Thursday, December 23, 2010

deep thoughts

I have a sleeping baby, and am away from the laundry that needs to be done, the gifts that still need to be wrapped, the sausage balls that need to be cooked, and the cookies that need to be baked (and eaten), I guess one might say that I'm "bored" GASP!  Random thoughts that have been in my mind today:

- I can't wait to put on my running shoes and run in temperatures greater than 55 degrees
- I miss speaking Spanish
- Miriam is no longer an infant, now that we're almost celebrating her half birthday!
- We'll have made our 25th doctor visit after today (that's a preemie for ya!)
- shocked that we're less than 2 months away from the 2nd anniversary of mom's death
- spending money on car maintenance is so overrated...and so is spending it on appliances
- hasn't hallmark learned that most people buy Christmas cards in bulk? that's why the shelves are still packed with them on Christmas eve, eve (I know, because I had a bagillion to choose from today, since I ran out of my bulk ones and needed one final one to send)
- can't wait to see if Santa brings me an orange and a grapefruit this year
- I would be giddy if indeed we got snow on Christmas
- I'm totally blessed to have a baby that sleeps 12 hours at night - and has been doing that for almost 3 months
- I am blessed with the privilege of celebrating such a glorious season with a family of believers
- I am actually looking forward to doing the taxes, so much so that I've already started compiling the papers and computing some of my deductions :)

It's amazing how many thoughts fill your mind when you've got a spare moment on your hands. What are some of your random thoughts of the day?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The best holiday treat yet!

A few weeks back, our friends The Whites discovered that Nestle TollHouse had a limited edition package of place and back cookies called "Oatmeal Scotchies."  Now, since I've had Miriam, I haven't been the cook/baker that I used to be, so place and bakes are my game!  The first time I tried these they were amazing and hit my sweet spot, especially since I can't eat much chocolate or other fruity things for dessert (thanks to the Miriam diet):).  Unfortunately, there are no more packages of place and bakes to be found anywhere around town, so I took my never fail Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie recipe that I perfected all during the time mom was at home with Hospice (they were my sister's favorite cookie, so it was always a great way to cheer her up)....and I changed the chocolate chips for butterscotch chips.  I grabbed my kitchen aid stand mixer that has been collecting dust for the past 5 months and went to town. The result - something WAY better than TollHouse place and bakes. Impress all of your friends this holiday with something NOT chocolate, NOT peanut butter, NOT peppermint, and just plain different - and healthy (that's what the oatmeal is for, right?)
At the request of a friend, here's my famous recipe for Oatmeal ________ (chocolate chip, scotchies, cranberry/almond or walnut, white chocolate....) Cookies
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Cream well: 1/2 c white sugar, 1 c packed brown sugar, 2 sticks of softened butter.
Add and mix well: 2 eggs, one at a time, then 1-2 tsp of vanilla
In a separate bowl, Mix: 1.5 c flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda....add this dry mix to the creamed mix
Stir in: 1-3 c quick oats, and a bag of chips of your choice. Today, I used the FoodLion brand butterscotches. Most of the time, I use the off brand semi-sweet chips for the chocolate cookies.
Use a cookie scooper to make even sized balls, and place on ungreased baking sheet (or sheet with parchment paper) about an inch a part.
Bake for 12 minutes and eat a lot of them right out of the oven.  Then cool the rest on a rack. :)
(crazy that I just typed that recipe out by memory!)
Enjoy! Maybe you'll have a baking partner like mine...she was so fun to bake with today!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nana's Early Christmas gift...

Jeremy's mom has always had a thing for gifts. Gift giving is definitely one of her love languages. Even from the days when we were dating, she has treated me (the daughter in law) with the same love and has given many a gifts to Jeremy and I both. Typically, each Thanksgiving, she'll give us the latest Hallmark ornament (the lady really should take stock in Hallmark) that somehow relates to our life. The year we got married, it was a "first Christmas" ornament, then the year we bought our house, it was a toaster (housewarming/first Christmas in new house), I'm guessing this year will be something about "baby's first Christmas" So, I decided to get a little crafty myself, and return to her a wonderful gift that she'll *hopefully* treasure.
Now, I might add that I am an artist - a musician. I don't do the crafty things. Part of my brain can visualize it, but I can't execute the idea. So, I end up with something that looks cute only because it looks like a 4 month old did it. Thankfully, that's the way this one was.

