Friday, December 5, 2008

Alcohol content of breast milk: Cheers!

All nursing mothers worry about how their food and drink affect their child. One big concern is alcoholic beverages. For years mothers have been told to avoid even a sip of alcohol. However, many women have heard stories of their ancestors drinking beer to increase milk production and just for enjoyment. As a new mother with a scientific mind (and ready access to forensic testing equipment), I decided to see who's idea was correct - the teetotalers or our ancestors.

Method:First I took a sample of my milk (about 1 mL) prior to drinking any alcoholic beverage. I expressed the milk mid-nursing session to ensure I had a goodly portion of fore and hind milk. After completing the nursing session, I mixed myself an alcoholic beverage consisting of 2 oz of 80 proof (40%) vodka in 10 oz of soda (Sprite). I proceeded to drink the entire 12 oz in about 30 minutes. About 30 minutes after finishing (1 hour after beginning to drink), I expressed some milk (about 1 mL) and labeled it 'immediate'. I then waited 1 hour and expressed more milk (about 1 mL) and labeled it '2 hours'. In the 2 hours (from the beginning), I did not drink any more alcoholic beverages, drink other beverages, or eat any other foods. Another day, 1/2 of a beer (4.3% alcohol) and 2-6 oz glasses of wine were consumed within 1.5 hours. About an hour from the beginning of the last drink, a milk sample (about 1 mL) was taken. This sample was labeled '1 hour - 3 drinks'. Another sample was taken about an hour after that (2 hours after the beginning of the last drink). This sample was labeled '2 hours - 3 drinks'. 

The samples were stored in the refrigerator until processing. An Agilent headspace instrument was used to run the tests. Propanol and ethanol standards were also tested to ensure the instrument was within limits. The instrument is maintained by the Toxicology Section and used in forensic determinations of blood and urine alcohol content.

Results:The sample labeled as 'immediate' registered as 0.1370 mg/mL which correlates to 0.01370% alcohol in the sample. The sample labeled '2 hours' registered as 0.0000 mg/ml which correlates to 0.0000%. The sample labeled '1 hour - 3 drinks' registered as 0.3749 mg/mL which correlates to 0.03749% alcohol in the sample. The sample labeled '2 hours - 3 drinks' registered as 0.0629 mg/mL which correlates to 0.00629% alcohol in the sample.

Conclusion:The alcohol content in breast milk immediately after drinking is equivalent to a 0.0274 proof beverage. That's like mixing 1 oz of 80 proof vodka (one shot) with 2919 oz of mixer. By the way, 2919 oz is over 70 liters. Two hours after drinking one (strong) drink the alcohol has disappeared from the sample. Completely harmless to the nursing infant. Drinking about 3 drinks in 1.5 hours resulted in higher numbers, but still negligible amounts of alcohol would be transferred to the child. One hour after imbibing in 3 drinks, the milk was the equivalent of 0.07498 proof beverage. That would be like adding 1 oz of 80 proof vodka (one shot) to 1066 oz of mixer (1066 oz is over 26 liters). Two hours after imbibing in 3 drinks, the milk was 0.01258 proof. That would be like adding 1 oz of 80 proof vodka to 3179 oz of mixer (over almost 80 liters). So, even though an infant has much less body weight, any of these percentage of alcohol in breast milk is unlikely to adversely affect the baby. Cheers!

Acknowledgement:Forensic Toxicologist


  • Due to baby not nursing every time a sample was retrieved, only fore-milk was obtained for alcohol testing. However, since alcohol is more easily dissolved in water (fore-milk) verses fats (hind-milk), the samples may actually be higher in alcohol content verses a good mix of fore- and hind-milk. Alas, I was unable to breastfeed my second child, so no duplicate samples or analysis was available. 
  • At the time of this study I was a forensic biologist for the State Police. The analysis was done according to state law for blood alcohol content (AC) analysis by an experienced chemist.
  • Results were not duplicated nor were they intended to be. While I wrote this in the form of a scientific journal article, I am not claiming that every case would be the same. However, since blood AC and breath AC are determined the same way and drunk driving laws are standardized regardless of body weight, number or size of drinks, or metabolism, I made the decision to report this as a possible standard. 
  • Responsible parenting was implemented (it wasn't just me drinking with baby, daddy and granddaddy were also present).
  •  Results may vary, so do what makes you most comfortable. However, don't act like someone else is an irresponsible parent because they make a different choice than you. 

