence later. It isn't that it bugs me that people thinks she looks more like her dad because I want them to think she looks more like me. I could care less if she looks like me. It just bugs me because she is a baby girl. She has girly facial features! If she were a baby boy, by all means tell me he looks like his dad. But the truth is why do I care what people say or who they find her resemblance to? She is actually a pretty perfect combination of both and waaaaaaay prettier than any of us anyways. I can't let this be affecting me and making me harvest ill feelings to the people, tons of people, who make these comments.

Proverbs 19:11
A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.

Well, the Lord is teaching me alright. For someone who has experienced the hurt of her tongue running away with her, most of the time not on purpose, it should be easier for me to see people don't mean wrong. They're just opening their mouth to talk for talk's sake, as you have done many times. Satan is going to try to use that against you. It made you stand up from that table at that party and walk away from that lady. Did you share Jesus with her? Did you open up to form a relationship with her to later introduce Him to her?
And this church friend is known for those comments. You have loved him just the same all this time. Why will you become upset with him just because you are letting the subject of your daughter be a soft spot for you? Will you let it be a soft spot for you?
Remember when you were a teacher and some parents would overreact when you tried to talk about their kid's needs? Well, will you be that kind of parent? Will you be beyond advice, counsel, teaching? So right now what gets to you is the "she looks like her father," what they might say in the future could be much more personal. I'd rather be, as the verse says, wise to yield patience.
Next time people tell you, and you know they will tell you, she looks like her father, just say: "Well, her daddy is very handsome too," which he totally is.


Baby Learning Part 2

Time for another baby learning post.

1. Baby sleep.
It's 3 a.m. and I wake. I normally don't wake up unless she cries. No sound is heard but I am up with an urge to check the baby. I don't take this to mean anything as it's my every waking moment's reaction. And there she is, sleeping soundly... on her tummy!!!!
I immediately turn her and go back to bed, but back to sleep?
The impression hits me hard. A coworker's 7 month-old niece died the morning before.
I'm shaking so hard my husband awakes.
"Go to sleep," he tells me after I tell him of Emmalee's new sleeping position.
"What if I go to sleep to wake up and find that she's gone?" I say through sobs that might as well wake her up.
"What does the Word say," he encourages, " In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord,...- What? How does the verse end?-Make me dwell in safety."
Thank God for good husbands who recite the Word to you.
Saturday afternoon I found her napping on her tummy again with her face pressed against the bumper.

So here are the lessons I've learned this past days:
1. It is better to be safe than sorry. If the American Academy of Pediatrics is telling you to put the baby on the crib without sheets, comforters, crib bumpers, and stuffed animals, go ahead and obey!
Many parents will tell you their kids used all of the above mentioned and are just fine. Well, in one of the mommy forums I was researching what to do with Emmalee's crazy sleeping movements (she moves all around the crib) I read a comment from a mom that pretty much spoke from my heart:

Quoting Ashley:
I know those experts now say that crib bumpers are dangerous and babies can get their heads stuck underneath them. I don't see how that can happen. I used a crib bumper for both of my children the day I brought them home. They do move around a lot and sometimes fall asleep with their faces pressed up against the crib bars... not comfy!! I would say you are safe to use it now.

My lil guy moved around alot as well once he figured out how to turn over both ways...and I did have bumpers in the crib and he did end up with his face pressed into the bars anyway. I found him like that -doing a routine check on him after putting him to sleep. His little body all weirdly angled his head pushed way back his face pressed deeply into the cushion that shouldn't have been there had I listened to experts. I'm just wondering what you would prefer -your child to be a little uncomfortable because of non-cushioned bars, or would you prefer to find your little princess like that face in the cushion all comfy and still....

Well, needless to say, Emmalee's crib has been bared to only the fitted crib sheet. She sleeps with thick pijamas that do the job of keeping her warm through the night.
I also read this article that I related alot with. I would take sleepless nights with a waking baby any day if it means she is safe!

While researching baby sleep I also learned a couple of new lessons. Take in mind that baby sleep is a very controversial subject as every expert has a different approach and all of them contradict each other. It makes a mommy go cuckoo bananas.
But I found these new lessons interesting:
1. Encouraging a baby to sleep too deeply, too soon, may not be in the best survival or developmental interest of the baby.
Nightwaking has survival benefits. In the first few months, babies' needs are the highest, but their ability to communicate their needs is the lowest. Suppose a baby slept deeply most of the night. Some basic needs would go unfulfilled. Tiny babies have tiny tummies, and mother's milk is digested very rapidly. If a baby's stimulus for hunger could not easily arouse her, this would not be good for baby's survival. If baby's nose was stuffed and she could not breathe, or was cold and needed warmth, and her sleep state was so deep that she could not communicate her needs, her survival would be jeopardized

2.An important fact for you to remember is that your baby's sleep habits are more a reflection of your baby's temperament rather than your style of nighttime parenting.
And keep in mind that other parents usually exaggerate how long their baby sleeps, as if this were a badge of good parenting, which it isn't. It's not your fault baby wakes up.

This last comment brings me to baby learning part 2 of this post:

2. Parenting badges
Lets face it, we want them! We want that nicely behaved kid that is a delight to be around. We want those kids who sit at the table and mind their manners. We want that A student. So lets make two things clear: these are traits of older children, not babies, and these are achieved by nurture and not nature.
But parents take pride in their babies development. A mother boasts her baby boy learned to walk at nine months. The other one boasts of her baby girl speaking her first words at eight months auguring signs of genius.
Research actually shows that giving formal education to your children too early is actually hindering their ability to process information and hinder their creativity and curiosity. (More of this in the future)
Babies who were shown how to walk too early have shown deformations on feet, back, and/or legs.
Emmalee is sleeping through the night. It has given me a sense of accomplishment (after all, babywise did promise results if I was diligent).
This is no badge. It doesn't mean I'll be that lucky with the next baby. It doesn't mean I have a better parenting style than parents with babies still waking up during the night at nine months-old.
Lets learn to kick back and enjoy watching those little ones. Lets learn from these early stages of motherhood not to boast and not to compare and above all, not to hurry those little ones.
Emmalee looks so cute when she is sitting on her own pulling on her feet. I want to bathe the dogs really well to have them near her. I can't wait to see her pull their legs and ears!
It's all about enjoying!

I'm excited to be posting soon what I learn of feeding her solids!!! She starts next month!

That's how that munchkin wakes up!