I was inspired by my friend Sara who recently did this onesie for her sweet McCord for Thanksgiving. So I got my materials together: white (clean and ironed) hanky, fabric paints, and baby feet and hands.
I painted Miriam's bottom right foot with brown fabric paint to maek the reindeer head, then painted each palm on her hands for the antlers. Now, surely there's a better way to do this, because the product of the handprints, well, don't quite look like reindeer antlers...but they'll work. I took some red fabric paint to give my cute little reindeer a nose.
Then, taking a fabric pen, I wrote (with very un-neat handwriting and off center - I had to make it look homemade :)) "Nana's Little Reindeer" for the finished product:

We can't wait to give this to her on Thanksgiving Day. I hope Nana will use this as a cute towel decoration in her kitchen this holiday season. I hope she likes it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fantastic Four Months

To our dearest Doodle Bug,
Today would have been your 3 month birthday.  Instead, we're celebrating the fact that you are almost 19 weeks old!  You have started following your daddy and me whenever we walk into the room or whenever we sing to you.  Your have been perfecting your smile over the last 2 weeks and you love strangers! Your eyes glow (just like your Nana's) when your face lights up.  Your favorite time of day is the morning when mommy comes to wake you up and we sing "good morning, good morning, good morning to you"  You love to snuggle with daddy after mommy feeds you in the morning while she gets ready.  You've grown to like your daily nap in the car seat on the way to mommy's office every morning (although it's about the only nap you take). You have a way of telling us you don't like what you're wearing - and it typically involves a wardrobe change and Baby Oxyclean on either the shirt or pants - or both! You are coming around on the paci, although I think you really would like to eat your own fingers instead.  Although you don't get to see mommy at night before bed most nights, you thoroughly enjoy your bottle and bonding with daddy and an occasional visit from your Nana (daddy's mommy). Just the other day, you started making noises and talking to us. You sure do have a lot to say.  Today you even started singing with the music that was playing. You are changing more and more each day.  We can't wait to see what the next month holds for you! 
You saw Dr. Nick today, and although that nurse hurt you so bad with those shots, you faired pretty well (you had all of that tolerance built up from the heel pricks).  You checked out great, and these were your stats:
Weight - 15 lbs 5 oz - 80th percentile
Length - 24.75 inches - 20th percentile
Head - 15 inches - 5th percentile.
You have lots of growing to do....we're just not sure we're ready for it yet.
We love you, right up to the moon and back,
Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I am a mother of....

a perpetually sick baby.
They told me it would be this way.
Being born 6 weeks early definitely has us living on the edge of our seat, wondering what is around the corner. Although they ran all of the tests, and have checked everything on Miriam over and over, it never fails that something just "comes up."  My debit card has been swiped for way too many copays in the past 4 months and today it got 3 of them!!  We've also had our share of $15 prescriptions at the walgreens. The poor pharmacist there even knows my address by heart. should i be concerned about that?
First it was the jaundice that turned into a 2 month ordeal, then a sinus infection, then GI issues and now an upper respiratory infection.  Miriam really does take after her Nana (my mom) and me...we were totally cursed with sinus cavitites that just can't take too much. Miriam is now on her 3rd round of antibiotics since she was born to help with these stupid infections.  Those poor people at the doctors office have come to love us - from our daily visits during Miriam's first month of life, her check ups, and her returns every 2 weeks. Some of them already know Miriam's birthdate by heart from when I call it in, and one even recognizes my voice on the phone. Sad.
I loved having our little girl join us early, but these 4 months have already sounded true of what they told us: "she's going to be more vulnerable to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING" and "she'll probably have some problems and digression along the way" Great-just what every parent wants to hear.

Sorry for the vent - it was just one of those days. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Now you all know that isn't true! Although, that's surely how I feel tonight. Let me take you back a few years....
I grew up on the coolest "one-street neighborhood" there ever was. My family and I moved in to the house there right after I had turned 3 and my dad still lives there today.  We started attending Ebenezer ARP Church, and I'm not quite sure how it all went down, but somehow, we met the Kimbrells.  They were a fun family and we had lots in common. They lived 10 houses away at the top of the street where we lived, and they also went to Ebenezer (along with their entire family!, well, almost..). They had 3 children, one who was older, one who was my sister's age, and then one 2 years older than me. We did lots together because we went to the same school and church. We rode the bus home together, carpooled to high school, sang in choir, played on basketball teams, went on youth trips, were discipled and discipled others, went to circle together....basically shared in life. Today, we share in life with the Kimbrells in quite a different way.

Today, I hurt all over again as I heard the news of the matron of the Kimbrell family passing away.  Jane was a wonderful woman of God and more of a servant and giver than anyone I've ever met before.  She was always kind, always thoughtful, always spirited, and always loving (unconditionally at that!). She was a wonderful friend to us all, but mainly to momma, especially in her sick days. She had struggled in life with her health. I found out that she had battled polio and rheumatic fever, and as of late had been having some heart problems.  Her wise doctors suggested she go with a surgery that would help repair all of her broken parts and give her a bit more energy and umph to make it through the rest of her life. The surgery took place last Wednesday, October 27.  She should have been out of ICU by now on the road to recovery.

However, the Lord had other things in store.  She had difficulties meeting the needs for the "step down" units in the hospital, and had complications when they went to extubate her several times. She arrested late Thursday night/early Friday morning and they were able to revive her. They discovered some bleeding, then lack of her kidneys working, then numbers were dropping, until this morning at 10:12, the Lord called Jane to Him mid-morning today so that he could fix her broken parts.

