Sunday, November 30, 2008

Seeking the Sabbath: Choices that Honor God

Today my thoughts have been drawn to the fact that God blesses my choices that are driven by a genuine desire to honor Him. When I make choices based on this desire alone, I have nothing holding me back. He will provide all I need to accomplish whatever task is set before me. I will give recent examples that have made me reflect on this.

First of all, you will be well aware of the fact that my desire to set Sundays aside for the Lord has been a recent focus for me by the recent posts titled Seeking the Sabbath. I shared this desire and my purpose in the first one of these posts. Well, my Target working husband is a retail employee. While I love his company and the wonderful employers that they are, we still have the odd hours to deal with. He has to work weekends. BUT...guess what? Since making the change in the layout and focus of our Sundays he has only had to work one so far! Little things have happened that have somehow given him this day with us. It could and would be considered a coincidence to many people, but I know that the credit goes to God here. He has blessed us in this choice to seek Him first. I know that he will have to work Sundays often, but I am also going to enjoy the gift from God and give Him credit and thanks when we get to have the man of our house home on this special day.

The other recent example of God's blessing our efforts to honor Him happened this weekend. I have been reading a book called Family Driven Faith. I have really appreciated many of the points that the author makes, as they are things that I have felt and desired, but haven't know exactly how to express them or specifically what was missing. It touched on many things that I want to be a part of our family. One of these is family worship. This includes worship in the musical sense and also prayer and study of scripture. I think that we have been doing pretty well with this for the ages of our children, but it hasn't been as intentional. We read from the children's bible nightly and also pray and sing songs about the Lord with our daughter before she goes to sleep at night. I decided that I want to make it more a part of our lives recently though, and with more intention. I have been playing more music quietly during the day for soft background noise that is with us through the day.

This weekend is a big sale weekend of course. I never pay attention to the ad's or anything. I don't like to focus on the material side of things during this season too much and have some major issues with the commercialization of a time that is meant to celebrate the birth of my Lord. (I am not against gifts, but I don't like them to be expensive and become the focus of the season. I am more into small and practical gifts.) Well, it just so happened that on Friday Tom was telling me that he didn't think it would be that busy at the new Target and if I wanted to go and get our shopping done I could. He would watch the kids (they were asleep). I thought I would go ahead and check the 2-day ad and see what the deals were. Strangely I came across an ad for a keyboard that was on sale. I would never have thought to get a keyboard, but have been wanting a piano (which we would not have room for anyway, so we wouldn't even pursue it if it was in our budget). It just clicked as something that I wanted to get for us. We paid a third of the normal price and it is something that is in my ability level...I think. It's one that teaches you the songs and you can download songs into it easily from the computer. None of us will be performing in front of anyone anytime soon, but it will be something that we can use for our family worship time. I also see this as a gift from the Lord. It was something that I would never have even considered looking for, and hopefully it will serve it's purpose well.

So, it seems that when I make choices to honor God with what I have, even if what I can offer isn't perfect, He will bless it and give me more means to honor Him. I just have to take the steps.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Pulling the Plug

This summer I started considering pulling the plug on our television. There are so many reasons that it's something to think about. I decided about a month ago that I was really wanting to make that switch and talked to my husband about it. He agreed to give it a try. What are my reasons for this change?

#1 - It takes time away from things that are more important. This was my first reason for leaning toward getting rid of TV actually. I thought about it, and if we have the TV, we are more likely to use it instead of spending time as a family along with other things. I have been working on not watching any television in my own time and it has been working well for me. In the evening I spend my time reading, being with my husband, or on the computer. I intend on having some time for crafting, but haven't reached that yet. I realize that the computer can have just as negative an impact with the reasons that I will mention, but I am trying to be intentional about my use of this technology.

#2 - I do not like the images it invites into my home. I cannot fully screen what my children, and family for that matter, watch and they often get glimpses of things I would rather they didn't. I am a firm believer that the things that you allow into your mind are there forever. Once an image is there it stays there, even if it is hidden deeply.

