Monday, November 11, 2013

Healing

It seems like the last few weeks I have seen people dealing with sickness and disease, and my heart has been moved with compassion for them.  If you are one of those people, I want you to know a few things.

FIRST...It is NOT GOD putting sickness or disease on you.  He's not trying to "build your faith", "teach you a lesson" or "make a testimony for you."  And when I hear any of those things about my heavenly father, my heart breaks and I want to puke.  How could someone trust their father if they think he's hurting them?  Matthew 7:10-12 talks about how even evil earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to their children and HOW MUCH MORE our heavenly Father gives good gifts.  I looked up that word "good"...there's not some hidden agenda behind it, or some warped meaning.  In the Greek language, it means....GOOD!, of good constitution or nature, useful, salutary, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy, excellent, distinguished, upright, honorable.  Sickness and disease don't fit into that anywhere.

SECOND...It IS God's will for you to be healed!  In John 8:28 we're told that Jesus was the exact representation of God on earth.  And in Acts 10:38 we're told that Jesus healed ALL that were oppressed of the devil!  So, God wants ALL healed!  Why isn't everyone walking in healing?  That's a question I don't have an answer to.  I think some of it has to do with people's emotions, lifestyle habits, and to be honest, sometimes people just want to be sick.  BUT, just because I don't have the answer, that doesn't mean I'm going to blame God for it!

THIRD...When James and John came across a town of people who wouldn't accept Jesus in Luke 9, they asked Jesus if they could call fire down from heaven on them.  Do you know what Jesus said?  He said NO!  He rebuked James and John and told them that they didn't know what manner of spirit they were of.  AND, Jesus told them that HE DID NOT COME TO DESTROY MEN'S LIVES BUT TO SAVE THEM!  I looked up what that word SAVE means, and it's so good, y'all!  It is the greek word "sozo" and it means: to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction one (from injury or peril), to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health, to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue!  Jesus came to HEAL AND MAKE WHOLE!  He's not even putting sickness or disease on people who won't accept him!



Listen folks, this is the GOSPEL, the GOOD NEWS!  God loves you!  He wants you healed!  He wants you whole!  If you're not walking in complete healing or wholeness, trust that God wants you to.  Trust that Jesus paid the price for it.  Trust that He is not the one putting sickness and disease in your life.  Would you inject your own child with Aids, cancer, mental illness, infertility, etc.?  NO WAY!  Well, HE is not doing that to you! Ask yourself if you're holding on to bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, stress, or an unhealthy lifestyle that's keeping you from the health Jesus paid for.  Ask yourself if you're walking the path of healing He has for you.  He's already paid for it.  It's ours to walk in!  Ask God to put men and women in your path that will help you walk in healing and wholeness.  And, don't listen to any religious garbage that tells you God is making or keeping you sick for His "glory" or "If it's His will to heal, He will."  His glory doesn't need us to do anything to maintain itself.  He's as righteous as righteous gets.  And, it IS His will that you're healed!  He just wants us to know He loves us.

And please, oh please, if you are one of those people saying that garbage to people who are dealing with sickness and disease, stop.  You could be hurting them.  God wants them well.  God wants YOU well.  Rest in that.

I'm believing God that if you're reading this, you'll have a tangible experience with God's healing.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday to My Emery Rose

To know her is to love her.  That's my Emery Rose.  


When she was a tiny being in my womb, and I found out she was a girl, I knew what I wanted to name her.  I believe parents have so much power in naming their children.  I knew Emery was something special when she was just in my womb.  I knew she was destined for greatness!  The name Emery came from a loved friend whose name is Emery.  I thought it was an awesome name.  And when I found out what it meant, I knew it was for my little girl whom I hadn't met yet, but just knew.  A momma knows.


Emery means: Industrious Leader, Brave, Powerful. Have you met my child?  If you have, you know this is her.



Her middle name is Rose, after my sister, Amanda Rose, and my Mimi, Rosemary.  I knew with such a powerful first name, we needed a balance with Rose: flower, delicate.  For those who really know my girl, they know she is preciously delicate.  A rose also has a tough side, and Emery Rose sure does.  She can handle herself.  She always gets back up after falling, and I know that's a trait she'll always have.  I have to remind myself sometimes that she's still so little...she's so mature for her age!

She turns three years old today, and what an amazing three years it's been!



I know Emery Rose was given to me to be my teacher, after all, she is the little girl who made me a mother.  Every single day Emery teaches me so much about myself and life.  She knows how to push my buttons best, but she also knows how to melt me in an instant.  She is full of life and love.  She is a daddy's girl, but has a unique and special relationship with me.  She may look exactly like her daddy, but she acts so much like her momma.



