Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On The Road Marked

What is your road marked with? No, I'm not talking about your street signs, but rather the lyrics to this popular praise & worship song, Blessed Be Your Name. In particular, these lines:

"Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name"

Since I'm all about openess and sharing my heart this week, I'll share this. It was hard to share. Not in the moment, I knew it was the right thing to do. But now, now it's hard. Because it's out there. You all know the pain and vulnerbility of my heart. I've had lots of encouragement, but some harder questions too. Some people assume because it's my body that's miscarrying, that it's my fault, or at the very least, my body's fault. Which may or may not be true. There may be nothing that can be explained medically. There may be an issue with Andrew's Chromosones that can cause miscarriage. Crazy huh? Here's the thing, it doesn't matter. Shall we point fingers? I think not. Because it doesn't matter. God's in control no matter the physical causes. So let's dwell on the fact that God is sovereign and rest in that.

So yes, it's been a tough few days. But God is still faithful. He will walk us through every road He has for us. When the sun may shine down on us, when the world is "as it should be", or if suffering marks the rest of our lives, and they are full of pain, it's okay. God be glorified no matter what marks our roads. If they are sun covered or pain filled, He knows and should be glorified.

The end of that song goes like this:

"You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name"

Sometimes, when you're in the midst of a painful time, it's actually hard to talk to people sometimes who aren't. Or those people may feel awkward around you because they haven't gone through what you are and feel bad almost, for having a "sunny" life. That's ridiculous. God knows. Yes, when you're in the midst of pain, it is not always easy to not wonder why God doesn't have that for you. But it's not up to us. So no bitterness. He gives and takes away. We MUST CHOOSE to say, Lord, Blessed Be Your Name.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Story - Blessings

As Promised, a good post for today. This is what we shared with our church family this morning. After several months, we needed to share. It's a long read but one I believe is worth it. I hope it blesses you and encourages to let God work in your life.

Do you know what a Great God we serve? That our God is full of grace, overflowing with mercy? We want to share a bit of that grace and mercy at work with you.

I think almost all of you know the general story surrounding Levi's birth. It was not a totally routine pregnancy, and the last 9 weeks were anything but typical, resulting in his early and miraculous arrival at almost 34 weeks.

I think many of you may know we found out last September that we were again expecting. Considering all the prayers surrounding Levi’s existence, this seemed to be a total miracle from the Lord. Then at less than 8 weeks our baby’s heart stopped beating and we learned it was gone. I won’t go into details except to say this was very hard for us and I struggled for several months just to maintain “normal” and not sink into depression. God was merciful AND gracious and taught me so much through that time. And the Lord and my husband were both so very patient with me.

We were told not to let this miscarriage keep us from having more kids and we purposed to do so. I learned to just pray for hope. After such a battle of accepting God’s will, I just prayed that He would give us some hope to go on. Not just hope to have another child, but hope to conceive again, hope to get through each day.

On May 7th we again learned we were expecting. I immediately saw my Doctor for confirmation and continued to do so every week to make sure everything was going well. We heard the heartbeat several times and could even make it out beating on the screen. On June 10th we celebrated 5 years of married life. It seemed so right to celebrate and was a much needed time.

And in my heart I prayed and prayed. Not just for this baby to live, but for God to prepare me for whatever He had. That no matter what happened with this pregnancy, that He would be glorified, and that I would be totally submitted. Not just to the good in life, but to His Will.

On June 20th we went in for our weekly checkup. This time, the baby did not have a heartbeat. Closer examination proved that there was indeed no heartbeat. But there was also a surprise. There was not 1, but 2 tiny, miniscule babies on the screen. But neither one had a heartbeat. After so many more prayers, we were facing more death and loss. The doctor, I think simply instinctively, called our babies “products of conception” when describing the next steps. I immediately corrected her. They were babies. I know the medical terminology says embryos then fetuses, but we firmly believe they were alive and had life. That from the moment of conception our children had souls and were eternal beings. But it was true that they were gone, and the next day we said good-bye to our little miracles.

I have cried, I have grieved for sure. But here’s the thing, I didn’t feel the despair of the first time. Not just because we’ve been here done that, but because God has answered my original prayer. I had prayed for hope; hope that we would have more children. And what did He do? He gave us 2 little babies. No, they didn’t live. But that doesn’t have to lead to hopelessness. Because I did and do have hope. I choose this time, instead of despair, to immediately give my grief to God. I still feel anger, rage even, but I immediately turn it over to the one who can handle it. I choose to firmly believe in my heart that God’s plan was perfect. Because that is the truth in all of this; that God knows exactly what our family is supposed to look like. These babies were not His perfect plan for us on this earth. But it was His perfect plan for them to be conceived. These losses were not mistakes.

