All posts by Light

Gratitude Activates Peace

My family and I just returned from a get-a-way to Colorado. We love to visit a small mountain town called Creede. Home of the Rio Grande National Forest, it’s known for it’s fishing, hiking, camping and all around mountainous beauty.

We stayed in a small cabin in town, and while visiting a local restaurant employed by foreign exchange students, we met a young man from Ukraine. I’ve always been fascinated to discover the stories of people from other places. What I soon discovered from his story gave me a whole new perspective on the blessing I have as an American citizen.stock-photo-45137828-drinking-water

As he looked at our young children he told us how blessed they were to get to travel away from home. He said growing up they were never allowed to go anywhere except school. The government of Ukraine made it nearly impossible to travel outside your town with fees and expenses too outrageous to make it worth it. He said he always overhears the older couples who come to the restaurant, talk about where to go next… thinking to himself “You have no idea what a blessing it is to have options…”

He was in the states for the summer on a temporary work visa. He wasn’t complaining but told us he works 6-7 days a week with little time off, serving American’s who have no idea the blessings right in front of them. But he was so grateful to get the chance to be in America, even if it was for only three months at a time and only if he was working.

He told us about meeting a group of a young American’s at one of the restaurants he was working. “They were complaining about how awful America is…” he said with a thick Ukrainian accent. “About the politics and the violence… I had to tell them they do not know what they are taking for granted. At least America has politics, and gives it’s citizens a choice… in Ukraine, we do not have choice. In Ukraine we are taxed for everything… even the water and the ice in the restaurants is something you pay for…”

He was gracious and kind, like he just wanted us to know how blessed we were to be American’s.

He left to go check on our food, and as I popped the top off my kid’s 7-UP, with free ice, and sipped on my free water, I reveled in how much I actually do complain.

When we don’t have a great perspective on how blessed we really are, it can be easy to fall into the trap of ungratefulness, complaining, and focusing on what we do not have.

One thing I always do at the start of each day, or anytime I’m starting to feel unhappy or lose my peace is list the things I’m thankful for… the things many of us take for granted everyday:

Food to eat, a car to drive, money in the bank, a healthy family, a house with air conditioning and heating, great friends, a wonderful church… I think I’ll be adding freedom, and free ice water to the list too.

Gratitude activates peace.

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.”

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The Size of Your Impact Should Not Determine the Use of Your Gift

I was having coffee with a friend the other day and she was telling me how under-utilized she feels.

“I want to be used by God, but I just don’t feel like I have a great impact, so I find myself not using my gifts.”

I was instantly struck with this thought.

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I think most of us want to make a great impact. We want to use our gifts and talents to make a difference in the world. We want to matter, feel significant, and play a vital role. But sometimes, if we’re not careful, we can be deceived into burying our gifts, believing the lie that a small impact isn’t worth the trouble.

But that’s not what Jesus teaches.

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.” Matt. 25:14,15

If you know the story you’ll remember that the first two put their talents to work immediately, but the servant who received only one talent, buried it under the ground.

Sometimes I wonder if he did that because he saw how much the other servants had. More than him. Did comparison steal his chance to use the talent he had been given?

What about us? Does comparing our talents and success with that of others actually undermine our ability to use the gifts we have been given?

The size of our impact should not determine the use of our gift. 

We are continually encouraged: “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Ro. 12:6-8

It doesn’t say, if your gift is prophesying, then prophesy if you have an audience. If it is to lead, then lead diligently if you have followers, if it is to encourage, then give encouragement to gain popularity.

It simply says to do what you’ve been gifted to do. Despite nothing.

To be completely honest, the friend who was telling me this over coffee was actually me. For too long the enemy has been on my back and in my ear whispering lies that I shouldn’t use my gift because I’m not making that big of an impact. He had me tied up in knots, comparing myself to others that I perceived were having more success in reaching their dreams and God-given callings. In my eyes, I didn’t have the same success as these others, so why even bother? My enemy convinced me to bury what I did have out of fear, pride and insecurity.

But God, in His loving grace reminded me once again that the size of my impact should not determine the use of my gift. That if He’s gifted and called me to write for, encourage and build up the body of Christ I am to obey that calling no matter if I see the fruit of my labor.

And so it is for all of us, because each of us is gifted in one way or another and each of us is called to use that gift for His glory.

