Tuesday, October 20, 2009

OK! I'm Listening!

Holy Cow, as I sit here I am literally sick to my stomach. This is not something I want to do but if I don't do it God is going to keep screaming in my ear! So, Ok God I am listening!

I have felt for a week that I was supposed to write a post this morning but, as I sat down at the computer I literally felt like I had nothing to write about. I began reading and came across a new post by my sweet friend, Chelsea, who has an amazing story of her own to share. As I read it I began to shake, I have been struggling with listening to God and her post was that last kick in the butt I needed to do it.

I have prayed alot about a baby, and truth be told God has answered me and I ignored it because it wasn't what I wanted to hear. He has put things on my heart that I have ignored because it wasn't what I wanted to do because I was scared. So I am going to do what I have ignored doing for so long, even though it is hard. So please bear with me as He is directing this post not me!

Some of you know the first part of this post but I must recap for those who have not heard it.

My 2:
Around 4:30 AM on February 21, 2008 I got THE phone call from my best friend, Melissa, "We are on our way". Now I had not been sleeping at night for the past 3 weeks, waiting for this call. She was on her way to the hospital to deliver her baby boy. Months ago she had asked me to be in the delivery room with her, to support her.

I still to this day, have no idea how I went all those months without an ounce of sadness for the child I so longed for. Maybe it was because she needed me so much or maybe it was God protecting my heart. Back to the story....

I met her and Shawn at the hospital as the sun was coming up. For the next 10 hours or so, I stood by her side, holding her hand, encouraging her. After many hours with no progress, it was decided a C-section was the best option (something that the two of us laugh about now! but that is another post) As I walked down the hall I was so emotionally charged, happy, nervous, scared...I could go on but I won't. After 45 minutes or so baby Athen was in our world and I cried because he was so beautiful. I stayed with them until almost 9 that evening before I went home. I had never been so tired and emotionally drained in my whole life. Heath took me to eat at Huddle House and all I could do was lay my head on the table (not something I recommend, by the way).

I finally crawled into bed around 12 that night before going to sleep I prayed a prayer of thanks, thanks for bringing him into this world safe, thanks for allowing me to be a part of this miracle, thanks for an amazing friend. I also had my own prayer, "God, when will it be my turn". After that it didn't take long before I drifted off to sleep. Hours later I awoke, feeling very clear in my head, and feeling very strongly towards the number two. I thought it was strange and that I must be dream, why would I care about the number 2. I rolled over to look at the clock...it was 2:20. Again, hmmm that's strange. About that time I realized the date, February 22 (2-22-08). I ignored this strange coincidence a rolled over and went back to sleep.

The next morning I got up, while I was getting ready to go back to the hospital I was trying to make sense of all this two business. It was such a cold day out and it was pouring outside. I went to the kitchen to get breakfast I looked out the back window. Outside, in the pouring rain were 2 Huge blackbirds (big like buzzard big) they were sitting side by side, looking back at me. I closed the curtains. Then I had to take a second look, This time when I looked out they flapped their wings open wide, but never moved. The two of them, there in the rain. So I am thinking ok...two...hmmm.

I finally get to the hospital and its packed I drive all the way to the top floor of the parking garage and come back down before I could find a spot. I went in to visit with Melissa and Athen, I spent some time with them and helped her get ready for her array of visitors for the day. During that time the minister from their church came by to see Athen and offer a prayer of thanksgiving and blessings. After he left I stayed awhile longer helping Melissa after and hour or so had passed I went to leave. As I was walking down the bridge to the parking garage someone behind me spoke to me, when I turned around it was the minister. We chatted casually as we walked to the garage, when we got to the end of the bridge he said "Are you parked on this level?" My reply, "No, I am down one, on level 2" As I said those words I almost fell over! Really God! He was parked there also, so we walked down together.

As, I drove home that day, I asked God "OK, 2, so what am I supposed to do with this" His response, tell people! I am thinking I am NOT going to tell people this, they will think I am insane. The feeling became stronger, tell people to pray about the number two. I am thinking I have no idea what I would even say or how to say it. As the day passed I felt more and more like I had to tell people. So I decided to tell Heath (because he will still love me even if I AM crazy!) I tell him the whole story. He says" So, what does it mean?" I don't know I tell him just that we need to pray about the number 2. By then I am thinking, "Ok God, There I told someone, are you happy now?" His reply on my heart, "No! Tell more" Are you kidding me! I have to tell more people this, they are going to think I am nuts.

