Baileys Adventures

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…-Proverbs 17:22

April 24, 2011

Filed under: Faith — andreabaileys @ 1:00 am
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and
whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  
(John 11:25-26, NIV)

Happy Easter!

And just for the sheer cuteness….

(photo from an email, so no credit available.  Sorry.)
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There But For the Grace of God March 14, 2011

Filed under: Faith,Family Stuff,What's On My Mind — andreabaileys @ 8:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

When I was a kid, my mother taught me a very important sentence:

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

She would remind me of this when we saw someone less fortunate, or someone who was homeless, when someone’s family died or someone divorced.  She would use others’ misfortune or bad decisions to quietly remind me that we were all just a small distance removed from such things and could be in the same situation in a blink. Except for the mercy of God allowing us to be okay.

My parents taught us that we were not better than someone else, no matter what.  We may have had better circumstances than some, but we also had worse circumstances than others.  We may have had food to eat and clothes to wear, but we didn’t have excess.  We were and are well-educated, but that doesn’t make us better than someone who is ignorant or uneducated (ignorant as in not knowledgeable , not ig’nrnt as in being an idiot.  There’s a difference in the South).  Our choices may have worked out for the best — we were not to consider ourselves superior to those whose choices had led to disaster.  We were safe through God’s grace, not because we were better.

In addition, because we were able, we should help those who were not.  Many times I saw my parents help family members who were having financial troubles, even if they couldn’t really afford to do so.  Many times I heard the phone calls or conversations putting in a good word for someone who needed a job. Family members were rescued from abusive situations and troubled lives.  A homeless man was paid for painting our house (painting it badly, I might add).  The children of friends were bailed out when they were too scared to call their parents, and other friends were picked up when they needed a ride (or bail money).  My parents are generous to a fault.  No one has ever left my parents’ house hungry unless it’s their own fault, and if you don’t go home with a bag of food it’s because you were too quick for my mom.  If you were moving, they were helping. No Girl Scout ever went away without a cookie order, and we had lots of wrapping paper and frozen cookie dough from every kid with a fundraiser who crossed my parents’ paths.

I can never remember my parents ever judging someone because they had been in prison, or because they were poor.  They never judged someone because they were unemployed, or because they had made bad decisions.  There, but for the grace of God…went us.

Recently Mama and I have seen a trend in some friends.  They seem….classist.  Elitist.  And definitely biased against anyone who is not wealthy, upstanding, and blameless.  We’ve been noticing people who judge others for their choices or the choices of their family members.  People who just can’t imagine how So-and-So could possibly show their faces in public. Who can’t move past someone’s felonious history to mourn their passing.  We all know these people, don’t we?  The people who judge others because of foreclosure or hard times.  The people who can’t look past someone’s criminal history and take a chance on someone who needs a second chance.

I have to admit that it’s becoming hard for me not to judge those who judge others.  I hate that I am feeling that way — but I do.  I cannot wrap my head around that level of “I am better than you”-ness.  It disturbs me to my core when people like this have children they are raising to judge, even if it’s subconscious.  Children who don’t know how to donate their unwanted clothes and toys to Goodwill, who don’t know how to put a few coins in the envelope of the schoolchild collecting for a literacy project.  Children who will think that people whose parents are less than upstanding are to be judged for the sins of their fathers, and vice versa.  Or children who think that their “good works” or actions will garner them favor with God.  When in reality they need to teach their children a simple rule of thumb to dictate how they interact with all people, always:

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

 

Wednesday Prayer Requests March 9, 2011

Filed under: Faith,Prayer Requests — andreabaileys @ 10:00 am
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Happy Hump Day!  And while I’m at it, Happy Ash Wednesday.  If you’re giving something up, make sure it’s something you actually like.  Unlike the year when i gave up potato chips….which I rarely ate anyway.  Easy Lent, I can tell you that! I’m thinking of Lent this year as a chance to start new habits, and give up old ones.  I have two really bad habitsI’m giving up but don’t want to go into detail.  But I’m determined!  And I have a few habits I”m hoping to pick up, particularly spiritual habits and personal attitudes.  We’ll see how 40 days goes!

I’m publishing this post a bit earlier than usual today because of some time sensitive things that are going on.  Please be in prayer, if you will.

My sister-in-law is having surgery today.  It’s a big surgery – actually a double surgery.  She’s having a hernia removed and then some girlie surgery.  On my blog I call her Anchor Girl — say it like a super hero!  She has super powers, of course, but also great faith in the Lord.  Please lift her up today around 11:30 and for the next few weeks as she heals.  We’re praying the surgeries are a success and she can be pain-free soon.

