Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ok, so now it's been WAY too long...

Quick update before I bed down for the night...

Yesterday marked the 37th week of my pregnancy. Carter is cookin' right along in there, and we are ANXIOUSLY awaiting his arrival! I went to Labor and Delivery today for a check-up for some lightheadedness that turned out to be from a combination of low blood pressure and slightly elevated blood sugar (most probably resulting from my having just eaten lunch). Anyway, if nothing else, it was an excuse to go ahead and get all of my insurance information updated now rather than at dark-thirty on the day we go for our c-section. That day, by the way, is November 20th- just 2 weeks away! We can't wait. I'll admit- I'm ready for him NOW, but we know God has a plan. Even Garrett said tonight that watching me pack his bag- folding socks, boiling pacis, etc. makes him want Carter to come now, too- and he's usually the "he'll come when he's ready" advocate. Maybe it won't be much longer. This Friday the 6th would be my grandmother Carter's birthday- and would be a perfect day- if it's God's timing. I know she would be so proud. But, we wait- sometimes not so patiently, but we wait...

Much more to come, just when I'm not so ridiculously tired.

Love,
Mary Beth

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's Been a While...

Even as I sit with the computer in my lap ready to type, I just don't know what to say. The past week has been a sheer roller-coaster. In order to explain the highs and lows in a way that has that "take your stomach" feeling, I must back up and say that... the past month has been that very same roller coaster...

Rewind to July 10th. Ok, a couple of days before that... Garrett had not been feeling well and thought it was his allergies. He went to work on the 10th, not feeling well and figuring they'd send him home anyway, but it was Cow Appreciation Day- one of the biggest of the year, so he needed to be there. I got a call from him 15 minutes after his shift started and remarked that they sent him home earlier than I thought they would. The sound in his voice let me know something was wrong. He'd been let go. I should've been sad or something, but I was speechless. I guess in the grand scheme of things the reason doesn't really matter, because no one cares about the meager worker's side anyways, and Garrett has been really good about the whole thing, but it absolutely infuriates me. Yes, I prayed that God would open other doors for Garrett and for our family, but it felt like such a slap in the face to have my prayers answered in that way. I'm not going to lie- I'm still working through those feelings of hurt. We went to church that Sunday, only two days later, and through the course of a conversation that led itself to work, Garrett shared with James Skipworth, who's been spoken of on our blog before, that he was no longer employed. If anyone can understand, it's James. He's been out of work for a number of months, and by his own admission, is waiting on God to tell him what to do. I love that quote! And I love the fact that it's spoken during a time that James could really use something full time but is choosing instead to wait on God. Over the past few weeks, Garrett has worked a couple of times helping James paint houses- and they've split the money. We are so humbled by James' and Cindy's unwavering faith in us and willingness to share with us out of their own need. God has been so good.

The week after he was let go, Garrett went to a job fair with Mobis, which is a sister company of Kia. Long story short, he went to the fair on July 18th and they called him on August 13th to offer him a job. He starts this Monday, and we are forever grateful. Don and Dawn May are another precious couple at our church, and Don works for Mobis. He's been talking to Garrett for a long time about Mobis, and has been a source of information and encouragement all throughout this process. Garrett will work 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, which is a schedule he's never had. Our family will finally be able to enjoy each other on weekends and at night. We absolutely could not be more in awe of the way God provided a path to this for us. It's been my prayer for so long, and even though I don't understand why the path took us the way it did, I know God has a plan and will complete what He started in Garrett.

In the midst of all this, we had Saralynn's 3rd birthday party, but that's another post. Pictures to come, so stay tuned.

I went to the doctor on August 4th for my glucose test, and found out the next day that I failed it, so I have to go back for a 3-hour test on Monday, and I'm absolutely scared to death. I don't want to be diabetic. I don't want the label, the dietary restrictions, I don't want anything to affect my baby. I don't want any of it. And, believe me, God's heard all about that, too. Bless His heart, I'm glad He can take anything off of us, because He sure has heard alot from me lately...

Which leads us back to this week. Monday started out with an email from a friend. A friend that used to be alot closer to me, but for whatever reason just isn't any more. Not because I don't want her to be- much the contrary, I long for that friendship more than I long for alot of friendships, but it just isn't in the cards right now, I guess. Leaving out some of the details so as not to make a bad situation worse, let's just say that I tried so hard to do the right thing a couple of months ago to right a case of overlook in our Sunday School class and it came back to bite me harder than anything has bitten me in a long time. Donations were made to offer some Christian love and fellowship to some class members, and thanks to the US Postal Service, I've replaced the donations that were turned into gift cards twice now, costing our family quite a bit of money that, quite frankly, at the time, we just didn't have any extra of to be doling out. And, to make matters worse, let's face it- people talk. So, it's now the opinion of some that I pocketed the money that was intended for others, and that hurts my heart deep down to my soul. I've been accused of some pretty yucky things in my life, by some people really close to me, but that one just takes the cake. My family has done it's best to make it through a tough times financially, but to be accused of something as horrible as taking money that was intended for other people, and intended to help be the hands and feet of Jesus is just more than I can handle. I don't think I have ever been so hurt in my life.

Ok, so now that I'm crying so uncontrollably I can hardly type, let's talk about something positive. Saralynn has gotten the hang of potty training, for the most part. She's great with tee-teeing, and we're working on the other, but we had success with it for most of the day today. I am so proud of my girl! She never ceases to amaze me.

The past week has also been a bittersweet one because it's the year anniversary of saying goodbye to a dear cousin of mine. My dad's cousin Robert Whatley gave up his battle against Multiple Myeloma on August 10th of last year to earn his reward in Heaven. MM is a cancer of the bone marrow that literally sucked all Robert had in him out on more than one occasion. He fought so valiantly for years past when his doctors told him he'd live. I think he was given a matter of months to maybe 18 months, and lived for 5 years. So, last Monday marked the one-year anniversary of our saying goodbye to one of the greatest Christian men I've ever known. Right after I had Saralynn, we went to church to hear Robert speak in Sunday School. I'd have to go back to her baby book to see exactly when it was, but it was somewhere very near the 10th of August that he spoke, and that will always be a memory I cherish. Robert really didn't feel like being there that morning, and it was really too early to have Saralynn out and about, but I wasn't missing it. Robert was so very sick at our wedding, and probably really shouldn't have come, but he did. He showed up, Uncle-Fester headed and all, but with no tie. He apologized, saying he just didn't have it in him to wear one. I wouldn't have cared what he showed up in, I was just humbled he made it. That moment made my wedding day all the sweeter, so there was no way I was not going to be in the back of the gym to hear him tell his story to his Sunday School class that day.

Why do I say all that, in such detail? To ask you to pray for Mrs. Sue Woodfin. She is the mother of a friend of mine, Michelle Blair, and Mrs. Sue needs our prayers. As of this past Thursday, Mrs. Sue faces a battle with Multiple Myeloma herself, and it's been an honor to pray for her and for her family the past few days, so I'm asking the limited number of people that read my blog to pray for her, too. Michelle is an only child, so she is, I'm sure, shouldering alot right now. She has two beautiful children and a husband and his family that are precious to me, too, and they all need our prayers. Unfortunately I haven't gotten to talk directly to Michelle yet, but I hope God provides a way soon. Pray for Mrs. Sue's medical staff as they design a play that will hopefully help her beat the odds, much like Robert did. So many advances have been made, but it's still hard to know all that lies before Mrs. Sue. But, I know my God is big, and is still in the miracle-making business, and I believe He wants us to ask for miracles, believing that He can make them happen, if He chooses to. I'm asking Him to choose Mrs. Sue. Will you join me?

As for the other issue mentioned above, I'm learning to cope. I know that people are people- heck, I'm human, too, and have made mistakes myself, but I didn't ever mean for something as simple as providing gift cards to turn into something so extremely hurtful. Please pray for soft ground in my heart as I plead with God to explain to me why I'm going through such a horrible time at the hands of people whom I care about so much. I just don't understand. There's so much else bigger and more pressing going on these days than this- why can't people just look past the details and see my heart- that it beats to help others? And even though it may not have turned out quite right, all I wanted was to show the love of Jesus to some of His children. I know it'll work out, but it still hurts- so much so that sometimes I feel like my tears could be blood drops. I petition your prayers tonight.

The next post promises to be much more light-hearted, but I just couldn't keep it all bottled in any more.

Praying through tears tonight,
Mary Beth

Monday, July 13, 2009

Still Here...

