Tuesday, December 22, 2015

All I Need...


I have had more "ah-ha moments"
In the past 3.5 months than perhaps in my entire life. No exaggeration. Every day it's, "So this is why my mom friends do / are _____," or "That's why my mom did ______," or "That's why they make _____." 

Those are about other people, but I've had countless about myself. They've been tough waters to navigate, not gonna lie. Learning about yourself and fielding off Satan's lies about yourself can border one another. 

This morning, God finally blessed me with perhaps the biggest "ah-ha moment" yet. 

"You're too focused on you." 

And YOU doesn't just mean Lindsay, it means Lindsay's list of things to do (doesn't matter if they all include doing things for other people or just the baby even), Lindsay's goals (no matter how noble), and Lindsay's desires (even if they're for other people).

I strive to be the Proverbs 31 woman every day. Every day. But one thing I can guarantee is that she did not become the woman she is without a daily heart to heart with her Maker. 

And that means it went both ways. Not just, "Oh Lord help me be a better wife, a better mom, a better business owner, a better friend. Thank you for the blessings in our life. Please continue to bestow them upon us." No, there was a, "Speak to me, Lord." And then she stopped talking and just listened.

In the hustle and bustle of new motherhood, time to just sit and listen is incredibly hard to come by for this go-go girl wearing many hats. I'm grateful God  finally just interjected- "Hello! Stop. It's time to stop. I've got a few things to say to you, child."

And stop and listen I did. Right there on the bedroom floor while my baby looked right back up at me. 

I find it absolutely overwhelming- this relationship I have with my Maker. Because if this was any other relationship, I would have given up on ME a long time ago. 

Then I look down at my baby, sleeping in my arms, and I get it a little bit more. How many times would she have to mess up and break my heart before I would stop pining for an intimate relationship with her? 

I can only imagine the magnitude of Mary's feelings each time as she peered down into the face of her little baby. 

What a place... The love a mother has for her child. The love our Maker has for His Son. The love our Maker has for us.

Can you imagine looking into that space? Not just in the stable, but en route to and while they lived in Egypt after He was born. All of these precious moments you have with your baby being enveloped by His own love for you as your Savior. 

I look down at my daughter and wonder, "How can this baby I'm holding ever love me more than I love her?"

And then I get God's love for me a little bit more.

And I'm reminded that a cat nap, a cup of coffee, a snack, crossing another item off my list of things to do, achieving a goal, alone time with my husband, fellowship with girlfriends, seeing my family.... None of these things, even if they're all lumped perfectly together will be enough. The only thing that will truly sustain me, truly meet all of my needs, is Jesus. In all I do, He must be my primary focus. 

"It's so elementary..." I wrote in my prayer journal this morning. You'd think after 20+ years of following Christ I wouldn't be having one of these basic "ah-ha moments" this morning. 

My baby stirs and stretches and drifts back to sleep, and I realize getting back to basics is exactly where God wanted me to be this morning. 

As a new parent, did you find yourself with "ah-ha moments" around every corner? Please share in the comment section below. 💗

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dependence

This morning I walked into Kohl's with nothing but an umbrella and my purse, and it felt so strange. No baby, no stroller, no baby carrier, no diaper bag. I felt so incomplete. Thankfully, I knew Avery was perfectly safe and warm and cozy at home with David, away from the rain and the wind I was traversing through to run errands. 

She is such an extension of me right now- so still fully dependent on my care (especially since she isn't taking a bottle). And I love it. I love that intimacy. It convicts my spirit as I realize this is the same intimacy God desires with us - 100% dependency on Him. "Cry out to Him," has taken on a whole new meaning. When my daughter "cries out," I run to her, I pick her up and hold her against me and repeat over and over again, "It's ok. I'm here. Mommy's here. I've got you."

Is that not God's heart for his children as well? So much so that He gave His only child as a sacrifice so there would be no separation between Him and me? So that when I cry out, He can see me? He can say to me, "I'm here. I've got you." 

I get it in a whole new way. In the quiet of the night, when it's just me and Avery nursing at 2am, I get to sit and rock and meditate on things like this. It's the only time when I feel like I really have time to process all of the feelings and thoughts I have these days. 

We know about all of the wonderful things breastfeeding does for baby and mom, short and long term, but one thing that you won't find on any list of "pros to breastfeeding" is that it forces a busy-natured woman like me to sit and be still with my baby. It forces us to work together. Avery doesn't latch well if there's a lot of noise around, or if I'm stressed. She nurses best when it's quiet, and I'm relaxed. Thus far, some of the sweetest moments I've had with Avery are at 2am when she's in my arms before she latches. 

1 Corinthians 3 randomly kept popping up in front of me this past week. And, as I read it each time, I was reminded of God's perfect design and His heart for Avery. The first few verses that refer to breastmilk aren't about God's timing, but the Lord used them to remind me of the gift I have been given in getting to breastfeed my baby, to stay home with her, and to be the one that runs to her each time she cries. God's desire is that there will come a day when she won't depend on me 100%. God's heart for Avery is that she would come to depend on Him 100%. 

So, during the 2am feedings, that is one of the many prayers I speak over our little one while remembering He desires that same level of intimacy with me as well. 

As much as I like to think I can do it all on my own, I learned really quickly after we came home from the hospital that I couldn't. And as much as I wanted David to be able to meet every need of mine so I could meet every need of her's, that's not God's design either. 

It's amazing how something so small can teach you so much in just 7 short weeks. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Avery's Debut


She's here!! And our hearts couldn't be more filled with love and gratefulness for our sweet angel!

It was two weeks ago yesterday when David and I eagerly waited in that little exam room for our OB to check my "progress." We were a day past her due date and the "false" labor was still coming and going - it even sent us to L&D a little over a week before - only to be sent home a couple hours later.

I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd go past a due date. On Labor Day (her due date) I told David and my mom, "I feel like my body just doesn't want to go through labor." And in a way, I was right. My uterus had been cooperating with all those "false" contractions, but my cervix, well, it was behaving "unfavorably." No progress in 5 weeks led my very conservative doctor to suggest going ahead and inducing. So, Tuesday night, we checked into L&D.

