Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 10 events of 2009

10. After nine months of night waking, Claire finally started sleeping through the night in May.

9. I heard my baby girl say "mama" for the first time.

8. I watched as Claire took her first steps.

7. Elizabeth achieved potty training success.

6. I joined MOPS.

5. Todd and I celebrated 5 years of marriage.

4. Todd and I spent our first weekend, without kids, together in Chicago.

3. I watched as Elizabeth became a big girl. She began saying things like, "Do you know how much I love you?"

2. I lost 56 lbs.

1. I bought my first pair of size 6 jeans and they fit. :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My day

Woke up at 6 am to Elizabeth coughing and crying. (I think she has a cold.) Got her back to sleep with some reading, cuddling and cough syrup. Fell back asleep myself because I was really exhausted.

Woke back up at 9 am to Elizabeth crying.

Shower, dress kids, breakfast. Leave to run some errands.

Come home at lunch time. Make lunch while refereeing children, keeping Claire from climbing the stairs and helping Lizzie go potty (when your daughter says, "Mom, I am peeing everywhere" you probably should go help.)

Feed kids, change kids and put down for nap.

Decide to take a nap myself even though the house looked like a tornado came through.

Woke up an hour and half later to Todd coming home. The house was still a mess. (I was really hoping when I woke up it would have magically be cleaner.)

Got dressed and freshened up. Changed kids and left to go to a dinner for a business group Todd is in.

Arrived at business group. Realized that while this was supposed to be a family event, we were, in fact, the only ones who brought kids. Ordered food, took Elizabeth potty, had someone spill pop on Claire and took her to bathroom to clean up, got back to table and ate part of my sandwhich, took Elizabeth potty again, came back and ate more of my sandwhich, took Elizabeth potty yet again, came back and watched Claire while Todd took Elizabeth potty again. (She was drinking lemonade and I think she inhaled it.) Decided it was time to leave because even though we had only been there 45 minutes, it felt like an eternity.

Went to store to exhange something and then ended up at the mall for the sole purpose of getting ice cream. Enjoyed ice cream.

Home, snack, find clothes for my mom and dads house for tomorrow for kids (two pairs of pajamas, one pair of play clothes each, one pair of nice clothes each, two pairs of panties, 4 sets of socks.)

Put kids to bed.

I know that my day is not any different from any other moms. I am not unique or special, but when you look at things with this perspective it makes you realize that I ought to be paid. LOL.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Conversation with Elizabeth

This morning Elizabeth was searching for something she had lost. She was saying in a whiney tone "where is it, where is it?" I heard her, but was busy with something else, so I really did not pay attention. A moment later she found it and came to me and said, "God takes care of us, doesn't he mom." My heart melted and I told her about how God tells us he cares for the birds and flowers and will take care of us so much more. My prayer is always that God will reveal himself to my two little girls. I am thankful he is!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A list of thankfulness

I am definitely stealing this idea from someone else, but I read it and loved it so here goes my version:

1. I am thankful for hearing "No, that's my toy, Don't touch that, I was playing with that, stop touching me" one thousand times a day because it means I have more than one child and they are healthy enough to interact and play with one another even if they are bickering 3/4s of the time.

2. I am thankful that figuring out what we are doing on Christmas was a crazy mess because it means we have so many people to love and spend time with.

3. I am thankful that I have to make a grocery list tonight even though I am exhausted because it means I can afford to buy food for my family.

4. I am thankful that I am so tired today from working and caring for kids because it means I am blessed with a great job where I can work and still be with my children all day.

5. I am thankful that I have so little clothing to choose from because I have lost
56lbs.

6. I am thankful that I have to wake up tomorrow and spend the day with my kids without my husband because it means he has work and can provide for our family.

7. I am thankful that I have so much wrapping left to do because it means we were able to buy presents for the people we love.

8. I am thankful that my house is too small because it means I have a place to live and a growing family.

I have so much to be thankful for and this list just scratches the surface, but I want to remember and be thankful in everything. What are you thankful for?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gift of Grace

Meals with a three year old can be a battle at times. My oldest daughter seems like she will go days without eating. She eats so sparingly and sometimes is so picky. We have started to enforce some eating "rules."

The other night at dinner time she decided she did not want to eat what mommy had made. I have never been the person who wants to force their kid to eat something they do not like. Our rule is you have to take one bite. If you still do not like it you don't have to eat it. But you have to try it. Well, she tried it and she did not want to eat anymore. She said she was not hungry. I told her that was fine, but she could not eat again until bedtime snack. Well, bed time snack came and she said she was not hungry. She did not want to eat. I told her fine, but you will not eat again until morning. She chose to not eat snack. Bedtime came and she suddenly was starving. So starving that she was crying, "My belly hurts." As a mom I am suddenly torn. On one hand I want to be firm and enforce the rules that we set in place. I don't want to teach that mom and dad go back on their word. On the other hand I know she is only three years old and who can really listen to their child cry that they are hungry and turn the other cheek? Privately, I asked my husband if he thought it would be ok to give her some fruit. I mean fruit is not a fun food and really would only satisfy her hunger if she was truly hungry and not just seeking food for comfort. He said no. He thought she needed to learn this lesson. Because I am so strong and capable as a mom, I told him he had to put her to bed. I knew I would cave. I sat and listened on our baby moniter as he tucked her into bed. For fifteen minutes they talked and she cried about her belly hurting and how hungry she was. And my husband assured her she would be ok and talked with her about consequences. He came downstairs and she was still crying. I was trembling inside, but coping. I prayed for wisdom and for wisdom for Todd. I was sure he was right about us needing to be firm, but I was sure any moment I would cave and run upstairs hiding food in my shirt.

My wise and loving husband came down stairs and I said, "Is she ok?" He assured me she was fine, but then he told me to bring her a bananna. "Go teach her about grace", He said. I brought her downstairs and allowed her to sit at the table and eat a bannana. I explained to her that daddy had given her grace and given her something even though she did not deserve it. I explained that God gives us grace and that we should show grace to others.

I am pretty sure that was the best bannana she had ever eaten. I know that moment will stick with me for a long time. I am thankful that I have a husband who is wise enough to be firm, but gentle enough to offer grace.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Santa Baby

Elizabeth just got a new veggie tales movie for her birthday which was last week. The kids have watched it a couple of time. It is pretty cute and tells the real story veggie tales style of Saint Nicholas. It got me thinking a lot about Christmas and Santa Clause and I decided to share some thoughts.

Todd and I decided early on in our marriage that if and when we had kids we would not do the Santa thing. As in our kids do not recieve presents from Santa Clause at Christmas time. They get some gifts from family and a few things from mom and dad, but nothing from Saint Nick. Here are our reasons for deciding this:

1. We want Christmas in our home to be a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We want to focus on his birth and what his birth meant for all man kind. I understand December 25th is not his real birth date necessarily, but it is a good reminder for us to focus on him and to tell our children about what Jesus did for all mankind. We try to focus on Jesus throughout the year and teach our children in our daily lives about Christ, but Christmas just gives us a little push. We do not want to distract from the message of Christ with a message of Santa, so we choose not too.

2. I reasoned at an early age in my head that if, I tell my children these elaborate stories about God raising people from the dead, parting the red sea, healing the sick and the blind and tell them these stories are true and then tell them elaborate stories about reighndeer flying and a man traveling the world in 24 hours in a sleigh and tell them this is true, what will they think when they find out Santa is not true? Will they question every thing else I tell them? My children may still question God and his existance, but I do not want it to be because they think I am a liar.

I understand that many Christian families still play Santa Clause and I learned a long time ago that I cannot judge another persons heart. I cannot say that my convictions have to be followed by everyone else. I do not look down on other families that celebrate with Santa, but I do want to know if anyone else has thought about the questions I posted and come up with a different answer. I would be curious to know what anyone else thinks about such things.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A typical day of food

I have had a couple people ask me for meal ideas or what I eat in a normal day. Here is my meal plan from yesterday.

24 weight watcher points

Low fat Whole Grain Toast 1 pt.
1 tablespoon reduced fat peanut butter 2 pt.
Water

Whole grain flat bread 1 pt.
2 oz. turkey breast 1 pt.
Low fat cheese 1 pt.
Mustard 0 pt.
1 cup cooked veggies with cheese 1 pt.
19 pretzels 3 pt.

two homemade cruncy tacos with cheese and reduced fat sour cream 6 pt.
1 cup black beans 1 pt.
1 cup green beans 0 pt.

1 apple with 3 tablespoons caramel yogurt 2 pt.

6 ritz crackers 2 pt.
reduced fat cheese 1 pt.

1 weight watcher ice cream 2 pt.

Fail to plan and plan to fail

Over my weight loss journey I have learned that if I do not make plans I will fail. Let me explain. At the last minute I had to work late. Now because of this we ordered pizza, so I could keep working and not have to prepare something. Not a huge deal, if I would have planned a little better. I could have made the decision to eat two pieces and have salad. That is a reasonable meal. Not too many calories. And enough to fill me. But I did not plan. Food came and I was starving. I gobbled up two pieces and went back for more. By the end I was stuffed and realized I had eaten way more than I needed too.


