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Friday, October 29, 2004

Why baptism is awesome

Olivia and I were dancing around to some music today, and she was smiling and having fun. We were listening to the old family favorite, Love and Thunder by Andrew Peterson, specifically the song, "High Noon."

High Noon

High noon in the valley of the shadow
When the deep of the valley was bright
When the mouth of the tomb
Shouted, "glory, the Groom is alive"
SO long, you wages of sin
Go on, don't you come back again
I've been raised and redeemed
You've lost all your sting
To the victor of the battle
At high noon in the valley of the shadow

Now the demons, they danced in the darkness
When the last ragged breath left his lungs
And they reveled and howled
At the war that they thought they had won
But then, in the dark of the grave
The stone rolled away
In the still of the dawn on the greatest of days

High noon in the valley of the shadow
When they shadows were shot through with light
When Jesus took in that breath
And shattered all death with his life
So long, you wages of sin
Go on, don't you come back again
I've been raised and redeemed
You've lost all your sting
To the victor of the battle
High noon in the valley of the shadow

Let the people rejoice
Let the heavens resound
Let the name of Jesus, who sought us
And freed us forever ring out
All praise to the fighter of the night
Who rides on the light
Whose gun is the grace of the God of the sky

High noon in the valley of the shadow
When the shadows were shot through with light
When the mouth of the tomb
Shouted, "Glory, the Groom is alive"
So long, you wages of sin
Go on, don't you come back again
I've been raised and redeemed
All praise to the King
The victor of the battle
High noon in the valley of the shadow

The words are always very powerful to me, especially the "so long, you wages of sin," part. It always hits me hard when I realize there is no longer any condemnation for me, since I am in Christ Jesus.

Anyway, so I'm dancing around with Olivia, and she's smiling at all the right parts of this song, making me think she must really know what this is all about. Thinking about my daughter, a sinner, smiling about Jesus' redemption is a really emotional thought for me. There is nothing that I want more than to see my daughter grow up to know Jesus and to receive his boundless mercies.

That's why baptism is awesome. In about a month we're going to wash our little Chiptole in the water and the word, and place her in Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit. I will never have to beg and plead with God for my daughter's soul, I will be able to remember her baptism just as I remember mine.

It makes me wonder what peace the "baby dedicaters" have when it comes to the forgiveness of their children's' sins. I would be stricken with fear that when my baby reached the "age of accountability" she would not accept Christ. In fact I know she wouldn't if it were completely up to her, no one would. I didn't. How would I sleep at night?

Praise God for the gift of the sacraments. With out them how would I stand? It is good to have something besides myself to look to in order to find the proof of faith.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

It's me for you and you for me

On their album Befriended, the Innocence Missions' Karen Peris sings the words to the closing song:

Look for me as you go by

Hang my head low, so low.
Don't see me only as I am but
see me how I long to be.
Shining like a flowering tree
under a gray Pennsylvania sky.
Look for me as you go by.
Hang my head low, so low.
Every burden shall be lifted.
Every stone upon your back slide into the sea.
It's me for you and you for me.

Nothing better sums up my feelings after one week of fatherhood than that last line: "It's me for you and you for me."

On Monday, we went for our first walk as a family. It took us four hours just to get out the door. Every time we were finally ready to leave, she was either hungry, or messy, or just needed to be held. Finally, we made it outside, bundled Olivia in blankets and strapped her into her stroller, and started out.

Olivia in her stroller

I'm not sure whether it was Ohio's beautiful autumn, the clear blue skies above us, or only that we were all together, but that afternoon will be one of my favorite memories as long as I live. Everything we did and saw, every word Devona and I said to one another, and every squeak from Olivia seemed to be so good.

Outside, the trees were gorgeous. Autumn is without doubt Ohio's most beautiful season. Everything around us glowed with yellows, oranges, reds, and all those colors inbetween that no one bothers naming.

Gorgeous trees in our neighborhood

We went up to a coffee shop not too far from our house. We managed to get in a few quick sips before Olivia got bored and requested that we leave. On our way out, we ran into some friends who couldn't believe how beautiful Olivia was. We can't believe it either.