Are you using yours?

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Self Sabotage

The decision to make a change can be a frightening thing, and the enemy will come at us even stronger than before. Remember, a free person is a dangerous person to the enemy, so he will try to destroy our progress through self-sabotage.

I am a recovering self-saboteur. As I have overcome this bad habit, I have noticed a few reasons we may find it easy to fall prey to sabotaging our own best intentions

We believe we’re not worth it, or we don’t deserve it.

This is a common lie of the enemy, especially among women. Relational sabotage is wrapped up in this lie: “Go ahead, settle for what is less than best. You’re not worth the wait… the trouble… the work. You do not deserve to feel loved… pretty… fought for… pursued.” Fill in the blank. If we fall for this lie, we will self- sabotage by selling ourselves short. If no one has ever told you, I’m telling you now: You are worth the fight and the time it takes to make a change.

We allow our feelings or emotions to dictate our actions.

Most women, and maybe a few men, know this all too well. Many of our goals, dreams and visions are delayed, destroyed or dismissed when we allow our emotions to control us. Don’t get me wrong, feelings and emotions can be good things. God made us emotional, but our emotions and feelings can sabotage us if we do not bring them under His authority, focusing them in a positive way. A Bible reading plan I followed recently talked about our emotions and how they travel 80,000 times faster than our thoughts travel. Knowing this can help us understand why we sometimes act on our feelings even when we know the right things to do. Ever wonder why the Bible says to “Guard your heart.”? (Proverbs 4:23) Because from it springs our feelings and emotions. It is not only talking about guarding it from outside predators, but also guarding the emotions that may want to come out of it, if they are not in line with God’s leadership. A mentor of mine likes to say, “feelings are rarely our friends.” When we allow our feelings to control us we never know what may happen or where we may end up. Finding freedom from insecurity is not a practice in feelings, but a practice in choice.

Laziness.

Of course, it is easier to skip our Bible reading, not practice our sport, not eat healthy, craft or art, or sit down and accomplish what God has called us to do. It takes a lot less effort to let our thoughts run wild, or our mouths say what they want. Doing what we know we need to do is the harder thing. If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be worth it. We have to get off the couch of our mind and stand up for our freedom. No one else is going to do it for us! We must not allow laziness to cripple something God is calling us to do. “What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.”—Picasso.

Fear of change.

Oftentimes, it is this fear that keeps us taking one step forward and two steps back. We impede our progress because we fear how progress might change our lives. We fear failure, but we also fear success. We keep ourselves in our comfort zones, even though we are screaming to get out. We are playing tug-of-war with our flesh and spirit and the one who is going to win is the one we feed more. If our flesh is stronger, we will never change. We will stay in the prison of insecurity because that is where it is safe. It is what we have always known. As He asked the man waiting to be healed, Jesus is asking us, “Do you want to be free?” We keep ourselves living an okay life, when God has an unimaginably magnificent life waiting for us on the other side of change. Yes, change is scary. It is the unknown that stretches itself out across the expanse of our mind and keeps us from taking that first step forward. It is okay to feel afraid, but step out anyway. It is only when we step out of our comfort zone— step out of our bondage— that we will discover the life God designed for us all along.

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Give Yourself Away…You’ll Be Happier

A couple weeks ago I was really struggling with having joy as a mom. I was irritable, snappy, short. I wasn’t spending quality time with my kids because I was spending quantity time. In the same house, in the same room, in the same seat! I pushed away their requests for attention, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted (more on exhaustion later.) I wanted to do my thing, and wanted them to leave me alone. There were days when I laid down at night and asked myself “Did I even LOOK at my kids today?” Sure, I was with them. Sure, I took care of them. Fed them. Bathed them. Disciplined them. But did I LOOK at them? Did I take in his long eye-lashes, notice the hair in her face, the new scab on his knee, the fact she changed clothes eight times? I was actually entertaining thoughts like “Things would be so much easier without kids.” “This would be more enjoyable without kids.” “I wish I had never had kids.” It was a dark place. I know, you might be thinking, “She only has two kids…how hard can it be?” But everyone has their limits.

Is that ok to share? Oh well. If you’re a mom and you haven’t had those thoughts, you’re either lying, or you haven’t been a mom for very long. Just wait. You’ll think them too, eventually.

