Thursday, March 26, 2009

Saying the Right Thing

By the WORD of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth . . . For he SPOKE, and it came to be; he COMMANDED, and it stood firm (Psalm 33:5-6).

John 1:1 refers to Jesus as The Word of God: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Bible is the written Word of God. Obviously, our Creator values words, and gives them power. Power to create. Power to teach and direct us for life. All Scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

We humans are God's ultimate creation. He saved us for last, and gave us the care and keeping of the rest of this earth. He even patterned us after himself. So God created man in his own image... (Genesis 1:26). For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10).

If we are made in the image of God, and God created the world with His words, then it should come as no surprise that we in turn shape the world around us with our own words. Have you ever thought of words that way? Our words can build relationships, or tear them down. They allow us to encourage, or damage those around us. Our words may also help others move toward, or quench their passion for, God.

This is especially true while raising young children. We are the greatest source of the words they hear, and the way we speak and act toward them creates the foundation for their lives. We have the awesome power to build them up or tear them down, and the heavy responsibility of shaping them for life. Humanly, we can never do this successfully. Thankfully, we are given Scripture, the Word of God, with which to fill our minds and hearts.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14). Part of the adventure of mothering lies in learning how to choose the right words at the right time with our children. I believe that as we fill our minds with God's Word, He will give us the words to instruct, to convict, to direct, and to draw others, including our children, toward Him. For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him (Matthew 12:34).

God's words, not mine.

Sound familiar? This thought is from a previous post, edited for publication in our MOPS newsletter for today's meeting. MOPS is an organization that supports moms with kids ages birth thru kindergarten. Our theme for this year is Adventures in Mothering. Today's theme? To be honest, it's a God-directed day. I am curious to see what message the Adventure of Trusting God for a Speaker brings us.

Awesome art from:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wildflower Contest

I have submitted my precious bambinos to a local photo contest. Would you do me the favor of clicking the photo below and voting for them? You can vote today (Wednesday) and tomorrow. I will submit a different one Friday for next week's contest, and will post that link then.

Thank you so much!

As Boo likes to say about really cute things: I just want to dunk them all in my coffee.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bluebonnet Country

I found more bluebonnet photos to share from our shoot. I may have to actually order some prints for framing, these are just too much fun.

By the way, did I mention how I got the kids to cooperate for 30 minutes? I had a big bag of Scooby-Doo fruit snacks, which I called Scooby Snacks, and kept promising as a reward. Every time Rooster would bury his face in his hands and start to pout, I would shout, Scooby Snacks!!! and he would pull out a big grin.

There was some debate about who got to hold Lulu, so we started with Roo, and then passed her off to Boo. Both kids were so good, and gave me just what I wanted. And in the end, we all got Scooby Snacks.

Monday, March 23, 2009

This 'n' That

Do you remember the random dream I had about jury duty a couple weeks ago? I believe I posted that entry on a Monday. Would you believe that on that same Friday, I received jury duty summons? What a hoot.

I will not be participating, as I "have custody of a child under the age of 10 who will not be able to have adequate supervision without my presence." I don't think the court would be impressed with me nursing a child during proceedings, or asking to be excused every three hours to use my pump! LOL. Maybe next time.

We have been busy the last couple weeks with company. An overload of company, but all people we were thrilled to see. The Captain's brother and sister-in-law were here, so we saw a lot of the family over the weekend. In the same 5 day stretch, his closest friend from college stopped by with his new family, while checking out Austin for potential relocation purposes. Wow, that would be astonishingly cool. It would rock my world with coolness, in fact.

As much as I loved the company, I enjoyed the following week, which also happened to be Spring Break. After a marathon trip to the grocery to replenish the pantry, I did not leave my house between Tuesday noon and Friday at 3pm (when we just had to go out for a library trip). I did crafts with the kids, watched movies, and cleaned house (including restocking the toilet paper, soap, kleenex, diaper caddy... pretty much everything). And got the baby on a schedule, including 6-8 hour nights. It's glorious.

In other news, we joined ranks with a long line of history this weekend, taking our children to a bluebonnet patch for a photo shoot. The day was perfect, and the in-laws even stopped by to snap a few photos of the ALL of us.

Last night brought us another country adventure as the dogs treed a coon out at Red Boot, the in-laws' acreage down the road. It was an adorable, flea-bitten young thing. We all got some entertainment with it as it tried to descend for an evening repast of junebugs. This was a much more enjoyable diversion than the rattlesnake encounter...

And finally, one of my friends is bringing us brisket and sausage tonight (a late surprise) from C&J's BBQ. Haven't made it there yet, but I hear it's the best BBQ around. You may already know that BBQ is the regional specialty.

