Sunday, February 27, 2011

promise keeper

In a world of broken promises, sometimes it is hard to believe that God will keep His.  The truth that resonated with me from this morning's Sunday sermon on the life of Abraham is the fact that God always keeps His promises.

Abraham was promised that an entire nation would come from him.  Quite far-fetched considering that he had no children, his wife was barren, and they were both already in their nineties.  Very few ninety-year-olds I know would be up to the task of chasing a toddler around. 

"Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness."
Genesis 15:6
If you believe in God, then you would most likely say that you believe God is capable of doing whatever He says He will.  I, too, believe in the amazing power and majesty and ability of God.  At the same time, in some twisted way, I doubt His methods, His timing, His willingness to follow through on a promise.  Abraham is a classic example of this.  In his heart I think he truly believed God, but doubted His methods.  Together with his wife, they came up with a plan to "help" God along (if you are not familiar with it, this poorly thought out plan is found in Genesis 16 and worth the read).  Despite his questionable choices, God still came through on the promise He made to Abraham and the entire nation of Israel was birthed through him.

Thus, we are led to the truth that God's plan has to be in God's timing.  That's a hard one for me.  Our entire cultural lifestyle is based around calendars, agendas, arriving on time, mapping out our futures, financial planning, and simply doing our best to protect ourselves for the years ahead.  God's timing rarely corresponds with the open appointments in my yearly planner.  A fact that makes it so much easier to do what Abraham did and come up with a way to "help" God along in the process.

It is a lifelong lesson, but this year especially, I am learning that God's timing is always better than my own.  He doesn't need my help to fulfill His promises.  He doesn't need to see the life calendar I began planning at the age of 14.  He isn't limited by factors that are limiting to me such as age, talents, family constrictions, etc.  He simply asks me to believe.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

the battle of getting dressed

It is no secret that my daughter has an opinion when it comes to what she wears.  Thinking back, I believe it started last summer with her pink tutu (or was it her favorite pair of boots?)  It seems to me that most of my blog posts from last summer featured Annike in her tutu - not because I only took pictures of her when she was wearing it, but because she was ALWAYS wearing it.

Along the way we have had some favorite pairs of pajamas.  "Waka jammies" are at the top of the list (in our house, "waka" means penguin... don't ask me why.)  I actually had to bribe a friend's child into giving us her matching pair of one-size-bigger Waka jammies because Annike had grown out of her old pair and still insisted on squeezing into them.

Then there was the "bunny jammie" stage, which I did not mind so much because she was content to simply have this cheesy t-shirt on underneath other clothes.  During this phase I could at least get her to wear some other outfits.

Most recently, Annike has been wearing this "princess dress" everywhere.  When she is in a certain mood she accessorizes with crown, princess shoes, and what she calls her "one earring" (we lost the other one in the store at some point, but she is good with just wearing one.) 

Last week, a dear friend passed down a mermaid dress.  And, yes, Annike has hardly taken it off since.  At night I insist on putting pajamas on her, so we have compromised by putting the mermaid dress on top of the pajamas while she sleeps, then removing the pajamas in the morning.

When friends see us coming in the same dress for the 5th time in a row, they usually laugh and tell me I am a good mother for letting her wear these crazy outfits.  But I wonder, am I?  Or are they just being nice?  I make daily attempts to clothe my child in normal outfits, but the energy that takes and the tantrums that follow leave me tempted to simply let her win.

I have had to think through how I want to parent when it comes to the daily battle of getting dressed, and I have realized that at the heart of the issue is physical appearance.  My daughter wants to look a certain way that her 2-year-old mind thinks is spectacular.  As her mother, I ultimately want to teach her that it is not our outward appearance that matters.  When I make a big deal about changing her into a "cuter outfit", aren't I the one being superficial? 

People keep telling me this stage will pass, but I have a haunting feeling that they might be wrong and this is going to be a theme for our next 18 years together.  One day I will wish we were only arguing over a mermaid dress, instead of the low-cut, high rise t-shirt she wants to wear to school.  Why alienate her now over her opportunity to be a little girl?  When I choose to battle with her, I want her to know that it is over something important, something character-defining, something eternal.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


These little guys have found a new home on our farm, and oh boy are they cute!!

They don't actually belong to us, but to the chicken ranchers who are leasing the land.  Surfside Chickens sells free range organic eggs and chicken meat for CSA, farmers markets, and to any locals who are interested.  You might remember the day their chickens moved in... ("our latest adventure") and it is safe to say that things have gone a lot more smoothly ever since. 

We have had our own chickens for a while now (if you haven't met them, you can here and here.)  They are still Annike's little best friends, except for the time when they stole the graham cracker out of her hand.  One of the casualties of friendly chickens.  A companion has recently moved in with them in the form of Rupert the Rooster.  He seems to be as macho and overconfident as any rooster's reputation. 

I have to admit I never pictured myself living on a chicken farm.  This is apparently what happens when you marry someone with a good imagination!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

one upon a time

At night, Annike has gotten in the habit of asking for a bedtime story.  She used to say something like, "One upon a time, the three bears?"  This means: tell me a once upon a time story about Goldilocks and the three bears.  Usually it is Papa who is putting her to bed;  he tells the best stories.

Then the stories evolved to "One upon a time, witch?"  Strange that she is so frightened of witches (thanks to Disney), but still wants to hear a story about them.  She already secretly enjoys the feeling of being scared.

The latest is "One upon a time, you and me?"  Tell me a once upon a time story about you and me.  About us.  About the romance of the life we lead together

It is both endearing, and eye-opening.  We are on a great journey with our children, writing our own story as we go.  It IS a tale about princes and princesses, involving conflict, good versus evil, love, friends, miracles, and sometimes we meet a scary witch along the way.  There is always a moral to the story, or at the very least, a lesson to be learned.  Not every adventure in our journey has a happy ending, but the overall story is one worth telling.

Sometimes I forget about the story that I am writing with her.  I get caught up instead in my own story and its details, daydreaming about a day when I will have all of the alone time I could possibly want.  But the important story in my life is the one I am beginning with her.  Before me is an opportunity to help write the opening scene of someone else's life, to set one human being on the right track, to establish in her a healthy sense of selflessness and great love for God and mankind.

"One upon a time, you and me.... we embarked on a great mission to love others in our life together.  We experienced heartbreak, we learned from our mistakes, and we laughed a lot along the way."  This is the story we will tell.