Friday, January 29, 2010

the one with the top ten

my top ten favorite things about Chloe Belle:

1. I love the little sleep noises she makes
2. I love that she knows I'm her mommy
3. I love how stinkin cute she looks in her little outfits and I love that her newborn outfits are still too big-she's so little!!
4. I love how she sticks her arms straight up in the air all the time
5. I love that Jimmie and Max are obsessed with her and she has even noticed them yet
6. I love when she stretches her little head up up up like a turtle
7. I love that she looks like a chipmunk when she's all slumped over when I'm burping her
8. I love that her hair shines beautiful copper red in the sun
9. I love her precious tiny face and I love covering it in kisses
10. I love that she's all ours. I love that we made her, that she grew to life inside me, and that now she's here for us to love forever.

Monday, January 25, 2010

the one with all the unexpected

warning: This will be a long post and is not for the faint-hearted. Feel free to click away now-no hard feelings. If you're still interested, get a cup of coffee and join me on this fun journey.

May 16, 2009 I graduated from seminary. It was a great weekend, and not just because I finally got that silly MDiv, but because Adam and I were planning our new journey together. We were quitting our jobs, leaving our life here in Birmingham, moving to seminary, and moving on to the mission field. It was all planned out. It was going be great. We even had a big going away bash with our SS buddies.

Then, we woke up one morning pregnant.

Talk about unexpected. It was June 10. We had both quit our jobs, given away most of our furniture, and put down a rather large down payment on an apartment in New Orleans. It took us a moment or two to adjust to this news, but soon we were on our way reorganizing life and starting all over again in Birmingham. God was more than gracious: we both got our jobs back-mine considerably improved I might add-we were able to stay in our house, and our friends even let us keep our going away presents!

Then we entered a nine-month journey of unexpected events. I had not ever really considered being pregnant, and I knew nothing about pregnancy, so all the crazy changes in my body were a hysterical journey. The worst of which of course was Bell's Palsy. One Saturday morning I rolled over in bed to kiss Adam and got concerned because I couldn't kiss him: I mean I literally couldn't make kissy lips. He laughed at me until he turned the lamp on and saw my face... Long story short, one half of my face was paralyzed. It was a really humbling journey where I learned to be grateful for God's provision, compassionate towards others, and where I felt more loved than ever by my husband who insisted that I looked beautiful even though I looked like a freak. Can't believe I'm doing it, but here's my awesome pirate picture:

All in all, pregnancy was awesome. I especially enjoyed the end where my tummy was huge and I could feel my little girl all the time. Last time I posted was January 16th. I was all excited because Adam and I were having a fun day together reminiscing about our life together and checking things off the to-do list, which is our favorite. We cleaned the nursery, went grocery shopping, and headed over to Melanie's to help her fix a broken spot on her new hard wood floors. I had actually left food cooking in the oven because we were having friends over for dinner. But on the way home from Melanie's house I realized something was up. My water broke three weeks before Chloe Belle's due date? When would things quit being so crazy and out of left field???

We cancelled our dinner plans, threw a bag together, and headed for the hospital. Although my water had broken, the rest of my body was not ready for a baby. They gave me medicine to open my cervix (not fun) and I started having contractions. I had back labor all night Saturday night (super not fun) and Sunday around 6 am they induced labor and gave me an epidural. I almost kissed the anesthesiologist. At this point I'm feeling good and ready to go.
However, our little baby, who has a penchant for surprises, had other ideas. She threw a temper tantrum and they had to stop my pitocin, which also stopped labor. I didn't progress anymore, so around 9 the doctor came in and announced I was having a 15 minutes. You guessed it-unexpected!
Little Chloe Belle Keel arrived Sunday, January 17th at 10:10 am weighing 7 lbs 3 oz, measuring 20 inches long, and decidedly the most beautiful baby girl of all time.

