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.


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

Christmas photo cards

new years invitations

holiday 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?


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

and soon:


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.