22"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" Matthew 26:22-23

This has always been a verse that sticks in my mind. I want to keep myself and my family full of light (good things).

#3 - I do not like who it invites into my home. There are many scantily dressed, perverse, sailor mouthed people that live on cable TV. I do not want my children to hear those things, see those people, or get those ideas earlier than they have to. I am amazed at what is allowed to come through on the basic channels now! If it isn't something I want my two year old to say or do, I should not have her watch it. She isn't old enough to determine which things are okay and which are not. She copies everything she sees. I also believe that the things we are bombarded with desensitize us and make us more tolerant of inappropriate things.

#4 - I don't want the television to babysit my kids. Now, sometimes it is helpful to pop in Leap Frog's Letter Factory while I take a shower. I know that I need to be clean and the distraction that the screen gives keeps mayhem from bursting out while I make myself squeaky. I also know that I do not have the will power to keep myself from using the option if it is there. If it is available, I will use it in my moments of weakness. You want to get up early after keeping Mom awake all night? All I want to do is sleep- sure kid, watch a little television for an hour.

While I am not ready to give up my good friend DVD and VHS (yes, I do have a couple of those around that she watches), those can be pre-screened. In the future we may have a more remotely located television, but we have no other location in our current house. I think that out of site may be a little helpful too.

I am sure that I sound like an extremist fruit loop to most of you, and that's okay. I haven't been missing the box since I stopped watching it, and I don't think I will. Once I get used to not having the option with the kids I think that will get easier too. And for those of you that are worried for my husband- he isn't one to watch sports at all and he doesn't watch all that much television anyway. He is more of a computer guy, I have always loved that about him.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stacking and Sorting

This is what I walked in on during her bath. It was completely unprompted behavior.

I only have one thing to say: She is definitely my daughter.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


So, the other night I walk into Curly's room to get her dressed for bed. She is running around like mad, her usual self at bedtime when wanting to delay, and in walks Dad. Her hands shoot up to her chest and cover her little nubs in a cupped fashion. Trying not to laugh and turn it into a big thing, I ask her what she is doing.

"Covering my bre@sts." (She has learned about these from the feeding of her brother. I am lucky to have avoided an uncomfortable conversation or statement in public thus far. I hope this trend sticks.)

"Oh, okaaaayyyy." I said with a quizzical tone, not expecting any further response. I was a bit curious what started this, though we have talked about what things should be kept private recently because with a brother now in the house, some questions have arisen and I didn't want the answers to prompt some public humiliation.

"Daddy can't see them Mommy. They're priiivate."

Well, there you have it. We have reached the age where Dad is a boy and must respect her privacy. It was rather cute.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Family Visit

