Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I May or May Not be Having a Hard Time With Him Turning 6


That is my son.

And he is swaddled.

I did pick him up, and carry him like that too.

In doing so, I totally hurt my arm.

He doesn't weigh as little as he did when I used to swaddle him like that before bed, from 0-4 months of age.

Seriously, though, as we were getting ready to go to bed the other night, The Little Man asked what it was like when he was a baby, and I would put him to bed.  After laughing together about how we used to call him our "Baby Burrito", he asked, "What do you mean, you wrapped me like a burrito?"  Seeing a large blanket on his bed, I thought, "Well, this could be fun."

And it was.

Except for the injured arm part.

That's what happens when you take things a little too far.

Someone always gets hurt.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Some Girly Girls Hate Pink

Recently, The Girl revealed to me that she hates pink. 

I was surprised.

She rarely complains about things such as these.  Clothing, colors, decor, shopping, and anything fashion or style related are not her bag.  At almost eight and a half years of age, she still asks me to dress her (not literally, but she wants me to pick out all her clothing, including socks and shoes) everyday.  Thank goodness she goes to a school where they are required to wear a uniform.  On a recent shopping trip, I was showing off a few things on the rack.  I was hoping she would give me some input on what she would like to wear, and was thinking it would be a time to catch up on her likes and dislikes.  Also, I don't have the faintest idea on how to dress an eight year old girl.  So, the fact that she relies on me to dress her each day is quite ironic. 

(Little girls are easy.  They wear dresses or super cutesy outfits, or play clothing (read: sweat pants and t-shirts).  At age eight, I don't think that flies anymore.  However, other clothing seems a bit, well, too old, too flashy, or down right wrong for a little girl.)

So in an attempt to help her feel like she looks cool and fits in, I was hoping she would share with me what she would like to wear based off of what she sees her friends wearing. 

This would require that she notices what her friends wear.

Guess what? She doesn't.

And she doesn't give a rip either.

However, when I held up a shirt, just plain and simple, in a hot pink, she said, "NO WAY!"

Shocked by her actually having an opinion, I asked why.

"It's pink, mom.  I'm not really a pink kind of girl."



I started thinking about what a "Pink kind of girl" is.  And then I was thinking about who my girl is.

You know what? She's not really a pink sort of girl.

But it's not as easy as saying she's more of a tomboy type.  No, she's still girly...in her own way.

She is super nurturing, and loves to take care of stuff.  Stuff like bugs, worms, and animals (as long as she can get into to the dirt she's pretty happy).  She is one heck of a bug mom.  This past winter and spring, she kept a Ladybug like a pet in our garage.  She was constantly checking on her, caring for her, and making sure her every need was met.  I honestly didn't know it was possible for a bug to live that long in a plastic tube.

While she loves bugs, dirt, and climbing trees, she doesn't lean all the way into the traditional tomboy role either because she totally draws the line on things like sports, video games, or any sort of competition.  Instead, she would prefer to read or do some sort of art or craft.

She likes dresses, but only if she can wear bike shorts underneath so she can still play on the monkey bars.

She likes to play in make-up, but leans towards the punk rock look.

And today, I was reminded that while she LOVES pedicures and having her nails done, NEVER, and I really mean never (in case the all capital letters were not clear enough) has she ever chosen pink, red, rose or any color slightly resembling a traditional nail polish color.  Today's pick:

I love everything about that girl.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's About to get Personal

I have to admit, this post is mostly for my kids.

I hope one day they read this and are encouraged,  and feel their faith and love for the Lord deepen.

I recently finished up a Bible study on Isaiah.  It was by no accident that I was in this nine month intensive study.  Of course, I thought I had signed up because that's what I do.  I like to sign up for Bible studies, but this one was different.  At the end of the study we all got a chance to reflect on what we learned through the study.  Since the past six months have been some of the most difficult months of my life, I had a lot to reflect on.

I know that I have mentioned in a very vague way a few times that our family has been going through some suffering recently, but I have never put a real name on it.  While I feel like we are not completely out of the woods yet, I do feel like I am in a spot where at least my head is above water.

