Friday, March 25, 2011

Levi's Arrival

Levi Matthew Dean made his grand appearance into the world last week, Monday, March 14th at 9:12 AM. He weighed 7 lbs. 11 oz. and was 21 1/2 inches long. Pretty big compared to his older brother's birth weight of 6 lbs. 2 oz.!
So here's how it all unfolded...

In case you didn't know, my due date was March 7th, which came and went without much fanfare. The plan was that my doctor would let me go a week past my due date and if nothing happened, she would induce me on Tuesday, the 15th. With Evan I had a planned c-section because he was breech, but Levi was not, so I was hoping to attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesearan). Statistically, these are most successful when labor is not induced. So...come Sunday evening before my doctor's appointment, I was getting desperate for labor to happen naturally. I decided it was time to listen to the old wives' tales. What did I have to lose?

Ryan and I went on an hour long, fairly brisk walk, and then the whole family went out for some Italian because so many folks had said that eggplant parmesean can induce labor. I order the eggplant and ate every last drop! The next step was supposed to be a foot massage by my lovely husband, but by 9:00 Sunday night, I started having labor contractions. Was it the walk? The eggplant? Or just the fact that I was a week past my due date? Who knows, but I was just so thankful that labor had come on it's own.

I labored at home for 6 hours till those contractions got to the "magic number" (5 minutes apart), and then Ryan and I headed to the hospital at about 3 am while my mom stayed home with Evan. Once I was checked by the doctor, I was already 5 cm, and by the time I was admitted to the labor room and checked at 6 am, I was 8 cm! I did have an epidural at that point (my dr's recommendation due to prior c-section), BUT it didn't quite take all the way, which made for an exciting, and quite painful birth (if that's a 3rd of the pain, bless those natural birth mamas!!). Thankfully everything about the labor went as smoothly as I could have wished for and Levi is completely healthy! Praise the Lord! And I must say that recovery from this delivery is much smoother, especially since I have a two year old to chase after, too!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ministry Amidst Tragedy

Last week, Ryan and I were awakened by an early morning phone call from our pastor informing us that one of our church members, Michael Barranco, had died suddenly in a tragic car accident over night. It's the news no one ever wants to hear and our hearts were broken, not just because our church lost a truly Godly 48 year old man, but also because his family-his wife and three teenage children-lost their loving husband and father. Mr. Barranco's children are all active in our youth group, comprising most of our youth group's Wednesday night band, and Mia, the oldest, is Evan's favorite babysitter. In the short time that we have been in Mississippi, we have come to know and love the whole family.

This tragedy tremendously affected our entire congregation. You see, Michael was involved in many areas of our church. He was the scout leader for our boy scouts troup that ministers to teenage boys both in our church and our neighborhood. Several of the boys from our neighborhood saw Michael as a father figure in their lives and were devastated by the news. He was also very involved in Redeemer's music ministry. That man had soul and could sing so well! He was one of my favorite song leaders on Sundays not only because he was majorly talented (he's been in several blues bands and has even sung jingles for local commercials), but mostly because his love for the Lord was evident in the way he led worship.

Ryan and I had the amazing opportunity to sing at Michael's funeral. The family asked for Ryan to sing the last song Michael had sung at Redeemer Church just two weeks prior. Ryan and Michael had sung it as a duet, so this time, Ryan sang the lead and I harmonized with the choir backing us up as well.

Michael Barranco's funeral had to have been the most amazing one I've ever attended. At the visitation, there was a line wrapping around the block for people waiting to pay their respects to the family. A total of over 1,800 people came that night! His funeral was standing room only in an auditorium that seats 800, and they had to turn people away because there was no more room. His career as an architect in Jackson had earned the respect of many in the city, and he was deeply loved by many people. After hearing all the loved ones and friends share stories of Michael, it was apparent that he never wasted a second of his life and lived it fully for the glory of God.

Please keep the Barranco family in your prayers as they mourn their incredible loss. I know that the Lord will comfort them and hold them close during this difficult time.

If you have a moment, check out the links below:

The first one is of Ryan & Michael singing "All My Praise" together. If you can hear the words, it might give you chills as it did me--"Even in the shadow of death, I will praise you...".

The second post is of the same song performed at his funeral just two weeks later.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ames Day?

When I walked in Evan's room this morning, the first thing out of his mouth was "ames day", which he repeated continuously with a big smile on his face. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what he was saying until we walked into the living room and he pointed at the TV saying "ames day". Then it hit me! He was talking about James Taylor, whom he and Ryan had watched on DVD last night playing guitar at an Eric Clapton guitar festival. Later we turned it back on and below you can see him studying James Taylor's skills (note the folded arms!). Maybe we have a future guitar player on our hands?