I know it's been a while since we last posted, and honestly, there's so much to say, but I just don't have the words for some of it now. We, namely Carter and myself, are still here, still hanging in there. I'll be 21 weeks tomorrow- on the downward slope! :)

I went to Dr. Bowie last week for a heartbeat checkup and was told that the heartbeat sounded "beautiful", for which I was and am truly grateful. Carter is so much more active than his sister ever thought about being. I'm not sure how I feel about that, since Saralynn has been a ball of activity and flutter since the day she arrived on planet Earth. Carter is more active than he is still- spending most of his day kicking and fluttering around in there. Not sure what he's doing, but oh, my, is he ever-moving! I felt him at 18 weeks vs. at 20 weeks when I felt Saralynn. Garrett couldn't feel her with his hand on my tummy until about 20 or 27 weeks, but he can already feel Carter and laughed quite a bit last night at my sighs. Good grief- it was 11:30 and I just wanted to go to sleep- is that alot to ask? :)

It's been a busy last few weeks, some of the details I will share later. Our little family appreciates your prayers for us as we navigate this thing called life, and we're grateful for the health we've been blessed with. :)

Intentionally,
Mary Beth

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's a...

BOY!!!

I have alot of catch-up blogging to do- more thoughts on our anniversary, our "working vacation", etc., but I wanted to get this up for anyone that might read this and not already know our news. Facebook and Twitter are staples at our house these days, so the blog takes a back-burner sometimes, but nonetheless, here we go...

Garrett and I picked Saralynn up from Jonesboro on our way home from North Carolina on Monday night. We had our ultrasound Tuesday at 1:00, so I took the day off, and Garrett was scheduled to go to work after the ultrasound, so we had a nice morning at home with Saralynn. We took her to the playground (indoor, of course), and then were off to Dr. Bowie's office. We picked Mimi up on the way and the four of us anxiously awaited "knowing".

Mrs. Cheryl, the ultrasound tech, called me back and we got started. Saralynn didn't understand my having to lay down on the table and kept telling me to "wake up". Too funny! We'd already discussed that we were going to Mommy's doctor's office and a nice lady was going to use a special pen to take some pictures of our baby that she would show us on the TV, so Saralynn walked in and immediately glued into the TV. Mrs. Cheryl started out the ultrasound with the typical measurements, etc. The baby's legs were closed very tightly, and it was down low in my pelvic region, so she was not optimistic about being able to determine the gender. She kept going with the measurements, and at one point said if she had to render a guess she'd guess that Baby Pelt was a girl. That would've meant welcoming Caroline Grace in November. She kept looking and measuring, and, almost surprised, exclaimed at one point, "Oh, I saw it! It's a boy! It's definitely a boy!" My mom had seen a little boy part cross the screen, too, she thought, but didn't say anything- hoping Mrs. Cheryl saw it, too.

I must admit that I was so very excited. I've felt like this was a boy all along, but for no "real" reason. No dreams to speak of, etc. But, I felt like it was a boy. I am over the moon that my little family will now include one of each- my precious Saralynn and Carter, whom I can't wait to meet in November.

A little about his name: My maiden name is Carter, and since I go by my first name and part of my middle name, I had to legally drop my maiden name when Garrett and I got married. Once I realized this as a teenager, I said I wanted to name a little boy Carter, and my sweet husband obliged. We knew a son would be named Carter when we were pregnant with Saralynn. At that point, we thought we'd give him Garrett's middle name, which is Hanson, his mother's maiden name, but Garrett wasn't sure this time around if he liked that, so we kept tossing around ideas. He has always loved the name Jackson, so we threw that around a little, and decided on it as a middle name. It took a little convincing on my part, mostly because Jackson is typically used as a first name, but I have since come to love it! Garrett's paternal grandparents lived in Jackson, GA, and Garrett has beautifully fond memories of his childhood in Jackson, so it's an homage to his grandparents. I can't think of a more beautiful way to honor them.

Garrett was a little stunned at first to find out he was having a boy, I think. There's a "pattern" on his dad's side of the family for quite a ways back that produces babies of the same gender in pairs (two boys born to one family, then two girls- not one of each that is known), so he "broke tradition" by producing both a boy and a girl. The Pelt name's continuation hinged on Garrett and his brother, so this takes the heat off of Daniel- the name will continue on with our Carter.

Saralynn is beside herself and tells everyone she sees that she's "having a boy baby for her Mommy". I think she's going to be a fabulous big sister. We took her to the pool to swim last night, and since she's infatuated with my ever-growing belly these days, she rubbed it as usual. I asked her where her brother was, and her response was "in the TV". Oops. We may've bobbled the follow-through with the ultrasound, but we'll get it back. She's very sweet to talk to the baby and sing him songs, and I can't wait for her to feel him kick. I started feeling him regularly on vacation this weekend- maybe because I was still and riding most of the time, so I could focus on each little movement, but he seems very active at this point. He's measuring big, so we'll have to wait and see, but at this point, we're overjoyed that we have a healthy baby boy coming to meet us in November. Thank you for your prayers and well-wishes. Please join us in continuing to pray God's blessings over Carter and Saralynn as they grow. TO HIM BE THE GLORY!

Intentionally,
Mary Beth

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Only God Could Love You More...

Five years ago tonight, we "rehearsed" for our wedding, for what that was worth. One of the things I rehearsed, unbeknownst to Garrett, was the song I would sing to him the next day as part of our wedding ceremony.

When I was a little girl, 5 1/2 to be exact, my Daddy took me to a concert at our church. My little brother had just been born, but I wanted to go hear the Nelons, so we had a Daddy/daughter date. Kelly Nelon, whom I still admire as an artist, sang a song to her husband called "Only God Could Love You More". I told my Dad that March night in 1986 that I would sing that song to my husband one day. Surely he didn't think much about it, but I did, and fast-forwarding 18 years, that's exactly what I did. I was able to pull the surprise over on Garrett, his family, and most of our wedding party. Our youth minister and my grandfather performed our ceremony, and Bobby had a small table with a microphone on it beside him, and when it came time for me to sing, he handed me the mic. Garrett says his first thought was that I had written some poem or something and he freaked out because he didn't have anything prepared. I'm not sure I could've read anything, but singing comes naturally, so it seemed like the thing to do. Never have I been more confident in my singing than I was that day. I sang to no one but my husband (we had said our vows by this point), and the Father who gave him to me, and it was one of the most surreal yet special moments of my life. The lyrics are below, and yes, 5 years later, they still ring true.

Happy Wedding Rehearsal Day, Garrett! I love you- and only God could love you more than I do,
Mary Beth

I asked the Lord for someone, and I always knew
That in God's time and in God's plan, it would be someone like you.
All my hopes and all my dreams were suddenly fulfilled
It's almost unbelievable our love was in His will

Only God could love you more
For He gave me this love I have to give
What a blessing to know He's your Lord
For only God could love you more than I do.

I'm tempted to be saying that we met by chance
But God was there at every turn, in every circumstance
To share this love God gave to me seems such a fearful task
But every moment we have shared is more than I could ask

Only God could love you more
For He gave me this love I have for you
What a blessing to know He's your Lord
For only God could love you more than I do.

Only God could love you more than I do!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gettin' Some Good Practice

We have two precious families in our church that both had beautiful baby girls last Friday. Chad and Katie Cottle welcomed Molly Kathryn (Molly Kate) last Friday morning and James and Cindy Skipworth welcomed Ruby Jeane Friday afternoon. Garrett, Saralynn, and I visited the hospital on Saturday to visit with the new bundles of joy and their glowing parents.

Chad and Katie have both chronicled Molly Kate's birth on their respective blogs: http://chadcottle.com/ and http://katiecottle.wordpress.com/. She is absolutely precious. We made it to their room first on Saturday, and I thought Saralynn would warm right up to Molly Kate. She knows more of Chad, Katie, and Charlie than she does the Skipworths because the Skipworths moved away for a bit before returning "home". I was wrong. She wanted nothing to do with anyone in their room, which was so surprising to me. We had talked about the babies all day, and when we asked her where we were going as we were driving, she said, "Going to see Molly Cake and Ruby." Big Brother Charlie called Molly Kate the same thing for a while. I think it's precious. We visited with the Cottles for a good bit before Miss Priss got hungry. That was our cue to move down the hall. We ooed and ahhed over her one more time, said our goodbyes, and were on our way.

We got to Cindy's room and Saralynn hesistated at the door again. I think it might be because they had visitors she didn't know. Once the room cleared, she opened up some more, and at one point said she wanted to hold Ruby. I was a little uneasy, but Cindy was totally fine with it. The pictures below chronicle Saralynn's love story with Ruby. It was absolutely the sweetest thing I think I've ever seen. I can't wait to see her with her own brother or sister. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed watching them together.



