Friday, February 29, 2008

Two men down...

David's down with it now. Seth is improving. Though he threw up his applesauce and peas at dinner last night, he nursed this morning, and he was willing to eat a little applesauce and oatmeal and a lot of Cheerios. I think he's on the mend.

Unfortunately, Daddy is another story. He came home today with nausea, an upset stomach, and another symptom that follows those two. He went straight to bed. I am concerned. See, in our almost 7 years of marriage, David has never taken a sick day. Ever. If he was enduring the worst cold in the history of man, he'd plug right along at his desk, wiping his nose and keeping the world safe for business for another day. Knowing him, though, he timed his sickness so he only had to take a half day off of work and he has the whole weekend to get better. It's part of his efficient nature.

So I stood over his bed, and I gave him a backrub and rubbed his head. I made murmuring sympathetic noises. And I told him that as soon as I was done comforting him, I would be washing my hands 5 times in boiling water. It made him smile. Smiling is important when you're sick. It makes your wife worry about you a teensy bit less, in case she thinks that dying men don't smile so much.

So please pray for us. I'm worried about what will happen if I go down with it. I haven't yet experienced the devastation that can happen when a kid gets sick and then everyone gets it at once. If you want to hear about that, go to Rachel's blog archives. Time to go Clorox the counters, burn David's clothes, and do some Hail Marys. =)

Thursday, February 28, 2008


This is going to be one of those posts that I put some time and thought into. =) The reason is because I really want to share how God is opening His word up to me in Bible study right now.

This past week, He's shown me a lot about His loving character through a book that doesn't get much attention in Christian circles these days. Anybody cracked open one of the minor prophets lately? I confess that when David and I have been deciding what book of the Bible we'll be reading together at night, the conversation often goes something like this:

David: OT or NT?

Ellen: NT... well, we have been reading NT books over and over again for the past three years. Maybe we should go OT?

David: So... Joel? Micah? How about Deuteronomy?

Ellen: Mmmm... Psalms. Yeah. Nothing that requires a concordance or study notes before bed. I'm tired.

This is a confession, not a recommendation. I have not given books that sometimes provoke a "Huh? What?" reaction enough of a chance in the past. I thank CBS for requiring me to hunker down and delve into them in ways I haven't before.

So... have you ever read the whole book of Hosea? Or did you open it up, start reading, and then stop in the first chapter, right about here:

"1The word of the LORD which came to Hosea the son of Beeri, during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. 2When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD."

3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
4And the LORD said to him, "Name him Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5"On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel."

6Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And the LORD said to him, "Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them. (Lo-ruhamah means "not loved" or "no mercy.") 7"But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the LORD their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen."

8When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son. 9And the LORD said, "Name him Lo-ammi (means "not my people"), for you are not My people and I am not your God."

This is the point at which I tend to be startled, scratch my head, and think, "I don't like this. This seems too harsh. I don't understand why God would do that to Hosea. I think maybe I'd rather read something that I can understand a little better/something that doesn't make me wonder about the kindness of God/something easier. I'll get back to Hosea later."

I've done that, and man, I've missed out. I haven't understood what this strange story was about, and what it was about was the heart of a God totally in love with a people who continually reject him.

But some background is needed here, first of all. I've been getting it through the rest of my study, so I'll share. For the past 200 years, Israel and Judah have been going their separate ways. Judah has had some good kings, and they've done a much better job of following the Lord. Not perfect, but they've had some success.

Israel has been a whole other story. Starting with Jeroboam (not the Jeroboam mentioned here, which is Jeroboam II), they started their own calf worshipping cult. Jeroboam didn't want his people to be going back and forth to Jerusalem to worship, so he told them they could just worship idols up in Israel, all by themselves. So he effectively made up his own religion, and the Lord detested it. Frequently, when the deeds of the evil kings are recorded, following in the ways of Jeroboam is way up there on the bad list for the king being mentioned.

Partially as a result of this idol worshipping cult, Israel just gets worse and worse. If you look at a list of their kings on a good/bad list, most of them are bad. And many of them don't rule very long before being assasinated by interlopers who take over. Hosea is prophesying at the time of Jeroboam II. He rules longer than some of them, and his reign is prosperous. Israel is doing quite well economically speaking. But she is engaged in the worst kind of idol worship, and she's been doing it for going on 200 years now. It's breaking God's heart. Seeing her worship idols, and in some cases, sacrifice her own children to Molech, is enough to tear Him apart. He can't hold back his judgement. She must be punished so that she will repent.

So he enlists his prophet Hosea to make His plea for him. The way He does it is so fascinating. He tells Hosea to marry an unfaithful wife. We don't know whether or not she's been unfaithful in the past or if God knows that she will be unfaithful in the future. Scholars seem to believe that she had not been unfaithful when Hosea married her. We don't know whether or not she repented from her unfaithfulness later on. We just know that God knew that she would be unfaithful... and he asked Hosea to marry her anyway.

This one is hard for me to take. I imagine what it would be like for me if God asked me to marry someone that He knew would be unfaithful to me. How would I make it? I would cry out, wondering, "Why God? Why are you doing this to me? I just want to serve you, and you want me to marry someone who will break my heart over and over again?" That's when I have to sit down and cling to God's sovereignty. God has a plan for each of our lives, and in His sovereign purpose, He alone knows what's best. Each of our lives has sorrow in it that He ordained, even though we don't know exactly what that sorrow will be. This was Hosea's sorrow, and unlike us, He knew what it would be ahead of time.

God had a specific purpose for that. God would be glorified in Hosea's marriage to Gomer because God would use this prophet to show Israel and the world His heart, maybe partially through Hosea's pain. I believe that Hosea understood God's love for unfaithful Israel because of his own love for unfaithful Gomer. God made His suffering real to Hosea through Hosea's marriage, and the result is some of the most powerful, loving writing in the Old Testament. These are God's words, but He chose to prepare the vessel for delivering them in a special way.

In the book of Hosea, God goes back and forth, vacillating between crying out in agony and anger over Israel's sins and begging Israel to repent, telling her of His great love for her. Even the names of Hosea's children that seemed so odious in the beginning are redeemed. He says that if Israel will only return to Him, she will be renamed. The "lo" will be taken off. She will be called his people and loved.

Hosea's own story is woven into the book. In chapter 3, Hosea must redeem Gomer. She has evidently become a slave in some way, probably through running away from Hosea, and he has to buy her back. He does, and he entreats her to stay with him. He wants her with him, even though he had to redeem her from shameful captivity. This is the heart of God for Israel. It is the heart of God for us.

Oh, how He loves us, despite our idolatry and despite our arrogance and despite our wickedness! This passage is one of the most beautiful in the Bible, and it's found in Hosea, chapter 11.

"1When Israel was a youth I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son.
2The more they called them,
The more they went from them;
They kept sacrificing to the Baals
And burning incense to idols.
3Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them in My arms;
But they did not know that I healed them.
4I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love,
And I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws;
And I bent down and fed them."

This imagery is especially sweet to me at this time of my life. I imagine the Lord holding my tiny hands as I toddle along. I imagine Him cheering as I learn to take steps on my own, taking delight in my tiniest achievements. I imagine Him bending down to put bread in the mouth of a little baby, just as I do with Seth. How sweet and gentle He is!

