Monday, December 31, 2012

Final Thoughts Of 2012

Happy New Year from the Nalls!
With only a few more hours left in 2012, here is a reflection on this year as we look back at what the Lord has done and look forward to all that's to come in 2013...

We continue to learn to WALK by FAITH and take ONE STEP AT A TIME

Thankful for a healthy pregnancy and birth of our precious son that has brought more JOY to our lives than we could ever put into words

We have enjoyed our new and old friends in Birmingham, AL and have enjoyed this place that has become our home

Thankful for our church, The Church at Brook Hills, and all that the Lord continues to teach us through making the WORD come alive in our lives 

We continue to learn more about functioning as a team and being there for each other in the moments where it seems the other person's patience is about to run out

Thankful for family and friends that have come alongside us in a whole new way as we raise our son

As the new year is right around the corner, we would love to share the following news with each of you in person, but this seems to be the best way to tell all at once...

We are moving back to Nashville! 

Brandon's company has offered him a position in the Nashville territory. We are truly in awe of the Lord's divine plan and excited to be on this journey with HIM. Lots of details (as far as living arrangements, dates, etc) that we don't know the answer to at this point...but we are in the midst of planning a move for sometime in the first quarter of 2013, as B will be starting his new position officially on February 1st. 

Thank you in advance for your prayers and praises with us during this exciting time. 

Much love and blessings to you as we step into this NEW YEAR. Something so refreshing about a fresh new start! Here's to making much of JESUS, no matter where we are, as we journey forward with one chapter closes and another is just beginning! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

In Sickness And In Health

What a weekend it's been! Friday night started off with a bang, as B and I had our first "official babysitter" (aka: not a family member) come and stay with Nelson while we had a night on the town with some friends at a Christmas Party. It was a lot of fun to have some "us time" and enjoy dinner, dancing, and fellowship with great friends. 

Always fun to get dressed up!!

Then on Saturday is when things took a turn... B wasn't feeling the best before we went to bed on Saturday night but we didn't think much of it. Then around midnight he decided to go sleep in the guest room because he knew he was getting sick. Starting at 2:15am, he threw up every hour until was awful. There is nothing worse than watching someone you love be sick. 

I decided this morning that I was going to have FACE MY FEAR of throwing up and step right into this because throwing up in part of life and family. I didn't sleep last night and prayed for healing for Brandon - and for protection for Nelson and I - as I cleaned toilets, sheets, towels and so forth throughout the day. The joy of the Lord has been my strength, even in the midst of not sleeping much...last night OR the night before really. So thankful to be Brandon's wife and there is no where else I'd rather be than right by his side. 

I literally have not thrown up since high school...and pray that I never will (but know that's not reality, ha!) ... I was so thankful to make it through pregnancy and childbirth without getting sick like that, too. A true answer to so many prayers!! But today I realized that the marriage moment of this week was realizing that I was NOT going to put on a mask and gloves and be afraid to get near my husband. I was going to embrace what was going on and pray to be the hands and feet of Jesus as B has been aching from head to toe. 

Thanks to my MOM for teaching me over the years
how to make even a "sick tray" look pretty!

He hasn't eaten anything all day except for a few nibbles on some applesauce and saltines...but he got adjusted by our chiropractor this Lord willing, he will wake up feeling like a new man tomorrow. Thank you in advance for your prayers of healing for Brandon - and prayers of protection for Nelson and I - as we face this stomach virus head on.

Keepin' it real with this pic!! This is what playtime in the jungle looks like
while Daddy is sick and Mommy folds laundry! 

This weekend I have really felt like my "mama role" has come into full fledged we had our first babysitter and our first stomach virus roll through. Never a dull moment! 

Our little acrobat during one of his "snowboard breaks"!!!

We would like to close with a praise report: Nelson's snowboard has been staying on ALL day throughout the past couple of days! From the time we put it on, until the time we take it off for his 2 hour daily break...his shoes and bar (aka: snowboard) have been staying on AND staying in place. That is a TRUE answer to prayer!! Thank you to each and every one of you that have been lifting that up. Those first few days and weeks were really we would put the snowboard on and then within five minutes at times, it seemed that he had wiggled right out. We have been learning dedication and perseverance and seeing how that really pays off. So please be encouraged IF YOU are going through something in life where it seems like you just did that, or just learned that, or just took that thought captive, or so on and so forth...keep at it! Your dedication, perseverance, and persistence WILL PAY OFF! We go in on Wednesday for our next appointment with the club foot doctor...we will keep you posted! Thank you for your continued prayers as we take ONE STEP AT A TIME! We are so encouraged each time we look down and see the progress of Nelson's feet. To GOD be the glory! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Merry Christmas!

To all of our blog readers, Facebook friends, and Twitter followers...Merry Christmas! Thank you for your prayers for us always...we are so very encouraged by you! This birth announcement and Christmas card says it all...we are so very thankful for God's precious gift to us this year in baby Nelson...but more importantly, His gift to the world in the birth of Jesus. Soooo very much to be celebrated. May we take time to slow down here at the beginning of December and savor each and every moment of this special season. 