I am convinced being a parent is quite possibly the hardest form of sanctification there is. (Sanctification: the process of being made holy) If you let it, it can be the most effective way to break us of our stubborn, prideful and selfish heart. It can be the best teacher of service, selflessness and the true value of solitude. It’s as if God, in His infinite wisdom asked Himself, “How can we train these heathens called humans? I know! Let’s give them children.”

Children are a sort of ticket for the journey to holiness, if you but allow them to reshape your heart. Can other things take you on the journey to holiness? Of course, but parenting uncovers things inside us that other things just don’t.

I didn’t want to feel this way anymore, so I spent some time with Jesus, talked to my husband, and got a few things sorted out. I’ll admit, when it comes to parenting, my experience only reaches as far as my oldest son (who is almost five) So I know next to nothing, but this I do know:

As moms, we are leached of life. You can’t get around it. There are demands on you that are constant, urgent, and important. We can either be sucked dry and have a bad attitude about it, or choose to give ourselves away. The latter brings much more peace.

So I did a little experiment. Instead of allowing myself to be irritated at the rate of life and energy being sucked from me daily, I told myself “Give yourself away.” It became my mantra. “Give yourself away.” When he wants to play Uno for the sixth time, “Give yourself away.” When she wants you to accompany her to the bathroom Every. Single. Time. even though you know she can do it on her own, “Give yourself away.” I made a point to look, actually look at them, in the eyes, in the details, and I realized, once again, just how much I loved them.

Nothing changed, really… except me. Except my attitude. They still needed me at the same rate, and I was giving out the same energy, but it was different somehow. I did it with a happy heart. I chose to do it. The days passed more quickly, I enjoyed myself a lot more, and I’m sure my children enjoyed me more too.

Was I still exhausted at the end of the day? Yes, even more so. But I was also more fulfilled.

I like how Anne Lamott put it somewhat close to this: “Willing to be of service is where the joy resides.”

I write this to inspire, and encourage, but also to remind myself I always have a choice. A choice to be willing instead of reluctant, not just in motherhood, but also in life.

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Fight for Joy

It’s Memorial Day today and I was talking to a woman at church yesterday and asked her if she had any plans, a cookout with friends, swimming and lounging, or visiting grave sights, anything to commemorate the day. She looked a little sad and said “it’s just another day. But when I was a kid we would celebrate everything. Every holiday, big or small. Decorations, food, family. Thinking about it brings out the kid in me. If I had a place of my own, I would celebrate every holiday.”

I love that. Celebrate. There are so many opportunities to celebrate. So many chances to fight for joy in our lives. But I fear, too many of us miss the chance for joy in celebrating. We rationalize with “it’s not practical” “it takes time” “it costs money” “It doesn’t really matter” But it does matter because we need joy in our lives and celebrating things can bring us joy. It doesn’t have to cost money, unless you want it to. It might take an extra ounce of time and energy, but I’m convinced the joy it brings will repay you twice fold, if not more.

My mother-in-law celebrates everything. My kids get cards in the mail for Valentines, St. Patricks Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and the first day of summer and winter. She decorates little areas of her house and writes on little chalk board signs for each obscure holiday. I love this about her. She takes celebrating seriously and she is full of joy.

A friend of mine is going through menopause. She took the news really hard and just couldn’t see the beauty in this next season of life. I immediately felt compelled to encourage celebration! (Now, I understand I’ve never been through menopause so I don’t know what it’s like, but I do believe certain things in life need to be celebrated among close friends—especially milestones, and the beginning and passing of certain seasons.) I started thinking of party names for this particular celebration. “The Hell Yes Party,” “Hot Hallelujah Party,” “Freed from the Bleed” “The Red is Dead” and my personal favorite “Flo No Mo.” We’d all wear red, but she would wear black. We’d drink Bloody Mary’s and invite Flo from the Progressive commercials to give this certain season the right send off. I’m already excited for my Menopause Party.

Fight for joy. Life gives us enough reasons not to celebrate, why not take every opportunity we can to throw a little party?

Many people might think negatively about celebrating and making a big deal out of things. I’ve certainly heard people talk negatively about the stores coming out with Christmas decorations in July, and Valentines decorations in December, always reaching for that next party, always planning for that next celebration. I’ve read writers who condemn this kind of behavior saying “we’re grasping for joy” instead of living in and enjoying the moment, but I believe there is a balance of both. Grasping for joy is not a bad thing. Fighting for joy is a necessary part to living this life. Without joy, what do we have? Yes, live in the moment, but live with joy. Truly live, don’t just get by, don’t just make-it-through, LIVE.

