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Offering of Thanks

Offering of Thanks

Heavenly Father,

I spend a lot of time in fear and pain. Today I’m actively choosing to thank you for your faithfulness (as fearful and unnatural as it may feel). Here is my offering back to you … just a warm up list of all the ways you provided for me personally during a grievous loss. Please keep opening my eyes to more of your faithfulness. Help me to let go of pride and arrogance in thinking the “little things” aren’t really from you or that they don’t really matter. Instead I ask you to open my eyes to see them as personal, intimate ways you are seeing and loving me, your daughter (Psalm 139). I ask that you keep opening my eyes up to thankfulness in everything. You say you can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

 

 

Offering

  1. birds chirping
  2. kids screaming, arguing and laughing … life in my home!
  3. the smell of fresh flowers on my kitchen table
  4. a blanket of green, from all of the trees, in my backyard
  5. fresh brewed coffee
  6. sunshine beaming in my kitchen window
  7. the stillness outside after a thunderous storm
  8. kids playing quietly while I write my thanks to you
  9. a loving, tender husband & partner
  10. my children, new life
  11. intimacy (verse loss of relationship) with God through (to date) the most terrible time of my life
  12. surrounded by women who loved the Lord and continued to help lift my head when I no longer had the strength (Philippians 4:13-14)
  13. the life of my siblings still here
  14. restored relationships
  15. ability to not have to work during that time to free up more time to be with Brother
  16. not having to worry about finances on top of grieving my parents
  17. Austin and Brady surviving the plane crash, the life that shot through our veins to remind us you are still here
  18. you never left us (Deuteronomy 31:8)
  19. you are restoring devastation, even still (Isaiah 61:4)
  20. sunshine to remind me of your presence
  21. a quiet place to be with you while Austin was in rehab
  22. girlfriends to fellowship with that know the pain of losing a good mom who was a good friend
  23. peace knowing mom and dad are in Paradise and it is well with their souls (Luke 23:43)
  24. because of their dwelling, it can be well with my soul. I can grieve them in a good way.
  25. my grief comes from a place of deep love & I’m forever grateful
  26. I get to grieve a dad! I got to have an earthly father … something I gave up on as a child but you didn’t. Your gift giving is rich!
  27. training from my parents for this very day (without them even realizing it). Thank you for lighting a fire in them to be so laser-focused on training up their kids in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6)
  28. a marriage that has depth … depth of love as he’s seen me at my worst and loved me through it, stuck with me through it and still, to this day, would choose me again. Thank you for his life and keeping it here with me.
  29. a passion for your word that was ignited during all of this
  30. a passion and drive to know you fully…
  31. and a brand new awareness that I didn’t fully know you yet (Psalm 119:18)
  32. their death brought me new life with you … any doubt or question is removed and I know where I’ll be when I die (Revelation 7).
  33. you ancient words that are still true and relevant and continue to bring life to my dry bones (Proverbs 30:5)
  34. consistency in you in a time that was full of chaos, change, fear, pain (Hebrews 13:8)
  35. when fear overwhelmed & doubt flooded my mind & questions of the future, I could rest because I know your promises are true. My God is sovereign and works all things out for the good of those who love him … regardless of how I feel about that (Romans 8:28, Isaiah 55:9)
  36. I have a rich heritage in you and, because of this, I can look forward with hope (Isaiah 61, Revelation)

 

 

 

 

 

thank you,

your daughter

Dear Fatherless Friend

5 Tips for Exclusively Pumping Mamas

5 Tips for Exclusively Pumping Mamas

There is no need to make this post any lengthier than it needs to be, so let’s get right to it …

5 Tips for Exclusively Pumping Mamas:

  1. Find a good app to document your pump schedule. I have been loving the Pump Log App because it’s easy to navigate and free!
  2. Don’t hassle with cleaning your pump supplies every time you pump. Instead, only clean pump supplies once a day by keeping the bottles and shields in your refrigerator after each pump. Doesn’t this sounds so much better than cleaning pump supplies after every single stinkin’ time you pump?!
  3. To go along with cleaning your supplies once a day, have enough bottles that you only have to wash and clean them one time a day. My goal is to help you only have to clean the bottles and pump supplies one time a day. You should not have to be at the sink cleaning bottles all day!
  4. Plan your pump schedule for the day at your first pump of the day. You will save yourself stress and time if you plan your pump schedule. Trust me on this one.
  5. Hands-free bra will become your best friend if you are an exclusive pumper. This is one item I would not go without, especially if you have more than one kid. In fact, I even pump in the car because of this item. Now, I have gotten pulled over while pumping but that’s for another blog post …
I hope these tips help save you hassle, stress and making pumping enjoyable because it can be! Be sure to check out How to Exclusively Pump for more helpful tips!
Photo Credit: Brittnee Burn Photography

How to Exclusively Pump

How to Exclusively Pump

My first baby was born in 2011. I worked tirelessly to exclusively breastfeed her. I tried every tip and trick in the book, but it just didn’t work out for me and for her. In fact, I wound up with mastitis 3 different times (if you’ve experienced mastitis, you are probably cringing right now). It got to be so bad that my Doctor asked me to be done breastfeeding her. At 6 months postpartum, I ended up weaning and formula feeding my first baby. Fast forward to baby 2 and, you could say, I wised up. I decided to be an exclusively pumping mom. The purpose in this was to avoid all of the issues I had with baby 1, and I’m so glad I made this choice. I’ve exclusively pumped my last 2 kids and learned some helpful tips along the way. I hope this post can bring some encouragement and help because there just isn’t enough information out there for exclusively pumping mamas. Below you will find a “How To” list to help you get started the right way with exclusive pumping.

How to Exclusively Pump
1) Make the decision at the hospital: if you want to get a full milk supply and not have any problems being an exclusive pumper, it is best to know that is what you are going to do right away. Ask your postpartum nurse for a pump and tell her you will be exclusively pumping. Note: hospitals have all of your pumping needs so you won’t need to bring anything for this, but you will want to make sure you have all the right equipment for when you get home.
2) Choose a good pump: for your sanity, please do not go the cheap route! If you are an exclusive pumper, you don’t want your pump pooping out on you. You will be in a major bind if this happens. The pump I recommend and used was Medela Breast Pump. This puppy lasted me all 3 kids (and I pumped for a year with 2 kids)! Be sure to check with you insurance company because you may get your Medela Pump free!
3) Make sure you have all of the right equipment: when you purchase your pump, all of the equipment should come with it and usually you can purchase anything at your local store. However, there are some pieces that must be ordered online like you tubing, so make sure to double check that you have all of the tools you need to start exclusively pumping when you get home from the hospital.
4) Pump 8 times a day: in the beginning, you will want to be sure you pump 8 times a day (about 120 min/day). It used to be standard to pump every 3 hours but that’s since changed. Plan out your pump schedule for the day and just make sure it includes 8 pumps. Note: I pumped 8 times a day for the first 2 months and eliminated a pump starting at 3 months. At 4 months, I eliminated another pump and only pumped 6 times a day and maintained this until my babies reached 12 months. This may work for you. If you notice your supply dropping, simply add your pumps back and be sure to pump 10-15 min each time.

Congratulations on your little one, Mama! I hope this post finds you happy, healthy and anticipating the arrival of your little bean! Be sure to visit 5 Tips for Exclusively Pumping Mamas for more helpful information!

 

(photo credit: Brittnee Burn Photography)