That evening, we set out a blanket and some pillows on the living room floor, and the three of us curled up together and watched the movie Big Fish. The movie is great, but it was made so much better by watching it together.

All day long, and ever since, I get this feeling that the three of us are like the Three Musketeers or something: "All for one, and one for all." The love between us seems to grow the more it passes from one to another. I like our little band of three. I wouldn't have it any other way.

God has blessed our family so much. Not only with a new child, but with faith, hope, and love. I'm learning from experience that what the scripture says is true: "The greatest of these is love."

These words -- more from the Innocence Mission -- say it well:

Martha Avenue Love Song

Walking through the world, walking under trees.
Many things that only you and only I have seen.
When you say Oh look and see,
then there is the sky, five o'clock in winter
when the pink and green arrive.

Now we're blown around. And I can't let you down,
my sun and my sweetest sound.
Oh you are my friend, oh you are my friend.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Thou Shalt not Scream...

Thanks to Twylah at Lutheran in A Tipi, I got this great link.

I would say more about it, but I'm not very good at typing one handed and I can never seem to bring myself to put Olivia down. She's way too cute.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Childbirth and the curse

Genesis 3:16
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Becoming a father is an incredible experience. Nothing in the world is like it. Though I'd heard many delivery stories before, no story could match being in the room.

The curse is pretty straightforward: "in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children." No matter how good the drugs are, a new child comes forth in sorrow; just read Devona's post about her labor. As I watched through bleary eyes my wife laying in a puddle of her own blood, putting every ounce of strength into the birth of our daughter, I couldn't help but think "we can't escape this."

We can try to mask it, but life is hard and we are really quite frail when faced with the facts. We're born with blood and guts, anguish and sorrow, naked and screaming. I don't know what death is like yet, but it's got to be just as humbling. Throughout the four hours leading up to Olivia's birth, the theology of the cross kept coming back to me: We apprehend our need for Christ through suffering. Christ apprehends us through suffering and death on the cross.

I also have a new respect for Mary, who gave birth with help from only Joseph and not even a chance at an epidural. Only that child was Christ Jesus, the true Son of God. He was "a man of sorrows" from day one to Good Friday.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

The two Loves of my life...

Rob posted his favorites, so here's mine. Aren't they adorable?! Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The torture... I mean, labor

Rob is playing with our sleeping angel until she wakes up, so I'm taking the time to tell the birth story and give an update. I'll try to get back to check, but I don't know if it'll work.

Things are going so well, I'm hopefully, adjusting to being a mom. Olivia is such an aggressive eater that I've already gotten my milk, even though she's only 2 and half days old. The nurses were really impressed since she's a first baby. We're kinda going about 2 hours, sometimes 3 hours between feedings now, and she's still meeting her diapers, so I think that's pretty cool.

Anyway here's the trauma story! Shocked

I went into labor really early Wednesday (I think) and it was slowing down so I went to bed. I was supposed to be induced wed. morning at 9. I wanted to get some rest, but when I woke up around 7 I was having regular contractions and I wasn't sure what to do. We called my doctor and she said go to the hospital to make sure it was true contractions since I'd had stalled labor before, and she thought that they'd either discharge me, or I'd be in active labor.

Well I was in active labor and I was having 4 minute contractions and I was dilated to a 3. They let me walk around and I went to the waiting room to wait for our families to show up. Then about an hour later when they wanted me to be back on the monitor I was still at 4 minutes, and still at 3 cm. They decided to break my water to see if things could get going, but once they break your water then you're restricted to the bed. Crying or Very sad

I thought I was progressing really well, and my contractions were getting stronger and longer, so they let me contract forever! The resident doctor (not mine) was supposed to check me every hour per request of my doctor, but he never checked me after my water broke!!! Finally a nurse checked me because she felt bad that I was in labor for 6 hours and had no idea where I was in dilation. I was a 3.5!!!! I was not making any cervical progress at all, and no one knew for so long!!!! My doctor ordered that I be put on Pitocin around 2 in the afternoon or so.

