Sunday, December 19, 2010

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

The best decisions of my life have been made overnight. I moved to California overnight. We moved out of the Cayman Islands overnight and now we will move out of California the same way. To some this may look crazy and others it may seem exciting. To us it is both. You may wonder how we got to this point... to load up a car and drive 30+ hours with a 3 month old baby. We LOVE California. It is in my opinion the most beautiful state. There is so much to do, the lifestyle is so active and healthy, the food is so fresh and light, the sun always shines... :-) It is hard not to love.
There are a few things though that are not that ideal. We pay way more to rent an apartment then most peoples mortgages back East, there are so many people EVERYWHERE, finding parking spots is impossible at times...You get the idea.
So why now? Why overnight???
Every day for the last three months I have had flashbacks. When I am driving, when I am trying to sleep, pretty much all the time. Flashbacks that for me changed my life.
You see, I definitely have learned time and time again that life is short and precious. Many people that I love have gone on to eternity in the last few years and a few people have had very close calls. It is easy to say that you know life is fragile and precious and think you know, but for me I did not understand how much so until it happened to me.
I really haven't been living for God the way I have desired to. We have been doing the church hop, I have been judgmental many times of people and have not been living for others and Christ but for myself.
It is hard to see that sometimes. Sometimes you need a wake up call. I spent months not being able to get out of bed while on bed rest. I was in and out of the hospital constantly. A lot of good friends and family were praying for me and I am so grateful for that. I never knew how much my health had meant to me before. In the hospital I would long to just feel the sun on my face or the summer breeze. I would see people complain about work or their babies crying and think how much I wished I was at my desk at work. My husband had been laid off as well (construction industry) and we went from getting/doing what we wanted to both of us being out of work. It was a big change.
Our beautiful baby girl was born and unspeakable joy overcame us both, instant love overflowed.
A few days after I had a moment that changed me. My mind goes back there often and it is as clear as day. Beeping machines, doctors running, nurses holding my hand, panic and chaos surrounding me. After being sent home from the hospital my preeclampsia turned into Eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. My husband was pacing and tears rolling down his cheeks. I asked my husband to call my parents. My parents that were 3000 miles away and thought I was on my way to recovering and health. No one answered. I heard the words that I just wasn't prepared for. The nurse said "we are trying everything we can, nothing is working". The doctor telling me I was skyrocketing and they could not bring my blood pressure down (it was very severe stage 4 hypertension 210/140 and rising). My husband pleading for them to please help me. I will never forget the look in the eyes of everyone in that room. For the first time in my life I realized how fragile this life is. How thin the ice is between here and eternity and it terrified me. The thought of coming face to face with my God scared me. Why? Because I realized I was living for myself. I am selfish, I am rude, and I am not the person that I want to be.
I remember asking the nurse, "Am I going to die?" She just held me hand and said we are doing everything we can, we are trying. I realized then and there, my life is not my own.
A lot of people say they will live for God when they get older. Some people are angry at God because life is not fair. Bad things do happen to good people and a lot of people lose faith in this troubled world.
It is easy to think of yourself as a "good Christian". I do not party, I do not do too many "bad things", or so I always told myself.
Sometimes the trouble is not what we are doing but what we aren't. I am not helping anyone, I am not making the world a better place. This is not a pity party and I am not looking for encouragement. Who am I? We all get older, we can have a lot of money and then lose it all. Some people have looks and then time marches on and what once defined them fades away. What is success? Is it a luxury car, an ocean view office and a nice salary? Is that what gives us value? All of those things can be gone in the blink of an eye. What we do for eternity is the only thing that matters. It is awesome to be surrounded by beautiful things but when times get tough and you know that no one is in their car rushing to your side, it's scary. My days in intensive care were sad. I did not want any of our friends to see me like that. I way bad shape. I learned that I was the only person on the floor that was "awake". The glass doors did not hide anything. The open doors did not conceal any of the noises of what was going on in there. Noises that let you know what was going on. As I seen my neighbor get rolled out after a long uninterrupted beep I grieved for this stranger. So what is life? Why are we here and what are we doing. I know that because of the gift of Salvation that I have a place in heaven one day. Not because of what I did but what He did for me on the cross. He died for me and He died for you so that if we accept Him we can have eternal life. If we have a personal relationship with Him. The Bible says Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.

