Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 8...Know Your Makeup

And I'm not talking Mary Kay or Cover Girl!

Last week I faced some exhausting moments. You probably did, too. I'm finding out that being 35 is a little different than being 25...go figure.  One of the benefits of growing older is the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and to analyze our own personality and temperament to maximize our best possible actions and reactions.  To become someone whom God can trust to exert self-control and represent Him well, regardless of how we feel.

I've never wished that I had been a man instead of a woman, but I do envy the ability of a man to compartmentalize and to seemingly disengage their emotions in order to get a job done.  That's a pretty sweet little thing they have going for them!

Since, as a woman, I'm made up completely different than that, I'm much more prone to a head explosion.  The whole time I'm engaged in a task, my mind has the power to move faster than an Olympic runner and cover everything that has happened, hasn't happened, might happen, might not happen, will happen, will not get the picture. 

One of the lessons I have learned is that when I'm tired, overwhelmed, or over-committed, things appear to be about a thousand times worse than they really are.  I doubt my ability to follow through on commitments, I am preoccupied, I become disorganized, and sometimes I become paralyzed with anxiety.   I also become self-reliant, rather than being constant in prayer and asking my Heavenly Father to walk the journey with me. 

What happens when all of those crazy emotions/feelings take control?  The weaknesses in my personality have the opportunity to fester and grow.  They hijack who I have become, and make me susceptible to attitudes and actions that take me to places I don't want to go, emotionally and spiritually.

One of the reasons that I love the study of the personalities is that it opens up a whole realm of understanding about the uniqueness of the individual, as well as the creative genius of our amazing God.  To observe a woman become validated in who she is...what an exciting moment in time! And then to watch her take that information, along with all of the honesty and courage she can muster, and use it to benefit all of her relationships, her place in the home, her obligations at church, and wherever else she finds herself.  It's beautiful.

Knowing my makeup makes it easier for me to make decisions, love others, accept life's challenges, and have a heart of gratitude. 

Action Step: A woman who knows her makeup is one who accepts herself as God created her (not living with the 'I wish' mentality), and daily focuses on using her unique set of emotions and skills to bring out good things in herself and everyone around her.  Getting to that point requires
an acknowledgement of what is, as well as what has been (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and a heartfelt thankfulness to God for allowing our experiences to bring us to where we are today.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
—Melody Beattie

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 7...Decisions, Decisions

My decisions matter, especially to them.

Who knew the little things could matter so much? As I sit here in the waiting room of a doctor's office, I'm reminded of the significance of "little things." Although not a germ "freak," I consider myself to be quite aware of the microscopic bacterium that are undoubtedly covering every square inch of this place.  Eeeewww...get me out of here! 

But just as one teeny little germ can wreak havoc on my health, one teeny little decision can change the course of my destiny. 

I like the analogy that my dad uses when preaching and teaching about choices.  He says that life is kind of like a computer.  At start up, the menu is wide.  There are lots of icons, lots of opportunities.  As we make decisions, the menu narrows and we are restrained by the choices we have made.  Unfortunately, there isn't a little "x" at the top of life's page that offers an escape from our choices.  We carry the baggage from our decisions...whatever they may be. 

Every day I make choices.  Some are small.  Others are much larger.  Some seem small enough, but have long-term consequences. 
Had I known that wearing my hair up on my head in the same way for so many days/months would leave me with a golf-ball sized bald spot on the back of my scalp, I would have chosen a different hair style.  Did I purposefully mess up my mop of thick hair?  No, but whether or not I meant to, I live with the consequence.
Most days, I over-eat and under-exercise.  I can give you a million excuses, but they don't change the consequence of my choice.

My mom was pretty diligent in teaching us the concept of sowing and reaping.  At the time, I was kind of sick of hearing about it, but she did it right...she had me scared to death of making wrong decisions.  On days that my head wasn't attached right, I made good decisions just because she taught me to do it.  On principle.  Most days, I made right decisions because I knew that the opportunities that followed would be determined by my choices.  Plus I wanted to do right, and I wanted to please God.  How those things work to one's advantage!

