"You just broke my bro's arm. Now you're gonna get tasered. Say hello to Dr. Watts!"

- Cal Naughton, Jr.
Like Sands Through The Hourglass...

I have the honor of teaching part of our church membership class and, during yesterday's, something occurred to me. I usually begin my section by introducing myself and telling the class that I joined the church back in 1991 when my family moved to Houston and that it's been really cool to see all the highs and lows and God's constant sustenance and provision here.

As I was "reviewing" that spiel in my head before taking the stage, our pastor was asking some of our LONG term (and one founding) members of our church how long they had been here. (Our church was planted in 1973.) It struck me in light of those 30+ year members, that some of the people in yesterday's class were JUST beginning their potential 20, 30, 40 years of membership!

It was such a cool moment to think that, in 1991, I was a knuckleheaded 7th grader running around with hardly any clues about anything and NO clue that 20 years later I'd be on staff, married and starting a family here. I wasn't thinking that, in my 30s, I'd be worshiping alongside other second and third generation members of our church that were knuckleheads like me in the 90s.

I encouraged yesterday's class that they might be sitting across the table or across the room from lifelong friends that they haven't even met yet but that God was leading to join our church just like them.

It's so cool to think about! God has given us a spiritual family in the Church! Becoming a church member, then, means SO much more than just agreeing with a statement of faith. Praying that our church continues to be a healthy expression of the body of Christ!

Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God

Last weekend Jer and I were able to go see the Gettys in concert (I highly recommend them if you're not familiar with them), and it was so much fun to get away together and worship with other believers. The Gettys are modern hymn writers, and their lyrics are so rich and full of Truth. One of their songs has really stuck with me since then, so I thought I'd share :-)

I'm praying these lyrics over this season of my life:
"Turn my striving into works of grace. Breath of God, show Christ in all I do."

Deacon: 3 Month Update

Probably around 15 lbs these days

Roughly 24"

Clothing Size:
We are officially making the transition from 3 month clothes to 6 month. I've held out as long as I can, but that little cloth-diaper-booty is just too squished in his 3 month clothes!

75% of the time - Buster
20% of the time - Stinker
5% of the time - Bubba, Buddy, Mister, My Wittle Baaabbbbyyy

Right now his 3 month growth spurt is throwing him off his sleep schedule. The past week or so he has been sleeping until around 4 AM, eating, and going back to sleep until 7:30 AM when I wake him up.

Breastmilk (and lots of it). I'm starting to get really excited about introducing him to some different foods in a couple months! I'm so curious about what he'll like, refuse, etc.

Getting his diaper changed, making funny faces, trying to watch TV when he can sneak a peek, being outside, sitting up (with a little help) and his paci.

Missing naps.

We're on the cusp of a couple big ones, but nothing just yet. He loves sitting up with a little support on his lower back, and I think his top, front teeth are starting to sprout (though it could be another month or so before we actually see them).

Best Moment:
Taking Deacon with us on our 2nd anniversary celebration was pretty special. He got to take his first bluebonnet pic, visit the Blue Bell creamery AND see where his Mommy and Daddy were married!

Worst Moment:
Not getting to try any ice cream at Blue Bell. Talk about torture :wink:

Other Tidbits:
- It will be a while before we know one way or another, but I'm pretty sure Deacon is going to be a lefty. It is definitely the hand/side he favors most of the time...
- I've been reminded a lot recently of how lucky we are to have such an easy-going, happy and healthy baby! He doesn't have a daily fussy time anymore and is generally just a smiley chunk of love :-) I know he might not always be this "easy" to parent, but I feel so blessed to be his Mama. He is truly a joy!

Say, whaaaaa?

Apparently RoboCop (1987) is a Christ story.

"It is about a guy that gets crucified after 50 minutes, then is resurrected in the next 50 minutes and then is like the super-cop of the world, but is also a Jesus figure as he walks over water at the end." - Paul Verhoeven

Guess I missed a little something behind, "Dead or alive, you're coming with me."

RobCop walks on water!

All Style, No Substance

I had an idea to post this right after NBA All-Star weekend. So, TBT to All-Star Weekend and a shout out TBT to the "good old days."

