Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Proud Daughter

I guess I'm adult enough now to where I can say I'm proud of my parents right??? They both have made some awesome changes lately and I am very proud of them!!!

Mom: For as long as I can remember I'd wake up in the morning to the "pop" sound of her opening a Diet Coke! I'm interested to see how it will be this Thanksgiving weekend as I won't be hearing that sound anymore! She's been Diet Coke free for over a month now! It's a huge accomplishment for her!


Also she worked her butt off last year doing the National Boards (to be a Nationally Certified Teacher). While she thought for SURE she'd failed we just found out she PASSED! It's something that is very difficult to do and I'm so glad she got to see her hardwork pay off!


Dad: About as long as I've heard Mom drinking her Diet Coke's I've seen Dad with a pack of cigarettes in his pocket. I think my whole life I've begged him to quit (writen it in just about every birthday and christmas card I've given him) and FINALLY he's let it go for good! Both he and Audrey have been cancer-stick free for about 6 weeks and I'm so glad that this has happened! It's a smarter choice to help them live longer, healthier lives!


While most people put on weight when they quit smoking, Dad's doctor told him he had to lose weight because he was coming off some medication (I think for blood pressure). In about a month he's lost 10 pounds! When I talked to him the other night he was chewing on something and I thought it was a Milk Dud and instead it was some kind of pea haha! I told him I'm proud that he lost the weight but why did he have to give it to me???

Twilight Movie Night

Back a few months ago I started reading Twilight and all the books in the saga. They really are awesome and make you WANT to be a Vampire!

Katie, Ashley and I have all been super pumped about the movie opening in theaters. Thursday, the same day as my official 6 months status, the movie premiered at midnight! I was on my way home from Alabama so Ashley went to get tickets and we made plans to help us stay up that late!


We headed to Steak and Shake at 9:30 to eat a late dinner and drink milkshakes! I broke down and got an iced coffee to keep me going after a long day of driving I was already sleepy but excited! Hannah, Katie's sister, came with us as she's a fellow twilight lover.


It was an awesome experience as we got to the theater at 10:45 and the line to get in was out the door down the parking lot! They had three theaters showing it and they were all packed full by the time the movie started.

Personal Opinion: Read all the books! Enjoy them! Pass up the movie unless you go into it knowing that it will not be anything compared to the books. If you look at it as a comedy or like a satire of the books then you'll enjoy it, but if you go into it assuming it will be as awesome as the books you'll be big time disappointed! It was still a fun night and I do still plan on seeing it again just to see if my second viewing changes my opinion of it!

SIX MONTHS!

This past Thursday, November 20th. marked my 24th week of pregnancy! I'm into my six month!!! Pretty big milestone for sure :)

Here is what I look like now (I put these up for you Michelle!), and will supposedly be coming home from the hospital looking like. It's not near as bad as I thought and if it's true that you come home looking 6 months pregnant I feel like I'll be able to lose this in a decent amount of time!







While I still have yet to have a stranger notice my pregnancy, I have already witnessed some changes that the sixth month brings.

1. Baby: Moving like CRAZY now! I love it! Up until this week I'd usually only feel the baby move late at night or early in the morning and now I feel it several times throughout the day. Sunday at church was a time I don't think I'll ever forget. The little baby was moving throughout the whole service! Ashley got to feel it for the first time which was exciting for her! I realize how difficult it will be to worship once the baby gets here, because it was hard for me to concentrate with the movement inside of me :)

2. Comfort: I am much, much more uncomfortable. All the time. Constantly. I never feel comfortable! The main reason? Not the belly...the CHEST. They are so annoying! I don't know how women with naturally large ones deal because it's such a pain! I have to wear a bra at all times and I guess because of the way my stomach is the bra always feels too tight at the bottom. Even my XL sports bra feels too tight.

3. Tired: While I'm not exhausted all day, I will be randomly hit with a wave of sleepiness. I've taken two naps this week which is a rare occurance for me. Last night at church I was so tired I was actually worried how I'd drive myself home! I'm glad all my solo-driving trips are over!

4. Skin: I don't know if it's because I started using new face wash and am taking better care of it but my skin is FINALLY starting to look better. I swear this pregnancy made my face age like five years! I have been hating the way my face looks in the mirror and while I still want to get a major facial come April, I think it has cleared up some which helps with my confidence.

It's hard to believe it's already been six months! I'm ready for it to be ten so I'll be done with this junk!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Reality Check

After coming home from camping last Sunday morning I had a reality check. I am a denial person...I deal with things in life by pretending they aren't happening so I don't have to deal with them. This works well most of the time but then when something happens that forces me to deal with reality I freak out. Sunday was a FREAK OUT day!!!