Saturday I got the opportunity to go to my Uncle T and Aunt B's house to take some photos of their family. I wanted to get some practice in. I have been looking forward to putting Pioneer Woman's suggestions with Photoshop to good use. Photoshop is so confusing at times and her tutorials have really been simple to figure out. Great stuff! There are also some great lessons in basic photography if any of you are interested in that.
They are a family of seven, two parents and five children. I think they are planning for eight, but I am not certain. (I think I heard Uncle T tell me once that he was trying to keep up with my dad. Big families are fun, I miss having a lot of people around sometimes. Other times I greatly enjoy the peace and quiet.) Isn't Aunt B beautiful! In fact when I first asked Uncle T to look at her for a snap, he teared up quite a bit. I tell you guys, it's in my genetic make up to cry so much! I swear that if you knew my family you would not be so surprised by my overly productive tear ducts.
This little guy is E. He is the youngest child right now. I noticed he is very easy going and flexible. I don't think I saw him cry even once.Here he is trying to get in on the popcorn party. Being the youngest didn't hold this guy back.
This is J. He is a little older than my girl. He sure is a cutie. I think he enjoyed the leaves the most. You gotta love the face pictured below! I think that's one of my favorites.
Meet A. She was very calm and a little shy for all the stories I have heard about her. The stories on auntie's blog about her always make me laugh. She just seems to do her own thing. She was very good at being photographed- I love her in black and white...I had to keep myself from taking the color out of all her pictures!
T is the oldest boy. He was very much a typical boy. He liked to be silly and give me goofy faces. He looks so much like his dad to me, definitely got the Judd genes! It reminded me of my brother that is directly after me chronologically. What a fun kid.
M is their oldest girl. I remember when she was a baby. I can't believe how grown up she is. I don't see them very often because life sweeps you up. She is just too cute. I love her little smirk. A little shy, but willing to go for it anyway.
And here is a compilation of some fun family moments. Big family fun. I love the shot below, it makes me laugh every time I see it. They are all doing their own things...Vicky and I think it should be the family Christmas card! (I don't think they are going to take our advice.)
If you tip 'em upside down while wiping their noses, it gets the drool to help clean off the rest of the face =).
Father son fun.
This is during the family snack.
And this is just a fun shot of mom loving on her baby. How sweet.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Seeking the Sabbath: Dedicated

So, today I was a bit of a slacker on my me and the Lord time. I had Vicky time instead. (You can chastise me later.)

There was a lot of contemplation going on in spite of the lack of focus on that personal time though. Today was a special day because we dedicated our little boy. For me that is a big deal, especially this year. The message given by our less frequently pulpiting pastor (I know, that was a great new term there, wasn't it) was a good reminder for me. Sometimes a simple message is just the smack in the head I need. Here is how it all pieced together for me. Don't judge me for my feelings guys, I am sometimes less strong than I think.

So, with the loss of two dear girls in my recent memory...well, I have had a hard time. (Let me also clarify that I do not consider it my loss, but a loss that hurts because of the love that I have for my dear friend. I know that her life is forever changed by the passing of her girls.) If you would have asked me how I would react before this outcome, I would have guessed that I would fall somewhere in the "I trust God and His plans" category. I even argued during the last bout of prayer for little miss cute feet, that my faith would not be changed if the outcome were not what I prayed for, so the sinister dark guy should just stop trying to mess with me. So, as always happens when you think you have it all figured out- I was a bit showed up. I have had a harder time than I thought. I have been feeling a bit filled with fear and confusion, and also having a hard time trusting God. Let me clarify, it's not that I haven't trusted His ability, but His interest. As someone who defines herself by her faith, that is a pretty hard one to admit, but that is where I have been. A bit cynical.

It's just that I poured my heart and soul out into prayers that I thought were placed on my heart for the purpose of fulfilling them. I was absolutely floored when I got the news about Emily. It's still hard to believe. So, then I am left with feelings of confusion with myself and my ability to hear God. Questions of His intentions and concern for me. This is the first part of the equation.

Fear is the second. I have checked and re-checked my boy so many times in the past weeks that I think my husband is worried for my sanity. I happened to read a great blog at a not so great time that placed even more fears in my mind (Bring the Rain) and that added to my issues. Then dedication comes up. It's something that was so easy with Curly. There was no question during that time in my life and place where I was in my faith that it was something I could do. I am not one to take dedication lightly. It's a profession of knowledge that my child belongs to God and that I will attempt to remember at all times that my child is His. That I desire His will and plan for my child's life over my own fears and desires. As the time came closer I was struggling. I knew that once this moment came and I made that profession it was for real. (I do understand that God is in control anyway, but I wouldn't have to support His decisions if I didn't want to. Hopefully that makes sense.) I know it may seem like a strange thing to struggle with, but I have had an internal dialogue over the last week or so about it and have been back and forth over whether or not I was ready for that. Can I trust HIM with my child? I have had this fear that the moment I gave Him my trust, He would take my child from me.

