Love That Face!!

>> Friday, January 30, 2009

My good friend Lindsay tagged me for this fun photo meme. You know, the one where you go to the 4th folder in your pictures and find the 4th picture and post it with an explanation of the pic... and no cheating!
This is Lucas at about 18months old after his first "licking the brownie-stirring-spoon" experience. Just look at that face!! You gotta love it! Doesn't it kinda look like he has one of those old-fashioned handlebars mustaches? :)
I think I am supposed to tag others too... Amanda, Lisa, Terra, and Katrina- 4 women (2RL and 2bloggy friends) whom I value and adore. :)


Jesus Can Drive Us

>> Thursday, January 29, 2009

I am recording this conversation here, not so much for y'all to read (although I am anxious to share it), but for me to remember. Although, I don't think I can forget it.

Today at naptime, I was reading to Lucas from a new children's Bible we were sent to preview. [BTW-We really like it because it is not your typical childrens' Bible. It has longer stories and less pictures and text taken straight from actual scripture. It is more like a Bible told in story than a storybook about the Bible. Great for our story-loving budding reader!] We were reading from 1 Kings about Elijah since that is what he and I are learning about in the Bible study we are going to. It was the story of Elijah being fed by the ravens and the widow and of the Mt. Carmel showdown with Baal. We continued on and read about Elijah being taken to heaven in a chariot of fire. It was at this point that the following conversation took place, verbatim:

Lucas: "Where is he going, Mommy?"
Me: "God took Elijah up to heaven."
L: "Is he going to see Micah?"
M: (choking back tears) "Yes honey, I think he is."
L: "I want to go too. I really miss him."
M: (unable to hold back the tears) "I miss him too."
L: "Maybe we should get in the car and just drive, drive, drive and go up to heaven and see him. I would really like to see him. It makes me sad sometimes."
M: "It makes me sad too sometimes. Unfortunately, we can't drive there. But someday Jesus is going to come back and take us to heaven too, like God brought Elijah to heaven, and then we will see Micah again."
L: (jumps out of the chair and excitedly pretends to drive a car)"Jesus will come and then he will drive, drive, drive and we will go to heaven and then I can be with Micah. I really miss him, mommy. I really want to be with him. "
M:"Me too, baby, me too."
L: (jumps back into the chair with me) "Mommy, I love sitting and talking about heaven with you."
M: (hugging him close and wiping my tears) "I am so thankful that God gave you to me. And Micah and Caden too."
L: "I hope Jesus comes tomorrow to drive us to heaven. I am excited to go to heaven with you, mommy, and get to see Micah."
M: "Me too, baby, me too!"

From my toddler's lips to God's ears... come Lord Jesus, and drive us to heaven soon.


These Are My Choices

>> Wednesday, January 28, 2009

As mothers, we make decisions daily about how we are going to parent our kids. What should I serve for lunch? Do I need to offer more vegetables this week? How do I discipline him for throwing that toy? Do I offer the potty again or wait for him to tell me he has to go? Should I clean the kitchen or do that puzzle he's asking me to help with? These are just some of the small, daily decisions.
But motherhood presents us with bigger choices than that. How long do I let him cry? Will he sleep with me or alone in his crib? Will I wear him for his naps? How does he spend his awake time? We all answer those questions differently according to our own personalities, our life experiences and the personalities of our kids.
I make my decisions from my heart, as I'm sure most of you do too. I truly try to think of what is best for my boys and for our family.

