Monday, June 22, 2009

Hello, Bloggy Friends! I've missed you--again. Trust me, you really didn't want to hear much from me for the past two weeks anyway! But now I would like to catch you up on the latest in the Land of Crazy. :-)

I have mentioned before that I have been struggling emotionally off-and-on for about 2 years--since Matt was born, basically. Fortunately, it has been decreasing lately--thanks in part to my wonderful husband and in part to some counseling--but then about 2 weeks ago, it hit with a vengance! I spent about 10 days straight feeling just... not myself. And at least 4 of those 10 days, I struggled to do much more than get out of bed in the mornings. So if I have failed to call or e-mail or otherwise respond to you in the past two weeks, I am very sorry. It is baffling to me how those feelings hit so hard and are so incapacitating. Can I tell you all something? One day last week, I stopped in the middle of Giant Eagle--with both kids in the cart--and cried because they were out of chicken pot pie. Really. And no, I'm not pregnant. Really.

Fortunately, I am feeling much better now and am looking forward to several days of good weather and good moods. :-) And by the way, I went grocery shopping this morning and couldn't help but grab myself a chicken pot pie for lunch. ;-)

So that's really where I have been for the past two weeks--that and sitting out at our garage sale that took place over the weekend. That was the second garage sale I have ever held... and I'm not sure yet if there will be a third. It was OK, but my neighbor has a fantabulous one every year, and I'm tempted to just take my stuff to her house from now on. :-)

There are a few photos I want to share with you, but my USB cable for my camera seems to have disappeared. This is especially frustrating because I need to list some stuff on Ebay and don't want to do it without pictures. Hmmmm. Maybe I should be spending my time looking for that cable instead of blogging....... NAH.

The biggest news here is that my hubby is in the midst of planning a GREAT party to ring in my 30s! Woo-hoo! Yes, I will be turning 30 in a few short weeks. I can't say that it bothers me at all, although I have been THOROUGHLY enjoying the remainder of my 20s. :-) To me, turning 30 is just a fun excuse to throw a big ol' party and hang out with friends.

As I was thinking about posting earlier, I had some oh-so-cute kiddo anecdotes to share with you all... but they seem to have slipped my mind at the moment. (Old age, I guess. ;-) ) So now you're just going to have to wait to hear more about how wonderfully cute and witty my children are.

For now, I bid you adieu. I just wanted to pop in and tell you that I'm here! I do have at least one more "Family Forest" post that I will be sharing soon.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bye-Bye Baby

It's the end of an era here in our home. I no longer have a baby in the house.

Grace was born in June of 2005, and was still in diapers and sleeping in a crib when Matt was born just 20 months later. So in some form or another, I've had a baby for the past 4 years. But no more.

Now I have twin bedding for Matt, and I am getting ready to buy a twin bed to go with it. :-) (Yes, I am THAT mom--the one with a 2 1/2-year-old still in a crib. But even though his nickname is Destruct-O-Matt, he hasn't ever climbed out of his crib, so I have been enjoying the fact that I know where he is when it is nap time or bed time. :-) ) I am collecting paint swatches to repaint his room. I am planning to sell the crib at our garage sale next weekend. (Don't worry, we have another crib, so we haven't completely ruled out the possibility of a third child. ;-) ) No longer will we have a nursery in our home. This is especially sad for me because we were trying to get pregnant when we moved into the house, so we chose carpet and paint with a baby's room in mind.

And as if that weren't enough, Matt woke up yesterday and decided he was ready to use the potty! He sat on it 3 or 4 times yesterday, then several times again today--with a moderate amount of success! I even bought him "Thomas the Tank Engine" underwear at Wal-Mart today. Yes, this is GREAT news. I can't imagine being a diaper-free home! But it's also another sign that we are moving out of the baby phase.

And you know what else? I have stopped buying baby wash! At the aforementioned Wal-Mart trip, I bought plain old Suave shampoo, conditioner, and body wash for my kids. No longer will they come out of the tub with that Johnson's scent. (Of course, now they'll smell like strawberries--that's not too shabby either.)

I miss having a baby. I miss snuggling (neither of my kids are snugglers) and feeding them cereal and the little baby rompers and baby giggles and teeny toes.

But you know what? I love having a toddler and a preschooler. I love watching my kids really play together. I am thoroughly enjoying Matt's verbal development as he has moved from signing to single words to two-word combos and now full sentences. Grace's preschool jokes crac me up. Her reading amazes me. Their conversations and questions and comments touch my heart.