But my obligation to good decisions isn't over just because I've spent a decent portion of my life working at it.  In fact, it's only beginning.  Now there are four sets of eyes watching me make my choices.  My choices affect their menu, as well.  What makes us think we are the only ones that live with the consequences of our decisions?  I've heard too many stories in the last two weeks to believe that. 

So, I have to remain diligent in decision making.

The small things count. 

The big things count. 

Everything counts.

"We win or lose by what we choose."

Action step: People who make good decisions seem to be more thankful.  Watch people who consistently make bad decisions.  I see blame, ungratefulness, even bitterness. 
Ask God for guidance in all decisions, then choose as He directs.  No decision is too small to bring before Him.  Elizabeth George says to divide index cards into squares and write down decisions so that they are handy for prayer. 
My thankfulness seems to multiply when I sense His guidance in my life.  That's a blessing worth sharing!

It's What's For Dinner...

Looking for something warm, filling, and loaded with flavor?  Cook yourself some chicken breasts, shred them, add Santa Fe Philly Cooking Creme, and throw in a little taco blend shredded cheese.  Spoon mix into tortilla shells, wrap, and line in baking pan.  Toss a little more cheese on top...for good measure..or extra calories.  Bake for a few minutes, then garnish with sauteed green onion and tomato.  Serve with spanish rice and refried beans for a meal you're sure to love!  :-)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 6...Prepare to Reroute

As I figured, my plan for 13 consecutive, daily posts was derailed within a week. Between my schedule and blogger not cooperating too well, I've been tempted to call it quits. But since that attitude is not one that I want my children or my students to exhibit, I'll adapt and continue. :-)

My situation reminds me of times that I use navigation to find my way through unfamiliar territory. On many trips I make at least one wrong turn, and my navigation flashes a notification that reads "Rerouting." It immediately maps a plan to get me to my destination from the road that I unintentionally traveled. How I wish I had this handy tool the day of my brother's wedding...when my sister and I found ourselves driving in circles through Illinois cornfields, just praying we would make it back to the church in time for the ceremony!

But how much more frustrating is it when life becomes unpredictable? For most of us, a whole lot. Women typically like stability. Stability provides us with security, and makes us feel somewhat in control. But what happens when all of the sudden we come upon a detour, or we make a wrong turn? Do we give up? Do we lose our ambition to try? Or do we simply pray for patience and reroute?

One of my best friends, my coworker, my "big sister", Marea, found herself in such a situation just this week. She awoke Thursday morning with lots of plans for the weekend. It was to be a busy, busy weekend for our school. By lunchtime she had received the shocking news that her mom was diagnosed with cancer, and by dinnertime, she was on a plane to NY.
As I thought about how my weekend was impacted because of her circumstances, I could hardly fathom the adjustments she made within those few hours, in addition to the overwhelming range of emotions she was and is facing.

Life is unpredictable. We cannot gauge with any amount of certainty what will happen a week, a day, or even an hour from now. How do we deal with that?

Planning is a Biblical concept, but so is accepting that our plan isn't always God's plan. That's difficult for me to swallow, but I know that it's true.

Flexibility is a character trait that I want to further develop. Why? Because our level of contentment is significantly affected by our ability to be flexible. Have you ever seen a baby or a young child who is used to rigid routines? What happens when a little detour arises? They become the most discontented little people on the planet! They tend to make everyone around them miserable, as well.
A woman who has learned to be flexible has learned one of the secrets to a contented heart.
I want to be that woman.

Action Step: If my day or my week were to be completely interrupted because of the needs of another, how would I react? Would I graciously sacrifice my schedule, my plans, my agenda? Or would I recoil in anger and frustration? What can I let go of in order to become more flexible? How can I prioritize to allow margin?  Chewing on this...

"Do not get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time."
Galatians 6:9

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Read Coming Soon!

Although I use several websites for coupon matchups, deals, and printables, Money Saving Mom is my #1 go to resource.  Crystal Paine offers a perfect blend of ideas, advice, and encouragement for busy homemakers, moms, and women in general. 
I am so exited that she has published a book full wisdom from her years of experience with budgeting, couponing, parenting, and marriage!
It's even garnered the endorsement of Dave Ramsey...and that's sayin' something!

To pre-order Crystal's book, head on over to Amazon.  They'll take it from there!

