Tuesday, February 26, 2008

a little help here, please...

So, what do all of you do when your toddler repeatedly uses the word "no"? I am not talking about when she yells it at us, we know what to do when she does that. But, I am speaking of the repeated "no, no, no, no" that she says when I put her on the changing table, when she's riding in the car, or at other seemingly random times. I can't really tell if she is saying to to us or just saying it. Sometimes it is at a normal decible and sometimes it is at the top of her lungs. Again, it's at these really random times.

Yipee!

Today I get to do my bi-annual Kid's Market shopping! Now, I am not normally the type who loved to shop, but come on! Shopping for little girls is just plain fun! I get to do all my shopping for her in one fell swoop (which suits my non-shopping tendencies) and then I'm done for the season. I also get to buy her lots more than I would if I bought brand new rather than consignmnet. Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

random toddler stuff...

Some of you may not know, but I was a preschool teacher in my life before mommyhood. I loved what I did and sometimes really miss it. At least until I remember that I get to stay in my PJ's until noon and play with my own preschooler here at home. What I usually miss the most are both the structured activities (a.k.a. lesson plans) and working with older preschoolers. The youngest group of children I ever taught was two's, so I am still adjusting to my daughter's age and developmental ability.



Anyhoo, I got a little stir crazy this week because we had been inside for 3 days with the croup, had a 2 day respite, and then had almost 3 days of rain. I personally was sick and tired of playing with the same toddler toys, making up the same toddler games, and watching the same toddler videos. I could tell Miss Emmy K was also because her behavior was rapidly deteriorating and I had caught her (twice!) standing on the table and dumping out the salt.



I found this great website, and since I know a lot of you are former teachers, these activities might appeal to you too. I am a sucker for "teacher/mommy" made materials. I personally think that God gave us everything we need in creation to "teach" our preschoolers about life and the world around them. Why buy it when you can make it? So, maybe you won't find this helpful, but some of you might. So enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rode hard and put up wet...





This is as of 5:30 this afternoon.

clarification

BTW... she is scowling because she is not a fan of the camera. She wasn't in any trouble for getting dirty. In fact, it was me who taught her how to dig :).

as promised...





This picture does not really do justice to how dirty she was. At least she was in white, which I could bleach!



Must have tasted good, too.



Just because she's so darn cute!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

food for thought...

Those of you who know me well, know that I am a reader. If I encounter a problem in my life, my first order of business is usually to find a book(s) on the topic. You should have seen my bedside table when Emory was 6 weeks old! If there is a parenting theory out there, I'm pretty sure I've read aout it and tried it for at least a day. My husband considers this addiction both a strength and a weakness. While I am eager to recieve counsel and instruction, he thinks I can be a little too eager. So, what ends up happening is that I have so much counsel that I go into overload mode and can't find heads or tails as to how to proceed in my life. Well, in an effort to better cultivate my natural tendencies, my husband has asked that I only seek counsel from 3 sources on any one topic. Sounds constricting? To me it is freeing!

Now to my point... I have been reading Jerry Bridges book, Trusting God, along with my daily dose of Spurgeon's Morning and Evening. From Bridges:
In speaking of our attitude toward the weather... Complaining about the weather seems to be a favorite American pastime. Sadly, we as Christians often get caught up in this ungodly habit of our society. But when we complain aboutt he weather, we are actually complaining against God who sent us our weather.... The fact is, for most of us, the weather and its effects are usually favorable. The tornado, the drought, even the snowstorm that delays our flight are the exception, not the rule. Whe Jesus spoke of the weather, He spoke about the goodness of God: "He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the rightgeous and the unrightgeous." (Matthew 5:45) Both saint and sinner alike benefit from God's provision of the weather. We as Christians need to stop complaining about the weather, and instead learn to give thanks for it. God, as our heavenly Father, sends us each day what He deems best for all His creation.
And then, about our attitude towards prayer and the soveriegnty of God...Trusting God in the midst of our pain and heartache means that we accept it from Him. There is a vast difference between acceptance and either resignation or submission. We can resign ourselves to a difficult situation, simply becasue we see no other alternative. Or, we can submit to the sovereignty of God in our circumstances with a certain amount of reluctance. But to truly accept our pain and heartache has the connotation of willingness. An attitude of acceptance says that we trust God, that He loves us, and knows what is best for us. Acceptance does not mean that we do not pray for physical healing (or whatever else we seek deliverance from). But we should pray ina trusting way. We should realize that, though God can do all things, for infinately wise and loving reasons, He may not do what we pray that He will do. How do we know how long to pray? As long as we can pray trustingly, with an attitude of acceptance of His will, we should pray as long as the desire remains.