In December of last year, The Hubs became ill.  Pardon my continued vagueness, but I feel like I should be protective over some of these details.  He had shown some symptoms as early as November, but we kept blaming other things and sweeping symptoms under the rug.  By January it became clear that he might be in trouble, and by the end of January and into February, it was clear that he was very ill.  His very life was threatened, and our old way of life, doing things, of living was totally gone.  Each day was very scary, and was a major battle.  He could no longer work, and I spent tons of time caring for him, caring for our children alone, trying to keep our lives as normal as possible, and many, many hours on my knees.

The Lord walked each and every step of this journey with me, just like He has promised.  Some of the things I had to see and hear, my heart was not made to take.  I found out that I am not as strong as I would like to think I am, and that is exactly how I am supposed to be.  Weak.  Desperate.  In need.

All along the way, each and every step I took, God carried me.  Instead of feeling tired and useless because I wasn't feeling like I was coping well, I felt peace, comfort, and relief as I allowed God to carry me instead.

Here is some of the dialogue I would have with Him in those desperate times/days/weeks/months:

(Remember, I was studying Isaiah at the time, so that's why most of the dialogue come from there)

When I would tell him, “Everything is out of control.  Is this your plan? I think something has gone wrong.” He assures me “I am the Lord, the Lord God Almighty.”  “...Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.” (Is 14:24)

But I insist, “I am scared.  I have no peace.  This doesn’t feel right.”  and He patiently responds, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because He trusts you.” (Is 26:3)

And when I continued to seek peace from advice, research, or tried to work harder at fixing things myself, He reminded me that it is He who “establishes peace for us, all that we accomplish he has done for us.” (Is 26:12).

“But Lord, I am so weary.  I don’t know how I am going to make it even one more hour.” He whispers back to me, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Is 40:29-31)  “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Is 41:13)

“For how long, Lord?  Will you always help me?”

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Is 46:4)

“Lord, the uncertainty of all that lies ahead has me terrified.  I don’t know what to expect.” He comforts me with, “...do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Is 41:10) 

“But I feel like this is too much. I think I’m drowning.”

“...“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...” (Is 43:1-3).

“But, Lord, will we ever see healing?  Is it your will to leave us broken?”

“I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys.  I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set junipers in the wasteland,  the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Is 41:18-20) (These are the verses that I claim for The Hub's healing)

“But, Lord, nothing is working.  The Doctors don’t know what to do next.  The medication isn’t helping.” 

“See, I am doing a new thing! ... I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Is 43:19)

“When, Lord?”
“In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land...” (Is 49:8)

“Oh, I hope it comes soon.  I hope this test result will show what we need!  I hope this is the medication that will make things better. Oh, I hope we can get our family back to normal.”

“...Those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” (Is 49:23)

“Lord, I think we have done too much wrong.  We have strayed from you.  We’ve been angry and frustrated with you.”

“I have seen your ways, but I will heal you...”  (Is 57:18).  “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” (Is 54:10)

“He’s not the same on all of his medication.  Lord, I miss my husband.”

“For your Maker is your husband— the LORD Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.”

“Lord, I need to know what to expect.  What will tomorrow hold for us?  Will he be better next month? Will he ever work again?”

“Remember the things I have done in the past.  For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.” (Is 46:9-10).

“But, Lord, why? What is this all for?”

“Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,  I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.” (Is 54:11)

“This life is too hard.  I need hope.”

 “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered,  nor will they come to mind...the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more...for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them.  Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” (Is 65:17, 19, 23-24)

So I have hope.  Hope in the destruction he has allowed because He is in control.  He will bring peace, and I will not walk it alone.  He will bring healing in His time and for His glory, we are not forgotten, and He will restore us with a sure foundation, as beautiful as it is strong.  And when this life gets hard, and I find I am uncomfortable here, He promises that this isn’t the end.  I will have a new life, where the troubles of this life will long be forgotten, and there will be tears no more.

My Sweet Babies,
I know that circumstances of these past six months have been hard on your hearts and difficult to understand.  Life is hard.  It wasn't made to be fair.  It wasn't made to be easy.  Please know that when you find yourselves in over your head, you are not alone.  You are never alone.  When it seems like no one understands, or when friends have proven they can't understand or deal with all you are going through, you have The Lord.  He knows, He's sees and He cares.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Keep relying on Him and He will sustain and meet your every need.  Open His Word, get on your knees, and get ready to be carried through the fire.  He loves you so much!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

This is the last week of school for The Girl.  I can't believe it's already here!