I haven't watched an entire dunk contest in years. I remember watching Blake Griffin jump "over" a KIA... that's about it for the last several years. For some reason, I watched this year's competition. Apparently it's now officially called "Sprite Slam Dunk." Which just sounds awkward. Would it hurt them to add "contest" to the title? I mean, there is more than one dunk involved...

Regardless, what stood out to me about the dunk contest and the all-star production, in general, was the gaudy amount of flash/production and the glaring lack of substance. This dissonance was really apparent when finalist Ben McLemore came out dressed in a robe, preceded by a herald, and had Shaq sit in a throne for him to jump over... then he missed the dunk. "All show, no go," comes to mind. He made the second attempt and then knelt to be crowned by Shaq. But the wind had already left the sails. SO much build-up.

John Wall just came out and dunked. He executed, on the first try, a physically impressive dunk. Then went into a swaggerlicious victory dance. Something to be said for letting the work speak before going into hype mode. Wall not only executed this platform, he verbalized it in this article, questioning the role of hype in recent contests.

Of course, back in MY day, I don't remember any victory dances. Just raw dunkage and maybe a mean game face afterward. Those were the days. Less pyro, less fly-girls, less hype men. You tuned in for the athletic competition. So what happened? Either the crowds/audience/consumers have grown hype-thirsty, demanding high-fructose entertainment along the lines of the WWE or the NBA realizes there is nothing new under the sun and all the dunks have been dunked, so to speak. (Dunkers realize this, too, as made evident by the influx of props and hype over the last several years.)

It's also evident in the NBA's formatting remodel that they're trying to keep up or stay relevant somehow, knowing their product is lacking. It's also glaringly evident that there is a lack of superstar showdowns. Where is Lebron? Where was Griffin? This year's contestants were no slouches, but at the NBA's peak the brightest stars threw down (Jordan vs. Wilkins, anyone?) One of my favorite dunk exhibitions of all time was Vince Carter. Props for no props, if you know what I mean.


I think the superstars are afraid of losing. They claim they are too busy, need/want to rest or possibly avoid injury. More likely, they just can't afford to hurt their brand, so younger, hungrier dudes are trying to make a name for themselves or gain some ground on the elites.

Overall, I feel like All-Star weekend is broken. It was a bunch of smoke and mirrors perfectly cued and timed, accompanied by the reality of missed shots and dunks. The fanfare presented superheroes, but real people came out to compete. It kind of creates a disconnect.

All that to say, maybe I think it's "too loud" because I'm just too old. Maybe the NBA's targeted demo loves the hype machine. Maybe they love being told what is awesome by emcee Nick Cannon, rather than just waiting and reacting to the events as they unfold.

I'm sure the "good old days" I keep referring to are abhorrent to previous generations. The idea of a dunk contest, in general, is pretty self-aggrandizing I realize... as are blogging and tweeting, heh. But yesterday's dinner table soapbox rant is today's blog post. Welcome to the table.

Deacon: 2 Month Update

13 lbs. 12.6 oz

23.5 inches

Clothing Size:
Right now he's wearing mostly 3 month clothes with some 6 month clothes sprinkled in. It won't be long before he officially outgrows his remaining 3 month clothes though!

Buster, bubba, buddy, stinker

He typically sleeps 6 to 6 and a 1/2 hours a night! Last night he slept closer to 7 hours, so I think it's just a matter of time before he starts consistently sleeping through the night (sleeping through the night for me is 7+ hours).

So far he's still exclusively breastfed.

Laughing at his daddy, hanging out outside, car rides, having his diaper changed and eating (as you can tell from the above picture)! :-)

Being held like a baby.

He is coo-ing up a storm these days! It's beyond cute. The most surprising part for me is that he loves to "talk" to us while we're changing his diaper! It's where we have most of our heart-to-hearts :wink:

Best Moment:
A specific moment doesn't come to mind, but I'm definitely enjoying all the sweet smiles and laughs! He's interacting more and is starting to show bits and pieces of his personality.

Worst Moment:
Deacon would probably say that his shots were the worst part of this month, but I didn't think they ended up being that bad! Haha. Our little guy was TOUGH and only cried for about a minute before he settled back down. He must get that from his daddy... or Junebug.

