Thursday, April 30, 2009

Divine Intervention

For story-telling purposes we will call her Kim. Kim and I had been friends since grade school (did I just say grade school)? Kim and I had been friends since elementary school (yes, that's better). Unfortunately, as occurs sometimes with childhood friendships, busy schedules, boys, and probably assumption came between us. A fizzled friendship. Isn't it strange how some relationships just flatline? The good news is that a flatlined friendship is NOT the point of this post.

By the end of high school I was moving forward. What a blessing my high school experience had been! I realize some people despise their youth, but I truly enjoyed mine. Was it always a bed of roses? No of course not, but still an enjoyable time in my life. I had a really good group of girl friends, but this one friendship always knawed at my mind. I guess since I couldn't figure out "why" it had failed it bothered me more than ever.

It was October and I was headed home, yet again, for another wedding during my sophomore year at Baylor. A string of weddings marked this as my 3rd weekend to make the flight from Waco to Liberty. I was in a routine and I was thoroughly enjoying the view. Praise cd in the cd drive. Just me and Goldeneye on the road again (Goldeneye was my Ford Probe lovingly named by an ex-boyfriend actually). :0 As I approached my favorite look-out point near Centerville, my mind and heart were instantly burdened for Kim. A few sidenotes...

Kim and I hadn't spoken very much since our Junior year.
Kim and I had spoken once since high school.
Kim and I had planned one trip for her to visit me at Baylor and I ultimately got kind of stood up.
I had washed my hands of Kim hurt by her continual disregard for my attempts at being her friend and my inability to answer the "why" in our fizzled friendship.

Up and down each scenic lookout, I began to pray for Kim. My heart softened for this girl that had once shared her lunch with me, but stood me up more times than I could count. I prayed for her and wondered why I felt so burdened. I had not even given her a thought for atleast a year. But, God was calling on me to pray for her on that day. So, I prayed and prayed - the burden got heavier. Was she hurt? Was she dead? My mind imagined the worst, but my heart said to keep on praying. For about 45 minutes I lifted this girl up to the Lord in hopes that the intercessory prayer would help her. And then, as quickly as it came, the burden left. And Goldeneye and I bumped along down the highway headed home for wedding #3.

In late December, when I was home for Winter break, I went to watch my brother, William, play his basketball game at my old school. As we were herded through the front door to find our seats, standing right in front of me was Kim. I HAD to know if that day was truly a God-inspired intercessory prayer session for my old friend

or

if (as I had of course misplaced my mustard seeds of faith) had just let a memory of an old friendship get the best of my emotions that day. So, I told her what had happened and she looked at me kind of funny, got a little red-faced, and said "I was in a car wreck that day. Yeah, my car was totaled, but somehow I didn't even get a scratch on me. It was really weird."

Hmmm...

Sometimes our "weird" might actually be a miracle straight from God's throneroom. Not only did God answer a prayer for "Kim" that day, but He taught me a few lessons in the process. I learned:

1) to try my hardest to never let negative emotions keep me from praying for someone in need.

2) to never dismiss the Holy Spirit's leading or burden to pray for someone - pray even if you feel like you might be wrong in your interpretation.

3) to never count out God's ability to change my heart toward's a person.

4) to Always know that He cares about each little detail of my life and yours as well.

And as for Kim, well, I've got more stories where that one came from!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Liquid Caffeine

A few days after Seth came home his monitor was screaming at us. We had already been fighting with these cantankerous machines quite a bit in the short time we had been home. Sometimes they cried wolf, a leed would get stuck to someone's clothes instead of staying stuck on their chest. Apnea monitors are not meant to drive new parents insane, although we felt on edge by their sudden shrills and shouts. Apnea monitors are meant to save lives and this would be one such time.

Seth's monitor screamed at us on the first day he came home, but he was awake and looked fine. So, we thought his machine was simply crying wolf. He was the only one of the three that came home with an oxygen tank. Because it tired him to eat, he got oxygen with his feeds. The second day, it screamed at us a little more, and the third day it was going off over and over again. We were so convinced that his machine was broken that we called the company and they came and gave us a new one. Then, the new machine yelled at us too. Why was his machine not working? And more so, why did it go off constantly when he ate?

By the third day we started to notice that Seth would not stop crying. He screamed and writhed like his stomach hurt everytime I fed him a bottle. Then, I began to notice a light blue coloring over the top of his mouth. His face would turn pale, especially at the height of his crying. Panicked we called the doctor and rushed him to the St. Lukes emergency room in The Woodlands. His oxygen stats were dropping into the 40's, especially severe when he ate. From The Woodlands, Seth and I both took our first ambulance ride to Texas Children's. Then, we waited. And waited. And waited. Around 3am the doctors decided Seth needed to stay.