Later that evening I call my mom, it was hard to tell Heath about this but it was even harder to tell her....How do you tell someone to pray about a number, it's just strange. So I tell her anyways. She says what should we pray for, two months, two years, two kids (please no twins God!) finally she says we should pray for clarity. Leave it to mom to have the right answer! We hang up and I think, there 2 told, happy now!!! Nope, he puts on my heart again...tell more people. So that evening I pray for my 2 and for clarity.

The next day I travel to see Melissa who is now at home. When I get there I tell her about my two and I also say, I really feel like God is telling me I need to write about it. I'm not a writer, I have no idea what to even write about, but I feel like I am supposed to write about it. She says she will pray for my 2 also and that maybe I am supposed to write to share my story with others.(side note: I have felt since then that I am supposed to write about this but up until today I have not known where to write it!) The more people I tell, the easier it is getting. So I call and tell my mother-in-law on my way home, now she is praying for the number 2.

When I go back to work Saturday I tell some of the ladies at work, they too are now praying for the number 2. The funny part is everyone I tell is so open to this concept, no one thinks I am nuts (or at least they are not telling me to my face) On Sunday at work, one of the ladies I told said she had been at church that morning and prayed for my 2. As she was leaving church she said she passed by their bookstore and felt like God was telling her to go in and by me a book, so she did. She brought it to me it was gift wrapped in a little bag, when I opened it, it was a book on the Miracle of Friendship, cute but didn't make sense. As I was putting back in the bag, I noticed some print on the front of the bag. "Deb" I said "Is this the name of your bookstore on the bag?" Not looking she replied "Yeah, I think so, why?" I turned and held up the bag for her to see...Chapter 2 Bookstore...we just looked at each other and started laughing.

Since that time there have been many two's in my life always when I need them. I have prayed nearly everyday for my 2 not really knowing what it meant. Over the past few months I have even become angry with God. Why would he tell me to do this, why would he put this on my heart. Did it meant nothing, was it a joke, but still I feel strongly about it and still pray for it. I have shared this story with many of you and I am blessed that I have had so many of you willing to pray for something you don't even understand. So now I get to the second part of my story...

My 4:
A month or so ago I was feeling very sad, overwhelmed and confused. Why would God put something on my heart that meant nothing. We prayed and nothing has ever come from it. I was so very sad that day. When I went to bed that night I thought about something my Aunt Suzanne had posted on facebook...it said something to this effect "If you want specific answers you must pray specifically" So that's what I did! My prayer, "God, how many more months do I have to wait before its my turn to be blessed with a child?" His answer when I woke up the next morning was a very strong 4 on my heart. Four months, hmmm, I could do that, but of course that wouldn't be enough for Him.
Here we go again, I feel very strongly that God wants me to tell people to pray about "the next 4 months". Trust me when I say I feel like an idiot writing about this. I want to say remember God you told me tell people to pray about the number two and look where it got us. Until I counted, October, November, December, January....right up to February. Where, in fact it will be almost two years since he put the number two on my heart.
So he put this on my heart, yet again to tell people. I have tried VERY hard over the last 4 weeks to ignore this. Thinking, what if I am wrong, what if I tell people and 4 months pass and nothing, but then that feeling comes creeping back over me, you have to tell people. During this time I have been reading "Same Kind of Different As Me" and for those of you that have read it you know God speaks to Denver and Deborah They both listen and share what has been put on their hearts and act on what has been put on their hearts. As I have tried harder and harder to ignore this. Through the book their messages that God had asked them to tell people have gotten stronger and what I would think would be harder to share, but they do it. I have almost literally wanted to stick my fingers in my ears and say"lalalala I'm not listening!"
Which bring me to today, which I said earlier in my post, I have felt for a week like I have been supposed to write today, even thought I felt like I had nothing to write about. When I sat down this morning not really knowing what to write, I read Chelsea's post and there it is yet another way of Him telling me to listen! So, OK God! You got me, I am listening"
For those of you who are still reading after all that you must be family or a really good friend! Because I feel like none of that made sense but I feel like it was what I was supposed to do. So I ask you to pray for the next 4 months, I have no idea what the outcome will be but, I have written about what I was supposed to, I need to go lay down now!
UPDATE: 4 Months later in February of 2010 2 things happened the first one is that on a trip to St. Augastine, FL we visited the Ripley's Believe it or Not Fertility Statues...see here...and 2 days later I was referred to a fertility specialist. My first visit was that April (4th month) a few months later on July 22nd after fertility treatment I got my first positive home pregnancy test. 9 months later on 4-4-11 my beautiful baby boy was born. Doesn't sound so nutty after all, God is Great!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chase's Balloons

Last Sunday my dear friend of 22 years, Chelsea, lost her sweet baby boy at 34 weeks of pregnancy. Chase Allen was delivered on Wednesday Sept 30th. We were heartbroken to hear of this news and saddened that we could not be there to comfort them. This past Saturday they held a memorial service for the family in addition to a balloon release. You can go here to read their story.