Other Tidbits:
He has two different colored eyes! It's hard to capture in pictures, but his left eye is blue and his right eye is brown. Originally we thought that they were just changing at different rates, but today our pediatrician told us he thinks they'll probably stay different colors! I think it's really precious and unique :-)

Identity Thieves

As our pastor preaches through Galatians on Sunday mornings, our CYS class is studying Romans. It's been awesome to dig into their parallels as Paul argues for the truth of the Gospel against the lies of the world.

Something that stood out to me in the context of today's "cause culture" (a term I probably just made up that isn't echoed by any real research), is the concept of identity. If you have a Facebook account, you'll know what I mean. If you don't have a Facebook account, congratulations.

When I say "cause culture" I'm referring to the constant soapboxery (another made up term) that pervades my News Feed. Politics, religion, anti-religion, anti-politics, give them more, they have too much, my sports team, your sports team, I'm offended, they're offended, someone MIGHT be offended, how could they, you should, etc. etc. Or maybe I'm the only one with Facebook friends who promote "awareness" through social media.

I understand that people are going to tout what they believe in, as they should. But has anyone ever been convinced of an opposing view via a Facebook post or linked article? Most of what I see is vehement alliance or opposition with a sprinkling of "live and let live."

So where do Romans and Galatians come in? Glad you asked (even if you didn't).

In Galatians 2:20, Paul writes that he has been crucified with Christ and that it is no longer he (Paul) who lives, but Christ who lives in him.

In Romans 6, Paul writes that believers have been baptized into Christ, are united with Him in His death and will be united with Him in resurrection. The idea of union with Christ is like the botanical process of grafting two branches together. There's a oneness that takes us from unity to union. Our pastor and a good friend here at church made that distinction recently. Unity often carries the definition of solidarity. It's simply a sympathy formed by shared ideas or emotions. I can mentally agree with someone and have "unity" with them.

Union on the other hand carries the weight of oneness. It's a seamless combining that takes two things and makes them one thing. That's how our identities are as believers. We are to be identified by our life in Christ. It's no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us.

When people adamantly defend their various causes as the prime issue in life, THAT issue is usually tied to where they find their identity. For people who don't claim to be Christ-followers, this is more understandable. These folks haven't claimed that they've surrendered their everything to Christ. They aren't, rightfully, identified by Christ because they are not in Christ.

For believers, we need to assess our motivations.
"But wait, what if my cause is really noble and prescribed by scripture?" Awesome! Just champion that cause with the character of Christ. If anger, incredulity, and defensiveness characterize our heroism it's probably not Christ's attitude leading the way. If we're just concerned about winning the argument, keeping our guns, and 'Murica and angry at people who watch CNN, we might need to slow our roll and check ourselves before we wreck ourselves (props to Ice Cube).

Does God want us to defend the defenseless, speak for the voiceless, feed the hungry, liberate the oppressed? Yes, I believe He does.

Does He want us to let our flesh take over in order to convince or "correct" those who disagree with us? No, I don't believe He does.

"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." Colossians 4:6

Not all identity thieves are causes. Sometimes what competes with our identifying with Christ are the roles we play in life. If my prime identity is as a father I will begin to worship my child, because that is what sustains by identity. If my prime identity is as a pastor I will begin to worship success and feedback from people, because they are what sustain my identity.

As Christians, when thinking about how to identify our identity thieves, it's similar to pinpointing our idols. Take a look at where your time is devoted. Assess what makes you defensive (angry even). Consider what you "couldn't live without."

We vigorously defend what we think sustains us because we don't want it taken away.

The beauty of identifying with Christ is that He doesn't need defending. He is our defense. I'm not saying, "stay mum on the causes of Christ and Christianity." I'm saying that indignation is not fruit of the Spirit. I'm saying that if our lives are hidden in Christ, it's His character that accompanies His message. He doesn't need us to stick up for His causes. He invites us to be walking, talking manifestations of His powerful, life-changing Gospel!

Deacon: 1 Month Update

In an attempt to keep up with our ever changing and growing little man, I'm going to try to do monthly updates. He has already grown so much, it's hard to believe it has only been one month! I can't wait to see what the next few months hold :-)

According to our scale, our little chunk is 11 lbs and 6 ounces! He's starting to chub up and I LOVE it.

He was 22 inches at our 2 week appointment, but I think he's closer to 23 inches these days.

Clothing Size:
For the most part we have officially switched into 3 month clothes. While those tiny newborn outfits are cute, they really only lasted about 2 weeks on our healthy boy!

