Thursday, March 29, 2012

One Grateful Mama

I've had the incredible opportunity this week to take part in a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) certification course in Denver.

  • I forgot how much I love being a student. 
  • I find myself falling in love again with my green high lighter. 
  • I take notes as if everything my instructor says is gold. 
  • I appreciate the other students' questions (I don't have many of my own, but always learn from theirs).
  • I love drawing a star next to every correct answer I get on the end of the day quiz. :) 

I'm learning all about something I've known I've enjoyed for a long time. I used to spend hours taking any and all types of personality measurements, indicators, quizzes etc online, just to find out more about myself--and see if they all matched. I get energized by talking with others about these topics, and finding out more about what makes a person tick. With this course in MBTI, I am gaining such a depth of understanding of the "types" and "preferences" that I am practically bursting with excitement!

But here's my biggest take away this week ....

I am so blessed to be able to work from home. Every day this week, I've gotten up a little before Joshua, started getting ready, kissed him good morning, handed him over to my parents, and left the house. I've driven downtown, sat in class from 8-5, and then driven home. I've helped with dinner, fed my child, balanced cleaning up emails and doing homework with playing with Joshua in the few precious hours before bedtime. I've put Joshua to bed, crammed in some homework, and slept restlessly all night (either due to Toddler Joshua or Baby L...or both.)

Anyway, all this to say ... I cannot imagine working full time at a place away from my child. I feel like I haven't spent any time with Joshua--I never really realized how much I see Josh! How much time I spend with that kid! 

I walk away from this week, not only with an excitement for and new understanding of MBTI--but also with a deepened awareness and appreciation of my life. 

I find it amusing that Erik just happened to blog yesterday on kind of the same topic--appreciation for family.

Without my parents and sisters, I couldn't have done this certification. Without my parents, I wouldn't be blessed with the job that I have that enables me to stay home with my kiddo the majority of my time.

I am so blessed ... I don't judge those women and men who work "normal" jobs. Not at all. But I canNOT imagine doing so...especially after this week of getting a taste of it. If I only saw Joshua for an hour in the morning and two hours at night ... I just feel like it'd be so different.

People wonder how I spend one or two nights away from Josh and Erik once or twice a month. I wonder how people spent 8 hours a day away from their kids, 5 days a week.

So again, I say ...

I am so grateful. :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

14 Weeks: Rub that Tummy

I'm in a training to be certified for Myers Briggs all week, and I'm really enjoying it! But wanna know what I've noticed?

I find myself rubbing my belly. Often. 

Mind you, I'm barely showing. I wouldn't even call it "showing" -- I'd call it ... well, let's just say I don't have a tight 6 pack, but my pants still mostly fit.

But in a group of strangers, most of whom don't know I'm pregnant, I feel compelled to rub my belly, and walk with just the teeniest of waddle so as to indicate that I'm not just undisciplined in my sit up regime. I'm in fact, carrying a child.

It's funny to realize the amount of heavy sighs, strange stretches, mindless rubbing of my midsection ... people probably still don't think I'm pregnant, they just think I'm weird. :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sure, Steadfast Anchor of my Soul

Hebrews 6: 18b-19a: ... have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul ...

I was home this weekend sort of by accident. My flight out of Sacramento was delayed 2.5 hours, causing me to miss my connection in Denver. So, I was pushed to a 10pm flight, and got to spend my 10 hour layover with my family. What a blessing in MAJOR disguise! 

Except that I miss my family. And lately, I just miss being home. Not that Wisconsin isn't home--of course it is because Erik and Joshua are there. But really, Colorado is home. That's where I've lived for over half my life. It's where I spent all of my marriage until now. It's where I built community, it's where my family is. 

It's home and I miss it. 

But, God has called me to be away from my home. Which, really, as a Christian, I should be used to anyway, as we are all longing for our eternal home, away from this world. (Though Colorado Rocky Mountains in the summer are pretty close to that eternal home, I think ...)