But His child has broken His heart. He is so angry, and He is yet still so loving, hanging on, hoping against hope that Israel will turn to Him. Hosea 11: 8-11:

"8 How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I surrender you, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart is turned over within Me,
All My compassions are kindled.
9I will not execute My fierce anger;
I will not destroy Ephraim again
For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst,
And I will not come in wrath.
10They will walk after the LORD,
He will roar like a lion;
Indeed He will roar
And His sons will come trembling from the west.
11They will come trembling like birds from Egypt
And like doves from the land of Assyria;
And I will settle them in their houses, declares the LORD."

If there is anything that studying Israel and the Minor Prophets has done for me this year, it has hammered into my head again and again that the God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New. He is just as loving, He is just as just, He is just as merciful. His judgements are tough, but if anyone, and I do mean anyone, turns to Him in repentance, He is so quick to forgive, to postpone judgement, and to give favor. He doesn't enjoy punishing anyone. It breaks His heart. And He is so happy when I come to Him, bringing my sad little self and all its sins and problems, laying them down at His feet.

So if you're like me, and you've been avoiding reading some of those prophets with the funny names, please give them another chance. You might be surprised by what you find when you look at the less familiar parts of God's word.

Throwing Up Sick...

Well, I got another mommy badge yesterday. We're having our first bout of throwing up sick. "Throwing up sick" appears to be very different than "feeling bad sick." There's a lot more laundry. And I need to buy another can of Spot Shot for the carpet.

I was putting clothes in his drawer yesterday afternoon, and I turned around when I heard a funny noise. He'd just been sitting on the floor, happily playing. He threw up most of his dinner all over Mr. Giraffe and then looked at me. I've decided that my throwing up technique is this: while the child is throwing up, I let him do so unmolested if he's on the carpet or the floor or something not upholstered. After he's done, I then pick him up and clean up everything. If I were to run with said child to the bathroom while he was throwing up, then I would have throwup all over more stuff, the hall, myself, etc. I'm sure you wanted to know that.

He threw up again several minutes after the first episode. After that, he got progressively more unhappy. He would start gagging and throwing up stomach bile. It was really pitiful. He slept well last night, and this morning, he's wolfing down the saltines and the water. I'm afraid to give him more than that until I see how the morning goes.

You veteran mommies out there, what do you do when your toddler gets throwing up sick?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I used my coffee pot this morning. To make oatmeal.

We have a long history of disrespecting our coffee pot around here. When you come to visit us, there will be caffeinated coffee in the freezer. You may not be able to find creamer or filters, but we can make do for ya with the baby's whole milk and a paper napkin. It's enough to make some of you run screaming to Starbucks.

We went to WallyWorld last night, and I was riveted to the spot by the tv they put above the banana stand. 'Cause if you have to get bananas, you might as well watch tv while you do it. Anyhoo... Alton Brown (a man I used to threaten to run away with until I decided that his nitpicking tendencies about measuring things might dampen our ardent romance) was talking about how you can make oatmeal in your coffee pot. I was intrigued.

So I tried it! It works great, but only if you add just the amount of water called for on the packet. I tried adding more, thinking it seemed like too little. No dice. I'm wondering if Meredith has any ideas on how to do this without using instant oatmeal, maybe quick cooking oats instead. Hmmm. I liked this because I could dump it in and know it would still be hot whenever I wanted it (aka., whenever Seth finished eating). But it seemed like a great tip for when you're on the road, your hotel is too cheap to provide continental breakfast, but you still have one of those tiny coffee pots. Go here for the full scoop. Of oatmeal. Not coffee.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

MOPs Swaps...

So... today we had MOPs Swap at MOPs. I decided to round up a canvas bagful of stuff to swap. I didn't know how big a deal this thing was or wasn't, so I was going to go on the safe side. I put in a few books, some of Seth's old clothes and hats, and a couple of shirts of mine that were too small. All of it was decent stuff, nothing too ratty or too outdated. I even had an old copy of Moo Baa La La La that was snapped up in the first instant of the mad rush. =)

My, my... It was quite a pleasing smorgasboard. I came back with some great goodies! I found out afterward that one of the ladies in my small group had helped put out the table labels today, and she made sure we were in the one closest to the loot. Sneaky. But that meant I snagged this great rocking horse for Seth! It's adorable! It's made of plush, and when you push the ears, one ear makes a whinnying sound, and the other sounds like he's galloping. Hopefully he'll be ready for it any time now.

But my favorite pick of the day was the blast from the past above. I couldn't believe anyone would leave it on the book table for longer than a millisecond, but yet, there it was, with women buzzing around and ignoring Gregory in all his glory. Didn't anyone else remember this fantastic book from the days of Reading Rainbow? Doesn't anyone recognize a true classic anymore?

This is the story of Gregory the Goat. Gregory doesn't want to eat what all goats eat. He wants fruits and vegetables and meats and cereals. His parents are exceedingly disappointed. They want him to eat shoes and tin cans. They take him to the goat doctor, since his eating habits are so confusing and unhealthy. The doctor is eating cardboard when they arive. He tells Gregory's parents to take it slowly with Gregory. So that night, Gregory has a shoelace in his spaghetti for dinner.

So cute! Anybody else remember this book besides me? Anyone have any favorites from childhood that you ran across recently, giving you an "Oh-I-remember-this-book-and-I-loved-it" moment like mine?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Catch all...

It's gonna be a catch all post today... Mom and Dad came for the weekend, babysat for us on Saturday night, and left this morning. During the weekend they:

- trimmed the dead vines around the mailbox and the gate
- sewed buttons back on my sweater
- gave me birthday presents, including a Chick-Fil-A gift card, a globe for a lamp, and some pretty windowsill baubles
- brought me a homemade chocolate birthday cake complete with re-lighting candles (proof that David is influencing Mom in many subtle ways)
- ate popcorn and watched the last episode of Pride and Prejudice with us. Gotta love that Mr. Darcy.
- spoiled their grandson absolutely rotten

Grandparents: the only people in the world who would pay you to babysit your child, do your dishes and clean your house while you're gone, and give you money for the date so they can get you out of their hair and move on to the grandkid spoiling... (Ok, they didn't do all that, but it wouldn't surprise me if they'd be willing to...)

This morning, I had a playdate with a new group. A girl from our Sunday School class invited me to her house. The other girls are an assortment of her friends, all with babies around a year old. Some go to the church as well, and some do not. They were a really sweet and laid back group of gals. I got there early because I didn't know what time playgroup started, but it was no problem. This is a group that starts late and eats lunch together so that the babes can get their morning naps. Now that's what I'm talkin' about! They also plan a little topic of the day on mothering. The girl who did it this week read an article about things you can let go of as a mom. I thought it was a cool idea. I hope they invite me again! It looks like I'm on the email list, and at least one other mom lives near me. Spring is coming, and I think it'd be fun to have them all spilling out onto my porch and in my back yard.

