Tuesday, December 20, 2011

That's Intense....

"Sometimes we forget that's Gods grace and forgiveness is as INTENSE [if not more] than how intense we THINK our sins are" 

WAPAW!  That was the sound of that statement slapping me upside the head.  Who has 2 thumbs and was taking the truth of that statement for granted?  This girl!  On Sunday, my lifegroup had a discussion about worldly peace vs. peace that God brings and one of my friends said this.
The world easily helps us forget that our standing with God and his forgiveness is not based on anything we have done, are doing, or will do.  It's based of what HE has done.  How easily we hear that  statement and say "Ya I know"  but really do you???   Just take a minute and think about that statement.

That way of thinking is soo beyond the realm of human understanding, the closest replica we have of that relationship is the love a parent has for their child(which has the meaning for me now that I am a parent). 
This also made me think about a friend of mine from high School that I was recently talking to.  This friend has had hard year and I have told him many times that I would be praying for him and asked him what he believes.  He said that He feels like he has asked God for forgiveness from his sins but he cannot(my friend) understand how God would forgive him when he cannot forgive himself.  I told him that is was all part of God's beautiful mystery.  That;s our human way of trying to understand, but its way more intense than we can imagine................

Friday, December 2, 2011


This is picture is just a few minutes after I delivered Micah Christopher Brown, Semptember 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm, 7 pounds 11 ounces and 19 inches long.  I will also be brave and post our first family picture, even though I am a mess

This was the day my life changed forever.  As I walked into the hospital the Sunday evening before to be induced, I had no idea what was coming.  Call me crazy, but I believe for me the hardest part of pregnancy was morning sickness, even weighing out labor and delivery.  Labor was 16 hours, but that was overnight so it wasnt that horrible, but at about 4 am my water broke(I didnt notice right away because I was in so much pain and I didnt know what it was because there was meconium in it.)  and contractions started eating my lunch.  Actually they ate my breakfast, lunch and dinner, and all the snacks in between.  I told Nick to call my mom because I just needed my mom, ya know?  
I am thankful not only did I have Husband with me(who I dont know what I do without)  but I also had my mom with me.  She was one proud Nana when her grandson was born!
And there was a very proud Daddy too!!!
It took me a few minutes after he was born to fully grasp what had just happened.  When my doctor(who is fabulous by the way) put him on my chest all that was going through my head was "I can breathe now!"  When they were cleaning him off it hit me what crazy miracle just happened! 

Nothing can prepare you for motherhood, not other peoples advice, not books, etc....  I cant put into words how much I love that little guy.  I also worry a lot more, as if I didnt worry enough before.  I haven't gotten really good sleep since before he was born, actually even since before I was pregnant.  I have learned how much I truly can get done in 30 minutes, that it is a rare occasion when my husband and I can sit and enjoy dinner together,  and all the other things that change your life when you become a parent.  Some things can't be explained, you'll just have to wait and see if you're not a parent yet.  There are things that have new meanings for me now too.  I never thought I could be so happy and proud when my two month old son could reach up and hit a toy that hangs above his playmat.  And his smile melts my heart every time, and he now does it in the morning, so its one of the first things I see every morning.  My almost 3 month old can hold his head up, sit in a bumbo chair, hold his paci in kind of(cant out it in his mouth yet) and he loves to "stand", he actually can straigthen his legs and stand with help, and he tries really hard to hold his own bottle. 
Somthing else that has new meaning for me now is the miracle of Christmas.  I dont want to sound corny but there are some song lyrics that explain it best.

"It's still a mystery to me
That the hands of God could be so small,
How tiny fingers reaching in the night
Were the very hands that measured the sky
It's still a mystery to me, oh,
How His infant eyes have seen the dawn of time
How His ears have heard an angel's symphony,
But still Mary had to rock her Savior to sleep ........

Jesus the Christ, born in Bethlehem
A baby born to save, to save the souls of man "

As I rock my baby to sleep I can't believe or understand why God chose to come to earth as a baby, he could have just appeared on earth as a full grown man.  But I praise Him that this was how He chose to come to dwell with us.   I cant imagine what was going through Mary's Head as she gave birth to her Savior.  What a humbling experience!  Wait, is humble the right word?  I would be thinking how unworthy I am to be chosen to birth my Savior.  The Savior of the world!! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

To be or not to be Babywise?

The majority of this post will be about principles of Babywise, I will also share some pictures of Micah and the non gory part of labor and my hospital stay so if youre not interested in babywise just scroll down.

Having studied child development for the past 8 or so years, I have a few problems with principles of Babywise.

