Sunday, November 1, 2015

How PBQS won Miss Arkansas USA: All the juicy details

PBQS reigns again. She is officially Miss Arkansas USA! I watched at home and am so excited! Everyone wanted details, so here is how the night went. 

1. Watching online, eating candy.

2. Receive phone call #1 from Austin, who is there, so I assume it's an emergency.

3. Tell Austin to get back in the auditorium and no he can't talk to Kyle right now. Hang up.

4. Go back to watching and Kole tells me " I hope her wins!"

5. She nailed swimsuit. 

6. Phone call #2 from Austin saying he just bought something on Craigslist and really needs to tell Kyle about it. What??? Why is he on Craigslist right now? Hang up again.

7. In the meantime, he never actually called Kyle's phone. 

8. Text friends with updates as she is eloquent in evening gown and gets into the top 13.

9. Phone call #3 from you know who. I don't even say hello. I just say KYLE HAS HIS OWN PHONE AND HE IS AT YOUR HOUSE FEEDING YOUR DOG. And he's about to be on the phone with the police, so quit calling. (Long story that involved criminals trying to steal things at work)

10. My internet freezes.

11. Kyle comes home to tell me that Austin was out of dog food, but they finally talked. 

12. She's in the TOP 5!

13. Kids fall asleep.

14. PBQS nails her questions specifically spouting off facts about Syria that blew my mind.

15. Kyle falls asleep (seriously?)

16. I make it past 4th runner up

17. Then 3rd and 2nd

18. I have a heart attack

19. She WINS and I wake Kyle back up.

20. I am  left out as they are all taking pictures with Miss Arkansas USA and I am at home with sleeping people.

Next up...Miss USA with three kids :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

An update on health and Jariel

I haven't updated in awhile and to be honest I really don't know why I haven't. Everything has been pretty steady until Monday night when I started having more bleeding. It was much lighter than before, but caused me to panic. I had an ultrasound and baby is doing great, but the subchorionic bleed is still there. It's still an issue that cannot be fixed, but is holding steady and not harming the baby. We will just have to keep monitoring the situation! 

It is amazing how God takes care of His children even in the womb. The baby has been protected from all of this by His grace and has been surrounded by prayers. It is incredible to witness God's miracles!

Also a point I want to make is the peace that God gives you. It truly does transcend all understanding. I am a crazy OCD, type-A person, but have oddly been calm and peaceful. I owe it all to the closeness I have felt with God throughout the past two months. Don't get me wrong---I have had my panic attacks--nothing like I would have expected from myself tho.

To all 5 of my loyal blog readers I have a surprise....a Jariel update!! You will remember Jariel as the woman from Louisiana who kept sending my deceased Grandmother Christmas cards, which arrived at my house since I live in what was her house. I finally sent her a letter last year explaining that Grandmother had died, but never heard back. (Sidenote-my grandparents lived in LA for a few years and had a crew of friends there-Jariel was one of them)

Well last week Kyle was at work and someone called asking to speak to my dad. He wasn't there so Kyle took the call. A woman came on the phone and was demanding to talk to "Sandra's son." Kyle said she started talking a million miles an hour and wanted to know why they couldn't get in touch with Sandra. She was NOT happy and wanted answers as to what she was up to. Kyle saved Grandmother from the shunning of LA friends by informing her that she had died ALMOST 4 YEARS AGO. The lady said well I guess that explains THAT. 

Kyle came home and told me the story and I immediately yelled "WAS IT JARIEL????"

And you know what he responded with...."Not sure didn't catch her name."

After all I have been through reading Jariel's Christmas letter and life story every year, and writing to her myself, he can't help explain the mystery. 

So here is where we are at for future options:

1. I will receive another card from Jariel this year addressed to Sandra, as if she never received my letter. Maybe she will even personalize it?

2. Jariel was shunned from the LA group and kept the story to herself and this was another woman who called.

3. Kyle ruined the story and we will never know.

4. Jariel has no use for me. 

I will keep you all posted!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Praises and Optimism

Today I witnessed the miraculous power of God and prayer. I met with a high risk doctor who said my sub chorionic hematoma has shrunk somewhat and is HEALING!!!! I still have to take it VERY easy, but he thinks this baby should make it here just fine! Kyle and I both had tears in our eyes of pure joy! Three weeks ago we were told our baby had a 50% chance of making it and today we have pure optimism! Thank you for all of the prayers and support! They are truly working! God is good!

