Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Baby Is Getting So Big!

As I was dressing Micah today, I noticed his onesie was a little tight.  You know how it pulls down so you can see half of their chest?  Yeah, that's where we were at this morning.  So I guess it's time to put away the three to six month clothes and pull out all the bigger ones.  How did this happen so fast?  It seems like a few weeks ago when we brought him home from the hospital.  Now he's busting out of his clothes, rolling all over, sitting up on his own (briefly, mind you), and trying to crawl....seriously!  He gets up on all fours and wiggles his little butt in the air.  I remember being so worried about Will...when will he crawl?  When will he sit up?  When will he talk?  Now I'm wondering...when did he start doing that?  How is this happening so fast?  Can't you just stay little?  It's the Syndrome of the Second Kid.  It's fun to watch him grow and figure out his surroundings, but man I just want him to stay little so I can hold him longer.  I guess I just need to cherish it while it's here.  Last night after I got home from work, I held him for two hours while he slept.  Just me and him with no distractions.  It was the sweetest thing.  Thank you, God for giving me this sweet, happy boy!  Just keep him little a bit longer!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jesus, Bring the Rain

I've always liked the song Jesus Bring the Rain by Mercy Me, but when I heard it one the radio this morning it hit a lot closer to home than usual.  It made me think of all that's gone on in these past few months with Eric's cancer.  Sorry, I know that seems to be all I post about lately, but that's kinda what's going on in our lives, and well, you chose to run with us. :)  Here are the lyrics for those of you who haven't heard it:

I can count a million times
People asking me how can I
  Praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty

One thing that hit me was how true it is that I feel so much closer to God when going through a trial.  I thought the same thing when I had my miscarriage almost two years ago.  Why is that?  When things are going well in my life I have this illusion of control and peace and it's a lot easier to get through my day without being in commune with my maker.  But when I run into road blocks or circumstances seem to take a turn for the worse I begin to feel out of control (which is really the case anyway).  It's in life's trials that I feel so much closer to Him because it's in these moments I realize He's really all I have that is secure and right and good.  So why don't I, like the song says, ask for Him to bring the rain?  Plain and simple, it's fear.  Fear of the unknown, of letting go of that false sense of control, of actually seeing what He would hand to me.  But...what if it brings me closer to Him?  My perspective needs to turn eternal, and our role in eternity is to praise Him and bring Him glory.  So, "bring me anything that brings you glory...Jesus, bring the rain."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thankful For My Husband

Being without Gregg really makes me realize how much I need him.  He is such a good husband and I overlook that every day.  He helps out so much with the boys and he always the point I didn't realize how much until he's not here to do the things he does on a daily basis.  They're not earth-shattering things, but they mean so much...especially to a working mom.  Things like get Will his dinner and Micah a bath and ready for his last feeding just as I get home from work.  Things like make sure there aren't dishes everywhere when I get home.  Things like helping with the laundry...especially folding (why is that the worst part?).  He does all of this on top of working hard full time to provide for our family.  He is such a good man...and I can see him relying more on God every day.  I'm actually starting a new job in January and believe it or not he had a lot to do with that.  He saw a situation in which he thought he needed to intervene for the best interest of his family...he just did it.  Even though it was my career, he stepped up to his role as leader and decision maker for our family and just made the move.  I am so thankful for him.  I don't tell him enough.  Wish he was here so I could tell him to his face, but I think I'll do the next best thing and pick up the phone. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Without Gregg For Christmas

