Monthly Archives: April 2010

My heart breaks

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If you’ve ever held one of your children as they feverishly tried to sleep at night, you know where I’m coming from.  My sweet baby Brennah woke up around 1 am with a fever, and has kept it all day today.  This child is so unbelievably sweet… it breaks my heart to see her uncomfortable!  We have spent the vast majority of this day just holding each other, nursing, singing, and staring into one-another’s eyes.  As I put her to bed a little bit ago, she pulled her blanket up under her chin and smiled at me.  A most sincere baby “thank you” if I ever saw one.  I could not choke back the tears as I kissed her warm forehead and prayed for her.  What I wouldn’t do to take on all her discomfort myself!!!  If there was some way to just transfer her fever, teething, and stuffy nose to myself, I would do it in a heartbeat.

Isn’t that incredible?  I’m almost startled at the intensity of my love for my children.  I remember my mom telling me many many years ago that I wouldn’t understand how much she loves me until I had my own kids.  Now I can see the truth in that!  Nothing compares to it.  Even as much as I adore my sweet husband, it’s not the same.  If he is the one with the cold, I feel terrible!  I’ll pull out every trick in the book to make him feel more comfortable and pampered.  But deep down, I’m hoping I don’t catch it!  😉

I have been captivated recently by a thought from Beth Moore’s book entitled “Jesus, the One and only.”  In this particular chapter, we are studying the story of Jesus bringing a widow’s son back to life.  Let me just copy a little piece of it here…

“Jesus ran in to a woman in hopeless despair and just reacted with what came most naturally to Him – healing mercy.  Oh, how I praise Him!  I believe we possibly have a small glimpse into what Christ would do in every one of our despairing situations if a greater plan was not at stake.  I believe what comes most naturally to Christ every time He encounters a need is to instantly fix it.  Is it possible He exercises great restraint to work any other way in the face of devastation?  I think so.”

This hit home with me on so many levels.  But the level I’m focused on tonight is that we are made in God’s image!  We have this overwhelming desire to fix our kid’s hurts and spare them from pain at any cost.  I don’t think we come by that on our own.  We are that way because He is that way.  What’s more, any bit of good in us is just a fraction of what and who HE is.  So if we are this protective and head-over-heels for our children, how much more compassionate is He towards us?  It’s hard for me to fathom.  If it hurts me so much to see my baby running a mild temperature, imagine the agony Christ feels when our hearts are breaking over a lost family member or friend.  Or mourning the death of a relationship or season in our life.  The difference between me and God (well, one of many) is that He can see the whole picture.  He can see the necessary part of the hurt we’re going through, even though we can’t.  But one of the ways that we are the same, is that He desires our trust.  I want my kids to know that they can trust me!  I want them to be completely confident that their mama wants *only* the best for them and that I am going to do anything I can to insure it, even when they can’t see the reason behind it.  After all, they are just kids.  I can’t honestly expect my 2 yr old to understand the “why” behind something I’m doing that she doesn’t like.  I just need her to trust that I love her more than life (Christ literally did that, by the way) and she needs to trust me.  How much more does this apply to us and God?  And how much more trustworthy is He than we are, anyway?

I can trust in the sovereignty of God because I am so convinced of the sweetness of God.

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Anxious for September

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I’m pretty sure that this will win the “most random post” award, but hey.  My fingers are itching to type, and this topic is all I can think about this-morning!

I turned 30 on Saturday.  My beloved husband has asked me several times over the last few weeks “what do you want to do for your birthday?” naturally assuming that I would say something like “let’s go to dinner” or “take me to a chick-flick at the theatre” or something normal like that.  But nooooo, not me!  I thnk the first time he asked I said “I want to go to lunch with my sisters.”  The second time was “I want to go to Starbucks with Nikki for an entire afternoon.”  Another time was “I want us to all be at Redeemer this Sunday.”  Then “I want to go to Michigan to visit Amanda.”  And yet another time was “I want a lunch date with my dad and a shopping trip with my mom.”  So random, right???  Some times he responded with a hug and “I know, babe.”  Other times he said “only a few more months, and we’ll be there!”  One time he actually offered to go buy a plane ticket so I could go right then!  (I believe this was the time that he could sesnse how serious I was, and heard the home-sickness in my voice!)  But I said “no, save the money. I can wait for September.”