This did not mean that we don’t grieve. I still cry. I still weep at certain songs. I could go on and on and share so much of my heart, but what I really want to share is this. All Glory Be To Our God. The night we learned of our babies’ death, I didn’t sleep much. I cried, I prayed when I could find the words, but most of all, I leaned wholeheartedly on the Lord. God hasn’t walked with us through this, He has carried us. Psalm 34:15 says “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Like I said, I have grieved, I am brokenhearted. But I am NOT inconsolable. The first baby we “gave over” to the Lord (I Samuel 1:27-28) it was such a comfort to me to know our child was in Heaven and experiencing no pain. A dear lady shared with me this picture. Here on earth we pray so hard that we will be able to introduce our children to Jesus. But someday, my child (children) will get to introduce me to Jesus. That is an amazing balm to my heart. God knows. This time, I was so comforted already that our babies were safe, that I almost didn’t dwell on that. They were fine, they didn’t need me anymore. Instead, we talked a lot and asked ourselves, “What does God want to do with this?” Basically, what is He trying to accomplish in us and others through this? And will we let Him? I remember in one late night talk with Andrew saying “I don’t want to waste this.” God is doing something in our lives and I don’t want to waste this opportunity. So when I say All Glory Be To Our God, I mean that.

I don’t want to waste this grief, this pain on myself. It’s taken me a while to be willing to be open enough to share about this. We didn’t get to share the joy of the coming babies with many people, and we didn’t immediately share the grief. But we do want to do what I said, not waste this. If we can’t share our grief, and what God is doing, then why go through it? Yes, there are personal struggles, but if I truly believe in the body of Christ, both in this congregation, and in the world, and I believe that we are knit together in Christ, then I will share both my joys and my heartaches.

And so, here is our heartache. We don’t know where we’re going from here. But we do know this, God does. We have not been promised an easy life. The idea that once we trust Christ all will be rosy and ok is a lie from the devil. We will have burdens and sorrows. Christ said in Matthew 11: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." The thing is, we do have a yoke and even burdens at times, but with Christ, it will be right. Faith doesn’t make it hurt less, it’s still painful. But faith makes it worth it.

Another thing we’ve learned is to not compare trials. What we’re experiencing isn’t necessarily worse or easier than your life. It’s just ours. I have a friends who lost babies full-term and friends who are waiting to bring their children home. Is their suffering any harder? I’m not sure, because it’s theirs.
God has a different story for each of us, and I just pray that we will be faithful to what He is doing and that we will not waste any of it. Real faith isn’t just asking for something different, it’s submitting to what God has, and embracing it.

Philippians 1:6 says this “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” We may not see the completion on this earth, but someday, we will be totally complete in Christ. And I firmly cling to this promise in Psalm 63:8 "My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me." God will not fail.
Isaiah 40:25-31
25 To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
26Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power
not one is missing.
27Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God"?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”

Most people focus on verse 31 in this passage. I cling to verse 28 and who God is. Because without that, the verses that follow hold no meaning or hope. God does not faint, does not grow weary, and His understanding, His ways, they are unsearchable. God is at the center, not us, not even what is happening to us by Him, it’s not about us, it’s about HIM.

I want to share a song that I heard when I was still pregnant with these babies, and then when we lost them it became a lifeline to my heart. I sang it over and over to myself that first night. I pray that you will see the truth in it and embrace whatever God is trying to do in you today.

And so that's the story. I managed to make it through talking without crying, not so with the song. Because God knows. We appreciate your prayers. We're more than willing to talk about this, if it's a rough day, we'll just tell you so.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Figuring It Out

I know, I've been absent for a few days. I could lament you with tales of garage sale and trying to figure out a very used washing machine and ugh...But I won't. Instead I'll tell you that I have accomplished something I always wondered if I could. I figured out how to create and post to YouTube a song with photos and lyrics. No, none of the photos are mine, trying to keep it public friendly. It really didn't need to be done again except that I didn't like any of the current YouTube videos of this song.