Today I got myself in gear... and I emailed the elder ministry coordinator at church. See, my MOPs magazine came in the mail, and in it was an article about serving the elderly with your babies and toddlers. It suggested taking your playgroup to a nursing home, and making a circle with residents and putting the kids and toys in the middle. It also suggested taking Meals on Wheels to elderly residents. I got to thinking... "Older people love babies. They often stop me on the street and in the store to talk to Seth. Maybe he would be a treat for them." So we'll see what comes of my email. Maybe there are some shut-ins who live near me who would like a visit between naps. I'm sure Seth would love to squeal and throw blocks at them. =) There aren't a lot of kid friendly ministry opportunties out there, but this seems like one we could do. Anybody got any ideas for other places and ways you can serve with babies and toddler? I'm definitely open to suggestions.

I also emailed the nursery coordinator at church. You don't have to be a member to help out with nursery, and I think it's time we started sharing the load. Looks like we could be joining this church, and though I still feel torn about that, I don't want to hang back. The best way to find out more about a church is to get more involved. Involvement... here we come! There was an announcement in the bulletin that they are starting a new babies class, and they need regular helpers. That was my kick in the pants. And I love cuddling new babies. =)

In other news, it's a bee-yoo-ti-ful day here! Seth and I are going for a nice walk after he gets up from his nap. It's supposed to get cold and rainy again soon, so we're taking advantage of this.

Oh yeah, and is it just me, or does putting together baby stuff make everyone feel like a moron? I got irrefutable evidence today that Seth loves the jumper that hangs from the doorway more than he does the stationary one. Something about the swinging motion, I think. So I decided to put together the one that we got as a baby gift. Either the instructions were way too vague, or I'm an idiot. It took me nearly half an hour to figure it out. And it wasn't that complicated. I choose to believe that the people at Graco write horrible instruction manuals. But at least I succeeded. David is usually the Designated Putter Together of All Things around here. Score one for Mommy!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Feelin' better...

The mommy guilt didn't end up eating me completely alive. Seth got up cheerful from his nap, ate like the little mini-teenager that he is, and then played cheerfully until it was time for the afternoon nap. He looks like he got the worst of it in a prizefight, but he's smiling around the bruises. I think it's harder to see your children in pain than to see the evidence of the pain. I won't be showing him himself in the mirror anytime soon, but my guess is that he'd probably be fascinated with the view. =)

But on another note... I decided to spend some of my birthday cash on awesome praise music. I used to have an extensive Christian music library. Now I have many outdated Christian cds from the 90s. Anybody remember Big Tent Revival? What about Audio Adrenaline and the Newsboys? Yeah, those last two are still around, but I don't have anything by them that is less than 10 years old. Pathetic because I really enjoy Christian music. It's been an important part of my Christian journey, and I've been disrespectin' that. Well, I took a baby step toward change today...

When we lived in DC, we went to a church that had rockin' praise music. It was fantastic. I LOVED it, and I got used to the fact that I could worship Jesus with wonderful music and deep lyrics every Sunday morning. I don't take that for granted so much anymore. There are many great churches around here, but none of them come close to the Sunday morning worship at Sovereign Grace of Fairfax. So I decided it was time to invest in a little nostalgia trip back to DC. And Sovereign Grace Ministries made it easy peasy. They're having a really good sale during the month of February. Free shipping. And every CD is $6. I'm not kidding. Go here for the details. I bought two this morning. I probably should've gotten more.

I'm one of those people who loves the depth of hymn lyrics and and also loves the awesomeness of a praise band. Many praise lyrics, it seemed to me, though, were kind of... ummm.... missing something. They were kind of repetitive. They couldn't match the heartfelt verses of classic hymns. That's what I thought... until I came across the compilation of praise songs that Sovereign Grace had put together. They either created or found praise music with the kind of depth I expected to find in hymns. So if you feel the same way I have, it's worth it to give a listen to the samples on these cds. You probably won't be disappointed.

I remember seeing this email a few years ago. It went around the forwards circuit, and it was pretty funny, in my opinion. I thought it did an admirable job at poking fun at the difference between praise music and hymns, so I shall reproduce it here:

"Not long ago a farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was. "Well," said the farmer, "It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns." "Praise choruses," said his wife, "What are those?" "Oh, they're okay. They're sort of like hymns, only different," said the farmer. "

"Well, what's the difference?" asked his wife. The farmer said, "Well it's like this - If I were to say to you:`Martha, the cows are in the corn,' well that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

Martha Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA,
the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows,
the white cows, the black and white cows, the COWS, COWS,
COWS are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn,

Then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well that would be a praise chorus."

A young, new Christian from the big city attended the small town church one weekend. He came home and his wife asked him how it was."Well," said the young man, "It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs." "Hymns," said his wife, "What are those?" "Oh, they're okay. They're sort of like regular songs, only different," said the young man.

"Well, what's the difference?" asked his wife. The young man said, "Well it's like this - If I were to say to you, `Martha, the cows are in the corn,' well that would be a regular song. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.
For the way of the animals who can explain
There in their heads is no shadow of sense,
Hearkenest they in God's sun or his rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.
Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.
So look to that bright shining day by and by,
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn.
Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.

Then, if I were to do only verses one, three, and four and do a key change on the last verse, well that would be a hymn."

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all.

Rough morning...

I took Seth to his morning check up. The doctor was great; no worries about his major motor skills until he's at least 2, since he is progressing. That was a relief. But...

Seth fell off the low bench and hit his nose. I had got him changed after his shots, and I wasn't paying enough attention. The paper they use on the benches is so slick, and I wasn't thinking about that either. I caught him in mid-air, but not before he hit his face against the side of the bench. It looks awful. It started swelling and bruising immediately, and it was bleeding. The doctor came back in right away, and he checked him out. Its not broken. Seth was so upset, sobbing and shaking from sobbing. I feel terrible.

I got him home, with him wailing in the backseat every time he touched his nose. We rocked for awhile; he was so exhausted with crying. I put him down for his morning nap, as that is truly a comfort to him. He grabbed his sleep sack and started sucking his thumb. Hopefully that and Tylenol will help.

But I feel like I should be fired from my job as mom. Why didn't I just put him on the floor before puttering around to get stuff back in my bag? It's hard to look at his nose. It's hard to forgive myself. Please pray that the swelling will go down soon, and that he'll have a good rest of the day.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


29... socks that Seth is "helping" me fold? times that I've read "Puppy Too Small? pieces of chewed prune I've picked up off the floor? jewels in my tiara? =) Nope. 29: the number of years I have now been breathing air. Sigh. Can't I just stay 28 forever? 28 was such a good year. But hey, hopefully, 29 will be, too. I'm not one of those people who's going to take turning 30 very well.

Sarah put this up this morning. Thanks, sis. My leapord print bathing suit with hints of hot pink in it was to die for back then. Notice that neither of us had a prayer of filling out those rockin' suits. Ahh, to be twelve again. Dad, did you notice that you have before you proof that we did, indeed, play in the nasty waters of the boat slew? We're lucky we didn't ingest motor fuel and die or cut up our legs on rusty cans. And you said I was making it up. Hah!

I'm having a pretty good birthday. I woke up with the stomach yuck that I've been fighting off for the past few days. I wasn't able to enjoy the fresh donut in bed that David brought me as much as I would've liked. My honey got me some candles, gourmet hot chocolate, yard sale books, and earrings for my birthday. I also got a bit of mad money which I plan to hoard until I find the perfect thing to spend it on! We're going to the Olive Garden tonight for my favorite restaurant meal. We're dropping the munchkin off at my cousin's house (they live 5 minutes from the restaurant), and we'll get two hours of uninterrupted dinner, and he'll get two hours to play with their dogs. He LOVES dogs. We all win.