This verse struck me this morning. Home is not my sure steadfast anchor. Neither is family. HOPE is. Hope in Christ is my sure, steadfast, anchor of my soul. 

And for that I'm very thankful, because without that, it'd be super hard to be this far away from home.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Holding ...

I've decided one of the worst things is sitting on the phone on hold. I've been on hold with United Airlines for 31 minutes and counting.


It's so frustrating because there's NOTHING you can do about it! I could get angry and hang up .... but I lose my place. I could throw things ... but that's not helpful. I could (once and IF I get through) yell at the person on the other end, but they've been dealing with crabby customers all night, so I'm sure that's not very nice. There's no way to get out of it--I have to sit on hold. I could choose to just go to the airport at the scheduled time in the morning, but since they've delayed my flight 2 1/2 hours and I now miss my connection in Denver, I kinda have to talk to someone NOW to get that sorted out in time to travel tomorrow.

So, really, I'm stuck. On hold. Listening to some really boring, really redundant United updates about how amazing they are.

Not so amazing right now, United. Not so amazing.

34 minutes and counting ... and seriously considering just flying to Denver 2 1/2 hours late and dealing with it then.

i love my job i love my job i love my job i love my job ... enough to put up with travel headaches.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How do you explain ... ?

How do you explain to a two year old that some kids get their own private parks in their yards while he has to share his park with the whole neighborhood?

How do you explain to a two year old that we can't spend ev-er-y waking minute outside?

How do you explain to a two year old that the big kids at the park only think he's cute for so long ... he can't join their basketball game or super soaker fight?

How do you explain to a two year old that climbing up and down and up and down the deck steps because he thinks it's fun to throw the ball off the deck is actually not how Mommy wants to spend her time?

How do you explain to a two year old that while he is the love of your life, I can't actually play 24/7?

It's funny when I think, "Oh, if I could just explain to him why, things would be so much easier." But, I know that's not true.

He's almost 2 and he's discovering his world, and it's my job to do my best to keep him safe, curious, and--of course--to set limits so he doesn't get himself into trouble!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yesterday Morning vs Today

Yesterday I was so proud of myself. Joshua got up at 7am, which, when it happens, is glorious. And instead of stumbling downstairs, turning on “Super Why” and dozing to cartoons for an hour, I kept the T.V. off, plopped him in his chair, and had a wonderful time making him breakfast, talking to him, laughing, and simply enjoying the morning. 

I wasn’t na├»ve enough to think this would now be the norm … but I was hopeful. 

Today, it is 6:32 am and my almost two year old is already in “bedroom time”, throwing a pretty epic fit. Good times, good times. 

Today he woke at 4am and wouldn’t let me put him back in his crib after rocking him a little. So, he slept next to me in bed until 6am at which time he promptly awoke and said, “Down” a dozen times. I didn’t even try to fight it—the kid was up and there was nothing I could do about it. 

We came down, and I let him watch Curious George while I changed his diaper. I let him choose between cereal or a shake for breakfast. 

He threw a fit because he wanted a cracker. 

He finally got in his high chair and starting drinking his shake and playing with his Cheerios. Still teary and sobbing off and on. 

Then he threw his cup because he thought the shake was gone. (How DO you explain to a two year old that if you tip the straw up upside down, it doesn’t work?!)

So, due to my new Love & Logic techniques, I sang the “Uh oh” song, and put him in his crib. 

It’s 6:41 am and he’s still screaming. 

I miss yesterday morning.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

S.O.A.P

I must admit, I was out of the habit of soaking in the Word.

In college, almost every night before bed, my roommate Cora and I would lay in our separate beds with our separate Bibles and end our days with God. I have such great memories--and journal entries--of this time where I would close my day with my Lord, reading His Word, journaling my thoughts, and lifting up praise and requests to Him.