Bringing it together- This morning was dedication day. As you would gather, I brought myself to the place I needed to be with this decision. I don't think that anyone in that room knew how deep this went for me. I don't know that everyone takes this moment as seriously as I do, it's just a natural thing for some parents to do. A milestone that you just do. Then came the message. It was simple, uncomplicated stuff. A reminder that God works outside of my understanding, that I am simple minded. (The actual message was on Thankfulness, but often God's message is different than that of the preacher.) I do believe that I was compared to a dog in my intellect...I suppose I will give that to him though. Compared to God, I do have the intellect of a dog.

I won't try to claim that all is well again, but the journey of faith must always have times of questioning. The deepest growth comes from times of trial that change perspective and show who God really is. Faith isn't grown by being given what we ask for, it is grown by learning to trust that He really does know best, even when it is beyond my understanding. I recognize today that He is Lord of all I have and all I love.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

First Act as Resident little brother who would be properly classified as a teenager is a temporary resident at our home for the weekend. As I would expect from most boys that can be classified in this category, his first act as resident is pictured above. It just makes me laugh. Totally predictable.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Two Things

So, there are two things that infuriate the crud out of me. You see, it took me awhile to figure it out, I just knew when I was frustrated beyond all get out. I wasn't quite sure what caused it until recently.

#1- when something messes with my plans.

#2- children who don't get enough sleep. (I kept this one broad for a reason, though prompted by MY children when lacking sleep.)

Today I will expand on the first. I will save the sleep for it's own post tomorrow.

By the way...did I mention that I am eating totally awesome chocolate cake? No? Well, I am. It's the Costco version that has the large chunks of shaved chocolate on the sides...mmmm, you should go and get some. I don't want you to be jealous this whole post.

Sorry about that. So, I was going to tell you that I am a planner. A "to the max, think things through, that's why I am such a worrier" planner. I have ways of doing things that are just the way you all should do them too. I think someday I will write an instruction book for life so that you can do things my perfect way too. (Can't hear the sarcasm in there a is your little elbow in your arm- I am joking kids.) I do make plans for my day. Be it on a piece of paper, or just in my head, it's still somewhat sketched out ahead of time. Planning makes things run smoothly and takes away many of the frustrations that come with the unexpected.

You see, there is only one problem. My kids...well, they laugh my plans to the moon. It seems that more often than not, when I have plans my children will find a way to make it harder than diamonds to accomplish. Example: "Today I think I will finally get to some reading while both kids are napping. I have that book to get back to the library and I need to finish it." Enter children. All hunched over in planning mode, rubbing their hands together and speaking in whispers, "Mom wants to read that book. I'll get sleepy a bit early and then wake up a bunch of times throughout my sleep times today. You take a long time to pick up toys and then eat REALLY slow. When Mom is just about to leave your room after putting you down, I will wake up and start crying with no end. It will drive her nuts!" excitement exudes from their bodies as if a dump truck full of candy just dropped a load over their heads.

Should I resign myself to the fact that my plans will be thwarted over the extent of my child rearing years? I think not. You people don't know me at all. I am more stubborn than they could ever dream of being. They may be smart, feisty little twerps, but I am going to make them work for it. This mommy does not give up that easily! Luckily today my chocolate cake waters down the frustration.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Meet Forest

"Hi! I'm Forest the bear."

This little guy is one of Smiles' few interests outside of people. He isn't really a toy kind of kid so far. My little girly was quite into toys right off the bat. She loved to swing her arms at stuff and talk to things...all that good baby stuff. Smiles is different, as I know all kids are. He loves to just sit and observe. With a big sister like Curly, who is quite a ball of wild energy though many of you don't see it (she likes to be shy around strangers), he can stay entertained by just watching her.