We took dinner to the families last night, and the same thing occurred. She visited with Charlie pretty well but still didn't want much to do with Molly Kate. But, on the way to the Skipworths', she said "I gonna hold Baby Ruby and play with her toes." Oh, be still my heart. The one picture we got of them is below.

I am so glad to have the Bowies (Cindy's family) and the Skipworths in my life. I could fill the entire blog with stories about them, but they are some of the most special people in my life. Sondra (Cindy's mom) took a chance on a shy kid with coke-bottle glasses that showed up in her choir when we first joined FBC and made a singer out of me. Dr. Pat (Cindy's dad) is one of the most gracious people I've ever known. He always has a smile on his face and a hug to offer. Cindy is my musical hero and I want to be like her when I grow up. In all honesty, one of the biggest compliments I've ever gotten in my life involved Cindy. She asked me to sing "Is This Not the Carpenter?" with her at Christmas, and I was thrilled! I was working at the day care at the church at the time, and the assistant director told me the next day she caught the service on TV and saw both of us singing. She stepped into the other room and heard who she thought was Cindy singing, but it was me, which meant we blended well together. I think we always have. I've been Cindy's "understudy" more than once, and I LOVE the chance to sing with or for her. She, like me, has a heart for music and for leading worship. James is equally as precious and I could tell numerous stories about him, too, but the one that stands out involves my grandmother that went to be with Jesus in 2002. James went to the nursing home to visit her, and filled me in later on his visit with her. Ice battled the most horrible dimentia I've ever seen anyone go through, and she was not herself for the last year or so of her life, but James visited with her and had a sparkle in his eye when he talked about her as if he knew her before the disease took over. She would've loved James had she had the chance to know him, but it was an absolute blessing to me to hear James speak of my grandmother with a love that he would show his own grandmother.

It was such a breath of fresh air to visit with them last night. We talked church, life, our hearts' passions, and it was so nice. I'm forever changed by this awesome family. Oh, and Cindy's brother Brett is our OB/GYN. Just another thread of the tapestry that is our lives woven together. Ruby is sure to carry on the legacy. I hope Saralynn becomes good friends with Cate, Lily, Ally, and Ruby. What a precious family. The picture below tells the story that my heart longs to share...
Intentionally,
Mary Beth

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Randomness

This post will be full of a random, mish-mash of things. Oh, well- we're allowed sometimes, right?
Brushing Daddy's hair
Look- Daddy's pretty bow!


We have a cute little book that has a place for Saralynn's face as we read. You'll have to forgive the quality. She usually doesn't want her picture taken much, but asked for it this time, and all I had handy was the camera phone.

"Thank you for taking my picture, Mommy."

Sundays are hard nap days at the Pelt house. With church and lunch, we're lucky to be laying down by 2:00, which is when Saralynn usually wakes up from a nap. This past Sunday was especially difficult because she napped from 2:00-4:00 and then didn't go to sleep until 10:45! You can imagine what Monday morning was like... Eeek. I guess we're going to have to give up Sunday afternoon naps, which I hate to do. SUnday afternoon is NAPTIME at our house- has been since before we had her. But, in the interest of a good night's sleep to start the week, I guess that's what we'll have to do. Sigh. This was all 3 of us in her TWIN bed at 10:30- doing all we could to get her to go to sleep. What a night! Let's hope for not too many more of those.
On another note, those of you that are mommies- what's the trick to mastering tee-teeing in the potty? We've pretty successfully mastered the other, but sometimes we have to let her use a Pull-Up so as not to constipate herself. That one I'm not so concerned about. It's the tee-teeing that's got me baffled. HELP!
Intentionally Random Today,
Mary Beth

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

16 Weeks and a Few More Thoughts

I've officially hit the 16 week mark in this pregnancy. I go to Dr. B. tomorrow for another chance to hear the heartbeat and to have some bloodwork done. This is the bloodwork that will test for birth defects, etc. I had it done with Saralynn because it was my first baby and I did everything by the book. We have a baby boom at church- something like 10 people I know that are pregnant right now, at varying stages, some of whom have chosen to have the bloodwork done and some that have not. I see both sides of the issue, but am choosing to have it done because I did with Saralynn and I've made a conscious effort to not change much this go-around. What I did with her I'll do with this one. What I had in the way of baby "tools" with her I'll do with this one. And so on. Should the bloodwork come back with any signs of difficulty, it won't sway the love we have for our baby. We will love it as much as we already do. To me, it's just another appointment, just another stick with a needle. Yummy.

On a much lighter note, I'll also schedule the 18-week ultrasound that will tell us Baby's gender at tomorrow's appointment. I'll keep everyone updated on that...

Saralynn is going through Potty Training Boot Camp this week. In all actuality, she's doing very well. My mom asked last Friday what we could do to help be sure that we were on the same page with day care, etc. to help her benefit most. Miss Cara informed Mimi that Saralynn has been going to the potty at school for them for a while now. Who knew? Hmm... seems she's been holding out on us. She surprised me by going at Hog Heaven Friday night, and it worked throughout the rest of the weekend. We're not having as much luck with going tee-tee, but we're working on it. I guess she decided to tackle the more difficult scenario first. She has a potty poster that she gets stickers on, and she's constantly asking for a sticker, so I guess we're doing something right and she's catching on to it. Cross your fingers that it stays that way! She has the few diapers that we had left over at home, but other than that, we're in Pull-Ups and big girl stuff. Way to go, girl! :)

Garrett and I are really beginning to anticipate our anniversary trip next week. We're headed to Wilmington, NC to visit some friends and ministry mentors of Garrett's who have become friends of mine by default. A little back-story for those of you that might not know: Garrett and I met at youth camp in Florida in 2002. The camp was run by Chris and Cindy and others that did a phenomenal job, and I was blessed to be a part of it, and it was God-ordained that I meet my future husband there. We visited Wilmington when we were still dating in 2003 and haven't been back since. Garrett is hoping to mix a little work with pleasure and soak up as much as he can of the atmosphere and ministry mindset these guys are willing to share. I'm looking forward to watching him in action. The change I've seen in my husband in the past couple of weeks has truly been a gift to me. I'm excited about the work God is brewing in his life and can't wait to be a part of it.

I hope everyone is having an inspiring week!

Intentionally,
Mary Beth

Friday, June 5, 2009

He Got In!!!

If you've read my past couple of blog entries, you know that Garrett has been awaiting a phone call this week to let him know if he was accepted into a Creative Worship Coaching seminar with Carlos Whittaker. Los just recently resigned a position at Buckhead Church to begin a ministry of his own that coaches individuals involved in the worship experiences all over the globe. He came up with the creative coaching concept out of his own journey in ministry and worship planning, taking the information he was coached with and giving it back to others. I'm thankful for a man that realizes that God put many gifted people in his path as he sought to live out the Great Commission, and that he ralizes the need for that knowledge to be passed on. I'm thankful that he's taking time to work with those that are seeking to further the kingdom, too- regardless of denomination, music preference, worship style, etc. Los gets it- there is One Jesus, and we're all on the same team, leading others to him.

And, because of the call God has placed on Garrett's life, he has been accepted into the seminar! I couldn't be prouder of him and the ideas he's come up with lately. I myself have a notebook that is rapidly filling with song ideas, drama ideas, service notes, etc., and Garrett and I are continually bouncing ideas off of each other. It'll be so much fun to hear all about what Los brings to the table. The seminar will take place over the course of four months. The participants are matched up in groups of 25. Each week, there will be a one-hour conference call with all the participants, and then another one-hour call between the individual and Los. There will be homework assignments, etc. to complete, too. So, it will be a time-consuming process, but will be so worth it in the end. And, it has a financial obligation to it as well, but we're stepping out on faith that God will provide. Garrett's mindset was from the get-go, "if it's God's will I participate, He'll work everything out", and He did. Garrett's session starts in January. I think I just might be more excited than he is. :)

Thank you to those of you that emailed, wrote, and sent Facebook messages of encouragement. It is so appreciated! Now, if we can ask for prayers for creative juices to flow from Heaven, we'd be grateful for your prayers. God is faithful!