Seriously, for some reason, this became harder to do once married. I'm NOT a morning person, so it's very difficult for me to get up in the morning and have enough mental juice to actually sit and read--and process and apply--the Word. Bedtime devotions didn't seem to work anymore; Erik is a night owl, and I'd stay up later and later to connect with him and then crash into bed.

So, for 6 years, it has been a struggle to find consistent time in the Word. I've had my times--when I worked at DeVry, I'd always make my coffee, and sit in my favorite chair and read a little. When pregnant with Joshua, I'd always carve out a time to take a few minutes and read a little something.

Enter a child, sleepless nights, a dry stage in my faith .... and well, let's just say I lost my enthusiasm a little. And the journaling specific verses and my thoughts on them slowly went out the window.

I'd read bits here and there, and I had a trusty devotional that helped me get what little I could to help me focus on God. But it was rough there for a while.

Then God moved us to Madison. And my oh my, do I need to be in the Word. I mean, need.

And then Dave, our lead pastor, gave a sermon that got me back into journaling about the Word. Not just reading aimlessly and thinking, "Hm, that's good stuff." but then forgetting it 10 minutes later. YES! Why did I ever stop doing this?? Pure laziness I tell you. A theme in my life.

He taught on the acronym S.O.A.P (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer)

There are still days where I don't want to do it. Or I do, but I start to feel like I'm only doing it to say I did it, and then I revolt a little bit because I don't want to do it just to say I did it ... blah blah blah.

But I sure am loving being in the Word, and forcing myself to observe it, apply it, and pray about it. LOVING IT.

So, here's an entry for you:

S: 1 Corinthians 2:1-2
1And I [Paul], when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

(Love how the Message portrays this too: 1-2You'll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God's master stroke, I didn't try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.)

O: Paul kept it so simple here! I love how the Message says "first, Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did." Erik and I often say we Christians too often focus and allow others to focus on all the other stuff--the controversial, theological, social, relational stuff--that keeps people from Jesus. Here's the deal--cut through it all. Figure out A) Who is Jesus? Liar, Lunatic, or Lord? B) What's your decision about Him? The rest will follow. First, Jesus and who he is and what he did. Then we'll sort through your life.

I also love the next part in the Message:
 3-5I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God's Spirit and God's power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God's power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.

I LOVE that the Apostle Paul was scared! Yippee! I'm not the only one! And yet, the message comes through.

A: We all have our issues. And when we're sharing the Gospel, so often we Christians complicate it SO MUCH! We need to set aside everything else and help people see and decide about Jesus. We need to be in relationship with people, not just yell at them from the streetcorner, or from some blog on the internet. We need to go to them, get to know their lives, hear their stories, get in their mess, and show them the One who can rescue them. We need to get ourselves out of the way, so the message can be loud and clear. 

P: God, give me--and all believers--opportunities to talk about you--and keep it simple! 

Friday, March 9, 2012

What Do I Know?

I had the honor of leading worship for our church this past Sunday. It was so much fun! Not only did I have a great band backing me, I got to sing some of my favorite songs.

One of my absolute favorite songs, What Do I Know of Holy--Addison Road.

I remember the first time I listened to this song. I was in my car, and I had just bought the album. This is the last track, so it took me a while to get to it. But when I did ...

Blown away.

"I've made You promises a thousand times ..."

"Tried to hear from heaven, but I talked the whole time..." 

"I think I've made You too small ...."

"If You touched my face, would I know You. Looked into my eyes, could I behold You?"

"What do I know of You, who spoke me into motion? 
Where have I even stood, but the shore along Your oceans? Are You fire, are You fury? 
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?"

How many times has I made promises to God, to try harder, to surrender more, to love more deeply. Only to find myself worn out, embittered, eating cookies on the couch watching Nefllix instead of soaking in the Word. (That's just an example. I'm not eating cookies. Though I was about to watch something on Netflix...)

"I guess I thought that I had figured You out..."

"I knew all the stories ... and I learned to talk about, how You were mighty to save...."

