Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I Am Not A Sparrow...I Am Cherished!!!

I have to preface this post with a story. We are going to the past, then to the present, then to the future...Hang on! Several friends and family have asked our needs for our current situation with a new baby coming. This is my attempt to gracefully lay aside my embarrassment, and trust that God will provide for us like He has always been so faithful to do.
The above picture was taken in March, 2009. This morning will be forever cemented in my memory. Jose and I had been searching for a house to buy for nearly 6 months. We had made close to 10 offers on houses, all with problems in the contracts or with inspections. Our landlord decided 3 weeks before our year contract was up, after saying we could go month-to-month while we searched for a house, that she didn't like that idea any more. March 15th we had to be out and that was that. We were totally stressing- nowhere to live, Jay leaving on a mission trip in 10 days, and ultimately having to give everything over to prayer and trust.

We had a huge blessing from the Lord- a friend had a rental house that she had just renovated, was empty, and would charge us $300 less a month while we looked for a house. We moved in those 3 weeks, and stayed there for 6 weeks. We lived out of boxes, eating off paper plates and plastic silverware, never knowing when the day would come that we would find the house and get to move. I took all that stress on the mission trip to Smyrna, TN with me; Jose stayed home with Micah and had to deal with nursing school finals.

Thursday morning, I awoke to the sun at close to 5:30 am. Since my students would not be up for an hour and a half, I bundled up for the 30 degree weather, grabbed and mp3 player and my camera, and set off. I walked and prayed and snapped pictures that morning, listening to worship music and really just soaking in...when I felt the Lord speaking to me. At first, it was strange to me that I was being followed by birds. I would go to take a picture of a barren tree, covered in frost, when a robin or a sparrow would fly into my viewfinder the moment I would snap the picture. They were singing, frolicking around in the glistening frozen wonderland, having a ball. I kept walking near a stream bed, and the robins were constantly coming in to my field of vision. Over my head. Chasing each other. I went to tie my shoe on a bench, bent over, and a sparrow landed on the arm of the bench and just sat, looking at me, cocking her head and wondering what on Earth I was doing up so early.

I began to feel God speaking the words of Jesus to me:

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:25-34, NLT, emphasis mine)

It all began to make sense to me. I decided that crisp morning to quit worrying about it. To give over to God what was rightly His, and make it no more of my concern. The perfect house would come along. And if the robins and sparrows could enjoy their beautiful sunrise, despite the cold, and be fed and clothed, wouldn't God provide for Jose and I?

I got back, work my girls up, and started setting up for breakfast while talking to our leader and close friend. I told him of my walk that morning, what I felt God speak to me, and told him I was giving it up. It felt good to share with someone what God was doing. And then, at 9:30 am as we were rolling out to head to a medical mission site, things got interesting.

I got a call from Jose, and the first words of the conversation were, "Hey baby. Just wondering, how much do you trust me?" "Why?" "Because I found the house for us. Can I put in an offer?"  Our leader could hear our conversation, and his mouth was hanging open. So was mine. I stammered that he could do whatever he felt led to do, provided that he pray about it. I got a call the next morning that closing was in 4 weeks, the bank accepted our offer, and it was ours.

Fast forward to the present. We have gone from two salaries to one; and are going from a family of three to a family of five. Jose had no paycheck this summer for nearly 6 weeks as he went from one job to the next. Then orientation was pushed back two weeks for the new job; and we went again for 2 more weeks without any income. We have been down to $8.00 at one point, both credit cards maxed, and no food in the cupboards. And I have been asked by family, why didn't you ask for help? My answer is this: God has always, always provided for us. I have never doubted that He would. Yes, it's been a little tight-rope-walker intense at times, but God has never not come through. At the right time, we have been given groceries. A friend gave me a huge tote of maternity clothing; I haven't bought new clothing in years, and it was SO awesome! We have had last minute invites for dinner at someone's house. We had a garage sale that may have been horrid by society's standards- a total of $82- but it was the exact amount to the DOLLAR we needed to put gas in our car, buy groceries, and tithe. Our needs have been met, and that's what was promised to us from God's word. We are seeking to live righteously, train up our kids and give them examples of God's provision, trying to be servants to other people when we can, and trusting that everything is going to come through okay.