For an entire week, we were back to two babies. The final prognosis was simply immature lung function. Seth needed more caffeine. So, after a week, Seth came home for the second time. This time, no oxygen tank, but a whopping daily dose of liquid caffeine.

And as for Robb and I, we were more paranoid than ever.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Adaptation

Adaptation. Evolve or die, atleast that is how the first few months felt when the babies came home. Our lives were very very different now. First, we now had dependants- 3 of them. Tiny, pig-like, hungry, loud, snorting, crying new members of our family. These dependants ate and pooped. They ate about every 2 hours and they pooped about the same. We loved them dearly, but facts are facts, a new day had dawned.

We had changed cities. We now resided in Devers, TX. Although, not unfamiliar with this area, it was still a change. City to country. Convenience to a 20 minute drive to the store.

We were unsure of Robb's job situation. Robb was and still is a coach. He had been coaching in Willis, but now there was no way he could keep that job. This was a sore spot between us. I knew that he couldn't drive the 3 hour total commute each day (especially with the hours coaches work), but he loved his job and wasn't ready to move officially. He also had 2 schools he was willing to apply to in our area - neither had positions open. And despite all of these "things" we needed to hash out...

We were not alone. Round the clock rockers, family, and friends were always present. Thankfully, because we needed them, but an adjustment just the same. Robb and I were used to being alone, now that was not an option.

We were tired. Besides the fact that we had babies that were awake and hungry every 2 hours, we were mentally and physically exhausted. I had not had a good night sleep in about 3 months at that point, Robb had been on a HORRIBLE schedule between day job and nightly hospital stays to keep me company and had not slept in 6 weeks! And despite all the hands around to help, we couldn't rest. Our babies were small and our doctor had given us alot of rules to follow, to hand them over was difficult. We could not mentally rest.

But, the truth was, we HAD to adapt to survive. Change was here and we had to face it, embrace it, and then get good at it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just Yesterday

Just yesterday Robb and I sat nervously at a fertility doctor, hoping we would one day become parents.
Just yesterday we were told we were having quadruplets.
Just yesterday we lost one along the way.
Just yesterday Robb and I were curled up on our dualing hospital beds, both gaining pregnancy weight. :)
Just yesterday A,B, and C were being wheeled into the NICU.
Just yesterday we were praying I would be able to live to see A,B, and C grow up.
Just yesterday we were knee deep in diapers, aspirators, bottles, and blankets.
Just yesterday we were honing our swaddling and burping skills.
Just yesterday Leyton spent his days hopping on his bottom across our playroom.
Just yesterday Laci was a contortionist toddler.
Just yesterday Seth was the smallest of the three, but doing everything first!
Just yesterday they were 1 year old.
Just yesterday they were 2 years old.

TODAY, they are three! And today, we are so happy to be their parents. Thank you God for our precious babies and the blessings of watching them grow.

Jessica

We're THREE!



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

CHANGE, cHanGe, ChaNGE, cHaNgE

To change or not to change. If you stare at the word "change" long enough, the letters start to seem oddly joined together - like they shouldn't even function together as a word. Especially when you capitalize it: Change - see the capital letter makes it look even stranger if you stare long enough.

At first, "change" was the first word of this post. And I sat here, staring at it, analyzing it, and frankly I couldn't put my fingers to work to write anything beyond it. Isn't that exactly how change is? Sometimes we are afraid to move past it- afraid to dive into the unknown. Sometimes it is so much easier to just stay put, to stay comfortable.

Other times, we might be desperate for a change. Desperate for renewal, for healing, for contentment. It seems like when I am desperate for change, for something new, it eludes me. And then when you least expect it, change is there knocking on your door. But, how many times has this visitor caught me unexpectedly? Then, I dig my feet in and say "I'm not ready!" "Why have you picked me? I am comfortable tucked away in my little hole in Liberty TX!"

There are a few changes happening in our lives. Some are a welcome breath of fresh air. There are a few changes that I am PRAYING for, that may or may not come to fruition. But, no matter what, God is in control. He is my one Constant. And tonight, no matter what, I will be praying to see His powerful hand of change in my life. Now, that is one type of "change" worth welcoming daily. Because even when our futures seem uncertain, when God shows up things change. Sometimes our circumstances change and other times God just changes our hearts. His choice, but tonight I will be praying for some divine intervention in my small, but still important to Him details.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Let's Face It: Hecklers at the Wall

There were hecklers among them. Their purpose? To keep the wall from being built. It didn't matter that Nehemiah had the King's written permission to be there. It didn't matter that he was indeed doing a good thing. "Good" was a relative concept. And so, they were there, ridiculing, criticizing, and mocking the Jews. Criticism is never easy to take. Sometimes criticism comes from the outside, other times it may even come from those we trust. Either way, criticism can be hurtful. ESPECIALLY, when you are trying to do a good thing.