"I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears" Psalms 34:4

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

If I Walked Into Planned Parenthood Today: 16 Week Update

I started having heavy bleeding again over the weekend. I woke up this morning again with more heavy bleeding. I feel like I am living in a constant mind game. I spent Saturday at the hospital and the sub chorionic hematoma (blood clot) is still there. However, I can report that our baby is THRIVING. The power of prayer is amazing! He/she is growing, moving and happy as can be! I have strict orders of what to be doing right now to help my body heal and save this pregnancy. Every doctor I have seen is worried about getting my baby here safely. A nurse at the hospital said she would be praying for me and my baby. Everyone has been worried about my baby primarily, which I LOVE. 

So it got me thinking, if I walked into Planned Parenthood today, what advice would they give me? Would my 16 week old baby be referred to as a baby or simply, "the fetus." Yes, I understand the technical term, but there is something too politically correct and cold about it. Would they recommend terminating the pregnancy since it is high risk and a complication has occurred? I mean in their opinion this baby has no rights and I have a choice. They are right about one having a choice. However, my choice isn't the kind of choice they present. My choice is to love my baby and serve my baby right now by doing the best I can to take care of myself. My choice is to treat this baby just like I do my other two kids because this baby IS just like my other two kids. 

Over this weekend, I have been very emotional over the entire abortion epidemic in our country. I am fighting to keep my baby safe right now, while  others are fighting to keep an organization with bad and illegal business practices government funded. I understand that I have friends who are pro-choice, but do not agree with abortion personally. Friends, this is not good enough anymore. We all have to take a stand because abortion is out of control. We all have to fight for life and fight for all women to be receiving the same healthcare I am receiving right now. The kind of healthcare with good medical attention, but also sound personalized support. Those who think Planned Parenthood should stay funded and that we pro-lifers don't truly support life because we want to cut funding from a clinic with bad business practices need to wise up. There are better clinics, hospitals, and other options that deserve the funding! Many think the movement to defund Planned Parenthood as a war on women. I see this as a war for women. I hope my story can let people see how precious life at every stage is, and how this issue deserves a fight. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The power of prayer: 15 weeks

I could cry just typing this post...And these are happy tears, my friends. I made it past the most critical week, the first week after discovering the sub chorionic bleed. Nothing can be done medically, so I know it is the power of prayer and God's work. When I heard the baby's heartbeat Monday, I have never felt so relieved. He/she is one tough little baby to have survived this! I know I still have a long road ahead, but am so thankful for making it past the first hurdle.

Let me tell you, this is a mental game as much as it is physical. Last week I had multiple breakdowns. I had to really focus on God and keep myself in His word. When Krews was a baby, I did the Jesus Calling devotional and loved it. When school started, I decided it would be the perfect before school devo along with prayer time. I am so glad I did this because each day has linked me with scriptures preaching the following messages to me:

Rest in ME
Worship ME
Come to ME and rest 
Rejoice in ME
Receive MY peace
Walk with ME
Accept each day with help from ME
Trust in ME

All of those messages are true everyday, but have really spoken to me in my current situation. It is so hard being in difficult situation, but I cannot even describe to you how close it draws you to God. It is amazing how God works in your life when you cling to Him and turn your troubles over to Him. One day last week, I was sleeping and home alone. I woke up feeling like someone was sitting on my bed. I called out to see if Kyle was home or maybe my mom was there. I was completely alone, but felt like I wasnt. I feel like God was with me. One night I had a breakdown on Kyle, worrying about if the baby would be able to survive. I sat and prayed and read scripture until I calmed down. I have actually lost weight during this pregnancy, but woke up the next morning to feel and see the perfect baby bump. I feel like that was God's way of reassuring me.

I want to thank you all for you prayers and concern. Please continue them! It is amazing to feel such a strong sense of community from friends and family! I am so thankful!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Baby #4 with a major prayer request

Everyone told me after our miscarriage (I still hate that word) that I would most likely get pregnant in the near future. It turns out everyone was right. I found out this summer I was expecting again. And I have been scared, excited, nervous, and prayerful ever since. I have constantly worried about our 4th baby, but told myself I had to turn my worry over to God. At 7 weeks, we had a great ultrasound. At 12 weeks we heard the sweet little heartbeat on the doppler, and decided it was time to share our news with our boys. Today marks 14 weeks. We are so thankful to God for giving us another precious life!

