Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oh Yeah! Christmas and stuff.

Holy Granola. Christmas has come and gone. This year was significant as we went from a couple to a family! Twas the second married Christmas for Ryan and I and our first with Leilani! So weird that this same time last year, she was just a kicking, nausea inducing (but still adorable) bump.

Christmas 2009


What a year it has been...

Lei managed to be cranky for a lot of the weekend. Probably cause the little bit of a schedule that we were working on went up in smoke. It made for hard picture taking. (Yes I will blame the lame pictures on a stressy baby instead of my horrible photography skills.)

Christmas Eve was spent with Ryan's family and we had a really nice evening. They had decorated beautifully, cooked deliciously and it was the most relaxing part of the whole weekend.


Cranky.

She climbed her first mountain. Having never practiced before (our condo has no stairs) I found it to be quite an impressive feat!


She was more interested in the coffee table, other people's gifts, and the random crumb on her shirt than her gifts. After several tries, she sorta got the idea and made it through one gift.


Twinkle lights were everywhere! Oh, my, goodness. I want to eat her cheeks. She really is the most adorable person ever its almost too much to look at without me getting teary.

(One of my first attempts at no flash. Yes. It has taken me this long to try.)



At church on Christmas morning!




I think this may be the second fluffy dress I have put her in her whole life. Not because I don't like the gorgeous little poufs that are baby girl dresses, I love them. I just can't imagine how a pile of tulle and ruffles around the knees of a crawling little person is comfortable. I am too much of a creature of comfort myself to subject her to regular bouts with tights and frills. But gosh they are cute. Cept I had to mar the cuteness by sticking a onsie underneath her dress. Hey, it was cold (Snowing!) and the dress seemed itchy. At least the onsie matched...

Anywhoooo... After church, we went to Ryan's aunts house, as is tradition, and partied it up familylike the rest of the day. I always thought I had a loud, big family, with 6 younger siblings, two grandparents, one cousin and an aunt and uncle all nearby. Then I met Ryan's family. As an extrovert, there is nothing quite so great as a house full of laughing aunts, uncles, cousins, 7 little children under 6, 2 dogs, food and gifts. Totally awesome. Also as is tradition, the living room held a lively politics debate between the only 2 republicans in the family (Ryan and a cousin) and assorted aunts, uncles and cousins, who are all democrats. The craziness that was Christmas happily wore us out! AND we left the camera in the car and I was too lazy to go get it. Yep. I am a committed memory catcher.

The next early afternoon we headed to my parent's house for a smaller version of the day before. I just love my parent's living room all dressed up for Christmas. A mantel crowded with stockings, a cozy fire in the wood stove, a delicious breakfast making everything smell festive... No place like home. After a late start to the day, we eventually wrapped up (or finished unwrapping, har har) at my parents and everyone went up the road to my grandparents. So cool to have both of them living right up the road. Mom and I stayed behind an hour to finish preparing the turkey dinner. I seem to have missed all the cooking with my mom the past few holidays, so it was really nice to spend that time together. Once all assembled with my mom's brother, his wife, their daughter, and all the Spinolos at Papa and Granny's, we spent much of the time digging people out of wrapping paper, debating if the baby was too tired to go back to my mom's for dinner, and watching the SNOW!!!! come down outside. Lots of memories in that livingroom. It gets more crowded every year! We all made it back over to Grammy and Grandpa's before Leilani decided that enough was enough. Granted, it was super late. We managed to get food eaten, gifts loaded into the car and an unhappy tired person home before collapsing ourselves. Busy, busy weekend! I am so thankful for my families and for the blessing of having them all near. Leilani is so blessed to be able to grow up surrounded by so much happy family.

And now, all in an unattractive, disorganized pile, the pictures I managed to take for Christmas Part 2.


Breakfast! Nothing like pumpkin muffins...


Family devotions before gifts.



The BEST pajamas ever. And a trap door on the back? Favorite.


Aunt Abi and matching pajamas


Grammy!


Unpacking her stocking and a new hat!


Laughing at Grandpa





At the end of a long day, riiiiight before the meltdown. It is amazing how quick she can go from perky to done. Too bad super tired never guarantees a full night of sleep though. Oh well. It was not a restful weekend, but it sure was great. Thank You Lord for so much blessing.


The End

The Post in Which I Chronicle My Pilgrimage Through Sleep Training... Thus Far.

This past month has been Learn How to Sleep month. Or rather, "Oh My Freaking Goodness, Child Please Succumb to Your Fatigue and SLEEP!" month.

*WARNING* This is dreadfully rantish and poorly written. I was at the time distracted by those heart stopping pauses in the cacophony of 9 month old angst and fatigue ensuing from the nursery. Is it over? Is she still alive? There. You have been warned.

As I type, she is sitting in her bed, gagging, screaming and doing her level best to display her displeasure. So I type to distract myself from the agony of listening.

As an expert on parenting (before I actually had any little people to parent of course) I knew that I was a fan of letting the rebellious child cry it out. "It isn't bad for them. It is bad for them to not know how to sleep!" Being the oldest of 7 kids, I have heard my share of wailing and fussing. "Oh, there is nothing wrong with them. They are stubborn." And thus I went happily into parenthood. 6 months of nursing little baby to sleep, rough naptimes that didn't really exist, and getting up 3-5 times every night took its toll and I became a crazy lady. So we tried one night to let her cry it out. The night ended with me realizing that cry wasn't a stubborn one, but a fearful one. So I picked her up and nursed her to sleep. Then a month later, we decided that Daddy needed to put her down for the night, to start practicing going to bed without nursing. After a few bumpy tries, she learned to go to sleep with Daddy just fine. Still got up several times a night, but more like 2-4 instead of 3-5. Hurrah. Enter the book, Becoming Babywise. Great stuff. Wish I had of read it like a year ago instead of at 8 months. The "best" pattern to follow is feed, awake time, sleep and not the more natural feeling, awake, feed, sleep. I remembered the whole "Babies need consistency and schedules." thing that I am awful about even for myself.

*insert pause where Momma can't handle any more after an hour and a half of sobbing and gagging and goes to pick up said wailer.* (Leading me to question whether or not that hour and a half freaking did anything at all and if picking her up was the right thing to do, or whether I should have picked her up an hour ago... yep. Basically I cried with a discouraged/ omgimacruelbadmother attitude...)

