Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Baby Whisperer

Another thing I am claiming of who I am is a baby whisperer. I got the name from one of my very best friends, Jen. She said I "rehabilitate babies and train parents". I think that's what she said anyway. :)

It's true, it is something that comes natural to me. I always had a love for kids and never really had any issues with knowing what to do with one. Discipline and caring for babies and kids has always just come very second nature and natural to me. And I'd often heard that I had a way with children and that I got them to do things that they'd never done before.

Now, it hasn't ALL been natural...I've done a lot of reading, had a lot of experience (I've worked with kids for 10+ years in one form or another), and some education. But the book that changed my life forever (and Jen's too and the reason for her naming this) is Babywise. The pediatrician who wrote the book is a genious! HE is the real baby whisperer, here. Everyone that I know that has followed his plan in this book had children sleeping through the night from 2 weeks old to 6 weeks old! My baby was one of those and it was a true blessing! It made me a better mother.

Now, I know there are some of you who turn your noses up to Babywise and I understand why. Many of the parents who read the book, take what they want from the book and leave what they don't. One of the things they don't take from it is probably the most critical thing he says...basically, above all else...use your motherly instinct! You know your baby best! If you think your baby is being malnurished...feed it more! However, many a parent have read the book and somehow missed this, causing their child to be hospitalized for malnutrition and causing the medical world to HATE this book. I want to challenge that. It's not the's the reader. My challenge is for you to read the book yourself with an OPEN MIND and made up your opinion from that.

Anyway, I'm done with my soap box about it. This blog is about my head and thoughts and those are just them. But back to who I am...I am claiming that I am a baby whisperer of sorts. It's a gift I was given and treasure. And I'm tired of hearing how LUCKY I am that my daughter is sleeping and eating so well and is so well-mannered. While I agree, yes, that some of it is her personality (her daddy is pretty laid-back), I need to take some credit for that, too. I've worked very diligently and hard with her. When I do something, I do it all out and passionately. (Which I was told again today that I was dramatic - come on people...I am PASSIONATE...get it right!) Anyway, I don't things half-assed and my daughter is a testimony of what CONSISTENCY can do for your children. That's my secret...consistency. I don't care what you...just do it well and be consistent and all will be well.

Bun In The Oven

Here's my story...

Fourteen months ago, I had my daughter Isabel. A perfect pregnancy, a perfect delivery and a perfect baby! I couldn’t have asked for more. After not wanting to go on the pill again, we sought out other forms of birth control and came across a form of natural family planning. About six months into it, I discovered I have a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Isabel is like a miracle baby!

Anyway, I went in for an ultrasound to confirm the condition and to my surprise, was told I was pregnant. A week later, I lost the baby, due to the PCOS condition. I went on medication and was told I would have problems with infertility. A few months later, I was having symptoms of other sorts and went back to the doctor, thinking I had a bug. She told me she thought I had endometriosis which made the infertility issues worse and made me be in a lot of pain every month. I went to another doctor for a second opinion and everything was confirmed…the PCOS and the endometriosis.

So, for the past 4 months I’ve been waiting to hear back from the best doctor in the nation about getting in for surgery with him this summer/fall to hopefully correct the PCOS and to remove the endometriosis to improve my chances of having more babies. The surgery and other procedures were going to cost us $5,000 (which we don’t have) and a 7-10 day stay in Omaha, NE. I was told I should maybe think about trying to get pregnant, as it puts your endometriosis into dormancy (at least until you start cycling again). However, the trick is conceiving and if you are lucky enough to conceive, not miscarrying.

Anyway, this past Tuesday, I took a pregnancy test because of some symptoms I’d been having. We weren’t trying to get pregnant because my husband wasn’t ready for another one, but to our surprise, I am pregnant! And my husband had a heart change instantaneously! He was so excited! We went back to my charts to find out how it had happened because I didn’t ovulate this past month! We are still scratching our heads! Ladies, according to all the laws of nature…I should NOT be pregnant right now!

My first reaction was to not tell anyone for fear that I will lose the baby (I am just over 4 weeks along right now). But, after talking to a select few Christian friends who I trust very much, they claimed, “The devil is NOT going to take this baby from you!” and I was instructed to tell everyone I know! The reason was to claim that this baby is mine and WILL make it to full term and also to get people to rally around me with the power of prayer. So, here I am, telling you all my story with tears in my eyes. I am asking for you to stand in agreement with me that this baby is MINE and rally around me and my family in prayer.

