It seems that my days of nursing Gabriel are about to come to an end officially.
I was able to go 36 hours without "needing" to feed him, and even then, I only did it because I was going to be gone at a bible study last night from 6:30 to 9:00 and I knew he would fall asleep before I got home. I thought I'd better go ahead instead of trying to wake him up at 9:00. I gave my electric, double pump to another nursing mom or else I'd just be hooking myself up to relieve the pressure throughout this weaning process.
I'm going to try and go longer...48 hours or more...and usually after that...I'm done.
There are a few pros can cons to being done with nursing. A few of these will be really blunt, so to my male readers (I know who you are...all two of you...ha!) you might want to skip this blog! :o)
I have my body back. I know this sounds selfish and silly. But really, I feel like a walking milk truck or dinner buffet during the months when I'm nursing. Also, I lived my entire "after puberty" life wearing size B bras. I am always about a D when I'm nursing, and I don't even know how to run around in the backyard chasing the kids with these things getting in my way. I used to think I wanted to be bigger breasted. I'm 100% happy with what God gave me PRE BABY now!
While I am not shy about nursing in public, I do breathe a sigh of relief when I go out with the kids now and know I will not have to try and pull my shirt down as best as I can to feed my baby. In the later months, he began pulling up on my shirt anyway, so even though I'm not bashful, I don't want to give everyone a show that they didn't intend on seeing! :o)
All that being said, I will miss it. "It" being the time we had with just the two of us. Knowing I was the one providing what he needed.
And here come the cons that really make me want to pump for the rest of my life...well...not really...but you'll see...
I have not had a period since February 2008. Yep. Some of you know but others may not - when you nurse, you don't have a period. Unless you take birth control, then those hormones make you have one. If he wasn't biting me EVERY TIME (yes, still) I would probably nurse him until he was two just for this reason alone!
I know that I will HAVE TO BUCKLE DOWN and become more disciplined with what I'm eating. I looked at the scale today, and I weigh exactly what I did in January of this year. Nursing literally sucks out between 500 and 1000 calories of what a woman eats. That's why I've been able to eat pretty much whatever (all those posts about my addiction to McD's) and it's not caused me to gain anything. I noticed after I quit nursing Sarah, I gained 10 pounds almost instantly (within a month or two).
So this season of my life is over. Who knows what God has in store for me when it comes to more children or not. For now, I'll just cherish these last few times of nursing (sort of...not when he bites me) and remember the sweet look on Gabriel's face when his belly was full and his mouth had milk running out of the corner.
Gabriel was taking his short, morning nap as I was in the kitchen getting the dishes ready to be placed in the dish washer. Caleb was sitting at the counter, and along side of him was Sarah. They enjoyed playing with Legos together, and it was just a really peaceful morning.
As 11:00 am rolled by, I decided to start fixing a sandwich for myself before my baby woke up and hindered my ability to fix anything! I successfully got all of our lunches ready (for me, Caleb, and Sarah) when I heard Gabriel start to cry.
"Oh, shoot! Gabriel is awake!" Caleb said with a frustrated tone. He really loves his little brother, so I was confused by his statement and his attitude about it.
"Well, it's fine that he's awake! Why would you say that, Caleb?" I asked him.
He explained, "I remember the other day when Sarah was being loud and she woke up Gabriel. And you were mad that he was awake."
Wow. He remembered that. I was, in fact, upset one day when Sarah decided to scream about something in the middle of Gabriel's nap...which caused him to wake up at least 30 minutes sooner than he would have. And I'm sure I probably said, "Oh, shoot! Gabriel is awake!" verbatim! And I'm positive I wasn't too happy about it...and used a frustrated tone.
Just like he said it.
"Caleb, it's ok that Gabriel is awake. We like to play with him, right?!!" I tried to say with encouragement.
"Sure!" was his sweet and kinder response.
It was at that moment, perhaps more than ever, that I realized how closely my children are watching me. Everything. Every word and every action. We know this as parents, but are we really keenly aware of it?
I will be sure to work at being more aware of the words and tone I use...even in the smallest situations.
When I watch The Biggest Loser, I used to be insanely jealous that those people had the opportunity to be secluded from the real world and were able to have Bob and Jillian 24/7. I did not envy the fact that they had to weigh themselves in front of the world, but their instant fame and the way the viewers fell in love with certain contestants for various reasons just seemed like a great thing. Those of us who have struggled with our weight wanted to cheer them on throughout their journey. We know it's tough.
But...their progress was tracked by all of us who watch. And once they go home and the show is over...and all the hype is gone...then what? Were they given the tools to make the permanent change?
I thought so...until I saw something that broke my heart.
It's been quite a while ago, but Oprah invited a former Biggest Loser winner to her stage. The entire show was dedicated to falling off the wagon so to speak. I braced myself for what I was about to see. I didn't want to see a winner go back to their old ways. I wanted to think that once they learned how to eat right and exercise that their struggles with food would be gone.
That's not what I saw.
Instead, I saw someone who worked so hard to look like this...
...gain 100 pounds back.
I sat on my couch in tears. Why? Because it was sad? No. Because I could feel his shame. He said he felt like he let people down. Those who said they were inspired by him. Those who wanted to be just like him because they understood his struggle.
