Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Too much of a good thing can be. . . Funny!

And, so I thought that I would introduce Joshua to our little Compassion boy, Joseph. Our last Compassion boy (funny I always end up with the male species in just about everything :-) reached the age of moving on. . . So, Compassion assigned a new little man to our family. I received the new boy's photo and information and thought that this would be a good opportunity to have a little heart to heart talk with Joshua. I would explain to him that there were people with needs in other countries - needs that we can help fill. We would discuss giving to others, foreign countries, and missionaries. I envisioned Joshua's heart being tender to this young man, and, perhaps, some kind of a friendship developing between the two of them through letters, etc. It was a sweet little daydream. . . It's too bad reality was not quite as touching. Our conversation went something like this. . .

Me holding up little Joseph's photo: "Baby, do you know who this is?"
Joshua quickly and confidently answered, "Yes."
Me, surprised: "You do? Who is he?"

Joshua, bored with our conversation: "Yeah, he's the guy that brings me cheese dip at the cheese dip house. You know him, Mommy."

And, if that wasn't enough. . .

The other morning I got JCT out of his crib and brought him downstairs to say good morning to his Daddy. JCT was bright and cheery as always.

Erik smiled at him and said, "Buenos Dias!"

JCT didn't miss a beat. He looked Erik right in the eye and responded, "Quesa - Dilla!"

I think we may be eating Mexican a little too often??

Sunday, July 29, 2007

One Meme Two Meme Red Meme Blue Meme

Just kidding about the red meme blue meme. I guess I have been inspired by all the Dr. Seuss books that I have read in the last 48 hours!! Joshua and Erik are spending the afternoon at a local theater seeing a Dr. Seussical leaving me at home with two sleeping babies!! Quietness fills our usually noisy home. So, I am going to use this time to catch up on something I started a few weeks ago. . . Deidre tagged me for two memes, and though I procrastinated a bit, here they are. . .

Meme #1

5 Reasons that I love Jesus. . .

1.) He is unboxable!! I think that my absolute favorite thing about Jesus is that He is too big to be put in a box. He cannot be contained. He cannot be reduced to our wildest imaginations. From the beginning of time man has attempted to put Him in a box, to explain Him, to figure Him out, to make Him what man wants Him to be. But, He is beyond all that, beyond all that our human minds can conjure. And, I love that.

2.) He wasn't afraid to get His hands dirty. He wasn't afraid to reach out to the sinners. He didn't care what the "religious leaders" of the day thought - or anyone else for that matter. He reached out to the outcast. He touched the sinners and the sick. He loved people more than His reputation. He looked on them with compassion and not judgement. Now that is a Savior!!!

3.) Grace. He doesn't expect me to be perfect. He saved me not only from a life of sin spiraling downward unto death, but also He saved me from a life of measuring myself daily and the guilt that accompanies not measuring up. Does that make sense? His grace didn't end when I went forward and gave my life to Him. No, I still need His grace today, and something tells me that I will probably need it tomorrow, too. It is His grace that keeps this perfectionist from living a life full of guilt, fear, and self-condemnation. I figure if He can forgive me than I ought to work on forgiving myself. Grace, it is a beautiful thing.

4.) He chose fishermen and not scholars to be His disciples. I absolutely love that He didn't choose the smartest, the most well liked by society, the most religious, etc. No, he chose simple men. And, by walking with them day in and day out, they learned about love and grace. And, He taught them that the greatest among them would be the servant. And, He washed their feet. And, they followed Him. And, the world has never been the same because of it.

5.) He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knows me intimately. He desires and enjoys relationship with me. He could have left a book of rules for each and every situation that I would encounter in my life. He could have made life in Him black and white. But, He chose not to. He chose to make me dependent daily on a relationship with Him. He chose to make me dependent on His guidance for my everyday life because He loves me and He wants to be in constant communication with me. Breath by breath. And, that is unreal.

Meme #2:

My answers to her 5 questions:

1.) Is your life today the same as YOU planned it to be?

It is quite similar. I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom. But, God did throw me a bit of a curve ball by giving me all boys!! I have always been a girly girl, and I never dreamed that God would bless me with a house full of boys!!!!

