Thursday, April 28, 2011

answers

As I sit here at the computer, composing my thoughts, I am absolutely floored at the manner in which God chooses to answer prayers.  This verse, in Matthew 6:8, "for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him" has taken on completely new meaning for me.  I used to wonder if I should interpret it to mean that I do not really need to pray, because after all, God knows what I need.  But in today's case of answered prayer, a new dimension to the verse is realized.  Only God knows the unpredictability of the future and is able to provide for me in the areas which I have not yet discovered need prayer.  He knows what I need before I am aware of the need to ask Him.

This week has been a hectic, somewhat stressful, unpredictable week.  I can't explain how it feels to be picking up so many pieces for other people, and then at the end of it all, see that everything worked out just fine because God pitched in to pick up the last 4 missing pieces that were humanly impossible for me to notice.  In the moments when I felt helpless, I witnessed unexpected person after unexpected person step up to fill a need in a manner that far surpassed adequate.  I had to stand back in awe because nothing I could have knowingly prepared would have been better than what God pulled together last minute... at least, it seemed last minute to me.

Today was the biggest surprise of all as an unresolved issue with an acquaintance came to a turning point.  If I could go into detail without compromising someone else's right to privacy, I would.  Suffice it to say that my husband and I have been praying, searching, agonizing over an issue with this person for well over a year, and I frankly felt no hope for any resolution.  It is embarrassing to say that despite our prayers, I expected a rather mundane, lifeless outcome.  Instead, I am awed at the creativity of a God who literally makes ALL THINGS POSSIBLE.  Sure, God can move a mountain... if He wants to.  But how often do we see Mount Shasta get up and walk across California??  I saw a mountain move in our relationship with someone today, and a load of bricks lifted from my husband's shoulders at the same time.  To me, it was more impressive than seeing Mount Shasta walk to Washington state.

In the end, I am left humbled and aware of how little faith in God I actually have.  It feels like I have a lot of faith sometimes, but upon standing back to contemplate the events of my week I feel small, uncreative, and stuck in a box.  Most of all, I feel disappointed in myself that I did not expect BIGGER outcomes from God.  How is it that we can proclaim belief in the Creator of the universe, but put Him in a box that would fit in my living room.  How much greater would the outcomes of these answered prayers be if I had faith as big as a mustard seed?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

knowing

With pregnancy#1, we chose not to find out the sex of the baby.  I remember the 20-week ultrasound, the one where they look at everything in detail, being difficult.  The gender information was right at the tip of my fingers, a turn-of-my-head away, and I chose to wait.

But after that point, I wouldn't have done it any other way.  It was so worthwhile to experience that intense excitement after the exhaustion of delivery, leaning my head back on the table, holding my breath until someone said "It's a GIRL!"  Especially when everyone had me convinced it was a boy.  And, secretly, I enjoyed not knowing the gender because it frustrated a number of people in my life who like to plan... tee hee.

This time around, we made the choice to find out the gender at the ultrasound.  The decision was primarily made in response to practicality... you know, it is easier to paint the room, buy new clothes, and prepare older sister for what lies ahead.  But even though everyone does it, knowing the gender of baby number 2 feels a little like cheating to me.  I feel like I have read the last page of a book prematurely, or eaten from the Tree of Knowledge.  Perhaps I glimpsed a little more than I should have, but there is no going back.  This piece of information is branded in my mind.

Of course I am excited to know, and was determined to adore whichever gender God chose for us.  But it is strange how a single piece of knowledge can set you down a specific path.  As if, prior to knowing, your destiny was unwritten.  Once your eyes have been opened, you not only see the path you will set down upon, but you can also see the paths you will not be taking.  I am not trying to be dramatic, comparing myself to Eve in the garden of Eden, but I imagine that when she ate of the Tree of Knowledge that her eyes were opened not only to who she was, but also to who she wasn't.  She was filled with disappointment that God had been trying to protect her from.  Hence the fig leaves.

Fortunately, disappointed does not describe me.  I am actually quite excited, and to accompany that excitement, I now have a distinctly gender-specific picture of what my future holds.  I couldn't be more overjoyed to have a future FULL OF PINK!!  (unless, of course, I had waited another 20 weeks or so to find out the gender at delivery... then I would have been over the top!)

There she is... WELCOME BABY GIRL!!!

Unfortunately, we did not come home with any cute profile shots.  We only have strange skull-baby to show off.  But I figure as long as she comes out with skin, she won't be nearly this scary.

Here are the girl parts... yep, I had trouble seeing them too.  On the left are her buns, with 3 little lines marking her labia.  The smaller dots in the middle are her feet or knees.

Annike believes she has known all along that a baby sister is coming.  We have tried to convince her that she would love a brother too, and that she knows many nice boys (Papa, Jameson, her grandpas).  She emphatically wanted a sister and is quite pleased that God put one in my tummy for her.  Sisters are a special breed of human.  I am glad she gets to have one.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

source

Lately I just have not felt inspired to add to this blog.  Today I realized why.  I am drained physically all the time, which makes me drained emotionally, and ultimately drained Spiritually.   

I started this blog as a way of processing the things that God is teaching me.  Me, a child of God.  Processing all of the little life lessons He has for me.  Especially the lessons that arise as I grow with my child.