            O come, let us adore Him! JOY to the WORLD!! Glory to the newborn King!!! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Teach Me To Sing "Hallelujah"

One of my dear college roommates and I had our baby boys 11 days apart. It was such a blessing to be pregnant during the same time and then have babies at the same time AND live in the same city to walk alongside each other through the good days and the hard days. There is a song by Bethany Dillon called "Hallelujah" and some of the words say..."Whatever's in front of me, help me to sing hallelujah". We have quoted that verse in the song on more occasions than I can count...and I thought that lyric would be an appropriate title for today's post! 

Baby Nelson helping his buddy Baby Crawford move!
We've been a bit MIA on the blog front for the past two weeks as we have had a lot going on are trying to LIVE IN THE MOMENT! Since we last wrote... our little snowboarder went back into his casts, we celebrated our first Thanksgiving with our precious son, we traveled to "LA" (Lower Alabama) to visit Brandon's family for the holiday, we put up our Christmas tree, sent out the Christmas cards, B & I have had the round of the sinus/allergy crud, Nelson is "talking" more than ever (making cute sounds that seem like he's trying to talk!), helped our dear friends move (the one mentioned in the top paragraph & photo above), annnnnnd as of today...Nels has his snowboard back on! Whoo!! Never a dull moment! Here is the update on that front: (a few photos to show before we get to the update)

Happy boy in front of the Christmas tree!

He is too good to be true!
Today at Nelson's appointment, his casts came off and the doctor was pleased at the progress. When she went to put his shoes back on, she said they fit MUCH better this time around! Praise the Lord!! [Note: He went back into casts for the past two weeks because he kept wiggling out of his shoes during the first go round and it was because his heel wasn't stretched enough and they were not fitting properly] He will be wearing these shoes for 22 hours a day (yay for bath time now at night!!) and will be wearing these for 3 months (December, January and February) ... She showed me how to be stretching his feet before each time we put the shoes back on. If they ever get tight again or to the place where he is sliding out of his shoes like last time - she recommended we bring him back in and he may have to be casted again - we will play all that by ear. The prayer is that his feet will continue to fit in the shoes and that he will get in a groove with his snowboard like he did with his casts. I am convinced that this whole process is harder on the mama than it is on the baby ... so continued prayers for me would be greatly appreciated when the Lord brings us to mind! I feel a peace and know that this is the "missions trip" the Lord has me on and there is no where else I'd rather be. For those of you that have known me, I have had a heart for missions since I can remember. I went on my first trip out of the country in 7th grade and my eyes were opened in a whole new way. Where the Lord has me now is my "Uganda"...I love it! What an answer to prayer!! 

Legs lifted high in celebration!
The casts are OFF!
He hasn't skipped a beat. Legs lifted high in the jungle!!
There are so many times throughout the day that an analogy of the snowboard pops up and parallels to our walk with the Lord, but we will share that another time. In the meantime, just know that your prayers mean so much as we literally walk this step at a time! Pray that God will continue to draw Brandon and I closer to HIM and to each other ... as even becoming parents is a huge adjustment to our marriage, let alone everything else with the snowboard and such! As we have taken care of each other these past couple of weeks "in sickness and in health"...we have had many times where Brandon will say, "Thanks for saying 'Yes' " and I will say "Thanks for asking me!" ... There's no one else we'd rather be on this journey with! To God be the glory!! "Whatever's in front of me...I choose to sing hallelujah!" We will close with this verse from 1 John 4:9-10, "God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love -- not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." May this promise resonate deep in our hearts this day...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Snowboarder In Training

Without further ado, we want to give you an update on our little "snowboarder in training"!!! On Wednesday, November 7 (Nelson's 3 month old birthday), he got to get his casts off! He had that set on for three weeks (since the tenotomy procedure) and did great. The doctor said that his feet look really good and that it's time to move into the shoes and bar (aka: snowboard)...

Taking a nap and sleeping peacefully with his new snowboard

On Wednesday at the appointment, it was one of the sweetest moments when Nelson was getting his casts off and looked at me with big eyes and squeezed my hand so tight. He was a champ getting those off and it was SO good to hold him without the casts on! He's weighing in at a little over 15 with the added weight of the casts...he's been our little sumo wrestler. Now that his casts are off, he feels like a little baby again. So sweet. Once the doctor came in and put the shoes with the bar on, Nelson cried really hard (no one likes to be held down or to have your feet squeezed) and that was super hard on the mama. Everything seemed a bit overwhelming at first...feeding him, changing his diaper, putting on a clean outfit, getting him in his carseat...

