Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Life as a three-year-old

We were talking at supper tonight about the presents Jesus wants for His birthday. Ethan and I were having a pretty good discussion.
Kylie, not wanting to miss an opportunity to talk, pipes up, "Jesus is precious to me!"
Out of the mouths of three year olds.
I just wonder, "does she have a clue what she just said?"
And, "Who knew she knew the word 'precious' well enough to use it in a sentence?"
Now, ten minutes later she's sitting in time out screaming because I told her to pick up that toys she threw on the ground and she said, "no!"
Oh...the life of a three year old...

Monday, December 15, 2008


I've been contemplating Mary, the mother of Jesus, recently. Every year at Christmas, I look at my kids and wonder, what would it be like to be the earthly mother of God?
Mary had ample opportunity to grieve ruined plans. She's engaged to a man and, no doubt, planning their lives together. They'll be married, learn how to live together, decorate their house, and then surround themselves with beautiful babies. Then an angel shows up and suddenly she, an unmarried 14 year old virgin, is carrying the Son of God. And her plans for a normal life forever disappear. Her family thinks she's crazy. Only God intervening in a miraculous dream can convince her husband-to-be to go through with the marriage. The townspeople whisper, mock, shun. Her friends avoid her in the streets. She runs to Elizabeth's for understanding and isolation. Everyone assumes terrible sin resides in her life, when in fact, the opposite is true. She is carrying perfection not shame. But she cannot prove it to anyone. How full of joy she must have been when Joseph marries her anyway. But their marriage would never be free from gossiping tongues and condemning glances.
Her baby is born in Bethlehem in a filthy stable with no mother to help deliver the baby. And then people keep showing up to worship her son while, exhausted, Mary wishes for quiet so she can sleep. Even walking into the temple to offer sacrifices for her firstborn son creates a stir as people begin prophesying and weeping over their long awaited Messiah. She ends up fleeing to a foreign country to escape the wrath of a jealous, earthly king.
I think all this would be enough to make me feel picked on. I think I would cry, "I wanted a simple, normal life, God! To love my husband and children in my village with my family and not create too much of a stir." And yet God saw something in Mary that made her worthy of mothering His Son! He chose her out of millions of women throughout time to nurse, bathe, and diaper God as a baby! Mary's heart is so soft. She seems always to be gracious and inviting - never turning those away who wish to worship her Son. She's always pondering what God is doing, storing His words in her heart for further reflection.
What a joy it must've been to raise a perfect child! I'm sure Jesus was the light of His mother's world! A baby with no sin nature - no need to scold. A two year old who is never defiant. A five year old who is never disrespectful. I'm sure Mary absorbed the joy of those years with delight - and tried not to think about what was to come for her son.
Did her heart break when she realized that at age 12 He felt the call of His Father so strongly that he was willing to disregard her feelings to follow it? What did she feel as her Son became the new sensation in Galilee? Did she beg her other sons to follow their brother as they turned their backs on Him? Did she avoid the discussions at parties about placing her son on a political throne or silencing him before he managed to bring the wrath of Rome on them all? I can't even imagine the agony of watching thousands of people screaming for the death of my son - of standing at the foot of the cross barely recognizing his disfigured body and listening to his tortured breathing. Did God reveal His plan to her in a special way? Did Jesus appear to her after His ressurection? Did He hold her in His arms not as her son but as her Savior?
I'd really love to have Mary's journal. I'd love to know my Savior the way she did. I'd love to learn her lessons of absolute trust, quiet waiting, and heartbreak leading to eternal joy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I decided I should send out Christmas cards this year. Pretty much every year I decide this, and when January first rolls around with no Christmas card, I give up. But this year, I thought I'd make it easy. We'd take a good picture of all five of us (we have only one - NOT good! - of our family since Julia was born), put it on a card, and mail it. No writing. No signing. Easy.

