Chores- the new carrots?

As a mother in this new generation of political correctness and building children's self-esteem, I feel that we have lost an important component of motherhood perfected by our mothers' generation-guilt. Remember the days when our moms used guilt to get us to do anything-"Eat your carrots or you'll go blind!", "Stand up straight or you'll get a hump!", etc.

Well, mothers, take note of this new scientific research that is not only good news for women everywhere, but may also help you get that teenage girl to pitch in and help around the house! I can hear it now-"You better pick up that dust cloth right now young lady, or you might regret it later!!"

(P.S.-When I heard this news report on TV, the female newscaster closed out the segment by saying, "Well, I guess I might need to start doing some dusting!" START?!?)

Where Have All The Christmas Movies Gone?

There was a time when Christmas week was one long Christmas movie marathon! You couldn't turn a channel without finding holiday cheer and a plot line that involved that one special present you can't live without. Chris and I really get in the mood for a great Christmas movie when it gets close to Christmas eve. All of the shopping and wrapping is done, the menu for Christmas dinner is prepared and the groceries are bought and you have time to sit around and recuperate from the craziness of the previous weeks.

We looked at the TV guide last night only to find that there are no Christmas movies coming on this year! "It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Story" were the only ones we could find. What ever happened to "White Christmas" or "Miracle on 34th St."? Why can't anyone show "The Bishop's Wife" or it's great remake, "The Preacher's Wife" (which has some of the greatest Christmas music of all time on the soundtrack!!) Even the perennial "Home Alone" is nowhere to be found! (And as much as I love "The Sound Of Music", I have news for the TV programmers-it ain't a Christmas movie!)

Now I know all about the efforts of secular society to remove Christmas from our culture. But doesn't anyone realize that the majority of Americans still celebrate Christmas, even if it is not in a religious context? And I'm talking a LARGE MAJORITY! I understand that there are other religions out there to whom Christmas is offensive, but do I have to stop celebrating it completely in order to make them happy? This country was founded on the premise of religious freedom. I should have the right to celebrate my religious holiday along with others' religious observances!

TV programmers, take note- (because I know you are all waiting with bated breath for each of my blog entries!) WE STILL WANT TO SEE CHRISTMAS MOVIES!! Bring on "Scrooged" and "Jingle All The Way". I could use a break with a great movie about now!

All Halls Are Decked!

Well, as usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short! Boomama has once again put together one of her fabulous Tours of Homes for Christmas, and I just found out about it last night around midnight-too late to participate. But I thought it would be great to share my holiday decorations, especially since none of our family ever gets to see our home decorated for Christmas! While on the tour (which I recommend you not start unless you have about two days to sit at your computer, because each home is more beautiful than the last!) I found these slide shows, so I put one together to share with everyone! Welcome to my Christmas home!

Just a few notes on the pictures:
  • The 'baby food jar' tree and the Santa were made by my two fabulously talented aunts. (Maybe I do have a crafting gene somewhere in there!) My aunt Debbie made the tree by gluing empty baby food jars together on their sides in the shape of a tree. She drilled a hole in each lid and put a string of Christmas tree lights inside (one light in each hole in each lid), and filled each jar with tinsel. A ribbon gets glued around the outside of the whole thing and a star goes on top! Genius! My aunt Donna made the Santa from half of a bleach bottle, and if you want to know how I'll have to have her give you a call! I treasure these handmade decorations from my loved ones!
  • The two middle stockings are the kids'; they were handmade by my great-aunt Mozelle. (Okay, so I come from a long line of crafters-I just need to get with the program, I guess, and embrace the craftiness!) She made a stocking for Nathan after he was born, and when she sent it to us she sent an extra "in case we ever needed another one." Every year that stocking would mock me when I took our three out, knowing that we would likely never have another child. But God answered the longing of our hearts and gave us Carissa, and now we, indeed, have need of that other stocking! Aunt Mo died before Carissa was ever born to us, but I believe that somehow she sees those matching stockings hanging side by side on my mantle and praises God along with me!
  • A co-worker gave me the wooden reindeer family. If you look really closely, the one that looks like it's about the size of an adolescent seems to have a smirk on it's face! Trez' Realistic! I smile every year when I put these out.
  • Our front door has been 'scraped and taped' in preparation for painting, so that's why each pane has a blue border-no holiday effect intended!
  • The star ornament has a picture of Nathan with reindeer antlers from kindergarten in it and the wreath of handprints is my FAVORITE-he was in preschool when he made it! I am looking forward to adding ornaments that Carissa makes to our collection in the future.
  • Our Advent wreath is on my cake pedestal, so that when Nathan can't come to it, it can go to him!
Our decorations are simple and full of memories, but full of love as well. I hope these pictures share our joy with you this Christmas season!