Happy Memorial Day. Hope you’ll celebrate in some way, even if it’s just wearing a star crown on your head!

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Today

“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”
Psalm 95:8

I always read this verse thinking it was talking about the lost… but lately Jesus brought it to my attention as it relates to His believers.
Sometimes we have hardened hearts toward Him.

It could be when we hear His voice to spend time with Him, but choose to do other things instead… It could be when we read a scripture that tells us who we are, but we don’t believe it… It could be when he asks us to do something, but we choose disobedience….

Today, if you hear His voice do not harden your heart.
He is calling to you.

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When You Know Who You Are…

Re-reading through one of my favorite book of poems and this short verse caught my attention:

I have done one braver thing
Than all the Worthies did,
And yet a braver thence doth spring,
Which is, to keep that hid-John Donne

It makes me think of Jesus when Paul reminds us that: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;”
Philippians 2:6

It reminds me that when my identity is firmly placed in Him and I know who I am, I don’t have to worry who else knows who I am, or what I have accomplished. True validation comes from knowing Him and being known by Him. When He knows who I am and I know who I am in Him, that becomes enough.

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Emma’s Birth Story

The birth story of Emma Joy Light

Written for her by her mother, Anna Light

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Emma,

Your birth story starts long before I ever went into labor. Your estimated due date was March 27th. It was a Wednesday and while I knew I would probably be a few days late, I never imagined you would take your sweet time entering the world.

Wednesday came and went, and so did Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Still I had no baby to cuddle. I wasn’t concerned or anxious, since your brother came three days late, but I thought for sure you would come within the next day or two, or so I hoped.

Sunday was Easter, and I was glad to spend it with family at your Aunt Cristi’s house hunting Easter eggs with all the cousins and eating way too much good food. Once dinner was over I said, “Ok, baby can come now!”

Monday passed and so did Tuesday… No sign, except the occasional grinding of your head in my pelvis. (Thanks for that!)

I had an appointment Tuesday with the midwives and I thought for sure, I wouldn’t have to go. I was 6 days late! Surely you were well on your way. I went to my appointment where Gail, my midwife, checked to see if I was dilated. I was at a 2 and everything was in it’s proper place. You just weren’t ready yet. I thought the check might help spur on labor, so I made pasta that night as a last meal and thought for sure we would meet you by morning.

That evening we finally decided to flip a coin to agree on a boy name for you. I won the toss so Caleb William Light or Emma Joy Light could come into the world. Nothing was stopping you now.

That night I woke up with horrible stomach pains. I wasn’t sure if they were contractions or not, but I went ahead and timed them. I got up and walked around the house, visited the toilet a few times and realized I was losing my plug. Surely this is it, I thought but these “contractions” felt odd and came so irregularly. I started to feel nauseas and had diarrhea… all signs of labor, but something just didn’t feel right. I was in so much pain, worse pain than contractions because these stomach cramps were constant and the nausea sent me over the edge. I finally threw up my pasta dinner from the night before and realized, I wasn’t in labor. I was sick.

After a night of cleaning out my body from both ends, I finally rested well into the late morning. Cody stayed home from work to take care of Ethan, and I just slept as much as I could that day. I got my appetite back and thought, Ok, now can I please go into labor?!

Thursday was a normal day. Cody returned to work and I tried to rest between taking care of Ethan. I planned a foot massage to hopefully induce labor naturally. I was desperate at this point, willing to try anything. Cody came home early and I just cried in his arms “I’m so miserable. I just don’t want to be pregnant anymore.”

I had the massage that evening and she told me, if you don’t go into labor than this will definitely get your bowls moving. She knew the pressure points to hit and it relaxed me.

Everyone assured me, “babies always come out.” Of course I knew this but when you’re emotionally exhausted and hormonally crazy you begin to think silly things.