Until I decided, "We have a good camera. Why pay Sears or JC Penny's $20 to take our picture when we can do it ourselves?" Caleb started working 12 hour days, so I gave up on his help (he's the photographer of the family) and decided to put just the kids in the picture. Nobody wants to see me and Caleb anyway.

So Tuesday afternoon after nap time, I thought "the kids are happy, I'll get 'em dressed, sit 'em on the couch and take pictures. If I take enough, I'm bound to get a good one sooner or later." Two hours, 219 pictures (not exaggerating!), sticky candy canes, many lost hair bows, and several crying fits later here are the good ones. Yes, I said the good ones.

Any votes for which one is worthy of the Christmas card?
I learned:
-Even with a good camera, I have NO talent as a photographer! Apparently it takes some skill besides point and shoot....
-Next time, pay someone else to take the pictures!!!
-People who take pictures of children EARN their money! I was exhausted!!!
Caleb looked at these pictures and trying to be an encouraging husband, said "Wow! I'm impressed that you kept trying for so long!" Which I took to imply that when I realized how bad I was, I should've given up long before I did... =)
I think the one I took the night before of Caleb and the kids in their jammies decorating the tree is better (although Caleb thinks his hair is messed up and would not agree with me). At least they're all looking at the camera in this pic!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A boy with brown eyes

Last night we were sitting around the table eating supper, and I decided to prepare Kylie for going to three-year-old Sunday School instead of two-year-old Sunday School next Sunday. So, I asked her if she was ready to go to three-year-old Sunday School next week. She looked at me and said, "I have to be a boy, mommy."
"No, Kylie. You're a girl going to three-year-old Sunday School."
"But mommy I be a boy with brown eyes."
"A boy with brown eyes? When, Kylie?"
"When I turn five I be a boy with brown eyes."

I had to laugh - and call Kayla. You see my sister Kayla was scared to turn five. She was SURE she was going to turn into a boy like her big brothers (I don't know how she thought Becca and I lived past five as girls....) Poor Kayla! She was very exited on the morning of her fifth birthday to wake up and see she was still a girl.
So much for preparing Kylie for three-year-old Sunday School.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Well, I'm back home after a week at my mom and dad's house with ALL my brothers and sisters and their families. What fun! We pretty much just talked and ate and played at my mom and dad's house. But, the girls got a day out! Yeah! We left daddy, Micah, and Rob home with four kids (two in diapers!!!) Brave, I know. But, they did great! I had happy, clean kids when we got home. Anyway, the girls went to a cute bookstore, drank coffee, and watched a girly movie. I don't get to do things like that very often. I love spending time with my family! They encourage me, listen to my rambling, laugh with me, tease me (ROB!), play with my kids... I've decided that if you're not used to the chaos living with three kids creates, you get kinda stressed out after a week! Although I know my family loves my kids, I think they were glad to return to their nice, normal, QUIET lives!
I always feel like I'm processing for a while after a week like last week. It seems that my family can teach me so many things. Since I only see them all twice a year or so, I feel like I should pay attention to all the things I can learn from them. Like my brother, Micah, was quoting Bible verses to my dad (the WHOLE Sermon on the Mount!), and I was convicted to keep working on my Bible memory goals. And my sister-in-laws, Allie and Christina, are both pregnant and were not feeling well some of the time, but they were always smiling and didn't complain endlessly (have I been known to do that?) And my sister, Kayla, is so good at keeping her mouth shut when she could say what really shouldn't be said. My mom never gets impatient with my kids. My dad (who has lost practically every fantasy football game this year) laughs about his weaknesses without getting defensive or making excuses. I could go on and on. I feel overwhelmed trying to remember it all - let alone figure out how to incorporate it into my life. Too bad I don't have more quiet, thinking time around here! =)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Giving Thanks!!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving (and recent blessings too obvious for my distracted mind to miss) here is a list of things I have recently been reminded I'm thankful for.
1.) My kitchen! We had a major pipe gushing problem that grew mold (and some sad little plants) behind my cabinets in our wall. My kitchen has been destroyed for 10 days, but my husband (see #2) just put my new floor down last night. YEAH!!! Now I'm just waiting for my new dishwasher.
2.) My husband! He has worked tirelessly in every free moment to tear out the old (very nasty) stuff and replace it with nice new stuff! The poor man is exhausted, but he has a happy wife who has regained control of her kitchen!
3.) Helpful brother in laws! Josh and Ben spent a day and a half (which I'm positive could've been used in much more fun ways) cleaning nasty, gross, disgusting, moldy, slimy (get the point?) junk out of my kitchen and helping Caleb repair the plumbing and put my cabinets back in.
4.) Generous grandparents! Two sets of our grandparents were worried about us and sent money to help fix our kitchen. God has abundantly blessed us with gifts for which we did not even think to ask!
5.) Family! My mom and dad and two sisters welcomed me and my 3 kids into their home for almost a week. We were all sick, miserable, and contagious. They took care of my kids when I was too tired to get off the couch. They entertained my demanding children. They made Halloween costumes for them and took them trick-or-treating! By the time we left they needed a break! =)
6.) 75 degree weather (at the beginning of November?!?!) It was so warm the kids and I pretty much lived outside for a couple of days during the worst of the chaos. And I could open the windows to let the concrete dust/ mold spores float out into the backyard. Caleb got my floor down last night and today it's about 30 degrees cooler than it has been!
7.) A God who is totally in control and knows everything I need before I know I need it. Between the chaos in my house and an election that did not go the way I thought it should, I have been discouraged and pessimistic about life in general the past couple of weeks. It seems that Evil and chaos reign in this world. I yearn for peace and joy! Then I read I John 5:4-5 (a verse I have memorized and should remember in times like this). "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" I know the end of the story because I know the God who wrote it! He is my peace and my joy in the midst of uncertainty.
8.) It's exactly 3 weeks until Thanksgiving! My brothers and their families and coming, and I can't wait to see them!!! I'm already thankful for precious time with my family all together. It doesn't happen very often, and I plan on enjoying it when it does!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I love my husband!