Buster, bubba, buddy, squirmy, big boy, mister

Right now we are sticking to the babywise schedule - 1 to 2 hour naps throughout the day and (ideally) 4 hour stretches of sleep at night. We haven't quite mastered this yet, but he surprised us the other night by randomly sleeping for 6 hours!! It. Was. Awesome.

Breast milk all day, everyday.

Staring at bright lights, hanging out outside, playing with his daddy, swinging and his paci.

Being put down for naps, being swaddled and having to wait on food.

He has really started to master his head movements! He's able to hold his head up for extended periods of time and look around at different things.

Best Moment:
His birth! There's nothing like seeing that sweet little face for the first time and knowing that this precious life has been entrusted to you!

Worst Moment:
Our first hotel stay was a bit of a nightmare. Deacon wailed (I mean, waaaaiiillllllllleeeeddd) the whole first night and the better part of the next day. I felt sorry for us, but I felt even worse for our poor neighbors!

Other Tidbits:
- Deacon is starting to (semi) laugh! He hasn't officially made any laughing noises, but he looks like he's really enjoying himself/laughing when we tickle and play with him
- He recently started to stand up in our laps when we support some of his weight... Basically he's super strong and advanced :wink:

Ramblings from a New Mama

Let me start by saying that these last few weeks have been the wildest, most rewarding, challenging weeks of my entire life. I am completely in love with our sweet baby boy, and I really can't imagine life without him. As much as I'd love to write out an eloquent post about the last three weeks, I'm having a hard enough time stringing together coherent sentences these days! So for today, I'll stick to the highlights :-)

Most surprising part of being a new mama...
How natural everything is in the beginning. The Lord is so gracious in His design, starting us new mamas off with basic needs that we can meet... Even in our sleep deprived state :wink:

Most fun part of being a new mama...
Watching our little guy explore and grow. It's crazy how different he is after 3 short weeks!

Scariest part of being a new mama...
Everything. Being responsible for another human life is terrifying. I'm extra thankful for God's grace and provision these days.

Most challenging part of being a new mama...
Trying to figure out what I'm doing, why he's upset, if I should be doing something different, etc. While things do come naturally, it's hard not to second guess myself and wonder if there is more I could/should be doing.

My favorite part of being a new mama...
Getting to snuggle, kiss and love on my baby boy. I know the days of him falling asleep on my chest are limited, so I'm soaking it up! He is such a treasure, and I still can't believe the Lord has allowed me to be his mama. Having Deacon here brings new meaning to James 1:17.

And now for the best part, pictures of our little guy!

I Love My Pastor

Today marked the one year anniversary of Pastor Steve Bezner coming to Houston Northwest Church. I am just one of many, many people thankful for the blessing he has been since his arrival. Here are just a handful of reasons why I love my pastor.

-He loves Jesus.
-He encourages me frequently.
-He loves my family well.
-He loves his own family well.
-He loves our church well.
-He has a pacemaker, but it seems to work more like Iron Man's flux capacitor chest thing, powering him!
-He is my friend.
-He loves Blue Bell.
-He's read everything.
-He laughs at my jokes... usually.
-He is obsessed with great BBQ.
-He is a "why not?" person which I admire because I am a "why?" person.
-He dreams big.
-He's wicked smaht but doesn't flaunt it.
-He does sound effects when he tells stories.
-He listens and he cares.
-He gets really excited about sharing Jesus with others.

Happy Anniversary, Pastor! Here's to many more!

What A Week!

So, our son was born one week and a day ago, weighing 9 lbs. 5 oz. and measuring 21 inches. After parenting him for just over a week, I wanted to share some of the things I've learned since his birth. It's been an amazing week!

-The disgustitude of other people's bodily fluids decreases when they belong to your helpless offspring. (Mind you, they are still G-ross, just somewhat less so.)

-I've seen Danielle exhibit new levels of amazing that she hasn't had to express until motherhood. She is awesome. She commuted an hour, each way, to her full-time job all the way into her 39th week of pregnancy and has taken to being a mommy like a fish to water. She doesn't show any frustration and has been heard saying things like, "I just can't stop kissing his head." She continues to be a manifestation of God's grace in my (and Deacon's) life.

-Things can go from peaceably normal to bat-crap crazy chaotic in 1.7 seconds with a newborn and first time parents.