Getting back to Forest the bear. First of all, Forest was/is the name of another bear that Curly has. She just out of the blue one day told me that his name was Forest. We will have to ignore that fact that she often calls this same bear Alleluia, because two names are hard to keep track of for one bear. Anyway, the black bear was a gift to Curly from Handsome's relatives that I met for the first time around Smile' birth. They were here with perfect timing, meeting me while pregnant, and then also getting to meet Smiles in the hospital and one time after.
She decided that she would give her bear to Smiles. At first it was something that was forced on the poor kid, but he is very patient with his big sister. I can't believe all the stuff that he takes from her and actually smiles about! He loves her very much, it's quite clear. So, after a little while he started enjoying this bear. He will chew on it's mouth and grab and hug it. All kinds of sweet things. I decided that I like the name Forest for a bear, so his bear gets to have that name as well. She does change the other name half the time anyway. I just think it's sweet that he loves the toy that his sister gave to him. I like to think it's extra special to him just because she gave it to him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Been a While

My life has been busy the past few days, which has been good for me in the way of not thinking too much about hard things. The other reason that I haven't been able to blog is because I found that the only things that I've been writing about have been melancholy because that is all that's been on my mind. So, for at least a week, I promise to only say things that are fun, light hearted, or nice. That is for myself as well as you.

So, tonight I want to go simple for myself and just make a recommendation to you. If you have children, or if you just need to be reminded of the simple message of the gospel- the overall, big picture of the Bible....well, I recommend this book.Goodness gracious, me oh my! It's wonderful. Why you ask? Well, let me tell you! First of all, my favorite part is that it starts off very clearly explaining that some people think the bible is a book of rules, and it's not. Some people think that it is a book of heros, it's not. There are some of those things in it, but the Bible is really a love story. Every chapter (which are the classic stories) ends by foreshadowing that God was going to save the world and relates the message of each story to Jesus coming.

Let me give you an example. When we read about Joseph (the one with the coat who had brothers that sold him into slavery and wanted him dead, and later went on to save those same brothers from famine...etc...) when we read about him here is what the last paragraph said:

"One day, God would send another Prince, a young Prince whose heart would break. Like Joseph, he would leave his home and his Father. His brothers would hate him and want him dead. He would be sold for pieces of silver. He would be punished even though he had done nothing wrong. But God would use everything that happened to this young Prince - even the bad things - to do something good: to forgive the sins of the whole world."

Now, I may be simple minded and you all may have thought about all of those similarities before. In fact, I am sure that quite a few of you have. I just never pieced all of those things together. I like that this book does that for me, a person who sometimes needs to remember the simplicity of God's plan. Yes, there are complications, but the part we need to keep in the front of our minds is simple.

Second, (and some of you may take issue with this) but I like that they take a few liberties here and there to make the story interesting to kids. I find that none of it is going to mess up the way a kid thinks, but they use more descriptive vocabulary and illustrate with their words so beautifully. It never changes the story, but it also puts a little detail in that sometimes you wouldn't get in a children's Bible. Awesome stuff here guys. I love it for me- I am not ashamed of it!

Third, I am not sure what it is, but somehow it helps piece things together for a kid. Curly is really understanding the concepts here because it ties it all together and repeats things for her often enough that she remembers and understands it. I will ask her questions as we go along to see if she is understanding and often be surprised by what she answers with. This also helps in knowing what to explain more thoroughly. Like I said, I am not sure what does that exactly.

So, to remind you of my ever illusive point...ahem (oh, wait...I guess you probably got it huh?). Well, to reiterate then, you should look into getting this Bible, no matter who you are. I l-o-v-e it! Also, to give credit where it is due- this find is of course the work of none other than our Vicky. Gotta love her. What would our family be without her? She is a part of us in so many ways and we are blessed to have her. Thanks for the wonderful loan that became a gift...he he he (Ernie snicker alert).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Stinky? I Think Not.

These belong to Smiles.
And these are Emily'sAnd this belongs to Curly. (This one is far less quality in the photographic world, but things have to progress as time goes by.)

Aren't baby feet sweet? I think I am obsessed! How precious!