Last night, I ran out of our house at 6:15 for time with the girls. I took Ethan with me for a playdate. Julia was crying and begging me to take her out of her highchair. Kylie was crying and begging me to take her with me. The house was a disaster. The floor needed swept. None of the dishes were washed. Supper was still on the table. Toys covered the living room floor. Poor Caleb. I ditched him with two sad girls and a disaster area in place of our home. I assumed I'd come home to a messy house and two very tired, cranky girls.
Well, I walked in the door at 9:30ish and was VERY surprised! It was quiet. Both girls were asleep. The dishes were clean, the floor swept, the toys picked up. Caleb even cleaned the bathtub! I would be proud of myself to get that much done in a whole day, and he did it in three hours. I was impressed. And very grateful. It was wonderful to wake up this morning and be greeted by a calm, clean, peaceful house.
What a wonderful husband I have!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Who knew?

You know what I just learned? If someone (Kylie for instance) writes on your computer screen with a permanent marker, write over the black spots with a dry erase marker and it wipes right off! Wow! I just saved Caleb a major crisis! Yeah for Google! You can find anything on there!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Run away words

Lately I've caught myself replaying conversations in my mind alot. Like last night, after coffee with the girls, I had a quiet drive home (Unusual!) As I drove into my driveway, I realized that I'd played back the entire conversation in my head, trying to decide if I'd said anything that might offend someone or misrepresent someone or something just plain stupid that I never should've said. And if I thought of something, I spent time wondering if I should apologize to the people I've misrepresented or offended - when they probably went home and forgot about it or didn't know in the first place.
It seems that I say things I shouldn't all the time! I don't know why this surprises me so much. I mean, James 3:8 says, "But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison."
But here's my dilemma. I can't decide if the repetitive playback is based on the Holy Spirit's attempts to teach me to control my tongue or if I'm just obsessed with myself, worried that someone will think less of me if I say something dumb.
Even as I write this, I'm reading and re-reading, attempting to see it through your eyes and remove any wayward words. I think I could drive myself crazy really quickly!

