Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dear God, Are you there? It's me. Loulou.

I've been thinking about this blog lately.... How I miss it. How I miss writing down all my feelings and experiences. In the past whenever I've had hard times or troubles I've written about them, but this time in my life has been different. I really don't know why. I have had more hardships, trials, and just plain old bad stuff happen to me over the last 5 months. I've also had the most amazing experiences with God that I've ever had in my life. Why haven't I written about them? I've always gotten so much love and support from the blogging community and other adoptive parents. All I can figure out this time is that I needed to learn to rely on God alone. I needed to learn that instead of writing everything down and calling my best friends that I needed to go straight to Him....Straight to the source of all strength and comfort. God has taught me so much about myself in these last few months and has given me a glimpse of who He intended me to be. I still have A LONG way to go, but I'm on my journey. I'm on my path. At times I've stumbled over fear and doubt, but He keeps pulling me back up. I'm going to try to tell you all some of what's happened to me over the next few posts. I don't know if anybody will read this, but I know that I'll be happy to have it one day.

I shared a while back that God had let me know that there was another baby for us. I fought against it harder than I've ever fought God, but He showed me through much prayer and time with him that he was trying to give us the biggest blessing in the world. Once I accepted it I had such peace. I felt such urgency at the beginning...like I had to get stuff done NOW....it couldn't wait. I had to do all I could in my power to get things ready. So. I did. He led me directly to our attorney that we had gone to church with a few years before, and we knew we were where we were supposed to be. At that time I honestly felt that God would seriously be dropping a baby on my doorstep at any moment.(I still don't doubt that could happen, but my feelings about it have changed tremendously).

Since August we have had 2 failed adoptions, 1 match fall through, and we've been scammed by an adoption scammer. We have totally drained our adoption account through these situations. Nice huh? I had never been so sure about God speaking to me in my life. I KNEW what he had told me, but I was so utterly confused and disillusioned by all the things that were happening around me. With each of these experiences I went through times of serious doubt and confusion that I KNEW weren't from God. I couldn't understand WHY all these things were happening to us, and I know that I will never understand. I don't need to. I never doubted His unending love for me or the promises he made. I think as Christians we all go through the times of, "WHY GOD? WHY is this happening to us?"...especially when we are doing His will. It's taken me time to digest a lot of what happened, but I learned that the devil comes after us the most when we are truly living for God and desiring to do his will. The closer we get to God the more threatened the bad one gets, and he unleashes all he has against us. Of course he does. Does Satan want families living godly lives? No. He'd rather see them torn apart by sins of the world. Does Satan want orphans to find families. No. Of course he doesn't. Everytime one of the fatherless comes to a Christian family Satan knows he's lost another one. He doesn't like losing. I've actually told him several times out loud that he may has well scamper away. He's not getting me or my family, and he's certainly not keeping me from the plans God has for me.

With each of the losses so many people remarked that if it was God's will then it would have happened. I trust God and know that he didn't want to see us hurt over and over, but I disagree with that viewpoint. As I questioned God about these things He gave me answers. The thing is, God DOES have a perfect plan for all of us. Does God's will always happen? No. It doesn't. We live in a world of free choice. If God's will always happened there would be no pain. No sadness. No orphans. No hurt. No sin. Every one of us has choices to make each and every day.... to do his will or our own. We are all given the opportunity to choose. Those of us who love him strive to make the right choices, but ALL are given the chance to do the right thing. It's up to us to have God's will done on this earth. We are the vessels. All of us...believers and unbelievers have to COOPERATE with God in order for his will to be fulfillied. Regardless of belief EVERYONE has the knowledge of good and bad inside them. They KNOW that they are or aren't doing the right thing. People KNOW when they are being selfish. They just don't care that they're selfish. They let their selfish desires rise above what is best of anyone else including their children. I have seen SO much ugly on this journey.... ugly I didn't even know existed. I have also seen beauty from the ashes. I have seen God take all that ugliness and use it to bring me closer to him. As I've experienced pain over and over I've also felt more love than I knew was possible. God's sweet perfect love has picked me up over and over. I know that some people close to me have questioned why we keep going forward. Can't we see that God really doesn't want us to adopt again? Haven't we learned anything from these things that have happened? Can't we see what God's really trying to tell us? I wish I could make them understand that although I know they love me those words mean nothing to me. I choose to trust man or God. I choose God. I choose God. I choose God today, and I will choose God tomorrow. I'm learning to trust and grow in the times of quiet. I'm learning that he is the lamp unto my feet. If I follow that light I can't get lost. That doesn't mean that I won't experience hard times and pain. Quite the contrary. When we follow that light we are subjected to ridicule and suffering. Darkness doesn't like the light, but darkness doesn't understand that it's impossible to put that light out. That light will never go out.... That light will shine for eternity, and I am so thankful that beautiful light is here to direct me where to go. I'm going to share over time where the light is leading me. I'm going to share all of it. The good. The bad. The beautiful. The ugly. The joy. The despair. All of it. I know that at the end of this journey there is ultimately a brighter light and SO MUCH JOY. I know that God is blessing our family and will continue to do so. I know God has a plan for us. A plan for us to prosper and not be harmed...a plan that has a hope and a future. I honestly am looking forward to EVERY step along the way and am joyfully expectant of all the good he will continue to bring. I don't worry about the bad and the ugly. He can handle that all by himself.... I choose not to be burdened by the bad and the ugly. I choose joy. JOY. Joy is goooooood. Don't you agree?

