Monday, September 26, 2011

this is the way; walk in it.

As a student at Tabor, Judy Harder (a communication/theater professor) introduced us (a class) to her prayer labyrinth.She welcomed us at any time to come and walk the labyrinth if we needed it... if our soul needed it.

What's a prayer labyrinth? Looks like this:


But Judy's was just made of grass that had been mowed or beaten down. Something a little more like this: (not exactly, but closer to this)


The described purposes of prayer walks or prayer labyrinths vary, and I won't pretend to be a specialist. Instead of copy and pasting a description from google, I am just going to recall what I remember from it. The path is not straight to the center, and often one must make a u-turn in order to get closer to the center and follow the path. When you walk the path with its many unexpected turns that cannot always be seen up ahead you allow it to symbolize your walk with Christ. You can pray, meditate, or simply listen for the still small voice of God. The walk to the center allows you to quiet your mind and your soul and your body. For me, when I reached the center, it symbolized meeting God in a sacred place.

During a very difficult time at Tabor--a difficult time that would seem so little less than a year later when life really did take a turn for the worst--I took Judy up on her offer and I went to the prayer labyrinth.

I took my Bible with me and walked the path. Some of the walk I cried out... other parts of the walk I just stepped quietly... I took every step rather slowly. When I reached the center I sat down on the ground and opened my Bible. I very simply said to The Lord, "I do not know where to turn. I do not know where to start. Please... just show yourself to me."

I was led to the following passage in Isaiah 30.

15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
Therefore you will flee!
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
17 A thousand will flee
at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
you will all flee away,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill.”
18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

This was in 2005 that I stumbled across this passage and still today they remain my 'life verses'. In fact, after I was in the car accident in January 2006 and struggled greatly with PTSD and Depression it became even more pertinent in my life. In the spring of this year I even had the opportunity to speak on this passage at the RMBC High School girls' retreat and I was ecstatic to share the amazing teachings and promises found in this passage. In 2007 I got a sunflower tattoo on my right foot to represent this verse and my daily effort to identify the way and to walk in it. I chose a sunflower because of its history and its characteristics.

In the late 1800s the sunflower was seen as a weed. People worked diligently to destroy it; but were often unable. It wasn't until 1914 that the state of Kansas recognized it for its beauty, resilience, and its resources. When I discovered these facts I knew right away... I was that. I was a sunflower. Satan may have tried to destroy me, and though he may have wounded me, My God would never let him complete his goal. Also, the sunflower got its name for two reasons. The obvious one is that it looks like a sunwith its bright yellow pedals stretching out like beautiful warm sunbeams. The other, less known, is that the head of the sunflower moves; at night, its head hangs down waiting. But when the dawn breaks, it faithfully raises its head and follows the sun all day long through the sky. When the night comes again, it waits, because it knows. The sun will return.

And so this passage remains with me and continues to be alive in my life. Though I know it was written for all, I often think of it as mine. I am so much like the Israelites; I have ran from God, disobeyed him over and over again, and relied on all of the strengths of this world. Yet, HE has risen to show ME compassion, over and over again. Even when I did not  have the strength to go to Him, he rose and met me. I vision Him leaping from a chair to run to me as a mother does when her child takes a bad fall.

So what stirs up these memories, this passage? Apart from its daily relevance to my life.

Well... we are at Tabor now. The location I was when most of my difficult journey began. The place I first discovered this special passage. During my years at Tabor, its 'theme' verse or whatever it may be called, was Micah 6:8.

8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

And now.... it is this:

 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

It brings me to tears that God cares enough about me to guide my path so closely, to take me and lead me exactly where He wants me, and to lovingly remind me that I am where I belong.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


July 18th was the last time I posted... just 2 days shy of Lydia Jane's 1st birthday. Since the 18th. . .

....Lydia Jane turned one

... we celebrated Lydia's birthday by having a slamming huge pool party at Carl & Stephanie Warkentin's with over 100 guests. It rocked! (but she is never having a party that big again until her wedding day)

...said our sad goodbyes to RMBC

....said even sadder goodbyes to Lee's family

...loaded up all of our belongings into a trailer

...filled our Pontiac Torrent with our family of three plus our two dogs and drove halfway across the country

....Lee started his new job at Tabor College

....unloaded our trailer (while Lee was at work) and were totally bummed to find quite a few things were damaged. (It was a good lesson of "it's just stuff")

....started putting our house together (still working on this but we are having a great time making this house look just the way we want it... I love it!!!)

....hosted the Wilker's for a weekend while they moved their two kids into Tabor (Trent a freshman and Alexa a transfer Junior)

...Lee's sister had her sweet baby Kenneth Eduardo Zamora and we can hardlly wait to meet him when we go to Bakersfield in November for Kelly's (Lee's mom) wedding.

....meanwhile I wrote and turned in my 35 page thesis for my masters: an action research plan for determining how improving the work enviornment of Houston, Texas CPS agencies could potentially increase efficiency. It was A LOT of work and is the main reason I have lacked in my blogging. I turned it in on Aug 21st and just got my grade yesterday... drum roll please..... 95%. Dr.Dixon said I exceeded expectations across the board. This was awesome to read after putting in so much time and energy.

I recently read a friend's blog and she was catching up after over a year of not writing. She expressed how, due to her job, she often felt overwhelmed with having to deal with any form of communication. Her feelings resonated with me. While working on my masters there have been many times where simply looking at the computer, checking my email, or browsing facebook has just been too much. In fact, it's why I mostly check email or facebook on my phone instead of the computer. But today is the official first day of my last class in my Masters of Public Administration. In 12 weeks I will be officially done!!

...I started watching Alexandria Lee on August 22 and I take care of her from 8 to 5 Monday through Thursday. It's going great.

That is a brief summary of all that has happened since my last post.

We are loving this new journey in Hillsboro and I am so thankful that it feels so right to be here. There was a time when Hillsboro, while full of wonderful memories and the start of many important friendships, was a place that reminded me of heartache. It stung with reminders of a painful break-up and washed over me the feelings associated with the car accident on Jan 2 of 2006. But somehow, over five years, I healed. Thanks to God of course. And now, He has brought me back to this place, and it, along with me, has been redeemed.

We are attending Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church (aka: The Big MB) which is the church that Dennis Fast pastored at while living here. Dennis is the pastor of RMBC where we just moved from. I love the Mennonite connections. :) We are in a great Sunday school class and Lee is already getting plugged in to help with teaching at Wed night youth groups during this transition time while the church looks for a new youth pastor. God just continues to bless us.

I am eager to post pictures of our wonderful home, but truthfully, I just haven't had the time. Some pictures have been taken, but they are not on the computer yet, and even then once they are on the computer I need to put them on photobucket in order to put them on here more quickly. There just isn't always a lot of time for that in between child care, normal house work, and the additional housework of painting projects, et cetera.

