A Look Into Brielle’s Party

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, today we are celebrating Brielle’s beautiful life! David invited our closest family and friends. We weren’t entirely sure how well we’d do today and we really didn’t feel like blubbering in front of everyone. I’m hoping we’ll be too happy to blubber, we’ll see!

I’ll post more about her cake later today, but for the food we chose to have Papasito’s catered. Brielle loved the mariachi band when we went there for Mexico Independence Day and I thought it was a perfect way to bring that element into the party. Not to mention a lot easier than cooking.

We’ll be having her playlist on throughout the day and as we all know, she loved her music. Queue one of her favorites:

Before Brielle was born, I wanted to throw her a big party, but for various reasons it didn’t happen. This has bothered me ever since. The week before she was born should have been about her and it wasn’t. In many ways, this party is my chance to rectify that for her and myself. I would like to think she will be looking down and watching our celebration for her and that she’ll know how much I wanted to spoil her and treasure her.

I’ve ordered five three foot pink balloons. I’m pulling out the nice dinner ware. I’ve bought her a dress (I wanted something schmancy, but that’s pretty hard to find in 18″ doll size), and we’re surrounding ourselves with those who understand our quirky way of grieving.

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I am so excited to share this day with them and with you all. One of the greatest gifts you all gave David and I was love for our daughter. In so many ways, y’alls love and encouragement helped make our time with her joyful.

One Of My Favorite Memories: Brielle’s Reaction To Raspberry’s

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Mommy and Brielle posing with the very sleepy kangaroos.

David and I have laughed about this moment over and over again. Poor Brielle was so disturbed, she just didn’t understand what was going on. She was such a sweet baby. We had to coax her out and give her lots of love and encouragement. I light up when I remember this moment and how silly she was. She had so much personality!

“Earlier this week, David was playing with Brielle and she was so happy. Dancing and squirming. He then said, “I’m going to blow on Mommy’s tummy!” He then blew a raspberry on my tummy. The fun and games stopped right there. He did it right on her face and she immediately stopped moving. I’m dying laughing, Brielle is trying to run away, and David is saying, “I’m such a bad Daddy!” Poor baby had no idea what that horrifying sound was and David felt horrible that he had scared her. She didn’t move for an hour. Poor baby, I kept telling her it was ok, and David kept apologizing to her. Needless to say, we won’t be doing that again.”

This picture taken a few days before she got the razz. The zoo trip was also one of my favorite memories. I have too many favorite memories!!

A Call To Action To My Fellow Christians, How We Should Use This Political Season

I know that many have been upset by the election of Trump and have chosen to act out violently in response. I also know that there are those who feel free, under a Trump presidency, to unleash their racist, homophobic, xenophobic beliefs in sickening acts of hostility. I’m not here to add another voice to the madness of politics, rather I wish to call on my fellow Christians during this season of political and social upheaval.

As Christians we are called to spread love and peace. To serve those who suffer and to live a life beneath others. In our materialistic American world we’ve lost sight of that and we’ve all suffered. We’ve grown complacent. We don’t wish to offend. We are too busy to do one more thing. I understand, really, I do.

We all know we have failings. We all, no matter religion or political party, hear about our many flaws on a constant loop. And again, I’m not here to go into that.

What I ask, as one Christian to another, is that we band together and serve the hurting hearts of our country. Let those who lost this election have their protest. Pray over them. Bless them. Bring them food and water. Listen to their feelings and fears. Encourage them in their despair.

Quiet the voice inside you that wishes to gloat, to speak of your feelings, to draw attention to your pain. Yes, I know, many of you have felt (and are) oppressed, persecuted, and patronized for being conservative. Let them persecute you and instead give them your kindness, your generosity. As we often do not know why we do foolish things, so is true of those who are afraid and hurting.

“Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

We all want the same thing, a unified country, we want peace. Ultimately someone has to humble themselves and reach out with open arms. As Christians this is our calling.

“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

As Christians we all have a specific calling and duty in Christ. I encourage you to use your gifts and calling in this time to encourage and uplift the hurting. For those that are unsure what their calling or gifts are; I encourage you to ask God for revelation and guidance and to speak to a trusted mentor in the faith.

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In the same way, I encourage my fellow Christians to listen to the voice of the church and openly, in Christ’s name and love, rebuke those who carry words of hate and a lukewarm faith. Now is not the time to be proud and selfish. This is a season of humility, responsibility, revival, and rebirth. Do not lose your way in a sea of hateful and foolish speech.

“As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.” [Paul instructing Timothy in regard to the church.] 1 Timothy 5:20

“If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:16

Most importantly, I strongly remind those in the faith to remember that rebuke is to be given to those within the church, not to those outside of Christianity.

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world [those not in the faith], or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother [Christian] if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler-not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.'” 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

Modern examples of this behavior (I imagine you understand drunkard and sexual immorality):

Greed: Selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food. Materialism (materialism is one of my greatest struggles), self-indulgence, lust

Idolatry: Extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone. i.e. celebrity preachers, self-gratification over worship, busyness (I’m guilty of this), personal prosperity (I struggle with this), treasuring anything more than God (even our loved ones), a desire to please others more than God (I’m guilty of this), sexual stimulation, education, career, etc. Great article here

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Revile: criticize in an abusive or angrily insulting manner. Denounce, slander, vilify, bad mouth. i.e. speaking poorly of baby boomers, speaking poorly of millennials, criticizing Clinton voters, criticizing Trump voters, disliking those who differ from you, speaking against those who have different beliefs

(I have been and can be a reviler at times, aren’t we all? Thank God he convicts us of our foolishness! I’d be a bigoted angry mess without him.)