I have done A LOT of sewing for the girls… These are just a few things I’ve made.

The girls in this year’s Christmas outfits:DSCN3217

Essie with her DS purse I made for her:

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Anne Pearce with her fabric dollhouse purse I made:DSCN3291

Inside of dollhouses:DSCN3307

with my girliesDSCN3314

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Fun peasant top out of some saved Heather Ross fabric. I love this picture of my Essie

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and this one of Anne Pearce:DSCN3342 - Copy

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lou Lynn- the world's most persistant control freak

Yes, that would be me. I haven't been writing during this adoption process, and I see now that I should. It's not about who (or if anyone) reads this. It's about me being honest and accountable to God and myself. The truth isn't always easy to face. In fact, most of the time it's our instinct to run away from it. It's hardest to admit that there's something wrong with us... not other people, US. These past few weeks have been some of the most difficult times I've had with my faith. I've been questioning God instead of questioning my own motives and my own selfish desires. See? We didn't want another baby. We were content and as happy as could be. Then BAM! The world as we knew it came tumbling down. We grudgingly accepted God's will and decided to move forward on this journey to another child, our son. I was SO SURE at the beginning of this journey.. so sure of MYSELF. Not of God. That's where I always screw things up. He tells me things to do, and I submit (or so I think I do). I've realized that agreeing to do His will isn't submitting. We may be submitting to the actual task, but we have to submit totally, and give it all to Him. As Christians, haven't we heard this a million times? Let go, and let God. I tell myself rather indignantly that "Of COURSE I'm letting God! He's the one who told me to do this in the first place. Would I be doing this if I wasn't submitting?" That's how I've been justifying the fact that I've really been looking out for myself instead of letting Him lead the way.

There are some truths in this situation:

In my mind my age is one of the biggest factors I have against me. Let's face it. I'm 41. I may not feel (or look as most say) 41, but the number doesn't lie. I see myself raising a teenager in my 50's, and it scares the crap outta me. Most people will be have grandchildren (and it's likely that I will too) at this age, not raising teenagers. Everyday that creeps by without a baby means that I'm one day closer to oldness! :)

There's also this undeniable fact: When you adopt, your entire life is put on hold. I've never been good at putting this to the side and just living my life. Who can? It's a baby for Pete's sake. I HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT I'M DOING EVERYTHING I CAN TO FIND HIM AND BRING HIM TO US. Tag. You're it. There it is as plain as day. I think I have to do things, when I don't. I don't have to go looking for a baby. He will send him. Now, that doesn't mean that I didn't have to find my fabulous attorney or get things together for our home study. All those things have to be done by me. God isn't going to come down here and get our last 2 years of tax records together...some of this IS our responsibility. It means that I don't have to be in charge of this. I don't have to spend every waking moment wondering if I'm supposed to call someone, or do something else to make this happen. I don't have to control this.

Yesterday an expectant mom had an appointment to view our profile. From the outside looking in it was THE PERFECT situation. No one could argue, so I decided that this was meant to be. God had lined this up Himself, and THIS was our baby. Big surprise, it wasn't. I had my heartbroken and was screaming out to Him asking WHY HE had let me be broken again. AGAIN! Every time this happens (it's been twice so far) I feel like I've had a miscarriage. WHY in the world would he put me through that pain again? The thing is that HE didn't. I did this all to myself. I convinced myself that what I wanted was God's will. How could it not be?? It was PERFECT! Didn't God himself make all things perfect happen?? Of course He does. When it's His will, not mine. I had let the desires of my soul override what His Spirit was telling me and doing in me. I let that voice of selfishness speak over His Holy Voice. Yesterday morning as I was SO sure that this was it I heard this tiny whisper inside myself saying, "This isn't it". I heard it a few times and hushed it. THAT wasn't God! That must be the devil trying to weaken me. It WAS God. He was trying in His loving way to let me know that this wasn't going to happen, but I chose to shut that sound out and hear what I wanted to hear. I wanted this to be our baby in every way. I had orchestrated this most amazing plan in my head and boldly told everyone that THIS was God's will. I KNEW it, because He told me. It was a beautiful plan, but it wasn't His.

After that happened yesterday I had myself a big ol' fit. I screamed at Andrew and had a marvelous pity party. I declared how we should just return every single baby item we had bought in preparation. WHY keep all these things when it may not even happen? What was the use? It took me a while to get this together in my meager mind: All this preparation is FAITH. FAITH AND COMPLETE TRUST IN GOD. Faith that He is going to follow through with what He first told me in my bathtub not even 2 months ago. He is going to send our son. Oprah would be proud, as I've finally had my aha moment.... Lou Lynn is not in charge of this adoption. Or this day. Or this life. It's not in my hands. It's all about grace. The grace and love that only comes from the Creator. THE Alpha and Omega. The It and All.. Our Father in Heaven. He lets me wake up every morning and be a wife and mother. He gives me the love to pour out on my family and those around me. He does it all. Why in the world would I ever think that a plan I created could be better than the plan God has for my family? It's not. In fact, I suck at trying to be in charge of my world and circumstances. Everything God does is perfection, and I know that the plan He has is more amazing than anything I could ever dream up myself.