First, it is parent centered.  Isn't this supposed to be about raising our children?  So why in the world would we focus the process on ourselves?  That kind of thin king flies in the face of everything I know about Child Development, and it is the most developmentally INAPPROPRIATE practice I believe I have ever heard of.  I think their main premise of making this parent centered is the goal of trying to get baby to sleep through the night by 8 weeks, and I am not denying that it happens but every baby is different(which brings me to my next point.)  Seriously parents?  Lets just do what we want while raising our children because its convenient for us?  COME ON!  A friend of mine also pointed out to be that completely discounts any and all guidance we have from God in this.  According to Babywise, if you are successful then you are a good parent, if not then its all your fault, and God gets no credit and gives no guidance.  Now I understand everyone is not a christian and doesnt live their life the way I do, so I can let that one slide.  But still why are we blaming parents for not having a baby just the same as theirs?

Second, they say that to say that every child is different is "an outdated statement".  Really?  When did we stop being individuals?  Again, extremely developmentally INAPPROPRIATE.

My last babywise point is that they say the model the principles..........at least of sleeping after principles of Behaviorism and classical conditioning.  Let me explain classical conditioning, it was coined by Ivan Pavlov who(way back whenever) did an experiment with dogs(yes they compare babies to dogs first of all, anyone?) in which he started with the dogs unconditioned response of salavating at the presentation of the stimilus-food.  He then started ringing a bell every time he presented the food, after awhile the dogs started salavating at the ring of the bell-conditioned response.  So let me take a specific example from the book, they say dont rock your baby to sleep because they get used to the rocking and cant sleep without it.  Ok here we have the unconditioned response-sleeping only after being rocked and we want to eventually have a conditioned response-sleeping on their own.  How can you expect to get that conditioned response with immediately extinguishing the stimulus-rocking- and not taking it away over time?  So my point is the are not modeling things they way they think-they are contradicting themselves as well as ignoring well established theories-not only from Pavlov, but also from Piaget, etc...  The only only theorist they mention is Freud, and dont get me started with that quack.

OK, it out of my system now.  So now about Micah.
I was induced at 4 weeks, around 7pm on a Sunday Night and delivered on Monday, September 12th 2011 at 12:55 pm.  Micah was born at 7 lbs. 12 oz.  19 inches long.
He was 7 lbs 1 oz at two weeks and we also discovered that week that he has pretty severe acid reflux.  It is controlled now (somewhat) with Prevacid and  Similac Sensitive Formula exclusively.  Yes, I set out to breastfeed and wanted to for at least nine months and yes my pediatrician is pro-breastfeeding.   But we both are also pro-best thing for Baby.   He slept better with the formula, Nick and I could tell he was not in as much pain, and gained weight past his birth weight(he previously lost 14% of his birth weight.  So I, Nick and our pediatrician agreed that this is best for Micah.  So it might not be what I would choose, but this is the stuff you(God) use.

Micah is 4 weeks old and will officially be one month old tomorrow.  Here are some pictures from when he was born and some more recent ones.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I fall facedown...

I am 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant right now.  My Sister had my niece at 38 weeks so I was hoping our labors would be similar in time, but no such luck, Micah is still "cooking".  My doctors plan is to induce labor on Monday, my due date.  So one way or another Micah will be here be next week!  I'm getting very uncomfortable physically but trying to mentally prepare myself to be a mom(I know my mommy friends are reading this thinking good luck with that!)

 This morning I caught up on some music written and sung by my friend, Hannah Affleck (hannahaffleck.com).  Hannah and I met while in Seminary and met as accountability partners as well as being forever friends.  When Hannah and I met, God had us at very similar points in our life.  Both of us were new at SWBTS pursuing Childhood Minisrtry.  Through the years, God has lead us to very different places in our lives but at the same time, Hannah and I have moved side by side through the struggles and "lightbulb" moments in each of our walks with Christ, it is truly amazing how God brought us together and lead each step we've taken, and how he gave us each other to spur one another along.
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching" Hebrews 10:23-25

Hannah recently wrote and recorded a song called "I fall facedown"-
http://hannahaffleck.com/media/music/new-recording/    <---This link is to a live recording when she sang this song at her church and she shared the things God used to lead her to write this song.  I listened this recording and heard her testimony about the song.  As she sang the song, although I've heard it before, this time after hearing her testimony about the song, it made me cry.  Now I know youre thinking its my crazy really pregnant hormones, but God again used Hannah to voice and encourage me through my walk with her own.  See, Hannah talks about how she feels so inadequate somtimes and about a very specific time in her life that God brought her through, I remember sitting in her apartment talking with her about it, about how we live in a fallen, imperfect world.  But actually she would not be where she is doing what shes doing had this not shaken her world.  Anyway, I started thinking about the decision Nick and I made almost a year ago to follow Gods will in our lives and start trying to have children, and how we were blown away that 2 1/2 months later we found out I was pregnant.  And how although I have studied child development all my life, I still feel inadequate as a mother and I know that I will make mistakes, and that nagging voice that keeps telling me that because of the vocations that Nick and I have chosen we wont be able to provide for our son in the way that my parents were always able to provide for me.  Knowing all this things, all I can do is fall facedown before my King knowing He has everything under control. 