So I promise that soon I will post pictures of our new home and of my sweet Lydia Jane. She is doing so much. Her favorite words right now are: No (this is the one she says the most), Sit (which she has heard us say to the dogs and she now says it to the dogs, as well as Lexi), and Duke. She is quite the talker and also says Hi Puppy, Hi Papa (which we have been practicing and will be very fun to share with both of her Papas), Mom, Dad, and she frequently sounds like she is saying 'What is it?' But I don't think she really is.

Any day now she will be walking all on her own, but for now she wants us to hold her hands so she can walk everywhere or she pushes her dinosaur or cart around to walk.

Here are some links to a few of my favorite videos of her:

Lydia Jane goes on a walk
Going for a ride
Lydia Jane dancing and playing with Lexi

I will post again soon--less broad and brief--but just doing this is a huge accomplishment!! Next time there will be pictures. :) . . . . .maybe

Monday, July 18, 2011

the pieces of my heart

When I was in the 3rd grade, my very best friend Jessica Szymanski moved away to Michigan with her family. I was absolutely devastated. I still remember my mom taking me down to the Best Inn that they were staying in for their last night in Junction City; I can see the hallway I walked down and remember the awkward sad goodbye, before walking back to the car and crying the whole way home.

This was just my first taste of goodbye. With the years to come I would experience many more goodbyes on even deeper levels. I went to Tabor, where I met friends that I will have for the rest of my life, but after two years there God led me to Azusa Pacific University, some friends graduated and moved on, and others stayed at Tabor. The goodbyes were painful, and I often felt I was missing out on the things happening at Tabor. Yet, at APU I would make friends just as meaningful and longlasting. Graduation came and people dispersed and with it more goodbyes.

I lingered in the area and savored some of the friendships. I started dating Lee a few months later, but November 1st came and I boarded a plane for Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was only for a season, but the goodbyes were wrenching. And really, those goodbyes marked the end of a season in my life. When I came back from Argentina, many of those relationships would never be the same again--some for the better, some not.

Though I longed for home (and for Lee) while in Argentina, I made three dear girl friends there, who I would have to say goodbye to, as well.

Throughout my time at APU, while far from my family, and in Buenos Aires, far from everyone I loved, I finally put to words what I had been feeling for so long: pieces of my heart are scattered far and wide across the United States and even some over-seas. No matter where I go all of those pieces will never be in the same place.

This phenomenon only gets worse the more years that I live, because despite the results I continue to love deeply and live openly everywhere I go. No matter how painful the goodbyes may be, I am thankful to be this way. My husband--he's the same way--and I love that about him. (Though occasionally he may be a little too open about some things ;) We are relational people and we deeply enjoy building meaninful relationships quickly wherever we may be for any given time. We are also similar in that we carry the burden of how others may be feeling or what they may be experiencing.

So as we prepare to move to Kansas, our hearts are torn.

And as is my nature, I am going to be very open in this blog.

Lee's family currently lives about 90 minutes from us. All of whom we love very much and will miss very deeply. As one can imagine, they are very sad about this new calling in our lives. And no matter how affirmed we feel as God continues to shine light on the path ahead, we are still burdened by the reality of moving so far away from them. I am very sorry for how our decision to move has affected and will continue to affect all of them.

Our hearts are also burdened for the leaders of the church. I mentioned previously all of the big changes happening at the church and how Lee played a big role in those transitions happening smoothly. I don't understand God's timing. I don't understand God's plan. Yet, at the end of the day, I want to obey Him. I want to follow His leading. I know not everyone can understand this, and I don't expect everyone to. For some people, 'God's callling' to do something is a vague, even unrealistic, thing. For us, however, it is alive and real and we feel its weight as the very most important thing in both of our lives, as individuals and as a couple and as a family. Even as I write this, it doesn't change how us leaving has made things extremely hard on people we care very deeply for. I don't understand it, and in moments I feel upset with God. If this is where He wanted us then why didn't he reveal that months ago? And if this wasn't what we were supposed to do why does it seem He continues to affirm it?

The church was asking us to give a verbal committment months ago, and we did that. We expressed our desire and commitement to another year in Reedley. We stopped looking other places. Stopped applying, stopped seeking it out. We were very open with people in the church that we didn't know when God would open doors elsewhere, but that we would not look for them ourselves or try to open them. Then just as everything is about to wrap up with the church and move forward with the new stuff we get a call with what seems very much like a huge door blowing open. But even in the midst of what seems like God working, pieces of our heart feel broken by the weight of what sometimes feels a lot like guilt. My heart is heavy when I think of the people this hurts and the lives that it burdens. The awkwardness it brings in relationships makes me sad. And the fact that many will not ever truly know our hearts in this as we wrestled and wrestled with this decision makes me sad, too. It wasn't about money. It wasn't about a better deal (no, we are not making more money by going to Tabor instead of staying with the church--we wouldn't make a decision based on that). It wasn't just about Kansas. It wasn't about not being satisfied at the church. It was about what God wanted from us and what was best for our family. But the truth is I just don't even want to think about it anymore to even write about it. Man my heart feels heavy.

Back to the topic of family. . .which doesn't really move away from the heavy feelings.

I have joked lately about a younger couple whose families are from opposite sides of the United States. 'I don't recommend marrying out-of-state' I say, 'It'd be a whole lot easier to keep it local!'
I tease in good fun, but there is a lot of truth to this. I understand that when you get married individuals 'leave their fathers and mothers' and become one with their spouse, as Scripture explains. Nonetheless, when you get married to someone whose family and roots are 1800 miles away from your own, it leaves a big gap to be filled when joining those families. Geographically, it simply cannot be done. Unless you live literally half way in between and give neither side the satisfaction of being lived close to, then one side is always missing out to the same extent. But how miserable would that be?

There is no right answer to any of this. There is no protocol, example, guideline, or sufficient advice on this subject matter. Lee and I didn't have to get married. We each could have married someone from our own respective 'homes'. Maybe this would have been 'easier' on families or easier on us when deciding what jobs to accept or where to live, but this is the realization I have come to:

If being married to Lee were dependent upon me living in California for the rest of my life, I would do it. I would still date him. I would still say yes when he asked me to marry him. I would still have walked down the isle. I would still choose Lee. Even if it meant living away from my family forever, as difficult as that would be, I would still choose him.

And I take comfort in knowing that we both feel the same way about this... that is why our wedding vows said "Where you are, will be my home."

Critics could say it is easy for me to say this all now that I am getting to move to Kansas. I hear a lot about how I am 'finally getting what I want.' It would be a lie to say that I am not ecstatic to live 55 minutes from a good portion of my family. I am thrilled. It has been five years since I have lived in Kansas and I am very excited to be there again. I am not ashamed of how happy I will be to live near my mom and sisters. Still, my excitement does not mean I am not sad to leavel Lee's family. Of course I am.