Just a few hours later we realized Chloe Belle's blood sugar was dangerously low, and several bottles of sugary formula did not bring it up. She left us for the NICU around 2:00 that afternoon. Wow, talk about unexpected worry and heartache. However, God is faithful, gracious, and consistent. Chloe came back to us Tuesday morning. The next several days were full of unexpected obstacles and bumps in the road: Chloe Belle started having high bilirubin scores, I ran a 102 fever for about 24 hours and developed early mastitis (crazy painful), and our hospital stay kept getting extended day after day. But, on Friday morning we were both declared healthy enough to go home. Yay! Here's Chloe Belle dressed up and ready to go home:

We've been home now for a few days and we're starting to adjust to life with our precious little girl. Although we're both incredibly sleep deprived, we have a new set of unexpecteds to deal with.

unexpected beauty:

unexpected joy:

and overwhelming love:

Praise God who has poured out His love upon us by giving us His Son and calling us His children! And what a good Father He is, giving us such very good gifts.

Thanks for hanging in there with me and ready all about Chloe Belle's arrival. If you want to see more pics, Adam has a ton up on facebook.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

the one where I'm so in love

Last night I had a great time with my hubby. We had a moment where we both fell out in pure laughter. I love those moments that are so special and just for us. I'm so totally and completely in love with my man.

Four years ago today Adam asked me to be his girlfriend. sigh. We had liked each other for a little over a year before I got the big official request, but today is definitely something to celebrate!
I can't imagine life without my Adam. He's my best friend, my leader, my strong support, my helper, and my constantly loving husband. Besides the blessing of walking with my God, Adam is the greatest blessing and purest joy in my life. He makes my heart overflow.

I actually don't have any pics on my computer cause we store them all on the Mac, but I stole a few off Facebook so I could reminisce about our life together. Sorry they're small...

Fall 2003: we were just buddies in college. Here we were at a beach retreat with the BCM, just after summers spent on the mission field. Adam was in Arizona and I was in Australia.

Fall 2005: Our little crew of best friends from college: Beth, Gibby, Kate, Amanda, Daniel, and us went to Six Flags for Halloween. Tons of fun!

Fall 2006: Dressing up for Halloween at Shades with Beth and Kate. Here we are showing some love to one of our precious Agape kiddos.

Feb 2007: Kate took our engagement pictures at the park where we got married. What fun!

Spring 2007: God has blessed us by taking us around the world together. I can't include pics from every country we've been too or this post would be 8 miles long. I chose my favorite. Here we are in March 07 on our Spring Break from seminary on a school trip to Greece. It was incredible to walk where Paul walked. We're sitting on top of Mars Hill where Paul gave his sermon to the men of Athens. It was awesome!!!

May 2007: our wedding! We had a tiny ceremony. These were the only guests besides immediate family. We just gathered together our few favorite and dearest friends to stand with us as we became man and wife!Summer 2007: He took me to a Red Sox game! My man knows the way to my heart.

Winter 2007: we decided to make our family grow with our two little guys: Jimmie and Max. I simply can't imagine life without them!

For the past 2 1/2 years, our Nearly/Newlywed SS class has been one of the biggest blessings in our lives! They are our dear friends and partners as we walk with Christ. Here we are in one of our famous kissy pictures!!

Summer 2009: We had a great vacation in San Diego just a few days after finding out we are expecting little Chloe Belle! It was an awesome time with just the two of us...dreaming about the days when we would become three!

So here's to my man! I love him with all that I am!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

the one about friends

Today Adam and I took our third set of friends to the airport to go live life on the mission field. It's a job I really like. We have picked up each family from their own sobbing family members, and we're able to be happy, smiley, and excited for them and their kids on the trip to the airport.

I was thinking about these three families on the way home and realizing I've never had a hard time saying goodbye, even though they are some of the most dear people to me. I think it's because I'm so honored and humbled to have friends who are laying aside their own lives for the sake of the Gospel.

To all of our friends serving full-time on the mission field, we love you and we're praying for you. I'm so grateful you're in my life.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

the one about boys and girls

I'm working on my SS lesson for UMin this week. It's on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. All the students will be together since its January, and we'll have a faculty panel Q & A style.

I decided to brush back up on Piper and Grudem's encyclopedia-esque treatise on the subject, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. It has really challenged me. I guess I've changed alot since the last time I read this book-maybe 4 years ago??

First, I think it has challenged me to really examine my femininity and how I relate to men around me. Do I really let men lead in the God-ordained way they are supposed to? Am I submissive not just in my actions, but in my heart?