The actual "inducement" was the most painful part of my labor and delivery! I was grateful my doctor chose to go with the foley catheter inducement method (google it if you want to know what that entails) because I wanted to avoid taking as many medications as possible, but aye yai yai --- let's just say, having that thing put in is not a pleasant experience! But, it worked. 7 hours later, my nurse checked me (dilated to 4ish cm at this point) and told me she was getting ready to hang my pitocin. The pain was escalating to more than I could handle, and I remembered enough from my OB rotation in nursing school to have a good idea of how things were going to progress once she hung that pitocin - the speed of my already slow labor would slow down even more while the contractions would get stronger.

I had my mind made up at our first maternity appointment, and it was one of the first things I told my doctor when we discussed my "birth plan." Absolutely no narcotics. And no epidural. My reasons for each were my personal reasons; he respected them, and David respected them. Nevertheless, with tears in my eyes, at about 6am, I told my nurse I was ready for an epidural, and bless her sweet heart, she pulled that CNA out of another room to come bring me relief as soon as possible. When I saw his face, I was immediately relieved. I'd worked with him when I worked a couple floors down on pre-op, and he was one of the "good ones." I felt the Lord's quiet whisper reminding me of His sovereignty.

The epidural definitely didn't take away all of the pain. In fact, I required a couple bumps of extra fancy medicine through it during the next 12 hours to keep it manageable. That's right - 12 more hours. That "unfavorable" cervix of mine continued to take it's sweet time dilating. Sometime during the 6pm hour, I finally made it to 10 cm, and it was time to start pushing. That was by far the most memorable and sweetest part of the entire labor. Having David at my head helping me lift up into a crunch position, my mom supporting a leg/foot counting out my pushes, and a sweet sister in Christ (who'd been my stellar nurse all day) staying late to support me... It was beautiful.

Then, at 7:33pm, Avery made her debut into the world. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw her head full of dark hair - I had secretly hoped she would be born with a head full of dark hair. And there she was, my little brunette, perfect in every way.

After everything got cleaned up, and it was just the three of us plus our night nurse, real life began real fast. After Avery's bath, our night nurse left the room and brought another nurse back with her to assess Avery in her bassinet. I knew that look they had on their faces - it was the look a nurse gets when the patient looks ok but the monitor doesn't. Avery's heart rate was low, a whole lot lower than normal range for a newborn. Thankfully, she was neurologically responsive and maintaining her blood oxygen saturation at normal levels. The nurses called NICU, and one of their nurses came over to assess her. The NICU nurse gave her "ok" for Avery to head over to mother-baby with us, so across the hall we went.

The next morning, Avery had an EKG which reflected an irregularity in her heart's rhythm. Both the pediatrician and NICU's cardiologist agreed on a plan to monitor Avery's heart for 48 hours. We had an awesome nurse that first morning on mother-baby who made a plan with me for monitoring Avery in our room. Being a nurse definitely came in handy when it came to ensuring the monitoring process was adhered to exactly as we had originally established it. So, during the following 48 hours, in between receiving visitors, cordially greeting hospital staff who came in and out of our room, David having to leave to spend a little pre-orientation time at his new job (which he would be starting on Monday) we checked her heart rate and oxygen level every 4 hours... and prayed.

Saturday morning, the doctors came in early, probably because there was a Razorback game here in Little Rock that afternoon that they wanted to get to or at least home for. Avery was taken for her EKG, and the pediatrician came to deliver the good news- the irregularity in her rhythm was gone. She was cleared to go home. (Praise the Lord!) Still, 11 days later, it brings tears to my eyes - God is so good.

We were beyond blessed to get to have my mom stay with us until Wednesday. I don't think David or I have words to adequately express how grateful we were for her and the many ways she served and blessed the three of us in that first week of Avery's life.

Now, we're falling into a rhythm - it is far from a "schedule," but we'll take it! We appreciate all of the texts/voicemails/FB messages/emails. I know David has done a much better job at returning them then I have. It means so much knowing that we have so many people, near and far, thinking about and praying for our little family. We also want to thank everyone who got their TDAP and flu shots before Avery was born. Thank you for helping us keep her healthy! Doctor's orders are to keep Avery away from crowds until her 2 month check up (standard protocol for our pediatrician's office), so we'll be keeping things quiet at mostly at home until then.

Honestly, I'm grateful for the extra rules we have to follow right now - I've been on driving restrictions since we left the hospital (they end today) - because they (and my sweet mom) remind me, the go-go-go girl, that now isn't the time to try to jump back into my busy life even when most of today's society thinks otherwise. That it's ok to only get one thing done in a day. Because seriously, taking care of a newborn involves getting LOTS of things done when you're nursing, changing diapers, rocking, bathing, wiping eyes with clogged tear ducts, starting tummy time, keeping up with mittens, feeding yourself, etc. Now, and for several more weeks, it's time to let my body heal, time to enjoy this fleeting chapter of my daughter's life called "the newborn phase," time to rock and cuddle and enjoy every baby sound, even the cries that turn into screams at 1am.

What a precious two weeks it's been - the most precious two weeks of our life thus far.

Praise be to the Lord who has blessed us so abundantly.

"One generation shall praise your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts." Psalm 145:4

Monday, August 31, 2015

Still Cooking - 39 Weeks

Prodromal labor??

My pregnant brain couldn't access the far back files from nursing school's OB class to recall that term.

By the time we walked into our 38 week appointment, I'd gone through 4 days of irregular contractions. After telling my doctor all about them and him doing his check of my cervix, his diagnosis of prodromal labor didn't sound like something I was going to like the definition to. And I didn't. For the 99% of us who don't know what that is, it's false labor, or if you want to be naively optimistic, pre-labor. Some people sweetly call it practice labor, but it isn't. In fact, it's no indication that you'll start real labor anytime soon.