You see, this is how I know the "Lord works for the good of those who love Him..." (Rom 8:28). The Lord knew that DJ (the daughter 2 years older) and I would have similar life experiences with losing our mothers within 1-2 yrs of marriage without children while we were still young. He knew we'd need someone to grieve with, laugh with, and share stories with in the absence of our mothers. He knew we'd understand where the other was coming from and how some days would just be more difficult than others. He knew we'd know why heaven was such a much better place for our mothers, but selfishly we wanted them with us as we celebrated the joys and cried the losses in our lives. I think that's one of the reason why 25 years ago, the Lord took us to Forest Lake and Ebenezer. There is comfort to be found.

My heart had been hurting much of this week as I spent a lot of time remembering mom, remembering her laugh, remembering her presence, and remembering her love and how I miss all of that. But today, I rejoice with her, knowing that her dear friend Jane is sharing in Glory with her. After I received the news, balling, i looked into the eyes of my precious Miriam and she smiled so big I swear it was mom looking right at me saying: "see, she's perfectly healed now, and I have a friend to share this glory with." I'm not kidding.

Pray for the Kimbrell family this day and in the days to come as the journey will be hard. Even a year and a half later, it's still hard.
See, I told you I wasn't speechless.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

4 years and counting....

On Thursday, Jeremy and I celebrated the end of our 4th year of marriage, and the start to year number 5. What a trhilling year it has been! In the last 365 days, we've celebrated another holiday season, we've run races at our personal records, we've traveled to Memphis, TN and eaten at two of the best joints (Muddy's Bake Shop and Hueys) around and walked on Beale St with our best friends, shared exciting news with our family that we would be expecting at the end of the summer (Aug), traveled to RioVerde Mexico for an amazing missions trip...just to name a few. Oh yeah, quite possibly forgetting the very best thing - the wonderful addition to our family that came early July instead of mid-August!  It's been quite the year, and all I can say is the Lord has surely shown us his provisions throughout yet another year.
The day was wonderful - J had these beautiful flowers sitting on my desk when I got into work on Thursday morning, and I even was able to get a treat from the DD on my way in (I tried earlier in the week, and unfortunately got a reg instead of decaf...)! I was able to look at those two items on my desk all day.
Then I was also looking at this the rest of the day:
We got home, and shared gifts for one another. J got me some rain boots from Target that I had been wanting, and a beautiful printed picture from our wedding in sepia tone in a new beautiful frame.  I gave J a bag of "all my kisses" in dark chocolate and a "free" round of golf (and by "free" I mean "free of any complaints from me") :) Nina, Miriam's godmother, came around 5 to watch Miriam for the evening. That lady is such a saint!
We went to Brio in Southpark for dinner, then Brusters for dessert. YUM-O!! Overall, our day was spectacular! I can't wait to see what year number 5 has in store for us!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 19, 2010: A Very Special Day for the Ghents

Miriam's Baptism - quite possibly the most beautiful day we could have ever had! We had planned for Miriam's baptism shortly after her birth, knowing that we had a lot of factors to consider: out of town family and friends, church happenings, and the size of the baptism dress:)

1- Family and friends: both siblings and their families are out of town, and we wanted all of them to join us. We even wanted Jeff (my sister's husband) to actually do the baptism since he's an ordained minister. Jeremy's sister and family just happened to have a fall break so we were trying to work with that too. I also have a great friend, Kimberly, who lives in Mississippi and is very special to me. She's always been right by my side as quick as can be, and it worked out that a good mutual friend of ours was having a shower that Saturday before, so her trip would kill several birds with only one drive! So, September 19 it was, and we were sure everyone could make it.

2-Since I work at the church, a busy church at that, we had to work around the calendar to avoid congregational meetings, communion, special activities, and other things that normally happen in the worship services. Thankfully, Sept 19 avoided all of those and was practically the only date THIS FALL that was going to work for that.

3-The Baptism Dress was so special - it's the one that my sister wore, then me, then Grace, then Sarah. It would only be right for Miriam to show it off too! We wondered at one point if we were to have a boy what he would wear...simply because this was such a special dress for all other baptisms - but it certainly won't work for the boy in the's got pink rosebuds on it! But Miriam certainly looked gorgeous in it!

So once those three things were set - we were good to go. The day was so wonderful with the service, and all of our friends and family, along with our church family, stood to support us in the child rearing of Miriam so that the fear of the Lord would be in her and she would come to know Jesus. What a sweet moment to see her annointed and prayed over. God has great things in store for our little one, that we're certain of. Part of the baptism message included two of our favorite scriptures: "This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it" from Psalm 118:24. That was mom's most quoted verse during her 22 months of brain cancer. Actually, the morning of her first surgery (before we actually knew what she had), the first thing she said when she woke up was that verse exactly - and mom NEVER knew scripture enough to memorize and say it. But it stuck, and has since become our claim in life each day. And it was definitely appropriate for Sunday! Jeff also included this passage which we have been praying with Miriam in mind since her early weeks of life. Dear God - bless this child with a fear of you and we praise you for the covenant you have made with her! Thank you for showing us a sign of this through your baptism of her on Sunday!!

Dad and his lady friend (:)) Brenda joined us and got a special Papa/Brenda picture with us. What you can see: Jeremy's doofy looking tie - he dipped it in the greek dressing lid and stained it :( My favorite tie of his, he wasn't too disappointed.. What you can't see - Miriam is wearing bloomers with her monogram MGR on them - Brenda's gift to her. How sweet!