Yes, you'll get to see it. No, not until tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, I'll have a very deep and heartfelt blog post for you. So buckle up and get ready. :) And with it I'll post the video. All this after worship with our church family. They get first dibs. :)

In other news, Levi took a nice face-plant onto the concrete last night. Got some road rash on his face and bit his lip so it's swollen rather nicely. He's also figured out that if he wakes in the night he needs to come to us, not just holler. Which was actually somewhat disconcerting at 2am when we were trying to figure out what that noise was. Turns out it was the toddler camping out on our bedroom floor. Andrew has started calling Levi our Nomadic child. Because whenever he gets out of bed he has to bring ALL his blankies and animals. Sheesh. It's a traveling zoo alright.

That's really all for now, I need to go relieve Andrew from the garage sale duty. Stay tuned tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Week

Wednesdays are interesting days. NOT. Okay really, in my current life Wednesdays are generally a bit slower and the days when I can sort of catch up on what's going on and maybe see my floors again. So I've purposed that they will be the day where I'll sort of catch you up on what's happening to us this week. If you care.

Right now the munchkin Levi is playing somewhat calmly and quietly on the floor with his magnetic trains go "choo, choo". BY HIMSELF. What do you do in situations like this? The same thing I do when he voluntarily puts food in his own mouth. DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT HIM. Because then in two seconds he'll realize what he's doing and never do it again for like a week. Seriously. Meals at our home consist of either Andrew or myself sort looking out the window as we shake our heads in Levi's general direction to point out to the other person the miracle that's taking place in the booster seat. Ahem. Anyway.

Baby Shower last night. Baby Lilly was as cute as could be. Even when she lost her dinner all over my leg. Ahhh memories. Poor thing has acid reflux just like Levi. Ahhh memories. Some things you seem to forget about. Guess that's what makes you want more children, amnesia.

Made Cupcakes yesterday for the birthday boy to deliver at his work. I like to remind his co-workers he had a birthday while he was off. :) And spoil them a little too perhaps.

Update: Child has now moved the train to kitchen floor...figured out it rolls better there than on tracks I guess.

I've lost my mind and decided to do garage sale round 2 this weekend. I'm usually the snarky comment maker about "if it didn't sell the first time..." But in reality, we need the junk gone and some money to pay rent. So here's praying the new stuff we're adding will help.

One of our email inboxes in screaming at me to be cleaned out, but frankly, that's not at the top of my list. Why do you care? But honestly, my closets and the cobwebs in the corners probably need more attention. People can see those. Well, I don't often show off my closet, but you get the idea.

I think I'm still wiped from the fair this past weekend. Yes, we had lots of fun, and yes, there will be pictures. Someday.

Update: Child has found the Legos hiding under the kitchen island. Brought them to me saying "tower". Which they were. Because he had put them all together into a tower. I clapped. Because it was amazing. Ugh. Why do these moments have to be bittersweet? I'm SO proud of him for doing something we've been working so hard on, especially with no frustration involved on his part. But yet, I'm a bit sad too. Because it's just another step on becoming the independant boy he wants to be.

So, that's a summary. Andrew's taking a few days off after today. Not to vacation, but to, well, let's say accomplish some work. Maybe I'll be able to share later.

Frustration has set in, better go help the "independant boy". Prayers for the craziness we're calling a garage sale would be appreciated.

And oh yeah, I can barely walk. Got it in my head to go to a 6:15am fitness class yesterday. Apparently my quads haven't done squats in a while. It is funny, but it hurts to laugh.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Caught In The Middle?

Who is God to you? This question just irks me sometimes. Because personally, I don't think it's about me. How about: Who is God? And what does that mean for my life?

God is not who I make Him out to be. So I think I'd rather ask:

How does who God is affect your life?

I'm not always very good at remembering that my life is pretty meaningless in the scope of eternity, or even in the scope of your life. God is eternal. I had a beginning. It's hard because if I admit that I am nothing, that means I need to submit to the ultimate authority of the entire existence of everything.

A song caught my ear this week. Some of the lyrics go like this:

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender
'Cause I'm losing all control...

With eyes wide open to the differences
The God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His
Or are we caught in the middle?
Are we caught in the middle?

And that's the point isn't it? I don't want to have to fully surrender, because then I wouldn't be in control. Do I really want God to be who He is? Or do I prefer my nice made-up version better? Because what if I "let" God be God, and something "bad" happens? What then? What about MY dreams?