***As a side note, please pray for my friend and co-worker, Marea.  She received some troubling news regarding the health of her mother, and she is getting ready to hop a plane to New York to be with her family later this afternoon.  I know she would appreciate the prayer support as you think about it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 5...Let It Go.

This picture makes me laugh.  Just the pure innocence
of two little sisters playing dress up. 
Who can believe we are just a week out from Thanksgiving? My goodness, time is moving along! It happens to be one of those weeks where a quiet moment is a rare find.  This weekend our school will be holding a fundraiser, and somehow it has gone from 'manageable' to 'huge'.  We are cooking and selling bbq ck dinners at two locations, having a baked goods sale both places, and having an indoor "garage" sale at one of them.  I'm not sure about the wisdom of doing all of that 5 days before Thanksgiving, but hopefully the Lord will bless our efforts.  He always does.  :-)

Let It Go.  Those words seem to imply that we're hanging on to something heavy, and that might be the case, but more often than not, it's the little things that accumulate and weigh us down.   Things like piles, about which my friend Char so effectively blogged a few days ago. 

My house is full of piles right now.  They are everywhere, and at this point I have zero margin to work on them.  Some days it eats at me, other days I'm too tired to care.  We are in maintenance mode right now, with not much hope for progress anytime soon. 

So what is the best response?  Typically, I stresss about it.  I freak out that someone might stop by unexpectedly and see the mess and judge me because of it.  Tonight, after reading Char's post, I looked at the piles and said, "Thank you, God, for Your blessings.  Even if they are in piles right now!"  And I'm hoping I can have the same mindset when I leave them to go to work in the morning.  There will be another day for sorting, filing, trashing, and stacking.  In the meantime, I've got to let it go. 

Does it mean I have to turn into an irresponsible slob?  No, but it does mean that I can relax and not allow myself to be controlled by my present circumstances.  I can't allow what I can't change to drain my energy and my joy.  I'll get to it...eventually.  And probably before Thanksgiving. 

Action Step: Maybe your frustration isn't clutter.  Maybe it's smaller.  Or maybe it's much bigger.  If you can, for a few days, let it go.  Savor the season.  Go digging in your dresser for a scarf, some sunglasses, slippers, and an umbrella.  Then go dancing in the living room.  Or not.  Whatever you do, lighten up and let it go. 

Psalm 30:11 "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth, and clothed me with gladness."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day Four...Be On Guard

Each weekday morning, I reach for my phone and work through the ritual:
  • Check texts, email, tweets, and weather
  • If I have time, see what's new at Drudge and Fox News
  • Read the verse of the day from Daily Bible (not meant to be sole source of spiritual nourishment, but helps kick start the day).
By the time I'm finished, I'm typically alert enough to get out of bed without landing on my nose.  If you're not a morning person, maybe you can sympathize!  They say most people are in  their deep sleep stage around 3-5 a.m.  I'm convinced that mine occurs around 7.  Anyway, that's my excuse and I don't have another that sounds as good, so that will have to do for now.  :-)

Although it may sound simple, the verse of the day usually has great significance for my circumstances or situation that I face that day, and I'm thankful that God cares enough to use just a few words to give me courage, comfort, or contentment.

I wanted to use this morning's verse as a springboard for Day 4 of Thirteen Days to Thankful.  It is found in Luke 12:15 where Jesus says, "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."  I love reading the words that came right from the mouth of Jesus.  Although the whole Bible is inspired by God, there is something special to me about the instructions that God's Son gave to common people during His short years on earth. 

Every single day my mailbox and newspapers are loaded with temptation.  Especially during this 6-8 week period preceding Christmas.  Can you believe how much these department stores spend on mailers and ads?  In Sunday's paper, one of the local jewelers had published what was practically a book featuring their products.  Although I know their profits are huge this time of year, I could hardly believe that they could justify something like that!  And it's not just my mailbox and newspaper that have me tempted.  When I blog hop, I see beautiful homes, well-dressed kids, attractive wardrobes, and other 'things' would try to trap me in the sin of covetousness.

Jesus knew human nature would be lured by the desire for things that others have, and he specifically warns us to be on guard against it.  He challenges us to work toward the things that really count, and to invest in eternal riches, rather than material possessions that will ultimately pass away. 