And one interesting side note: we went through a period in the last year where we stopped tithing because we were just too tight. And you know what? Our needs stopped being met. We couldn't make ends meet; our bills became delinquent; and we became more stressed than ever. I just can't believe in coincidence! My God is one of purpose and faithfulness! So yes, when told that not asking for help can be because of pride (which is sin), I agree- but my motive to keep things to my self has often not been pride. It's been that we are giving God room to actually be God.

Fast forward to today's needs. I don't believe that I am having a shower for this baby. At 32 weeks pregnant, I am sure that someone would have said something by now if I were going to. So, at the request of a few family and friends, I am putting our family's needs out there for this next baby coming and for the near future. The biggest of them are prayer needs, others are tangible; what ever comes our way we are truly thankful and grateful for. We desperately desire your prayers first and foremost! Here are some practical ways that you could help if you feel so led to:
  • Pray with us that our vehicle sells. This will help us catch back up on a few bills that we are in need of, as well as help finish paying for our home birth fees.
  • Pray with us that we can find a vehicle that will fit all 5 of us for a decent (and by that I mean CHEAP!) price. We will probably resort to saving up and purchasing a new vehicle a few months after the baby comes. We are looking for a van, but in the mean time we will be driving our Escort as a one car family until that opportunity can come along.
  • Meals after the baby comes. Whether that be boxes of mac 'n cheese or other easy cook items that I can put in my pantry ahead of time, or a hot meal that someone drops off, it would be a blessing. Jose can't hardly cook anything other than microwave popcorn, and I know with me being down a week or so after having the baby and him chasing a toddler and a 5 year old, dinner will be the last thing on our list.
  • Cloth diapering supplies. We have a gift registry of sorts set up at one of the sites where we purchase our diapering supplies from. You can find the registry here, through cloth supply retailer Kelly's Closet.. Search by our last name, Molinuevo, and it should come up:  "Jay and Jose's New Pumpkin." The passcode is holimoli, if you are prompted. Feel free to wander the site; our registry should have anything we would ever need or want, but there are some COOL diapering supplies out there and we will use anything!
  • Cloth nursing pads would be a life saver. The best ever are Bamboobies (haha!!), and you can find them on our registry, or purchase them wherever you like.
  • Gift cards to Publix, Walmart, or Amazon for picking up groceries or baby supplies that we are forgetting now but will need later... Things like food, pacifiers, breast milk storage bags, etc.  The gift cards to Amazon would go towards a new infant car seat that we have had our eye on. It's a specially made narrow version for compact cars :)  Wow, two in car seats and one in a booster- how crazy!
  • We have several supplies that we need for our birth coming up (we are having a planned home birth with an amazing midwife). These include the following: our birth kit (medical supplies, ordered from our midwife's supplier, about $45), extra sheet sets (king sized- I would gladly take hand me downs!), a few extra pillows, and a plastic drop cloth or king sized mattress protector for the bed. There is also a chunk of the actual birth expenses that need paid, but if our Santa Fe sells, it will all be paid for.
Things that we don't need much of are disposable diapers, formula (we are a breastfeeding family), and  baby shoes. For some odd reason, every one buys us baby shoes, but our kids tend to have fat feet, and HATE having shoes on until they are walking, so I have literally 2 boxes of baby shoes that I have given to friends or CareNet.

Hopefully this update has done a few things. First, I hope you see a little in to my windows as to why I have keep quiet about our needs and our financial situation over the last few months. Second, I hope it serves as a testimony to what God is able to do when you put your trust in Him. Thirdly, I hope you will pray for us and with us that our needs are met. And as always, please let Jose and I know if you have any prayer or other needs that we can help you out with. It's great to have other people bless you, but it is such a blessing to be able help our family and friends too!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