What I'm slowly and painfully coming to live in, is the truth that no matter what, God is in control. I can either fight that and be miserable, or I can embrace the truth that God's perfect plan for the world probably doesn't include an easy life for me. And that's ok. Because His glory is what I should be all about.

I can be so basic with examples, like I know I should get more sleep at night, because then my attitude would better reflect Christ during the day. Or complex: I need to submit fully to the big plan God has for my life, no matter how painful it is right now in this time.

But as those lyrics say, it's so hard to rectify saying that, and living it. I'm caught in the middle, so much more often than I wish. I'm a fence-rider, just hoping for beauty on the other side.

What about you? Is there an area of life where you know what you should do or how you should be acting, but find it hard to actually do so? Are you caught in the middle of something?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Andrew!!

My amazing husband turns, well, older today. :) I won't make a big deal about his age, he's got a few years until the next milestone. ;)
What I can tell you is how much I love this man. He's a pretty dang good guy. I honestly and truely cannot imagine my life without him.
He's been the biggest gift from God in my life. I cannot fathom how different my life would be if I hadn't married him. He's allowed me to grow and always been so patient with me.

Now, about him. He's pretty handsome, as you can tell from this hot family picture taken this summer at his sister's wedding. He makes a tux look good. :) He was better looking than the groom in my opinion. (I know, duh he's mine, but still, he's pretty cute.)

He's a wonderful husband, and a downright awesome Daddy. Levi adores him and spends his days asking where Daddy is. When Daddy gets home he runs to the door and is so excited to see him.
Andrew loves to bike, hike, walk, swim, kayak, etc. If you're moving, he does it. He values friendships and is the most loyal person I've ever met. He can be a friend to the lowly and "untouchables" of our society. He knows how to be a friend to everyone. I am often amazed at how he can find something to talk about with everyone and anyone. He's pretty cool in that way. He always goes the speed of the slowest person no matter the sport or how good he is. He's got a kind heart. :)
He loves cars and knows pretty much all there is to know about almost all kinds. I see a "cool" car and go "what's that?" and he proceeds to give me a history that includes "in such and such a year they changed the tail light so that's how you know it's that year". Wow...if only I had that brain power.

I could go on and on, but let me tell you a couple cool things. When we were dating he would write me, a lot. By hand. With a stamp and a postmark. My Dad was flabbergasted. Thought I was sending him self-addressed stamped envelopes or something. I have a huge envelope full of the letters I would get several times a week.
Also, on our first official "date" out to dinner (ok, we'd already been dating for 3 weeks or so and got engaged about 7 weeks later, but still) I was sooo nervous. We were on our way to the restaurant and I was thinking, oh, he didn't get me flowers, that's ok. When we got there I was so nervous for some dumb reason. All I could think of was just sit down and order something. So the waitress seats us at the table and I hold onto the menu for dear life. Suddenly Andrew goes "So I got you these flowers." I look up and really look at our table for the first time and right smack in front of my face is a dozen of the most colorful roses I'd ever seen. Sitting there, the whole time. He'd gone beforehand and left them at the restaurant. Oiy. I was overwhelmed and it definitely broke the tension. :)

That's my man in a nutshell, thoughtful and kind.

Andrew, I know that marriage, children, and just life can get crazy at times. We've certainly had our share of curveballs and hardships. I know I get sad and lonely at times. But know this, I love you more than I ever have. I know in my heart that you were the man God had for me, and I think you are wonderful. You amaze me in so many ways, and I love that spending time with me and Levi is one of your favorite things. Thanks for teaching me so many things I never thought I could do, and sharing your loves and passions with me. You've allowed me to grow up in our marriage, and I can't wait to celebrate ALL the rest of your birthdays with you. I'm proud and honored to be your wife. All who speak well of you bless me. I get the privilege of being married to THAT man. And I thank God everyday for you. I love you. Happy Birthday Andrew!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Retract That TWICE

Almost within minutes of posting my retraction yesterday, I went to put some clothes in the washer and thought there was something a bit off. On closer investigation, our washer wasn't spinning. UGH. When I youtubed how to take the thing apart and we got a closer look, we also discovered why it was leaking. Grrr. But no answers to the spinning problem. We're currently doing what we don't know how to fix it, but it's pretty hopeless 'cause we know nothing, obviously.

So, as we try to find a "new/used" machine, I better clip some more coupons. I have no idea how we're going to pay for this. I was freaking out yesterday trying to figure out how to pay rent. Now...well, I guess that's why we have an emergency fund. But here's the thing, there's no way to refund that. So if we use it, it's gone. Okay, deep breath.

