Joyful Noise

Can you hear that? Listen closely! Aaahhhhh, there it is. The sound of quiet.

In a rare, unplanned and unprecedented moment, both of my kiddos are asleep at the same time. All I can hear is the buzz of the baby monitor and the hum of the fridge. And, unfortunately, the compulsive licking of one of our dogs that nearly makes me rocket into space like a crazed lunatic. But that is another blog. I will not let it get me down right now (Mostly because I just chased him out the door and begged him for five minutes of alone time. I actually think he took pity on me.).

Back to the quiet. It just confronted me with an unexpected scenario. When my kids are awake I’m like the ball in a ping-pong machine dartingfrom one thing to the next. So much to do! So little time! But just now when I realized they were both asleep I felt totally disoriented. Where do I go? What do I do? And when I get there (uh, with “there” being someplace exotic like the laundry room) what do I do?

It’s like the new quite-smoking campaign where they show people fumbling all over themselves trying to do everyday tasks. The end of the commercial says something like “If you can relearn to do things without holding a cigarette, you can do anything” or something much catchier than that.

That’s how I felt just now standing in my hallway by myself with no infant cries or toddler demands. Why, I just don’t know if I can fold clothes with two hands anymore. Do people really unload dishwashers without holding a 16-plus pound baby in one arm? Even typing this blog without using my left foot to bounce a baby seat has me completely off balance.

What in the world will I do when they leave home! Shudder. Convulse. Gag. Think happy thoughts! Think happy thoughts! Okay. I’m back. Let’s just leave that whole unpleasant topic for another century.

I guess while they snooze peacefully I’m going to sit here in the middle of my kitchen with counters that need sprucing, toys that need organizing, drawers that need cleaning (I’m thinking of file 13-ing their entire contents), and yes, clothes that need folding. I’ll just listen to the buzz of the monitor, the hum of the fridge, and the incessant licking of that dog. While I’m at it, I’ll make some noise of my own with some joyful praise to God for these mutts and their father who make me so tired, yet so happy.

O COME, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation! (Psalm 95:1)

 

 

 

 

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Sore Subject

I have so many other things I should be doing right now, but since I can’t seem to lift my arms above my waist without yelping, I’m just going to blog. That’s right, I am super sore in the best possible way. Workout sore. I used my muscles sore. Bye-bye-baby-fat (eventually) sore.

I hate to diet. The more I tell myself not to have something, the more I want it. Oh, the flesh! Ever at odds with the spirit!

But, I love to exercise. Yep, I do. I love to feel the burn and to sweat it out. And I especially love doing it with a buddy, or lacking that, then in a class. I have just enough of a competitive spirit that I will push myself farther when I can measure my progress against someone else. I don’t have to win, I just have to push agaisnt the average.

BK (before kiddos) I was an avid and dedicated worker-outer. Then somewhere in the first weeks after Cado was born, I completely panicked at the thought of a) leaving her with a babysitter so I could — ghasp! — exercise?  How selfish of me! or b) leave her, even for one hour, in the kids holding area that my gym tries to pass off as “childcare.” Eventually, I realized that the inevitable risk of losing my sanity was much more a danger to Cado than the occassional hour apart. So back to the gym I went. Ah, sweet sweat. I love it.

Then my second pregnancy came along and I continued my workouts until complications caused me to cease and desist any real form of exercise. Bummer. But worth it!

So now Dutch is four months old and I can once again feel my sanity, and my waistline, slipping. But, oh, the children’s holding area! I knew I could not take Dutch there. He is a bit more, uh, emotional, shall we say, than his older sister, Cado. I would not make it past the warm up in a class before the door would open and a nose-scrunching, finger-wagging, child-holding-area-person would beckon me out of class because, well, Dutch is fussy and, well, they don’t really do fussy.