And then from Spurgeon (again on the topic of prayer):
Scarcely ever did a great mercy come to this world unheralded byu supplication. Prayer is always the preface to blessing. If we had the blessings without asking for them, we should think them common things; but prayer makes our mercies more precious than diamonds. The things we ask for are precious, but we do not realize their preciousness until we have sought for them earnestly.

I share these things as something that has been a huge encouragement to me. I've been in a season of feeling as though the doors of heaven were closed to my prayers and these two excerpts, stragely enough, give me hope and open my eyes a little more to what God desires of and for me. Hope is blesse some of you as well.

And on a lighter note, the next installment will be far more light hearted. We have some great pictures of our little one indulging herself in the dirt!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

how it all began...

Since I promised Renie, here goes...

Eric (#2) and I began dating in August 2004, a little over a month after my divorce was legally final. We had become friends during the summer of 2004, via Aimee, Felder, and ultimate frisbee. Incidentally, neither one of us knew that the other was interested, we just "happened" to always stay until the wee hours of the morning after dinner at the Davises on Thursday nights. I'm sure this made for some great conversational fodder for Felder and Aimee, since neither Eric or I told either one of them we were interested until July. We'd started hanging out in May. But I digress...

Many of you know about the car accident that Eric's mom was in that landed he and I in
Pensecola together for the weekend while we were "just friends". Why Pensecola? Only God knows, but that is also where the Life Flight helicopter took my mother after her car accident in Evergreen 5 months prior. BTW... Eric's mom's accident was in Evergreen, too. So, I was with Eric because I knew exactly how to get to where he was headed and he did not. And I was company for a really crummy car ride down.

So, a week after his mother's accident, I go down to visit and he sits me down for a DTR which included the following basic ideas: I think you're great, been watching you interact with others so I know you care about people, I know you love God, your ex is nuts for letting you go, I intend to marry you (Yes, he really said that before our first date!), and the infamous statement which ended his speech "Plus, I think you're pretty freakin' hot!". Well, who wouldn't go out with this guy. And he had started this speech with, "Well, I guess you know I kind of like you."

So we dated for 5 months, and it was not easy for me in the least. Anyone who was around during that time knows how hard it was for me to even contemplate giving my heart to another. So, I stayed very reserved emotionally and wouldn't even say those 3 little words. Even though I did, love him that is. But he did say it and often. And he pursued me hard, letting me know I wasn't going to be allowed to get away. Which, as God knows, is exactly what I needed. I needed a man to fight for me and not be willing to abandon me at the first sign of trouble.

All was well until one night mid-January when, as my Prince Charming was leaving, I let it slip! And then kind of freaked out and hyperventilated a little, and had to be talked down from a ledge. So, then we enjoyed the freedom of saying those 3 little words and often. And then, after 2 weeks, I got nervous again and began to freak out a little. I mean, come on, is this guy going to keep stringing me along or does he ever intend to pop the question? Keep in mind it had only been 5 months. But to someone who was taking a major step getting involved again (and so soon!) this seemed like a completely rationale argument. So, I take myself over to Aimee's house to gripe and talk through my inclination to get out once again becasue I don't want to waste my time on someone who doesn't want me. Already learned that lesson, ain't lookin to repeat that grade.

Well, Aimee knows something that I don't. As we sat in her kitchen discussing my next move in this relationship (jump ship or hand on a little longer), I can only imagine what was going throguh her head. She knew that I would be the recipient of a wonderful proposal in just a few hours! She did manage to convince me that I was being a mite bipolar - I love you, I love you not - and told me to give the guy a little more time. So, I agreed to go eat Mexican with him that night, in my ratty t-shirt, and hair pulled back in a ponytail. We had reached that point where getting all pretty wasn't necessary for every dinner out.

While we are at dinner, Eric's stomache begins to bother him and he has to excuse himself to the facilities. The wierdo decides to take his jacket to the bathroom with him (ring and cellphone are in the pocket, unbenownst to me) and we actually have a conversation where I try to convince him that his jacket won't be necessary in the bathroom, honestly! He still takes it with him, in case he gets cold. It's not lookin good at this point and I'm try to dredge up all the good advice and wisdom Aimee imparted earlier that day. So, he comes back and tells me that we will have to cancel our after dinner plans and go hang out at my apartment because he needs to be close to a bathroom. GREAT! I lived in a tiny 2-bed, 1-bath apartment built in the 1940's (so it was really cool, but small) and I have a hang up about bathroom visits.

