Before I get to the Christmas trip update, I have to say…

You’ve got to check out this amazing new artist!!

Gregory Paul Smith on Shoutlife

Gregory’s website

I have listened to this CD… ummm… I don’t know… bunches of times since we got settled in from our Christmas trip to Kansas. God has given Gregory a phenomenal musical talent – both vocally and as a songwriter/arranger. And the message that He’s given Gregory to share has been Such a Blessing to me these last two days.

Go check him out and friend him!

And yes, he happens to be my cousin-in-law. But I think I would be shouting about this CD even if he weren’t. 🙂

Update on Pregnancy/Cramping

Things seem to have calmed down with the cramping I was having, praise the Lord. Yesterday I had almost no cramping, and today I haven’t had any so far. I’m going to continue being careful with my activity levels (and use my timer whenever I’m doing anything standing up/moving around!) today, but I’m optimistic that I’m over the trouble spot.

I’m putting more details here of this whole thing, just to be sure I’m tracking stuff well.

Mental/Emotional Notes:
The hardest part for me of this experience was feeling like it was my fault. See… I ran out of my progesterone cream about a week before I started cramping. I’m supposed to be using it until I’m at least 15 weeks, which is when the placenta is really supposed to kick in with extra progesterone production. So I kept telling myself I’d run to the herb store (we have a Terrific herb store here in our tiny town – it’s called Root Diggin’ Nation – isn’t that a hoot?!). But I kept not getting it done.

To my guilty sobs Friday night of “How will either of us every forgive me if we lose this baby because I was too lazy to get more Prog. cream?,” my wonderful husband assured me that if the Lord took this baby home, it would not be my fault. All life is in His hands, and if He chooses to take this little one home to praise His name for eternity, we can trust Him with that.

I found myself repeating Ps. 131 over and over to myself:
Oh LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
O Israel, hope in the LORD
From this time forth and forever.

What a wonderful thing to know that we have a loving and sovereign God.

“Treatment” notes:
~~I’ve been drinking Tons of water (dehydratiion can cause cramping, and Thursday was not a well-hydrated day) and focusing on taking it easy and trusting the Lord (read: accept His peace and Stay Calm).
~~Mom Smith picked up some Cramp Bark extract for me Friday afternoon, and that seems to help a lot. I haven’t needed to use it since Saturday late afternoon, though, praise Him!
~~She also picked up some Prog. Cream, but it had Evening Primrose Oil in it, which is a phyto-estrogen – Not Good! So Jonathan picked up some simple Prog. Cream on his way home that evening, and I’ve been doubling up on that since Friday.
~~I remembered to take Vit E on Friday, but have forgotten it since unitl just now. I need to take some today, probably.

That’s the scoop!

Prayers Appreciated

Late yesterday morning, I started cramping and spent most of the day on the couch. I haven’t had any signs of bleeding, which is an encouraging thing. I’m not feeling “normal” today, but I’m not as tight as I was yesterday. I’m focusing on trusting the Lord and taking it easy as much as possible. Today I’m 13 weeks 4days.

Thanks for your prayers.

What a day yesterday!

Our van has really been needing to go into the shop, and as we’re contemplating going to Hutchinson for Christmas, the need had become more pressing. So the Blessings and I took the van to Carriage Care yesterday morning. You should see the lovely paper chain we made in the waiting room!

The Diagnosis:
Lots of brake work (including dropping the axle to get to the needed area) – around $500.
New Tires – $???
New Throttle Position Sensor – $170

The exciting part of the day yesterday came when they figured out that our parking brake cables had gotten locked in the “On” position and had ruined our rear brake drums. They had to order the cables and couldn’t get them till this morning. Pretty fast when you think about it, but there were my children and I (all of us!) sitting in their waiting room. We obviously weren’t wanting to spend the night there, but it’s not that easy to find a 30 minute ride for 6 children and a pregnant woman!