So I just said good-bye to my husband on Christmas Day so he could go south to be with his brother.  We found out yesterday that things have taken another turn for the worse and the cancer has most likely spread again.  This brings up so many different emotions in many that it's hard to stand my humanity...if that makes sense.  I feel anger...anger that God is doing this, anger that it's taking away my husband on Christmas, anger that I have to scramble to find childcare while he's gone and I'm a work, anger that I have a job that makes it virtually impossible for me to go as well.  I feel heart breaks for Laura - to have to go through this with a husband and at such a young age, for Landon - will he remember his father?, for Eric - I can't even begin to imagine the things going through his head right now, for Gregg and his parents.  I feel wronged - why am I the only one spending Christmas alone and why am I responsible for childcare when they're his kids, too?  See what I mean...humanity.  It's a nasty thing that takes the focus off of where it's supposed to be and puts it right where it's not...on me.  THIS IS CHRISTMAS!!!  What is it all about?  We've kidded ourselves into thinking it's about family, and kids, and cookies, and Santa, and big dinners, fill in the blank.  Even as Christians this becomes a struggle.  While those things are nice, it's NOT about those things.  This day is about God loving us SO much that he chose to send His only Son to be a savior for us.  No matter what's going on in this world, the ultimate reality is that Jesus came, lived, taught, died, and CONQUERED DEATH...why?  So that we could be with Him for eternity...IF we put our faith and trust in Him.  Big and necessary IF.  Reality is we cannot take part in this promise and be with Him if we continue to follow our own heart and fail to submit to His authority.  We have to realize and acknowledge our absolute need for Him...whatever is going on in our lives...each and every day.  And then we have to give the reigns over to Him in EVERY part of our lives. 

So as I sit here on Christmas Day with just me and my boys, I am thankful that God sent Jesus.  I am repenting of my humanity and sinful nature.  I am so glad that God chose me to be His child. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Loving Will

So we had two Christmas programs for Will last week, and all-in-all they went better than last year's.  Last year he sat up on the stage with a halo on and just shook his head back and forth.  When he got tired of that he wandered around the auditorium aimlessly.  At least this year we got a few songs out of him...but not without some mishaps.  If you know Will, you know that he does his own thing.  He has a really hard time listening and parenting is often very frustrating for us.  His behavior is something I am very self-conscious about when out in public, and subtle hints from people about ADHD don't make it any better.  We were told by one person that "God has given us a challenge."  Yes, I'm aware.  This comment hurt a little when they said it, but it's true.  Will is a gift from God just the way he is.  I have a really hard time seeing it that way and I really hate to say it as a mom, but sometimes I have a hard time loving him when we're dealing with harder behavioral issues.  I have such a fear of how other people look at us with Will that I focus only on that...Do other people think we're good parents?  What do they think when my child won't listen to me?  I compare him to other kids and I compare Gregg and myself to other parents.  I loose sight of the bigger picture and the true gift that he is.  One mom in my MOPS group said it best - "just love him."  (She was talking about her husband, but it applies here, too.)  Yes, Will is a challenge, but he is a challenge that God chose to give us specifically.  So I'm learning to love him for who he is...just as he is.  Does that mean I'm going to just sit back and let him do whatever.  Not at all.  But I am going to be more intentional about loving him even through the hard times, and focusing on showing Jesus to him instead of wondering what the people sitting in the next pew think of my parenting skills.  Amidst all of this, God still gives us precious moments.  Due to freezing rain, canceled appointments, and baby naps, Will and I got a good solid 30 minutes of snuggle time this morning.  I can't remember the last time that happened, and I am truly thankful for it.

Eating his antlers before the program.

Doing the Reindeer Pokey. (On of the cooperative moments.)

 The not-so-cooperative moments.
Saying his lines as a donkey. "Clop, clop, clop."

Then moments later eating his donkey nose.  Man, I love this kid.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Guess Who's Mobile...Sort Of

Micah has been rolling for weeks...just once or twice...back to belly, belly to back.  But just within the last few days or so, he's kind of figured out that he can get places by rolling.  So he's never in one spot anymore.  Gone are the days where I can set him on a blanket with a toy and make dinner.  Nope.  Now he's across the room before I can turn on my burner.  I find him all sorts of places now.  Yesterday I found him sucking on the leg of the coffee table (gross!), today wedged up against the wall in our room.  As I sit here writing this he's found his way over the ottoman and is now stuck!  So out came the baby gate so he doesn't go rolling down the stairs.  

Him rolling all over my floor also means I have to vacuum more...stink!  It's amazing how much dust and dirt accumulates in one day!  Oh, well.  Gives me incentive to clean, and  Lord knows I need incentive.  BUT, him rolling all over also means I have leverage to get new carpet sooner (mostly joking...mostly.  It is purple, you know).  This kid spits up a lot, so now instead of a little pile of puke on his blanket, there is a little trail of puke leading from point A to B.  We'll see...I suppose if we replace it too soon, we'll just have puke on the new carpet.  Either way, watching him figure out his new set has been fun.  Will never figured out the rolling thing.