I can barely stand myself.

We've already done the last field trip, the last day to wear uniforms (the last week of school is always spirit week), the last day of homework, and today is Field Day. 

This year, we decided to opt out of Field Day.  Had you told my nine year old self, all those years ago, that one day I would opt out of field day, there is no way I would have believed you.  In fact, I would have probably cried myself to sleep that night.  Better yet, I would have sworn up and down that I would never ever become old and boring. 




So, we decided to skip field day this year.  Truth be told, I was hoping I could convince The Girl to skip Field Day, but totally expected that she would completely freak out at the notion and act like, well, like my nine year old self.  However, as I gently brought  up Field Day the other day, she quickly asked, "Mom, do I have to go to Field Day?  I don't want to go and spend a day outside in the cold, gloomy, rainy weather playing games I can play any day.  I'd rather stay at home in my jammies."

That last statement right there, the "I'd rather stay at home in my jammies"comment, was when I knew I had accomplished one of my most important parenting jobs. 

My kids love jammy days. 

My job is done.

Seriously though, there was nothing enticing about Field Day for me today.  Field Day today just isn't the same Field Day of yesteryear.  Tag, bounce houses, face painting would have all been laughed at and not acceptable in my younger days. Those where things we did on summer break.  OK, not bounce houses because they weren't invented yet, and frankly, if one were to show up when I was nine I would have flipped. My. Lid.  The end.  OK, OK, even as an adult, I find myself lured by the bounce house.  They are fun. 

I digress.

The point is, there are no competitions, no relay races (with winners at least), no tug of war against classes, no 50 yard dashes or hula hoop contests.  Field Day these days is mostly like a carnival.  Don't get me wrong, carnivals can be fun.  However, on a rainy, gloomy, cool day?  Notsomuch.  I'll catch the next one on a warmer day.

So here we sit, relishing in our first day of "Playing Hooky" ever, on this, the last week of school. 

Feels pretty amazing.

Way better than winning the 50 yard dash.

If they had one.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Perspective

It's time for Scripture Memory again!  I am loving my verse for this next two weeks.  First, it's short.  YAY!  Second, it shifts my perspective. 

Which, I need help with.

A lot.

I tend to be a person who focuses on two things: The Bad, and Myself.

Not a good combo.

Here's what God's word says about perspective:

"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
-Proverbs 17:22 ESV

Finding joy is what I want to work on.  Not just for this next two weeks, but I'm going to go all hog wild, and try for the rest of the year!

Seriously, though, it has been our (The Hubs and I) prayer that we would have hearts, minds and mouths that are full of joy, praise, and gratitude despite our circumstances.  Truth be told, it ain't roses over here, but we've been in the muck long enough to know that a "crushed spirit dries up the bones." 

Yup, it's dry alright.

We're ready to stop surviving, and start living again.  This verse reminds me that I must be full of joy or else I'll surely dry up.

It's easy to find joy when I take my eyes off of us/our circumstances (me) and place them on the others around me (family and friends), the simple gifts in my life, and the one who sustains (The Lord Almighty).

Because It Warms My Heart (And it's COLD Outside)

me: Oh, you have lunch plans tomorrow?
The Hubs: Yup, at a yummy Mexican restaurant.
me: No fair!  I want to come (in a fake (OK, not so fake) whiny voice)!
The Hubs: Nope, it's just me and Joe.
me: I can totally hang with you and Joe.
The Hubs: No, we need to talk insurance.
me: Well, I use insurance!  I'll just eat chips and salsa.  You guys won't notice.
The Hubs: Sorry, ain't gonna happen.
me: (Pouts a fake pout because no amount of chips and salsa would be enough to cover up talking about boring insurance.) You're mean!
The Hubs: Sometimes.
p: (who's been watching/listening to the whole conversation, but not really picking up on the fake emotion/lack of emotion) Yea, Dad! That is mean.
me: See!
p: Don't worry, Mom.  That just means you can stay home with me!
me: Oh yea?
p: Yea, we can stay home all lunch time and snuggle.
me: Sounds perfect!

What am I going to do when he goes to Kindergarten?