[Spoken by Jesus] "...whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it."

Matthew 16:25

So we are moving. Moving because life is precious, family is precious, time is precious. We are moving to grow. We want to serve, love, change, and be closer to God.

I pray that if you read this today that you might stop and reflect on your life. The days that you have been blessed with. If you can walk that you may walk towards good, towards helping people in need. If you can talk, that you would bless others with your words, encourage others, build others up instead of tearing down. If you can hear, that you would listen to wisdom and listen to others. Be a friend. Take time to make this life about more than just you.

The road ahead of us is clouded with a lot of questions and some concerns but in looking back I can see the way the Lord has always taken care of me and led me to where I needed to be. I have seen His work in my life and in others lives. I have assurance in His promises. Where He leads me, I will follow. I had a feeling I was not supposed to get on that plane today, my husband did too. It is easy to say 'one day' but why not today? What is holding us back? Following your heart is not always easy but with God all things are made possible. We need to trust Him to take care of us.

After cancelling our tickets last night and questioning our sanity we decided to go to bed. My husband asked to watch a recorded House Hunters before going to bed. I said I was tired. Then he said "just one". I turned it on and the title of the show read.."DESTINATION DESTIN". :-) That is exactly where we are headed! We felt a peace :)

“The Spirit of God will not lead a man where the grace of God cannot keep him.”
— Author Unknown

