Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Baby Girl's Arrival

Has it really been almost SIX MONTHS since I last blogged?! Yikes! I guess you could say, I've been busy....with the holiday season and oh, having a baby =)

On January 20, 2015 we welcomed our precious baby girl, Peighton Louise {Royal Warrior}, into the world.

And what a whirlwind it was. Leading up to delivery day, while at the doctor for my 35 week appointment, my blood pressure was a bit higher than normal but not alarmingly so. I went about life as usual and returned to the doctor a week later. This time, with much higher blood pressure. We were immediately sent across the street, to the hospital, for observation and testing. I laid in a bed with a blood pressure cuff, fetal monitor, and contraction monitor on for about 4 hours. We were sent home and told to take it easy. 

Another week goes by, and we're back to the doctor...with high blood pressure. We go through the same scenario, except this time with an exam and an offer to be induced. {WHAT?! I'm not ready for this!!! The car seat hasn't been delivered yet, I'm not due for another 3 weeks, this isn't how this is supposed to go!}. We decided against the induction and had two appointments a week scheduled from then until my due date. Tyler and I had also decided to let our mom's know (who were planning to come up at the end of January for the birth) that in all reality, it could happen after the next appointment and if they didn't want to miss it, they needed to come immediately. 

So, at this point, I have been diagnosed with gestational hypertension and was being closely monitored for preeclampsia. I have been told to not work, relax, and when possible, lay on my left side. {This made nesting near impossible!} The "cure" for my high blood 

A few days later (Friday), I return to the doctor for an ultrasound to make sure Baby Girl Stowell was still growing and getting proper nutrients, despite my high blood pressure. By this time, our mom's had arrived and were serving us well--cleaning, prepping crockpot freezer meals, running errands I can't, etc. And since I wasn't able to work, I decided to just go on maternity leave Monday January 19. Tyler, however, returned to work that day. I spent the day at home with my mom, resting per doctor's orders. She made me lunch, we watched some HGTV...I then noticed that my stomach started to feel funny. And then my water broke at 3:40pm. {Wait, this is happening NOW?!} Tyler was in a meeting with two wrestlers on campus, and I was home with my mom and mother-in-law. In labor. So clearly this was the time to shower, do my hair and make-up, and add the final necessities to my hospital bag ;-) 

We caravaned to the hospital after Tyler came home, only to find that valet was closed. {How convenient. Oh and THIS is a contraction. Good timing.} We made our way up to the labor and delivery floor--which we are, by this point, well acquainted with having spent several hours in outpatient care there. It's now about 5:30pm and I hear the nurse prepping our mom's for a long wait..."this could take anywhere up to 18 hours; hope you are ready for a long night!" {Eighteen hours? So when can I get that epidural??} My favorite recommendation from the nurse was NOT to watch Food Network...since all I was eating was ice chips. Upon my first exam, I was only 1cm dilated. This was looking like a long night, for sure. I requested an epidural as soon as we arrived...I had decided long before then that I wanted to enjoy the benefits of modern medicine--after all, I knew there wasn't a trophy or bigger reward waiting for me on the other side if I opted against it. My contractions were picking up in intensity and I was not-so-patiently wondering where on earth the anesthesiologist was. Well, she finally arrived and administered the drugs {sweet glory!}. In the midst of all of this, Tyler and I had spent time praying, reading Psalm 23, and a reading story from the Jesus Storybook Bible to our little girl. My heart was ready. I was just waiting for my body to catch up. At my next exam, around 10pm, I was 8cm dilated {well THAT was a quick progression!}. Between then and the time Peighton arrived, I spent just over an hour or so pushing {and wondering why we weren't adopting...}.

Our healthy girl took her first breath at 12:44am Tuesday morning and I cried tears of joy!! Never in my life have I felt such immediate love for someone. She was everything I could've hoped for. She was what we had prayed for. God sure is good.

My favorite memories from that first hour or so in the labor room are having my snuggly girl lay on my chest, watching my husband swoon over his new baby girl, taking our first family selfie, and introducing Peighton to her Grammy and Mimi.

Since then, we have been adjusting well to being a family of three and caring for our sweet Peighton Girl. Already, she has brought us so much joy! And God is using her to teach us lots =)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Greed vs. Gratitude

I'm reading a book, along with my staff team by C.J. Mahaney, Humility. And I was very convicted while reading in chapter 5 and came across this sentence.... "An ungrateful person is a proud person." YIKES! I can be SO ungrateful and am disgusted when I think of myself as prideful (although that is the reality). 

Rather than pout about how sinful of a person I am (don't worry--I did spend time confessing and praying through it), I decided to take some proactive steps towards heart change. Last year, during the months of October and November, I was intentional in seeking to love others well and seek to have a posture of thankfulness and prayer. And while November is the obvious month to purposefully concentrate on all that we are thankful for, I didn't want to wait, I needed to start now.

So at the start of October, I began what I am calling a Gratitude Focus (very creative, I know). Each day I choose and thank God for something different--a person, a circumstance, something I have, etc. This has only just begun to peel back the ugly layer of entitlement and greed within my heart. It's much easier for me to find something that "God has yet to provide me with" but that's just the moments of lusting after something, am I trusting God to meet my daily needs? am I focusing on the blessings which He so abundantly pours out on me each day? No. I am focused on what I want and then begin to doubt God and His desire or even ability to provide.

But the truth is this: "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" 
- Matthew 7:11

I'd assume I am not crazy or alone, and that you can how will you choose an attitude of gratitude over greed? God does indeed give us good gifts, don't miss the opportunity to enjoy them because you're so focused on what you don't have.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Life Lately

Obviously, 2014 hasn't so much been a banner year for me and blogging! But, I'm planning to take strides to pick it back up--with intentionality.