-Having a kid stimulates the gland in your body that controls your desire to take and post pictures online.

-Baby hiccups trouble parents much more than they trouble babies. Same goes for barking dogs and fireworks.

-God is too good to me. We have been extremely blessed with the entire pregnancy and Deacon's first week of life. I know that many, many couples struggle with varying stages of the process. And, it's only by the grace and mercy of God that we have been so blessed. Not wanting to make those who have struggled feel bad, just wanting to praise God for His blessing. I am so undeserving and don't want to take His favor for granted.

Anyway, these are just a few of the things I've learned in a week. Can't imagine there's much more to pick up on with this whole parenting gig :wink:

Pregnancy Update: 38 Weeks

How far along? 38 weeks! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
How big is baby Wilson? The size of a watermelon. At our ultrasound this week, the doctor estimated that he was 8 lbs. 10 oz. He is most definitely a big, healthy boy! :-)
Maternity clothes? Oh yes. My work wardrobe has become a rotation of 3-4 maternity dresses. Good thing I only have 3 days left!
Sleep: I'm still sleeping great, just wishing there were more hours each night to enjoy it.
Best moment this week: Laughing with Jeremy in the doctor's office after the ultrasound. We've known for a while that our boy is big, but seeing those measurements was hilarious. I'm going to have to change Deacon 2-3 times a day when he's born if I want him to wear all those cute newborn outfits!
Miss Anything? Being able to bend over. I never realized how much I took it for granted.
Movement: He's still really active. We had one afternoon/night where he was pretty still and it freaked me out. Poor guy was probably just napping, but I'm used to him wiggling all the time!
Food Cravings: Nada.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Thankfully no.
Labor Signs: Nothing major. At this week's appointment I was 1 cm dilated (tmi?), so I'm hoping things start to pick up in the next week or so!
Belly Button in or out? I basically don't have a belly button anymore... just the remnants of one.
Wedding rings on or off? Off. Buying the stand in ring was definitely a good decision.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy! We are getting so close to meeting our little guy I can hardly stand it! Thankfully these last few weeks haven't been too uncomfortable, so I've mostly been able to focus on how excited I am to meet Deacon.
Looking forward to: Kissing those big cheeks we keep seeing in the ultrasound pictures :-)

God With Us

Our College and Young Singles' ministry (CYS) is going through a series called "God With Us" to parallel our church's Advent series. We're looking at a few of the major components of the Incarnation, and it's been really exciting to dig into these lessons.

It might be a little unconventional to emphasize suffering, temptation and penal substitution when most folks are feeling merry and bright at the thought of cuddly baby Jesus... but those are what the Incarnation points us toward! I think it's important that we consider why Christ had to become fully man. It makes cuddly baby Jesus that much more exciting!

Our first lesson focused on the Atonement. Christ had to become fully man in order to atone for sinful men (Hebrews 2:16). The punishment for the sins of man had to be endured by a man... so Christ took on flesh. Not only did Jesus take our place in receiving punishment, but He also stands in our place as righteous. This righteousness was earned as a man (Matthew 3:15 and Matthew 5:17). It's a righteousness we couldn't earn... so Christ took on flesh. He lived, as a man, in complete obedience to God's will. And all who trust in Christ by faith receive His righteousness, justifying us before God the Father!

The second lesson had us looking at Jesus' sympathy for mankind. Christ had to take on flesh so that He could gain experiential knowledge of human suffering and temptation. Crazy to insinuate that Christ lacked knowledge of something, given He's omniscient but Hebrews 2:18 tells us that Jesus' experiences in human suffering and temptation allow Him to sympathize with us. Consider how great His suffering was, knowing it truly was undeserved. Imagine how great the temptations were that He faced, considering that He never gave in. Wayne Grudem joins other theologians in suggesting that, "only he who successfully resists a temptation to the end most fully feels the force of that temptation." We think we know the magnitude of temptation, but try to grasp how immense it could be, if it were always resisted! To minister to mankind with sympathy, Christ took on flesh.

The next installment of our series will look ahead to our resurrection bodies! Christ took on flesh so that He could redeem humans. That means that everything that goes into being human will be redeemed! Christ is the firstfruits of the resurrection. He maintains a glorified, physical body and His people will be resurrected to glorified, physical bodies (1 Corinthians 15)! For man to ultimately be what God intended, Christ had to take on flesh and redeem it. Amazing stuff!