Oh, something else totally off subject but not deserving of it's own post. I completely inadvertently taught Julia to say "Uh oh" yesterday. She was sitting in her highchair and dropped a Cheerio on the floor. I looked at her and said, "Uh oh", and she said "Uh Uh". I almost fell out of my chair. I was not expecting that one! Anyway, it's really cute, and I wish you all could hear it! =)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oh what a beautiful morning!

Caleb was running out the door to work on Wednesday morning. He opened the garage door, and this is what he saw.

The car had been parked just in front of the driveway on the right side of this picture. A lady down the street had been headed to work when her son escaped from his car seat. She unbuckled, turned around to buckle him back in and SMASH!

I was happy Caleb wasn't in the car when she hit it. But the car's totaled - kind of sad cuz it might have been old and not very beautiful, but it was a dependable little thing that got good gas mileage. Oh well. I guess that's the way life goes. Caleb wants a pickup. I'm not sure how much money the insurance will give us for the car, but I bet it's not worth much (except it was to us!). Anybody have a decently running pickup they want to sell for...oh... $1500? =)

My guy

Caleb was putting Kylie to bed the other night. I noticed her pink blankie on the living room floor, so I carried it into her bedroom.
Teasing, I said, "This is mommy's pink blankie. Mommy loves her pink blankie," as I cuddled with the blankie.
Kylie started insisting, "That's MY pink blankie, mommy," and laughing hilariously. So I handed her the pink blankie. She grinned and then looked worried - like I might be sad cuz I didn't have a pink blankie.
Realizing what she was thinking, I said, "It's ok, Kylie. Daddy's my blankie," and I cuddled up next to Caleb.
She looked at me for a second and said, "No, He's not your blankie. He's your guy!"

Monday, September 8, 2008

And now Becca will be laughing!

I was coloring pictures with Kylie today. She asks so nicely that it's impossible to say no.
"Mommy, will you please color with me?"
So I finally managed to sit down with her. She wanted me to draw her a picture, "of Kylie and Ethan and Daddy and Mommy and Julia." I have NO artistic talent, but I tried.

Look! Caleb and I are even holding hands! =) Anyway, I got to Julia (who just started crawling) and decided to draw a picture of her crawling on the floor instead of my usual standing up, arms straight out stick people. So I draw my masterpiece and ask, "Who's this, Kylie."
"A turtle," she replied.
Then I looked. I think it does look more like a turtle than Julia after all. Ethan LAUGHED! Wow! Who knew as a mommy I would need artistic talent? I think I'll hire Becca to do art with my kids!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Becca's going to kill me...

Those of you who know my sister Rebecca know she is great with a camera. She takes absolutely amazing pictures of all sorts of things. But, when you point the camera at her, she makes terrible faces, hides, does all kinds of antics to get out of having an actually decent picture of herself. Well, I decided the other day I wasn't going to stop snapping pictures of her until she smiled nicely for the camera. This is what I got.

After 57 pictures - and about 20 more I deleted - here's my reward!

Star Struck?

Caleb says I'm star struck. But, I think it's the opposite. I finally found a politician that I'm pretty sure I could sit down and have a perfectly normal conversation with. That's right, I watched Sarah Palin give her speech at the RNC last night. I really know very little about her - I'd never heard her speak before last night. I know alot of people are saying very good things about her, and alot of people are saying very bad things. But, I thought she was excellent last night. She's an compelling speaker, intelligent, and feisty. But, I think she'd just be a fun person to know. I wanted to hold her baby and talk about how he's sleeping at night and what the other kids think of him. Did anyone else see the shots of her youngest daughter (she's 8 maybe?) holding the baby, licking her entire hand, and smoothing his hair down? It was the cutest thing! Too bad Julia doesn't have much hair, or I'd teach Kylie to do that just so I could have it on video! Adorable!
Anyway, I know very little about Sarah Palin's political or moral convictions (although the fact that she considers her baby with Downs Syndrome a blessing from God speaks volumes about her heart), but I think if she was my next door neighbor, we would be friends. Is that a good enough reason to vote for her to be Vice President? =)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Am I really talking about politics??

