Thursday, November 3, 2011

Brantley Says...

As much as I once enjoyed scrapbooking, I'm horrible at keeping a record of all the things my kids do. When I was pregnant with Brantley, my mother-in-law (you may know her as Visa) handed over a calendar of Jason's entire first year of life complete with every doctor visit (they were plentiful), every milestone, and even a photo of Jason when he had "the worst case of pink eye Dr. Marquis had ever seen."

Apparently, I'm not a "details" kind of mother. I know when my babies were born, their birth weights, etc. but beyond that, things sadly start to run together. So I thought it might be fun to share some of the charming things that my little Bird says in her oh-so-grown-up manner. Keep in mind, she's 2 1/2...

"Hey, baby!" ... "Uhhhh, probry." ... "I need a little bip!" ... "I gonna git YOU booty." ... "Sophie, git in dis house and hush!" ... "I not like fish sticks." ... "Daddy, I gonna tell you mommy!" ... "Where's my lipstick?" ... "I goin' to Target. Be right back."

And my two favorites...
"I love YOU so much!" and "Mommy, you give me sugar right now!"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I did. And I'm better for it.

The request was simple: pray for baby Justice Micah Perry.

I don't know the Perry family. Never met them, and without the help of profile pictures I probably wouldn't have been able to pick either of them out of a one-person line-up. But we have some mutual friends and every day I would see status updates on Facebook from a high school classmate about baby Justice.

Justice was born on Sept. 30th and from all visual accounts was a perfectly beautiful baby boy. But little Justice's heart wasn't quite perfect. Day after day, I saw posts from his father, Troy, about this surgery and that procedure...this level and that output. And with each post came a prayer request: pray for Justice, pray for the doctors and nurses and pray for God's will to be done. There's a hard lesson in those last few words. Never for pray for God's will to be done unless you are fully willing to accept that His will is not always our will.

I watched the Facebook group "Pray for Justice Micah Perry" for a few days, seeing posts by more than 3,000 people who chose to "suit up" as prayer warriors for this precious baby and his family. I saw Troy's posts and not once did I see a selfish prayer from him. He didn't ask the group to pray that Justice's heart would be healed so that he could grow up and play baseball and ride a bicycle. He didn't ask the group to pray that this process would all just be over so they could go home and love on their baby boy. No. He asked the group to pray for God's will.

On Friday, Oct. 28th, God's will was done. Justice was called home to be with his Heavenly Daddy. Troy's post announcing Justice's passing read, "To God be all the glory." Those words echoed through my head along with the sound of my own sobs. In that moment, all my troubles seemed so insignificant. This man just lost his baby. He had every right to be angry and bitter, but he wasn't. He was praising his Father for Justice's short life - a life that brought together more than 3,000 people in prayer. A life that brought people closer to God. A life that, in my mommy-opinion, ended all too soon.

Troy posted again on Friday night, and more tears fell.

"Tonight there are no prayer requests for Justice. There are no beeps to listen to. There are no gases to check. There are no monitors to watch. Tonight Justice is dancing around the throne of God with a complete and new heart. Justice will not have to have any more surgeries. Justice will not have to take medicine to help his heart function. Tonight Justice is in the presence of the Almighty One."

I wasn't crying for Justice. I was crying for Troy, his wife Sara and their son Noah. I was crying because I couldn't imagine the pain they were feeling. And I was crying because I knew that if I were in their shoes, I wouldn't be that strong. If tragedy struck my life, I don't think I would have the faith to make it through. For the next couple of days, I took a good long look at my list of so-called priorities. Laughable. Insignificant. Shameful.

Troy's post went on to ask for prayer for the doctors and nurses that had cared for little Justice - prayers that they not feel guilt or shame for not being able to heal Justice's heart. He asked people to pray for the other babies on the 5th floor of Vanderbilt Hospital, for their healing and for their families. Troy understood.

Justice was only here for 28 days because that's all the time it took for God to work through him. And when His work was done, He simply said, "Okay, buddy, good job. Let's go home!" Then it dawned on me that the only reason we are all still here is because God isn't done with us yet! One gentleman posted his condolences and said that "God has only three answers to our prayers: yes; not now; and I have a better idea." God had a better idea for Justice and the Perry family. He had another purpose. And while I don't yet know what His "better idea" might be for me, I do know that because of the life of Justice and the awesome faith, strength and testimony of Troy and Sara Perry, I will hold my babies tighter, love stronger and let go of those trivial things that don't really matter.

I pray that God will use me and my family for His purpose, whatever it may be. I pray that God will wrap His arms around the Perry family as they bury their son today. And I pray that God will use us all for His glory - just as He used Justice. Thank you, Troy and Sara, for sharing your journey and Justice's life with us all. And thank you for showing unwavering faith through this trial. It has truly been a blessing and an inspiration.

"For I am convinced that neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8:38-39

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Birdie's Big Girl Bed

- Headboard & mattress set: $250
- Full-size quilt (which I assumed was "twin" because it was in a "twin" package): $29.99
- 3-D flower pillow: $24.99
- Polka dot sheets: $16.99
- Waking up at 12:09am with stinky, hot baby breath in your face saying, "Mommy, I wanna git in you bed!" ...Priceless!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

In the Cards

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

From the very beginning of my pregnancy with Grayson, I called him my surprise. A friend commented very early on that sometimes God gives us what we need rather than what we want. Now as I sit here at my kitchen table listening to the click-clack of the baby swing in the living room, I know just how true that statement was.