Once Nelson and I left the appointment, I was on the phone with my Mom and I got a little teary. She mentioned that if I needed to hang up and have a good cry - that is OK! So that's what I did. I hung up and just had a good cry. A combination of processing how hard this seemed at the time and a combination of not wanting my precious son to hurt. I called Mom back and she was encouraging and even reminded me..."Sis, let your expectation be that whenever you get in a groove or routine, there will be a change up...and that's how it will be for the rest of your life"...She didn't say that to discourage me BUT to encourage me...and it is so true! We have been in such a good groove with Nelson's eating and sleeping and then to get the snowboard on and see him sad...was making me sad. But we got home from the appointment and Nelson continued to nap and then eat and did that for the rest of the afternoon. He had a few moments where he would pout his little lip and act more fussy than usual...but nothing that lasted longer than that afternoon. By that evening, he was sleeping like a champ like usual and the snowboard was not phasing him at all. He was back on his "rainforest activity playmat" (we call it the "jungle") and lifting his legs high! That boy is going to have some strong abs!! 

We are overjoyed with love for this precious angel!
 It never gets old to squeeze on him with nothing between us!!!

I share all that to say that Nelson is doing great and has transitioned into his snowboard very well. Also, trying to be real with you that these milestones (the first clubfoot appointment, the first casting, the day we got the snowboard) have not been easy...but once I have a good cry and process what all is happening...I am able to move forward with joy in knowing that we are one step closer to our baby boy being able to walk and live a happy, healthy life while running, jumping, and playing! It's been such a reminder to Brandon and I that we are not in control. As soon as we feel like we have things under control, something changes and we are reminded that GOD is the one in control. 

You may be wondering...
Nelson wears his snowboard now for 22 hours a day for the next three months. This means that we get about 2 hours a day with nothing in between us and our precious son and we are taking full advantage of loving on his feet and legs...including baths!! After the three months, Nelson will more than likely just have to wear the snowboard at night when he sleeps. That will all depend on how his feet are doing at that point.

Something you can be praying about...
Nelson got his snowboard on Wednesday and by Friday we noticed that we would look over at certain points (while he was in the jungle or while he was sleeping) and he had wiggled out of his left shoe. That is the foot that needs the most correction and we need for his foot to stay in the shoe. Please pray that these shoes will stay on. 

Everything we hear is that this shoe and bar phase is the most critical because it is the time in the process that the feet stay in the corrected position. If the shoes are not on...his feet are going to move. Please pray for diligence, patience, wisdom and so forth for Brandon and I as we love our son in caring for him well. We are so thankful God has chosen us to be Nelson's parents and we pray to be His hands and feet to Nelson each step of the way...

This is how we found him in the jungle yesterday...without his left shoe on!!!
Thank you again for all your encouragement. This is obviously not easy, but we have been amazed at how adaptable and resilient Nelson is...what a praise! We are learning so much (as a family) about how our lives are much like the little left foot that wiggles out of the shoe. God sends us through different times of training (like the snowboard) and it is for our good (so he can walk) but doesn't always feel good as we go through it (like the left foot that gets uncomfortable)...but our prayer is to stay the course, stay in God's presence, and keep walking by faith each step of the our marriage, as parents, and in every aspect of our lives. 2 Chronicles 20:12 says, "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." There are times when we really don't know what to do, but we know one thing is for certain...we want our eyes to be upon the LORD. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Taking Time To Clean Our Burners

I don't think our stove top has ever been this clean!

Last night as I was cooking dinner, I started to smell a strong burning smell come from the kitchen stove. When I looked close enough, I could see that something was on the bottom of the burner and was burning more and more as the food was cooking. This morning I decided that it was time to take the time to clean the burners on the stove top. I don't know about you, but it's a big enough blessing to have the time to cook dinner...much less, take the time to clean the burners. As I was thinking about this though, it clicked with me that there was a "life analogy" happening right before my very eyes. 

We often go,go,go...tons of great, fun, busy, exciting, positive, life-giving, blessed things going on, people we love to be with, sweet fellowship, wonderful occasions to be celebrated and so forth...but there comes a time when we have to be disciplined enough to step back and take care of ourselves before moving forward. The marriage moment of the week that comes to mind in all of this is the fact that we were planning to go out of town this weekend to one of our favorite places...Nashville! 

At the beginning of the week when we started talking through how busy we've been and how life doesn't look like it's going to be slowing down anytime soon (!!) ... we talked about committing it to prayer this week about whether or not we should go or stay here and have a chill weekend...just the three of us! There was no specific occasion we were going to Nashville for, simply excited about connecting with dear friends and enjoying a fun Fall weekend in one of our favorite spots. Well, the reality is that we need to take a step back and take care of ourselves...make time for those husband and wife moments of quality time on the porch that get lost in the hustle and bustle...have a cozy Saturday morning at the house as we make pumpkin blueberry pancakes and snuggle our baby boy...and take one minute at a time and not have every minute planned out. Whoooo! Much needed! It's hard to do though! 