He fell off the wagon. He wandered off the trail.
What does that mean for all of us who struggle, too? I've found that once I get into a good pattern, I tell myself that one Pepsi is ok if I've been successful for a week or two. Or one brownie. But then, one turns in to two...turns in to three. Moderation evidently does not work for me. If I am to be successful, I will have to eliminate these things from my life. How is that possible? Chrissy without Pepsi and brownies?
And I so badly want to look like this again...
For those of you who have asked, "What happened to Measure Me Monday?" It fizzled. I felt like the above Biggest Loser contestant. People said they enjoyed my honesty. They were inspired to do the same. And I fell off the wagon. I wandered off the trail.
Time to find my trail again. And find that wagon...
By the way...our weight loss "competition" came to an end because my friend decided to use a fat burning product. She decided it wasn't fair, so off she goes to losing weight with help. I'm still using the old fashioned technique.
I'm honored, really. I truly love her blog. I stumbled upon her writings via Ashley's page, and through various comments, we somehow started to get to know one another. Our most common ground is our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. And recently, our common journey on this road called motherhood (Mrs. Haid had her first born in July) has lent itself to several emails back and forth about different topics.
Hop on over to her blog. See the feature. And follow her while you're there...her adventures are always worth reading! :o)
And I want to start doing the same thing...except I'm not sure if I could write a sweet poem about each of you like she does for her blog spotlights!
Perhaps you remember this post from back in April when I wrote with joy how I ordered new bedding for our room. Sadly, it looked nothing like the picture. I liked it because it seemed like the flowers popped off the comforter, and it just appeared like it would be a really happy addition to a room. Instead, it felt and looked cheap, and the flowers were just sad looking.
But, I'm willing to give JC Penney another chance. I would like to order this set...
...because it comes with so much for so little. I'm just hoping I don't "get what I pay for" with this set as well.
I'm hoping the color gives our room a warm feel. I'll let you know how it turns out.
I'm about to confess to my friends (and readers) something that many of them may have already figured out. Perhaps I need therapy for it...who knows.
I don't like answering the phone. I don't like making phone calls.
Lately I've been trying to trace back to my impressionable years something that may have triggered this behavior. Since, as we all know, everything about us comes from our childhood (I'm only being a tiny bit sarcastic...I do believe much of what we do and how we think comes from childhood)!
My sister and I never understood why our parents didn't like answering the phone. They had an answering machine, and every time the phone would ring, they would wait to see who was on the other end. If it was family, they would pick up. If it was anyone else, more than likely they would not answer. I'm not sure why they did it this way.
With modern technology, they now have caller id. They now answer the phone every time. There must be something about knowing who they are going to be talking to before they say, "Hello" that makes this process better for them.
So now on to my own issues.
Maybe being in a house where we didn't answer the phone made me this way. I don't know. But when I hear my phone ring, I always pick it up, look at who is calling, and then decide if I think I know why they are calling. Oh, and I do have a VERY SHORT, always answer list. It is:
Josh Mom Sonja
That's it. Sorry. Even my very best girlfriends are not on that list. More often than not, I will wait and see if the person calling will leave me a message. Then, when I listen, I can find out why they called and call them back to discuss the issue.
Why am I like this?
I actually think it became worse after I became a stay-at-home mom. I do not enjoy being on the phone and having to tell my kids to be quiet. If it's a close friend (especially if they also have kids) it's a bit easier because I know they understand. But if my insurance company is calling me and all three of my kiddos are running around, laughing or bugging each other, it's pretty difficult to have an adult conversation. I also wonder if the person on the other end is judging me if they hear rowdiness in the background.
If you call me and I don't answer, it may be because I'm changing a diaper or because I don't hear the phone. But I'll be honest. It might be because I'm having one of my don't answer the phone days.
Just wanted to try and explain it to everyone. Try to be understanding.
Ray - I answered your call yesterday. You should feel proud!
Tina - I called you last night. A big step for me!
In June, my sister, mom, aunt, and I participated along side 65,000 others in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in St. Louis. I can only speak for myself, but I know I took part in the fund-raising efforts because I am passionate about women's health, specifically breast health, because my grandma and aunt are breast cancer survivors and because, when caught early, breast cancer is nearly 100% treatable. I'm passionate about it because 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. And I know that, when taught about BSE's (breast self exams), we can prevent the later onset of breast cancer.
But what about a passion I have to further God's kingdom or to help those in need...those He has called us to serve?
1 Timothy 6 says...
17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
I believe each of us should be willing to give to various ministries. And when I say various, I really mean it. It seems to me that God lays it upon each heart a different desire to give. I admit...I am a blog hopper...so sometimes I see different blogs with different passions. Some are about adoption. Some are about overseas missionary work. Some are about protecting unborn children. Or providing clean drinking water for those who don't have it. Or building and providing education for those who would otherwise not have it. For me, I know I certainly don't have the resources to give to all of these worthwhile causes. Could it be that God has asked me to give much to one cause??