On Wednesday I went to the doctor not feeling well and sure enough had a UTI. I took it easy and took my meds and by Sunday night was actually feeling a lot worse. I knew Monday was Labor Day and I decided just to try to make it to Tuesday and then go back to the doctor. That plan changed when I woke up at 3:30am bleeding. I went to the ER and was given a shot of strong antibiotics along with new oral antibiotics. The ER doctor thought it was just from the infection being so strong. I went home and felt light headed and went back to bed. This time I woke up to a scary scene of blood and went back to the ER. It turns out I have a large sub chorionic bleed that is causing the placenta to seperate from the uterine wall. Basically at this point the bleeding will stop and it will heal, or it won't and the placenta will continue to seperate causing the baby to be deprived of oxygen. The doctor said it can go either way.

It makes me completely sick to even type all of this information. Kyle and I watched our baby on the ultrasound wave at us, put his/her little arm behind its head, and move around so healthy and full of life. We already lost another baby 5 months ago. It completely pains me.

Why am I put in this situation? I have no idea. I do know that I pray every day to serve God and bring glory to Him in my life. You can't pick what problems you will have in life and God will never give you more than you can handle. Right now there is nothing medically that can be done. It is 110% in God's hands. I am a control freak and like to have answers and solutions. How much better is this situation in God's hands than mine though!

The answer that I do have right now are that this baby is God's perfectly created child and he has a plan for him/her. I also know that I am His child and I trust completely in Him and will faithfully serve him no matter the outcome. I pray to be given the chance to have this baby and train him/her to serve him as well.

I am sharing this because so many people have been so good to me and my family over the past five months. I am also sharing to continue to share the story of God's work and faithfulness in our lives. I am overwhelmed by how many people have prayed for and been such a blessing to us. I ask each of you to PLEASE pray for our baby and pray for our family. God is the only one who can save this situation. I promise to keep you all posted.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Remembering Grandaddy

Saturday night I lost my last grandparent, my Grandaddy. He had been in declining health, but we weren't prepared to let him go yet. My mother asked me to give the eulogy. I was happy to do it, but then became almost sick before it was time. I was worried I wouldn't be able to speak the right words and make it thru without crying. Below is the message I delivered about this wonderful man.

One of my earliest memories is climbing in the car to drive to Rose Bud to visit my grandparents. Both Gee and Grandaddy's lives revolved around work and family. We would always drive straight to the center of town to Stark Building Supply, my grandparents hardware store. I know so many of you loved the building supply store. Not just for the products, but mostly for walking in to see gee and Grandaddy and talk to them. We would walk in and find my Gee behind the cash register visiting with customers and my Grandaddy out in the fertilizer store area. we would take money out of the cash drawer and walk across the street to the quick stop. I would make myself the biggest ice cream cone I could manage and then we would walk back. Now if you were my older cousins you got to go to the donut store with Grandaddy before school and get french fries made special for you. After the store closed, We would head to their house on the farm and watch Gee make pork chops in the skillet, while Grandaddy fed the horses. After dinner, the activity was whatever was requested. My grandparents were so young and active that I often feel robbed of time. Especially now in the last few days since we lost Grandaddy. We would head outside and catch lightning bugs in a mason jar. Some nights we would get empty feed sacks to make a diamond in the yard and play a family baseball game. Other nights were spent on the mechanical bull Grandaddy made with an old tank hooked up between two trees with an old mattress underneath in case we fell off. Then we would come inside while Grandaddy watched bull riding and would take turns sitting on his knee as he pretended to be a bull and knock us off. There were also many trips down to their creek to catch crawdads or swim. We actually took all of the great grandkids to catch crawdads on Sunday, and I can only imagine the joy that brought to Gee and Grandaddy, as they had just been reunited in heaven to see their family enjoying the traditions they built. It wasn't anything fancy, but was so picturesque and special. They were both always so happy and truly enjoyed our company. I can say with full confidence that they  lived the small town American Dream that is rare to come across in our world today. 

