Tag Archives: baby

The Naming of the Boy

In a previous post, I’d mentioned that we’re naming our fourth little bundle of joy Isaiah Mark Anthony, and I promised to share the story behind the name. While I know a lot of people don’t like to share names until their child is born, I don’t personally mind. “Steal” the name, or don’t. It doesn’t diminish from the meaning we’ve put behind it for our child.

“Isaiah” is an ancient Hebrew name meaning “Yahweh is Salvation.” My husband chose this name and while I initially argued for “Jeremiah” instead, the name has grown on me and I absolutely love it. It completely fits our family. God is our salvation. His very name, “Isaiah” will be a daily reminder who his helper is and where he can go in time of need. I love that legacy. May it continue to bless our family tree for generations to come.

“Mark” was my biological father’s name. He passed away last November, the day after Thanksgiving. I took it very hard because we were never close. He did not raise me. I didn’t even meet him until after I’d turned 18. Our relationship was rocky, at best. The hardest part of his death was accepting that I’d never have the earthly father I’d always wanted, needed and dreamed about. I had to completely mourn the loss of that dream. I’m still mourning it, if I’m being completely honest. Naming my son Mark is, to me, an acceptance of what was and giving a nod to what still can be, through another generation. We are not stuck in a cycle of abuse. We can end it, heal and move on toward a brighter tomorrow. “Mark” is an old latin name that means “god of war.” We hope our son will grow into a man of strong conviction towards the Christian faith.

“Anthony” is both my biological father’s middle name and my husband’s first name. I love this for two reasons: we’re nodding to the past, while looking towards the future. My husband is a loving, present father who daily makes sacrifices for his family. To be blunt, he’s everything my father never was. Because of Anthony, the cycle of hurt, neglect and abuse has been broken and we’re working towards a legacy of faith-filled family ties. The name “Anthony” means priceless, inestimable or praiseworthy. It’s an old English/Roman name and I think it’s wonderful, just like my husband.

We are only about eight and a half weeks from Isaiah’s due date, though I truly have a feeling he’ll be here a little earlier than that. I cannot wait to hold our little bundle of joy, lay hands on his sweet little head and bless him immediately following birth. We also have a tradition of reading 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to our children within an hour or two of birth. It’s a reminder for us to love our children, no matter what trials come during our time raising them, and a blessing for our children to immediately be surrounded by the Word of God. On a whim, I began this tradition with our first baby, Theresa while my husband was sleeping. The thought occurred to me that now I’m a Mother. There is a huge responsibility on me to show this child what love is and how to love. Though I’ve struggled over the years to do this well, the Lord has been patient, merciful, gracious and kind to me as He teaches me, corrects me and guides me on right paths. I love the scripture in 1 Timothy 2:15 which states “Yet a woman will be brought safely through childbirth if she and her husband continue to live in faith and love and growing holiness, with habitual self-restraint.

The Lord is so good to our family. I am amazed by all that He has done and brought us through. All Glory, Honor and Praise rightly goes to Him for the blessings and the refining trials in our lives.

I’d love to hear from all of you what you think of our son’s name and how the Lord has blessed you. You can feel free to leave a comment or join us on Facebook.

Love,

Mandy

The Tirado 5, hours after Jackson was born.

Then and Now {Praise Him}

Have you ever looked back to the worst moment in your whole entire life and then looked around you at your present life? Can you see an immense difference between the two moments in time? This morning, as I was holding my son, I did just that. As I attempted to count my blessings, I found that I could not, for they are far too numerous. That realization caused me to stop everything I was doing (other than breastfeeding) and just praise God for His mercy and grace. He delivered me from what once felt like the pits of Hell. I cannot even begin to fathom how different the world would be without my kids. You see, the worst moment in my life is the moment I was pronounced dead at age 16 during a suicide attempt. I had totally given up on life because I figured that everyone who mattered had already given up on me. I was wrong. God had not given up.