After the service, all 40 of us were treated to lunch at Old Town Bistro where Stacy, the owner, had us in the Palmetto Room. It's was BEAUTIFUL and so nice, since there was a wedding there the night before. Our meal was excellent and everyone was able to enjoy great fellowship. The best part - we didn't even have to pay a rental fee, any extra taxes, nor gratuity for such great accomodations! Go visit them, during the week for lunch is best, as their lunch specials are ridiculously cheap!

What a day - couldn't have been more beautiful! God was truly rejoicing as another one of his children was being baptized (and joined by Miriam's future husband, McCord, just a bit down the road as he was baptized too) I couldn't believe the day was over, but it was so special for us. Video technology wasn't around when I was baptized at 6 weeks 28 years ago, so I don't know what it was like. But we got video of this service - I can't wait to share it with her!!!

Miriam's First Beach Trip

Our family has been blessed with an outlet for my beach needs: when my grandmother remarried when I was in 8th grade, she married a man who had a beach house. It's in NMB in a quiet little residential (retired) neighborhood across from Hwy 17. It's close enough and far enough away that we get the best of both worlds. For many years, that's where we've gone - no more hotel/condos for us! The downside is that we have to clean up and vacuum the place before we leave (and a lot of times when we get there too), but it is nice not to have to pay for anything. Jeremy and I have had the opportunity for the past four years to get there at least twice a year - the week before Memorial Day (aka, Black Biker Week) and the long weekend of Labor Day. This year was neat because our friends, The Whites joined us for the Memorial Day trip in May when I was 7 months pregnant, and then Dad, Sis and the girls joined our new family of three in September. This was the first vacation I have spent with my sister in almost 15 years!!!! My, how time changes things! Here are some photos from our shoot on the beach right before leaving. Funny story first: We had dressed Miriam in a "USA" onesie with a cute red skirt for the photos and as soon as we found a parking spot and I was getting her out of the car seat, we had quite the experience. Miriam's ENTIRE diaper and clothes were soaked and spoiled - almost every square inch - in poop. She had been on an antibiotic and experiencing a little diarrhea and when I say little I mean A LOT!!! So, we had to change her from her cute supportive Labor day outfit to a simple onesie. But, they were cute pictures anyway :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Year 28

Can't believe it! I've turned another year older and moved on to greater and better things.....
Saturday, September 11 was the big celebration - or at least the day for the reason for the celebration. See, in my family, birthdays were a big deal. Well, not just big, HUGE! If your birthday was coming up, the special treatment had begun. In our house, momma used to joke that we celebrated "birthday kwanza" (I think she enjoyed it more herself than anyone else). The celebrations began at least a week prior, and most of the time ended on your birthday day, or the day after. That way, everyone could celebrate with you when they were able. And for my birthday, I shared it with my cousin Kim, so there was always the following:
-intimate family party (with mom, dad, sis)
-extended family party (with aunts, uncles, cousins (and kim)
-friend party
-work/school party

I use "party" loosely, but there was always something involved to celebrate. This year was no different, but instead of several days of celebration, it was like celebrating EVERY HOUR FOR THREE STRAIGHT DAYS!!!! My wonderful friends Terri and Michelle took me for lunch to Nishie Gs (love the fried squash), then J's parents took us to City Tavern (great tilapia and garlic fries), went shopping with my good friend Ann Louise on Saturday, dad and Brenda took us to Longhorn Saturday night, then J and I ate Fatz (with my free bday meal coupon, of course!) on Sunday for dinner. The best part - we only paid for J's meal at Fatz ALL WEEKEND! What a cheap way to eat a bagillion calories and get my fried-food intake for the year in such a short period of time.
I don't care - it was all worth it. The best part of this year's celebration: I had a little sweet Miriam to remind me of the beauty of birth. I thought about how mom must have felt each year we celebrated birthdays because I felt that this time. (I already can't wait to celebrate with Miriam on her birthdays). There's such an excitement about the specialness of the day that you just can't tuck want to celebrate as much as possible with those you love. No wonder Mom invented "birthday kwanza" - I'm just sad mine is over until next year.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Playtime and responsibility

A sweet picture of Miriam with her eyes open.

Today we introduced Miriam to her ocean neptune play mat and she had a blast!

and then she got tired and slept.

Jeremy was home today, and since Miriam has been "cleared" to venture out into the real world, we took a family outing (although Miriam has been to the salon to meet Mrs. Jennifer, to church for her first Sunday, to Old Town Bistro for lunch and Target with neighbor Terri, and to BUNCO with the girls...). So, we got everybody ready and full - then headed to......Bilo and Aldi! I know, we're living on the wild side. But, with such a time frame, and the need for food to fill our pantry, that's where we ended up.