2.) Why do you attend the church that you do?

Good question. Erik and I actually get this question alot. And, the only answer that I have is that my husband and I know that we know that we know that God called us to be a part of our church.

3.) If given the choice, how would you spend tomorrow morning?

Ahhh, I love this question. I would have my mother come over (she only lives 4 hours away :-) and take my children on a fun outing!! And, I would sip coffee on the back porch with my Bible and a good book. Oh, and it would be fall outside - cool and crisp with lots of pretty trees to look at and a gentle rain falling on the roof above me. . .

4.) What is your favorite Bible verse at the moment?

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32.
I just think it is cute that He calls us "little flock." It is so endearing. It is sweet to my heart.

5.) What's your idea of a good vacation?

No stress. I don't like to be places where there are big crowds. I would like to be somewhere quiet, peaceful, yet fun for the boys! Maybe somewhere close to nature. But, not camping. I don't want to be that close to nature.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Happy Three Months, My Little One!

Oh, what fun we are having with you, little man!! This month has been great! You are starting to sleep through the night!! Praise God! You are so smiley and happy! You love to talk. . . LOUDLY! I guess you feel that you must talk loudly in order to be heard over your sweet brothers' chatter.

Can I just tell you that I love you. . . I love every little bit of you, and I am so thankful that God has given me the great privilege of being your mommy! You are very content and sweet. Several times I have been worried about you because I haven't heard a peep from you on the monitor for a long time. I sneak a peek at you only to find you grinning and quietly cooing. And, when I see you laying there all cute, chubby, and smiling, I can't help but grab you up into my arms, my sweet love!
I pray that I never forget how it feels to hold you. How it feels when your sweet body goes limp with sleepiness. . . How it feels to softly prop my chin on your soft fuzzy baby head. . . You are peace and love - a little bit of heaven, and I am enjoying every minute of your baby days.

But, I must say that these baby days are passing quickly. I see you sitting in your little bumbo seat, and it seems like just yesterday you were a helpless newborn. And, now you are holding your head up with great baby strength. You are laughing and smiling like a big boy. You are beginning to reach for toys and to connect with your big brothers. You love to watch them play - great entertainment. And, they love to make you laugh.

You are still a mystery to us, little man. Erik and I were discussing your personality the other night, and we are just beginning to see glimpses of the person you will become. Oh, I can't wait to know you better and better. As much as I hate for the baby days to pass, I cannot wait to know who God made you to be, my sweet Lijah. He has a wonderful life for you, and I can't wait to walk through it with you!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Trip to Nana and Poppy's

Yesterday, we got home from a wonderful trip to visit my parents. We had such a restful, peaceful time. The boys had a blast playing with Nana and Poppy, while Erik and I got to spend a lot of time alone - which was such a blessing!!
This small town girl got to eat at Moe's, Krispy Kreme, and Bonefish Grill. And I got to shop at Williams-Sonoma, J. Jill, Pottery Barn, Lewis and Clark, and, of course, Target. Oh, it was a fun-filled trip!
But, all good things must come to an end, and so our trip did much to my Joshua's displeasure. As per usual, he remained composed until we got into "Vannie" and began to drive away. The tears appeared as they always do when we leave anyone that my sweet boy loves. His heart is a beautiful thing, I tell you. Sweet tears rolled down his cheeks until I finally called my mom so that she could console him. She promised to come visit him sometime soon, and the tears shut off like a switch.
Then, last night when he was asked to bless the food at dinner, his prayer went something like this. . .
"Dear God, I miss my Nana a whole bunch and a lot. Will you please make her come to my house? Will you please make her drive a long day and come see me? Amen."
Then, he looked up and asked me, "Do you miss your mommy and daddy when we leave them?" I assured him that I did miss them very much. And, I made sure he knew that it was very normal to miss those we love when we have to leave them.
Since I mentioned the sweetness of Joshua's heart, I must mention the happiness of JCT's heart! JCT is so fun right now!! Watch out world, the LIFE of the party has arrived!! He has the JOY, JOY, JOY down in his happy little heart!!! He made the trip a lot of fun by keeping us in stitches most of the time! He is his own little person. And, I love that about him!!
Here are a few pics from our trip. . .

