Well, don’t just look at your presents under the tree. Open them!


A gift becomes a gift once it is given.

The thing, however, about gifts is that they are given with the hopes that they will then be received.

And, usually, a gift is given in brightly colored wrapping or placed gently and beautifully in a bag.

They are pretty. And enticing. And exciting.

Gifts. They usually are calling our name! We can’t hardly WAIT until that moment when we can take that beautiful wrapping and tear it apart! Or, if you are a wrapping paper saver, slowly and carefully start removing the tape and gently folding back the paper.

Or take that bag and peek inside, throwing tissue paper up haphazardly in the air so that you can get to the point where you can pull out the present. REVEALING the gift.

But that’s the thing…

Action has to be taken to get to the heart of the present.  And that action is:  You must receive the gift (accept it) and then open it.  I don’t know anyone that keeps their Christmas presents under the tree all year long, just looking at them in their wrapping and saying, “My, what beautiful boxes under the tree.”

Heavens no!  Christmas morn or the eve before, when it comes time, your family probably sits down together and you pass the gifts around, and you open them.  And you proclaim how great the gifts are and how happy you are to receive them!

That’s how presents are done.

And that’s exactly what Jesus is.  A beautiful gift.

But he was never meant to only be given and placed under the tree, just to sit there and wait.

He was meant to be given and received.  Unwrapped and accepted.

And then proclaimed…

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:11 (KJV)

For you this is what I pray.

That you accept this beautiful gift of Jesus.  The perfect Christmas present.  And share this good news of great joy!

Wesołych świąt i szczęśliwego nowego roku!  

May your Christmas be filled with love and laughter and may God guide and protect you into the new year!


I’m Superglued Together…My C-Section Adventure.

From Baby Belly to Belly Jelly…

Welcome, Josephine Diane!

So, I did not intend on a C-Section.  In fact, we went in to be induced on January 1st.  We were SO excited.  We had packed bags and big, big smiles!  Our children (Adelyne and Maxwell) were already dispersed to the cousins, and we got lots of family hugs all around.  My momma, whom the little J girl is named after, Josephine Diane (Diane being my momma’s name), got all dressed up for the hospital to meet her precious namesake.

My husband ate his last meal—and got me OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE for one of my last “pre-induction” meals.  Since we all know that ya can’t eat once induced.  And, if you know me at all, you know how much I LOVE my food.

So, my handsome hubby got me a “rocking” last pre-baby meal.

I tell you.  We had it all together and ALL planned out.

EXCEPT…When we arrived something completely different took place.


We were told, “Um…Why are you carrying your hospital bags?  You’ll be going home tonight.”


“Yes.  We induce you, and if you don’t progress 2 centimeters in 2 hours, we send you home to labor.  And you have 3 chances for this.”

SAY WHAT?!  You induce me and send me home to writhe in pain?!  Doesn’t sound like a jar of jelly beans to me.

Now—if I had progressed…And believe me, my contractions were every 5-10 minutes, I was 3 centimeters dilated, and my cervix was practically 0.  So, there was a SUPER GREAT chance that I would be one of the women that goes into labor, gets to stay in the hospital, and have the baby that night.

BUT…I don’t like pain, and not being near pain meds or professional anesthesiologists was so not for me.  In fact, the very thought of being induced, not progressing, and being sent home sounded like a small form of TORTURE.  And I’m not pro-torture Brooke.  Therefore, Rich and I said, “Thanks for this info.  We’re outta here.  We’ll come back next week when it’s Pitocin induction and I can’t be sent home.”

But something else happened between then and the “next week” .  I had an ultra sound on Friday (part of the Stress Testing that I had been doing twice a week since 30 weeks).

The Ultra Sound lady looked at little Josephine, and measured her.  And measured her.  And measured her.  And finally said, “Your baby measure 10.8 pounds to 10.12 pounds.  I need to call your doctor.  Stay here.”

And she did.  And Rich and I didn’t know what was going on.  And then the doctor said, “Come in first thing Monday morning.  We need to talk about a C-Section.”


Absolutely NOTHING was taking place this week like I had planned.  No induction.  Baby far bigger than anticipated.  No baby—yet.  I felt like hyperventilating.

But, instead of sticking my head in a bag and/or passing out, Rich and I and a whole slew of really awesome peeps came to our house the very next morning and helped up pack up our little farmhouse and move the entire house and all of its contents into a bigger house in three hours.  And, yes…I had contractions every 5-10 minutes the entire moving day.

Good thing the crowd of awesome friends let me eat donuts and direct traffic all day.

So, instead of being induced—instead of looking at a future induction, I was moving homes, having contractions, and starting to talk to all sorts of women about C-Sections.

To make a long story shorter…we agreed with the doctors.  And so all wheels were set in motion.

C Day…January 8th.  Her daddy’s birthday!