Anyways. Yeah. Have a consistent pattern to your days, predictable naptimes and bedtime routines and such... All of which we started "late." "By now your 9 month old should be sleeping at least 10 hours straight at night and taking two naps that last at least an hour every day." Oh if only. Not a lot of help out there for how to help your tired little 9 month old to adjust to healthier sleep habits after not so great ones... her whole life. Basically its "Just Do It." and "there will be a lot of crying."

How much is too much crying? How long is too long? Is bouncing her every time to sleep the right thing to do or should she cry? Is this flipping working? Is this even an effective way to teach her? How does my baby need to learn? And all that. I wish every baby came with a personalized manual and an LCD readout on their foreheads.

I realize that there is not One "correct" way of doing things and that the "right" thing to do may be many different things at different times and that "every baby is an individual" and all that jazziness. But heck. Can someone just come over and tell me what to do?

In the midst of yet another week of getting up at night and sometimes good, lotsa times not, naptimes, I often forget about all the progress that has been made. She does not need to nurse to sleep. Huge. Daddy can put her down. Huge. Daddy can (and does!) get up with her in the middle of the night now and can get her back off to sleep without too much fuss. Huge. She actually takes naps sometimes now. Huge. Patterns and routines are starting to be established. Huge.

So why do I keep feeling so maxed out and like it is all for naught? Weirdo.


But in the midst of it all, there are those sweet little moments of happy baby sighs, little hugs and kisses and warm cuddles and quick falling asleeps that manage to make up for it all. Mostly..

Monday, December 13, 2010

Leilani Lessons 11 and 12

Lesson 11: Lei sobbed it out hard for naptime today. But I was there, holding her hand and singing her songs the whole time. She was so loved, and so safe, but she needed to go through it to learn to sleep. We go through seemingly unending periods of grief, hardship or suffering, but God is so lovingly shaping us, and holding our hands the whole time. Like it hurt me, it hurts God to watch His children suffer, but it is His deep love for us that causes Him to allow it to happen. And in the end, we rest.

12: Lei hates her car seat and will struggle the moment she is put in and frequently cry till the moment she is taken out. She wants to stop the trip and get out every few minutes. She just doesn't know that the uncomfortable ride is taking her on a (short in actuality) journey to where she really wants to be. The journey is the only way to the destination that she wants to arrive at so badly.



Got Stress?

Confession: Frequently, I am an anxious, worried, often driven for no reason person. This makes for a crazy mommalady. I worst case scenario like its my job, fret and fear like the sky is falling, and usually manage to make mountains out of molehills. I am really, really good at it. Since becoming a mother, I have taken this tendency to the next level, and have come to the place where I can look at myself and go "woah. You are an anxious, worried, often driven person for no reason." I didn't really realize this about myself till this year. I also did not really realize how utterly blessed I am till this year. It is still sinking in. I need to get to the place where it permeates through the stress and becomes a serious chill pill. GOD. Is. SO. Good. To. ME. I have realized that all this unnecessary anxiety and stress is not only unhealthy, it is sinful. I act like God must not have it all under control, and that somehow, by worrying, I can do a better job, or at least make for a really great sobby novel.

I need to slow down and focus on the Truth.

Luke 12:28-32 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek first his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It is one of THOSE mornings...

The ones where I have to wake up far too early to my thinking, after a night spent trying to fall back asleep after multiple risings to put the baby back down. Over and over, seemingly. Odd dreams that leave one feeling weirded out all day and like they never actually did sleep don't help either. It is one of those mornings where I have to drive a lot very soon, and do things. Which is fine, when the baby has not been awake for several hours before. Cue the anxious "Oh man, will she scream the whole time till I get home? How painful is this morning going to be? WHY WONT SHE JUST SLEEP??" rumblings of my twitchy mind. I feel snappy and impatient with her, frusterated at the whole "wrongness" of it all... and yet...

The sun is shining. My baby, despite being sleepy, is adorable and in a good mood. My house is warm. And best of all? Jesus loves me, and He is never impatient with my fussy rumblings, when I wont just let go and rest in Him.


Afternoon edit:

AAAANnnnnnd she was good as gold. Slept with hardly a fuss on the way, held up beautifully while there, and only cried a little on the way home before sleeping. Thank You Lord.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Similarities Between Myself and My Baby, and God and I: Part 1

These are in no particular order, most are self explanatory, but others I explain anyways. Also, 3 blog posts in one day? Kuh Ray Zee.



1: Just like I keep scraping that one spoonful off her chin and back into her mouth, over and over, God will keep at that one thing He wants me to know until I swallow. Scrape, smoosh in, repeat.
2: Somehow, what is supposed to go into her mouth, ends up everywhere else. On her forehead, on the floor, in her ear.. it takes multiple tries to keep it in her mouth where it is supposed to go. Similarly, I often take what the Lord tries to teach me, and will spit it back out, drop it, smoosh it, get distracted by something else entirely or accidentally step on it when I need to swallow it.
3: Even though I am just on the other side of the couch, she will become upset because she can't see me. She is safe, and I am with her, but still she is worried. Just because I don't necessarily feel Him, He is still there, watching me, keeping me safe.
‎4: The vacuum is a scary thing when on the floor by yourself. But when in Mommy's arms, the fear is gone. You can poke at the scary thing, try to eat it, ignore it... All because Mommy has you.
5: She can wake up all night long, and I will still go to pick her up to comfort her and put her back to sleep. God never puts me down when I cry. He keeps right on picking me up and comforting all my fears.
‎6: It drives her crazy when I wipe and clean her runny nose when she is sick. She gets all upset and can not understand that I am helping her. Often, what God is using to help me, feels like the wrong thing. I need to remember that He knows better than I do.
‎7: She feels that she must have miscommunicated her wants when I change her in the middle of the night instead of feeding her. So she cries harder trying to get me to stop wiping her with a cold wipe and start comforting her. She hasn't miscommunicated at all, I just know what she really needs at that time.
‎8: What looks like a totally awesome, shiny new plaything is actually a sharp dangerous object. She cries when I take it away from her. Again, God knows best and I need to not object when He clearly says "No."
‎9: She wants to read the same book over and over, from different angles, in different orders. Then, she eats it. I need to have the same interest and desire for His book.
10: I can wipe her off, change her clothes, give her a fresh diaper, even give her a bath to get her clean. But somehow, she is scruffy, in need of a change and dirty again in under 5 minutes, to be cleaned. Again. She is not consistently appreciative. No matter how recently the previous cleaning session was, God never fails to keep on changing and refreshing me. I need to learn to appreciate it every time.