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Swindler: use deception to deprive of money or possessions. i.e. fraud, cheat, deceive, deceiving other Christians with the amount you put in the offering plate, using the church for personal gain or even power, Christians can swindle more than money

I encourage my fellow Christians to ask God to purge any evil within yourselves, purify your heart before God, and follow his calling for your life so that we can unite this once great nation. Politics and intelligent conversation will never unite us, but Jesus can, love can.

“…Perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:18

We are to be the balm to aching souls, but to many we have become a poison. We can only correct this through humility and God’s grace and guidance. We have purpose, we have a calling, and I am calling on you to join me in uniting a fractured nation, not through politics or grand gestures, but through Jesus Christ and his love.

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​IMPORTANT: DR. BOOTSTAYLOR IN NEED OF OUR SUPPORT

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As many of you know, I hold Dr. Bootstaylor and DeKalb Medical Center in the highest regard. Dr. Bootstaylor always gave Brielle and I the best treatment, attention, and certainly more of his time than anyone could have possibly expected. He treated Brielle with kindness and respect.

The same can be said of the nurses, NICU staff, and Jamie at DeKalb Medical Center. They all went above and beyond. Showering Brielle in compassion and love. They showed kindness and empathy towards me, and Jamie even stepped in as a surrogate mother for me while I was hospitalized.

DeKalb Medical’s Staff and the SeeBaby staff all worked beautifully together. They had respect for each other. They were humble. And they operated as a cohesive unit.

This is why I am so disturbed by a decision “at the top” to no longer support what Dr. Bootstaylor stands for. DMC will no longer be supporting vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) or vaginal breech deliveries. Dr. Bootstaylor centers his work around providing the care the mother wants, not what is easiest for him. He gives of himself selflessly and he can no longer use DeKalb Medical Center under these new terms.

Both the staff at DeKalb and SeeBaby are devastated by this and this is not something that anyone seems to support. To disband such a beautiful group of people, honestly trying to do what is right, cannot be permitted.

I, as well as many others, will be contacting DeKalb Medical Center in opposition to this. We hope that enough outrage will be heard that the decision will be overturned and SeeBaby can continue the work they’ve been doing.

If you have the time and desire to support Dr. Bootstaylor and his practice, I’d ask that you please contact DeKalb Medical Center leadership:

John Shelton, CEO DeKalb Medical:
john.shelton@dekalbmedical.org

Dane Henry, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer: dane.henry@dekalbmedical.org

Joel Schuessler, VP Legal Services and Chief Compliance Officer:joel.schuessler@dekalbmedical.org

Rose McKelvie Director Women & Infant Services:
rose.mckelvie@dekalbmedical.org

Cheryl Iverson, VP Marketing:cheryl.iverson@dekalbmedical.org

Sharon Mawby, VP Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer:sharon.mawby@dekalbmedical.org

Jim Forstner, Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer: jim.forstner@dekalbmedical.org

I’d ask that you also keep this situation and the mothers who are currently due in your prayers, this decision, I’m sure, is causing undue stress during such a fragile time in their pregnancies.

For those of you that live in the Atlanta area and would like to protest this gross violation of human rights, there will be a protest this Friday. Information here.

My Motivations For Transparency and Why I Need Openness In My Life

For those who don’t know me personally, you wouldn’t know that I am as just open here as I am in person. And sometimes I wonder if I’m too open. I wonder if I’m making a mistake. Should I be embarrassed?

I wrestle with this. And maybe I am too open, but is that really a bad thing? I really couldn’t say. All I do know is my own experience and my own reasoning. Isn’t that true for all of us?

I suppose one of my motivations for transparency lies in my faith. Christians are called to speak out about their struggles so that fellow believers can help build one another up. To keep each other accountable. Because let’s face it, following any religion is hard and it’s unreasonable to do it alone.

And that’s a big motivator for me. Do I make mistakes? Do I sin? Do I represent Christ poorly? Yup, all the time. And I want to be held accountable for that. I want to know when I’ve messed up, so that I can fix it. So that I can apologize and clean up my mess, because I will make a mess of things. I’m human. That’s the grace of God, the confidence that I can screw up, apologize, and it’s forgiven, it’s forgotten. No matter how big or small, my mistakes are always redeemable. God’s offering, I might as well take it.


But outside of my faith, I have other reasons. Memories in my past of cruelty, prejudice, sexism, and hate. I have memories of good people, respectable people, turning on me in private. Tearing into me and spreading lies about me.

When your nightmares become a reality and hell becomes a place you frequent, it becomes hard to trust. Hard to believe. Hard to hope. And living in hell taught me that I wanted to be free. That I wanted to be more than my past. My past taught me that some of the kindest people we know are often the cruelest. My past taught me to look for lies. To look for deceit.

And so I live a transparent life. I speak candidly. I want you to call me out on my mistakes. Because I know monsters and I don’t want to become one. Living in secrecy, hiding who we truly are, breeds evil, and I desperately want to be good. To distance myself from my nightmares, look in the mirror, and see a whole, loving and kind woman. I am and will be more than my past.