September is going to be SO much fun!!!  Of course it will be a short trip as usual, but since it’s in the fall instead of over Christmas, it will be more productive.  2 weeks of travel (1 to get to CO and one to get back here), 2 weeks in Denver, 2 weeks in Pueblo, and then it’s over.  Trips to the US are always so crazy and exhausting!  But I love it.  I love being with my family, spending Sundays with our church family, meeting all the new families that have come since we were there last… it’s great!  This Sep is going to be especially fun because I’m pretending to still be 29 until then.  😉  Actually, I’m not.  But it’s a good excuse to have a party with my dearest friends and sisters, right?  It’s gonna be AWEsome, as Cloe would say.

Speaking of Cloe, she keeps asking how many more days until we get to see her “bestest” friend Natalie.  Nikki and I were due with those girls just 2 days apart, and I’m always a little surprised at how much they STILL love eachother.  So sweet.  Getting the two of them together is adorable.  It’s hours of giggling, almost non-stop!  And their mamas are just fine with it, as it provides so much time for us to sit and catch up.  Thank God for bosom buddies.

We are now in the process of trying to coordinate all our friend and church visits.  So if by chance you are wanting us to visit you or your church, let me know ASAP!  We’re trying to get it all on the calendar and confirmed in the next month or so.

I can not wait to see those beautiful mountains again, covered in all their beautiful fall colors!  It’s been several years since I’ve seen the color change in Colorado, due to my inexplicable desire to be there for Christmas instead.  When you only get to go home once a year, you’ve gotta choose!  But I’m really looking forward to being home in the fall this time, when we won’t have to deal with constant bundling for snow-readiness and bursting ear-drums.  I’m not sure how well I’ll handle being back here and alone for Christmas, but we will burn that bridge when we get there.  Actually, I’m sorta refusing to think about it right now.  I’m just SO looking forward to September!

Why me?

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I have a couple random thoughts floating around in my head today.  They keep coming back to me, even as I attempt to focus on other things!  Naturally, the best rememdy for this (for me) is to write those random thoughts down.  So here goes!

I turned 30 yesterday.  Even written down like that, it looks so much older than 29, doesn’t it???  Maybe it’s just me.  I remember being somewhere in my teens and thinking of 30 as this huge ominous number.  A number so far off and distant that it was hard to imagine ever attaining it.  I never really dreaded it though.  30 seems like such a grown up age.  In my mind, 30 was an age when I would know exactly who I am.  I’d have a house-full of kids, teach a toddler Sunday school class, drive a mini-van and have a system for all the AWANAs uniforms and books that would surely have taken over parts of our house.  We’d live in a quiet old neighborhood with a picket fence and a cute old couple with rocking chairs on their front porch for neighbors.  I would have a weekly lunch date with my sisters, and all our kids would be best friends.  Doesn’t that sound fun???  Well, to me it does.  😉  And truly, that’s the only way I could picture what my life would be like at 30 yrs old.