It's beginning to look alot like...

Sorry for the lapse in posting...the holiday season is here and as a mom and a pastor's wife it truly seems that the to-do list is never-ending! But I am really excited about Christmas this year! I've had our tree up for about a week now, which is the earliest I've ever put it up. The halls are finally decked and I have been in the Christmas-crafty mood for the last week too! Now, I must say that I am not a crafty person. I am the girl who wanders around in Michael's saying, "What do they use this stuff for, anyway?!" But so far I made a new wreath for the back door, cinnamon-applesauce ornaments with Nathan and a ton of bows for the church and our house. Could I possibly have picked up some kind of crafting virus last time I went in Michael's?

I think one reason I am so full of the Christmas spirit this year is that I have little two-year-old eyes to see the holiday anew with. Having my daughter around is definitely making this Christmas more fun than any other I've had so far! I stayed up until 1 a.m. decorating the tree, just so I could see her face when she came down the stairs in the morning and saw it for the first time. And I must add, it was so totally worth it!!

Also, this is the second year that we have celebrated Advent as a family. Growing up in a Pentecostal background, I had never heard of the Advent season until a couple of years ago. Chris and I felt that celebrating the anticipation of the coming Christ child, which is the focus of Advent, would be a great balance to the secular anticipation that has swallowed the holiday season. So we have an Advent wreath and candles, and each night we light the candles and have a small devotion, sing a Christmas carol, and pray together as a family. It has birthed in me a new, giddy awareness of my soul's longing for Christ and a childlike anticipation of the joy in realizing that He has come for us all! As I decorate the tree or tie bows, I feel as if my soul is singing out John's words with renewed wonder, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

You see, it is so easy to celebrate and worship the miracle of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross or His triumphant resurrection, but if we are to understand the fullness of those miracles we must also fully realize the miracle of His birth. All the world was looking for a warrior to come to the rescue of the Jews, and eventually us all! But eternal, omnipotent God himself stepped through the portal of unending time and space and squeezed into the tiny, squirming form of a baby boy. He gave up his limitless authority over all of the heavens and the earth to take on helpless flesh in order to become salvation to us all. The knowledge of it transfixes me, as it must have those cold, lonely shepherds two thousand years ago, when the hosts of heaven appeared singing "Glory to God in the highest!"

So I hang lights and bake cookies and twist bows, all the while humming beautiful songs of a baby in a stable while joy steals over my very existence! Merry Christmas!

Zoo skies, smilin' at me...

After an incredibly jam-packed last few weeks, with events that ranged from our church's 75th Anniversary services to a week alone with the kids while Chris went to Ecuador, we kicked back today and visited the National Zoo. Despite cloudy skies and chilly temps Chris, Carissa and I had the time of our lives! (Nathan had school, and we needed to check out how accessible the animals are for someone in a wheelchair before we take him, so we have now promised that he will visit as soon as a sunny vacation day comes up!)

When we first moved to the area Chris and I would pick a new site around Washington each Monday on his day off and hop on the Metro to go see it. We moved here in October, so we spent that first winter freezing our bee-hinds off around DC, but we had the place virtually to ourselves. We have slacked off from doing this in recent years since our little one came along, so it was great to get back out there and explore. The National Zoo had been on our to-do list for some time!

I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite site from today. I guess for me personally I totally loved seeing the pandas in their new habitat, which just opened last week. (You can check it out for yourself from the comfort of your home at the National Zoo's great website, but do yourself a favor and plan a trip soon!) Tai Shan, the 15-month old cub, was asleep in a tree-how do they do that without falling out?!?-so his mom, Mei Xiang, ambled out onto one of the rock formations and stretched out to nap. Just like a mom to make the most of her toddler's naptime and a sunny, warm spot! The "stroller-brigade" moms, who seemed to be the only other people in the park today, looked jealous.

I have to say that living in an area where you have the opportunity to visit one of the world's best zoos on the spur of the moment is totally great! Most of the time we are so wrapped up in the daily maze of our existance here on the confines of church property that we begin to take that a little for granted, but I hope we will get back out there and experience all that there is to do and see in this richly diverse area we now call home.

In his blog this week, Chris quoted Mark Batterson as saying that we should seek to collect experiences and not possessions in our life, so today we definately added to our experience collection!