Thursday night the contractions started again. They were every 10 to 15 minutes apart. I couldn’t get comfortable, so I laid on the couch with Cody on the floor beneath me. Ethan must have suspected we were up, because he got up and wanted to be with us. I started to feel sick again, more diarrhea and nausea. Are you kidding me?! I thought, this is ridiculous! Give me labor over this any day, at least labor leads to a baby! I kept losing my plug with each bathroom visit so I knew something was happening. The contractions kept coming but they were getting further apart. 30 minutes, 45 minutes…. This was not real labor.

That day (Friday) my mom came over because sometimes you just need your mommy. Cody took Ethan to Aunt Cristi’s so I could really rest. Gail suggested I take Tylenol PM to really get some good sleep. She must have known I wouldn’t be able to go into labor and push this baby out while I was so exhausted. This was now 2 nights in a row with no sleep.

I slept all day with the aid of Tylenol PM. I was contracting about every 20 minutes, but at least the nausea had subsided. I cried to mom, “I feel like I need to go to the hospital so I can get well, and while I’m there, they might as well take the baby, I don’t know if I can do this.” I doubted my ability to labor while so exhausted. I seriously considered just getting it over with–as serious as you can get while doped up on sleeping pills!

We finally decided I was in pre-labor and had pre-labored for two days. At least once active labor decided to start, it wouldn’t be too long till we met you. Knowing that helped me. At least these last two days had done something.

9pm
We had Ethan stay with Amber and Kody so we could get some rest. We got in bed and 30 minutes later a contraction wracked my body. 5 minutes later another one. We started timing and realized this was it… maybe…

10:30pm
After an hour of intense contractions every 4-5 minutes, we decided to call in the troops. Gail’s assistant was on her way, as well as mom and dad.

When Jessie (the assistant) arrived she checked me. I was still so uncertain this was real labor that I cried just thinking of morning coming with still no baby. I was at a 5 and 80% effaced. Jessie assured me, this was real labor. I shook with the force of the hormones in my body so she suggested I get in the shower to try and relax.

11:30pm
My sisters started arriving. First, Ali, then Erin and finally Katie. Gail arrived shortly after and coffee started brewing. It was going to be an all-nighter.

12:00am
Contractions rocked my body, but I tried not to fight them. I knew if I let them do their work, this would be over sooner. I labored on my hands and knees in the living room while soft music played and a slide show of our pictures filtered through the Apple TV kept everyone entertained, or lulled them to sleep.

12:30am
I moved around a lot. I had so much pressure in my pelvis as you made your way down. My stomach nearly disappeared as you engaged and continued to bare down. I needed to look right into someone’s eyes with each contraction, my silent question “Can I do this?” searching for an answer in their gaze. With each breath I felt myself stretch wider. “Open, open, open,” I thought. I stood with Cody, for a few contractions and would go back to leaning on the couch as the pool was being blown up and filled with water.

I got in the pool and it relaxed me, though I couldn’t get in a comfortable position, so I just kept moving. On my side, on my back, leaning with my arms over the edge. Mom, Katie and Cody were my companions for a while, until I got out and labored again in the living room. I realized then I was entering the “out-of-it” stage. I felt like I was dreaming. My mind was in a fog and the only thing I could really understand was the pain and that I had to let it do it’s work. I kept saying “I’m out of it, I’m out of it.” My sister Katie said, “Out of what?” I just said “Out of it.”

Gail suggested I sit facing backward on the toilet. I didn’t like it at first. It made the contractions stronger and it was a bit uncomfortable. Mom said to give three contractions sitting there and I could get up.

Once those were over I got up, but realized I did like the toilet. I felt open and could feel the contractions doing their work. I got back on with pillows to support me. The contractions started coming further apart and I was getting discouraged, but they told me to welcome the break and rest between each one. I dozed while Katie, and Mom took turns standing behind me to support me when a contraction hit.

2:30pm-ish
I wanted to be checked again so came in the bedroom and laid on the bed. I was at a 6-7 and fully effaced. I was discouraged I wasn’t at an 8 or 9, but Gail knew the right words to say and told me I was very close and that it was great progress. I remember my sister Ali had to leave at 3am to catch a flight. I said good bye and got back in the pool and labored for another hour or two, at this point I was losing track of time.

