Sunday, November 29, 2009

Replacing Fear with HOPE

Today is the first Sunday of Advent and the message this week is one of HOPE. Trent's message this morning was not about adoption, but it was all I could think about as his points were: there is hope for the waiting, hope for the imperfect, hope for the outsider, hope for the oppressed, hope for the mediator, and hope for the unknown.

Knowing this truth, I could also reflect back on all the lies and fears the enemy tried to convince me of while were waiting for Ruthie. I know many of you are either in the process of waiting or you are considering adoption. I want to take this opportunity to share with you some of the things I feared and how they turned out to be far from the truth. I hope this is an encouragement to you:

1. I was afraid that when I got Ruthie and needed to take care of some of her basic needs like bathing her and changing her, that I would feel like I was taking care of someone else's child.
This was not my experience at all. God took care of the initial stages of bonding that were necessary for me to "mother" this child.

2. I was afraid that because Ruthie was a little older than we had "signed up for" that a part of me would grieve selfishly that she wasn't a baby. God really took care of this too. I actually really thankful now that Ruthie is a little older because she fits into our family so well and is able to interact with my older 2 better. I love watching the 3 of them play together. We are also able to do things as a family that would have been very difficult with a baby. Finally, I think Ruthie being a little older allows me to see more of her personality which has also helped me to bond with her.

3. I was afraid that the financial burden might be more than was fair to our family. God really did provide for all of our needs here. When we needed $1000 for a homestudy, Trent would get an invitation to preach somewhere or I would be offered a few extra hours at work. We were amazed at how the finances really came together once we decided to trust God and step out with a yes.

4. I was afraid that Ruthie's diagnosis would be more involved than what was represented to us. I have to say that this did happen to us. They did not tell us that Ruthie's elbows and shoulders were involved. I can also say that if I had known that in the beginning, I might have considered that to be more than I could handle. I am so thankful that God did not give that information to me because I, in my selfishness and limited understanding, might have passed up this wonderful gift that He has given me. I have not regretted, even for a second, bringing Ruthie into our family.

So as you are walking out this process in your own life, my encouragement to you is to tune out the lies of the enemy and cling to the HOPE that is found in Jesus Christ. Because there is:
hope for the waiting,
hope for the imperfect
hope for the outsider
hope for the oppressed
hope for the mediator
and hope for the unknown.

If you have already been through the adoption process and you want to share some of the fears you had and how God handled that situation, I would love for you to leave those in the comment section. Who knows, someone else may have that same fear right now and just need a little encouragement and hope that God has even that under His control.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A 7 Year Old's View of Discipline

Sometimes our kids just leave us laughing out loud and tonight was one of those nights for us. Trent took the kids with him to the store tonight and they gave him a bit of a hard time and got in a little trouble. After we got home, Jack disappeared for a few minutes and then came in with this. We didn't get a chance to look at it until after he went to bed but it was well worth it. I will try and do a little translating for you.

*E.B. White wrote Charlotte's Web. It must have been familiar or near him?

*Are your children bad? You do not get mad. You just need to discipline them. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.


*All you need to do is discipline them. That is all you need to do. Like this give them a spanking or time out or privilege. (we do a lot of losing privileges around here.)


*Or you can ground them bad or 16. That's all you need to do. Be safe. Bye (I am not sure what the "bad or 16" part means)

*Remember be nice to parents and friends. That way they like you. By Jack

So there you go parents. A little parenting 101 from my 7 year old.


Today's Side Note: my kids decorating for Christmas




Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saying Yes to Rest and No to Mother Guilt

I have been telling Trent for weeks that I felt like I needed just a few days to myself to rest and work on a creative project I have started. I took a weekend like that 3 years ago and I still look back on it as a time of rejuvenation and that has certainly been a need of mine lately.

So when I saw that this weekend was mostly free, I emailed my Aunt Dawn and Uncle Tim because they have a house on the river in New Braunfels that they occasionally rent out and have said that I could stay in if it were available. Of course though as soon as I heard that it was free, the mother guilt set in. How would they make it without me? What would people think? What if my babies needed me? Would Trent think I was being selfish? You moms know how that goes.

I was driving with Sam in the car in the middle of one of those mother guilt attacks and out of the blue he asked me, "Mom, why didn't God work on the 7th day?". I quickly responded, "Because He knew the importance of rest Sam and He wanted to demonstrate that to us early on". It was one of those knock you upside the head moments. OK God I hear you. Thanks again for using a 4 year old to remind me of your Word and your ways. I will go.