Although I think politics is interesting, I don't usually write about it. I don't really want to debate with or offend people who don't agree with my view. It just creates strife. But, I can't resist making a couple statements about Barack Obama's acceptance speech last night. First of all, I'm not a huge fan of Obama. He seems too popular to be right to me. But, I have to say that most of what he said last night sounded pretty good to me. I mean, I'm just as sick as everyone else of the way "politics" goes in our country. I'm tired of continuous attacks and words with no substance behind them. I'm tired of people talking smoothly enough to be elected into office, only for their power-hungry egos to be corrupted by power. Obama did a good job of listing the problems in our society and stating that, with his leadership of course, the American spirit could solve the problems.
I was bothered by the way people reacted to his speech. I mean, I think most of the people in that stadium would've bowed down and kissed his feet. That fanatic loyalty evidenced by screaming, sobbing devotees seems to me like adoration that should only be lavished on God - not any man.
Also, I think Obama revealed his ignorance of God and His ways. The last line of his speech quoted the Bible saying, "in the words of scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess." I can't tell you off the top of my head where in the Bible that comes from (although if my dad reads this, I'm sure he'll tell me), but I am positive that the hope we confess is not hope in Barack Obama or the American spirit. It's hope in God alone and the salvation He offers through His Son, Jesus Christ. He's our only hope for peace or security. If Obama does not line up his life with Jesus Christ, ultimately everything he does will end up in failure - if not on earth than in eternity.
Behind the winning smile, the persuasive speaking, the grasp of what America could be with good leadership, Obama fails to honor God in his view of the world. He chooses phrases from the Bible to fit his purposes and ignores parts that are inconvenient to him. Perhaps all politicians do that - certainly most would if they thought it would help them get elected.
Bottom line is this. If I was going to vote for a man who I thought would cause our country to prosper economically and regain it's respected status in the world, I would at least consider voting for Barack Obama. But God cares about things like the lives of unborn babies and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. And because of that, I cannot vote for Barack Obama. I'm almost sad to not have a choice.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Funny pictures!

For all of you who aren't here to see my kids, I had to put some silly pictures up. First of all, I wish you could see Julia. She is such a crazy little thing. She's almost crawling! At six months old! She gets up on her hands and knees and wiggles back and forth. She lays on her back and arches it so that only her head and her toes are touching the floor. And she's just started laying on her tummy and pushing up onto her hands and her feet. I wish I had better pictures, but these will have to do. I tried for at least 15 minutes to get a decent picture.... =)

Ok, now Kylie is just plain goofy. She LOVES sunglasses!

And Ethan is such a BOY! He's always jumping, kicking, and running.

I feel so blessed to have these fun kids in my life. They definitely liven up things around here! I've always been a pretty quiet person who enjoys calm things, so crazy kids running around all the time is a stretch for me. But, I'm actually starting to enjoy it some of the time. Lots of laughing and silliness!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Unlikely Places