My cousins would always be at their house. And if they weren't I would immediately call them upon my arrival so everyone could be together. 
My brother would spend his summers in Rose Bud. Every morning he had a homemade breakfast and if his frisbee happened to end up of the roof Grandaddy would climb up and get it. Austin would sleep on a couch in their bedroom. The couch top was lined with small stuffed animals that he won out of a machine. Gee and Grandaddy would put endless quarters in the toy machine at the local restaurant just so Austin could win his prize of stuffed animals to decorate their room. I spend the night one Saturday night on a whim. I was so excited because I got to sleep in my cousins new kids on the block t shirt she kept in their closet. Gee told me to get ready for church the next and I said, "But I have nothing to wear!"

She immediately told me it didn't matter what I wore, it just mattered that I went to church at this very church. We ALL went to church and she was right it didn't matter. Talk about an impression at an early age. 

When my mom would talk to my grandparents on the phone when I was younger, Grandaddy would ask to talk to me. As soon as I got on the phone he would say, "You sure are lookin good tonight!"

I would laugh hysterically as he would tell me his phone had a TV and he could see me thru it. I still giggle to this day about it because I thought a phone with a TV seemed so futuristic and that he had such a big imagination.   

When you walked into Gee and Grandaddy's house two things were always a given. One was that Fox News was always playing and two that it was always an icebox in the house. You could always look under the counter and find the best stash of little debbie treats. For a snack we would homemade popcorn made in a special pan. And every Christmas we would watch Grandaddy cut down a tree and he would always joke that we could only have a Charlie Brown sized tree. 

I also remember the hospitality shown by gee and Grandaddy both. Their front door was always open. No knock even needed. They always had visitors coming just to check in on them. That kind of hospitality and welcoming is rare these days. 

Grandaddy had a hard time watching Gee struggle to be so sick and eventually pass away. You could tell there was such a void in his heart, but he still did his best to stay involved with his family. He would come over to our homes for family dinners on occasion. He would visit everyone on Christmas and give them a crisp $50 bill. And He never went a day without visiting as he called it the quick stop. The other day I was visiting and needed to pick him up a coffee. I went in and said to a girl "you wouldn't happen to know what kind of coffee Nick Stark drinks?" She smiled really big and immediately fixed his coffee JUST like he liked it. He was a beloved member of his community. As a business owner, people always talked about the generosity he and Gee showed to everyone. If you needed in the store after hours no problem, he would come meet you and open it just for you. If you needed something donated, it was yours. He would have given you his last dollar and probably did on some days. 

If you were to visit with him at the building supply store or coffee shop, you know he liked to discuss politics. He was very smart and articulate. One time I remember being a dumb high school kid and saying something about not blaming France for not wanting to be involved in something. He came out of his chair and lectured me so quickly I am scared to even travel to France. One summer I worked at Fox News in New York and I don't think I've ever talked to the man so much on the phone. He LOVED hearing every single detail so he could have some insider information to share. He would ask me what "my friends" thought about this and that. He had no understanding that I was just a bottom of the line intern. And that sums up Grandaddy. He always saw the good in people and thought what you were doing was more important than it ever was. He supported all of us in every single thing we ever did. 

On the day Grandaddy died he looked so peaceful. He never suffered but also never lost his wit. When the nurse was moving him around he was semi awake grunting and she said you can hit me if you need. Without missing a beat he pulled his elbow back and punched her with the tiny strength he had left. All of his family was gathered in his room with him. At one point we were all giggling, telling stories, and talking about old times. I think that was the peace he needed to know he could leave, and the rest of us would be ok with the foundation he had spent his life giving us all. Before he died, he was fussing and fighting with my mom and cousin saying get off me and get out of my way. He was ready to GO! I can't help but wonder if he saw where he was going and was so ready to get here. When I was letting friends and family know the news I typed he's gone in my phone and auto type changed it to he's home. He is home with Jesus. He is Home with gee. Home with his parents and two of his brothers. Home with his own grandparents I am sure he missed as much as I miss mine. I hope you all know too that you will be Home one day as well.

Today is a celebration. A celebration of a life well lived and the rewards he is receiving in Heaven. Grandaddy never liked a formal affair. When he talked to you he always had something funny to share, so I'm going to end this the same way. 

A was a woman out golfing with friends one day. There was a group behind her so she hurried to tee off and fell down. One of the men in the group was Barack Obama (shocking he's golfing, I know) he helped her up and said hello m'am I'm Barack Obama I hope you can say you voted for me. She smiled sweetly and said "Sir, I fell on my behind, not on my head."