I'm already FREAKING out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Get Out Your Wands, Robes and Wizard Hats

I've been meaning to blog about this for a long time now, but either don't have the time, or when I do, it's time for a Scripture Memory post.  (Not that this means anything, but for some reason I always feel like I should have an excuse for my lack.)

For the last couple of months, the kids and I have been reading the Harry Potter series together.  I know.  Gasp.  I have heard from some people that A) The series is a little too intense for younger kids.  and B) Some people disapprove of the wizard/witch thing.  Here's the deal:  My kids are totally OK with the intensity level (so far) of the series.  We talk about the books a TON.  I mean ALL. THE. TIME.  I am well aware of what my kids find frightening and what is appropriate for them to hear, and, as of yet, we are all good in the hood.  Secondly, the whole witch/wizard thing.  We talk about that too.  Actually, there wasn't too much talk about because the way the books are written, I feel, they are very clearly fictional.  The kids don't even second guess that what is going on is fiction and not something that we aspire to do or hope for in real life.  Again, we talk about the books A LOT so I know what they are thinking, and am able to nip anything that needs nipped, in the bud.  All this to say, I understand that there is questionable material, but we are doing fine with it, and I am thankful that it's me that they are working through some of these things with and not reading them on their own.

Some of you are probably thinking, seriously?  is it that big of a deal.  Well, some think that it is, so I'm just laying it all out there.

Anyway, I was wanting to do something different with bedtime routines, and since we read every night, I thought maybe we could shake things up a bit in this area.  The Girl is always in some sort of novel, and it's difficult to keep up with the story lines of all the different books since she is a bit eclectic in what she likes to read.  And The Little Man?  well, there is only so much of the easy readers a parent can handle.  So, we needed a break.  Something to look forward to, and frankly, something we could all do together.  So, I am reading the books aloud while the kids listen.  I was skeptical at how well The Little Man would be able to listen without having pictures, but once the action started to pick up in the first book, he was totally into it.  After we watched the first movie, he became obsessed and listens so well sometimes he straightens me out on what's going on.

I have just loved the special time this has created for the kids and I.  Like I mentioned before, we talk about the books all of the time.  We discuss characters, plot lines, foreshadowing, and their ideas on where/what/who is going to happen next.  Then after each book is complete, we watch the movie.  And, get this, sometimes we choose to read instead of watching TV.  I know.  Now, I will say, that the movies have been a bit intense.  There were times in the second and the third movie that we've had to pause the movie and remember how things happened in the book, recall how things turned out, and remind ourselves of why this event is important to the whole story.  Once we work through some of those things, they seem to be OK with the scene.   Rest assured, there have been no nightmares.  This has also been such a good way to show the kids how important it is to read the book and not just watch the movie.  They have shared with me some of their disappointments in things that were either left out, done out of order, or done in a totally different way.  Their appreciation for reading a story has definitely grown, which I think is saying a lot considering our family's affinity for the tube.

I can hardly wait for the summer when we will have ample time to delve deep into some of the longer books in the series.  Long lazy days are perfect for reading.  If there happens to be a pool nearby, well then, even better!

This has been  such a fun time for our family.  I can't believe how much I (and they) love it.  Our hope is one day (after we've completed the series) to be able to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with all the rest of the Hogwarts nerds fans.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Not Much Else to Say

It's time for a new Scripture Memory for May.

First, I can't believe it's May.  The Girl has a mere THREE WEEKS left of school! Oh happy day!

Second, the scripture I picked for the next few weeks needs not a lot of explanation.

(I can hear the collective sigh of relief.)

((I'm cool with it.))

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." -Philippians 1:6 NASB

I took a little break from the personal verses two weeks ago so that I could prepare my heart and mind for Easter.  I loved having that time, by the way.  Now, I am back at it again, and picking verses that speak to my heart.  This one, like the one before it, speaks encouragement.  It simply reminds me that I need not worry that all of this suffering is for not.  I can be confident that He who began it, will not only finish it, but perfect it.  He doesn't start anything without the intention of bringing it to full fruition.

As some of these days have turned into weeks, and now months, I can have full confidence that even though I don't see the work He is doing, it's there.  He is going to bring this work to perfection for the day of Christ Jesus.

I, for one, can't wait.