I know I'm pregnant. I realize that! However, I haven't been acting much like I'm pregnant at all. Almost 6 months pregnant and I drove to Atlanta then back then the next day, had a fever then drove to camp out and camped for 2 nights. It was just too much for me to handle.
While camping I started to notice that I'm different than everyone else...my butt hurt from sitting on the bench after like 30 minutes, I couldn't allow myself to get more sick so I had to avoid the rain and cold, I couldn't play football b/c I could get hurt, I felt grouchy even though I normally wouldn't be, etc. When we got home I had a total and complete meltdown.

I'm talking bawling all afternoon. I was physically and emotionally just worn thin. I was supposed to help with a shower at church and I couldn't make it. I couldn't even make it to night church that night. It's just so hard realizing that you aren't in any control.

Not only am I a denial type...I'm also a type-a personality who likes to be in control. Not having control over my body is very frustrating for me!!! Watching Zach be able to be 100% normal and himself throughout the weekend bothered me. Why am I the one who has to go through all this crap? And yeah I know the baby will change his life completely too but for a woman it doesn't just add to our lives it completely changes every area of our life!

I really regret not appreciating my body as much as I should have before getting pregnant. I wish I had more because no matter what happens it WON'T be the same!!! It also sank in that Zach and I won't be having the "us" time like we're so used to. I think for each of us it's not giving up the alone "me" time that will be difficult, it's the together time that will be hard. Because it won't be the two of us anymore!!!

I know all of these things should have sank in a lot sooner...but it took me awhile! It took me an entire afternoon of crying over and over, breaking 2 glasses in our kitchen, and pretty much feeling like crap about myself! In the end I talked to my mom for a long time and she helped me feel better. I know all of this is totally worth it. I know that. I can't wait to hold my baby and to be a mom but it's also such a HUGE HUGE change. The rest of my life I won't be Emily anymore, I'll be MOM.

Like she told me, this pregnancy is just the beginning of me not being able to control every area of my life. Once the baby gets here there is no way for everything to be planned out how I like it to be. I have to adjust to that and deal with it!

I woke up the next morning all puffy-eyed but I still drove the 5 1/2 hour drive to Alabama to stay in the Parker's condo with Zach while he worked for three nights. I know that sounds crazy after how gave out I was the day before but I made it fine and those two days were HEAVEN. I needed to just CHILL so I rented four movies, took 2 hour long baths, gave myself a facial each day, and enjoyed the chilly weather by taking several walks. It was so peaceful and relaxing to just sit around and not even get ready once!

While laying in the tub I decided that even though I can't go back in time and appreciate my body more, I can start enjoying it from now on! I need to take more baths! I need to do special things to make my skin nice. I'm getting older and those kinds of things are good for my body and also good for my spirit! So I know I won't be able to take hour long baths once the baby gets here, but I can always do little things to pamper myself and brighten my day just for me! I got this awesome new face wash that tingles and that moment right after I wash my face is just such a great feeling! Luckily Zach totally supports me doing things like face peels and such to keep my skin in good shape for the future and it's nice because it feels incredible but it's also good for you!

Zach and I had a really great talk during this whole mealt-down realization experience and both agree that our time is very important to us so we're starting Monday nights as our Date Night. We're hoping that we can make it a routine enough before the baby gets here that we'll be able to continue it once we become parents. Setting aside that time for each other no matter what is critical to our relationship and personal well-being!

Even though having that meltdown wasn't fun it was the reality check I needed to accept the fact that my life is going to completely change but that it will still be MY life and I can still decide how to live it!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Camping!

Yes, I was 6 days shy of being 6 months pregnant. Yes, I know this. But yes, I went CAMPING!

In recent days poor Zach has been stuck with three ladies pretty much all the time: me, Katie, and Ashley. Luckily Ashley is very competitive and athletic so she filled the "guy" void for awhile but the day has arrived where Zach has some new guy friends! They may only be 18 (and yes we're 24) but hey they are Christians who don't party and who like to have fun so it works!

Zach and I went camping one weekend last year and had a great time together. For Christmas Mom hooked Zach up with tons of camping gear and we still haven't gotten around to using it. I came up with the idea of taking our new friends camping as it's a very "guy" thing to do and I feel like Zach needs some guy stuff after all the "girl" time he's had to deal with lately.

I got back from Kennesaw on Thursday...spent the morning Friday watching it rain while I loaded up camping gear...then Friday afternoon we headed to Lake City, Florida!

Here's our awesome campsite!

We brought the dogs and just planned on never leaving the site the whole weekend. We bought tons of food, movies, games and fishing stuff! The guys only really needed an axe and they were occupied the entire time! Our fire never burned out and many logs got destroyed in the process.

Ashley and I enjoyed relaxing for the most part as the guys also took care of all the cooking! We helped clean up but it was a pretty easy task.