We get to my building and begin to walk up the stairs to my front door when I smell something familiar. No, it is not someone's tummy troubles haunting us, it smelled like a candle I owned. I even commented to Eric that someone was burning a candle that smelled just like one I had. I unlock the door and it swings open to reveal at least 20 flickering candles, a tub of water, and a letter on my favorite chair. Instead of being enlightened to his intentions I begin to freak out as to what kind of wierdo intruder would do such a thing. Eric led me to the chair, told me to sit down and shut up, and asked me to read the letter while he washed my feet.

The letter held a lot of the same info as our DTR and ended up the phrase "I love you, I need you, I want you, I choose you!" (which he still uses to sign cards). He then pulled out the ring and popped the question. Want to know what I said? I actually replied, "Are you serious?" To which he answered, "I don't buy these for everybody." So I said, "Of course, you're my best friend." The he slipped the ring on my finger and I kissed him and then said "I think I am going to throw up." No, I did not share in his tummy affliction (there was none by the way), I think I was just reeling from the surprise of it all. The best part of the proposal was that it was a complete surprise. God knew exactly how to mend my heart and to restore what the locusts destroyed. My former proposal was greatly lacking in style, class, and everything else it should have had.

So, there you have it. And this might just be the longest post ever!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

funny kid stuff, the croup, and a good friend...

Right now as I blog, I am listening to my daughter bark in the other room. No, she's not immitating the puppies, she's got the croup. And we are on day 3 of such madness. What a yucky thing to have! Every time the poor girl coughs, she gets huge alligator tears because it hurts. She's a trooper, though, as long as you don't put her down or ask her to eat. Although she feels rotten, I think she feels better than the last time we battled this junk since she hasn't had any fever. So that has been dominating my days...
Now for the funny kids stuff... Since we stayed home from church today so as not to spread the love, Emory got to witness thunder for the first time this morning. I really can't remember if she's ever heard it, or if she did it didn't seem to impact her. This morning's shower got quite frisky at our house and after a particularly deep rumble of thunder her eyes got really big and she looked at me wide-eyed. When I asked her, "What was that?" She grinned and said, "Dada, home." Any of you who have ever heard the little red truck approaching know how apt that description is!
And, my good friend Robin and her little girl Katie come to see us for a bit this weekend. Katie is 2 months younger than Emory, which puts her in the category of "baby" which Emory happily reminded Katie of every chance she got. It was really cute. Robin is one of those great friends I can go months without seeing and then when we do get to see each other, we pick right back up where we left off. It was fun being pregnant with her and having girls so close together (they even have the exact same initials!). Sad for me, she is more dilligent than I in adding arrows to her quiver. However, we can't wait to meet Baby Stevens #3 this fall. Who knows, maybe we'll even "catch up"! Robin is always so good for my perspective as a mother, wife, woman. Being the most incredibly laid back person I know, she keeps me from taking life way too seriously. Got to love a friend who can remind you to cool it! I used to enjoy my pre-married sleepovers in Starkville when Robin and I would share the bed she normally shared with her husband. We would stay up way too late, getting to know each other, hearing great stories about my hubby-to-be, and just being silly.
Hope everyone's Sabbath rest was just that - rest. If I get any more rest, I might just go stark raving mad. Cabin fever's a settin in! Next post - just for you, Renie - how Mr. Wonderful proposed.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

alabaster boxes

So, most of you know the complete story of my life. I doubt there are any readers who don't since I really think this blog is ready by only a handful of folks, all of whom I know :). But, in case there are more of you than I think, I'll preface my comment. I was once married to another man, who chose to leave me for another woman after 2 and 1/2 years of marriage. Actually, the story is fairly intricate and I'd rather not go into all the details in this forum, but the decision to end the marriage was mine and not his. He never even had a lawyer. This divorce was something I should have seen coming, but I was a classic co-dependent. If you know me now, then you know that God has the power to change anyone, 'cuz I'm "co-dependent no more!".


