Sunday, December 28, 2008

Awaiting the arrival....

Well, Christmas 2008 has come and gone. We have had a VERY eventful and memorable December. I directed our church's Christmas Festival early in the month for two nights. I worked on finishing exams for my semester here in seminary. We moved closer to the church the weekend following the Christmas Festival. Then, the next day Beth went into labor and we had our first child on Monday, 12/15. Beth's family arrived for Christmas and we celebrated our 6th Christmas together. Whew! What a month!

As I sit here, Emma is in her swing, Mommy and Granny are out, and all of the family have gone home to California, Tennessee, and Virginia. We await the arrival of the Davis family tomorrow. It will be a great time to get to see them yet again. While Angie was unable to be here in time for the birth of Emma, I know this visit will be very special. Of course, we also await the arrival of 2009. We pray that God would continue to strengthen us for this upcoming year. We look forward in anticipation as to how God will work in and through us as a larger family. We are so blessed by everyone's prayers and support of us. This has been an incredible year as we look back. God has blessed us so much that we are overwhelmed with His love through His Body. Pray that we might be able to rest and trust His love for us and that we might be able to be extensions of the love to others as well. Thank you for walking with us as we live by faith.


The Zarlenga family

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Beth, Emma Grace and I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas. Thank you all for praying and supporting us through this time with Emma Grace. We do have wonderful news for you. As of Monday, she saw the pediatrician and has been taken off of the apnia monitor. YEAH! He said that since she had no significant episodes since she was born and the fact that the monitor has never proven to save a child's life, he thought it was best to take her off of it. This has given Beth and I a sigh of relief. Since then she has been doing very well. She has been sleeping, eating and pooping very well. He has kept her on the Mylanta and Zantac, which it seems will be for another month. We have another checkup this coming Monday.

Beth and I will be the first to admit that she is the most precious baby ever. I believe that is proud, thankful parents talking. I will put up some pictures from her coming home from the hospital and of course her in her Christmas outfit. We will be in touch soon!

Merry Christmas!
Dale, Beth, and Emma Grace

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Granny and Emma

Daddy changes Emma for the first time

Daddy reading to Emma Grace

Emma Grace update

Hello Family and Friends...

Wow! What a week this has been! We are so thankful for how God has given us Emma to care for and raise. What a blessing she is! Thank you all for all of your prayers and support of us through this time. It has been a very busy week here caring for Emma. Thank you for your patience with an absence of pictures and information. I still need to learn how to put pictures and videos on the blog. I know it can be done, but I need a little help in doing that. So here is an update for you...

This week since Emma has been born, she has been battling a low temperature, dips in her heart rate and oxygen, and battling a moderate case of reflux. On Monday afternoon after she was born, she had a barium swallow. I couldn't believe that they could do that so soon, but they did it! They checked her for an infection from having a bowl movement on her way out. Those tests were negative, thankfully. All week long she has been in a special care nursery on the 7th floor. This is a step down from the typical NICU. These nurses and doctors have been very wonderful and helpful as we have sought to care for her and get to know her. She has progressed everyday this week as she has gotten a little older each day. They requested us take the infant CPR class to help know the signs and symptoms of a blocked airway and how to treat her. They also gave us yesterday an apnia monitor that she will wear for the next couple of weeks. Last night, they provided us a hospitality room for us to stay with her in the room on the same floor of the nursery. She has been stable and was expected to go home today (Thursday). We did have an episode last night of a low temperature again and they said to us this morning that they will want to keep her again for another day. So, we are expected to stay in this room and care for her while being near the nursery.

Please continue to pray for us as we battle these things with Emma. Pray for healing and her maturity through these issues. Give thanks that her feeding has gone very well this week when she isn't sleepy. Last night, sleepy wasn't the issue. She was hungry! Pray for our strength and focus during this time as we are new parents caring for her. We are so sad that she has to go through this, but know that God has her in His care.

Again, thank you for your prayers and your support during this time. Please feel free to leave messages here, Facebook, and emails. That is the best way to send your messages at this point. Thank you for understanding that we are unable to reply to all messages, including the phone. May God's peace be with you.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Emma Grace - Pics Day 1

Announcing.....Emma Grace Zarlenga!

Hello Family and Friends....

We would like to introduce to you our daughter, Emma Grace Zarlenga. She was born on December 15, 2008 at 1:20am. She weighed 7 lbs. and measured 19.5 in. She certainly is a gift from the Lord and a physical display of His grace and mercy to us. She has quite a story already before she was born and now that she is here, we look forward to walking in faith with her and how God will work in her life.

Thank you for rejoicing with us and welcoming baby Emma into your lives. We look forward to you meeting her soon.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Celebrating 20 Weeks and a Baby....

In June, we had the privilege of attending a wedding of our dear friend, Anna. At the time, I was only 12 weeks along and we did not know what we were having. As Anna walked down the aisle, with her hand under the arm of her daddy, tears came to my eyes. Lord willing, would we one day be facing the bittersweetness of giving our daughter away into the arms of the man we have prayed for? And would my dear husband also be given the amazing privilege of officiating the service and lead worship in some capacity on her wedding day?

Not soon after we returned to our car following the ceremony, did I mention to Dale that I could not help but to wonder if we would have a daughter someday and he would have to give her away. He responded very quickly, " I was thinking the same thing. I don't know if I will be able to do that."

