Monday, April 30, 2007

#3's baptism and my most recent painting project

Remember to paint or not to paint? Well, I compromised. I had planned to paint the entire family room, fireplace mantle and fireplace bricks. I only painted the mantle and bricks. But I was really excited with the difference. Brick is really porous and soaks up a ton of paint! The bricks took forever to paint. Sorry, I didn't take a before shot. The mantle was natural wood color. The brick was brownish red. Now the colors fit the room a little better.
The baptism and luncheon were so sweet. #3 was in the mood for a party in her honor! She smiled, giggled, played with her little friend, let everyone hold her, and ate her first cracker and icing. At church, she gave the entire congregation a laugh. She stared up and batted her eyes at our associate pastor. No smile, not serious, just content to be the center of attention and very pensive. Then when he POURED water over her head, she did the same. Batted her eyelashes and stared contently up at him. We have a close relationship with him and his entire family and I think I heard him choke up a little, but maybe not. :) I know I had to wipe away a tear or two.
As we prayed at lunch at our house, I remembered all God has carried us through in the process of bringing her into our lives. I remembered our miscarriage and how that baby would have been a year old right now. I remembered how nervous I was when I was pregnant with her. I remembered the day I found out that she was a girl. I remember her birth. And I was so full of praise! I have a daughter! And she is part of God's covenant family through us. She is not a believer, but she is enjoying the fruits of our belief (and unfortunately the disadvantages of our unbelief and unfaithfulness at times, too!). I feel so honored and blessed to have her in our family. What a delight to be praying for her salvation and to watch in awe as our family, friends, and church Body walk along with us and help us point her to our Savior! Strong, beautiful, little girl! I love her so much!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

To paint or not to paint

The past couple of days have not been glorious. I am being my usual perfectionistic, crazy, idealistic self trying to get some "important" projects accomplished before Sunday. On Sunday #3 will be baptized. We are having 20-30 friends and family over to our house after church for a luncheon. I seem to have the bad habit of taking a simple luncheon or dinner party and turning it into an opportunity to majorly overhaul the house. A few new plants or a new tablecloth, fine. But why do I set these crazy goals? I have neurotically been gardening, painting kitchen hinges and touching up cabinet paint, and cleaning the carpet. Yesterday I decided that the pool needed to be "opened" because it is in view of our deck where people will be seated. We have a lovely view of woods, trails and flowers, and then there is the green, gunky water and leaf filled pool cover. So for several hours yesterday afternoon I was out sucking water and leaves off of the top of the cover with the shop vac and buckets and a net. Not a fun job.

Later that night I took the kids to the library. #1 wants to get the gold award for his reading program at school. He decided that he could meet the first grade requirements instead of the kindergarten requirements like his other classmates. That would have been perfectly reasonable except that the other children began reading last June and we did not start until march 23rd. He has to read 60 books to me, and I have to read 60 books to him from the school's book list. He has read all 60. I have 30 to Tuesday!! So we were at the library checking out the last 30. The boys were running around pulling out the I Spy and Eric Carle collection, the baby was dangling and flopping in the Baby Bjourn and I was sweating. As we went back to the car and I opened the trunk to heave the books in and hurry home for bedtime, I realized that my stroller was missing. ugggg...I had left it at the park earlier. How silly!! I managed to unpack everything, throw away the trash that always collects in the stroller basket, and then proceed to leave my stroller right there in the parking lot! We drove 20 minutes back to the park at almost 8 pm, no stroller! And then I stopped at Dairy Queen for milkshakes. Sugar + bedtime= frustration!

My man helps with youth group on Wednesday nights. Wednesday at bedtime is always crazy. Sometimes I am brushing teeth with a hungry baby breastfeeding, simultaneously. Last night was no exception. When I got all of the critters in bed it was 9:00. I had planned to start the last project on my list, the doozy, the mother of all projects. I was going to begin painting the family room, including the walls, the mantle and the brick fireplace. I called my dear friend who always knows just how to comfort me when I am overwhelmed and confused. She told me to go to bed and see if I still felt overwhelmed today. I reluctantly did exactly as she suggested, thank the Lord.

So I am still paint or not to paint??