One example: delivering triplets.

We chose to give our babies life. I chose to carry them, with great risk to my own life. We chose to honor God and not kill his creation. No fertility drug was ever able to "create" life inside of us - as we had over a year of failed attempts on these drugs. It was my Creator that chose to allow me to conceive four children. In His sovereignty, He also allowed me to only deliver three babies. His choice - we just cooperated. But, all it takes is one trip to Wal-Mart to really see the different perceptions of doing a "good" thing. Sometimes, our "wrecking crew" is greeted with smiles and praise. Other times, looks of disgust and whispers. "Good" is often a relative concept.

Another example: the coaching profession.

From "hero to zero," that is the unfortunate phrase that describes my husband this baseball season. And in record time no less. My husband's baseball team has had two stellar baseball seasons until this year. In fact, the last two years have been the most successful baseball teams the school has seen in the past 10-15 years. Last year, he got to wear the hero uniform. Few parents complained as the team was winning and being successful. This year, he has been sporting the "zero" uniform. Criticism gone awry to say the least. How I wish that these people could see the big picture! How I wish they could see a Christian man who sacrifices nearly ALL of his time with his own family to be with THEIR children. How I wish that they could move past "playing time" and perceived "missed" opportunities and see the man that I see. The man that wishes their kids would succeed more than he desires success for himself, the man that prays for their children even if they don't themselves, a man that cares more about the lessons baseball can teach a kid than the amount of runs put up on the scoreboard. A man that tries to strike a healthy balance: good habits, good behavior, while still teaching them good baseball skills. Again, "good" is a relative concept.

I love the story of Nehemiah. I love his resolve to finish a task inspite of ridicule. I admire the fact that he didn't even stop to defend himself (as I always want to defend myself to my own critics) - he just kept building. I am strengthened by the fact that while half the men did the work of rebuilding, the other half held weapons to defend their work. {If you could see me, I am holding a sword as we speak!} I esteem him for his courage to ask the King in the first place to take on such a task. And most importantly, I love that not only did the wall get built, it got built in record time, with few laborers.

Although, your life will always be filled with hecklers, God fights for his own. He will never let us be put to shame.

"May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace." Psalm 35:26

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"WOW" - Who Knew?

The long story short: I have a new job. Or I suppose you could call it an "additional" job. I must say that God continually surprises me. Last August, I started a new venture, Kirkland Apparel Company. At the time, I was deathly ill and desperate. Endometriosis had ravaged my body, to put it mildly. At the time, Robb and I were desperate financially. Don't get me wrong, God has always provided for us. We have not lacked in regards to material things, but it was never because our bank account was overflowing-actually quite the contrary. I have posted about this before - our "instant family" took a large toll on our finances. This past summer, we had finally drained our savings and it was time for me to go back to work. The dilemma? How does a girl get a job and keep a job that spends the first 5 hours of each day deathly ill in the bathroom. {Side note- Did you know that Endometriosis looks like cobwebs inside a woman's body - sticking, attaching, and growing one's insides together? Neither did I}.

This brings me back to desperate. I knew our finances were in trouble. I also knew that I was in trouble and had been. For three years, I had been dragging (literally dragging) myself to specialist after specialist begging for answers to my daily dilemma. My body hurt from about the neck down, everything I ate went straight through me (even water), and no one could tell me why. Yet, I had to work. So, the most logical solution: start my own company, right? So, I did. I figured self-employment was the only way that "the boss" wouldn't let me go and I could be as late as I needed to work. Yes, I know - I was accommodating my illness, but even if I hadn't it was "never" accommodating to me. So, I ran down to the courthouse, filed a dba, moved into an empty office at my dad's company, and bought some business cards. God blessed it. It is growing. Besides selling advertising products b2b, Kirkland Apparel is branching out into our own line of kid t-shirts. So far, Texas Kid Company, in Beaumont, Texas is carrying our designs and we are starting a custom project for a local boutique. In addition, we have hired a College Station Sales Rep and one in the Waco area. They started this past Monday. I am having fun. Thankfully, after my surgery in December, I am functioning. Oh yes...the new job....