So I’ve decided to bite the bullet and have our one-of-a-kind, part-of-our-family babysitter keep the kids while I make mad dashes to the gym. As much as I would love to spend the babysitting budget on ladies’ lunches and the like, I’m going to make the switch (sorry ladies, the kiddos are coming with!). The up side is that I will eat less at those lunches because I’ll be wrangling the kiddos. And, crawling around under the table retrieving silverware, crayons and sippycups will up my calorie burning capacity. Win-win!

But for now, my muscles are screaming at me for waiting so long to be stretched, crunched, flexed and repetitively burned into submission. I already feel better.
Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God. (I Thess. 4:4, The Message)

 

 

Play Dates

Here’s my confession: Play dates make me nervous.

I’m never quit sure what my role is in the “date.” Am I supposed to bring a gift? Flowers? Wine? Cookies? And what if my counterpart in the date doesn’t like me as much as my kiddo likes hers? What if there is no second date? What if, because of me, my little girl only has a string of first play dates?

Cado (nickname for my three-year-old) had one such social event just this morning with an absolutely adorable little girl she has befriended at MDO. It has been a while in the making and our schedules finally allowed us the chance to get together. While I was getting us around this morning, I found myself wondering what I should wear. What will shebe wearing? What if I look like I’m trying too hard, or maybe not hard enough? Seriously … I had to snap out of it. There were bigger fish to fry; getting there on time really needed to be my one and only concern (with an almost 4-month-old, it’s a valid concern).

We made it and it was a wonderful morning. Despite the fact that Dutch filled his diaper (FINALLY!) and then screamed for food, I didn’t let ’em see me sweat. Cado was completely taken with their enormous back yard, intricate play station, tree swing and ducks. You heard me. Ducks. Blacky and Leller (yellow in toddler speak). And yes, the ducks are black and yellow. Seriously. I will never be able to top the ducks. If I have to arrange a play date we are meeting at the park and I’m bringing Chik-Fil-A.

I have said that this town we live in is a hard nut to crack. If you aren’t from here or didn’t go to college here, then you are in import. But more and more God answers my prayers for connections, relationships and yes, even new friendships.

So maybe it’s not the play dates that are that big of a deal. Maybe it is just that I need to relax and trust the Jesus in me whether I am leading a bible study, grocery shopping or chasing ducks.

Oh! On the way to our new friends’ home, Ava asks, “I wonder what Emily (not her real name) will be wearing? A tank top? A dress? What do you think, Mommy?”

Mommy thinks she is so glad your questions are really just out of curiosity!

 

Introducing BeGe

My Senior year of college at Kansas State University I met the Freshman girlfriend of a friend of mine. We were all from the same part of Southwest Kansas, yet each from different towns. While I had a great social scene and lots of friends, this “new” girl and I just clicked. From that first meeting we have been pretty much inseparable. (And yes, in the spirit of truth, I’m pretty sure our introduction was at Last Chance or some other Aggieville hang out and no, I don’t think we were drinking cokes. Much more has changed than our hairstyles! Wait! Did we meet at the Jalapeno Festival?)

In our 16-year-old friendship, BeGe and I have seen each other through some pretty rough times. Admittedly, I have had a much easier go of it than she has, but that is her story and for another time. You will learn much more about BeGe in the posts to come, but for now, suffice it to say that few have endured the heartache that she has, and even fewer have come through with the sweet aroma of God’s love, mercy and enduring grace.

Right now, it is 10:17 p.m. and we just got off the phone. Counting back, it is at least the third or fourth time we have talked today (we live in neighboring states, just three hours apart). Some of our conversations are just about the mundane-whatever-kind-of-stuff, some about our kids and the funny and the frustrating things they do. Having someone to just share that day-to-day stuff, who is in the same “place” in life I am, is one of the most valuable gifts God has given me.

And then there are the conversations about the rubber-meets-the-road kind of issues. It is in those phone calls that the God-friend really comes through. When I am frustrated to the point of defeat, disappointed to the point of depletion, discouraged to the point of concession, or weary to the point of submission, she points me back. Back to the truth, to my true identity and the One who supplies my every need. Back to the promises that renew my hope and refuel my purposes.