My stomach yuck is improving, and Seth and I had some good times together after Bible study this morning. I put him on the bed to play with the cat. She left... quickly. But then he rolled around for awhile, and.... he actually pushed up on his knees and stayed there longer than .01 of a second. I have something good to report to the doctor tomorrow! Yeah! He also spent some good tummy time on the floor with his stuffed giraffe. I knew it was time for an early nap when he fell asleep right there.

I love watching my sleeping baby boy. Besides David, he's the best birthday present I could ever ask for. I told him so as I carried him out to the car this morning. Who needs gifts when you have baby hugs, baby squeals, and baby smiles? I know I think they're worth more than anything I've ever done, every place I've ever been, any degree I've ever obtained, and any experience I could've had if I hadn't become a mom. Seth didn't give me anything for my birthday today. Just himself. And that's far more than enough gift for me.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lazy President's Day...

I love government holidays. We had a long, lazy weekend with David, and it has been great! We stayed up late last night, we all slept in this morning, and we hardly did anything but drink in the great weather and the quiet time as a family.

Seeing as all the local free museums seem to be closed on Mondays, we decided that our morning activity should be... the kid's play area at one of our local malls. I think every other mom in Raleigh decided the same thing. Seth loved risking his life lying on the ground with screaming, running children narrowly missing him as they buzzed around. We had some good mall observation time, and then we headed home.

This afternoon was catch up time. David ran the finances for the month of January. It was a good month there, better than I'd hoped. It felt good to see our little changes having some effect, and we got a nice break from special expenses.

I have felt lately like God has been very good to help me out with the little details. I was worried about where to go for new car insurance. There are so many options out there, and how to know which is the best? I'd run a few quotes online, and I talked to some people. I prayed for direction. Well, a letter came in the mail, unsolicited, from David's law school alma mater. It let us know we'd get a discount for signing up with a company they recommended. We didn't just get that discount; this company also gives significant savings if you have advanced degrees. Who knew that the J.D. and the M.A. could actually save us money? =) I am so thankful; we're paying HALF of our former insurance rate for the same plan from a reputable company.

The other day, we got a note and some cash in the mail from Aunt Patty. She wanted to bless us for my birthday and Valentine's. It came just in time for our Saturday night dinner! We spent half on that, and we're saving the other half for dinner out for my birthday. Thanks, Aunt Patty!

All in all, we sat in the grass this afternoon with Seth, and I had the thought that we are seeing so much of God's goodness to us today in the land of the living. God is always good, but sometimes His goodness is seen through provision in tough times. It's nice to be seeing His goodness in a pleasant place. We have so many of our needs provided for, and I'm so thankful. Everything is calm... so of course, that means it's time to stop looking inward and start looking outward. Where can we bless? Since God has provided for us in ways that allow us to rest right now. What do we need to be doing with the extra time that He's given?

We saw some really neat opportunities in our church bulletin this Sunday. We both felt very encouraged that this is a place that provides great opportunities to reach out to the family of God. Just in this week's bulletin: an upcoming shower to benefit the local crisis pregnancy center, an opportunity to host a Belorussian child with asthma for 6 weeks this summer, a marriage mentoring program, and a Titus 2 women's mentoring program. Where should we plug in? What should we be doing? I've been hesitant, afraid to say for sure that this is the place for us. David is ready to call it. I need to get on board, and I need to dive in. I hope it won't be too hard to do; it's tough for me to get invested again in a new place.

In other news, I need some advice, ladies. Seth is FINALLY willing to eat a lot more things that aren't baby food. I'm seeing willingness there that I haven't seen before. Any ideas for good, healthy toddler food? I'm having trouble getting him to eat real green vegetables. I can feed him baby food vegetables, no problem, but he doesn't want me to feed him the real thing. I'm trying to think of good things he can eat that are easy to prepare. We don't eat dinner at the same time that he does, so I need ideas for easy, nutritious lunches and dinners. I can give him some of our leftovers, but we don't always have much that he likes. I'm thinking of getting some non fat refried beans and and melting cheese in there tomorrow. And we haven't tried grapes, yet, so I'm thinking we might go there. Any tips?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Valentine's Day love story...

Old photo from Fall 2005

David and I got a Valentine's day date this Saturday night. It almost didn't happen. We'd arranged to swap babysitting with a friend. She and her husband were supposed to go out on Friday night, and we would have Saturday night. Well, she got the same cold that I have, only worse, so on Friday afternoon, I found out that wasn't going to work. Never fear! I turned to Plan B. I told David that Kristi cancelled on us, and that we were going to have a special "family outing" instead. I didn't mention that the "family outing" involved splitting up the family by dropping Seth at Chris and Mandy's house on the way to dinner. =) My cover was blown on Saturday afternoon when Mandy called to tell me that her son was running a slight fever, but I kept it up until then. Being the bad parents that we are, and in the absence of any other symptoms of sickness from Ryan, we decided to take our chances. (Hey, Seth didn't get sick with my cold, and I've been sneezing all over him all week.)

We dropped off the munchkin, and then we headed to... Pizza Hut in Dunn, NC. But wait, it's romantic! This was the site of our first date, on Valentine's Day 9 years ago. We haven't been back since. We went to college in the middle of nowhere, rural NC. There were two Pizza Huts within 20 minutes of the college... and very few other restaurants. We usually went to the other one, but for some reason, we ended up at the Dunn Pizza Hut for our first date.

But let me take you back to a simpler time... flashback to Valentine's Day weekend, 1999. David and I had been friends for several months. I got to know him through mutual geeky clubs and through our involvement in Student Government together. He had a house that he rented with a couple of guys, and I would hang out there with other mutual friends from time to time. But by this point, our relationship was moving away from friendship. Initially, I'd viewed David like a great brother figure. But that was changing, and that scared me.

I guess the reason it scared me should've been a good sign, but I didn't see it that way at the time. I was scared to date David because I was afraid that I would date him, things wouldn't work out, and I would break his heart. David had never dated anyone before, and I'd had a few boyfriends. At that point, I cared about him more than I've ever cared about them, because I was thinking more about the consequences for him if this went south than I was about what would happen to me. But I wasn't aware of that; that's hindsight talking.

I'd gone home for the weekend to do some soul searching, and I told David I'd come by his house when I got back. We were in the strange no-man's-land stage of Interested But Not Really Dating Yet. So I wanted to take some time to pray about the direction our relationship should take. That Sunday morning, I went to the church I'd been attending for the past couple of years when I'd come home from college on weekends. I'll never forget the sermon.

For one thing, the bulletin had a poem entitled "Risk" on the cover. The sermon itself was about the children of Israel as they camped on the edge of the Promised Land. Joshua and the spies went in to check out the land, and they reported back that it was a great land, but that the people in it were like giants. Quickly, the Israelites turned chicken. God had promised them that He would be with them to take the land, and they were supposed to have it. But they were too scared to go in and capture what God had promised to them. As a result of their cowardice, they got to wander in the wilderness for 40 more years, and they never got to enter the Promised Land. The pastor asked us to consider what God was offering us. Were we afraid to reach for His promised gifts? Did we really trust Him to do what He'd said He would do for us?