Of course the first night is was very muggy outside and still wet from the days rain. The next morning was decent then it downpoured. Being that I had a fever when I got home on Thursday from Kennesaw I had to be careful not to get sick again so I didn't participate in the mud/rain football game. Zach and Ashley pretty much murdered Zach and Codie though!

I stayed dry the whole time either in the tent or under my umbrella :)

Other than eating we also had fun playing bored games, watching The Strangers, playing cards and fishing (and yes they caught a ton of fish!). Even though Sat night was FREEZING we still had such a great time together and I think my favorite part was when we just sat around the fire keeping warm, eating 'smores and getting to know each other better. I think telling scary stories was not the best idea because we all went to sleep pretty freaked out (the boys slept with their axes and Ashley and I had the hammer).

While I realize I'm crazy for doing all that with how far along I am it was all worth it to get to know new people better and to especially see Zach have such a great time! He deserved it!

Traveling Man...

I grew up in a home where my dad traveled ALL the time for work. It was part of his job and I didn't really think that much of it at the time but as I grew older I knew I didn't want my husband to travel as much as my dad did!

Zach is a wonderful man and totally agrees with me in this area...luckily Aflac is the kind of company where not much work travel is involved. However, some groups are spread out and he does have to do some traveling to be able to work them all. The entire month of November is a travel month!

He went for 3 nights to Savannah and I couldn't deal with it. I never slept, felt so lonely, and then took it out on him when he got home. It wasn't fair to him or to our marriage. So we had a big talk about it and decided that since I'm not working anyway that I'd go with him!

After my dr. appointment last Tuesday morning I headed out to drive to Kennesaw. Zach was working groups in the Atlanta area and decided to stay with his sister, Casey, for free rather than have to get a hotel room everynight! The drive wore me out more than I expected but it was totally worth going! Being with Zach every night is very important to me. It was worth a 4 hour drive to share a bed with him each night!

I stayed up there both Tues and Wed nights and was going to go to Lawrenceville to try to see some friends. Then I realized Lawrenceville was an extra hour drive and I seriously didn't have it in me to do it so I explored the Kennesaw Mall instead. I had a nice day all by myself shopping :)

While shopping I talked to like a million strangers...I made friends with some guy at PacSun and helped him pick out a gift for his girlfriend (and got told that I'm a sexy pregnant woman by him!), helped some ladies at Belk pick out maternity clothes for a friend, and even got handed an application and offered a job at Express for helping a customer make an outfit (I got him to be "adventurous" and try a pale pink shirt with his sweater vest).

The most touching person I met, however, was a girl at a shoe store. I was looking at some brown flat shoes. She was trying on the same ones and asked my opinion if they were dressy enough for work or not. I told her that I'm pregnant and have to wear flats so I was planning on wearing them to church and that church clothes can be work clothes so I thought they worked fine! She said she was pregnant too! I told her congrats and she said "oh no, don't say that."

Then she totally opened up and obviously she just felt the need to get it off her chest and didn't have anyone to tell. She's 18 and had just found out she's 2 months pregnant 4 days before our meeting. She told the guy (not her boyfriend...and he's 26) and he told her he'd support her by paying for the abortion. She said she won't do it (thank God) and is going to keep the baby no matter what. She had yet to even tell her parents and they've never met the guy either.

My heart reached out to her. Can you imagine being in her position? I told her she's doing the right thing and that aborting that baby would be something she'd always regret. I said that her parents will support her. She said she knows they will but that she hates to disappoint them, which I followed by saying that she's being so strong to keep that baby that they will be proud of her for that decision, not disappointed!

When I got in line behind her I kept thinking about her and her situation over and over and over. I felt pretty lame but I asked her for her name (Megan) and told her I'd keep her in my prayers. I don't know why it made me feel lame saying that but I guess I think of that as an old church lady thing to do haha (Zach and Casey both called me Charlotte when I told them!). But I really left that store and walked through the mall praying for her and that He will bless her, her baby, and her pregnancy for her making the right choice when so many people make the wrong one. I'm keeping her in my prayers and hope maybe some of you will add her to yours!

It just reminds me how even though my life is perfect that I am so blessed. I have such a supporting husband (I mean how many guys would be okay with me spending the money on gas and paying someone to watch the dogs so I could be with him for two weeknights?) who loves me no matter what (even when I go crazy on him for just doing his job!!!) and who is SO SO excited to be a father to our child!

10 pounds

Last Tuesday I had a dr. appointment, just a routine monthly check-up for the baby! I was hoping Zach would be able to be at every appointment throughout the pregnancy but he's a working machine right now and couldn't be there. No big deal as I wasn't having an actual exam...