I've just started reading "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck. I've never read it before, but I've heard it listed as one of the great American novels, so I thought I should know what it's about at least. The people in this book swear constantly and talk about inappropriate things alot. But I can't deny Steinbeck's talent as an author. Anyway, all that to say I read a quote about the mother in this book that grabbed my attention.
She looked out into the sunshine. Her full face was not soft; it was controlled, kindly. Her hazel eyes seemed to have experienced all possible tragedy and to have mounted pain and suffering like steps into a high calm and a superhuman understanding. She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken. And since old Tom and the children could not know hurt or fear unless she ackowledged hurt and fear, she had practiced denying them in herself. And since, when a joyful thing happened, they looked to see whether joy was on her, it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials. But better than joy was calm. Imperturbability could be depended upon. And from her great and humble position in the family she had taken dignity and a clean calm beauty. From her position as healer, her hands had grown sure and cool and quiet; from her position as arbiter she had become as remote and faultless in judgment as a goddess. She seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever really deeply wavered or despaired the family would fall, the family will to function would be gone.
I'm not sure that mothers in general are anywhere near that strong - I know that I'm not, although parts of it make me think my mom. It's a beautiful picture of a woman who has lost everything and has decided to keep moving anyway - for her family - and the "dignity and clean calm beauty" this brings a woman.

Friday, August 1, 2008


I get overwhelmed alot. You wouldn't be surprised by this if you lived in my house for a day. Isn't there a physics law that says everything is going from order to chaos? Well, my life is a perfect example. My kids are bent towards disobedience, I am constantly making dirty dishes, toys are always all over the floor, we are always out of something necessary, the clothes are always dirty. I tend to feel that I simply can't keep up with all that needs to be done. I'd have to have super powers. Then I listen to well-meaning self-help guides who tell me, "10 minutes a day to an organized home" or "How to raise obedient children" or "How to have a great marriage". I get discouraged because I frantically try just to stay on top of the necessary things - let alone have a perfectly organized home with perfectly behaved children with a perfect marriage.
I figure if I was Supermom, I could do it. I'd get up early in the morning (because supermoms need next to no sleep) and get all ready for the day. I could move food, dirty dishes, laundry, and toys with my eyes all at the same time - while doing a pilates workout in the living room. By the time Caleb woke up to go to school, the house would be spotless, I'd be showered with makeup on and hair done and have already excersized and read my Bible. Eggs, bacon, and toast would be waiting on the table with a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. Once Caleb left I'd be free to play with the kids all day. We'd go on educational outings, bake cookies together, do plays, run through the sprinkler.
Just writing this makes me laugh! It's so unrealistic. But, here's what IS real.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places. (Eph. 1:18-20)

Did you catch that? I have the same power in me that raised Jesus from the dead and seated him next to God in heaven! Unlimited, supernatural power! That doesn't mean that I can move things with my eyes - or that I'm likely to greet Caleb with a clean house, makeup, and a hot breakfast on Monday morning. But it does mean that God has fully equipped me to do the work that He's given me to do - all with His power working through me.
I needed to hear that today.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Yesterday was Ethan's fifth birthday! I can't believe I've been a mommy for five years. For some reason five sounds much older than four - maybe because age groups are sometimes categorized as 2-4 and 5-7, or maybe because a four-year-old is a preschooler whereas a five-year-old is a kindergartener.
We had a really fun day! We went to Pioneer's Park in the morning. After playing on the playground, we went to the nature center. Ethan got to pet a snake and watch a turtle crawl. They can move fast if they want to! When we got home, we had lunch, sang happy birthday, and opened presents. Then, after supper, we went mini-golfing (which Ethan loved, but Kylie is terrible at!).
This morning I heard this conversation at the breakfast table:
Kylie: "I'm cute"
Ethan: "You're cute, Kylie, but you're a sinner."
Kylie: "I'm not a sinner. I'm Kylie"
Ethan: "The Bible says everyone sins, Kylie. So, you're a sinner.
Kylie: "I'm not a sinner. I'm Kylie"
It went on like this for at least five minutes. I wondered, what kind of son am I raising? He just told me yesterday that he wants to be a pastor like grandpa some day so he can tell people about Jesus. Listening to this conversation, I pictured him standing behind a pulpit doing his best to convince people that they're headed to hell without saving faith in Jesus. Was it Jonathan Edwards that preached "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"? Ethan is following in his steps - with Kylie as his first attempted convert. I wonder what God has planned for my little boy....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


