Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Need Guidance... And Only Prayer Will DO!

Monday, October 15, 2012
Texas Children's Pediatric Associates Conroe

My baby is FOUR MONTHS old! It is hard to believe he already FOUR MONTHS. Yet at the same time I cannot believe it has ONLY BEEN FOUR MONTHS! It seems so much longer sometimes. My poor family has been through SO MUCH in the last FOUR MONTHS! I think Baby Luke is doing REALLY well considering all the change that has taken place. Between the move and his reflux he has done really well these FOUR MONTHS of life!

We went into the see Dr. Quarles today for Baby Luke's 4 Month Well-Baby Check. This was more of a follow-up for his reflux really. We had been patients of Dr. Pullium but she moved to Colorado in late August so we were forced to "Shop around" for another pediatrician. We went with Dr. Prohodia at first because she was available to see us on short notice when Luke's reflux got to be at its worst. She is very young and I liked her. She diagnosed Luke with GERD (Reflux) on August 30th and gave us some medication and advice to try to keep it under control. Since then Luke has had good days and bad days. I had changed Luke and Natalie over to DR. Prohodia as the PCP in September but after Dr. Pullium left the computer automatically put Dr. Quarles as our PCP so we ended up seeing her yesterday! This was alarming at first but turned out to be wonderful.

Luke has been on Nutramigen for the past 10 days and I have seen great improvements. He has been spitting up much less and in less volume and he is also taking the bottle much better (even from strangers). In the evening hours he is much less fussy and even laughs and plays more than the day time. During the past 10 days he has smiled for daddy just as soon as he gets home. This makes daddy so very happy. For most of his life Luke has screamed between the hours of 6-8 and he has begun to grow out of this and with the help of the Nutramigen he has been even more happy during these hours.

When we went in to see the Dr yesterday she answered a lot of my questions about reflux and medication but did not give me a definite path to take from here. She said that even though Luke seems to be doing better on the Nutramigen formula, he may still be able to breast feed if I cut out 4 of the major foods that effect reflux. These foods include milk, eggs, nuts and soy. I ha already cut out mill from my diet but not to the extremes she wanted me to. Absolutely NONE!!! She told me to look at labels for ingredients and if it had milk or eggs AT ALL don't eat it. I don't really eat these foods themselves very often but wow... EVERYTHING, I MEAN EVERYTHING I eat has milk or eggs in it. I love cheese and put it on most everything. I am not a great breakfast eater but I love raisin bran and of course that requires milk. Salad dressings, bread, tortillas, you name it... It has one of the four "No-No" foods. I guess I will be going on some form of Atkins. Man... I HATE THAT DIET! I would rather go back on HCG!
She gave me some advice about using the expressed milk I had been pumping in the freezer and also some expert opinion on Reflux but she did NOT tell me directly what to do. I am indecisive so I wanted this but I understand why she could not tell me what to do. She basically told me that I could switch to Nutramigen if I wanted to but she thinks overall Luke is just a "Happy Spitter" and is going to spit up no matter what. She also gave me the classic line "You have a LAUNDRY problem... not a medical problem". This made me feel better for Luke but a little discouraged for me. I wanted to know that the Nutramigen was the perfect fix and all would be well. Dr. Quarles doubled the medication of Zantac to 1.1 ML twice a day! After it was all over she sent us home to do yet another experiment. She said "If I were you, I would use all the milk in the freezer and breast feed him until you go back to work (10 days). If at that point pumping isn't an option or you still feel he is spitting up more with just breast milk, go back to Nutramigen. I just don't want to recommend an unneeded added expense." I greatly appreciate that aspect of it but I really wanted her TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO!
Since Monday, I have decided to take her advice and go with the "PULL YOUR HAIR OUT" diet and try to get Luke to breast feed again! That was always a wonderful bonding time for both of us! Maybe that is JUST WHAT I NEED before I go back to work! I am going to start him on the breast again on Friday so that way I will have 2-3 days to get all the "toxins" out of my system!
I don't know what will come of this experiment but I just want Baby Luke to feel better and not spit up as much! I know God will show me the path I need to take!
God is good... ALL THE TIME!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ten Free of Me

Sunday, October 13, 2012

A little over a month ago we discovered that poor Luke has GERD or infant reflux disease. He has been spitting up really bad since he was about 6 weeks old and it just kept getting worse and worse. I took him into the pediatrician on August 30th, when he was about 2.5 months old, to be examined and our new pediatrician diagnosed him with GERD. I had been researching this on the Internet and pretty much expected this diagnosis but was still a little upset to get the news.