So, David, Mom, and I left the office with his words echoing in our ears, "You might go into labor in a couple hours, in a couple days, or I'll see you Monday at your appointment." 

Two days later, the practice contractions got really strong and more frequent. It was a full moon that day, so everyone had their fingers crossed that I'd get to experience the phenomenon of full moons bringing on labor. By the time dinner was over, I was only a few contractions short of my doctor's standard for when to head into the hospital, and they were only getting more intense and closer together.

We made the decision to go into the hospital to be checked out. After a few hours on the fetal monitor and walking the halls of L&D, the diagnosis came, "You might be in early labor. We're going to send you home, but we might see you back in a couple hours. Or it could be in a couple days or a couple weeks." The nurse unstrapped me from the monitor, and David went to get the car while Mom and I walked down to the front doors of the hospital.

On the drive home, I was grateful we had made the decision to go in. At least we knew Avery was ok and where we stood, even if it was exactly in the same place that we had a few days prior at our 38 week appointment. But, even with that grateful perspective, my spirit wondered why we were going through prodromal labor at all.

What are you trying to teach me, Lord? I trust that you make good out of our suffering. Right now, I don't see what good could possibly come from us having to endure false labor for so long? I'm ready to learn whatever it is. 

And like taking the lid off of a water container, I felt myself open up to receive whatever it was the Lord was wanting to teach me.

The next morning I woke up feeling great. I had slept all the way through the night not waking up once. (It's been months since that happened!) I came downstairs to find my sweet husband enjoying a cup of coffee with the dogs at his feet.

"Want to go out for waffles?" I asked him with a big smile.

"Maybe. But, I think you need to check on your mom. I don't think she feels well."

I went back upstairs, and sure enough, Mom was experiencing the worst migraine of her life. After a couple hours, I made the call to take her into the emergency department as she only appeared to be getting worse.

While texts flooded in from my dad and siblings, all concerned that I might go into labor right there in the ER from the stress of the situation, I knew exactly why Avery hadn't come yet.

The day before I had voiced the words, "I'm just over it," to my mom. Incredibly uncomfortable contractions that do nothing are not only unpleasant, but they wear you out too. At least with real labor you know they're getting you closer to meeting your baby. It's a fact, these do nothing but hurt. In that moment of honesty, the Lord's voice spoke quietly and steadily to my spirit.

"I know when she is going to be born. And the day I choose for her to be born is the day I want for her to be born. It is better than the day you want. Her birthday will be significant for purposes in her future that you cannot foresee, but I already have."

As I stood there in the little ER room, clamping my mom's bag of IV fluids to save her IV access, the reality of the Lord's sovereignty poured over me like a warm bath. Of course He knows the best day for my daughter to be born. And part of that timeline includes when it's best not for her to be born! If she had been born the night before while David and I walked the halls of L&D, I wouldn't have been able to help take care of my mom the following day. Would He have provided someone else to take care of her? Of course. But, on August 30th, 2015, being able to focus 100% on my mother's care and well-being was something I was meant to do, without a newborn.

This morning my contractions picked back up again and off we went to our scheduled 39 week appointment. The doctor checked me, and I hadn't progressed at all since Saturday night, so we scheduled our next appointment and headed home. Unlike the last two trips we'd made home from that medical campus, David and I both felt an incredible abundance of peace wash over us. What the Lord has for us and our daughter is far better than anything we want for ourselves, including my pregnancy symptoms, no matter what, or how uncomfortable, they may be.

While women are in these last few weeks of pregnancy, often you'll hear things like, "The baby still has some cooking to do!" or "She's just not ready to come out yet." I agree with those statements, but I also think that sometimes the parents still have some cooking to do before it's time for them to hold their little one. And, in our case, David and I did a good bit of our cooking over the weekend while poor Mom had to serve as the sacrifice. I can't help but wonder if His point would have hit home so clearly if it had been anyone but her who I was covering in blankets in that tiny ER room.

Now as I sit here with swollen feet propped up and Braxton-Hicks contractions wrapping around my abdomen, I thank the Lord for not only His sovereignty, but His grace and strength, and that Mom was 100% back to normal when she woke up this morning. : )

Until the real contractions come, or my water breaks, we'll just keep on cooking... all three of us until the Lord says we're ready.  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Pregnant Pause

The nursery is ready all donned in pink and white and brown with splashes of baby blue and soft yellow here and there. Every rocking device and diaper and blanket has found it's place. The suitcase is packed and nestled near the door. The car seat installed and soft, pink silky wraps cover the straps that will go across our little girl's shoulders.

I remember Christmas morning feeling so surreal. Really I couldn't wrap my brain around it - the fact that a little life was living inside of me. These days it's a lot easier to comprehend when she's showing off her ninja skills. David laughed the other day as she rolled around and commented, "The guy who wrote Alien must have done it while his wife was pregnant." Since then I've described her giant rolling movements as "Alien Baby." Then there are other days when I know she's nestled in nice and cramped and cozy, and I think about how desperately I want for her to feel as warm and secure and safe when she's out here as she is in there. Parental instincts seem to be kicking in much stronger for me and David now. It makes me wonder how much we'll change once she's born.

The dogs are definitely primed and ready. Sperry's new "spot" is right in front of the front door while I work in my studio adjacent to it. He loves being the protector. Bowen's new "spot" is right behind my chair. Bowen comes over to smell my stomach a couple times a day now. David's grandmother has a theory that dogs can hear babies. I guess the retriever in Bowen makes his ears better than Sperry's. It's amazing how you can tell that they know what's going on. Whether they fully realize what's going to happen when she comes home is a different story, but for now they know that mama is extra special and not alone.

I have my moments, like most of yesterday, when I am so ready for her to come and so ready to not be "great" with child anymore. I'm ready to hold her and look into her face and watch her daddy do the same. And then there are moments like right now when I just want to press "pause" and soak in as much as I possibly can of this pregnant season.