So what happens now? I'm going to be still and wait. Wait and listen. Wait until He unfolds His plan and brings me my son. I don't have any idea when this will be. At the beginning I felt that it would be soon, and that was why I felt such urgency to get things done fast. Now? I don't know. It may be months from now, or it may be tomorrow. Either way I know it's His timing and not mine. I'm finally going to do what I've claimed to have done in the past. I'm going to truly let go, and let God. Just typing that brought a smile to my face and tears in my eyes all at the same time. Jesus is going to do this and carry me along the way. He will order my steps and the way my baby comes to me. I don't know about the rest of you, but I can't wait to see how this turns out. Ain't God just something else? Yes peeps He is, and I for one am so incredibly thankful that He is.

Love to all,

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Buckle up, and hold on tight.

God has made some major changes in our lives last week. This time last week we were still fighting God's desire for our family. Today we're all on board. What's this new mission we're on? After 2 biological sons and 2 adopted girls we are officially adopting our 5th child. Two weeks ago if you would have asked me if we were adopting more I would've said, "NO. NO. We are DONE." I actually said that if God wanted me to adopt another child that He would have to deliver him to our doorstep. At this point I'm not putting it past Him.

In the last week God has changed my heart from a mother who thought her family was complete into a mother whose heart is filled with love and longing for a baby. It's truly amazing. I will admit that it wasn't easy getting to this point. I argued with God more about this than I ever have. The following is a conversation I had with Him last week while I was in the bathtub:

Me: God? Ummm. I need some clarification from you.... Is this screaming in my head about a new baby from you or some secret longing I didn't know I had?
God: All good things come from me.
Me: God. I'm 41 and have 4 children
God: So?
Me: I was just starting to get my life back. Andrew and I have been able to travel, and we won't be able to do ANYTHING again for years.
God: It isn't about YOU.
Me: I thought I was done.
God: Are you ever done serving me?
He then showed me all the times over the last 3-4 months when I've had a conversation with people considering adoption. Over and over I heard, "I've always wanted to adopt, BUT". I never let them past the but. Don't give me buts. I have a pacemaker and health issues. If I can do it anyone can. God only whispers to certain people about adoption. If you're getting that nudge what are you waiting for? "Well, we don't have the money, and I heard it was expensive." I hit right back with the fact that God sent over $64,000 over for both of the girl's adoptions. Don't give me excuses! If you're supposed to do it, then just do it for Pete's sake...

Yada
Yada
Yada

After that I actually laughed out loud in the tub. He gives it to me as good as I give it! :) After some intense conversations with Andrew (who hadn't given into the nudging) we finally agreed that "if God is going to make us do it we will. But we don't want to." What a crappy attitude I had. I was having these urgent feelings to get started...I couldn't sleep or eat...My stomach was upset constantly. I called several agencies. They were all great, but I didn't feel like my baby was there. I finally made some big decisions Thursday (I'll share later) and was at peace. I knew we were on the right track to our baby.

Friday I was cleaning my house with my headphones on listening to my Christian music. All of a sudden I heard some lyrics that completely got my attention. I started bawling and was just covered with His Spirit. I tear up now just thinking about it. I realized in that moment that while I was fighting God and demanding explanation He was trying to give me the biggest blessing He can give. While I was whining He was trying to make me mother to another child. Me. Lou. He trusted ME with another one of his beloved. I was overcome with humility and immense gratitude. I just stood there crying and thanking Him. Last night at church He confirmed so much to Andrew and me with music and the message. We went to the altar where we both cried like babies and prayed for our son. See. I know the baby's a boy. I just feel it in my heart, and Andrew does too. I have NO idea when he's coming, but I do feel it will be soon...The way God changed us so quickly and gave me all those urgent feelings are for a reason He will reveal in time...

You know what? If we wouldn't have listened and ignored Him we would've been abandoning our child and denying our family of the love and joy he will bring. Wouldn't have that been awful? More awful that words can say? Now I can't imagine not being on this path running towards my son.

I invite you all to share this journey with us. If you're not a long time reader let me fill you in on something: God LOVES to do some crazy amazing business with our adoptions. He LOVES to perform visible miracles, and they're a sight to behold. This journey isn't only about the baby...it's also about my continuing journey towards Jesus. Everyday He brings me closer, and I can't wait to see what He does for our son. I promise He will amaze you. He rocks like that. God loves to show out with adoptions. :)

So peeps, if you're going to hang around buckle up, and hold on tight. I don't know what God is going to do for all of us through this, but I know He's going to bring me my son in a HUGE way. I just feel it.

How amazing is our God? I mean seriously. How AMAZING IS OUR GOD? He amazes me more with each and every day.

I'm going to give more details over the next few days about all we're doing and how we're proceeding. It's such an exciting time. I am going to ask every single one of you to pray for our son and his birthmother. I am praying for her peace and to have His direction with her decision. I pray for the health of our birthmother and especially our baby. Do you want to know his name?

Oliver Andrew Lynn.
Ollie for short.

