How Do I Thank You?

I had to pop in to let you know how incredibly grateful I am for your generosity. SO many of you gave money for the Phelps family and I am blown away by it. I believe they will be able to pay off all of their outstanding debt (costs associated with burial, hospital bills etc.) and when Todd talked to Michael on the phone today he broke down crying. It is so amazing to see the body of Christ coming together for strangers, and I just want you all to know that it has ministered to me greatly to see so many kind words and contributions. I know I say this all the time, but I don’t take it lightly that you all even come to this blog, let alone jump in and offer what you have when there is a need you feel like you can meet. A few of you have asked about sending checks, and if you were one of them, feel free to send it directly to them. Here is their address:

Michael and Holly Phelps
411 Annex Ave. Apt D-7
Nashville, TN 37209

Speechless. I’m just speechless…

Thank you so, so much.

Also, thank you to the ladies who mentioned the sling recall. I did check to make sure this one wasn’t recalled (it’s a Hotsling in case you asked…and I agree…the pattern is adorable!). The founder of Hotslings is on the ASTM board that comes up with the safety standards and I couldn’t find anything that said that this sling was unsafe, but I certainly welcome any thoughts from you all if you have had a different experience. Shoot me an email if you know anything specific about this brand that might be helpful to me!

Also (and this will officially make this the most random post ever), I am praying about my next book and would love your input. Believe it or not, I have an October deadline and although I have a few ideas about what the topic will be, I would really like to hear what you all think. Feel free to leave a comment on this post or send me an email if there’s something that sounds interesting to you. Parenting? Devotional-type book? Specific Bible topic? Anything else?

Still no more pictures on here…bad blogger, bad blogger…but it will be soon! I’m making some little dresses for the girls photography session next week so hopefully they will turn out cute :)

Have an awesome holiday weekend and be safe-

With much gratitude,
Ang

Sweet Charlotte Girl

Well we are all officially in love.

Which is why I have been completely negligent on my blog and I apologize…it’s hard to get inspired to do anything but look at this sweet girl’s face :)

I just wanted to hop on and tell you all hello-I feel like you are friends and I haven’t done a good job of updating you on life lately! In short, all is well. And we aren’t taking a second of it for granted. We are letting life slow down, keeping computers and phones to a minimum, and enjoying respite from the busyness. I know you all understand (and most of you probably haven’t even noticed I’ve been gone!) but I still want to say hello.

(Hello!)

(This was taken at my niece’s softball game on Monday…she’s 5 days old here! And don’t be fooled. I still look like I’m seven months pregnant but the sling placement is working in my favor :) )

I promise to put up some more pictures of Charlotte soon, and can’t wait until next week when we will have some professional ones done. She is the most laid-back, gentle-spirited baby I have ever met and I think she is going to be perfect for the little newborn photos.

Oh, and by the way…in the event that you don’t follow me on twitter, you might not know that we changed her name at the eleventh hour. We actually sent it off to the state under Charlotte James and then changed it to Charlotte Olivia :) . It suits her perfectly and we just love that name. Luckily, none of my friends monogrammed anything as far as I know… :)

There is one thing I really wanted to share with you all and ask you to pray about. About nine months ago, a sweet girl from my church went into pre-term labor and delivered baby Lily Grace at 21 weeks. She didn’t survive, and Todd and I had the bitter honor of participating in the funeral service and spending a little time walking with them in their grief. Lily would have been their first child and it was devastating. Holly got pregnant again several months ago and her water broke when she was about 16 weeks. She has been at the hospital since then, fighting for her son Austin’s life. I went to visit them a few weeks ago and everything was going really well-there was a lot of hope that she had reached viability and that they were just trying to get her as far as possible.

The night I delivered Charlotte, she went into labor (at 27 weeks) and the doctors couldn’t do anything to stop it. They were optimistic based on his gestational age but after about 35 minutes (due to a lack of lung development), Austin went to be with his sister Lily in heaven.