We tend to think that children are the ones who have the most difficulty with covetousness, but how many times is our own attitude mirrored in theirs?  It's overwhelming to think about our responsibility as examples.

"You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled."
 --Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Action Step:  Read Luke 12 and ask God to weed out all traces of covetousness in your life.  Then dig to find the real reasons for your covetous spirit.  Are you discontented?  Do you live to impress?  Are there misplaced priorities in your life?  There are many reasons why we would be tempted to this sin, but when we seek to pinpoint our personal motivation, we become better armed for resistance.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day Three...Listen To Your Heart.

As I type these words from the comfort of my mommy chair (otherwise known as a glider rocker), I am taking in all of the goodness that God has poured out on me.  At one end of the living room, the fireplace is blazing with orange light as the wood crackles beneath the intense heat.   Little Alli runs back and forth from one thing to the next, hardly satisfied to sit quietly, as Katie (all decked out in her cozy pjs) sits on the couch enjoying a bowl of ice cream.  Ryan has decided that ice cream sounds good to him, so he joins Kate on the couch, while Evan has the loveseat to himself as he multitasks his ice cream and his DS.  The love of my life has decided to stretch out on the floor.  Sometimes that is the only place his 6'8" frame can genuinely get comfortable. 

My head tells me to get up and do something.  To try to strike one more task off of a mom's unending list.  Not to waste time lingering.  Morning is coming.  There are uniforms to be ironed.  There are lunches to be packed.  There is laundry to fold.
But my heart tells me otherwise.  It says that I am about 385 days shy of having a teenager in my house, and even less than that from sending my baby to kindergarten. 

This moment matters.

My heart says to listen carefully to the sounds about me and record them in my memory, for certainly I will never again hear them in the same way.  It urges me to gaze upon every scene as if I will never see it again, because the images will never appear just as they do tonight..

And as the children are tucked into bed, and the blazing flames turn to nothing more than an amber glow, my heart is at peace because I listened.

A thankful heart is one that sees great value in what it already has and does its best never to take those things for granted.

Action step: Take a look at what is going on around you this moment and pick out something that you always want to remember. Focus on it. Memorize it. Cherish it. And, if you wish, share it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day Two...Laugh Often

Today we celebrated three birthdays!  My baby and my brother share a November 13th birthday, and my oldest was born on November 19th, and will officially grow older this Saturday. was a busy afternoon with lots of drama.  Birthdays are so much fun!  Now the day is winding down, and it's time to continue with 13 Days to Thankful.

When we become too busy or overwhelmed, one of the first things we lose is our ability to see see the humor in daily life.  We tend to view everything through the cloudy lens of our frustration and stress.  I find myself in this cycle now and then, and I have to step back, breathe, and lighten up! 

A few weeks ago, Greg and I had an impromptu date.  My dad was babysitting while we met with our accountant for a few minutes, and although we were gone for an hour or so, it obviously wasn't long enough for the kids.  When we stopped back to pick them up, they had locked the door and hidden themselves in various places around the house.  Like most parents, we didn't mind the extra few minutes to ourselves, and decided to pick up some dinner at Skyline.
Greg quickly determined that it was one of those 'Stephanie needs to chill' evenings, and used his sarcastic sense of humor to my advantage.  I don't know how long it had been since I laughed that hard!  Within a couple of hours, I felt like a different person simply because of a free, God-given, therapeutic technique...laughter.

Kaitlynn, our blondie

Our sweet little blonde gives us at least a laugh a day. Today she came flying in the room (in typical fashion), and said, "Did God have a wife?" Her question caught me off guard, and before I could give her an answer she said, "Well, did He have a son?" Knowing that she knew that answer, I started to remind her, but again she cut me off. "If He didn't have a wife, how did He have a son?" She finished off with, "Now that's a good question, isn't it!" Somehow I don't find myself getting into the technicalities of all of that with her right now. Greg (typical guy) muttered something about God working through Mary, and she said, "Oh, yeah..." and was off to her next busy moment.
God gave her to me to keep me laughing.  I'm so thankful for the gift of truly is the best medicine!

Action Step: When was the last time you really laughed?  Has it been too long?  Let yourself relax!  Put a smile on your face...that'll get you halfway there!  Then put on a Depends or whatever you might need in case your laughter gets you more than you bargain for.