Since my last entry back in March (yikes!), MUCH has happened!! Some quick highlights...

My mother-in-law made a trip to visit us in NJ! We had a blast showing her around Rutgers, Princeton & NYC. 

My not-so-baby brother graduated from Florida State University! It was such a joy to be able to celebrate him in Tallahassee. [He's now planning to move overseas for a 10 month job teaching English as a second language. His courage inspires me.]

My best friend and her Mom had a long girls weekend in NYC. They were sweet enough to let me join them one day for some adventures around the city! I loved being able to see them both =)

Tyler and I took a weekend getaway to New York-- visited America's oldest winery and enjoyed the weekend at the lovely Thayer Hotel on West Point's campus. We absolutely loved the quality time, delicious food, and change of scenery. 

Thanks to a generous gift card from my grandfather for Christmas, Tyler and I enjoyed a matinee showing of The Lion King and dinner in NYC. It was an absolutely incredible show!!

We spent most of the month of June overseas with an Athletes in Action track and field tour. Our journey began in the Canary Islands, continued on the mainland of Spain, and ended with an overnight layover in Switzerland (pictured below). It was a fun and unique experience that was made a little more challenging for me because....

Just before leaving for Spain, we found out that we are expecting!!! And just last week, we found out Baby Stowell is a little girl =) We are so thankful to God that our family is growing!

That's it folks, a quick flashback over the last six months. Now that you're all caught up... I look forward to sharing about more going on...more often =)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Where Have I Been?

It's dawned on me a few times recently that I have been completely MIA from the bloggersphere for quite some time now. And my excuse seems pretty lame....

I've been busy.

Told you, lame. Because let's be honest, who isn't busy?

But for me, it's been a good busy. Busy spending quality time with the love of my life. Busy investing in the girls I spend my time with on campus. Busy staying connected with my friends, both near and far. Busy getting my new co-worker acquainted with "the ropes" of AIA life. Busy in the kitchen. Busy traveling for work. Busy reading. Busy with every day life.

Better yet, simply put, I've been busy where the Lord has me. And I've really been enjoying it. That being said, I may go MIA again for some time. It's not that I don't miss blogging. And if I could do it as easily from my phone as I can from my laptop, I'd probably keep up with it. But the truth is, my hubby and I share not only a car but a laptop. And his days more often than mine, require the laptop. So, I'm left with little time....and without a laptop.

There you have it. I'm your average human who cannot possibly do it all. I've come to terms with it. Have you? What's cluttering your life and keeping you from being where the Lord has you?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

First of the Year

Well, it's far past January 1st. But this is my first post of 2014... Yikes! If that's not any indication that I've been busy and enjoying some computer-less time, I don't know what is.

Last year was the first year I chose "a verse of the year" for both me and Tyler-- one I prayed through regularly and trusted God for. 

I enjoyed it so much and saw God answer my prayers, that I chose to do the same thing this year! 

For Tyler - But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. - 1 Timothy 6:11

For myself- Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. - Colossians 3:6-7

I look forward to seeing God work in and through us in these ways.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thoughts on the List of 23 Things....

Yesterday, this blog post showed up on my Facebook newsfeed several times, as multiple of my friends had posted it and commented how much they enjoyed it. Just the title, "23 Things to do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You're 23" got me a little fired up... mostly because I was 22 when I was both engaged and married to my best friend and now husband. As I read through the blog, I became even more irritated! I almost felt personally attacked and began feeling defensive for "getting married young" and let's face it, I owe no one an explanation.

Then, today, I read this blog. And I just about 100% agree with every word. This girl, who is my age, articulated almost exactly what I was thinking reading the list of 23 things yesterday. At the end, this author suggests doing what's right for you...and I'd take it a step further and say to do what God has for you! Our loving Creator has a unique plan for each person. I wholeheartedly believe I am in God's plan for me. If you're single and 23, 35, or 65, I hope you can stand firmly in knowing you are exactly where God wants you--because that is what matters.

A friend shared with me this post, which I believe is a better guide of "what to do before marriage" than the 23 things listed in the first blog my humble opinion.

Oh, and happy new year.

"...rejoice in the wife of your youth." 
- Proverbs 5:18

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Full Days

I cannot believe we are in the homestretch of December, let alone 2013. This month has been packed full of fun, visitors, dates, ministry, and just daily life.

The first weekend of December, my father-in-law visited us! It was a great time-- especially for he and my husband... they talked, watched, and digested football all weekend. And loved. every. minute. It brought my heart much joy to see them spend quality time together! And of course I loved having him here, too! But I did learn that although I am a sports gal and enjoy football, I cannot keep up with the two of them, haha!

After a day to ourselves, Tyler and I then hosted some of our best friends as they visited from Florida! The four of us kept saying "we couldn't have hoped for a better time" -- like everything was perfect, weather, timing, events, schedule...everything. In their few days stay, we packed it all in... a Rutgers tour, Hoboken, NYC, Princeton, nights full of board games, and playing in the snow! We loved spending quality, God-centered time with them and look forward to connecting with them again soon in Florida over Christmas.

In the midst of all of that, AIA at Rutgers closed out the semester with a Christmas party, Tyler & I got our Christmas cards (finally) sent out, we hosted an Ultimate Training Camp little reunion dinner for some athletes, we had our small group Christmas cookie exchange Christmas celebration, celebrated our third wedding anniversary, and even began packing for our trip to Florida. 

To say December has been a whirlwind already, would be an understatement. But I count myself very blessed as the end of this year has been much more joy-filled than the end of last year. Each of the above events have been God's whispers of "I love you. I Am Good. You are cared for." And for that alone, I praise Him.

"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." - John 15:11