So I am writing this from New Braunfels right now and looking out the window at the rain falling on a beautiful river. Thank you Trent for being such a great husband and allowing me moments like this to refill my tank before the craziness of the holidays. And mom's, ignore the mommy guilt (it isn't from God) and be sure to take a little time yourself to refill your own tank.

TODAY'S SIDE NOTE:

A fun picture I caught of Ruthie in the waiting room at Scottish Rite


Ruthie with my Aunt Penny. Penny's middle name is Ruth after her aunt. The 2 Ruths have definitely bonded. Cool fact- my Aunt Penny lives walking distance from Scottish Rite. In a city as big as Dallas, that can only be providence.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Big Reveal

Ruthie got her cast off today and other than looking a little well post-surgical, it looks good. She now has a splint to wear for the next 4-6 weeks. Here are some before and after pics.

Before her resting position was flexed and she was not able to actively extend (bring her wrist back)


Now her resting position will be extended and she will be able to flex (bend her wrist). They also brought her thumb out. The rest will clean up with a few baths.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

We've Come a Long Way Baby


I can't believe it but yesterday was our 4 month anniversary for getting Ruthie. She has changed a lot over the last 4 months. For example, she is a lot more active, can speak English in 3 word sentences, and is using her hands more and more each day. She is also discovering her independence and how to express herself in a variety of ways.

One of the changes that has been most evident has been her response to animals. When we brought Ruthie home, we discovered that she was terrified of all animals- stuffed or real. She didn't sorta fuss when the came around, but instead screamed like they were going to attack her. About 2 months ago, we found a little lamb at Build a Bear that she liked and that was the first step to her acceptance of anything with fur. Well, last week she took to a stuffed animal back pack of Sam's and wore it around all day Thursday and Friday with a bear in the back. I think my formerly frightened little girl has discovered that stuffed animals are not only ok, but actually fun.

Too bad she doesn't feel that way about our dog yet.


Today's Side Note: my sweet girl blessing her food

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Speed and Love

We live in a typical Houston area neighborhood with cookie cutter house plans built on postage stamps. The thing that is not typical though is that we have INCREDIBLE neighbors. Several nights a week we will meet in our front yards to let the kids play as the adults just share life together. This is true of most of the homes on our cul-de-sac except for this one family that is irritated by the fact that they have to reduce their speed to drive down our street because of all the children. The wife made it verbally clear yesterday that the speed limit is 25 mph and she will not slow down because this is her street and if she hits a kid, "well accidents happen". You should have been there for that conversation.

Other than just illustrating that she needs help, it also illustrates a much better point. In the book The Life You've Always Wanted by John Ortberg, the author makes the point that love and hurry are incompatible and that if we want to see love grow in our families, we need to eliminate hurry from our lives. I heard a speaker say once that too many of us tell our kids to "come on" or "hurry up" more than we look into their little faces and say the heart changing phrases they need to hear like, "I am so proud of you" or "you have got what it takes". That was a real eye opener and speech changer for me.

I believe it was author Kevin Leman who wrote that he and and his wife made sure their family sat down for family dinner at least twice a week. If that meant that their budding championship soccer player missed practice, then oh well. Moving to Houston culture, adding a child, and taking on the role as Senior Pastor, has added a lot of "hurry" to our lives over the last few years. Trent and I have to work extra hard to not over program ourselves but to make time for each other (which we don't do so well), for quality family time, and for relational ministry like just standing outside in our front yard with a great group of neighbors.

It doesn't do me much good if my pace of life (and rate of speed :/ ) is incompatible with the faith I profess and the transformation that should make me look different than the world I live in. This is a daily struggle for me and I am actually thankful for crazy speedy neighbors who remind of such valuable lessons.

TODAY'S SIDE NOTE:
More fun with Photoshop. This took me less than 2 minutes. I also learned to switch heads between pictures yesterday which takes about 5 minutes. So cool.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lovin' Photoshop Right Now

My blog world friend, Jenn, introduced me to the world of Photoshop Elements and 40+ exposure hours later, I AM IN LOVE!!! This program is so much fun! I am learning how to scrapbook digitally, edit my photos like never before, and make blog backgrounds. So this is my new background designed by yours truly to match our new family photos. If you have any questions about Photoshop, just let me know because I am sold.