***Job 8:21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day One...Value Friendship

"Friends are some of life's greatest blessings."

The idea for 13 Days to Thankful came to me several weeks ago, and I came close to discarding it because I felt like I was too busy to commit to two weeks of daily posts.  But I decided that it was a worthy journey for my own mind and spirit, so here I am on Day #1, and of course, it's almost midnight.

Today was different than any I have had in a long time, thanks to three amazing girlfriends.  If you were to ask why they are so special, I could give you a million reasons!  Each of them exemplifies many of the traits of the Proverbs 31 woman, and I just consider myself a blessed person to be able to spend five minutes (let alone a whole day) enjoying their company!  Thanks Wendy, Marea, & Stephanie.  I enjoyed laughing myself sick with you in the Black Swamp!  LOL!

Friends are an important part of life.  Although not everyone is an extroverted sanguine, everyone needs a friend...and really, everyone needs several friends.  Healthy relationships are a crucial part of a healthy life.  More than that, friendship is a Biblical theme, and you can probably think of several key friendships from the Scriptures that are set as examples for us. 

Many people have what is often called a 'best friend', a trusted person with whom they can be transparent.  My husband fills that role in my life, and I'm so thankful that God gave me someone who knows when to listen and when to speak, loves to make me laugh, and holds me when I cry.  He's my best friend.  

But we need more than just a best friend, we need an army of friends.

And let's face it.  Friendships take time, they take energy, and they take maintenance.  But they are so worth the investment!  Let me give you three reasons:
  • Friendship provides mutual accountability. 
When we mutually make ourselves vulnerable by sharing our time and our hearts, we begin to understand what makes people tick.  We learn their strengths and weaknesses, their gifts and abilities, their dreams and goals, and yes, their areas of struggle and even failure.  And if the friendship is healthy, we begin to have mutual expectations that require a constant betterment.  We want the best for each other, even when the best isn't the easiest or the most fun.  We help one another avoid bad decisions, and celebrate successes and accomplishments.
A couple of months ago at a Women of Worth meeting, I became rather transparent about an issue in my life that I am struggling to change.  At that point, I was tired, frustrated, and feeling like a complete failure.  Although my struggle wasn't a sin, it was an area of personal discipline that I really needed to implement.  As I shared as only a tired, emotional woman could, I felt the arms of my women's group surround my heart and lift me up.  I knew they would be praying for me, and that they were more than ready to help shoulder my burden.  What a blessing it was just to know they cared, not to mention the accountability they were willing to give!
On a recent evening, I spent a large block of time helping a friend work through some emotional issues.  Before we parted ways, we agreed to some steps to promote healing.  Moving forward, our friendship will offer accountablity and help to be an agent for change in her life.
  • Friendship provides mutual support.
How many times have you shared with a friend in need and then watched them give of themselves for you when the time came?  When we bought our first home, it was in pathetic shape. Guess who came to help us take care of some of the issues that were a little beyond our expertise?  Our friends.  And 9 years later, we haven't forgotten.  When we had our first baby and I had an extended recovery because of an unexpected emergency c-section, guess who brought us meals, gifts, and kind words?  Family...and yes, our friends.  12 years later, it is still fresh on our minds.
Friendship isn't a selfish venture, but it's such a blessing to see how God uses this tool to take care of His people!  Whether it is taking a meal to a family who has experienced illness, offering to watch children so a couple can take a much-needed date, or extending a hug and a prayer with one who just needs to feel us near, friends play such a supportive role.
  • Friendship provides mutual encouragement.
When we can do nothing else for someone, we can be a friend.  Sometimes it isn't possible to solve another's dilemma, heal their sickness, or change their circumstances, but really, that's not our job anyway.   We are called to be a friend.  To be an encourager. 
I often think of my cousin and friend, Heather.  She is a missionary wife and mom of 5 beautiful children, living in Argentina.  I love to follow her blog and read the responses of her friends because I know that on many days those comments are fuel to her soul.  They provide her so much encouragement for this journey that she and her husband are traveling!  How different would her days be without her friends?  And it's mutual because we've all been encouraged by Heather's contagious smile and her words of cheer. 
Encouragement is something that each of us can give.  It is free, it is readily available if we ask God for opportunities, and it can never be too lavishly applied. 