Woo-hoo! Go, Garrett! Thanks, Los! We're looking forward to the adventure ahead. In Los' words: "Disturb and disrupt your lives and you will never stop growing..." See what we're in for? :)

Intentionally Excited about what lies ahead,
Mary Beth

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Slip Slidin' Away

Since my last post, we've had some really nice family time. We've had to be intentional about it (i.e. had to back out of previous commitments), but it was so worth it. Saralynn has been an absolute joy to be around the past few days. Don't misunderstand me- I love my child with all my heart, but she, like those of us who are "all grown up" has her good days and her not so good days, and when she's not seen much of her Daddy as has been the case more often than not lately, it can make for a string of difficult days. I stayed home on Monday night instead of going to a Ladies' Night function that had been planned, and Garrett stayed home from a meeting on Tuesday, and we enjoyed some nice outside time, complete with chalk, bubbles, and her car and bicycle. She and Garrett even chased lightning bugs Tuesday! We took a family night last night and went to the playground. Our Saralynn would live her entire life outside if she could, and one of her favorite places in the whole world is a playground with a slide. So, we hopped in the car, made a detour at McDonald's for some chicken nuggets and then headed to Burger King so she could play on the playground. Yes, you read that correctly. She prefers McDonald's chicken nuggets to Burger King's, but Burger King has the better, outside playground. She doesn't wear the pants as much as you think she would given our path to a family night, but I just don't see the point in buying food she isn't going to eat, so we get what she will eat.


She played on the playground for over an hour and a half and was one sweaty, thirsty little girl that was pooped and ready for a bath when she got home! Her Daddy even joined in on the sliding fun after seeing her smiling face and hearing her shrieks of joy. Mommy tried it one time but got a little too close to getting stuck for her liking, so she took her proper place behind the camera phone and documented their fun together. Once we got home, she played in the tub for almost 45 minutes. Daddy slipped out to play tennis after he got her bath going, and Mommy finished up. You'll see she has no bath toys. Poor thing. Pictures below.

It's amazing to me how refreshing something as simple as a Whopper and a slide can be, but it was absolutely just what the Good Doctor ordered for us. We had an absolute blast all week long! Daddy is at work tonight, but I think our tanks are all full from earlier in the week, so we'll make it through. :)
For those of you that took the time and thought of me enough to respond to my last post, either on the blog or by email, thank you. Your words are encouraging to me. I even had one sweet friend remind me that the families I see sitting together at church are often doing just that- sitting next to one another. They may not be tuned in to one another, which is something we can be, or not be, no matter our physical location. As long as we're doing what we're called to do, we're tuned in. What Garrett and I have in serving together, though it may not be physically side-by-side-together, is special in its own way, which I realize, but it's nice to be reminded. We have a common bond that spans beyond sitting together- we're doing what the King called us to do, and while we may not be sitting together, we're serving together. I still look forward to the day when we can sit together as a family, but until that day, we'll keep right on pluggin' along.
Oh, and we're still waiting on a phone call for the Creative Worship Coaching sessions. The leader was finishing up last-minute stuff concerning it and said to expect phone calls sometime tonight. From the sounds of it, he's planning to take most if not all applications at some point, it's just a matter of when. Of course, it would be nice for Garrett to make the "first cut" because he could be finished by the time the baby gets here, but again, we're trusting the One with the Master Plan. Thanks for joining alongside us in prayer.








Intentionally Grateful,
Mary Beth

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Promise of a New Day- and of the world's longest blog post

DISCLAIMER: Nothing about this post will be pretty, frilly, or remotely comfortable. Sometimes life puts us in uncomfortable places. Heck, sometimes we put ourselves in those uncomfortable places all on our own. I've been in one of those places lately, and I have to confess (some of) it here. You see, there's something unusual about confession: it makes you feel better. Hmm. That isn't a new concept. Then why does it seem to be sometimes?

The reason for the confession of the messiness? I had an encounter with the Holy One Who longs to take me out of this mess through a dream this morning. On a side note, I'm not one of those "every dream ever means something" sort of people, but make no mistake: this one meant something. And, through His love for me, I know what it meant.

I've struggled for quite some time with my family's lack of quality family time. And by that, I mean Garrett, Saralynn, and me- able to spend real, solid time together- doing things that matter (and even some things that don't). A bit about that here:

I am more than grateful for Garrett's job- that it brings money into our house and that he has a place to go and share the light God has placed inside him, but sometimes I just can't help but wish more for him. God Himself breathed all kinds of creativity into Garrett- by way of video/audio/visual stuff, photography stuff, a heart for ministry (that God is still fine-tuning, but is there, nonetheless)... Some days, I just can't help but want more for him than to flip chicken. More than once over the past few months, we as a family have talked about what a blessed company Chick-fil-A is, and I believe that with all my heart. Jesus fills that place and the people that head it, and, yes, we all have to eat, so it takes someone to flip the chicken that comes in your #1 combo, but I find myself praying, ok even sometimes longing, for that someone to be anybody but my husband. I see the way his eyes sparkle when he gets behind a computer to build slides for our contemporary service. I am filled with awe and admiration of the One Who gave him to me when I see him worshipping, head thrown back, hands moving towards Heaven, as he sings the words he so painstakingly typed in the night before at our Sunday morning service. I KNOW he has the heart and the talent to do what he's doing, and to do it full-time. And I find myself asking "WHY can't he?" "WHY is he stuck in a job that keeps him away from his daughter all the time?" "WHY does his schedule only come out a week in advance, and consist of different daily schedules, and WHY does that change some days with only hours' notice?" "WHY can't he work an 8-5 Monday through Friday job instead of an open this day, close that day, gone all day Saturday schedule that makes no sense and makes it impossible for us to plan anything?" "WHY do I have to read about our friends' adventures to the zoo, the movies, out of town trips on a whim, while I'm at home wiping the red, tear-stained cheeks of a little girl whose heart is broken as she stands at the back door and shouts through the door facing 'Daddy, please come back to me. Please don't go cook again today.?" "WHY?"

The answer? I have no idea.

Sundays are equally emotionally building and emotionally tearing for me, too. Garrett, doing what he feels called to do, leaves the house most Sunday mornings at 6:00 to go to church and get everything set up. As is obvious, this leaves Saralynn and me (along with Mimi and Pop if they don't need to be there early) at home to get ready. We usually make it to church in time for
Saralynn to jump in Daddy's lap for a quick hug and kiss before it's off to Sunday School, which Garrett is usually late for and has to leave early from. Then, the service for which the leadership team has planned and prepared begins. We launched our new service in September, and since then, Garrett has been a part of every service except one, running words, manning a video camera, and anything else technical that needs doing. I am more than eternally grateful for his opportunity to serve, but I can't help but wish that one or two Sundays a month he could be a participant in worship- sitting in a chair, on a row, beside his wife, as we worship together. I would love to have his arm around me as we share our Bible, listening to the Word as it is spoken to us. Instead, I usually prop against the back wall while he runs PowerPoint during the message. Again, I'm grateful for his chance to serve- that's what he's wanted since he moved down here when we got engaged. I just wish that we could be a "normal" church-going family, at least once every now and then.

The emotions spilled over yesterday unmercifully. My mom was on her way to the back parking lot to pick Saralynn and Mommy up since Daddy was in his truck and we all wouldn't fit. Saralynn began to cry once she realized she couldn't go with her Daddy, and looked at me with tears streaming, again. "I just want to ride with Daddy, that's all, Mommy." I couldn't stand it anymore. My almost-three-year-old had just said what my heart has been screaming. I had an armload of stuff and a child that was fighting me tooth and nail, just wanting to get back to her Daddy. Poor Mr. Lee holding the door for me must've thought I was a t-total fruitcake. Tears were free-flowing at this point, and all I could do was cry to anyone that was willing to listen, "I'm so tired of this. I just want us to be a family that goes to church and leaves church, hand in hand, for once." Other people in leadership roles with the new service have their rotation weeks, and have been able to step down from some responsibilities in some cases. I myself had a role as the Cafe Coordinator, having to be there each week, too, which also was exhausting. I must admit that I'm enjoying my time "off", too, but long for some time off for my husband.

My attitude about the whole thing pretty much stunk up the house, but when you have an exhausted, frustrated pregnant woman doing all she can to be both parents on a day that's "designed" to be a family day, I was doing all I could do. Nothing says that the Christian life is pretty all the time, and mine was anything but yesterday. I shared some of my frustration with Garrett, but because our Sunday afternoons seem to consist of this sort of thing pretty often lately, I didn't share it all. Also, in the interest of transparency, I must confess that while Garrett is gifted and called to service, so am I, and I have been increasingly frustrated the past few months because I find myself unable to serve. I surrendered my life to the work of Jesus through worship-leading when I was in the 6th grade, and have had ample opportunity to participate in it since. That is until the new service started. I was hoping, since I felt a rising in my soul to be a part of it, to help lead in our new setting, but that hasn't come about yet. I was blessed with the opportunity to sing a special music in December, but that's been it so far, and I have to be COMPLETELY honest and say that it has me downtrodden. If I didn't have such a yearning and a feeling that leading/singing is what I'm supposed to do I don't think it would bother me so much. It's not so much a "what I WANT to do" as it is a "what I'm MEANT/CALLED to do", and it's frustrating to sit and wait. There. I said it. Maybe one day.