Earrings and Poop

Oh the joys of motherhood! Last week Chris left for a missions trip to Ecuador. He hadn't even been gone 24 hours when my little busybody proceeded to quietly slip into our bedroom and swallow 5 (yes i wrote 5-F I V E) of my stud earrings! I found her with the earrings and counted them out to realize that five mates were missing and the only logical place they could be was inside my daughter! Her pediatrician and my Dad (who was the only person I could think coherently to call for advice) said "Take her to the ER for an x-ray." Sure enough, there they all were. (I'm certain this x-ray has now been added to some radiologist's "Most strange things kids have swallowed" collection!!) Then I had the extreme joy of watching the, shall we say, output for the next week to make sure the earrings made it out of her system! Needless to say, I will be reminding Chris of this little chore when it comes time to buy Mother's Day gifts next year!

And to think, some people might think the life of a stay-at-home Mom and pastor's wife is boring!

(By the way, Chris took 12 others with him on the missions trip-up from two last year. They prayed with 84 people to accept Christ, and ministered to hundreds of others! And to think, by staying home with the kids and fishing through poop so Daddy could go preach to the nations, I had a small stake in that kingdom work!!)

True Beauty

BIG PROPS to Dove for their real beauty campain. Check out this blog entry and the Dove video that's with it-I couldn't have said it better!

Heavy Hearted MomMusings

Since this blog is mainly the musings of my mother's heart, I must share my heartbreak over the horrific events of this week. I have been deeply disturbed and saddened by the attacks against young girls in our schools and communities.

I don't need to rehash these events themselves; if you own a computer, tv or radio, or if you read a paper you know the intimately horrific details of this new spate of violence. For those of us here in the Washington DC area, on the same day as the tragedy in Colorado last week our newscasters also informed us of an eight year old girl's sexual assault after she got off of her school bus half a block from her home and the man police were looking for who had assaulted one girl already in area stores and was caught on camera stalking another young victim in an area Target.

My husband, while watching the disturbing news coverage, made two astute observations. The most important of them was the statement that, for reasons he hasn't quite figured out yet, the enemy of our souls is deliberately targeting our daughters. The second was that, being the parents of a beautiful, precious, innocent daughter right now feels a lot like having a deer and knowing it's hunting season out there.

Now we must deal with the horror of this latest attack in Pennsylvania. In listening to the news reports of this disturbed man's possible motives for his heinous plan, I was grieved to hear his statements about being mad at God over the death of his premature baby daughter. There will be thousands of sharper minds than mine analyzing this man's motives over the next few weeks, as we all try to come to grips with how someone could even conceive such evil, but this makes me wonder a few things. I wonder if this man, who has now admitted to molesting young female family members as a twelve year old boy, felt that God was punishing him for this secret sin he had carried hidden in his memory and conscience with the death of his baby daughter. He has stated that he was mad at God, and I cannot help but wonder further if he thought that by perpetrating these evil plans on even more innocent young girls, he was showing God a thing or two. This makes me really think about what a direct path to destruction it is to harbor anger against God.

I write this from the perspective of someone who has spent a lot of time being angry with Him. Every time Nathan gets sick, and I watch him lay there helpless and barely moving, I get angry knowing that the all-powerful God I serve could make his entire illness go away with a wave of His hand. During the years when Chris and I begged to have another child, I alternated between petitioning God for this deep desire of my heart and being angry with Him that He wouldn't even give us this consolation. Now some of you might be aghast at the idea that a pastor's wife would admit to being angry with God, but I genuinely feel that God is big enough to deal with me being angry with him. But thinking about this man's anger at God has made me realize that my personal anger with Him has always been tempered by my inescapable love and need for Him. I see this in the story of Job too (which I have been studying lately). There are many passages in the book of Job where Job is really ticked with God. But his anger never outweighs his love for his God, or stops the longing he expresses to be known by God. I feel that there is a key detail here. We must always strive to never let our anger with God eclipse what the Bible calls the 'fear' of Him, or the realization of who He is and how much we need Him. I think these events are a clear example of the result of such untempered, unchecked anger against our Creator-the death of our souls.

I also feel compelled to point out the stark contrast between this man's inability to forgive God for the death of his baby daughter and the almost instantaneous forgiveness the Amish parents of his victims offered to his family. I am sure I am not the only person to observe this contrast. The Amish community members who have spoken with the press have been a walking textbook for the biblical spirit of forgiveness. As a mother, even though I am a Christian, it boggles my mind that these parents could forgive this man. I can only pray that out of this tragedy, some good will come of the testimony of forgiveness that is being lived out under the glare of media cameras in the gentle and unassuming community of the Amish.