To watch a mother put a second child in a grave within a nine month period was one of the most tragic things I have been a part of, and my heart is broken for them. Because Holly’s husband Michael was injured at his job a few months ago, he has been out of work and they are struggling with financial implications as well as all of the horrific emotional side of things. When I was in the hospital visiting them I asked about Lily and Michael mentioned that they were still paying on her funeral expenses etc., and it made me sick to my stomach.

I want to mention this here for two reasons. The first is that you all are a glorious community and I would really love for you to reach out to Holly and Michael if you have been through anything that you feel like would minister to them, or if you just feel led to connect with them. I know they are strangers but we all know (and I have experienced) the value of feeling loved by people who just want you to know they care. I have been so blessed by emails and prayers over the past few years and I just know this couple would be as well.

If you are in a situation financially where you feel like you could help them, I would love to ask you to do that. I know there are situations ALL around us where people are in need but I want to mention this in the event that it pricks your heart and you want to contribute. One of the things I take very seriously about having a platform of any kind is that I want others to be blessed through me and to know that it is the Lord Who did it. I have a paypal account (angelac519@gmail.com) and if you would like to help with this situation, please send me any amount you would like and just put “holly and michael” in the subject line. Also, please include your email/home address so that they have a way to contact you. They didn’t ask me to do this (in fact I don’t think she even knows I have a blog) but I just feel like it’s something I need to do.

If you want to email them, their address is jmphelps23@yahoo.com.


And most importantly, if you could join me in praying for this couple, I would so appreciate it.


Blessings and love to everyone…


Ang

All Is Well

Hey everyone! Just wanted to let you know that we came home yesterday and have all been soaking Charlotte in. I haven’t even opened a computer in days so I apologize for not touching base sooner but I did want to stop in and tell you thank you for all of your prayers over the past few weeks…we are more than overjoyed to have her in our arms and appreciate that people have cared for our family enough to walk through so much alongside us.

I am not going to be online too much (any guesses as to why?!?!?!?!) for a bit but I will try and get some more pictures up here so you can see her in all her red-headed glory :)

We are so in love.

Now back to the smell of newborn…ahhh…

Ang

Introducing Charlotte

Hello everyone. This is Jessica and I just wanted to quickly post that Angie had Charlotte last night at 10:38. She weighs 5 lbs, 13 oz and is 19 inches long. She has strawberry blondish/red hair and is simply adorable! She has sweetest little face and the cutest pouty mouth and button nose.

Both she and Angie are doing great. They thought they were going to have to monitor Charlotte for a few hours, but she was doing so well, that they brought her in to Angie much sooner!

Here is Angie when she first got to hold her. I LOVE her joyous smile. So awesome.


And the proud parents

Audra and Charlotte
Angie, Charlotte and me

It was a birthday Angie will never forget. Please be praying for Angie’s recovery and that they will get to come home soon.

Back to the intuition thing…

Last night was rough. Throwing up, itching, crying, and the feeling that something was NOT right.

So, this morning I called my OB and went ahead and scheduled some more blood tests and an ultrasound for today.

Because, you know, mothers have an intuition about these things.

Turns out my levels were so high that they don’t think it’s worth it to wait…and I agree. I feel total peace about it and that it is the right thing to do. We are praying about her lungs being developed but based on what they saw today, that was essentially irrelevant because the risk of her being inside was higher.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO….

Miss Charlotte will be making her debut at 10 P.M. TONIGHT!!!!!! ON MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! I’m not sure what emotion to feel and really am still in shock, but please, please pray for the whole thing to be uneventful as far as complications. I can’t wait to get this girl in my arms.

I promise to keep you all updated (I have a couple friends who will be with me who I am sure will be more than happy to do the “play-by-play :)

Wow. Quite a day.

Love to you all,
Ang

Intuition

I apologize for the fact that there is going to be a lot going on in this post that you don’t have background for. It’s going to seem a little out of the blue, but the truth is I just haven’t wanted to take you all on a roller-coaster ride unless I felt like there was good reason. You have shown me how much you care about my family and have earnestly prayed for us in the past and I don’t want to insert drama where it’s unnecessary.