After naptime yesterday for all of us (ok, I was so messed up I couldn't sleep, so I laid there), we went outside to paint. Painting is therapeutic for me. Saralynn LOVES to paint with me, and I enjoy it, too. She asked Garrett to paint, and though he resisted at first, he finally gave in and painted a peach rectangle on a piece of paper. His comment? "I try really hard to be creative, but I just can't be." Little does he know what he spoke to me through that painting. First of all, he took the time to sit on the uncomfortable driveway and get eaten by mosquitoes, painting with his biggest, #1 fan. I promise you she'll remember those times later in life, and I know this Mommy won't forget it any time soon, either. I kept that painting, and it will hang somewhere. Its color was calm and inviting, much like our time outside together yesterday. It covered the blah, white paper with a new, vibrant color, that signified newness to me. It showed change. It was a rectangle- two long sides, two short sides. The long sides make up the long parts of the week, the short sides the weekends. And where the two connect? A corner. Pointy sometimes, yet in his case, a bit rounded-off. So, what? It began to show me that sometimes the pretty and ugly parts of life bang together to make rough, pointy edges, and other times they make more fluid, not-so-abrasive intersections. This was a real breakthrough for me. I just sat and stared at the painting for a minute. Most of mine have a theme- polka dots or stripes. Saralynn's are bursts of color that she excitedly drags her brush through, making new beautiful color combinations. His was quiet, smooth, calm. And that's what he is to me when I get all fruitcakey- he's my calm. That's not always the case- actually, it's usually the other way around- I'm the calm to his tornado, but I'm thankful for his calm in the midst of my storms. I just wish they didn't come so frequently and un-forecasted these days...

Fast forward to sometime around 5 AM this morning: my dream/visit with Jesus. Garrett got up and got ready before leaving about 4:50 for work. He scared the life out of me when he told me he was leaving, but I saw 4:54 on the clock, so I know the dream was after that and before 6:00, when my own alarm went off. NOTE: As with any dream, there are some "holes" in it that just don't make sense, so work with me, ok? I dreamed that, somehow, I was faced with my own mortality in one day. In my dream, Garrett is a doctor. (How's that for something better than flipping chicken?) I dreamed that I was going to be an organ donor. Somehow, and this is one of the holes, I must've been in some sort of accident or something, but that particular day was the day I was going to donate my organs. There was a deadline of when the donation would happen, though I didn't know when it was. Garrett did, though, because he was the doctor that would harvest my organs. Somehow, again, not sure about all the details, I was able to go about my life that day, saying goodbyes, living life, pretty much doing whatever I wanted to do, but all the while knowing I would not live to see tomorrow. I didn't have any kids in my dream, which is the only thing that makes it bearable, but I was married to Garrett, and spent the day mostly with him. I had somehow made peace with my parents and my brother, because we all went on with the day- not as if nothing was wrong, but as if all was ok. The turning point for me during the dream was at one point when Garrett and I were driving. We were completely silent (eerily like some points of our day yesterday had been). I looked at the clock, asked when we had to be in surgery, and he told me it didn't matter. I was getting apprehensive, and he said to me "the only thing that's important right now is you living out your life the way it was meant to be lived." Obscure, anyone? But, in that moment, I realized something- Jesus was talking to me. I was in the backseat of the car in my dream, and Garrett was driving. In the dream, Garrett was Jesus. He showed me that He was in control- and my place was in the back. He also showed me that it's not my place to try and change my husband or his circumstances. So what if he flips chicken? If that's what makes him happy, then so be it. Yes, there's more to life. Yes, he's better than that- in my eyes and in the eyes of His creator, but for now, for this season, he's meant to flip chicken. Where were we headed on our drive? Don't know. What was I supposed to be doing? Not sure. Following, I guess. I was in the back, Garrett was in the front- taking care of me. I didn't know when "my time would come", but he did. And, the same is true now that I'm awake- I still don't know the path, why we're going where we're going, or when "my time will come", but I'm resting in the fact today that it's all the way it's supposed to be for now. I guess I'm supposed to be restless. Maybe it's the manifestation of something truly awesome in my life. I'm possibly supposed to be restless for my husband- in prayer for him and with him, but in a holy way, restless. Because I still want something more. And, you know what? I think that's ok. My attitude needs some tweaking, but I think wanting more is natural and necessary.

For those of you that are still with me, you deserve a fruit basket or a "You DID It" ribbon or something, but since I don't have those things, I just say "thank you" from a grateful heart. I can't say I'm fully changed, or that the ugliness is gone or will go away any time soon, or that I'm inspirationally ok with not helping lead or with the fact that I won't get to sit and experience church with my husband any time soon, but I'm intentionally praying for an open heart that is receptive to what Jesus is doing in me. Thank you for reading the ugliness that was my day yesterday and for praying me through when I have other ugly days. Ministry, regarless of its form, can be yucky. I've actively served in various ways before, but for some reason, this ministry season is the hardest to date. Maybe that just means there is something truly amazing coming.

And, that brings me to my thought for today: "Today is a new day".

I'll leave you with a scripture that has been EVERYWHERE since yesterday:

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
2 Corinthians 5:21

Trying to tell me something? :)

Intentionally Grateful for the chance to "spill it",
Mary Beth

P.S. Speaking of Garrett and his desire to be the best he can be when it comes to all things technical, he's applied to attend a conference/seminar with a mentor in leadership that he found via the internet a month or so ago. This conference would be held over the course of four months via conference calls, teaching Garrett the ins and outs of creative worship planning, and he is so very excited about the prospect of being chosen to participate. There was an application process to go through, and the results of that process are supposed to be released this week, so please join us in praying that if it is God's will, Garrett is chosen to participate with Carlos. This would do so many different things for Garrett, for me, and for our church, on so many different levels. Maybe I can learn something, too, about sitting back and shutting up... Hmmm... Also, please pray for us as we retreat in a few weeks for our 5-year wedding anniversary. It's a much-needed (as if you couldn't tell from all the trash above) break from the every-day, and we're excited for waht could be our last trip as a couple before Baby #2 arrives. We're going to Wilmington, NC, to visit Garrett's A-#1 mentor in all things techy, as we visit their new church campus and experience Jesus with them. The last time we were there, we were still dating, and the church was meeting in an elementary school cafeteria. Now, we're married, and the church has its own huge, beautiful campus. I can't wait! (And on the subject of can't wait, we will find out sometime later this month whether Baby #2 is a girl or a boy- stay tuned!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"We Gotta Blow It!"

My mom takes Saralynn to school each morning and picks her up each afternoon, which is a huge blessing for me. I work about 30 minutes out of town, and it's just alot easier for my mom, who works about 3 blocks from Saralynn's day care, to be her transportation there and back. Mom has a story most every day of something cute Saralynn said or did on the way to school, and yesterday was no exception. The story below:

There is a set of older apartments about a block from day care that they pass heading to school. Saralynn knows where she is just about every step of the way, and when she gets to the apartments, she knows she's close. From a distance yesterday, Mom could see the blinking lights warning of a fire truck ahead, and since Saralynn loves cars, planes, trucks, etc., Mom showed her the lights. She thought it was a police car at first, but soon realized it was a fire truck. As they inched closer to the apartments by way of the light that had now turned green, Mom noticed that one of the units was smoking. It didn't take Saralynn long to realize that, either. "Look, Mimi! It's smoking! We gotta blow it!" Those precious words from that precious heart and mouth were followed by many puffs of her own breath hurled in the direction of the smoke itself- sweet little thing was helping the firemen by blowing the smoke herself. I thought it was too precious not to share, and preserve here.

Happy Tuesday! And, if you see something smoking today, do your part- blow it!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Coming this weekend is a day that we take time out to remember our mothers and all they do for us. In my opinion, every day should be a day we remember our moms, but taking special time out on this particular day is extra-special for them. In honor of my mom, I thought I'd list out something special about my mom for each year she's been a mom. (Yes, that shares my age, but she's worth it.) :)

1. My mom cries at the drop of a hat. And over anything. Some people call that a curse, but I call it a blessing. She cries when she's happy, she cries when she's sad. She cries at songs, commercials, TV shows, words spoken to her... just about anything, and I think it's great. She's taught me how to share my emotions, because I'm just like her.

2. My mom is a fabulous cook! She laments that she doesn't cook enough, but man when she does, you know it. Some of my favorites: her squash casserole, corn bread with actual corn in it, and buttermilk pies (not necessarily together, but man, oh man, is her cooking good!)