So bye-bye, Baby. It's been fun, but now it's time to look forward to new days and phases--to a "big boy bed" and swimming lessons, to preschool and soccer, to lots more growing for all of us. :-) And maybe, just maybe, there will be another baby phase in my future, but for tonight, I'm enjoying the end of an era.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Check me out!

Sorry I'm not posting much--my quiet summer has been a little "noisier" than I expected. Well, that and the stuff that God has been laying on my heart lately has been hitting a little close to home and I've been arguing with Him about whether or not I actually want to write it. Do you wonder who will win...? ;-)

But for now, I just wanted to tell you that I am guest blogging now and then at Hearts at Home. Here is one of my posts--if you've been reading my blog for a while, you may have read this before. But it's still one of my favorites, and there are lots of other great bloggers and posts on there, so check them out!

I promise to be back soon, even if it means I have to be all introspective and stuff. ;-)

Monday, June 1, 2009

I Surrender Some

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give.
I will ever love & trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all.
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

I sang these words in the shower this morning. As I did, a vivid picture came to mind: I was handing things over to God—concerns, situations, people—and as He took hold of them, I pulled them back. I kept telling myself to let go, but I just couldn't—wouldn't. I didn't want to completely take them back… I wanted God's Hands on them, but I wanted mine on them too. Even as I sang, "I surrender all", I couldn't make myself—even just in my little daydream—let go of what I needed to give to Him.

So today I've been pondering surrender, and what makes it so difficult. Here are my thoughts:

  1. Is it just my imagination…?
    Imagination is a fun tool, an amazing gift from God. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world, and every blessing from God can be easily twisted in our brokenness. We use our imaginations to dwell in the past and to worry about the future. The scenarios we imagine cause us to fear surrender to God, but there is an inherent flaw in that thinking. You see, when we imagine something, we are in control, not God. So God is not the one whose control we should be fearing—it's our own control that is scary! J
  2. Is God good?
    One of my favorite bloggers, Angie Smith, writes about the day her world turned upside-down—the day she found out that her precious little Audrey Caroline would likely never see life outside of the womb. Angie's first response was, "I think that my Jesus is the same as He was before I walked into this room." Sometimes our circumstances are bad—sometimes they are unbearable—but God remains good through it all. In fact, He alone is good: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Why would you—why would I—want anyone who falls short to be the person making the calls?
  3. It's all about me… right?
    Are you a parent? How hard is it to surrender your children to God? Many times I have told God, "I give my children over to You", only to immediately imagine (hmmmm… there's that word again!) something bad happening to them, just to teach me a lesson or test my level of "surrenderedness". What a selfish view! To think that God would allow harm to my children only to test me assumes that I am more important to God than my children are. Even though I may learn something from a difficult situation that happens with my children, husband, or others that I love, to assume that it is happening solely for my benefit (or punishment) is unrealistic and shows a rather warped view of God and the world.

    In Genesis, we learn about a boy named Joseph who is sold into slavery by his own brothers. In fact, they originally intended to kill him—out of jealousy—but were convinced by their youngest brother to merely sell him. Joseph's life goes through a series of twists and turns before he finally ends up predicting a famine, then helping Pharaoh to prepare for it so that the people of the nation do not starve. He is given a position of honor in Pharaoh's court. He is essentially put in charge of the entire nation of Egypt! And before long, Joseph's brothers are among the many who come looking for food. (To find out Joseph's full story, read Genesis 37-48.) When Joseph finally tells his brothers who he is, look at how he comforts them: "And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you." (Genesis 45:5) He doesn't say, "Don't be distressed, because look at how successful I am now!" It wasn't all about him—God had a plan to use this man in great ways for the whole nation, but it had to start with a young boy being thrown into an empty well.

And after I spent so long thinking of why I struggle with surrender, I realized how ironic it is to struggle at all. Surrender isn't a duty—it's a gift. I hold on to my worries, thinking "What if something happens to Jon? To the kids?" I think, "What if the economy doesn't get better and we lose our house or the business—or both?" I worry about relationships, about money, about plans for the future. But does refusing to give those things over to God mean that they're not going to happen? Of course not. As Jesus says, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:27) God allows us to surrender, so that we can be free from worrying about things that are not in our control.

Surrender isn't really about giving up control—because we don't really have control anyway. Surrender doesn't mean that bad things are less likely—or more likely—to happen. Surrender is about taking a deep breath, giving up our worries, and trusting the One who is in control, the One who is good, the One who sees the big picture.

I surrender all.