Emery is the best big sister I ever could have imagined.  The moment she met Eden, she beamed with pride.  If her sister cries she'll say to me, "Momma, help her!"  She protects and loves Eden with her whole heart!  Shortly after Eden was born and we were visiting my parents house, I left Eden sitting in her car seat on a chair and walked towards the door, Emery said, "Momma! Don't forget her! Don't leave her!"  If Eden is not in the same room as us, she asks me where Eden is.  She loves to kiss and hug her.  I love having a glimpse into their special relationship.



Emery loves her daddy with her whole heart.  She says he is her boyfriend, and he is.  They go on dates.  He takes her for rides in his truck so they can have daddy-daughter time.  They turn up the music and dance as they ride along.  She hunts for her daddy in the house first thing in the morning hoping he hasn't left to workout yet. And when he opens the garage door when he pulls in from work, she beams!  If her daddy asks her what she is, her response is "Beautiful!" and she is.



A few months back we took a family date night to Burger King so Emery could play on the play set.  There were a few kids there, and after Emery ate her dinner, she was able to play.  The kids were pretty rowdy and rough, and I wondered if Emery would join in on that or if she would do her own thing.  I should have known.  She did not give in to being rowdy.  She did her own thing and played and had fun.  She is strong in what she believes and what she knows to be right and wrong.  In fact, she is already a backseat driver. :)  And, she'll gladly tell me or her daddy when we aren't driving 'right.'



She has a natural gift for music.  She can pick out the beat to any song and she can learn lyrics quicker than I can.  She loves to worship her God by singing, playing music and instruments, and by raising her little hands and dancing.  I don't tell her to, she just does it.  She also likes to 'be on the worship team' and she likes to tell me how to lead worship. :)



Emery Rose is such a leader, we have to help her to not lead people who don't want to be led! Ha!  She loves telling her little friends and cousins what to do and how to do it.  :)  It will be interesting to see what she decides to do when she grows up!



She is one of the smartest kids I know, and I'm not being bias.  We have people tell us all of the time how smart she is and how well she communicates.  She said her first word at 4 months, no joke.  It was "kiss."  And she hasn't stopped talking since! :)  She's a quick learner.  She's sharp.  You can't get anything past her.  She is aware of everything that goes on around her.  She picks up on people's moods and body language.  She is sensitive to how people feel and wants people to be happy.



She does everything she possibly can to get out of bedtime...she'll have to go potty; she'll want to sing a song; she'll want to read books, play with toys, talk, etc. etc.  She knows life is happening around her and she does not want to miss out.



She is extremely loyal to those she loves.  And when she loves people, she really loves them.  Her little heart is so tender.  She already tells me Jesus lives in her heart.  I believe he does.  She has wisdom and understanding beyond her 3 years.  She's a force to be reckoned with.  She is iron that sharpens my iron.  Sometimes I wonder why I was picked to be this amazing little girl's momma ...how can I ever live up to be the momma she needs?  She's such a grand and great little person.  I'm thankful God blessed me with her and trusts me to be in her life.



Emery Rose, I love you.  You are kind.  You are smart.  You are important.  Thank you for being MY little girl.  Happy 3rd Birthday!  I'm so proud of you. Love, Momma

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Biggest Frenemy

Just so you know, I use the term "frenemy" loosely here.  I'm not cool.  I don't keep up with what's "hip" these days.  In fact, my daughter (who is turning 3 on November 5) tells me she has swagger, and I don't really know what that means, but I'm sure she has it.  I know there is a song about a fox that's popular right now, but I've never heard it.  And, when I found out what the Harlem Shake was, I had to look it up, and realized...that's how I actually dance. Seriously. Ha!

But anyways, that's beside the point...back to "frenemy".  For those of you who are not cool like me and don't know all of the cool terms, frenemy means: An enemy disguised as a friend.  I looked up the definition in the Urban dictionary, just so you know it's legit.

As a working mom/wife, my biggest frenemy would have to be DINNER TIME!  This picture described my life perfectly...


Y'all, I can't even tell you how much I hated cooking supper.  I had zero motivation.  My mind could not wrap around the fact that my child and husband wanted to eat Every. Single. Night.  You'd think someone who grew up in a home with such an amazing mom who had a home-cooked meal on the table every single night (even when she worked full time outside of the home) would grasp that fact, but I couldn't.