Actually, in church this morning we may have an answer. I also sent out a Craig's List inquiry and hope to hear back. God is still in control. Can I get an AMEN?

In other news, tomorrow my dear husband turns, well, old. Way older than me. So we've made a kayaking date with friends who love our son too. It'll be fun on the beach and the lake. I'm so thankful for my sweetheart and for his, ahem, maturity.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Retract That

I'd like to take back a few of my statements about couponing. Thanks to a few extra medical bills, we're beyond broke. I'm going through my coupons this afternoon as well as scouring the house for stuff for garage sale #2.

I did not mean to sound as though hardcore couponers were doing so out of guilt, just that in general, I am too hard on myself. If I can't do it all, I tend to feel guilt that isn't from the Lord. I simply need to do my best at what I can. And that does mean using coupons and planning better. But it does NOT mean trying to be something I'm not. It's about if that wasn't the theme of my life. :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Biting Into Some Humility

Sometimes, we all need reality checks. They may not be fun, but overall they're probably beneficial.

Like Tuesday. There was a lot of biting in my day. Levi biting random girl trying to steal his toy at the Y's child watch. Got himself kicked out for 24 hours for that one. And made Mom cry. Dexter tried to bite the vet when he tried to check his (ahem) lack of man parts. Again, more tears, this time from the child.

Ugh. I needed some humility. Thankfully the other Mom at the Y wasn't upset, no skin was broken. But I sure was taken down several pegs, if not a whole ladder.

After my tears subsided and Levi WAS punished, I assure you, I realized maybe it's God trying to remind me that even the strength to write blog posts comes from Him. I haven't got a clue about being a good Mom. Any good I do comes only from the Lord.

I guess I needed that reminder to be totally and utterly dependant on Him.

And yes, I know kids bite and it's not my fault, but it did invoke some much needed humility on my heart. It also brought me to tears and the end of myself. Which is always good. And the other much needed reminder? To pray for my son. To pour my heart and soul into praying for his heart and soul. Because really, this acting out is such a reminder of what a sinner my son is, just like all of us. He needs a Savior just as I did/do.

So, two days later we're making some parenting/schedule changes, and we're praying harder. My heart has been severly humbled, and I've remembered it's all about Grace. For me and for my son.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


This is my second type writing this post, as blogger didn't save as it was supposed to. So it won't be exactly the same, which may be better. :)

After my musings/rantings about how we are each responsible for our own selves a few days ago, I must make a confession. I read several couponing/thrifty/frugal/money saving websites. I get some good deals and some free stuff thanks to them. But overall, they discourage me. It's easy to ignore the deals/coupons for stores that we don't have in our area, but it's really hard to not stress about what I may be missing for the stores we do have.

Because I don't give myself grace. I want to be "Superwoman" Good at everything. Able to find a sale and entertain a child all at once. Money is tight beyond tight in our lives at this point, so if I know I could have gotten that $2 bottle of shampoo for free, I feel guilty.

But here's the thing. A lot of the items people get for cheap or free, I don't use. I make my laundry soap due to allergies and cloth diapers, I spoil my hair with more expensive shampoo, we use sensitive toothpaste thanks to some sensitive teeth, and we try not to buy a ton of processed foods. Now, the stuff I do use should I still look for coupons? Yes. If they're not available do I do without? Not always. Should we strive to maintain our food standards? Probably. Will I die with cheaper shampoo? Maybe not, but I may be more frustrated with my hair.

All this to say, I need to try to just do what I can. Time is money too. I don't always want to spend my time going from store to store and standing in line and waiting for the cashier to sort out my coupons with Levi in tow. And shoppping by myself? I'm then missing quality time with my boys. Because really, that's more important to me. I'd love to do it all, but I simply don't have the ability right now. If I wanted it enough could I find the ability? Maybe. Maybe Not. I'm not sure. What I do want is to be a good steward of what I have, and not stress about the small stuff. And sometimes, saving tons of money is a small thing. When instead of clipping coupons I could be playing at the beach with my son.

Overall, I do need to be more disciplined. And that's key too. I don't just want to manage our money better, I also want to be more disciplined in my entire life. I want to do my dishes more often, go on more bike rides with my husband, have a more consistent alone time reading my Bible and praying. There's many areas that need more discipline. And I'm not "Superwoman", and I'm learning to be okay with that. I'll learn and grow in God's perfect timing for me. And when I put expectations on myself that even He doesn't put on me, that can actually be sin and believing lies from the evil one.