Of course I get there and the midwife I was supposed to see had called in sick so some male doctor was going to see me instead. Then when I went to pee in the cup I forgot to pee in it so I had no pee left haha I got a drizzle and just told them I couldn't go anymore...luckily it worked out ok!

Lately I've been (FINALLY) feeling like I look pregnant! So I had on a cute little tight shirt with my new maternity jeans and ballet flats. When they weighed me and said I've gained about 10 pounds overall and I was excited! I mean I was 22 weeks pregnant and had only gained 10 pounds total? Pretty awesome if you ask me!

I got into the dr. office and he heard the heartbeat (sounds good! it was like 152 I think). Then he looked over my chart and LECTURED me. ME! The girl who STILL has yet to have a SINGLE stranger say anything about me being pregnant! The girl who always gets "oh my you don't even look pregnant" from people who I tell that I'm pregnant! I got a lecture about my WEIGHT. Can you believe that?

He said since I gained all my weight within 5 weeks that I'm putting myself at risk for gestational diabetes, a problematic delivery, and a future of obesity! Are you kidding me? He said that most people in my "situation" eat too much fast food. I literally have eaten fast food under 10 times my entire pregnancy! What a JOKE.

I tried to be nice about it and thanked him for his concern. I asked him about this whole eating-peanut-butter-will-give-my-kid-asthma thing and told him that since peanut butter is my main source of protein that I am having a hard time not eating it. He said that a person in my weight "situation" should not be eating peanut butter because it's a fatty food! Seriously. He said that.

I left that doctors appointment feeling like absolute crap about myself. I literally thought about going on a diet which is NOT a good thing to do while pregnant. My eating habits are FINE. Yes it's the holiday season (my bday being just a couple weeks ago and thanksgiving and christmas left to come). I ALWAYS gain like 5 pounds during this time (I love me some Christmas Cookies!) anyways then lose it no problem after the season is over. I made a list of things I could do to stop gaining and honestly the only things I came up with are to quit eating waffles (I splurge once in awhile and eat a couple) and to go back to skim milk since I've been "living it up" and drinking 2%. WOW I'm sure those changes will make a HUGE difference! My non-pregnant life included a bowl of icecream loaded with toppings almost every night and since being pregnant I don't even want icecream anymore!

Luckily I have a pretty good self-image and KNOW that I'm not gaining too much for my pregnancy. I googled it like crazy and every pregnancy weight calculator thing I could find says I'm right where I should be weight wise with a perfect BMI. But what if I was like MOST women out there who freak out over weight? What if I looked at celebrities who gain nothing throughout their pregnancy and had that be my goal? A jerk like him could easily make a pregnancy woman freak out and try to lose weight when it's not healthy for the baby to do that! So screw him!!!

My next appointment is the test for gestational diabetes and I can't wait. I'm going to rub those results in his face for sure :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Where did I leave that???

I have heard that pregnant women become very forgetful. I have experienced this twice so far in major ways!

The first time was a couple of weeks ago. I spent an entire day shopping around town trying (unsuccessfully) to find some brown flat shoes and I ended my day at Rack Room. I stayed in the store for about an hour just browsing and trying on different things. When I went to leave I started digging out my keys to find that they weren't there! They weren't in my purse. I frantically looked in every box of shoes I'd tried on, on all the seats, under the seats, in the shelves etc. But no luck. I then asked everyone and no one had seen them. When I described them to one lady she said someone probably stole them because I have a Coach keychain! Random! So I ran out to the car thinking maybe I left them inside and nope. No where! Thankfully when I ran back in and started asking more people some lady said she found them and had turned them into a guy who had already left work and some of the workers found them in the register area. Thank the Lord!

This type of thing REALLY irritates me because finding stuff it something I'm naturally good at (it's a skill, I'm not joking!). I'm great at retracing my steps, somehow just seeing the item in my head and recalling where I placed it. I'm even good at finding stuff of Zach's! I'm really probably one of the last people who'd ever truly lose something and have no clue where it is.

On top of my mess-of-a-day registering, I had my second pregnancy forgetfullness moment. I was shopping in Victoria's Secret (getting my free panty as usual) and talking to Ashley on the phone. Then I went from there and got a pretzel, looked in a couple stores for some brown flats (yes I'm still looking) then drove downtown to see about ordering shirts for the Twilight Premiere night. The shirts were a no-go so I went in the car to call Ashley back and tell her the news and I couldn't find my phone. My blackberry phone. My expensive-expensive-Zach-will-kill-me-for-this-phone. I started bawling. People turn in keys when they are lost (even with Coach keychains on them...stupid lady!) but who turns in a phone? Seriously?