I kept on going with no pain relief, but the contractions were getting so long and painful. They had turned my dose up and I had contractions that never valleyed, and were less than a minute apart for 8 minutes!!! It was awful so they turned me back down, but I was getting exhausted. I went to 2 or 3 more hours no drugs, but when they checked my I was still only 4.5 cm!!! At that time I knew I'd never make it if I didn't get the epidural, I needed the sleep.

I got the epidural around 6 or 7 and promptly started laughing until I fell asleep. I slept for an hour, talked to my family and had some visitors, and then I watched Boston kick NY's patootie! At the end of the game we talked some more and I got checked every couple of hours. At 1 am I was finally a 10 and ready to push. My epidural was wearing off, so I got a new bottle, but they kept the dose very low so I could feel, but the problem was I couldn't tell where my pushing muscles were. So I pushed in 3 different positions, and with all kinds of help from my doctor, but I felt like I was getting no where!! I was getting really discouraged, and I had been pushing for 3 hours when the nurses and my doctor started talking about interceding and doing a vacuum extraction. I couldn't bear to hear those words when I so wanted to go natural and I had already gotten the epidural.

My doctor was awesome though, she never stopped believing in me. She came back told me that they had ordered the vacuum for 5 am, but she thought I could do it. When I was pushing on my side I had managed to turn Olivia in a position that was easier to get her out, and so I could get on my back and make real progress. My doctor was guiding me with her hands, and Rob was coaching me really well. On top of all my encouragement, I could finally see a small piece of Olivia's head, and that really got me going. By the time they brought the vacuum in and called the OB surgeon who would do a c-section or forceps delivery if necessary I was ready to deliver my baby. Nothing was going to stop me. I was pushing to 5 counts of ten during every contraction, and just waiting for then next one to start. I really got a second wind. I had Olivia crowned and out within 7 pushes and about 20 minutes. She was perfect and cried out right away.

Rob took her pictures and some video of her exam and I waited to nurse. I just kept saying, "How did you trick me? I was so sure that you were a boy! How'd you trick me?" And then I cried and cried because I finally had our baby, she was real and healthy.

When we nursed for the first time it was like we were old pros, and I was so excited. Then my family and Rob's family all came in and held her, got some pictures, and then everyone went to sleep. It was the most exhausting and beautiful day of my life.

Now we're just getting used to each other. She took to Rob right away, and she's very alert. She loves looking around when she's actually awake!

I'm finally a mom after all this time, and I can't wait to start getting into a pattern so I can get to know her better. She's our little "Chipotle," (like the burrito restaurant) because she looks like a burrito all wrapped up in her blanket. We're so happy and we feel like our family is finally a little more full.

Now all we have to is buy some pink clothes because all she has is yellow, green and blue!

Friday, October 22, 2004

Olivia cheers Missouri Synod's home team to big win

Olivia, day two: Our good friends Derrak and Melanie came and visited us in the hospital and got to meet Olivia. Olivia and Derrak got along really well, and rooted for the Cardinals as they kicked Houston's tail. Here, Olivia looks pleased after a particularly good play.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Olivia Hope is born!

Olivia Hope Brazier is born!

Just a quick update, since so many are waiting to hear. She was born at 5:05 a.m. on Thursday, October 21st. She weighed 7 lbs. 3 oz., and was 19 inches long. She has big blue eyes and curly red hair!

Devona's labor was a long one, lasting just over 20 hours. By itself, the pushing stage lasted 4 hours. Of course, Devona is simultaneously exhausted and thrilled.

Thanks so much for everyone's support and prayers. I managed to sneak away to share this photo. We'll be posting more in the next few days. For now, I'm heading back to the hospital!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

This hurts...

Well, I'm having contractions now. They hurt pretty bad.

I went to the doctor today to see if I'd need to get induced as planned. But I'd made progress so she wanted to give me one more day to try and get it going on my own. I think it must be working because I've had at least 5 contractions in the last hour and a half.

If they die out then I'll be admitted at 9 am tomorrow (wed.) and they'll start the pitocin, but if this is the real thing then it doesn't look like that'll be necessary.

Looks like Erica was right, I'd start on my own.

Now if only I could get to sleep...

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

I guess I'm the only one...

There is a great poll on Lark News asking how you greet fellow Christians. Apparently I'm the only one who thought it was funny enough to choose the option, "tongue down the throat."