I feel positively... TEXAN.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Recent baby photos

Miss Lulu slept 11 hours last night. And she has continued to sleep all day, so I do not expect the performance to be repeated. I feel like I am slowly coming back online after my extended timeout. Still not back to optimum performance, but at least up and running like a human. I even read a book today. Let's hear it for sleep!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's Next?

Oil Painting by Susan Martin Spar

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Matthew 6:26-27

When I was first pregnant, I spent several months preparing for the Big Day of childbirth that would change me forever. I bought books, attended classes, and listened raptly as the older, wiser moms around me shared their childbirth experiences. Finally, the Big Day came. And went.

As the Morning After that highly anticipated childbirth experience dawned, another realization dawned upon me that I had just spent the better part of a year preparing for one day . . . and not much time preparing for what was next. I was totally unprepared to be a parent, and here came the nurse with a Screaming Pink Thing that I was supposed to care for! I began to worry.

Whether it's the kids learning to walk, talk or read; my husband considering a job change; or me settling into yet another new hometown, I am just never quite ready to say goodbye to the old and reach forward for the new. And each time, I spend valuable energy worrying about how I am going to deal with what's next.

Actually, I don't think we can ever be totally prepared for what's next. Change is a natural part of life, as evidenced by the fact that we start out as children, progress through adolescence, and become independent adults. But we can be grounded in such a way that whatever comes, we are not thrown off balance. When we let go of our worries for the future, and just concentrate on loving Jesus, he promises to care for our needs.

What's next for you? Are you reaching eagerly for it, or hanging back in the hope that you can delay it from coming just a little longer? Either way, you can rest in the confidence that Jesus is going there with you, and he will provide what you need to make the move.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." Matthew 6:33-34

Monday, March 9, 2009

The To-Do List

Now I remember what I started up here to write about. It's actually related to my previous thought. I started composing this thought last Friday night, when my doting husband sent me away for a night. Seriously, he called his parents and arranged for me to spend the night in the guest room of their house in the country. Other than getting up once to use my pump, I slept for TWELVE HOURS STRAIGHT. And managed to have the beginnings of a coherent thought.

The house in the country
I am getting too old for this. The broken sleep is catching up with me. I am so thankful that we seem to be moving past the beginning, into better nighttime sleep.

In the meantime, I am trying to hold together the wet tissue of my sanity. Since I have been woken so frequently out of deep sleep, the lines between dreams and reality are getting a little blurry. A few days ago, I was surprised to realize that I had NOT, in fact, been summoned recently for jury duty. Neither had I participated in an ice cream social for Boo's first grade class. Why in the world was I dreaming about jury duty?

Conversely, I had to confirm with the Team Captain that I DID, in fact, find my social security card which has been lost for three years. Seriously, I can consider getting a job now, if necessary! And honestly, it's still surreal to me that I have a baby. I was standing with a group of moms the other day, talking as I heard a baby crying in the background. I thought to myself, I wonder if someone is going to get that child? only to realize suddenly that it was MY baby!

I have started dreaming about running into random people from my past. It's slowly starting to sink in that that usually means that person just "friended" me on Facebook. I also have vivid memories of hanging out with characters from LOST, Heroes, or Chuck. Or all three together. Which means I was probably in a sleep pattern when trying to catch up on an episode.

This time change has me thrown all off, too. We are supposed to be getting dinner ready BEFORE we start to get hungry, only my body over-adjusted and decided to just send me hunger messages all day long. I don't have ANY idea what time it is, what time the baby ate last, or what I should be doing at any given moment.

Hrm. Well anyway, I was planning to write about that thought. In Which Her To-Do List Comes Into Sharp Focus.

Here's the deal. Last Sunday morning, I found a weird lump on my lower abdomen. There is nothing quite like an unexpected lump to make you pause. And reflect.

Because until you get to see your doctor, it's senseless to fret. It could be anything, and usually it's NOT the Worst Case Scenario you immediately wonder about.

But what if it were?

I was not able to get in to see my doctor until Tuesday morning, so I had 48 hours to reflect on what a lump might mean. And I will tell you, I had a couple Very Obvious Thoughts. Notably regarding my To-Do list.

First, I have a truckload of filing to do. If anything were ever to happen to me, my poor husband would be left with no idea how to run the household, because our bills are filed all over the place. No notations about what utilities we owe money to, or how much we pay on our credit cards each month. No list of businesses we have accounts with. You get the picture.

So I know that I really, really need to get my files set up.

Second, I have a half-written book draft. I'd love to have that published, or at least ready for publication. Who knows, maybe it would help out financially in a difficult time. Also, the content is something I feel strongly that I have been asked to write about, and the message is something that could last beyond me.

And third (but most important), I realized my primary job, of being a Christ-following mom, is something I have been in survival mode over for quite some time now. Since before baby, or even moving here from Utah. And it is time to seize the moment.