Gifts that Make a Difference

Despite my "lets donate and not buy gifts this year!" previous post, I realize that gifts will be bought this year. And don't get me wrong. I don't think that gift buying is wrong at all. I just think it should be done a little differently than it usually is this time of year. And as such, I wanted to share some gift ideas that I totally love, and they are all under $30! These are all gifts that help make a huge difference in the lives of the artisans who create them.




Gorgeous huh? This is the "Ring of Fire" necklace by International Sanctuary. This organization is helping young ( 12-19 young) victims of human trafficking to recover and make new lives for themselves.

I love these recycled bags from Trade as One which works to "use fair trade to promote sustainable business and break cycles of poverty and dependency in the developing world." They "connect you to a story of hope and dignity for the poor."

Also from Trade as One, CHOCOLATE! I don't know anyone who is not at least a little bit of a fan of chocolate. Buying fair trade coffee and chocolate is really important. (Learn the "bitter truth".)

I love these soapstone candle holders made by a small business in India, sold through Ten Thousand Villages. As one of the largest fair trade organizations in the world, Ten Thousand Villages help tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries. There is literally something for everyone, at a wide range of prices!


I love this kooky "freak-o-bag" from Trade as One. The funniest tote bag I have ever seen that can go with you anywhere till it is needed. I know my little lady would probably play with it just like it is.

These bracelets by Invisible Children are super cool, great gifts for a guy or girl, but they do more than hang on your arm looking spiffy. These handmade bracelets bring in an income for people in Ugandan displacement camps due to the regions unending war. They bring awareness. "Each bracelet is a different color, and each color represents an individual child. These colored bracelets are accompanied by an inspiring short film a child that has been personally affected by this unrelenting war."


Hope these got some ideas flowing. Your shopping can make a difference!!




A Christmas Without the Gifts?

"Christmas time is here! Happiness and cheer!" Aaaaand shopping. Crowded malls. Traffic. And long tired days running all over doing the stuff we "have" to for Christmas. Debates over who "has" to get a gift and who can slide without hurting feelings. Budgeting. Debt. The end? $450 Billion A YEAR. Thats right. Billion.





Sickening isn't it? We the people could solve world hunger. End water related disease and death. Just by taking our Christmas shopping money and putting it where it matters. We could give life instead of that giftcard or pair of obnoxious socks. We could change our world.

Want to give more this year? Here are two ideas:

In 2007, I got to go visit this orphanage in Ambo, Ethiopia. What I saw forever changed my life. I met these children, held their hands, sang praises to God with them, gave out stickers, colored pictures, played ball, and blew bubbles. I left a piece of my heart back there, and began to understand my world better. I invite you to take the time to visit their website and become involved.

...

www.compassion.com

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bloggers! Check out this Shutterfly Offer:

So you take a lot of pictures. They are great. You are all impressed with your skills and have big vision for a photo album/collage/framed set/calendar/holiday cards... and they sit there in your computer and the farthest they get is facebook. Yep. That was me.

BUT then I discovered Shutterfly thanks to my Granny who was working on making a calendar for Christmas presents. Now, I actually have photos in albums. I have prints to give people and I even have a great free family website that my family/friends can go to to see the latest photos, and order whatever they want! Shutterfly is pretty cool.


Christmas is here, and with it, Christmas card season! I have never done Christmas cards before, but thanks to this great offer, I think I totally will this year. All you have to do is fill out this submission form and blog about your favorite Shutterfly products to get 50 free cards! Whoo hoo.

Pretty cute huh? I am excited.

Get started on your own photo fun! Here are some ideas:

holiday cards http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/holiday-cards

Christmas photo cards
http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-photo-cards

new years invitations http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/new-years-cards

holiday invitations http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-invitations

Shipping has always been speedy for me, so they will be in time for Christmas! Enjoy.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Grooooowing, we do it every day!"

"We are growing when we're sleeping, and even when we play! And when we grow a little bigger, we can do more things because we're growing..." and that's all of the song that I can remember. I have never heard the original, I have no idea where it is from, but my husband manages to get it stuck in my head regularly.

She is growing. She will be EIGHT MONTHS ON SATURDAY. Holy moley. I have zero understanding of how that is possible. She learned how to wave and clap earlier this month. I was so proud. I also cried. I am not going to handle this well.



She looks so old. I think it must be the hairdoo.


Last week we went to Memphis, TN to visit all of the Greats on my dad's side. Leilani got to meet her Great-Great-Grandma (who we have always called "Great" cause she is) and spend time with both (woah) Great-Grandmas, her Great-Grandpa and her Great Uncle. (And her plethora of aunts and uncles and my parents too. Also, my grandma's poodle who does not love Lei as much as Lei loves him.)





Great squared, Great Grandma (my dad's mom), moi, Lei, the original Leilani (mom's mom) and grammy (my mom)! Incredible.

Also, Graceland.


I have never been exposed to such decor in my life. Kelly Green shag carpet... on the ceiling? And then this room:


70s, I am glad that you have passed.

We had a great trip, but after Williamsburg a week before, I have decided to become an official homebody for a while. Like a cat lady. But without the cats. And probably not that reclusive. But more reclusive than I normally would be otherwise. It is good to be home. Best part about it? My fluffy flannel sheets, my own fridge, and naptime.

Gosh. 8 months. Leilani, I am so in love with you it is crazy.