I recognize that for me, when I am in a stressful situation I cannot make reasonable decisions. I cannot decide how much I should eat while famished and stressed about work. That decision will more often than not be the wrong one. I have to make that decision ahead of time. And most of my meals are carefully thought out and planned before I eat them. I usually find out that when I make a decision to eat a certain amount that amount is satisfying to me. If I eat my portion slowly and give my body time to digest I recognize I am content with much less than I would be if I just ate until I felt full. When I make plans I succeed. I am pretty good about carrying out the plans I have put in place. I get into trouble when I try and wing it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

55lbs Part Two (Just Keep Swimming)

My daughters watch the movie, "Finding Nemo." And in the movie there is a fish that sings, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." I have taken that line and used it to motivate me. I have bad days. I have days where I eat too much. I have days where I go overboard and feel like quitting. I remember that line and it helps me. I just pick up from that point and keep going. I have been overweight my entire life and have been on countless diets. They all failed. I eventually got to a point where I messed up so much that I gave up. But now I don't give up. One bad meal does not have to ruin my whole day. one bad day does not have to ruin a week and even going overboard for a week does not mean I should quit. I just pick up and keep going. I keep swimming and it has done me a world of good.

55 lbs

I have been putting off posting this. Not sure why, but I think it is time. I have lost 55 lbs since October of 2008. I have been doing weight watchers sicne that time. I have learned so many things as a result of attending my meetings weekly and I thought I would share some of those things. But first some before and after pics.



Before





















After

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thank you mom

So last night I came home from work. I was rushing around trying to get dinner and get ready because I was going to weight watchers. I finished making dinner and sat hot dogs and oranges down in front of my kids. In my mind I was feeling like a bad mom. I was not having a good day and was feeling a bit guilty about dinner not being more extravagent and healthy. As I walked away Elizabeth said, "Thank you mommy for making dinner. You made very good hot dogs and oranges." My heart melted and in that one instant a comment from my two year old reminded me that I am doing my best and it really was good enough for that moment.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hard Talk

I have an incredible husband. He loves me and our family selflessly and unconditionally. We have a great marriage and we work well together, but we are human and we have fights and moments where we argue and moments where one or both of us are being selfish.

It was the end of the night and we were both tired. We were giving our kids their before bed snack. We started arguing over something and I don't even remember what it was. I raised my voice and we ended the conversation having neither resolved it nor made up. I walked away and sat down in the next room. When I walked away I heard Elizabeth talk to her daddy, "Daddy, why are you talking hard?" Daddy: "Sometimes mommies and daddies do that, but we should always talk gentle. Elizabeth: "When I grow up I can talk hard?" Daddy: "No."

I sat listening to this conversation and my heart was broken. My eyes filled with tears and I repented. I was so concerned with myself that I disrespected my husband and was an awful example for my girls.

A few minutes later Elizabeth and I were alone and I apologized to her and told her I was wrong for speaking to her daddy that way. I also apologized to Todd in front of the kids.

I want to teach my girls to be loving and respectful wives. I wish I modeled that for them 100% of the time. I hope that the good will impress upon their heart much more than the bad. In my sadness I had a hope. Maybe the best impression I can give them is that good wives are willing to admit mistakes and good moms know when to tell their kids they are sorry.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

God's answer

Every night our family has devotional time. We read from a children's Bible together and pray. Most nights this time is very short. With a one and two year old even 4 minutes can feel too long. A few nights ago while we were reading our baby jumped off the couch and started pointing towards the stairs and whining, while the other child was humming something. All of this while we were trying to do something that I consider important. In my time of frustration I prayed and asked God to show me is this worth it. I believe teaching my children about God and introducing them to Him is important, but in that moment I wondered if this Bible time meant anything. Did it teach them or was it simply for show? I am all about questioning and making sure the things we are doing are for a purpose and not just because of habit. So I asked God, please show me if this matters.

Fast forward to yesterday. Yesterday afternoon we were driving in the car with my mom and Heather. My mom handed Lizzie a piece of paper and she was drawing something. My mom asked her what she was drawing. Her answer was, "Manna". My mom said, "Nana?" Lizzie: "No, manna." I chime in and say "Did you say manna?" Lizzie: "Yes, manna and gail. They did have it for breakfast." Immediately I am reminded that on that night when I thought no one was listening, we read about God providing the Isrealites with Manna and Quail in the dessert. My heart was humbled as I realized God answered my question. Yes this is worth it. Do I think they will understand everything now? No. Do I think that by reading to my kids every night this will ensure they are Christians? No. My hope is that God's holy spirit will use the words of the Bible to draw them to himself. That maybe someday my own children will respond to the voice of God and surrender themselves to Christ.

I heard two things when she said that, one was: "yes, it is worth it', but I was also reminded that God listens to me and that he does answer.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Perspective

Since my last post I have gained some perspective. My feelings from Monday were brought on mostly by the fact that I was trying to clean out my bedroom closet. Todd is painting in our bedroom this weekend and I was trying to clear the space. After dealing with kids and stuff and craziness that morning I was left feeling discontent. When the kids went to sleep on Monday night, Todd and I finished cleaning up our bedroom and after 4 bags of stuff to donate and 1 bag filled with stuff to throw away I am feeling much better.

I am humbled when I realize that so many people have so little and I have so much. I am thankful for a house that is warm, food to eat, and family. God has a way of gently reminding me how much we have when my heart starts to wander. My house is not perfect. I still feel like I would like more space. But today I am choosing to be happy with the space I have.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Genuine

So to be very honest and real this moment... I am praying for a more thankful and grateful heart. But I admit I just feel very discontented. Maybe venting it will help a bit. My desire is not to sound like we have nothing. Our family is very blessed. We have good jobs and live well. Our children have everything they need and more and we have food in our cupboards. We are blessed.

I am feeling unhappy about our house. We live in a nice house. My husband is very handy and has fixed up every room of it. I just wish we had more space. My kids have separate rooms, but they are tiny. We have a spacious living room and kitchen, but the kids play area has overtaken them and I feel like I cannot breathe sometimes. It is easier in the summer. In the summer we spend hours outdoors. We have an acre of land and it is pretty secluded, so we have lots of space to run. But now it is winter. Well, fall, but Michigan pretty much skips fall and goes straight for cold. We are stuck inside a lot and I feel like the four walls are closing in. Selling our house would be an option if we could sell it for a third of what we owe. The housing market has taken a huge crash in our area and the house behind us sold for somewhere around $30,000.

This house is beautiful and when it was just my husband and I it was perfect. With one child it was livable, but now with two kids I feel like I am suffocating.

Praying for a miracle and praying for a more content heart until then.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Funeral

Todd's uncle passed away this week. Death is sad. My heart broke while we were at the funeral home. My heart broke for his wife. This beautiful woman who has spent the majority of her life with this man. Making a life, creating children, growing old. She now has to wake up to a world without him. My heart broke as I walked by the casket and saw a teddy bear with the words "Papa Norms" on it. My heart breaks for his grandchildren who now know what it means to have lost someone they adore. My heart breaks for those things because those hit close to home. I have thought about how it may feel if I lost my husband. The mere thought is excruciating. I cannot imagine what the reality is like. I have thought about watching my own children lose someone they love. A few months back, when we thought my own dad was having a heart attack, I wondered how in the world I would tell my babies that they lost their papa. Death is painful. Death is final. As Christians we have hope. We know that if we believe in Jesus and trust in him for our salvation we will live again. We have hope that this is not the end. There is a future after we have died. We can see our loved ones again in eternity. But the here and now is where we live. We still have to wake up each morning and face life without those we miss.

While I was talking with one of Uncle Norms daughters in law, she told me that this summer was amazing. He spent the summer with her and her husband and children. She said they made memories and she believes if he would have known it was his last days, he would have spent them the exact same way. That is a life that is well lived. I only hope I can live each day like that. Because in all actuality none of us knows when our last days will come. We need to love our family. We need to say the things we have left unsaid. We need to seek forgiveness and offer forgiveness. I hope that when my days have ended someone will be able to say that they believe I would not have done anything different. And I hope to hear those words from Jesus, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Real Life Diva

I have my own diva. She is about 3 feet tall and 2.5 years old. Elizabeth has now become a true fashionista. We struggle daily with what she will wear. I pick out something and she always wants to wear a dress. Even today when it was 60 degrees outside she wanted to wear a dress up spaghetti strap dress and only the dress. We compromised. While we were in the house she wore the dress. When we went outside she wore the dress over jeans and a t-shirt. It remotely satisfied her. I know I cannot let her rule the world, but I am trying to carefully choose my battles. In the end I kind of think its cute. My little girl wants nothing more than to be pretty and girly. These are all things I wished for once upon a time. I just thought I would have a little more control over it! :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

More wedding pics



Love Story Part 6 (Baby just say yes)





It was Sunday, August 24th 2003. I went to church that morning with a bit of an anxious heart. The week before was filled with conflicting things. Todd and I celebrated our first anniversary of dating on Friday. We were becoming so close and I really was hoping he was going to propose soon. I told my mom that I thought this was going to be the week. My brother convinced me it was not possible for it to be this week. And my parents decided to take a weekend vacation. I was conflicted. Todd was acting strange this whole week. He had been working on some video all week that was supposed to be for church on Sunday morning. He would not give me any details about it. That was odd. I was conflicted. I wanted this to be the week. I wanted him to propose, but why would he do it with my parents gone? Why would he not allow me to see this new video? Did it have to do with him proposing? But he was acting strange. He was way too concerned about Sunday morning. He even wanted to know what I was wearing and where I was sitting. Why does that matter?