So, do I try to take advantage of good deals? Yes. I'm actually still awake thanks to a good photo website deal. Loading 100 prints to be shipped to my doorstep for $1.07. Now that's a deal I can use. So less sleep to save a ton of money. It's worth it tonight. If it all fails and doesn't work out, will I lose more sleep and feel incredibly guilty? Nope. Because I did what I could.

Let me say this in closing though. God's strength is amazing, and through it I have done and handled things I never thought possible. So do I excuse myself by saying "I just don't have the strength right now." Well, at times. But I'm learning to pray first, and ask God for strength for what HE wants me to handle. That pretty much takes care of the guilt when I actually stop and listen. It sheds light on the false guilt in my life. And oh how freeing it is to walk in Christ's plans for my life.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Grace? Shock? Condemnation?

I "follow" a well-known pastor on Facebook. Almost daily he posts some links to articles and stories of interest. Whether it be funny, ridiculous, spiritual, whatever. Just relevent things. This weekend one of his links was to here. (Click on the word here in previous sentence to go to it.)

It took me a while to make it through this 7 page article. Maybe that's why I didn't freak out. The title is "The two minus one pregnancy". To summarize, it's all about women who have become pregnant with twins, or maybe more, "reducing" their pregnancy size to only one child. In other words, aborting or killing the other babies while pregnant. They were specifically addressing women doing it for social and economic reasons.

Now, I do NOT condone this. But it breaks my heart for more than the obvious "how appalling" reasons. I think I'm past being shocked by sin. Well, that's not true, unfortunately. But I do think as I've grown up in a generation where more and more sin becomes "acceptable", less of it shocks me. So, not only am I not shocked, I come to expect some things. The Bible says as time goes on we will become more and more depraved. Which is how I view this, as depravity of man.

So what about it does break my heart? The poor women. I firmly believe that some of them are simply believing lies from the evil one. That they need more money, cannot handle the craziness, etc. That it's their choice, even if it is a live child. And while some may know the truth of Scripture, and choose to kill the child/children anyway, Most of them are simply believing lies. And so I wanted to cry for them. They may someday feel aches and sorrow. They may not. They may already regret their decisions. Either way, I pray for them. That someday, someone will show them love and grace and they will see their wrongdoing and accept the Grace of God.

And that's really all I can do. I do not see what good me becoming aghast and appalled and hateful will do. Overall, all I can think in summary is this...
Should sin surprise us? Child sacrifice occured in the Old Testament, and obviously children being murdered still occurs. Does any of this surprise our amazing God? No. He still offers grace, and so should we. We don't know their hearts. We can be saddened, disgusted, and mourn, but to show no grace and understanding of depraved hearts and minds is not Biblical.

Grace and Love. I'm so overwhelmed by them.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's Only For A Season

Whoosh...That's the air leaving the house as everyone exits. It's been a bit of a crazy week. The in-laws were here last "weekend" into this week. We had an extra 2-year-old most of the week, which was super fun and crazy. And my parents were visiting this weekend, with another quick drop in from the in-laws today. It didn't seem so crazy when we planned it, but as I look at a week that may just be a tad more "normal" it feels like we've been just so busy.

Having an extra toddler a lot of this week has had me thinking. At times talking about twins seems overwhelming, like the 3/4/5am feedings that could happen. At other times, when they entertained themselves for 15 minutes blowing on the glass door, it makes sense.

The lesson? In every situation, hardship, life cycle, tantrum, teething, sleep-deprived moment, I need to remember this:


There's a cute new 3 1/2 week old bundle in this world. Her Momma is a dear friend to me. Baby weighs less than 7 pounds. Which means 2 more pounds than Levi at birth. Here's the thing. I don't remember. As I hold her little tiny frame, I can't remember exactly how it felt to hold a tiny boy smaller than that. It kind of makes me want to cry. Because all those days/weeks in the hospital, all the wires, all the tubes, the feedings, the sleepless nights, they seemed to be never-ending and all-consuming. And they were, for that season. But it's gone, and I don't know if they'll ever happen again.

I remember when I was pregnant with Levi, wondering who he was and what he'd be like. And today as his 23 pound skinny frame runs around my kitchen and then grabs my legs in a bear hug, I know my boy. It's so fun to get the hugs and kisses and hear "Daddy-a's truck" "Dex, Obie, Car, Noises, Eyes" etc...
But I do wish I could remember his teeny-tiny frame.

