Friday, December 23, 2011

The Best Gift

God gives us great gifts.  I know that in my head and in my heart and love that we get to celebrate it every year at Christmas.  I love this season for the fun of sharing the heart of Christmas with my kids and getting to see other enjoy gifts I have made or purchased specifically for them. I love that kindness can be seen so much more readily as I interact with people (though I know that varies from moment to moment).  And I love that although I've read the Christmas story many many times, when I reread it each year, I learn new things about myself and about who God is.

This year, I've been struck again and again by the many examples of obedience that are illustrated in the story of Christ's birth.  Mary hearing Gabriel tell her what was about to happen and responding with an obedient heart.  And they hadn't heard from God in many many years, but when told she'd found favor, she embraced it.  I can only imagine how scary that must have been.  And Joseph being told that his soon to be bride was pregnant and then being told that it was God's son and he was to still marry her must have seemed crazy at the time.   I'm sure there are many in his family who shunned them, but he was obedient to what God told him to do.  The wise men traveled from so far away following a star!  And it's not like they saw something on the news and hopped on a plane to see Jesus.  They were told to go by God, they traveled over land in what I'm sure was no easy journey to worship the beautiful baby boy.  And Jesus himself left Heaven because his father said it must be done and He loved us so much he became a baby to make it happen.  None of it was easy, but out of love and faith, people again and again chose to follow God's plan and now we celebrate each year the wonders that occurred so long ago.

Obedience can be really hard, especially when it goes against so much of the culture we live in.  But as I read the Christmas story again, I'm reminded of the incredible gifts that can come to us and the world when we allow God to do great things though us.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

He eats!

Bug is a very picky eater.  He has always been like that and as a picky eater myself, I get it.  Still, in a desire to have my children have broader horizons than me, I try to keep serving a variety of foods.  It has felt like a battle the majority of nights.  To avoid this, we tried a range of things.  We established expectations for how much he needed to try before deciding he didn't like something.  We try to serve foods we know he'll like at least a few nights a week and include foods he's not sure about with them so he still has the opportunity to try them.   We included him in the choosing and preparing of food.  Nothing seemed to work and meal times were becoming a frustrating back and forth instead of family time to talk and be together.

And what seemed to be suddenly over the last few weeks, he's trying new things.  Sometimes he's even doing the asking for something different.  With minimal reminders, he's tried the portion set out for him; sometimes he likes it and sometimes not, but he does it.  Then, today, the crowning moment - he tried a bite of everything on his plate without complaint and found he did like one item he wasn't sure about.  Such a great reminder of the power of perseverance, even when you can't yet see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Now, will that still be the case next time it's a new food or something he's not really fond of?  I don't know, but I know that this moment of success will certainly help fuel me to keep offering him new foods and be lovingly consistent about our expectations that he try them.  Who knows what he'll try next?

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I love the song "More Like Falling in Love" by Jason Gray.  It's been in my head a lot today as I have needed to continually come back to that love and choose to trust in it.  It's easy to trust when things make sense and then comes the moment when it doesn't make sense and I have to get out of my head where I just can't comprehend the bad things that happen in this world and make the decision in my heart to keep trusting.  A dear friend experienced a heart breaking loss yesterday and as I grieve with her and wait for additional news about the situation, I keep going back to what my heart says.

And over the course of the day as I've prayed over and over for her, her husband, and her son to be able to feel Jesus' arms around them, I realize He's holding me too.  And though there's still sadness, I am buoyed by that and reminded again that I'm so passionately thankful for my Savior who never lets go.  It is a day where I could easily grow weary, but I choose not to give in to that and instead keep my eyes trained on Jesus.  Thank you, Lord, for who you were, who you are, and who you will always be.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


It amazes me how different the world is that my kids are growing up than the one I grew up in.  And I know that every generation says that, but it still boggles me when Hazel or Noah want to play games on my iPod and then navigate it with ease to get to what they want.  When I was their age, personal computers were just beginning to be a reality and we wouldn't have a big clunky one in our house for another five years.  And in a lot of ways, it's wonderful because we get to stay connected to grandparents and friends and family despite the distance.  And we can know what's going on with friends as often as they post updates on Facebook.

And while I'm thankful for these things, sometimes, I also look at the flip side of how BUSY everything is.  I've never been good at doing one thing at a time, but it's pretty comical when I go to sit on the couch with iPod, book, and TV remote.  This past week, I found myself playing on the iPod while watching a kids show with the kids.  Too much.  It was a big splash in the face -- I want things to be a little slower sometimes.  I was adamant that we would never been one of those families with stuff going on multiple nights in the week and so far, I've kept to that.  But things are still so busy inside our house.  So my goal this week is to slow things down.  Limit the multitasking and make sure that at least some of my time every day this week that's spent with my children is truly spent with them - no devices, no other projects at the same time.  I'm betting we'll all feel a little calmer.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Costumes

I don't know when I decided that Halloween costumes from the store weren't the way to go.  They are so much simpler.  I know there's the whole element of paying the equivalent of at least one good pair of jeans and a shirt for Bug for something he'll wear for a couple of hours one night.  But, what started out as trying to save money two years ago is more appealing this year because of the joy of creating the costume rather than just buying something ready made (like we did last year).  Basil is going to be a fairy.  At first it was something of a princess costume until I found the adorable purple wings on sale.  I love the possibility of putting pieces together that separately are something totally different.  But, you put some jeggings, a tutu, plain shirt, and wings together and there it is - a costume.

Bug's is proving to be a bit more tricky - overalls are harder to find in his size than I would have imagined.  So I sit here with all the pieces cut out of blue felt ready to create Mario overalls.  I'm a little nervous about the actual sewing with felt, but I did buy twice as much fabric as it appears I need, so at least I know I have backup.  And since it won't get any easier until I get the sewing machine out and go, it's time to dive in.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


It comes from unexpected places at times.  Participating in the discussion this morning at church a question brought to mind a stressor from earlier in the week.  The situation hasn't been resolved, just wasn't in the forefront of my mind today until that question.  Then I shared what I was thinking about with two people I'd just met which is a little odd for me.  I wasn't looking for an answer, just being part of the discussion.  And I didn't get an answer, but the wife shared that 2 Kings 4:1-7 has really helped them in a similar time in life.  It's a story I've heard many times before, but today it became more.