It's been such a whirlwind. I feel like the past two weeks have been a fuzzy blur that we're just now resurfacing out of. Getting ready for the bar took a lot out of both of us. Taking the bar took a lot out of us- even though only one of us had to actually take it! The heat has taken a lot out of both of us. We just now feel like we're getting back to a quasi normal state sprinkled with Braxton-Hicks contractions and swollen feet. And it's a very special place.

We're about to leave for our 36.5 week appointment, and there's a part of me that knows this quiet place we've found could change as soon as my OB walks into our exam room. So, I'm pausing and soaking it in. The roller coaster of it all that started Christmas morning the instant I stood in the bathroom I'd used every morning growing up and stared at that little stick that said "Pregnant."

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Right now, in these next five minutes, it's my time to pause, to be still, to be grateful, and to soak in the wonder of this season we're about to finish. What a blessing to have been graced with it and all that it's been.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Look away beyond the blue...


This picture was taken for all of my faithful Warford&Wife readers whom I have been neglecting the past month. We really enjoyed our 2nd trimester. When my OB told me at my 15 week appointment that I was now in the 'honeymoon trimester' I didn't really understand. But, now that I'm well into the 3rd I do! That 2nd trimester was fun: no sickness, more energy, feeling baby girl moving more and more every day, looking cute in maternity clothes. The 3rd trimester feels a whole lot more like the 1st, only without the nausea (PTL!).

Being in the 3rd is harder mostly because I'm having trouble keeping my blood sugar up, so I have to really think about everything I eat and eat more frequently and not get overheated or move around too fast... It's just another bundle of adjustments. Being heavier is a huge change too! I have some joint pain in my right foot which makes me limp a little bit sometimes (joint pain is a totally normal prego symptom related to the extra weight I'm carrying). It's really weird to have something wrong with my right leg because my left was the 'bum leg' for so long.

But I'll tell you what, every time I feel her move I don't care about any of these little symptoms. (And I do mean that when I say 'little' - compared to other women I know, the hard parts of this pregnancy don't even compare!) I'm so grateful to have a job that let's me work from home where I can manage all of my symptoms in the best way possible which keeps me and her as healthy as we can be while she continues to grow for another several weeks.

I've been working through a check list of things to get done before she arrives. The list now is very short which makes me laugh because I know that there are a million things that probably should be on the list that aren't. After David takes the bar (in 4 weeks!) I know we'll both be able to sit down and take care of any last minute important things. But, for now, it's been nice to just kind of take it a thing at a time a week at a time, especially while I balance work and my Mary Kay business and this whole blood sugar thing.

I've noticed that since I started really preparing for Avery's arrival, I've been tending to think more about parenting than figuring out the basic day to day stuff.

This past week has been my most emotional of the entire pregnancy. An anniversary last week prompted me to process some feelings about this world that I needed to before bringing Avery into it. Friends made decisions that weighed heavy on my heart. Unpleasant family dynamics that are the way they are strictly because of one person's sin force boundaries that I wish didn't have to be raised. Sometimes I wonder how I'll answer questions Avery might ask me about the world and the way it is. And, really, after I think about it, I realize the answer to every hard question is the same.... We live in a fallen world. No one here is perfect - not even the church. That's why we need Jesus, and that's why we so anxiously await His return.

I remember a year after that trip I took to Kenya we had a team anniversary gathering. I looked at our team leader, Mr. Mike, and told him that I would get on that airplane with him again and go through the whole trip and that whole terrible first year after again if, knowing everything I knew right then, I was given the choice to not go on the trip. I would do it because I saw how much the Lord had used it for His glory in just one short year. Now 10 years later, I look back over the past 10 years, and I realize just how much I've learned from that experience. Empathy for others with PTSD or who maybe don't have PTSD but still went through a violent and/or traumatic experience, an unnerving sympathy for those who are trafficked, the understanding that happy on the outside does not mean joy and peace on the inside just like the understanding that having joy and peace on the inside doesn't mean you can't also experience paralyzing fear.

Those are big takeaways that the Lord has been able to use through me to minister to others, but I have to tell you, the biggest take away I have is very simple - and that's that no one is perfect. Nothing is perfect. No mission trip, church leader, church body, person, family unit, company, or even at times a decision is perfect. People will disappoint you, because they're people. My husband whom I love and respect with all of my being disappoints me some days. And y'all, I disappoint him!!! And when I disappoint you, or someone else disappoints me, the first thing we should remember is why, and that's because of sin. Is that an excuse to continue on disappointing and sinning, because we live in a fallen world and are born with a sinful nature? Absolutely not. We have been given the Word of God for correction, and there are people in my life who should speak with the authority the Holy Spirit gives them to call out my sin when I choose to grieve the Holy Spirit by continuing to walk in it.

When I think about all of this, figuring out how to strip cloth diapers or getting that changing table put together or making sure the nursery is arranged just-so, those to-do list items don't even compare to the burden on my heart that Avery would learn from me and David how desperately she needs Jesus.

My mom sang this song to us growing up that has been playing over and over in my head this past week. My prayer for our daughter is that she would come to understand this at a very early age, that she would understand that it's ok that this world isn't perfect, because there's a place that He has prepared for her that is. While we live down here on this imperfect world, it's only for a very short time during which we will make the most of it and will seek to introduce others to the love, perfection, and salvation that we receive through Jesus Christ.

This world is not my home 
I'm just a-passing through. 
My troubles are laid out 
somewhere beyond the blue. 
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door 
and I can't feel at home 
in this world anymore. 
Oh Lord, you know, I have no friend like you. 
If Heaven's not my home, 
then Lord what would I do? 
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door 
and I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

I've got a home in glory land that outshines the sun.
I've got a home in glory land that outshines the sun.
I've got a home in glory land that outshines the sun,
Look away beyond the blue, blue, blue, blue.

I took Jesus as my Savior
You take Him too.
I took Jesus as my Savior 
You take Him too.
I took Jesus as my Savior
You take Him too.
Look away beyond the blue...

