Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Review

J and I were excited to go out for every 6-8 weeks date night on Thursday night to a quaint little italian restaurant on Main Street in Fort Mill. It was tiny - one chef, one waitress, and one other lady who floated between the two. We unfortunately were seated next to a large party of about 12 who were absolutely rude, disrespectful and downright obnoxious.  They took all of the attention from all 3 of the employees, which made our meal a little extended - which in the end made for quite a nice evening. The food was delicious and was served slowly, allowing us time to really have conversation with one another.  We started talking about the past year and how the Lord has provided over and over again, and even taken away in some instances.  His protection, provision, and plan were screaming through each thing we talked about ...and I didn't want to forget some of the fun memories and important moments of this year, so here is my attempt to recap as much as possible of the past 365 days that we can remember.
January - Miriam meets my college girlfriends at our first real reunion since 2004; Miriam learns how to hold a 4 oz bottle
February - Miriam officially learns to sit up without support
March - Miriam starts off slow with some rice cereal; Miriam and her friend Taylor enjoy their first celebrity gig (posing at the park for a photo for the local newspaper)
April - Jeremy travels to NYC for a college buddy's wedding; Jeremy gets a new job
May - Miriam gets her first tooth (bottom left); Miriam starts real solids - most of which were homemade; our first family trip to Edisto beach (that had a slight change in plans...); I become part of a blended family when dad remarries; family trip to the zoo on Memorial day
June - Miriam starts with the BabyNet program working with an Early Intervention Specialist to help with her developmental delays (the start of a great friendship with her specialist); Miriam starts crawling almost 2 weeks before she turns 1
July - Miriam experiences her first mission trip; we celebrate Miriam's first birthday pink ducky style; we learn that we'll be expecting another child by March - I stop nursing Miriam 2 days after I find that out - she was almost 13 months old; Jeremy scores a F150 truck with his new job to use as a personal vehicle
August - Miriam has surgery (tubes put in her ears) and comes through with flying colors after she suffered some minor hearing loss and many ear infections
September - the honda was sold (it was my car that my parents bought when I was a senior in high school and I drove it until April 2009); 2nd family trip to Edisto beach to make up for our shortened May trip; we travel to Columbia for me; Miriam takes her first steps
October - Miriam gives up the pacifier (or I make her do it - it only took 3 days); Miriam takes her last bottle (morning milk) - sippy cup and whole milk from now on; Miriam's top two teeth come in; the sentra was sold (we tried selling on craigslist but ended up taking it to carmax - that was Jeremy's car that his parents bought him when he was a sophomore in college and he drove it until he got the company truck); we learn that we'll be having another girl; Jeremy and I take our first trip away from Miriam for a friends wedding in Tennessee
November - we refinanced the house to save over $150/month and dropped almost 2% in interest - woohoo!!; 3 of Miriam's molars start to come in; I begin my 7th year in full time ministry as a Director of Christian Education
December - we bought a minivan (for barely nothing!) and sold the camry (I cried the hardest with the sell of this bought it new off the lot in 2005 and then I got it after she died in 2009.  watching that car drive away was one of the hardest things because it was one of the ways I remembered, I'm just a minivan mom); J gets a promotion at work; both of our fathers have surgery

I'm so excited to see what milestones, memories, and changes happen in 2012 - looking forward to seeing how the Lord presides in our lives. As for new years are a few:
- take at least one picture a day of Miriam (and soon Lydia) and something that makes me practice using something other than the "auto" setting on the camera
- start my MOM'S ONE LINE A DAY: A FIVE-YEAR MEMORY BOOK [Book] book (tomorrow!) - so excited to find the journal at 50% at Books A Million and use my coupon because I also bought this book: <em>One Thousand Gifts</em>: <em>A</em> Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are [Book]!!
- visit my grandparents and godparents more frequently
- cook at least 20 meals a month - seeing how many crock pot meals I can make and how many meals can be doubled/frozen
- become involved in a Bible study, like Bible Study Fellowship that's completely separate from my job and church
- serve, in some capacity, in a non-profit organization like the Crisis Pregnancy Center or a children's home

Take a moment to review your year....and figure out what new things you'll accomplish in 2012 (and steer clear of the diet and exercise plans - they never seem to last long anyway...)