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Brotherly love

Up until the last six months, my boys have had a pretty squeaky clean relationship with one another. They have always been buddies and gotten along well. I think their close friendship has partly been due to how vastly different they are. My older son loves to read more than any other past time. My younger son loves to build (and destroy). My older son is happy to play outside. My older son is just finding a love for the outdoors, and in the past has loved his indoor toys more. There are too many difference to record in their personalities and how they approach life.

Recently my #2 has developed strong opinions. He has always been, and still is, mostly laid back in general. But he now speaks up and #1 is not used to interruptions. #2 actually has ideas of what games to play, where to play, and now he actually refuses to go last every time! (How dare he!) He gets very mad and frustrated when #1 wants to read instead of sword fight or wrestle. He refuses to believe he is "too little" to do what he wants to do anymore. After all, he IS 4 1/2 years old!

With all of the recent disagreements and new emotions, you can imagine my elation when I overheard this conversation in the car this morning:
#2: "I think I want to be you."
#1: "That's nice. But God made you to be YOU. You can only be YOURSELF!"
#2: "Okay. But I'd like to be you."

Monday, April 23, 2007


That's how long my husband was out of town! Eight LONG, SLOW days! Eight days with no smile to greet me in the morning. Eight days with no one to spoon at night. Eight days with no funny stories or jokes. Eight days with no one to share the load of carpool, bath time for the kids or discipline. Eight days feeling vulnerable without a man in the house after dark. Eight days with no one to talk to over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Eight days without looking at my best friend.

God was gracious. The kids and I fared well. We not only survived, but it was a pretty good week. The baby only woke me up twice during the seven nights that I was alone. Thank you to all of my family and friends who prayed for me. My eight days are over, and all is well!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

What does a leftie bring to our home?

A chef...
A free spirit...
An architect...

An artist. A true lover of life!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No Girls Allowed

The other night I decided after dinner to take the kiddos on a trip to Home Depot. I love roaming Home Depot almost as much as the fabric store. And of course the boys love it, too. So I had a list of 6 things to buy which just so happened to send us from one end of the store to the other. The last item on the list was needle nose pliers. I was kindof excited to save the pliers for last because that would mean we would get to go down the tool isle. I secretly love power tools!

As we turned the curve and started strolling down the isle, I could feel two men staring at me. I slowly and discreetly looked over my shoulder. I haven't seen the look that these men gave me in a long time! They were looking at me as if I had barged into the men's restroom and interrupted them! I realized quickly that the tool isle was obviously sacred to them. How dare a female parade down the tool isle! And with a baby girl wearing a pink dress and pink bow to boot! I laughed so hard I couldn't contain myself.

Monday, April 16, 2007

More thoughts on marriage

God has sortof heaped unmerited blessings on my marriage over the course of the last year or so. I've spoken before about it. But here again, He continues to graciously deepen my understanding and desire for my husband. I was speaking with a friend today who is at her wit's end with her husband. He doesn't seem to understand how she needs to be loved, and in the process of "enlightening" him, it seems she has hurt him and he is feeling inadequate. My heart was so full of sorrow as she poured out her aches and pains and frustration. I remember very vividly feeling contempt and even hatred at times for my husband years back. I remember actually asking a friend to pray that I would be able to be happy and kind when he walked in the door in the evenings. For a while, I really did not look forward to seeing him at all.

There were several things that lead to my sinfulness. I was really angry because I felt like he didn't cherish me, that he valued his work more than me, that he didn't care about what I was interested in, that he didn't really want to listen to me, etc. I am ashamed to say that there were times when I would let my mind wonder why I married him and not someone else. And worst of all, I would allow myself to fantasize about what it would have been like to be married to the guy that I dated in high school. After all, he ADORED me. Surely if I were married to him things would be different. Surely he would still be swooning when he thought of me. Surely he would not stay late at work, he would be rushing home at night to see me and listen to me and love me, just the way I needed him to love me, of course.

Now I plainly know that the idea of any human being fulfilling what I desired is a joke. I was looking to flesh to fulfill what only the Spirit of God could do. I was full of anger and disappointment and discontent. God was so gracious to be patient with me and little by little to show me my sin and His love. As I posted on August 28th, it took completely breaking us down and building us anew for me to fully have the marriage that I had always wanted.

