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.
It has been about four months since I’ve written a word on here. Honestly, I’ve been hemming and hawing over what to do. We’ve had several big life changes, including moving to a new town, pregnancy, removing our kids from public school and career changes. As my good friend put it recently, “What’s a normal pregnancy without a move?” (Yes, we move a lot.) I just haven’t made time to sit and write, or to revamp the older content that I know isn’t working.
Sitting here on my birthing ball, I’m ruminating over all the changes still to come. God has brought us so far, and as I look around, there are still an amazing amount of changes yet to come. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed, I remember his promise in Philippians 1:6 (Berean Study Bible Translation): For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Ahh. That makes me feel better! He’s not going to leave me in this messy state!
One of the greatest changes yet to come is that I’m working with an OB/GYN and a doula to achieve my very first VBA3C (vaginal birth after three caesareans)! I am beyond thrilled! I have had all three of my babies via cesarean (not by choice) as the first one was an emergency c-section and the other two were repeats, via “hospital policy.” I’m planning an all natural, unmedicated VBAC for baby Isaiah Mark Anthony. (More on his name in an upcoming blog post.)
All of these changes are good. All of the work that God is doing is good, even the tough stuff behind the scenes (still paying down debt and continuing to learn to live frugally).
Back to revamping the blog – there’s been a lot of hard, heart-wrenching work that God has been doing in our lives over the past few years that I want to share with you. I know the layout isn’t fantastic and some of the content is outdated and needs to go or be revamped. This is where you come in. Can y’all let me know honestly what works and what doesn’t? What do you want to see more of? Let me know in the comments below. I’m going to be getting back an official domain name here soon, too.
Thank you to all my long-time readers and the new ones who inspire me and uplift me.
I, Mandy, boldly declare that I do not currently use birth control and I never will again. I’m about to tell you why, but first…a photo of my amazing family!
This is a hot topic, isn’t it? Let’s all agree that no matter what our views are, we will discuss this topic in a respectful manner. I’m posting this based on my personal feelings after having researched this and considered for quite some time. I didn’t just get a wild hair and decided to make everyone mad. 😉
First of all, I want to say that in past, I have used both “the pill” and Paragard. I recommend neither for reasons that are both secular and faith-based. The pill I used was Seasonale. What this particular pill offers is birth control with regularly scheduled periods every three months. That’s nice if you hate periods, or, like me, you needed a jump-start to your periods because you hadn’t had one in four years. Yep. I started this pill long before I even became sexually active. I have a long, painful history of endometriosis and ovarian cysts that burst every four months or so, causing me a ton of pain.
Back to the pill. I took this pill for just under a year and then stopped. When I got married to Anthony, I decided I didn’t want to take birth control. To me, it felt irresponsible. When you have sex, you have to know that pregnancy is possible. If you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex. I have always had a strong faith in God, and I wanted to let Him decide the size and timing of our family. It never felt right to prolong pregnancy for any reason. I will touch more on this in a moment, in addition to the downside of any birth control pill, even Seasonale.
Flash forward five years to 2011. I was healing from yet another miscarriage (I’ve had more than I can count on both hands) and I wasn’t dealing with it well emotionally. My husband was deployed again and I was raising our two girls alone in a weird town, surrounded by people I didn’t really know all that well. I felt pressured to stop having babies, and I wrongly succumbed to the pressure. I started a conversation with my doctor that lead to me making an appointment to get an IUD installed in my body. I chose Paragard at the advice of another friend. This device remained in me for two and a half years until I just could not take it anymore and I got the thing out of me. Seven months later, I got pregnant with Jackson. He is now about to turn a year old! Cue the cute baby picture…
All that having been said, I’m going to tell you now what issues I had with birth control and will always have with any and every form of birth control. They stop God’s blessings from coming. I do not believe that it’s ever okay to limit what God wants to do in my life. By taking birth control, I would be doing just that.
I am pro-life. This includes suicide, doctor assisted suicide the death penalty and abortion for any reason. It also includes birth control. I believe that life begins at conception and I have not seen evidence to support that it doesn’t. I am open to receiving actual scientific proof, but so far, it doesn’t exist. There is, however, scientific evidence that a flash of light occurs at conception. That is incredibly exciting! You can read the article HERE.
My biggest issue with “the pill” (all types of birth control pills”) is that they thin out the uterine lining, making the womb a very hostile place for fertilized eggs, and keeps them from implanting. Instead, they cause your body to eliminate the egg, fertilized or not. This means you can still conceive a child but thanks to the pill, it will not implant, so the fertilized egg – your baby – will be eliminated from your system. It will be aborted within a week of conception. It’s not a natural phenomena because your body hasn’t just randomly selected this life to end. It ended because your body has synthetic hormones inside that are making it a hostile environment for fragile new life. I’m not okay with that. In fact, I feel really sick to my stomach considering that fact. I was on the pill for a couple of months after getting married. I have had to really pray and ask for God’s forgiveness, knowing that I may have gotten pregnant sooner, had I not been on “the pill.” If you’re interested in reading more about birth control pills and what they do, please visit the links at the bottom of this blog posting.