I was bawling, praying, cussing, then praying for forgiveness over and over and over. I raced back to the mall...pulled into a parking spot...and ran the hardest I've run since being pregnant back into the mall. I backtracked and asked each place I'd been to if they'd seen my phone then ended up back at Victoria's Secret. I said "please please tell me you found a pink blackberry" and THEY DID!!! Thank the Lord again! I kind of thought He may have left it lost after I cussed but I was truly sorry and am soooo thankful I got it back! I'd much rather lose my wallet than phone because you can get all your cards replaced for free...you can't get a phone replaced for free!

I'm hoping this junk is over but I'm worried that it's only just beginning! As long as I get it out of my system while I'm pregnant b/c I really don't want to leave the baby somewhere and forget her/him!!!

Registering for Baby Things...

When we first got engaged people told us how fun it would be registering. Instead it was a pain because there was so much stuff to get then they would be out of stock or get clearanced out so I'd have to update the registries all the time and then hardly anyone got us stuff off of them anyway and we ended up using left over wedding money to complete them!

I heard from many people that planning for a baby is a lot more fun than planning for a wedding. Again, I disagree. Planning our wedding was the most fun I think I've ever had! I loved it! With a baby you really can't plan much. We knew our wedding date 16 months in advance. I'm 6 months pregnant and even when I get to be 9 months pregnant I still won't have a clue what day our baby will come, what labor will be like, what our baby will be like, if it's healthy, how we'll be as parents, etc, etc, etc. There is really very little you can plan for when it comes to being pregnant! I don't even know how I'm going to look tomorrow! haha!

In Valdosta we are limited with places that carry baby items it's either Target or ToysRUs. So we planned a day to go to Jacksonville and register at BabysRUs!

Before leaving at 7 am I made Zach take a couple new pictures of how pregnant I am! This is first thing in the morning too so my tummy is a lot bigger at night than this. I am fully wearing all maternity clothes now :) This is at 22 Weeks Pregnant:



Mom met us in Jacksonville and I'm so glad she did as I really want her involved as much as possible! I spent a lot of time making a big master list of things we needed to have on our registry and researching top baby products.

We got there at around 9:30 (Mom had been there since 8:50!) and after the lady took a million years explaning to us how to register we were off!

Zach has this idea in his mind that Baby Einstein is the liberal media's way of brainwashing our children so he has been very anti-baby einstein stuff! But I got him to break down and register for a dvd :)

A big reason I wanted to go to the store to register is that they allow you to test everything! Zach and Mom did a lot of the testing since they are more ADHD type people who get bored easily and need entertaining haha! I think here they were trying to figure out how to make the stroller convert from infant to toddler. They also had fun seeing if we could easily break down the pack-and-plays (NONE of them are easy to break down! What a joke!).


This day was the first time I've felt a little twinge of "man I wish we knew the sex." Most baby items are gender specific and neutral stuff is soooo ugly. It made it that much more difficult to register because we didn't want anything neutral so we ended up saying NO CLOTHES at all!!!
Since we do a lot of traveling a baby carrier thing is a must! This is supposed to be the lightest weight one which is important for me :) Even if I look like an idiot wearing it


All in all registering for baby stuff is WAY WAY WAY harder than for wedding stuff! I mean with a wedding, everyone knows what a PLATE is ya know? But who the heck knows what a breast pump is and what all you need to go with it? And how do you tell which bottle will be best? And what is the best way to take a baby's temperature? There are so many things we will learn through experience and it's impossible to know what we really need, really want, and will really use when the baby actually gets here!

We called it quits after 3 1/2 hours. I'm so impressed with all of us, especially Zach, because we took what was a stressful difficult situation and didn't fuss at each other! I was dying of sleepiness and hunger by the end and the three of us ate at Maggiano's as our grand finale :)



Once I got home I looked over the online registry to see how we did. I tried to replace items that said they were only avaiable in a BabysRUs store with ones that were available online. Then I looked over the items we registered for a checked their safety ratings and consumer ratings. I thought after all of that that our list was pretty awesome...little did I know that a couple days later my life would be registered to death!

That Monday I went to our local ToysRUs to see if it would pull up the BabysRUs registry so people here (who are internet deficient) can buy things for us from the small selection the toy store has in baby items. Lucky for me it worked! A couple of the bigger items were actually available in the store too! Our montior and pack-and-play! I thought that was pretty good so I just went through the store trying to replace some items that said they were only available online with things people could purchase for us there in the store.

After about an hour I headed to Target very optimistic because surely they would have an awesome selection of baby things and they'd probably even carry Chicco, which is the brand we love for most of our bigger items. It took them 30 minutes to sign me up in the system then once I finally got the scanner they only have 3, yes THREE, rows of baby!!!!