At age 16, there was no way that I could even begin to fathom that my life would work out to what it is right now. I married my high school sweetheart. We have been together now nearly 20 years. We have two beautiful daughters and a very handsome infant son. I survived military life (which almost killed both of us) and I have spent years teaching Sunday school, working with kids – including special needs children. I’ve traveled to and lived in several different states and I’ve met people from all over the world. I have a great life, despite our struggles. None of this would’ve happened had God given up on me.

1997
Anthony and I in 1997, shortly after we became a couple and not too long before my suicide attempt that nearly took my life.

You see, when we’re at our worst moments and we don’t even have the strength to call on God or to acknowledge His existence, He’s still there anyway, saving us from the Enemy. He knows we have a purpose long before we know we do.

I did not call on God that day until the bitter end. I called on Him to bring me Home – to Heaven. He said “later” and sent me back to the World. Initially, I was outraged by the outcome of a failed suicide attempt. Now, I am praising Him for it. I cannot imagine a better life than the one He has given me.

 To all who mourn in Israel he will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.

Isaiah 61::3 TLB

The Tirado 5, hours after Jackson was born.
The Tirado 5

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

Psalm 23:5 NLT

Let’s Pray: Lord, we thank You for the blessings You’ve bestowed upon us. We have experienced such intense moments of weakness that we could not even call out to You, but You in Your infinite Mercy came to our rescue anyway. You have replaced our mourning with joy and songs of Praise. All Honor and Glory rightly belongs to you, O Lord. How we love Your ways! In Jesus’ Name we Praise You. Amen.

How has God come to your rescue in moments of weakness? Has your life turned out better than you ever thought it could? In what ways?

Jackson Henry Aaron is HERE! {Delayed Posting}

Hey all! Jackson Henry Aaron is here! He’s actually been here for the last six weeks, but I’m a bit slow on the uploading and I’ve been wrestling with whether or not to continue blogging at all, realizing that it’s going to require a whole lot more commitment on my part. I’ve gotten over that initial freak out and decided to try a 30 hour work week from home, especially since my husband’s work schedule has changed and he’s home more during the day now.

Anyway…back to the big, exciting news. Yes, I had a baby!

Baby Jackson
Jackson Henry Aaron – born May 20th at 08:39, weighing in at 8 lbs 2 oz and measuring 20.5 inches in length.

I had my third, medically necessary cesarean section. My husband, Anthony was there to document it for me.

I'm ready!
Here I am, ready to meet my little boy. This was taken just moments before the doctor began operating on me. I was fully awake for the entire ordeal.

Jackson and I both came out of the surgery a little messed up. He had some initial breathing difficulties which were quickly remedied, while I had some challenges with pain medication prior to the surgery and some endometriosis and old scar tissues removed during the surgery. I didn’t recover as quickly this time as I did in the past, but six weeks out – I’m finally feeling like a champ. Jackson is extremely healthy as well.

Little Sheriff
Our little guy just two days after birth. He’s a healthy, growing boy!

And of course, our girls are absolutely in love with their little brother.

Theresa, holding Jackson hours after he was born.
Theresa, holding Jackson hours after he was born.
Chelsea, burping Jackson just a couple of days ago. Jackson has grown like a weed in the past six weeks since his birth!
Chelsea, burping Jackson just a couple of days ago. Jackson has grown like a weed in the past six weeks since his birth!

While the birth experience wasn’t ideal, my son is so much more beautiful and amazing than I ever could’ve expected him to be. He is such a little gift from Heaven and I’m so blessed to be his mother.

How about you? Was your last birth experience what you expected? Did you experience a quick recovery or did you face some challenges? Share with us in the comments below (without getting too graphic, please).

Let’s pray: Lord, we thank You for the gift of children and of childbirth. Even when things do not go as we expected, we still receive the beautiful gifts that You have offered to us. Everything You give us is good. Thank You Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. 