That is how I feel right now, like I could go round-and-round on this and never make a final point, never make an understandable conclusion.

So I close this blog without a conclusion, and instead leave it as an open-ended expression of our hearts at the current moment. I hope it makes sense, because I am not going to re-read it or edit it.

I am happy. I am joyful. I am extremely grateful. But I am, and always have been, a deep 'feeler'... and occasionally a word-vomitter, too. :)

The next blog will be a very joyful one, because Lydia Jane will be one on Wednesday!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Big changes!

For the past month I have written at least a dozen more blogs in my head, but have not yet had the chance to sit down and actually write them out. There is always SOMETHING that needs to be done, like child care, homework, cleaning . . . you know the list.

But, it's about time we shared our big news!

No, we are not having another baby. Not that we know of. :)

Tuesday, June 7, Rusty Allen called Lee and asked him if he would be interested in being the Director of Enrollment at Tabor College.


Yes, we had previously looked at other options to pursue in a number of places across the United States, but God opened no doors, and we were content to settle in for another year at Reedley--happy to do so. In fact, God was opening doors here for Lee to become the High School youth pastor (he has been the junior high director). We were very excited about this opportunity and didn't understand why right in the middle of such a big transition at the church (Starting a new college ministry, moving Jason to take over that, moving Lee up to high school, and searching for a new jr high guy...) would He open doors for us to go elsewhere?

So... back on track... it is Tuesday and we have been presented with a huge and flattering opportunity for Lee's career. Not to mention, one that has potential for me as well, as my dream is to teach at the college level and I finish my masters the first week of December. Can I get a "woo-hoo"? We had three days to make a decision. Sign the new contract with the church or accept the position at Tabor. Both had short time-lines.

The next 48 hours from being offered this position are some of the most emotional, prayerful days I have had in a while. What did God want us to do? How could we leave all of the people here who have loved us so much? Did Lee really want to be Director of Enrollment?

Every free moment I had was spent, literally, on my knees seeking The Lord. I kept thinking, "God, the church needs us. People will be so angry if we leave them in the midst of all of these changes."

I felt the opposite of what I thought I would feel at the opportunity to be closer to my family... I felt afraid.

Afraid of the unkowns...
the uncertainties...
the questions...
the details...
the response from the church...
the response from Lee's family...

But God had already been answering many of my questions. The Friday before Rusty called about the position, he had called Lee to see if Lee was even interested in a position at Tabor at all. Lee & I both thought he wanted something like an admission's counselor from Lee. We both said that isn't something we would want to do. During this time, I was in Kansas and Lee was back home. I told him we'd talk about it when I got back. Meanwhile, that weekend in Kansas, I said to my sister, "For us to move, it would have to be some kind of director position, and I just don't think they will offer that to Lee."

Well, what do you know, that's exactly what Rusty called to offer Lee on Tuesday morning, less than 12 hours after I had returned to California. Not to mention, the whole contract thing with the church had taken much longer than expected. We had anticipated signing that and closing the deal more than three weeks earlier. Had God post-poned that with His plans in mind?

Then I start thinking about the specifics... and doing laundry Wednesday  morning, I say in conversation with the Lord, "Father, we cannot move to Kansas for anything less than (this amount of money)". Wednesday afternoon, Rusty calls and gives Lee that specific number (which would later be raised the next week).

Thursday Lee & I went to meet with Jason (high school/college pastor/dear friend/pastor who married us/family, etc.) & Dennis (senior pastor, also dear friend and mentor). This was a difficult meeting. We laid everything out there and asked for their wisdom. Then Dennis did something I didn't realize I needed... He freed us to do whatever God called us to do.

Deep sigh.

Moment of Relief.

He also said it sounded like we had done everything we could to open our minds and hearts before the Lord and give him opportunities to speak to us, and that either we may just be getting a choice to do what we really want to do or that God would reveal it to us soon that same day.

I cried a lot at the meeting. I had been crying for 48 hours really. I don't know why I was so emotional--I guess I was just overwhelmed with the decision at hand and the pressure to make it so quickly. The only way to release the pressure was to cry a river I suppose.

Lee and I walked home in silence where we sat on the couch and didn't say a word.
After several minutes of quiet, Lee finally said, "I feel like I Know. . . but I am scared to say it."

"Me, too, just say it."

"I think we're supposed to go."

"Me, too."

This was followed by even more quiet, because even though we felt relief knowing what we were supposed to do, there were still many unknowns and still many people to tell. It wasn't going to be an easy few days. In fact, after notifying leaders at the church it was best for the church to make the announcement that Sunday, so we really only had 1 day to tell people before it was made public at church (because we were going to be gone all day saturday with our 8th graders at the beach). But we told everyone, and we survived a few very difficult days, and we were met with mostly lots of love, understanding, and support. Praise Jesus!

Then on Friday June 17th we made an offer on a house (after my family looked at some for us). By Wed June 22 it was ours.

God flew so many doors wide open and continued, as he still continutes to, affirm our decision.

We leave July 27 and Lee starts his new position at Tabor on Aug 1.

Thank you everyone for your prayers and love and encouragement. We love you all.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Little Miss Stubborn

The more days I spend with Lydia Jane, the more we learn about one another. I have learned that she does not like to be restrained or 'forced' to do anything. She does not like her little arm and hand to be held and guided through the carseat strap or the sleeve of a shirt. She does not want her hand or face cleaned after a meal. She does not like to be laid down for a diaper change if she would rather be held. And she most certainly, under no circumstances, likes for me to hold her hand still to clip her fingernails. The screaming that ensues sounds like a simple fingernail trim is utter torture.

I ask myself...

Now where on earth did she get such a strong will and stubborn personality? ;) hmmm. . .

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm so glad you were born

Lydia Jane,

I'll admit I was overwhelmed when two little pink lines stared up at me that Saturday morning, but you have been God's greatest surprise in my life. Of course, you are your mother's daughter and wanted to make an entrance, so you showed up a month early when your dad was out of town. That's my girl, keeping things exciting. But don’t worry; your dad wouldn’t have missed it for the world. He made it to your arrival with fifteen minutes to spare.

The day you were born is imprinted in my heart. It is my fondest memory and my greatest adventure: The pain, the sweat, the fear, the unexpectedness of it. Giving birth to you was the most physically painful, the most empowering, and the most rewarding thing I have ever done. It was the first of many journeys together and I wouldn't trade it or a single day with you for anything in the world.