Let's just say that despite my passion for my own company, God has criss-crossed my life with a wonderful company in the Ft. Worth area called Worlds of Wow. They design, fabricate, and install play equipment (and do theming) for churches. In one sentence, they "transform the way churches reach the next generation." Now, for God's hand in preparing my heart for this venture. About 2 years ago, Robb built a swingset for the babies. We thought we might venture into the world of "playground equipment sales." I thought about what a rewarding career we could have as a family in that area. Triplets, playtime, play equipment, sales. My mind was all a whirl with ideas and a little speck of passion for such a business was planted in my heart. We came up with a business name and decided that we would post a few swingsets on the Internet, see if they would sell, and if it worked we might just start our own company. BUT THEN, the builder (Robb) decided he didn't want to do that and frankly he had NO time for such an endeavor. We put that thought aside (and for the best). In my personal life, I have been feeling God's call into the ministry. No, not to be a preacher, but a call just the same. Several Sundays, I felt God speaking and letting me know that he did have a place for me in that realm, but I never got any specific details. Within the last 2 years, God has really placed young families and church growth on my heart. Recently, my pastor and I have had several discussions where we asked these particular questions: "How do we get young people to our church?" "We need to minister to their children!" "We have to target young families if we want our church to grow and not die off." Etc...

A random trip to the Humble mall, a mind that is constantly brainstorming business ideas, an e-mail, a few phone calls, and one WHOPPING, LOVING, CARING God who has orchestrated it all.... I am now the outside sales rep for this wonderful new company (that is if a title would technically be given). I will be calling on churches in this area and connecting them with Worlds of Wow.

A complete marriage of all my passions - children, play equipment, young families, church growth, ministry, and sales! God is good. WOW - Who knew? Apparently God did and I am grateful.

Check out some of their projects: www.worldsofwow.com or on their blog http://worldsofwow.blogspot.com

Is God in the details or what?!?!

Jessica

Triple the Charm

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tales from the Crib: When did my kitchen turn into a lake?

The irony is that right before this odd occurrence, I had been online searching for "lakehouses" to rent for our family vacation. What I didn't realize is that my house would quickly become a "lake" house, just not in the way most houses are "lake" houses. Thank you Seth and Leyton. My cell phone rang and as is the norm, I couldn't hear the person on the other end. SO, I quickly stepped into the next room. Ever left a trio of triplets alone for more than a few minutes? I could bring mine over and we can see what can happen to your house in a "few" minutes. :) I heard Seth giggling and so I popped my head around the corner. No harm, he was sitting on the kitchen floor giggling. So, I kept talking (imagine- me keep talking? I know!).

LITERALLY, about 3 minutes later I walk into the kitchen to find... drumroll please. None other than Leyton and Seth standing by the refrigerator door, holding the water dispenser down so that water flowed freely on their heads and subsequently my kitchen floor! I scream "WHAT ARE YA"LL DOING?!?!?"

"Takin' shower mommy!" "Got hair wet!" Ya think?

The entire kitchen floor had about an inch of water on it. Water slowly crept down the hall and beneath my dining table. Laci, shocked by her brothers bad behavior, hollers "Leyton and Seth need the no-no stick! I will get it!"

Can you imagine how pink rubber boots and a slick floor wouldn't mesh well together? As Laci was decked out in a t-shirt and her pink flower rubber boots (which she sported until naptime). But, never fear - I caught her just in time and we ALL participated in the cleanup.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Let's Face It: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

No, it's not the puffy, skid marks adorning Seth's cheek tonight (where the cheek met the road out in our driveway a few hours earlier). Although, it might feel similar: numb, stinging, and painful. Nor, is it the place where blouses meet britches revealing the awkward inner tube tummy that screams that we have given birth. Although it might look similiar: spilling over into everything we do, attempting to contain it even though it feels not of this world. Where the rubber meets the road -when the space between reality and relationships does nothing but produce friction. Invisible friction. Unseen, but realistically felt. When years of bitterness spew forth in accusatory statements, when bottled hurt courses through our blood mocking our flesh, provoking a reaction. Leaving us hot under the collar, uncomfortable, and exasperated. We spin our wheels trying to find a solution to a problem that is not in our control. We find ourselves wondering how we can be mistreated without cause, how we can resolve problems when truth is never spoken to our face? From friction to full blown fire. And then what? Where do we go from here? How do we show God's love when we are constantly being slapped in the face? With words, with glances, with passive-agressive attempts that tell us we're unworthy and unloved.