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Up To November

I have slacked. And it is not cause I have not had anything to say. The end of September through mid October proved to be some of the hardest weeks of my short parenting career. It felt never ending. I cried a lot. And did not communicate well. And was selfish and impatient. And not thankful enough. And I decided that the baby and I would never get over our colds and that she would never sleep through the night again. Amazing how fatigue can utterly collapse any sort of character that I had managed to think I had in one short sleepless night. Turn that into a week and a half straight of getting up every hour, with a sick baby while I am also sick... Meet momzilla. I was quite confident that I would not survive. Now it is November, we are both healthy and she has been sleeping great for several weeks. Silly me.


In the middle of a sleepless week, the baby once again woke up after 30 minutes and began to cry. And I put her back into bed after 10 minuted of unsuccessful soothing. I stood by her door praying for wisdom over what to do. "Lord should I just let her cry it out? Will that help? Do I just need to hold her all night? Will that train her to be dependent on me for sleep?" I was sure that she needed to learn to fall asleep by herself. She was fed and clean, and she needed sleep to get better. But her cries became frightened as no one seemed to be coming for her and I realized Crying is not helping. So I picked her back up. Again. And sat in my chair crying with her feeling utterly sorry for myself. "I am sick too! We both need sleep to get better and you won't just sleep! You silly child, everything is ok! Rest! Oh my gosh, she has cried every night for a week and I can not handle this any more." Then something scary happened. I began to question the efficacy of my prayers. "Why is God ignoring me? He is not listening, clearly. Why should I continue to cry out when He obviously is not caring?" I actually questioned God because I was not getting what I wanted and thought I needed. Yep. The second I realized what I had done I knew I was on a dangerous path. The pity party needed to end and I needed to be quiet and learn something.

Here is the short version (I promise, it really is the short one) of what I have begun to learn lately.

1. When I pray and ask God to speak to me and teach me about Himself through my experiences as a mother, I need to listen to His answers. He is talking in those late night hours and I need to stop complaining, feeling sorry for myself and start paying attention.

2. I, like my baby, have no real comprehension of what I need. We know what we want, but when we don't get it, we fall apart. God knows what I need. And I needed to learn how to trust that God actually knows how to take care of me. I needed to learn that I can handle all things because of Christ Who strengthens me. His strength is what I needed. Not physical rest. I needed to learn how to rest in Him and find my peace in His strength, regardless of physical rest.

3. My baby needed to be held. She needed to know that when she cried, my arms would keep her safe and warm . She needed comfort and patience as long as she cried. Her little self was afraid and did not understand why she felt so exhausted and could not breathe easy. THAT was what I needed to do. God was showing me what was best for her, not ignoring my prayers for sleep.

4. I was exhausted, confused and worried. I was upset and tearful and felt utterly helpless. I felt all by myself as time after time I got out of bed to comfort my baby. But I was not alone. God was there tenderly speaking the whole time. The moment I realized that I was not listening, I knew exactly what He had been trying to show me. It was almost audible. "I never put you down when you cry, Ruth." He was there the whole time, holding me, as I held her. When I learned that my baby needed to be held, I learned that I was being held too. It made me cry all over again. Yeah. I can cry a lot. About completely different things with two opposite emotions in the span of 60 seconds.

5. I continue to realize how utterly blessed I am. There is no room for complaint. I am trying to learn how to give thanks in everything, but I have learned I need to give thanks for everything. Even if they do not seem to be positive. I need to know that God is good even when things don't appear to be.

And that is some of them. There is so much more, and if I had of been more diligent about recording things as they came... there would have been much more ramble recorded... bummer right?

Also,

Fall!
Cool!
Outside!
Red, orange and yellow!
Fuzzy brown baby jacket with bear ears!



and soon:

FIREPLACE!

Also, I apologize for the lack of variance in the words need and learn. I too am annoyed by their repetition throughout this ramble.

Good afternoon.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Reality Check Results:

These past few weeks I have been discovering the great big wide world of mom-blogs. They are awesome. I have read about so many mothers with a million kids all 5 and under who manage to craft, clean and cook all while looking cute, keeping kids happy, healthy and educationally stimulated. Oh. AND they make date night happen. And adopt children from Africa. And have a huge following so they raise money for amazing causes. It is intimidatingly impressive.

Oftentimes I am tempted to compare and contrast in a way that leaves me feeling lame about myself, my mothering, housekeeping and such. I think "Oh you should be doing more. Where is your creativity? Where is the supermom (like the one that raised you) lurking? Lameface." This negative thinking is a downward spiral that leave in its wake only discouragement and impatience.

Tired, unhappy baby with a stuffy nose wakes up again and wails for an hour. Impatience and discouragement. Wake up in the morning with a house to clean and the baby is still sick and I can't seem to get to anything. Impatience and discouragement.

I read about Bowen and Stellan who were born with heart issues. I cried as I followed their stories (Stellan is now 1, but Bowen is still in the NICU) and was amazed by the miraculous healing power of our God. I was floored by the amount of faith that their parents displayed and was moved beyond words with empathy for their situations. I realized that I did not have that kind of faith. I looked in myself trying to find strength like they have and the resilient trust that brought them through so much and found trembling knees. I questioned that if, in their same situation, could I unwaveringly hold to the hand of my baby's Creator? Could I face day after day as the unknown future stared me in the face? I found that I could not. Discouragement.

Then, a Reality Check with Two conclusions.

First:

I had gotten myself into a bad place. Days are often challenging and isolated. Left to my own company, instead of looking Up, I found my eyes looking inward. I sought in myself something that would NEVER be there. It could never be there. It was not in me. The strength, creativity, faith, patience and love that I was looking for were all traits that I could never possess... alone.

It struck me one morning how these amazing women were exactly like me. They were afraid, worn out, impatient and discouraged. But they knew where to look. It was God, and God alone, that gave the faith, patience, creativity, strength and inspiration. He was that "super something" inside of these women. I was expecting myself to be something I could only be by the grace and power of Christ. I had become so focused on self and my abilities that I had lost sight of the One Who made me. I had become discouraged when I had lost sight of my Savior and started looking at my waves. I needed to stop looking in, and start looking Up.

