Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Non-Secret to a Thankful Heart

I'm posting this now because I (probably) won't have time to this weekend.

Yesterday, depression called my name. Can you believe it, amongst the hustling and bustling of the holiday season? It's such an easy route to go. I start feeling sorry for myself, then the ball just keeps rolling downhill. But, thank God, the words of another woman and reading God's words of truth hit home and I chose not to go down that slippery slope.

So here is my challenge, and hopefully yours as well this Thanksgiving, as well as the rest of the year.

Are you content with who you are? With where God has placed you? The people you are surrounded with, including friends and family, or the lack thereof? If you are not, it is likely you will never learn to be thankful in whatever circumstance you are in, even if it turns for the better. Being thankful is a state of the heart, not based on the goings-on around us.

Faith in Jesus gives the only true satisfaction and security. He is our Rock amidst the change in our lives. People may fail us. He never fails. Are you feeling alone, empty, discouraged or scared?

"I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him so long as I live." Psalm 116: 1,2

Seek Jesus for your satisfaction. He is the only one who really knows your state, your heart. When we come to Him, we never leave feeling hungry or thirsty. Jesus is our Living Water and the Bread of Life. God is good no matter what our world is.

"O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endures forever." Psalm 118:29

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bargain Shopping Intervention

How does one go about avoiding a good bargain? I have this OCD regarding deals. Sometimes I'm able to recite a recent mantra to avoid the snare, or others times, I just stay home. But then the shopping bug catches up with me eventually and I just have to peek at those clearance racks!

Perhaps if I make a continual habit of posting on what I've bought throughout the week, I will feel guilty enough to take it back or at least feel an embarrassment to the point where I won't buy the item because I don't want to have to post it.

I am the queen of returning items. I always keep my receipts because I take back more than half the items I buy. It's called belated shopper's guilt, or something like that :P And Kari, if you're reading this, I even took back that cami and long-sleeve from Old Navy because I didn't like it after trying it on at home. I think the mirrors at ON were too flattering!

Really, I want to know, how do you ladies avoid the sales?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Day Inside

I am thoroughly thankful for this Thursday! How's that for alliteration?

I've had a strangely dry throat for the last 5 days. It is persistent. I do believe a bug is trying to get at me. But needless to say, it's annoying.

After a harried, hurried day yesterday, I was all about taking it easy. And the dry throat was even more motivation to stay inside and get little projects done. But first things first, Mom came over today and we shared a light breakfast before taking her to the airport. We had quiche, cinnamon rolls, and some blueberry scones. A rather unconventional but delicious breakfast. Alas, the scones did not turn out this time. In my morning state of mind, I added baking soda versus baking powder. They looked picture perfect on the outside, but a bite quickly revealed the mistake.

I am jealous. I took my mom to the airport, where she is flying to Missouri to join my dad to celebrate my Grandma's 80th birthday, as well as Thanksgiving. I want to be there! However, we've avoided plane trips this pregnancy to be on the safe side~

After taking a rainy trip to the airport, then the grocery store, we arrived back at our warm home. My philosophy has always been to clean first so I can play later. I made quick work of the kitchen and cluttered frig and began to relax...

Made some hot lemonade for the Throat. Then stuck my nose in Beverly Lewis' latest book The Missing. Excellent. I think there is no book of hers I do not love.

And before I knew it, time to cook dinner was upon me. I opted for a slow-cooked southern chicken and rice soup. It is m'favorite and perfect to ward off the cold threatening me. And since I felt really relaxed and in a rather good mood, I started on homemade rolls, too. Honestly, my pregnant sense of smell could not wait for the food to be done.

It was only then that I finally allowed myself to get online. And peek at Babycenter. I am 22 weeks today! The baby is almost a pound, and supposedly about 11 inches long, the size of a summer squash. They always give the dangdest comparisons. Have to look them up every time.
But every week brings me closer to holding my precious little girl! And confession: I bought the cutest Etsy hat and booties earlier this week. My lame excuse to my husband was, "Sorry honey, I could not resist."

