Tuesday, December 21, 2010
"One of the burdens of a minister’s heart is to bring his people to a place of thinking about the theology of what they are singing, and to sing them with a mind and heart, filled with grace, to the Lord. In 2004, Derek Thomas and Ligon Duncan gave several lectures on various, well-known Christmas hymns, at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MS. These lectures are quite unique, in that they give the cultural, historical and theological backgrounds of both the hymn, hymn writer and composer of the tune to which the lyrics were set. These should be required in seminary for men preparing for the ministry."
Friday, December 17, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The following is an e-mail that was sent out to family and friends by my dear friend, Amy, and her husband. I wanted to share their story (with their permission) because their experience has reaffirmed to me the hope, joy and peace that believers can experience in the midst of tragedy. It has also encouraged me to so steep my daily life in the means of grace - reading Scripture, prayer, communing with other believers, etc. - that when trials come, I'll be upheld by the truths that I already know.
The Dunlap family have conducted themselves with tremendous grace and trust through the loss of their daughter, Kathryn, and while their trust in the Lord has inspired me to an extent far greater than they will ever know, their example does not surprise me. Their pain and suffering are very real, but they maintain hope in the promises of God that "all things work for good" (Rom. 8:28) and they can confidently say of their Lord, "Because you are my help, I can sing in the shadow of your wing" Psalm 63:7.
I know most of you have heard our story from various people by now, but I wanted to fill in some of the details and give you some of my perspective on the whole thing. Let me start by saying that the Lord is good! Though He allows us to go through very hard things, He does it so gently and shows us His grace along the way (thank you, Gail Schoellkopf, for that reminder).
I found out at 15 weeks that we had a twin pregnancy, where one twin developed into a perfectly healthy baby and one developed into a molar pregnancy. This “mole” is essentially a mass of abnormal placental tissue. Molar pregnancies are fairly common, but the chance of a young couple having one with a coexisting twin is literally one in one million. The doctor who did the sonogram (Dr. Rinehart) sent me home and warned me that it could cause major hemorrhage or brought on by . At this point, there was still a chance that the growth of the mole could slow down and preeclampsia could not set in, allowing us to make it to the healthy baby’s viability.
Within the next week, my ankles grew to the size they might have looked had I been 9 months pregnant, so I started monitoring my blood pressure. When it got up to 152/102 last Saturday night, the doctor on call sent me to the emergency room. I drove myself with a toothbrush and a pair of pajamas thinking I would maybe stay one night and everything would be fine. Blood work the next morning revealed that my liver function was abnormal and my body was not keeping up with my blood loss. I saw two doctors on call who both recommended that I terminate the because there was no way I could get better and would continue to get more sick.
Craig and I just could not do this. We valued our baby’s life and could not think of ending it based on the assumption that the mole would keep growing and I would get more sick. We believed the Lord could still perform a miracle and reverse what seemed to be happening. , we finally got to see my doctor (Dr. Ann Lutich). We learned that she was Catholic and very pro-life and valued our baby’s life as much as we did. She sent us for an and sonogram (where we found out that we had a perfectly healthy little girl) and thought we should wait a little longer to see how things unfolded. I cannot tell you what relief the Lord brought to us in showing that we could trust my doctor because her beliefs were in line with ours. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday my blood work looked better! We thought things were turning around and began preparing to get comfy in the hospital for at least 7 weeks until she could survive if we delivered.
After reviewing my blood work , my doctor came in to say that things had dramatically changed. Those three extra days when things seemed to be getting better gave Craig and me some time to feel a real peace, even joy, in trusting what the Lord would do. We felt ready for the news when it came Thursday morning. It was now clear that severe preeclampsia had set in and we were putting my life at risk (my death, of course, would mean that our baby would not survive either). My liver function was even more elevated and I was having pains that could have indicated I was on my way to liver rupture. My hormone levels had increased so much that my doctor knew the mole was growing very rapidly. We found out later that my kidneys were starting to be affected and there was fluid on my lungs. I still the chance of hemorrhage, seizure, or stroke. She said that we were not going to terminate the pregnancy, but we had to do a C-Section to remove the mole that was taking over my body. We knew that a baby had never survived this type of surgery before but also knew that the Lord could do anything!
I have to say that I was very scared as I headed in for surgery that morning. There was a great chance of hemorrhage and hysterectomy and Craig and I have always dreamed of a big family. The surgery went very well in that they were able to completely remove the mole and not do a hysterectomy but our little girl did not survive. I had trouble breathing after the surgery, so they put me back on the ventilator and kept me in ICU until .
, we got to spend some time seeing and holding our daughter, Kathryn Diane Dunlap. She was only 7 inches and 4 ounces but looked so fully and perfectly formed. Our pastor was there to pray during this wonderful time. I thought that 20 weeks was the mark when you got to see, name, and bury your child and I plead with the Lord to let me make it to that point. Though I was only 17 weeks and 3 days, we got to do all of this. The hospital even gave us a box with the blanket she was wrapped in, her wristband, footprints, and a picture of her. She is named after Kathryn Livesay Bruce, whom the Lord used to draw me into a relationship with Him in my college Bible Study. Diane is my mom’s name, Kady’s middle name, and the name of Craig’s aunt who passed away and whose diamonds I wear in my wedding rings. We have every reason to believe that Kathryn went to be with the Lord and that we will see her again in glory (Psalm 139:13-16, Luke 1:44, 2 Samuel , 1 Corinthians ).