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Valentina Sky

I want to start to blog to remember things. So I can go back and remember the feelings of life's biggest moments and to learn from them. I want to always be thankful for what God has given me and blessed me with. This week has been the most beautiful and the most terrifying week of my life. Saturday at 5:55pm our beautiful baby girl Valentina was born. She was born a month earlier due to pre-eclampsia. If you would have asked me what that was when I became pregnant I would have had no clue. I have learned a lot in the last 9 months. My normally low blood pressure became extremely high about 8 weeks ago. I was out shopping at UTC mall in La Jolla by myself when I started to feel strange. I was actually shopping for my dress for my baby shower that was going to be held in NY in mid August. I remember sitting down on a bench in Macy's dressing room and thinking WOW I am dizzy and boy have I gotten swollen....But this being my first pregnancy I thought it may be normal. I went to the food court and checked my pressure. Not knowing what my normal pregnancy pressure was (106/60) I wasn't sure what to think even though the machine said stage 2 hypertension. I sat for a while, ate a few mahi mahi fish tacos and checked it again. It was the same. I called my mom and asked her but she had nothing to go by since she didn't know what I normally was. I checked at a grocery store and a pharmacy on the way home and the pharmacist told me to call the hospital right away after I told her what it was. That was the beginning of many, many days and nights in labor and delivery including a 10 day admittance to antipartum.
Here I sit on September 23rd in the ICU. My baby girl is in the NICU and my husband is down there keeping her company. The induction was fairly long and when I went in on Friday night I had NO idea I would be going in to have a baby so we did not have anything with us. They started with the first process of the induction at 8pm and the second step at 5am and she was born at 5:55pm. I am not going to say it was a walk in the park but WOW was it worth it. I never felt so strong. My nurses and doctors were amazing and the experience was so different then I thought it would be. I spent 6 weeks on bedrest watching the baby story and Deliver Me and thought this is what it would be like. It was nothing like TV. My husband was so surprised that I didn't make noises and yell like they do on the show and to be honest with you, so was I! When they pulled her out and put her on me it was the most surreal moment of my life. I felt like I was in a dream. I am still trying to digest it and replay it in my mind. She was so tiny and precious. The most amazing moment was when they handed her to me and she looked into my eyes. I do not think that anything could have ever prepared me for that moment in time. She was mine and looking at me and then at Rob and back at me. She is so gentle and beautiful.
We anxiously waited in our postpartum room for them to wheel her in her little crib. Instead a doctor came in from neonatology. He told us that she was unable to regulate her body temp, her blood sugar was too low and she was not able to keep her food down. I was so sad to not be able to hold her and give her kisses but thankful that was all that was wrong and not anything more.
My blood pressure stayed very high in the hospital and I was shocked when they were going to allow me to go home (and keep me on my high dose of BP meds). On the way out of the hospital with our wagon full of flowers, balloons and teddybears I tried my hardest not to cry that we were not taking our sweetheart Valentina home with us. I was feeling very ill on the way home and couldn't wait till the morning to go back to see our girl.
We woke up early on Tuesday anxious to get the hospital. We took a lot of pictures of the baby and then I started feeling very weak and dizzy. I handed the baby to Rob and the NICU nurse saw that something was wrong. I could barely walk on the way up to postpartum to get my pressure checked. When they checked it (twice to be sure) they quickly found a doctor who told me to go to the ER right away. They wheeled me to the ER in a rush and everything happened so fast. The nurses there checked me in right away and it turned to utter chaos. My normally scary 160/110's just kept going up and up. I could not see the number's behind me on the screen but saw the looks on the nurses faces and listened to the panic as I heard them call my doctor's office. My husband was pacing back and forth with tears in his eyes telling me he loved me. As they started a second IV and told me nothing was working I felt more scared then ever. What did this mean? I was praying so hard and thinking about my family, my husband and my new baby girl. A doctor came in and said we need to get her to ICU right away. I remember him looking like a daytime soap opera doctor would and saying you are skyrocketing and we are trying everything. I remember my whole body shaking and my jaw clenching and muscle spasming. After that I was in and out. My pressure got to 210/140. The doctor was explaining to someone that I was going in eclampsia. I do not remember being taken to the ICU or when I got oxygen or even the mag sulfate. My blood pressure finally got so low and I then came even closer to meeting the Lord. I just cannot believe how fast it all happened. As I sit here I pray that they figure it out and that they can give me the right medicines to control this. I pray it goes away fast. I thank the Lord for protecting me and taking care of me. He is so good to me. I pray I can hold my precious baby girl in my arms soon and give her kisses. I thank Him for my husband who has held me hand and supported me every minute of everyday. I thank Him for a beautiful gentle baby girl. Valentina means strong and healthy and that is what she has been. We love her SO much. All of these moments show me how much I need God and how much He loves me!!
We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3-4

Friday, January 15, 2010

Heart for Haiti

My heart is filled with anguish and despair for those in Haiti. It is so hard for me to even sleep thinking that so many people are suffering in such horrific ways. My prayers are going out to everyone. My brother just returned from Haiti before this happened and I cannot even imagine how I would feel if he were there during this.
I just read the blog of Molly Hightower who passed away in the orphange she was working in. What a beautiful human being. Her family must be so proud of the hero that she is. She was truly loving her neighbor as herself.
My heart has always been and will always be with the orphans. I pray that God allows me one day to serve them in whatever capacity he would have me to.
Love and peace

Friday, September 18, 2009

Don't blink...

I turned on the evening news
Saw an old man being interviewed
Turning a hundred and two today
Asked him what's the secret to life
He looked up from his old pipe
Laughed and said "All I can say is ."