So, It's all for a season. When my current day is filled with tantrums and time-outs and spankings (Yes, even those) and toys everywhere and blankies and monkeys and dirt and finding rocks everywhere in my house, I need to remember, this is only a season. And all too soon, I'll miss this crazy toddler season just as I miss the baby season. And for the record, in that up all night baby season, I couldn't wait for this toddler crazy season. It's all about perspective.

So, for those of you who just wish for any child season, know that I'm praying for you. No matter what crazy season we have in Levi's life, I can't thank God enough for the miracle of Levi's life. But that doesn't make the seasons any less difficult. It just makes me thankful for the lessons in them. :)

So for those of you who are parents and will appreciate the humor in this, and for those of you who aren't but will laugh anyway, enjoy this: (But for those who want no complaining about being a parent, don't read.)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Oh Little Blog Life

In my rebellion against Facebook (Yes I still check it everyday, I'm just not updating my status much or saying much) I've decided I should blog more. It's a better venue for expressing my thoughts in bulk anyway.

Therefore, I'm trying to decide if I should do a few weekly "features" like many popular bloggers do. Now, I don't pretend to have a large readership, in fact if anyone besides my husband, Mom, and best friend read this I'm thankful. :)

But I do think it could be fun and helpful to have some "accountability" if you will with my posts. In fact it may inspire me to start some projects, like organizing, learning to sew, dusting. :)

I don't want to do anything I won't stick with however. I hate not finishing stuff and I'd rather not commit to something than do it a week or two and then just stop.

So, if anyone's reading this, what would you like to discuss or read about? Parenting? HA! Cleaning out my closets? Learning to sew (better)? Deleting Facebook "Friends"? Let me know!

This is corn from our garden 2 years ago...Good marriage analogy? One of you straight and orderly the other a bit crazy and haphazard? :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

You Are Who You Are

I have a friend who I happen to think is amazing. She's been through a lot in her life and is a fabulous Mom who just seems to do it all. Because she has to. It's her life.

A lot of us can be envious of others and all their accomplishments. For me, it's hard to not look at other Momma's who just seem to have it all together and have 12 kids and raise chickens and sheer their own sheep and make their own almond milk. Ok, that's a bit much. But sometimes it feels like that's what I'm up against. And you know what? I'm getting more and more ok with it. I'm learning to do what I do because I need to do it. We've been watching a friend's 2 year-old daughter this week while her daycare provider is on vacation. It's been super fun and a little bit like having twins. Levi's enjoyed the cohort in crime. :) We made a grocery run to Wal-Mart this morning out of desperation cries from the fridge. Or rather from me who didn't have cereal thanks to the lack of milk. Pretty much everyone there I think thought I had twins, big cart with the extra seats on back, lots of food, etc...As I was unloading the groceries into the car an older lady commented, that's a handful, good for you. I said thanks, not bothering to explain only one ruffian was permanently mine, and wondered this...If I'd had only my ruffian along and he was not trying to impale another with an acquired spoon from the diaper bag, would it still be good for me? Not to take away from her point, and I appreciated her encouragment, but in my heart I had to ask why it seems more fulfilling to manage more children or issues?

Will I only think I'm "Superwoman" if I manage a household of 5 kids, run an in home day care, make my clothes from scratch, etc? Or am I amazing because I'm alive and get out of bed in the middle of the night to put 1 child back to sleep? Am I fulfilled now as a Mommy and wife? (I need to switch to Mommy, Levi never caught on to calling me Momma...sigh...)Or will I only be when we have more kids? If Levi's our only child we get to raise to adulthood, will I still be worthy of the "Mommy Badge"?

Here's the thing, I myself have a judgemental spirit, and with the world of facebook (yes I'm still on that) and blogs, it's so much easier for us to spout out random opinions without regarding who we're judging without knowing them. You may be super passionate about cloth diapering and post for the world how they should all cloth diaper. What if you buy diapers with welfare/food stamps and they won't pay for cloth diapers? What if the only way you can diaper your child is with disposable? Why should I put the "guilt" or responsibility on you for something you can't control? Why should I make you feel like less of a Mom because you don't do what I do?