Friday, October 10, 2008

...And one to grow on...

So much time has gone by since my last post. Its been a crazy time. Simon is growing like a weed - he'll be 8 months old next week! Its amazing to watch him grow. As he masters new tasks and learns new actions he's becoming more and more a part of my entire extended family's life. I also enjoy watching mine & Andrew's growth. A year ago we were concerned about being parents... Concerned is such a gentle word - we were actually scared senseless! A year before that we weren't even married yet!

My growth mostly seems to involve learning to juggle motherhood, wifely duties, and job duties all while maintaining my (somewhat shaky) sanity. There are many times I look at Simon and cannot believe he hasn't always been a part of my life. There are other moments when I look at him and think "this is why people think you're crazy for wanting a houseful of kids". Usually the former thoughts far outweigh the latter! ;-)

Andrew's growth is amazing. He can be a curmudgen - he knows it, I know it, his family knows it, my family knows it - we all accept it. However, sometimes we take exception to his grumpiness. Lately though, he's been gaining ground on turning over a new leaf and shedding the old husk of curmudgenery (ok, I know that's not a word, but its so much fun). My heart just melts when Andrew sits on the couch, exhausted from a long physically difficult day at the garage, with Simon in his lap. They companionably watch the news together. Then Andrew hugs Simon tightly to his chest and plants kisses around his face all while saying "I just love you, little chunky-monkey".

I know we all grow at our own pace, but it seems that lately we're all growing similarly. That's tremendous b/c God knows we need solidarity. We need each other. Most of all we need God!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Has It Been 6 Months Already?

Today is Simon's 6 month birthday. Its a miracle really. Six months ago I was in the hospital hooked up to monitors, having regular contractions, and wishing I could have something to eat. Now, I'm sitting at my desk (at work) after pumping milk for my little munchkin to eat, wishing I could be home with him, and hoping he'll sleep tonight. He's probably trying to coax my mom (she watches him while I work) into playing with him, singing to him, cuddling with him, or some sort of activity. He doesn't have to try very hard - she adores him!

My pregnancy was relatively easy - no overboard weight gain, no swelling, no real morning sickness, just a growing belly - and that didn't even show up until I was 5-6 months pregnant! The delivery was very uncomplicated - I went in - had already been dilating, effacing & contracting for almost a month. Simon popped out after only 10 minutes of active pushing. Simon's first 6 months have been relatively easy too - no serious illnesses (a cold/allergies once or twice), incredible weight gain (from 7 lbs 14 oz to 23+ lbs - will get official weight on the 20th), incredible development from tiny baby push ups to sitting on his own and rolling from back to front and back again, and an abundance of love!

I am blessed to have had such a wonderful experience. I sometimes look at Andrew & Simon and wonder how I became so blessed. Then I see my parents with Simon and know that I was partially blessed because I was raised by two other blessed individuals. I know I'm not perfect, Simon's not perfect, Andrew's not perfect, nor are my parents perfect. However, I think the fact that we all strive to be the best people God has called us to be gives us these wonderful gifts from Heaven.
Happy 6 month birthday, Simon! Happy 6 months of parenthood to Andrew & me! Happy times are had by all!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday Gratitude

I've been remiss in my blogging lately. However, I have good reason. I'm working overtime to make some extra money to help finance a vacation. I'm also continuing to nurse Simon, try to cook and clean the house, and have time w/ my husband. Its a crazy life. However, I love it because it means I've finally gotten what I've always wanted - a family. I'm so happy to be a wife and mother that I'd walk through fire over coals to do it again! I went through some rough spots in my life when I thought I was going to grow old w/o someone to love me as only a husband can. I thought I was never going to be able to have children.