I believe that we need to pray for specific protection over our daughters-the daughters in our homes and the daughters of our society. Like Chris, I don't know the reason for the targeting of our little girls, but it brings to my mind the biblical extermination of baby boys in the effort to prevent the Messiah from coming to cover our sin and restore creation with Creator. And in the hearts of mothers everywhere, just as in those days in Bethlehem,

"A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more." (Matthew 2:18)


Since I spent the first eight years of motherhood in a really unique situation, there are many standard parenting experiences that I am now getting to try for the first time. One of those happened this week. Our first trip to Chuck E. Cheese.

I would like to go on record here as stating that this is the biggest racket I have ever seen in my life!! Where else can you take your family for a meal and pay $33 for a pizza that tastes more like the boxes that the frozen variety come in at the grocery store, and desperately collect tickets in order to get "prizes" even more cheap and flimsy than those toys that come out of the machines in the front of stores for a quarter!! When my husband came back from the counter and told me that in order to add some semblance of nutrition to our dinner by ordering salads, this childhood-mob-controlled "fun" place wanted $4.99 EACH for a salad bar that consisited of bagged salad mix, some of those processed 'baco' bits, and three (I am not kidding) choices of salad dressing!

When my nephew was little, I was horrified to discover that my brother and sister-in-law had actually told their kids that Chuck E. Cheese had burned down, and they could no longer go. I thought that was the worst parenting technique I had ever heard of. Well, I owe them an apology, because now my eyes have been opened, and I can begin to understand why they would be driven to such a deception.

I fervently hope that Carissa promptly forgot that place as soon as we walked out of there. Otherwise we may have to call her Uncle Rick and have him tell her his Chuck E. Cheese story!

Home Again, Home Again

I made a quick trip to NC this week to meet my enchanting new nephew and see my beloved brother bask in his "new dad" glow. I knew we would not all be able to go down together for at least a month, and I didn't want to miss this special time when a new life is so NEW to all of those around them, so I just jumped in the car and ran down for a couple of days. (I figure, "Shoot! If I can bring two kids into this world myself then I can drive myself down the road to see my family!")

Since I had so much time alone on the six-and-a-half hour drive I got a lot of overdue thinking done. Sounds scary, huh? The following represents the highlight, or at least the only part I could legally put in print.

I spent time with those who know me best and love me anyway. The ones who have seen the good, the bad, the ugly, and the downright indescribable in me. The ones who remember what I looked like in Wonder Woman underoos, and know all of my childhood nicknames. I listened to the voices and looked into the faces of those whose DNA I carry, whose own stories have shaped not only who they are, but who I am as well. I drove around and saw the places where monumental things happened in my life. My Ebenezer Stones, so to speak. The places where my sweetheart kissed me. The church were we discovered God's call on our lives, and where we pledged to love each other until death. The hospital where my baby boy was born, and where one life ended for me and another one began. And I realized that doing these things grounds me again-it makes me remember who I am and what I can do. It also reminds me of all that God has done in my life. It serves as a kind of plumb line, bring me back into alignment with the core of who I have been and who I am today.

The constant push and pull of expectations and deadlines that make up being in ministry tend to reshape me like the tides redecorate the shore every day. Being surrounded by people who don't know your whole story kind of redefines who you are, as you morph into only being what those people see in you. The reflection of more shallow waters. But I have come back stronger and more centered from my quick trip home. I not only drove several hours to cuddle my baby brother's baby, I launched myself back out into the deep waters of who I am.

Warning! Political Discussion Ahead!

OKAY! It has now been a little over a week since Rosie O'Donnell joined "The (Supposed to Represent Many, but Really Only Represents One) View" and I am amazed that I have kept myself from having a heart attack already, but today finally did it!

I told Chris he was going to have to block the ABC station at 11 am on weekdays so that I would not have a stroke or throw things at the tv when I heard Rosie was going to be the show's "moderator" (boy is that the biggest oxymoron I have ever heard in my entire life, or what?). Again, I have proven myself right.

During a discussion about the war on terror today Rosie made the comment that "Radical Christianity is just as big a danger to this country today as Radical Islam." And her statement was followed by applause from most of the audience.