That 5 o'clock hour would creep up on me.  I could feel myself becoming aggravated and frustrated that again, I hadn't planned for it.  I didn't have the groceries I needed to make something, and my husband would come home with a rumbling tummy and to me giving him blank stares.  Let me say this...my husband doesn't expect me to do it all.  He chips in with everything around the house.  He's not one of those, "Fix me a sandwich, woman." kind of guys.  Could you imagine...me with a guy like that?! HAHAHA! That just wouldn't work.  On those nights when my husband would come home from work to an empty table, HE would cook supper, happily.  He has Iron Chef/Chopped skills where he can make amazing meals out of nothing.  I don't.  I need a plan.  I need a recipe.  I function better that way.

So one day it dawned on me...this realization that I hated cooking dinner.  I had all of the symptoms of it, but never really the revelation of it.  Now, I'm a great cook (if I do say so myself), and I love cooking.  I just hated the pressure of dinner time.  I told Jeremiah that day that I hated cooking dinner.  He said, "Kristen, honey, I already knew that."  And, then we came up with a plan.  He would cook dinner and I would clean the house.  I was so excited to be relieved of that pressure.  Freedom!

God taught me so much through this.  As I began to experience the freedom from cooking dinner, I WANTED TO COOK DINNER!  No joke, y'all.  I cooked dinner more after that "confession" and time of pressure being relieved than I had in the last year.  It was like a switch was flipped in my heart.  Isn't that how God works?  He removes pressure from our lives, and gives us the freedom to transform?

So now, believe it or not (believe it!), I cook dinner pretty much all of the time, unless Jeremiah just wants to.  I make a weekly meal plan, grocery list, find new recipes and try them out, and cook delicious meals for my family.

God has shown me the value and love I can express to my family through dinner time.  Emery tells me every night, "Momma, thank you for cooking me dinner!" without being prompted.  Her little heart KNOWS it's an expression of love for her from me.  And, for that, she's thankful.  My husband LOVES coming home to a house that smells of a home-cooked meal and I LOVE doing that for him.  I found that when the pressure and expectation I had placed on myself to be a pinterest-pinning-and-cooking-momma was released, I could be what I wanted to be.

The Lord is teaching me every single day how to live this life with happiness.  To some people this little dinner time revelation wouldn't mean anything, to me it's been a huge blessing.  I often say, if what I'm learning in my personal study time, church time, Bible study, etc. with the Lord doesn't help me pay the bills, raise my children, love my husband, love people, and have dinner on the table, I don't have time for it.  God is doing just that...he's so graciously teaching me how to live life and love my family the way He intended...without pressure.  I'm blessed.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Eden Lee's Birth Story



What a sweet surprise to find out I was pregnant with Eden!  I found out in October of 2012 and was really excited we'd be having a summer baby (rare occurrence in our family!)  Time passed when in January 2013 we found out we were having another girl!  I've always known Jeremiah makes the perfect daddy to girls...it just fits.  In February after prayer and research I decided to switch from my regular OBGYN to a midwife and have a natural birth at our local birthing center.  It was a tough decision for us to make as a family because of some of the things we went through with Emery's labor and delivery, but I had a strong peace about it and desire for it.

Emery's birth was a tough one.  She had shoulder dystocia and a broken collar bone.  As new parents, we were devastated and never wanted any of our children to go through anything like that again.  I felt like being able to labor the way I wanted, labor in the water, move, get up from the bed when I wanted, etc., would be the key to preventing that from happening with Eden's birth and I knew I could easily do that at the birthing center.

As my pregnancy with Eden progressed, the midwives kept a close eye on her weight gain to make sure she wouldn't be 'too big' for me to deliver.  When I was 38 weeks they did an ultra sound and found out she was tiny (6lbs 5oz) and decided to do ultrasounds every week until I delivered to make sure she wasn't too tiny.  She continued to grow at her own pace.  My due date (June 23) came and went.  I was so ready to have her!  I thought she would come early, but she had her own plans.

On July 1, a Monday, when I was 41 weeks 1 day pregnant, the midwife told me I had until Wednesday to have her at the birthing center.  It's their policy to only have patients 41 weeks 3-4 days for safety reasons.  I was stressed!  I desperately wanted to avoid hospital birth.  I had some friends and family pray for very specific things regarding labor and delivery of Eden that week...one being that I would have supernatural favor with the doctor and midwife that they'd give me extra time if needed.  We went in the next day for natural induction methods (nipple stimulation) and it didn't work.  Again, I was super bummed because that meant Eden only had 1 more day to come on 'my terms' :) .  We went in again on Wednesday, July 3, to try the natural induction method again and when we went in we had another ultra sound and non stress test.  Everything was still perfect in the womb and with Eden's growth, so the midwife came in and told me they would give me until Saturday when I would be 41 weeks and 6 days pregnant to have her at the birthing center!  I was SO relieved.  God answered the prayer of so many.  I knew she had to come by then, my stress level dropped tremendously, and I relaxed.  She said we could come in on Friday, July 5, and have my bag of waters broken and start the natural induction method again.  I would have 12 hours to get into active labor and could stay at the birthing center to have Eden without a transfer to the hospital.  That plan sounded the best to me and Jeremiah.