I felt like God was speaking directly to me that Sunday morning. And I knew what I thought He was saying. David was the best guy I'd ever known. He had a heart for Jesus and a strong walk with Him that made me love and respect him. And this amazing guy wanted me? What in the world was I holding back for?

Still, I was hesitant. I wanted to be completely sure that was what God wanted. So I decided to lay down a "fleece." =) I prayed, and I told God that I would date David if He arranged it that David gave me 6 yellow roses as a Valentine's Day present. I didn't think that David would be getting me anything for Valentine's Day, much less roses, so this seemed like a pretty safe bet. I didn't know it at the time, but David decided at the last minute to buy me roses. This was a really big deal for him, since he certainly hadn't ever bought a girl flowers before.

When I showed up at his house on Sunday evening, he presented me with six roses. Problem. They weren't yellow. They were pink and purple. I didn't know quite what to do with that. I'd gotten 2/3 of my fleece. Hmmm. So I decided on a 2/3 solution.

David and I ended up at Pizza Hut. As we sat there, enjoying our food and conversation, I dropped the bomb, my perfect 2/3 solution.

I said, "David, I've decided that I'm willing to date you... nonexclusively." Da da da dum. (Expectant silence.)

David, being the brilliant and confused guy that he was, said, "So, does that mean we can date other people?"

I hadn't thought of this. So I said, "Well, yeah, but I'd rather we didn't plan on doing that." See, in my mind, this nonexclusive thing was a way for me to honor my fleece and get my feet wet without diving in. I wasn't expecting questions...

David: "Hmmm... so does this mean I have to pay for dinner?"

I laughed. And that's when it hit me: "I have never been more comfortable with someone in my entire life. This could be it." That moment was one of those mile markers in my journey to becoming Mrs. David that stand out. It meant something important, and it branded itself on my heart.

I still have a mental picture of that laugh we shared then frozen in my mind. I see David's smiling face in the corner of the booth. I see the edge of the window behind him... and I see a glimmer of my future in his face.

When we went back to Pizza Hut this Saturday night, it seemed like we were in a time warp. The Pizza Hut in Dunn hasn't gotten an update. Same cheesy '90s music playing, same yucky carpet, same glass lampshades over the booths. And we didn't seem different. We still laugh at stuff that wouldn't be funny to anyone else, and we still try to share our breadsticks evenly. David got me the biggest box of Whitman's that they make this year because he knows I have a family history of feeling loved by the big box of Whitmans. Mom always got a bigger one than I did, and I pouted. So he knows that giving me the big box says that I'm numero uno in our family and in his heart.

I know that's where I rank. There's no doubt. I've always been number one for him, and I've never questioned that, not for a single second. I hope he knows he's always been number one in my heart.

When you go back to the place where you started, you reminisce. We talked about the little details of our courtship, and while they wouldn't be fascinating to anyone else, they were completely enthralling for us. This is our history, the history of our family, the history of the biggest blessing God has given us on this earth.

It's been 9 years since we sat in that Pizza Hut booth. We're very different people now than we were then. We've grown, and the best part is that we've grown together. We've shared the same good and bad experiences, and we've learned from them with a united heart. We've walked the same direction, hand in hand. And when we walk back through the door and sit in the booth, we sit there as one heart, united, and not as two, tentatively taking steps to become one. I think this Valentine's Day tops that one, for so many reasons. I thank God for the giving us the first one and every one thats come after.

So if you ever go to Pizza Hut with me, and you notice I get a sentimental gleam in my eye, indulge me. It's not just the breadsticks.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Still sick around here. Seth has a clear runny nose, but he's also drooling, so I think he's teething. The only one cranky is me, so that's a great thing.

If you want to feel awesome about what made your honey for Valentine's Day dinner last night, I can help. I'd thawed the beef for stew, but the thought of eating it made me want to gag. All I wanted to eat was.... Kraft mac n' cheese and hot dogs I bought at the dollar store. (No, they hadn't expired, it's a local company that has lots of leftovers sometimes.) Exactly what my stomach wanted, David likes it, and Seth had his first taste of hot dog. He loved it. But not such a romantic dinner.

I love, love, love my man, especially when I'm sick. Have you ever noticed that your spouse looks so much better to you when you feel crummy and they're doing the dishes? =) David's gentleness and thoughtfulness are two of the character traits that most attracted me to him. Yesterday was one of those days when I could hardly believe my good fortune that God gave me a man that is so much better than I deserve.

Last night, as I lay on my back with the snot draining away (hey, you know you might get this when you read here), I put my hand on his stomach, and he put his hand on top of mine. We lay there dozing, me so thankful for his presence when I'm sick, and him falling asleep and the pressure of his hand getting heavier and heavier on mine as he fell asleep until my hand went numb and I had to pull it away. It was wonderful... in a sick, low key kind of way. Ahh, married bliss.

For some reason, when I'm sick, I feel the need to prove to myself that I can be productive, so I'm sometimes more productive than when I'm well. So Sarah and Amanda, you're both getting packages in the mail. Sarah, yours is a pregnancy care package, and Amanda, yours is the stuff you left here over a month ago with a little somethin' somethin' there as well. We're hitting the post office, and I'm finally going to get those thank you notes from Seth's party mailed as well. Less than a month; that's pretty good for me.

I finally made Seth a 12 month doctor's appointment. I've been dreading the checklist in the waiting room, so I've been putting it off until now. "Is your baby crawling on his hands and knees? "No." "Pulling up?" "No." "Able to get from the floor to sitting up on his own?" "No." Can you see why I think this is going to be fun? I have a really great, low key doctor that I like, and I got an appointment with him. Maybe he'll give me some new exercises or tips I can try with Seth.

But what do you do with a baby who won't stay on his stomach on the floor for longer than 10 minutes at time without giving up and crying into the carpet? I guess I'm afraid that they're going to want me to get him a therapist or something, and I don't think it's time for that yet. He feeds himself, he talks up a storm, he loves his shape sorter and his books and to push buttons. He knows how to ask for "more" in sign language now, and yesterday, he said "done" when he was sitting there with food on his plate and he hadn't touched it for a bit. But my doctor won't be able to see those things in a 10 minute appointment. Please pray for me; I'm a novice mommy, and I don't really know what to do. The appointment is next Friday at 8:30 a.m.

Well, better run get a shower and a decongestant. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I'm sick. It started with the dreaded dry throat yuck that you wake up with, then progressed to all day drainage, and it appears to finally be culminating today in full blown cold. I don't want to wear anything but pajama pants, a sweatshirt, bedroom slippers, and a sour expression. I'm hoping the Sudafed kicks in soon, and I spent exactly 2 seconds thinking about making homemade rolls to go with the beef stew for dinner. After 2 seconds, I listened to my groggy head and my body aches, and they told me that I was crazy. Happy Valentine's Day, honey.

But Seth and I did take David some goodies to work today. We ate lunch with him after Bible study, and he got some of his favorite chips (Utz Sour Cream and Onion) and a candy bar with lunch. I also packed him a Cherry Coke on ice to make it extra cold (it's the little things, right?) David and I are uber competitive, so even with the cold, I had to rally and come up with a gesture to make for him on Valentine's Day. I couldn't let him outdo me by getting up at 5:30 a.m. to go Walmart and get me roses. I am Woman; hear me sniffle. =) But now I'm back home, and Seth is asleep, and I'm crashing. I hope you have a great Valentine's with the love of your life. And I hope you're not spending it cozying up to a tissue box.