Sunday morning I arrived at church and instantly I was sure that he would propose today. My grandmother, aunt, parents and his parents and brother were all at church. That would not be odd except most of those people did not even go to church with us. I was wondering when it would happen. I am sure I did not hear one word of the sermon that day. My mind wandered and I sat anxiously hoping I was right.

At the end of the service a video was introduced that would highlight a new series the church was moving into next month. When the video began Wally, our youth pastor, came on the screen and said "Hey there Metro I just wanted to let you know we are beginning a new series on the book of James." As he said this across the screen flashed "Psalm 33:20-22" Wally stopped and as if he could see it said, "No that is all wrong. We are talking about the book of James." Then Wally started to tell us when the series would begin. As he did across the screen flashed "August 22".
"No, this is all wrong." Wally said. "We need to start this over." Then the video flashed to Todd. And he said, "The video is not wrong, but this is not about Metro. This video is about you and me and I have something really important I need to ask you, so I am going to go to me live." The lights went out in the auditorium and a spotlight came on me. Todd was standing in the aisle next to me with a rose in his hand. He got down on one knee and said, "God brought us together and in his house I want to ask if you will be my wife." That day, in front of 268 people, I said yes. On that day, only he heard me. That was all that mattered.

9 months later on May 7th, 2004 I became his wife and he became my husband. These five years have been filled with so many joys and some trials. Marriage is hard and at times it is exhausting. But I am married to a man whose heart is surrendered to Jesus Christ and who leads our family closer to God. I am married to a man who seeks to meet my needs and cares for me lovingly. He is a man who protects and encourages me. He is a wonderful provider and an excellent father. I know he is committed to me and our family. I have learned through these five years that the person you marry really is the second most important decision you will make. Second only to the decision you make to follow Jesus. Married life is difficult, but I can not imagine how hard it would be if we did not share a love and commitment to Jesus. I am grateful that God lead me to this man and I am thankful that I allowed him to do so.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Catch my breath

I am not writing my love story right now because it requires too much thought. Have you ever had those days where you feel like you never stop moving, but nothing gets done? We came home from a wonderful vacation and since then things have not stopped spinning.

Saturday we had a birthday party. Saturday night we were up half the night with the baby. Sunday we stayed home from church because of the all nighter. Sunday night we were up half the night with the baby. Monday morning I was supposed to attend a MOPS planning meeting. I could not attend because baby needed to go to pediatrician. I made the appointment. We went to appointment. Baby has ear infection. Monday night baby slept mostly through night! Yeah! Tuesday took baby to checkup for acid reflux. Tuesday afternoon I went to work. Tuesday night both kids are awake after being asleep almost an hour. They are now eating a late snack. In the meantime we have been living out of suitcases because I have not unpacked anything. My house is a wreck and I am tired.

I need a vacation. ;)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Love Story Part 5

We had been dating six months. We were definitely falling in love. We had given ourselves a standard of living by writing down rules for our relationship. They were not because we thought everything within our list was sin. Some of the things we decided not to do were not sinful in and of themselves, but we wanted to run in the direction of purity and stay as far away from sin as possible. Some of our rules included:

1. We will not spend time alone in one anothers houses. If no one else is home we will go to a public place.
2. We will not lie down together anywhere, anytime, any place.
3. No hand holding. (Not indefinitely)
4. No kissing until and if we become engaged.

Some people will find our list a bit outdated. Many people will not understand. But I can tell you that purity was such a beautiful thing and filled us with such freedom. The day Todd held my hand for the first time proved to me that purity was worth every ounce of waiting and self control that we had.

We were sitting on his mom's couch watching tv and talking. As the show ended we began to talk more in depth. I am not sure how the subject came up, but we began to talk about marriage. He then told me something he had never said before. He told me he wanted to marry me. It was not a proposal, but he told me he knew that I was "the one" and he said that within the year he was going to propose to me. At that moment he told me he wanted to give me a gift. He took my hand into his and for the first time we held hands. It was well worth the wait. It was precious, memorable and so special.

I was stunned one night a few weeks later to learn that Todd and my dad were having dinner, alone, together at Todd's request. He asked my dad for permission to marry me and my dad said yes.

To find out how and when he asked me keep reading...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Love Story Part 4

Two weeks had past since Todd came home from Costa Rica. He was different. He obviously cared for me and tried to spend as much time as he could in my presence. Our time together was very limited, however. We were both youth leaders and these two weeks happened to be the busiest of the whole summer. We had a to plan for, shop for and put on a youth trip. We also attended a 3 day leadership conference with other people from church. We seemed to be always together, yet we never really had a private moment. I had no doubt he had feelings for me, but my own anxiousness was beginning to grow.

I was beginning to feel very sad and down about the whole situation. One night while we were with a group of youth I could not hide my sadness. I was not crying, but I was definitely not myself. One of the senior guys came to me. I had not told him any of my feelings or what was going on between Todd and I, but when he approached me he said, "Why don't you just tell him how you feel." At that moment I was a little perplexed. He was visiting from out of town and had only been a part of the youth group for a couple weeks. I had not told him and I was sure Todd had not, but he seemed to know. My reply was, "I can't. Isn't the guy supposed to approach the girl?" He said, "Well, sometimes the guy needs a little help." At that moment I knew God was telling me to approach him again. That night as I was leaving I asked Todd if he would walk me to my car. Once outside I asked him when could we talk about us. He told me he was so sorry. He knew we needed to talk, but he had been so busy and had not made time. I asked if he had any time soon and he said, "No, but I will make time." The next evening we had a friend's birthday party to attend, but we made plans to get together after the party.

August 22, 2002 I went to the party filled with anxiety and joy. After the birthday party we drove together to a park by the water. We went first to a coffee shop, but when we went in we saw too many familiar faces to talk privately. So, instead, we took a walk down by the water. While we walked I remember him telling me how much he admired me and how I possessed all of the qualities he had been seeking in a wife. We walked around and around the little pathway. We talked and talked and towards the end I remember asking him, "So, are you asking me to be your girlfriend?" His reply was absolutely so telling of his character. He said, "not exactly." Todd wanted so desperately for us to do this the right way and at first he was apprehensive of calling us "boyfriend, girlfriend." Not because he did not want to date, but because he wanted to date differently. The way people usually do "dating" can lack purpose and intentionality. He wanted us to spend time together dating to see if God wanted us to be husband and wife. I remember while we were walking around the park a group of teenagers teased us saying, "Why don't you hold her hand?" He told me as we continued to talk that he wanted me to know that he genuinely wanted to hold my hand, but he wanted everything within our relationship to be special and to have purpose. He wanted us to pursue purity with everything we had and pursue Jesus even harder. Todd pursued me with such purity and he protected my heart and body for my future husband.

For the story of the first day he held my hand stay tuned...

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Love Story Part 3 (Learning to trust)

The following is an excerpt from my journal on January 1st 2002.

"Well, last night Todd and I talked... now I am pretty anxious because I want to know what will happen, but I know that God will take care of me no matter what happens. I trust God. Proverbs 3:5-6 says that if I trust God he will make his ways clear. I am having a hard time not thinking about Todd, so I pray for God's help. Jesus let your will be done."

Reading that, my mind is flooded with memories. I look back on those words, "I trust God", and I wonder, did I? Maybe I trusted him with an end in mind. Maybe I trusted him as long as he made sure that season of waiting did not last long. As long as he was on my time table, I trusted him. But he was not. One month past. Two months past. March of 2002 came and a guy from school asked me out. He was kind of cute and I wanted to do anything to get my mind off Todd. Our schedules did not work out, so we ended up never actually going on a date. Here is what I wrote in my journal regarding the guy and Todd.

"I was afraid of what would happen with Todd (meaning, if he knew) and I was just plain nervous. I could hardly think about it and when I did I cried. I was so nervous. I wanted to puke."

My time table was not working. Or rather God was not working on my time table. It was getting harder and harder to trust.

Journal entry May of 2002

"Tonight I felt completely broken by God. I want his will. I want to follow him and I love him. I want so much for my heart to be obedient. I prayed and asked him to lead me in his will right now."

I was beginning to trust him. Not trust him for an outcome, but to trust him no matter the outcome. As a source of encouragement I clung to this verse:

Psalm 33:20-22
We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.