It's bed time for my daughter now. My turn to put her down! And perhaps clean up - as I view my living room from the couch, bits and pieces from my home are strewn all over. A cook book. A magnetic doodle pad. Doll Baby's dress. Hair bands. Scrap pieces of paper. A Dora cup full of water, teetering on the edge of piano bench. So many tiny beads I don't want to count. And a stroller full of B's toys, of course ;)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Wednesday is our big Bible Study day. I love it because I get to teach my 2s and
Brilla loves it because she gets to be in her awesome 3/4s class.

The day started out with me waking a tad late. I'm supposed to be there for set-up at 8:30. I woke up at 7:30. Mind you, I have to get dressed, muss my hair into some form of togetherness, do breakfast for us both, make lunches and gather all our Bible study gear. Or rather, my gear.

Well, I did it! Streamlined by doing shredded wheat, then for lunch ::drumroll:: PB & J! Maybe a banana and string cheese to seal the deal. ;)

Today we learned "At Bethesda, Jesus heals the sick man on the Sabbath." We condense the whole lesson into ten words. There's my creative take! We then tell the story in better detail in ten sentences. Ha. You read right. Ten sentences. That's the attention span of 2s. And did I mention how they LOVE pictures as you tell the story?

Our verse was HUGE. It was John 5:24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life." Yep, huge for 2s. The cool thing is...sometimes they can actually repeat all that. Our focus for verse time isn't memorization, it's meditation. That's why we repeat the verse in several different ways. Sometimes singing it, sometimes doing a color/shape match, sometimes echoing it. Wish we as adults meditated on Scripture that way. I kid you not, now I do it at home.

Another major teaching time is Hymn Time. The children's favorite part. They totally enjoy worshiping God with their voices. Today we sang Holy, Holy, Holy (first verse) and Praise to the Living God. We always come up with min-activities while singing. Like swaying back and forth or holding our hands like we're singing in choir, clapping, or even showing pictures.

Then it was Large Muscle time! I decided we would go to the gym and play with bouncy balls. I wasn't sure of the adventure that awaited us as we toted 8 tw0-year-olds outside and to the gym. Well, praise God! It was a gorgeous autumn day, with the sun shining. The children were outstanding as they held onto the rope and tip-toed like mice all the way. And were they ever rewarded! I think this was their favorite Large Muscle time so far.

Then we had Quiet Time. Not nap time, not close our eyes time, but quiet time. Based on Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God." It's literally a time where the children rest on small pillows, no wiggles, no talking, only resting and thinking about God. Today as we rested, we specifically thought about how Jesus is all-powerful. And about a time when we were sick and Jesus healed us. Ahem, quiet time is always a challenge for 2s. But eventually those wiggles get ironed out and by now, they are really getting the hang of it.

Then comes Rhythm. Today we got to learn to shake tambourines to worship music in good rhythm. Very fun.

The mommies came to pick up their children and it was finally time for the children's leaders to get fed on God's Word. We get to listen to the teaching leader's lecture and eat our lunch. So relaxing and fed us spiritually and physically. Especially this pregnant woman!

Yay for Wednesdays!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Will Not Forget

Last night, I had a pretty good sleep. But somewhere in the wee hours of the morning, somewhere between my anticipation of this new babe and my missing Amelia...the memories came flowing back...all in my half dreamy mode.

I believe the day we lost her was the two days before we officially discovered she was gone. It was the day when I was gungho about "Walking for Life" for CareNet. 3 miles. My husband and daughter joined in, too. I felt great and the sunrise that morning was awesome. And down in the depths of my heart, in that memory, I felt the recurring guilt that was there something I did that day that made my daughter die? I don't always dwell on this thought, but every so often, it will rear its ugly head. And then the question Why? with all it's mournful hopes came rushing back, along with the worry that maybe this daughter won't make it either.

I thought I was over this. Healed. Maybe I am, and maybe I'm just human, too. So I let the tears flow this morning. It's better to let them have their way rather than hold them back. That's part of healing. Just because I'm mending doesn't mean the pain is forever gone. That my heart won't miss my second-born daughter, Amelia. In fact, there are days where I hold nothing inside but utter joy that she is with Jesus, that I have Brilla, and am expecting our third daughter.