Happy Valentine's Day!

This is what I found on the kitchen table when I walked in this morning. Only my husband would know that I like my roses in a vase of Cheetos, tied with a Milky Way bow. A few days ago he said, "How about we just celebrate on the weekend and not do anything on the actual day?" I agreed, and then I prepared to do just that. Cheater. =) But I'm not going to complain about roses on Valentine's Day.

We've got a hot date planned for Saturday, and we have free babysitting to boot! We're swapping with local friends with little girls, so we sit for them on Friday night, and they sit for us on Saturday night. I've gotta run get ready for Bible study, but I thought I'd share David's thoughtfulness with the WWW before I do. I love you, honey!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Big stuff...

Yesterday was full of big stuff for Seth. I sat down with him in the living room last evening, and I decided to try the whole ball rolling thing. I hadn't tried it before 'cause I thought you had to be a pretty big boy to learn how to roll a ball. Well, I guess he's a big boy. He caught on pretty quickly. I would push it to him, and it would roll between his legs, and then he figured out how to push it back to me with the back of his hand. He was so thrilled with himself! He'd lean forward and keep batting at it, and if he got it good, and it rolled all the way to me, he would smile. It was an "I rock" kinda smile. We must've done this for 10 minutes.

Every time I say "Yeah!," he claps for himself. I forget this sometimes, and I say "Yeah!" without thinking, and then he's off and clapping. We don't think too much of ourselves around here, no sirree bob. So I was saying it, and he was clapping for himself, and then he'd push it again. Sometimes I wonder about making a big deal out of new things. I mean, I was really praising him over the top. I was smiling so big that my mouth eventually started hurting. But I want him to understand that he's just done something really cool so he'll keep doing it. At this age, it seems like he'll do or say something cool, and then he'll decide he's done it once, and that's enough. So I won't see it again for months. I don't want that to happen with ball rolling. I like ball rolling. It's a good interactive activity that trumps, say, sitting in the Jumperoo and whining.

But that's not all! I know you were waiting with bated breath for the next big announcement. Now, I was a preschool teacher in my past life, and none of my toddler class could put the shapes in the shape sorter at 12 months. They would get frustrated and pull the lid off and just put the shapes in and out. No biggie. So I thought Seth wouldn't be able to get the sorting thing, and I hadn't tried it.

Well, David came home, and he and Seth started playing with this complicated shape sorter that James and Shelly gave him in Texas. You know the kind. We all had it as a kid. I remember it as the red and blue ball that ate my shapes and wouldn't give them back to me. You have to pull it apart to get them to come out again, and I frequently got mad at it because I wasn't strong enough to get that to work. But anyway, it has a ton of different shapes, not just square, circle, star, etc. It has octagons and pentagons and quintuplagons and ovals and maltese falcons and 20 pointed stars. And Seth was sitting there, calmly, and with concentration, and he was putting the weird shapes in the weird holes. All by himself. David would put the particular shape in front of him, but he was the one who got it in there.

Yes, my child is a genius. There is no doubt. It's official. We're calling the IQ testing people tomorrow to have him registered.

A genius who can't yet doing anything but army crawl, but hey, he can put shapes in weird holes. We'll get him a job at a puzzle factory, and his co-workers can carry him around. The genius is fussing now, and his 15 minutes of alone floor time are up, so... catch ya around!

Monday, February 11, 2008


Now that we're back, I had a bunch of my favorite blogs to catch up on. I ran across this link off of Merchant Ships, and I think its pretty interesting. I have a good southwest lentil soup recipe, and I have noticed the mild flavor and quick cooking of this particular dried bean. But I hadn't thought much beyond soup. This lady seems to be the Queen of the Lentil. Check it out. I dislike brown rice, but I could see making a pot of lentils and regular rice and seeing what comes of the various variations. I'll let you know if I try it. I could also see it being a good baby food for a certain little guy who likes his food mushy.

Now, I thought this "meatloaf" builder website was really funny. I put in lentils as my bean base, and everything else I made as much like normal meatloaf as possible. Even if you aren't trying to cook more cheaply, beans are just so darn healthy! I love the taste of meat as much as the next gal, but as I wean Seth, I'm going to have to be weaning myself from some of my current food indulgences. It's really easy for me to get a slight double chin, and I hate it. The Dr. Pepper is staying, though.

Anybody got any other good lentil or bean recipes?

We're back from Tejas!

Cousin James showing the kids pictures of their home in the Middle East

We're back!! And I know you really missed us! =) We had a wonderful time hanging out with the big, extended family. And I do mean the big, extended family. We had approximately 25 people come from all parts of the earth to celebrate Grandpa's life, from the Middle East, Michigan, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, and beyond.

The funeral itself was a celebration of a life truly well lived. I learned a few additional things about Grandpa that I hadn't known before. For instance, I didn't know that he got his college degree from Baylor after he was married and had children, going to school at nights and working days. It was a dream of his that all his girls would get college degrees, and they did. All of their children also got college degrees or are currently enrolled in college. Higher education is important in this family.

Biblical knowledge is also very important to the family, and we have quite a few ministers and others who've had some seminary training. The funeral was officiated by Uncles Bob and Chuck, and my father-in-law, Bill, all ordained ministers. It was fun to watch all of them sitting up there. Each of them has his own style, and it was amusing to see how different they all are. Bill usually sings with great gusto, Bob is more reserved, and Uncle Chuck has a pleasant, calm smile on his face.

Cousin James spoke as well, and he emphasized one of Grandpa's favorite phrases: "Let's keep this thing moving in the same direction." Now, Grandpa was referring to food at the table as it was being passed. He wanted to make sure there wasn't a food traffic jam. But James made the point that Grandpa and Grandma had left this family a legacy of faith and trust in Him. We should keep it moving in the same direction. Good words; good thoughts.

Diana and Bill, my in-laws, decided to rent a 4 bedroom house near town for the weekend. That way, Danny and Kelli and the four kids and us and James and Shelly and their two girls could all stay together and have an easy place for early bedtimes and naps and such. It also provided a place for the entire extended family to come and hang out, eat large quantities of Texas bbq, and play games. Of course, we only played games in honor of Grandpa, since he loved to play dominos and bridge and such. We certainly didn't play them because we enjoy it. We had sour expressions on our faces the whole time, yes, indeedy.

I shall give you a snapshot of the pleasant chaos that having a large, loving family all hanging together can bring. Shelly, Kelli, and I stayed home with the kids the night before the funeral, missing out on the visitation portion of the evening. We heated up some homemade soup; it was a low key meal. We didn't know what the plans were for later, and we really weren't thinking much about it. So we got the kids ready for bed, lounged around on the couch, and waited for the husbands to come back. Well, they did, just in time to tell us that a hoarde of relatives were planning to descend on us in about 5 minutes. We started moving tables and chairs around, washed all the cups and goblets we could find, and got a buffet set up in the extra living room. It was an instant party, complete with the aforementioned Texas bbq brought by Aunt Patty and Uncle Max. I think Diana thought we were great for springing into action at the first mention of the unexpected. We just thought it was good, wacky, family fun! =)

Ahh, here we have the Sandum brothers, Steve, Keith, and Tom. I affectionately call this photo "Three Men and A Baby." The baby is Judson and doesn't belong to any of them, but he was willing to pose for me. Between the three of them, they actually have 9 children. None of those children came along for the funeral. I imagine that the brothers enjoyed pillow fights and breaking lighting fixtures with their tall heads on this long, men only weekend. The plus for those of us with kids on this trip was that they're all terrific dads, and they didn't know what to do with themselves without children around to mind. So they helped us with ours! =) I know Keith and Steve did more than their fair share of cranky Seth walking.