On a serious note, I've been thinking and preparing for Sunday at church - it's Rally Day/Promotion Sunday. Possibly the most important day that I prepare for in my job. We recognize and show appreciation for all of our teachers, encourage the children to learn in Sunday School, and challenge the adults to be leaders in the church. It's a big day, and I have a lot to be thankful for in sharing about the upcoming year. As I have been thinking about all this, something has been on my heart, especially since the birth of Miriam. I need to be praying for my own child. I mean, pray INTENTIONALLY with scripture on a regular basis. A friend of mine visited a few weeks back and gifted us the most precious thing: a framed piece of paper with Jeremiah 32:39-40, making it personal with Miriam's name. I have set it on her dresser, and each time she nurses in her nursery, I pray that for my daughter. It's a powerful thing and I've come to memorize it, so that I can pray it EVERYTIME I nurse her. It's beautiful. It's a responsibility that I'm honored to have - won't you spend some time praying for your child (or your child to be...)?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

You didn't hold me to it....

So, a weeks time has gone by, and I didn't update like I said I would. I can because I am wearing this:

Possibly one of "my favorite purchases" since having Miriam. It's called a Moby Wrap and I can wrap Miriam up in it and be hands free (and it's great for snuggling with her!!). The other purchase I made a few weeks back was these blankets from Target. So lightweight so I didn't feel like I was smothering her by swaddling her.

Saturdays (well, really a lot of other days too) are great picture days because they mark her weekly birthday celebrations since Miriam was born on a Saturday. This past Saturday we had another "photo shoot" by mom, and we came up with these photos. I'm loving the opportunity of taking pictures of her as much as I want. So glad that we purchased the Nikon D3000 for our Christmas present! Thanks for encouraging me to be the photographer in the family! I can't wait to take more pictures when her eyes are actually open and she can smile when I say CHEESE :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Where does the time go?

Okay - so, I wake up each morning with all intentions of tackling my to-do list, which seems to grow by the day, and somehow, I find myself at 9 p.m. having done nothing on that list but just add more to it. Really, where does the time go?? I really accomplished NOTHING today. I did eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I did check the mail (only to find ads :(). But I really can't say that I did anything. But boy am I tired!

I would love to keep up with the blog better now that I'm "home all of the time" but I've got to get the time to sit down and do it. I promise I will attempt to do at least 2-3 updates a week. Hold me to that promise.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Right now, I sit in the dark, and listen to the sounds of Brahams, Dvorak, and Debussy - classical lullabies that are so soothing to my little angel. Did I mention - I have a little angel. I still can't believe it! I mean, we knew we were expecting - but not so soon! The due date was set for August 18th - and I was almost hoping for a late baby. Five days after that would have been mom's 57th birthday. How neat it would have been for Miriam to share her special day with her special Nana?!

Well, that's not how it ended up! On July 10th, we welcomed little Miriam Ruth into the world at a whopping 5 lbs 8 oz and 19 inches at 2:50 in the afternoon. We were quite shocked at the way everything unfolded, but it did all with the Lord's provisions. The labor wasn't too strenuous, and the delivery was short and painless. After the excitement, this is what greeted us:

The past 3.5 weeks have certainly been a roller coaster for us - 5 days in the NICU, back and forth to the hospital on an almost daily basis for heel pricks to test her bili levels, 10 days on the bili blanket, and frequent doctor visits. I mean, I knew this whole parenting and motherhood thing would be difficult - but I don't think I was prepared to mother a preemie. There are so many differences and exceptions to the rules when it comes to premature babies. And mine definitely has a mind, schedule and personality of her own. She is truly a gift and we're enjoying every waking moment - as there are far more than sleeping moments :)

I keep saying "if mom were here, (this that or the other) would be a certain way" "if mom were still here, she'd have retired to watch Miriam so I could go back to work"...or "if mom were still here, she'd be over to visit every night" etc. I miss that mom isn't around. I feel like I cheated us both in some ways - she never got to see me pregnant, or meet her granddaughter, and I never got to experience her as Nana with my children. And too, there's the confusing responsibility of explaining to Miriam one day that she has 2 Nanas - one that is living, and one that she'll meet someday later on.

The night Miriam was born, I had a dream - the most vivid dream, and only one of 2 EVER since mom's passing. I was sitting with mom by her bedside in a hospice type place (that had a nursery too - which is where Miriam was). I was telling her all about Miriam's birth and all about her and mom was totally with everything. Then I got a call from a nurse telling me that I needed to come and feed Miriam. So I got up, and left to go to the nursery and went to feed Miriam. Upon my return, I saw mom again, in that same bed, but in the condition she was moments before her actual death. It was like I knew what was coming, but for some reason I thought I could stop it. I called out for the nurses to come, but no one even acknowledged it. Then mom passed - again. It was the most bogus dream ever. It was like I had the opportunity to share all about our sweet girl and was confident that mom knew all about her. And then she departed again.

Now that I am a mother, I long for mine so much. There are so many women in my life who are wonderful to me, and now to my daughter - but my how I miss you Mom!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The garden

I love our Garden!! It continues to blossom, much like my belly these days. Crazy thing is - I don't think we've seen half of it's beauty yet! Here's a little peak at our little peaceful beautiful patch of dirt....
Top Left - the zenias
Top Right - Moon Beam
bottom left - dianthus
bottom right - me with the hydrangeas
to the right - purple coneflower

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I LOVE projects! They keep me busy and the end result is always pleasing - at least most of the time. Of course, I always have a different vision for what actually comes out, but somehow I managed to pull it off.

