Thursday, June 27, 2013

Little Man comes tomorrow!!

Sorry about the silence. We're all a tizzy with baby preparations and fake-out hospital visits. {That, and I accidentally used all our data early in the month on a gigantic software update... must read fine print}.

But tomorrow is the big day. Baby brother has been handed his eviction notice, and tomorrow at 8, we act.

Then we name. We absolutely must have this baby named by the end of the weekend. He must have a social security number and a legal name. So we must become decisive, literally overnight.

Thanks for your prayers, both during pregnancy and during surgery and recovery. We'll post pics ASAP.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A good day for the beach?

What makes a good beach day?

Black skies and cold wind usually don't make my list. But that's what we had this morning. Mentioned the beach at breakfast, and the girls were dressed and ready to swim at 7:15. No turning back.

And I'm glad.

The weather was threatening and the wind angry. But our little sand castle stood firm. And our treasure buckets filled with Buckroe finds - rocks, half shells, drift wood. And our girls giggled and chased gulls and stomped at waves and shivered and turned purple. And thanked us profusely for a wonderful morning at the beach.

And Tim and I smiled over coffee, watching them sip their hot chocolate as we all warmed up at our favorite beach dive.

A perfectly wonderful morning at the beach, despite the very unbeach-like weather.

Our family has been knocked off-kilter recently. After months of working through rest and with only two weeks until baby arrives, I catch a glimpse of what is keeping us so sideways.

And it's not my lack of time and energy.

When my days were shortened, I focused my efforts. My prayer became, let me discipline diligently. A biblical prayer. It felt right.

I did not pause to seek The Lord. To ask his path for parenting under limitations. I simplified the task and chose what seemed most important to me. Training, teaching, exhorting all fell away, while rebuking remained.

And our family has felt the effects as little hearts become frustrated, always hearing what they can't do. Missing praise for excellence and opportunities to excel.

Mommy doesn't have time for messes, so there is no new art to show off to Daddy. Mommy is frustrated with yet another headache, so she didn't notice how well you built your tower or banged out 'baby sparkles' on the piano or played with your sister. But her eyes were open enough to notice you choke the dog and climb over the back of the couch and leave the library books scattered.

It sounds so ugly in print, but it made sense when I tentatively laid out my pregnancy parenting plan with the motto maintain control. 

Which is precisely why his ways are not my ways. His ways are marvelous. They are high; I cannot attain them.

Just like a beautiful day at the beach under a roiling, navy sky.

In a mere day or two of recognizing my mistake, of asking for wisdom to encourage my house toward godliness not control, the girls are different. Big one put her toys away before finding a new one without being told, told again, nagged, and threatened. Small one contained her Godzilla-like impulses while sister was building a tower and actually walked around the construction zone. Little things, yes, but the little things have been going terribly wrong and weighing on my back like so many straws.

A burden of straws I piled on, then cried for The Lord to lighten the load. And he answers, I didn't tie it on. Take off the burden you created and take on mine.

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. Proverbs 14:1

I didn't see my folly until I saw the cracks and crumbles.

We behaved in the world with simplicity and Godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom, but by the grace of God. 2 Corinthians 1:12

My wisdom failed us, was foolishness in fact. 

But his grace is big enough to correct my folly and rebuild my house.

For The Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Summer is here!

Another Summer Love post {last summer parts I and II}

We're not the only ones having babies...
 No idea how "Spalding" climbed the basketball. He and his brother are now full-fledged fliers.

First sprinkler day of the season...
 Abby is enchanted.

Happy sisters!

The whole yard is in bloom...

 New flip flops, another reminder of the season...
 Backyard finger painting adventure...

 Just realized she made a mess of her shirt...
 This awesome mess required some hose and dish soap action - only possible in the summer sunshine

 Pretending she is completely innocent...

Happy start of Summer!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Holding steady

Quick update:

Baby boy {still unnamed} looks great. Growing strong. Kicking plenty. I can't wait to meet him!

I'm doing fine as well. The count down is alive and well on the black board. We have 17{!} days left until eviction. This morning, my doctor said that I looked settled into pregnancy. I think she mistook exhaustion and resignation for something more noble.

Tim and the girls are hanging in there too, largely thanks to our awesome church family who provide parenting breaks, swap out library books, surprise us with food, pray for and check on us, etc... We would be lost without them. Many, many thanks are in order.

I'm reasonably certain this is my final home pedicure. Little Man is squirming most uncomfortably as I strain to reach all ten toes.

We'll let you know if anything changes!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Shout 'YES!'

Read this today, and it made me want to shout, "YES!!":

"For in him (Jesus), it is always 'YES.' For all the promises of God find their "YES" in him." 2 Corinthians 1:18-19, emphasis mine

Just wanted to pass on that perfectly succinct victory.

Anyone else care to say, "YES," with me?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hiding my face {or admitting my shame}

On my better days, I remind myself that I don't need to be embarrassed by my children. Not because they're so well behaved or because everyone else has miniature tyrants too.

Because they make their own decisions. The fits and selective hearing and disobedience... all on them. I don't have to take credit.

I remind myself that I only need be embarrassed by my reaction. When I hiss through my teeth or turn a deaf ear or roll my eyes that I have to tell them "one more time not to touch that."

So why did I feel humiliated this weekend as my children ran wild?

I tried to tell myself I was only being humbled, put in my right place. But that's not how I felt. I felt humiliated. Hang your head in shame before the gawking stranger as you waddle after your wayward 3 year old trying to keep the screech out of your voice. Humiliated.

I'm humbled when I have to ask for help so that I can stay on the couch.

I'm humbled when I see the dog hair forming a protective second layer of carpet on the stairs.

I'm humbled when I'm gently reminded of my weakness. My Christian-trained mind values humbleness, even if I bawk at first.

But this weekend was no gentle reminder. And I found myself asking The Lord, why aren't we out of this awful phase yet? Why are they still fighting after all the talks and time outs and spankings and appeals and rewards? Haven't I done enough to bounce us out of this funk?

And why do I feel brought low, humiliated? I thought you were the gentle humbler? I don't feel like a bruised reed unbroken. I feel like a child whose been jerked up short. Do you do that? Do you catch me by my wayward ponytail and snatch my attention?


    verb (used with object) hu·mil·i·at·ed,hu·mil·i·at·ing.

  1. to cause (a person) painful loss of pride, self-respect, or dignity; mortify.
    I might have reminded myself not to be embarrassed of their poor choices, but had I repeated that mantra on the good days too?
    No. Absolutely not.
    I wanted full credit for those days, the children who walk calmly by my side, listening for my voice. Those were brought about by my wise counsel, my diligent discipline.
    And there is no room for pride in a heart full of Christ.
    Or rather, there is no room for Christ in a heart full of pride.
    And a gracious father gives what we need. Himself. For I have no good apart from him.
    This mortifying, this humiliating work is painful and public. It has to be. If no one sees, I keep telling myself the lie that I have achieved parental success.
    But what is parental success or failure? What do I give account for? 
    The girls behavior cannot be my witness and proof. That's pride or humiliation. 
    My success in parenting must rest where it lies for everything else... Jesus Christ and him crucified. What else do I have?
    This putting pride to death phase isn't over yet. I wish I could glimpse the lesson and experience the burden immediately lift.  So far, it has never worked that way. I see what I'm being taught, then have it hammered in a few more times. Repetition works for heart memory too.
    So we press on in a mortifying season trusting that his grace is sufficient, that his power is made perfect in weakness.
    Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, for when I am weak, then I am strong.


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