On another note, one of Will's favorite things to do is play hide-and-seek.  Problem is he only has one hiding place...makes the game go by much more quickly!
He thought Micah needed to play, too so he pestered me until I let him put him in his favorite hiding spot (with some protection, of course).
He looks amused, doesn't he?  That's all for now.  Gotta rescue the littlest man from the ottoman!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Not Really Feeling Much Like Christmas

Well, I finally decided it was time to put the tree up.  This is the first year that Will was interested in helping, so it made it a little more fun.  He wanted to put the lights on the tree...only problem was he thought he could just take the wad of lights and place them on the tree...doesn't work quite like that, bud.  Oh, well.  Also, while I was making my mess putting up the tree...
...he was making a mess of his own in the living room... as usual I have to pick up after two people.  Oh, the joys of being a mom.  :)

I must say that I wasn't even sure I was going to put up the tree this year.  It doesn't really feel all that much like Christmas around here.  As many of you know Gregg's brother Eric was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer earlier this year.  He was making awesome strides towards recovery, and to be honest I think we kind of just expected him to be cancer free at the screening he had earlier this week.  Sadly, this was not the case.  Tuesday we found out that the current chemo regimen had become for the most part ineffective and there was new growth in other areas.  Not really the news we were hoping for. 

As much as this news pains me, it is ten times worse for Gregg.  This is his brother...his only brother.  I can't even begin to imagine all the things that are going through his head right now.  He's very quiet...doesn't say much.  I don't know how much I should try to get him to talk, and if I did get him talking, I don't really know what to do or say to comfort him.  We know God can take this away.  We also know that may not be His will, although we will never know why if that's the case.  And I'm not really sure if we've really come to terms with this reality...or if we need to at this point.  Is it okay to not even think of this as an option right now?  We believe...truly believe that God can heal him.  We go to God with confidence in Eric's behalf...with confidence God will do what we ask Him to do.  Do we really have to exercise the thought He might not do it?

My first reaction to this news was anger, and the same thoughts and questions that arose when we first got news of the cancer surfaced again.  It seems so unfair, God.  Why would you do this to someone so young, with so much of his life ahead of him, with a new wife, with a new baby?  WHY?  I don't know the answers to these questions.  I don't even know if I should be asking them.  So I've been thinking about all these things and going back and forth between anger and peace.  I think of Deuteronomy 29:29: "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of His law."  He may not choose to reveal to us all the Why's here, but we can be confident in the things He has revealed to us...His promises.  His promise that if we confess our sin, acknowledge Him as Lord and our only hope in this world, then we will be with Him forever.  He tells us that, "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Rom 10:13)  Our health is something that we take for granted, but the truth is it's not a sure thing.  But if we have a saving faith in Jesus Christ, He will never leave us or forsake us.  And that we can have true confidence in.

So I did get the tree up.  If all of this has done nothing else, it has truly made me remember why we really celebrate this time of year.  Thank you, God for sending your Son, so that He may be sin for us and give us hope for life everlasting with You.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Like Herding Cats...

It's true...
 ...trying to take a picture of two kids that are both looking at you and both smiling (or at least half smiling) is like herding cats.  I don't think it can be done.  But I still try.  Although I think it's extremely cute when brothers are dressed alike, I'm not going to do it.  Simply because I don't have the money to go out and buy matching outfits.  I will however dress them similarly every once in a while.  So this morning when they both had on their button-up shirts and sweater vests I thought it would be super cute to get some pics of the boys. are the results...
 Oops, no flash...didn't matter anyway.
Even tried to get dad to get in there and help.  Still a no-go.
Seriously, what do I expect?  Will's three and as soon as you try to pose him he becomes Mr. Impossible.  Micah...well, he's a baby and really only has a few things on his mind.  Smiling for the camera is not one of them.  Oh, well.  There will be plenty of chances for some super cute candid photo ops...I just have to be ready to catch them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bead For Life

Bead for Life...what a cool organization.  I had only vaguely heard of them prior to last month.  In our small group Bible study we are doing a book that teaches the essentials of discipleship.  One of the lessons last month was on the topic of justice (or the lack of it) to be more exact.  It brought to the forefront some issues that have been going through my head for a long time...a LONG time.  What am I really doing to help the poor, the needy, the down trodden?  I came across this verse in Ezekiel that really hit home for me: "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." (Ez. 16:49)  Jesus has a heart for the poor...we should too.  So we started to talk about ways we could do just that.  What does it look like?  Sometimes it may be going to serve at the local mission or the local Crisis Pregnancy Center.  Or volunteering your time to help a struggling family with whatever.  Or it may be adopting or assisting with an adoption. 