Anyhoo, we were married after 10 years of dating, so, like I said, I REALLY should have seen this coming. Although the marriage was miserable, I was devastated when he "initially" left (there was a BRIEF reconciliation attempt). Devastated because co-dependents stick (bury is more like it) their heads in the sand when it comes to their object of desire. I really think this can be a spouse, child, parent, etc... However, the point is, I was convinced that my self worth was tied up in this man's acceptance. I know, completely ridiculous, especially if you happen to know the guy.



If I ever meet that woman, I'll just have to hug her neck because she has done me a huge favor. And, like my friend Beth says, I'm sure she's loving her choice right now! Nothing like a man who was unfaithful to his wife to make you feel secure, huh? During our seperation/reconciliation, I was blessed to begin some new friendships, all of which continue to this day. God used those friendships to show me that I was worth more than I was being "allowed" to think. I say allowed because I put way too much stock in this man's opinion of me. And I was the one not doing the allowing because I was the one giving him the power he had over me.



As I began to explore what these friends were telling me about myself, the scales began to fall off my eyes somewhat. I realized that I was a precious child of God and no one had the right to make me feel poorly about myself. God had created me and God don't make junk! I realized I had a treasure far greater than this man's favor, I had the favor of God! Not because of my own merit, but because when God looks at me He sees Jesus. And to top it all of, I get eternal life in paradise. With this new perspective, colors were brighter, God's word more beautiful, and my interest in this man began to greatly wane. So much so, that I was thrilled (sorry, but i's true) when news of further deceit came to light and I was no longer required to stay married to him. And, when thoughts that I had been rejected by one who had supposedly chosen me for his bride, I was comforted by thoughts that I had been chosen by One much greater. Not by my own merits, but still chosen nonetheless.

There are several songs that I mark as instrumental in putting into words what I couldn't on my own. One of them is "Hold Me Now" by Jennifer Knapp. I think I used to listen to this song every afternoon at work when things would slow down and I was alone with my thoughts. Here are the words that were a "balm to my soul":

From the glass alabaster she poured out the depths of her soul.
O foot of Christ would you wait if her harlotries known?
Falls a tear to darken the dirt. Of humblest offerings to forgive the hurt.
She is strong enough to stand in your love.
I can hear her say....
I'm weak, I'm poor, I'm broken, but Lord I am yours.
Hold me now, hold me now, hold me now.
Let he without sin cast the first stone if you will.
To say that my bride isn't worth half the blood that I've spilled.
Point your finger and laugh if you choose.
To say that my beloved is borrowed and used.
I'm weak, I'm poor, I'm broken, but Lord I am yours.
Hold me now, hold me now, hold me now.
One more thing... there is nothing like being deceived and deserted to make you feel weak, poor, broken, borrowed, and used. To use an old adeage, I did feel like spoiled goods, mostly because knowing the true character of the man I had yoked myself to just made me feel so dirty. I had resigned myself to never marrying again because I really thought the type of man I would want would be disgusted by the choices I'd made. But that was really ok, because I had Christ and that was enough. Like the song says, to Him I am of infinite worth because He spilled blood for me. No one else who was supposed to love me could even be honest with me, much less spill blood for me! So, to say that this was enough to win my heart is an understatement.

And, I did happen upon a guy during the separation/reconciliation attempt that I desperately prayed my husband would begin to immulate. It was the guy our elders at church found for my husband to live with before he came home (which never happened). I figured since they were living together, something good might rub off. Well, what do you know? That guy that I wanted my former husband to become like? We'll have been married 3 years in May.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sydney Raines

She and I go way back, back to even the days before either my daughter or my husband were mine! I had the rare opportunity to have some "alone time" with her in the car on the way home from the park. My miss priss was with her "Ms. Aimee". Anyways, we somehow got on the subject of pillows and how you have to be "older" to be able to use a pillow when you sleep. Sydney Raines is 3 and gets to use a pillow. Her brother, Wilson, and her friend, Emory, do not get to use pillows because they are still too little. I made the comment to SR that she is the only one who is big enough to use a pillow. To which she replied, "Yeah, I guess I got older first." Gotta love the way that girl's mind works!

Monday, February 11, 2008

hmmm...

The following are quotes that were made by people I actually know :). So, often I feel like all I ever do is quote authors I have read. I am thrilled that we not only have many wonderful authors readily available to read but to also know some very godly and wise individuals.

"We not only have the promises of God, we also have the God of the promises."
(Alan Carter, during this week's sunday sermon)

"It is only in being broken that we are made whole again."
(Pam Caldwell, my Bible study leader)

"Anger is not a sin. It is what we do with our anger that is sinful."
(Aimee Davis, paraphrasing R.C. Sproul)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

"because I have a man on their boat."