Come along with me on my journey to Ollie.
Edited... There has been a name change (or 10), but his name is OFFICIALLY
John Andrew Lynn... Our John Andrew
and then it was about ten other names until the PERFECT name for our son:
Hudson Roberts Lynn with a story coming soon.
I love you guys.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A New Awakening

There are many reasons for my long blogging absence. I took time to really look at myself and what I wanted for my life. I’ve always loved the Lord and felt His presence in my life. His presence was especially strong during the adoptions… Once Essie came home things changed..life stopped… All of a sudden we were basically trapped at home. Essie couldn’t bear for me to be out of her sight, so church was out of the question. I’ve noticed that when I’m not in fellowship that it’s so easy to slip out of  “The Walk”. Life in the natural world takes over…we start worrying about the day to day things going on, and His presence fades away. Granted. He’s always there. It’s us who push Him away. This spring I experienced the biggest hunger for God. I knew that Jesus was calling me, and I wanted to listen. He started speaking to me through music and people around me… He started whispering in my ear and pulling me back to Him. Out of the blue one day I announced to Andrew that we were visiting a church close to Fairhope  named Bay Community. As soon as we walked in that church we knew we were home. I couldn’t get enough of my Bible. I read and understood more than ever before. I’ve almost completed the entire Bible in a little over 3 months. God has put so many people in my life that have helped me on my walk back to Him. Our entire lives have changed! We have always been a happy family, but things are different. I’m closer to Jesus than I ever have been. My focus has changed.

I began to see that I was always looking for acceptance from you guys. I NEEDED for you to like the things that I did… I was too worried about it. I want to share my life but not for attention or adoration. I just want to be real. Some HUGE things have happened to me and my family, and I’m going to be sharing those things… I will tell you that we have something BIG happening in our lives right now. That’s a post or 10 in itself that I’ll tackle soon.

God has put so many GOOD CHRISTIAN friends in my path.  Some are new friends…some are old… All are loved. He has blessed me so much, and I just want to share it with you guys. I’m sure there will be furniture and clothes posts, because those are things I love to do… There will be more about my family and our journey to the things God has in store for us. I hope you’ll tag along, but it may not interest you. That’s ok too. I’ve learned that those who need to read it will find it.

Love to all of you.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Needle and Thread Thursday. Damask bunny fabric oh my!

I actually bought this yummy fabric last year but never did anything with it. Sometimes I do that. That MAY be the reason I have 3 huge storage containers full of fabric.. :) Anyway, when I started thinking about a style of outfit that I wanted to make my girls this fabric immediately came to mind. My girls are in love with bunnies, and I knew they’d love them.


These may just be my ALL TIME FAVORITE outfits I’ve made the girls. Is this outfit love or what?


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The top was made using the Cathy pattern by Jennifer Paganelli. You can make either a top or dress with this pattern, and it’s SO EASY. I’m already thinking what I’m going to make next with this pattern. You can buy this and all Jennifer’s other patterns here.



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Close up of the ruffle neck. I opted to make a rolled hem with my serger instead of the hemmed edges shown in the pattern. I shortened the width by an inch to accommodate this change. The hemmed edge also looks fabulous, but the rolled hem is so quick and easy.


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I love the super long ruffle on the bottom of the top. It’s so girly and twirly! You can see some of the bunnies in this shot.


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I used my favorite SewSensible Boutique bottoms pattern for the pants. I made them capri length, lengthened the ruffle, and used a rolled hem here as well instead of a hemmed one. These pants are so easy and always turn out so precious. You can get the paper version of this pattern here and the downloadable pattern (I use this one) here.



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We had a little impromptu photo shoot after their bath last night. Here’s Essie. I know she’s mine, but how adorable is this kid?? Seriously.


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My other little model. Anne Pearce wanted to sleep in hers. :)


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Do ya think she’s a ham? Ya think?


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Essie was trying to watch American Idol and model at the same time.


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I can’t remember where I got the fabric last year, but I found mine on Etsy. I couldn’t find any when I googled, which makes me wonder if it’s been discontinued. I should’ve bought 10 yards! This collection is by Tula Pink and is named Hushabye, Let me know if you guys find any…


I’ve really been on a sewing spree lately. Sometimes I have no interest in it and at others I want to live at my sewing machine. I have fabric ironed and ready for these 2 patterns:


This is Sewsensible’s applique apron skirt. I haven’t made it in a LONG time and am excited to make it again.


Applique' Apron Skirt Sewing Pattern - DOWNLOADABLE



I also can’t wait to try this new pattern. It’s the Boardwalk Ruffle Sleeve Dress by Monkeysbug.



Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions you have about sewing or these patterns. I would love to help anyone jump in and start sewing!


Love and hugs,


Linking to:
Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What the heck is wrong with you? Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

This next part of my life is both wonderful and incredibly dark at the same time. Wonderful because I was blessed with my 2 boys, and the dark? It was just dark. I’m not trying to slander jackass exhubby (who will now be known as JEH IF I have to mention him). I honestly am going to mention him as few times as possible. I REFUSE to give him any more power or influence than he’s taken. He and his wife have also been known to stalk my blogs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re sitting there reading this together plotting how to “get me back”. That used to bother me…. Now they have no power. I’m also not telling EVERYTHING. There are some things that are just private.

Long story short I got married, moved to Texas from Alabama, and started my first teaching job. I knew immediately that the marriage wasn’t what it needed to be. Why did I stay? You’ll see in a minute. As soon as we got to TX I made an appt with an ob/gyn. I had been having SO many problems with my “lady business”, and I needed my BC pills. During the exam I flinched with immediate pain. The doctor looked at me and asked if I’d ever been diagnosed with endometriosis… Huh? What the heck is that?  I’d never even heard of it. You can read a wonderful explanation of endometriosis here. I had my first scope the next morning. Basically I was covered. The dr. came out and told JEX that if we wanted babies we needed to have them then, or I would probably never be able to. I was 23 years old, miles away from my family and friends, about to start my first teaching job, and scared to death. I will NEVER regret the decision I made that day, because this is the way God chose to send me my boys. Those boys are so precious to me, and I would go back and live through it all again to have them. They are worth it.

