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Romans 9 is like a tiger...

 Friday, February 22, 2013

As I've been studying Romans 9 lately, I came across a great sermon by John Piper wherein he describes his dealings with this particular part of Scripture. Here are two quotes that I really liked:

But thanks be to God’s mercy and patience, at the end of the semester I wrote in my blue book for the final exam, "Romans 9 is like a tiger going about devouring free-willers like me."

As I studied Romans 9 day after day, I began to see a God so majestic and so free and so absolutely sovereign that my analysis merged into worship and the Lord said, in effect, "I will not simply be analyzed, I will be adored. I will not simply be pondered, I will be proclaimed. My sovereignty is not simply to be scrutinized, it is to be heralded. It is not grist for the mill of controversy, it is gospel for sinners who know that their only hope is the sovereign triumph of God’s grace over their rebellious will."

There is also a part of a transcript by Jonathan Edwards on the subject that is really helpful. Here is the link to the sermon. I hope it is as much of a blessing to you as it was to me.


180 Movie....Eye opening documentary

 Monday, February 18, 2013

My husband has been really encouraged and challenged by Ray Comfort lately, from Way of the Master.

Here is a 33 minute documentary by him that is definitely worth watching:


What a delight...I am blessed

 Sunday, February 17, 2013

It is Sunday evening, and as I sit down to plan the schooling for the week and tomorrow's to do list, I think about the day the Lord has just given me and I realize I am so blessed. I woke up to hear the sweet words, "Mamaaa....". I hadn't slept well the night before, so my husband so sweetly got up with Thomas and let me sleep almost another hour. I then hear my children laughing downstairs and join them for breakfast. Then, we went to church to be with our brothers and sisters, to pray, worship and hide the Word in our hearts. We heard a wonderful sermon on Matthew 26:26...The Bread of Life, and then partook of the bread and the cup. Next, we enjoyed a fellowship meal together and were able to eat with a sweet family. We then were able to hear from a missionary in Turkey, about his testimony and the work the Lord has him and his family doing over there, which was both encouraging and challenging to hear! Following that, we witnessed a baptism of a lovely young lady who was saved 8 months ago, the daughter of precious friends of ours. After enjoying some more fellowship and hearing more from the missionary, we went to have supper with a family who has been such a blessing to us. We then headed to SLBC where we focused on two books of the Bible, Obadiah and Jonah, which was really enlightening. Afterwards I sat and talked with a friend about the blessing of birthing babies, and then we headed home and tucked our sleepy children into bed.

The Sabbath is such a delight, and I am so thankful that the Lord has shown us what a blessing it is, and that He has lovingly commanded us to partake. 

I am so thankful for our church family. We really do feel rather spoiled to be a part of it.


Decorating On A Budget and Some Sweet Little Touches Added to My Girls' Room

 Thursday, February 14, 2013

Last month I shared with you my daughters' room makeover:

Since then, we have added some sweet little touches to their room that I wanted to share for two reasons. One-because I'm excited the extra pretty things we added and Two-I want to share with you how you don't have to spend tons of money to decorate and make your home beautiful.

Many of these little things were actually freely given to me by a very sweet friend of me! Even if they hadn't been given to me, you can find such things at thrift stores for just a couple of dollars each. We didn't spend too much money at all on the whole room. The cornices were the most expensive item, at $150 to have them made. The paint is inexpensive, obviously. I found the sheer curtains on ebay for only $3 each, if my memory serves me right. All of the other items in their room were found at thrift stores or I made them. Even the crib paintings are made from an old crib that was laying out in the free section of our favorite thrift store! I didn't spend a lot of money on bedding at all, nor did I need to. When you decorate the walls with detail, it's better to keep your bedding simple so as not to overdo the design and distract the eye.

So here are some of the new little items we found:

Added to this wall are the little tea pot hooks, which were given to me by a friend after she saw their room. I also added the center hook and hung this sweet little dress that I found at the thrift store for $2. I love toile and gingham, and I thought that this dress just fits the room so perfectly. My daughter looks so sweet in it, too. :-) I also added the nightlight that I had made that brings in all the colors of the room.

My friend was having a "free sale" of sorts. A local thrift shop owner that she knows was looking to make room in her shop, so she gave my friend tons of stuff. My friend then invited everyone over to come take what they would like. It's a good idea to take advantage of times like this, because you can find some wonderful things! But again, these items could be found at a thrift store for just a couple of dollars. These items helped us to make their shelves look even more pretty. :-)

We also added some pretty pink pillows from the thrift store at .99 each!

We love how these little shoes for Annabelle match their room!

Finally, we have the pack and play ready for our little sweetheart, for her to take her naps in during the day! I am almost 28 weeks, so it's getting closer! There is a lot of excitement here at the Vande Slunt household. Annabelle receives many kisses from her older sisters and older brother, and they love to feel and see her moving around in my belly. :-) 
Lots of love for this sweet little one.