For those of you who read yesterday's whining and wondered why I can't think up anything better to write about, let me tell you what happened today.
Thursday is Ethan's birthday, and to celebrate, Caleb's parents promised to take him to the train museum in Council Bluffs. So, today, Tam and Alan showed up and wanted to take Ethan AND Kylie on an adventure! As I write my house is SILENT. Julia went to sleep - finally! And I am attempting to catch up on my scrapbooking, which I haven't even looked at for the last 5 months.
So I am getting a much needed break. And I'm marveling over God's lovingkindness. He knew exactly what I needed and arranged circumstances so that I would be surprised by His gift to me. What an amazing God! Now if only I could learn to trust His kindness to me even when life is crazy - instead of complaining...
Back to scrapbooking!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pink Eye Germs

Well, Caleb (who hardly ever reads this blog - that I know of anyway) told me that I should really blog more often. I added that to the fact that the picture of our family on the top is a year and a half old and the "about me" at the top doesn't even mention Julia, and I decided I've been seriously slacking. Not that I haven't been busy. Three kids tend to tug at me all the time. But, I don't hear anyone screaming, "mommy!" right now. =)
I've been stuck in my house with pink eye germs for what seems like forever. It really hasn't been that long. We went grocery shopping Friday before Kylie's eye turned all puffy and red. So I guess that's only technically 3 1/2 days. I think I just missed church yesterday. Caleb said I could go, and I was part way there with Ethan and Julia in tow, and then Caleb realized that he was on-call, and couldn't watch Kylie in case he had to go to work. So, back home we went. It was very disappointing. I don't realize how much I look forward to and need the encouragement from fellow believers worshipping and God speaking at church until I haven't been in a while. I've missed choir for the last two Wednesday nights (and will be missing it again this week I'm sure), and the week before this week, I was in Central City at my parent's church. Not that there's anything wrong with their church, but it just doesn't feel like home. So, I listened to Pastor Tom's sermon from last week online and called it good. I'd better start praying for no one else to get pink eye before Sunday next week - especially since I'm in nursery.
I've been thinking... I think I need to be more thankful for where I am instead of wishing I were in a different place. Let me explain. Alot of people I know are enjoying so many fun things. They're FREE to vacation in exotic locations, travel around the world, use their minds and abilities at work every day, go to a movie, enjoy a restaurant or a walk in the park, read a book, or even get all sweaty running four miles if they feel like it. Their lives are full of spontenaity, friends, relaxing, enjoying, fun, even mundane stuff like cleaning a house without interruptions, or going to sleep knowing you can sleep in in the morning. And I sit at home and take care of kids. Don't get me wrong. I love my kids and wouldn't trade them for anything. But, sometimes I have to admit, it would be really nice just to do something just because I wanted to and it sounded like fun. I feel like my time is not my own. I'm not able to just go and do anything without thinking about the needs of 3 or 4 other very needy people. I realize it's a stage of my life. Intellectually I know it won't last forever. And I know how precious these fleeting moments with my kids are. They bring such joy and happiness into my life. I need to be more thankful for who God has made me and where he has put me instead of moping over the overabundance of dirty diapers and whiny kids, screaming babies and pink eye germs.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Above the Clouds

As we were flying from Denver to Seattle last Saturday, I was looking out the window marveling at the bright sunshine reflecting off brilliantly white clouds. Flying at almost 40,000 feet, I couldn't see the ground, but a blanket of white, beautiful clouds spread out under me. A thought crossed my mind, "Why is it that every time I fly, the clouds are always white and beautiful? I wonder what they look like from the ground?" From my perspective in the sky, above the clouds, the sun is always shining. There is never any rain. Everything is beautiful, bright, calm, and perfect. Nothing blocks my view of the sun or its effects. As we were landing in Seattle a half hour later, however, we descended through the clouds and the bright sunshine was replaced by dull, grey skies and rain. To the people on the ground, the dazzling, sunny clouds were gloomy. It made me think about my view of what's happening in the world. God is always above the clouds. He always sees the final outcome of life, so to Him, the picture is always sunny and peaceful. But, to us alot of the time, life looks unbearably hard and sorrowful. It's not that God doesn't see our pain. He looks through the clouds and sees our miserable position. And that's where the hope comes in. Because of His Son dying for us and His Spirit living in us, we have the ability to see as God sees - above the clouds of life. We can live our lives full of joy knowing that from God's perspective everything is perfectly sunny.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