Dr. Prohodia told us to keep on breast feeding and take an infants dose of the medicine Zantac. We followed her orders and started taking Zantac 3 times a day. We kept breast feeding and also began to feed in an upright position and keep him at a 45 degree angle for at least 30 minutes after each feeding. We even invested in a wedge to put in his crib at night so he would be elevated.

I have been weighing him weekly since his birth and he has continuously gained weight each week but the previous two to three weeks he has only gained an once or two each week. In my anal and OCD mind this was a red flag so I called the pediatrician.

After about a month on the medication we saw some improvemts but he would still spit up A LOT about 5-6 times a day. Pre-medication he was spitting up about 8-9 times and day and it was projectile vomit like. With the meds he was spitting up less in volume and frequency but still was continuously spitting up. Every time he would spit up he was happy and it didn't seem to bother him... Just me. In fact the first two weeks after starting the meds he barely even spit up and I thought he was "healed" but as time went on he began to spit up more and more. I had talked to friends who had reflux babies and they all said that he would more than likely have to start taking a type of formula for "cows milk" allergy. I was not happy about this since I really wanted to continue to breast feed him as long as possible.

With Natalie I was able to continue to breast feed well into her 8th month of life despite my low milk supply but eventually dried up after 8 months, 1 week and 5 days. Since I had a low milk supply basically the entire time of breast feeding Natalie, I expected the same with Luke so began pumping almost immediately after he was born. This made me have an overwhelming milk supply and in fact I have over 300 ounces on expressed milk in my freezer right now.

About 2 weeks ago Luke just kept spitting up and I was just so worried I called my pediatrician to ask for better meds or something. I spoke to our nurse and she said Dr. Prohodia wanted me to try an experiment with the special formula called nutramigen. She told me to have Luke ONLY drink Nutramigen for 10 days without any supplementation of breast feeding or break milk. I was told I keep "pumping and dumping" just in case the formula didn't help and I had to go back to breast feeding.

It has been the 10 days and we go and see Dr. Prohodia tomorrow for Luke's 4 month well-baby visit and shots. Overall I think the experiment worked and I think poor Luke has done a million times better on the Nutramigen formula than while on my breast milk alone. Sure he will still spit up every day but it is usually only 1-3 times and not projectile. I know with reflux there is no "magic fix" so he will still spit up until he grows out of it but I think with nutramigen and the Zantac he is doing much better.

We go and see Dr. Prohodia tomorrow and I am vey anxious to see what she recommends. I just pray for the health of my poor baby Luke. None of this has seemed to phase him but I just want him to be a healthy and happy baby!!!

Details of the doctors appointment to follow...

God is good... All the time.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Friday, October 12, 2012
117 South McCall St
100 Arnold Dr
611 Imhoff St
2655 Brandywine Lane
3152 West Rock Creek Road
4339 Liberty Circle
16941 Wren Hill St
9923 Wing St
The addresses of my homes from my 30 years of life (Not including dorms...)
 Today I attended a funeral for my Great-Uncle Orville Dean Harlow. He died at the age of 85 in Oklahoma City, OK. I knew Uncle OD my entire life and he was extremely involved in my life growing up, especially for a "Great-Uncle". He and my dad were very close and this closeness was passed on to my sister and I growing up. Since he lived in Oklahoma City, I was able to visit him frequently while living in Norman and attending OU. We would go out for dinner and coffee on the weekends and I would even go over to his house to watch OU games with him and keep him company. He was a very generous and giving man and I will NEVER forget him.
Luckily, I have not had to attend very many funerals in my life but the few I have attended have been incredibly hard for my family and I. I was able to perform my saxophone at Uncle OD's funeral today an it was an amazing feeling to be able to perform knowing Uncle OD was looking down and listening. While my dad was preaching the final remarks of this funeral he reminded me that while Uncle lived at many addresses in his 85 years of life, he is now at his PERMANENT address.
This got me to thinking about the addresses I have lived at but more importantly, the address I will FOREVER remain at. At each of the above addresses, there have been many things I have loved inside the home. From square footage to bath space to kitchen layouts to yards. They all had pros and cons. Then of course, Chris and I just completed shopping for a new home a few months ago and we went and looked at some BEAUTIFUL homes that had EVERYTHING you could possibly imagine. We looked at some that were WAY out of our price range and I could do was just dream about living in a home like these. They had everything... WELL ALMOST!
In my final and permanent home there will be streets of GOLD and Mansions so big and beautiful. Things I cannot even imagine. There will be no more cleaning of carpets, no more mowing and watering the lawn, no more MOVING (can I get an "AMEN") and no more house payments. Just wonderful, beautiful and PERMANENT life among our Lord.
As I traveled back to Oklahoma, I got a little homesick and missing Oklahoma and all that it offers (Like LOW HUMIDITY... Can I get ANOTHER "AMEN"!). I started to even tear up thinking about how I thought of Oklahoma as "The good ol' days". I just missed my home. It wasn't until AFTER the funeral that my heart began to get homesick for another home... My PERMANENT home!
You see the addresses above are just that... ADDRESSES. Sure, they have provided me with a beautiful building to live in and they have protected me from the elements but obviously they have just been temporary! My mansion is waiting for me in Heaven and I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE IT! In fact, I am a little HOMESICK!
I know where MY PERMANENT home is... DO you?
God is Good... ALL THE TIME!