Listen to Hannahs song and let the words speak to you.

Bound in chains of fear
Lies created by this world
Shadows cast of who you created me to be
Leading to this place of disallusion
Struggling to Believe
My Identity is in you
Secure and Complete

I Fall Facedown
In Brokenness O Lord
Knowing you are strong enough
To break the chains around my heart and set me free
I fall Facedown

Lord, there's things inside of me
I don't want anyone to see
I hide in shame, but you see everything
Come and meet my every need
Set me apart for Holy Things
Your Love covers me
I am Redeemed!

I Fall Face down
In Brokenness O Lord
Knowing you are strong enough
To break the chains around my heart and set me free

I Fall Facedown
In worship to you Lord
Knowing you
Are Big enough
To take this wounded heart and make it whole

I fall facedown
I fall Facedown 
I Fall Facedown

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This is the stuff You use

I just looked at my calendar, 3 1/2 weeks until Micah's due date.  If he makes it that long, a nurse at my doctors office told me that my doctor doesn't like her patients to go beyond 40 weeks so it shouldn't be any later than that. 

I dont know that I'm ready for labor, but I'm ready to not be pregnant anymore.  My back is killing me, among other unpleasant things that I'll spare your ears and eyes from. 

We just about have Micah's room done, just a little straightening things up to be done and then I will post pictures on here(if I can figure it out) and on Facebook. 

Looking back over the last 9 months, I honestly didnt think I would make it this far.  There are many factors in my.........biology(I guess) that caused me to believe there was a chance of........something happening to this pregnancy.  Every week I have carried I praise God for allowing me to carry this far.

  (I have gone back and forth about whether or not to mention this part in my blog).   Somehow though during this time of transition and joy, God chose for me to be praying for and supporting some sweet frineds of mine who are also expecting and a few weeks behind me.  My friends pregnancy has had a few more bumps than mine but still they have their eyes fixed on the Maker of their Baby, which is where they should be.  www.babyevecatherine.blogspot.com

I dont have the words to express how much my heart aches for my friends and their sweet baby.  But I can see God's amazing sovereigty in not only their lives, but in giving me this situation to pray for and support during my pregnancy.  I mean that walking with them through this right now, not only makes it more real and gives me a better vantage point to support them, but also a better vantage point for my own family.  It encourages my heart to see all the things God has brought them through, healing their babies heart and mind, etc., when I worry about little things like how in the world we will have the money to care for this little growing boy and about his salvation I am reminded that it is silly to worry about such things when my God is so BIG.  It makes me think of a line in a song "In the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I'm blessed".  Please dont read this wrong, I am not saying in any way that I feel I am blessed and my friends are not.  Actually the opposite, they are so blessed and I am encouraged by how much God had blessed them.  And I am encouraged by their faith.  The song by  Francesca Battistelli continues "But I gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing It might not be what I would choose But this is the stuff You use"

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's been awhile...

So I realized its now July and I made my last post at the beginning of May so its time for an update.   I haven't updated because I feel like I don't have anything interesting to say.  But actually we have had quite a month. 

The month started out with us having to make some very difficult family decisions, and the issues are ongoing.  I would prefer not to go into details but only ask that you keep the Brown Family in your prayers. 

The week of June 20th-24th was Kidconnect camp(a sports camp that is our version of VBS) at our church, Meadowridge Community Baptist Church.  It was a very amazing but draining week.  Especially when you are 28 weeks pregnant and being the 2nd in charge.  Even with all our human weakness, God did some amazing things through our church!  And I love getting to watch my husband shine at what he does best.  Although God has gifted him with youth ministry and not necessarily Children's Ministry, Nick volunteered to lead "Pandemonium", large game-time at the end every day. He had so much fun with it and the kids loved him, although I did give him a few pointers about how the development of preschoolers is different than  school aged children.  Also I saw some of our youth make some very adult decisions and just be all around awesome.  By Thursday I was so amazed with some of them I pulled them aside and told them how impressed I was by their actions that week.

Last weekend Nick and I went to a "Prepared Childbirth class".  I did learn some more in depth things about stuff I already knew.  I'll never forget the look on Nick's face when the nurse talked about an episiotomy, priceless, His eyes were huge!    Touring the Hospital became a little surreal to me, I realized all these things are actually going to happen to me whether I want them to or not.

The week before the class one of my friends gave me an opportunity for a a free sonogram from her clinic, which I jumped at.  The nurse at my Doctors office told me the 2 Ive had(at 8 weeks and at 20 weeks) were all I was getting.   So everything I read online says at 29 weeks(this week), baby is 2.5 pounds, when I had the sonogram at 28 weeks he was already 2 pounds and 13 ounces!