When shown the results I was the amazing 1%. Hmm... you guys don't french kiss your fellow Chrisitians?

Another Post from Devona, signed in as Rob

The time has come, the baby will be here very soon. The doctor has scheduled an appointment for me to be induced at 8:30 pm tomorrow. They're going to try to use as little medical intervention as possible and see if things get going on their own with a kick start. That's really good because I really want to have a natural birth if I can.

The deal is to arrive at the hospital around 8 or so, and then they'll use this gel to get my body ready to start having contractions. That could take up to 8 hours, so I'm gonna get the treatment, and then spend the night at the hospital. Hopefully I'll get a few hours of sleep before things get rolling.

If things don't progress on their own by morning, then I'll be given the pitocin drip, and things should definitely get going from there. Pray for us that I don't need the pitocin, though, because it really makes me nervous.

We'll be sure to keep everyone updated, since we've all been waiting so long. Sorry that we don't have any exciting "last minute before we leave for the hospital after Devona's water broke in the middle of the night" posts. But at least we'll all know a rough time frame of when to check for the new baby's arrival!

Hooray! The end is in sight.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Thankful for a burst of energy

Last week I felt like I was dead. But today I have been so full of energy that I've gotten a ton of work done. Things that I've been putting off for months are finally done! I am so happy. I don't know if it is because the end is in sight and I know it's not much longer, or if it's because I'm not sick anymore, but I feel great.

Over the weekend I had a terrible case of allergies and I felt awful. I thought for sure that I'd go into labor then because I wouldn't be able to make it I was so worn out. Isn't that how things usually work? But I made it through, and now I feel ready to take on the world! Thank you God.

Oh yeah, we got the new Andrew Peterson Cd in the mail today, but I'm waiting for Rob to come home before I even look at the liner notes. It's a practice in discipline...

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Things that you regret the next day...

So this is my real tattoo...

We thought it would be funny to Photoshop this picture of my real tattoo into the Lutheran Rose, and thought that it would be clear we were kidding. Unfortunately Rob must be really talented in his skills with Photoshop. Well, I guess not unfortunately if he's trying to get a graphic arts job... Any one hiring?

We fooled everyone, except Rob's mom. She knows us too well.

Sorry bout that. We thought it was funny though. And in case anyone is wondering, if I didn't already have 4 tattoos, I might consider "Word Alone, Faith Alone, Grace Alone." But I've run out of room, so we'll all just have to be satisfied with my very normal teenage rebellion.Posted by Hello

Friday, October 15, 2004

Things you regret when you're older...

Per Andy and Erica's request, here's a picture of Devona's tattoo. Raised in a Catholic home, this was her teenage rebellion.

Another Update

Since I'm so small my doctor won't let me go past 41 and a half weeks. That means that my official last day of pregnancy is next wednesday, no matter what. We went to the doctor again today, just to see if anything has changed. Nope! Everything is the same, but my doctor is trying everything she can without medicine to get things rolling before we have to use drugs. So at least I have a final day to look forward to if all else fails.

It kinda reminds me of when Rob and I were getting serious, and I had deeply rooted abandonment issues, I kept trying to weasle out of him when he was going to propose. Eventually he told me that if everything kept up the way it had been going thus far we'd be engaged by the end of the year. Just knowing that helped me calm down a lot. It's easier to wait for something with a time frame, you know? So now I have a baby time frame to rely on.

p.s. I'm not very proud of my weasling, but it happened. Oh well.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

My wife is a hero

Still no baby. The last few weeks of pregnancy are so suspenseful. Nothing seems to bring the resolution you want as long as you're waiting on a baby. It's as if some orchestra left a chord hanging in the air, and we're just waiting for the conductor to strike the final note.

Even though I'm anxiously waiting too, it's easy for Devona to feel a little lonely. I can't carry the baby for her, and I can't relate to all the aches and pains she's having. Any woman who has carried a child -- but especially my wife -- deserves a medal. Even though she's got a 35 pound basketball strapped to her hips, she still does the laundry, makes dinner, and a million other things around the house.