3. My mom plays the piano, organ, and handbells. I have many fond memories of sitting on the piano bench beside her as a young child, watching her fingers move over the keys as she played and sang along. She taught me to harmonize as a child by playing something on the piano and singing a harmony, asking me to sing what she was singing and not what was being played. She has accompanied me on the piano many, many times over the years when I've sung in various capacities, and I always count it an honor when she does. We've sung together a few times, and though I wish it would happen more often, she seems much more content to play for me while I sing. I hope to never take that for granted!

4. My mom made my Halloween costumes when I was growing up. The most memorable for me was my yellow Crayola crayon costume, complete with the triangular-shaped hat for the point of the crayon. Her taking the time to make something for me instead of buying something off a store shelf taught me what it means to sacrifice her time for me. I hope to one day follow in her footsteps and learn to sew.

5. My mom takes care of my grandparents in such a loving, compassionate way. They are both slowing down a little, and though they are still mostly self-sufficient (or at least able to rely on each other most of the time), she still visits often and does for them whenever they need something. She and Saralynn visit most every Friday, and she does anything they need her to do. I only hope to be the same blessing to she and my dad when they grow older and need me to care for them.

6. My mother is a wonderful friend. She has numerous friends that love her and appreciate her, and I'm glad to say I'm one of them! She still keeps up with childhood friends and teachers that have moved away, she is ready and waiting to help any of her friends whenever they need her, and she knows she can call on those friends to do the same for her. I hope I'm that same friend, too.

7. My mom is a wonderful wife, and a great example to me of what a steadfast, praying wife looks like. She loves my dad fiercely, and does all she can to support him in anything he does.

8. My mom collects cookbooks, and if you've ever been to our house, you notice. She has them lining many of the walls, and loves to use them as often as she can (see #2).

9. My mom sat up late at night with me numerous times during my school career, helping me with project after project on which I procrastinated. She read chapter after chapter of book after book out loud to me so I'd be ready for the next day's test, and as patiently as she could at 1 AM would nudge me back awake so I'd listen. I also remember vividly a Spanish flag that had to be drawn and colored by hand for which she was largely responsible.

10. Mom's birthday is in December, so she spent most of her childhood having her birthday presents and Christmas presents combined together. She tells that she would pick out one present from under the tree to open as her birthday present. I tell this to say that this makes her enjoy any and every present she is ever given. She's gotten the dutiful towels for Christmas, vacuum cleaner for her birthday, and anything in between over the years, and loves it, and usually cries (see #1), grateful for it all.

11. On the note of presents, my mom started a tradition with us years ago that I love: she buys and wraps a pair of pajamas for us that we open every year on Christmas Eve. Then, of course, everyone sleeps in their pajamas and awakes on Christmas Day to see what else is there, but the pajamas are somehow always the icing on the cake. She thought for a bit this past year about not doing the pajamas, but about that same time, Garrett shared an email with us about his favorite family traditions, and mentioned pajamas on Christmas Eve, so the tradition continues. He's only been around for almost 7 years, but it's part of him, now, too.

12. My mom kept every piece of paper Matthew and I scribbled on. Every. One. Bulletins from church that, with the help of the golf pencil on the back of the pew in front of you, kept us quiet during many a sermon are now safely packed away in boxes along with all of our artwork, noodle paintings, and tissue-paper crafts. She even still puts the gold spray-painted noodle stars and glitter-covered egg-carton bells we made in preschool on our Christmas tree. Of course, some may be removed in years to come to make room for Saralynn's pieces of art if necessary, but for now, she proudly displays them all.

13. My mom waited up on us all the time when we were growing up, sitting on the couch waiting to be sure we'd made it home ok (and on time). She always took time to listen to every detail of every date or fun night out with friends, no matter how long the stories took.

14. I have fond memories from my childhood of waking up on Saturday mornings to the sounds of Barbra Streisand playing from our record player. I would wake up and go find Mom, usually in the kitchen or reading a book, crawl up in her lap, and enjoy the last few sips of her Russian Tea (she'd always save me the last few sips- after it had cooled I enjoyed it).

15. In order to most efficiently communicate with my mom, you must be on her right side. She has a hearing loss in her left ear that makes it almost necessary to be on her right side when carrying on a conversation.

16. Like her daddy, my daddy, and me, Mom is left-handed. However, anything "domestic", i.e. cooking, ironing, sewing, etc. she does with her right hand- because her mom taught her.

17. Mom decided to be called Mimi by her grandchildren because of a story a friend told her years ago. This friend contended that if a child can say "Ma-ma" they can say "Mi-mi". Makes sense, right? Well, our precious Saralynn called my mom "Ma-ma", too, for the first few months she could talk.

18. To Saralynn's defense, my mom does just as much for her as I do. Because I work out of town, Mimi takes Saralynn to and from day care each day, which is her special time with Saralynn. They always have such good stories to tell us from their travels together. So, she really does have two "Ma-ma"s.

19. The day Saralynn was born, Mimi took her turn seeing her while I was recovering from my c-section, and she sang "Happy Birthday" to Saralynn. So special to me!

20. She also made up the melody to a "song" for Saralynn while we were in the hospital that will still to this day cause Saralynn to calm down when she's extremely upset. I'm hoping to get the song on paper one day so it could be used for any big part of Saralynn's life- a wedding song, etc.

21. My mom cried the day I tried on my wedding dress. That's how I knew it was "the one". I'd tried on others that were pretty and that she liked, but when I walked out of the dressing room, she cried (again, reference #1), and we left shortly after that with the dress.

22. I take great delight when people tell me I look like my mom. Most of the time I hear that I look like my dad, but will hear every now and then that I look like my mom. My mom with her long hair in high school and early 20s was beautiful (and still is), so it is a compliment to me to hear that I look like her.

23. My mom took a week of her vacation each year while Matthew and I were in middle school to go and cook for our youth group at Camp Cherokee. The kitchen had no A/C, it was hot in July, they went to bed after midnight and hit the ground running at 4:00, and they cooked for 200-plus middle-schoolers and their counselors, but Mom will still tell you those are some of her fondest memories. My parents have always supported us in our endeavors, but it always made me feel like the most special kid at camp because I had my whole family there- we looked forward to it every year!

24. My mom loves children- not just her own, but children in general. She always took her turn teaching children's choirs, Mission Friends, GA's, and whatever else was needed when we were small, but even as we grew up, she would always willingly take a turn substituting for a children's choir or in the nursery.

25. On the note of nursery, I can always count on my mom to come down and check on me to make sure we have enough nursery volunteers when my director on duty rotation comes around. She and Dad both will rock and play with any fussy baby, watch anyone that might unfortunately have to be separated from their class for a few moments of cool-down time, and will always compliment this kids' cute outfits and wish them a great Sunday afternoon.

26. Mom holds onto every birthday card, Mother's Day card, and any other card we ever give her (see #12). She taught us long ago to put the year in the card so when the recipient returns to the card to read it later, they have a reference point to know from which time the card was sent or given. I still do that to this day. I'm not as good as she is at keeping up with the cards I receive, but you can bet she knows where most of hers are.

27. I fondly remember Christmas when I was in first grade. I went to a private school that year, and my class consisted of 5 Japanese children, some of whom didn't speak English well. In an effort to bring some of our Christmas cultures to life for them, my mom brought the fixings to make gingerbread houses to school, and we as a class made them. I'm not sure if those kids remember that Christmas, but this one sure does.

28. Mom also went with us on Mission Tours with our choirs from church each summer. One summer in particular, after I'd completed 10th grade, our group went to Canada. We were always gone over the July 4th holiday, and this particular year, we were still in Canada on the 4th. Thus, no fireworks and celebrations. So, my mom made a flag cake, complete with strawberries and blueberries, so we'd have a little bit of home while we were outside the country on Independence Day. Everyone in the choir loved it, and I loved my mom for being so thoughtful.

29. My mom gave birth to both her babies with no medications whatsoever, which makes her my hero. My body was not meant to birth no babies, Miss Scarlett, but Mom did it with great resolve and determination, bringing both Matthew and I into the world in somewhat record time. She was by my side all day as I struggled to bring Saralynn into the world, and told me how very proud of me she was after my c-section. She reminded me that Saralynn and I were both safe and healthy, which was most important, and she was right. Mom to the rescue of a new, exhausted, hormonal, and overwhelmed Mommy.