In a different "Zone"

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I have been in church my entire life... LITERALLY. My dad is a baptist pastor and has been preaching and teaching since long before I was born. In fact, I jokingly talk about how I was in church every time the doors were open since 9 months before I was born. Its a way of life for me and I want it to be the same way for my children and family.

Throughout my entire church life, I have been at the forefront of activities and events. When I was just a little girl I began singing at my daddy's church in Ulysses, KS at the age of 5. After that first initial song of praise I was hooked and began to sing solos in church all the time. My mom also has a wealth of musical talent and her and I would sing songs together frequently. Throughout my early years of life, between the ages of 5-12, I was singing praises to my God on a regular basis.

At the age of 12 my family moved to East Texas to Arp Emmanuel Baptist Church for my dad to continue his calling to God as a Baptist preacher. It was also at this time that I began my long journey of making music and giving it back to God. As a new 6th grader I was able to choose the instrument I wanted to play and luckily I was able to get to play the saxophone. This was a lifelong dream of mine and I am so grateful to God for allowing me this opportunity. I knew at that point that I would be forever grateful and give my talents, both vocally and instrumentally, back to Him.

For the remainder of my time spent at AEBC, I played my saxophone in the "ensemble" led by an amazing man of God, Bro. Tommy! He also allowed me to perform solos both singing and playing on a routine basis. In fact, Bro. Tommy made a schedule of performers and I was able to give my talents back to God nearly twice a month. I truly believe this is when and where I discovered my true calling in the church... To give my talents back to Him. Thank you Bro. Tommy for helping me realize this calling by allowing me to perform so frequently!

When I graduated high school and went to OU I knew I had to find a church to call my home and continue to give my talents back to Him. I visited several churches but ultimately found Bethel Baptist Church in Norman, OK. Ironically, this is where I found my husband too!

While at Bethel I immediately became active in the Orchestra and Band playing my saxophone. This came naturally to me and I was even able to help the music minister, one of my all-time favorites, Bro. Jerry as a music intern during my senior year of college. I was very active in the music department; playing my saxophone in the orchestra, playing my saxophone as solos during Worship time, singing solos in the Worship services as even sang in a Sunday night praise team. I was so very active in this music department that I also taught a 3-6 grade children's choir, which is where Chris and I met. I was at Bethel almost as much as I as at OU. It was an amazing time in my spiritual-musical life and I am forever grateful to Bro. Jerry and the entire Bethel Family for allowing me to give my talents back to God.

Shortly after Chris and I married we moved to Shawnee, OK for my band job at Grove Public School. Chris a I visited many churches in Shawnee but were continuously drawn to Immanuel Baptist Church. We both loved the pastor and his sermons but we also liked the flexibility of worship services. They had a traditional service like Chris liked and a more contemporary service which I enjoyed. Shortly after joining IBC, the music minister called and asked me to perform a solo with the choir on a upcoming Sunday. I performed with the choir and I immediately knew this is where God wanted me to be. Within weeks, I was asked to lead the orchestra. This was an answer to prayer as it gave me yet another opportunity to serve The Lord and give Him my talents. I continued to serve as the orchestra director for the following 6 years while living in Shawnee. A new music minister came after a few short years and my passion developed further for giving my talents to Him. Bro. Jason also helped me discover another calling of leading music within the church. This too was a wonderful time in my spiritual-musical life.

In the summer of 2011, Chris accepted a teaching job at Aldine ISD and we moved to Houston, TX. Within weeks, Chris and I were attending Mims Baptist church with his parents. This was not at all where I would have pictured us attending but it worked. I immediately started playing my saxophone in the orchestra and Chris even started singing in the choir. This all seemed natural to us and it seemed as if we would just pick up our old church lives from previous churches as place them into Mims. But since moving our membership over to Mims, I have been slowly taking a back seat in the orchestra/ music department (thanks to numerous other saxophone players and musicians) and in 15 months I have not played a solo or special music (feels so weird to me). I can feel myself moving more towards a different "zone". But Chris really likes the traditional music and for the first time in my adult church career, I LOVE our Sunday School class. So for this reason... WE ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!