None of these things could have happened if Christ had not humbled Himself unto humanness. We celebrate baby Jesus because of the eternal and otherwise impossible implications His arrival led to! God didn't have to send Jesus. But He wanted to save and redeem us.

That's why our final "lesson" will be a day of praise to God for His loving plan to show us mercy and grace!

1 John 4:10 "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."

God with us! Merry Christmas!

Pregnancy Update: 36 Weeks

First of all, happy Thanksgiving from the Wilsonians! There are so many things to be thankful for this year, but more than anything else we are thankful for salvation and redemption through Christ. There is nothing in this life quite like knowing and being loved by our Savior! On a smaller scale, we are extra thankful for the precious life He has created and entrusted to us with baby Deacon :-) It has definitely been a year FULL of blessings and unimaginable joy. We are undeserving, but so thankful for all that He has done and continues to do!

Now onto the update...

How far along? 36 Weeks! That's NINE MONTHS of pregnancy... pretty mind blowing.
How big is baby Wilson? An ultrasound last week confirmed that baby wilsonian is a big boy! Right now he's clocking in around 7 lbs with another month to go.
Maternity clothes? Yes. I've really learned how to stretch my wardrobe these last few months (literally).
Stretch marks? *Sigh* Found my first little stretch marks last week. They're pretty tiny though, so I think I'm still in pretty good shape.
Sleep: Yes and amen.
Best moment this week: Too many to name! Since the last update we went on a wonderful babymoon to Wimberley, had our annual CYS fall retreat, church picnic and a fun ultrasound.
Miss Anything? I wish putting on shoes was a little easier, but with only a few weeks of pregnancy left I'm soaking up all of my super-pregnant moments :wink:
Movement: SO MUCH MOVEMENT. If he is anything outside the womb like he is inside the womb, then Jeremy and I are going to have our hands full!
Food Cravings: Nope.
Anything making you queasy or sick: The orange glucose-test drink from earlier this week. I may never drink orange soda again...
Labor Signs: No major labor signs, but he is definitely sitting lower than before. I can feel my body preparing, so I'm hoping he makes an early debut!
Belly Button in or out? Both.
Wedding rings on or off? Still rocking the stand-in ring.
Happy or Moody most of the time: All of the above.
Looking forward to: Holding my sweet boy.

Pregnancy Update: 34 Weeks

How far along?
34 weeks!
How big is baby Wilson? Normally babies at this stage are the size of a large cantaloupe (19-22 in, 5.5 lbs), but at my last doctor's visit she said he was measuring ahead... again. I'm guessing he's closer to 6 lbs. these days!
Maternity clothes? I don't wear anything that isn't stretchy these days. I'm at the point in my pregnancy where I really don't want to buy any more maternity clothes, so I'm just making do with what I've got.
Stretch marks? Nope.
Sleep: I can hardly keep my eyes open once 9 o'clock hits. Poor Jeremy has to recap all our shows for me because I sleep through the endings. Thanks, babe!
Best moment this week: Sewing the crib skirt with my Mom last weekend was definitely a highlight. Deacon's nursery is finally starting to look like it's ready! All it needs is a little guy to break it all in :-)
Miss Anything? Being able to bend over/get up without grunting. I probably need to die to the dream of wearing boots and shoes with laces for the next couple weeks...
Movement: He's been a little less active than normal this week. I still get enough movement not to worry, but I think he's running out of space in there!
Food Cravings: Nada.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really. I keep trying to influence Deacon's palette by eating weird/spicy things. Despite my best efforts, the little booger still moves the most when I eat chicken!
Labor Signs: Nope.
Belly Button in or out? Starting to stick out a little bit, but mostly it's flat.
Wedding rings on or off? Off. I tried them on again the other night and could barely get them on :-( In the last week I've gone from minimal swelling to noticeably swollen fingers, toes and ankles.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy! I'm starting to get more uncomfortable, but I am way more excited about Deacon coming than anything else.
Looking forward to: Babymooning this weekend with my favorite guy and our favorite pup :-) I'm trying to soak up these last few weeks as a family of 2!