4 months later I was pregnant. Within 3 weeks I was the sickest pregnant lady you can imagine. Not only was I throwing up every single hour I was also dizzy all the time. I was stumbling everywhere. I was teaching my first class of third graders and was missing so much work.  At my next appt the nurse looked at me in that funny “oh my goodness there’s something really wrong with you” look after she took my blood pressure. It was LOW. Low is not a low enough word. I had to wear some serious compression hoses just to make it through the day. I lost 12 lbs before I ever gained one. I weighed 114 lbs when I was 3 months pregnant. I was walking around (or trying to) in a constant state of dehydration. It was a difficult pregnancy from beginning to end. My uterus was shaped all wonky, and the placenta started growing across the bottom instead the side or top. All these are symptoms of DYS. Most women will have some really messed up lady business, and I certainly did. I had to have ultrasounds constantly…When I completed that school year I was about 5 months pregnant and was finally feeling better. I threw up for 5 months solid. Logan was a tough little baby in utero. He had to have been. That summer I laid around all the time. I would almost pass out every time I stood up and just felt crummy.  There were lots of other complications…so many I can’t even remember them all.

The Friday that I was 37 weeks pregnant I felt worse than normal. I had a serious headache that wouldn’t go away. I just didn’t feel right. I had an appt. that afternoon, and my BP was sky high. Don’t you think that should’ve been a HUGE RED WAVING FLAG for someone who barely had a BP to start with? I didn’t know enough about that kind of stuff (23 years old :), but I KNEW something wasn’t right. When we got home from that appt I passed out in our yard on the way to the door. Passed out. 37 weeks pregnant. I will say that at this point it was the happiest part of this marriage. I really believe that EH loved me at this point as much as he knew how. If he would’ve been horrible I probably would’ve just lost it. He took me right back to the drs office where they took my BP AGAIN. It was a Friday afternoon, and I was one day shy of being 38 weeks.  They should have taken me directly to the hospital and induced labor. Wanna know why they didn’t? My dr had a little vacay planned for the weekend. He actually said to me, “Come back Monday. If you’re still this bad we’ll induce.” Are you kidding me? The nurses even looked at him like he’d lost it.  So home I went. I felt like I was gonna die, but didn’t the dr know what he was doing? He was a dr after all…. It was a scary few hours. My head hurt so stinkin’ bad I was crying. Somehow I fell asleep and slept until 2:00am. I woke up to go to the bathroom, and my water broke all over the place. I made all the necessary phone calls and headed to the hospital. When I got there they immediately took my BP and said it was dangerously high. If I didn’t respond immediately to the meds then I would have an emergency C section. The nurse came in to hook up the magnesium sulfate and did something to the IV that caused me to have an overdose. My eyes rolled back in my head, and I think I blacked out. She got it fixed (yeah thanks) and my BP did respond a little. It wasn’t enough to make the dr comfortable, so they gave me pitocin to speed the labor up. I got my epidural (during which they knicked my spinal column) and progressed quickly. I pushed for an hour and my little Logan was born. I’d like to say that was full of immediate love and was gushing, but all I was gushing was blood. When the nurses came in to check a few minutes after the birth they found the bed soaked with blood. It took them a while to get the bleeding to stop, and I was one point short of a blood transfusion. I know now that with my DYS I did need a transfusion, because I only have 80-85% of the blood volume of a normal person. To say I was sick doesn’t even cover it. My sisters arrived from Alabama about an hour after Logan was born.  My BP was so out of control, but I can’t really tell you what happened. My sister was in nursing school at the time and knew enough to be furious at the lack of care I was receiving… I was released from the hospital less than 24 hours after that grueling delivery. SENT HOME. I wouldn’t have survived without Jenny and Lee. They took over, and I was glad to let them. I was trying to breastfeed and just wasn’t making any milk. Duh. I didn’t have any blood in my body. Logan was screaming with hunger by the next night. I was so sick and miserable, but EH wouldn’t hear of me not breastfeeding. I just had to “push through it”….didn’t I care about what was best for the baby? Honestly, I just wanted to be left alone. I had no interest in the baby and just wanted to sleep. I was having shooting pain all the way up my back to my neck (from the epidural) and couldn’t even look down when I was trying to nurse. That night when Logan was screaming Jenny and Lee got up, sterilized bottles, and fed that baby some formula. He guzzled 4 ounces without even taking a breath.  At least with them bottle feeding him I could try to rest. Over the next 3 weeks I had my sisters, my ex inlaws, and FINALLY my mama. She knew I was sick and took over total care of me and let EH take care of Logan. I look back at pictures now and am astonished how I looked. I looked dead. I had NO color in my skin from losing all that blood, and my dark circles looked like black eyes. It’s a miracle I survived.

When my parents left and JEH went back to work I was scared to death. I was finally beginning to feel better but wasn’t normal yet. I remember rocking Logan after a bottle that week. I looked down at him and was amazed at the love I felt for him. It was like a light shone down from Heaven. This was MY baby. MY little man. MY Logan. I was so full of love for him and full of gratitude for God. That little man kept me sane and my life bearable. Thank God for Logan. What a miracle and blessing he is.