The rest of the month found me learning the joys of the third trimester, although there is probably more to come, I'd like to believe that these not so fun parts are all of what lies ahead or even better this is only going to get better:)

Anyway, Nick and I continue walking this path one step at a time...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Lamp unto my feet.....

This is our new blog(Nick and Audra Brown, Audra Writing) and there are many things I could choose to blog about first but I thought I would write a little about where we are in life and what we are doing with what God has given us. 

If you are walking down a path with only a lamp lighting the way, at your feet, what do you see?  Only a step or two in front of you.  That's where are.

Nick and I got married in 2008, right after I graduated from Seminary.  Since I graduated from college in 2005, there have been 2 places in life that I knew I was exactly where God wanted me to be(well between 2005 and 2008).  I knew without a doubt that I was supposed to go to Seminary, more specifically SWBTS.  I caught some flack from some of my college friends for choosing such a conservative seminary(all the changes that came with Paige Patterson started taking shape).   Little did I know my Husband also caught the same stuff from some of his friends in college.  I remember sitting in my little 500 square foot apartment asking God what I was doing, and having such an overwhelming peace that I was in the right place at the right time.  The next time I had a peace like that was when I met and married Nick. 

Nick works at Bell Helicopter, and made enough money to pay completely for Seminary out of pocket(SWBTS also has scholarships through the cooperative program which helped along the way) and I was blessed with parents who were led to help financially at the beginning, savings and a full scholarship through the seminary during my last semester, which is now 100% paid off. 
Nick was only able to take classes part time because of his full time job, so even though we(unknowingly) both started in the fall of 2005, he just graduated in December 2010 while I graduated in May 2008. 
We both earned a Master Degree in Christian Education, his concentration is in Youth Ministry while mine is in Children's Ministry.   Shortly before our engagement(we had always talked about it) we understood that a family with 2 ministers IN THE CHURCH would not be hired at the same church most likely.  I put IN THE CHURCH in bold letters because we are both ministers, either way you look at it.  Well after much prayer and even some tears, we felt that God was leading Nick to minister in the church and I would be ministering outside the church.  Please understand that this decision was in no way me "giving up" any dreams, and that God's hand was and is all over this.  After this decision was made, I had feelings that I was a little surprised at.  I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and an overwhelming peace, the same peace I had about being in Seminary and marrying Nick, that I was in the right place, doing the right thing.   

Well, since we had been married, I have not had a consistent job.  After losing a job shortly after we were married, a horrible experience with and apartment complex, being unemployed for several months, and a surprisingly very temporary job due to the economy, I decided to try my hand at Substitute Teaching mostly until I could find something more consistent.  A month later, I had a "light-bulb" moment while teaching a Kindergarten class in Crowley ISD.  A young boy who I thought was physically unable to sit down and not bounce off the walls(literally) started to understand how to add.  And he was so proud of himself for it, I was proud of him too and let him know repeatedly. I don't know if it had anything to do with anything I did but I like to think it was because I showed patience with him and showed him the attention he was after for doing what I asked instead of the negative attention he was used to.  So I felt led to get into teaching not knowing that there could not be a worse time for that profession in this economy.  I started working with A+ Texas Teachers and that summer completed all my tests and training and all that stood in my way of being a fully certified teacher was getting job.  Yep, Texas teachers requires you to teach for one year on your own as a "probationary year" in place of student teaching.  FYI-If you're looking at teaching, work with a program that does traditional student teaching.  So two years and another district later(long story), I still don't have job.  And now things are different, I have decided to take a "break" from this, due to the economy and due to that fact that our family will be 1 person bigger in September. 

Shorty after Nick graduates we found out that we are expecting our first in September, a baby boy!  We have decided not to reveal the name yet, but I promise it will be known long before the baby comes.  I have been asked if this was a planned pregnancy, which under other circumstances I would think of as an inappropriate question, but it came from people who love us and know where we are in life and want to help.  Yes, it was planned, it was planned as a leap of faith, a way we're telling God we are on board for whatever He has planned for us(and the desire to start a family).  We just didnt think it would happen so fast(2 months after starting to try), especially after we knew there was a very real possibility of having problems or not being able to have kids at all.  And, praise God, we have had a healthy pregnancy so far!
So back to my "profession", I am continuing to Substitute Teach for the remainder of the school year and then start my unpaid position of being a mom.  Thats about as far as I've gotten with my plans, and I think thats where I want to be.  Maybe at some point a job will come along that I love and can work while still caring for my son(MY SON!  I AM GOING TO BE A MOM!), maybe I'll start writing, maybe I will just be a full time mom like my mom was while I was growing up. 

In the meantime Nick is still working at Bell, Praise God he makes enough money to get us by now and we have insurance(although its not great)!  And we're waiting for the next step in life, one step at a time.