Marriage is certainly hard. Men and women have to work hard to understand one another. We have to be basking in the true Living Water in order to be able to properly love our spouses. We have to find time and energy to do all of these things, which of course are in high demand and short supply during this stage of life. But I was reminded at Easter of the rewards. We have the great priveledge of representing the Bride and Groom in our marriages. Just as the doors were swept open on our own wedding day and our men stood at the end of the aisle with their breath taken away, that's what Christ has promised that we will do to Him when He comes to gather His church. He is so captivated by us, even in our sin, because of what He has done in restoring us through his death, that we will be presented to him pure and faultless and breath taking. My husband and I were talking about how awesome it is to have a relationship together that points to the true Marriage of Jesus and the Church! He told me the night before Easter that the whole idea makes him "intoxicated with love for me". Pretty awesome. We serve an amazing, merciful God!

"You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How delightful is your love..." Song of Songs 4:9-10a

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter worship

Easter was a beautiful time of worship for me this year because I finally gave in to the urge to watch "The Passion of Christ". I have fought the urge all this time because I did not want to visualize an actor's face when I read about Jesus, Mary or the disciples in the Bible. I felt like even though the plot followed the biblical account, that the imagery would still be a negative thing for my thought life. I was surprised when this year I felt compelled to watch the movie, even though I did so cautiously.

I am so pleasantly surprised at how I felt. As I heard Easter hymns and reflected on Jesus' death and resurrection the next morning, the movie helped me to understand deeper the pain and torment that Jesus went through for me. As I watched the scenes where he was being beaten, scourged, whipped, spit upon, I was so deeply aware of my sin and so sorrowful for it. Even though I wanted to yell through the screen and through thousands of years, "Stop beating my Savior!", I was also keenly aware that my sin was what truly crucified Him. His desire to save me from my sin held him on the cross. His love for me kept Him from walking away from the abuse. My sin drove the nails in His hands and feet. My sin was the reason He refused to rebuke the men who beat Him. He suffered the humiliation of wearing a crown of thorns while being fully God, the king of Kings. I can't tell you the deep sense of love, awe, thankfulness, and worship I feel for my Savior. I am full of humility and sorrow and joy and honor all at the same time. Praise God for his mercy and grace!
Favorite Easter song this year: "Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace", Red Mt. Church, The Gadsby Project
Come boldly to the throne of grace, ye wretched sinners come. And lay your load at Jesus' feet and plead what He has done. How can I come some soul may say? I'm lame and cannot walk. My guilt and sin have stopped my mouth I sigh but dare not talk. Come boldly to the throne of grace. You're lost and blind and lame. Jehovah is the sinner's friend and ever was the same. He makes the dead to hear His voice, He makes the blind to see. The sinner lost he came to save and set the prisoner free. Come boldly to the throne of grace, O Jesus fills the throne. And those He kills he makes alive, He hears the sigh or groan. Bankrupt souls who feel and know the hell of sin within. Come boldy to the throne of grace the Lord will take you in...take you in...take you in.

Monday, April 02, 2007

We're still celebrating!

My baby boy. He's been given faith in our Savior and he'll be in kindergarten in a few months. Where has the time gone? Here he is just a year or so ago. I just want to wrap my arms around him and never let him grow up. I like him just like he is right now.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

#2 becomes a Christian!

It has been an unforgettable day in our household. It all started when I said, "Do you know what your name means? It means 'the Lord is my salvation'." He replies, "Well Mommy means 'you are wonderfully made!'" I laughed at the sweetness in his comment. Then he asked what salvation meant. And then later he said, "I want to be a Christian." After I probed and explained and we read a little book for children that very simply and eloquently explains the gospel, my precious little boy prayed to receive Jesus as His Lord and Savior this afternoon. I will always treasure this day. Today he became a new creation. We are celebrating with Jesus and the heavenly angels today because my little son will spend an eternity in heaven and a life time here on earth walking with Jesus. What a thrill for my soul! Days like this are what parenthood is all about. Being able to share the gospel with my own flesh and blood is the biggest honor of my life. I am so full of worship and praise tonight!
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."
I Peter 2:9