I know we go to the cross. We run if we are the wounded. We run if we have done the wounding. We run as fast as we can because our soul is breaking under the burden either way. We might have marched there in pride or indignation. We might have limped there licking our wounds all the way. No matter what, the important thing is that we are there. We, imperfections and all, are there. Waiting for a miracle of the heart. Waiting to move past the offenses of others, those received and those inflicted. And this struggle is nothing new to mankind. David knew it well. His song to those who made slander their bed:

"Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me. They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogrance. They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert to throw me to the ground. They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a great lion crouching in cover. Rise up, O Lord, confront them, bring them down; rescue me from the wicked by your sword. O Lord, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life." Psalm 17:8-14

The road to life begins at the cross. At the feet of the only One who understands our deepest hurts. Where the Lamb meets the crouching lion head on and men are saved from their enemies and themselves.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Matters of the Heart

I made my mother come along for the ride. I wasn't going to be alone if this went badly. Sitting in the waiting room, several stories off the ground, I thumbed nervously through the poor selection of magazines. The magazines were scarce and so was my faith. As I glanced around the room, I saw gray hair. Yes, people of the grandparent persuasion adorned the waiting room. I didn't want to be in that place, at 24, waiting for a doctor, a stranger, to let me know if my heart was forever compromised. But, I was there. And although I had temporarily moved past the doctors worst case scenario speeches given to us in the hospital, that same heaviness pressed in around me as before.

The nurse came to the door and called my name. "One more hospital gown," I told myself. The technician began her clicking and recording. Listening to the swish of blood pumping through my heart. Recording it's function. All the while, I was watching, trying to remember what a sick heart had looked like on the screen from before. A pointless attempt. My mind screamed doom, while my heart longed for another miracle. Who was I to get another miracle from God? My entire life has been good. Even through tough times, I have seen God move. People search the world over, even those who don't believe in Christ, for signs from a "higher power" and I didn't need a sign. I knew the God that created the heavens, formed man from the dust of the Earth, and still sent His only Son to Earth to die for me. God had intervened in my life so many times, I figured I didn't deserve another "show of His power."

The room was dim and I was glad. I was doing my best to hold back the tears. And then, like all curious and inquisitive patients, I prodded the technician. "So... how did it look?" I asked in the most composed voice I could muster up. And like all curious and inquisitive patients that have ever asked a technician for an answer, I got none. Instead I got the answer that everyone in for a scary test gets: "Ma'am we're not allowed to tell you what we see. You'll have to wait for the doctor to read the results." Oh, I didn't realize. :)

The doctor came in and read my results. He asked me a long list of questions that only added to my anticipation and then non-chalantly replied "Well, looks like your heart is fine. Complications are not long-term, but were pregnancy induced. When you feel like it, you're welcome to go out and run a marathon!"

Although I didn't exactly sprint down the stairs, my heart did skip a few beats that day!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Preachers wife, crippled man, and a prophetic word

"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens." Mark 13: 26 & 27

This story is paraphrased and was shared today by a woman that attends the Sunday School class my mother teaches. This lady has a friend that lives in the Lufkin area and the following scenario happened to her the other day. I found it to be profound and very appropriate given that today is Easter. How much time do we really have?

A preacher's wife was driving down the road late one night and passed an old man walking along the highway. Feeling guilty for not stopping her car, she quickly turned around and picked him up. He was really old and crippled or she otherwise wouldn't have stopped. When the man got in the car, he proceeded to speak prophecy to the preacher's wife. He told her that he wanted her to know that "The angel Gabrielle had his trumpet to his lips and was about to blow his trumpet!" The lady was apparently taken back and wasn't paying much attention to her driving. The man continued to tell her other things as well (we didn't get those added details). A few minutes later a cop was pulling her over. She apologized to the police officer, and said "I am so sorry, we got to talking about prophecy and I must not have been paying attention to what I was doing." The police officer replied, "Lady, I don't even want to hear it, you're the 6th person with that same story tonight and there is no one in your backseat." The old man was gone.

I have been thinking all day about what to post on this Easter Sunday. Pictures of my kids hunting eggs, a cute "tales from the crib" story, a devotional, and then someone told me this story. It brought everything back into perspective. I believe in Jesus. And because I believe that he was crucified, buried, and rose again - I have to believe that His word is true. If I believe that the Bible is 100% true and accurate (which I do), then I believe that Jesus will return for those that have accepted Him as their Savior. Because I believe in His work on the cross, I believe Him when he says his people will recognize the signs of His Second Coming. Do I believe you can pinpoint the exact day? No. Do I believe we can know when the time is near? Yes. Do I believe we are there? Yes, I do.

Will there be skeptics over this story? You bet. But, I will continue to believe that Jesus will come back for His children. I will continue to believe in a story like this that speaks of angels appearing in the form of man to warn people that time is short. And most importantly, I will continue to tell those around me what I believe, so that they are not left behind. How much time do we really have? Only God knows.

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back --whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: "Watch!" Mark 13:32-37

Jessica

Friday, April 10, 2009

Welcome home baby bird!