Now I have a great husband who challenges me daily to be a better person and to keep my feet on the ground. I have a beautiful son who issues the same challenges, but adds dealing w/ baby drool, dirty diapers, painful nursing, and sleepless nights. In exchange for these challenges I have the assurance from my husband that he loves me endlessly (although he'd never say it that way), appreciates all I do, recognizes how hard I try, is proud of my efforts, and is happy to have me (as I'm happy to have him). Simon's gifts are the beautiful toothy smile when he sees me after a day w/ one of his grandmas, the singular devotion he has to me for comfort as well as food, the squeals and shrieks when he's just pleased to be alive, the adorable bouncing in his Johnny Jump Up or saucer, and the peaceful way he'll hold my finger, shirt, or hair while he slumbers.

It may not sound like much. Afterall, according to Andrew, I'm a simple (easy to please) person w/ loyalty that outweighs anything else. However it sounds, I'm happy - I have my fondest desires next to me every night - a husband to cuddle with and a baby to comfort! Although sometimes my life seems too full and too hard, in the end its all worth it for these gifts I get from my two boys! Thank you, God!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Monday Gratitude a little late!

I am grateful to have such a wonderful family. My parents & DH's parents are more than willing to help us w/ DS anytime its necessary. With all the help we receive, we still have our struggles, but we always know we have someone to help us through them.

I also have the good example of child rearing from my parents! Its so awesome when I think that they've been married for 34 years this year! They've never hidden the normal conflicts that come w/ marriage. They also never hid the fact that they truly love & respect each other! I know I am blessed to have them in my life!

They have truly given me an example to follow. As Catholics family life is very important to us. Together my parents have raised 3 children within the Church. They never forced things on us, but taught us right from wrong early on (although we didn't/don't always listen) in our lives.

My dad is a convert, but his faith is as strong or stronger than some cradle Catholics I know. His trust and perserverence have shown me that even a guy as big and strong as my dad (6'4" tall w/ arms as big as my legs), needs help from Above. Hopefully, I've learned from him that I too need help, both from Above and from my family. He is truly the head of the household w/o being a dictator or tyrant. The gentleness of his hands is impressive - especially when seen cradling a newborn baby's head. That image always makes me think of my Heavenly Father cradling all of us in His Hands.

My mom truly tries to live her life in the image of the Blessed Mother or as she likes to say St. Monica (praying for the re-conversion of her children). There have been rough times for my mom - most recently a struggle w/ breast cancer (the same type that killed her mother and grandmother, and more). Through the whole struggle she maintained her faith and strength of character. Although my dad is head of the household, my mom is the core strength of it. She is always ready w/ advice, solutions, and encouragement when necessary. When I think of my mom I see images of Mary w/ Jesus during the hidden times of His youth and in the background of His ministry. That's my mom, she plays a very vital role, but usually relegates herself to the background.

I just hope Andrew & I can do the same w/ Simon (& any little ones that follow)!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Mother's Love

Breastfeeding gives me many philosophical ideas apparently. Here's another one...

Mother Church holds us to her bosom for nourishment and comfort. Mother Church knows the ways of the world & that everything around us will distract us and potentially harm us. She knows that ultimately if we want to live and live well we will return to Her. However, She also acknowledges that the decision is ours to make, not Hers. Although She continues to love us even when we turn away, She cannot force us to love Her back. There are times when we strike out against the Church for reasons of our own. When we do, we hurt the Church (by lack of members and devoted witnesses), but She always remains steadfast and patiently awaits our apology and return. Through Her patient love and corrections, She guides us back to right paths - sometimes through reprimands that seem harsh, but they're always loving.

As a mother, I hold Simon to my bosom for nourishment and comfort as well. There are times when Simon is much more interested in what's going on with the world at large than with my nourishment and/or comfort. During those times I have to tell myself that he'll come back to me when he's ready. I just have to wait patiently. There are times when he rebels against my breast and even strikes out, either with fist or teeth, against it. I have to reprimand him for these times, but continually show him that I love him and will always be there for him.

When I struggle w/ Simon during our afternoon feedings (or middle of the night feedings), I must remind myself that I've been that rebellious little one to the Church as well. I constantly remind myself to remain steadfast and patient.