What I’ve discovered about IUDs is not much better. They are inserted into your uterus and are supposed to prevent sperm from ever meeting an egg, however, they can still meet an egg and you can still conceive and abort a baby while having an IUD inserted, just like being on “the pill” and I am 100% not okay with that. One of the ten commandments directs us not to murder and I take that seriously. I don’t believe that passively murdering the unborn is acceptable in the Lord’s eyes.
All that having been said, I also understand that it’s quite the challenge to raise a large family in this day and age and that everything is really expensive, kids are a challenge and that money doesn’t go too far for most families. Yep. I totally get that! I also know that what is impossible for us to accomplish on our own, God makes possible through His people, through faith and through very hard work. I also know from personal experience that we do not need as much stuff or as many activities as we think we need. But that is a blog post and a discussion for another time entirely. 😉
What should you do if you’re currently on a form of birth control? That is for you to decide. You will need to talk about it with your doctor and make a decision that is right for you and that is in line with your own beliefs. If you’re a Christian, I encourage you to discuss this issue with your Pastor or another trusted member of your church leadership in order to gain more insight. Weigh this against God’s Word. I encourage you to seek out what the Bible says as well. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you, through God’s Word what you are to know regarding this topic. Prayerfully ask God to make clear what He wants you to do. I am not going to tell you what to do or not do beyond that. It’s your body and this is your choice. I encourage you to educate yourself before making any decision. Whenever I’ve jumped into things without ruminating on them for a while, I’ve always regretted it. Don’t do or not do something because someone told you to.
Sterilization is something I’ve only recently heard discussed in faith communities and I don’t feel that for our family, it’s a good choice. I may change my mind later, but right now, my personal belief is that while it doesn’t even allow for any chance of conception, it still limits what God can do in your life. I don’t want to limit that. I want to do what God asks me to do, no matter what. Parenting is hard, but it sanctifies me. It blesses me. It sanctifies and blesses my husband. And it increases the number of God’s people on the earth. In the end, I believe it blesses God, too.
As I was editing this post before posting, I read it to Anthony in order to gain his insight. After all, he is a big part of our growing family! 😉 He said he agrees wholeheartedly. I’m not too surprised since this is a topic he and I have been discussing at length recently because…I have the baby fever again and we are hoping to conceive again, in God’s timing. Our family is not “done” yet.
Having said all that, I am very curious to know what your beliefs are on birth control. Do you believe it’s okay to use it? Do you believe God calls us to use it? What about sterilization? Do you feel that it’s okay to medically sterilize yourself in order to avoid pregnancy? What have been your experiences? Please share them respectfully in the comments below.
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.
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.
Let me preface this by saying that if it were still pre-Christmas, I would have said “Merry Christmas” instead, but we’re less than a week away from New Year’s Eve and a short hop, skip and a jump away from Valentine’s Day. So Happy Holidays!
December was a really fun month for us. We hosted a fundraiser for our church’s youth group. They’re looking to go to Orlando, FL for Y15 a Methodist youth conference in June of 2015. We raised over $100 which is great for our tiny community. We’ll have another fundraiser around February and another in April. I’m so blessed to have been able to help in any capacity. The kids are truly amazing.
Sunday School has had a slow start, but I keep remembering to be faithful in all things, especially the small things. This ministry will grow with time. One of my downfalls is to want to grow things too quickly, but then I become fearful of the changes and chicken out. God has been working on that with me, yet I keep hindering Him. This is not one of my better traits. I’m praying He will work that controlling, comfort-seeking side out of me soon.
Baby “Jacksovelt” is 18 weeks along (19 weeks this Wednesday) and growing well. S/he had a heartbeat of 144 a few weeks ago at my last check-up. Could this be our first boy growing inside of me? We’ll find out on New Year’s Eve! My doctor was so gracious as to schedule my 20 week scan on New Year’s Eve and allow my entire family to be in the sonogram room when we find out the gender! What is so significant about this date for our family is that on New Year’s Eve four years ago, I had a devastating D&C to remove a deceased fetus (“Baby Dill”) from my uterus. I will never forget that day. I was incredibly distraught and in complete denial that the baby had actually died, even having seen proof. For a couple of years, I carried a heavy burden of guilt, believing I had actually consented to an abortion and murdered my precious baby because I wasn’t a good enough mother. I believed I was being punished by God for past sins. Our minds can play funny tricks on us, can’t it? God is so merciful and gracious. He has healed that part of me and has given us a joyful reason to celebrate this day henceforth.
Theresa had three very cute, very sweet class concerts this month. Her teacher (“Mr. Awesome”) has been a really great influence on her, channeling all of her extra energy into positive learning activities. These class concerts required Theresa (and her classmates) to memorize several long poems and detailed songs such as Clement C. Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas” and the classic Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. Theresa played one of the two turtle doves and blew a kazoo when it was her turn to make bird noises. It was completely adorable and my Mama heart swelled with love and pride. All the children in the classroom worked hard and it showed!