So bringing it full is much like the burners on the kitchen stove. Sometimes you have to make the time to stop and clean the burners so that it doesn't smell awful each time  you cook in the future. In the same way, we are putting a halt to "our plans" and choosing to take a weekend to rest in the plans the Lord has for us and "clean our burners" so that we don't run on empty in these days and weeks to come...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This Afternoon

Thought it would be appropriate for Nels to wear his
"Every good and perfect gift is from above" onesie today!
He truly is a gift to us from GOD! 
It is with thankful hearts that we report that all went well this morning with Nelson's procedure. The Lord went before and behind us and made our path straight. After we got called back to a room, Brandon asked the doctor if it would be alright if we prayed over her once we were getting ready to start - she said that would be fine. So when the doctor came in and her team of five people - she said, "Alright Dad, you're up"...meaning, time for you to pray! So Brandon got to pray for the Lord to work through the doctor and team's hands. At the close of the prayer he said, "OK, we'll look forward to you coming to get us when it's over"...(because we had heard that it was common for the doctor to ask the parents to step out since it's hard for the parents, especially the mom, to see the baby so upset)...but our doctor said, "Oh no, y'all stay. And mom, could you go stand by Nelson's head so that he will see you?" WOW! I wasn't planning on that but sure was honored to get to stand there next to my precious son and look into his big blue eyes every step of the way. I held both of his hands and didn't take my eyes off of him the entire time - and yes, it was very, very hard to watch him cry and cry so hard - but I had to keep reminding myself that this was for his good AND he would not remember any of this!! 

The procedure went smoothly and the doctor did what she came to do - thank you, Lord! And then after that they put his fifth set of casts on. That's not ever a fun process for him due to the fact that he is a mover and a shaker and he has to be held down and still for a couple of minutes - but he made it through and was such a warrior! I kept remembering how a dear friend had prayed over me when Nelson was in my belly, that he would be a warrior for the Lord...and that no weapon formed against him would prosper. I was clinging to that today!! As soon as the procedure and castings were over, they put my precious boy right in my arms for me to nurse him. That consoled him immediately and then he went into a peaceful sleep. Not too long ago, he woke up after a three hour nap and ate again and I could tell was a little more fussy than normal which was sad to see, but the Lord blessed me with the most dear little smile from the precious fella, which reminded me that he is OK and that this is all part of the process. He is now back to resting peacefully again and smiling here and there while he cute!! The next step is for him to wear this set of casts for the next three weeks and then we will go back in to check on the status of his feet and more than likely move him into the shoes with the bar. 

Words cannot even express how much the messages, emails, calls, and texts meant this morning. We could feel the army of prayer warriors of dear family and friends surrounding us and lining the walls of the room where the procedure took place. We have had the song "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)" by Matt Redman on our lips all morning and all day long. Brandon and I were singing it in the room before the surgery took place. You can click here to listen to it and read the lyrics. Thank you again to each and every one of you for lifting up our precious Nelson in prayer today and standing beside us throughout this entire journey. I will close by saying, it's amazing how God gives you the strength and grace when you need it. If you had told me even a month ago that I would be looking into the face of my child while he bawls his eyes out, I would have told you that I would bawl my eyes out too. But today...we had to be strong for Nelson...and through the strength that the LORD gave us, it was possible! We'll keep you posted on our little man's progress! 

This Morning

Thank you, Lord, for this happy boy!! We know he is in YOUR HANDS!!! 

Good Morning! We wanted to write you a quick message to let you dear prayer warriors and readers of the blog to know that Nelson's tenotomy procedure will be this morning at 11:30am (CST). Please pray for the Lord to guide the doctor's hands and for the Great Physician to give baby Nelson a peace that can only come from HIM!

As we were praying last night, we remembered how the Lord told us throughout the entire pregnancy and labor and delivery to "WALK BY FAITH" (2 Corinthians 5:7)...and now we are "approaching the throne of grace with confidence" (Hebrews 4:16) and asking the Lord to give us faith that through this procedure, our precious son will be able to WALK in Jesus' name when that time comes. 

We will update you later on today with how the procedure goes...until then, thank you in advance for your prayers. We have already thanked the Lord for how we know He is going to take care of our dear 10 week old son. 

A few of the verses that we are clinging to this morning as we take "ONE STEP AT A TIME"...

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." -Isaiah 26:3

"He will have no fear of bad news, his heart is steadfast trusting in the LORD." -Psalm 112:7

"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." -Exodus 14:14

"He makes my FEET like the FEET of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights." -Psalm 18:33

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." -Ephesians 3:20-21

'How beautiful on the mountains are the FEET of those who bring GOOD NEWS, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" ' -Isaiah 52:7

Friday, October 12, 2012

Happy Friday...From Nelson!

Happy Friday from the Nall home! It's been a great week getting readjusted at home after a wonderful week away with family at the beach. So thankful for those rejuvenating times away but it is true that there is no place like home. This week we'd like to ask your prayers for wisdom and direction as we take the next steps forward (literally) with Nelson's club feet progress. 