My boys sleep with me, for as long as it is beneficial for us both (OK, mostly for them). I don't get the deepest of sleep that way. But I get more uninterrupted sleep (I don't ever get out of bed) and the cuddles make it all worth while. They are only babies for a short time and I want to drink it all in.
I wear my babies, both of them, whenever I can. I want them to know they belong to me and are deeply connected to me. I don't have much personal space this way. I have some little person physically attached to me at almost every point of the day, and it gets a little weary. But I do it for a reason, 2 reasons really.
I let Lucas make his own decisions about most things. I give him choices and respect his decision, to a point. I try to honor his attempts to be independent and encourage the good decisions. This means things don't always happen the way I want them to. I do put my foot down for the important things. But, I like watching him become his own person.
I usually give Lucas what he wants. If he wants to eat lunch in the living room and watch his favorite movie, I usually do it 'cuz I like giving him what he wants. If he asks me to sit by his bed and rub his legs, I do it. He may be manipulating me, but if there is any shred of genuine desire to have his mama near I have to be there. This makes me somewhat of a pushover and makes discipline hard sometimes.
I am horrible at discipline and don't do it well. I try and sometimes do OK. But often I either lose my cool or let him walk all over me. Neither one is optimal, but I am working on it.
I pick up Caden when he cries. I rarely let him cry, unless it can't be avoided. I would much rather put him on my back and continue what I am doing than leave him to cry and try to filter it out. There are times when I need him to be content on his own, and he isn't accustomed to doing that, so it is hard for me because I do hold him so much.
I take things personally because I let myself be SO connected to my boys. I want them to be happy and to deeply know they are my world. Them being so connected to me makes them want to only be with me. Or at least prefer to be with me. And this means it is sometimes hard for me to leave them with anyone else, especially Caden. And this is mentally and physically exhausting.
I like to get down on the floor and play, really play, with each boy. It is intense and draining and would be easier to put on a movie (which I do sometimes) or tune them out. But that is not how I want to nurture their minds and hearts and little souls.

I have friends who don't wear their babies, whose kids sleep in their crib from night one, who let them cry until they learn to sleep through the night or nap on a schedule. Those are their choices and they have their own benefits and disadvantages, just as mine do. They aren't better or worse moms than I am. We just make different choices. I find myself feeling insecure about my decisions when I hear someone talk about something different. Should I not co-sleep with my kids? Should I let Caden cry? But that is not me. The choices I have made so far, that is me. And I know that my choices have consequences for me. I am tired, sore, at times overwhelmed and in need of some personal space. Perhaps more so than a mother that puts up more defined boundaries. But even in light of that, I wouldn't have it any other way. I have made these decisions because I put the needs of my boys above my own, for better or for worse. Some of the decisions I make contribute to me reaching my limit. I play it cool until I reach my limit and then I break. And when I break, I am not proud of my behavior. I am realizing lately that I do need to put some self-care closer to the top of my priority list. But over all, I am counting these years as a time when my own needs are secondary to the needs of my boys.

I have the rest of my life to sleep all night with the covers pulled up to my chin. For now, this is what I choose. It is hard, very hard, but it is what is right for me and my boys and that is what really matters.


Move over, Housewives

>> Sunday, January 25, 2009

I am not really in need of something else to watch while I stay up too late and hubby goes to bed early.... my Bravo addiction takes up that time quite nicely. But, the nice folks over at TNT television shared this cool new show with me and I think the Real Houswives may have some competition.
Hubby and I loved watching Tom Cavanagh as Ed and years ago I was a fan of Will and Grace, so I was pretty excited to see two of my favorite actors in something new. Monica Potter also stars in this new show and she is great too. The show, Trust Me, is all about a Chicago ad agency where the pace of life is fast and the characters learn how to keep true to themselves in the midst of their high-intensity world. I got to preview the pilot and the first episode and now am pretty-well hooked. I like the dynamic between the two main characters, Mason and Conner (Eric McCormick and Tom Cavanagh) and the comic relief of Monica Potter's character. Their banter is witty and funny and yet they are truly trying to figure out how to balance the demands of their lives with the things that are truly important. Gee, that sounds awfully familiar...

Plus, it is set in Chicago so there is always a chance of seeing somewhere I have been or at least recognize which is kinda fun. I, unfortunately, had to miss a luncheon event with Monica that many of my friends got to attend. Maybe next time! I was preschool shopping.... more on that another time.
Anyway, Trust Me promises to be a fun new show, one worth Tivo-ing for sure. That way I can watch at midnight when I finally get my "me-time"! :)
Trust Me premieres on TNT tomorrow night (Monday the 26th) and 9central. Check it out!