Chelsea also had a Christmas concert in her classroom. She played the role of the partridge in the pear tree during the “Twelve Days of Christmas” carol. Her tweet tweet had the same effect on my Mama heart as Theresa’s kazoo playing. It was a beautiful sentiment to the season – time spent celebrating with friends and neighbors. Her teacher, “Mrs. Awesome” did a great job of organizing a group of wiggly, squirmy kindergarteners into a beautiful chorus of carolers. I was touched by the effort put into the concert by such young children. Their hard work was evident to all.
On the last day of school for both girls, we sent homemade teacher gifts – a hand painted ornament from each girl and a handwritten card from me, expressing deep gratitude for the love and attention that the teachers have poured out onto not only my children, but their entire classroom of students. Both teachers bring out the best in their students and encourage them to strive for more than just the bare minimum. Theresa’s teacher reminds the students to value their education, be kind to others and to be peace makers within their community. Our community is going through a very rough time and tensions are high as crime rate rises and law enforcement coverage significantly decreases due to a lack of funds from taxpayers. Mr. Awesome is consistently reminding the kids to look on the bright side and strive for the best. We couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful teacher for Theresa.
As for Chelsea’s teacher, Mrs. Awesome has really brought our little Chelsea out of her shell. She’s making friends and joining play groups on the playground. I’d been concerned all summer long about her shyness, wondering how and if she’d fit in anywhere. I was afraid she’d hate school and want to come home since she has been so deeply attached to me since her birth. It turns out that I had nothing to worry about. She’s loving school and has made quite a few friends. Mrs. Awesome has a similar dedication to excellence as Mr. Awesome and is routinely encouraging the kids to strive for just a little higher achievement. I love that she doesn’t just let the kids sit in their comfort zone. That is so important, especially at their young age. Pushing past just a little at a time will benefit them in the long run. She’s been such a blessing to her classroom. It’s amazing to see how the kids have grown leaps and bounds in only a few short months.
And now, onto Christmas! Due to Anthony’s work schedule, we ended up celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve this year so he could get some rest. Most of our family was able to celebrate with us. My mom, brother, mother-in-law, and father-in-law gathered together with us in our little apartment and we had a wonderful few hours together opening gifts, talking and eating a delicious roast beef dinner. Santa came sometime during the night, leaving the girls a 2-1/2 foot tall stuffed singing Rudolph and a gift for each girl. We had a quiet Christmas day with a small outing to the dog park for our beloved pug-mix, Rosie Grace. Titus Aaron, our cantankerous kitty stayed away from the festivities. He’s the Grinch in feline form. We love him anyway.
We weren’t able to attend the Christmas Eve service at our church due to its timing. It’s near impossible for me to stay up past 6:00 pm unless someone pokes and prods me repeatedly. There was no way I was going to make it to 9:00 pm for the service, so we had our own version at home. I’ll admit that this hasn’t been the most spiritual Christmas we’ve ever had and I’m a bit disappointed in myself that I didn’t take more time with the girls to explain the magic and mystery behind Jesus’ birth. This is part of me loving comfort, remember? I’ve been incredibly uncomfortable with this pregnancy and I made too many excuses for myself. One of the great joys of God’s grace is that each new day is a chance to change past mistakes. We don’t have to wait until we get it perfect or until the timing is right. We can just pick up where we left off and make different choices as soon as we realized we’ve messed up. I’m doing just that and I encourage you to do this as well. Don’t linger in feelings of inadequacy. Kick it to the curb and move on. You can do better/differently. Life isn’t over. You’re still breathing, right?
So to conclude this little update, I do have some projects and blog post subjects I’ve been working on, but have been busy creating Sunday School content and prepping for the holidays. Also, I’ve been feeling inadequate to write about certain subject matters, assuming I have to know everything about a subject before I write about it. Again, wow. My controlling and comfort-loving side is rearing its ugly head! I’ve been a bit paralyzed by fear as well. What if I’m just not good enough to write about certain subjects? A big part of me remembers who I was a few years ago, and she was definitely not a great person. I wouldn’t listen to a word she said. But now…I’m not her anymore. Praise the Lord! He has done many good and wonderful works within me. I’ve been humbled, deeply and I love who He has created me to be. I learn to love myself a bit more every day, and by loving myself, I’m able to accept His love more as well.
I wish you all the very best blessings and hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season. Look for new blog posts up within the week. I’ll be sure to update everyone on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning in regards to the gender reveal. I can’t wait!
Just a quick update today. Yesterday I entered my second month of pregnancy. On both Wednesday and Thursday I have prenatal appointments, with Thursday being the day I get to peek into my belly via a sonogram. I’m really excited!
The girls helped me out and took a belly shot to mark the beginning of my second month. Only 244 more days to go until we get to meet baby Roosevelt or baby Jackson!
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 Rooseveltfamily 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.
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.
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.