(Thoughts were prompted by the sending of the middle picture by a certain baby's mother. Thanks for reminding me how cute baby feet are Brie!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bellowing Wretch

Crazy two year old singing. That is what has been ringing through my halls as of late. It's sweet at first, but then the novelty wears off a when her brother is sleeping. That can get my goat sometimes.

Anyway, I love that she is remembering songs so well these days. She can get all the way through Jesus Love Me, ABC's, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and yes...Grace song too. That's Curly for Amazing Grace, which is her current favorite. I can't help but laugh as this little innocent, okay scratch the innocent, beautiful child starts bellowing at the top of her lungs, "SAVED a WRETCH like MEEEEEE." Have to say, sometimes I feel like letting myself think she is a wretch. Okay, not so much. Just in a fun, joking way. But when she sings from the gut with such gusto that grace saved a WRETCH like her...who in their right mind wouldn't smile just a little? I think they need a heart transplant or something.

I wonder what the next favorite will be. Watching her learn new things and have little spurts of growing-upness is great entertainment.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lesson on Forgiveness

If only I could forgive like a child. What an example they are in so many ways, and yet we become so frustrated with the things that they don't do the way we want them to. My little Smiles is such a forgiver, I am sure just because he is not tainted by experience yet. It's amazing to me how I can lose my temper and be upset with him, yet minutes later he is over it. I get huge smiles. His feelings do not stay hurt, he doesn't harbor a grudge against me. He just loves me, exactly as I am with all the faults.

He hasn't seen many episodes of my temper. The past couple of days I have had "crap raining down on me"...the wording is for you Mom... from a bunch of different directions and it's beyond my ability to deal with all of it. Now he has unfortunately experienced a bit of yelling and crying from Mom. I suppose I could use some prayer in that matter if any feel so inclined.

My children teach me so many lessons. Who would I be without them?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stormy Weather

As I sit with my morning cup of coffee, my mind is filled with thoughts. How can the world just go on like this? How can so many people go about their merry, joyful days while my dear friend is filled with such sorrow? How does the world not stop for a moment with sadness? I could not even dry my hair today without sadness in all it's fullness drizzling out of my soul.

Last night the stormy sky was reflective of my heart and mind. The beating of the rain on the roof, pain. The wind, how quickly one can blow through your life. The wetness of raindrops, tears and sorrow. The dark, baby-snatching clouds from whence the sorrow comes...those are this world which the enemy has been given way too much persuasive power in. But God can make all things new and bring joy through sorrow. It is only He who can. The trees blowing through the storm, God's family, there to blow alongside you. A tree on it's own with strong wind will blow over, but a forest stands firm together and far fewer parish. The moon, though hidden by the clouds, still remains in all it's joyful light. The warm house in which I reside. It is firm and steady. That is none other than the arms of Christ in all his power. Comfort comes from his warm embrace. Ride out the storm in His waiting arms, for a tent is no place to weather a storm.

The only way to ride out a storm is to wait. With time the storm will slow and our burdened hearts will rest.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

With a Heavy Heart

There are times in our lives when we have to wonder how God can take something and turn it good. Today is one of those days. Emily left us this afternoon to join her sister in heaven. I am at a loss of what to say, there really is nothing that you can say. It's tragedy at it's finest. Two little precious babies were taken from their parents after little time with them. What is to be said of that?

And yet, I know that our Lord can take the saddest of tragic events and bring good things from them. I can't see how, but do know that it is possible. My confidence was so high in the survival of this little one. I just knew it. And so did many others, many of those that have been in prayer for her have said this same thing. We are just lost at this moment. What happened? Where did those feelings of hope come from?

I don't know. I feel overwhelmed with feeling at this point. I don't know which feelings to feel. I don't know what things to listen to first in head is tight with all of it. And though I know that it's not truth, I can't help but feeling that I failed her. If only I had prayed harder, would she still be here? And truthfully, my sorrow is not for Emily or Allison. It is for her parents and the loss of their entire family. I know the peace that those babies feel in the arms of their Father. It is we who are left behind that must come to terms with our loss and wait until our turn comes to see that place of peace. We have the burdens and worries of this Earth to deal with. It is we who are heavy hearted and distant from continual peace that only comes in the presence of God.