I couldn't believe it! It was that moment that it hit me. I am a big town girl stuck in a small town!!! Other people from here wouldn't think twice about it. They don't research everything to make sure they get the best (or closest to the best without spending a million dollars), they don't care about brands, they just say "oh that's cute" and SCAN. The only big items they had to choose from were either Graco or Eddie Bauer. Some Graco stuff is ok...but I was raised to LOVE L.L.Bean and loathe Eddie Bauer. I will never own Eddie Bauer stuff (yes Dad, you trained me well)! So what was the point in registering there? Basically all I'd be scanning is a couple bottles and a few blankets.

So I voided out the stuff in the scanner, turned it into the girl at the counter and called some 1800 number to erase that junk! We are now OFFICIALLY only registered at BabysRUs and ToysRUs.
That whole Target episode took me over an hour and then I had to head BACK to ToysRUs because I needed to register for as much stuff as possible there! People in Valdosta just don't, for the most part, shop online and to avoid getting another $450 worth of pure crap from Belk like we did for the wedding I knew I needed to have lots to choose from at the toy store. Especially since plenty of people will think I'm an idiot for not having a list at Target.

After another two hours I am FINISHED forever with this mess! I scanned a ton, ton, ton of toys and books because I know a lot of people won't want to get us gift cards (as I hate buying them too!) so they can get us cute, fun toys that we can return for gift cards to get the bigger items if we don't get them! Enjoy our little list of things and if you happen to be invited to a shower I'll love you forever for shopping online :)

And yes, after my long day I could hardly walk but I did take a picture of myself. I worked hard and deserve to have it remembered!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Junk Mail

I never read junk mail! Never! First thing in the morning I check my e-mails (usually to see if Mom wrote me!) and before reading anything I go through and delete all the spam from companies, offers from stores, and forwards from e-mail lists I somehow find myself on. When I went to click to delete a Forward this morning, I accidently opened it. So I read it and I'm so glad I did! I think God wanted me to read this and to share it with others!

A TEENAGER'S VIEW Of HEAVEN

17-year-old Brian Moore had only a short time to write something for a class. The subject was what Heaven was like. 'I wowed 'em,' he later told his father, Bruce. 'It's a killer. It's the bomb. It's the best thing I ever wrote..' It also was the last.

Brian Moore died May 27, 1997, the day after Memorial Day. He was driving home from a friend's house when his car went off Bulen-Pierce Road in Pickaway County and struck a utility pole. He emerged from the wreck unharmed but stepped on a downed power line and was electrocuted.

The Moores framed a copy of Brian's essay and hung it among the family portraits in the living room. 'I think God used him to make a point. I think we were meant to find it and make something out of it,' Mrs. Moore said of the essay. She and her husband want to share their son's vision of life after death. 'I'm happy for Brian. I know he's in heaven. I know I'll see him.'

Brian's Essay: The Room...

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read 'Girls I have liked.' I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.

This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.

A file named 'Friends' was next to one marked 'Friends I have betrayed.' The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird 'Books I Have Read,' 'Lies I Have Told,' 'Comfort I have Given,' 'Jokes I Have Laughed at .' Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: 'Things I've yelled at my brothers.' Others I couldn't laugh at: 'Things I Have Done in My Anger', 'Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents.' I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.

Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked 'TV Shows I have watched', I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked 'Lustful Thoughts,' I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content.

I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!' In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.

Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.

And then I saw it.. The title bore 'People I Have Shared the Gospel With.' The handle was brighter than those around it,seemed newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.

No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own.

He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. 'No!' I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was 'No, no,' as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side.

He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, 'It is finished.' I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. '-Phil. 4:13

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween and My Birthday!

A very busy 24th birthday for sure! Thursday Oct 30th we celebrated my birthday with our friends! Seth and Crissy couldn't make it so Zach, Katie, Ashley and I all enjoyed dinner at Red Lobster. Since Katie has been our friend we've never done gift-giving but we decided to start that tradition this year.

Ashley got me two really cute maternity winter tops and Katie got me a gift card to Victoria's Secret and a pregnant angel-girl (I don't know their "official" name I just call them angel-girls haha)!



The last two Halloween's we've dominated the Christian Student Center Halloween Party. Two years ago we were Nintendo Characters and last year Zach was Flavor Flave and Katie and I were "Cocoa" and "Butta." Of course everyone was jealous of our awesome-ness and we think that's why they didn't have a Halloween Party this year. haha!

We made the best of it though and Zach, Katie, Zach West (who is basically a younger version of Zach Parker), and I headed out to a Corn-Fusing Corn Maze! It was so fun just playing around and doing something different. Zach really enjoyed having a guy around for a change and I think "little" Zach enjoyed it too!

After a long Halloween night, Zach told me to sleep in on my birthday. When I woke up he made me his famous pancakes :) So sweet! I don't think I'll ever make pancakes the rest of my life because his are seriously the best ever!