That is a God-given friend. She always speaks the truth to me in love, never condemning but never excusing, either. She knows the good, the bad and the ugly, and yet she still sees the Jesus in me and trusts it even when I don’t.

And there are other BeGe’s in my life. You all know who you are. I just hope I am a BeGe to others out there. If I’ve failed you before … give me another chance!

“Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself. (Luke 12:29)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abundant Life

La Vie Abondante is French for abundant life. John 10:10 says that “the thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy; I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” (NASB)

 

There will be much said about this verse and how its truths continue to play out in my life as I move through this blogging experience. But for now, suffice it to say that I desire to live the abundant life God intended just for me. I know that along the way there will be (and have been) very difficult times. Times of frustration, challenge, and loss. But I also know I am not choosing an either-or life. In those less-than-enviable times I still believe God’s desire is for His abundance to flow.

 

 Am I frustrated? God can supply an abundance of peace and a few lessons in patience and perseverance.

 

 Am I afraid? God can supply an abundance of courage … and the right women around me to convince me to use it!

 

 Am I broken? God can and does supply me an abundance of mercy. And not just any mercy, but the truly amazing kind that compels me to honor it through repentance and a new way of doing things.

 

 Am I discouraged? God supplies me with the abundance of His word and the encouragement of its truths.

 

 Am I weary? God supplies me with the abundance of His strength.

 

 You get the picture.

 

 I want to be honest about what abundance looks like in my life. I am not talking about floating on a cloud with more Dove chocolate than a girl could ever want. Sometimes the only abundance I see when I look around is my own stupidity! But the abundance I seek is the kind that plays out in my everyday life with its everyday circumstances. Along those lines, I love how The Message literates Romans 12:1 about living the transformed life:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

 

 

 

 

 

So my questions for myself are:

·     Which abundance takes precedence in my life? The abundance of God or the abundance of me?

·     Am I allowing God to mature me or am I allowing my circumstances to drag me down?

·     Do I allow my responses to life to be shaped by the abundance of God’s presence and power at work in me, or do I allow my responses to my circumstances to be shaped through screens of disappointment, frustration and blame?”

 

 In truth, am doing okay in some areas, and failing miserably in others. But I am okay with that because I know that as I submit, God will equip me to deal with one miserable area in me at a time.

 

 Okay … enough waxing for today. My daughter is tugging at me to go outside and I think she may be on to something! Oh, and I see she is in her third outfit change since coming home from MDO. I better go buy some more laundry detergent …

 

Getting Behind

I know you think I am going to write about keeping up. I am not. I want to write about my son’s behind keeping up. He (for current purposes we will call him Dutch) is a few weeks shy of four months, and his bottom is a few months late in developing. In other words, he is behind in his behind. What this means for him is pooping is easier grunted about than done. What this means for me is too little sleep.

I know his development will come; in fact, his pedi says around four months. What I would like to really know is how long it will take me to fully develop? Yet again, this experience with Dutch has taught me an important area in which I am consistently behind: prayer.

I spent the better part of 12 weeks bemoaning Dutch’s plight and my lack of sleep. Before I was pregnant with him I prayed for him to come into our lives. I prayed for a successful entry into the world. I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving over him. And then I seemed to stop praying. I know that the God of this universe is as intimately concerned with my son’s pooper as He is with his heart. I know He would love to show Himself faithful to me by bringing about some relief for us both. I was late to this party, but I am not leaving early.

What “behind” are you leaving behind on your prayer list? Trust God. There is nothing too trivial, too embarrassing, that cannot be taken before the throne (whoa … what an opportunity for humor I will not take!).

I am praying for a boy that can poop on demand. Just check back with me in about 16 years and see if maybe that prayer has taken on a new direction!

Hello world!

I know I have something to say, I just don’t know who will want to hear it. If you say something on the world wide web and no one is there to hear it (or in this case read it) is it still said? I guess I’ll find out.