Saturday, January 31, 2009
I've been thinking about waiting on God a lot lately. It was a sub-topic at the women's retreat and the topic of my Bible study this last week. I'm not exactly sure what waiting on God "looks" like but I'm pretty sure it isn't easy.
Yesterday the kids and I were driving home from Hearts and Samuel asked for his book that had fallen down next to his car seat. I explained I was driving and he would need to wait until I came to a stop light and then I would reach back and get his book. A few quiet moments passed and I heard him say, "I got it". I looked in the mirror to see he had slithered his little arms out of the safety straps and leaned down and gotten his book himself.
Frustrated, I pulled over and got his arms back in and tightened down the straps! As we started back home again I talked to Samuel about safety and the importance of seat belts and because he's (almost) 3 he heard, "Blah, blah, blah". After my lecture I thought about the parallel of Samuel waiting on me and me waiting on God. Like Samuel, my immaturity and self-centeredness often demands something of God without thinking about others, timing, consequences, etc. I have my own pleasure in mind and I want it right now; I will do anything to get it, even if it means taking matters in to my own hands. But, here's the good stuff, when we take matters into our own hands, when we don't wait on God, we compromise our safety. When we take matters into our own hands our focus shifts from Christ to our wants...and that's a dangerous place.
None of this is to say we should just sit around and wait for God to dump things in our life. While sometimes He does just "dump" wonderful things in our life and on our lap, we also sometimes need to make the call, fill out the app, see the doctor, whatever that first step may be. All I'm saying is that before any of those first steps are made we must make sure God is in the planning and God is doing the leading.
Again, to be honest, I'm not sure what waiting on God looks like. I'm not good at waiting and honestly no situation comes to mind when I've desperately been seeking the Lord and had to wait and wait and wait to hear His voice. I know that day (or season) will come though and I want to be strong in His Spirit and Word to be able to be patient and to discern His voice when it comes. What does waiting on God look like to you?
Friday, January 30, 2009
Daddy said since we were getting all crazy and having breakfast for dinner we should have some jelly on our toast, even though it was pretty close to bedtime and they usually put the kabash on sugar too close too bed! Emmy and I loved it! We loved it so much we gave up on the toast and just started licking it off like a sucker! Roo had never had jelly before and she loved it so much she rubbed some in her hair to eat later--pretty clever!
Upon writing the first post my leftie felt much, much better. However, rightie continued to swell, throb, burn, be tender to the touch, etc. Dr. Morgan said I was well on my way to having an abscess (that would need to be surgically drained!) and advised to take a hot shower, drain it completely using a pump and put me on antibiotics immediately at 8:30 last night. I love that woman...
Thanks be to Jehovah Rophe (and Dr. Morgan. and Maryanne for letting me have the pump that I had just sold her back.) my rightie is almost 100% better this morning! How crazy is that? Dr. Morgan said it would be at least a day or two. I know God put His healing hand on me to bring some relief; just having the seat belt on yesterday about sent me to the moon. Thanks to all my dear friends, especially Jenny Carpenter, for the advice and well wishes.
Tuesdays with Traci
Starting this coming Tuesday, my cousin Traci (who you all know as Bug) will begin doing a guest blog on this site. In turn I will be doing one on hers. Bug's topics will include gardening, couponing, spiritual musings, etc. (and perhaps maybe even a good "Jen" story every now and then). Bug and I lived together in a run down trailer while in college at MSU. Good times. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband Chris and two daughters Abigail and Katie. We meet in Montana every Spring with our 4 children and without our husbands. We completely take over my Mom's 1200 square foot house; last year Emily literally slept in a dresser drawer! Our kids are all 1 year apart and adore each other; God has given them a special closeness and love for each other despite the miles between us and that we only see each other once a year. Bug is much more like a sister to me than a cousin and I know you will love her funny writing style and her amazing, Godly insight on being a wife, mother and child of the King.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
My Grandma Emily and I came up with this clever little name for the "procedure" I did to myself today at the advice of the RN in my ob-gyn's office. As most of you know, I've made Roo go off the boob. I weaned her to one feeding a day and then went away for the weekend to women's retreat in Cannon Beach. I have been terribly engorged and in a fair amount of discomfort so I called the doc's office today for advice. Here's what I was told: wrap your breasts in cabbage leaves. How funny is that? Desperate, I gave it a try and am actually getting some relief.
I did some internet research on it and apparently there is a natural ingredient found in cabbage that helps with inflammation.
So for you Mommies out there who are having discomfort from a clogged duct or from weaning try the pigs in a blanket. Trim the vein out of the cabbage, rinse and refrigerate until cool (just a few minutes). Wrap the leaves around the breast leaving the nipple clear. Replace with bra (nursing bras are so handy because they have the clip) and wear for about an hour. After the first hour I took a hot bath and put hot wash cloths on as compresses and hand expressed (being careful not to do too much and have my milk let down...just enough to give some relief). I then wrapped fresh cabbage leaves on and went another hour. I've repeated it 3 times so far tonight and have some noticeable relief. I'm saving the used cabbage to julienne and pickle to make sauer kraut...