And that's the rub. You are who you are. I am who I am. I don't know everything about you just as you don't know everything about me. You don't know why I choose to cloth diaper only some of the time. You don't know that high-fructose corn syrup will kill us all. I don't know that nursing a 2-year-old is a healthy thing for you. We have our opinions, but the amazing thing is, I'm only accountable for me.

I only have to be "superwoman" for my son and my husband. And they happen to both like me right now. (Don't ask Levi in 13 years I'm sure.)

I'm learning to watch my mouth, and doing a horrible job in the meantime. But know this, my heart has known deep hurts and through that I've learned we all have our inner pains and demons. So I can simply say a prayer for something I see that causes me concern and keep trying to amaze my husband. That's my job. To be the best wife to the husband God has given me, and to be the most amazing Mommy to the boy I've been given. Period.

Now, to lighten the mood, a little Levi face for you...He thought the dog at Old Navy was real...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Facebook - Your words count.

I'm becoming more and more disillusioned with some aspects of facebook lately. I love that I can share pictures with friends, and keep in touch with those who live far away fairly easily. But in truth, I could share photos on my blog here. I can write emails to those far away, without everyone else reading about it.

I'm also questioning why we do what we do on Facebook. Do we post photos to share our lives with others? Or do I post them so you'll compliment me on how cute my son is? Do I update my status to be informative? Or to inspire envy and jealousy in you? To be prideful about how productive I was today? How amazing I am? Do I comment on others because I have something valueable to say, or because I want to be noticed and thought of as witty?

All in all, I'm not sure what to do. I've been hurt by people's quick replies and even seemingly "innocent" posts. I've had to struggle with my sin nature because of what their posts stir up in me. Yes, it's my sin, but should I be subjecting myself to the temptation?

I doubt I'll fully delete my account. I may someday, but not quite yet. I did go through and "unfriend" a LOT of people though. Most of whom I just don't talk to anymore. Some who cause me pain, some of whom I may cause pain to if I don't. :) If I deleted you, don't be offended. I may have just gotten delete happy too. You can "refriend" me if you think I made a mistake. Currently I'm down to 127 friends.

There's the other kicker. This word friend. defines it as:
1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2. a person who gives assistance.
3. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile.

I'd have to say some of the people I'm "friends" with on Facebook do not fall into those categories. They are more like "acquaintences".

A friend is someone whom you have affection or regard, you like them! They will be there when you need them, and not be mean to you. They will not rub their good blessings in the face of your hardships. You can share your entire heart and life with a friend and not receive harshness, only grace.

I think maybe I need to work on being a better friend. In the meantime, Facebook is on probation...After I post pictures of the tremendous fun Levi & I had with some TRUE friends in real life, and facebook. The kind who will pose with the manequins with you.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Good Morning Tornado Sirens

Levi's cutting his 2-year-old molars. He's 19-months-old. I have problems with that, but whatever. He generally was a pretty good baby cutting teeth wise. Maybe a little fever (maybe), maybe a few nasty diapers, maybe some drooling, maybe some gumming, maybe some crying. His first molars were the worst. They seem like a walk in the park compared to these. Ugh. Fever started Saturday, 103 most of the day. Crabby/lethargic boy. By yesterday he was chewing on his fingers saying owie and being a HUGE crank. Not a good nap that day, and going to bed? BAH! I tried to put him to bed around 10:30...then a bat started flying around the house. A bit later Andrew had well, "displaced" the creature, and we tried again. Until 1am when the nonstop crying started. Around 2:30 Andrew took Levi to the living room and rocked him to sleep. By 4 he tried to put him back in bed, more crying, by 5am, Levi was in our bed thankfully resting a little bit.

7:15am. Weather Radio goes off again, it's been storming since midnight or so. This time, it's for a tornado warning. As my brain computes this the town's tornado sirens go off. Andrew grabs the dog, opens the door for the upstairs tenant to run to the basement, and I grab Levi and run downstairs. Thankfully we're fairly unharmed but south of us, well, it was really windy and lots of damage.

It continued to storm until noon or so. The dog has probably lost a few years of his life in shaking in fear. Levi thought it was fun to watch. Me? I tried to sleep some on the couch.

Levi is so far sleeping ok for his nap. I'm praying this nap goes well. As well as the one I'm about to go take. This weather and teeth are just nuts. I guess at least they came together? Not sure. Why do we need molars anyway?

I may sound testier than I am. I feel so bad for my boy and his pain. I wish I could ease it for him. We're trying, we really are little boy. I wish I could do it for you. If it's any consolation, I must have lived through it...