The past several weeks have been a NIGHTMARE. I have been complaining to my OB about a myriad of bizarre things that are happening to me, and the bottom line is that my intuition (Mr. Holy Spirit…) has been urging me to keep investigating this stuff and now I understand why. I have had the most insane, frustrating, tortuous itching for several weeks. I have tried every trick in the book and nothing works. You know when you just know that something else is going on? Well, that’s how I felt. I went to the hospital one night for several of the symptoms and they sent me home, unable to find anything of consequence. I had numerous tests done and this week, two of them (related to my liver) came back abnormally. They re-tested a few days later and it was still high.

I also had an ultrasound a few days ago that showed a slight (not concerning and very common) issue with Charlotte’s kidney. Let’s just say that when you are having an ultrasound to measure fetal movement and the tech keeps telling you how great everything looks, only to zoom in on the kidneys for no reason and start taking a million measurements will kind of freak someone out. And it doesn’t help much that when your husband asks why she is looking at the kidneys, she becomes very stoic and tells you she can’t discuss it and that my doctor will explain. I know they aren’t supposed to say anything, and it wasn’t her fault, but I just started bawling on the table and had to wait for her to do a million more measurements, all the while thinking it was what Audrey had.

It was not.

It is something that has to do with a little fluid being backed up in her kidney and there is absolutely no concern about it. In fact, it looked better today and there is every reason to believe it will remedy itself.

Well, a few weeks ago I started googling and everything I found pointed to this condition called ICP. I asked them to do a test, and although they didn’t do it in the first round, they did agree to in the second round because they were looking for something to explain the liver issue.

I had another ultrasound today and Charlotte looks great. For those of you who are counting, I was 35 weeks on Saturday. They are estimating her to be 6 pounds already and the woman who did the scan has been doing it for 15 years and said she got fantastic measurements and believes it to be right on.

So, all good.

But then I saw my OB (I happen to really, really like her and she has been fantastic and empathetic during this whole ordeal) and she told me they knew why I was itching, and had received the bile test results that I pushed for. Well, guess what?

They aren’t normal.

If you are a nurse, or in the medical field, you’ll know the punchline to this story. There is an increased risk of stillbirth and a host of other things that are not really good things. I’m not freaking out but it is a little alarming being told you need to monitor the baby’s movement and call if it feels like it has slowed down.

Because of the risks associated with this particular issue, they have made the decision to deliver Charlotte as soon as her lungs are mature. As it stands, I am having an amnio on Friday and if all is well, will have my c-section on Saturday (5/22).

I am relieved to have answers to this nagging feeling, but of course, based on my history, Satan would love to prey on my anxieties. I have tried to be really cautious sharing info because I am not a doctor and I felt like my assumptions could have been misleading. As a general rule, I don’t like to do posts where I’m just pouting about something that is “uncomfortable.” Especially when there are people all around me who have lost their houses and are in complete crisis trying to get on their feet. It just feels a little weird. But after today, knowing what the cause is and what the risks are (they are low, for the record…) I would really love to ask for your prayer about this. I want to be wise about how it’s handled and make sure Charlotte is in good shape before she arrives, but I am also keenly aware that shortly it will be safe to say she will probably be better outside of me than inside.

So, that’s the gist, friends. And also, kudos to my editor Jennifer. I was supposed to have a big book signing out of town this weekend and she had a catch in her spirit about it weeks ago and cancelled it :)

I will also need to go in Thursday for another ultrasound to check Charlotte’s movement, and I will keep you all posted on how it goes. Every time I have typed Charlotte’s name into this post I have started with “Aud…” and then caught myself. It is a strange and difficult place to feel some of the same helplessness I did with her, and honestly I have really struggled emotionally during these weeks as I have had to come face to face with some of the hurt I had filed away.

I’m pretty sure I am rambling, so I’ll stop :) I’m going to take an oatmeal bath for the 400th consecutive time and pray that it brings a little relief. They have put me on medicine to help with this (I can’t remember the name, it starts with an “A” I think?) so hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

He is Who He was before today.