Over the next few months we moved home (hallelujah) and settled into life. Logan was a joy. My new dr. suggested that I not wait too long to try to get pregnant again. I got pregnant with Hayden the week Logan turned one. I just thought my first pregnancy was difficult! Hayden proved me wrong.

Part 4 coming soon

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Springtime in the South

Everything is gorgeous and blooming on the coast. All these beautiful azaleas have the SHORTEST bloom and are short lived, but we LOVE it. Everywhere you look in our town you see gorgeous azaleas, camellias, and wisteria. My sweet hubby worked in our yard all day Friday, and I thought I’d share some lovely with you.DSCN2939

Are azaleas across the front of the house aren’t blooming. Anyone know why they wouldn’t all of a sudden?

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2 little girlies in pajamas stumbled in….

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If you’re somewhere that’s cold and dreary maybe this will brighten your day. Not to rub it in, but this is where we were yesterday:

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This is where you will find me every chance I get until fall. I’m going AT LEAST one day a week, sometimes ALL BY MYSELF. :)

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Happy Sunday.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What the heck is wrong with you? Part 2 I need to backtrack some.

As I was rereading Part 1 of my story I realized that I left out huge chunks of my life.

I was always a “sickly” child. I always came down with everything and got sicker than everyone else. The first organa that began showing problems were my kidneys. I had bladder infection after bladder infection when I was 12 or so. Ends up my urethra was bent and had to be repaired. I know you are probably wondering what the heck that has to do with dyautonomia, but here’s the thing: Dysautonomia is when your involuntary nervous system doesn’t work (I’m going to go into more detail about the actual condition later) nothing works. It affects every single part of your body. I can remember hitting puberty and having horrible periods from the beginning. Horrible cramps and bleeding would keep me in the bed for days and days. I was always anemic and needing supplements. I can remember not having regular stamina. I could never run as far and as hard as my friends… I WANTED to but just physically couldn’t.  I don’t want you to think that I was bed bound for my childhood. I wasn’t. In fact, I had a fabulous childhood, but looking back it’s easy to see how the dysautonomia affected me even then.

Once the teen years really got going my symptoms got worse. My fatigue was unending and crippling. Every Saturday I would sleep until 1 or 2 in the afternoon. I was always tired. My daddy used to get so mad at me, because I would go out all weekend and then not be able to go to school on Monday mornings. I wasn’t playing hooky. I seriously could NOT get out of the bed. Nobody understood why, and they all thought I was making it up to an extent. It was the beginning of my senior year when things really began going downhill. I caught mono from kissing my stupid boyfriend at the time. Mono. Regular old mono that most people get at sometime in their lifetime. Most people get over it. I didn’t. It went on and on and on and on. At this time my sister Lee was working for a new doctor in Jackson. Dr. Thomas Kessler. My hero. He was the first one who got me…REALLY got me. He knew I wasn’t making it up. He spent the next month running every test known to mankind. That man is so smart and was so far ahead of his time. He wouldn’t rest until he knew why my symptoms refused to go away. I still remember the day he called us to come into his office for the results. He sat across that desk from me, and said you’re not crazy. You are a very sick young lady. You have a heart malfunction called Mitral Valve Prolapse and Epstein Barr Viral Disease. Huh? What the heck is that??? My immune system has always failed miserably. My body couldn’t fight off the mono and it turned into a long, lingering, life crushing version. My fatigue was horrible, and I couldn’t function. The faulty valve made it all worse….. I couldn’t get over it. It was so bad he almost didn’t let me go back to school to complete my senior year. It was October, and I was devastated. He finally agreed that I could go to school daily until 1:00, but then I was to go home and go to bed. I remember coming back to school after missing over a month… It was always so awkward to come back after a long absence. I would get so stressed and anxious that I would physically get sick. The day I returned I walked into my honors English class. I will NEVER FORGET what my teacher Danny Chancey said to me: “You may fool other people, but I’m not falling for it. You can’t pull anything over me. I will fail you.” Can you imagine?? I felt like throwing up in my desk. When I got home that day I was devastated and told my mama that I just wasn’t going back. She finally got what happened out of me. That 5 foot tall 98 pound woman was on fire. The next morning she marched up to that school with me and demanded to see Mr. Chancey. She showed him all my medical reports and told him that we wouldn’t be needing his help. She made the counselor (sweet Mr. Beverly) totally rearrange my schedule. He was so helpful, and I actually credit him with my completing  high school at all. Somehow I managed. I remember at the end of my senior year being hit with horrible pain in my side. I thought that I was dying. Mama was out of town, so Jenny rushed me to the hospital. Both my ovaries were covered with cysts (this is also an effect of the dreaded d word). A doctor told me during that visit that I may never be able to have children. I was 17.

That Epstein Barr Viral disease hung around all during college. College was easier, because I could take late morning and afternoon classes. I didn’t overwhelm myself with too many classes. I kinda felt normal. :) Every now and then the D word would come raging it’s ugly head, and I’d have a horrible spell….At this time we thought it was just the EBV and my heart defect. I was still having horrible periods, and I was overcome by horrible migraines. I was always tired. Always. Feeling bad had just become my normal, and I learned to work around it. I was always a wild one in my teen years. I would drink and get into all kinds of trouble. Looking back I think it was me unconsciously fighting this condition. Maybe I was numbing myself… I don’t know. I can remember being drunk and my friends making me take my “heart pills”. Sometimes I wonder how I survived, but I did. I made it though college…. This is when the total jackass husband comes into play. You think it couldn’t get any worse?? Just wait.