An Open Letter to My Unborn Son {Jackson Henry Aaron}

15 weeks
Jackson Henry Aaron due May 27, 2015

Dear Jackson,

For you son, we have prayed fervently. God has blessed us with your conception. I’m looking forward to the day when I can hold you in my arms and kiss your head as I praise God for bringing you into my life. Your father will do the same thing, as will your sisters, grandparents and all who meet you. You are a blessing son. I pray that you never forget how important, loved and blessed you are. May God bless you and keep you safe all the days of your life.

Your sisters, Theresa and Chelsea are so excited to meet you. They’ve been singing songs about you since the day we told them we’re expecting you (September 21st, 2014). They don’t really understand that May 27th is a ways off, but they’re eagerly awaiting your arrival. They’ve been praying for you, too.

There has never been a moment when we haven’t wanted you, or wondered if you should be a part of our family. You were always wanted. You have always been loved.

Before you were conceived, several of your brothers and sisters were born into Heaven. You and your sisters currently have more siblings born into Heaven than you do here on earth to embrace. I often wonder if you kids played with them before coming here to earth. That is one of life’s great mysteries. Someday, when I meet God in Heaven, I’d like to ask Him. I know your brothers and sisters were beautiful because they were a gift from God – a blessing. I know I will meet them someday and embrace them. I thank God for their lives, short as they were. I thank God for your life, and for your sister’s lives as well.

Little one, you are strong! I have felt your kicks and barrel rolls since week twelve of pregnancy. At first, they felt like tiny flutters and now, they tend to feel more like a mighty warrior, looking for the exit. Sometimes I wonder if you haven’t mistaken my bladder for a bouncy house. I have a feeling you’re really going to enjoy those someday. 😉

I wonder what you’re going to look like and what your interests will be. Your dad and I keep going back and forth about whether you’ll be a football player, a soccer player or a baseball player. I wonder if you’ll be a mighty preacher, a lawyer who stands up for civil rights, or something else. We have big dreams for you, but we also know you’re going to have to make up your own mind about a career, based on your relationship with Christ. We trust Him to direct your steps and ours as well as we raise you in the Church and in relation with Him.

Jackson, you’ll never be able to meet your aunt Melissa, great-grandpa Tom, or great grandmothers Verla and Mary Jane (among many, many other deceased family members) but I want you to know that they’ve already influenced your future in so many way, just as we will, who are still here among your earthly relatives. You see, you’re part of a beautiful legacy of God’s people. We’re a little broken, a little silly, and a lot hopeful for full restoration among God’s creation. We’re all part of the foundation for yours and your sister’s future. Our stories, woven together create a beautiful tapestry that can help lead back to God if you allow it. There are stories of triumph, wisdom, love, death, sadness, sin, and foolishness. There are stories of victory and joy. There are stories that will help you understand the importance of hard work, loyalty and friendship to your fellow-man. Some stories will inspire, some will make you cringe, but all are part of the beautiful tapestry. All are important for you know.

More than anything dear Jackson, I just want you to trust God and love Him with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul and love your neighbor as you love yourself. That is my greatest prayer for you, my son. I also want you to know that there is nothing you can do to separate yourself from the love of God or from the love of your father and I. You are our son and you are first and foremost, God’s beautiful, beloved creation. We’ll see you soon, Son.

With love,

Mommy

We’re Expecting A…

JHAT ultrasound
We are expecting a boy! Jackson Henry Aaron is due around May 27, 2015.

We are expecting our very first little boy! Jackson Henry Aaron is due around May 27, 2015. When we saw the little penis on the ultrasound screen, we all celebrated with a “whoop! whoop!” and Anthony had the largest smile on his face. He’s been telling everyone who will listen that we’re having a boy. How fun!

My mom, our girls and Anthony were all able to be in the room when we found out. It was such a holy, blessed moment to welcome some of the first images of our little Jackson together. For this child we have prayed, and this child we will all embrace and love, with God’s help.

I’m so blessed to share this with all of you. My heart is full. May God bless each of you as He has blessed me.

In Christ’s love,

Mandy ❤

Baby, Baby, Baby!