Second, I have realized anew how wonderful my man is. Adam is a beautiful example of Biblical manhood. On the flip side, I have been convicted about how I don't always let him lead and how I fail to pray earnestly for God to refine and grow him.

Third, the book is making me question some habits in my life. We'll see where that gets us... I guess I'll just wait on that phone call from Beth Moore to come work for her full-time to help research and write Bible studies. It could happen, right??

I have so many quotes from the book I'd love to share, but I'll restrain myself to two:

"For men and women who have a heart to minister-to save souls and heal broken lives and resist evil and meet needs-there are fields of opportunity that are simply endless. God intends for the entire church to be mobilized in ministry, male and female. Nobody is to be at home watching soaps and ballgames while the world burns."

and my fav...
“In the home when a husband leads like Christ and a wife responds like the bride of Christ, there is a harmony and mutuality that is more beautiful and more satisfying than any pattern of marriage created by man. Biblical headship for the husband is the divine calling to take primary responsibility for Christlike, servant leadership, protection and provision in the home. Biblical submission for the wife is the divine calling to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. This is the way of joy. For God loves His people and He loves His glory. And therefore when we follow His idea of marriage (sketched in texts like Genesis 2:18-24, Proverbs 5:15-19, 31:10-31, Mark 10:2-12, Ephesians 5:21-33, Colossians 3:18-19, and I Peter 3:1-7) we are most satisfied and He is most glorified.

Oh God, make my life and my marriage satisfied and glorified in You!!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

the one about the holidays

The holidays are over. I have mixed feelings about this. I'm really sad my two week vacation with Adam has come to an end, but at the same time I'm ready for a bit of normalcy to life. Holidays bring with them too many expectations, too much stress, and too much money magically disappearing. so, in honor of their completion, here is a list of my favorite things from the last two weeks (because it just wouldn't be positive to recap the bummer stuff right?):

#1: two weeks at home alone with my man. have I ever mentioned how totally and completely in love I am with Adam?? He left this morning for work and I miss him already!

#2: old friends. I had an INCREDIBLE holiday filled with good friends. I knew I'd see my Sulli over the break, and I was really looking forward to it. Besides Bethany, Patrick is my oldest friend. You know how there's just comfort when you're with someone who has known you and loved you your whole life? So, I was expecting Patrick but I wasn't expecting Kevin! We had a little crew of 4 in high school and we were super awesome friends. I get to see 2 of these buddies alot, but not Kevin. It's been 3 years! It was so good to catch up. He's hysterically the exact same person. It made me happy.

#3: After super great high school friends, I got to see a super great college friend! I love my college friends. Sometimes I think I'll live a whole lifetime and never have friends like my buddies from Troy. It was 4 amazing years of friendship, growth in Jesus, and fun! Justin was one of my top favorite people in college. He was the coolest guy in school, so I always felt super proud that he liked hanging out with me. We were besties the whole time at school (except right at the beginning, when Justin says I was "abrasive"), but nothing was as fun as those bunco parties at Fulmar street...
Justin lives in Spain, so I think its been a year since I've seen him. Made my heart full.

Justin and Tara-another great college SGA friend. I'll always have great memories of hanging out in the SGA office with these two!

#4: Another great friend. Melanie came over at some point during the holidays for a yummy dinner and to play with the doggies who love her so. I'm so grateful for who Melanie is in our lives and how she shows us such constant love and support. We will miss her dearly as she moves to South Africa in a few days, but I'm so proud of her journey of faith and I can't wait to see what God does in her and through her at Living Hope!!!

#5: New Year's Eve festivities.

Beth and Gibby came over for New Year's Eve, which makes 4 years running. We partied like we always do: pizza, games, fireworks, and talking way too late in the night.

I spent New Year's Day with this crew. I love when Chris comes around, because he makes Adam act like a four year old boy. I love hearing Adam laugh when he's with Chris. Plus, I got to be with my two favorite girls: Beth and Kate. What would life be like without these two with me?

So, all in all, it was a great holiday. I'm grateful for time to focus on Jesus, time to be with my man, and time to laugh with friends. God is so rich in His blessings in my life. He overwhelms me.