While I was getting ready for the day he came in the bathroom and had my open an early present...he got me the beautiful necklace and earring set that we had seen in California!!! I was surprised and excited because he did such a great job playing it off while we were there that he thought they weren't worth the price! They are even prettier than I remember them being and they are so much different from most of my other jewelry :)


I also opened my card from Dad. Every year for as long as I can remember I've always given my dad a Wishlist and he gets me items from that for both my birthday and Christmas. This year when I sent him a birthday "idea" he wrote me back and told me he already had my birthday covered! I was shocked and really, really excited.


Then the card came. And it was just an envelope so I got nervous...I thought he'd just given me a check for sure which was disappointing because I was so excited to get a gift that HE picked out on his own!!! Ya know? So Zach told me to go ahead and open Dad's card while he was making the pancakes because he didn't want me to be upset all day just in case!


I was shocked, my eyes filled with tears, and a HUGE smile spread across my face when I opened the card and saw that he and Audrey (his wife) had gone the extra mile and gotten me a Prenatal Spa Day here in Valdosta!!! SO thoughtful! I was so impressed and it really meant a lot to me that they took the time, effort, and thought to get me such a sweet gift!



How often does a birthday fall on a Saturday? Of course it was UGA vs. UF weekend but my sweet husband DVRed the games and spent my fullll birthday with ME! It was so nice just the two of us taking our time without having to rush to be somewhere. We went and saw the movie Changeling. It was SO good! Then we got dressed up (as dressed up as I can with a baby belly) and went and ate at Charlie Tripper's! It's probably the nicest restaurant in town and even though we have gone there for three of my birthday's now I like the tradtion as we never get to go any other time during the year!



Once we got home it was cake and present time. I've been craving an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen but of course their freezers were broken so he got me a YUMMY cookie cake instead!!!




Zach has been saying how difficult this birthday has been to buy for since I'm pregnant. Mom did such an awesome job getting me maternity stuff from her that I don't really need much more and so Zach really wanted to give me gifts that focused on me and not really the baby.
I guess he works well under "pressure" because he did AWESOME! I've wanted both a sapphire tennis bracelet and a big red purse for a couple of years now and he got both of them for me. While I've always been anti-bluetooth things...he got me one. At first I was thrown as to why but once he explained it, it makes total sense! He said this way when I'm juggling a baby in my arms I won't have to juggle my phone too since I'll probably either be calling him or my mom constantly for help with the baby!!! haha!
He felt a little bad because I had been so pumped about Dad's gift and Zach got me a Spa Day too!!! It's at a different spa though and it doesn't expire as soon as Dad's...and really I'm pumped about having two of them! I know Zach may not believe that but I really am as I've read so many great things about how having prenatal massages (and facials and mani/pedis) really helps the body prepare for delivery and can not only be relaxing but can make the whole labor process easier. Once this third trimester hits I'm sure I'll put both of them to good use! It's so sweet that both of the men in my life did something so thoughtful!



I loved everything he got for me! Even the card he made for me on the computer was sweet (with a gross picture of a baby being born on the inside...typical Zach). I was a little angry with him for going so overboard though. He should have kept a few of the gifts for Christmas! As I was in mid-sentence telling him that he did too much he walked out to the living room carrying a Coach Box!!!
I about died! He got me the Coach Babybag I've wanted too!!!



While part of me wanted to get depressed about turning 24, Zach made it impossible for me to even think about! He gave me an entire day all about me and pampered me with his love and with the best gifts ever! Plus since he went sooo far over the budget for my birthday...it means I'm excited to spoil him at Christmas!!! I can't wait :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Inspiration

Zach has been a Christian his entire life. He's only said a cuss word once and has never had a drink of alcohol. He's admired by many people! People are always mentioning Zach's strong Christian morals and parents often comment on how they hope their child will grow up to be like him. He's been asked to speak to the highschool kids at church and even asked by a parent to have dinner with his son who is a freshman in college to explain to him the trials he will go through and how to overcome them

It's thanks to Zach that I am a Christian today! I'm so proud to have him as my husband and glad that he inspires other people to live a life of walking towards Christ. However, it is tough sometimes. I often feel like people just give Zach the "credit" for me and how I turned out. A girl who came form a divorced home etc etc...I feel like people often overlook my Christianity because I haven't lead the "flawless" life that Zach has.

That is why this Facebook message I recieved recently really touched my life:

"I know we hardly ever spoke while we had classes together. But I just want to say that fo some reason I have kept up with your facebook and your blog page. I am in the very early stages of re-establishing my relationship with Christ again, and I just wanted to tell you that you are so encouraging, as a Christian, wife and a soon to be mother! Have a great day:)"

It may not seem like much but this is the first time since becoming a Christian that someone has looked towards ME. Has seen me as encouraging! Has thought that I have it together as a Christian! Thinks that my life is one that they could model themselves after! I cried when I read this and called Zach immediatly!