The reason I present this idea is because I often find that once someone is passionate about something, they try so hard to share this passion. Which is great! When we feel that strongly about what God is telling us to do, I can't imagine not sharing it! But I'm just not convinced that EVERYONE will feel exactly as strongly about the calling He's put on one person's heart.
Do that make sense?
For about two years, Josh and I have felt passionate about teaching/guiding others about becoming debt free. We have given away several of our copies of The Total Money Makeover, and I plan to just start ordering a copy once a month for when someone tells me, "It just feels like we're never going to stop living paycheck to paycheck." How does our passion about this subject further God's kingdom? Well, in verse 18 above, it says to be generous and share. It feels really hard to be generous and share when you don't know if you'll even have enough money to pay the utility bill this month. And as FPU teaches: "Imagine what the people of God could do for the kingdom of God if they were debt free."
Love that phrase.
I am also passionate about "home" missions. While some feel lead to spread the gospel overseas and give financially to causes there, I have a heart for the lost in our own country...in our own neighborhood! I want to find ways to meet people where they are in their lives and serve them...like Jesus who spoke to the woman at the well. When no one else wanted to speak to her, He did. What kind of people should I be speaking to who no one else will? I could financially help a hurting, single mom. I can give to a pregnancy resource center. There are so many local causes...
And I have given to them because those things are what God has placed upon my heart.
So...be passionate about something for His kingdom's sake. Ask Him what that might be. And then...see how He blesses you through it!
**After writing this, it reminded me that I wanted to financially support a local family who is adopting. I haven't had the chance to do that yet. And I know God has asked me to! I'll be emailing her soon! :o)
**WINNER SELECTED** My husband did, in fact, have a better way than just pick a number between 1 and 15! His TI89 calculator does this random integer thing, so that's what we did. And it was 2. So Tina, the Letter Factory will be on it's way to you! Stayed tuned in January...I will do another giveaway for my one year blogiversary! :o)
If you've never seen an episode of Oprah's Favorite Things, you are missing out on a bunch of adult women jumping up and down like small children and occasionally hyperventilating over incredibly awesome gifts.
I cannot give away a new minivan or anything...but...in honor of my 200th blog post, I do want to give away something to one of my readers! It is on a much smaller scale, but these are some of my favorite things:
Leave a comment on this blog post...any ol' comment...and one of you will receive one of my "favorite things" as a gift from me - your choice! I don' t have a scientific way of selecting who gets it. More than likely, I'll have my husband pick a number between one and ten (or however many comments there are). That's scientific enough, right? :o)
I appreciate you all so very much. I love your feedback. I love your encouragement! Thanks for following along!
If you don't have a Google ID, you can leave a comment use using your Name/ID...and all you have to type is your first name in the space provided. Or...you can use the Anonymous option and leave your name in the comment section!
Gabriel turned 10-months-old yesterday. He celebrated by taking three steps! He only did it once, and other times he has taken small, half steps. But he is very good at standing up without holding on to anything.
I recall one evening, as Josh and I were watching Dinner and a Movie on TBS, we saw a recipe for a marinade that we wanted to try (used on beef short ribs on the show, but we wanted to try it on steaks). So we did. And it has been in our recipe box since before we had children! As I was making it today, I thought to myself, "I should share this with my blogging friends!"
Here you go.
Josh and Chrissy's Marinadethat they didn't make up but stole from TV
1 tbs mustard 1 tbs ketchup 1/4 cup cola (Pepsi in our house...big surprise) 1/2 cup soy sauce 1/2 cup water 2 tbs sesame oil (we use vegetable oil) 2 tbs minced garlic 2 green onions, finely chopped (if you don't have this on hand, it's ok) 1/4 tsp pepper
The longer it sets the better...but at least an hour.
And you thought I was only good for baking brownies!
Yesterday, I called one of my best friends just to chat, and right after she said, "Hey, you!" and I said, "Hi, there!" I could hear excitement in her voice as she continued, "Did you read on facebook what my husband purchased online for us yesterday...for our six-year anniversary?" I hadn't been on facebook, so I told her I didn't know yet!
"Tickets to see Phantom of the Opera in October at the Fox! I can't believe it! He doesn't even like musicals, so it means so much to me that he would go with me and see it!"
My heart felt joy for her. "Wow, that's awesome! I am genuinely happy for you!"
I interjected the word genuinely in that sentence for a specific purpose. She understands me, so I went on to discuss the fact that I added that word. "You know, sometimes it's been hard for me to be genuinely happy for others. This summer I've been struggling to feel that way when someone tells me something good in their lives."
She had been there, too. She knew where I was coming from.
It is when I am struggling with my own heart issues that feeling joy for others in their time of excitement over their husband, their child, their job, their vacation, etc. becomes difficult. If I find myself reading about someone else's joy, and I cannot bring myself to share in their joy with them, I know I need to take a step back and evaluate myself.
Luke 6:45 says, "For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."
I believe you could even change that verse to say, "For out of the overflow of his heart, his mind thinks." My attitude towards others is directly linked to my heart issues. And my heart issues are directly linked to my relationship with God. How much time I'm spending in His Word. How much time I'm spending in prayer.
So if you ever read about someone's child getting an A on the test, or someone's husband who bought a dozen roses, or someone's boss who gave them a raise or promotion...and you can't share in their joy and you perhaps feel like saying, "WELL, SO?" It might be time to evaluate your heart.