We had a restful 4th of July at my parent's house and spending time with Emery.  She spent the night with her grandma and poppa so we could get to the birthing center the next morning and relax.

Friday morning, July 5, Jeremiah and I went to the birthing center, had another ultra sound and non stress test where everything looked perfect still.  We went up to our birthing suite, The Tuscany Suite, and got settled.  My midwife was Annie.  Around 10:30 am she checked me (3-4 cm), broke my bag of waters, and we started the natural induction method again.  Things were progressing slowly.  Contractions were coming, but not very strong or regular.  My mom, sisters, and friend Natalie all arrived around noon to be my support alongside Jeremiah.  While we continued timing contractions, bouncing on the birthing ball, walking, squatting, etc, they all kept me laughing and entertained chatting and listening to worship music.  We were all praying active labor would kick in soon.  I loved having the freedom to eat and move around how I wanted to.  Such a different experience from a hospital birth!  After a couple of rounds of the natural induction, I noticed every time I would go to the bathroom, my contractions would get stronger and I was feeling a lot of pressure.  So, after sitting on the toilet for awhile, the contractions kept coming and coming.  I was in active labor!  The position must have been perfect for Eden to come down.  After getting checked again I was at 6 cm and remained there for awhile.  I got in the birthing tub around 8 pm because I was now in active labor from the contractions I had while on the toilet. :)  It was relaxing and the water helped ease the contractions.  We were all listening to the Civil Wars, chatting in between contractions, and watching the fireworks outside the window.  At this point, it was my dream labor come true.  It was easy, relaxing, and just how I wanted it.

After some time, I decided to get checked again because my contractions slowed in timing and intensity after being in the tub.  So, I got out and was checked and hadn't progressed at all.  At this point I was pretty discouraged.  In the back of my mind I was worried I wouldn't progress quickly enough and have to be sent to the hospital.  I think Annie must have known I was holding onto a fear because she had Jeremiah and I stay in the birthing room alone and talk about it and try to 'let go' of that fear.  After that, and some amazing hip motion exercises she helped me do, the contractions came back very strong, very consistent.  She had Jeremiah and I rest in the bed...which was what I really felt like I needed.  The contractions from that point on are what I consider transition contractions -- the contractions that build up to pushing.  During the contractions I could feel Eden moving down (finally!).  In between contractions I would rest in the bed and when they came, I would wake Jeremiah up (poor fella was exhausted) so he could help me through them.  At one point I remember yelling, "HELP, HELP, HELP!" and Jeremiah jumping out of the bed to get Annie.  When she came back in I told her I wanted to get back in the tub...I needed some relief and I felt like it was getting close.  As they filled the tub, I sat on the toilet again and let the contractions do their thing.  Annie and Jeremiah helped and encouraged me.  Then, it was time to get in the tub.  When I got in the tub it felt so good!  Just what I needed to relax.  The contractions were super intense at this point and it was impossible to get comfortable, but the water helped.  I don't think I was in the tub for 5 to 10 minutes before I felt like it was time to push.  I remember looking at Annie right as I felt a contraction coming on and saying, "Help me."  And she did, bless her heart! ha :)

The first urge to push I was hesitant on and didn't do it.  I didn't have myself in a good position to feel supported and push.  But, by the second time it was time to push, I just let my body do it's thing.  No one coached me on when to push, I just did it when I needed to.  I felt everything including the ring of fire!  I was extremely...vocal...during pushing lol!  I felt like Xena Warrior Princess!  It's a good thing I was the only momma in the birthing center that night.  I remember screaming to Annie, "Get her out of me!!!" a couple of times. Haha!  Once her head was out everyone told me to feel it, but I couldn't...I was so concentrated on pushing I couldn't think of anything else at that point. I remember at one point Annie telling me not to push for whatever reason, but it was nearly impossible not to.  Within a couple of minutes (at 12:46 am) Eden was completely out and Annie laid her on top of me.  She was completely covered in vernix and I was completely shocked I had just given birth to her.  Jeremiah and I were in love immediately!  It was such a cool moment.