And lastly, endometriosis is an incurable condition and I have been told that it will return when I start cycling again and the $5,000 surgery in Omaha is inevitable. I am asking once again that you stand in agreement with me that both the PCOS and endometriosis conditions will NEVER return! That God will not only give me 2 healthy babies that never should have existed, but that he will cure my body of these conditions and the surgery will never have to take place!

So with that said, thanks for listening to my story and I look forward to all the wonderful things God has planned for my family and for yours!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Free Health Clinic

St. Mary's Clinics provides free health care for those who don't have insurance and don't qualify for Medical Assistance or other governmental programs. Services are provided every Thursday from 1-5 p.m. at Redeeming Love Church, 2425 White Bear Ave. in MN. Call 651-690-7029 to schedule an appointment.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Couldn't Have Said It Better

In looking for the words to describe who I am and the role God has placed on my heart to be on this earth, my life's purpose so-to-speak, again, Rob Bell says it best. I couldn't have said it better. So, here's my life journey, my life's task...who God's called me to be.

"I see it happening and it gives me great hope. I see leaders getting help and refusing to stuff it anymore. I see communities embracing their brokenness and healing is taking place. I see honesty. I see people who want to be fully alive. I see people who want the life Jesus promises and who are willing to let go of ego and prestige and titles to get it. I continue to dig things up and process new insights and learn about my insides. The journey continues. Very few people actually live from thier heart and connected with their soul. And those few who do the difficult work, who stare their junk in the face, who get counsel, who let Jesus into all of the rooms in their soul that no one ever goes in, they make a difference. Their coming from such a different place that their voices inevitably get heard above the others. They are pursuing wholeness and shalom, and it's contagious. They inspire me to keep going."

Velvet Elvis ---- Rob Bell

"So many people have superwhatever rattling around in their head. They have this person they are convinced they are supposed to be, and their superwhatever is killing them. They have this image they picked up over the years of how they are supposed to look and act and work and play and talk and it's like a voice that never stops shouting in their ear. And the only way to not be killed by it is to shoot first. You have to kill your superwhatever. And you have to do it right now. Because your superwhatever will rob you of today and tomorrow and the next day until you take it out back and end its life."

" 'You did not choose me, but I chose you.' A rabbi would only pick a disciple who he thought could actually do what he was doing. Jesus gets frustrated with his disciples because of HOW CAPABLE THEY ARE. He sees what they could be and could do and when they fall short, it provokes him to no end. It isn't their failure that's the problem; it's their greatness. They don't realize what they are capable of. God has an incredibly high view of people. God believes that people are capable of amazing things. Jesus belives in me. God has faith in me. The rabbi thinks we can be like him."

"HELL: A way, a place, a realm absent of how God desires things to be. We can bring heaven to earth; we can bring hell to earth. For Jesus, this new kind of life in him is not about escaping this world but about making it a better place here and now. The goal for Jesus isn't to get into heaven. The goal is to get heaven here."

I absolutely love this book and I love Rob Bell!!! His perspectives are so great, aren't they? I'd be curious to get others' thoughts on what I've written. These are my notes from the book that stuck with me for different reasons. Part of my journey of discovering myself is: what is my superwhatever? What does Jesus say about me? How can I bring heaven to earth? Great stuff!

What I'm Not

In learning who I am, I am also learning, who I am NOT.

I am NOT a morning person. You probably don't want to talk to me until at least 9:30 a.m.

I am NOT a geography or history person. Don't ask me where China is on a map. I don't know. Don't ask me which direction is North from where you are - I don't know. Tell me right or left, instead. Don't ask me anything about past wars or politics. I don't know.

This is who I am NOT.

"I am not defined by what I am not. And understanding this truth is a huge part of becoming whole." ~ Rob Bell in his book Velvet Elvis

It's a Priviledge

Last Sunday a guest speaker came to our church. It was a man who was born with Muscular Dystrophy. His sermon was totally unrelated to what I'm about say...

As he was talking, it hit me like a ton of bricks! Who the hell am I? I sit here and complain about exercising. I say, "I hate exercising", etc. I realized though, that being able to exercise my body is not a burden or chore, but a gift - not everyone was given that gift. There are people like this man, that would give anything to be able to move a muscle again and here I am complaining! Wow! What a different perspective!