It’s almost surreal to place that picture next to a snapshot of my reality.  I live 3,000 miles South of my sisters.  My weekly lunch date is with a group of other (mostly) American moms and their toddlers.  Our kids are all great friends, too!  I do sortof teach Sunday school… but not on Sundays.  That’s what I do every single day of the week with my 3 little girls!  On Sundays, Nathan and I and those three little girls have been doing “church” in our living room.  We sing some Spanish praise and worship songs, some English songs, do a child-level study and then while the kids quietly color or look at books, Nathan and I study out something that we’ve been working on together.  It’s precious.  And peaceful.  I would not be honest if I led you to believe that we don’t miss our church back home.  We do.  Terribly!  But until importing an entire church and it’s members becomes an option, we are sorting through possibilities and trying to bring up our children as best as we can… according to how God is leading us.  In short, there is no AWANAs here!  🙂  I don’t drive a mini-van, but a rough/tough Yukon.  It handles the horrible pot-holes and “speed bumps” that pepper the roads down here.  As far as the picket fence goes… well, here is our version of that…

In the end, my life looks nothing like what I imagined it would 15 or even 10 yrs ago!  But I could not have imagined the joy that surrounds it either.  I had no clue how much I would love being a mom.  I could not have guessed how desperately I would love my girls and husband.  I never would have imagined the fulfillment that would come with being a missionary.  On so many levels, I feel that I do not deserve this life.  I don’t deserve to be a tool that the Creator of the Universe can use to bring glory to Himself.  Why would He pick me???

My other “why me” thought for the day is this… why do we celebrate ME on my birthday?  I didn’t do anything!  It’s odd (but sweet) that I would get 2 phone calls in one day from a friend and a sister who just wanted to say “I’m glad you were born 30 yrs ago!”  Is it just me?  Yeah, it probably is.  I’m weird like that.  It just seems like people would call the birthday girl/boy’s mom.  After all, she’s the one that did all the work.  And not just for those excruciating hours of childbirth, but for many many days and nights to follow!  I do understand the need to lavish love on someone for a special day every year.  I understand that much better now that I have kids!  I want to make their birthdays so special!

Anyway.  I’m definitely rambling.  Here’s the nutshell… I am so grateful for my mama!  If she hadn’t gone to the trouble of having me, I wouldn’t be celebrating 30 yrs on this earth.  So thank you, Mom.  Not just for enduring the few hrs of labor for me, but for the countless sleepless nights of nursing and diaper changes and bad dreams, and days of  exhausting mothering.  I am so grateful for you and can’t even fathom what my life would have been/would be without you.  I love you so much!!!

Homeschooling novice

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I used to think of myself as a semi-creative person.  I thought “homeschooling will be a snap.”  Because I had so many ideas for fun and creative ways to learn/play with my kids!  So here’s my qeuestion… where did they all go???  Now, I sit down with my 2 big girls (ages 5 and 2.5) and we do the pre-school type books we’ve collected from Walmart or Barnes and Noble while the baby (almost 6 months old) is napping. 

Gabi is learning to recognize numbers, but knows all her letters and the sounds they make.  I am surprised at how much she knows!  Cloe also knows all the letters, sounds, and is getting better with numbers.  Although half of her numbers come out backwards when she writes them…

Generally, every morning, they beg to do school.  And more school.  But I guess I’m bored.  I think it should be more fun!  My older sister, Danielle, somehow has an endless flow of creative and fun school ideas for her kids.  How does she do that???  At times, I try to blame my utter lack of creativity on being tired or drained from the busy-ness that is our life.  But then I think “eh… I only have 3 kids.  My sister currently has 5 that she is taking care of.  That excuse won’t work…”  Let me know if you think of one that I can still use.

Sometimes we’ll go for a walk outside and treasure hunt.  We’ll talk about flower types, pine cones, different kinds of clouds, etc.  That’s fun, but only now and then.  We’ll collect all the pinecones and then count them, divide them in half, take away 1 and recount, etc.  But this only holds their attention for a few minutes.  That’s about it!  You’ve heard my list of creative ideas.  I’d really appreciate hearing from those of you who are like my older sister.  How do you come up with these fun ideas for teaching and keeping your kids in the “I love learning!!!” mode?

“Mom and me”

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I’ve been trying to think of some special memories to make with my girls.  It’s been somewhere near the back of my mind for quite some time.  Today a friend of mine posted something on her Facebook status that made me start thinking about it again.  Her question was about how to be joyful in the midst of motherhood.  ACK… that’s what we call a doosie of a question.