Filtering Disney

>> Saturday, January 24, 2009

Come join in the discussion over here today about the language our kids are exposed to in programming intended for kids. It frustrates me that Disney movies and other kids shows are not more careful about the language they choose. Should we have to filter Disney?


Busy Body

>> Thursday, January 22, 2009

I am not doing so well so far at simplifying life. I am in the midst of reading about 5books (some about how to simplify your life- oh, the irony!), scheduling playdates, taking on projects, finishing ones that are long over-do, etc... All that on top of the women' bible study I have dropped out of at least twice and am really making a go at this time, potty training, nap training, ... Unfortunately, writing and reading blog posts has not been tops on my to-do list this week.
I am hoping that next week will slow down a bit or at least give me a moment to it and be intentional about what I am planning. I feel too busy to even figure out why I am too busy. Isn't that SO lame? Ridiculous, really. I know that someday my headstone is going to read "She had some really great ideas, but..."
I am finishing a project tonight that ha been weighing on my mind and then I have one more to finish by this weekend. Then, maybe some breathing room. Maybe some time to sit and think, reflect, simplify.... For now, will you be content with some recent shots of my little men? They both get cuter by the day. :)

Lucas now loves to sit in the recliner and read while watching the snow outside

Baby in the hood

My boys sharing the couch on Family Movie Night

Lucas thought it was hilarious to stand in front of the mirror and watch the snack go in his mouthMy drooly, teething baby

Oh, and I chose the black, cozy sweater. I was going to buy the yoga outfit but it was more than my giftcard and the sweater was the exact amount. Good guesses, y'all! I guess you know me pretty well.


Dressing Room Fun

>> Monday, January 19, 2009

In college, my roommate and I had tons of fun trying on random clothes and making an entire event out of it. We usually took pictures and actually created a recurring event called "weird picture friday" where each week we tried to one-up the week before with an even more strange photo op. It sounds strange, I know, but we had a blast!! On my birthday, a friend watched the boys for me to have an hour or two alone, some "me" time. I had a gift card to Kohls so I popped in to see what I could see. These pictures are the result. I decided to try on random clothes, like my friend and I did in college, and take pictures just for fun. (I am so lame sometimes. Can you tell I rarely have time to myself?) So here are my looks. See if you can guess which outfit was the lucky winner...

The casual, "school teacher" look- Could also be yuppy, suburban mom look

Comfy, yoga girl

Hot mama- ready for a night on the town

Cozy sweater (I'm doing my best Abercrombie model pose here)

Cool, co-ed hoodie look ( I mostly tried this on 'cuz it was orange and blue- Go Gators!)

Which is your favorite? What one do you think I chose?
Check back for the answer.....


Napping and Peeing

>> Saturday, January 17, 2009

If we were playing Jeopardy, the correct question would be..
"What is how I spent the two coldest days of the year?"
My boys, sharing a story.

With highs in the negative numbers, any self-preserving mama does not bundle her kids up and go out if she doesn't have to. I didn't have to, so I didn't. We just hunkered down and taught one boy to nap by himself and the other to pee in the potty. Both tasks are still very much works in progress, but I am choosing to celebrate some small victories.

I have been reading very good books on both topics (napping and potty training) and I think some of it is paying off. Thursday, Caden slept in the co-sleeper for almost 2hours, by himself, for his morning nap. Friday was not such a good day, but I did the same routine and I am hoping that my consistency will eventually pay off. I did let him cry a bit. I can't believe I just typed that and admitted it to myself and the world. Thursday, he cried for 7min and fell asleep. Friday, he cried for 10min and was not showing signs of giving up so I picked him up. I went through the routine again until he was almost asleep and then laid him down. He laid there quiet for a few minutes, started to cry, and I let him cry for another 10min before I went and got him. He then proceeded to nap in the MeiTai for about an hour. Oh, well. Baby steps, right? Today we were out and the routine was non-existent and tomorrow is church. But Monday we are back to it... hopefully.