Every day you are learning something new and I love witnessing your every accomplishment and discovery. I am so blessed to be your mom. When you curl up contently in my arms I sometimes wish you would stay this way forever. Someday, when you look down at a baby of your own and feel the world’s weight in love as you whisper ‘I’m so glad you were born’, you can delight in knowing that I feel the same way about you.


This is my entry in the Cotton Babies Mother's Day Promotion
Check out the contest and enter for yourself!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Our awesome mini vacation

On March 31 we loaded up the car and our sweet little family and drove down to LA. We stopped in Burbank & checked into our hotel, Lee went and grabbed us a healthy lunch from Denny's because it was pretty much attached to the hotel and we were tired of being in the car, then Lee & Lydia took a nap while I played monopoly on the iPad. We got ready and then we hit the road to the Dodger Game!

Lydia could not have looked more darling and we could not have had better seats. It was 95 degrees in LA so we were thankful for seats in the shade. We had such a good time together and I loved the view we had. I actually really enjoy watching baseball so that is a plus. And of course I got to watch it with my wonderful husband and beautiful daughter so it was a great time. The Dodgers won! Another plus. Then we went back to the hotel, dad went and grabbed another healthy (late) dinner because mom was being frugile and didn't want to buy dinner at the stadium for herself. We dined on pepsi and a little ceaser's pizza and then rested up for the next big adventure of our mini vacation....
 Oh yes, the wonderful WORLD of Ikea. . . and I do mean World. Lee had never been so I was very excited to show him around. It was actually my first time eating at IKEA, because when I went to APU I was just down the road from one so I never had to spend a whole day there.
 Lydia Jane did so well on our vacation and very well in IKEA. She had her moments, but once she fell asleep in her stroller and got a little rest she was back on track. Isn't she so cute holding her sippy cup? She is just such a doll. I am going to do a whole different post on all of our great purchases!! But after getting everything we did, and a few items for some friends we almost didn't fit everything in the car. It took lots of sweat and patience to load, unload, change it up, reload, and I even had to move the carseat over to the side instead of the middle, before we had everything in. Sweet Lydia Jane almost didn't fit and Lee & I had to ride with some cardboard boxes (holding some cabinet doors) between our heads.
 But we did make it home and I cannot wait to show you what we got!! Soon I promise! We got back to Reedley on a Friday evening. We caught up on a couple of our favorite shows and then Saturday morning Lee had to be at Camacho Park to pray for the Little League games and then jump over to the softball fields by the high school to pray for those games. (he's so holy) :) When he got home we finished getting things together yet again so we could hit the road and head up the mountain. I had the awesome opportunity to speak two times at the high school girls' retreat. These are the girls:
 Such a great group and awesome leaders. It really was an honor to be invited to be a part of their trip & it was such a blessing to me. I really enjoyed being able to share and be used. It was very refreshing to do something I used to get to do all of the time and LOVED doing when I was in college. I know a lot of people hate it, but I love public speaking. I realize sharing this runs the risk of sounding vain, because why would someone love public speaking unless they just loved the spotlight? Well, I am not sure how to explain it without running the risk of sounding full of myself. Nonetheless. . . attempt I shall. I am not good at a ton of awesome things and that is okay with me, but one thing I feel blessed to be able to do is to compose my thoughts into written and spoken word. So when I get the opportunity for God to prove His awesomeness to me once again by empowering me and using me to speak eloquently and powerfully, I just think it is incredible. It isn't me. It is totally Him. And every time He does it I feel alive, changed, renewed, valued. God is so good. I am so unworthy. Yet, I get to be a tool in His hands. There isn't anything better in or out of this world.
 It was also just SO good for Lee & I to step away from things a little bit & for Lee to get to spend some really good time with Lydia. I loved how much quality time they got together & I think they got to know each other a little bit better through it all. Not that they do not know each other of course, but I am the fortunate one who gets to spend every day with her while he earns money to support us. So it was just good time for them to spend one-on-one without mom around while I was with the girls. Also, for a little history, Lee was at Hartland Summer Camp when I went into Labor 5 weeks early. For details on that you can read our birth story. So, being back at Hartland was special to Lee, and we made it a priority to see Bob. Bob is the director at Hartland and He is the amazing man who went and found Lee to tell him he was having a baby. To which Lee responded, "yeah I know." (as in, yes in a month we are having a baby). And Bob said "No, you're having a baby right now! She is at a 9!" Bob then proceeded to drive Lee down the mountain himself at a record breaking pace. Lee even asked to stop once to throw up. :) Lee made it just in time. I mean JUST in time... like 15 minutes before she was in our arms! Bob then went and let our dogs out of the house and fed them, and got our carseat in the car for us and brought the car to the hospital. What a good man! So this called for a formal meeting and a photo!
 This was our last stop before hitting the road home to complete our mini vacation(S) weekend. You know, normally I would hate the thought of all that driving, but the whole trip was actuallly REALLY awesome. It was also really neat to go on my first family vacation where I am the mom. So surreal and so amazing. I love my little family. Thank you God for blessing me so much!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

the satisfaction of DIY

The last 6 or 7 months of my life have been a lot about learning to do things myself. I have really wanted to save money and make cuts in order to pay off Lee's student loans faster and save for the future.

My DIY (oh as in Do It Yourself) adventures so far have included learning how to (or just doing):

Cloth diaper
Make baby food
Make baby bows
Make laundry detergent
Setting up our clothes line to hang dry clothes outside

Cloth diapering has been a crazy great success! I am not always loving the whole 'solids' element of diapers now, but it is totally survivable.

Sewing definitely still needs some work. I am having issues with the bottom thread getting really bunched up. I have changed the tension and the length, put in a new needle, and I have cleaned the machine. But maybe I need to get some oil? I changed out all of the thread and put a new bobbin in, too. It worked for about 6 inches and then it bunched up again. Any advice?? I am so frustrated, because I am right in the middle of a cute project and really want to finish it. I keep googling for tips, but not have been helpful so far. I was going to pick up machine oil at walmart and they didn't have any. bah. I guess I'll have to grab some sometime when I'm in Fresno or Visalia. grr.

Making baby food has been something super self-satisfying. I know exactly what is in her food and I feel good making a big, affordable batch and freezing it accordingly. I have the best book and I totally recommend it:
This book is jam packed with helpful tid-bits. It guides you through what is appropriate for your baby to eat at each month and it gives great instructions on how to make it. It also includes a great section on produce: when they are in season, how to pick out a good piece of produce, how to prepare it, how old a baby has to be to eat it cooked or raw, how long it can be stored in the freezer or refrigerator, and recipes.
There is also a section on Super Baby Pooridge. This is kind of like rice cereal, but you are using whole grains such as organic brown rice, millet, pearl barley, et cetera. These things (especially millet) are super super good for you.
I am going to try to give her enough super pooridge that she will still be eating it as she gets older. I mix it with fruit and sometimes her veggies to give it a little bit more flavor. I think she likes it.
The whole process is pretty simple. I won't explain it all on here unless anyone is interested (but really I would still recommend the book). I grind the grains until they are a powder. I boil water. I add the powder to the water and stir continuously. TA DA! Super baby pooridge. I can store the powder in the fridge for a month, and cooked pooridge only lasts 3 or 4 days in the fridge, but I can freeze the pooridge, too. For veggies, I cook as instructed and puree it using my handy dandy Magic Bullet, which I also use to grind the grains. Then I put the purreed veggies into ice cube trays and freeze them. Once they are frozen I pop the cubes out into zip lock bags, label them, and toss them back in the freezer. This takes up less space then the trays and frees up my trays to make other things.

