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This morning it rained as I woke  up.  I don’t know about you, but there is something refreshing and satisfying about listening to the rain.  It reminds me of God.

A few years back I went on a retreat in Colorado.  At the time, I was struggling with God and life, questioning many things.   One cool evening when everyone was asleep, I went outside and stood barefoot on the porch.  While I was standing there, it started to rain gently.  Instead of going inside, I looked around and thought about what I was seeing.  Standing in front of me were two huge pine trees.  They stretched up to the sky like buildings.  How long had they been there?  Probably over a hundred years, and God was still sending the gentle rain to sustain them.

When I am out in nature, I see the beauty of God.  There is so much of it!  Birds singing, flowers blooming, water moving, colors flashing-even the curves of the clouds are beautiful to me.

In nature, I see not only beauty, but order as well.  I can’t tell you about how many cycles my 5th grade students have had to learn about in science class.  The water cycle is the simplest of them all, and yet, there is comfort in the fact that it does not change.  We may not always know when or where, but we can count on it.  Doesn’t this speak to a Designer and a Sustainer?

Even now, I carry a life inside of me.  A few months back, a friend said to me, “Women have a special role.  We get to assist God in the creation of a miracle.”  How amazing is that?  It blows my mind that two nearly invisible cells could join inside my body and grow to become a human life.  I am an example of this miracle.  You are.  So many things must go right in order for a life to happen, and it does so often!  We can be sure that babies will be born each year.  It sometimes surprises us, but there is always an order to it.

When I’m in nature, I see beautiful things.  This order and beauty and constancy is like a hug from someone you love.  It refreshes me and makes me feel secure.  I don’t see randomness, luck, or chance in it.  The beauty I see is a gift.  Life is a gift.  This is why I believe in God.

Last September was my last post (wow!), and I realized that it was also about the time I was finding out I was pregnant with our first baby.  This whole pregnancy thing has been interesting, frustrating, emotional, happy, sad, exciting, terrifying, and full of hope.  I think I’d like to write a few things that I’ve learned through it all.

1. Breaking the news of pregnancy is a tricky thing.  Telling some friends is easy and wonderful, because they are just as excited as you are.  Telling others is a little difficult, because you know they are dealing with their own disappointments, so it’s hard for them to be as happy for you.  I also wanted to surprise my family with the news, but couldn’t because they figured it out early.  This frustrated me at first (I was being a little selfish), but then I realized they were excited anyways, so it didn’t matter.  Sorry mom.

2. There is no sickness like morning sickness.  I was afraid it would never end, but thankfully, between months 3-4, it passed.  Probably the hardest part of my whole pregnancy was feeling so unlike myself during this time.  I also noticed it was alot worse when I was stressed and tired, but taking my vitamins before I went to bed helped.

3. Maternity clothes are expensive!!!  I am very grateful for those lovely women who passed on their clothes to me.

4.  I was surprised at the dynamic shift in my relationship with Matt.  I’m not sure if he noticed anything, but I felt like we grew closer emotionally through this time.  I’ve enjoyed that.  I am looking forward to having our physical relationship go back to what it was before I got pregnant, hopefully.  I am a bit apprehensive about the different ways having a baby will change our relationship.  I’m not really sure what to expect.

5.  The first time I felt this baby kick I was talking about it with my friend.  It was strange, sort of like a small muscle twitch, and it took awhile for me to get used to it.  Since then, the baby got really active, especially during the 5-7 months.  I wonder if he’ll have Matt’s energy-I think so.  Now, he doesn’t have as much room, and it looks weird (and sometimes hurts) when he stretches out.

6.  People always comment on how you look when you are pregnant.  I don’t think I really liked this, although I got used to it by the end.  At least they’ve been saying nice things for the most part.

7.  I started reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting early on, which helped a great deal.  It basically listed every pregnancy symptom, so I didn’t get too freaked out when weird things were happening to me.  It was also nice to know that I didn’t have some symptoms other women experience.

8.  I wasn’t really into the whole belly picture thing-maybe I’m vain-I wanted nice looking pregnancy pics of Matt and I.  Our friend Eric took some great shots for us, including the one you see here.

9.  I think I kissed regular sleep goodbye once I became pregnant.  I don’t know about everyone, but I definitely have to pee at least 2x a night, no matter if I drink a little or alot.

10.  We’re pretty sure we’re having a boy, which I think is great.  Even though someday I’d love to have a daughter, I’m a little intimidated  by it.  Plus, Matt told me now the pressure is off.  I guess it’s good to have someone carry on the family name. 🙂

11.  Walking is good…I’ve tried to do it more.  (So is stretching, but that’s been fairly difficult here in the last month or two.)  I think if I have another pregnancy, I’d like to try swimming.  This time I wasn’t really ready to be pregnant in a swimming suit.

12.  Decorating one room (for baby) is a whole lot easier and way more fun than decorating a whole house.  I think I must have gotten some nesting instinct at some point, because I also decided I wanted to repaint our bedroom.  Of course, that will wait until I can actually help.

13.  Maybe Matt has been nesting a bit too?  He’s been doing projects like crazy-fixing the car, building closet shelves, painting, and putting up molding.  I think he did a great job on all of them, but I think he should also take a break from projects for awhile.  Poor guy has been working hard, with little help from me.

14.  Matt and I decided that I should quit my job next year.  I was a little surprised at how sad I was to actually make it official.  Even though I complained about it, I think I found my job very rewarding and a great blessing in my life.  I hope that I either enjoy staying home with my kid immensely, or I get the opportunity to have a good job again in the future.

15.  Taking off some time here at the end of school (and my pregnancy) was a really smart move.

16.  I am excited about the change happening very soon, but I am also pretty nervous.  Will I be able to take care of a baby?  Will Matt and I continue to grow in our relationship and love for each other?  Will Matt love being a dad?  Will I love being a mom?  Will we be able to handle this change with flexibility, grace, and resilience?

17.  I find it funny how I’ve worried about this baby who isn’t even born yet.  I decided that I should try not to do that; it doesn’t make a bit of difference in what will be.

18.  I find it astounding and humbling that God would allow me and Matt to take care of another human being.  That’s a pretty big deal, and I’m pretty sure an amazing blessing.