"But those were only empty words on a page..."

It's so easy to think, "All right--I've got it! If I just do A, B, and C, and then pray a little bit more each day, it'll all work out. God and I are golden." But that's just not how it works. I do know all the stories ... but guess what--they lose their meaning if I'm not connected to the Storyteller. Those wonderful felt-board stories from Sunday School way back when are just shadows in my mind if I'm not daily walking with the One who dictated those stories, and caused them to be.

"Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be ..." 

"The slightest hint of You, brought me down to my knees...."

"What do I know of You, who spoke me into motion? Where have I even stood, but the shore along Your oceans? Are You fire, are You fury? Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?"

"What do I know of holy? What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame? And a God who gives life its name.  What do I know of holy? Of the One who the angels praise? All creation knows Your name. On earth and heaven above, what do I know of this love ... ?"

"So what do I know of You? Who spoke me into motion. Where have I even stood? But the shore along Your oceans ... are You fire are You fury? Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?" 

What do I know? What do I know of holy? 

So very very little. And I need that reminder every day, because I get up on my high horse and think I've got it all figured out. And I truly, truly don't.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

11 Weeks: Taco Bell & Pizza Pit

What is up with pregnancy making me want the nastiet food EV-ER?! It's ridiculous really. When I should be eating the best foods ever, to assist in my health as well as my growing baby's, I want Taco Bell and Pizza Pit. Both of which caused me such indigestion and, ahem, digestion issues (to put it nicely) I half thought I was miscarrying and have now determined I will never EVER eat those things again!

(Well, Pizza Pit I'll probably give another chance. But considering I vowed off Taco Bell 4 years ago, and only gave in recently due to a prego craving, I'm back on my vow. That stuff is NAS-TY. Gross.)

On another note ...

I pulled out all of my maternity clothes this week. A few weeks ago, I panicked because I thought I'd lost them all in our move. But fortunately, we found them! I ran 'em all through the dryer to shake out the wrinkles, and made space for them in my closet. A few times I caught myself thinking, "Man, it sure would suck if I lost this baby cuz I'd have to pack all these clothes back up and that'd be hard. Maybe I should just keep them packed away instead of being hopeful..."

Funny how the brain works, isn't it? I have no reason to believe this pregnancy isn't going just fine. I have no reason, other than random statistics on the web that I refuse to read, to think that anything will go wrong. And yet, in a perfectly normal moment, fear of loss tries to break through.

Even at 11 1/2 weeks, it's a daily battle to surrender every twinge, every passing cramp, every thoughtless worry. You think seeing the ultrasound, or hearing the heartbeat, or getting strong blood results will make everything okay. But that reassurance wears off, and the weeks until the next appointment seem long, and so you trust. And waver, and trust and waver and trust .... and on and on it goes until that little baby is delivered into your arms.

Having been through a whole pregnancy and birth and now two years of motherhood, I of course now truly understand how it's a never-ending act of surrender. Every day, my little boy--my joy, my love, my life--has to be surrendered to God--who is my Joy, my Love, my Life.

Surrender. Who woulda thought I'd get from Taco Bell & Pizza Pit to Surrender?

Not I, I tell you. Not I.

What do you need to surrender today?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's Official.

Just the other day, Erik and I were driving somewhere in our little town and I half muttered, half exclaimed, "Can you believe we moved to Wisconsin?!

Sometimes I pinch myself. It's just so weird. 

I live in Wisconsin. Not Minnesota; Not Colorado--but Wisconsin. 

Seriously. Wisconsin. 

And here's the official proof. It just happened to arrive that same afternoon ....








WHAT?! You  mean I don't get to keep my wonderfully-different-than-everyone-else's green plates with the profile of mountains on them? Seriously? I have to have dairyland plates? 

Well, at least now I'll no longer get dirty looks on the interstate. 

I'm not longer an out-of-towner--I'm a Wisconsinite.