On Wednesday, he got his fourth set of castings removed and we found out that he will be having the tenotomy procedure in both feet so that will be sometime next week. We'd like to ask you to pray specifically for the doctor's hands when they perform this procedure...and for God's peace to rest on us as his parents before and after this procedure takes place. There's not enough time in the day to tell you about all the times we have seen the fingerprints of God...even this different family, friends, doctors, people we've never even met...have come alongside us with words of wisdom and prayers for our precious son. We are so thankful to the Lord for giving Nelson to us and are humbled to be on this "one step at a time" process towards complete healing in both of his feet. 

As we celebrate two months of Nelson's life, we thank the Lord for many things...including his health, the calm nature that exudes from him day and night, and most recently...his precious smiles. It is true that "new life" brings forth "new life"! We are so thankful for the new life we are experiencing each day in our home and in our hearts. Thank you for your continued prayers as we march through the doors that the Lord has opened for us to walk through this next week. Praying to keep our eyes on Jesus every step of the way! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Day In The Life

"Hello" from my 'lil blog helper!

Whew! What a past couple of days it has been!! In the past 24 hours we've had one car overheat and one car battery die. We have been counting down the days until this Friday because that is the start of our much needed family vacation! We are heading down to Dothan, AL to introduce Nelson to more family and friends...then we will make our way down to one of our favorite spots on earth...the Emerald officially introduce our dear son to the "umbrella forest" and spend time with family for a week as our toes stay hidden in the sand. Until then...

Tonight I am holding down the fort here with Nelson while Brandon is at a dinner for work. I ate the rest of the leftovers for lunch today which means I am going to be enjoying eggs for dinner! Before our heads hit the pillow tonight, there are bills to be payed, bags to be packed, cars to be charged with jumper cables, umbrellas to be dug out of the corner of the closet, and so on and so forth! Yet here I am...writing the weekly blog! We long to be "real" on here and show our true colors...and I doesn't get more real than this! Not only do we have a number of things to do around here before daybreak, but this will be our first real trip for a prolonged period of time with our baby boy! So to say there are a "few things" to be packed is an understatement!! Oh and I almost forgot to mention that I will be enjoying a piece of Ezekiel Bread with my eggs over easy...and yes, it's the bread that was salvaged after getting run over by a car last week in the Whole Foods parking lot when we left our bag of groceries on the ground and completely forgot about them until we were back at the house! See last week's post for details!! 

We were talking last night about how it's a challenge these days to find time to commit to being in the Word and connect with each other, in the midst of all the other things on our plates. Brandon was sharing how it seemed to be a lot easier for him when he was playing baseball and had "down time" when he wasn't on the field or at practice because he didn't have so many other things on his mind. I, too, was thinking back on the days when I used to have time to even...JOURNAL! Those days seem like lightyears away at this point... The marriage moment we have talked about a lot this week is how our heart's desire is to pray about finding what this new balance looks like in our lives. For any of you that are a few (or more!) steps ahead of us and a few more children down the road than us...feel free to share your thoughts or any recommendations on how to make time for our first Love, the LORD, each other, and our the midst of the busy "day in and day out" hubbub of life! We know that getting in the habit now that we're in this new season, will set the stage for many years to come...

Thank you for your prayers as we pack up tonight and hit the road tomorrow! What a treat it will be to get on I-65 South soon and very soon...! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Celebrating Progress

This week we have a lot to celebrate. When we went to the Club Foot Clinic on Wednesday for our weekly casting appointment, the doctor removed the casts as usual (this was our third set of casts) and let us know the great news that Nelson's feet are making beautiful progress. The doctor mentioned that Nelson's right foot will not need a tenotomy (the procedure that is common in between having the castings and getting the braces) and the left foot will more than likely not need a tenotomy after a few more sets of casts! This alone would have left us skipping out the door with smiles! Well...she went on to mention that Nelson will not need to get a new set of casts this week because it is time for him to be measured for his shoes and brace! In other words, we will have an entire week to bathe him, kiss his feet, rub his legs, change diapers with ease, and breastfeed what seems like a "light as a feather" baby since the casts do add quite an amount of weight. We were ecstatic! 

The 'lil cutie-pa-tootie after his bath! He loved it!!!

Leaving the doctor, we couldn't stop thanking the Lord for the wonderful progress of Nelson's feet AND for the gift of getting to love on him in all the ways mentioned above...things that may sound simple or mundane to you (and did to us before club feet) but now we have a greater appreciation for each of them. Amazing how perspective changes everything! We have so much to be thankful for and this was just a simple yet profound example to us when we experienced the joys of the little things on Wednesday! It's been the gift that keeps on giving this week as we are constantly reminded of all that God has done, is doing, and will continue to do! 