Since finding out for sure on Sunday that I’m expecting another baby, I’ve been utterly consumed with pregnancy. Anthony and I got right to work and settled on two names – one girl, one boy name.

Girl: Roosevelt Madeline Elizabeth

The Roosevelt family had a lot of obstacles to overcome, but they achieved success with much style and grace. Eleanor, Teddy and Franklin all affected our country in big and amazing ways. Why not honor that?

Madeline was the deacon at the church I grew up in. In my formative years, she had a massive (positive) influence on me.

Elizabeth is the name of a wonderful friend from my years as a Navy wife. She helped me through a dark time in my life and ultimately, reminded me why marriage was worth enjoying, and parenthood worth savoring. Though we’re no longer friends, (through my own stupidity), I still want to honor that massive transformation in my life, and the lovely lady that helped me through it.

I also love that the Elizabeth from the Bible was faithful to God and gave birth at a late age to a special son, John the Baptist. Great things come from great faith! 

 

Boy: Jackson Henry Aaron  

To be entirely honest here, I’ve always loved the name Jack. The first time I heard the name Jackson used as a first name, I fell in love with it. It’s both presidential and masculine in nature. My husband and I both are invested into politics, and he with American history. President Jackson stood for a lot of the things we stood for (though not all! We are republicans, after all.)

And yes, the two middle names are a nod to the late great Henry Louis Aaron aka “Hank Aaron”. Not only are we baseball fans, but we’re also for integration and basic human rights. We felt that Hank Aaron’s story was a great example and expression of that.

Also, Aaron is a wonderful character from the Bible. His story is significant as well. He helped Moses free his people from the tyranny of Pharaoh. We’d love for our son to be helpful and selfless as well.

After 8-1/2 years of naming babies, these names came to us fairly easily. We hope you enjoy them. Choosing names has made it easier for our daughters to talk to my belly as well. They’re already bonding with their new brother or sister, and it’s a sweet sight to behold.

And….baby makes 5 (or 6?)!

 

 

 

I’m PREGNANT! I’ve “known” for a couple of weeks, but I had several chemical pregnancies this summer and I’m dealing with endometriosis, so I waited past the point when I felt I should probably test. This afternoon I stopped at the Dollar Tree after church to purchase a couple tests to verify and it’s a BFP (Big Fat Positive)!

I’ve been having dreams that it’s twins, so we’ll see in a few weeks. I have to call an OB/GYN tomorrow to make an appointment for next month. I’m a person who cannot hold a secret, so you’ll be getting to see ultrasound pictures, too.

Positive pregnancy test
double lines!

I’ve had several miscarriages and my blood type is Rh negative, so I’ll need a rhogam shot or else my body will become allergic to baby and spit him/her out. Please be praying for a healthy and safe pregnancy for me. Our girls are really, really excited and I think I made my husband deaf when I read the results and started screaming.

Praise be to God from whom all blessings flow! 

If you’re not familiar with some of the terms used above, I’ve provided some helpful links below. Additionally, I’m including a few of my favorite pregnancy sites.

Chemical Pregnancy:  http://miscarriage.about.com/od/onetimemiscarriages/p/chemicalpreg.htm

Endometriosis:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/basics/definition/con-20013968

Miscarriage: http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/pregnancy-miscarriage

Rh Negative Blood Type: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/rh-factor/

Rhogam Shot: http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/ask-heidi/rhogam-and-rh-negative.aspx

Baby Center: http://www.babycenter.com/

The Bump.Com: http://www.thebump.com/

 

Do you have any favorite pregnancy websites or Facebook pages you want to share? Let me know in the comments. Also, what’s your most memorable pregnancy moment? Share that in the comments, too!