Mark and Chelsea are blessed to have 3 beautiful daughters (Kendyll, Carlie and Abby Kate) The balloon release was Kendyll's idea. They also asked anyone who would like to join them in celebrating Chase's life to release balloons from wherever they might be. They asked that we attach a note to be delivered to him in heaven. When I read this I couldn't imagine letting this opportunity pass. It was a chance to show our love for this family even though we are many miles away!

Heath and I released 3 balloons each with a note attached from our home here in Georgia. The first one was a note to sweet Chase. The second was Chase's life scripture, that was read at his memorial "who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." Isaiah 43:7. The third well...I figured while we were sending notes to heaven, we would send a "special request" of our own. I can't think of any better way for it to be delivered than by the hands of a sweet baby angel. The note simply said "Pink or Blue, either will do"

Dear Mark and Chelsea,

We were heartbroken to hear your sad news. Over the past week we have grieved with you and prayed for you. Our prayer for you is that your sadness and heartache be replaced with peace and understanding. May many beautiful things come because of this sweet little life. Many have been inspired by your faith and your strength over the past week. You will continue to be in our hearts and our prayers in the coming months and know that we are here for you, even if we are miles apart. Sending you big Georgia hugs to your entire family.

All our Love
Heath and Brittani

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Running of the Wieners

Almost two years ago a tiny little wiener dog made his way into our lives. It wasn't too long after getting him that I realized wiener dog races were pretty darn popular. I knew we had to do it. Last October was our first race and we didn't fare quite so well, so we were unsure if we should do it again. Man, am I glad we did!

Yesterday we went to our second wiener dog race. This year Jackson was a little older and not quite as scared as he was last year. The race is held ever year the first weekend in October as part of their Oktoberfest better known as Beer, Brats and Wieners. Its quite a sight to behold, little wiener dogs everywhere. This year my mother-in-law and my oldest niece joined us for the races.

140 dogs raced yesterday and many more came to watch. The dogs are divided into groups of 10 and race against other dogs that are the same size weight and age. Each dog is given a different color bandanna, this year purple was our lucky color. After all the age/weight division races are done they take the top 10 fastest dogs for a grand finale race.

Jackson was in heat 8 this year. When it was our turn Heath was working the chute. He held Jack up so he could see me at the finish line. I squeaked his blue raccoon toy that we had been training with. Jack was focused this year. When Heath put him in the chute and he never looked back, he was too busy looking at me. The gates opened and Jackson and another little dog shot out of the gate. The other pup was about a foot behind Jack. About one yard from the finish line Jack turned to look at the people standing at the fence line and the other puppy passed him. He quickly regained focus. Just before the other puppy crossed the finish line ahead of Jack he turned and went the other way and Jackson plowed over the finish line right into my arms. I could see Heath cheering from the other end. Our little man had won! He was wiggling like crazy when I picked him up. He was so excited but really I think he just wanted his standard hot dog bite he gets for coming to the toy.

Jackson won his age/weight division but because he hesitated his time didn't qualify him to be in the top 10. We didn't care though. We were so proud of him. Heath said he felt like his child had scored the winning touchdown! Jackson even walked with his head a little higher. Later in the day he was even recognized out on the streets of Savannah as being "one of the winners".

The rest of the day we spent enjoying Oktoberfest and walking around Savannah. Here are some of our pics.

Proud Pop/Proud Pup

The ladies with the little Champ after the big race!

Way to go Jackson!

Aunt Britt and Alyssa

Now I know where the expression Dog Tired comes from, poor little guy!

Click here to see a video of the race yesterday, sadly our race wasn't shot but it is still cute!

We are planning to go again next year and with some practice take the Grand Champion Prize!