Making baby bows is not difficult and yet it is. Maybe because I am a perfectionist it seems it can take a little extra time to get that bow looking just right! But I have some good how-tos and in my free time (haha-free time?) I take a wack at some bows. I wish I had more time to work on this, but until the masters is done, there just isn't a lot of that time flowing around. It would be simpler if you didn't have to get all 'set-up' to craft. If making bows were kind of like blogging, and I could just take a seat during nap time and churn a couple out, then I would! Instead, I'll blog about it. :)

Making laundry detergent is incredibly easy. I just did it for the first time a couple weeks ago. Really I will be saving tons of money AND the detergent I make is safe on my diapers, too. So that is a huge PLUS! I literally make 10 gallons worth of detergent for approximately $2 or $3. No, I am not kidding you. Here is a link to the recipe, just scroll down until you find the instructions for liquid or powder detergent (whichever you prefer):

Yes it is from the Duggar Family website as in the 19 and counting show. The family with 19 children. Hey, that lady can save some money!

The clothes line is something I am particularly excited about. I bought 50 feet of the coated wire I needed for $5.25. But before I could string it up on the posts that were already in my back yard, I had to hack away the bush and part of the orange tree that had grown over the posts. I didn't have the best tools at my disposal, so I had to use a hand saw. Boy was that some work!!
This is some of the debris I had to saw off
And this was the finished product!
Trimming the orange tree was totally okay, because it gets trimmed back every summer anyways, and is huge! So no worries friends, I did not hurt the tree or cut it back too much. Just had to trim back enough to expose the post again.
I am excited about this for a few reasons. 1) It is good for the environment. Because I cloth diaper, I use more water than I would if I used disposable. This is unfortunate. Too make up for it, I am going to use less energy by line drying instead of using the dryer. Thus, cloth diapering allows me to decrease waste and energy used. 2) I can save some money each month by lowering our utility bill when I don't use the dryer. yahoo; and 3) I love being outside. Lydia enjoys sitting on a blanket and watching me while I have a few moments of what feels sort of therapeutic to me as I hang clothes or diapers on the line.

So. There you have it. Those have been my DIY projects. I have not perfected them, but I am enjoying them.

Uh oh. I hear the little one telling me she is done with nap time. Until next time!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Do the daddy dance!

Lee is a great dad.

A few favorite things that dad does:
Flies her in the air. This is a lot of work for dad to do for long periods of time with our little heavy weight, but she absolutely loves it.
Fake laughs. You would be surprised just how much she loves this. Lee looks ridiculous of course, but it always gets a giggle-or straight up belly laugh-out of our little princess.
Sings to her. I always get a kick out of hearing Lee either A)Make up his own random songs that don't make any sense, or B) Lee acting out his secret fantasy of being in BoysIIMen. His pitch may be off most of the time, but Lydia adores every imperfect note.
The Daddy Dance. Lydia loves when dad stands her up on his legs, puts his hands around her middle, and twists her little hips around like she is dancing. She bounces and wiggles as he does it really fast and says rhythmically, "Do the daddy dance. Do the daddy dance."

A couple daddy mishaps:
Putting her clothes on backwards. What?! The buttons on my shirts go in the front.
Asking, "She can have a grape can't she?" Hmm... can you say choking hazard? And this is why Lee has to run it by me before he puts anything in her mouth. :) He means well.

Daddy has been busy a lot lately. There have been lots and lots of meetings, activities, events, et cetera. Us girls were prepared for him to be gone every night this week. So last night when he took off to go to football practice for the Alumni Football game we were not upset. But when he showed back up about 15 minutes later we were shocked! Our sweet dad decided he should be at home with his 'sick' (allergies and teething-double bummer) little girl. We were so grateful. Thanks dad for all you do--and thanks for putting us first last night even if it meant a sacrifice of something you enjoy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Asking for directions

The other day I decided kind of last second to drive to Visalia to hit Joann's the craft store. It was on a Sunday otherwise I totally would have hit Hobby Lobby, too. It was one of those days where I didn't feel like having the radio on. Lydia decided to take a little nap during the drive so things were quiet.

Lee and I have a lot going on so I decided to spend some time in prayer. I thanked the Lord for all He has done in our lives and for His greatness. I asked for His guidance and wisdom for life decisions and paths.

A short time later my mind jumped to a memory: while my mother was visiting she ran to Visalia to run some errands. My mother is such a trooper dashing around all over Fresno, Reedley, and Visalia having never been here before. While she was in Visalia her cell phone died and her GPS stopped working. Uh-oh! So she stopped somewhere and asked for directions to a Best Buy so she could get some help with her GPS. As I thought about that somehow my mind jumped to times when I have asked for directions or information from a gas station or fast food worker and actually forget to listen to and internalize what they were telling me. Yes. I have actually done this.

Then it hits me: Wasn't I praying a little while ago?

Then the bigger part hits me: How often do I ask God for directions and don't really listen to or internalize what He tells me?

What a shame that I have access to the One with the power and the wisdom to create and shape the Universe and humankind and yet when I ask Him a question I so often get too distracted to hear the answer.

Denver Re-Cap

Our time in Denver was absolutely wonderful! The weather was pretty great, but the friends were fabulous!
It was so wonderful meeting and holding little Alexandria "Lexi" and it was such a blessing to spend quality time with her mother Amanda
and my other dear friend Erica.
There wasn't anything special in particular that we did. We just spent time together--laughing, fellowshipping, and sharing with one another. My dear friends have the most wonderful and helpful husbands and it was an honor to see these godly men taking such good care of people that mean so much to me.

Here are some photos of our wonderful time together!

Lydia was actually born smaller than Alexandria, but I am sure for some that would be hard to believe!

Lydia sure did love Erica and would get excited when she saw her at the end of the day after she had been working.