I realized I am not happy with the Bible teaching the kids are getting from church. I could step in and offer to take over. After all, it is what I am trained and experienced to do. But I need to be more specific to my own children, I think. It's time to be intentional about implementing more Biblical training with my kids.

As I think about what that means and how to accomplish my goals, I will share with you. For now, it's an action point. I hope to have the energy and determination to pursue a plan that will benefit my kids for eternity.

Oh, the lump? Turns out its an inflamed lymph node. Hot packs and Aleve have dramatically reduced it this week, I expect it will completely subside. But it was a good wake-up call. Filing, writing, and focusing on my kids spiritual education. Those are great goals.

As I begin to get caught up on my sleep, it's a natural time to dive into these goals with renewed attention.
drat. what is it I was going to write about again?

six weeks.
six weeks of fractured sleep.
six weeks of one long day.
six weeks of being pulled out of dreams, until I hardly know anymore which reality I am in.
six weeks of midnight feedings, and returning to my bed shocked to find I was up for two hours.
six weeks of short term memory loss.
six weeks of fog.
six weeks of I don't really remember, because...

I have a precious six week old newborn, and she is worth every sacrifice. even if it is of my favorite activity, sleep.


she is starting to sleep through the night. the fog is beginning to clear.
now if I could only remember what I sat down to post about...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Boo's Journey

Today I celebrate a milestone in my beloved firstborn's social development.

Since September, she has struggled with impulsive behavior. At least once a week, she has received a yellow or red light from school, for behavior requiring repeated warnings. Usually it involves "unsafe hands or feet" or "disregarding others' green words" (as in, please stop doing that, etc).

There have been three weeks of the school year that she earned all green lights. One of those weeks was a four day week. One week she had a sub two times. And one week she started out with a yellow light on Monday, but on Wednesday the teacher crossed out Monday's mark and changed it to a green light. So all of them had exceptions.

Boo had shown improvement, but the last month she has been demonstrating classic regression behavior associated with major change at home, such as addition of a new baby. I reached my wits' end when the teacher called from school so that Boo could report to me that she could not hear. I scheduled a conference with the teacher to ask how typical her behavior is, and see if I could get some tips on how to deal with it at home.

The conference was last week. But miraculously, last week she was a stellar student. No warnings whatsoever, cheery, helpful, and responsive to the teacher. Yahoo! Last week, Boo earned five green lights, for which her daddy and I are very proud. We took her out for dinner and also to the toy store to purchase a toy she has been trying to earn since September.

The first Littlest Pet Shop pet, Pearl

From the conference I learned (among other things) that she started out the year way ahead of the other students in the area of writing; but while she has maintained her same skill level, the other students have improved and passed her. Apparently she really likes the action-packed Middle of the story, and is impatient with detailing the Beginning and End parts. So I am embarking on a journey to help her improve her writing skills.

We agreed that for every story she writes for me (involving at least one hour of effort), she earns one hour on my computer to play in Littlest Pet Shop world. She also earns one credit toward the purchase of another Littlest Pet Shop pet (worth 16-25 credits, depending on which one she wants). She writes the story out by hand, giving her some needed fine motor practice. Then I have her type it out on the computer, and incorporate some of her photos, if she wishes. I have set her up with her own blog, so she is even posting the stories for the world to read!

Yesterday she experienced one necessary "a-ha" moment, as she read me the next line of her story and I laughed out loud. I know she likes the idea of entertaining others, so I think this is a natural way to foster her interest.

I am optimistic that by the time she has earned her next pet, her handwriting and her storytelling skills will both have improved dramatically. You can check in on her blog by clicking her photo in the right hand bar. You can also click her photo at the top of this post. Feel free to give her some feedback to continue to encourage her!

So today I celebrate. My first baby, growing so big, is slowly but surely learning to conquer some of her personal challenges. It's a good day.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Random JJ Quotes

The quotable three-year-old moments are piling up faster than I can record them. So many have come and gone, and been lost to time. But here are a few from this week.

A few days ago, Roo brought me a Cheezit box from the pantry. The back of the box has a picture of a wheel of cheese, with a Cheez-it cracker next to it. The wheel of cheese has a cracker-size hole in it, to demonstrate how cheesy the crackers are. Rooster thought about my explanation of this picture, then offered this bit of further information:
Do you know how God got the square out of the circle? He pinched it.

At the dinner table we learned something else:
Did you know that if you eat salad for dinner that you don't have to say excuse me when you are finished?

And before bed last night, the Captain learned that people are made from tomatoes, and that Rooster's arms are made from water.

I feel so much smarter now.

Photos courtesy Miss Boo Bear and her candid cam.