I know what you are thinking. My last blog was about not having enough time to get all my stuff done and yet I am playing on a graphic design program. I still don't have it all done, but while the kids are in bed, I am loving this program. Who really wants to fold laundry anyway when you can turn orange flowers into blue flowers with the click of a mouse? :)


Today's Side Note:

Sometimes we eat our cheerios with our hands



Sometimes we give up and just dive right in


And sometimes we steal them from our brother


No matter how we eat them, we always leave a big mess for mom to clean up afterwards

Saturday, November 7, 2009

This Crazy Life

It's such a race to keep up isn't it? The last few weeks I have felt overwhelmed by all that I have to do and all that I want to do. I even went and bought a new calender to help me keep everything straight. It is called something like the busy mom's calender and every day has 5 different squares- one for each member of the family. I can't think of another $10 purchase that has ever brought me such joy. :)

The other day I picked Sam up from AWANA cubbies and the teacher informed that he didn't get his verse checked off because when she prompted him with "Give", Sam replied "Give what?". It was supposed to be "give thanks to the Lord...". That was my bad because in the midst of school, work, soccer, boy scouts, AWANA, housework, family time, and church work, our weekly verse had been overlooked. It is just a little bit more embarrassing, I must say, when you are the pastor's wife. We made up for it this week and learned 2 verses, but the laundry got neglected in the process.

Does anyone ever feel totally caught up? I know I don't and I don't see relief in the near future since I just registered for 2 classes next spring and I am going to start a parenting study at the church in January. I think I have lost my mind. Expect more tapped out blog entries in my future and don't beat yourself up if your kid doesn't know his AWANA verse this week. You can skip the laundry next week and catch up.


TODAY'S SIDE NOTE: We had family pictures taken 2 weeks ago (the week we failed at AWANA) and I got the proofs back this week. Here are a few. I am thinking about changing my whole blog background so I can use these in my header.




those are the blue eyes that keep him from ever being in trouble. I am a sucker for those eyes.




Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Real Faith

I am reading SLOWLY through this book by Beth Moore, The Beloved Disciple, and today she was talking about how John must have felt after his brother James was killed and then Peter was imprisoned. As John cried out to God, confused about what He was allowing to happen, don't you know that his heart just ached with loneliness and grief as his picture of how things were supposed to go was crumbling in front of him. Beth used this to illustrate that our faith is most tested when we are asked to follow Him in our moments of greatest heartache and loneliness. In those times when all we have is our relationship with Christ, we will have to choose to trust and walk with Him or to lay it all down and walk away. I pray that if I ever found myself in that kind of situation that I would have what it takes to walk with Christ and trust his sovereignty.

Yesterday I listened all the way through Steven Curtis Chapman's new CD, Beauty Will Rise. I can't think of a better modern day testimony to what Beth is talking about. This CD is a compilation of songs that Steven wrote while he was dealing with the tragic death of his little girl. I would recommend this CD to anyone and especially anyone struggling to take one more step in their circumstance. You can listen to it here


Today's Side Note- Jack received an award at school today for good character. They give it to 2 kids in each class every 6 weeks. He had no idea that he was getting anything.

This is Jack sitting before the award clueless as to why we were there and what was about to happen.


Jack with his award. Still a little shocked.


Ruthie cheering for her bubba.


Jack and Mom after the ceremony. We are so proud of you Jack!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hello 2!

Yes we are definitely 2 now. When we got Ruthie, I felt like she had the personality of a one year old. She was interested in one year old toys and was on a one year old development level. Well 3 months later, we have found 2!

With my first child, the 2 year old stage was indeed the "terrible- twos". With my second, it was the "I don't have time for this - twos". With Ruthie, it feels more like the "Oh wow -twos" and sometimes the "you are going to have to get over that- twos". Any way you dice it, she has arrived at 2. :)

It is stuff like today when it was time for a nap, she came up with at least 10 other things she needed to do including faking needing to potty. When brothers have something she wants, the girl can act like they just beat her with it to get them to turn it over. She is also still into EVERYTHING. I can't pick up after her fast enough. The other day I trapped her in my bathroom while I took a shower and so she emptied the trash can into the toilet item by item. Today she threw a fit because I put some chips on a plate for her instead of giving her the bag. I knew what she wanted to do with that bag and I was not about to clean all that up. It is at times like that I remind myself that the day will come when I will wish that she would be entertained by dumping chips on the floor or that she was just even in my kitchen.

So here we are 2. Ready to face you head on until 3 comes along with its own set of challenges and blessings. Did I mention that she can't just say "no" but has to scream "no no no"? You gotta love it. :)