I beg to differ with you, Rosie (and that ain't just an expression, I would beg on my knees to be able to differ with you in person), but you are dead wrong. I am a born-again Christian and I probably would fall into Rosie's category of a "Radical" Christian because of my belief that the scripture is the inherent, infallible Word of God and my mostly right-wing political views. Yes, I believe that homosexuality is a sin, although I think it is no more a sin than lying or stealing. Since I freely admit I am a sinner I have no right to judge Rosie or anyone else and pass sentence on their sin because I, too, am guilty. I adamantly believe that only God is able to judge hearts and is the only being holy and righteous enough to decide someone's eternal sentence for their sins. So although I might caution Rosie that she was transgressing God's law and therefore sinning, I would never sentence her to death for that transgression.

However, no matter how the politically-correct crowd wants to spin it, the Koran calls for the death of anyone who is not a Muslim. So while Rosie would be perfectly safe in my presence, if she were to come under the authority of a "Radical" Muslim, she would be summarily executed on the spot, no questions asked, no religious debate allowed. I think that qualifies as much more of a threat than my "Radical" Christian beliefs, don't you Rosie?

Rosie "The Mouth", as I am now affectionately calling her, went on to say that she just didn't understand why President Bush engaged us in a war in Afganistan after 9/11. Has she never heard of the Taliban? How hard is it to understand that the Taliban government was freely giving Osama Bin Laden the freedom and land to run terrorist training camps and train the very people who would eventually fly planes into buildings and kill thousands of Americans. I enjoy a stimulating political debate as much as the next person, but only with someone who is intellectually educated of the facts, and Rosie proved today that she does not fall into this category.

What really disturbs me most about this morning's show was the fact that this viewpoint about "radical" Christianity was deliberately applauded. Chris reminded me to keep in mind the probable makeup of the audience, which were probably all liberal, New York women who could not differ more from a Christian point of view if they tried, and I will give him that. But is our society really coming to believe that the moral views that are the compass of my life are dangerous to other people?

The Emerald City

A Mary Moment in my Martha World

Thank God, the cold is gone! I could go to the hospital today to be with Nathan, and since the drive to the hospital is around 45 minutes, I got to spend my commute time rocking out to some Hillsong and praising God.


With all my life I'll sing,
I'll be livin' for your name
With all to give you praise
I'll be livin' for your glory, Lord

Lost for words with all to say,
Lord you take my breath away!
Still my soul, my soul cries out
You are Holy!

As I look upon your name
Circumstances fade away
Now your glory steals my heart
You are Holy!

You are Holy
You are Holy, Lord!

Evermore my heart, my heart will say
Above all, I live for your glory
Even if my world falls, I will say
Above all, I live for your glory

Man, can those Australians write some worship, or what? Now, anyone who knows me knows that I definately fall into the Martha category. My heart longs to be a Mary, but my to-do list gets in my way. But I cannot wait for the day when I can worship God for eternity, with no laundry to be folded or meals to be cooked to distract me from my purpose.

I just want to take the time to echo the sentiment of this song-My God takes my breath away! See, I have this addiction. I am addicted to God's glory. In this life, we can only get a little taste of it at a time. Bottled up moments when the film between heaven and earth becomes a little thinner and we can just glimpse it, not quite taste it, think we smell it, almost see it. One day we will bathe in it, and like a junkie who can't get enough, I'm living for that day. Somedays I'm blessed enough to grab ahold of the hem of His garment, and squeeze a few drops of that glory onto my parched face.

A lot of people probably look at my life from the outside and think I'm religious because of tradition, or because it makes a living for my family. But I am utterly smitten with God. It's all about my relationship, and nothing to do with religion. We have this thing going, me and God. Even when I was His enemy, He called after me. He sought me out, and sacrificed His precious Son in my rotten, good-for-nothing place. This morning, I woke up to find out that He Hadn't Changed His Mind Yet!!! (That's what 'mercies new every morning' means to me!)

His glory has stolen my heart! That's why I do everything I do-from trying to craft a ministry that reaches out to every woman, to caring for my kids so that one day they will see God's care for them. He is my every breath, my every heartbeat. So, maybe, when I have moments like today, He's saying "Now, you've chosen well!"

When Will The Week End?

This has been just a yucky week! Nathan had surgery on Monday, which went well and he is recuperating quickly. That's the good news! I came down with a horrible head cold the day after his surgery. So I have been unable to go to the hospital any day this week to be with Nathan. I usually handle all of his acute medical care information, so poor Chris has had to call me a million times each day with another question from the medical team. It seems that the mindset of the team in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is, "If it's working well, let's tinker with it and see if we can get it to work better. That made it worse? Oh, well!" Anyhoo-it is killing me to not see Nathan for three days or be there for him when he needs me! I feel like the worst parent in the world!