On top of all this, for her, that unresolved feeling is a piercing one. Every moment feels like it could be the moment. When every moment isn't, it can get pretty depressing.

All this reinforces to me that I've got the best wife around. I'm proud to be her husband when someone in the grocery store asks her "When are you due?" and she says, "Four days ago." And I'm proud to come home from work and see her knitting, or blogging, or reading, or whatever... still waiting, always waiting, for our baby's birth, perhaps the most incredible event of our entire lives.

He or she is coming soon. We can't wait!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

All the Way to Kingdom Come - Rich Mullins

We didn't know what love was 'til He came
And He gave love a face and He gave love a name
And He gave love away like the sky gives the rain and sun

We were looking for heroes, He came looking for the lost
We were searching for glory, and He showed us a cross
Now we know what love is 'cause He loves us
All the way to kingdom come (All the way)
All the way to kingdom come

Love is a miracle
It's a miracle if you can find it
And miracles are hard to come by these days (these days)
But the sweet Lord Jesus, he's a miracle man
He's got holes in His feet, in His side, in His hands
And if you ask for love, love flows through them
Like a ray of light, like a raging blaze

We didn't know what love was 'til he came
And He gave love a face and He gave love a name
And He gave love away like the sky gives the rain and sun

We were looking for heroes, He came looking for the lost
We were searching for glory, and He showed us a cross
Now we know what love is 'cause He loves us
All the way to kingdom come (All the way)
All the way to kingdom come

Life is a mystery
It's a mystery that we're all living
This broken world's so fragile
And we're so frail, so frail

But with the sweet Lord Jesus, His mysterious heart
Keeps the life-blood pumping at the center of it all
If He let go of us, we'd all blow apart
But He holds on tight, His love don't fail

We didn't know what love was

We didn't know what love was 'til He came
And He gave love a face and He gave love a name
And He gave love away like the sky gives the rain and sun

We were looking for heroes, He came looking for the lost
We were searching for glory, and He showed us a cross
Now we know what love is 'cause He loves us
All the way to kingdom come (All the way)
All the way to kingdom come (All the way)
All the way, all the way to kingdom come

A Post from Devona... signed in as Rob

Here I am, happily bouncing on my birthing ball, after learning from my doctor that I am 2cm dialated! That's real progress. This is the stuff we've been waiting to hear. My doctor said it's most likely only a matter of days.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Me on Saturday...

Sorry the picture is a little blurry, but we're still working on figuring out our new camera. Thanks Andy and Ellie! What a great gift! We've been playing with it all weekend.

I figured, in stead of waiting until we got a better picture and risking having the baby before we got a good one, I'd just swallow my pride and post a not-so-great picture. This is my belly! What do you think?! Posted by Hello

Friday, October 08, 2004

And Just for Fun

Let's throw a baby poll. Since we don't know any info on this little person except that they are coming soon, I thought it'd be fun to play a game.

We're not guessing due date cause if anyone guesses anything past tomorrow I'll be sad, but we can guess other things.

1) Gender
2) Weight without going over ( I've gained 35 lbs so far if that'll help)
3) Length without going over
4) Time of delivery

So whoever gets the most of these answers correct wins. I don't know what you win, but you win. So good luck and happy guessing!!

Sick of hearing me complain, yet?

Well, I intended to get on here and just whine my butt off, but since that didn't sound like any fun to read I am instead going to confess my ridiculous plan. I am so desperate to stop being pregnant that I have bought a bottle of castor oil. Yup, that yucky laxative stuff. My Doctor told me that if I wanted to I could go ahead and use it just to get the pregnancy over with. I didn't even bring it up, she just suggested it. I guess she could tell how miserable I was when she walked in. I wonder if it had anything to do with me nearly sleeping on the chair when she walked in?

Anywho, this stuff works by making you really crampy, and stuff, which then causes you to have contractions. It supposed to work about 85% of the time, so if it doesn't work, then I go through all the grossness of it for nothing. If it doesn't work feel free to tease me to death, I deserve it. The plan is to wait until tomorrow morning (Saturday), just to give myself one more chance to pop on my own. I'm due on Sunday, even though it's been, "any day now," for weeks. So if I take it Saturday I would most likely be having Baby on Saturday or Sunday, that is of course if it works.