A mother's love is all-encompassing and everlasting. I learned that from my own mother & from my glorious Mother Church. I hope to remain as faithful as these two mothers, so I can reap the rewards later. Thank you, Mom, for teaching me these things. Thank you, Church, for guiding me through right paths & patiently waiting for me to return to them.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Simon was entered in the 2008 Tiny Tot competition at the McLean Co Fair. He was pumped up & ready to go... All smiles & giggles in the prep room... It was mass confusion as all the children milled around in their cutest clothes. Thankfully, Simon didn't have any hair to worry about - he's still a little cue ball! Brenda, my mother-in-law, bought him a cute little outfit w/ sea creatures on it. The little hat is what completed the outfit for me!

Competition was stiff... & included our friends Krystal and Lucas. Lucas is almost 9 months old. Krystal is my best friend who is married to Andrew's best friend. She & her husband introduced me & Andrew to one another that fateful November day. She & her husband got married in May of 2006 w/ me as her maid-of-honor & Andrew as a groomsman (although he didn't make it to the ceremony since he was in the hospital). Andrew & I got married in December of 2006 w/ her as a bridesmaid & him as a groomsman. I got pregnant (the first time) in December. She got pregnant in January (around the same time I had my first miscarriage). When my pregnancy finally stuck, she was already 3 months along.

Simon took a break and sat on the floor to await the results. He's now sitting unassisted for several minutes at a time. Most of the time when he falls over its because he's trying to eat his toes! He tried to eat his toes while we were parading in front of the judges. I don't think they saw or else they'd have noticed how cute he was! :-) He didn't win (although he should have), but it was an experience! In the end, the excitement just wore him out! This will probably be his 1st and only contest like this. I don't think its a good idea - nor do I want the hassle. It was fun once though!

Monday, July 21, 2008

I didn't know you had a cow!

I was talking w/ my 4 year old boy cousin this weekend while I was picking blackberries w/ Simon in his sling. Here's our conversation...

Jeffrey (cousin): Can Simon have a blackberry?

Me: No, he only drinks milk.

Jeffrey: Can I go get him some milk?

Me: No - he drinks special milk that I have.

Jeffrey: Where do you get it?

Me: (Thinking, uh oh, how do I explain breastfeeding to a formula fed 4 year old?) I make it.

Jeffrey: I didn't know you had a cow! Where is your cow?

Me: (Uh oh.) I don't have a cow. (Moo!)

Jeffrey: Where do you get the milk then?

Me: (Let's change the subject...) Did you see the pretty flowers around here? Aren't they pretty!

Friday, July 18, 2008

PETA Crosses the Line

I'm not a big fan of PETA to begin with, but when I saw this ad it solidified my stance in my mind. Click on the link below and look at the video on the upper right side. They are airing this commercial in various locales.

I didn't see an actual place to enter complaints. However, I did find this 'submit an idea' link.

This is what I wrote...
Your spay/neuter ad featuring the 'Sex talk' is morally offensive and reprehensible. I cannot believe you can equate teenage pregnancy and abandoned babies with proliferating animals. Equating the two is like the old saying of comparing apples to oranges.

Having the parents say things like "nail it" and "my little girl is going to get some" is ridiculous. Even if the ad is primarily for shock-value, it goes too far. Human babies are not the same as animals - that's why you have 'no official stance on abortion'. It is sad to see animals in shelters and abandoned. However, it is significantly worse to think of all the unwanted and unloved children in the world.

For what it's worth, I have my 3 dogs, 2 cats, and even my horse neutered. As a matter of fact, 2 of my dogs are rescues from a local shelter. My 2 cats are also rescued from a life of abandonment.


If you find this ad as offensive as I do, please forward this to your like-minded friends and family so we can inundate PETA w/ complaints like they do our Military (,2933,385545,00.html). They complain about eating meat, animal farms, equestrian/animal sports, and countless other ordinary things citing cruelty.

I love my animals (or else I wouldn't have them), but my child and other humans take precedent over my animals. That's not saying I'm cruel to my animals, just that I am practical. I am much more concerned about human life (in all its stages) than about animal life. God put animals on earth for us to care for and use as needed. If He hadn't wanted us to be omnivores, He wouldn't have given us teeth for tearing meat, stomaches for digesting meat, and wits to catch prey and/or raise farm animals in addition to our need for plant-life.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy 5 months Simon!