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Full Night of Sleep

Well, it has finally happened. After more than 3 months. . .

I slept for seven straight, uninterrupted hours last night!! I put Elijah to sleep in the Moses Basket at 7:30 so that Erik and I could bathe and put the older two to bed. At 11:00 p.m. little Elijah was still sleeping soundly in the Moses basket, and I was ready for bed. So, I carefully picked him up, took him into our bathroom, changed his diaper and his clothes, nursed him, and put him to sleep for the night. I woke up at 6:45 a.m. to the sweet pitter patter of Joshua's feet coming to climb into bed with Erik and I.

But, the craziest thing is that the child is still asleep. It is 10:21, and he has yet to wake up. I keep going in to check on him. And, yes, he is breathing. He even coughs occasionally. He must be growing? I feel certain that I will hear his sweet cry soon! But, I am celebrating a full night of sleep with a hot cup of coffee and my computer!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Windows to the Soul

Sometimes I stare into their eyes. I just can't help it. I stare deep into their eyes through to their little souls. And, I pray. I pray for their souls, their lives, their futures. Mostly, I just pray one simple little prayer. "I give You this sweet life, Lord. I lay it before Your throne. Take this little life, and may it bring glory to Your name."

As I stare deeply into their eyes, I see different things.

In my little leader Joshua, I see gentle love and a tender, sweetness. Yet, there is an underlying strength there. Not the kind of strength that dominates, but rather a powerful strength that is harnessed by pure, unchanging love.

In JCT's eyes, I see LIFE filled to the brim, joy, and a yearning for adventure. His eyes are full, full of thought, activity, and unbridled passion.

In Elijah, I see sweet peace and trust. He stares deeply into my eyes as I bathe him, change him or feed him. And, the look is pure trust and security. Serenity. I am his constant, and nothing brings me greater satisfaction.

And, as I search the eyes of my little men, I wonder. . .

What will God do with their lives?

Where will they go?

Who will they become when they are grown?

And, then I come full circle, and I pray for their little lives.

I give them to You, my God. May they glorify You.

Because that is all that really matters. If they glorify God while they are here on earth, then they will have lived well.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Two Fun Little Ideas. . .

Joshua and I made our first "hand"made pot as a Mother's Day gift for my mom when Joshua was one year old. It was a hit with Nana, so we made one for Erik's mom, too. Joshua, JCT, and I painted the pot in this picture for Afton, the boys favorite "girl"friend. I love gifts with things like the boy's hand or footprints on them. I am all about heartfelt, sentimental gifts. And, this is one of my favorites, so I thought I'd share it. We use acrylic paints and then spray a layer of clear acrylic sealer after the paint has dried. It is easy to do and the boys have so much fun getting their hands all messy with paint! You are sure to get a smile from the recipient of this sweet gift!!
Wendy saw the paper on my table in the picture of Joshua from the post below. She asked about it, so I thought I'd share this with ya'll, too. I actually saw this idea in Rachael Ray's magazine a month or so ago. I use the brown paper that comes in a roll at Wal-Mart in the section with all the mail/packaging things. I place the paper across my table and tape it down on the sides, so it won't move while they draw. Then, I get crayons and put them in containers in the middle of the table. This is a great idea for times when company is coming over - company with young kids, of course. We use one side and then flip it over and use the other side. It is fun for the kids, and if you get really creative, it can make a really cute table when playgroup is at your home!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Landmark. . . or should I say a Watermark. . .

Joshua has taken swimming lessons off and on since he was 3, and he always takes from the same wonderful teacher, Ms. G. She is incredible - the perfect mix of fun and discipline, and the kids really learn alot.

Joshua is a great swimmer. He has never been afraid of the water, not one tiny bit. But, he has always had one problem. He won't put his head down when he swims. He likes to swim with his head up and a HUGE grin on his face - taking in all that good chlorine-filled water. He smiles from the moment she asks him to swim to her until the moment he touches the side of the pool again. He loves it, and I love watching it!! And, his sweet smile is contagious. He makes all the other parents watching class smile when they see his joy!