Pregnancy Update: 32 Weeks

How far along? 32 weeks! I'm officially 8 months pregnant, y'all :-)
How big is baby Wilson? The size of a honeydew (19 in, 4.5 lbs)
Maternity clothes? Most def. I'm starting to really push the limits with the few non-maternity items I've been wearing...
Stretch marks? So far, so good!
Sleep: I pretty much fall asleep as soon as I get still, but I've been waking up 1-2 times a night to go to the bathroom. I can't even imagine how many times I'll wake up once he drops!
Best moment this week: Feeling all his movement. I don't know what he's been up to lately, but he is constantly on the go!
Miss Anything? Caffeine. I still have it in moderation, but I've definitely been missing the freedom to grab a PSL or diet coke whenever the urge strikes.
Movement: Oh yes. Long gone are the flutters and little kicks from earlier in the pregnancy! He has been pressing into my ribs, walking along my stomach and shifting from one side to the other constantly.
Food Cravings: Not really, but I've been eating my fair share of chicken pot pie lately.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope! As long as I eat... all the time :wink:
Labor Signs: Nope.
Belly Button in or out? Neither. I think I might make it the long haul with my flat belly button.
Wedding rings on or off? Off. Still rocking the stand-in ring.
Happy or Moody most of the time: I think I've been leaning towards happy, but I've definitely had my cranky moments/afternoons these last two weeks.
Looking forward to: My baby shower tomorrow!

Praying Over Deacon

These past couple months the Lord has put it on my heart to begin intentionally praying over Deacon and the man he will become. Prayers for his heart, his passions, his future and his character. Though I know my prayers for him will change in some ways as he grows and I begin to know his heart, my desire is to always be interceding for him, throughout his life.

Below are some of the prayers and scriptures that I will be praying over him over the next few weeks, months and years:

1. That God would call him out of his sin and that he would respond in faith.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. - John 1:12-13

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. - John 10:27-28

2. That his life would be a picture of God's goodness, faithfulness and grace.

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. - Philippians 1:27-28

3. That he would be a man of integrity, and that he would pursue purity, humility and righteousness.

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. - 2 Timothy 2:22

4. That he would love people well.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. - 1 John 4:7

Let all that you do be done in love. - 1 Corinthians 16:14

5. That he would bravely follow after the Lord.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. - Deut. 31-6

6. That he would be a Christ-like servant.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. - Philippians 2:3-4

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. - Galatians 5:13

7. That he would be passionate about God's Word.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1-2

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17

8. That his life would be marked by joy, not merely comfort or happiness.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. - Romans 15:13

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. - Psalm 16:8-9

9. That he would marry a godly woman and lead his family in righteousness and love.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her - Ephesians 5:25

Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? - 1 Timothy 3:2-5

10. That he would be used by God for His kingdom purposes.

Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. - Romans 6:13

Pregnancy Update: 30 Weeks

How far along? 30 weeks! I feel like we're officially at the counting DOWN stage :-)
How big is baby Wilson? The size of a head of lettuce (18 in, 3.2 lbs)
Maternity clothes? Yes. I've had to pick up a couple things recently to get me through these last few months/weeks.
Stretch marks? Not really.
Sleep: I have been sleeping like a rock... I only wish I could get more of it!
Best moment this week: Having Jeremy home again after a week apart. I am beyond grateful for him and all his love/support!
Miss Anything? Non-maternity clothes.
Movement: Oh my goodness, yes! I've started playing hide and seek with him when I'm driving. It typically starts with him hitting me hard around my ribs, and me poking him until he moves (or "hides") again!
Food Cravings: Nope. I still have a major sweet tooth though!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nothing in particular.
Labor Signs: No.
Belly Button in or out? Neither, but probably more in than out.
Wedding rings on or off? I've started wearing a stand-in ring since my fingers will occasionally swell. I hate not having my actual wedding ring on, but it's just a temporary fix.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: My next ultrasound. It feels like it has been forever since we've gotten to see our little guy move around!

We Are One

As our church has considered Christian community over the past several months, certain things have really resonated with me. As we strive to really be the Church and truly experience Christian community, diversity cannot be ignored. I think there are a few factors that have fueled this soapbox in my life.