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas this year was, well, just different. Between being kept at home most of the time, family in and out of town, and Christmas on the weekend it made for a few changes in our normal holiday traditional routines.  Nonetheless, it was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and was actually restful and not hectic like it always seems. We didn't throw any special holiday parties this year (partly because I"m exhausted, and partly because we're almost broke) so getting into the spirit was a little more difficult this year.  Finally, by Christmas Adam, I was there...and then it left as quickly as it came. We were able to spend time with all of our family, although it was a short time, but we had fun and Miriam was precious. She probably needs one more year though before everything becomes magical through her eyes.  A few pictures from our Christmas extravaganza....

Trying to get all 4 Ghent grandchildren in a photo can prove to be quite difficult.

My sister with her youngest and a squirmy Miriam at our annual Jackson Christmas Eve gathering (but the night be fore this year)

Miriam and daddy opening gifts -
apparently she was more interested in what Grace was opening

Our Jackson Family Christmas photo on Christmas Eve
morning at the grandparents house for breakfast

Aunt Maddy helping Miriam play with her new baby doll

Miriam learning a thing or two from daddy about putting
Miriam loves her new table and chairs!
All ready for the Christmas Eve service at church
Ghent Family photo self-timer shot

Possibly my favorite picture of the season. J having a tea party with Miriam on Christmas morning
The shot of when Miriam first saw the lit tree with gifts underneath

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Oh Joy

"It's Christmas it's Christmas" I shouted when I woke this morning.  FINALLY I got in the spirit of things, did some last minute impulse shopping, and shared some sweet moments with my family.  Now tomorrow, the advent is here.
May this special day be filled with peace and joy as we all celebrate the coming of a baby, the Savior of the world!

(and then, we'll undecorate as soon as lunch is over tomorrow....)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Follow up ...

And if the post I wrote early today didn't vent enough..
IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT that I spend $150!!!! at the jewelers today to get that stupid ring sized and re-dipped. I was so excited these last few weeks, and anticipated what it might look like and how I'd feel wearing it...
well, it's a little on the big side, doesn't go with my wedding set, and as J told me, "that's your christmas present."

way to go mom - it's all your fault!

(but, it is really pretty and offers a touch of extra bling....)

It's all your fault!

It's been almost 3 years and I'm still grieving.  There are so many cycles to that process, and I've been seeing them lived out in other people in similar situations, and I'm experiencing even myself, especially during this season.  It's a known fact that anger is part of that process...and a lot of times, it's anger directed at someone totally irrelevant to the situation...when it really is anger directed toward the lost one. 

Surely, in my time, my anger has been displaced on too many people and too many things since March 2007.  and for that, I deeply apologize.  But lately, in all of my thinking, my anger finally found its way to the appropriate source - mom herself.
It's all her fault. No, really, it is.

Had she not passed, she'd be a stay at home grandmother, caring for my daughter, my two nieces, and soon to be her new granddaughter.  Neither my sister nor me would have to worry about this whole childcare ordeal, and we'd have that crazy Nana loving on our kids.....
Had she not passed, she and dad would still be living in the house where I grew up...which, has made quite a few cosmetic changes in these last months - almost as if it doesn't even feel like that home I once knew (which is totally fine that dad and Brenda are making it their own...they should and it needed it - and it's looking's just different)....
Had she not passed, I wouldn't have difficulties putting the Jim Shore Santas out for display (and I wouldn't have 6 when I used to only have 2).....
Had she not passed, the ornaments on the tree that once meant so much to her wouldn't make me cry every time I see them.....
Had she not passed, we wouldn't be taking our family pictures and having such a missing gap in them....
Had she not passed, we'd be listening to Carpenters and Elvis Christmas music non-stop.....
Had she not passed, I wouldn't be going to the jewelers today to pick up a resized wedding band of hers to now call my own...
It's all her fault.