In fact in most of the above scenarios I was incredibly active in the music ministry but rarely active in the education and Sunday School department. At IBC Chris and I never really "fit in" with any Sunday School class. At one point Bro. Todd started teaching a pastors class that we really liked but unfortunately when IBC went to 3 services, he had to give that up. That was a sad day for Chris and I because we really liked and learned a lot in that class.

On the very first Sunday at Mims in this Sunday School class Chris and I felt a connection with the families and couples in this class. Most of them are teachers and a few couples are even BOTH teachers, which is cool for Chris and I to interact with. Chris has always had a somewhat "dry" sense of humor and most of the time you either like him or you don't (at previous SS classes it was the later) but for whatever reason he is well accepted and appreciated in this class. Most of the husbands and even some of the wives love college and pro football and that is a topic of discussion most Sunday mornings before the lesson begins so Chris loves that! The class just seems perfect for Chris and I and I am so glad God called us to this church and this class. I can wait to see what else he has in store for us at Mims.

All of this is to say that for the first time that I can remember I am focusing less on my musical talent and gift and more on serving God in other ways within the church. I am currently helping in Awana on Wednesday night as well as other service opportunities that in previous churches and positions I would not have had time for.

I feel under-used and appreciated sometimes in this music ministry and slightly out of my comfort "zone". As mentioned above, in ALL of my other church life experiences I have been at the center of the attention and for the most part in the musical spotlight. Honestly, that is where I LIKE to be but clearly God has other plans for me in this stage of my life. I don't know what they are but I can't wait to find out.

I am blessed and I thank God for His blessings He has given me. Whether in the music "zone" or in any other service field, I will give ALL my talents back to Him.

God is good... All the time!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

All My Bags Are Packed

Wednesday, June 12, 2012

A week ago today I got a text message from our realtor asking us to call the bank and check on the status of our loan and closing date. I had been contacting our loan officer practically every other day and heard little from her but when I did speak to her she said we would still be ready to close on Friday the 14th.

Come to find out, when I called our bank our loan officer was on vacation and the paperwork had gotten lost in the assembly line of people it had to pass through. Her voicemail said to call another loan officer in her department and I did but I still did not hear back from him on this day. I called the realtor and told her this information and she immediately sent a very professional email to the higher-ups stating that we needed information on our account immediately. After several emails back and forth and even phone calls between the manager of the loan account at our bank and our realtor we found out that we may still be able to close on Friday but more than likely not. In fact as it turned out after the appraisal was done around the last week of August it was supposed to go into final underwriting; however we learned that it sat on the desk of a bank employee while they were on vacation and didn't get into underwriting until September 4. Our loan officer told us that underwriting was taking anywhere from 6 to 12 business days to be complete so at that moment we knew we were not going to be able to close on Friday. Chris immediately thought this meant we would not be able to close this Friday on the and it would be more like the following Friday. I on the other hand still had hopes that perhaps we can close on this Friday maybe or on Tuesday but only time will tell.

Well this morning at 10 AM we got the phone call that we will not be able to close on Friday and it will more than likely be Monday or Tuesday of next week. But we also learned that the sellers are going to be out of town on a business trip this next week so even though we might be ready to close on Monday or Tuesday it could be as late as Friday. Chris and I immediately laughed thinking "with our luck with this whole ordeal it will be next Friday the 21st".

All of our bags were packed we were ready to go but God had a different plan so we will sit here this weekend and enjoy another weekend before the hectic life begins in the new house. I don't know why our move was delayed yet another week but God has a reason and I can't wait to find out what it is.

God is good... All the time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hymns of Faith: The Teacher Learns from the Student

Friday, August 31, 2012

"Many rely on God with extreme passion and dedication when facing an obstacle in life. I wonder how incredible of a change this world could see if God was pursued with that same passion regardless of the circumstance... Food for thought." 