If you know where that is from then you will probably join me when I say, "ARRGHHH!" Why do the writers of Lost have to be so difficult?! Would it kill them to give us a couple of answers every now and then? I mean, come on, throw us a bone already. I think I just might stop watching. No, not really...

Does anyone have a theory on the "extra" plane that was found on the floor of the ocean? And who are the "Oceanic 6"? Eric thinks that the plane that was found on the ocean floor is a dummy plane placed by the "others". Cuz, remember the plane actually landed, in pieces, mind you (far, far from each other to boot) on the island. So, how is it all of the sudden on the floor of the ocean in two pieces that are pretty close together? And, do you think that the "Oceanic 6" are those who survived? What happens to all the other original survivors like Bernard and Claire?

So far we know that Jack, Kate, and Hurley make it back to civilization. I think the other 3 are Claire, Sawyer, and Sied (how do you spell his name?). What do you think?

BTW... I really like how they are flashing forward to the future now, do you?

by the way...

I have to tell you, because I almost never mention him, I'm married to a pretty spectacular guy. And I really believe that, although I'm sure I am far from letting him know just how spectacular he is. But the other day, when I was wrung out by the time he got home at 6:00, he did the dishes for me after dinner. It may not sound like much to you, but he also had music practice that night, which usually lasts until after 10:00. So, he did the dishes, before heading back out to the church, knowing he would not get to sit down until well after 10:00. Just so that I could sit down at 7:30 when I put the tot to bed. What a great guy!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Before the throne...

So, today was "one of those days". I could tell from the moment I greeted Emory this morning that she was feeling quite testy. Don't you just love those days? The ones where you walk into your child's room, ready to greet another day, you smile and say "Good morning!" and your toddler scowls and shouts "NO!". That's how today started.

To top it off, I woke up not feeling quite like myself either. I'd overslept and not gotten a chance to either run or read my Bible. Both of which I desperately need to get my days started well. I always feel slightly off balanced when I sleep through my alarm. And, Jackson was coming to play today. Don't get me wrong. I was not dreading this. I was just worried about the Emory factor. She gets grumpy when people touch her stuff and I could tell she was not in the mood to be gracious.

So, yes, true to my inkling, before Jackson even arrived, we'd had a time-out and a couple of show-downs. All of which threatened my blood pressure. I found myself crying out to God that He could not do this to me today. "I can not be left in this mood, so change me!" is how I began my prayers. Yeah, really effective, huh? As Eric left for work, I begged him to pray for my attitude today so that my daughter might survive until lunchtime, which is when we would see daddy again.

And, God was gracious. The morning passed without major incident. Emory was still grumpy, but I was able to handle her behavior and only get irritated and not out and out angry with her. Naptime came and went, and I must have stopped praying somewhere in that time because the bottem fell out when Emory awoke. And we like to have never recovered. After sweet Jackson (who was a model child today!) left for home, things really got ugly. A series of events so unlovely that I will not subject you to them, finally culminated in my jerking the paci out of my daughter's mouth, looking her square in the eyes, and saying in a more "firm" than normal tone, "That is enough!" I tossed the paci in the crib and was finally jerked back to my senses by my daughter's howl, which had taken on a drastically different tone. Instead of the "I'm cranky and don't really know what I want." she had begun crying in an "Somebody save me from her." fashion. Bad, bad mommy!

So, we plopped down in her rocking chair. With hearts breaking and both of us crying we prayed. My sweet daughter even folded her hands and spoke along with me (I wonder what she was praying?!). How did it get so out of hand this afternoon? Why did it take hurting my daughter's feelings before I thought to pray with her? Why is it always after the fact that I think: we could have sung a hymn, we could have walked outside, we could have prayed, we could have....?

Since "the epsiode" I have been singing Before the Throne of God to myself and sang it to Emory before laying her down tonight. It is my prayer, and has been for a while, that in those intense moments of need that I would be more quick to run to God in prayer or in song. Here are the words to Before the Throne:



Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest whose name is love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Behold Him there! The risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless, Righteousness
The Great unchangeable I AM
The King of Glory and of Grace
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God
With Christ my Savior and my God


What do all you other mommies do in your time of need?

Monday, February 4, 2008

just in case you care...

my baby's getting her first molar! I never realized that I would be so excited about something as mundane as teeth, but this opens up a whole new world of eating joys for her! Yeah Emmy!