My terrific mom-in-law wound up driving over to pick us up and we crammed into her car. Before anyone calls the cops on me for that, Missouri seat-belts laws say that if you have more people in your vehicle than seat-belts, you don’t have to worry about seat-belts. 😛 While we waited for Mom, the Blessings and I walked several blocks down the street and had lunch at a fast food place – a rare treat for us. So I think for the Blessings especially it was a fun day overall.

You know the really amazing thing about all this? The thing that gives me perspective and makes me so very thankful? Last year about this time, our van broke down. A few weeks later, some dear friends of our Gave us the van we have now. This is a family with 10 children, whose own van was not running all that well. Yet they gave us a van that someone had given them, and trusted the Lord to meet their needs while they were His hands and feet to us. I believe this repair will be the first significant money we will have spent on this van. Isn’t that neat??

And an additional note on God’s amazing ways is that our homeschool group recently collected money and bought a “new” van for our friends that had given us their backup. It’s the nicest van they’ve ever had (even has AC!!) and it was sooo wonderful to see the Lord reward them for their cheerful selfless giving.

To finish telling about our day yesterday, I got to have a shopping date with Jonathan last night, and we finished up most of our Christmas shopping together.

There are so many things in life that look “bad” to our earthly minds. Isn’t it terrific that His ways and thoughts are so much higher than ours?! He is working ALL things to the good for those who love Him. More importantly, I think, is that He is working everything for HIS glory. How amazing that our lives, in the pleasant times and in the rough times, can be used to bring glory to our Savior!

What an awesome God!


Do any of you use the traditions of Advent to aid their family’s focus at this time of year?

We’ve been learning bits about Advent traditions over the last couple of years, and have decided to incorporate some of them into our family celebrations this year. It seems like such a neat way to focus on what we truly have to celebrate!

Yes, we’re in the second week of Advent already, and I just finished our Advent Wreath today. But that’s okay, because this is a Tool to aid our worship, not something by which we will be ruled. So we’re going to act like the next few days are the first week and the rest of this week will be the second week.

Last year, some friends of ours were using an Advent wreath for the first time. The husband ran into one of the elders from our chapel at the store and asked him a question about Advent wreaths. The elder looked aghast and replied, “I don’t know – we’re not liturgical!” So maybe we won’t advertise at chapel on Sunday that we’re using an Advent wreath this year. 😉

Here’s our wreath:

My Balancing Journey – Part 5 – The Big Lightbulb!

Part 4 is new today also! Be sure to read it first!

As I dug into learning about Estrogen Dominance and hormonal balance, it became obvious to me that I really was showing many symptoms of Estrogen Dominance – not just the early pre-menopause. Many things clicked into place over the next few weeks.

The immediate question at hand, however, was what to do next.

When I returned from the retreat and began researching, I was simultaneously getting back on my diet by returning to the “Jump Start” phase – 3 days of nothing but protein/fruit shakes to help make a break from the sugar habit. As I was researching, I kept seeing how soy is tied to estrogen dominance, because it is a source of phytoestrogen. I dismissed this as relevant to me, because I had read enough other research on soy that we just don’t “do soy” in our house.

However, on the fourth morning, as I prepared my breakfast protein/fruit shake (a shake which I had been making myself for breakfast almost every morning for over a year), I took a look at the label:

Soy protein.

I ran over to the pantry and took a look at the protein bars which I had used as a regular part of my dieting efforts for over a year:

Soy protein.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I was angry because I had worked so hard for over a year to lose weight and get in better shape – and my reward, due to lack of education, was early pre-menopause and the possibility that I might never have more children. At the same time, I was relieved that I finally knew a direction in which to go to help myself.

Obviously, that was the last protein shake I had for breakfast. And the protein bars went uneaten.

Two weeks later, I had my next period. It was a week early, but my symptoms were obviously lessened. The only thing I’d changed was dropping the soy protein. I honestly thought it might be a fluke, so I waited to see what the next month would bring…

My Balancing Journey – Part 4 – Some things I’ve learned…

… about hormonal imbalance.