Meanwhile, two of our staff members had new babies last week, and as the Women's Ministries Coordinator it falls to me to arrange for some meals to be brought for the new moms. I made phone calls and put together a schedule of the women who agreed to prepare a meal and gave it out on Sunday, so that everything would be in place before heading into Nathan's surgery on Monday. Almost every single woman on that schedule had to move their night, or something came up and they couldn't do it. To quote Charlie Brown, "AAARRRGGGHH!"

On top of all of this, I completely forgot our weekly Women's prayer group this morning. I suspected a ball would get dropped soon, but I hate that this was it. I hope the women will be understanding.

Chris and I were talking on the way home from the hospital about how no one outside of the two of us really understands all that the last ten years has held for us. I am amazed that even after ten years of being in the hospital and numerous surgeries, it is the hardest thing in the world to leave your baby in the hands of others and wait for the outcome. It is not just hard; I find it to be agony. I don't think I've ever told anyone this besides Chris. Everyone else just takes it for granted that we handle all of this so well, and I am grateful for the testimony that brings to God, but it never gets easy or routine.

At the hospital we used to frequent they made you tell your child goodbye in the hallway and they wheeled him away from you while he was still awake. At least here they let one of us go into the operating room with him until he goes to sleep. But I still have to force my feet to walk out of that room. And then the waiting is excruciating to me, who is used to being at least well informed of his status every moment of the day, if not outright responsible for his status! It is definately one of those times when I literally leave him in the Lord's hands!

I don't know how I could parent if I didn't have faith in a God who is bigger than this life. There are so many uncertainties and things we cannot control, especially with a special-needs child. When I feel like I'm about to come unglued I have to remind myself that I am never in control anyway, that even when things seem well in control, the control lies in God's hands. And I can't think of a better place for it to be!

Stuck in CHOCOLATE!!!

Well, another dream bites the dust. All these years I thought being waist deep in a vat of chocolate sounded like heaven! Oh well!

Celebration Day

I just read an article by H.B. London in which he stated that the month of July is special to him because it is the month when he "celebrates his wife and their son." What an astounding concept! Instead of celebrating a 'day' when your loved one was born, what if we celebrated the person? For example, instead of celebrating my son's birthday in June, what if all day that day we celebrated everything we love about him and all of the wonderful things that makes him who he is? Instead of it being 'Nathan's birthday' it could be 'Nathan Day'! Wouldn't this do wonderful things for our children's self-esteem? What a great way to counteract the 'cookie-cutter' cultural influences our kids are innundated with every day, and reinforce that they are special to us because of who they are. Let's face it, most of our work as parents day in and day out is geared towards pointing our children to who we want them to become. We must purpose to remember to reinforce that we love who they are. This would be a banner day to drive this message home in a big way. I think I have just inaugurated 'Chris day', 'Nathan Day', and 'Carissa Day' (which happens to be the same day as what I hope would be 'Allison Day'!!) around here!

Sucked down the Ebay drain!

I have lost one entire week of my life! Last week I posted 17 items for sale on Ebay for the first time. I must honestly admit that I may not have even watched my newborn daughter as diligently as I have watched these items this last week! I wake up-I check Ebay. I come home-I check Ebay. I check Ebay-I check Ebay again! Pitiful! I am so grateful that these silly auctions are over. Now I can get back to making sure my home is not condemned by the Health Dept. and that my children don't all of the sudden look like that poor Kiera Knightly from lack of sufficient nutrition. If you are missing whole blocks of time from your life; if you come to in front of the computer with glazed eyes mumbling "Must add to my watch list!" or "How do I calculate shipping?"-call me. Maybe we can start a support group!

P.S.-You must note the time for this posting-Guess what I've been doing?!!!!! Help me, please, help me!

My Mommy Anniversary

My precious boy turned ten years old today! It feels like yesterday that he came to us, and yet when I think back over all that we have gone through and how much we have grown it feels like forever. I often joke that I define our life together as "BN" and "AN" (Before Nathan and After Nathan); I have trouble even remembering events from before he came to us or what I was like then.

I have celebrated my amazing boy's accomplishments all day today, but I would like to take a moment and reflect on what these ten years have meant to a mother. In a sense this is not just Nathan's birthday, its the anniversary of when I became a mom!