As much as we hated to see it happen so quickly, Seth was coming home. Long and lanky. Big feet, big hands, and a "never to be missed" BIG nose. Not an ounce of fat on him. Animal comparison = little bird. He did not follow in the footsteps of the pigs that had come home the previous week. Fragile. I remember the one time my mammaw and pappaw got to come see the babies in the NICU, they smiled as they passed Leyton and Laci, and winced when the arrived at Seth's bedside. He was just so small, they feared for his survival. And so did we. We were not ready to care for this fragile child. We adamantly disagreed with their decision to discharge him so early. But, we had no choice. The insurance company was the hammer responsible for actually kicking him out (thank you very much)!

Nonetheless, on Tuesday, May 23rd, Seth Brandon Kirkland came home. He had climbed from 3.2 oz to almost 5 lbs. He came with the a little more baggage than his brother and sister: apnea monitor, oxygen tank, and oral caffeine. Although he was small, he was feisty. He had been the wildcard in the womb. I could tell he was going to be the most active child of the three. He was constantly on the go, dodging the nurses attempts to monitor his heartrate. Even before he was born, we had given him "Brandon" as a middle name after Robb (because we thought he would be on the go like his daddy). And we were right. Another striking similarity was his need for caffeine (again - like Robb). Today, Seth is the BIGGEST of the three children. He is almost a full 2 inches taller than both Laci and Leyton. He is also heavier. Still on the go and still keeping us on our toes. Likes: puppies, trucks, singing, golf carts, choo-choos, and "Fible" aka "An American Tail". The doctors said we would lose him, but they were wrong. God had a different plan and we are grateful. He completes our trio and we would be lost without him.

Spreading Some Love

Courthouse Shenanigans

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Let's Face It: Quit Running

I wish I had a little click counter that registered the number of times I tell my children to "quit running" in a day. I honestly believe the click counter would be so exhausted by its' inability to keep up that it would probably burst into a million pieces in frustration. This is often how I feel.

"Quit Running." "Quit Yelling." "Quit whining." "Quit hitting."
"Don't hit." "Don't tell me no." "Don't throw food." "Don't run."
"Why did you flush sunglasses down the toilet?"
"Why are you laughing, you are in TROUBLE?"
"Who is still running?" "Who colored on the tile?" "Who hit Laci?" "Who kicked Seth?" "Who stole Leyton's toy?"
"AND WHY ARE YOU still RUNNING?"

Rules. We have to have them. We all bend them from time to time. Yet, we expect others to follow them implicitly. I struggle with this. I often exhibit the very traits that I despise in others. Case in point:

"Quit running" - yet they see me sprint to the phone.
"Quit whining" - yet I throw pity parties for myself on a regular basis.
"Don't tell me no"- yet I tell God no by not being obedient to His instructions.

Ouch. You get my point? During this post alone, I have told my children to "quit running," "quit throwing crackers," and "quit whining." I am thankful that God doesn't get as frustrated with me as I often am towards my children. I am thankful that His rules are not self-seeking, but for my own good. God doesn't roll his eyes when I mess up. And He doesn't jump on His blog and write about needing a click counter to tabulate all of the times I don't do what He wants me to do. He doesn't tell me what I want to hear just to get some peace and quiet, instead He always speaks the truth in love.

Relief.

"God is love." 1 John 4:8

Monday, April 6, 2009

Seth, Laci, and Leyton

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Out of Control

The first weekend home with Laci and Seth had gone well. Parenthood with multiples wasn't going to kill us after all. But, throughout the weekend, my brain was on "explode mode." I was ready to feel normal again. But, I couldn't stop thinking about my heart. I was afraid of what I couldn't see. Now, we weren't a couple. We were a FAMILY and I had alot to lose if my body decided to quit functioning again. My fears were perpetuated by the lack of control I physically felt as my hormones did whatever the heck they wanted to do! I was on edge. I felt constantly revved up - even though I was physically exhausted. I was hot. I was cold. I was excited. I was afraid. I was anxious. I was relieved. I didn't feel like me and I didn't look like me. And of course, at the root of all these contradictions, was the fear that at any moment I would get sick again and die. I had a breathing device that measured the function/capacity of my lungs. I would smile to the visitors and then slip off to go breathe in my machine in the bedroom. I was constantly practicing my "deep breathing" techniques while I intently listenened for that "rattle." At night, even when the babies were sleeping, I was afraid to close my eyes. When anyone brought up my "scare" in the hospital, I would try to pretend it was no big deal, when actually I was hyperventilating on the inside. I had an appointment with a cardiologist to see if my heart problems had truly gone away or not and it wouldn't get here fast enough

Tales from the Crib: Can I go see Jesus?