May we zoom out of the box that we get so focused on with ourselves and see the greater picture of what God is up to. Wednesday morning started off with so many praises...and by Wednesday night we had dealt with many curve balls including B getting in a fender bender (praise the Lord all are ok), Nelson and I going to pick up Brandon to get him to a meeting on time after the car situation, the three of us having a relaxing walk through Whole Foods (truly is stress relieving for us to walk around in there and enjoy the cheese samples and take it all in) to coming home from our nice outing to realize that we had left the groceries we had just purchased, and many other things in between. {Sidenote: When B went back to Whole Foods to look for the groceries, they were right where we had left the parking lot on the ground by the car! NO B said, only at the Mountain Brook Whole Foods could you leave your groceries and the people who had pulled up next to them not steal them but probably think to themselves "oh, these people forgot their items...I'm sure they'll realize it and be back in a few". When he got home with the items, he mentioned that all looks well for the most part...except for our delicious "Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel Bread" that is now a little sideways since it got run over by a car!} Ohhhh...a day in the life! We share all that to say, we have to often remind ourselves of the quote that says, "You have to laugh at yourself or you'd cry your eyes out if you didn't!" ... Yesterday was certainly one of those days where you can feel yourself becoming more seasoned per say. Now we understand why our parents didn't freak out over the years when we called to tell them this or that...they, too, had days where they had learned from life experiences! 

Some days it seems like the plans just don't turn out how you had thought. Whether that's in a good way (for us finding out the great update on Nelson's feet) or in the hard ways (like our car situation, groceries, and everything in between) ... we are reminded by the September 17 Jesus Calling (devotional by Sarah Young) that, "You will not find my peace by engaging in excessive planning: attempting to control what will happen to you in the future...Just when you think you have prepared for all possibilities, something unexpected pops up and throws things into confusion. I did not design the human mind to figure out the future. That is beyond your capability...Commit everything into My care. Turn from the path of planning to the path of Peace." Proverbs 16:9, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." 

Tonight we are celebrating progress...both in the areas of Nelson's feet AND in our own lives. We realize more and more each day that we live in an imperfect world and nothing is in our control. As soon as we think it is, we realize that was a false expectation to begin with and are let down yet again. Thankful that HE doesn't give up on us. Each of these life scenarios bring us to our knees...right where we need to be! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Celebrating Four Years Of Marriage!

Today we are celebrating four years of marriage! It is so true that “time flies when you’re having fun”!! I remember when we first got married and Brandon was telling me one night that he had a smile on his face and how it was hard to sleep with a smile on! I thought that was too cute! Still to this day we’ll say... “Night babe, I love you! I have a smile on my face!!” Since a picture paints a thousand words...I thought it would be fun to share a few of the highlights of each year of marriage so far. 
Wedding Day - September 13, 2008
Wedding Day - September 13, 2008

A highlight of 2009...We bought our first house!

Anniversary Dinner - September 13, 2009

Celebrating our 1st Anniversary - September 2009 - Seaside, FL

A highlight of 2010...super sweet time in Nashville with dear friends! Never underestimate living in the same city with some of your favorite people :) 

Anniversary Dinner - September 13, 2010
Celebrating our 2nd Anniversary - September 2010 - Seaside, FL

In 2011...moved from Nashville, TN to Birmingham, AL 
A highlight of 2011...finding out we are pregnant (!!) while on a trip to San Diego, CA!
Anniversary Dinner - September 13, 2011

Celebrating our 3rd Anniversary - September 2011 - Seaside, FL 

A highlight of 2012...finding out that we're having a baby BOY!
Summer 2012...Good times & super HOT with a "watermelon" in my shirt! :) 

August 7, 2012 ... A day that changed our life for the better forever!
Our precious Nelson Caleb Nall was born!!!

There is nothing that brings a smile to my face like watching my dear husband love our son! 

I thank the Lord every day for answering my many, many prayers for a husband that loves the Lord with all his heart and strives to put Him first in his life. Thank you to those of you who prayed for the Lord’s guiding hand to lead us to each other, before we even met. And thank you to those of you who stood beside us on our wedding day - family and friends - to support us as we committed our lives to one another in this covenant of marriage. And to those of you who continue to walk by our side and point us to the One that teaches us how to walk in a state of forgiveness and so forth in our day-to-day lives...thank you! 

We first started this blog as a way to be real and vulnerable as we walk through the ups and downs of life. A lot of people have even been asking over these past couple of weeks since we became parents, how it’s been between the two of us since we had each other’s undivided attention for four years. Thankfully, even on the sleepless nights and at the end of tiring days, our teachable spirits and gifts of communication through the Lord's strength have helped us work through some potentially “hair pulling” moments...and end the day with a smile on our face. May we continue to seek the LORD with all our hearts - asking HIM to be our strength - in the times of joy and the times of hardship. Praising the Lord today and always for the gift of marriage and how He has drawn us closer to Himself through each “marriage moment”. Heres to many more! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Our New Journey!

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

On the morning after Nelson's debut into the world, we found out that our precious baby boy was born with clubfeet. What is clubfeet you may ask? This is a condition in which the foot points downward and inward. This occurs in approximately 1 in every 1000 births and is two times more common in boys than girls. As we have said many times in the past couple of weeks, we are so thankful to live in America in this day and age where this condition can be corrected and our precious one will be able to walk! Something you don't think about every day to be thankful for!