We had decided to do delayed cord clamping, so it was kind of tricky getting from the tub to the bed with the cord still intact.  But, we did it!  And, once her cord stopped pulsing, Jeremiah got to cut it. :)  Once I got in bed I started having more contractions...it totally freaked me out!  I thought I was done! Haha!  After some time the placenta came out and I finally felt relaxed.  Eden latched right on to nurse and we had skin to skin while Annie and our nurse were taking care of everything else.  It was such a precious moment.

We left that morning around 10:00 am to go home.  I loved being able to go to my own house and be in my own bed!  I was really looking forward to having both of my girls together.  Jeremiah's parents brought Emery later that afternoon to meet her little sister.  Emery was in love!  It was the sweetest moment to see them meet.  Pride beamed from Emery!  She's such a protective, sweet, and loving big sister.

Big Sister & Little Sister

I feel overwhelming gratitude for Annie.  It's hard to explain.  I can never thank her enough!  She worked so extremely hard to help me have my dream birth experience.  She bent over backwards to accommodate.  She was nurturing and comforting. She prayed with us, gently guided us, and made Eden's birth amazing.

Eden with our midwife, Annie

Jeremiah was such a rock for me.  He is such a good partner in this life.  I'm thankful he was with me every step of the way.

My momma and sisters (including Natalie) :)  made me feel comforted.  They knew when to pray, laugh, be funny, be quiet, and be supportive.  I'm thankful they all go to be apart of Eden's birth.

Aunt Natatlie, Aunt Rachel, and Dea (Aunt Amanda was taking the picture)


I would do it all over again if I could.  I'm so thankful to have both of my girls in my life!  God is so good!



Eden Lee Miller
July 6, 2013
12:46 am
8 lbs 1 oz
21.5 inches
Coming out of the water



I love Jeremiah's face!



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex GIVEAWAY!

That's right, I'm giving away another copy of Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex!  You have until tonight to win!

Just follow the directions on the Rafflecopter Widget below.



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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Winner, Winner! Chicken Dinner!

Congrats Cassi! Be sure to check your email.

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Thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway!

31 Days to a Happy Marriage: Day 31: Sex as a Weapon

I know what you might be thinking...and we're not talking about dominatrix here. (Yikes!)

What we are talking about today is using sex (or lack thereof) as a way to manipulate or punish your spouse.

"He didn't do this right, so there's no way I'm having sex with him tonight!"
"I'll show him!"
"I'm just not sexually attracted to my spouse anymore."

When you take sex away for reasons like that, what you're saying is, "My love for you is based on your actions and what you can do for me.  It's not based on the fact that I love you, just because."

1 Corinthians 7:3-5 tells us this, "The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

This is not an issue of one spouse being in control of the other or forcing one to have sex.  That's just wrong.  This is an issue of deciding to not be self-centered.  It's an issue of coming together intimately to strengthen the marriage bond.

I understand that medical issues and exhaustion come in to play.  I also know that a loving spouse should be sensitive to how their mate feels physically.  I'm not talking about those times.  I'm talking about the times when sex is just down-right denied for no-good reason.  It's dangerous to do that.  

We talked yesterday about foreplay, and I really believe that if foreplay is brought into the equation, sex will be more pleasurable for both parties and there won't be a desire to deny a spouse of it.

If sex has not been pleasurable for you, there are some practical ways to make it better.

Husbands:  If your wife denies you sex because it's not pleasurable for her, take some advice.  Ask your wife what she likes, and really focus on pleasing her during the sexual experience and not just "getting yours."  There are physical ways for men to 'hold out' so the wife can get the most pleasure.  Make the sexual experience less focused on you and more focused on the awesome intimacy with your wife.  If you're denying your wife sex, you're crushing her self-esteem.  Show her love this way, and she'll be able to show you love and respect in the ways you need.

Wives:  If you're denying your husband sex, stop.  Get to the root issue and resolve it, but don't deny your husband sex.  Maybe even be the one to initiate sex.  Shock him!  If you're being denied sex by your husband, consider a few things....how's his stress level?  Ask him if there's something you can do to help him relax.  Are you really respecting him?  If you're not, you could be turning him off.

In our culture, sex has become about "ME, ME, ME!" and what's the most pleasure *I* can get from it.  Sex in a marriage should be more about 'us' and less about 'me'.  When we take the time to be intimate and pleasure our spouse, we're strengthening our marriage bonds.  Have sex!  Have lots of sex!  Enjoy that time with your spouse!


I'm so grateful you've joined me on this 31 Days series.  There were times I wasn't sure I'd make it, and your encouragement and reading made all the difference.  God really does want us to have a happy marriage.  We're blessed to get to be married.  I hope you've enjoyed this series!  Thank you for reading!

The giveaway ends tonight!  If you haven't signed-up, there's still time!

Find a list with links to the other posts in this series here.*