Erik, Ms. G, and I have tried everything to make Joshua put his head down. Nothing has worked. Last year I told him that if he swam half the length of the pool with his head down that I'd let him pick out an ice cream cake at Baskin Robbins. (We stop there for ice cream after each lesson.)

Well, folks, he did it. Yesterday he swam the whole length of the pool with his head down (most of the way, anyway). I was so excited for him!!! And, so we headed to BR, and he picked out his cake!!

So, here is my little fishy with his prize!! Oh, and if he looks young to you in the pool pics, it is because they were taken last summer.
Good job, big boy! I am one proud mommy!!

Monday, July 09, 2007

We stole a moment for us. Or, should I say that God gave us a moment. . . when I least expected it. I wasn't in a particularly romantic mood. My mind was on other things. . . the cooing baby that I was holding, the two darling, reckless little boys playing cars on the rug in front of me, the phone calls that needed to be made, and on and on. . .

Erik bought a song called "I'll be" by Edwin McCain on itunes, and he wanted to play it for me. So, I sat back and relaxed my tired body into the couch, and he started the music. He stood behind the couch, so I leaned my head back so that I could look up into his eyes as I listened. And, as the music played he gently touched my cheek with his hand, and our eyes locked.

And, just for a moment time froze. For a moment I didn't hear the playing children, the sweet cooing baby or even the music that was playing. All I could hear were the words that Erik's soul whispered to mine through his soft brown eyes. And, tears filled my eyes, so much so that they began slowly rolling down my cheeks. He softly wiped them for me. All I could think as we stared into one another's eyes is, "We are so blessed, so blessed. My life partner, my one and only. . . the one that my soul loves. So, blessed. Thank You, Jesus."

Only two lines stuck out to me as I listened to the song. And, those two lines were. . . "I'll be the biggest fan of your life," and "I'll be better when I'm older." How true. I am Erik's biggest fan, and there is no doubt that being married to him has made me better. He challenges me with his selfless heart and unrelenting passion for our God.

As he gently stroked my face, I reached my hand down and softly stroked the face of our baby. And, I have never felt so blessed. Our sons playing in the background, our baby smiling sweetly, soft music playing, and our eyes locked taking it all in. My eyes opened to the floodgates of blessings surrounding me, the everyday blessings, the biggest blessings of my life.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Well, she just don't run like she used to. . .

I went for my first run in 11 months this week, and it was, for a lack of better words, sad.

Try #1

I have been missing my evening jogs for a while now. Missing them, longing for them. . . So, you can imagine how excited I was when Erik called me one evening last week at 5:30. I could hear his radio in the background, so I knew he was in the car on his way home. Hallelujah!! 5:30 is early for my Erik, so I was thrilled. I immediately suggested to him that we take turns running. He agreed. So, as he walked in the door, I high-fived him and headed out! I was walking on air, smiling at the setting sun! It was a good day, or so it seemed. . .

I am not much of a warmer upper or a cooler downer. I just like to run. So, I did my token stretches. You know, just in case Erik looked out the window and saw me start to run without stretching. The last thing I wanted was some lecture about research proving the benefit of stretching prior to exercise in the prevention of sports related injuries. That would definitely be a downer, and I was in much too good a mood for that - no matter how cute he looks when he lectures - all professional and everything. I just wanted to be out on the open road and feel the wind in my hair (if only there was the slightest breeze - but you get the idea).

Anyway, I didn't just want to go for a leisurely jog. No, that would be much too layed back and easy, and three words that will never describe me are layed back and easy. No, I wanted to not only run 2 miles, but to run them in my old time. You know, my old time, my best time. Never mind the fact that since I last ran 11 months have passed, one baby has been had, and 15 pounds have been added to my frame. None of that really matters. I had something to prove to myself. So, I looked at my watch and took off like a shot!!! As I began running, I smiled thinking to myself about how nice it will be to walk in the house and brag to my husband about how good I felt and how fast I ran. I'd tell him my time, and then dare him to try and beat it! It was really a nice little daydream. I enjoyed it quite a lot, and that is a good thing because it was the closest I was going to get to being able to boast.