We got three full weeks in of cuddling our precious boy's legs, feet, and toes...and then last week he got his first set of casts on! They are the cutest things!! We will go each week to get new casts and after 6 weeks or so, the position of the feet should be corrected. The next step in the journey will be for Nelson to wear these adorable shoes with a bar in between them (called the "braces) and it's very important that we as parents are diligent about him keeping these on for around 23 hours a day so that they will hold the corrected feet in position. Brandon has joked with me that "who could be a more disciplined Mom for Nelson than the one who still wears her retainers, after getting braces off in the 8th grade for her teeth!"

It's been amazing to hear people share with us that they had clubfeet, or their sister, husband, etc's apparently more common that we first thought. It's been encouraging to read about different all-star athletes that were born with clubfeet and now you would never even know. God is so into all of the details - even down to the fact that one of our good friend's moms was delivering dinner the other night and shared with us that three out of her six children had clubfeet. At first it seemed very overwhelming to process being first time parents and then facing the fact that our sweet little one will have to wear casts and braces on his feet and legs...but it's been amazing to see how the more information we have learned, the more at peace we are and the more encouraged we are that this is "short term" and the road the Lord has marked out for us to be on. 

We are excited to share this journey with you and look forward to hearing from any of you that may have had clubfeet (as a child) or have walked this road with your children (as a parent). We know that there is fellowship when we walk in the light - and we look forward to, Lord willing, being vulnerable with you about the ups and downs...because we know that people can relate to that! And please join with us in prayer that the Lord will use us and our story to be a blessing to others. If there is a doctor, nurse, office worker, etc that doesn't know the Lord...may we be a "bright spot" in their life when we're in the doctor's office each week for our new casts. Only the Lord can see the bigger picture! We know that our story is just a small part of the bigger story - we're just thankful to be part of HIS story! 

We have included two pics below so that you can see from us how adorable Nelson is in his casts! We have heard we may want to keep him "covered up" when we're in Wal-Mart though (!!) so that we don't get feedback from the peanut gallery...asking how our newborn child already got hurt! When in fact, he is in no pain at all and has NOT had a sports injury at the big boy age of...four weeks! 

Chillin' with his best bud, Crawford, at Pinkberry...after his first casting! 

These are the cute 'lil leg warmers we got to put over the keep the casts clean throughout the week!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Month To Remember

Ohhhh what an amazing month it has been! Thank you for your patience in hearing from us! As any of you who have had a baby before know, there are not many spare moments! Speaking of which, Brandon is on his way home from work and Nelson is napping...then we're headed out to B's championship baseball game for the Birmingham Men's League that he has been apart of! All that to say, this may not be the longest post...but thought it would be better than nothing and a good way to go ahead and just start back with opposed to waiting for the "perfect" moment to fill you in on all the details...cause I have a feeling that's not going to happen! share a taste of what we've been learning! We'll start off by saying...God is good...ALL the time! When people ask how the birth went, we say that it was nothing like what we had pictured and better than we could have pictured...all in the same breath! 

In a nutshell, when we were living in Nashville...the Lord connected us with a "wellness lifestyle" group of friends. That included anything from getting rid of our microwave once and for all, taking a garlic clove for a sore throat, and wanting to have our first child with a a home birth if at all possible, and the list goes on...! So when we moved to Birmingham, AL in summer of 2011 and heard that midwives were banned from this state...we realized it would be swimming against the current per say to have a home birth we started looking into birthing in Chattanooga. Since I grew up in Chattanooga, my dear parents were willing to open their home for the birth. So at the beginning of week 38 of my pregnancy, I moved in with mom and dad and Brandon made the commute for work. When I say that our family reminds me of Father of the Bride II, I mean almost every bit of that movie came to life over the past month! "Annie" here moved in with "George" and "Nina" and we had some times we will never forget...priceless memories in every way! Right before I moved up to Chattanooga to prepare for the birth, I started to have some itching...

Long story short...after having three rounds of blood work taken in two was on Sunday, August 5 (day before Nelson's due date: August 6) that we got the call from my midwife saying that when your liver enzymes rise at the rate mine were rising - oftentimes you can see them eat up the Vitamin K supply (which helps your body clot) and that could be dangerous if it happened and I was birthing at home because we don't want me to hemorrhage. The entire pregnancy, we had prayed: "Lord, if there is any reason that we should not have this home birth...please show us a red flag"...sure enough, prenatal after prenatal appointment went smoothly and there was no flag...until the very end. So on Sunday, August 5...we were encouraged to go to the hospital to start a slow induction - since this was not an "emergency" at this point...but we did need to encourage my body to go into labor. So we were there on Sunday night, all day Monday, most of the day Tuesday...and at that point I was still only dilated to two centimeters. The amazing doctor and God given nurses were assigned to us straight from the Lord (more on that later...when I get to sit down and type out the whole birth story one day)...and were talking to us about breaking my water and so forth to speed things along. We did not feel comfortable breaking it unless I was at least 4 centimeters...because we were trying to give my body the best opportunity at having a natural delivery with minimal interventions. 