Second:

I am so blessed it is ridiculous. I had a relatively easy pregnancy with no bumps or concerns. I had an easy (ish) delivery of a healthy baby girl who breathed with developed lungs from day one. Her heart was strong and her new little body was in my arms almost the very moment that she entered this world. Mothers so often have difficult high risk pregnancies full of uncertainty and fear. Their newborns are not theirs to hold the moment they can. Babies every day are immediately rushed to intensive care, where they must stay for many weeks. Parents have to watch their children suffer every day, with no way to help them. They have to trust others to fight for their child's life and wait for the outcome of multiple surgeries. Sometimes it is a few months later that they find themselves facing cancer or some other unexpected tragedy. They have to watch their newborn babies cry in an incubator, hooked up to innumerable tubes and endure the pain of not being able to hold them as they cry. I can not begin to imagine.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to better understand just how blessed I am. There is no room for frustration when I have to get up and comfort my crying baby. The biggest thing I have to watch her struggle with is a head cold. I can hold her as she cries. I can comfort her when she needs me. I know she will be ok. Until last month, it really did not penetrate just how huge that is.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Lord.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

*Sniffle*

Little Lady has been kinda fussy the past few days. And a little bit picky about food. And really tired. Hello cold season...

Last night my decision to savor every moment was put to the test. She was beyond ready for bed at 8... so down early she went. By 11 she was up every few hours sniffling and coughing waking up exhausted and wailing till I came for her. She snoozed on my chest for a bout 45 minutes at midnight while I stared at the ceiling. Unable to fall asleep, I bucked up and reminded myself that even these moments were blessings. I decided to savor the time with the weight of my sleeping, fleecy pajamaed little girl snuggled on top of me. Those little baby moments are fading fast. I thanked the Lord and prayed for her and just listened to my two favorite people breathe.

...Then I tried to shift and up she was crying and sneezing. The next 2 hours were spent up and down from the couch and walking around the dark house. She didn't cry, just snuggled tight and stared at all the lights from the oven clock, windows and microwave. I actually enjoyed my night.

She never snuggles as she is always too busy looking around... So it was a rare moment. It was pretty darling. By 2:30 she was ready to go to sleep... Up a few more times, but slept for a few hours.

Today, I am pretty wiped out, but I am still glad for the night I had. By making the decision to enjoy the moments and be thankful, an otherwise frustrating night became a sweet one that I will remember for a long time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Six Months, .5 years, Half Birthday

Today, Leilei is six months old. I am blown away with how time has flown.





Everyday she gets bigger...



And cuter, if possible...




And I fall more madly in love with her.



Leilani, I am so thankful for you.






Thank you Lord
For six months with our little girl.
For six months of Character Building.
For six months of learning how to sacrifice and serve.
For six months of laughter and joy.
For six months of awe and wonder.
For six months of learning about love all over again.
For six months of excitement over all the little things.
For six months of rediscovery.

For six of the greatest months in my life.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blessed Blessed Blessed. And Compassion International

Leilani will be 6 months this next week and so far, I have not needed to buy her a single outfit/onsie/hat ect. I have once or twice, but she was never in need. Through the generosity family and friends she has been given enough new clothes and hand me downs to last well beyond her entire first year. I am so thankful for the love of my people! She not only has the bare necessities, but her little drawers are overflowing with fun things to wear, even baby chucks! Ahh! So fun.


Her cheeks continue to fill out, she is never short of food or care. There are many loving arms that want to hold her, and safe, clean places for her to play all day long. What an incredible blessing. I am inexpressibly thankful to God for allowing me to live in a place and time where I can look at my little girl and make plans for her future. I know that she will be fed tomorrow and that she will be warm and safe through the night. I know that she has access to the best medical care if she should ever need it, and that everyone around her loves her and watches out for her.


It is a sobering thing to read about the poverty and desperation facing millions of families worldwide. Destitute mothers carry their babies, not knowing where their next meal will come from, aching as they listen to the cries of their sick little ones. The arrival of another baby is not a time for joy and celebration but a time of fear and sadness, knowing that they are unable to take care of the new tiny life that has entered their world. I can not imagine holding my baby and knowing that she may not have a tomorrow. Of fearing for her survival every night.

Compassion International is helping to clothe those cold little ones, fill those hungry tummies and heal those hurting bodies. Compassion reaches out to the broken where they are and not only heals the physical hurts, but brings them to the One who can heal their hearts. Poverty says "There is no tomorrow." Jesus says "I AM tomorrow." Compassion is at work all over the world bringing hope and joy where there was only despair. Through Compassion, we have been given the opportunity to help make a difference. Food, clothing, shelter and education can be provided with only $38 a month, but more than that, these children and families will come to know the love of their Savior. Amazing.

Ryan and I sponsor two children in Ethiopia and Bangladesh. They have families, and parents who love them. I am so thankful to be able to help meet their needs, and to help two mothers, all the way across the world, sleep easier knowing that their babies will be taken care of.

My thoughts and emotions on the subject have not been very well expressed today, I am afraid, but I hope that you will pause to be overwhelmed with me. Give thanks for your abundance today, but don't just be content to keep it to yourself.

"The King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." -Matthew 25:34-40

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

There is nothin better...

than a clean, sleepy baby, all zipped up in her pajamas. Bedtime has become one of my favorite moments of the day. When it is lights out, all is still, snuggled as tight as we can get, I feel like I could pop with how much I love my drowsy pile of chubb. She nurses quietly to sleep, her arm and legs wrapped around me as she grips my thumb with her free hand. These moments of peace after a full day are such gifts. Tonight I was all too aware of how quickly they will fade, how rocking to sleep will eventually end... But for tonight, I held her and was so thankful.

Thank You Father for Leilani.






Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Candid Candid.

5 months later... and she is huge. My pile of chub has discovered her fingers and toes, grabs at everything, eats off a spoon, rolls over both ways and is finally sleeping better. I can not remember life without her or what it was like to live without loving a little person so intensely...

But, at times, I find that I almost wish that this stage of my life could have been held off for a year or two. Yes, it has become a little easier and I have learned to adjust a little bit more... But honestly, I sit and feel sorry for myself as all of my pretty dresses no longer fit or have opportunities to be worn, as my daily routine has morphed into an exhausting progression of feedings, diaper changes, bouncing, stiff necks, frustrating attempts to "get something done" and the sighs that accompany the daydreams of how I could be spending my weeks. I want to be free to do as I please, to read, to travel, to be a wife, to be a friend, to be a student, to stay up late and to sleep in. She has stretched (physically and metaphorically speaking) me to my limits as none other and completely changed everything about everything. I don't usually feel like wiping poopy buns every few minutes (it feels like), or nursing, or never getting enough sleep or struggling to do the housework. I don't like being confronted with my lack of character every hour on the hour and being forced to change.