A funny thing started to happen. Todd and I began to grow closer and closer. Our friendship began to deepen. We found ourselves talking for hours on end.

Journal Entry June 2002
"I cannot really describe what happens when we are together, but I wish I could put it in a bottle and carry it with me. The other day I helped him find his keys and then told him not to forget his shoes. He looked at me and said, 'What would I do without you?' Of course my heart melted into 1,000 pieces."

July of 2002 Todd took a month long mission trip to Costa Rica. It was incredibly hard for me to watch him leave for that long. I knew we were getting closer. I knew I was beginning to care for him so much more deeply and I was longing for us to be together. But God was not assuring me we would be together. His only assurance when I prayed was that he would take care of me no matter what the outcome.

That month was hard. I admit I did worry some and I was anxious at times. This seemed like a turning point for us. I was pretty sure that when he came home he would either know he wanted to be with me or he would find some beautiful Costa Rican native and run off into the sunset. (Ok so that may be a bit dramatic). But it was hard.

I was a very busy college student and my life revolved around a planner I carried in my purse. It was one of those with a scripture verse at the top of each month. I was amazed one day in July when I opened the planner to the month of August (the month Todd was to return) and I saw the following verse:

Psalm 33:21
"In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name."


Want to know what happens next? Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Love story Continued

December of 2001 was when I had that moment of realization that I thought Todd liked me. For a while I was floating on air. Very excited at the possibilities to come. But slowly as weeks passed and nothing else happened my heart began to sadden. I found myself utterly depressed at the end of December. I was uncharacteristically down. I could not shake the feelings of sadness and I, honestly, spent a whole day in bed because I could not stop thinking about it. I tried to spend time with friends, to pray, to read my Bible, but these feelings were overwhelming.

On New years eve I went to a party at a friends house. Todd was there and seeing him only made me feel worse. I went into a room with a friend to pour out my heart. She listened attentively and encouraged me to talk to Todd. There was no way in the world I wanted to do that. I always knew the man was "supposed" to initiate. He was supposed to be the one to talk to me. My friend prayed with me and I prayed a prayer something like this, "Lord, if you want me to talk to Todd please make it very clear." We left the room and joined our friends. When I walked back into the party Todd looked at me and said, "Are you ok, Jessica? Would you feel better if we talked?" Ok, God obviously was working here. I told him "sure" and we went into another room.

When we got in there my mind was a whirl. I was scared to death to say what I had to say, but felt like this was the right thing. I remember the scenario like yesterday. I even remember the shirt he had on because I could only look at the letters on it. I could not look at his face. He tried for a few minutes to ask questions to get me talking and finally I said, "Do you want me to tell you what is going on?" "Yes" was his reply. I managed to spit out these words as quickly as possible, "I like you as more than a friend." As soon as I spit those words out I saw him relax. And he said, "Do you want to know how I feel?" "Ummm... Yes.", I said. "I feel the same." he said. "But there is more." "I also like someone else."

I must admit that at that moment I felt very conflicted. On one hand I felt absolute jubilation at the thought that he liked me. But I also felt a little confused and annoyed that he liked someone else. He told me he wanted us to continue being friends. He wanted to be friends with both of us girls for a while and see where God would lead. We ended our conversation by praying together for God's leadership. We found out as we re-entered the party that we prayed together just as 2001 moved into 2002.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A love Story

One of my dearest friends told me today that she believes she has met the man she will marry. She is the sweetest woman of God and I wish her all the best.

My mind goes back to that time in my life. I was 16 years old when I first met Todd. He was a youth leader for the youth group I just started attending. He was 19 and very handsome. What drew me to him initially was how cute I thought he was, but after watching him for some time my heart began to fall in love with him. I remember how much he genuinely cared for people. He was the one that always gave hugs. He did not pick and choose just nice looking girls. He gave hugs to everyone. He loved people even those that seemed unlovable. He also was a worshiper. I remember watching him, at times, during worship service. His heart was so intent. His eyes may be closed or hands raised or at times he was on his face before the Lord in genuine heartfelt worship. This drew me to him.

For the following two years we were friends. We hung out in groups and I tried to not let on that I cared for him. I knew it was against the rules for leaders to date students and in all honesty never thought I would have a chance with him anyway. The summer after I graduated high school our friendship began to deepen and the following fall we were at the same college. I was having a lot of trouble in my math class and thought I may fail. I was talking with my mentor at the time and she suggested asking Todd to tutor me. He was after all an engineer major and very good at math. I could not do it. How could I? I was beginning to think he suspected me liking him and did not want to make a fool of myself, but it did make sense and I really did not want to fail my class. So I asked. He was totally willing. Sometime after he began tutoring me I was having my devotional time. I would pray often during those times for my future husband. I found myself praying for my future husband and got a sense from God that I was praying for Todd. Immediately I rejected the idea as if rebuking the devil. This must be my mind playing tricks, but still I dared to hope. I asked God to make it clear to me if this was from him.

The next time I saw Todd was at school. It was the end of the semester and I was in a hurry. I had only gone to pick up a test score. I rushed in and saw him as I was leaving. I said hello and turned to leave. But something was different. He asked me if he could walk me out. He walked me to my car and we talked for a few minutes. Nothing substantial was said. Nothing monumental, but something shifted. It was as if this was my confirmation from the Lord. I drove away from school and immediately called my mom to say, "I think Todd likes me." She had listened for years as I talked about this boy I liked. And her motherly reply was, "Of course he does."

Of course this is only the beginning. I will share part 2 another day.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Claire

My sweet baby is One year old today. This time last year I was laying in a hospital bedding awaiting her arrival. She was tricky. She wanted to come, but needed a little help. I feel as though her first year has been that way. She has needed so many things and has been a much needier child than Elizabeth. She has gone through illnesses and is still conquering some. But she is strong. She is a fighter and she has a sweet spirit. She loves. She is a loving, gentle spirit. But she can be fierce. I see her gentleness in the way she holds her new "babies". She got some stuffed animals for her birthday and she cuddles them and pats their backs just like a gentle momma. And she kisses their noses. She is beautiful. Here is my letter to her on this day.

My sweet Claire-
I am so proud to be your momma. I love you immensely. My prayer and hope for your life is that you surrender all of you to our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that you allow him to mold and shape your tender heart and allow him to use your boldness and strength for his glory. I am not a perfect mommy. I will fail you and all ready have in so many ways, but I hope that you can get a glimpse of the One who will never fail you and that you allow Him to lead your life. I pray that his holy spirit is all ready speaking to you and drawing you close to him. Before I know it you will be grown and all I will have is the memories of your sweet baby smile and how your hair curled ever so slightly at the nape of your neck. I will treasure your sweet whole mouth kisses and the way you point at yourself and reach for me as if to say, "Momma, hold me." Happy first birthday my sweet baby. I look forward to all this year has to offer. So many changes will take place and in many ways this year will be more exciting than your first. Know that I love you. Know that your daddy and I treasure you and that you are valued. Know that we cherish our moments with you and look forward to those to come. I feel as though you have been given less than we gave your sister. Now there are two to divide my time and you get much less focused attention than she did, but you are loved just as much. You are loved uniquely and simply for being you. I love being your mommy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Submission

I was reading in the book of Peter today and read chapter 3. One verse in particular hit me. I have read this passage many times before. But for some reason this really hit home today.

1st Peter 3:1 Wives in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,... 3:6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
The last part is what stuck out to me. At first glance it does not make much sense. Why would "give way to fear" apply to submission? And I realized something. Submission is essentially trust. When you submit to your husband you are trusting him and more importantly you are trusting God. You are trusting that God will care for you. You are trusting that your husband is smart enough to take care of your family and that he is following God's voice. I know that is hard in situations where he may not be following God, but I think we are called to submit even when it does not seem right. (Except of course if what your husband is leading you to is strictly forbidden in scripture. We are never supposed to follow our husbands into sin.)

I never really understood submission until Todd and I disagreed on something major. We were attending a church. There was nothing wrong with the church. I just did not feel like that was where our family was supposed to be. For months we fought about it. I would whine and control and tell him all the reasons we should not be there. He assured me over and over that he still felt very strongly that this was where our family was supposed to be. He said he still felt God leading him there. It made no sense to me. I prayed and prayed for a heart like his, that felt committed and at home at this church. It never came. Instead I was feeling more and more unrest about it. Why was this happening? How could God be leading us in two completely opposite directions? I sought the counsel of a trusted friend who was more wise and a little further along in life. I explained what I was feeling and felt sure that she would agree with me and help me state my case to Todd. To my surprise she did agree that all of my feelings about the church were valid. She said she could see why I thought it was not a good fit for our family, but we should stay. What???? I should submit to my husband and trust God in this.

Needless to say I felt a bit perturbed. Seriously? Submit. But this was not best for our family. I prayed about what she had said and God confirmed her wisdom. Now, not only was she against me, but God too. Ok. I decided to trust God and my husband. I came to Todd one evening and told him. I said I would no longer fight him. I was committed here as long as he felt God leading us. At that moment I still felt unrest. I felt fear and uncertainty about the future of our family. But I chose to submit. I chose to trust instead of giving way to fear. I stopped controlling and grumbling and started to act as though this was our church home.