Today was Palm Sunday and Robb was asked to play Jesus in the preschool department. Sporting an off-white robe, cloth hood to cover his spikey, red hair, and a long beard (thanks to one of his baseball players), Jesus was in the flesh walking around FBC Liberty today. I wondered how our children would process this confusion. Since we talk about Jesus all the time, I was curious to see what they thought when their dad showed up proclaiming to be the Anointed One.

Seth: As usual, Seth was too cool for such a ridiculous concept. As soon as Robb walked in and the teacher hailed, "Look kids Jesus came to visit us," he was over it. "Dat not Jesus, dat daddy! he said. End of story.

Laci: A bit of a scaredy-cat when it comes to things like dogs, heights, and Santa Claus - she also behaved as expected. When asked to sit in Robb's lap, she adamantly declined "No thank you- I don't think so." But after some coercing, ventured over to see "Daddy, Jesus, Santa Claus" as she had termed this man she had called "daddy" thirty minutes before. Another child, also, said Robb was "Santa" since they were asked to come sit in his lap.

Leyton: He's a wildcard when it comes to new situations. Sometimes, he can be found hugging complete strangers and other times he's hugging my leg with tears in his eyes. At church today, he bravely ran up to sit on "Jesus' lap", completely enjoying this daddy charade. Chalk that up on Leyton's brave chart. Tonight, as I tucked him into bed, I said "night buddy I love you." And his reply was, "Night mommy, can I go see Jesus now?" (Only if you are referring to your daddy!)

I'm gonna have some explaining to do.

And then there was...

...Seth. Our house was not complete, because Seth was not with us. Of the three babies, Seth's progress concerned us the most. He was the smallest weighing 3.2 lbs at birth(and dropping into the 2's after birth). He looked the most delicate. He cried the most. His feeds were more complicated than Laci and Leyton's. He needed caffeine to stay stimulated and keep his heart ticking along. He was our weak one. Each time the doctors moved him a step forward, his health took a step back. Nothing too major in the whole scheme of things, but major for us. We felt that the doctors were pushing him out the door too quickly. Although we wanted him home, we knew he was not ready.

In the meantime, we were getting a dose of life with twins. I was still very exhausted and moving slowly, but we were enjoying them nonetheless. Our temporary residence was hustling with activity. A parade of casseroles, desserts, and hands eager to help filed into our new home. We were glad. These extra bodies gave us time to adjust to life as parents. The babies ate every 1 1/2 hours at first. By the end of the weekend, we were in a routine. Twins - not such a difficult life. We were feeling pretty good. Two adults = two babies. And I think I even made the remark to someone: "What's one more baby?!?!" Sometimes being naive is a blessing. :)

And the following day, the doctors would announce that Seth was ready to join his brother and sister. We had expected his arrival to be mid-June. It was only May 22nd. We were really uneasy. Robb and I believed he was not ready to come home. We felt his lungs were not strong enough, his eating habits were sketchy, and ultimately we were too afraid for him to join us. But, ready or not, Seth was on his way.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tales from the Crib: "My Best Friend"

Tonight, we took the babies out to eat. As we were walking into the restaurant, I leaned over and whispered "I love you" into Laci's ear. She said, "Thanks mommy you're my best friend!" Yes, my eyes got a little watery. I was flattered that my two (almost three) year old already viewed me in that way. I know that one day she will probably think that having her "mommy" as her best friend is not cool, but for now, I will take it.

Jessica

Two Down

She came home with luggage. A heart monitor to be exact. If her heart rate got too low or too high, the monitor screamed. If she went too many seconds without breathing, the monitor screamed. For the first time ever, Robb and I enjoyed being screamed at. Over the next nine months, we would develop a love/hate relationship with these screaming machines. We despised their inconvenience, yet loved the peace of mind they would bring to our days and nights. With their aid, we would not have to worry as much about SIDS or any other deadly surprises.

We had made it through our first night home with Laci and things seemed pretty easy. One child = not so hard. The very next day, we would get a phone call that Leyton was also ready to come home. Bloodwork results had hindered him from coming home with Laci the day before. "We can do two babies" we told ourselves. Two Adults = Two babies - it shouldn't be too difficult. So, the following day my sister and I ventured back to Woman's Hospital to pick up baby #2. My first carseat install in front of the "carseat police" as we lovingly called them.