When our plane landed in Denver (after that crazy day! *see previous post) I had a text from my sister Jennifer saying her and mom had decided to drive to Denver on Sunday and drive home on Tuesday. What a treat it was to see them. I miss my family every day so it was such a blessing to see my mom, my sister Jennifer, and her two youngest Clark (4) and Emrie (9 1/2 months at the time).
Clark really enjoyed getting to meet Lexi. He even asked when he would get to see her again after they got back to Kansas. Such a sweet kid.
And of course, Emrie Jo & Lydia Jane got to reunite. Emrie is definitely a bit tougher than LJ. She is the youngest of 4 afterall. So Lydia had a lot to learn about playing tough. :)

It was a wonderful trip and I look forward to seeing all of these beautiful people again (hopefully soon!)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

one of our many adventures

This whole 'flying' thing isn't new to me, or to Lydia for that matter. So I really wasn't anxious when we decided to fly from LAX to Denver to see our friends Erica and Amanda, and the newest addition Alexandria.

We left Bakersfield at 8am, not a minute behind schedule! I was so proud of myself for getting out of the door on time. We grabbed some breakfast on the road and rolled up to the Southwest ticketing counter with plenty of time to get through security and get to our gate. Everything was going so smoothly. When we got to the gate we saw the unfortunate, but not too disheartening, news that our flight was delayed. There was a long line of people trying to get info and I waited in the line for a while, but then gave up knowing they probably weren't telling people much, and what could they really do for me. I decided to sit and wait for them to announce something over the speaker.
(just to clarify--there are empty seats around me in these pictures because I took them very early in the "waiting game" when I left the busy area to go nurse Lydia. The area where I waited for my flight was total mayhem. Okay, maybe not mayhem... but it was pretty busy!)

There was no announcement for the longest time. I fed Lydia some sweet potatoes, changed her diaper, grabbed some lunch and then finally got a text message from southwest saying we would be leaving at 1:50. Only 70 minutes past our schedule departure time. Too bad we hadn't even reached our departure time yet, but that was okay.

Still the screen by our gate read Denver>Delayed. The screen next to it, for our same gate, read Tuscon>2:15.

In the corner area that my gate was at there were 4 Southwest gates. EVERY gate was delayed, and because of the delay for the first flights, the following flights were also delayed. This meant that at every gate there were 2 flights trying to get out of it. This means that there were EIGHT planes' worth of people crammed into this area waiting for their flights to leave. It was so crowded. I haven't been in a crowded airport scene like that in a long while.

As 1:50 neared I got a little concerned. How on earth would they get our plane out at 1:50 and the Tuscon flight out at 2:15? AND the screen still offered no info for the Denver flight nor had they made an announcement. Very strange.

People began lining up around 2:00, but I still had not hear an announcement about Denver and the screen still read Denver>Delayed, Tuscon>2:15. I sat crowded in between all of the other waiting passengers as the fortunate Tuscon passengers loaded and left. I waited in anticipation for news on the Denver flight. Finally, a man walked up to the screen and started messing with the Denver information. Yay!! I watched excitedly and then suddenly the screen went blank and he walked away. He had just DELETED Denver! I hustled to the counter. . .

"Excuse me, I've been waiting for the Denver flight and you just deleted it."

The man looked at me confused.

"Umm.. that flight just closed."

"Excuse me?"

"The Denver flight just left at 2:15."

I couldn't help it, my mouth dropped open and I felt my eyes burning with frustrated tears. While the 'wait' may seem short and easy in this blog post, I left out quite a bit of "time" spent entertaining Lydia and trying not to go stir crazy.

"But.. the screen behind you says the 2:15 flight was for Tuscon."

He looks behind him. "Oh. Well. . . that was the Denver flight."

He did genuinely look sad for me, but what was I supposed to do!? He said to run down to this other gate and get on the list for standby.

With tears in my eyes, (yes, I am a frustrated cry-er), I made a mad dash through the Los Angeles International Airport, wheeling my sporty stroller with babe in tow, dodging people and their luggage while simultaneously calling my friend Amanda to lament. I felt like a total idiot. How on earth did I miss this? How did I make such a dumb error? And where was the, "Sara Waldron this is your last call for boarding" kind of announcement?
When I got to the counter at the other gate I told Amanda I'd call her back.

They put me on the stand-by list...
... for a full flight.
... with 4 other people ahead of me on the list.

I could comprehend reality. I was not getting on this flight.

This gate was also VERY crowded. So I tucked myself in the only available corner of wall space by the bathroom and just stood there crying. I don't really know what was so wrong with me. I was overwhelmed, tired...

oh yes, let's talk about why I was tired for a moment:
We spent the night at Lee's sister's house the night before so that we would have a shorter drive the morning of. We slept on her super crappy mattress in Alyson's room (sorry Tiff, but Danny agrees-haha), it is the noisiest mattress I have ever slept on. But really, it wasn't even all that bad this time, because I was so tired. Oh but Lydia had no interest in sleeping, that or whenever our mattress would creek (bc I roll over a lot when sleeping) it would wake her. So every 45 minutes to an hour she would wake, I would console her. I think I probably tried nursing her half awake several times just to try and get her to sleep. I couldn't even remember in the morning because I had been so tired. But when she WAS actually sleeping all of the sudden something is beeping in the room. I woke up confused and thought maybe it was my alarm going off on my phone (even though my alarm sounds nothing like that). I ask Lee and he says he thinks it is a stop watch and it will go off soon. sigh. wonderful. It does go off... eventually. Then at another point during sleep, somewhere aroung 4:30am I think, the stereo comes on playing music. What!? Once again I awake thinking it must be that my alarm has miraculously switched to playing music. I ask Lee. He says it is the stereo. I say, "Well, are we going to turn it off." I was holding Lydia so couldn't do anything about it. He grunts and gets up to turn it off. After Lydia waking up at 5:30 and then 6, I laid in bed reading someone's blog and then just got up at 6:30. So.... it helped in getting me out the door in time, but did not help to prevent feeling exhausted.

Where were we? Oh yes, crying in the corner by the bathroom, totally exhausted, totally humiliated.

A sweet older woman came and placed her hand on my shoulder, "Are you okay miss?"
"Oh yes, I am. I just missed my flight and I want to get where I am going and I am tired of being in the airport."

It was now 3pm. This flight would be leaving at 3:50. I got to the airport that morning at 10:15am. Five hours at the airport isn't that long, I guess, but it felt plenty long enough.

I fed Lydia a jar of baby food, nursed her, and filled in all of the necessary individuals about my status. My sister Jennifer made a very valid point to me that maybe I wasn't supposed to be on that flight. She reminded me that sometimes we don't know what God spares us from by delaying us in life with inconveniences.
For example: hitting every red light when you're late, or having to run back inside because you forgot something. I believe that sometimes God uses these things to help us to avoid other greater tragedies. Of course, these aren't things we can know, but I still believe He does it.
OR, maybe someone on the standby list for my intended flight REALLY needed to be on that plane and they wouldn't have had I claimed my seat. Maybe they were trying to get to the hospital bedside of a loved one or make it in time for a special event. Who knows? It is possible.
So I took a deep breath and tried to set my humiliation and disappointment aside.
Meanwhile everyone was praying for a miracle to get me on this plane.