One of my students is very ill.  This is a constant struggle for her, as her immune system is pretty weak thanks to Lyme.

The grandson of one of our church family is very, very ill with pneumonia and sepsis.  Please pray he can come off the ventilator and that his kidney function will return to normal, as well as strength for his mother and his wife.

Brian has had several interviews in the past two weeks.  We are praying for good results all around, and for patience.

My brother, creatively blog-called Little Bro, had an interview with a fabulous new school on Monday.  I really pray he gets this job — I think it would be an amazing opportunity for him.  Also, he and Sweet Lizzy became an aunt and uncle again this weekend.  In addition to two cute nieces, they now have a nephew!  Yay all around!

My Mama is still peaked. She’s pretty tired of being sick, so prayers are appreciated.

Brian has something big to deal with today.  It’s kind of a confidential issue (not for us, but for the others involved) but it’s certain to be a giant hassle and make him really angry before the day is over.  He hates injustice and certainly wants no part of this mess.

I need Wednesday to be less crazy-making than Tuesday.  Just saying.

 

Finding Our Path February 1, 2011

If I’m honest with myself, this is a post I’ve actually been looking forward to writing for some time. Have you ever felt a certain way but tried to convince yourself you felt something different because you thought you were supposed to?  I guess it’s lying to yourself, isn’t it?  I’ve been doing that.

At this point, we’ve been “trying” for three years, including two and a half years on some form of medication and treatment.  With 13 rounds of clomid and two cycles of injectible drugs to prepare for artificial insemination, it’s been a long road of trying to find the right combination of things to achieve pregnancy.  Obviously, we haven’t found it.  Now, I’m waiting on these stupid cysts to resolve so we can begin our third IUI cycle, a gracious gift from my parents.

Friday I went to the doctor to find out if my cysts were gone (they’re not) and to see if we were good candidates for a third cycle (we are).  Something strange happened there.  As he gave me bad but improving news about my cysts and good news about our chances for success, I realized that I was….disappointed.  Not that my cysts weren’t resolved, because I could have told you that already.  No, I was disappointed because he didn’t give me an out, and excuse, a reason not to go on with Round 3.  I realized that I had been pinning my hopes on the possibility that these cysts were a sign that I’m not cut out for gonadotropins.  I realized that I had been hoping that our success rate would be so low that it would be silly to go on.  I wanted to be able to say “We can’t do a third IUI.”  Because I didn’t want to do it.  I don’t want to do it.

That’s hard for me to admit.  It’s not hard for me to accept that I don’t want to — it’s hard for me to admit that to other people.  I’m supposed to push on, to persevere.  I’m supposed to stop at nothing to have my baby with Baileys eyes, good Hill teeth, and a brilliant little brain.  I’m supposed to strive toward a baby with my mama’s nose and Brian’s sisters’ figure.  A child who can sing but understands the writings of Hawking like his daddy.  I’m supposed to do it all for my possible child.  But at what cost?

Infertility has nearly destroyed us emotionally.  It’s tested our marriage, and it’s obliterated our finances.  When you add the other things that are going on in our lives, it’s nearly tipped the already precarious balance to a very scary place.  Some days I’m not even sure who I am anymore except in relation to infertility.  I’m learning to live with a load of guilt that I don’t anticipate will ever go away.  I’m learning to accept failure at something so basic it’s literally instinct.  As it stands right now, we can’t afford the scary stuff — a spate of bed rest would mean lost income that we can’t cover anymore because we spent all our savings.  A baby in the NICU could mean bills we would have no way to pay.  Physically, I’ve allowed PCOS — a disease, mind you — to have free reign in my body for three years.  I’ve gained an inordinate amount of weight from that, and on top of it I’ve added many cycles of what are basically steroids.  My health is great, but my body is a wreck.  At this point, I have to ask myself if being pregnant would be the best idea.    That’s a big question.

This isn’t a new thing.  Every few months we’ve made it a point to touch base and see if we felt that we were following God’s will and if we should continue. Obviously, if it was God’s will for this to work, I’d be pregnant, right?  Every time we’ve tried a new treatment or a new method, God has thrown up a road block.  Some we’ve told you about, some we have not.  Some have been minor — here’s six cysts for you! — but some have been major things.  Each time we’ve been able to see a road block pop up, either derailing us or sending us in a new direction.  Unfortunately we’ve usually seen it in hindsight.  This time we just had the foresight to stop and consult God before we jumped into IUI #3.   I talk a lot to Brian about the still, small voice.  This time, the answer was loud, and it was clear.  The relief we felt upon truly hearing Him can only be described as the peace that passes understanding.