My little boy is 5 months old today! I can't believe its already been that long! He's gone from 7 lbs 14 oz to over 20 lbs. He's gone from 20.5 inches to 27 inches tall/long. Last night he was saying "Mamama" while he was fussing for bed... First word = Mama?! He has 4 teeth - 2 uppers and 2 lowers. He's gotten all 4 of them within the month! I just can't believe he's growing-up so fast!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Yum Yum Get Ya Some!

Here you can see my little (20 lb) boy as he enjoyed his 1st solid food meal. On the menu was rice cereal mixed with breastmilk. He let us know he was ready for solids (why do they call runny cereal solid?) by watching us eat all while making chewing motions. He still gets more of it on his face than in his belly, but apparently enough makes it to give him that well-satisfied look! I can't believe how quickly he's growing! He'll be 5 months old Monday July 14th!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Am (Was) So Lucky!

I've been reading some of the other blogs about child-birth and breastfeeding! I've got to say that I was so very lucky in my experience. I thank God for the way He designed my body!

I have to respectfully disagree with some of the "natural" birth proponents though. I started dilating and effacing before 32 weeks. I was put on modified bed rest (modified b/c I could not/would not stay in bed) so I did not go into labor early. In the end I had an 'augmented' labor. I was far enough along with my dilation and effacement that they weren't inducing me, they were just supplementing what my body was already doing (I'd been having contractions for 6 weeks on and off).

  1. Contrary to the natural birth proponents views, the Pitocin given to me did not cause hard, fast, painful contractions.

  2. My water was broken (note to self, get epidural before having water broken next time) and while it wasn't a pleasant experience, it wasn't detrimental to my experience either. I also had an epidural. Again, contrary to the natural birth proponents, my labor was not long and protracted, my newborn son was not sleepy or slow to respond, my pushing was self-directed, not forced by my doctor or nurse. I had a slight tear, but nothing severe or anything that caused me undue pain (even in the weeks post-birth). My epidural also did not hinder breastfeeding my son almost instantly.

  3. The birth took place in an L&D room at the local hospital. Again, contrary to the natural birth proponents, I did not have to push up-hill or while laying flat on my back.

  4. I was given the option of rooming in with my son. However, I wasn't about to let the one time I'd have someone else to change diapers, quiet cries, swaddle the squirming infant, and bring him to me when he's hungry go to waste.

  5. My husband stayed in L&D the entire time. He also roomed in with me the 2 nights I was in the hospital. There was no separation. No isolation. Nothing but encouragement and competent care.

I guess basically what I'm upset about is that these 'natural' birth proponents use scare tactics to gain followers. Terrible things happen in 'natural' births as well. Tearing, uterine prolapse, non-progression of labor, mal-presentation, sleepy babies, ill babies, injured mothers, etc. The best way to give birth is the way you're comfortable with in your own way.

I have I fairly high tolerance for pain, but I had no illusions that I wanted an unmedicated birth. I had read the articles pushing for natural birth and medication side-effects. At the time I was a little embarrassed to say that even with those known side-effects for me & my baby, I didn't want the pain - give me the drugs! However, now I know that I could have done it without the epidural because its not an entirely new experience for me. I still plan on having an epidural for my next child (hopefully in 2-3 years).

My experience is by no means unusual. However, people would much rather focus and retell the horror stories. I think mothers should unite and post their good experiences with birth as well as the bad. New motherhood is scary enough... There's no reason to make it worse!

Giving (and taking) with Gusto!

If you've ever watched a baby nurse or even take a bottle, you've seen what I'm talking about. For all intents and purposes, the world ceases to exist for that little one. The only thing that matters to them is their nourishment. I'm probably biased, but I think a breastfeeding child shows it best. My son's 27" length and 20 lbs heft wraps around my body and molds to my every curve (and trust me I've got plenty). If he is hungry and not just snacking, he gazes lovingly at my breast while he pats it with his hand. He scooches up as close as possible and gets everything he can from each suckle. To me, that's taking with gusto!