Sunday, May 31, 2015

David and Lindsay's Tips for Doing Law School Well - Together

I wish I could remember everything the dean said word for word .... There was "by the power vested in me" and "confer" and "degrees" and "Arkansas" ... And then, "You may now move your tassel..." The last time I had a feeling similar to this moment was when the NCLEX (nursing boards) results came out, and I had passed. 

"We're done," I whispered. 

Three years of hard work, sacrifice, change, and dedication all for one purpose were over. Granted, we still have the bar to take and pass. But we don't have law school professors anymore or papers or late night classes or grades or last minute assignments given by first year, adjunct professors...

Sitting here in our second home in Arkansas with Avery Lynne kicking excitedly inside my growing tummy, Sperry laying under my propped up feet, Bowen playing solo with a toy, and David on the computer in the next room, I would so love to give Lindsay three years ago a hug and tell her it was all going to be okay and that she wouldn't believe how fast it would all feel by the time it was done. 

The truth is, it really did go by quickly. Last week, we got to take a week off and spend time with our families in Auburn and Atlanta before David's bar prep classes began. On our very funny drive, stopping every hour and half for me to walk and keep good circulation going, David and I spent some time reflecting on how we've changed and what we've learned since we made the long drive from Atlanta to Central Arkansas a little over three years ago. By the time we were done, we'd compiled a short list of tips for "doing law school well," and I thought they might be worth sharing. Of course, since we moved out of state for law school, our list includes advice for 1. couples who 2. relocated to a new city for school. Who knows, maybe some other young couple, whether they're moving for law school or any other doctorate degree, might find them helpful as well.

So, here they are: "David & Lindsay's Tips for Doing Law School Well - TOGETHER"

1. Go into it with the right mindset: Faith first, marriage second, law school third. Law school trumps pretty much everything except your relationship with the Lord and your marriage. As his wife, you have to not only understand that, but you need to support it 100%. There will be a lot of people those three years, including family members, who won't totally get why you have to live with this 100% commitment. But, your commitment to it will significantly affirm your husband on those weeks, especially finals week, when there is no other choice but to keep his nose in his books. 
2. Take advantage of your breaks. During the semester, and especially during finals week, you have to say "No" to a lot of things. So on your breaks, it's time to say (and plan for) YESes!! Getting out of town on our breaks was one of the best things to help us mentally reset and recharge for the next haul. We were so blessed by our parents who took us on a few vacations during law school, but we were also able to take a few of our own by ourselves. Some were more elaborate like spending our anniversary in NYC and others were short and quick like one night in Dallas, TX to have dinner with friends. Either way, just getting out of town was always worth the time and expense when it came to our emotional well being. 
3. Work. It doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun, but you both should work while he's in school. Encourage him to apply for every clerkship/internship there is. The experience and networking is priceless for your future. And even if the work you choose to do is just selling homemade headbands on Etsy, it will provide a constructive outlet for the extra time that you used to spend with your spouse that will bring extra income into your home. (Money is tight while you're in law school. You'll love the extra few dollars to put towards date nights or those weekend getaways.)
4. Help with school where you can. It might take awhile for you to figure out the best way for you to help him with his studies. We tried me helping David with notecards one semester, and it was not pleasant for either of us! But, what we did find that worked well for us was me editing his papers and just letting him talk through cases he was learning about in school. For you, it might be ordering the books on his book list for the new semester off Amazon for a little cheaper than it would be at the school's bookstore. Find what works best for y'all and do what you can.
5. Attend all social / networking events that he wants for you to accompany him to. If your husband is anything like mine, he doesn't jump for joy when there's a party to attend. But, there will be functions that he should go to during law school, and if he wants for you to go with him, make every effort to be there. It's important to start networking as soon as possible, and you can bring more to the party than a little eye candy. Go support your man's career with your graceful presence. Behind every great man there's a great woman - be that woman! You'll end up making friends with the other great women who are there doing the same for their hubbies too!
6. Keep a family calendar. Your husband is keeping up with A LOT between his class schedule and assignments, and then even more when he starts working. Keeping events he needs to know about / attend up to date on a family calendar (i.e. iCalendar) will help him manage his time and keep surprises (and stress) to a minimum. Encourage him to keep an up to date school / work calendar so you can schedule both of your free time around his school / work schedule. 
7. Share the load. While it's helpful if you help him with a lot of the little things (i.e. keeping food in the house, filling prescriptions), let him manage the home stuff that he is good at or is typically his responsibility, like yard work or paying the bills. It helps maintain some normalcy for him and prevents you from taking on too much. Just because he's in school doesn't mean he has an out for everything. You're a team and every aspect of those three years should be a team effort. 
8. Plug into something edifying where you can make new, likeminded friends. This is especially important if you moved cities/states like we did. He's going to be making new friends of his own at school. You need to make new friends of your own too! But, they MUST be likeminded women. It might take looking into a few different places to find them, but they do exist wherever it is you've moved to. And if you find yourself running with a non-affirming circle of friends, cut ties and move on. You don't have space these three years for friends who will not lift you up and give you wise counsel. 
9. Encourage balance. Your hubby is going to need his downtime - time to just shut his brain off 100%. Let him! Encourage him to find a physical outlet to accomplish this aside from just watching a football game. Whether it's playing with the dogs, volunteering as a boy's baseball coach, buying a couple bikes to ride, or taking a walk after dinner, the physical activity will be so good for him physically and emotionally after a long day of sitting in class. 
10. Get the basics established before classes start. If you move for school, it's really important to get both of you established as soon as possible with the basics - a family doctor, OB/GYN, hair dresser, dentist, etc. Getting "home" for your annual isn't realistic, and if you or he get sick mid-semester, it's a whole lot easier to go see a family doctor you're established with than take a trip the minute-clinic (which aren't available in all towns anyway). 