And this is what David spent a good part of his free time doing. These girls all love to be read to, especially Elise. They were insatiable. You can't see it in the picture, but they had a whip and a baseball bat hidden behind the sofa, and they would flog David if he didn't read long enough. Ok, I'm just kidding. I know they look all sweet and innocent, but they're serious about their stories.

Here's just some of the crew at one of the two dining room tables. Diana is sitting on this rickety bathroom stool 'cause we ran out of chairs. Right before I took the picture, she turned and nearly fell off the thing. And I missed getting it on film. Drat. That would've been a great one for the family album! =)
James and Shelly live in the Middle East, and Middle Easterners just don't do yard sales like Texans do. I guess if you were in the market for a used camel saddle or some fresh dates, they might be just the ticket, but James and Shelly are really in the market for children's books in English, so they did some yard saling on Saturday morning. Guess what they found? Yes, that's right, an unused pinata. They filled it with candy, and Cousin Keith rigged it to a swing set with a camera strap, and we were in business.
All the kids got a crack at it, even Seth. Can you tell he has found his inner boy? He already loves to pretend to kick and hit things.

Ok, this picture is out of order. These are the spoils after the pinata broke. Notice that David got in on the action, though I'm pretty sure that Seth didn't actually have any chocolate.

As the oldest and biggest kid, it was Rachel Beth's job to do her best to break the pinata for the other kids. She did her best, and she did manage to knock some candy out of the top. However, Mr. Pinata had to have surgery with Danny's pocket knife before he would spill his innards. FaithLyn dealt the fatal blow.
So that was Texas! It was great, but man, I'm glad to be back home to peace and quiet and regular baby napping. It took 6 1/2 hours to travel home yesterday, including a stop in Tampa of all places, since Tampa is so on the way to N.C. But Seth got to sleep in his car seat for a lot of it, praise the Lord, and we survived the shaky, wind gusted landing in NC, so we're all good. Now off to do all the things that didn't get done while we were gone! See ya!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Haircut and leaving tomorrow

It's been a quiet day mostly. I folded lots of laundry and prepared us to leave early tomorrow morning for Texas! Seth needed a haircut. Badly. Now, last time, I took him to the overpriced kid's cuttery. I know all of you have seen one of these. They have cutesy little cars or airplanes for them to sit in, and they play kid's videos on a tv in front of the chair. They have toys in the waiting room. It's quite a fun place. But... as I have mentioned before, they charged me nearly $20 last time to cut a few hairs off him in the back. It took all of a couple of minutes. So I decided we weren't doing that again. No way is my baby getting charged as much as I do for a haircut.

So we went down to the local Hair Cuttery today. David gets his hair cut there, and it's very reasonable. Low and behold, they do kid's haircuts for $9. That's much better. Tonya had me sit Seth on my lap, and she gave him a comb to hold, which he LOVED, and she did a great job! Tonya cuts David's hair, and now she'll be cutting his son's hair. There's something sweet about that, dontcha think? And I think it's sweet on the old wallet, too. =)

We're flying out early. Please pray for good travel for us all, especially on the way back. We got a good price on tickets and a good time, but the return trip will take 6 1/2 hours with a layover. I'm very nervous about how Seth will handle that long en route. He seems to have a progressively harder time each time we fly. Last time was not pleasant. But we're looking forward to seeing family and catching up. Just about all of the cousins are going to make it, from what I heard last! Catch you next week!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

He answers prayer...

"He answers prayer, He answers prayer, He's so good to me!" =)

Ok, y'all, I got a big answer to prayer today. I'm soo excited, so I wanted to share! We had a few good nights without much barking, and then last night, it was awful again. I don't know what they were barking about, but the dogs were barking past midnight. They started again really early this morning. It was awful. I was sooo stressed when I got up this morning.

We met the neighbors on Sunday. They were out in their yard as we came home from church. They were friendly, and since their dogs hadn't barked on Saturday night at all, I was feeling very friendly. (I was hoping they'd decided to stop barking at night.) The wife is a stay at home mom to a 5 month old boy. She seemed very nice, and I gave her directions to the local Walmart, for which she was grateful. She made a comment about how the dogs "barked at everything that moved." They said they hoped that the dogs weren't bothering us, which led to me showing the location of our bedroom window and explaining that they did sometimes. No real response, but I as low key, so they may have felt that I was ok with it.

Then last night happened... and I was a wreck. I was so stressed, feeling like I'll never be able to count on a good night's sleep again. I prayed and stressed, and stressed and prayed. I was worried about going over, worried that if we asked for them to do something, it would hurt our relationship with them. I wanted to be able to make friends with the sweet mom, and I worried that taking any action would hurt the chances of that. I really didn't have a clue what to do.

Then, I looked out the window a few minutes ago, and I saw their hose start spewing water. It had been left on, and the connection wasn't good, and it gave way, and water was going everywhere. I thought, "I really need to tell them about this," and I realized that God might be trying to tell me that it was ok to talk to them. This was a ready made, natural opportunity to go over there.

So I went over there, and I talked to the wife. She got the water cut off, and I explained that it was hard on me when the dogs barked by the window late at night. I asked if they could consider putting them up at night or trying a bark collar. She wasn't the least bit offended, and she seemed interested in the bark collar idea. She said if it were up to her, they wouldn't have dogs. They'd only had them living with them since April. And she "didn't want anyone to be bothered by them." It was a great conversation, and I got a chance to invite her to MOPs next week.

I am so thankful. I feel like God really answered my prayer for direction through a broken hose. Hey, he can use anything, can't He? He is God, after all. So thank you for your prayers. I really appreciate you being willing to pray about something as dumb as my barking dog neighbors. Please keep it up; this may not be the last of it, but I feel so encouraged today.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Do It With What Ya Have Decorating...

It's been a lovely Saturday. We're having 60 degree weather and no wind, so we took a walk today in between naps. David has had to work from home today, so I haven't gotten to spend a ton of time with him, but we had a really nice conversation while walking, talking over our blessings and the neat things God has been doing in our lives since we moved here. Seth rode in the backpack, squealed, and kicked and bucked for David to run around like a maniac every once in awhile. He loves walks.

We're having "real company" tonight. I define real company as people we don't know that well and that we have no real sense of how we'll get along with them. Having "real company" makes me want to make sure I've cleaned my bathroom and dusted. I get a little nervous around them. And in this case, today, the real company coming made me want to put up more on our walls. Our blah, off white walls that look even more blah when I take pictures of them. I'd really like to slash at them with a paintbrush loaded with golden autumn or vibrant sunshine or some other great color. But they're white, and they're going to stay white, so I did what I could.