 

 

 

28 Days Until Christmas: {Wisdom of} The Wise Men

Today, we celebrate the wisdom of the Wise Men (or Magi as some Bible translations refer to them). Yes, I know this is seemingly a bit out-of-order in light of the Christmas story, but please bear with me here. I do have a point to telling it out-of-order. 😉

This morning, I was inspired to talk about the Wise Men when Chelsea looked at a craft pack of crowns and asked if she could make those while Theresa worked on her school work. I had originally planned to do a Santa or snowman craft with them, but I was humbled  by this simple request to make a crown instead. A voice told me to go with it – to take a moment and pause, considering the weight of the season, and the true value it has for our family. In all the hustle and bustle of preserving the season, I had forgotten one very important thing – Jesus.

I could make excuses, but I won’t. It hit me that my private devotions are done away from the girls. I began to consider what  I actually share with them about Jesus apart from Sunday mornings and family prayers in the car, and at the meal table as we break bread, and I realized that  it just wasn’t enough. Not now, not when we are celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Master and Creator. So I began to think about the Wise Men, search out their story, and consider their Wisdom in traveling thousands of miles to visit a tiny baby born in Bethlehem…

 

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem, and asked, “Where is the One who has been born King of Jews? We saw His star in the east and came to worship Him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 

                   “’But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least    among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the  shepherd of my people Israel.’” 

Then Herod called the Wise Men secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find Him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship Him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Matthew 2:1-12 NIV

There are many aspects of this story that I’d never considered before. The Wise Men came to see a baby. A tiny baby. They came to see the God-child, born of a virgin. What a miracle! This affirms the fact that Jesus was born to save the world! He did not come simply for the Jews, but for all of man kind. Man kind who were so desperately in need of even just the hope of salvation, that they were willing to travel to worship at the feet of a tiny baby, in order to carry that seed of hope back to others in their homeland.

Take a moment and consider the weight of that thought right there. There was a time before people understood that God wanted to save man from himself, so they had tried in vain to earn their own salvation. Can you imagine the desperation of the people in that time in history?

There was immense wisdom in visiting the Christ child. They had proof that God had come to them in physical form. They had a real, tangible vision of hope to carry home. To the sick and down trodden, they had hope to give. To those rotting in their own sins, they had hope to give. God had come! God had heard their prayers! And not just the Jews, but the prayers of the world

There was never a time in the Gospel when Jesus’ story was not powerful and beautiful. There was a never time in His life when He was not duly loved and hated by the world and by His own people. We see Herod plotting to kill him in verse 16, if we read on in the story. Herod and his followers were disturbed by the mere mention of the Christ child’s birth in verse 3. No, for them a  Messiah could not come, for at that time, the Jews were expecting a mighty warrior to be raised up and avenge the Jews. After all, Jesus was in the line of David – the great and mighty war hero! Blood would be shed over the injustice done to the Jews, right? Herod would not lose his life. No, he would take one. And there the plot to kill Jesus begins.

I want to take a moment and pause here. I want us to consider this point, because I feel it’s a very crucial one to remember. People were hostile towards a tiny baby merely because of what He represented. Jesus had not yet done any miracles. He had not preached in the temple yet, He had not called anyone to Him through His own physical mouth (other than perhaps His mother, father, close family members, as a child does when He wants food, comfort, play). He was already sentenced to die – from birth.

The gifts of the Wise Men make sense now, don’t they? Gold, incense, myrrh. They knew Jesus had to die. They knew blood would be shed, but it would not be the blood of a people group necessarily, but of Jesus Himself. And at birth, Jesus’ posse of followers were formed. He was building an army, of sorts, without even having called anyone to Him through His own physical mouth. His Father in Heaven began weaving solutions into problems Jesus didn’t even know He had yet. The world began rallying behind this tiny baby – the Christ child, before He had uttered one word of hope to them.

That is the power of the Gospel. Life. Not words. Life.

As we enter into this Christmas season, I pray that our lives are lived like those of the Wise Men – that we would see the value in the Christ child and what He represents, taking more than just a snippet of  time to seek Him out and worship Him. I pray also that we would remember to carry the message of Hope to all in our path, through more than words – through the lives we live.