Birth Stories...My Little Man's Birthday

 Thursday, February 7, 2013

After rereading this and my daughters' birth stories, I am realizing that I add every little detail and they are rather long, but I love that-to relive the day again is such a blessing. Now that I am entering the third trimester and am feeling Annabelle grow and get stronger, I am so looking forward to her arrival. Birth is such an amazing gift from the Lord. I think it will always amaze me.

To our sweet boy, Thomas...

It was the end of January when we found out we were expecting another little blessing. We were so happy. In the following weeks we were brought to our knees many times. I had begun to bleed heavily and have major cramping one night when I was about six and a half weeks along. When we went into the doctor the next morning we were so surprised to see your little heart beating! Yet, the doctor didn't seem too hopeful. Being that we had just lost Asher just a couple months prior, we tried to remain hopeful but were preparing our hearts if the Lord decided to take you home early as well. Amazingly, you just started growing and your heart rate picked up. There was still blood in my uterus, but we just continued to lay it at the Father's feet. When we had our 17 week ultrasound, we were overjoyed to find out that you were a boy, AND the blood in my uterus was gone! We thank the Lord that He kept you healthy and thriving.

As the months grew I got bigger and bigger and it got hotter and hotter! By September we were so ready to meet you! The morning before I reached 36 weeks, I woke up and realized I was contracting pretty consistently, every 3-5 minutes. This continued throughout the day and we started thinking that day or the next was going to be your birthday as it was just how your sisters' labors started out. We even had Miriam and Grandma Bear come over just incase things picked up. Well, that lasted for 14 hours and then the contractions just sort of dwindled down. The next morning when I went to my midwife appointment, we found out that I dilated to 2 cm, was 50% effaced, and your head was at a -1 station. I was thankful to know that even though it wasn't it, we had gotten some work done.

A week later, in the middle of the night, I started contracting consistently again, this time every 3 minutes. I knew that I was Group B Strep positive at this point, and they were somewhat more intense, so we decided to go in to the hospital. We called Grandma Bear and she met us at the hospital. Susan Nickel was on call and when she checked me I was 4 cm dilated and 80 % effaced. It looked like this might be it again, so we were admitted and they started the first dose of antibiotics. We had Miriam come to the hospital as she was going to be part of our labor support team. Well, we walked, and talked, and I grew somewhat frustrated as the contractions remained the same all night long. At around eight in the morning Stephanie DeVane Johnson was the new midwife on call. She came in to check me and found that I had made no progress and my cervix was very posterior. She kindly explained that although I was having consistent contractions, I was not in active labor. She gave us our choices: stay and have them break my water, start pitocin or head home and wait for active labor to start. We thought and talked about this for a bit, I cried like a baby, and we decided the safest option would be to just go home and wait. We didn't want to risk it by starting labor if you weren't ready to come out and end up with lots of unwanted interventions.

It was hard coming home as we really thought we were going to be meeting you. I kept thinking of all the babies we heard crying as they were being delivered when we were in the hospital. Not only did I really want to meet you and hold you, but by this point, I was pretty uncomfortable. Also, your mommy has this problem with wanting to have everything all figured out, and waiting isn't my most favorite thing to do. But looking back, this was so good for me. I was once again brought to my knees as I brought my frustrations and anxieties to the Lord in that following week. God is so faithful. I think of the verse that says, “He keeps him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed upon you.” There were times when I was tired and all I could think about was when is this going to happen, but more so there were times of total peace and contentment as I waited and enjoyed those last days with your sisters. One morning was so sweet as we went to the park and had a picnic breakfast. The girls played on the playground and then we fed the ducks and geese. Even though I was uncomfortable, I still did enjoy feeling your little feet stretch out in my womb. It amazes me every time.
The morning of September 23rd, I was now 38 weeks along, and the night before my sleep was not too great at all. I went to my midwife appointment in my sleep deprived state, and although I had planned on not even having her check me, when she offered to strip my membranes and check my cervix, I said-sure, let's do it! She explained that pretty much the only risk of doing so would be that I might start contracting again and not move into active labor. I decided I could handle that. When she checked me I was 3-4 cm, 80% effaced, at 0 station and my cervix was now anterior. She explained that everything looked great and I was ready to go-all I needed was to have some good consistent contractions.

I was slightly excited that this might mean your birthday would be any day, but after two false alarms, tried to keep my cool. The girls and I went to Trader Joes, had lunch and we all took a nap. When we woke up I decided to go for a walk to see if that might help things along. It ended up being a pretty vigorous walk. By this time I was just so desperate to do anything I could to help labor come along. In the back of my mind I knew that if it wasn't God's timing, none of this would help, so again I needed to just keep trusting in the Lord and His perfect timing.