I don't know about you, but I've been hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. In fact, I feel one of these things almost every day. But, have I been crushed? Have I been in despair forever? Has God ever abandoned me? Have I ever been completely destroyed? NO! God is faithful and His Word is the truth.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (Today's New International Version) - We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Imagine Me ------Kirk Franklin

Imagine me loving what I see when the mirror looks at me cause I, I imagine me. In a place, of no insecurities and I'm finally happy cause I imagine me. Letting go of all of the ones who hurt me cause they never did deserve me, can you imagine me. Saying no to thoughts that try to control me, remembering all you told me, Lord can you imagine me? Over what my momma said, and healed from what my daddy did and I wanna live and not read that page again.

Imagine me, being free, trusting you totally, finally I can imagine me,
I admit it was hard to see you being in love with someone like me, finally I can imagine me.

Imagine me Being strong and not letting people break me down, you won't get that joy this time around. Can you imagine me? In a world, in a world nobody has to live afraid, because of your love, fear's gone away, can you imagine me. Letting go of my past and glad I have another chance and my heart will dance cause I don't have to read that page again.

Imagine me, being free, trusting you totally, finally I can imagine me,
I admit it was hard to see you being in love with someone like me, finally I can imagine me.

Imagine me, being free, trusting you totally, finally I can imagine me,
I admit it was hard to see you being in love with someone like me, finally I can imagine me.

This song is dedicated to people like me, those that struggle with insecurities, acceptance and even self esteem, you never felt good enough, you never felt pretty enough but imagine God whispering in your ear letting you know that everything that has happened is now.

Gone, Gone, Its’ Gone, All Gone
Gone, Gone, Its’ Gone, All Gone
Gone, Gone, Its’ Gone, All Gone
Gone, Gone, Its’ Gone, All Gone
Gone, Gone, Its’ Gone, All Gone
Gone, Gone, Its’ Gone, All Gone
Gone, Gone, Its’ Gone, All Gone
Gone, Gone, Its’ Gone, All Gone

Oh It’s All Gone. Every Sin, Every Mistake, Every Failure Its’ All Gone! Depression Gone By Faith It’s Gone Low Self Esteem, Halleluiah Its Gone, All Gone, It’s Gone All My Scars All My Pain It’s In The Past , Its’ Yesterday Its’ All Gone Can’t Believe Its’ Gone What Your Mother Did, What your Father Did, Halleluiah

Its’ Gone All Gone Oh Whoa
Oh na-na-na-na
Oh na-na-na-na
Oh na-na-na-na
Oh na-na-na-na
Oh na-na-na-na
Oh na-na-na-na


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Pre-Amy Self-Portraits

I thought with all my talk about my love of photography, I'd post of my work. These are all self-portraits that were taken in 2002. Let the pictures speak to you and tell you whatever they tell you, that's half the fun of being an artist, but I also want to add a disclaimer - that I was a FAR different person in 2002 than I am now. This may be reflected in some of these pictures.

Enjoy these for now...I'll post others later.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Indian Summer Apple Juice

Don't drink it - it's gross. It tastes like a dirty person.

BTW - I am funny. I'm sorry if you don't think so, but I do - that's who I am - I AM FUNNY! Now, laugh. ;) (Just Kidding)

Giving Her a Voice

The past few weeks have been that of personal growth. Well, the past 27 years have been that of personal growth - but the past two weeks have been more of slapped across the face, dig my heels in - kind of growth.

It all stems back to a seventeen year-old girl, madly in love with a twenty-two year old boy. I say boy, because that's what he was. He wasn't a man at all. She was in love with a patholigical liar - a cheater - a goergous man! One day, this girl caught this man with another woman. A lot happened that day to that girl. But, probably the most important thing that happened was that this girl decided that who she was, wasn't good and wasn't enough. That girl silenced her voice. She ate to escape the voice. She drank to escape the voice. She became premiscious to silence the voice and get revenge. But, she was only making matters worse. Fast-forward ten years. This woman is realizing she silenced that girl. For the past ten years, she looked to others to have them tell her who she was. What wasn't "okay" about her, she changed to please them. If they didn't like her, it wasn't her wasn't her responsibility - she was only being what they wanted her to be. She couldn't be hurt, if she was being what everyone else wanted her to be. If she started to let the voice through and it got shot down...she took what was said about it her and made it true - even if it wasn't. This girl eventually did get married and had a baby girl. But it only made matters worse. The lies she'd been telling herself about who she was, were reinforced and she eventually lost herself altogether. She began blaming her husband for her depressed moods and why she was so unhappy. She gained 30+ lbs, stopped showering and brushing her teeth, stopped dying her hair and cutting it cute and never wore make-up. Until one day...she couldn't handle it anymore. She realized she didn't love herself and never had. She realized some things...