Even though I didn't recognize it as God's plan at the time, I can't imagine our lives without Grayson. He's only been here a week and he has already added something to our family that I didn't know was missing. I've realized he was in the plan for us the entire time...I just hadn't bothered to read that far ahead! Grayson needed us and we needed him. It was already in the cards!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Finding Nebo

In my 28 years of life, I've never lived outside the great state of Alabama, which means I am no longer caught off guard by three things: unbearable humidity, tornado season and Dan Satterfield. I knew storms were coming last night, mainly because my grandmother doubles as a weather radio! Since there's really nothing I can personally do to combat a tornado, I went to bed and told my 3rd shift husband to call me if I needed to scoop up the baby and crawl in a closet. No phone call = no danger.

All was fine and good until about 11:30. Okay, so I'm going to assume that you have all taken your car through a gas station car wash. You know the sound of the air and water pounding against your car? That was the sound against my bedroom window. I picked up my phone to text the hubs. "What's going on with the weather?" I asked. "Raining," was the response I got. Well, thank you Captain Obvious. So I got out of bed and turned on Doppler Dan to get the scoop.

If you aren't from North Alabama, there's no way you can possibly appreciate the utter passion local meteorologist Dan Satterfield has for severe weather. He eats, sleeps and breathes watches and warnings. It didn't take long for me to realize that the carwash sound was really the worst of it for Hartselle and that we weren't in any real danger. But I stayed glued to the tube for a few more minutes because as the storm moved out of Morgan County and into Madison and Marshall, the names of the communities in the line of fire got more and more interesting. I began texting JB just to ask him if he'd ever heard of these places...Nebo, Fishtrap Ford, Blackankle, Cushion, Hebron. But it may have actually been funnier just watching Doppler Dan struggle with some of these no-stop-light communities, or skip pronouncing them altogether for fear of saying them incorrectly.

So while I'm glad last night didn't spawn too much tornadic activity for NA, I'm sure happy I didn't miss an ever important geography lesson for my home state.

Monday, February 14, 2011

And He Shall Be...

As of today, I'm 33 weeks pregnant. That's 8 months and 1 week in case you're terrible at math. And in my nearly 28 years of life, I don't think I've ever taken as much time making a decision as I have in naming this baby. In my defense, naming a boy is tough. Let's face it, boys are stuck with their name forever. Girls at least have a "drop the middle or maiden name" option should they get married. But not boys. Without legal name changes, the name on their birth certificate will be the name on their head stone.

Jason and I started out with good intentions, each making lists of names we liked to see if any matched. Nope. It ended up in a battle of wills to see who could hold out the longest without giving in. I can only imagine now how my mother must have felt when she wanted to name my brother Zeke and my dad wouldn't have it. But after all, it was 1990 and Zeke was the lead man in a TV show "Tour of Duty."

So after literally months of deliberation and striking names off one another's lists one-by-one (no seriously, we marked names off with a pen), we have a name for our soon-to-be-here baby boy.

We can't wait for Grayson Rhys Brightwell to make his appearance so that you all can love him as much as we already do!

Friday, January 28, 2011

And You Are???

There are many things, as you can imagine, that really get "stuck in my crawl" as some would say. One of those such things is maiden names, or rather the lack thereof, on FB.

Now I'll be the first to tell you that I'm just about as traditional as traditional can be when it comes to getting married. For all legal purposes, I dropped my maiden name like a hot tamale to become Mrs. Brightwell (although I think of my MIL when Mrs. Brightwell is tossed around). But when my darling friend Amanda Smith came to me shortly after my nuptials saying, "You've got to check out this Facebook thing!" I quickly enrolled as Tiffany Brasher Brightwell.

Here's my theory:

If we were high school classmates who haven't seen each other in a month of Sundays, I don't know you by your husband's name - especially if you married some boy - Heaven forbid - from outside Morgan County. I understand that we may have originally entered into a FB friend commitment before your wedded bliss. But if you a) got married and totally removed your maiden name from your profile, b) lost 50 pounds and don't look a thing like you did in high school, or c) use only a picture of your children - I'm not judging because I've done it too - for your profile picture, chances are I don't know you from Adam's house cat!

So ladies, please do the entire world a favor and leave your maiden name on FB when you get married. I know it would make my life easier. And let's be honest, isn't that what it's really all about? Y'all have a good weekend and call your mama & 'em to check in!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Milk Cows are for Milk

Today is my darling husband's 26th birthday. We celebrated last night with dinner at Connor's Steakhouse. Thank goodness for reservations, because we were at our table in no time flat. The waiter came to take our order and I didn't even need the menu. I had been thinking about the meal all day. House salad with ranch dressing. A 6 0z. Oscar filet cooked medium. Cheese grits. Now, I'm sure I'll catch some flack from all you who believe pregnant women have to eat steak well-done. Well in my humble opinion, a well-done steak isn't fit for human consumption.

The meal arrived quickly and our dinner conversation went from the crying little girl who had to be escorted out by her several-months-pregnant mother (sounds familiar, huh) to the quality of the food. For those of you who think we must have the most interesting dinner conversations ever, I hate to burst your bubble. Let me just break it down for you:

Me: Oh dear lord this steak is fantastic (as I push the asparagus aside).

J: Mine too.

Me: I wonder where they get their steak?

J: Not Wal-Mart. Hey, do you think we should buy a cow and have it slaughtered for steaks like this?

Me: What kind of cow?

J: I dunno (with a shoulder shrug). A brown one I guess. Or maybe a milk cow.

Me: That's just dumb. Milk cows are for milk, not steak.

And that's pretty much how are date night went! By the way, the baby loved that I fed him steak for dinner and kicked happily all the way home. Maybe I can use him as my tool to get Connor's more often!