And believe me, it's so much nicer to share in that joy.
After my Wordless Wednesday post, I started to think of all the sweet blogs I've written about my dad. And then I wondered if I had unintentionally left out the most important woman in the world to me...my mom! To be honest, I think I've just been thinking about my dad a lot lately because I've known three people who have lost their fathers this summer (who are my age and whose fathers are my dads age). But...I love my mom very much and think of her just as often.
So it got me to thinking...what is one memory that I hold dear about my mom? She may be surprised to read the answer to that question. Or maybe not so surprised!
In the spring of 1999, I was pitching for the Southwest Baptist University Bearcats. We had only played a handful of double headers early in the season, and up next was our first weekend tournament in Conway, Arkansas in the middle of March. My parents tried to come to games when they could, and since this was a weekend (and because my mom just really loves to drive), mom decided to journey along with us to this tournament. She checked into the same hotel as us. My coach even let me stay in her room. He also let me go out for ice cream with her on the first night we were there - Baskin Robbins...my favorite!
The pitching rotation had me throwing the last game of the first day of the tournament. It was an evening game, and I really loved pitching at night (I always seemed to do my best at night...still not sure why)! :o) I warmed up, got my game face on, and went out each inning with extra excitement knowing my mom got to come and watch.
But...for reasons I still don't understand, the coach decided to pull me out of the game after the 5th inning (this is definitely my old self talking now). We were up 3 to 1, and I felt that I was keeping the batters off stride and doing a great job. I did my best to keep my composure when he told me that Tiffany would be going in the next inning, but I'm often not good at hiding my feelings when it comes to athletics. I asked him if I could use the restroom at some point, and he said yes.
I quickly walked away, leaving my teammates behind in the dugout, and not really caring at that moment. I hoped that no one was in the restroom because I just really needed some time to myself. As I stood there, both of my hands on the sink, my head down so I couldn't see myself in the mirror, I heard the door open. It was my mom. In all of my anger I had almost forgotten that she made the trip to Arkansas to see me play. She told me how proud she was of the innings I had pitched. And, because she knows me so well, she said she didn't understand why he took me out of the game either. Because sometimes you just need someone to tell you what you want to hear. And moms know when those times are.
I hugged her. I cried. She said that I needed to go back to the dugout because that's what being a part of a team is all about. I agreed.
I had never left a dugout before in that way and never did again. But in that moment, I am so glad my mom was there.
Thank you, mom, for being my #1 fan. You were always the voice of reason, whether I was upset with my coach, or upset with dad when he made me pitch out in the back yard when I didn't want to! :o) And while my softball days are long gone, you are still a voice I can count on for the right words at the right time.
I love you.
"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Her children arise and call her blessed..." Proverbs 31: 26&28
Lately I've been reading several blogs or emails about moms and their little ones going to school. They say they just can't believe it. They cry. The kids cry. So much emotion about it all.
This year, since it is Caleb's second year of preschool, I didn't really "feel" anything. It really just seemed like I picked up where I left off from April. Only this year he's in a different room.
I did not cry on the first day. Or...let's go back a bit...I didn't cry when he turned 5 in August either (missing the cut off for kindergarten...but that was completely ok with me). I just thanked God for giving me another year, and thanked Him for the 2.5 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays that I have with just Sarah and Gabriel to clean house or play with just the two of them.
And honestly, I was even feeling a bit boastful. Just to myself. I kept thinking, "Wow, I'm really handing this growing up stuff pretty well! I must be the calmest mom there is about this sort of thing."
Then this morning happened.
Fortunately, Caleb's classroom is right inside the front door of the church. I can pull up, give him a hug, and stay at the van while I watch him walk up to the door, open it, walk inside, and go to his class. Until this morning, I really didn't think much of it. I was just thrilled that he could go inside by himself so I could stay at the van and not have to take Sarah and Gabriel inside with me.
But...as I watched him walk away this morning, it hit me. This little boy who is so full of energy, so loving, and becoming so independent, is growing up. Some mornings it seems like he grew overnight. Sometimes I just hold him and tell him, "Wow, you're getting so big!" because he really is. Seeing him go up to the door wearing a polo shirt because he wanted to look like daddy just made me see him differently. Like a little man.
He entered the building and disappeared from my sight. I put the van into reverse, and I could feel tears begin to fill my eyes - just for a moment - as I finally felt the tug at my heart about the growing up process.
These children are only given to me for a short time. I am to "train them up in the way they should go"...and then...they go! For some reason the "go" part sort of stood out to me this morning.
I must confess. I find it to be a bit irritating when a parent asks for prayer, and they say, "I just really need patience with my children..."
And then someone sitting near by says, "Oh, you know what you get when you ask for patience, right? Situations where you have to be patient."
Really? When I sincerely pray to God, and I'm having a rough afternoon or something, and I ask for patience, does He just chuckle and say, "I'll be sure to have Caleb irritate you even more to see how you respond. He will tell you no. He will bother his sister. He will kick the dog. Then you'll learn to ask for patience."
I don't think so.