Sometimes our focus is too local, though.  I absolutely believe we should be looking locally for opportunities, but we should also have a global outlook as well.  Many times we think we can't do anything because we're stuck here, right?  Not so.  There are plenty of things we can be doing to help the poor and the oppressed across the oceans.  What are some of those ways?  Support a missionary...this is a little indirect, but extremely important none-the-less.  You could also check out a few websites that offer "gifts" to buy for individuals in rural communities all over the world.  Samaritan's Purse has a catalog that allows you to purchase things like chickens, goats, and donkeys for people in need.  Then one of the ladies in the group brought up this organization Bead for Life and how it helps Ugandan women work their way out of poverty by selling their product.  So the ladies from my small group decided to do a party to sell their products today.  Let me tell you, their work is absolutely BEAUTIFUL.  They make all the beads by rolling recycled paper, and it really is amazing what they can do with that.  The really cool part of it all is a certain percentage of each sale goes STRAIGHT to the beader and another hefty percentage goes towards supporting programs in their communities to help eradicate poverty there.  If you have never heard of them check out to learn more.  Here's just a couple a pics from our party today.  Props to Alisha and Anna for laying out the jewelry.  It looked awesome!

So, back to the point.  I just encourage you to take a look at what you can do to help the poor and oppressed...both around you and many countries away.  It doesn't have to be doesn't have to be many.  There are lots of opportunities...we just have to take them, doing it all with a generous, grateful, and loving heart.

-You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?  But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.- Luke 11:40-42

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Little Helper

I am so thankful for my little helper.  Today Will decided he was going to help me make some bread to take to Thanksgiving dinner.  Most of the time he's pretty uninterested...only wanting to partake in the finished product. But today he waltzed into the kitchen and announced that he would be helping.  And help he did!  He wanted to be involved in all the mixing, sifting, and pouring.  He even decided he'd rifle through the spice rack and find extra ingredients.  "How 'bout this, mom?"  No, sweetie.  I don't think oregano would go well in our lemon poppy seed bread, but thanks anyway.  :)  He was so proud of himself because "I helping."  Cute little man!

Waiting for the bread to be done, he decided he had to play a little dress up in dad's snow boots.  Those babies look COOL!

And finally enjoying the fruits of our labor!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Love My Sister-In-Law...

Really I love all THREE of my sisters-in-law.  I have learned so much from each one of them and I look forward to many more good times with each one of them.  This post, however is about April.  She is the only one I have in town and I am SO thankful to have her close.  I am extremely sad to say that I have not always had this attitude.  Before coming to Christ, I was extremely self-centered (aren't we all?) and pretty much thought my opinion was the be all, end all of everything.  When my brother met April and they decided to get married, I didn't think it was a good idea....they were too young, it was too fast, it was get the picture.  Even on their wedding day, when they had their first baby...I was not supportive, not loving, not welcoming.  God has really opened my eyes over the past few years to this, and it has really made me re-evaluate some things. 

Living close to her, I have been able to witness what an awesome witness April is for Christ through both her words and actions.  The thing about April is she lives what she believes.  Her words are backed by her actions.  She is a wonderful wife...a gentle and loving wife.  She is an awesome mother.  She is a great friend...a wonderful, forgiving friend.  She continues to challenge me in my walk with Christ just by the way she lives.  I am so thankful to have her in my life and for the grace and mercy God (and April) has shown to me through all this.  She didn't have to be my friend...she could have returned my nasty attitude...but she didn't...she never did.  She chose to be like Christ and forgive.  Thank you, April!  Love you loads!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

So Thankful...