I called Ellie last night for moral support because I feel really stupid about even considering this option. I keep saying that I feel like a 14 year old kid who found a pack of cigarettes. I really want to try them, but I know that it's probably gonna get me in trouble. Plus, if I do have the baby after my experiment, then if I freak out or stress out, I'll blame it on myself. Like, "if you'd just not taken that castor oil, you wouldn't be in this predicament." Keep in mind that I know this is unfounded logic. I've been pregnant for a long time now, I knew this baby was coming. Plus, it's been our fault all along, we chose to get pregnant...

So, now everyone knows how silly I am. Luckily, when you're pregnant you are able to blame everything from eating too much to crying at mechanical bears in movies (yes this happened) on hormones. Therefore, I'm playing the hormone card.

fat-fully yours,

p.s. How much do you want to bet I'll chicken out and not take it at all? Isn't that how these things always work?


I've just added Theresa's blog to the sidebar. Good stuff, check it out here!

Sunday, October 03, 2004

The best kind of dessert

I want everyone to see how cute my wife is, especially when she's wearing food.

The cake aftermath...

More wedding...

Since Devona posted one of her favorite wedding pictures, I thought I'd post one of mine. This was as close as I got to tasting any of our wedding cake... by the time I came back from getting the frosting out of my hair, it was all gone, or something. I was more likely just too distracted by my new wife to eat any cake.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Could be a lot worse

By Bill Mallonee - Recorded on the Vigilantes of Love record Audible Sigh

a kiss for the miles to drive
a prayer for when it rains
one shot of perspective
a couple more to kill the pain

when all the best metaphors
are hitting too close to home
when all the best metaphors
are bleeding from your bones

i'm gonna die a failure
but to happiness awake
you can go to sleep in hell
and wake up at heaven's gate

think of all that we miss today
that lay right before our eyes
think of all that fades away
in the hard-pressed compromise

and this is dangerous terrain
we're attempting to traverse
it's a crying shame
but it could be a lot worse

so you proceed with caution
though you're mumbling in the dark
and that one shot of perspective
has finally hit your heart

faith she's a whistling train
running hard in the dark
and hope is like a thing untamed
gonna lay to waste your heart

love's a little bit of God
there for all to know
love's the everlasting arms
that never do let go

Friday, October 01, 2004

The Gospel is for people I like

I'll blame my years of home schooling, but I never seemed to learn that most vital of elementary school lessons: You must share. I'm just plain selfish.

Devona is always telling these awful stories about the people she (no longer) works with. I mean, really sad stuff. So-and-so has been living with her boyfriend for five years, who beats her continually, and now she's pregnant, and he's beating her even more, and now she has no place to live, so she's moving back home with her parents, but she can't find a job because she can't buy a car, because she has no income....

At some point in the narration my stomach really sours and somewhere inside me, between my gut and my heart, a little fat red-faced man starts yelling things like "Serves 'em right! Shouldn't be so stupid anyway." I hate that little fat man. But I always listen to him.

When it comes to the cross, I'm a lot like Tolkien's Gollem. It's my precious -- my strength, my love (well, I tell myself that at least) -- but I just can't bear sharing it. When my prodigal little brother comes running home, and Dad goes out to meet him while he's still a long way off, all I can do is just give dark-faced glares across the kitchen counter while Mom stuffs the turkey. I'm not even in the mood for cranberry sauce.

Thank God my pride is not so sharp an axe to hew that sacred tree. The Gospel is not just for people I like, and grace is not a balm for only the sins I can stomach. Christ died for the worst of sinners. The really despised, ugly ones. Even people with the sins that don't make cool summer camp testimonials: Rapists, lazy people, murderers, the impatient, child abusers, gossipers, and genocidal dictators.

A gospel like this certainly offends me. Tonight, I have to say that it frightens me. I mean, really taking that to heart in my marriage could mean ultimate honesty between us. Teaching it to my children could mean they grow up and actually know something of true love. Maybe they'll even truly love a few people, sometimes.

So I'm trying to get better at sharing. How well will I really believe the gospel, until I really believe that the gospel is for all to hear?