And to the young wife who is reading this, guess what pretty lady, these three years really will go by fast. Before you know it, you'll be just like me, sitting in an auditorium holding your breath as they drape this black and purple hood over your husband's shoulders. Yeah, you won't do these three years perfectly. And in those moments when you realize how short you've fallen, turn to your Maker and receive the grace and edification He is always so faithful to bestow upon us. Grow and bloom more and more into the wife He is creating you to be - the beautiful, humble, strong, and courageous woman who will stand beside that great man. 

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:10-12

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Halfway There

I sat back and thought about it today. With the exception of school, there aren't really a lot of moments in life when you know you're at the half way point. You don't always know when chapters of your life are going to start or end, so how, when you are half way through a chapter, would you know that you're at half way?

Getting to Avery's 20th week of gestation this week has been pretty surreal. Last week was so emotional - my birthday, finding out she's a girl (that took a couple days to really process! I was 100% expecting that ultrasound tech to tell us we were having a boy!), among other things. This week, hitting that 20 week mark and knowing that we've already finished half of the pregnancy is shocking. There were weeks in that first trimester that I thought would never end. Now I'm wishing there was some gear I could shift into to slow things down!

And then there are moments like today when she's kicking up a storm, and I so look forward to her being out here where other people can enjoy her company as much as I already am. (Please not for at least 18 more weeks though, baby girl!!)

Everyone so sweetly asks how I'm feeling, and aside from the lower than usual energy reserves, I'm feeling really good. I can feel the muscles in my abdomen stretching more again this week like they did when I first started really "showing." And, my poor skinny feet like to swell up on me instantly when I wear anything with a heal.

I think about that scene in 'Into the Woods' when the Baker's Wife gets pregnant and you see her go from a flat belly to full term in 5 seconds and sit in awe of God's design for life itself. How wonderful it is that we have these 40ish weeks to prepare for the new life that's about to come out into the world and not merely a day!

Now am I like some moms-to-be enrolling in every class at the local hospital or birthing center or reading every piece of literature I can get my hands on to prepare for labor and delivery and newborns? Hardly! Other moms look at me aghast when I answer some of their questions about my plans for the next 20 weeks. "She doesn't have a clue," has got to be the overarching thought running through their minds. That's okay. They're entitled to their thoughts, and I appreciate them keeping those thoughts to themselves.

The truth is I feel like this pregnancy has mellowed my personality a lot. When my family came to spend Easter weekend with us, my sister Katie agreed - and who better to testify to a change in my personality than the woman I shared a room with for 13+ years! Some days I know I'm functioning under baby brain, and other days I hope this more laid back Lindsay sticks around after Avery gets out here.

Again, I sit in awe of God's creation... How wonderful is it to have this time to grow and develop in areas of my life personally before I step into this next chapter of my life?

Time to step more into my identity in Christ above all else.

Time to evaluate whether my life truly follows a faith first, family second, career third priority level.

Time to support my husband as the wife he needs while he finishes this massively exhausting chapter of his life and steps into an even more intense chapter called "Bar Prep."

Time to really become a better listener.

Time to master being more present in the present.

Time to accomplish goals.

Getting ready for a baby should consist of more than figuring out what kind of birthing technique I'll use or what kind of baby wipes we'll purchase after she's born - getting ready for a baby should encompass a lot more prayer and personal reflection as we prepare to become parents.

The time you have while being pregnant should change you in some way. I don't think the Lord designed pregnancy to last for 40 weeks just for the baby's growth and development...

I hear people say all the time, "Where did they get 40 from? How did the doctors figure out if you count from this date out 40 weeks that's when a baby usually comes?" Well, I'm sure they covered that in my OB class in nursing school, but I don't remember the answer. But I did just recently notice the significance of average gestation being 40 weeks - it's 40. Read the Old Testament and you'll see what I mean. 40 days and 40 years are all over the place in the Old Testament - go read it. God working in a time frame of 40 is just His way. So, why wouldn't gestation last 40 weeks? I just love that.

And I love that He's using these 40 weeks to do more than just carefully craft Avery while she grows and develops inside of me. I love that He's using these 40 weeks to mold my heart and grow my spirit in ways that I never imagined He would.

So here's to being halfway there and to expecting great things ahead for this next half of the chapter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

We'd Like to Introduce You to Our Little Girl!

So, it's been a crazy several weeks in the Warford home! Four weeks ago, when I typed "Big Ultrasound Appointment" into my and David's shared iCalendar for April 15th, I thought it would be FOREVER getting to today. But, oh no, it came so fast, I could have practically pinched myself as we drove to the doctor's office today. "Are we really doing this right now? Is this really happening?" 

Thankfully, pretty much as soon as I wrote my name down at the check-in desk, one of the nurses was ushering me and David back to the ultrasound suite. And I don't think it was a full two minutes after the ultrasound tech squirted that oh-so-sweetly-warmed-up-ultrasound-gel onto my abdomen that she was pointing right to THAT spot on our little baby.

"This is a thigh, and this is a thigh, and these white lines right here, those are girl parts. It's a girl!"

So, everyone, without further ado, we'd like to introduce you to Avery Lynne Warford!

She was quite the wiggle worm this afternoon! Apparently, she loves to move around and bury her head into my pelvis! I just started to feel her move last week, but the last couple days I swear she's been doing summersaults! Today, she was upside down for most of our visit. But, oh my goodness, watching her do a few barrel rolls was enough to make this heart do a flip of it's own!


That is her hand in a tiny fist above her mouth. Doesn't she have a cute little nose?! At one point she pressed her face right into the ultrasound probe (I'm sure that thing has a technical name - but that is not the kind of medical terminology that's coming back to me these days!) and you could see her bone structure. I know I'm partial, but this little girl is already gorgeous at barely 20 weeks!


And check out that skinny foot! Her other foot is on top of it. She's already learned how to cross her legs. : ) When I think about the places those feet will go, it brings tears to my eyes. Oh that she will see and know the beauty of the world and its inhabitants that her Maker created. And may they be blessed, strong, and courageous feet always carrying the hope of Jesus.  