Mike was tinkering on the piano the other night and I expressed myself. I thought we were going to be expecting a little boy, not a little girl again. In some ways it would be easier to welcome a son because I can hold onto the memory of Amelia that much tighter without another daughter entering the picture; move on with all boy stuff. I am being completely honest here. Believe me, I'm the happiest mom to have another child, another daughter. And Mike spoke words which were such a balm to my spirit. Amelia will always be our second-born daughter, this girl will be our third-born. Amelia will always be a person, our child, with her own separate being and meaning in our life. And so will this daughter-to-come.

God knew that as married women, our husbands would be here to say the right thing when we need it. I needed those words and Mike's strength.

Every time I feel this tiny girl move, it does funny things to me. I get so excited and a smile comes to my face. A new sign of life and reminder of God's goodness. And I can feel okay at remembering Amelia at the same time, because all three of my girls are my precious treasures. My life has totally been changed by them.

I will not forget!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's A...

'nother girl!

I was truly bubbling over for THE ultrasound last night. I got all dressed up and everything. You'd think I was going on a date. But no, I laid on a table for about 45 minutes.

Baby Girl is healthy and is currently 9 ounces! We are so thrilled for another Beauty!

I thought it was going to be a boy. Just because we'd had Brilla and Amelia. However, we'd also had the miscarriage in March, and he could have been a boy. So it was up for grabs. God is determined to give us another girl, however, and we are totally happy about it!

Me, I'm already thinking about decorating. Get out the cute crib bedding! I'm glad to be able to use all the girly clothing, too. My heart was so sad when I had to put back all the newborn girl things after losing Amelia. And I know I'll cry tears when I bring them out again. But bring on the tears and the joy...God is amazingly good!

And please pray for us. Mike and Brilla both have bad colds. No fevers, thankfully. I just don't want to catch any strain of this swine flu. It's good for neither Baby Girl nor I. Thanks!

My Birthday

Here's my birthday in a nutshell...

My husband had some work-related errands to run on Saturday morning, so I was busy keeping Brilla preoccupied. I had a horrible allergy, and for some reason, my daughter was extra needy. Isn't that how it always works? To boot, I was in a bad mood. I have a sneaky suspicion it was those pregnancy hormones.

Also, financial times have been tight. So, here I was, thinking of a way to enjoy myself on my birthday without spending money, and with a toddler in tow. I figured I'd head to the library; choose a movie, pick up my book that finally came in, and read some stories to my girl. That was great until Brilla had a melt-down. An older boy, not realizing she was "using" the kids' computer, had logged in and taken it over. She was wailing, "There's no spot left for me!" at the top of her lungs. Finally the calm came and we had our story time.

Next, I returned some items at Target. While there, I bought some batteries for Brilla's activity laptop - to make up for her not being able to play on the one at the library. The plan was for her to play with her laptop while I read my book at the coffee shop. However, by this time, I was so exhausted and nap time was already leering at us. Thus, we drove back home, where we could still have computer and book time, and maybe even a little cup of coffee.

My husband arrived back home about mid afternoon (I'm thinking part of his "errands" was getting my gift), after I had put B down for nap. I was ready for a nap too! And I did just that. A nice, hour-long nap :) When I woke up, it was time to get our costumes on for the church harvest party! Brilla was a 40's diner girl and I was a pumpkin. I bought her costume in late summer for only about $5, preventing a rush for something cute. My outfit was simply homemade, but very comfy, as it entailed wearing black sweats! Mike just went as, well, Mike :D We made quick work of the stations (there were 15!) because I know my toddler's attention span wanes quickly. After earning a bagfull of candy, we headed out for late dinner at Happy Teriyaki, our favorite teriyaki place in Tacoma. It was a nice ending to a loooong day.

Oh, and when we got home, Mike gave me my gift. A new vacuum!! I desperately needed one! The one we bought when first married was refurbished, so really inexpensive. But since then, the hose has detached from the main part and many of the functions no longer work. It vacuums, but, you know. Mike and I actually decided to take the one he got as my gift, back to Costco, and pick up a Dyson. More expensive, but much better quality. It will be my birthday gift and our Christmas gift combined. Yay!

On Sunday, Mike planned a party for me. We ate out at Claim Jumper, one of our favorites. I love their Tri-tip dip. It is delicious! I ate the whole thing. Okay, I did give away some to my daughter, Mom and s-i-l, but still had plenty. Even the steak fries and huge pickle. I'm thinking there's a little person inside who loved it all, too.

