7 Quick Takes

Linking with the fabulous Jen for the first time in a looooooonnnggg time….

  1. Have you seen this article about making the bed?  As we all know, I’m not so good about it but it really does make me feel so much better when I do. Malachi likes to hand me the pillows to help so I really don’t have an excuse anymore. Malachi’s bed is a mess of huge blankets and too small blankets and too many loveys and stuffed animals and most of the time we just sort of throw him in and do our best to toss a blanket on top, but yesterday I was getting the kids’ room cleaned up and I decided to make his bed. I tucked the blankets in the bottom and stacked the pillows up nice. When he came in the room, he looked at the bed, gasped, and said “Oh! Comfy!” and immediately laid down on it. Iit was amusing and I felt a little guilty but mostly I feel like I just won in the “making the bed does/doesn’t matter debate” that Jeremy and I engage in occasionally.
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  2. During the Christmas season Jeremy and I watched the live Carrie Underwood Sound of Awful and then to cleanse our minds we later watched the real deal. I am constantly astonished at the things Jeremy wasn’t ever exposed to as a kid (like Peter Pan) and the Sound of Music is one of them. It made a real cultural impression on him:
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    J: Isn’t she a nun, though?
    A: Yeah, she’s a postulate.
    J: Then why isn’t she wearing a sari?
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    A: …J: Is that girl’s name Fajita?
    A: (dying laughing)
    J: Well, what is it?
    A: Brigitta!
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    J: Is she wearing drapes again?
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    When Captain Von Trapp realizes he is in love with Maria…
    J: He only wants her for her sari.
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  3. This article was really good. It made me reconsider how many things I put on Facebook and instagram every day and why.
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  4. Yesterday I sat down to eat a blessedly uninterrupted lunch at the appropriate hour of 2 in the afternoon while the kids were asleep.  I started flipping channels and landed on Twilight: New Moon and immediately stayed there to watch it, even though it’s horrible.  Like…horrible.  But I love it and I loved the books.  As I was watching I realized that this channel was specifically airing it at the time that stay-at-home-moms watch TV.  So basically I was watching today’s version of a soap opera. While eating a mature lunch of Oreos with peanut butter and goldfish crackers.  Yes, I’m 12.  And pathetic.

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  5. I’m pretty proud of myself because I made this. It was my first time ever making a hat and it somehow grew its own inexplicable brim but hey – it’s cute. I might start trying to make and sell them. Do you think there’d be a market for them?
    nani hat.
  6. Conversations with Malachi:
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    Every day until recently…
    Me: What do you want for breakfast?
    Him: Kiwi appo ceweal lunch

    Every day now….
    Me: What do you want for breakfast?
    Him: Appo and owange and kiwi and bapes and backbewwies and boobewwies and cheerios and Daddy ceweal and cheese aaaand meat. And vi-a-mins and po-botics.
    Me: Ok. Do you want banana or orange or apple today?
    Him: Anna owange appo both!

    Every time he sees a bug anywhere…
    Him: Uh-oh Mommy!  Ant!  Buzzzzz!  I don’t wike it ant.  Ant go swimmin potty.
    Me: Ok, let’s put the ant in the potty so he can go swimming.
    Him: Bye bye ant! Ha fun swimmin!  Mal-chi go swimmin tooooo?
    Me: Not in the potty.
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  7. I’m so tired today I fell asleep once while Malachi was going potty and again during the kids’ naps and I’m about to fall asleep again now so to save you from any further boring as anything incoherence, I present, for your viewing pleasure, this.

A Secret

Last Fall I went through Beth Moore’s Bible study on secrets. The entire summary of it is this: Secrets manifest. They always do, in one way or another. Bad secrets that are never told in words are exposed in the lines on our faces, the way we treat others, the dreams we live at night, anxiety, eating disorders, anger. But there are good secrets, too. Things we keep to ourselves so that God can get the glory later.