10% of all couples who are of child-bearing age experience infertility.  Two thirds will go on to have biological children.  We are not in that group. At this point, we have made a very important decision and want to let our friends and families who have been involved in this process know where we are headed from here.  At this time, we will not be pursuing any further fertility treatments in hopes of pregnancy. While we will probably return to treatment in the future, it is not the path we are going to continue down in hopes of our first child.  We definitely want more than one child, and know that they will not all come to us in the same manner.  We are feeling very definitely led in this direction, and are making this decision after much prayer and discussion.

Instead, we will be taking a few months off to process and heal, and to generally give ourselves a break.  At this point our plan is to then pursue adoption through foster care.  We would ask that you continue to lift our family up through this process as you have through our infertility.  While it’s exciting, we know that it will also bring with it hard work and possible heartache, and a whole other set of circumstances.  I personally can’t wait.  I feel like I am walking the path the Lord has laid out for the first time in months.

After we decided this, I sat down to write a little note to our families and friends who had supported us.  As I told them, we want to take the time to thank you for supporting and praying for us for the past three years as we have tried to start our family.  This whole process would have been so much harder if we hadn’t had the support of so many of our friends and family, without the constant encouragement and interest.  This definitely includes my bloggity friends who have been just as instrumental in my survival.  I know that at times people haven’t known what to say, or haven’t understood what we were going through, but the fact that you were there has been more important than you will ever know.

As we move forward, first taking care of ourselves and then trying to find a small person to take care of, we’ll need you.  I’ll still need to vent, to think “out loud”, we’ll still need prayer.  This decision will never take away my passion for infertility and breaking the silence that surrounds it.  Infertility, baby loss, barrenness, childlessness — all these things still weigh heavy on my heart and I will never stop listening, posting, advocating, and praying.  Share your stories with me or ask for prayer.  Let’s just add a new facet….let’s learn about foster care adoption, y’all.

And from the very bottom of my heart — thank you and God bless every single one of you.

 

Tiny Glimmer of Hope October 5, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Infertility,TTC — andreabaileys @ 9:00 am
Tags: , , ,

I’ve told several people in the past week that I fully expect our upcoming gonadotropin and IUI cycle to fail.  There’s absolutely no medical reason for me to think we’ll fail.  99% of women respond to gonadotropins, according to my doctors, and they tell us that IUI raises our chances of conception about 10% above the old fashioned way.  So the likelihood that it will work is pretty high.

But if I let myself believe that it might work then my heart will be broken if it doesn’t….again.  And if I let that happen, then I have to let myself look at all the reasons why.  And if I let myself look at all the reasons why….well, I just can’t even bear that again.  So it’s easier to tell myself that it won’t work, so that when it doesn’t I can say “see I told you so”.

But when Cycle Day 1 arrived on Sunday, quietly and with no more than a whimper….something happened.  A teeny, tiny little green shoot of hope appeared.  As I sat in church on Sunday and prayed for a baby, I had a tiny little belief in my heart that God might just grant my request.  There’s a chance it’ll work.  Maybe I’ll get to be someone’s mama by next year.

I can let myself hope, just a tiny little bit.  It’s scary, but it feels okay.  New cycles are like spring — little green buds that are in danger of frost.  So easily destroyed, but just as easily successful.  I haven’t felt any hope in this process in about six months, so it’s a nice thing to feel now.  If this works, it will be all God.  Via modern medicine and doctors, yes, but the will of God nonetheless.  I’m just trusting Him to know best.

 

Settling Back In July 27, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Family Stuff — andreabaileys @ 10:19 pm
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We’re home from West Virginia, and trying to find our routine again.  It seems strange to have simply skipped a week of our lives, of our work, of time in our regular routine.  It’ll be a week before I actually know the date again, much less have a clue what day it is.

I honestly don’t know how to post about our trip to West Virginia.  I feel that I need to, though, in light of the fact that my last post was about the accident. How do I adequately eulogize three people suddenly gone from this Earth? How do I adequately explain all the horrible feelings that come with knowing part of our family have been touched by tragedy?  The best way I’ve had to sum up our week is this:

We have seen things, heard about things, and had to think about thinks so horrific that no one should ever have to think, hear, or see them.  And we’ll never, ever get these horrors out of our heads.

That pretty much explains it.  One young woman and her two young children were killed suddenly in a very violent accident, brought on by wrong choices and a lack of attention to detail.  Four bald tires and rain certainly didn’t help.  There are so many different facets to this horrible situation that are simply not mine to air online, and that won’t help anyway.