As he takes from me, what God so wonderfully designed my body to produce, I am giving with that same gusto. Some women have more nursing gusto than others (you know who you are w/ your dripping off side, and fountain-like spraying)! However, all nursing mothers give with gusto. Its not an easy thing to continuously be at your child's beck and call. Some children seem to want to nurse 24 hours a day, every day. While a mother loves spending time with her child, those first few days (weeks or maybe even months) can be exhausting, strenuous, draining (literally), and frustrating. However, most nursing mothers will tell you that it is all worth it in the end - even if the end is simply the end of one feed!

My nursing relationship w/ Simon can be compared God's relationship with me. Its completely natural for me to give Simon his nourishment through nursing. I was designed that way, as was he. I cannot control my giving, nor can he control his taking. What he needs, I produce. When he takes with gusto, I produce more with gusto.

The same with God. He gives with gusto. Everything we have, everything we are, everything we can be results from God's love and giving with gusto. He enjoys giving so much that He sent his only Son to pay for our sins, that we may live in Him and with Him. Its up to us to take with gusto so He can give us more. If we focus on taking with absolute gusto what God gives, we will continue to reap the rewards for the remainder of our lives (and into the afterlife). However, we don't always take with the gusto required. We take, but do not lovingly pay God the homage he deserves. We can still be nourished by his gifts, but we are lacking in fulfillment. However, if as we take, we gaze at God with love in our eyes and hearts, we can feel Him giving us more in return.

So let us all try to take from God with the same gusto he gives to us!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Beagle Who Came to Christmas and Left in July...

I did not ask for a new Beagle. I didn't think I could handle a new dog w/ a new baby on the way and my Beagle that wasn't sure she liked children. However, Christmas day, late at night, I got a new Beagle.

My husband & I had just returned home from my parents' house (a mere 800 meters up into the woods). Andrew, my husband, heard scratching outside. My Beagle, Copper, was antsy and grumbling softly at the door. Andrew opened the door, turned on the porch light and saw what looked like a miniature Blue-Tick Hound. She was actually a Beagle and the sweetest, most lovable dog you could find. He brought her in the house, much to Copper's dismay.

She was thin and a little scraggly appearing. She wasn't even wearing a collar. Since Beagles are known roamers we were pretty sure she was just lost. However, that didn't stop us from bringing her in and giving her a bath and a bed for the night. My Andrew is a sucker for an adoring dog.

Andrew & I discussed what we were going to do with her. We decided we couldn't keep her since she wasn't Copper's favorite and we didn't need to headache of policing 2 dogs and a new baby (I was 7 months pregnant at the time). We also weren't sure if she'd get re-claimed by her original owners. We advertised in the Found section of the local paper. We had an idea... Andrew's dad. He's a bachelor who works 2nd shift and since he had taken a shine to Copper, we decided he was ripe for a dog!

He loved her! He lavished attention on her. He bought her her very own biscuits and gravy every morning for breakfast. She broke his heart when she wouldn't eat it! She preferred dog food. They developed a routine. He'd leave in the early afternoon while she stayed outside tied to a stake in his yard. Andrew would come by and check on her before he came home in the late afternoons. When Richard, Andrew's dad, would come home at 1030 pm, he'd go out, pet her, talk to her and bring her in the house with him. She'd run around his house, jump in his lap, and promptly start snoring. Sometimes she'd whine and run rabbits in her sleep. He'd gently wake her, and she'd look adoringly at him again. He taught her to play games with him.

He took wonderful care of her and tried to keep her safe. We all knew that if she got loose she was probably going to be in trouble since Beagles turn their ears and eyes off when their nose is on a trail. We were afraid she'd get run over. That's not what happened though.

Richard came home early this morning after working a double shift and getting geared up for another today. He found her wrapped up in her stake-out line. She had wound the line around the stake until she had no room left around her neck to breathe. The stake was supposed to be designed to avoid this very thing with its swivel. However, it had a big design flaw - the upper portion (shaped like a triangle) was open at the bottom. The opening was big enough to catch her cable. Once her cable was caught, nothing she did could get it undone. Its possible that during the thunderstorms we had last night she got frightened and ran in circles. We'll never know for sure.

We know now not to use that type of stake again (they make ones that don't have a triangle or anything to catch the cable at the top). It was a shame to have to tie her that way. I know many dog people frown upon tying dogs out. The theory is to have a fenced-in yard or no dog. However, that's not always possible or even feasible. In this instance, we know for a fact that she tested fences and usually found a way out. Richard was trying to protect her from herself, but she got herself anyway.