She wasn't unhappy because of her husband. She was unhappy because she stopped taking care of herself and she stopped feeling good about herself. So, she made an appointment to get her hair dyed and cut real cute. She didn't do it for anyone but herself this time. Her therapist said, "I really like your hair", but she thought in her head for the first time, "I really like my hair, too, and isn't that ulimately what matters?"

She needed to give that seventeen-year old girl inside of her a voice! She needed to quite the negative voice of others and start listening for the voice inside of her head that was telling her all along who she truly was!

So, y'all - it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out this story is mine. I own it. I'm telling you it, because you're going to start seeing a different me. You're not going to see the collage of who you all have made me become anymore. You're going to start seeing ME! The real ME!

So, first thing's first... To that twenty-two year old boy...I never had closure. I never got to tell you how much you messed up my life. So, here it goes (deep breath) - I'm glad it was worth it. I'm glad you married the girl and have a family. At least it was worth it. You caused me a 10 year detour in my life of discovering who I am. You crushed my heart, my spirit and my soul. You played me like a fine violin, but the music wasn't so sweet. You also taught me a lot. You taught me not to trust people...particularily men. You taught me that I wasn't good enough, there were things wrong with me. I wasn't worth it. For ten years, I've carried this burden and I ready to lay it down. I'm ready to forgive you and take my memories and stop looking back, but look forward with a high head and smile on my face. No longer will I look back on you and be sad, depressed, angry, etc. I just wanted you to really were all those things they said you were. And I truly hope, you've become a man now.

So, who am I? This is the journey I'm on now. I know a few things...I'm a truck girl. I love trucks! I don't want a wimpy car - I want a truck - a pretty truck. A truck that lets me be a woman, but let's me embrace my truckness. :) I'm a truck girl! I'm also passionate - as I said earlier. Some people mistake my passion for drama - it's not. This is who I am and you can't take that away from me. I love photography. I love taking pictures of things on a larger scale that we see everyday, but take for granted. For instance, taking a leaf or a flower and enlarging it. Looking at the details, the lines, the color pigmentations, the beauty of it - in it's entirety. I don't want to take it for granted anymore...God gave it me to enjoy and I want to enjoy it in it's fullness.

You can't enjoy something in it's fullness, until you can enjoy every last intimate detail of it's creation and beauty.

So, this is my show the world, who I am and all the intimate details of me as a creation and my beauty. So, the world can enjoy me in my fullness.

Every Party Needs a Pooper

Have you been the party pooper in your relationship? I know I have been! At some point, Ben and I stopped celebrating holidays. No gift exchanges at Christmas, no flowers or candy or dinner out on Valentine's day, etc. While it didn't appear to be a big deal, it was. Slowly, after years and years of this...we realized that we stopped taking care of our relationship and we were heading down a slippery slope. It's not about the money or the gifts or even the celebration itself! It's about taking the time to let that person know you care about them - you thought of them - they are still important to you and WORTH it! When had I decided Ben wasn't worth it to me anymore? It was too much work and took too much effort and took too much thought to make a card? To make myself "pretty" for him that day? To surprise him? When did I give myself permission to quit? I'm not a quitter! When did I make it okay and become so relaxed in my marriage that I stopped trying?

Now, you may think I'm "overdramating" this, because that's what I've heard a lot... that I'm a drama queen...but I'm not overdramatic - I passionate - there's a difference! I'm passionate about making my marriage work and I'm passionate about self-evaluation and becoming beautiful inside out and about being the best I can be - as a wife, as a mother, etc.