I have implemented a few ideas that I’m excited about, but I know for a FACT that I have room for more.  MANY more.  I would love nothing more than to hear what you think about this.  Share with me what your special memories are of your mom.  Tell me about some things you do with your kids that are building strong relationships and sweet memories.  While you think about it, I’ll tell you mine.

A few years ago, a precious friend gave me a book called “Love Letters to a child”.  It really struck a chord with me!  The same week that I read this book, I took a journal off my shelf (I used to have this odd attraction to journals, so I had 2 empty ones just sitting around, collecting dust) and began page one.  “Dear Cloe, my precious first born…”  Since then, I’ve had two more precious little girls given to me (okay okay, given to us… but I’ve never been great at sharing…) and I’ve started books for them, too.  Cloe is only 5 yrs old but already loves for me to read her book to her.  I like to imagine that in 15 yrs, her books from me will be invaluable to her!  But even if they’re not, I’ve found that it’s good for me to be writing them.

I bought a book for Nathan last year on Father’s Day called “The Power of a Praying Parent” by Stormie Omartian.  Her “Power of a Praying Wife” book is excellent… I’ve read through it several times.  So I figured this would be just as good!  I’m just now starting it, but I’ve enjoyed it so far.  It’s my latest idea to invest in my kids… I try to pray for each of them, every morning, before we start our day.

My last idea (that I haven’t formally begun, but have been doing loosely when I think about it) is setting aside time to spend with each child individually.  Not doing anything “productive” or remotely stressful… just having fun together.  For Cloe this means painting our nails or painting a picture together.  For Gabi it usually means reading a book or swinging on the swingset.  Sometimes we even make sand cookies out in the sandbox.  I’m a huge fan of those… although Gabi’s favorite “flabor” is usually chocolate-cinnamon-apple which isn’t usually the one I buy at the store…

I remember my mom playing play-dough with me at our dining room table.  I want to be *that* mom, ya know?  Not the one that freaks out over all the play dough that is smashed into the floor under the table.

I don’t want to just survive these years of exhausting toddler days.  I want to enjoy them and relish each sweet moment with my girls.  I don’t want to wake up one day and realize that they are grown and gone and wonder why I didn’t love on them more when I had the chance.  I want to build a foundation in these years that will mean a solid friendship in years to come!  I know several of you have great relationships and memories with your mom… please share them!

THE FRIDGE!

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It’s here!  Finally!  Ridiculous story behind this machine.

For about a year now, our refrigerator has been warning of it’s impending death.  The repairman finally (after half a dozen visits to our house) threw up his hands and said “no use… it’s dead.”  That was several months ago!  So I’ve been praying for a new fridge.  The dumb thing would alternate between freezing EVERYTHING inside it… milk, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, etc… to being barely below room temperature.  So I’m either throwing things out because they are sour from not being cold enough, or I’m throwing them out because they froze and then went to mush.  Grrrrr.  The prayers for a new fridge continue.  Then, a few weeks ago, Nathan got an e-mail.  A tour client from Mexico City wants over a week of his time!  My first thought was “ugh… for real??? 9 days home alone with all 3 girls?”  And then I realized what this would mean for my kitchen.  We could afford a new fridge!!!  This was my consolation for the entire time Nathan was gone with his tour clients.

The day Nathan got back, our fridge was done being cold.  REALLY truly done this time.  In the past, I could thaw everything out for a day and get a few more weeks of cold out of it.  But not this time.  It really bit the dust in earnest this time.  So we went to Sam’s Club.  Found the PERFECT fridge for (surprise!) less than I was expecting.  We went up front, paid for the thing, then waited for an hour.  Finally, we said “hey, you’ll have to bring it to us when you find it cuz we’ve gotta run!”  Now, 3 days later, it has been delivered!!!!  In the end, we got the floor model and a great discount… because the 2 that they supposedly have in stock have vanished into thin air.  But whatever!  Cuz I have a new fridge! 