 

Chelsea and Mama  Theresa and Daddy

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The Many Benefits of Praying Without Ceasing – part 2 (mourning during miscarriage)

I have to admit that I have not done well this week with praying about a certain subject matter. Yes, I have prayed without ceasing about many topics, but not my latest miscarriage, and that is the topic I have been avoiding with those closest to me, including (and especially) God. It’s not that I don’t want to talk about it – it’s that I can’t. I just don’t know what to say because the pain is too deep. I was only pregnant for a couple of weeks. In my mind, that seems to mean (erroneously) that I don’t have the right to take the time out of my busy schedule to mourn for a life lost. Somehow I have convinced myself on a superficial level that it is not okay to grieve, but deep down I know better. I cannot stop grieving and it is keeping me awake late into the night, considering what might have been, screaming silently into my pillow.

One of the lies I have continued to tell myself is that if I were a better mother, I would still be pregnant. In fact, I would never have had a miscarriage at all, ever. Medically, I know this to be untrue, but it is a lie that I have beaten myself up with for years. I wonder sometimes if God doesn’t get tired of this pity party, because really, that’s what it is.

My husband’s blood type is O+ and mine is A-, and therein lies our issue with carrying a baby to full term. Without a routine shot of RhoGAM, there is basically no chance of carrying a baby to full term. In layman’s terms, it means that my body is basically allergic to my baby due to the differing blood types, (especially since my husband’s blood type is more prominent than mine) and my body spits the alien life form out. You can read more about it here if you’re interested.

I have had more miscarriages than I have fingers on one hand, despite having been up to date on RhoGAM shots prior to this pregnancy. I wonder sometimes if there isn’t more that God wants me to take from this, but right now I just don’t know what it is. I suppose He is asking me to trust Him – something that comes easier with almost every other situation in my life, but not this one. This pain is hard to take to Him. It’s hard to speak about with anyone, let alone take to God. What if He were to change this situation or to cause me to grow from it? What then? I confess I fear that He will do nothing, but I know intellectually that is not true. Perhaps it is the unknown that is more frightening than anything.

The other day I was telling my girls something I felt was profound. “Prayer is the hand that moves the face of God.” It is something I have deeply believed and been moved by in years past, but recently that belief has been shattered by the writings of none other than respected Reformer RC Sproul. In his book, The Holiness of God, page 46, Sproul describes God’s transcendence in relation to His holiness. In the description, Sproul reminds us that God is” higher than the world. He has absolute power over the world. The world has no power over Him.” When I read that, my jaw dropped and I was reminded of what I’d told the girls just a day or two before.  The world has no power over God? Not even in prayer? Then what, by golly, is the point of prayer? Especially for those of us who pray often? Could it be that prayer changes us, rather than prayer changing God? And could it also be said that prayer is more than a crutch, but rather a stretcher on which we lay, broken and bloodied while a Holy and perfect God cleanses us and removes our iniquities? Prayer does not move the face of God, rather it causes us to move our hands and feet as we face God and our problems with new insight and clarity. After all, God has been there all along. We see this in Genesis 1 and John 1.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1 (Darby Bible Translation)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1 (Holman Standard Christian Bible)

God knows exactly what is going on, and how we’re – I’m feeling. There isn’t anything we – I can hide from Him,  despite our – my best efforts.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

I am certain that God knows our deepest secrets and loves us not in spite of them, but because of them. He knows our weaknesses, and brings us to a place where we embrace them and offer them to God instead of holding them back, nursing old wounds and worshipping them like the lame idols they are. Can one worship a wound? Absolutely! It is what I have spent this entire week doing, instead of praying about the pain I feel at having lost another child in early pregnancy. Do I need to continue to speak about this miscarriage? Perhaps, but more than that, I need to allow prayer to change me as I take this grievance to God, reaping from it what He will have me reap.

Prayer is not the hand that moves the face of God. No, it is the force that moves my hands and helps me to face what God has placed before me. In His arms will I rest.

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