But lately, being drained, I have very little to give.  Some of that is the simple fact that I am pregnant and any excess energy goes toward growing a child in my womb.  A quite active child, I might add.  I could actually come up with a pretty good list of excuses for the exhaustion, like the second wave of construction in our home, potty-training (it has been a definite chore... I feel like I am nursing all over again), projects intended to bless others, launching a new Bible study through our church... But none of it really justifies my Spiritual exhaustion. 

I rely on so many different things to restore me... alone time, completed projects, affirmation from others, support from my husband, long naps, good books, conversations with friends... Only God is able to restore me in the way that I need.  No earthly thing will do the trick. 

God is the only source of hope, of joy, of energy.  Today I am stretched thin from giving in so many ways.  Lord, be my Source.

There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy.
I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! 
Psalm 43:4

You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my only source of hope. 
Psalm 119:114

All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. 
2 Corinthians 1:3

Thursday, April 14, 2011

new faves

We have added a few new favorite outfits to the aforementioned collection (seen HERE)...


The bee suit, which is intended to be a bathing suit, comes complete with attached wings.  Annike often reminds us that she is a "nice bee" because she doesn't have a stinger.


But my personal favorite is the butterfly wings.  That's it.  Just butterfly wings.  The rest of the outfit went missing when we started potty training.



Good thing our backyard is private.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

chronicles of potty training

What better day to start potty training than April Fool's?  It's like trying to play a joke on myself. 

At two and a half, Annike has been ready to be potty trained for months.  How do I know?  She asks me to change her diaper when it is wet or dirty, she stays dry for hours at a time, she likes to sit on her baby potty... all the signs are there and have been there for a while. 

I am the problem.  I am the one who is not ready.  I am the mom unwilling to clear my schedule in order to give time over to training up my daughter in something that will clearly benefit her.  Diapers are SO easy right now!!  I don't have to worry about running errands for too long, or about accidents in the car seat or on my new rug or anywhere!  If diapers weren't so environmentally unfriendly, I might consider keeping her in them until she turns 5... her kindergarten teacher could handle it from there.

Alas, I have avoided this task for months, and now it seems that I have no more excuses.  Thus, we begin.

Potty-Training
Day 1Absolutely exhausting. 

After researching a few different potty training methods online, I opted for the method that offered the quickest results: allowing her to roam the house naked all day long.  This method claims it works because toddlers are rarely motivated to use the potty, but feel motivated by being allowed to be naked.  That explains my daughter to a tee.


This was my view all day.

She did great all morning and we had no accidents.  We actually had a really fun day just playing together, which is something I rarely set a whole day aside to do because I am usually more focused on my particular agenda.  But today, I laid the agenda down, focusing on one goal: get my toddler potty-trained as quickly as possible. 

By the time afternoon hit I had a huge headache (one of the joys of extra hormones in my pregnancy) and truly felt exhausted.  Maybe I was exhausted from giving all of that undivided attention to someone.  Maybe it was simply that the thought of her peeing on my furniture was stressing me out.

Annike hadn't had a bowel movement by 5pm, and I kept watching for the signs, but man, she is quick.  Thankfully we were outside when she decided to leave a large lump on the patio.  I didn't see it until she told me she wanted to go look at "the big poopie" on the walkway.  About 20 minutes later, when I had really let my guard down thinking she was finished, she shouts from inside her playhouse, "I did it again, Mama!"  Sure enough.  There it was in the playhouse, only this time it was also on her leg and shoe.  Somehow, I managed to step in it too. 

I had been so patient all day long, and now I just wanted to give up and put the diapers back on.  Because, really, who ever wants to clean up poop?  Especially with a headache.  Especially pregnant.  It  was definitely tempting to throw in the towel and try again next year.

When the day finally finished, uneventfully I might add, I crashed on the couch to consider my options.  In the end, I realized that the real problem wasn't Annike, it was me.  The primary issue was my own impatience as a mother who did not want to sacrifice the necessary time to help my daughter achieve a great milestone in her life. 

But isn't that why they call it potty training?  Not just a potty lesson where the child watches once and gets it.  Problem solved.  No, it is potty training.  The actual process of practicing something over and over until it is mastered.  A transitional period of time involving discipline, instruction, education, and apparently, patience.  I suppose it is naive of me to even hope I could potty train her in a day. 

Training our children is what parenting is all about.  Over and over and over and over again.  And the most important thing my child learns when I train her is about who I am in that process... my mannerisms, my ability to be patient, my character.  Potty training is only the beginning, for this truth applies to the Spiritual disciplines we have in our future as well.  Kids don't learn by being told once, they learn by practice.  If I am to train her up in love, kindness, faith, and hope, then we must practice it over and over and over again.

In the end, I decided that it doesn't really matter what all the books or methods say, potty training doesn't need to be an all or nothing endeavor.  It is a process.  If I need to put a diaper back on her, when we ride in the car, or when we are at a friend's house, it is okay for a while!  The discipline of training is as much a learning process for her as it is for me.
Good-bye diaper tan!

Day 2:  One accident in the kitchen, which thankfully made it easy to clean up.  My own change of heart made the day feel more successful than the one before.

Day 3: An almost-accident where she stopped herself (because she didn't want to get pee-pee on Blankie), then made it to the potty. Major progress!

Annike earned a set of "Mermaid panties" for learning to use the potty.  She then insisted on wearing all 14 pairs.

Day 4:  Not wanting to put our lives completely on hold, we took a long hike with Annike in the backpack.  She wore a diaper, but at the end of the day, it was DRY!! 



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