Action Step:  Analyze your closest friendships and be sure that they are healthy.  Friendships should not suck the life out of you.  Mutual giving and mutual receiving are two important factors of healthy friendships.  As Christians, we should be investing in people who have absolutely nothing to offer us,  but we should have a solid group of friendships outside of these relationships.
If you haven't opened yourself up to friendships, let me encourage you not to deny yourself and others of this precious gift that God has made available.  God has given us the simple instructions:  "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly...", and as we make ourselves available with a spirit of friendliness, there will be no shortage on people who line up to take us up on our offer.

I'm so thankful for the host of friends that God has given us.  Although we typically reserve Saturday for family, I am amazed to know that we could spend several years worth of Saturdays with different genuine friends...and never run out!  Wow!  God is good! 

Tomorrow will be busy, but I'll try to be back to continue the countdown! If you're not sure what that's about, click here.  And don't forget about the gift card!  :-)

Have a blessed Lord's Day!

image credit

Friday, November 11, 2011

13 Days to Thankful...

Autumn is my favorite season, but there's always been a little bit of tension about which holiday lands at the top of my list.  Easter and Christmas are both blessed and amazing days, mostly because of the depth of spiritual significance, but in my mind I find myself very much looking forward to and savoring the days surrounding Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving seems to embody so many of the components that make my life happy and complete. 

I typically approach the days of Thanksgiving with really good intentions: a few extra minutes each day expressing thanks to my Heavenly Father, warm conversations with friends about the blessings of life, cooking and baking to fill my family's hearts with comfort, and showing genuine appreciation to my man and my children for all that they mean to my life.

But, if I'm not careful, my intentions are quickly derailed by the all of the distractions that life can provide.  Not only has Fall become one of the busiest times of the year, Thanksgiving has literally being hijacked by the commercialization of Christmas.

Back in October, Kaitlynn and I went to the mall for some shopping.  While we were in the car, Kaitlynn began to talk about Christmas and how much she loved the mall at Christmastime.  A few minutes later, she was stunned to see that the mall had already decked its halls.  She looked at me with the most astonished face and said, "Mom, did we miss the school Thanksgiving dinner?"  I laughed, understanding her momentary confusion, and explained to her a little about marketing gimmicks and how they increase sales.  She was relieved to know that one of her favorite events was still to come, and went about enjoying the tinsel and lights.

Later on, I replayed that conversation in my mind and it connected.

Many times I become so focused on the future that I completely miss the moment!

I don't know about you, but I don't want to "wake up" in December and realize that I missed Thanksgiving.   So, beginning Saturday the 12th, I'm going to embark on a short journey I'm calling

"13 Days to Thankful"

I hope you'll participate...everyone who does will be entered into a drawing for a $10 WalMart card!  And who couldn't use one of those?  :-)

See you then!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another Duggar...Thoughts?

Whether or not you care, you probably are aware that the Duggars are set to welcome number 20.  I say they are "set" because after like #8 or #9 I seriously wonder if anyone even notices that there is another body in the house!  :-) 

I am kept so busy with our current family size, that I'm not sure how to even process what a day at the Duggar house would look like.  But they seem to be doing a really good job raising a house full of charactered kids, and that is commendable.

What amazes me is the amount of anger the Duggar's decision is generating among a segment of the population.  Of course, those whose primary concern is "Mother Earth" are all in a wad, and then there are those who can't find it within themselves to believe that a large family can be raised without government assistance and are ticked off - I'm not getting that one, since the Duggars are not depending on our tax dollars.  Then there are a few who think Michelle is killing her own body by going through this process so many times. 

What I'm not hearing as much is that Baby Josie had to be delivered tremendously early (3-1/2 mos.) because of Michelle's health.  Now, Michelle could go on to have healthy prenancies and babies from here on out, but is it responsible to place such a risk upon a developing, pre-born baby?  I can't imagine the stress Little Josie's body went through for all of those months that she was struggling to survive and develop outside of her mother's body. 

So, not that it is any of my business whatsover, but I guess I do have an opinion.  :-)

Hope your Thursday is wonderful!