This is a quote that a past student of mine from Grove posted on Facebook last week. He is in his second year of college right now at OBU and is a remarkable person and Christian. Since I have not lived in Shawnee for over a year I do not know the entire story but I do know that he had to have brain surgery last week. He posted this quote the day before he had the surgery.  T

he week before  this, Natalie and Luke had their 3 year and 2 month old pediatrician check-ups. Poor Luke had not been feeding well off of the bottle and seemed to be getting really friustrated easily while trying to take the bottle. The check-ups were simultaneously happening and I was so WORRIED about Luke that I didnt even think about anything going wrond with Nataeli Grace and her 3 year old check-up. It was during her routine visit that our prediatrician, Dr. Pulliam, said "Has anyone ever told you that Natalie has a heart murmur?" Stunned and shocked, I looked over at Chris with tears forming in my eyes. Meanwhile, Luke was laying over on the doctor's table just smiling and as content as ever! Dr. Pulliam went on to evaluate Natalie and tell us a little bit about her heart murmur. She was only checking her with the stephascope and was not able to tell us much more than "Its a heart murmur." She advised us to see a Pediactric Cardiologist to check to see if the murmur was benign. The rest of the visit was very tramatic and stressful for all four of as the tension was very heavy. As soon as we got in the car, I just bursted into tears and called my mom. Immediately after that I called and made an appointment with the Cardiologist to see Natalie. Of course, there was not an opening for over a week so we had to wait to see if this heart murmur was benign or not.

It was during this time that I learned of my ex-student's condition as his incredible faith in God as he was going through such a tramatic event in his life. I began to follow his story and updates via "Care Bridge" on the MD Anderson website. I was amazed as his speedily recovery and steadfast dedication to God. I was just blown away. How could someone who was facing such a grave condition be so at peace. I began to ponder this as I sat there thinking about my first born and the possibility that this heart murmur was more than just a little "Thump-thump".

I read his quote from above on Facebook and really thought about how I had been doing this. I am not a perfect person or Christian by any means but I too had been seeking God's face in the midst of my trials and tribulations and not as dedicated to Him during non-trying times. Like my ex-student said, what a revalation it would be if we sought Him even during our great joys and successes. That following week I made it a priority to not only pray and have my quiet time alone with God in the morning but in the evening and afternoon as well. I found myself spending time in THe Word during Natalie and Luke's naptimes and even staying up an extra 30 minutes to an hour after I put Luke to bed reading the Bible and praying. Now of course, I was still waiting to see the Caridologist at this point but I felt so revived and refreshed.

ON Wednesday, August 22 Natalie, Luke and I traveled to the Northwestern most part of Houston to see this Pediatric Caridolgist for Natalie. When we got there Natalie had to do the usual weight and height measurements but she also had to have her blood pressure checked and even get an EKG! THis was such new expereince for her and she DID NOT LIKE IT! After finishing these exams with the nurse we went into the Doctor's office and he listened to her heart and then did an extensive Ultrasound of her heart. THis was special because i told Natalie she was going to be able to do what Mommy did while Baby Luke was in her tummy. I had pulled out pictures of Baby Luke's ultrasound the night before and Natalie was excited to be able to see her heart on the screen. When the doctor showed her the heart she said "Look mommy, it Baby Heart!" This was so sweet.

After an extensive review of her heart via the ultrasound the Cardiologist informed me that Natalie's heart was 100% healthy and "Perfect". What a relief. I immediately said a grateful prayer to God. Now honestly, after this I would have gone back to my usual Christian self and had my daily quiet and prayer time but not at the instensity level I had been since the tramatic event had passed and all was well. But not this time. On our way home I began to listen to my iTunes and the hymn "Have Thine Own Way" came on. This may not seem like a song that would speak to soemone right AFTER this type of event but it did.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way 
Thou are the Potter, I am the Clay 
Mold me and Make me, After thy will
While I am waiting, yielded and still

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way
Wounded and weary, Help me I pray
Power, all Power, surely is Thine
Touch me and Heal me, Saviour devine

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way
Hold O're my being, absolute sway
Fill with Thy spirit till all shall see
Christ only ALWAYS, living in me!

Touch me and Heal me... Of course this was relevant to Natalie Grace and her heart murmur but it was also relevant to me and my Christian walk. I had fallen down and was having a hard time getting up. I had been failing at getting in the most time possible with God. No wonder I was tired and weary. Since then I have kept up not only my daily quiet time and prayer time but additional time with God. I have taken the nightly nursing sessions with Luke as my extended prayer time. I have been able to pray for family and extended family that I may have over-looked in the past as well as Sunday School and Church requests that I might have bunched into one blanket sentence in previous years. I feel like a completely new person.

It is amazing how the statement of one person can really open your eyes to your own Faith and relationship with God. Thank you dear Ex-Band student of mine for your words of truth and encouragement. I am a new Christian, Wife and mother! Thank you! 

God is good... ALL the time!