Leyton Carter Kirkland was home. He was a plump 5 lbs. He, like Laci, also reminded us of a pig. His tendencies leaned a bit more towards the guinea pig family rather than a good ole farm pig. His noises were cute. He was as relaxed outside the womb as he was inside. Perfectly proportioned from head to toe. We stayed in awe of how God had been so good to us. We were so undeserving of all these "little people." Thankfully, God doesn't reward us according to our works. His system is based on grace. Two down, one to go.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

On My Mind

I have alot on my mind today. First, I am in pain- again. Or shall I say, I have been in pain since my surgery in December, just a different kind of pain. Out with the old - in with the new. I have been living a pretty "normal" life for two months. Now, my pain returns or rather has gotten to the point that it is bothering me. I know there are so many people with much worse problems than me, but I just want to be healthy. I want to take care of my children and just be normal. I want to NOT be in pain. I need to be well to work. I need to work to pay our bills. I need to pay our bills - well you know why. I need healing. I need your prayers. I will be at the doctor again tomorrow to discuss this problem. Pray for wisdom for him. He has helped me to this point and I need his wisdom to help me cross the finish line of this long, exhausting journey. I am tired.

Secondly, where are the Republicans hiding in Washington DC? I am astounded by all the talk of "one world currencies" and "global solutions" being tossed around liberally by our beloved President. As you can probably guess, I did not vote for Obama. However, what is done is done. And I have been hopeful that he would not be the "puppet" that I have suspected him to be for power-hungry liberals like the Clintons. I am disappointed. I am not a political analyst nor do I claim to know alot, but is no one else besides Fox News upset about what is going on? Have you ever seen a President move so quickly to change policy as Obama has? There isn't even a need to read between the lines. Don't you think it is odd how other countries are so quick to embrace him? Of course they are embracing him - because in his attempt to get our economy back on track, in his attempt to be so politically correct, and in his attempt to pacify those who are really controlling him - he is bankrupting our country. I find it so transparent that those who have hated us are embracing him. They aren't embracing him for the sake of diplomacy, they are embracing him because he is the key to put their nations in a superior position to ours. Obama is their ticket to finally kicking America in the pants and ousting us as the superpower we have been since our nations conception. I cannot believe this is happening!

Third, I have been praying hard for Baby Stellan. Baby Stellan is a miracle, not expected to live, but has defied odds in his five months of life. I have followed his blog for sometime now and cannot help but cry everytime I read of his struggle. Please join me in prayer for him. His heart is having trouble staying on rhythm and he needs our prayers. You can view his story at:

www.mycharmingkids.net

Jessica

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Let's Face It: Sticks and Stones

My husband is a head baseball coach and has been for 10 years. Sometimes it amazes me how many people hurl their opinions, coaching tips, and curse words (among other things) at him year after year. In the early years of our marriage, negativity was often spouted all around me as people commonly mistook me for a high school student. Now, most people recognize me as the mother with the "triplets" and therefore keep their opinions semi-private if they sit near me. Yet, each baseball season I view how petty, ugly, and just down-right hateful we can be to those around us. Don't get me wrong, I have been on both sides of that equation (head down and ashamed). Each year it seems that sticks and stones might actually be the preferred weapon of choice, because words are hard to take back. This is where we find ourselves this baseball season. Taking each criticism to heart even though we would like to be tough and say that "words will never hurt us." I wonder how friends turn to enemies so quickly and why in the world he subjects himself to this year after year? For love of the game, right? At this point, that would be the only reason to press on. Or maybe, just maybe, there is one more reason to persevere: to show others that we belong to God.

Negativity stings. I find it to be a vicious cycle. Someone accuses me. I get hurt. I pick up the phone and call a friend and talk about how hurt I was by ______ . Then I find myself, in turn, accusing my accuser and doing the exact same thing I just said I hated. Vicious cycle. My mom often warns me to "never react in anger because critical words are not easily forgotten." I know this. I have a hard time forgetting words said to Robb and I in anger long ago. Again, vicious cycle. When others are critical of us, we have to plant ourselves in the Lord and fight to keep standing. We wouldn't learn much if things were always perfect. Those rocky patches are where we learn to stay planted in the Lord, where we learn to be fighters, overcomers, and ultimately learn how to survive when everyone around us wants to uproot us and cast us aside. So, despite how deep some words have stung us, we will choose to forgive, forget, and move on. Hoping that we can react to negativity in a manner that makes people take notice and wonder why we look different. I have failed in this area ALOT, probably the only reason I feel the need to stamp it down just one more time on my blog. Because I know how hard it is to press on even when you don't get the apology you hoped for, even if no one ever pats you on the back and says "great job," and certainly when the offenses keep rolling in like the morning tide.

"They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." Psalm 34: 5

This verse helps me to remember that when I look to Jesus, in all situations, my appearance, reactions, and attitudes can truly radiate the fact that Christ is Lord of my life. And no matter what, I will never be ashamed.

Jessica