Philippians 4:19 tells me, "But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." While I know He supplies me with the "things" I need like food, clothing, shelter, etc, I have to believe that He will supply my emotional needs as well.
When I feel like I've had enough, I ask for patience.
Each morning, I have been walking into Caleb and Sarah's room...before they wake up...and I say, "Lord, please give me the wisdom and patience for each situation that comes my way today. Let me be the mother you created me to be."
And I believe He smiles at me. I believe He wants me to ask Him for this throughout the day.
The same is true with my marriage. With friendships. With family. When situations arise that require wisdom or patience, I know He wants me to seek His face.
So it's okay to ask for patience. I truly believe it is.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6&7
When I decided to breastfeed Sarah, I told myself I would continue nursing throughout her first year of life. I'd like to tell you it was because that's what best for my child, but really, it was because it was the most cost effective for our family (that's how I looked at it at first anyway). I eventually grew to love the time I spent with her and knowing I was giving her everything she needed.
As the months went by, and as I began thinking back to when Caleb had his first tooth, I started to wonder how I would nurse a baby with teeth. I began asking other moms. I read articles on babycenter.com and other helpful websites.
I remember reading that a baby actually can't nurse and bite at the same time. When their teeth first come in, they don't really even think to use those teeth. It's when they are done eating or are not hungry that the begin to chomp around. Sorry for that mental image.
My cousin told me to sternly say, "No!" if I was ever bitten and even tap her on the cheek so she knew she wasn't supposed to do that. I kept this in mind along with other tips I had gathered.
Believe me. There is no need for articles or advice. When that baby bites, you'll scare them out of it.
With Sarah, I yelled, "OUCH!" out of reaction and then told her, "No! That hurts Mommy!" She actually started crying because I startled her so badly. She never bit me again.
Gabriel, on the other hand, has bit me a handful of times. I was so frustrated after the second time, I told Josh that I was going to enforce the three bites you're out rule for this child. I thought for sure after that second time that I yelled in pain and scared him half to death (there is nothing more sad than a sweet little baby being scared by his mommy when he bites her and the pouty face and tears that follow) that he wouldn't do it again.
But this sweet face...
...which also has FOUR TEETH...is currently being weaned.
I had an 8:00 am communications class on the morning of September 11, 2001. It was a beautiful, autumn-like morning, and I remember quickly getting ready for the day and heading off to class on my new bike. Josh and I were newlyweds, and we decided to ride to class together each day. We'd travel together until I had to go to one building and he had to go to another.
That particular morning, our class was working on small group projects. After Dr. Miller took attendance, we split up and found a table right outside the classroom door to meet and discuss what we were doing. I remember Nathan Evans sitting across from me, and after working on our project with the others for a few minutes, I saw Dr. Miller walking towards us from the hall where his office was located. His face looked perplexed.
He said, "My wife just called. She said the World Trade Center has just been hit by a plane."
To be honest, there was no sense of urgency in his voice, and I really didn't think much of it. He thought his wife meant a small passenger plane, and that's pretty much what I pictured in my mind, too. It must have been an accident. We continued working until our class time was finished, then I walked out of the "new" part of the library, hopped on my bike, and continued to my next class at Taylor Hall.
As I approached the door, it felt like everyone was talking all at once as we all entered the building. I tried to hear the different conversations, but they all seemed to mix together. I do distinctly remember hearing one girl's voice saying, "There could be 20,000 people in those buildings!"
I'm still not sure if I understood the magnitude of it all because I hadn't seen a TV yet.
I continued with my second class of the day, and by then everyone was talking about it. I understood that a large, commercial plane had hit the north tower, then another hit the south tower, but I'm not sure if I still really grasped what was happening. I left Taylor Hall and headed back to my tiny apartment on the other side of campus.
Then I received a phone call.
"Chrissy...your Uncle Doug had a meeting in the South Tower of the World Trade Center today. Aunt Kathy hasn't heard anything yet. You need to pray."
I turned on the TV to watch the chaos, and the reality of it all finally hit me. It hit all too close to home. How could I actually know someone who is living this nightmare? Has Doug made it out yet? What if he doesn't? How could this be?
Not long after the first phone call, I received another call from a dear friend of mine. "My uncle is supposed to be at the Pentagon today. We don't know if he's there or not. Will you please pray for us?"
It all started weighing heavy on my heart. As the news was trying to make sense of it all, I prayed. I prayed for my uncle. For my friend's uncle. I prayed that somehow this would not be as big as what everyone was saying it would be.
Fortunately for our family, the nightmare only lasted for a few hours. By midday, my mom called and said that Kathy had heard from Doug, but he wasn't sure when he'd be able to come home. I was so thankful that he made it out of the tower.
My friend found out that his uncle did not go to the Pentagon that day, and I rejoiced with him.
Then I began wanting Josh to get home from class. I wanted to see him. I wanted to hold him and thank God for him. I wanted to go back to Owensville. I wanted to see my mom and dad and sister. I even wanted to see my in-laws! :) I just wanted so badly to tell everyone that I loved how much they meant to me. It all seemed so surreal, but it made me realize how quickly everything can change in our lives.
Everything did change for our country.