The past month, I've had two projects (and really only two projects) on my mind. Garden and nursery.

We have this cute little area beside our house, by our 1/2 wrap-around porch that has been totally in need of some love since we moved in. when we first bought the house, there were these overgrown shrubs that were hidious. So, we unrooted them and got completely rid of them. Last summer, we tried planting a few things that obviously didn't like living in the soil that was there. There were also 4 hydrangea bushes that looked wonderful last year, but I was bound and determined to get blooms on all four this year. The only thing that looked good about this area that we don't have to work to make it look good is the clematis - it's a flowering vine that has blooms that pop open around mid-April. It's georgeous!

So this spring, we made a garden. One Thursday, I decided that it was what I wanted to do that weekend, that Friday I picked out everything, and Saturday morning we went to buy all that we needed (bricks and "enough" soil mainly). Jeremy did such a great job putting it all together - then we realized we only had enough soil to fill about 1/4 of the two weeks later we got to finish our project. All the soil was purchased, plants and flowers were added, then we topped it off with some mulch. Since I'm awful at taking the "before" pictures, here is at least an "after" photo to show you his handywork:

The nursery was our other project that I insisted on doing as soon as possible! We had to paint the room, clean the carpets, move furniture, pick up furniture, and get the bedding all before I would be quiet. I at least helped with the trim work of painting, and I picked out everything (that's harder work that painting, I'm sure of it!)

The paint was almost the easiest thing, thanks to the folks who lived in the house before. They had the great idea of painting a light green - not blue, not pink....very gender neutral, yet still cute for baby. So, Fresh Guacamole it was, and at only $15.72 for the ONE gallon that we needed to complete the room, it was a great deal!

After painting, Jeremy spent one afternoon cleaning the carpet. Fortunately, the little nursery warranted a whole house cleaning that day! For 20 bucks, the carpets were clean! Totatlly rent one from Home Depot the next time you need to clean carpets and can do it yourself!

We got the bedding that Tuesday after, and the 3 amazing men in my life (Jeremy, dad, and Bruce (j's dad) helped get the furniture on Friday. By that evening, it was all set up. I have finished the letters for the name to go above the crib (although we aren't sharing her name, her initials are MRG), and I'm going to make some curtains and a bookshelf for all of the many books I hope she'll get :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Life

It seems each new year brings a new reason to rejoice in "new life" during this particular season. I was reminded today, even, as I taught the kids, that it's just not today that we celebrate this new life, but rather a daily event. As Paul tells us in Philippians, we are to "rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!" What great news we have - this new life - to rejoice each and every day?!

This year I am especially grateful - this new life that the Lord continues to knit. We pray for our little girl to know that joy, even before she's born! How blessed we are that we should be called sons and daughters of God - and that God would be preparing our little girl to be a daughter of his as well?!

Blessings to you this Easter - and may you rejoice in that new life that we all have....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's a.....

GIRL! And she's beautiful! Healthy and growing strong with LOOOOONG legs and fingers, just like her momma (and her Nana). The Lord continues to bless us, and we're thrilled!
Thank you for your continued prayers for us and the little one (not sharing her name - it's gonna be a surprise!).
Mom would be thrilled too - gosh knows how spoiled that child would be (and still will be with all of her other grandparents and aunts and uncles in town!).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Countdown time...

We are almost halfway now. Next Tuesday is the big day. The big reveal. We'll find out if Baby Ghent will be baby girl or baby boy. If you ask anybody now, they'll tell you it's a girl. The ladies in Rio Verde promised me it was a girl. Even I think it's a girl now. Jeremy and I couldn't be more excited! Now...let's just hope the baby wants us to know too :) I'll update Tuesday after our appointment (in the a.m.).

We're baaaaack....

Well, we've actually been back. I was just remembering that this time 2 weeks ago we were starting to wrap up our week in Rio Verde and head to Las cascadas de Tomasopo (Waterfalls of Tomasopo - an old sugar cane mill) then head to San Luis and prepare for our trip home to the States.
The week was absolutely unbelieveable! I can't believe all that happened, the Lord's protection and presence throughout the entire trip, and the teaching of the Lord. Jeremy and I shared a bit with the Ebenezer group last weekend during their Missions Conference, but we're really excited to share our trip with the First ARP group on April 21st at 6:30. If you're interested in knowing more details of the week, I invite you to come and listen - I promise I won't bore you, and I can also promise a good hearty meal at 5:45-6:30 if you'd like. We'd love to have more of our friends around! But just to give a brief summary and some thoughts from the week....
1- The Lord has not been slow in keeping his promises! While in high school I spent 4 solid years learning the beginnings of the Spanish language. Then I was guided to actually major in the language in college, spend a semester abroad in Spain, and had opportunities (although small and very few) to teach and tutor. Then, it just stopped. The last time I spoke consistently and fluently was about 8 years ago. Well, as soon as we landed, it all started coming back to me, and by Wednesday, I was helping to translate for our construction crew, ministering to young children and helping them with their crafts, then spending quality time with youth of Rio Verde, sharing why we had come to their city. I was beginning to talk like a native again. I was able to understand what was going on around me, what people were saying, and by the time we were flying out - I could apparently only speak Spanish in the air port. I couldn't understand a single word that the hispanics were saying in English, so they'd speak spanish, and all of the sudden, I knew what they were saying. I even had a somewhat funny time coming back to the states, continuing to speak Spanish, to clearly, Americans who only knew English. Through that, the Lord showed me that he still wants me to invest in those skills and wisdom that I so passionately learned a few years back. So now, I'm challenged to somehow involve myself in some type of ministry where I can communicate with the hispanics of Rock Hill. Be praying that the Lord would open a door for me to do that.