With each contraction I breathed, making as little sound as possible. I breathed deep, all the way down to my baby and felt myself stretching. I was proud of myself for not fighting the pain. I knew it wouldn’t be long now. Cody, Katie and Mom took turns with me. Katie and Mom sat on the floor next to the pool. Katie said, “Don’t think about the pain.” I said, “Tell me what to think about.” She said, “Holding your baby.” Then mom said “Swimming at the pool this summer.” Those distractions helped and before I knew it I felt the urge to push. “This is a girl,” I told Mom and Katie. I had thought boy for the longest time, but the last couple days and especially during labor my intuition told me: girl. I was baring down and groaning, my body telling me what to do without even being checked. I told Gail I wanted to be checked and sure enough I was complete! I could push!

4am
Erin and Dad came into the room at that point, woken by my groans as my body told me to start pushing. Cody called his mom and she showed up, though I was barely aware of anyone in the room at that point. I asked for Cody and he held my hands as I pushed with each contraction.

My pushes were wimpy. I could even tell that! I was hesitant and shied away from them thinking, the baby will just slip out, I won’t have to do much… Gail told me I could reach down and feel the head, I did, but I couldn’t tell if it was a head or not. It just felt hard and I just wanted the pain to stop.

I pushed for 30 minutes with no progress. I even looked at Gail and told her, “I don’t think these are doing much.” She agreed and suggested I try to lay flatter with Cody supporting my back in the pool. I think he was half way in the pool himself trying to support me, but that position wasn’t working either.

“I think you need to get out of the pool and on the bed. Flat on your back so you can grab your knees and really push.” This was Gail’s suggestion and I didn’t hesitate. I climbed out of the pool and made my way to the bed as another contraction hit. I finally laid down and tried pushing again. Again, I shied away, not wanting to experience the pain. I could feel my body twisting away from the extreme pressure in my pelvis. Surely the baby will just come with each contraction, I thought. But I was wrong. I was going to have to give my strength to this, all of my strength or you would never come out. After another push with no progress, Gail, quite sternly said, “Anna! I want you to put your bottom down, grab your knees and curl around your baby… you have to push and hold it there as long as you can.” Then she asked for a prayer.

My dad prayed and though I don’t remember the exact words I remember him saying something like, “Help Anna understand it’s going to have to hurt for a little, speak to her and help her bring this baby forth.” It was a message to me. Embrace the pain. Stop trying to run from it. Give it everything you have and it will be over soon.

With the next push my mind exploded. I had to find a place inside to hide. I could not be present for this pain. I felt myself slipping away into a Never Land of the mind. It’s where I had to be to get through it. I felt a gush of water and thought I had peed, but my water broke and I felt myself stretch to the max. “Hold it, Hold it,” Gail said. I was screaming, grunting and writhing but I knew that push had done something.

“Reach down and feel your baby’s head, it’s crowning.” I felt it for a split second, but the pain was so excruciating I didn’t last long trying to explore. My sister Erin was at my right, helping me hold my leg up while my sister Katie and Cody were helping me hold my left leg. With the next push I felt the fire and more water gushing, but I also felt a head pop out. That’s the hardest part, I thought. I’m almost done. Little did I know the cord was wrapped around your neck twice and tucked under your arm. You were blue and Gail told me to stop pushing. STOP PUSHING?! Are you kidding me?! Guttural sounds were coming from my mouth, I couldn’t stop. My sister Erin jumped right in, “Anna, pant with me He-he-he, its for your baby, it’s for your baby.” I did that for 15 seconds and it was enough for Gail to get the cord unwrapped. “I can’t stop, it’s coming… ” I said, and Gail said “It’s ok.”

4:54am
You flopped out on the bed. No one caught you because they were too concerned about the cord. You were on your stomach so no one saw what you were. They threw a towel around you and placed you on my stomach. Still no one knew if you were a boy or a girl. I reached down to feel between your legs saying, “I wanna know what it is!” I felt nothing protruding and announced to everyone in the room “It’s a girl!” To which they screamed and giggled with delight!

“My baby girl,” I said with elation, having instant relief from the pain and feeling the ecstasy of your skin against mine. I loved you in that instant, your warmth filled me with a love so fierce it hurt. Cody sat next to my head, completely shocked that you were a girl and not a boy. He didn’t speak for several minutes, and later told me he was shocked and close to tears. I held you close as we waited for the cord to stop pulsing, once daddy cut it, I rubbed your back and your first breath filled the room with a soft baby cry.

A daughter. Our daughter.

Emma Joy Light, born April 6th at 4:54am.

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