We spent the week gathering near to our family, hugging people a little tighter and being a little scared every time someone rode off in a car for the hour-long trip to town. Different parts of the family made arrangements, organized clothing and services, took care of retrieving personal items from a car so terrifyingly mangled that it is stored under a tarp to keep the innocent from seeing it, and worried what to do about people looting the personal items from the apartment of a dead woman.  We gathered for five hours to receive the many visitors who rallied around our family.  Somewhere around 200 people gathered for a triple funeral so sad it is beyond words.  We trekked to the country to the final resting place for their bodies, high on a beautiful hill just down the road from the site of the accident.  We thanked God for the infallible innocence of children, and for the salvation received years ago by their mother.  Knowing that we will see them again made it easier to commit their bodies to the earth.  Knowing that it will be a long, long time made it bittersweet.

Carrie was a beloved daughter and niece.  She was like third daughter to my in-laws, and her own daughters were loved deeply by everyone who knew them.  They were their grandmother’s life, and their daddy’s joy. The three of them are gone too soon, and girls’ father will never be the same.  Through the amazing gift of organ donation, we can only hope that Carrie, Haley, and Addison will live on and were able to save lives even in their own passing.  As the story was picked up by the Associated Press, hopefully people will understand the importance of having good tires on a car.  If one person is saved through that, a tiny ray of hope shines through.

Thank you for all the comments, calls, emails, texts, cards, sweet things mailed across the country, and most of all through your prayers and good thoughts.  We literally couldn’t have made it through the week without you. And thank you for understanding that none of us are “over it” and we don’t expect to be anytime soon.  I fully expect to see glimpses of Haley and Addy in our own children, since the Baileys genes are just as strong as the Hill ones. I know I’ll never drive in the rain without thinking about them, and I’ll be more mindful of my speed and car maintenance.   We will remember seeing tiny girls share a casket, we will remember a daddy who tried to resuscitate his sweet daughter in vain.  We will remember a cousin who had such a good time the last time we were all together, and seemed to always be smiling.  We aren’t “over it”, we haven’t moved on.  We may cry.  But now we have three more people to look forward to seeing in Heaven, and that eases the pain just a little.  Thank you all for showing us so much love.

 

Beware of Idols, No Matter the Source June 29, 2010

Filed under: Faith — andreabaileys @ 9:00 am

I’m not 100% sure where this post is going to lead me, or what the response will be.  We all know the internet is just chock-full of snark, right?  And that women can be (some would say by nature) catty and backbiting.  There is a scandal a minute in the blogging community, and sometimes it seems that “mommy bloggers” have way too much free time.  I don’t have kids, but I care for five children day in and day out, and if I can find five minutes to rub together it’s a miracle.   But I have become aware of a situation that I feel moved to comment on, though with very few identifying details. It’s put a lot on my mind and on my heart, and I’m thinking a lot about idols and how they can sneak into our lives without us noticing.

I read a lot of blogs.  Before you think I’m planted in front of the computer 22 hours a day, I have a blog reader on my phone, and I read quite fast.  So there.  Typically when I find a blog that I think I’m going to like (and I’m nearly always looking for suggestions!), I go to the very beginning and read through the archives.  It is time consuming, but think of it like reading a novel.  I’m not reading the latest James Mich.ner, I’m reading someone’s entertaining posts.  No different, really.

Over a year ago, I clicked onto a blog that I just fell in love with.  Several of my friends also read this blog.  If you’re reading here and want details/addresses/whatnot, please email me and I’ll send those out.  I’m not looking for a slander suit, so I’ll be keeping it strictly no-name around here today.  The mommy blogger was witty, crunchy-granola, Christian, and fun.  She had cute kids, and one was in crisis.  I am actually embarrassed now when I realize just how awesome I thought she was.  I read through the archives, I followed her posts daily, I prayed for her children and family in tears.  I was a bit put off by the idea that when her child was supposed to be in serious danger she was Tweeting and blogging, including pictures.  But I chalked it up to me being more private than some people (sure I am) and was thankful that she allowed us to support her family through prayer.  I was amazed at the stories of people sending gift cards, money, iPhones, and many, many other gifts.  I included the family in my prayer requests here on my blog, and encouraged you all to go and love on them as well.  I don’t regret the prayers one bit.  Let me make that perfectly clear.