2-The Lord taught true patience. In every other mission trip I've participated on, I've been the planner, the chaperone, or a leader of sorts. However, this time, I wasn't the planner, nor the chaperone, and not even close to being the leader. Which was great for most of the time, but I have to admit there were some opportunities that I wanted to cease and take over. But the Lord was quick to teach me patience and to just enjoy the moments. I was also forced, this time, to take it easy. I've never had to "take it easy" before, so it was difficult at first, but the baby quickly reminded me that there was more to care for than just myself, so I was pretty laid back the entire trip. Unfortunately I did get a bit dehydrated on Wednesday, which made for a pretty rough Thursday, but the Lord was definitely gracious in nursing me back to health quickly. And in coming back, I realized the position I played (simply a team member) was one of the best I'd ever been before!

3 - The Lord provided relief and rejoicing. Since mom passed last year, I knew Dad was looking for something like this to do. When the opportunity came about, he wasn't the least bit hesitant to agree to serve on the 2010 Mexico team. I was so thrilled he was going to return to RioVerde (he went in 2002), and even more excited when the chance came for Jeremy and I to participate - as part of the team, but also as "spies" to scope out whether or not First ARP would be a part of a similar ministry. While we were there, the three of us didn't spend overly amounts of time together bonding, we did our own thing mostly. Dad and J did get to work together on the construction project, and we did walk downtown some, but it wasn't an overabundance of one another. But somehow, there was bonding going on, a rebuilding of sorts, and a togetherness that was so freeing. However, there were many times dad and I both wanted to call mom and share what we were doing. I started thinking how it may have been different if mom were still living: 1- Dad probably wouldn't have had the chance to go; 2 - mom would have been strongly against her youngest, pregnant daughter going; 3 - and even if dad went, she'd have a cow at all of the crazy things he did! We did get a good laugh out of some of those, and she was certainly missed. But we were grateful for that special time. And even though my sister wasn't physically with us, she was incredibly near to us while we were away. It was like we were all together.

4-I CAN'T WAIT TO GO BACK! Of course, it will be at least some months after the baby is born, but we're excited to begin planning our next visit and week of missions with our new friends, Eric, Ginger and their two precious girls, Grace and Lydia. Who knows what the Lord has in store - maybe we'll find ourselves there permanently in the years to come.....

I'll add some pictures later when I have the file with me. You'll be amazed at the beauty - maybe you'll join us on our next venture!

Friday, February 26, 2010

And we're off....

Tomorrow is the day we've been thinking about for about 6 months now. Jeremy, Dad, and I are headed to Mexico - and although it's not the Mayan Riviera this time, it still has excitement in store. We're leaving on a jet plane tomorrow (Sat) afternoon for a week and headed to Rio Verde, Mexico. We hope to be spending the week working away at a few projects that will benefit our other ARP friends down there. Jeremy and dad, along with the rest of the team, will be working on a cement retaining wall that the past rainy season has totally destroyed. I have had to find another route of work since I'll be with child. :) It looks like I'll be doing some great work with the women and children of the area, sprucing up the camp site a bit, and hopefully doing a good bit of translating.
Now, I must remind myself that the last time I spoke fluent Spanish was 8 years ago while I was living in Madrid, Spain for the semester. That was 8 years ago (!!!) and in a totally different country. However, I'm praying that the Lord will bless our time there, and the gifts and skills I aquired in college to be used frequently while we are there. I am anxious but not doubtful that the language will return to me and I will be able to converse with the locals.
I'm so excited for the week ahead, however extremely nervous. This will be the first time I have been on a trip in a while that I haven't done any of the planning for, nor do I have a clear idea of the schedule and what exactly to expect. All I can do is compare to my last travel to Mexico (almost 10 yrs ago), and that wasn't exactly pretty. Of course, it was in the dead middle of the summer and the low temps were in the 90s. I am looking forward to a bit warmer weather this time, but thankfully, we'll just be in the mid-70s all week.