Janie now lays in rest with Rascal, Andrew's boyhood Lab.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Here I Am, This is Me

I'm new to this, so you'll have to cut me some slack... I'm not always consistent, a good speller, or even a good writer. However, I think everyone has something to say and that someone somewhere wants to hear it. I just hope you want to hear what I have to say!

Inspiration comes from many different areas. Sometimes you're sitting in your chair zoned out, sometimes you're washing dishes or laundry, sometimes you're sleeping, etc... You get the point. Anyway, at first I was just going through my emails kind of mindlessly. I saw one from my mom that contained a link. However, my computer wouldn't load the link. That just frustrated me endlessly. Since I'm quite persistent and fairly adept at working with the internet, I finally found the article she was trying to show me... a blog from Momopoly. That was when my first inspiration hit me... Blogging can good for the soul!

Then the self-doubt hit me... I can't blog. I have sentences that are 3-4 lines long (typed). I'm wordy and preachy. Then I thought some more. I can do it. I've got an analytical brain. I am much better at expressing myself w/ written/typed words than in person. I like educating people - even when the topic is off the wall. Then the doubts came back. Basically, it was a like I had 2 mini-me's on my shoulder - one was the encourager, the other was my pessimist. I decided I'd let the Holy Spirit referee their dual while I continued w/ my work.

As I drove home from work that day, the mini-me's continued their dual, but the Holy Spirit wasn't done w/ me yet. I was searching for entertainment on my commute and dug through my CDs until I came upon "Spirit - Stallion of the Cimmaron" the soundtrack. I know - I'm 27 years old and still listen to cartoon movie soundtracks (actually I own the movie too) - grow up. As I listened to the songs (Bryan Adams rocks!) I actually heard them as though the Spirit were moving me to not only listen to the words, but apply it to my daily struggles of faith.

Funny coinicidence? I think not. I think the Holy Spirit was nudging me. Granted I've heard commentary on the movie saying that it was all about how bad the white men were and how good the animals and Indians (Native Americans) were. However, if you look at the message through the words of the songs and the feelings it creates, you get a far different picture. "Here I am, this is me..." Those are the 1st words to the 1st song. The 1st 3 words are found in the Bible in that exact order (and in countless hymns). Much of the Bible deals with accepting people (and situations) as they are and yourself for who you are. Sounds inspirational to me! When I heard this song, I felt my heart open up and my pessimist falling off my shoulder - losing the battle to my encourager.

I continued listening to the CD and felt the various songs move me into understanding better how we are all niave, young, foolish beings who are searching for Something. We have pitfalls along the way. We make mistakes. We open our hearts to new things. We learn new ideas. We appreciate what we have. However, if we can just say to God "Here I am, this is me" we can acheive that Something (I like to think my Something is Heaven).

This morning, I again continued listening to the CD. I remembered how I felt when I heard some of the songs for the 1st time. I had recently lost my fiance to cancer at the tender age of 21. I was devastated and heartbroken. I thought I would never find anyone else like him to like me for me. I haven't found any one like him. I found someone completely different. I married him. My husband accepts me for who I am, but he constantly challenges me to be better (although I don't always see it at the time). He loves me for my failings as much, if not more, than my successes. He keeps my pride in check, but knows how to cheer me when I'm down. When I opened my heart up the 1st time like the song says "Here I am, this is me" he accepted me. I accepted him as well. Neither of us ever thought we'd find someone to spend the rest of our lives with, but we did. God works in mysterious ways!

Now I look back at my life and hope that I've lived my life with the true meaning of opening myself to God by saying "Here I am, this is me. Work with what I am to make me pleasing to you. I know you'll take care of me. I want to be with you forever. Please hear me and know this is where I belong."

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Smiling already at 2 weeks

Smiling already at 2 weeks
Rachel has been smiling as a response to other people since day one.

And two shall become one...

And two shall become one...
In 2006, Andrew & I became one before God and family! Shortly thereafter we became 3 with the birth of Simon in 2008... Then 4 with the addition of Rachel in 2009!

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