There are so many other things I could write about my mom, but since I've narrowed it down to one memory for every year she's been a Mom, this brings the list to a close. All I can say in the end is I hope one day to be half the mom to my own children that she's been to me. She's my mom and my best friend all rolled into one, and I am so proud to be her daughter.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Most Recent Doctor's Appointment

Garrett had the day off yesterday, and I already had an ultrasound scheduled for 9:30, so I took the whole day off, too. I needed a break from the every day schedule, and it was nice to spend the day with Garrett. We went to McDonald's for breakfast and headed to Dr. Bowie's office for our ultrasound. We were early, which was ok with the office, and were placed in the ultrasound room at 9:10. It was a great chance for us to sit and enjoy each other's company, but we looked at Garrett's phone to see that it was 9:50 and still no doctor. Mrs. Joy came in a few minutes later to say that Dr. Bowie had to go to the hospital to deliver a baby- how fun! She said Dr. Miller was available or we could wait for Dr. Bowie. Dr. Miller was my doctor before I started using Dr. Bowie (because he could see me one day when Dr. Miller was booked), so I asked for Dr. Miller. He also saw me through my mono bout when I was in college, so it was nice to see him again. He checked, and again said all is well with Baby Pelt. My due date moved from 11/25/09 to 11/24/09- nothing significant this time around. We saw the baby with its back hunched over "dancing"- moving its arms and legs. It was an absolutely precious sight! I was so relieved to know that all was well.

We went to lunch at Katie's, and it was so yummy! I bet I haven't been there in 2 years or better. Vegetables were just what Baby Pelt wanted, and it was wonderful. Thank you, Thompsons for your generosity!

When we got home, we watched the Dark Knight. Correction: Garrett watched the entire movie. I napped through the first half, he caught me up, and I watched the last little bit with him.

Garrett is at home sick today, poor thing. He played tennis with a really great group of guys from church last night, like he does most Wednesday nights, but came home sick and has been all night long. I'm praying he feels better soon. Hopefully once he does feel better I can add a picture from our ultrasound.

God is good!

Intentionally,
The Pelts

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Few Recent Pictures

Garrett took Miss Priss outside one night while I was taking a nap after work. I feel like that's all I do these days... I'm so bummed I missed the "photo shoot", but here are the results. The top photo is one he played with- you can see she is in black and white and the flower is in color. So much fun!
So sweet!


Not really wanting to participate right now...


Oh, I could pinch those cheeks from here!



I think this one is my favorite! How do you pic favorite pictures of your kids? Ok, I just like this one a lot...


Another precious pose!





I love how her eyes sparkle. They always have told quite a story!







A little pouty, but not really- I like this one, too!







Such a sweet girl!
We are so excited about this pregnancy and meeting our new baby in November, but with each passing day I watch Saralynn grow and change and know that we will never get these "just her" moments back, so I'm so glad Garrett had the thought to do some of this with her. Hopefully her Mommy will feel up to speed soon and can get out there and play with her- before it's too late and I've missed my chance to live each day to its fullest with her.
We hope you enjoy the pics!
Intentionally,
The Pelts







Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Beauty of a New Day

I am absolutely amazed at how God knits the little details of a day together to make beautiful quilts of time that He uses for His glory. I must say that today did not start out like my days usually do. Typically, I wake up at 6:00 when my alarm goes off, trudge up the steps from the basement back to my parents' bed where I lay and doze off (ok, sometimes go straight back to sleep) until the two of them have had their showers and are putting the final touches on their morning routines. Then, I get in the shower, and the morning moves on from there. However, I came up the steps at 6:00 this morning and saw my Mom sitting on the couch reading a book with a WIDE-AWAKE Saralynn, and my Dad perched at the table finishing his breakfast. The house was brimming with activity and life. I'll admit- I was much more content to let it be quiet and dark as it always is, but alas, that was not in the Plan today.

Saralynn and I went upstairs and piled in Mimi's bed to watch Dragon Tails- she has a newfound love for that show, and since it's not very high on the obnoxious level (sorry, Barney), I was happy to let her watch it. Today's episode found Dragonland full of activity as all the inhabitants were at a fair or carnival. My shower and morning routine had to carry on, so that's all I know of the show, but nonetheless there was activity and community among the dragons today. We got Saralynn dressed and ready for school and I got her all buckled into her car seat and sent her off with a hearty kiss and a "have a good day", which was immediately returned from a chocolate-milk-mustached mouth. Some mornings are easier than others in our house, and today was a pretty decent morning.

I headed off to Wal-Mart in search of some caffeine-free Mountain Dew. These mornings, the citrus and bubbles of Mountain Dew seem to calm my ever-rolling stomach. This pregnancy has brought much more nausea than the first, and that's not the extent of the differences, but thankfully I've yet to be physically ill- just icky all day, with emphasis on early morning and late evening. Upon arriving to Wal-Mart, I was met with yet another flurry of activity and people. Usually the Valley, AL Wal-Mart is not the mecca of people that it was today first thing in the morning. But, along with the activity came many smiling faces and "good mornings" aplenty. What a great day!

Arriving at work, the activity and chatter continues, and it's so nice to hear. As I do most mornings, I logged on to my computer and brought up my blog. I often find the ordaining hands of Jesus in the words of others, and today was no different.

Case in point, http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com. Angie Smith is such a dear friend, if only in Blog World. She and her family are experiencing a very difficult, yet very redeeming day today, the one-year anniversary of their daughter's birth and death. Please join me in praying for them. She was so kind to pray along side us when Mrs. Niedrach was ill and sent me a very sweet note back when I informed her that Mrs. Niedrach was most likely holding her Audrey.

Angie shared a song that will be on Selah's new album, releasing this fall, called Unredeemed, and it is beautiful. I am so very thankful that God doesn't allow things to be a little "out of the ordinary" without it being part of the plan. I woke up today knowing what it holds for the Smiths and immediately began to pray for them, and began my day. And, in His infinite wisdom, God made my day a little unorthodox, too, I think as a way to say, "Yes, it's a different, and maybe difficult day for them, but I'm making your day a little different, too. What will you do with it?" So, today, 4/7/09, I'm vowing to let it be a different day, and do with it what He asks me to. Who knows? Maybe the difference has already come and gone, or maybe there's more to come, but at any rate, there have already been differences, and for that I'm grateful. I was allowed extra time with my daughter that I don't always have in the mornings. No, I didn't move mountains in her world and make homemade breakfast (ok, I said differences, not miracles), but I did spend a few extra minutes with her, and I'm grateful for it. What will you do to make today different? I hope you find something that sticks out for you today. Maybe at least one difference can be a prayer lifted up for a family that hurts today. That'd be a great starting place!

If you take the time to read Angie's blog entry for today, you'll see that she's going to India with Compassion International soon, and that she has children on her blog that are looking for a sponsor. Any children sponsored today, which as discussed is a special day for them, will receive a handmade doll from the beautiful ladies at Baby Be Blessed- see their dolls here- http://babybeblesseddolls.com. Saralynn is receiving one of these beatiful creations very soon, and I can't wait to snap a picture of her holding it. Maybe today's difference for you is sponsoring one of God's precious children into your family, and blessing them with a beautiful doll that tangibly shows them His redeeming love for them.

No matter what the day holds for you, make it a Different Day, and reflect the differences back to Him. That is, after all, where they belong.

Intentionally,
Mary Beth

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Guest Blogger

Ok, so I'm not the blogging type, but the funniest thing just happened and I HAVE to share it. But first let me say that this is a once in a blue moon thing for me so don't look forward to a lot of entries from me. Just being honest :-) 
I had to work this morning so I didn't get to enjoy Saralynn this morning, but I've been told she was an angel. An angel who didn't take a nap. When I got home she greeted me with a huge grin, hug and squeal. All afternoon she was very well behaved despite no nap. This evening we were watching The Final Four game and she climbed up on the sofa with Mimi and Pop. We knew she wouldn't be too far from going to sleep but we weren't holding our breath (it was only 8 and she usually doesn't go to sleep that early). When were heard her singing "The Wheels On The Bus" we just thought she was fighting sleep. But when we looked at her, her eyes were clamped shut. It was like a Stevie Wonder version of the song. She made it through the first verse fine but about halfway through the second verse, she fell asleep mid-song. I mean she was OUT! We laughed so hard!. 
Ok after typing this out it doesn't seem so funny. I guess you had to be there. Oh Well. 
Good night everyone.
Garrett

Friday, April 3, 2009

an update on D-Day

Apparently the iPhone isn't the best thing to reference when you need a calendar. Garrett and Brett looked at the calendar yesterday in the office to determine that November 19th was Thanksgiving, but it's actually November 26th. So, we'll have a baby the week BEFORE Thanksgiving, which means Mommy and Baby will be home for Turkey Day and I can enjoy some yummy dressing! Yippee! Of course, I would've gladly stayed in the hospital through Thanksgiving, and still will do whatever Dr. B. recommends, but in case you look at it yourself, we miscalculated the due date as it relates to Thanksgiving. It still looks like we'll introduce Baby Pelt to the world on November 18th! :)

Intentionally,
Mary Beth

P.S. Please join me in praying for a family that used to attend our church before moving out of town. Lisa and Andy Skelton lost their son, Brandon Maluff, in a tragic car accident last night. Brandon grew up at FBC and I'm more than sure I had him in a VBS class or something I helped teach along the way. Brandon was one of the most polite kids I ever encountered. He was so full of life and just loved his friends and family. He leaves behind a little sister, Alex, who will surely miss him very much. Brandon was a freshman in college, if I remember correctly, and I think was a student at Auburn. His family moved that direction a few years ago. Please pray for the Skeltons as the grieve the loss of their precious Brandon. Hearts are heavy today, but we know God is faithful and holds us in His hands always! Welcome home, Brandon.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Introducing...