I am reminding myself over and over that the truth is still the truth. It isn’t somewhere I haven’t been with Him already, and we’ll get through.

In the meantime, could you pray for me and this sweet girl?

I’m crying because I know you will and I am so grateful for all of you…

Love to you all,
Angie

P.S. I just saw a comment that Blogher had put up ads for Sex in the City on my blog today, as they apparently did on other bloggers sites. I have opted out of ads like this, and I apologize when they come up. I have never seen an episode of that show but based on the previews, I’m thinking it doesn’t look like something I would approve on here. I would have contacted them and let them know but it isn’t there anymore so maybe they took it down for me :) Please do not hesitate to share that kind of info with me, as it is difficult to keep up with. Go ahead and shoot me an email or a tweet and let me know so I can notify them. They have always been very respectful of my choices in the past and I really believe it was an accident, so hopefully they can keep it family-friendly from now on…

I Would Love to Meet You!!!

If you live in the area, I just wanted to remind you that I am doing a book signing at the downtown Lifeway store tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  I can’t tell you how excited I am that Pete Wilson and I get to do this together-it will be a blast.

And also, you can see for yourself that I am huge like a house. In fact, I’m not entirely sure what I will be wearing since I don’t fit into any of my maternity clothes. But it’s sure to be an adventure one way or another and Pete and I would love the chance to see you all face to face.

Thank you so much for your support!!!
Angie

Plans

Well, for a Type A personality like myself, this past week and a half has been a wee bit of a challenge. Before I go any further, let me tell you that I am fine, Charlotte is fine, and my family is fine. I don’t want to incite any worry about us specifically, but I have a few things on my heart that I would really love to share.

Most of you probably know this, but in the event that you don’t (or in the event that you don’t know the specifics), Nashville was hit by a major flood last week. It started out a little comedically because Todd was out of town (not the funny part), we had lost electricity (again, not really funny), and our new nanny (we call her a babysitter because nanny sounds snobby, but she helps us out for several hours a week and I can’t wait to share more about Ms. Kelsey later :) ) was with us.

Here’s the funny part. I’m looking outside and waiting for someone on a broomstick to whiz by and I decide to call my parents. They have different cable than we do and I thought they might still have service. They did. I talked to my mom for several minutes while she explained that she was watching TV and they weren’t saying anything at all about weather. Which, given the aforementioned broomstick issue, seemed unusual.

Well, it would have been unusual had she not actually be watching a recorded episode of Days of Our Lives from earlier in the week. God bless that woman and everyone who is relying on her for life or death weather issues.

My dad was watching a movie but switched over and we realized it was more serious than we thought. In fact, we discovered that it looked like there was tornadic activity right where we live. Later we realized that it did some serious damage a few streets away. It was separate from the flood and knocked down all kinds of power lines, several hundred year old trees and more.

Then, it rained a lot. A LOT. We heard rumors of flooding and when we could get out to see it a bit, we were absolutely astonished. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you will know that I live in the Bellevue area. People died in a very nearby neighborhood and when the National media reported on the flood, the streets they were showing were within walking distance. Nashville has taken a pretty serious blow, but as expected, the people are responding with love and service. It has been so encouraging to see all of the support in the midst of chaos. I will put up some videos when I figure out how to, but trust me when I say you can’t imagine what it looked like around here.

Did I mention this happened on the day of my book release? I have this blog I write and it’s called “Bring the Rain…” Hmm. I may need to rethink some things.

A few days after my book released, another one came out that is near and dear to me. I wasn’t able to write about it because of the whole “no internet” thing, but I was compelled to share it with you all tonight for several reasons.

               
You all know about my Pastor and friend Pete Wilson. He has been the butt of an endless amount of height and hair jokes (by me and the rest of the free world) because he is such a good sport, but there is so much more to him than all that. It would be really easy to look at Crosspoint on paper and say that it’s another trendy spot where borderline Christians meet and watch light shows while listening to fluff messages. It’s easy to say that because I’ve been to several of those churches and we kind of meet the prototype. We have a lot of artists who attend. We have catchy music and really nice flyers. We have cool sets and media that makes VH1 look amateur. We have a young, hip pastor who has been likened to Keith Urban. If you meet him, you’ll like him. And if you meet his wife, you’ll really be impressed. As great as he is, he’ll be the first to tell you he married up.

