Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thankful for...

... this great guy!
He inspires me to joy in the Lord and keeps my life full of adventure.

... the kindness of friends.
This handmade baby blanket came in the mail a few weeks ago. (Thanks, Raven!!)

... quiet mornings before the baby comes.

... the bagel shop downstairs. 

... another pregnant friend to eat pickles with and anticipate parenthood!

... time to count my blessings and reflect on God's mercies.
They are new every morning.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

There's a Monster in the Mirror: Self-Pity


If I am honest with myself, I know there are far too many times in my week when I feel sorry for myself, when I am tempted to sulk and pout for not getting my way, or when I just want to sit stubbornly on my own sour emotions and let them brew. (How's that for honesty?)

And while certainly some situations are made better by a little sympathy or an encouraging word, a LOT of the times I need a kick in the seat of my pants to get over myself and move on to better things. When I get discouraged and tend to focus on how I'm feeling or what I want, the best medicine is not to nurse my own self will, but rather, to crucify it. To present my case before God and truly say, "Thy will be done."

Can you relate? Isn't it easy to get stuck floundering in our own pool of pride and selfishness?

We have so many single people at our church. I don't just mean 20-somethings. I mean 30, 40, and 50-somethings who will most likely never be married or have children. Loneliness is something I hear about on a regular basis from so many of our friends here. Recently, I was realizing that it's not wrong or sinful in the least to feel lonely. In fact, Jesus must have been deeply lonely during His time on earth! But loneliness quickly becomes our downfall when we start feeling sorry for ourself and telling God, "I hate the life You've given me. I wish I was someone else or in a different set of circumstances. I think I know what would make me happy, and I will be miserable with the lot You've set before me until You give me something else."

Maybe that's not exactly what we say to God, but doesn't our refusal to be grateful for wherever we are and whatever God has placed before us communicate our distrust in His goodness and sovereignty? Doesn't pitying ourselves and dwelling on our own hurts, injustices, and problems keep us from seeing Him who suffered more than we will ever know, and yet joyfully endured such things? Oh, that we would always have a willing heart like our Lord to accept whatever cup God placed in our hands!

To close, a quote from missionary Amy Carmichael to challenge us all:
"If I am soft to myself and slide comfortably into self-pity and self-sympathy; If I do not by the grace of God practice fortitude, then I know nothing of Calvary love."

(Previous posts in series: on anxiety and jealousy.)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Apartment Tour: At a Glance

Here's a peek into our home!

I love seeing into other people's places, especially in NYC where the apartments are often so old and interesting.

We moved into this apartment in August and finally are feeling settled in. We are blessed to live so close to where the church meets! So here are some pictures:

Before we moved in, this apartment was basically a studio.
With the addition of french doors, it's now a one bedroom!
(I'm waving from our bedroom. Bathroom on the right, mirrors on the left.)

The tiled niche with shelves used to be a window, but then a building was built right next to it,
so our landlord transformed it into something more attractive.
Antique writing desk and swirly mirror above the bathroom = also our landlord's.
Other piece of furniture here is a pantry on top, trashcan on bottom.

Here's our kitchen, overlooking the living area. Notice the fridge & freezer,
more tiles/shelves, and deep sink that makes my pregnant belly cry a little! 

The best part of our apartment: the boss. :)
And no, my countertop is hardly ever that clean!

Here's our kitchen, looking back down a long entry hallway.
Wondering how I reach those kitchen cabinets?? My trusty friend, The Ladder. :)
Also thanks to our landlord: the entire two rows of hallway hooks,
a project involving collected umbrella handles and such.

I think the hanging shelf is an old headboard. The plant up there was Jady's vision.

Around that corner is our front door. The brown door is a coat closet.
The white doors are a surprise (want to guess?).
More mirrors, shelves, hooks, and bench that were furnished already.

This picture is back in our bedroom. A whole wall of books!
Feels a little like sleeping in a library.
Notice the great storage underneath.

On the other side of the bedroom: our nursery! Still working on finishing touches.

Another kitchen shot. The back kitchen wall is a(nother) mirror, by the way. Hard to capture in a picture.

And behind the white doors in the entryway...
Jady's cloffice! That's an office in a closet.
Good sermons, taxes, and studies are prepared there!
Thanks for joining.

Thanks to God for the comfortable places He gives us to do His work!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

On Pregnancy

My dad suggested renaming my blog "Bearing Children in the Big Apple." That has definitely been the name of my game these past 8 months! And I have absolutely loved it.

Not that every day has been easy, and certainly challenges are yet to come, but we would ask for nothing else except as God wills. As the hymn goes, "Nor for ease that prayer shall be, but for strength, that we may ever live our lives courageously."

Carrying a child has been an incredible experience, and one that I wish I could remember!

The first moment when I really started to wonder if maybe I was pregnant was when my sense of smell turned into a superpower. One day I was just able to smell flowers from across the room, and soup wrapped up inside several bags, and every store and trash can that I walked by on the street. In fact, just recently I detected a small natural gas leak from our stove, and when the ConEd worker came to investigate, he was not surprised to find out I was pregnant. Apparently that happens a lot!

People always ask if I've had any unusual cravings, and I wish I had an answer, but as of today the answer is still no. We did, however, consume NYC's entire supply of pizza during my first trimester. Thankfully, they have kept making more. :)

We are waiting to find out the gender, and to be honest, that was more Jady's idea than mine! But I was happy to go along, and I expect that final old-fashioned moment of "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!" will be even more special after all this anticipation. For the record, I predict a boy. But all the strangers on the street tell me it's a girl, so we'll see who's right. I love remembering that God knows, and that He has given us exactly what we need!

And I can't sing enough praises of our care providers, Midwifery of Manhattan. If you've watched the documentary, "The Business of Being Born," you've seen and heard from a couple of our ladies. I have enjoyed their warmth, their optimistic perspectives on natural births (and yet their complete acknowledgement of complications outside their control), the time they spend answering questions at each appointment, and just the entire midwifery model of care. We are hoping to deliver at the Birthing Center at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital here in the city, but if not, we'll be on the next floor up at Labor & Delivery at the same place.

I think being pregnant in NYC has been some of my favorite time here so far! For one, I have been offered a seat on the subway during most of my rides--at least since I've been looking more obviously pregnant. Maybe this is working the system, but my trick is to unzip or take my coat off when entering the train and hold my baby bump... and within minutes someone usually tells me to sit down in their seat. In the south, courtesy is normal and nearly expected, but in New York, I am storing away all these nice moments for the days when rudeness and apathy seem to prevail! Another perk has been the friendliness of strangers. Those cashiers at West Side Market who never spoke a word or looked at me before? Now they are asking all about my pregnancy. And the rough men in front of me in line for the Harlem McDonald's bathroom?  Now they're yelling at each other to let me use it first.

Our apartment has been slowly filling up with the cutest and tiniest of baby things, including a mini crib (from Craigslist, of course!) and changing table that fit perfectly in the corner of our bedroom. Being able to keep our nursery items simple has been a breath of fresh air! And although we already have more things than we even need, we are thankful to still have room for the baby. :)

Baby Copeland, we are ready to meet you and welcome you into our family!