It is still is so vivid in my mind...I know it's still vivid in many minds across the world. Many years have gone by, and yet, my heart is pounding as I write this. The reality of it all just gets to me.
It was probably over a year ago, and I remember seeing a commercial for an Oprah episode that caught my attention. It was going to be about working moms and stay-at-home moms. For some reason, I thought this would be an informative discussion about the trials and tribulations - plus the benefits and positive side - of BOTH roles. I thought it would go something like this:
Working mom: I enjoy being able to do my part financially for my family. I enjoy using the skills I learned through the education I received at the University I attended. I love my career and know I am making a difference at the company I'm working. I know my children love their daycare and are learning many life-long lessons there. It is sometimes hard to try and get ready in the mornings because I, myself, am also trying to get ready, but we make it work. I do think of them and miss them, and I enjoy seeing them at the end of my work day.
Stay-at-home mom: I enjoy raising my children in my own home. It is great to go to the park whenever we want, and I'm thankful to see many of their milestones first-hand. I am able to teach them they way I want them to be taught, and it's great to spend time together. While I am not providing anything financially to our family, I know that I am saving us daycare cost and other financial obligations (gas to drive to work, new clothes I would need if I worked in an office, etc). It's hard somedays, but I am happy with my decision.
Boy, was I ever wrong. Instead of a friendly discussion of each woman's role that she chose, there was a nasty debate on who was doing the right thing. Each woman attacked the other. The stay-at-home mom accused the working mom of not really loving her children since she sent them away each day. She called her selfish. I cringed.
The working mom told the stay-at-home mom that she was setting a horrible example for her daughters since she did not use her college education and JUST STAYED HOME. I cringed again.
What I don't understand is why this is even debated. I don't understand why woman question other women for the decisions they make for their families about this topic.
I want to stay home. We have made it work financially. Other women enjoy their jobs and love the daycares or in-home sitters that they have found. Why would I presume to know the heart of the mother who is working...like I have some sort of crystal ball that tells me that she doesn't lover her children and she loves her paycheck more? Or why would a working mom question me as a stay-at-home mom...to think that I'm not setting a good example for my children each day because I have a bachelor's degree but decided to take time off to raise my family?
When we had Caleb in 2004, I wanted to resign from my position in the IT Department at PCRMC. But at that time, Josh was bringing home around $1600 a month as a first-year teacher. I kept crunching the numbers, but it was just not going to happen for us. We worked to pay down debt. Josh took on coaching. He taught summer school. All things we did to try and get things in order for me to stay home someday - but that's because that's what I wanted.
While I was working, though, I loved what I did. I enjoyed my co-workers. I loved my director. I loved my place of employment.
I'll never forget what one woman said to me at my church back home that really hurt. Did she mean it that way? I don't know. But at that time, I was a working mom, and it really upset me. I was holding Caleb, and as she walked by she said to him in a cutesy, baby-talk voice, "Oh, I bet you sure miss your mommy when she goes to work each day." The reason I took offense is because this woman stayed at home with her son. I assumed she was trying to get a jab in on me.
Why do women do that?
We all love our children. We are doing what we feel is best for our families. I stay home. You might work. You cherish the time you have when you come home. I cherish the time when I'm "working" at church, doing something productive outside the home.
I've mentioned before that Caleb's fine motor skills had been somewhat difficult for me to work on with him because he didn't have much interest in coloring, writing, drawing, etc.
But...at the end of May, when his best buddy moved away, I noticed that he suddenly took an interest in writing and drawing. Every day he asked me if he could draw a picture and send a letter to Alli. I encouraged him to do so, but I didn't let him mail all of them. Occasionally - usually once a week or every other week - I would let him put a stamp on an envelope and mail whatever he created that day.
Hope you didn't mind all those letters in your mailbox, Sarah C! :o)
I did not realize that what I thought was therapy for this sweet little boy who missed his friend was also helping him learn to write, draw, and color. He would always write his name on it. He always wrote Alli's name on it. And sometimes, he would write a word or two if I told him how to spell it.
Today, when I picked him up from preschool, he showed me the picture he colored. My mouth dropped open. I was so proud. He picked the "correct" colors for each character and each element of the picture. We have made progress!
And while I know that there are children who are younger than him who can do the same (or better) I am working HARD on not comparing him to others. I struggled with that for a while, thinking that if other kids do something then he must learn how to do that, too! I have finally become a mother who rejoices in her son's accomplishments because they are HIS accomplishments, not because he "did better" than someone else.
Just this morning, he started reciting the AWANA theme verse...I admit, it made me smile!
2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
These are the kinds of days that I know God is reaffirming to me that I am doing what He asked of me. To do the best I can with the children He gave me. Being home with them is a blessing. And I am thankful for days like this. Some days are hard, but these days make it all worth it! :o)
And right now - in the background - I can hear Caleb singing, "His banner...over me...is love!"
I would like to share a little tidbit of information with you. Just in case you didn't know. Because I didn't know until just a couple of years ago.
For one of our family gatherings, I had baked a nice pan of brownies. I had not "pre-cut" them for the event like I often do, so when I took them to my aunt's kitchen, I asked for a knife.