I really did feel good. . . at the beginning. But, honestly it didn't last long. I think it was at the 1/2 mile mark that I noticed my ankle was hurting a bit. No biggie. I'm tough. I have run through side cramps that would have left a weaker woman on her knees, or at least walking. So, I continued. A few minutes later my knee started hurting. I slowed my pace a little. It got worse. Sharp pains, hard pains. But, I kept running, with a serious limp. I couldn't quit. Neighbors passed me and waved. Their looks of pity confirmed my fear that I looked like a wounded race horse who refused to give up long after she should have. But, I kept on. . . for a while. But, finally at about the one mile mark, I quit. I hate that word. Quit, gave up, gave in, began walking. And, if you were looking carefully, you just might have seen a little drop of water coming from my eye, maybe. It was a sad day for me as I walked with a slight limp back to the house. I had hardly been gone 10 minutes. I wanted to smile and tell Erik that I was finished and I felt great. But, that would not only have been a lie, but also he never would have believed me. So, with my tail between my knees, I walked slowly up the driveway and into the house.

I'm just thankful he didn't ask me if I stretched really well prior to running.


Well, I couldn't give up after just one try. Erik got home at 5:30 again the next night, so I got all dressed up in my running duds ready to hit the road again. Erik instructed me to run and walk. Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. . . I wanted to run. So, I decided to pace myself and run very slowly. I started out at a turtle pace. I ran about a half a mile, and my knee hurt the entire time. So, I decided that Erik may just know what he's talking about, and I better follow his advice and walk for a while. After a few minutes of walking, I tried to run again to no avail. My knee felt like it was just about to pop, and it hurt in a way that made me afraid to run on it for fear of doing far greater damage to it. So, I went back to walking.

As I topped the hill I like to call heartbreak, I heard a gang of dogs barking and running towards me. No biggie. I know these dogs. They have bothered me for years. Except this time I notice that there is a new dog. And, it isn't just any ordinary new dog. It is a fully grown dog of the doberman pincher breed. I'll admit that my heart may have started beating a little bit faster at this point. But,I reminded myself that I am not afraid of big dogs. I mean, after all, the first dog I ever owned was a Newfoundland, and I am now the proud owner of a Weimeraner. Big dogs, Smig Smogs. They may sound horribly scary, but they just want to lick you to death. I've always liked big dogs.

The only problem was that this big dog didn't like me, at least not on its property. It growled, it barked, it lunged, it ran circles around me, putting its mouth against my calf over and over. I really thought it might bite me. I have not been that scared in a long time, perhaps my whole life. In the distance I could see the owner of this crazed dog running after it yelling, "Zelda, Come, Zelda, Stop." Well, Zelda wasn't listening. Zelda didn't like me. And, I thought the owner was never going to get to me in time to save me. His driveway is probably an eighth of a mile long, so it took him a while. The Doberman was much faster. He finally got to us, grabbed Zelda and leashed her.

Thank you.

He apologized, but all I could say was, "I had no idea. . ." I had no idea that they had a new dog. I had no idea that the new dog was so aggressive. I had no idea that my run could get any worse. My hurt knee was enough. This was over the top. It was time to head home.

So, I, once again, walked with a slight limp back to the house, but this time there wasn't just one tear in my eye. There were more like one hundred tears pouring forth from my eyes - if only it could have been sweat running down my face instead of tears. I walked into the house, took one look at Erik, and said what I had been thinking the entire time I walked home, "I just want to run." I don't want my knee to hurt. I don't want scary dogs to attack me. I just want to run. . . like I used to. He assured me that I would, in fact, run again, patted me on the back, listened to me ramble about Zelda for a few moments, and then went out to run.

3 miles.

Without knee pain.

Without meeting Zelda along the way.

But, I'm not bitter.

Not the least bit.

So, what is the moral of this story? I'm leaning somewhere between. . . Pride comes before a fall (or a meeting with Zelda). And, more research proving the benefit of stretching prior to exercise in the reduction of sports related injuries.

My photo
Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.


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