And now that I've had my brief moment of selfish humanity and vented my anger...
Had she not passed, I wouldn't have the joy of seeing my sweet Miriam look at pictures of her Heaven Nana" and grin from ear to ear...
Had she not passed, I wouldn't know the joy of experiencing a lost one, knowing their in the arms of our Heavenly Father....
Had she not passed, I wouldn't keep the memories that I hold so dear close in my heart...
Had she not passed, I'd be angry at her for something really stupid, like wearing all black (but in 5 different shades) or buying too many boxes of cordial cherries....
Had she not passed, I would be further away in understanding that "The Lord works for the good of those that love Him and who are called according to his purposes...."

Although I say it's her fault, it really is the Lord's will - for some reason - for me to walk through this life from this point on without my own blood mother by my side, helping me and encouraging me as I become a mother myself.  I miss her greatly - especially in these days - and that grieving still hasn't reached its end. 

Praying for peace in this season for me and my family, and for my dear friends The Leathers, The Whites, The Kimbrells/Phillips, and the many others experiencing loss, grief and anger in this season, maybe for the first time at Christmas.  It's not easy, and it's more than hard, but there is purpose out of it. Although we don't know and understand that purpose, we're called to trust our Father, for he knows our needs.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I have had a good bit of fear these days - really ever since the beginning of the pregnancy - for several reasons:
1. My family has a history of 2nd pregnancy miscarriages
2. I have a history of preterm delivery
3. I have no clue what happens after you birth a 2nd child and you're a full time working mother.

Each day, I have had to take in stride, and in faith, lay over my fears.  It's the easiest way for the Enemy to attack me, and I am so vulnerable that I succumb to all of the worries that can accompany the process of pregnancy.  We praise God for the healthy growing baby girl in my belly, and especially today as I reached 24 weeks - a big milestone: VIABILITY.  Not that I'd want to deliver Lydia before the new year begins, but at least she's far enough along, and our medical world is far enough along, that she'd have a great chance of survival out of my womb.  That's definitely comforting and reminds me to give all praises to God for his continued promises in our life.

As for post-delivery, and what happens...this is what it looks like: ?????????

I really don't know how it works, with two children under 2.  I had a great deal worked out when Miriam was a baby. I was able to have her with me until she was 4 months old, then I put her in a church preschool literally across the corner from my church and was able to nurse her freely. Then, she had at home care.  This year, we're back at the same preschool because I absolutely love it, and a sweet lady from the church (who also happens to be the wife of our doctor...) picks Miriam up most days and keeps her for the afternoon so I can work away.  And then, on most Mondays, Tuesdays, and some Thursdays, I have night meetings which we rotate Nana and Papa if Jeremy can't be home.  On a rare occasion, I'll have to pay for a sitter, or forgo my meeting. It's been fairly workable, and we've certainly learned to manage all of the running around, and take advantage of the 1-2 hours/day that I actually do get to spend with her.  We've spent over $800 a month in childcare for her alone and that's CHEAP comparatively.
But emotionally, how do I handle that with another infant? I'm doubtful that our current plan can be arranged for adding in our addition, and switching to a full-time day care is going to be so costly.....
and when I start to think about all of this, I almost hyperventilate. I get so worked up emotionally and financially that I just have to stop and think about something else.
I remember the first moment that the Lord clearly put the desire for #2 in our hearts about this time last year. I remember the excitement, the joy, the adventure....but I didn't think ANYTHING about those 3 fears. It was certainly a "blissful" state, but all we knew and cared about was the growing of our family. That was all that mattered.  It didn't matter at the time the risks of me carrying (or not carrying) another child, it didn't matter about what would happen to our lives after the child was born.  But here we are, and I'm scared as can be.