However, I keep feeling a twinge of something painful at odd moments throughout the day. It is the half-realization that I am living the moments that I will look back on with fondness for the rest of my life, that these little fingers and toes will not stay little forever and that one day, I will ache for a cuddle with my little baby again. One day, I will not have a little head to brush, round cheeks to wipe or a little body to wash and dress.

Today after reading this blogpost that was shared by a friend, those half-realizations came into sharp focus. I can not believe how utterly for granted I have taken these hard months. Already she has completely changed from the newborn she was, already moments have come and gone. I have seen this foggily, and even spoken of "wow how time flies," but really never let it take root. Too often I have let impatience and selfish wishes tarnish the blessing that each and every moment is. Every night as I put my little girl to bed, I thank God for the blessing of Leilani. But have I truly realized how much I have to be thankful for?

Five months later... and I have woken up. I thank God that it didn't take longer, and I pray that I will not forget the realization that "I'm gonna miss this," and that these moments are precious gifts some never have.

"Father, please teach me to patiently savor everything, from the sweet eye-to-eye moments, to the crying, squirming diaper changes late at night. Show me the delight that everything holds and the divine calling that Motherhood really is.

Thank You, Thank You."



~R.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Forever Twenty One (ramble alert)

This is my Twenty First blogpost here at blogger.com. This is also my twenty first year of life. Hmm...

I have graduated highschool, attended college and gotten a driver's license. I have held a full time job. I have traveled to many far away places (through the air) and seen much of the world. I have bought a house. I have fallen in love with and married my dreamboat. I have had a baby girl. I have experienced true joy, deep sorrow, agonizing heartbreak as only an NF can, the thrill of loving and being loved in return. Most people never get to do half these things in their whole lives. In a world full of poverty and suffering I have been blessed beyond description.

I have a wonderful life. But what does all of this really mean? Is it really worth anything at all? When it all comes down to the end and we are all seen for what we truly are, what will be left?

I remember my dad asking a little me on many occasions as I played in our yard "If the world were to end right now, and God looked at you and said, 'Why should I let you into heaven?' what would you say?"

I personally try to work hard, love my family and be kind to others. I have heard many people say the equivalent of, "I believe in God, and I try to be a good person and live a good life. So I am alright." Is it good enough to be "good enough?" Will being a "pretty decent person" who "lived a good life" stand up to perfection when we are called to accont for how we spent our time?

"For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." -Romans 3:23 "The wages of sin is death..." -Romans 6:23

Nope. "All" means everybody. And we have all fallen short. The best of us are just as good as the worst of us. No one can stand up to the Perfection of Sinless.

What matters most is the Love of my Creator and the Sacrifice of my Savior.

"But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord... and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." -Phillipians 3:7-12


Have I lived my twenty one years to the fullest that I can, running in pursuit of my God? Or have I too often settled for "good enough," lived for myself and fallen into complacency? What do I truly have to show for my life when it is boiled down and shaken out and examined under a microscope? I have the priceless blood of my Savior. That is all.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Willing vs Wanting

A friend asked me this weekend how it was that one had to learn to love one's baby. I always seem to be able to figure things out better when I have to talk about it, and I made a happy discovery as I answered his query.

I told him that while you do fall in love with your little bundle of joy the moment you lay eyes on them, it take a much longer time to really learn to Love them. A beautiful little stranger suddenly appears one day and demands of you your everything. You are willing to do whatever it takes to keep them happy, content and safe. Exhausted, often confused and worried, I was willing to get up and feed her, to walk out of a room of family and friends for an evening alone to provide comfort, to change the messy diaper instead of eating my hot dinner... But I would have preferred it, at the time, if those needs were not present right then. I did not necessarily want to hurry to meet those needs.

As I explained, I came to realize that I had entered a new phase of motherhood. As time has gone on, as I have learned to love my baby, I want to serve her. My willingness to meet her needs has become something else. Her needs have become my needs, and serving her has, to a large extent, become my pleasure. Getting up is not quite as hard, leaving the conversation is not quite as frustrating, staying home is not quite as lonely. Not to say that it is all easy now, but it sure is different. "Things are finally getting better" not because her needs are less, but because my heart is different.

I am not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, but it sure was encouraging to realize.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Beauty of Solitary Confinement

Ten Whole Weeks. 70 days of a new life. She now has chubby rolls and dimples all over her 12 pound self, she coos and squeals and smiles as she studies things, she splashes in her tub (which she has come to really enjoy) and as of 3 nights ago, has learned how to sleep better at night thanks to being in her crib. Incredible.

This month has provided an entirely new set of challenges to this mamma. The first was exhaustion, overwhelmed confused exhaustion, learning to love and taking a first real hard look at all the work to be done. This is all still present, but the exhaustion is starting to lessen, and the confusion is not as overwhelming. I have been working through a new kind of character building exercise that I am sure will continue in the months to come. Isolation.

As one of the world's most enthusiastic extroverts, I recharge, process stress, emotions and attempt to reach logic or at least coherancy with people. There has been a lot of recharging needed and an enormous ammount of emotions and stress to process and a great lack of coherancy. As I have learned more about who my Little Lady is, I have come to realize that she best processes stress, emotions and attempts to make sense of this crazy world, in warm quiet, with an ever ready milk supply and a few soft wispers. Often, a peppy bounce and jingle with Daddy is the one thing she needs to calm her down, but sometimes, it takes me. When? All the times that I am with people. Parties, church, visits with just a few people at home, anywhere that I try to go to process as an extrovert sends her into tired, tearful stress very quickly. I then need to get up, find a quiet corner away from everyone to feed her and calm her back down. My "E tank" is very, very low.