"Oh, now where did I put my plastic knife for brownies?" she said to herself. I must have had an odd look on my face, so she continued: "You know that a plastic knife is what you need for brownies, right?!"
"Really?" I replied with a surprised tone.
She explained, "It cuts them cleanly, without pulling up the brownies with it like the normal, silverware kind."
How interesting. I did not know that. So I used her plastic knife, and sure enough, my brownies looked perfect. No jagged edges at all. Just perfect squares!
So next time you bake brownies, be sure to have a plastic knife on hand.
Yesterday, in honor of Labor Day, our pastor briefly discusses the origins of the holiday. After touching base on unions and other political reasons for its beginnings, he then went on to speak of the scriptures and what God's word says about work.
I did not write down each passage, but I know that each one talked about the importance of work, providing for the needs of a family, etc.
Something like 1 Timothy 5:8...
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
There was one more key element, however. An element that I am so glad he addressed.
God designed us to work, but He did not intend for us to never have a time of rest. A time to feel refreshed. A time to be away from the daily grind. We are not to be workaholics.
Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves.
Now this scripture is from the Old Testament, from a different culture and a different time, but the concept is still something that God wants us to take to heart. To have a day of rest. A time of rejuvenation!
Even God Himself rested on the seventh day! :o)
So all of this got me to thinking. When does a stay-at-home mom have time for such rest? If I am with the kids all day, I am still with them in the evenings as well. I am with them on the weekends. I tend to their needs 24/7. I am on-call every night. And while Josh tries to take turns with me, sometimes only mom can make things better.
I conveyed this to my dear husband, and he then said the most wonderful words to me. I still can't believe it:
"Why don't you go out to your parents house tonight? Sometime this evening after dinner. Just go spend time with your mom and dad and sleep all night long."
My face lit up. You would have thought someone just told me I had won an all-expense paid trip to Cancun.
A time of rest. A time of rejuvenation. I was so excited!
So that's what I did. I left around 7:30 pm, I gave each my my sweet children a kiss, and then I kissed Josh goodbye. I thanked him for his willingness to watch the kids all night and thanked him for recognizing that this would be something that I would cherish.
It was exactly what I needed. I visited with mom and dad. We watched a funny episode of "Coach"...a show that always brings out big laughs from my dad. I even took a nighttime trip to Wal-Mart with my mom to pick up a few things for our Labor Day BBQ.
I was in bed by 10:00 pm. I slept all night. I woke up feeling ready for whatever the day would bring!
What a precious gift my husband gave to me. And I am so thankful.
(Have you noticed I'm a member of several support groups these days?) ;o)
Let's start out with a definition, shall we? My husband HATES it when a speaker says something like, "Webster defines such and such as..."
Sorry, honey. That's what I'm going to do, though!
Webster defines frumpy like this:
1. A girl or woman regarded as dull, plain, or unfashionable.
2. A person regarded as colorless and primly sedate.
I wish I knew when my official frumpy days actually started. I'm pretty sure I was fashionable in the late 90's while in high school. Even the beginning of my days at SBU were fine. I had people to impress after all. My professors, my fellow undergrads, my RA.
But as the years went by, and as I found my true friends...and when Josh decided to attend SBU, too...I just stopped caring so much. T-shirts and jeans were my all-occasion attire for the most part.
I have clung to the following verse:
I Samuel 16:7 reads, But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
I must clarify: I don't think that just because someone looks nice means they are consumed with their outward appearance. Not at all. I think some women are just better at selecting fashionable or trendy clothing.
For my friend's 30th birthday, I used a shirt that belongs to my sister (which I haven't returned because it's the only nice thing in my closet currently...hope she doesn't read this blog today and ask for it back)! As you can see, I broke away from my t-shirt and jeans and TRIED to look cute, but I'm the only one in black.
Part of it is because I really hate to shop. I hate to try on clothes. I don't want to spend the money, and I don't want to pick out something that I might not like when I get home. I know, it's weird for a woman to think this way. Most women love to shop!
But I still come back to that verse. I still tell myself that God looks at my heart. And it's true. If I'm out having a nice time with my friends or my husband, and if I feel comfortable and confident in what I'm wearing, then does it really matter? I don't think it does.
And let me tell you...reading something this week from a friend who lost her dad made me think about all of this even more and on a completely different level:
My dad is whole and perfect and spotless now-standing before the King of all!!! Wow! Who cares about this shell that we call bodies! It seems ironic to me that people spend so much time perfecting their bodies...working out, tanning, make-up, hair, even surgery...even though this same body that we spend so much time perfecting will all end up as a pile of dust! All the compliments you receive-meaningless...all the time at the gym-meaningless...all the heads you turn-meaningless....yet-these are the things people pursue.
Do most people not realize that 110 years from now this entire earth will be repopulated? Not a single person who is here now will be here in 110 years...so what are you leaving as your legacy? They will not remember your beauty, or your wit, or your charm, or your career...but they will remember if you made a difference. If you chose to focus on your children, to raise them to love the Lord instead of focusing on your career. If you chose to help other people who are struggling instead of putting that extra money into a bigger home or nicer car. If you chose to pursue a more meaningful relationship with family and friends who surround you instead of pursuing a personal love life.....these things are all meaningless! Meaningless!!!