Just recently, my father called to congratulate Dale upon finding out we are expecting a GIRL! Dale's response was, "I can not imagine holding that little girl in the palm of my hand and then one day having to walk her down to give her away..." Oh, to hear of how the Lord is preparing my husband to love his daughter blesses me in ways I can not even express. Christmas Day can not get here soon enough! As we celebrate 20 weeks today, we are so grateful for her precious little life and continue to be ever so thankful for your ministry of prayer to us. Our next check-up is August 19th and it can't get here soon enough. We will look forward to keeping you posted...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Grateful for Answered Prayer

This Thursday, July 24th, we will be 18 weeks along in our pregnancy. The Lord has taught us so much already through these past four 1/2 months and we know this is only the beginning.:)

Once we found out we were expecting, I had to see my doctor right away due to the high risk nature of our pregnancy. It is defined as high risk due to the blood clot I had in my lung last year. When you are pregnant, your blood flow becomes thicker and so to help keep my blood thin and prevent clotting, I give myself a shot every night in my stomach. During our first ultrasound at about 5 weeks, we learned that a blood sac had formed in my uterus. This supposedly is common for women who have had some kind of blood clotting disorder. We were very concerned when the doctor discovered it because if my body did not absorb the blood sac, we could either lose the baby first trimester or eventually go into pre-term labor. God has shown us tremendous mercy as He has graciously answered prayer. At our last ultrasound at 13 weeks, the blood sac was gone! We are so grateful! This Tuesday, we will, Lord willing, find out what we are having. We are very excited and can't wait! We will certainly let you know!:) Thank you so much for all of your love and prayers. We are indebted to the Lord for His grace to us through you!

Dale's Greatest Birthday Present

April 16th of this year was Dale's 29th birthday. He awoke that morning, having no idea of the precious gift that awaited him. He proceeded through his normal routine to prepare for school and work that day and I kissed him good bye.

About nine hours later, I met him in his office before choir practice with a little gift in my hand that had arrived later that day. When I handed it to him, he asked who it was from. " You'll see." I replied. With a smile on his face, he began to remove the tissue paper from the small package. Awaiting for him at the bottom of the bag was a small white box. He carefully opened the lid and stood there reading the little card that lay on top of the gift. It read:

Happy Birthday Daddy! I love you
and can't wait to meet you soon!
Love, Baby Zarlenga

In utter shock and disbelief, he broke out in tears and held me tight.Once he somewhat collected himself, he asked the infamous question," Are you sure? Have you seen the doctor today?" I was able to answer yes to both of those questions and show him the pregnancy test (still lying in the box) to verify the former question. Still crying, he could not believe his eyes! The Lord had heard his cry and had granted him one of his greatest desires. Lord willing, we will meet our little one and hold him or her in our arms on Christmas Day!:) We wait with much anticipation and joy!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul....

This past week has been one of those in which we have experienced a roller coaster of emotions ranging from elation to fear. It is during the times of fear that my heart begins the process of disengagement from the One who loves me more than I can comprehend. I hear of yet another consequence of the Fall, and I once again allow my circumstances to define God. Though I despise it, I allow my heart to become detached from Him and feelings of abandonment take over. I have wrestled with this for quite sometime now, and it is to me, the worst thing on this side of Eternity. I am so thankful for His amazing grace to love and pursue me in the midst of my fear and doubt. He is faithful to minister to my brokenness as only He can. In Worship today we sang a song written by Anne Steele and composed by Kevin Twitt titled, Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul. It practically brought me to tears as I feel like it so beautifully expresses the longing and struggle of my heart to cling to Jesus in the midst of trial. If you are struggling to cling to Him, our only Hope, I pray He may encourage your heart through these words today.

Dear refuge of my weary soul on Thee when sorrows rise.
On Thee when waves of trouble toll, My fainting hope relies.
To Thee I tell each rising grief, For Thou alone canst heal
Thy word can bring a sweet relief For every pain I feel.

But oh! when gloomy doubts prevail, I fear to call Thee mine
The springs of comfort seem to fail, and all my hopes decline.
Yet gracious God where shall I flee? Thou art my only trust
And still my soul would cleave to Thee Thou prostrate in the dust.

Hast Thou not bid me seek thy face, And shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of Sovereign grace Be deaf when I complain?
No still the ear of Sovereign grace, Attends the mourner's prayer
Oh may I ever find access, To breath my sorrows there.

Thy mercy seat is open still, Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope, attend thy will, and wait beneath Thy feet
Thy mercy seat is open still, Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Looking back....

Well, it has been one year since the beginnings of our hospital visits. This blog is at least one year old and has been a great reminder of God's work in our lives. God has been helping us to continue to live by faith as we live each day for him. Some days are harder than others, due to anxiety, stress, and temptation. Other days, we clearly see the Lord's hand and blessings in our life. I know for myself (Dale), this past year brought times of questioning God, His purposes and plan for our lives. It has been a year of tumultuous change for us. Through it all, God is bringing both Beth and I to grow in relying only upon Him and to know His redeeming, unchanging, compassionate steadfast love for us. There have been moments where this has been overwhelming to the point of tears, but one person put it, it seems to be God short circuiting the ways that have been turned against Him for so long.

Beth and I do thank you all so much for your prayers this past year. We do covet your prayers as we continue down this journey. This upcoming year will be filled with much more adventure I do not doubt. Lord willing, we will be able to update this a little bit more often to allow you to walk with us. Take care and talk with you real soon!