I am guilty. Today I have been taught a lesson, a humbling lesson.

Emily has not been doing well the past two days or so. They had to give her a blood transfusion, put her on 100% oxygen, and give her injections for her stiff lungs. It's been tough for me, so I can't imagine her parents. I must say that I have never felt closer to babies other than my own. I love both of these girls very much. I prayed for quite some time last night for Emily. I just couldn't feel the I knew anything. In the past when I have prayed, I have had feelings that told me something about what was going on. Blessings from God to guide my prayer because He gave me a special call to this family.

I am guilty of not being humble about my prayer. It's hard to stay humble when someone comes to you for prayer and gives you the feeling that you provide them hope, even if that hope is through the gift of prayer. The gift of life is not within my power, it is only in God's. While I believe they know that, I was still allowing myself to loose some humility in my thoughts on the subject. It's quite embarrassing really, and I don't like to admit it here, but I felt that I should be open about my sin with anyone God should lead to it. Let Him use my sin, be it for good in someone elses life, or just for the sake of acting in humility after the fact.

How did this lesson come about? Well, I have been praying for Emily today. Distractions have come up, but I have been trying to work through them. I have been watching for messages from Brie- my spirit knows when to watch for them I don't know how! It's a God thing folks. He tells me when to watch carefully for them. So, after this morning's outing to our friend M and B's house, I was sitting at the computer typing out another e-mail to Vicky about Emily. Brie called me. They were on their way to the hospital. Don't let me skip over the detail that this happened about an hour and fifteen minutes ago. This lesson is recent and I still don't know where we stand with Baby Emily. The doctor's called them to come because they don't think Emily is going to make it. What could I say? I was speechless mostly. My heart breaking for them. For her. It's just terrible news all around.

Then I tried to pray. I was praying, but not with the focus I wanted to. Smiles was fussing, not wanting to go down for nap. Then I tried to walk out into the living room holding him and bouncing him. Curly had her light on and I snapped. She was supposed to be sleeping. I yelled at her with fury and probably scared her quite a bit in my angry voice, "Curly (insert middle name here)! You WILL get in your bed. You WILL turn off the light, and you WILL go to sleep NOW!" Ben was fighting me in my arms. I was getting angry with him as well. I started to pat his bottom with more gusto than necessary.

What was going on?! I have been doing very well with not yelling recently, it's something I struggle with a lot, but as of late since I haven been turning a corner in my spiritual life things have been more peaceful at our house. I knew at that moment that there was a battle going on for my attention. Someone didn't want me to be praying for little Emily with the fervor that I wanted to be giving. I immediately set my boy down and fell to my knees in prayer. I mean "on my knees, face in my hands which are lying on the ground, full of tears" prayer. I won't go into all the details with what came out my mouth, but at first it was fully focused on getting my distracter out of the way. Then came prayers of sorrow and humility because God showed me that my heart was not fully where it should be. I was reminded that HE gave me the urge to pray in the first place. HE is the one who gave me faith and understanding of what was going on at certain points. HE was at the center, not me or my prayerfulness. I sobbed for many reasons and asked forgiveness.