Lately, I've been clinging to one of those "go to" verses from Proverbs: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways submit to him and he will make your path straight." 

In my fear,
I'm learning to trust with all my heart - just as I did in those first moments/days/weeks of pursuing a 2nd child...
I'm learning to lean on the Lord's understanding, even as I don't understand it, and not fall to the temptation of understanding the ways of life in my own terms
I'm learning to submit to him - even if it involves taking a risk that leaves me without a sense of security in this world.
I'm learning that my paths are completely ragged, confused, and even misguided when I don't trust, lean and submit.

Praying the Lord takes the fear away every moment of every day for me and for you. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Family Fun

We spent Friday evening and Saturday morning together and it was SO MUCH FUN!  We went for a spaghetti dinner and to watch the RH Christmas parade on Friday night.  Miriam LOVED each and every part of the parade and was completely mesmerized by everything going on.  She actually sat in awe for over an hour and waved, danced, cheered, and sang with everyone that passed by.  We didn't go out last year, because we thought it'd be too cold and unappealing to a 5 month old, but I'm so glad we decided to go this year.  We'll definitely make this an every year kind of event.
Then we played outside for a LONG time today, trying to get some good pictures of our family, Miriam, and my sweet 2nd cousin Jack.  Although our pictures weren't overly successful, we had a blast being outside. Miriam just loves to run, run, run.  She loves being outside and doesn't mind the cool wind.  We even saw the ducks and quacked a little with them.  All that playing wore her out, so her rest was sweet today and I really go to enjoy that time :)
Here are some pictures from our weekend:
warming up to it all at the parade

whoa daddy - did you hear that?!

Miriam and all her fans
who wouldn't love that precious face?!
Of course, always a shot of daddy and daughter

Our best attempt at a family photo on a super sunny day

Friday, December 2, 2011

Swimmy head

I really can't think straight. Some people claim blonde brain, some claim motherhood, and some claim pregnancy....I think I just claim busyness.  I am SOOOOO thankful for my 2 days off work this week, but I just jumped right back into the way of the world over the past 3 days (you got that right, I didn't get my usual Friday off this week...). My steno notepad is bursting with listed lines of things needing to be accomplished at the church, the house has potential every second to look like a wreck, I have desires for "upgrading" the house before Lydia moves in, and there are relationships to maintain and nurture that so easily fall to the side.  Oh yeah, I have a husband, and a quite needy/teething with all of her molars and 2 canines toddler. So maybe I should just claim my swimmy head on life?
But I don't tell the truth necessarily.  Some afternoons, I relish in the 2-4 (or sometimes up to 5!) p.m. nap that Miriam takes and how I'm "forced" to stay at the house.  And we're totally spoiled by the fact that she's like clock work and by 8 p.m., she's been laid in her crib and is off to sleep in a jiff.  That's when I zone out.  I am trying to be more productive during those times instead of just sleeping or lounging (which I'm sure I'll be doing my share of sooner than later anyway) but it can be hard.
I've used nap times this week for scrapbook, crafting, trying to catch up with some of those wayside friends, journaling, and spending quiet time with the Lord.   My family is at a crossroads in these days, and I am so desperate for the guidance and discernment he provides when we do seek him.
I was preparing to teach a study on I Samuel this week (the last 4 or 5 chapters) and came across this line in the book when referring to David and his ways of dealing with the Lord:  "David learned an old lesson when he turned again to God for encouragement and strength and sought his counsel.  Thereafter, the Lord became his rock, his fortress, and his shield.  We too can find this in waiting on Goad as David did.  We too must seek our strength in the Lord.  And we too often learn this lesson through many trials and repeated failure to trust God."

So in my swimminess I'm challenged by David's example to seek after those things....and be convicted at my mistrust in my God, my Father, and my Provider.