Interestingly enough, not more than two months after our talk, a huge shift happened in the direction of the church and both of us felt as though we were no longer to be there.

When I trusted God and submitted to my husband he lead our family to where we were supposed to be. And I know now that Todd was not wrong. God was leading him to keep our family there. God had our family there for a purpose. We learned many good things from being a part of that church. And I became more of the wife that God wanted me to be. I wonder how different things would have been if I would have gave way to fear. We women are very good at controlling things when we are fearful. We tend to believe that we know what is best. When we submit, even when we think that our husbands are leading us the wrong way, God will show up. Through our obedience he will become more real to us and he will show us that he really knows what is best for our family. And chances are it is not what we would have planned.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sisters

My girls are 20 months apart. When they are 20 and 22 that will not be a big difference, but at 11 months and 2 years they can seem worlds apart. But there are moments when I catch glimpses of them in their own little world. Like for instance today in the car Elizabeth was making her sister laugh by making funny noises into a cup. For some reason this was hilarious to an 11 month old. I was watching through the rear view mirror and I could not help, but smile. These two girls were in their own world. It was like they had this secret language that only the two of them knew. I never had a sister. I always wished I did.
I was thinking last night of how when I became pregnant with claire we prayed so hard she was a boy. We already had our girl and the thought of a boy just made our family complete. Thankfully God had other plans. And as I was driving home today I could not help but thank God that we were given two girls.
As we were nearing home I was stopping at a stop light and had more than just a moment to gaze at them and I saw my two girls struggling as hard as they could to hold hands. The car seats are set just a little too far apart, but they both were doing all they could do to just touch eachother. My two precious babies, that I had prayed both times to be boys, were being sisters and girls and reaching out to love one another. That moment meant so much.
I know they will fight and they already do. I know there will be times when they cannot stand eachother, but I prayed for them while we were driving that their whole lives they would love one another and geniunely look out for the others best interest. I think they will.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Difficult people

We all have a few of them in our lives. Those people that are difficult to be around. The people that leave you exhausted simply by their mere presence. (If you are reading this you are not who I am thinking of, so don't even ask.)
I have had my fair share of times when I have responded to difficult people in ways that were less than Godly. I have gossiped, I have yelled, I have gotten angry, and I have wished bad things upon them. I read something once in Oswald Chamber's book, My Utmost for his highest, that has stuck with me. I cannot remember the quote, but essentially he said that when God places a difficult person in your life and gives you some discernment as to why, they are the way they are, that is so you can pray for them. Not so you can pass judgement or blame or gossip about them, but so you have a more clear understanding of how to pray. That was very profound to me. And it has changed the way I see difficult people now. I think it has also opened up a door of wisdom for me. God has given me more insight into the difficult relationships in my life than ever before.
Does it make the relationship easier? No. I still want to hide and walk away at times, but it does give me a little more compassion. And it keeps me from sinning by turning to God to pray for the person instead of internalizing the wounds they are giving me. James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." God has proven over and over again that he really will do what he says. He given me wisdom every time I ask Him for it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

To start the day

Elizabeth is a bit of a chatter box. Since she began talking well, she talks a lot. This was how our morning started yesterday. I woke up late to hear her calling from her bed, "Mommy, I am done with my nap." I was barely awake and very groggy. I needed to get dressed quickly because I was late for work, but I called to her, "You can get up." When she entered my room the following conversation ensued:


(To get the full idea try to imagine it fast paced and you being half asleep.)

Lizzie: You get dressed?

Me: uh huh.

Lizzie: We go to Nana's and papa's today?

Me: uh huh.

Lizzie: You wear chapstick?

Me: uh no, uh maybe, (thinking now, my lips do feel chapped) yes I am.

Lizzie: Me wear chapstick?

Me: Grunt.

Lizzie: You wear big girl panties? I don't wear big girl panties. I wear diapers.

Lizzie: Claire awake? I go see her.

Me: Not yet. (Emphatically, so as to let her know I really do not want her to wake up her sister yet.)

Lizzie: You brush your teeth? Me brush my teeth.

Me: (With mouth full of toothpaste) Downstairs. You can brush your teeth.


I love my chatterbox, but I admit I have said: "Why did I teach her to talk?"
Only when she was not around and only to the dog.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sick Days

Wednesday afternoon Claire woke up from her nap with a fever of 103. With her history of UTI's we decided to take her to Children's ER. We did and they could find nothing wrong. We ended up taking her to her ped on Thursday and they said it was Phlaringitis. But she has been miserable for two days. She has not slept well and neither have I. Her fever has gone down to about 101 now, but it is still there.

I say this to tell you about my break down and to give some insight into my brain.

Because Claire has been so demanding of my time and attention Elizabeth has not gotten very much individual attention. I could tell by her behavior that she was really needing some one on one time. So tonight after Claire went to bed Lizzie got to stay up late and help me bake Cheesecakes. She and I have baked together since she was just one years old and she really loves to help. I prepared the pans and we counted out 20 oreo cookies for the crust. We put them in the food processor and tried to start it. It was not working. I messed with the thing for 5 minutes and could not get it to work. I wanted to have Todd do it because I knew he would probably be able to figure out why it was not working, but he had to go to work for a few hours because he came home early today. I was getting more and more mad and in a moment of frustration had the following conversation with God in my head:

Me: Why in the world does this have to be so hard. We have had no time together and now this is not working. Why?

Me: I seriously want to cuss at this thing.

Me: I wish Todd were here.

(Not in my head) Lizzie: Mommy, let me help you.

Instantly something came into my mind. Little eyes have been watching my every move to see what I will do in this situation. I wanted to cry and cuss and call Todd. But that is not what I should do.

I called Lizzie over to me and said, "Hunny let's pray. You can help mommy by praying." We prayed for God to help us start the food processor. In the next moment I instantly figured out why it was not working. Total human error. The machine has all these safety mechanisms and I had put one out of wack. It worked and we spent the next half hour making cheesecakes, talking, laughing, eating the batter and then we read books and I put her to bed. We had such a fun time togther I wonder what if. What if I would have cussed and cried and not got the thing working? She would have been sad that we could not make our cheescakes and we would have missed out on that fun, but more than that she would have learned that when things suck your should react by blowing up and losing your temper. I am not sure that she will specifically remember this years from now, but I think I will. And maybe she will remember something from this moment. I pray that I can consistently teach her to turn to God in those moments. I know the many moments I have done the opposite. I pray that I can learn to consistently turn to him.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Crazy end of week/ weekend and what I learned about myself

So it is Wednesday at about 9 am. My very best friend wants to know if we want to come to play at their house. I normally would have jumped all over that chance, but I feel this urge to stay home and do laundry today. Not sure why. We decline.

It's about 10 am and I am utterly freaked out that I have lice. No real reason to believe I do. My head has been so itchy and I am just freaked out. I call my best friend and she says she will come over to check me. (Don't you love those friends.) I am so freaked out I am hyperventilating all most. I am waiting for her to arrive and trying to keep my mind occupied, as well as my kids, and the phone rings. Todd calls to tell me he has an emergency business trip to take and he is leaving either tonight or tomorrow and will be gone until Monday. Boo. My b-day is Monday and we had weekend plans, but the boss (my dad) has very kindly offered to pay for my girls and I to go too. Yeah and AHHHHH. How to be ready for a 5 day trip in less than 24 hours with two kids. My head is no longer itching. My brain is about to explode. Sheena arrives and checks my head and verdict is- NO Lice. Just a freaked out mom who has dandruff.

OK. Now move to packing, booking hotels, shopping for trip. It is lunch time and I open the cupboard. I have no idea what to fix and I really don't want to make anything. Claire likes dog food anyway. LOL. Suddenly another phone call. My mom wants to know if we want to have lunch. We still have pajamas on. Would you like to bring lunch over? Thank God for Nana. Nana arrives with lunch and Hiya. Hiya is what Lizzie affectionately calls, my brothers girlfriend, Heather. We eat lunch and then my mom has to leave. I get girls to nap and think - "It would be so nice to have help right now." The house is a wreck and I still have laundry to do and packing and shopping. I wish Todd could come home now. Then another phone call. Heather wants to know if I need help. My overactive brain almost said no. I thought I can handle this. I really don't want someone else cleaning my house. But thankfully God spoke very clearly and said, "Did you not just wish you had help?" Oh Yes I did. Ok if you don't mind helping that would be great. I make a list things to do and Heather shortly arrives. She slams through my list.

1. Clean bath.
2. Sweep/ mop floor.
3. Do dishes.
4. Clean up toys.
5. Pack.

She does everything, but pack. Oh, how I am so thankful I did not say no.

Girls wake up and she feeds them snack while I make a dozen phone calls to reserve 4 hotel rooms. (For Todd and the crew going with him.) Realize how impossible that would have been had she not been here. When Todd comes home Heather stays with the kids so we can go to the store to buy a toddler travel bed. I have been wanting one for a while and we needed it for the trip because Lizzie cannot sleep in the big bed yet.