I have been doing a lot of complaining lately.  Mostly with respect to my job.  I was going to title this entry "Trapped" because I feel like I'm trapped at work.  Not at this job in particular, but just the fact that I have to work.  The fact that it takes time away from my boys and my responsibilities around the house.  My attitude has been horrible regarding the whole situation.  But God has been doing A LOT of work in me in this area.  I feel He has really been convicting me lately and I have had a lot of time to reflect on it this week.  I have been able to come out of it extremely thankful for what He has given me and allowed me to do.  He has provided me with a wonderful family and a job that allows me to work less than full time and odd hours so I can be home a lot with my boys...especially during the week when Gregg is at work.  Because of this they can spend less time at daycare (although I LOVE my daycare providers) and I can spend more quality time just enjoying them...dancing around the kitchen with Will to the Cars soundtrack or "talking" with Micah as he explores his newly found voice - so sweet.

I mean, just look at these boys....
...aren't they sweet?  And it's doubly sweet to watch Will grow more and more attached to Micah.  It is going to be so cool to watch these boys become friends.  Makes me smile just thinking about it. :)

Just a few small updates on the boys here...
My big boy Will...he's 3&1/2 and in preschool.  He LOVES his teachers and loves learning.  Although he's speech and language delayed and possibly somewhere on the Autism spectrum (still too early to tell), he is incredibly smart.  I love to watch him grow and develop.  He is Mr. Independent, wanting to try everything for himself.  We have been having some great afternoons at the parks around town, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.  I love this boy!
And Micah...this boy is so sweet.  Always smiling...okay, almost always smiling!  He's been looking at his hands a lot lately...trying to figure out exactly what they're there for.  Most of the time they end up in his mouth where he shoves them so far back he gags himself.  Even that is cute!  I forgot how much fun and amazing it is to watch them reach little milestones.  Anyway, that's enough raving from me.  I am just so thankful for how God has changed my perspective this past week.  Please pray that I continue in this line of thought and I "do everything without complaining or arguing, so that I may become blameless and pure, a child of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which I shine like a star in the universe."  -Phil 2:14-15

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween...or Happy Day We Get Dressed Up Just To Take Pictures And Get Candy!  Whatever you want to call it!  We went over to some friends' house and had a good time getting to know some people from church we didn't know very well.  We gorged ourselves on appetizer-type food then took all the kids (10+) trick-or-treating to a few houses.  It was fun to watch Will run from house to house in pursuit of loot.  It was such a big difference from last year when we practically had to drag him to the next house, and then use almost all our force to keep him from entering every house we visited.  This year it was all business.  Get up to the door, ring the bell, grab your candy, say "thank you!" (made his momma proud), then run off to the next stop.  It was hilarious to watch all the little bottoms amplified by padded costumes wag as they made their way from house to house.
It was also incredibly amusing when all 10 kids gathered around one door, patiently waiting for their candy, then after a few moments one of them blurts out, "Oh, my gosh!  Did someone ring the doorbell?"  Critical step in the process!

A you can see Micah was incredibly amused with all the happenings.  By the time we were done, it was well passed his bedtime and he was one cranky dragon!  But a cute cranky dragon as you can see!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Welcome to Our Blog!

So, I'm finally doing it...really starting a blog.  Hopefully this will be a good way for friends to keep up with us, although there's not much to keep up with!  So why do I feel like we're running all the time?  I used to think life after school would be so much easier...we'll be less busy, we'll have more time to just enjoy each other and good friends..we'll have more time to READ OUR BIBLE!  Wow, did I get a rude awakening after I graduated.  The speed of life seemed to double.  And now that we have two little men in our house, it has become exponentially harder to do the things we want to and SHOULD do.  Lord, help us...seriously.  I find myself constantly praying for a desire to be in His Word more, pray more, grow more.  And sometimes I feel like He's not listening, because another day will go by and I won't open my Bible.  That's when I am thankful for the truth of His Word.  1 John 5:14-15 says, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of Him."  Amazing!  I know He hears me, and I am thankful for that.

So now that I have succumbed to the fact that life isn't going to slow down, I'm trying to embrace every moment of this life and live to glorify God in all that I do (big emphasis on "trying").  The truth is, life is a race with a huge prize at the end.  Many times in the New Testament Paul likens the Christian life to a race.  So I am praying that every day God gives me the strength and determination to "press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 3:14

So that's what this is all can run with us as we press on toward the goal, raise our boys, and hopefully leave a lasting impression for Christ in how we live our lives!  Thanks for listening!