I can't help but remember that day ten years ago when I was up and walking for the first time after the c-section. I walked with my Dad down to the NICU, and the nurse met us at the door of Nathan's cubicle with a knowing smile. When she asked, "How would you like to hold him today?", I was hit with a powerful surge of both longing and bald fear at the same time. I went in and sat down while she arranged all of the then-strange-but-now-second-nature tubes and wires. Then she put those seven pounds of little baby boy into my arms, the arms that had longed for a child through months of dashed hopes and desperate prayers, through a pregnancy frought with sickness when the only light of hope was the promise of full arms, through the last two days when we had been seperated by two different hospitals and the gulf of fear and uncertainty we had all been set adrift in. Despite the narcotics keeping him from having the seizures they said he would always have (and never has!) I watched him snuggle into those arms, my arms, and in that moment everything melted away. I knew in that moment that no matter what happened from that point on I would never be the same. It was at least half an hour before I realized that both Daddy and the nurse had slipped away to give us some privacy. In the background the radio they left playing in the unit all the time started playing Celine Dion's "The Way You Love Me." I still think of it as 'our' song and dissolve into tears whenever I hear it. I fantasize about what it would be like to dance with Nathan to it at his wedding, him tall and handsome in a tux and me a puddle at his side.

That is the most happy memory I have of Nathan coming into our lives. Most people say that the happiest day of their life is the day their children were born, but with Nathan we just couldn't say that. It was an earthquake day; a day full of shock and pain, fear and questions. But each day we-all three of us-just survived;that was a miracle in itself. And each day it got a little better until one day four months later we brought him home for the first time.

In the ten years since then there have been wonderful times and there have been dark ones. We've come about as close as you can to losing him about five times; but God, in His infinite grace, has let us keep him a little while longer each time. And wrapped around those brief and terrifying times have been sublime heaven. The way he smiles at me like no one else. The sound of his laughter when it's just the two of us talking and I make a dumb joke. The joy he shows at seeing any of his grandparents. His pride at riding the bus to kindergarten like a big boy(and how hard it was for me to let him do it!). Watching him give his heart to Jesus. The days run together and next thing I know he's ten years old. He's going into the fifth grade, and he gets mad when there's a snow day that cancels school because he loves it so much. He's the best big brother I have ever seen. He cries when his heart is moved during worship at church. He is truly my hero, the strongest and yet most gentle person I will ever know. Even though it is my highest privilege that I know him better than anyone else, I will never fully know what he has had to endure. I have only seen him angry a handful of times, and somehow he still keeps that loving and open spirit that could so easily be bitter and hopeless.

I have often questioned how God picked someone as frail and weak as myself to be Nathan's mom, but I thank Him continually that he did. In sharing the testimony of all that God has done for us in Nathan's life I often quote a scripture from the book of Job where Job says of God, "Before, my ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen you." I have known about God since I was three years old, but I can truely say that now I know Him. He has been there through these ten long years and I know He will continue to be there throughout whatever Nathan's future holds.

The Motherhood Of God!?!

Hi! It’s been a little bit since I've had anything to blog-"blogger's block" as I've heard others refer to it. (I'm mildly puzzled as to how someone who always has something to say could run out of things to write, but that's another subject...) I just don't know how I could get too busy to blog, what with a BUSY toddler, Nathan's medical and school needs to manage, a Women's Ministry to coordinate, a husband to take care of (okay-he's getting better and better at taking care of himself, I must give him credit!!), a house to keep clean enough for the health dept. to not shut down, and all that while balancing precariously up on this "Pastor's Wife Pedestal" from which I am supposed to give the appearance that everything's cool!

So, amazingly enough, I found time to read in Hosea today. (Dire prophetic warnings go great with musical accompaniment from Dora the Explorer, by the way. Kind of like a "We can do it!" soundtrack for those rebellious Hebrews to get it together!)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been reading the "Captivating" book. One of its central themes is that we, both women and men, are created in God's image, so our feminine traits embody aspects of God's character just like men do. This was brought to my attention in the passages from Hosea that I read this morning.

Having been a Daddy's girl I have always related to God as my "Abba, Father" or "Daddy, God", and I must admit that I have never really thought of God much as a 'Mother figure', but these beautiful passages shed a new light on God's abundant love for us in a poetic word picture of motherly love.

Chapter 11, verse 1 of Hosea states "When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son." Verse 3 continues, "I taught Ephraim to walk, Taking them by their arms; But they did not know that I healed them. I drew them with gentle cords, With bands of love, And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them." (NKJV)

What a beautiful, moving picture of God tenderly caring for His people, like a gentle mother who carefully and gently teaches her little one to walk. She patiently holds their hand and safely watches over each tiny, precarious step. She selflessly and patiently bends low to give them nourishment and vigilantly tends their sicknesses until their healing is restored.