I have also learned a little lesson in the process.  Sometimes, God flat out gives us what we need.  Other times, He provides the means that allow us to fill the need ourselves.  He didn’t drop a fridge in our laps, He gave Nathan the opportunity to work for it.  If you have a need in your life (say, an opperating refrigerator), don’t wait for Him to deliver it to your door while you turn down work opportunities or waste the money you DO have on something else.  He doesn’t always provide in exactly the way we think He will… or should!  But He does provide. 🙂

So here it is!!!  My dream refrigerator!

 

It’s a dream on the inside as well….

Energy

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Strange how it comes and goes, isn’t it?  I’m not talking about the “I can run 10 miles today” kind of energy (I don’t remember thinking that since I had Cloe 5 yrs ago, actually…) though it’s amazing how THAT kind disappears on me as well!

No, I mean the emotional energy that seems boundless around some people, and completely dry around others.  The first example that comes to my mind is my little sister Kimberly.  That is, she is the first *positive* example that comes to my mind!  😉  When I grow up some day, I want to be like her.  I don’t remember ever thinking “ugh… I just don’t have the energy to deal with Kimberly right now.”  But I’m quite sure that people have thought that about me!  Here’s another strange fact about Kimberly and those like her… no matter how much energy you pour into her, you never feel sapped.  Why is that?  How does a person learn to be one of those people that only multiplies your energy level?  We all need more people like that in our lives, I think.

My current struggle is with a few random people that are not at all like Kimberly.  Some, I can pour energy into, feel drained for a while, but eventually the supply refills and I am totally fine pouring more into them again.  Others… well I have a hard time explaining the others.  At one time I remember having energy to give them.  But somehow, those supply lines have run dry and aren’t refilling.  I wonder why that is?

[Random rabbit trail: does anyone else  automatically think of  creepy “Lost” characters when you hear the word “others”?  I do…]

I’ve recently started Beth Moore’s Esther study with 2 friends here.  We’re only on week 2 right now, but I’m loving it!  I pretty much just love Beth, though.  She is so transparent and passionate and easy to relate to!  Yesterday in the session 2 video, she made a comment that I’ve been thinking about.  She said “God is attracted to weakness.”  I’ve really seen that to be true in my life.  When I have times of having no strength left to deal with children or whatever current situation I’m in, He’s there.  But He’s never pushy about it.  Don’t you love that about Him?  He’s an absolute gentleman.  He wants to be there for you, but He won’t push His way in… He waits for an invitation.  But when I invite Him in, He is faithful to rush to my weakness and prove Himself strong.  I’ve seen it so many times in my day-to-day struggles with strong-willed children.  It’s been just as helpful in my marriage.  The only question is why it takes me so long to come to the point of crying out “Lord I’m at the end of myself here! Help!!!”

Here’s the thing.  Remember those emotionally draining relationships from earlier?  Those don’t seem to always apply to the “end-of-my-rope” prayer I mentioned.  For sure, that prayer helps my peace of mind… any conversation with God does.  But more and more lately, instead of renewed energy, I feel something more like a need to be smarter about this.  Numerous people have told me, on numerous occasions, that I invest too much in one-sided relationships.  My precious husband keeps trying to encourage me to be more realistic when it comes to these situations.  Not that I should not keep investing, but that I need to be more realistic about what I’m expecting in return.

Hold on… haven’t I already blogged about expectations?  I told you… it’s a problem with me.

Anyway, I want to change.  I want to still be able to invest a little in those one-sided relationships, but be realistic about how they will respond.  I do not want to become cynical about these people and their responses (or lack thereof), but neither do I want to get my hopes up for a great relationship and continue to be hurt when those dreams bite the dust.  Again.  And again.  Where, exactly, is the balance between realistic and optimistic here?  This is my struggle for the day.  As always, I would love to hear what you think about it!