Over the course of the year that I’ve been reading that blog, little red flags began to pop up.  Stories that didn’t quite make sense, or details that seemed incongruent from one story to the next.  The attitude of entitlement and perceived preferential treatment from God, and the obvious pandering designed to bring clicks.  See, when you click on a blog that has ads, the blogger gets money.  I’m not saying this is a bad thing — I used to have ads on my blog and I may again in the near future.  It will never pay my mortgage, but people should get paid for their time and intellectual property. So my beef is not with the ads.  But engineering your blog to increase the number of clicks and beginning to plant Google ad words and search terms is a bit….distasteful.  Apparently there’s an art (that I obviously don’t grasp) to putting particular words in your blog to bump it up in Google searches.  The more times you can include that term in your post, the higher on Google your blog will be, I think.  I’m not 100% sure how all that works.  But I started noticing a lot of product placement word-wise, a lot of sketchy terms that could bring clicks looking for less-than-admirable things, and a lot of other tactics to garner clicks.  Like promising an update but not posting it, while posting yet another teaser.  It’s like when the evening news tells you what’s “coming up next!”, but it doesn’t come up next for about 34 minutes.  Annoying, and kind of rude.

In the past week, I stumbled (not literally) over a blog disparaging this woman.  Let me take that back — it’s not disparaging if it’s true.  Apparently I’m not the only person who was starting to be rubbed the wrong way.  Apparently I’m not the only one to notice some things that seemed inappropriate.  I just don’t have the time or Google-skills (like ninja skills, but more useful!) to find the dirt.  But the users of this site certainly do.  And what I read shocked and appalled me.  I checked some things, I went back and re-read things, and I referred to my own BS meter.

And while I was falling swiftly out of love with this mommy this past week or so, she did a bunch of other stuff that literally turned my stomach. Like continually posting pictures of her childr.en uncloth.ed and including search terms that are practically tailor-made for pedophiles.  And then doing it again when people tell you what has happened to other children in the same situation.  Insinuating that God just loves you better, and saved your child because so many people prayed so hard but didn’t save other children for whatever reason.  God does what He will, not what we want. Then some obvious lies started coming out on the blog that points out this mommy’s problems.  And some information about shady business and personal dealings. I have been reading these blogs simultaneously this week to check what the mommy blogger says against what the people who would keep her accountable say.  It’s actually become a strange mixture of very sad and very interesting.

So what’s my point?  Click away, right?  I’ve always felt that if I don’t like what someone blogs about or the manner in which they do it, I should just click away.  No one is paying me to be there, and I shouldn’t be contributing click-money to someone that I don’t agree with.  And as much as I would love to make big money off the drivel I put up on the Internet, I refuse to offer pictures of children that invite pedophiles, and I won’t pander to businesses or people that would allow me to lie and stoop to making things up.  I will not sacrifice my soul for it.  I will not sacrifice my ideals or my principles.  Two verses of Scripture come to mind, and have been offered in regards to this matter by other people:

No one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and Money. (Matthew 6:24)

and

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:10)

I think that about sums it up for me as far as money is concerned.

My point is this:  be very, very careful of the people you idolize.  Be very wary of anyone who seems to have it all together, or says that God loves them more, or has to backtrack and backpedal due to making false claims.  If you wouldn’t be friends with someone in real life because of their decisions and actions, why are you patronizing their blog and helping them to earn more money?  Be careful whom you aspire to be like, and beware of envying someone else’s life.  I know I was guilty.  I would dearly love to have X number of kids running around my house (a big, beautiful house), to make what looks to be tens of thousands of dollars each month off my blog.  I would dearly love to be creative and quirky and funky and so “bold” in my blogging.  I would love to have concrete proof of God’s love and faithfulness in my everyday life in the form of a healed child.  Or any child, for that matter.  But at what cost?

But now you can be certain that I will guard my heart against these idols who walk among us, looking to take our minds and hearts from pure things.  How much time have people spent reading this woman’s blog and feeling bad about their own life or parenting skills?  Time that they could have spent actually playing with their children or talking to their spouse.  I worry about this woman’s children, and how they will feel about their every moment being put up as blog fodder.  Granted, we’ll blog about our children, but we won’t expose them willingly to pedophiles.  And we won’t subject them to contrived and forced situations for blog purposes.  I won’t lie to you and use my cute children as bait so that you’ll click and make me some money.  I only wish this woman would shield her children a little more from the prying eyes and nosy people. And if she’s lying half as much as it looks like she is, and doing it while proclaiming the Lord’s name all over the internet, well…God save her.

If someone looks too good to be true, and purports to be better than you, walk away.  Someday you may actually get a glimpse at the seamy underbelly of their situation, and the sound that idol makes as it falls down is deafening.  And heartbreaking.  Guard your heart, bloggity friends.  I’ll definitely be a little more cautious from now on.

Tell me — have you idolized a blogger only to find out that they may be a big phony?