Somehow we are packed and ready and I get in bed about 2 am. Wake back up at 7 and we on the road by 9.

We arrive in Kalamazoo and Todd is off to work. We spend the day with Heather and Todd arrives back at the hotel about 7:30. We have already had dinner, so while he eats I take the girls swimming. Interesting taking two kids who you have to hold the whole time by yourself. We decide to get out and Lizzie takes off running. She falls and cracks her head on the cement. So me in my bathing suit and kids as well drip into to hotel restaurant. I ask the hostess to look for my husband because I have a crying toddler and two wet kids. He comes out and we proceed to room. She is fine and Todd is able to resume eating.

Thursday night kids go to sleep and I try to get some rest. Friday morning Claire wakes up at 4am. Ohhh.... I try to get her back to sleep and it does not work. Todd gets up to leave for work at 6 and we turn on lights to have breakfast. I guess that is it. Lizzie gets up about 6:30. Our day goes on and thankfully Heather is there to help. Nap comes and goes and eventually bed. Yeah.

The next morning (Saturday) is better. Claire sleeps until 7 and that is much better than 4. We get up and have breakfast. We decide to go to a zoo nearby. The zoo is so fun and we actually get to feed giraffes. That was so cool..

We leave and on the way home my mom calls to say my dad collapsed and she was taking him to the hospital. We were afraid he was having a heart attack.
We communicate back and forth with her and then decide that my brother, myself, Heather and the kids will go home. I frantically pack and we leave in about an hour. I am upset, worried and drive about 85 the whole way home. Todd had called Sheena and asked her if she would watch our kids because he could not leave until later that night. She agreed and I dropped the kids off at her parents because they were having a 4th of July BBQ. I leave and go to the hospital. I cry the whole way there pretty much because I have been holding it together because of the kids. When I arrive I go see my dad and cry of course. Thankfully he is ok and did not have a heart attack. I was able to stay with him until about 9. And then came home to see the kids. He came home the next afternoon and they are still trying to figure out what caused him to collapse. But he is ok.

This whole week/ weekend has been so tiring and so long and so crazy, but it taught me a lot about myself. I usually think I can handle things on my own and in a lot of situations I can, but in all honesty there are moments I cannot and I need to ask for help. I don't like asking for help. I don't like feeling like I am putting people out or changing their plans. But there are times I need to ask for help. There are times I need to say yes when people ask me if they can help me. I need to do that more. This whole weekend would have gone a lot worse had I not had the help of those around me. I am grateful for their help, but I know it is still hard for me to ask for help. It is still hard for me to not do it on my own. I am glad that Jesus reminds me that I need help and that he is so patient with me as I continually forget that. Because in all honesty a lot of days I forget to look to Him for strength. I forget that when I am leaning on Him and abiding in Him my life is better and I can do it. But when I do it on my own and leave Him out of my plans I end up a mess and my kids and husband suffer. When I am daily looking to him for strength and seeking his help, he gives it to me and then I realize all along he has been orchestrating my circumstances to give glory to Himself. Isnt that He has been doing all along? Jesus dying on the cross to save us from our sins. And us going along in our sins convinced we are doing just fine until He shows us who we really are and what our sins have really done. And then we only have two choices. We can go along and do it on our own and die in our sins or we can choose let Him take our sins and cover them. Am I so prideful to remain convinced I can do it on my own? Or will I admit I need help. I pray I continue to admit I need Him. I need help.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Things I miss

I would never trade being a mommy for anything. I love my kids and I am so thankful that they were entrusted to me. I adore them and have so much fun with them, but occasionally I get that twinge of missing something pre-kid days. So here is my extensive, but not exhaustive list of things I miss. (Not in order of ranking.)

1. Going shopping in the middle of the day just because I feel like it.
2. Spending more than five minutes on my hair on any given day.
3. Sleeping until noon on Saturday.
4. Working out.
5. Going to the movies with my husband, on whim, on a Thursday night.
6. Having a large group of people over on a Friday night for small group and staying up way too late.
7. Doing ministry in an organized sense.
8. Sitting in front of my vanity and playing with my hair until I have come up with a new hairstyle for myself.
9. Being able to go have dinner with a friend with just a phone call.
10. Going to the bathroom alone. (I never knew that our downstairs bathroom lock does not work until we had kids.)
11. Going anywhere alone.
12. Being able to eat something, anything without sharing.
13. Worshiping in Church without thinking "Did I forget anything, Did she stop crying, Will she take a nap in there?"
14. Having my just cleaned house stay clean.
15. Waking up and not having to do anything.
16. Having relaxing days at home that actually are relaxing.
17. Leaving the house without a load of stuff.
18. Being able to have a serious conversation with Todd without stopping twelve times.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Appalling

So I just read an article that talked about a website that was designed to "hook up" married people looking to have an affair. I will not mention the name because the website owner says he welcomes criticism because it offers him free publicity. This made me sick to my stomach. People, unhappy in their marriage can find a way, as one customer put it: "to make their marriage better, by taking the pressure off." And all of that for only $249.99. I know that the natural way of mankind is to sink deeper and deeper into sin, and I know that I am not above any sin, but this sickens me. This creator is a married man with young children and he says he has been faithful to his wife, "to date". I wonder if his wife feels secure and happy in the knowledge that her husband thinks so highly of infidelity. I grieve for her and I grieve for the customers and their families who turn to this to find fullfillment. I grieve for the many lives that have been destroyed by adultrey. Marriage is not easy. Marriage is hard and I know that at times it can feel like the grass is greener on the other side. It isn't. If someone other than your spouse is looking appealing to you. Just know that if you go through with it. That person will eventually be old and comfortable to you and you will have wrecked a lot of lives in the path. Yours, your spouse, your children, the other person's family. God can restore even the most damaged marriages. He can bring healing and passion and life back to it again. Seek help from a trusted Christian counselor. Seek help from your pastor. Pray with your spouse for life to be restored in your marriage. The grass is greener where you water it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

10 months


So 10 months ago today I gave birth to Claire. She was perfect in every way. I was thinking today that while there are some things I miss about the little baby stage there really is not much. She is fast approaching toddler hood. She no longer drinks from a bottle. She has graduated to big girl sippy cups. She is crawling all over and is pulling up on every thing. I am sure she will be walking soon. She eats just about everything. She eats every meal with us at the table and eats most of what we eat. She is no longer a little baby. Of course she will always be my baby, but she is growing up. People often say you will miss this. Yes, I will miss many things, but the first 7 months of her life were so hard. She was an acid reflux baby and that meant for 4 months she slept only in a swing. For 6 months she slept in our bedroom or in the living for naps. For 6 months she never left my side. That is hard on anyone. I was constantly worried she may reflux and choke. I did not get enough sleep. She woke every 3-4 hours for 6 months and when she did sleep longer she still was not sleeping through the night until 9 months. She did not fall asleep on her own until 7 0r 8 months. This was incredibly hard on me and hard on our whole family. Todd often took night feedings because I was too exhausted. He would wake with her at 3 or 4 and be back up for work by 6 or 7. We would take turns rocking her to sleep at bedtime and most nights one of us was upstairs with her until 9:30 or 10. We were scared to leave her with anyone and only had a couple of people we felt comfortable staying with her. This left little time for us to be alone. When she cried I always wondered if she was in pain or if she just needed to cry. This meant she did not learn to fall asleep on her own. For 7 months life was kind of a whirl wind. And it was just hard. Things have gotten much better in the past couple of months. She is doing so much better with her reflux. She is sleeping through the night and puts herself to sleep. But getting here was a long, hard road. This has changed my perspective in a lot of ways. I always said I wanted our children to be no more than two years apart, but now I am thinking maybe three is a better number for the next one. I am just too tired to think of having another baby in the near future. It has also made me realize that while I would never trade our Claire for another baby I think I will not miss much about those first 7 months. I am enjoying her, Elizabeth and Todd so much more now. And I am grateful these past 10 months are behind me. I am sad my baby is growing up, but I know that the moments to come will be wonderful. I am not wishing away these years. They are too precious, but I am wisely looking at this for what it was and praying that our next baby does not have these issues.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sleep

I just wanted to say that sleep has gotten so much sweeter in our house since about two weeks ago. Two weeks ago we transitioned Claire, from bottle, to only drinking from a cup. Up until then she was still waking in the night to eat. She is 21 lbs and definitely does not still need the night feeding, but it was a habit. So when we moved to the cup I decided we would try letting her cry at night and see how that goes. The first night she cried like 10 minutes. Maybe 5 the next few and now she sleeps all night until like 8 or 9 in the am. Sleep is like so much sweeter. I look forward to bedtime because I know I will not be woke up at 3 am. I am wondering why I did not try that sooner. Oh Well. Thankful for it now!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mom Guilt