At this point, it felt like I was swimming upstream and had every odd against me. My sleep had been lacking for the past two weeks (due to the itching), we were now in a hospital (had envisioned the entire time being at home), could hear the lady across the hall who was obviously about to deliver WAILING in agony, and it felt like we were at the end of our rope... I will never forget those days with my dear husband and incredible birth coach, Brandon...and our precious friend and doula, Mary. If you've ever been on a mission trip and have instant bonding in a way with the team that you could not have with a friend you've known  your whole life...that was what was taking place in Room 14. An unbelievable bond like no other...not even just with each other...but absolutely HAVING to depend on the Lord with every ounce of our being. I have never felt more out of control in my life - then waiting and praying through these decisions. And something clicked with me in these days...even the times I felt like I was in control...I never was. That was all a false sense. Praise God for showing me that now. 

So to sum it was 7pm on Tuesday, August 7 and the shift change happened with the nurses. Our nurse for the evening was experienced in home deliveries and came in and breathed the biggest breath of LIFE-giving air over me and into our room. She left to go help another patient and I was able to hop in a warm shower. Contractions were coming close together and meanwhile...keep in mind that when I was last checked around 3:30pm that afternoon, I had been 2 centimeters. Not long after the shower, I was breathing through contractions on the birth ball (aka: exercise ball that I could not have labored without)...and whenever a contraction would come on, I would say: PRAISE GOD. Brandon then knew to start timing them and then he or Mary would take shifts and rubbing my back as hard as they could. No water broke...on its own! This was the turning point! The next thing you know, one of them went to get the nurse...she comes back in and checks me and I am rolling along at 7 centimeters! Holy cow!! I was not speaking for a total of three hours because I was so in the zone. It was an experience unlike any other. They are all helping me breath "hee hee HOO"..."hee hee HOO"...and then all of a sudden I am at 9 centimeters and the nurse says she is calling the doctor in now because I am going to be pushing soon. Again, this was all surreal. The dream that we had of having a natural delivery was coming true...all in our hospital room that we had made has "homey" as possible. The doctor comes in and they are all coaching me through the pushing process...letting me know that in the next couple of pushes, I will be holding my baby boy! Sure enough, in a moment I will never be able to put into words...Nelson Caleb Nall came out a healthy beautiful baby boy at 10:54pm...weighing in at 7 lbs, 7 oz...on Tuesday, August 7, 2012! PRAISE GOD! 

We wanted to share this with you to say...the marriage moment of this month has been...plans don't always turn out how you expect! The truth is...when you "delight yourself in the Lord...He will give you the desires of your heart"...Psalm 37:4! The love I have for the Lord, Brandon and deeper than it ever has been! We have learned so much, been through so much together, and still have so much to learn. Each day is a new adventure and when we look into the eyes of our precious boy...we can see the fingerprints of God. He is God's gift to us and for that we are forever grateful. There is so much more to much...but we had to start somewhere. 

Nelson Caleb Nall 
Just as we had to learn to take one contraction at a we are learning to take one moment at a time! There is no "handbook" that comes with how to raise a child...that's for sure! Each parent and child is different and every one has different advice. That we have already seen! We are so thankful to know the Lord and have HIM be the captain of TEAM NALL. Until we get another free moment to post (!!) here is a snapshot of our growing boy! Can't even believe that he is THREE weeks today!!! Thank you beyond words for all of your prayers, words of encouragement, love and support for our family. It's true when they say..."it takes a whole village to raise a child"...thank you for walking this exciting road beside us! Let's enjoy the journey!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Prayers in the Nursery

Each day, we get closer and closer to Nelson's birthday! Still surreal to think we're about to have our baby boy in our arms! One of our favorite spots to go for prayer is Nelson's nursery. Just this past week, a dear friend that I work with gave us a precious book: Prayers and Promises for My Little Boy by Stormie Omartian. We wanted to share the first one with you today:

Prayer of Gratitude for Nelson {Our Little Boy}

Lord, THANK YOU for Nelson. He is such a wonderful gift to us. Help us to raise him well. May the beauty of Your Spirit be so evident in us that we will be godly role models for him. Give us the communication, teaching, and nurturing skills that we must have. Grow us into being the kind of parents You want us to be and teach us how to pray and truly intercede for his life.

We are grateful that we don't have to rely on the world's unreliable and ever-changing methods of child rearing, but that we can have clear directions from Your Word and wisdom as we pray to You for guidance. We rely on You for everything, and this day we trust our child to You and release him into Your hands. 

In Jesus' name we ask that You will increase our faith for all the things You have put on our heart to pray for concerning our son. 

Thank you for your continued prayers for our growing family during this special time. Words cannot express how much it means to know we are being lifted up! And below are a few more updated photos for you to take a "sneak peek" into our baby boy's nursery...!!! Can't wait to have him here...soon and very soon!