I have discovered that I do not know what it means to "be still and Know that He is God." I do not fully know how to find that still small wisper, and from that Voice alone, draw from it the strength, refreshment and peace that I need. I have been given the opportunity to every single day, lay down myself for the sake of another and learn to be Still. I need to find my center in the Rock, for when a house is built on Him, it will never be shaken. I need to learn how to be alone, but not lonely, in an empty room or house but have a full heart. I need to learn to be silent, but never stop communicating with my Savior.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Learning to Love: An candid look at my past month as a new mother.

I fell in love with a squirming 7 lbs 6oz of slimy wailing baby the second she was placed into my arms. A few hours later as night came and I was up alone with this new little stranger, I was suddenly acutely aware of the enormous responsibility that had descended upon my life. She was utterly dependent on me for everything. Warmth, nourishment, comfort, security... usually all at once every few minutes. Learning to nurse with her was an exciting task that night, but as the hours wore on and her fascinated little eyes continued to remain open, exhaustion of the past several days came crashing down. There in that hospital room I began to realize what loving a baby means.

5 weeks (nearly 35 days, or 840 hours, nearly 240 feedings and countless diapers) later, I am still learning what it means to love a baby. It starts with discovering the hopeless mess your character has gotten itself into. You are a ball of nerves, devoid of faith and patience clinging determinedly to the accustomed selfishness. Exhaustion intensifies this nasty soup of soggy tears. "Why wont this baby nurse right? She is so tired! Why won't she fall asleep? How miserable it is to hurt and ache and be subject to every whim of a person not two feet long." Gripe, sigh and focus on self. Fatigue and physical discomfort without the ability to relieve oneself adds additional charm to the tearfully frustrating time that you find yourself in often as a new parent at night.

I have realized that the majority of my struggles so far come from one wrong focus. The focus on myself, my time and my comfort. Spending 98% of every day focusing all of your effort, stamina and time on another person is exhausting. It is my selfishness that tells me that there is something undesirable about this situation. I am not patient with the innocence that struggles with learning how to be a baby in this huge new world. She fusses for hours trying to grapple with the conflicting needs that press her: hunger, fatigue, gas, a soggy bottom, and the confusion that results from all of these making themselves known at once.

I have discovered that I need to learn how to love. To love like Jesus does. Not the falling in love kind of love, but the love that decides to love. I am learning that this kind of love is not located anywhere inside of myself. I utterly lack the patience and compassion I need. But my Father said He would give it to me, and so slowly, and am being shown how.

Every night and most of the day, I must choose to put myself down and pick up my adorable and fussing "refining fire" and say "honey, take your time. Take as long as you need. I am here and I am not going anywhere." As I have prayed, sighed and occasionally shed frustrated tears at night, I am learning to breathe deep, and pick up patience along with my baby. I am learning to lay myself down as I lay her down and pat her back as she wakes up yet again. I am humbled every time I look at the perfection that my Father has given me. Humbled that He sees my utter lack of Him and says, "Lets work on this, dear. I am here and I am not going anywhere." As I once again fall into my selfish attitude, He lovingly picks me up, gives me strength, and keeps on loving.

Often, the tears change from tears of frustration, to tears of realization, then to tears of thankfulness and then tears of love. Those quiet moments, holding my baby, letting go of me, are gifts from God. I am learning to love.

"He must increase and I must decrease."
-John 3:30

"This is Love, not that we loved God, but that HE loved US."
-1John 4:10

A look inside the mind of a baby... as far as her mother can tell.

My little baby is a whole month old already, soon to be 5 weeks... Her cheeks are filling out, her eyes are focusing, her thighs are gaining in chubby rolls and she is discovering that her voice can do more than cry. It is an exciting world to be in. Everything is new and fascinating, shadows and contrasts in color hold amazement to be studied in depth, sunlight is at once both startling and soothing, watching something move beyond the current scope of vision happens less, now that her eyes and head have learned to follow it...

It is also a scary time. Sneezes and coughs are startling to a little body that has only been experiencing them for a few short weeks. Hunger pangs, the need to burp or go are all uncomfortable and frightening to a little mind with no concept of the passage of time... She doesn't even know she has toes and those fingers that keep poking her eyes can not possibly be hers... can they?

They descend out of nowhere and suddenly they are all consuming... they must have been there forever and there is no end in sight... Hunger!! Then suddenly there is food... but oh! Too much! Control is regained of the steady flow of warmth, but there is something burning somewhere... Soggy and uncomfortable... This discomfort is so distracting eating becomes a frustrating process of drinking and fussing. Suddenly there is no more food, somewhere is cold, not soggy anymore but cold, and there is that hunger thing again, and fatigue has set in and oh why is it stiiilll cooold and why is there no foood?? Oh! There is the food... Its not cold anymore but oh.... so tired... oops no more flow of food WHERE IS ihhhoh.... So sleepy but hunger is still there... and now a bubble has trapped itself somewhere inside and it HURTS!! With no understanding of how to expel it... it is stuck and now there is no food! Why is there thumping when I want food and my belly hurts?

A confusing, thrilling, scary, exciting, bright, safe place to be is the world in which she lives...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Growth...Amazing!

It is snowing again! But this time a warm breeze is the cause. Soft pink and while petals are sent dancing by the breath of spring, they spin and twirl as the hang suspended between heaven and earth. One of the most lovely parts of this lovely season.

Flowers on trees... Somehow it blows my mind every year. Things can grow in so many ways, but that God chose to make some things bloom... amazing. To me, its little pieces of God's love that He has given us in radiant abundance several times a year.
"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork..." Ps. 19

I have officially decided that spring is my favorite time of year. There is nothing like watching the grass turn green, smelling the freshness return to the air, seeing the buds appear and bloom and hearing the birds start to wake up and make their joyfulness known to the world. I love watching things grow. The whole concept of something starting from nearly nothing and turn into something seemingly unaided is so humbling. The world just breathes God's presence. Spring makes me feel all the more aware of it, everything is so clearly responding to His touch.

Lying on the couch beside me is my very own little pink rosebud blooming right along with the trees. She has got to be the pinkest baby I have ever seen.

"You formed my inward parts. You knit me together in my mother's womb, I will give thanks to You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Ps 139

I will never grow tired of just staring at her. It is truly incredible to have been a part of the creation process and watch this little person come into being. Watching her grow and change and learn utterly blows me away. I feel like I have come to know a whole different side of God, the Creator side, in a whole new way. I don't think I truly got it before, and I am not sure that I do now... All I know is that when I look at this perfect little person, I see the fingerprints of God in every teeny detail.