Ok so any mom will know what mom guilt is. We look at other kids, other moms and feel a twinge of "why is my life not like that" and we blame ourselves. I was thinking about this because my hubby made a very innocent comment the other night about our children eating Mcdonalds. He did not mean for me to take it the way I did, but I was suddenly in a tailspin of tears and guilt. I pondered how my children would grow healthy and happy with such an awful mom. The conversation was essentially this. I wanted Claire's bedtime snack to be oatmeal and pureed veggies. Todd did not want to put veggies in it tonight. So he wanted to just do oatmeal. Really not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. And later during a conversation about this he thought I was upset that he did not want to put veggies in it. So he said, "I can't believe you care that much that I did not want to put veggies in it one time. After all we feed out kids Mcdonalds." (By this he meant, one missed veggie is not big big of a deal considering our kids eat fast food, which by some standards would be the worst thing you can feed them.) How I took it was- "This coming from a mom who feeds her kids French fries and Chicken Nuggets." So I was instantly a mess. We sorted through it, but it made me think how we as moms put so much pressure on ourselves. We compare our kids to everyone elses and we think those moms have it all together. Yes my kids eat fast food. Honestly its probably not the worst thing I have done to my kids. Yes I have forgotten to brush their teeth. Yes they have gone days without baths because I was so tired. But my wonderful husband reminded me of what our goal as parents is. Do I want my kids to have good hygeine? Yes. Do I want them to learn healthy eating habits? Yes. But in the grand scheme of life my goal is to raise children who know and love God. All else as my husband said is second. If I fail at something I don't want it to be that. Will I still feel a twinge of guilt when I see another mom sitting with well behaved children looking so put together? Probably. But I need to remind myself that at the end of time Jesus will not look at me and say "Did your remember to brush your children's teeth?" or "Did you always leave your house with makeup and spit-up free clothes on?" No. He will however care deeply about what I did with the hearts of my children.Did I mold them and train them to follow him? I pray that can be my standard.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Glad to be back

So our computer is finally fixed. Thanks to my awesome brother in law. I will be posting more yeah! So to update Claire is now crawling all over the world and pulling up and has only one time spoken her first word, "mama." Elizabeth is getting bigger all the time. And she told me the other day " Mommy, I do not want to go pee pee in the potty. I am not a big girl yet." So cute. She is clinging to some aspects of babyhood. I am excited to post more, but tired tonight.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Where am I

So our computer is broken and we are working on it, but in the mean time I have little "free" time on the computer so I will be posting again soon hopefully!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Today I am incredibly thankful as I remember the death of my saviour. Jesus came and sacrificed his body and blood, so that we may have eternal life. I am in desperate need of his salvation today and every day. I am glad that Good Friday is not the end of the story. We have a saviour who not only died on Friday, but walked out of the tomb alive on Sunday. That is the part of the story that makes it good. We have been talking with Elizabeth about the reason we celebrate Easter. She only gets it to a point, but she is so cute when we get to the part of the story where Mary gets to the empty tomb and Jesus is alive. Elizabeth declares, "Not crying anymore." Mary was no longer crying because her friend, her saviour, her Lord was dead. She was now rejoicing because the King, the saviour, was now her risen Lord. His death was the gift to us, but the fact that he was alive again and is alive today is the proof, to a world in need, that he was unlike any "saviours" who came before him or any who followed him. Buddha, Muhammad, Cesar, they all still lay in tombs or in graves. Lifeless and powerless. Jesus is Alive and still on the throne! I am thankful that we serve a Risen Lord!

Monday, April 6, 2009

In the market for a wife

So, I decided I need a wife. No I am not turning into a lesbian. I just need someone to grocery shop, cook, clean and do laundry. A wife will do.

So, these past few weeks have been soooo hard. Why? Not sure. Just know it has been hard. I feel like I do not have enough time, strength, sleep, money, arms to get everything done. Lizzie has been especially needy lately. I know she is growing and is trying to figure stuff out. She on one hand has been doing extremely well with potty training, but on the other hand has just started asking us to feed her from a baby bottle. I know she is clinging to the last bit of her babyhood probably because she is feeling insecure and how do I handle that. Like a two year old of course. The other day I was trying desperately to get out the door. And trying to do Lizzie's hair. She kept poking me with this little cookie monster barrette. After the 15th time of asking her to stop doing that, I took the thing and chucked it across the room. Which of course sent both us into tears. I stopped and held her and through tears apologized. I know that was not how I should react. I know there was a better way and it seriously was not the example I want to set for her. I know all of this, but I am feeling overwhelmed. Saturday morning I was trying to fold a basket of clothes and Lizzie desperately wanted my attention. She was doing everything to get it and I just wanted to finish folding the clothes. She kept jumping on me and finally I took her and buckled her into Claire's infant chair. This made her laugh at first because it is very out of place, but by the end she was crying to get out. I really just wanted to finish folding the laundry. When I was done, I took her out and we did some stuff together. That always helps, but how can I do that and the million other things I need to do without having to lock her in an infant chair?
How do I spend any time with my infant who is growing up so fast? I know things will work out and I know they will get better. I just feel like such a failure some days. I am doing the best I can and yet the house is wreck, I haven't showered, I have three baskets of clean laundry that have been sitting upstairs for days and dirty laundry piling up, my bathrooms have not been cleaned in (well I don't remember the last time), and I have no idea what I am making for dinner and it is 5:00. A couple of weeks ago in church one of the pastors talked about when Jesus fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish. The disciples came to Jesus and asked him to send away the people so they could find food. Jesus said they should feed them. Their reply was, "we cannot do it, we don't have what it takes." They found 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and brought them to Jesus. I am sure they were thinking there is no way we can feed these people. This is all we have. Jesus took the 5 loaves and 2 fish and fed the multitudes. And there were 12 baskets of leftovers. I want so desperately to lead a successful life. Success to me means my children grow up to be lovers of God and lovers of people. Success to me means I love, honor, respect and encourage my husband. Success to me means I encourage and love those around me. But I know that in comparison all I have is 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Jesus please multiply my lack. I know that I can never do enough. I am not good enough. I am not strong enough. Jesus, I need your strength. I need your forgiveness for my shortcomings, for the times I do not love those around me, for the times I fail my children, my husband, my family, my friends. For the times I fail you. All I have is 5 loaves and 2 fish. Please make it enough.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Big Girl Bed


Wednesday night Lizzie slept in a big girl bed for the very first time. I was very sentimental, of course. We went to target and let her pick out her own big girl blanket and of course she picked out princesses. There were pretty much two choices: flowers or princesses. Lizzie told me before we even went to the store that she was going to pick one with Cinderella on it. We picked out the blanket, came home and Lizzie could not wait to put her blanket on her new bed. (Which was really her crib with a convertible front.) She was so excited and could not wait for bed time. I threatened to swiftly take away her new princess blanket if she even thought of getting out of bed before morning. (Call me crazy, but sleep is a very precious commodity around our house.) She crawled in her bed and settled in for the night. Daddy took this opportunity to start over with the stuffed animals. It had gotten a little out of hand. On a normal night she had three stuffed care bears, two teddy bears, a polar bear and a stuffed duck and on any given night a new one could be added. So daddy said to pick one. She did and was so excited. She went to bed and a little while later I went in to check on her. She normally takes her jammies off while in bed. I usually put them back on and cover her up. I was doing just that when she woke up. I said"it's ok hunny, go back to sleep mommy is just putting your jammies back on." She looked at me and with the most wonderful smile she whispered, "I sleep in big girl bed." It was priceless. And she did stay in bed all night! Thank God for princess blankets! And I am pretty sure she thinks some invisible force field exists around her bed because last night a stuffed animal fell out and she cried until we came in and picked it up for her. At this point I am ok with the invisible force field because I am sure it will not last long.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Favorite things

Some random favorite things. Not in this order.

1. Not quite so wonderful, but definitely funny: Lizzie is obsessed with picking at her nails. The other day she was picking at a nail and few minutes later said "go, mommy." I took it from her and realized it was not a nail at all, but a booger. Why didn't I look?

2. When you hear a two year old saying, "messy, messy" and laughing while they are supposed to be eating a snack you can bet there is trouble.

3. Claire slept until 7:15 this morning. She only woke up briefly at midnight. Todd went in her room and gave her a pacy. He walked out to make a bottle. By the time he came back in she was fast asleep.