There are two primary female hormones secreted by the ovaries – estrogen and progesterone.

There are actually three types of estrogen made by the body, but when we talk about hormones, these three are usually lumped together, along with animal estrogens, synthetic estrogens, phytoestrogens (plant estrogens), and xenoestrogens (environmental estrogens), because the body responds to all of them in the same way. Estrogen is a pro-growth hormone.

Progesterone is the other side of the hormonal coin. It is a pro-gestation hormone, balancing out the estrogen at the proper times in a woman’s cycle.

The key with estrogen and progesterone is Balance. It isn’t that estrogen is the bad hormone and progesterone is the good hormone. It’s that they must be in proper balance for the body to function properly. In our society, there are so many sources, both environmental and dietary, of estrogen, that Estrogen Dominance has become extremely common.

Here is a list of some of the physiological effects of estrogen and progesterone. It’s copyrighted, so I can’t just copy it here. But it’s very important information – please check it out.

Some of the most common effects of Estrogen Dominance are breast fibroids, PMS, moodiness, forgetfullness, excessive tiredness, hypothyroid-like symptoms, early pre-menopause, miscarriage, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer.

Here are a couple of websites I’ve found that have good information on hormone balance:
The official website of Dr. John Lee, MD – Check out the main Articles page for lots of good information. Dr. Lee has also written several books, which you can probably check out at your local library.
Dr. Lam’s extensive article on Estrogen Dominance

And so you have it – the tip of the iceberg of the learning journey I never thought I would need to begin at age (almost) 33. Please take the time to check out some of this information.

First Prenatal – at last!

Monday, we had our first prenatal – probably the latest we’ve ever had a first prenatal, but all is well.

Random notations from the prenatal-

Need to drink more water. I haven’t been feeling as “green” lately, so it’s easier to slack on the drinking. It’s cool all the stuff your urine call tell you, eh?

My iron is great – 12.something. I was a bit concerned because I haven’t done the best job of taking my vitamins lately.

Fundal height – not measured, but in the right spot.

Diet’s okay, but could use improvement. Got sheets to keep track of what I eat. Guess I’ll start tomorrow…. that Snickers I got at the hardware store today probably blew it, lol. 😉

Need to find a way to exercise again. I was doing so well with this for a while, but…

Due to a communication glitch between Jonathan and I, we ended up hearing our little one’s heartbeat. We usually have our care providers use a fetascope unless there is an indicated need for a doppler check, so except for once when we were leaving on vacation and I hadn’t felt movement yet, we generally just hear the doppler occasionally during L&D. I have to admit. It was Such a Thrill to hear that little hearbeat. Wowsers. 164, by the way.

My cheapo wheel was off by a couple days (something I would have realized if I’d bothered to look at the calendar). Our new official ETA is June 19. The big deal with the wheel being off is that I actually hit 12 weeks yesterday (instead of tomorrow). No cramping, no spotting. So I think I’m ready to do the next post in My Balancing Journey – what I’ve learned about hormone imbalance. Praise the Lord!


Sweet Kate has been running a fever a good portion of the week, without much sign of other symptoms. Ever since Elanor landed in the hospital several years ago with a severe blood infection, fevers without symptoms make us very nervous.

The fever seemed to be starting to dissipate Thursday and most of Friday. Then Friday afternoon/evening it went up very quickly to 105′. Our doctor’s office was closed because of the nasty weather here, so we ended up taking her to Urgent Care. Praise the Lord the rest of the Blessings had two sets of grandparents here to have fun with!

A chest x-ray showed that Katie has pneumonia in her left lung. She is doing well enough that the Dr. said she didn’t need to be admitted to the hospital, and we were very thankful to bring her home with us. I know next-to-nothing about pneumonia, so I will be doing a lot of research.

Thanks for your prayers! We’re praising the Lord that He helped us catch it before it got any worse.