I was hopeful... and yet, I also refused to hope. If I did not get on this flight I would be on the 5:50 flight.
As all of the ticketed passengers boarded I said yet another small prayer:

"Lord, I trust you that I was not supposed to be on that flight and I thank you. I know it is really unlikely that I will get on this flight and that is okay. I can wait until the next flight. But, Lord, if you want to work a tiny miracle in this small, unimportant area of my life by getting me on this flight, I would be so extremely grateful."

The woman at the counter began calling stand-by names. I couldn't believe it.
Still, she would have to get through four.

Then, all of the sudden, she said my name!
I went up to the counter and asked, "For this flight?"
When she said yes and handed me a ticket, boy was I a sight! I said to her "Oh thank you Jesus! It's a miracle!"
I set Lydia on the ground, started grabbing my things off of the stroller and folded it up. It wasn't my most graceful moments, but I was getting on that flight! I fumbled down the on ramp while Lydia, being a good sport, smiled through it all even though I was barely holding on to her with one arm as she slid down my side.

When I was walking to baggage claim in Denver, I heard over the load speaker "Jane Doe, if you do not report to the counter your seat will be given to someone on standby. Jane Doe, this is your last boarding call."

I just laughed. I won't ever be able to explain how it happened. I have no idea how I missed a flight that I was sitting at the gate for. But it doesn't matter. I got to Denver and I got there exactly how I was supposed to.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Many Memories Heart Valentine's Day Card
Unique party invitations and announcements by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.
I love shutterfly! They are great for prints, canvas wraps, cards, and more. This is the valentine's card I made to send to our family.

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day Everyone!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

props to {LEW}

Marriage is a funny and wonderful thing. There is so much learning to be done--and from what I hear, we will always be learning. However, the amount of learning you are forced to do that first year or two certainly has to be more than in any other years. I mean, learning to live with someone is...well... a lot of work at times.

Lee and I definitely have our moments. There are times and conversations we look back on from the first year of our marriage and find ourselves laughing at how ridiculous we were. "Did I really say that?!" and "I can't believe I thought that way!" are comments made often when we reflect at some of the selfish and unloving ways we acted. Yet at the time we were so sure we were right.

This blog isn't really about all those hard/learning times. This blogs is a props to you, Lee Edward Waldron. We are really fortunate to live across the street from where Lee works. So, every day (unless there is a meeting or he visits a school) Lee comes home for lunch. We love this time with Lee. It is so nice to break up his daily absence with a little visit from him. Lydia Jane & I look forward to it all morning. During the past couple weeks Lee has been doing the dishes while he is home on his lunch break. I always tell him he doesn't have to, but he says he wants to. And in the evening after dinner he is the first to jump up and do them again. It is really nice I must confess. After doing the juggling act of baby care, laundry, lunch and dinner prep, (homework somewhere in between), and just general life, it is really nice to have the dishes done for me. Some day we'll have a machine that does it, but right now my "dishwasher" is Lee and I couldn't be more grateful. Yes, I still do dishes, but he does the majority of it. And this little daily act speaks volumes of love to me!

Lee has no fear about blurring the stereo-typical man/woman roles in the home. He is happy to help cleaning up, folding laundry, or whatever life in a home demands.

I am an extremely blessed woman.
props to you {Lee}. i love you.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

blooming bows

So... I get $5 to spend at blooming bows by posting this to my blog. So I am!
BUT they are totally worth sharing anyways. For every $10 you spend you get $1 credit in the form of 10 points. $1 spent = 1 point. 10 points = $1 free to spend. For posting to the blog you get 50 points ($5) and for "liking" them on facebook you get 30 points ($3). That's $8! Almost a whole baby headband.

So, no, they aren't the cheapest ones you can get. But the ones someone gave me for Lydia are 4 months to 4 years. They are so soft and big and beautiful. You see them in lots of her pictures. Such as this one:


Lydia Jane is wearing the Grosgrain Headband.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fear V. Green

I like to "go green." I am not the best at it, I am not an extremist, I could definitely do better. But I try.

I like to recycle.
Cloth diaper. (this does use water that would be saved if I used disposable.. well you can't win 'em all)
Turn off the water while brushing my teeth.
Unplug things.
Buy products made from recycled fibers and materials over those that are not.
Reduce. Re-use. Et cetera.

When Lee is gone every light in the house is on day and night.
Okay not every light.
But, if we're being honest here, I am afraid of the dark. (even when Lee is here). I can hardly stand to walk in to a dark house so if I am leaving and going to be coming home after it is dark I leave the porch light on, a lamp in the living room, the kitchen light, and the light in the stairwell on. I know--it is definitely not green friendly. For this I apologize. Yet despite the greatest argument when it comes down to going green vs facing the dark & hopefully empty house by myself I'd like to be able to see... so fear wins. So very sorry earth. I'll do my best to make up for it somehow. 

A week without a shower?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Six months of wonderful

Wow. I've been a mom for half a year already?
Lydia Jane was sixth month olds on January 20.
We haven't mastered sitting up yet, but we are getting really close. Besides, as you can tell, there is quite a bit to hold up and balance so it takes a little extra effort than for those skinny babies. ;)
At her six month check up she weighed in at 19lbs 8 oz! (with a cloth diaper on, just fyi)
This weight is in the 95th percentile of her age.
But she is only 25 1/4 inches long. I was 23 1/2 inches long at birth!
Her height is only in the 25th percentile.
It's okay to laugh. I sure did.
She is definitely our child--we aren't surprised she is short. And I am sure she won't be chubby forever. At least for now it is totally cute!
However, my back could stand her weight gain to slow down just a little bit. Not that I can complain too much. I mean, carrying her around is probably how I weigh less than I did when we got married. Such a sport helping me out like that. ;)

Anyways, all "almost 20lbs" of her is just perfect in every way. And the past 6 months with her have been full of wonderful & I wouldn't trade a single minute for anything in the world.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Everybody has their passion

The past few years have been teaching me something I believe to be of great importance: the understanding that most things are relative.

For instance, there is not one way to parent all children that is the right way. Every child is different and unique and has different needs, functions a different way, and responds to parenting and discipline differently. This is just one example of many.

Why is this such an important lesson to learn? Well, because it is important to remember both when at the receiving end of harsh criticism and when tempted to stand on a pedestal in order to criticize another. There are so many things people are passionate about: education, home schooling v. public v. private, drinking, dancing, breast-feeding, vaccinations, birth, tithing, diet, exercise, work, achievements, going green, saving money, and on and on and on. To some of these things and others there may be a universal "right". Even then, many biblical principles have undergone scrutiny to support various interpretations. So to some extent, even though many opinions may be supported with scientific research, they all have relative elements.