We are giving the Lord praise this evening as we thank Him that everything looks anatomically perfect. Of course, as we have from the beginning, we covet your prayers as Avery Lynne continues to grow and develop. Prayerfully, the rest of this pregnancy will continue to progress perfectly as it has, and the next set of pictures we share with you will be in September once she's made her grand entrance!

We have a lot to do before she gets here! David is about to sit for his very last set of final exams in law school (Praise the Lord!!!) and will graduate next month. Then he'll sit for the bar in July! I'm working towards earning my first Mary Kay car and debuting as a Mary Kay Sales Director this summer. And, oh yeah, there's the whole question of, "Where are y'all going after law school?" to answer. And the answer is still the same, "Wherever the Lord gives us the job!" 

It's going to be a busy, crazy, 20ish weeks to say the least. We're so grateful to have such an amazing group of prayer warriors rallying behind us all over the world. We thank you for the way you bless our lives and are thrilled to introduce you today to our little girl. : )

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139:13-16

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Sun & Gratitude

I can see and FEEL the sun! It's been weeks y'all, WEEKS since I've seen the sun. The dogs and I are sitting on the deck right now soaking up every ounce of Vitamin D we possibly can before darkness falls. And I'm not even kidding! I had a few indoor things I wanted to get done today, but they can wait until the sun disappears behind the neighbor's house.

Combine finishing up the first trimester of our pregnancy with the coming of Spring and therefore all of the exciting things that this Spring holds, and you've got a happy Lindsay. I realized this afternoon as I was wiping off our outdoor furniture that we've lived in this new residence for an entire season now - that's 1/4 of a year! This winter was long, but now that I feel the sun, it's turned into a very fuzzy blur.

I'm being generous to the sun - really it's the pregnancy brain that's making everything fuzzy. Wow, what a real thing pregnancy brain is. Never in my life have I been so forgetful. To the many of you that I have yet to call/ text/ email back, it is not personal, and I apologize. It is this strange brain that I'm adjusting to.

I'll trade it though for the nausea and constant fatigue that we're now rid of. While my energy levels aren't completely back to normal, I at least get more done in a day than the bare minimum like before and have started cooking meals again. And so my respect for the pioneer woman continues to rise - thank you Lord for not bringing me into the world back then.

This past week, the lack of sun really began to take its toll on a lot of us. For me personally, this last week was a rough one aside from the fact that there was no sun to be seen or felt. The rain wouldn't cease and people weren't exercising much understanding and work felt like a broken fire hydrant and the dogs were disobedient and friends were struggling with big deal stuff and David was under a lot more stress than usual... I was headed for the check out lane in Kroger mid week and began to grumble to myself about how they never have any regular lanes open by the express lanes. "Why do they make us walk all the way down..." And thankfully the Holy Spirit smacked me upside the head, "You live in America, Lindsay. Be grateful." Yes, sometimes the Holy Spirit is that blunt with me.

For weeks now it's been all gratitude. Grateful for a healthy pregnancy, a supportive husband, a work from home job, a career I'm building in MK at my own pace, family who is crazy excited about this baby growing inside of me, our church... So many things. But, in a week I'd lost sight of them.

Gratitude returned as I made my way over to the far away check out lane. "Thank you Jesus for sending us that Heavenly Helper to speak to our flesh in moments like that." I spent a good deal of time praying that night for fruits of the Spirit to fill our life again. The next day it still rained some, and not everyone exercised understanding, and David was still slightly stressed, and the dogs weren't perfect... but it all wasn't as heavy. Instead of grumbling about another rough day, I thanked the Lord for the rain and that it wasn't flooding and trusted that all of this moisture would at least bring us pretty Spring flowers.

Isn't that our Christian walk? We can't see the big picture, but we trust that there is one.

I can't see everything about this baby growing inside of me. I don't know if everything is developing right. If it has all 10 fingers and toes, ears to hear with, a fully developed mouth or heart or brain or spinal column. I have friends who've asked me if I worry about that. And, really I don't. I feared miscarrying in the beginning of our pregnancy, but not that this baby wouldn't develop correctly or be healthy. I know I can eat right and take my vitamins and do a couple other things to help give this baby the best chance at healthy growth and development, but really it's in the Lord's hands, isn't it? (If you believe the Bible is the word of God, then the answer is, "Yes, it is." Psalm 139:13) 

These days there's a lot of tests you can have done to see how your baby might be developing before that big 20 week ultrasound. David and I were excited to learn that these tests will also tell you whether or not you're having a boy or a girl. But, we really didn't care about all the other stuff. David put it simply, "It really doesn't make a difference." 

Today I watched a woman in church worship in sign language and my heart's deepest desire for this child whimpered up to our Maker, "Above all else, I pray that this child will love and fear you and that they will be a part of building Your Kingdom." 

So today as I soak up every bit of sunshine that my translucent skin can absorb, I meditate in a spirit of gratitude... for the sun, for the rain, and for the hope and peace we have in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 58:8 "Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Our Big Announcement

Hey there faithful Warford&Wife readers. I've left you hanging for a couple months, and believe me, I've missed you and have really, really wanted to clue you in to what's been keeping me from you. Those of you who have read our little blog for more than a short while know that I write about what's going on in our life and what the Lord is teaching me through each adventure, whether it's patching a peach sweater, food journeys, or deep struggles. Well, the past two months, He's been working in a mighty way here in the Warford Home and in our hearts. And now that we've reached the date on the calendar that we've been waiting for, we're excited to share exactly what's been going on these last couple months.


Shall we pick up where we left off then? 

December? Ok. Good. : )

We were en route to Auburn, AL a week before Christmas. Erin and Evan (my sister-in-law and her now hubby) were getting married that weekend, and David and I were excited to get to head out a day earlier than expected to get there for all the wedding festivities. We left late in the day - I think it was 4pm by the time we actually got on the highway. We knew it would be a late night, but we love it when we can just pick up and go, even if it means stopping and sleeping in a random hotel somewhere along the way to our destination. But, we were on a mission to get to Auburn and get Erin married, so driving into the early morning hours didn't phase us. 