Baby Pelt #2! (Look closely- it's the small smudge-looking area in the bottom right corner of the black oval in the middle of the picture).

We went to see Dr. Bowie today, as I've already mentioned. We waited for what seemed like an eternity, and all the while, I prayed that Dr. Bowie would find a strong, beautifully strong heartbeat. I never once had a day's trouble with my first pregnancy, and we never had any reason to think anything but a strong heartbeat would prevail, but I still found myself more anxious this time around.

Dr. Bowie began the ultrasound as normal, and within about 10 seconds said that he saw a heartbeat. Oh, thank you, Jesus! He then said he'd show us in a minute, but... Garrett interrupted him to ask that he look to be sure there was only one baby. Dr. B. said that's exactly what he was doing. HA! It's amazing how we can have different priorities. Garrett trusted that everything would be fine and a heartbeat would be found, and just wanted to be sure there was only one baby, and I just wanted to see a heartbeat, or heartbeats- it didn't matter to me. In the end, Dr. B. showed us the heart as it was beating and let us hear it, and it was music to my ears. I immediately thought back a little over 3 years ago to the time I heard Saralynn's heartbeat for the first time and thought it was the most beautiful music I'd ever heard. I thought the same today!

As he was finishing the ultrasound, he noted that it showed I was one less week further along than he thought I was. I went in two weeks ago on Monday, so he waited to do the ultrasound, and he was glad he did. According to the "due date wheel" and the math, my due date was November 19th. However, the ultrasound put me at November 25th. So, I went in 7 weeks along and came out 6 weeks, 1 day along. What does that mean? It means that because we'll have a scheduled c-section (my body doesn't like birthin' babies Miss Scarlett) that will happen at 39 weeks, we'll have a baby the day before Thanksgiving. I can't think of anything else I'd rather celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday. Yes, I'll celebrate with traditional hospital green jello while the family enjoys turkey and dressing, but it'll all be more than worth it to hold my baby in my arms. Dr. B. told Garrett he could bring a frozen turkey and bowl in the halls. Wouldn't that be a sight?!?!

Thank you so much for storming Heaven with prayers for all of us. I surely felt them, and I know Jesus heard them. We're going to bed tonight with thoughts of what all God has in store for our family of 3, soon to be 4.

Oh, and Saralynn is enjoying looking at the peanut picture and saying, "That's my Baby Morgan". (She has a baby doll that's name is Morgan, so that's all she knows to associate right now). The name is still up for debate- we'll keep you posted. For now, knowing Baby Pelt has a heartbeat is the greatest feeling to me, and one I'll rest in tonight.

Intentionally Praying Blessings on you for your prayers for us,
Mary Beth, Garrett, Saralynn, and Baby #2

The Big Day is Here!

Today's the day. We go see Dr. B. this afternoon at 3:20 and we're hoping and praying to see a beautiful, healthy heartbeat that is yet another sign of God's goodness to us. Will you join us, please? We'll update after we've told family about an actual due date, etc.- hopefully later on tonight.

Intentionally,
The Pelt 3 (soon to be 4)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We're Still Here!

Just checking in to say that we're still here and still doing well. Not much to report lately. Because we were so early on in this pregnancy, our doctor pushed our ultrasound out by a week. Typically, by the time you know you're pregnant, you go back the next week for an ultrasound to see the heartbeat, make sure the pregnancy is in the uterus, and to see how many babies there are, according to Dr. B. REWIND>>> Excuse me? How many there are? Oh, sweet mercy. However, I must confess that I have dreamed on more than one occassion, and in various forms, that I'm carrying twins. Uh-oh. But, if that's God's will for our family, we'll saddle up our horses and get ready to ride...

We go for our ultrasound next Thursday, April 2nd at 3:20. Please join us in praying most of all for a healthy baby with a strong heartbeat that we can see and celebrate! My tummy is already beginning to expand some, and I've felt great so far, so we're believing and trusting Jesus for a healthy baby that will join our family in November. Thank you for your prayers for all of us.

And, as far as Saralynn goes, she's beginning to warm up to the idea of a baby coming to her house. We've asked her for a few days if she's ready to be a big sister and have a baby come live at her house, and she says, "ok." Then we ask her if she wants a boy baby or a girl baby, and for the past 3 days or so, it's been a boy baby, but the tune changed last night to a girl baby. At least we know she'll be ok with either...

Intentionally Grateful for our Blessings,
Mary Beth, Garrett, and Saralynn

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Breaking News...

We interrupt your normal blog-reading routine to bring you the following news story:

BABY PELT #2 IS ON THE WAY!!!

Garrett and I are very, very excited to announce that in November, the world will be graced with another Pelt baby.  Yes, I know you're already counting in your head, so I will put your math-overloaded brain at ease- you are right, we are very early into our pregnancy.  However, we know without a shadow of a doubt that God ordained this life for His glory, and we are trusting in Him to change the world through this baby, just as we've asked Him to do through Saralynn.  

Please stop now and say a prayer for all the other pregnant mommies in our Sunday School class. I don't want to brave trying to name them all for fear of forgetting one, but suffice it to say that if you don't want a visit from the stork at your house, don't drink the water in the Moore/Crocker Sunday School class.

God is faithful, and we are blessed beyond measure!  To Him be the glory for it all!

Intentionally,
Mary Beth and Garrett

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

so long, old friend!








I waited a bit on writing this post, just to be sure. Today marks the two-week anniversary of Saralynn's offical goodbye to her pacifier- what she calls her "pa-pa". We were playing in the den- she and Pop were playing Simon Says, as a matter of fact, and he told her that she was a big girl and needed to throw her pa-pa away. She instantly agreed and ran toward the trash can. Mimi wisely reminded her that once it went in the trash, it couldn't come back out because it would be nasty. She still ran toward the trash can and threw her pink pa-pa away. Of course, this all transpired before I could grab the video camera- that's some footage I would've loved to have recorded! Alas, we all watched as she threw it in the trash, and then all clapped and shouted about what a big girl she was!

Here are a few pictures of Simon Says:




Fast-forward to bedtime. Saralynn laid down on the couch with her Daddy and asked for her pa-pa about 3174 times, but after about 45 minutes, she cried herself to sleep. The next morning, she woke up and asked for it again, and we reminded her that she had thrown it in the trash. We were in the den putting on her shoes, headed to day care, when she exclaimed, "Look what I found Mommy!" and pointed to the mantle. What should be there, but a green PA-PA. Oh, horrors! My life flashed before my eyes in that moment. OK, a slight exaggeration, but I was a little worried about what we might do. I took her to the bathroom to fix her hair while Mimi disposed of the green one (aka put it in her purse- we aren't totally crazy to have thrown them all away). Saralynn went back to the den and stared at the mantle in amazement. Or maybe it was horror. I'm not sure which. However, the look on her face was priceless. If she could have, she would have said, "I know I just saw a pa-pa on that mantle." We went on to school like normal, and she forgot about it, I guess.

The second night was fairly easy, but the third night was not. But, we persevered. We made it through the weekend, and celebrated the one week anniversary of being pa-pa-less. Wow. That word is music to my ears. I think I'll submit it to Mr. Webster for inclusion in his upcoming word book...

Saralynn spent the weekend in Jonesboro with Nana and Paw Paw this past weekend, and survived without the friend there, too. So, friends, I share our news with you. No more pa-pas are being used in the Pelt/Carter household. For those of you that have struggled with this, you know how excited I am. Yes, the damage is done and Dr. Stewart will love accepting our money as he puts braces on our beloved in a few years, but nonetheless, it is a wonderful feeling to be DONE with the pa-pa and couldn't be happier!

Now, on to potty-training full time! Any advice there?

Intentionally Excited,

Mary Beth