The reality is we all have our convictions. Mine? Well, I'd have to say I am very passionate about natural birth. In fact, it was the journey of learning all about birth and then experiencing it myself that I realized in some cases I have become that annoying person who talks about it all the time and possibly makes people feel insulted or offended. Of course I know there are times when intervention is absolutely necessary, I just have a great deal of distrust for many of the reasons doctors give for "needing" intervention and feel research supports that. HOWEVER, my convictions are my own. They are not someone elses. And I have to be careful to not push this convictions on others. Why is this so hard? I realized it is because when we become passionate about something and we study it thoroughly a whole new world is opened up to us. I felt/feel so empowered by the things I have learned about natural birth and vaginal birth after cesarean. Often times I want to share this information with women for their benefit. For example I feel like the majority of women have no clue as to the option of having vaginal birth after cesarean. I want them to know! Not because I think I am almighty, but because I think it is important and good for them and their baby. Does that make my motive selfish or haughty? I would argue no.

What is the point of all this? The point is that I put myself in the shoes of others who, at time, have a mouth-full ;) to share with me. They are just sharing with  me something they are passionate about, have studied and researched--something they feel so sure about that they want to share it with others. (Of course I am not saying there aren't some people who are just trying to shove their opinions on everyone. :) In general, though, I think people just want to share some of their great epiphanies with others because it means so much to them that they found it.

I am probably never going to stop talking about how amazing natural birth is or encourage women to do it themselves. Will I annoy some people? Maybe. But I sure hope not. I hope I can learn the balance of sharing my enjoyment and passion for it without thrusting it on other people, offending them, or making them feel inferior. We are all entitled to our passions and convictions whatever they may be. And I have to remember this when someone's conviction conflicts with my own or when I am not sure how to respond to what someone is sharing with me, or when I feel offended or inferior when hearing someone else's convictions and passions.

I am blogging about this because it is something I am learning so much about. At first I learned in it when my feelings were hurt as others "criticized" my own choices. Choices I felt so sure of--so passionate about. Then I realized maybe they weren't trying to criticize as much as they were just trying to share their perspective and opinion that means something so deep and personal to them. It has been an important lesson for me to learn because it enables me to be at peace with people who have different convictions then my own. And well, when the convictions aren't Heaven or Hell issues, I think they are worth being at peace over.

Wow. Does any of this make any sense?

Crying to be held

Lydia Jane is a very content baby. In fact, I would have to say I am very spoiled with how easy she can be to soothe or keep happy. However, she does have her moments.

These moments usually occur when I lay her down to change her diaper when she doesn't really feel like being laid down. Sometimes she squeels and coos in delight and enjoyment while I change her diaper. Other times she is screaming and crying. I am not sure what she is thinking in these moments. Is she frustrated? Does she think I am not listenin or I don't care? Is she just down right ticked off that I laid her down when that isn't what she wanted? Is she sad? I don't know if I'll ever know the real reason. It is probably a different one each time she gets this way. All I know is that after I speedily snap her onesie and pull up her bottoms, I scoop her up in my arms and all is well again.

I can't lie. It feels pretty good to have her "fix all" be resting in my arms.

Yesterday when this happened I said to her with a kiss on the head "Goodness Lydia, all of those tears and all that fuss just to be held." And then I thought to myself, 'goodness, who hasn't had a good cry just begging to be held?' A million images flooded my brain of times spent sitting in the middle of the floor holding a good friend in tears, being held myself, crying alone, being broken hearted, crying out to God to just reach out and hold me or someone I love. All this to say, it made me thankful that God designed us to be relational. To need Him. To need others. To just need to be held sometimes.

When I hold Lydia close to me and all her tears cease and I know she is deeply comforted and genuinely happy to be there in my arms, I realize that I have a tiny glimpse of how satisfying it is to our Heavenly Father when we fall into His embrace and let resting in His arms be more than enough. The Father must feel so loved and honored when we do this. At least I hope He does. Because when Lydia just wants me so much that the only thing to stop her tears is to be held by me, well, I feel like the most loved person in the whole world.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

O Holy December

Once again I have allowed too much time to pass between blogs. It isn't that I don't think about blogging, I think about it a lot. If you know me you know I always have something to say. Nonetheless, December is busy--I am busy.
Every time I thought about blogging during my two weeks in Kansas I put it off. I didn't want to take the time to blog and load pictures when I could be spending the time with my family.
So for the sake of breaking my month long sabbatical from blogging, here are my Christmas thoughts.

This was my first Christmas as a mother of my beautiful baby girl. Just last December I started blogging for the first time because we had just found out we were pregnant and I decided "Well... if I am going to have a baby I better get a blog started." And here I am, a year later, (with a 5 month old at Christmas) and now almost 6 months old (on Jan 20). Motherhood gave me a new lens to look at Christmas through. Including the traditional Christmas hymns and carols. I've been meaning to blog about this since a week before Christmas, so I apologize for the delay, however, I never think it is a bad time of year to reflect on the amazement of Christ's birth.

I have two favorite Christmas songs (this is the first time I have had any favorite Christmas songs). The first is O Holy Night.

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;

Reflect on these words with me.  Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till he appeared and the sould felt its worth. An event so powerful and so meaningful it was felt deep in the soul. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices. This is my favorite line. The weary world rejoices. Imagine how weary the people of the world were when that promise they had heard of for so long had yet to be born? Think of how weary we can be, how weary things seem, especially in light of yesterday's tragic events in Arizona. Hope. A thrill of HOPE. For a weary world. Fear not, have hope, for oh how divine was the promising night of Christ's birth.

My other favorite Christmas Song is "O Come, All Ye Faithful"

Oh, come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant!
Oh, come ye, oh, come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him
Born the king of angels:
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.

As I sat holding Lydia Jane at the church Christmas concert, I listened to these words in a brand new light. Oh come let us adore him! Isn't this so true to how we still respond to babies being born? When someone has a baby, people stop them in church, come to their home, even strangers in public stop to 'ooh' and 'ahh', essentially they are asking, "Please, for a moment may we stop and adore this precious baby?" Christ came as a perfectly precious and wonderful baby. We sing this song as if it were the night Christ was born, and if it were, we would come from the ends of the earth begging, "Please, let us adore the baby king.Our Savior, born a tiny precious baby, I want to to stare at Him."

I encourage you throughout the year and especially during Christmas 2011, to really internalize the songs we sing so frequently. Don't miss out on the incredible Truth in these long ago written poems and hymns. They so beautifully express earnest, faithful hearts, seeking after The King born in a manger.