I've been really disappointed on the information on the internet. There is plenty out there on breastfeeding but not a lot of good advice on how to stop. Frustrating. My advice to is to wean slowly, dropping a feeding every day or two starting with the middle of the night feeding. Be patient with your baby and your body; its a big change (emotionally and physically) for both of you.
Below is a picture of one of my "pigs" in a blanket (man, that's funny). I cropped a lot of the picture so it didn't look so much like a boob and so I wouldn't get reported for sexy boob pictures on my blog. You get the idea and it is just hilarious to see bright green cabbage coming out of a bra.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
I'm eager to share pictures and thoughts about the weekend but am tired and need to process... I will say this: I am astounded at God's love for me and humbled how He still pursues me, still speaks to me and allows me to be used in His great and divine plan. It leaves me speechless and that doesn't happen very often, as you know.
Lastly, if you don't have Christian sisters who you can say anything to, wear your underwear in front of and laugh until you pee with...you're missing out. Reach out. Get involved in a ladies bible study or gather a few gals who you "kinda" know and have them over for coffee so you can get to know them better. Take the first step and see what happens. I think you'll be glad you did.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Jeff stayed home from work to watch, the kids waved little flags, I sat in front of the TV wiping away tears and our American flag hung proudly outside. How much fun is the pomp and pageantry of a new president's Inauguration? I love how the majority of the Country stands still, puts aside differences and offers prayers and good-will for the beautiful burden placed upon one servant's shoulders.
You could almost taste the hope in the air. There is something incredibly exciting about a fresh start and the 2 million plus in DC yesterday wore it on their faces like the gloves on their frigid hands.
I find myself intrigued by President Obama's appeal to the masses and think anyone as charismatic, young and fresh would be received much the same way but there does seem to be something special about him nonetheless. While I do agree with many of his policies and am excited for his agenda I find myself drawn even more to his heart for service and his unfaltering belief that America's greatest day is yet to be seen. I believe he has stirred a generation's heart much like Kennedy did in the 60's and its exciting to be a part of that. I'm drawn to his call for Americans to sacrifice and have already been doing my web checking on service opportunities in my community. We should be proud we have a president who unabashedly calls citizens to serve something greater than themselves and to be their brother's keeper.
It is hard to pick a favorite part from yesterday's address because it was all so darn good but in re-reading it this morning I found myself welling up all over again at these words: "Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.
"What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government. "
I lift my prayers for former President Bush as he adjusts (probably happily) to life as a regular citizen and for the 44th president Obama and his lovely family. As Christ followers we are called to pray for our leaders, despite if we voted for them or not, so I encourage you to be obedient to God and pray for your local and national leaders as you do for your friends and family.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
My mom's group started a new series this week called Parenting with Purpose and Grace and this first week's study is on loving your kids. One of the questions that really got me thinking was regarding that famous 1 Corinthians "love" passage (If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal...), "How have you seen the truth of this teaching evidenced in your own relationships?"
I started writing down the things that, without love, become a clanging cymbal and was astonished at the absolute truth of this verse regarding the way I love my husband and children. Without love my discipline becomes punishment. Without love my teaching becomes lecturing. Without love my correction becomes criticism. Without love my expectations become idols and without love my good intentions of glorifying the King become pride. What's a girl to do?
I'm convinced there is not a secret formula that takes years and years of study and practice to figure out; I'm certain the answer lies within the passage that poses the problem. Look a little further down in verse 13, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." God's best, God's most excellent way for me to change the areas that need changing is through love. The answer lies within the question... If I will love the way that God loves, unconditionally and without measure, the rest falls into place. Its no easy task but aren't our children worth it? Who else can you think of that deserves more unabashed and unfiltered love?
In Mark we're told how to love God: with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with our strength and I think this translates to our kids too. Here's why: if we loved with only our heart we'd be loving with only emotion and we can't do that all the time because let's face it...they are little villians and sometimes the only emotion there is anger or frustration. In these situations, sometimes our love has to be a decision of will, that's where our mind comes in; we make up our minds to love unconditionally. Similarly, loving isn't always easy and situations get hard and we're tired and we feel unappreciated and so we have to love with all our strength (and interestingly, strength only comes from exercise...). Finally, some parents have a history of abuse or didn't have good examples of unconditional love and they just don't know how to love and I believe that's where our soul comes in. For many of us its the result of the Fall and we're less than perfect and need the help of Someone bigger than our sinful selves. When we pray for the Holy Spirit to teach us how to love as God loves, we are loving with our soul.
So in the end and in my very wordy way, it all comes full circle. Without love we are clanging cymbals. The only way not to be is through...love. And to love as God commands we must do it with our emotions, our soul, our mind and our sheer determination to be obedient.
Pray today that God would show you specific ways you can love your children (or anybody in your life) this week. What better way to express God's astounding love and grace than by showering it on someone else. Good luck; please email what God does in your life and heart as you take up the challenge!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Hi, remember me? Probably not, nobody else does. I'm Hailey, Jeff & Jen's baby before "the children" (whose names I will not speak) came along. I was once the one they oohed and aahed over; I was mentioned in the Christmas letter and taken on vacation. I even had pet insurance, for crying out loud. Remember the time they took their picture with me and we all had santa hats on? Ah, the good ol' days.