This is something I wrote one day. I decided to share it with you, too, I guess! =) Enjoy!
“The tissue is not viable,” the doctor apologized over the phone. I was standing in a hospital ultrasound room with my husband and two children. From the distressed look on the face of the young technician as she performed the ultrasound, I had expected as much. My eyes filled with tears and the thought pounded in my head, “My baby is dead.” Unchecked tears rolled down my cheeks as I walked numbly out of the hospital and rode home. My arms ached to hold my baby, I was sure a boy, who lived a short two months in my womb. He was too tiny for me to have known in any way, but I had loved him from the moment I knew he was growing inside of me. He was mine, and I wanted him. “Hold him for me, Jesus” I prayed over and over.
I struggled with God - not so much over the question, “Why?” as over the question, “How can I have faith in God’s love and goodness towards me when He tears precious things from my life?”
Seven months later, I was pregnant again. This time I was full of fear. I made it past the nine week mark and relaxed a little. I pestered the doctor to order an ultrasound, saw that everything looked ok and relaxed a little more. Every time our tiny girl kicked me and hiccupped, I relaxed a little more.
But, I wasn’t trusting God. I was trusting medical science and my own experience. I was still unsure of God. After all, I reasoned, He gives and takes away. Who’s to know what He’ll choose to do this time.
Our daughter arrived six days past her due date and perfect. I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked God for His abundant blessing. I spent hours holding her, marveling at her perfectly formed fingers and toes and her beautiful face. We named her Julia Faith . Something tickled at the back of my mind. Faith? Do I really have Faith? Faith in the God who gave this precious life to me for a time?
Ten days after her birth, I rushed Julia back to the hospital, in tears as I drove. My infant spiked a 102.9 degree fever. Her shiny eyes and the distressed way her mouth moved convinced me that something was seriously wrong. “Blessed be the name of the Lord” by Tree 63 played on the radio as I drove:
He gives and takes away
He gives and takes away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be your name!

Following that song, Mercy Me sang “God With Us” repeating,
Such a tiny offering compared to Calvary.
Nevertheless I lay it at your feet

“Can I really lay my tiny baby at the feet of Jesus not knowing whether He will choose to give or take away?” I asked myself.
At the hospital, the quick reaction of the Emergency Room doctors increased my fear. Before I knew it I was signing papers for a spinal tap. Nurses were hovering around Julia drawing blood and inserting an IV. One nurse repeatedly told me that Julia had the symptoms of meningitis and gave statistics on how quickly infants die of that disease.
I was all alone with my baby who could be dying, and Jesus gently asked, “Do you truly trust me with the things that are most precious to you?” After months of struggling, God answered me. I finally got it. Jesus loves me. He will work all things out for my good in the end. But He also wants me to trust Him fully, not knowing whether the outcome will bring heartbreak or rejoicing. After all, trust isn’t really trust if I know the outcome will bring my version of good. So there in the hospital, I gave my precious baby to Jesus to do with as He willed. My only hope and all my faith was in Him alone.
It’s not a new truth about God that no theologian has ever expressed before. I would have agreed with these truths on any day of my life - intellectually at least. But now I know it to be true in my experience, in the scary, heartbreaking moments of life. When I say Julia‘s name, I’m reminded that my faith is placed in the only One who is worthy to be relied on - my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Julia Faith is His little girl, and I now trust more fully in His love for her and me.