Now, mind you, I may have terrible pregnancies, but I was 2-0 for rocking labors.  My daughter came 11 days late, I was induced, and labor from start to finish was 8 and 1/2 hours.  It was like a party.  My son came 5 weeks and 6 days early, but labor itself was 4 and 1/2 hours.  It was not a party—because I had no pain meds.  But you really can’t beat a 4 and 1/2 hour labor.  I bounced back from that within 5 minutes.

But here I was about to embark on a different path.  And it was a very STERILE path.  Have you ever been in a surgical room before?  SCARY!  Freezing cold.  Sterile environment.  Anesthesiologist.  And lots of prep work for surgery—without my husband in the room.   Finally—lots of paperwork and signatures, signing your life away while letting you know of all the bad things that could go wrong.

YIKES!  Surgery was definitely not for me.  But we were there—and my belly was not getting any smaller.  Let’s rock this joint!

They finally let my husband in and started immediately.

Now—my husband and I are some of those people that take pictures and videos throughout my labors so that I can actually enjoy the moments post fact. With our C-Section, however, he wasn’t allowed to take pictures or video of the procedure.  I was a bit bummed about that.

But within minutes, I felt this unbelievable suction out of my belly.  It was like a huge balloon being pulled out.  And then we heard a loud ruckus of murmurs…”Wow!  Look at those cheeks.  She’s huge!”

And, before a moments notice was up, there she was.  Our little Josephine Diane right next to me.  And you are not kidding.  Her cheeks were HUGE!  And she was the spitting image of her ultra sound pictures.  And she was all dirty and screaming her lungs out.  And she was perfect.  And safe.  And we were so happy.

Then they put her on the scale.  10 pounds 10 ounces.  For those in the other measurement world, that’s roughly 4.82 kilograms.

Whoop!  There she is.  In all of her chubby glory.  Perfect.  Screaming.  Safe.

Thank you, Lord.

Now for the finale—putting me back together.  I was a bit bummed that I didn’t get to see any of the surgery, so I remember my sister-in-law telling me that if you look up at the lights, they act as a mirror, and you can see your reflection.

Sure enough, I glanced up and noticed that the metal bars of the large surgical lights above had a great reflection of the surgery taking place below.  So I got to see all of my inners—all of my guts and glory.  At first it was like, “Oh, wow!  That’s fascinating!”  With my second look, however, it was like, “Oh, yuck!  Scary.  That’s my insides.”  And so, I stopped looking after that and just appreciated the doctor as he verbally walked us through all the steps.

Truth be told, a combination of the anesthesia and then the rocking of putting my inners back in rendered me seasick.  And thus the puking began.

Of course, my hubby is with baby at this point.  So it’s just the anesthesia doc and me in all of my guts and glory—he’s catching my puke and wiping my face while on the other side of the curtain the doc and the nurses are reinserting my inners and working on gluing me back together.

And, of course, in the midst of the vomiting it did not hit me, but later it did…

Sometimes in life we take different paths or go in different directions than we intended.  If you had heard the conversation I had with the nurse on the Friday that we were told the doctors recommended a C-Section, you would have heard me at my worst.

I was upset.  I was angry.  And I probably wasn’t kind.  I was crying.  And I was not at all about to agree with the path that they recommended for me or our baby.

But I called many women and confronted all of my questions and fears.  By Monday, we walked into the office in peace.

The doctors shared their concerns.  If the baby got stuck, there would be an emergency C-Section (15 inch head, by the way, is what our little gal measured).  Or there was the possibility of her shoulder being broken, nerve damage, and, ultimately but very seriously, potential neurological damage if delivery did not go smoothly and something went wrong.

They didn’t try to scare us.  They shared with us.  And we both had great peace that yes, it was not what we had wanted, but it was the direction we were willing to go.  Down the surgical road of the big C.

Then the best part took place.  Since I reached my due date, they were wanting the C-Section the next day.  But we asked, “Um…If we are going to go C, anyway, can you wait one more day?  It’s my husband’s birthday on Wednesday.”

Sure enough.  They were willing to wait another day.  And I got to plan not only for our baby—but a double birthday party!

I never intended on being superglued together.  I never intended on a C-Section.  I never intended this pregnancy to end the way it did.  But that’s life.

Sometimes our insides have got to come out.  We have to be gutted.  We have to be cleaned.  And we have to be put back together.  And only then do we truly have what is best.

For us, the best was a safe and healthy baby placed into our arms.

You may have to endure your own surgery.  Perhaps your guts have to come out.  Maybe you will need a little suction or cleaning.  And then your world may rock as you are put back in place—causing great discomfort (in my case puking)…but it may also be the best for you.

After all, the most important is “Are you okay?  Are you safe?  Will you make it?”

And then, in the end, you may be superglued together.  But you know that everything is okay.

You will heal.  You may scar.  But you will live.

God is good.

And so is our baby, Sweet Cheeks 2, Josephine Diane!

View More: http://bellolume.pass.us/nungesserfamily

One week before our Sweet Cheeks joined us outside the Belly


And now you can see how she got her name

(But she is #2 since our 1st daughter was also called Sweet Cheeks)