Somewhere between Montgomery and Auburn, I started to feel a little queasy. However, I'm prone to car sickness, and riding with that Burger King bag at my feet for six hours was surely the culprit. We made it to The Farm around 1 am. David got Sperry settled while Brenda found me a couple crackers. We were off to bed and did 0-60 until Evan and Erin said "I do!" that Saturday. (And we bought a dog in there too, but we can talk about him later!)











The day after the wedding, after sleeping in till about lunchtime, we (minus Sperry) made our way to Atlanta to spend Christmas with my family. On the way, I mentioned (ok, quasi-complained is more accurate) about a few weird symptoms I was experiencing. David's response, "I think you're pregnant." My response to that, "Nah." Like I usually do, I chalked them all up to this or that and dismissed it. 

As soon as we parked the car in my parents' driveway, we jumped right into all of our Atlanta plans and enjoyed every minute of it.




Two nights before Christmas, we were all on our way home from a yummy Mexican dinner downtown at one of my parents' favorite local spots. The girls had all piled into one car and the guys in another.  In our car, something came up about babies, and Katie asked me, "When are y'all going to start that?" I laughed and replied, "It's funny you should ask. David thinks we already are pregnant." 

Beat of silence. 

Katie, "And why does he think that?" Again, quite flippantly, I begin to recount some of the strange symptoms I'd been experiencing while my sister and mom just stare at me. Mom states very matter-of-factly from the back seat, "Um, you're pregnant." 

So, we went to CVS and picked out the pregnancy test without the lines - the one that says "Pregnant" or "Not Pregnant," and made our way home. 

The following morning, I took it, poorly. Little did I know there was a right and a wrong way to take this particular brand of test. It said, "Not pregnant," so I threw it away and figured I'd take it again the next morning.

That night we drove downtown to our home church, PCC. The stop and go around Lindbergh made me positively green, and I looked like a straight up druggie sniffing my tiny box of cinnamon altoids to try and make the nausea go away making Katie laugh quite to my delight. 

Afterwards, we had an amazing steak dinner grilled by the men at home, as is tradition, and all turned in early to rest up for the big day. 



I woke up, dug into my suitcase to find the little box with the little sticks, and made my way to the bathroom. This time I read the instructions. And this time, when it was all done analyzing it's specimen, the little stick said, "Pregnant." 

I just stared at it. There was no room for "Nah" anymore! These were all pregnancy symptoms!

I stepped out of the bathroom with it and called downstairs to David who'd already made his way down to where my parents' were. 

"Yeah?" He answered.

"Can you come here, please? Now."

I beelined for our bedroom and waited for him to find me standing there with that little stick he didn't know I had bought. 

He smiled really big as I showed it to him. No words. I had no words. 

We concocted a quick plan to wrap it in the CVS bag and get it into Mom's stocking without anyone seeing, but as we made our way downstairs, and my eyes met my mom's, I just couldn't keep a straight face.

The next 2 minutes I will never forget for the rest of my life. My parents holding the stick backwards and upside down trying to make out what it said. Katie running downstairs with eyes as big as a baby deer. Eventually Paul joining us and guessing correctly when I told him to, "Guess what." All pure joy. On Christmas morning, in the home I grew up in and the place where David proposed to me. 

We had a lovely Christmas, and later that afternoon, Katie, David, and I worked on a little sign to give to Dave Sr., Brenda, Evan, and Erin the following day. 



As we drove over to The Farm the day after, David and I were aghast as we made our way down the road to see Dave Sr. driving the other direction from the house! We'd been waiting 24 hours to tell him in person about his grandchild. It was like being a completely filled helium balloon talking with Brenda while we waited for Dave Sr. to get back from wherever it was he went. Finally he did, and David was able to hand him the box with the sign in it. There was a lot of screaming and jumping and a few tears. And when we finally got to show it to Erin and Evan later that day, it felt like everything was now complete. The 8 most important people in our life knew and could now join us in praying over this little one's life. 

Today marks two months since we found out about this little baby we're expecting, and we're very excited to finally make it public knowledge. I promise to catch up you on everything the Lord has been teaching me these last two months in future posts to come. Until then, we covet your prayers and thank you for celebrating the beginning of this new life with us. : )

In Him, 

Lindsay

A very special shout out and thank you to Kristina Warford at KMWarford Photography for keeping our secret and capturing our beautiful baby announcement pictures! We love you very much!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The End of 2014

Whew - are you like me today? Thinking, "Man, it's January" .. Excited because it's January ... Wondering how December and all of 2014 really went by that fast ... Tired ... VERY aware of how badly you need to get back into an exercise regimen ... Grateful ... So incredibly grateful.

December was FAST, to say the least. I knew I'd be burning the candle at both ends until we hit the road for Erin (my sister-in-law) & Evan's wedding in Auburn, AL. But, I was so good with it. Even until we did hit the road, a whole half-day early because a MK appointment divinely cancelled (because God knew we needed to leave when we did), I knew I'd packed as much as I possible could into the first half of December. And I LOVED that.

Don't you love that feeling? Productivity. Even today, I made the bunk beds in our guest room (yes, we have bunk beds in our guest room), and afterwards I felt like I'd accomplished an award winning feat. Those clean sheets and towels had been sitting there since a couple days after Thanksgiving. And today, I conquered them.

I wore yoga pants all day today - the first day in more months than I can count that I did that.

I took an hour long nap at noon and did two loads of laundry.

We didn't leave the house, and my sweet husband helped me finish counting all of my inventory for 2014 tax prep.

We ate left overs for lunch and dinner, and I baked a batch of break and bake sugar cookies.

It was amazing.

I'm so grateful for today. A day so balanced. A day with just David and Sperry. Because 2015 is going to hold more than possibly any year of our life thus far. And starting tomorrow, I start my candle burning again.

I'm ok with that. We have a lot to do. But, today, today I'm content to be still. And grateful for this beautifully busy, exciting, and lovely life.