Also, here's some food for thought...Jesus often spoke in hyperboly (which would be known today as a "drama queen") and aren't we called to be like Jesus? So, the next time you tell me I'm a drama queen - I'm going smile and be glad, because you're complimenting me and telling me I'm just like Jesus - which is ultimately my goal anyway! :)

Happy V-Day!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Get Your Own

Today is pancake day at IHOP. They are giving away free (yes, I said free) short stack pancakes. Here's the catch: they ask for a donation (for what, I really can't remember - I'm too busy salivating over the short stack). So, I'm out. I'm getting my cakes...go get your own, too! :)

Speaker-Listener Technique

I know this is cheesy, but it works. Go buy yourself one of those sticks that you find in therapists offices that have glitter and water and confetti in them. (Or not! Buy something a little less distracting if you're like me and get all tangled up in playing with them!) :) Sit down with the person you have a conflict with. And here's the formula: (BTW - whoever is talking gets to hold the stick - and if you're not holding the stick - then you hold you tounge!)

1. Speaker says what they have to say & passes the stick
2. Listener paraphrases what the speaker said & passes the stick
3. Speaker agrees that is what they said or disagrees and restates what they were trying to say
4. Repeat until Listener fully understands what Speaker was trying to say
5. Listner now gets to be the speaker and on the process goes

Like I said, it's cheesy. Can you tell I've been in counseling? I'm not ashamed of it. How many of you out there have it all together? That's what I thought! We could all use a little help from our friends (or trained therapists)...right? So, I challenge you, the next time you need to talk with someone about a heated subject - use this technique and then try to tell me I'm weird and it's doesn't work.

She's Having A Baby

So today my friend, Jen, finally went into labor after being almost a week overdue. Poor thing - I feel her pain; my own daughter was 4 days overdue and I was induced 3 times! In light of the glorious event, it makes me recollect my own experience of finding out I was pregnant - a 6 a.m. "pee on the stick" reading of "I can't tell if there's one line or two". After a few hours of asking EVERYONE I ran into if there was one line or two (a unanimous two lines wasn't enough for me), calling the number on the box and retaking another one with the same results - I finally concluded, "Oh my gosh! I'm pregnant! Wahoo!" The whole experience is such a cool unexplainable thing. My favorite line from a movie is, "There were no people and now there's people" - stated by Michelle Pfeifer's character in one my favorite movies...The Story Of Us. Really, can our peon of little brains comprehend this miracle? It blows my mind! How can you experience the conception, growth and birth of a baby and NOT believe in God? I just don't get it! My conclusion is...every able and willing woman should experience this at least once.

Now, to all of you women who are unable, my heart goes out to you and may you know that I feel your pain, too. After having my daughter, I developed PCOS and endometriosis. I experienced a miscarriage of my own when my daughter was just 6 months old. I told myself I was okay with it, being I didn't want to be pregnant with a 6 month old! But can you NOT be effected by something like this? If you believe in life at conception, like I do, then that's a member of your family that you just lost. We named our unborn child, Zoe, which means life. It was funny to me that many of the pro-life people around me continually stated, "It wasn't really a baby" or something of the sort. Are you kidding me? Isn't this slightly hypocritical? And aren't most pro-life people Christians? And don't Christians already have a bad rap for being hypocritical? And is this phrase supposed to be some unthoughtful attempt to try to make me feel better and dismiss my Zoe, like he/she didn't exist? NO! My Zoe lived, for 20 days in my womb, a fetus was forming! God's miracle was there!

Which brings me to another thing. Why? Why, God, wasn't Zoe able to live longer? What was the purpose, Lord, of your 20 day miracle? Was I supposed to learn something? It's okay to be angry with God. To not understand why. These are the sorts of questions that helped me find my faith and strengthen it. All I can say is this...please know, that the story of God and the story of our lives and the story of this world and Satan and all that it encompasses, is so much greater than we can ever fathom. So, do me a favor...don't try to put God in a box. Don't try to blame God for everything bad thing that happens in this world. You don't understand it and neither do I. But, Is God to Blame? Really?

To Blog or Not To Blog...That Is the Question

Okay, so I've tried to blog before and got too busy, but I'm starting to think it's a great way for me write and get my thought out of my head and down on some paper. With that said, I'm sure I'll offend somebody at some point in my ramblings. Sorry about it. The fact is, we can't please everybody, so please know my words are not to offend anybody, but rather to just think out loud. Besides, I love a good debate! ;) Enjoy getting "Inside My Head"; even if it's a little weird and cloudy in there at times!