Today was Do It With What Ya Have Decorating Day! Yup, everything I used was something I already own but hadn't been using. My great-aunt left me her china, so I dug out the butter plates. I also had some leftover hangers from the plate hanging spree in the kitchen. The plates are a total experiment that I'm not sure about yet. They have a gold rim and the deep rose color is also found in the painting, but I don't know. I'll let it grow on me. What do you think?

The pics below are what I'm most proud of. I finally got some pictures printed from the last six months. Kodak Gallery was running a great special on prints. I ordered two 8x10's. I had these picture frames that I took down from over the sofa because they were too small. So I replaced the pictures inside of them with these that I took of Seth last fall. Then I put them over by the door in an empty space there. The frames and matting are beautiful, and I think they make my pictures look like something I might've paid someone to take and print for me.

Oh yeah, and I don't have a picture of it, but I put the large, antique gold framed painting over the sofa. It fits that space much better; it's really huge. Thanks for all the suggestions last time I posted about this.

Thoughts on blogging and the internet...

I found this blog out of Afterthoughts, and this woman's post really made me think. I don't know exactly where she's coming from, as her last sentence was kinda weird, but the rest of the post was chock full of the kind of convicting thought that I needed right now. Please check it out and then come back here...

She's right that the internet is so full of good things that it can become a huge time waster. Blogging and reading other people's blogs, no matter how good and wholesome, can take precious time away from our real lives lived with real people. I am already in danger of neglecting Seth and David because I get too caught up in reading about someone else's life on the internet. Ok, who am I kidding, I know I have neglected them and chosen the internet over them sometimes. I did it the other day when I reasoned that Seth needed to learn to play alone, so it would be fine to leave him to sit on the floor while I fed my blog addiction. Yes, he needs to learn to play alone, but my motives for teaching him to do so were suspect.

I have decided that I'm only going to get on the computer when Seth is napping or when David is reading to Seth before bed. Other than that, I need to leave it alone. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and this is it. I don't watch much tv, so it's easy to claim that I'm self disciplined in my media consumption because of that. I can too easily ignore the fact that I have no self control in another equally important area. I'm going to be praying for God's help to refocus so that the internet becomes just another blessing for me and not a hindrance.

Expensive enchilada sauce...

I went out yesterday to pick up a can of enchilada sauce for dinner. It was the only thing I needed. At this point, I wish I'd decided to serve mac n' cheese instead. As I was backing out of the parking space, I heard a honk, and then a sickening crunch. I was backing out at the same time as the guy diagonally across from me, and neither one of us saw the other. I still have no idea who hit who first. Somebody else honked; it wasn't either one of us. The guy was a middle aged dad, and he was quite nice. We exchanged information, and even though he only had some paint scratches, he offered to split the cost of fixed my dented bumper. It has a crater the size of two softballs in it. At this point, I'm pretty convinced that Honda van bumpers are made of some form of high grade tin foil.

When I got home, David had me diagram the accident on paper, including the position of the cars, and the positions of the damage on each car. In this case, he was inclined to believe that both drivers were negligent, therefore, each driver should probably pay the cost of fixing their own car. It's so handy to have a lawyer for a husband... So David told Fred the Guy Who Backed Into Me that he didn't have to pay. He said that if we got sticker shock after we got an estimate, not to hesitate to give him call. If you're going to get in an accident with someone, Fred's the guy to have an accident with, I'm convinced.

So... can of enchilada sauce- $1.25
Crunched bumper- approx. $1,000 for taking the whole thing off in one long piece and fixing and painting it. You better believe we're not calling the insurance about this one; I don't want our rates to go up.

Seriously, next time I want to go out and get one thing for dinner, I will think long and hard before I do it.

Friday, February 01, 2008

David's grandpa...

David's grandpa died on Wednesday night. He was almost 92, and he'd been in declining health for a good while. I haven't posted about it before because I was waiting on funeral arrangements to be finalized.

When David's mom called to tell him, he got off the phone, and we talked about going to the funeral. We weighed options, considered sending just him, thought about whether or not he could take the time off, asked ourselves if we had the plane ticket money for this in the budget. In the middle of that, David said something that just hit me right in the spot I needed to be hit.

He said, "You know, I haven't seen Grandpa much in the past 10 years. But all my life, I just assumed that when he died, I'd be there." He said it in kind of a musing way. And I realized that he was absolutely right. He had a relationship with his grandfather, and it is right to honor that by attending the funeral. Funerals are also a time when family comes together to remember, and David didn't want me to miss out on that. So... next Thursday we're all going to Texas for Grandpa's funeral.

I married David almost seven years ago. I've only seen Grandpa a couple of times in the years we've been married. By this time in his life, Grandpa wasn't feeling well, and he was struggling with the loss of his independance. I don't feel like I got to know the Grandpa that David remembers from his childhood. I am sad about that.

David has told me some fun stories about Grandpa, and a couple of nights ago, he told a few again. David drove with his brother, Danny, out to Texas to take him to college. On the way back, he stopped off at Grandpa and Ora's house. (Ora is the sweet lady Grandpa married after Grandma died.) Grandpa was a big game player. He was pretty competitive, and he loved to play dominos. It just so happened that David came by just in time for a senior citizen's domino tournament. At the time, he was thinking something along the lines of "Lucky me," but he was game for it. David's partner was 82; he was the only college kid in the room. His 82-year-old partner sure knew his dominos, and before David knew it, they were cleaning up. They beat everybody they played, and they made it to the final round, where they played... Grandpa and Ora. Grandpa beat his grandson at dominos, and David thinks he greatly enjoyed it. =) Hmm, I wonder where the competitive gene came from?

Though I didn't really know him well, I know that Grandpa deserves to be honored as a man who left an amazing legacy of faith behind him. I remember once that he asked to pray before we left, and I still remember his prayer. He prayed like a man who was really used to talking to His creator. But I know more about his faith from the children he leaves behind.

Grandpa and Grandma had 4 daughters. And what daughters they are! They are all strong, vibrant, active women, and all are Christians. Three of the daughters married ministers, and they went on to serve as pastor's wives in various ministries in churches from Michigan to Texas to Virginia and everywhere in between. (All the daughters are still married to the husbands they fell in love with 20-40 odd years ago.) The 4th daughter serves in her local church as well. When I think of all of them in my mind's eye at the moment, I see scenes of a flurry of church activity with each of these women at the center of it. They have been mighty for the kingdom of God, and they're not showing any signs of slowing down.

Grandpa's daughters have multiple children. The children are continual proof of the grace and mercy and power of God through the legacy of one faithful man and his wife. I have never seen a family with as many strong Christian grandchildren in it. Among their numbers are a missionary and a youth minister. The ones who don't serve in paid ministry are usually very active in lay ministry, following in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents. None of the married children are divorced, and some of them have been married for more than a decade. I have seen a lot of extended families, including my own. This kind of Christian legacy is rare and precious. It deserves to be honored.

Grandpa's children and grandchildren are proof that this passage of Scripture is so true...

"I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments."- Exodus 20: 5-6

It's impossible to feel sorry for Grandpa in his death. He lived a long, full, healthy life. He knew his Creator, and he wanted to go and be with the Lord. I know that he's really loving life in heaven. There is no deep sorrow in this death; there is only sadness because he left many behind that loved him. Please pray for David's family in this time. They miss their dad and grandpa and husband.