He is so good.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Phillipians 3:7-14

"But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."




-This really sums it all up. This is what it is all about. May this become the earnest prayer of our hearts.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

She is here!


And she is absolutely perfect.

Leilani Mikayla Abel was born on March 20th, 2010 at 8:49 a.m. weighing in at 7lbs 6oz and an even 20 inches long.

A week and a day has gone by since I experienced one of the most incredible ... experiences that one could possibly... experience. A surreal Friday dawned with contractions every 8 minutes for 4 hours that sent us to the midwife at opening time. We arrived riiight as they stopped. "Nope, no dilation. Tight as a clam, but those sound like they are something! So she will be here soon. I am sure of it." Went home to then have the classic "...oh! I think my water just broke?? Yeah! YEAH!! It DID! Honeeey???" moment that sent us back to the midwife right as the leak decided to not leak. She smiled at us and looked at me skeptically "Well... I am not seeing anything still... no contractions? Ok well... Uh, I will go test this to see if it is what you think it is..." A few minutes later she returned with a surprised expression and the announcement of "You ruptured!" And we were off to the hospital. I must say after all the "Is it? It is? No really, I promise they were comming regularly, no really I KNOW my water broke" moments I was relieved to get the official "Yes, you are not paranoid and crazy, she is on her way... Kinda." We checked in, I got hooked up to a drip, donned a fashionable backless hospital gown and sat down to wait. And wait. And nothing happened. So they started (very lightly) the dreaded Pitocin and THEN something sorta started to happen. Very slowly. 24 hours, millions of contractions. an epidural and 30 minutes of pushing later, there was a wet and sticky squirming little girl crying in my arms. Compeltely and utterly one of the two most profoudly amazing moments of my life.

She is a perfect little dreamboat. Nursing great from day 1, sleeping soundly (mostly) in between feedings, and content and peaceful the rest of the time. Unless she is hungry, soggy or in need of a burp, then she lets out the most heartbreaking wails I have ever had to endure. They end as quickly as they come though. God is so kind.

I have fallen in love again, and lost my heart to a teeny little bundle of Grand that leaves me every day in awe of her Creator.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday

Spring smells so nice as it blows through my open window... At first I could not quite figure out what it was. Something damp and fresh... Can "growing" be a scent? If it can, it smelled like growing. I wish outside could always smell like this. Although the buds on the trees have not decided to do anything exciting yet, the birds are still a little out of tune and the grass looks abused by too much cold and ice, everything is so full of promise and potential. To me, Spring can pretty much be summed up by a deep, full inhale. I just love, love, love this time of year.

This Spring, as the flowers start to arise out of the ground and as the grass and leaves rediscover photosynthesis, there will be a new little pair of lungs breathing in all this freshness for the very first time. A new little face will discover the brightness of the sunshine and soft baby fingers and toes with feel the warmth of an afternoon breeze. The loveliness of this season will all be taken in by a little pair of eyes, seeing it all for the very first time. A true new Beginning.

I can't wait to rediscover everything right along with her.


I want a new beginning too. I want to see the beauty as if I have never seen anything before and discover the Love of Jesus all over again in a completely new way.
"Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It is 6:00 p.m. on a Tuesday...

...and the sun has been out all day, it has been in the sixties for most of the afternoon, the birds are singing and I am sleepy already.

Today is March 9th. Petunia is due to make her appearance on March 13th. At any moment, she could decide that she has had enough of her cramped little bubble and make her grand appearance. After much debate in my mind, I decided to take this week off from work in an attempt to rest myself, clean my house (yes those two can go together... sometimes), collect my thoughts, and focus myself on the Giver of this gift that is about to be opened.

I am so thankful for the calm quiet of the past two days. I don't think that I can really prepare very much for the adventure that awaits me tomorrow? Tonight? Next Thursday? but I have come to realize that the less prepared I think I am, the better. Parenting requires 100% reliance on God for everything and if I start thinking "Ok... I think we can handle this..." that 100% drops drastically and everything will fall apart guaranteed. I need to keep ever before me that "Apart from Him, I can do nothing." -John 15:5

It is a scary thing to know that in mere hours or days I will arrive at the weakest state I have ever been in, utterly out of my league without a clue of what to do. Scary but beautiful.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." -2 Corinthians 12:9

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." -Is. 40:28-29

Strength in weakness. Encouraging!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It is one of those nights...

One of the ones where my heart rate is inexplicably up, my cheeks feel glowy, and it is really quiet everywhere. These moments descend out of nowhere, striking at odd times. They are moments where the full gloriousness of the blessed life I have been given overwhelms any stress or ponderously distracting emotions. I just feel exuberant. Excited, at peace, in love, content and delighted with the state of affairs. I have reason to feel this way 100% of my time 24/7 but so frequently, I forget. Moments like these remind me to wake up and taste and see that my Lord is good.

He loves you, you know.

Oh happy day!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Freefalling


"Freefalling" Doodled 01/something/2010

Things are spinning in a million directions at a hundred miles an hour and there you are at the end of the rope, holding on for dear life, unable to see the bottom. You are freaking out, your fingers are sweaty and you are starting to slip, moments from plummeting towards the terrifying unknown. Without all of your ducks in a neat tidy little row, a big clear map as well as a mapquest printout and a GPS of the Grand Plan for today, tomorrow and next year, you know that if you let go, life is out of your control and you have no idea where you are headed. Sometimes it is absolutely terrifying to be out of control of life. Wouldn't it be great to just let go and have that be ok?

Right now life feels crazy. So many awesome, exciting, huge things are up in the air and spinning around with no clear plan in sight. A new perspective hit me a few weeks ago that has come as an encouragement. The image that was impressed upon my unwilling-to-not-have-control mind, was that of a little toddler laughing and kicking his heels as he was tossed into the air. Falling towards the ground wasn't a scary thing because there at the bottom are Daddy's big strong arms. Giddy, exhilarated and content to fall. With no fear, he can fly through the air and be utterly out of control and utterly safe because he is falling to Daddy.

Life with Jesus is just like that.