Sometimes we confess something before the Lord privately, but we never talk about it. We carry the guilt as a secret – even though we think we’ve dealt with it, we can’t even whisper the words of it out loud.

That’s what happened to me a few months ago. It was time to go and we were late – really late. And I was tired – really tired. Malachi had been at his worst and today was no different. No matter what I told him he did the opposite. I pulled out his brown sneakers and he insisted on the white ones. I asked him to walk to the door and he had to stop in his room to get things. And then we walked to the front door and I saw it – the pile of toys I’d bought on sale for Christmas that I had accidentally left on the couch. Well of course he rushed over and absolutely ignored my every call for him to come to the door. Finally I lost it. I got angry – really, really angry. I was stressed and late and none of that was his fault, but I took it out on him. He burst into tears, upset and scared, and immediately my stomach dropped and I realized how awful the whole thing was. And for whatever reason, even after I apologized to him and prayer journaled about it, I carried that guilt for weeks. I could not get over it.

So I told my husband, thinking maybe that would help. And he understood my guilt and did not condemn. He told me he thought Malachi didn’t even remember. But it didn’t help.

I told myself I was making a bigger deal out of it than it was. I told myself that Malachi had forgiven me and I needed to forgive myself, too. I ignored the guilt that wouldn’t go away.

Then I remembered something we’d talked about in the Bible study – the power of spoken-aloud prayer. I am an avid prayer-journaler and rarely pray aloud for that reason, but one day I was in the shower and I just couldn’t take it anymore. No one was around and I just poured out my heart to God. I told Him about my guilt, about how confused I was over it. I told Him how I just couldn’t get over it and begged that He would help. I just verbally gave it over.

I did feel lighter but still not great when I sat down to do my Bible study homework that day. We were supposed to read a passage from Hebrews and as I picked up my iPod to use my Bible app, the Lord whispered, “Use your regular Bible.” I’m reading through the amplified Bible right now, and to be honest, I find it more exhausting than encouraging most of the time. So I wasn’t too excited, but I did it anyways. And this is what I read:

For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.
Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].
Hebrews 4:15-16, AMP

Tears streamed down my face. Mercy for our failures. Mercy for our failures. This was what God was trying to tell me – Yes, you did fail. But I have mercy for you. I have forgiven you. His grace isn’t just sufficient for my imperfections – He has abundant mercy even in my failure.

When I closed my Bible study book I moved on to my daily Bible reading, which passage happened to be my favorite story in all the Bible – John 21. When Peter – crazy, overzealous, relate-able, wonderful Peter – sees the Lord on the beach. He hasn’t spoken to him since before His death, and their last interaction was the knowing look Christ gave Peter right after he denied Him. Can you imagine the utter guilt Peter was feeling? So instead of helping the disciples paddle quickly to shore, Peter puts on his coat and jumps in the water, swimming for all he’s worth to reach the sand. Later, when they were walking, Christ asked him,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these do?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.”  Jesus said a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus told him, “Shepherd my sheep.”  Jesus said a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” and said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep.”

And in that moment, after I had spoken my ugly secret into the open and laid it before the Lord in our beautiful secret place, He whispered to me, “Your children are my sheep. Shepherd them.”

God had walked me through the restoration process, and there, sitting on my bed, crying tears of joy and resting in the arms of my Father, for the first time in weeks, I was free.

He has mercy for your failures. Trust Him.

7 Quick Takes about 2013

I wish I could come up with one word to describe 2013, but I’m not sure what to choose.  Maybe it would be “fast” – my memories of Christmas 2012 are crystal clear because it seems like just yesterday. My memories of newborn Naomi are already fuzzy because that is what it’s like to have a baby. Any stage other than their current one seems so far removed you sometimes wonder if it even happened to you.  I watch videos of Malachi from 8, 9, 10 months ago and it’s hard to believe this little boy was ever that little boy.  Maybe I would choose “hard” – because focusing all my attention on one child at a time gives me a twinge of guilt almost every time, no matter which kid. Because on the day I think I’ve never been more exhausted, that night I lay awake with a squirming baby and realize that now I have. Because consistently spending time with the Lord has never been so difficult for me. Because anytime I make progress in one area of life I fall behind in another.  But maybe I would choose “joy” – because there has never been a happier, more smiley, more laid-back baby than Naomi.  Because my son has finally broken past the barrier and can speak clearly and efficiently and is so much happier for it.  Because my endless stream of photos and videos attests to the beautiful memories we have made this year.  Maybe I’ll just choose all three.