Today while they were out I crawled up on this cozy bear chair that belongs to the boy; I was going to pee on it but found it so lovely I fell asleep instead. They must have found the whole thing adorable because they took my photo and called "the children" in to look at me (which I hated). I'll pee on something of their's tomorrow...
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
My friend, Al, once took a picture of his really good parking space at Costco. It was such a once in a lifetime event he decided to document it and email it to all of his friends, like a UFO sighting.
My love seat is right off the laundry room and consequently where all my clean laundry gets heaped, sorted, folded and waits for me to take it upstairs to be put away. Sometimes its there for days, sometimes weeks. More than once we've been known to just grab clean clothes out of the piles rather than going upstairs. Ok, more than once; my kids don't even know they have sock drawers.
Here is a picture I took tonight, an event so rare in my house that it warranted a picture: the loveseat void of laundry. I bet when my kids wake up in the morning they'll think they are in the wrong house. OR that the laundry fairy that I pray to finally appeared...
Sunday, January 4, 2009
You'll have to forgive me ahead of time if I ramble but I have been thinking about these things for two full days now and wanted to get them "out there" for discussion. Yesterday I was talking with my friend Heidi and we were discussing the highs and lows of being a mother. One day prior to this an old friend, who doesn't have children, posted a comment on her facebook page implying moms are lying when they say their kids are the best thing that ever happened to them and they love their compromised life in which they've lost their identity. Hmm.
Is this true? Are we all just lying to ourselves and the rest of the world? Do we love our kids but secretly resent that we've given up careers, personal space, personal time and the freedom to be spontaneous? I don't think so.
I'm certain there are those women out there but the ones I come in contact are genuinely happy women. They are well rounded and rooted in their church, family, and community. Their children don't take away from their life but instead add a richness and fullness that is incomparable.
Here's where I see the dichotomy that exists in motherhood and that doesn't translate if you don't have kids:
- 100% fulfilled and 100% depleted at any given moment and most times simultaneously
- We think our children are perfect angels and quite possibly the anti-Christ
- We think we're never as good as our best friend, neighbor, sister, whoever but also know that our family would be lost without us
- We wear more hats and carry more responsibility than one job would ever ask of an employee and do it without any pay and very little sleep yet wonder if we're contributing enough
I'm sure you can think of a whole lot more but you get it don't you? With all these grey areas how can a person without children understand how these little midgets who are such drains can completely leave you breathless with love and adoration; how they enrich and deepen your life in a way that no book, no job, no vacation, no title or promotion could ever do.
Hey, I'm always the first to admit it ain't glamorous ("ain't" used for effect) and most times I'm ready to get my drunk on by 10am but I love my kids, I love my life and there is truly nothing I would rather do more than spend my day chasing them around and telling them to get off the counter and stay out of the cat's food. I'll take a day away with a girlfriend or Hot Jeff at any given moment but only for a day because I have some terrorists who need me to make them Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes.
postscript: I make these statements as a mother who doesn't work outside of the home. However, my oldest friend Traci, does work outside of the home, full time, and I believe these things are true for her as well. Her son means everything to her. She's a wonderful example of balance. With that said, the "facebook comments" were directed, I believe, towards mothers who choose to stay home and obviously forfeit their talents and education.
Email me your comments, musings and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic whether you agree or disagree.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Happy New Year!
Like most people the start of the new year has me thinking about changes I'd like to see or continue in my life, ok...resolutions. I thought that I may have a pretty good chance at keeping mine if I put them on my blog and have some sense of accountability to all of you. A good thing about this is if I fail I can blame it on all of you. Genius.
- Deepen my relationship with Christ through an enriched prayer life; read 2 guides I have in mind on prayer
- Be more patient with Samuel & Emily and be a good example of "speaking kindly"
- Be a source of encouragement and comfort to Hot Jeff; make his home a haven where he loves to come home to after long days at work
- Be supportive and positive as Hot Jeff embarks on the CPA exam prep course that is 9 months long!
- Lose the "second 30" by Samuel's birthday (4.12) with Weight Watchers and tae bo (thanks for the great example Shannon)
- Read more fiction
- Listen to (and follow) the promptings of the Holy Spirit (thanks for the encouragement Jen Roth)
On an unrelated topic but blog worthy nevertheless, today I heard Darius Rucker's new single, It Won't Be Like This For Long. It is such a beautiful song and made me think of Hot Jeff and Emily. After the kids went to bed tonight I put the song to a slide show of all of our favorite pictures of the kids and watched it with Hot Jeff. We both had tears streaming down our faces as the lyrics resonated in our hearts. Make a promise to yourself that you'll hug your kids many times during the day; tell them you love them, tell them you are proud of them, cherish each day; they really won't be little for long. Actually, do this with everyone you love; live a life with no regrets.