Well, thankfully, His timing is perfect and it was very quick there after. I had inconsisitent contractions for the rest of the day and evening. Daddy decided to work from home that night, just incase anything were to happen. Around 11:15 or so I realized that not only were my contractions consistent at 3 minutes apart, but they were growing in intensity. I waited about an hour to see what would happen, and they grew more and more intense. At 12:30 or so I paged the midwife. Nancy Mathias was the midwife on call and she told me to come on in. I then called Grandma Bear and asked her to come over to be with the girls. We decided we would wait for her at the house rather than meeting her at the hospital again as to not disrupt the girls' sleep. Each contraction came on with more intensity that I started getting nervous about that decision. I called Grandma Bear a couple times wondering how far away she was. She said she could tell in my voice that this was the real thing and tried to get here as fast as she could. We cleaned up a bit while we waited, and Daddy got the car all ready to go so that when Grandma Bear arrived, we left very quickly.

When we arrived at the hospital, I was monitored in triage for a bit. Nancy checked me at 3:00 and thankfully I was now 6 cm dilated and fully effaced, and 0 to +1 station. Now it really looked like we were going to meet you! We were so excited! We called Miriam and told her this is really it and she said she was on her way.

They got the antibiotics started again and I labored in bed as they monitored your heart rate. After that, we went for a couple laps in the hallway, but I no longer wanted to do that. I labored on the birthing ball for a bit and went to the bathroom a couple of times but just started growing rather antsy. I was feeling really warm and sort of like I was going through transition. Somewhere in there Miriam arrived as I was breathing through a contraction. She said she took one look at me and thought, We're having a baby tonight!

Daddy was going to move the car and get our bags, but Nancy didn't think that was such a great idea, that Daddy should stick around. I was excited to hear that! I guess she had a feeling things were going to move rather quickly.

The contractions were getting really intense really quick, so I had Nancy check me again at around 4:00. I was so excited to hear that I was 8 cm! From that point on I remained sitting in the tailor position in the bed. I didn't really want to move. I was thankful to have Daddy and Miriam by my side, encouraging me as I breathed through each contraction. I remember trying to relax, and not be afraid of the intensity of the contraction, but focus on the fact that the intense contractions meant I would be holding you in my arms very shortly! I remember visualizing you being born and that was so helpful. Daddy and Miriam were so helpful, feeding me ice chips, keeping me cool and praying for me. I felt so loved through it all, which was so comforting and helpful.

Almost an hour later, the contractions were very intense, so I wanted Nancy to check me again. I was now 10 cm. Wow!!! This was so exciting as your sisters' labors were very long and drawn out. I then knelt on the bed which was in the sitting position, and leaned over the top of it. I didn't want to push until I felt the urge, so I did my best to relax through the next few contractions. Well in the middle of the next contraction I had that overwhelming urge to push. I remember thinking, “I can't believe this! I'm pushing already!” I pushed through a few more contractions, and then Nancy asked if she could break my water. I let out a tired, “Sure”, and as soon as she broke my water and I pushed I felt your head pushing through. I pushed with all my might and was so thankful when I felt your head pop through and the rest of your body come out. I am pretty sure that I cried out, “Thank you, Lord!!!”

It's amazing how you can go from such intensity to such calmness and happiness in a matter of a mere second.You were born at 5:16 am. I kept looking back as I just wanted to see your sweet little face! We heard a little cry, but you were a bit slow to give us a real good cry. Daddy cut the cord, and the nurses took you over and suctioned you out a bit. The midwife then explained that I would have to be careful and turn around to sit so I could birth the placenta. Well, this is a rather funny part because after they helped me to turn around, I began to sit and the placenta just sort of plopped out of me with no effort whatsover. I remember saying, “And there it is”. Nancy said that was the easiest delivery of a placenta that she had ever seen. She said to take a look at the placenta as it was so nice and healthy. I told her I'll pass-I'd rather just look at my sweet little baby! :-) The placenta was birthed at 5:20 and then they brought you over to me.

I will always remember when I first held you and how soft your skin was. I kissed your adorable little head and was just so thankful to be holding you! We massaged you a bit and you began to cry a nice healthy cry. Your face was a bit bruised from the delivery, but that cleared up in the next day or so. You were marvelous and we were so happy. You started nursing and it was as if you had done it for years!

They weighed you and you were 8 lb. 8 oz, and 21 inches long! I had suspected that you were a bit of a bigger baby as it really seemed that you were running out of room. :-) We are so thankful to have you as a part of our family and we love you so very much. You are eleven days old as I write this. We have enjoyed snuggling with you and seeing all of your different faces and hearing all of the different noises you make! Your sisters adore you and are often asking to hold you, see you and kiss you. We look forward to spending the rest of our lives loving you, sweet little one! May God bless you and keep you always, and would you come to know Him and worship Him with all your heart, mind and soul.

Love you always,


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