Cruisin' tha Caribbean...Day 5

Day 5

Sept 11

At Sea

Day 5 was a very lazy day for us. I got up and went to lay out by the pool and catch a few last rays and Heath slept in. After lunch I had an appointment at the spa. I got a mini-facial, deep conditioning treatment on my hair, scalp massage, neck and shoulder massage, hand and arm massage, and foot and leg massage. It was HEAVEN! When I was done I had to leave my hair treatment in for an hour and then wash my hair several times to get it out. Which wasn't a problem except that Heath wanted me to be his partner in one last bean bag challenge and my hair looked like it had been slicked back with grease. I decided I didn't care and did it anyways. I was glad I did because we came in second. We would have won if the other team hadn't been bean bag hustlers!

The rest of the day we lounged around. When we got ready for dinner that night I got to wear my Jimmy Choo's. Heath was happy to see me wear them he had bought these specifically so I could wear them on the cruise.

At dinner that night we said good-bye to our sweet servers Dewi and Rajesh. They were excellent, very funny and pretty good dancers! After Dinner we went to another comedy show that was very funny!

Our Servers, Dewi and Rajesh

Towel Animal: Well our last night wasn't really an animal, as you can see. It was my favorite!
After 5 days at sea we were both ready and not ready to come home. We had such an amazing time together on our trip and created memories that will be with us for a lifetime. We can't wait to go again!

*sorry it took me so long to get through all these posts, things have been crazy since we have been back*

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cruisin' the Caribbean...Day 4

Day 4

Sept 10

Cozumel, Mexico

On Thursday we stopped at our next destination Cozumel Mexico. We didn't dock until 11 AM so we were able to see them pull the ship in to dock. It was quite interesting to see them pull this huge ship into a very precise spot. I know how much trouble we have getting Tom's boat into the slip! I must say I was impressed.

As soon as we got off the ship, we had booked an excursion that included snorkeling and a beach party. We took a catamaran out and they dropped us off to snorkel. While we were in the water snorkeling a huge storm came up and it poured but we kept snorkeling, we were already wet and paid to do it, so we might as well!

Once we were back on the boat it was all you can drink beer and margaritas...so we did! The sun finally came out just in time for them to drop us off at the beach.

The beach was so much fun, still all you can drink beer and "ritas". They had a water slide, a water trampoline, and something the call "the iceberg". If you ever have a chance to jump on a water trampoline it is a must. I laughed so hard I thought I would throw up. Its like a regular trampoline but its set on a huge inner tube in the water. So it gets wet and makes it slippery and nearly impossible to jump on. "The Iceberg" looks like a huge blow-up iceberg floating in the water. It is approximately 1 story high and you can climb it, similar to rock climbing but very slippery! Heath and Clint manged to climb all the way to the top and the decided to rock-paper-scissors to see who would jump off first. In the process of this, Heath lost his balance and fell off. He rolled down the side of this thing like Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall, head over heels. It is by far one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Once I knew he was ok I laughed until I cried, I thought I was going to drown I was laughing so hard and trying to swim. If you can't laugh at your husband, who can you laugh at?

After our water adventure we decided to chill out on the beach for awhile. They had great hammocks and tiki beds for two on the beach so cute. Before long it was time to head back to the boat.

This little video clip isn't that interesting However, just past my feet you can see the killer Iceberg" out in the water....

Here are a few pics from our little beach adventure!

After we got back to the ship we grabbed some lunch and changed then headed back out to check Cozumel. We did some shopping, they had some really beautiful jewelry. I really wanted to get a piece but this trip wasn't a jewelry run so, next time I go back I will be prepared!

Before heading back to the boat our final stop was Fat Tuesday's! I was super excited to see a Miami Vice on their menu, I had drank these before in Mexico so I knew it packed a big punch in a little glass! If you're gonna do it, do it quick! They also had a swing bar, which basically instead of bar stools there are big swings hanging from the ceiling. Which in theory seems like a great idea but, if you spend too much time a Fat Tuesday's this could be very dangerous!

The other great thing about Fat Tuesday's is that all around the bar they have these funny sculptures, which I am certain are there for those of us who have more than one Miami Vice.
Of course we couldn't resist!

So technically, the last one there was taken on our way back to the boat earlier in the day, but it was just to funny to resist!

Here is another little video from Fat Tuesday's we like to call it..."I'm in Cozumel, Trick!" You can also see the guy on the cruise that looked just like Hulk Hogan, you can see him at the end of the bar!

Cozumel was so Beautiful!
Our day in Cozumel was packed full, so by the time we got back on the boat we were ready to pass out. We did however manage to make it to dinner that night! We sailed up the Cozumel coast that night and could see all the beautiful lights from the shore while we ate dinner.

Towel Animal: We were super tired this night, I think it was a cat. I only caught a brief glimps as I kicked off the bed before I passed out!