A lot of girls who go to my church have always judged me. Held sins I commited before I came to Christ against me. Have said to people that they shouldn't be my friend because they could become a "lost soul." Have warned people not to go to church events that Zach and I are involved in b/c it's all about us. While I try not to let these types of things bother me, they do. How could they not? Those types of things make me doubt myself and make me feel like I'm not worthy or that I can never be "good enough."

This brief little message made me realize who cares what they think! Those people don't know me, but this person also doesn't know me. Those people judge me based off things from four years ago, this person is judging me based off things NOW. Our preacher often mentions how our Facebooks show people who we are...and obviously mine is a good representation of myself if a practical stranger draws inspiration from it! I thank her so much for writing me this message as I may be an encouragement to her, but she has been one to me. She has shown me that living my life as close to an example of Christ as I can will help others see Him through me and that Zach isn't the only one in our little family who can be a good example to others! :)

Spoke Too Soon...

I thought I wasn't experiencing many pregnancy symptoms but over the past couple of days I've discovered a few more!!!

1. Dreams: I have been having CRAZY dreams. My most common one? That I forget to feed the baby, the baby has a hard time breastfeeding, or just a dream of me breastfeeding in general. I think I have this dream because I'm nervous about breastfeeding and also I think I have it on nights when I'm sleeping in a funky postion that makes my breasts hurt because everytime I have this dream I wake up and they are sore! haha

2. Belly: Still haven't had a stranger notice but the BELLY is HERE! I can no longer see my privates! haha I didn't realize that until I took a bath the other night and saw them for the first time in a looong time and realized that area could use a little help haha I am gaining not just in the belly but all around the belly area. My butt is no longer in existence as my lower back baby gain is one with the booty. My "love handles" are a lot more loveable as well! I thought this was a bad thing but Crissy gained just in her tummy and she said I'm lucky b/c she has lots of skin leftover and I won't so I guess it's a good thing! Zach made the comment that my belly doesn't stick out that far...it's just wide! Thanks sweetie!

3. Craving: I've had my first I-Have-To-Eat-It-Or-I'll-Die craving! Yay! Of course it wasn't anything healthy haha! On Thur I felt a cold coming on so I took the whole day and just relaxed. All of the sudden I had this urge to eat something but I couldn't figure out what and out of nowhere I realized it was OATMEAL COOKIES! I don't even like oatmeal cookies and I didn't have a recipe for them either! So I googled one and made them immediately! Random!

4. Pre-Nesting: I know nesting is a third trimester thing but I swear it's hit me early...probably because I'm home all day and am just anxious waiting for this baby to get here! I have already had Zach reorganize the garage, move tons of stuff from the kitchen cabnets to storage, and reorganzied the pantry. I know it's kind of stupid since we haven't even registered yet but we'll have plenty of room to store baby things once we start getting presents! We've also already bought all the paint for the nursery and I'm DYING to get it painted!

5. Maturity: I am not the emotional wreck I thought I'd be but I really do relate to situations in a different way than I used to. We went and saw the movie Changeling which is a true story about a single mother whose son got kidnapped and the L.A.P.D didn't give her back the right child. I cried or at least felt like crying at so many places during the movie! I kept thinking about how horrible it would be for a child to be gone and how this poor woman only had her child and how blessed I am that I have Zach too. Then this girl at church is pregnant and she asked me how I get my husband to come to church because she can't get hers to come. I thought about that several times throughout the day and how blessed I am that my husband is such a good Christian and how lucky my baby is that "it" will be raised in a Christian home! I just think this baby is MATURING me in a lot of my thinking which is kinda scary because I feel like so much more of an adult!

Very American

Since my husband is no longer playing football he has become a fan of politics. While driving all over Georgia selling Aflac he listens to talk radio constantly and when he gets home he'd rather tell me alllll the latest info on the Presidential Election than tell me how selling insurance went!

For the most part, I get sick of hearing about it! But at the same time I am proud that he is so knowledgeable and has opinions! His knowledge has helped me learn so much and form my own opinions on this historic election!

Neither of us have ever voted and this year we went early to the polls to make sure we did our part in keeping Obama out of the white house while also getting our fellow church member, Chris Prine, elected as Sheriff!


You can reallllly tell that the baby was voting with me huh? And I know I totally did make Zach get pictures but it's a big deal! We both felt so good about voting and felt like true Americans! We wore our little stickers with pride the rest of the day! While we are both nervous about the outcomes we know that God has a plan in everything and that we did our best to help the country the only way we can!

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