Pray for us this week, if you have a moment, for all of the many activities we will be a part of in the next 7 days. Pray for our team (group of 15) that is so diverse, that we would be able to communicate well with one another and grow spiritually together throughout the week. Pray for our safety in travels (flying on Sat 2/27 and 3/6) as well as bus rides (same days) and throughout the city during the week. Pray for our health, as we have to be careful with exactly what we eat and drink. Where we will be the food is safe and the place is stocked with bottled water. However, anywhere else might be a little iffy. Pray for me specifically as I am traveling while pregnant (definitely a first for me) and may have a few difficulties in finding enough (and good) food for me and the baby. I typically get a bit sick on planes, and it seems pregnancy hasn't made motion sickness anything better - so who knows what we're in store for while traveling. Pray that the gospel would be spread through our work, our words, and our witness. Pray that the Lord would bless our ARP friends while we are down there and offer a sense of refreshment for them.

Thank you for partnering with us as we do the traveling and serving and you do the praying.

Friday, February 19, 2010

February 19

"This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

"Writer's block" doesn't come naturally to me. Until today. I dreaded reaching this day for the past few weeks. I have relived almost every moment that I can recall of the days leading up to mom's death and some have been comforting, while others have been quite disturbing. I remember the sounds that were made when mom had a hard time breathing....I remember the way mom's eyes looked while she lay so still in her bed....I remember the vivid memory of mom's last breath - and it's shuddering to relive.

I went to visit mom's grave today for probably the 3rd or 4th time since her death. It's not something I like to do on a regular basis. This morning, I took 5 yellow roses (at mom's burial, all of us were given yellow roses to keep in her memory. we dried them and now I have one in a shadow box in my house, so the yellow roses have some meaning for us). The five were for me and sis, her two children, and my child to be. They were beautiful, and ridiculously expensive. But at least they were beautiful.

I rested them on the grave and wept, but only for a moment. For when I looked up and started taking pictures with the sunlight beaming through, I was drawn to the mom's favorite verse from Psalms that she quoted through her season of suffering. It was too dificult to weep any longer. I was rejoicing that after Feb 19, 2009, mom never had to suffer another day.

Dad and I traveled to GA today to be with my sister, Jeff, Grace and Sarah. Tomorrow we will celebrate with Grace for her recent 7th birthday. On our way down, I was anxious the entire time....not wanting to see the clock turn 2:58 p.m. And thankfully I didn't. Since we've been here, we haven't been sobbing as I thought we would. Instead, we've been enjoying all of our time together, laughing, playing with the kids, and just hanging out.
I can't even begin to share what all has happened in the past 365 days. I'm sure you can imagine - from births in the family, to new pregnancies, to job opportunities...and of course the heart issues. But in all, a year has indeed past, and we have proved to live life - although differently, with pieces of loss and sadness, excitement and joy - we have lived. Praise be to God for giving us breath each and every new day.
"This is the day the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it."

You never told me....

You never told me that "morning sickness" didn't just mean wake up first thing, get sick, and then feel better...instead, it's "all day sickness" where you're just icky all day long.

You never told me that I needed to take advantage of all of the sleep in the middle of the night that I could get, because sooner or later, it would be fairly limited.

You never told me that one day I'd forego any type of exercise simply to sleep - or eat.

You never told me that one day I wouldn't care what I ate and what time I ate it.

And even though you told me how wonderful it would be, I never would have imagined the joys that came with being a mother...even before your child was born.

Mom, you'll have the best birthday present ever this year - I just wish you were here to witness with us. Baby Ghent is due August 18, just days before we remember your special day. I know you said you'd be "one crazy Nana" but you sure will be missed.

Monday, January 25, 2010

This time last year....

It's starting: "this time last year, mom had her "spell" which put her intubated in the back of an ambulance, then flying in a medvac to CMC, etc etc." We've now entered into the 11th month without mom, and the anniversary of her death is lurking nearby. With less than a month away, I think we're all starting to relive each moment of those last weeks with her. Yesterday marked the "beginning of the end" of sorts, and for the next 25 days, I'm sure those memories will just become more vivid. I even spent an hour or so this evening re-reading some of the journal entries on CaringBridge and it made things even more memorable. Gosh, how I almost wish those days were still here! Not that I enjoyed the moments of mom looking and feeling miserable and so uncomfortable, but I just miss her spirit and her being with us.
I had my first dream about her since the week after she passed away just recently. In the dream, Jeremy and I were meeting mom and dad, along with his parents and sister, at Edisto (granted, I've never been there before, but I have a very clear picture of what I thought it is to look like). And dad came to pick me up and as we were headed back, mom walked out of a nearby bathroom, using her cane, dressed in her short-alls and cap (with no hair), looked right at me and said "hey stink" (a term of endearment she would use with me all of the time). Her voice was clear and she was smiling. And the I woke up.
It's been a hard few months with celebrating the holidays, birthdays, tax time (I know that doesn't sound fun, but mom was such a teacher to me when it came time for taxes - she taught me how to do my own because a tax prep person wasn't worth the money (especially when all of the money I had was gonna go to the fed anyway - haha). I miss going out to eat with her and dad, I miss meeting at IHOP on random Saturday mornings, I miss Christmas morning and pjs, I miss shopping at Belk because there was nothing else to do, I miss walking to her office to get a soad, I miss telling her that her clothes didn't match, I miss her calling me all the time to see "what's up", I miss telling her everything. I miss her.
What do you miss about mom?