Friday, March 25, 2011

What the heck is the matter with you? Why are you always so sick? Why can’t you just get up and get over it? This is the story of me and my Dysautonomia.

I know that I have mentioned my condition here and there on my blog, but I felt that it was time to really tell my story and explain this condition. It’s too much to read in one sitting, so I’m going to break it up into parts.

Here’s part 1:

When I was diagnosed with dysautonomia in 2007 I didn’t even know what it was. Until a few months prior to diagnosis I’d never even heard of it. All I knew is that I was passing out all over the place almost everyday. I ached all over, had no energy, was so fatigued that words can’t even describe it, and had totally lost my quality of life. I was miserable….

I had gone through having a “mystery” illness all my life. I’ve been in and out of doctors offices and emergency rooms. I’ve had tests done on every part of my body. I’ve been told that I just need to exercise, that it was all in my head, and that it was just because I was hormonal and needed to learn to get a grip.  That was very disheartening and humiliating. I was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse when I was 16 years old (Most people with dysautonomia have it). I went through some horrible times but was able to live life. Everybody just thought I was “sickly” and a hypochondriac. While I was in college I passed out several times and had to be taken to the ER by ambulance. By the time I got there my heart was fine again. I’d go through these cycles but always rebounded after a lot of rest.

When I was 27 years old my heart started going crazy. It was beating so fast I couldn’t even count the beats. I could stand up and have a pulse in the 200’s. Again I was in and out of different doctors just trying to find out what was wrong with me.  I was so dizzy that I was blacking out (Remember this was 1997) and no one knew what was wrong with me. One night a good friend of mine was discussing my declining health with a nurse who mentioned the name of a fabulous cardiologist in Tuscaloosa, Alabama… I made an appointment and got worked in the next week. I was on the treadmill for a stress test less than 5 minutes when she said, “I know what’s wrong with you. You have inappropriate sinus tachycardia”. Huh? What the hell is that?? “It means that you have a deformed sinus node that makes your heart beat way faster than it needs to. You need a heart procedure done ASAP”.  Wow. I went from not knowing what was wrong with me to being faced with a heart procedure. I was 27, had 2 young boys, was married to a complete jerk and jackass, and was scared to death. That test was on a Thursday. By Tuesday morning I was in Birmingham with the man who pioneered this procedure called ablation. He examined my records and began explaining why I needed this procedure and needed it fast. He decided to do it THAT day…..Wow.

To be continued.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Needle and Thread Thursday: How I made some fun placemats.

I have ADHD. Really. I do. Not kidding. I know this week I was supposed to do the baby sling tutorial. That’s why I told you about the ADHD. That’s the way my mind works. It likes to dance around all the time, and I change my mind quite often. Once I had the thought to make these placemats I couldn’t help myself! I had to get to my sewing machine.

I was browsing through Home Goods FOR THE FIRST TIME ever last Friday. The closest one to me is in Pensacola, FL, which is an hour away from me. I had to take my great niece Little Lulu and her mommy and daddy to the airport over there, so I went for a walkthrough. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I was overwhelmed with LOVE for the store. Anyway, while I was there I was looking for placemats. With all 6 of us eating at the table every night I always need more placemats. While I was looking a little voice popped inside my head saying, “Loulou. Really? You’re going to buy placemats??Seriously? Can’t you sew? Don’t you have piles of fabric?” That voice was right. Why spend $30 and up on placemats when I could make them myself? This is what I came up with:

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Aren’t they cute?

To make my placemats I cut 2 rectangles 20” X14” for each placemat, so I cut 12 rectangles all together. I used my rotary cutter for this project, but I also love to use a good old pair of scissors too.

I chose to make numbered placemats, so I monogrammed mine before I put them together. I used left over drop cloth for the monogrammed side.

This is seriously EASY. Take your 2 pieces, and place them right sides together and pin pin pin and pin some more. Sew all the way around leaving about a 4 inch gap one one of the short sides for turning. I used a 3/8 seam allowance.

Turn your placemat right side out and iron iron iron iron. I have a wooden turning tool to smooth out all the seams and poke those corners out. You can use the eraser end of a pencil too. Topstitch all the way around the placemat. Be careful at the place you left unstitched. I like to really iron that seam down and smooth with my fingers, because sometimes those places like to bunch. I used a 1/8’ seam allowance here to make sure I caught that opening. I then sewed another seam with a 1/2” seam allowance to give it a sort of banded look on the edges. It’s hard to see, because my thread is light, but here are some close ups of that part.

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Give those babies another good ironing, and they’re good to go!

You wanna see what I used for the OTHER side of the placemat? I’ve been saving that part for last, because I LOVE IT.

I used this amazing French Document fabric. I know that most upholstery fabrics say to dry clean only, but I do wash some of them. I’ve always had good luck with more canvasy fabrics like this and my toile. I just cut a small piece and wash and dry to see how it does. This did fine. I have to be able to wash placemats for Pete’s sake. :)

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Here’s a close up of the banded edge on this side. I think it gives them a professional look.