It's time to start leaving your legacy! In a matter of moments, we will all return to dust!
Wow, what powerful words. Why should I even care if I'm frumpy? It doesn't even matter if I don't like to shop. It doesn't matter that I was the only one wearing black to my friend's birthday dinner. What does matter is what I'm doing with my life. For His kingdom. What legacy will I leave? Will anyone care what I wore to church today a year from today? NO!
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Colossians 3:17
I've just come to realize that being frumpy is ok. God tells me to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. And I chose to do that wearing t-shirts and jeans. :o)
I'm not sure why our culture doesn't participate in the practice of prearranged marriages. I mean, really. We know what's best for our kids, right?
And what mom wouldn't be thrilled to have their daughter marry this handsome, athletic boy?
Ok, I'm kidding. Sort of. I often think about how much I wish I could pick out the spouses of my children for them. Weird? Probably. I mean, they are only 5, 3, and almost 1. But I do pray (already) for their future spouse and their future in-laws.
But if anyone is interested in the prearranged thing, let me know. I'll come up with an application for you.
I'm not feeling very bloggy this morning (yeah, I just made up that word) so here is a rerun from February. One of my favorites. Hope it makes you smile!
Who's at the door?
I read this on another blog:
"You know it, you hate it. Nothing is worse than hearing a knock at your door when you least expect it. Maybe you're wearing curlers in your hair, maybe you're fresh off your twice-monthly ugly cry or maybe, like me, you're clad only in your husband's t-shirt."
Well, my story isn't quite as funny as hers, but it's just as embarrassing (if not worse) so here it is...
My mom often stops by on her way home if she's in the area for some reason. Sometimes it's a trip to Rolla to go shopping, sometimes it's when she's on her way back from visiting Sonja in Springfield. Even if it's just for a quick hello, she'll come by and give the kids a hug and be on her way.
So one afternoon, she gave me a call like she usually does if she's on her way. "I'm on the overpass, I'll be there shortly," she said. This means a person will be at my house within two minutes or less, so I unlocked the door and got ready for the kids to be excited to see Mama. Then, within a minute, I heard a knock at the door.
"Boy, she was sure quick this time!" I thought to myself. When she called, I was nursing Gabriel, and I have sort of mastered the art of walking around and nursing. I'll admit, it's not something I could do at Wal-Mart or anything, but around family, it works out just fine. I had my shirt completely pulled up, Gabriel on the left breast, and I opened the door. But instead of seeing my mom, I saw a sweet little girl and BOTH of her parents. She was going door-to-door selling girlscout cookies. All three of them got a full view of at least my chubby side, and I quickly pulled Gabriel off and pulled down my shirt.
I felt rather obligated to buy cookies at that point; however, the girl and her parents have not returned to collect the $4 or give me what I ordered. I'm not sure if I should expect them! ;o)
The other morning, I was having one of those spend way too much time on the computer mornings (the reason I got rid of facebook...but then there's always the blog to tend to), so I turned on PBS Kids for Caleb and Sarah, filled up their sippy cups, and asked them to sit quietly and watch Super Why. Or was it Sesame Street? I don't remember.
But then there's always Gabriel. He's a little harder to try and convince that mommy needs computer time. He seemed hungry, and lately I've been giving him one bottle in the morning and one at night (sometimes) in an effort to (sort of) wean him over the next two months or so. So that's what I did. I got the bottle ready and then placed him on the floor in front of PBS so he could have time with his siblings. He's quite good at holding the bottle, even though he's a nursed baby and this is relatively new.
I came to check on my blog, and I'd say only 2 or 3 minutes passed when Caleb quietly walked into my room and whispered, "Mommy! Gabriel is asleep!" I thought he must be joking. Gabriel doesn't normally fall asleep out there with the other two.
But I had to see this.
So I walked into the living room to find my sweet little 9-month-old looking like this...
The picture may be cute, but I'm not even sure if it captures the moment. I really couldn't believe he just fell asleep like that!
I'm pretty sure this is not something that would happen on a regular basis. Sure glad I got the picture to share with others!
What a beautiful morning to send my first-born off to his second year of preschool! The air was cool, and even though I know that fall doesn't technically arrived until September 22nd, I believe that today was about as fall-like of a day as we could have. So gorgeous.
Below...Caleb standing for his official "first day of school" picture. He was holding his arms because he was cold. How unusual to wear jeans and be cold on the first day of September!
Finding his name on the "Look who is here" chart.
I forgot to send his supplies on the night of orientation, so he spent a few minutes putting his crayons and markers in the right spot.
This is what I saw as I walked out the door...
As you can see, he wasn't too concerned that I was leaving! ;o) He talked all about his new teachers (I'm so glad that he was happy with them because he was sad he wouldn't have Mrs. Carrie again...he got over that in about 2 seconds after walking into the classroom), he sung a new song that he learned (and I just love hearing him sing it..."God is so good"), and he showed me the page he colored and a letter sent home for "Mom and Dad" telling me that he learned that God has a purpose for his life...and God has a purpose for my life, too!
I truly love his preschool. Looking forward to hearing all about his lessons and fun times!