Don't Blink
just like that you're six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you're twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don't blink
just might miss your babies growin' like mine did
Turning into moms and dads; next thing you know your better half
of fifty years is there in bed> And you're praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend, one hundred years goes faster than you think
So don't Blink

I was glued to my tv when it looked like he looked at me and said
"Best start putting first things first."
Cause when your hour glass runs out of sand
You can't flip it over and start again
Take every breath God gives you for what it's worth

Don't Blink
just like that you're six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you're twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don't blink
just might miss your babies growin' like mine did
Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your better half
of fifty years is there in bed
And you're praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend, a hundred years goes faster than you think
So don't blink

So I've been tryin' to slow it down
I've been tryin' to take it in
In this here today, gone tomorrow world we're livin' in

Don't Blink
just like that you're six years old and you take a nap and ya'
Wake up and you're twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don't Blink
just might miss your babies growin' like mine did
Turning into moms and dads; next thing you know your better half
of fifty years is there in bed
And you're praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend, a hundred years goes faster than you think
So Don't Blink

No, don't blink

don't blink
life goes faster than you think
so don't blink
don't blink
life goes farther then you think
don't blink
life goes faster then you think - Kenny Chesney

As I am coming upon my 10 year reunion I am utterly amazed at all of the places God has brought me in the last 10 years. I came from Buffalo to Lynchburg, Lynchburg to DC, DC to the OC, OC to Cayman Islands, Cayman to San Diego...
God has been so good and so faithful. He has brought me an amazing man of God who swept me off of my feet in his army greens ;-) He has put people in my life that are like a second family to me...
I am so thankful for all that he has done. It is crazy how fast time flies by....
I am anxious to get home and hug my families necks!! ;-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day Weekend :-)

We had a fantastic labor day weekend with our friend's Janice and Dave who came to San Diego to hang out with us for a few days. We spent time riding bikes on Coronado Island, going to the zoo, visiting various beaches and eating some delicious food.. It was also about one month since Dave and Janice's wedding in PA (which we were unable to make). :-) Thanks for stopping by ;-)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wow- I have not blogged in some time! I am not really sure why.. Rob and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary on July 27th and took a fantastic trip. We drove out to Sedona, Arizona and the Grand Canyon. We were also able to stop by the Montezuma Castle Indian Ruins! It was a wonderful time. Lucky for us we found a Sonic where we were able to pick up a Blue Coconut Creme Slush!!! Yum! Rob also bought me a gorgeous pink Sapphire and Diamond necklace! He is such a gem ;-)
We are anxious to get out to Lynchburg, VA to see our adorable nephew Ty!! Ty was born on my birthday this year and he is absolutely adorable!!
Here are a few shots from our trip! :-)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A new day!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

To say a lot has been going on in the last couple of months would be an understatement. I have been back to Buffalo several times since the holidays and all for emergencies. But today is a new day! It is so hard to stay encouraged at times when life throws you curve balls. You see those you love the most hurting, grieving and fearing. But today I will be glad because it is a new day. A day has such a new significance for me now. As I watched my grandfather's casket be carried away last week and tears rolled down my face I was reminded again of how sudden a life can leave us. I didn't exactly need or want this reminder so soon after many other recent reminders. I have decided to start a blog to keep my family and friends in the know about our live since we do not get to see everyone as much as we would like.

People's kindness is what has really encouraged me and gave me rays of sunshine through the clouds and rain. My co-worker who booked me a flight home, not even knowing that I had no idea how I was going to make it back east. He did something without just saying.."let me know if you need anything". That is how I want to live my life. With my eyes open for opportunities to be able to give or bless those around me, not asking, but doing!

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Now, on a lighter note, my new favorite thing to make..chocolate covered pretzels! They are so yummy and so easy to make.

Just go buy some pretzel rods and some chocolate chips and white chocolate chips. Then buy some pretty sprinkles.

You can melt your chocolate in the double boiler or if you don't have one then just melt it in the microwave. Dip your pretzel rods about 2/3 of the way down and set on wax paper. You can use your white chocolate to drizzle over the chocolate when it is dried or just put sprinkles on the chocolate when it is still wet and then let the chocolate harden and ENJOY!

I like to put mine in little cellophane bags and tie them up with cute little bow if you are giving some away :)

Well, this was my first post, I guess this is kinda fun. :)
Love and Blessings,
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24,25