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I really wish my dining table was clean enough to lay these all out for you to see, but that’ll have to be another day. I’ve been too busy sewing to clean. :)

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I use this little table at the end of my living room for the girls all the time. It’s a perfect spot to have a bite or to color a picture. They love the numbers on the placemats.

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I think it’ll be fun to use some with the numbers up and some with the print! I have some solid red napkins that will go perfectly with these!

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Easy peasy. I had everything I needed for these already, so I didn’t spend a dime. I think they look better than the ones I saw at Home Goods. They’re definitely more ME. I guess if you had to figure out the exact price for the fabric it would come to about $2.50 each. I’m not counting the drop cloth, because I just used scraps… I probably used $.50 worth of drop cloth per placemat…Maybe $1 worth of embroidery thread?? So, that comes to $4 or so for placemats that look way more expensive. See what you can get when you make them yourself?

This is such an easy project and perfect for a beginner. If you don’t have an embroidery machine you could always paint your numbers on or applique them.

If you have any questions about these please just leave me a comment, and I’ll be more than happy to help you! I love talking fabric and sewing! It’s my language.

I know this post is already super long, but I do want to share a couple of pictures. I made these princess outfits for the girls a couple of weeks ago. I loved that the princess fabric has princesses of all colors. I always try to find things that look like my girls. I want them to know that all princesses aren’t blond haired and blue eyed. Some of them are little black haired beauties from Guatemala!

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I appliqued the different princesses on their shirts. Does anyone need a tutorial on appliqueing? I would be happy to show you how easy it is.

This is a closer view of Anne Pearce’s. See the butterfly on her shoulder? :) I like to throw in little fun touches like that.

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And here’s Miss Essie Kate’s. I did their shirts similarly but not exactly alike.

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I’m going to take a better picture of the skirt fabric and show you later. It really is precious. The skirt pattern is my favorite girly skirt by Ping Fig Patterns.

Now just for fun a couple of shots of sweet hubby and me on our date for his birthday Tuesday night… I want you to see all the flowers blooming in Alabama!

You wanna know why the picture looks blurry? It’s the HUMIDITY fogging the camera. :) In March.

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I’m sharing this one just because I spotted the paint tray liner in the background and thought it was hilarious.

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Happy Thursday! Feel free to contact me if you have any sewing questions. I’m really happy to help.

Linking to:
Weekend Bloggy Reading

Show & Tell Wednesday, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Project Diaries, Transformation Thursday, Wow us Wednesday, Hooking Up with House of Hepworths, Catch as Catch Can, Metamorphosis Monday

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

And the winners are:

The winner of the house number sign is:

#10

The Frosted Gardner said...

I am a follower and would love love love to win this!!!! Thanks for the opportunity!

March 23, 2011 8:13 AM

The winner of the pattern is:

#5

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

That skirt is just precious!! I'd love to beef my sewing skills up enough to give it a try. :) The framed house numbers are awesome! What a neat idea. :)

You gals email me at lou0728@yahoo.com for the details. I’ll be back later for Needle and Thread Thursday. I have something really fun to share!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sweet little hutch redo and a giveaway reminder

Happy Sunday all! I just wanted to give you guys a quick reminder about the giveaway I’m having. This Wednesday night I will be randomly choosing a winner for a Pink Fig pattern courtesy of my friend Terri at Fairytale Frocks and Lollipops. I’m also giving away a monogrammed house sign number like the one shown below. If you don’t want the house number I can put your last name or help you come up with some thing else. This can be done in the color of your choice. Help me spread the word. Come on! Help a sista out! You can enter the giveaway here.

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Now for the redo! This horribly tacky ugly hutch that needed some attention whispered to me in the thrift store. She was so shiny with hard varnish that she couldn’t breathe. She wanted to be light and airy and comfy. I wish I had a picture before Andrew did any sanding. She was SO SHINY!

She was missing a glass pane in one door.

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This is a petite place but has great storage. I knew it would be perfect for a smaller kitchen or bathroom. Of course I considered keeping it for myself, as I have been wanting something for my bathroom (you know I want to keep everything we do). I decided not to be selfish and share her.

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The sweet stepmom of one of my best friends from high school called as soon as she saw the picture on FB. After some measuring she decided it was perfect for her bathroom. We discussed color, and we got busy.

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Here she is the morning she left to go to her new home. Isn’t she precious???

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We decided to take the other pane of glass out and replace them both with chicken wire. She sent me a pic of the piece, and she has pictures clipped to the wire. It looks adorable.

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Close up of the wire. I think Andrew always does a great job with it.

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She has plate grooves on both interior shelves as well as the top of the base.

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Bebe (the stepmom who is married to Bully. Isn’t that adorable) wanted a little contrast like in some of my other pieces, so I painted the inside panels a soft blue.

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We painted the entire piece in creamy by SW. I distressed and glazed very lightly. This piece just didn’t need a lot. All her details are so precious, and the glaze brought them out just a little bit more. I wanted to keep the true white of the piece.

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I’m so happy this piece is at home with Bebe and Bully. I know she will be loved for years.

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Thanks for stopping by!

Linking up with these fabulous ladies:

Show & Tell Wednesday, Power of Paint Party, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Project Diaries, Transformation Thursday, Wow us Wednesday, Hooking Up with House of Hepworths, Catch as Catch Can, Furniture Feature Friday,Metamorphosis Monday, Restore It Wednesday

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