Here’s the deal, though.

When you dig deeper, you’ll see that the church has grown at a remarkable pace and it isn’t because of his cool jeans. This is a man who has a passion for the Lord and for the body of Christ that is totally inspiring. One of the first things I would tell you about him is that he loves people. I have NEVER seen a church that so actively puts into practice what they preach as far as loving on others. I could give you a million examples, but one night we went over to the Wilson’s for dinner and Pete was running late. When he got home, Brandi asked him what was going on and it turned out he had been interviewing a woman who was a crack addict and had been prostituting herself and soliciting business in the church parking lot. There’s obviously a lot more behind the story, but the bottom line is that she has accepted the Lord, now attends our church and has totally turned her life around.

I want to be careful about how I say this next part because I don’t want it to be misinterpreted, but it’s what I think so I’m going to give it a shot. As a good friend of Pete’s, someone who has traveled to a third world country with him and been privy to his teaching on the stage as well as from the other end of the dinner table, this is the gist of what I see in him.

He does the whole thing the way I think Jesus would.

He loves people and he chases them down with his passion for the Lord. He laughs with people who, according to some, he shouldn’t be sharing a room with. He doesn’t let the rules define the way he leads, and as a result, people all around him are inspired to do the same.  Don’t get me wrong. He is fully human and has flaws just like all of us. He just isn’t wrapped up in the package that makes Christianity unapproachable. The truth is that living the Gospel isn’t about being good for the sake of rules and focusing on every minute detail about others. Some of the strongest “Christians” I have ever met spend more time judging others than loving the Lord and being led by Him to minister to them instead. It comes down to the way you love Jesus and the way you show that love to those around you. Pete does that well, and also, he wears sandals like Jesus sometimes.

I had a really good post telling you all about his book, which is fantastic. I’m not just saying that because he’s my friend. I had a little outline of it to share with you and tell you all the powerpoint reasons I think you would benefit from reading it.

And then we had the flood.

And it changed a lot.

So, instead of going on and on about the book, I chose to tell you about the man behind the book, and I’m going to trust that there was enough in those paragraphs to make you want to read his words.

He is a really, really good writer. There are compelling examples, stories, scripture references, and the sense that you are sitting beside a good friend as you read. All of that is true and noteworthy.

What is more noteworthy is that he hasn’t been flitting around telling everyone about it, because he’s been a little tied up living it.

Several THOUSAND people volunteed at Crosspoint in the last week. They have helped at more than 250 homes in the past several days alone. He would tell you that he didn’t do it alone, and I know that’s true. What is also true is that they have come to a church where they are inspired to do it, led by someone who preaches from the trenches more than behind a pulpit.

I was watching Anderson Cooper on CNN the other night as he interviewed people down the street from me. At the end of the show, he mentioned Crosspoint and Pete Wilson and for some reason, that was the moment I lost it. I’m just so darn proud to be a part of what God is doing at our church.

Wouldn’t you just love to meet this guy? Well, good news. You can :)

Next Saturday (May 15th), Pete and I are doing a book signing at Lifeway in downtown Nashville from 11-1pm. I had other tentative book signings but because of Charlotte I’m not able to do them right now, so as far as I know, this one is it. Pete and I have walked through the process with the exact same deadlines and roadblocks, and have commiserated with one another about it all, so it’s really cool to be able to share this with him too. I assume Brandi and the kids will be there, and Todd will be as well. I believe three of my children will be joining us. I’m going to try very hard not to make that four.

I am so excited to give away 5 of my personal copies of Pete’s book here, so please leave a comment and you will be entered to win. 

Or, just click HERE to purchase it right away. You will be glad you did…

If you’re in the area, come on out to Lifeway on Saturday and let us thank you for your support.

Please keep Nashville in your prayers as we sort through the aftermath of the flood.

Much love,
Angie