Then my prayer changed slowly. The spiritual tone was becoming different. I realized that my faith would not be enough. I was reminded though, of the story about the man that was lowered on his mat through the roof to Jesus. By the faith of his friends he was healed. Jesus, you are my friend. Your faith is not fathomable. By Your faith, not mine, heal this child. By your mighty faith I pray that you would give her life. Many other things came to my mind and there was a newness of prayer. Eventually there came peace. HE gave me the words to pray. This peace is unlike the other that was present with Allison. Does that mean that she was healed? I cannot know, I am not HIM and I have not heard word of whether she is still with us or not. I can only know that there is peace and my worry is less. There is hope in my heart.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Savor the Moment

Picture this- you give a two year old a plain M&M, the small ones...we aren't talking some freak M&M's that they have for a special time or something, the ones you would buy in the check out line at the grocery store. What do you imagine would happen to that M&M? Yes, I did say ONE, not a handful or a couple, just one. If you are a normal human being with normal, human children (I am still not sure if mine is), it wouldn't take much imagination at all to picture the M&M quickly being devoured in the mouth on a journey to the stomach with no guarantee that there was chewing involved at all. I'll be honest here for you, I would probably do very similar. They are tiny little things you know.

Not at our house. I bet you didn't even think it was possible, but my child takes the tiny piece of chocolate and eats it in three to four bites. No joking kids, three to four bites! It's so funny to watch because, though her fingers are small, they get in the way when eating such a tiny piece of candy in so many bites. It's like watching a mouse eat something, yet even more neurotic. I have to say, I don't understand. I do love that she makes me laugh so much though.

It got me thinking. She is just savoring every little bit of that M&M (you would think she had lived through the depression or something), stretching it as far as it will go. I am a three year old boy in spirit. I devour my way through life always looking ahead, and when I get there I don't savor it because I am looking far ahead at the next thing. Perhaps I would do better to take my martian daughter's example to heart and start to savor the moments that I am in. Enjoy the night time feedings with Smiles, reading with my daughter, and cleaning up after them both. Perhaps I should worry less about the laundry and the dishes and instead spend time enjoying the moments that I have with them.

For tomorrow I will be 95 looking back and wondering what life tasted like.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Seeking the Sabbath: Sitting on the Sidelines

There are many things that would fit for this post tonight. Many things that I have been contemplating today as I focus on my God. This week was still difficult to be focused. I still had to work at keeping all of the distractions out, but it was a little better.

Tonight I am thinking about the fact that I am a bench warmer. Not because I am not good enough, not because I fouled out too many times or let the other team score too many points, but because I have chosen to sit out. I am too scared to walk up to the plate because the ball might hit me and that would hurt. I might strike out and people would laugh at me and call me a failure. I might get a stain on my nice white pants that won't come out...then where would I be? Who am I without the purity of my white uniform?

Many of us are hiding on the sidelines of our faith, burdened by the thought that our knowledge is lacking and therefore we are just better off to be followers of a leader that is educated in theology and biblical history and so on.

But- the beauty of the gospel is it's simplicity. God loves me. Satan whispers in my ear that God indeed does not, and will do all that he can to keep me from believing that truth along with the rest of God's children. God sent His Son to die for me, which proves that lie is untrue (and yet I still sometimes believe it). My Lord wants to have a relationship with me, to know me and have me KNOW Him. Anything beyond that is the details my friend. No amount of education can make up for the things that He will show me through that relationship. Just because I am not schooled in religion does not give me excuses. Nor does going to school, in itself, give a person more knowledge OF God. Accumulating information does not give a man wisdom. No sirree Bob, it does not.

So, my conviction tonight is that I no longer have reason to sit on the sidelines and play it safe. I might strike out a couple of times or get hurt by the ball, but I have to be able to tell my coach that I tried my hardest. And you know what, my coach ain't no pro-ball guy. We are playing little league here, He has some mighty patience.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Gone Leaving...

Today I took the kids to my parent's house for a bit. Handsome had to work and my mother-in-law didn't come by for her usual visit, so I wanted to take advantage of the fall leaves they have. We are barren of leaves at our house. For some reason developers don't like to give people trees in their yard. Hmmm...I know! They just want to make sure that we are okay during the giant wind storms. What sweet builders we have! Everybody with me now, "AWWWWW."As you can see, she enjoyed it much more than her brother. He wasn't so sure about the whole thing. It was a bit wet, though fortunately not cold at all. We had a rather warm day!