I am home from the hospital but my blood pressure has still not come down so I’ve been trying to take it as easy as possible. This is just fine with me as I try to recover from a C-Section! Everyone with a molar pregnancy has a long road ahead of them, as there is a 50% chance of cancer. We are waiting for the biopsy and will monitor my hormone levels very closely to decide if we need to do a low dose of oral chemotherapy. We cannot try to get pregnant again for at least a year.
This has been a long sad week for our family, but we have felt inexplicable joy and peace as well. God revealed His presence to us clearly along the way. We are so thankful for the visits, calls, texts, and emails. Each one has taken a little of our burden and made our load lighter. Thank you for the physical ways you have served us and will serve us over the next few weeks- food, time with the boys, and work around our house. We were not completely settled from our move just three weeks ago, so all that everyone did to help us get settled and decorate for Christmas made me really look forward to returning home. This could have been a very sad time, as it made things feel so final. Craig and I are glad to talk about what happened so please do not hesitate to bring it up. We are also fine with you forwarding this to others who have asked about us.
Thank you again,
Monday, December 13, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Spray 2 mini muffin pans (24 muffins each) with PAM.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in grits, and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until grits are thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in ½ c. cheese and salt. Remove from heat. Spoon grits evenly into pans to make 48 mini muffins. Bake for 20 minutes or until firm. Cool and serve.
Saute mushrooms in butter until soft. Cool. In a bowl, stir together mayonnaise, 1 c. Parmesan, mushrooms, and onion rings. Top each grits round evenly with mushroom mixture. Broil 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and heated through.
Mini Lemon Pork Sandwiches
Makes 24-30 appetizer servings.
6, 11-oz. pkgs. frozen dinner rolls (Sister Shubert’s, for example)
5 lbs. pork tenderloin
1 c. vegetable oil
½ c. fresh lemon juice
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
¼ t. ground red pepper
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
Lemon Tarragon Mayonnaise
2 c. mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. lemon juice
¼ t. chopped tarragon leaves
¼ t. salt
Combine all ingredients and chill.
Rinse tenderloin and pat dry. Combine oil and next 5 ingredients in a large zip-top freezer bag or shallow dish: add tenderloins and seal or cover, and chill at least 4 hours. Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade.
Grill pork to 160º. Assemble sandwiches with mayonnaise and pork. Enjoy!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
There are only so many hours in a day, and as a mom there often seems to be even fewer. If meditating on the truths found in Scripture is difficult for you to do on your own, and you want the time that you do set aside for meditation to be more focused and directed, try one of these devotional books:
For the Love of God, 2 vols., D.A. Carson
Daily Light for the Daily Path, Samuel Bagster
Morning and Evening, Charles Spurgeon
Voices from the Past (Puritan Devotions)
Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions
Day by Day with JC Ryle, edited by Eric Russell
Tabletalk Magazine, Ligonier Ministries (https://www.ligonier.org/tabletalk/subscribe/)
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I am definitely a planner, but I am constantly trying to hone my organizational skills so that I feel like I am using my time wisely. I have found that I am intentional about the way I spend most of my time these days. As a working Mom, I want to spend quality time with my family, have a productive day at work, and handle all of my other responsibilities at home. Here are the top ten things that help me feel like I am able to keep up with the quick pace of life these days:
1. Prioritize - I love keeping a "to do" list. I keep it in my planner and remind myself to have realistic expectations for tackling a little bit at a time. This helps me at work and at home by allowing me to order the importance of the tasks at home. I recognize that I cannot do all the things on the list each day, so I choose what I feel is most pressing that day.
2. Do your work at work - My job can be intense during the day, so I try to practice healthy boundaries by going home on time each day and leaving the issues of the day at work once I head home. After all, everything at work will be waiting for me the next day!
3. Tag team - Come up with a way to split up your responsibilities at home so that you are not taking on too much. While you are at home, you want to be spending time with your loved ones, not slaving away over an unreasonably long list of chores. Divvy up household responsibilities with your spouse or give your older children different chores if they are able to help.
4. Cook with a Slow Cooker/Crockpot - it is wonderful to arrive home to the smell of the tasty dinner you have already prepared simply by plunking ingredients into a slow cooker on your way out the door.
5. Wash clothes at night - Before I go to sleep, I start a load of laundry. When I wake up, I put the clothes in the dryer and try to fold them when I get home from work that evening.
6. Get plenty of rest - Enough said!
7. Catch up on phone calls in transit - Keeping up with family and friends is very important to me, but it can be difficult once I get home and begin my son's bedtime routine. I like to catch up on phone calls while I am inching along in traffic. Of course, this only works if you can drive safely and talk at the same time!
8. Take time for yourself in the evenings - At the end of the evening, take time for yourself to wind down from the day. I love to read each night before I go to sleep. It is a relaxing way to end the day.
9. Use the weekends to recharge - Don't over-schedule your weekends so that you have time to recover from the week. Feel comfortable saying "no" to social invitations and ensure that you will be able to enjoy some free time before your busy week starts again. Take time to enjoy resting and spending time with family and friends!