4. Lizzie looked at me and said "mommy's, hair crazy.' This was right before bed, but my hair had been the same all day.

5. I had a dinner with a very good friend that I just don't see as often as I should.

Russian for reset

Something to make you laugh:
Ok so last night while flipping through channels Todd and I came across a hilarious thing. The Secretary of state: Hillary Clinton met with some big Russian official and brought him a present. She brought a red button that was supposed to say Reset in Russian. When she handed it to the man he informed her it actually said "Overcharge." I thought it was so funny. Does the secretary of State not have someone on her team who can google the russian word for reset. Seriously. Our tax money hard at work.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Grief and Life

Last night Todd and I were watching something on the news and it brought me back to a point in time of absolute grief. Have you ever those moments? Moments where you are feeling those feelings so real it is as if it is happening again. I was 6 or 7 weeks pregnant for the first time and Todd was in Georgia with some guys from church for a conference. I was having lunch with my mom and dad and went to use the restroom. I was spotting. I was not worried at the moment. After all people sometimes spot with pregnancies. I called my Ob and she said to come in. I was completely expecting her to tell me everything was fine. My mom drove me to the appointment and the Ob ordered an ultrasound. She said we should be able to see the baby by now and I wnet in. I progressively got worse for the next hour. The baby could not be seen. The Ob ordered a test of my hormone levels to see how they were growing, but we would not know anything for three days. I was completely hysterical as I called Todd to tell him the news. All I could manage to get out in between sobs was They... can't... see... the... baby. He could not understand anything I was saying so my mom took the phone and explained. The next three days were some of the worst of my life. I waited and cried and Todd was so far away and I could not do anything, but lay on the couch. I was ordered to have bedrest. Thankfully enough when the test came back the baby was fine and that baby is my Elizabeth. This memory got me thinking about how strange it is to me that some people do not consider a baby living inside it's mother's womb a living thing. When I was wondering if I lost her, I was not mourning the loss of potential life. I was mourning my baby. I wanted my baby to be ok. When I think of the direction our country is headed I am very sad. We are becoming more and more cavalier with the lives of our unborn. These are my thoughts about the many arguments I have heard for abortion.

"I personally am against it, but I think it should be a personal choice."
Why in that case does only one of three parties get a choice? The father of that baby has no choice. The baby has no choice. Only the mother. And why, do we allow something we consider morally wrong to be placed on the shoulders of a woman who is in a very tough situation. When a woman finds out she is pregnant with an unplanned pregnancy she is probably mentally, physically, and emotionally unprepared to face that the decision at hand. Do we place the decision to murder in the hands of someone who is angry? No we have laws in place to protect innocent people.

"If abortion is illegal, people will sill get abortions and they will be unsafe."
Again, do we allow something we consider morally wrong to happen simply to protect the safety of one life over another?

"What about rape or incest? That poor girl has been through enough, why put her through a pregnancy?"
I have so much compassion and feel so hurt by the sick people in this world who could do such things, but just because she has suffered from a dispicable sin are we justified in ending a life? Do you think for one second if she has an abortion that will erase the pain of what she has been through? And does a life become less of a life or heart become less of a heart beat because it was born of sin. No. And will that girl be healed by an abortion. No. Only Jesus can heal. And wounds that deep require love to cover them.

"What if the baby will be born into horrible circumstances- Young unwed mother, poverty, abuse?"
We would not kill a two day old baby who was living in poverty. We would take that baby and care for it. A baby born into dire cicumstances still deserves a chance to live and a chance to be care for well. Adoption is an option. There are so many loving families who cannot have children of their own.

"I could not give my own child away to someone else." (Adoption)
You cannot suffer the pain of losing your child to someone who will better care for them, so it is better to still their beating heart and not have to suffer the loss. Every woman I have ever personally spoken to who has had an abortion had said they suffered that loss tremendously and still do to this day.

This may seem very harsh as if I did not care for women. I do, but I am deeply troubled by an industry that claims to fight for women's reproductive rights and tramples on the rights of every one who is not a woman or childbearing age. I am also very troubled by the cover up that happens when a woman has an abortion. She is not cared for after the abortion. The years of trouble she has in her heart after the abortion are not talked about. The pain and suffering she experiences are said to be something only a small portion of women experience. The statistics do not back up those claims.

I am angry at the abortion industry. I am angry at politicians, but I am not angry at those individuals who may have had an abortion. I have been very close to women who have made that choice. Every one has regretted it. Every one has felt deep sorrow over what they have done. I do not judge a woman who may have had an abortion. I do not hate them or look at them with disgust. If you or someone you know has had an abortion there is hope and healing in Jesus Christ. He will heal and forgive you if you turn to him. I am passionate for the rights of unborn babies and passionate for those women who have been lied to and decieved by an idustry that is only looking out for itself. No, I do not believe that every doctor, nurse, or planned parent hood worker who helps perform abortions is a money hungry monster. I know that many genuinely believe that what they are doing is helpful. I just wish this lie would come to the light and those babies and women could be saved.

Best Friends

So we took a family trip to the grocery store this evening and Lizzie was in my cart. Claire was in daddy's Lizzie is a chatter box and talks non-stop from morning till night so I honestly blank out on half of what she says. I usually am pretty keen at sensing what things I should listen to right now. Usually anything in a shrieking voice, like "that's mine" or "no". And anything to do with poop or throw up.
Although in a side note totally unrelated to my current post, a few weeks ago we were at my parents eating dinner and Lizzie went to about 3 adults saying, "I Shrew up." I missed it the first three times and finally said, "What, you threw up." And sure enough she did on the couch.

Anyway I usually pick up on the important stuff and the other stuff I nod and say uh, huh. But while we were in the cleaning aisle she started rambling about a spray bottle.

Liz: Mommy has a spray bottle, I have a spray bottle. My best friend.

Mommy: Who is your best friend?

Liz: Mommy.

Mommy: (Floating on cloud nine and making sure daddy heard) Did you hear that?

Daddy: Yes.

I repeated the entire thing in sequence only because I was so elated.

Daddy: Yes, I said I heard.

Liz: And Daddy is my best friend... and Claire... and Jesus.

So sweet and yes most of the rambling is worth listening to.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

she really does listen

So this afternoon I was busy making lunch and Lizzie decided to take almost the entire contents of the diaper bag and put them on the dining room floor. I did not notice until 20 minutes later or so and when saw it here is the exchange:

Me: Elizabeth Mary, did you go in the diaper bag and take all that stuff out?

Liz: Uh, huh. "I eat bugs."

Now to a random listener that would sound funny, but you have to know that I keep stashes of snacks in the diaper bag, just in case, and it just so happens there were bugged shape graham crackers.

Me: Hunny you cannot go in the diaper bag unless you ask permission from mommy.

Liz: Daddy?

Me; Yes you can ask daddy for permission too.

Fast forward a few hours later. I ran out to take dinner to some friends. While I was gone the following conversation occured.

Liz: Daddy, you in diaper bag?

Daddy: Huh?

Liz: Daddy, you go in diaper bag?

Daddy: You want me to put you in the diaper bag?

Liz: Uh, huh.

Daddy: You are weird.

So when I came home I was told about the question because he had no idea what she was asking. I knew right away and I told him she was asking permission to go in the diaper bag. Lizzie looked at him, smiling from ear to ear, and nodded.

How to I get her to listen that well all the time? LOL

Crazy Dream

Here is one thing I am dreaming for:

I fall asleep to the sound of quiet. I sleep blissfully and wake up at 8:15 am to the sound of quiet. As I lay there wondering why I was able to sleep until 8:15 am, I wonder aloud is Claire ok? I ask Todd, did you get up with her? He says no and then we both hear the sound of rustling and a cooing, happy, baby waking in the next room. I am elated to find that my baby slept the whole night. I would be equally elated if this happened every night thereafter. Just wishing...

Again


Best Use of my Gifts All Day



Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Spiritual Gifts Part 2

I have been thinking a lot about spiritual gifts and how to use them. This past Sunday our pastor taught on spiritual gifts again, but this time he talked about God given desires. How God places desires within each of us that, if we are truly following him, will bring such fulfillment and joy to our lives. This week I also read something in Oswald Chamber's my utmost for his highest.

"We look for visions from heaven, for earthquakes and thunder's of God's power (the fact that we are dejected proves that we do) and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people around us. If we will do the duty that lies nearest, we shall see him. One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized."

When I read that it jumped out at me. I was wondering what do I do with my life for God and all the while God was saying here is your life just do it for me. I remember being a senior in high school and praying that God would do what he wanted with my life and all the while I was hoping he wanted this for me. I was hoping to be a mommy and a wife and secretly hoping to be Todd's wife. LOL Tonight as I was reading to Lizzie before bed it struck me. I am living out my heart's desire. Praise God for planting that in me. He wants me to do this for Him and I am humbled by this call. It is so big, yet so commonplace. I have been entrusted with the hearts and minds of two precious babies and been given the opportunity to take care of Todd, who is one of the best men I know. I do not always do this well. In fact most days I am pretty sure I am only doing a good job at best, but I know that when I rely on Jesus he does this through me and I cannot think of a better use of my gifts than to serve this wonderful family and home he has blessed me with.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Snowed In

I know I am not the only one feeling it. It is generally a michigan thing this time of year. I feel so trapped. I want to go outside, play with the kids, open the windows. I would be happy just to not put on a dozen layers to walk out the door. This year I am especially feeling cabin fever. In years past I may have gone to the mall or just target to escape the trapped feeling, but it has been extremely cold for most of this winter and with both kids it is so hard to go anywhere by myself. We usually stay in unless it is absolutely necessary. So I am feeling the winter blahs and wishing for an early spring. Can't global warming at least give me that? LOL.