30 Week Update

Look at that bladder! No wonder I have to go all the time!
How Far Am I: As of today, 30 weeks, 5 days. Three quarters of the way done!
Baby's Gender: Again, looks like another niƱo on the horizon, but we would be stoked if there was a surprise that we weren't expecting.
How Much Weight Have I Gained: +12 at last count I think. I am a little unnerved about this- it's my first pregnancy where I haven't lost 15+lbs throwing up, and slowly gained it back. Needless to say, at this point in the pregnancy I am carrying more weight .
Cravings: Water. I am noticing that running around after two little ones and keeping the house somewhat under control means that I forget to drink half the day...then when it's after their bedtime, and I notice my feet are a little swollen and I haven't peed in 4 hours, I remember to drink. The bad thing about this is that then I am up all night going to the bathroom.
Baby Movement: This baby is either going to be a VERY relaxed baby, or is a girl. Micah and Levi had nunchucks in the womb, and I was constantly sucking in my breath because out of nowhere, I would get a jab in the ribs that H. U. R. T. With this pregnancy, I am feeling lots of movement, just in a much more subdued way.
Body Changes: Nothing major lately. A little itchy on the belly so I am lotioning up. Braxton Hicks every once in a while, usually induced by nursing. My only other complaint is from me not drinking enough, or if I eat something that is too salty- I notice a little swelling in my hands/feet. But so far, if that happens, I drink a bunch and put my feet up for a little bit or lay on my side. I am avoiding heartburn pretty well by paying attention to what and when I eat. Jose and I have started a prenatal pilates video that kicks our butts, and I am really praying that it helps with my concentration, breathing, endurance, and flexibility.  
Sleep Habits: Sleep becomes a little more interesting at this time. I am exhausted by the end of the day, so I am sleeping pretty well, just having to get up probably twice to use the bathroom. The interesting part is coming from these bizarre pregnancy dreams. 
What Micah (5) /Levi (18 mos) Think of the Baby: Levi pats my belly and says "bebe," but I doubt he really connects that there is going to be a baby around at this point. He is a little perturbed that mommy's milk is "ah gone" for now, but I think he will pick back up with the new baby. Micah helped us settle on a name for the baby, and is getting excited. He is also realizing that he is the "biggest big brother" now, and that holds a lot of responsibility. 
Baby Prep So Far: I made about 60+ more cloth baby wipes this week, and Jose and I went through our room and are getting rid of TONS of clothing, junk, etc that we have been hanging on to. It's pretty much happening to the whole house- I just can't take the "stuff" we have held on to being around the house forever, so we are purging a lot and donating or having a garage sale with lots of it. I don't know if that's considered baby prep, but it sure is the beginning of nesting. On the list for the next few weeks is deep cleaning bathrooms, floors, getting rid of Jose and I's bedroom set, getting our room situated for a home birth, and generally making sure we have what we need for the next baby. There's not a lot we need, just a few things, but it's hard when you're on a tight budget, so we are trying to just pick up a few little things here and there on sale, or make what ever we can.
Birth Prep: More reading, positive thinking, relaxation exercises, pilates, and healthy eating. We are getting ready to purchase our home birth supply kit in the next few weeks, and get the house ready with every thing on hand for our birth. It's starting to become real!
Name Ideas: We have settled on a name for a boy, and have picked out a girl name as a back up just in case we have any surprises. Jose has a feeling that a few members of his family won't like the name (they are weird about some things), so he has said that we are not officially announcing the name until the baby is here, because he doesn't want to deal with hearing all of their opinions for the next 2-3 months. If you really want to know, I could probably sneak it to you, but out of respect for his wishes... mums the word :)
Plus Sized, Nursing, and Pregnant: Some days I end up exhausted. Others, discouraged that I couldn't manage to get it all done. But I am starting to realize that I am 7 months pregnant with a 5 and 1 1/2 year old. At the end of the day, if my kids are fed, clean, have teeth brushed, and are tucked into their beds, I just have to call it success and ignore the floors that need vacuumed...the pile of dishes...the grass that needs mowed...and on and on. If I continue to dwell on every little thing that I as one person can not accomplish, it will eat me alive. Instead, I am focusing on the small victories. And if that means making the dishes wait until morning while I hit the sack half an hour early, than so be it. With just over 2 months to go in my pregnancy, nursing, and being a stay at home mom to two rowdy munchkins already, I just have to pace my self.