Then we headed to our house for cake and gifts. My sweet mother-in-law made my requested pumpkin bars with cheesecake frosting! Yum. It disappeared fast. For some reason, my husband told people I needed kitchen towels. He doesn't know I have a whole stash in our linens I received about 10 kitchen towels! I am now stocked forever. But I also received some great oven mitts, kitchen rug and beautiful tiered tray (for teas and things). Everyone was generous!
My brothers had even sent me cards from college. My dear Grandma sent me this cool "metal soap bar" thing that you rub your hands with after handling garlic and such. It rids the And my best friend, Jules, sent me a gorgeous scarf and bracelet that she purchased while on a missions trip to the Philippines. Such a thoughtful friend! I have already worn the scarf and love it.

Aren't birthdays lovely? Good thing we have one every year, just to remind us we are loved and cared for by others :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Confession is Good for the Soul

Not only is it good for the soul, but consistent repentance to God of our sins, not only as one coming to Christ for the first time, but also as a "seasoned believer", is a must for the road to becoming more like Christ. It should be a daily to-do.

"Confess your faults (trespasses) one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed." James 5:16

I've recently been hit with this truth, again. The Holy Spirit's been convicting me of resentment I have toward someone. I've gone from day to day thinking I really don't have anything to confess about. But I'm a child of God, and like all His children, I don't want anything between He and I. Or if I'm quite honest, I like to hold onto that resentment, feeling justified and smug in my feelings. But why would I want that disconnection with another person? It stems the flow of God's unconditional love through me. When I hate or resent or am bitter, I cannot love like I should.

You really don't need to ask the Holy Spirit to convict you. And if you do, it won't be long in coming. In reality, I am grateful for that gently prodding of the Spirit. It means He's at work in me. My spirit is sensitive to His. Sometimes when we harden our hearts continually, God simply let's us have our way until either we don't ever listen to Him anymore, or we become so warped and frustrated in our own will, that we must come crawling on our knees, wishing we had done so earlier. Guilt lies and tells us God's grace is insufficient to cover our sins. It's actually selfish, because it wallows in self-pity, never really coming clean before God. But conviction is different. Godly sorrow leads to salvation. Godly sorrow leads to life.

The amazing God is always there to forgive our sins. He doesn't bury our nose in the dirt...that's not the reason for repentance. It's a dedication to live differently, a humbling of our hearts to His wiser ways. Though He's an Almighty God, He's also all-merciful and He wants us very close, not far off.

And once there's that restoration, the spiritual fruit continues to get bigger and more beautiful! There's nothing like true joy and peace.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm Late! For a Very Important Date! No time....

God has really worked on me in the area of preparedness and being on time. It is every mom's downfall, really. We have so much we want to do, so little time. All our priorities go out the window as we wipe noses and clean up spilled cereal.

Actually, the mom excuse is not my excuse. I was late before I was married.

God has shown me that lateness is downright selfish. When I am late, I am telling someone, "My time is more important than yours." I'm not talking about being late because the unexpected happens, traffic you had no clue just happened to be blocking the road, or someone had an accident on the way out the door. Or even the occasional 'oops' as time has gotten away. I'm talking about consistently late. Being consistently late means I haven't taken the extra time needed to prepare. I'm not thinking of the person waiting on the "other side".

It begs the question, "If I can be consistently late, why can't I be consistently on time?"

So these last couple years, I've really worked hard at being places when I say I will be there, being punctual for those medical and dental appointment, etc. And by God's grace, I am getting there! Really, all those years I was late, I was really stressing myself out. Not only do you usually forgot things when you're're usually unprepared, and putting yourself at risk for a speeding ticket. Also, being timely is a much better example to my daughter. I'm not always saying, "Come on, we're going to be late!" She has more peace, and so do I.

Also, I've missed out on things. The great prayer at the beginning of a Bible study. The time for a cup of coffee while chatting. The opportunity to use the restroom (applies when your pregnant!), just the chance to be instead of rush.

I hope none of you will be holding me accountable, as I've set this high bar for myself! But like I said, God is working on me. God speaks to each of us in different areas throughout our life, and this is my "construction zone". But have to say, things are forming up pretty well :)

And now, that I'm expecting another child, things will have to start from square one again :)
I know, all you moms of multiples are laughing!