My background plays some part, I’m convinced. I spent nearly the first 10 years of my life in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. I was born in San Benito, and then lived in Brownsville and McAllen before moving to Albuquerque, NM (and finally Houston). If you’re not familiar with the Valley, trust me when I say there is a pervasive Latino culture. Whereas larger cities have pockets of other cultures like “Chinatown” or “Little Italy,” most of the Valley is “Little Mexico.” So, I grew up celebrating Charro Days and next door to a boy whose name I thought was Meho and whose grandparents I called Abuela and Abuelo. (Later I realized they were calling him “mijo” which is a term of endearment meaning “my son” and abuela and abuelo mean grandma and grandpa!) Anyway, I’ve always been pretty comfortable around Hispanic cultures/people and probably a little more sensitive to cultural diversity, in general, because of my roots.

Another factor that has increased my cultural awareness is participation in international missions. Cultural diversity will definitely cross your mind when you go from being in the majority to being in the minority with regard to skin color, language or customs! If you’re a believer, you need to engage the world with the Gospel! Houston is one of the most culturally diverse cities in America. Embrace it!

More recently, I’ve even noticed some lack of diversity within our existing church crowd. I don’t mean that our church crowd isn’t reaching people different than us. That’s the point I was trying to make in my previous paragraphs! The point I’m making now is that we’ve built up walls even between our mostly white, middle-class selves. I think I’ve been more aware of it recently because I’ve worked closely with or entered into several different church demographics over the last few years.

For my first 10 years or so on staff at HNW, I worked with junior high and high school students. That was my world. My community and fellowship was with students and student workers (mostly apart from their families). Then I transitioned to the College and Young Singles (CYS) ministry. Since I started working with CYS, I have gotten married and, in the next 3 months, will have a son! The changes in scenery, community and Life Groups have been distinct!
The predominant thinking in modern church culture is to provide a Christian community for every little stage of life. And while there is definitely something to be said for affinity and the power of the shared experience, it’s still important that we pursue diversity demographically as we pursue diversity racially and culturally.

It really irks me when Christian college students don’t want to be in fellowship with Christian twenty-somethings… or when married twenty-somethings don’t want to be in fellowship with married thirty-somethings… or when married folks without kids don’t want to be in fellowship with married folks with kids... or when marrieds and singles don’t want to be in fellowship with each other… or young folks don’t want to be in fellowship with senior adults, etc. etc.

This is not the heart of the Gospel. The heart of the Gospel is what Paul writes about in Galatians 3:28 when he says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

It’s the power of Christ to break down walls and unite the different into one, in Him. Shame on us for rebuilding walls that Christ has demolished and for creating walls that never should have existed to begin with!

Because, in case you don’t realize, Heaven will not be segregated into our convenient, customizable demographics and English is not the official language. One of the sweetest blessings I've ever experienced is worshiping with Christians in other nations. It’s a great reminder of how diverse the new heavens and new earth will be! We celebrated this truth in Kenya with a favorite praise song that the children sing, boasting, “We are many, but we are one!”

If you believe the plea in the Lord’s Prayer that says “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” you should appreciate diversity now, because we can’t practice for eternity in uniformity.

Pregnancy Update: 28 Weeks

How far along? 28 weeks! Officially in my THIRD trimester!!
How big is baby Wilson? The size of a small cabbage. He's around 3 pounds and 17 inches.
Maternity clothes? Maternity clothes, or regular clothes with plenty of stretch, are a necessity these days. My belly is large and in charge!
Stretch marks? *sigh* I think I found my first one the other day. It's tiny and hard to see though, so I'm hoping that's as bad as they get.
Sleep: This past week I've been in a constant state of tiredness. It might have something to do with how I've started waking up in the wee hours of the morning to go to the restroom again...
Movement: Still plenty of kicks and jabs :-) I feel movement all over my stomach, but mostly up by my ribs. Thankfully none of it has been painful yet!
Food Cravings: I've been nursing a major sweet tooth these past two weeks (and throughout my entire life, if we're being honest). The chocolate chip cake that Jeremy's Mom made tasted like HEAVEN to this pregnant lady.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Not recently.
Labor Signs: Nope.
Belly Button in or out? Neither :wink:
Wedding rings on or off? On.
Happy or Moody most of the time: I've probably been more moody these last few weeks than I have been up to this point. I blame the lack of sleep. And the lack of sweets.
Looking forward to: Finding out what our little guy looks like! I know I'm still 3 months out, but I can't wait to see that precious face and kiss all over him.

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