The pathos of a mother's heart is illustrated again in the yearning, almost broken voice of God in verse 8 and 9, "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you like Zeboiim? My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred. I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim." (NKJV) Every mother who has ever had to discipline their precious child empathizes with the emotion contained in those verses! We know the dilemma of our heart, which demands that we enforce difficult consequences so that a lesson can be learned, even when we yearn to shield that child from every hurt, every difficulty.

Earlier in Chapter 6, verse 1 the prophet calls, "Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up." Upon first reading those words, one might wonder how God could inflict harm knowing that He will then turn and heal and comfort. But in light of the illustration of God's maternal-like love for us, this passage becomes a poignant promise that His anger is not without tenderness; His righteousness is tempered with undeserved mercy.

These passages call to mind Jesus' cry over the city of Jerusalem, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem...How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let me." (Matt 23:37 NLT) As Jesus is the Man-God, the physical embodiment of the divine God, his heart continues to be poured out in that maternal, all-consuming love for his little ones.

What an awesome, astonishing look into the heart of our God! As I love and tend to my precious children in the next few days I will ask the Holy Spirit to remind me that God's love is poured out in my life in a similar, unreserved fashion. May we all take some time to bask in it!

Idol Desperation?

Am I the only one who thinks it hilariously ironic that the movie ABC has scheduled up against the American Idol finale tonight is entitled "Desperation"?

I suppose with all of the finale hoopla I should go on record with my pick. (That is what a blog is for, isn't it-to assume that the whole world is waiting with baited breath for reports on your every activity and opinion on all subjects?)

As a formerly trained singer I cannot help but admire the near-perfection of Katherine McPhee's voice. Her's is truely more aptly described as an instrument. When Kat's on her A-game, not taking it for granted, she is unstoppable. However, we all know that sucess in the music business has nothing whatsoever to do with superior vocal ability. (Otherwise we would never have been subjected to the vocal stylings of the lovely Simpson sisters, Jessica and Ashley! "Oh, dear Lord, if only...")

Now, Taylor Hicks, on the other hand has the perfect "music biz" package of talent and appeal. I myself always have a soft spot for underdogs and I have been charmed by Taylor since the beginning, even though I never thought he would make it to the final round. And to his credit he has shown more consistancy in his performance ability than any other contestant this season. So I am going down in posterity as posting Taylor as my pick for the next American Idol. (Insert trumpet fanfare here.)

Now I must point out that my pick and the fickle tastes of teenage American girls(which is usually the driving vote demographic for Idol, right?) do not always coincide. So I freely admit that I could be surprised. After all, Clay Aiken had that loveable, underdog air about him but he still ended up in the second position.

We can only wait and see....


Yesterday was a twirling day! Our weather here was absolutely gorgeous! I got to go to church and worship while sitting with my two miracles: a son that doctors said shouldn't still be here and a daughter that doctors said would probably never be here! How can you not lift up grateful praise in those circumstances?

Chris preached an amazing message on Pentecost and then we had a whopper of an altar service! I literally laid on the floor of Carissa's bedroom once we got home because I was so exhausted from praying for people and worshipping around the altar. It is comforting to me to see that, although the methods of ministering to people in the church setting have changed over the years since I was introduced to the pentecostal expression, the way in which the Holy Spirit moves is still just as powerful! I will be the first to tell you that although I grew up in the Assemblies Of God, I am a relatively reserved and watchful Pentecostal; many times I have said that if you see this girl dancing in church you better look up because the rapture is about to take place! But in our service yesterday we heard the sound "as of a Rushing Mighty Wind" (my capitals added!) and the spirit of Pentecost filled the place! You could not help but respond! I cannot wait until the day when we will be able to sing and praise God for eternity and never become physically tired! Ya'll are going to be standing around heaven after a few thousand years saying, "Is she ever gonna be quiet?!"

Maiden Voyage

Well, this is my maiden voyage into the world of blogging! My husband has had a blog on our church's website for the past year or so, and I must say that I envy his ability to spout off about anything and everything that suits his fancy. There is no telling what I'll write about, since my interests run the gamut from Christian fiction to jazz to current political topics.

I am reading the most amazing book called Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery Of A Woman's Soul by John and Stasi Eldridge. In it the authors talk about how women were created as the pinnacle of God's amazing creation and how we were created to embody God's attributes of passion and beauty, but for too long we have squashed that "captivating" nature that He created within us. They liken what we should be to a little girl twirling in front of her Daddy, fully expecting to be captivating to him and to everyone else around her. As a perfectionist I spend too much time berating myself for everything I think I do wrong, but I want to start thinking of myself as God's treasured little girl and I'm gonna try to twirl for all I'm worth!

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