And if I were to pick a word (ok, two words) for this coming year, I will declare them over my home and my family and myself and prophetically choose “peace” and “love.” Not because I’m some kind of hippie, but because if there’s anything this house needs, it’s a little more peace so the abundant love we already have for the Lord and for one another can be a little more obvious, a little more dominant, and a little more in-control.

Thanks for sticking through the sappiest and most flowery introduction to date.  Onto the cooler stuff: 7 quick takes about 2013.

  1. January – We discovered the neighborhood farm, Malachi learned to sit at the big table and give real hugs, and he experienced his first snow.
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  2. February – One night I went to bed early because I thought I was having regular, painless contractions.  The next morning when I woke up they continued but at the same frequency and pain(less)-level.  So Jeremy went to work, Malachi and I played, I bought an app called “labor mate,” made myself cry when I put Malachi down for his nap because intuitively I knew this was the last time it would ever be just me and him (crying again, btw), mopped the kitchen floor, did some yoga, finally decided to go to the hospital, found out I was SIX CENTIMETERS PEOPLE, and three very-natural hours later, sweet baby Naomi Kate was born to change our lives forever.
    ImageMalachi was overjoyed.
    ImageEventually he got used to her and even learned to share.
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  3. March and April – March included a lot of sweet moments, like this:

    According to a quick skim of my daily kid log, I went to Goodwill at least 3 times with both kids in April. We also really settled into being a family of four. I remember feeling really content with just “being” with my kids. I wasn’t super stressed about things with Naomi (she slept through the night for two months starting in April) and Malachi was doing really well with her, too. Also, I started my blog in April.
  4. May, June, and July – In May my baby boy turned two. Naomi rolled over, laughed, and settled into a great schedule.  In June we went to Seattle.  Re-reading some of my highlights of July makes me remember how much I LOVE summer and how much happier we all are when it is sunshiney outside. We did so much partying, playing outside, swimming, and fun stuff in July. Malachi started making developmental strides (colors, numbers) and we visited his pre-school for the first time. We also hosted two Brazilian girls for a long weekend and I got really, really secondhomesick.
  5. August and September – In August I started harvesting things from my first-ever garden. It was encouraging and discouraging all at the same time, but I’ll definitely do it again (just way differently).  August was also a little hard – Naomi had major sleep problems and Malachi started hitting her. Having two young kids started to get a lot harder than it had been before. In September we visited my best friend and her family, Malachi started preschool, Naomi started eating insane amounts of food (this trend continues), and we went to several festivals.
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  6. October and November – In October we went camping, Malachi potty-trained, Malachi and I had a very intense supernatural experience with the Lord, and Naomi started standing on her own.  In November I began my ongoing trend of slacking off on blogging. Malachi made huge strides in his speech. We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgivng.
  7. December – I love the Christmas season! We had so much fun family time this month. The kids LOVED Christmas, baby Jesus, Santa, and presents. Naomi took her first steps. Malachi became obsessed with the guitar. Malachi was the cutest Christmas angel ever.
    christmas malachi christmas nani

pageantHappy New Year!  Now go see Jen for much bigger and better.
**Ummmm, also…. I just reread this and realized I only talked about my kids. Wow. I guess that’s what I get for using my daily kid log to remind me of the year….  if you wanted any news about me and Jeremy, sorry to disappoint!  Better luck next year when I’m not too tired to go back and edit.