One point that
Elizabeth Pantley makes in her book is that it is helpful for babies to fall asleep where they are going to sleep. It is easier for them to self-soothe and bridge from one sleep phase to another alone if they aren't startled by their location when they begin to stir. I am finding that to be very true for Caden. Thus, I am trying really hard to teach him to fall asleep in the co-sleeper but am finding it much easier said than done.

Task #2: potty training! Potty training for us has so far been led by two things...Lucas and bribes. At first, he was VERY resistant to even sitting on the potty. So I bought a
Cars book he could only read while sitting there. It worked!! Then, we bought small toys (little cars, trains, ...) that he could choose from if he went pee pee on the potty. That worked too, but not at first. He would look at the toys and say "not right now...I am not ready to learn that yet." But when he was ready, it just happened and he was SO proud of himself (not to mention excited to pick a new car!). Now I have to figure out how to teach him to tell me when he has to go. He knows when he has to go, he just gets so caught up in playing that it is an inconvenience to him to take a break (even to change a diaper or eat a meal). One step at a time, I guess. I am definitely not one of those "potty-training in a day" people. It has worked for many of my friends. We are just taking a different, more gradual approach.

I am trying so hard not to get impatient with either boy and their progress. I am also trying to be diligent in my "training" for each task but often get lazy or busy or something... A little grace for me and the boys is in order, I guess. We are making progress, slowly but surely.



>> Friday, January 16, 2009

Music has been on my mind a lot this week. I have a really wide range of tastes in music. I like a song that moves my heart, my emotions, but also my booty and dancing feet! It occurs to me everytime I listen to my iPod on shuffle that some of the song combos you hear from my playlists would not ever be heard together anywhere else. While listening to my iPod on shuffle last night in the kitchen (I cook and clean better with music), these are the songs that played- in this order, no kidding.

Toxic- Britney Spears (yes, I am a fan. don't laugh.)
He's Always been Faithful-
Sara Groves
Hot in Herre- Nelly (and yes, I love hip-hop. I said no laughing.)
Holy is the Lord-
Chris Tomlin
100 Years- Five for Fighting
I Boast No More-
Caedmon's Call
For the Moments I Feel Faint- Reliant K
(a great song, btw, if you have never heard it)
Don't Phunk with My Heart- Black Eyed Peas
Let us Pray- Steven Curtis Chapman
Outrageous- Britney
No Diggity- Blackstreet (kickin' it old school!!)
Maneater- Nelly Furtado
Take my Hand- The Kry (speaking of old school...)
You Had Me- Joss Stone
Oh, Love that Will Not Let Me Go-
Indelible Grace CD's
SexyBack- JT (oh, how I love me some Justin Timberlake....yummy!)
Oh Lord Your Love- Caedmon's Call
Golddigger- Kanye West
My Heart Your Home-
Never Alone- Barlow Girl (yet another great song)
Do you know anyone else who has Nelly and Sara Groves and Britney and Chris Tomlin back-to-back? Kinda random, but I can rock it out to all these songs and get my kitchen-groove on.
What's in your playlist? What do you groove to?



>> Monday, January 12, 2009

Legally I can't tell you why, but you need to listen to this song. I am proud, albeit a bit heart-broken, but bursting. The emotion in this song and behind it overwhelms me. Whoever wrote it (whether it be the artist or some other amazing person behind the scenes... *wink, nudge*) is a deeply talented person with a sincere and tender heart. It is beautiful and I can't hear it without tears. Please listen to it. And I would love to hear your thoughts. This song is so special to me. And again, I can't say why. But I just wanted to share this amazing song with you, with everyone!

P.S.~ Let me add that if you like it you should feel free to comment somewhere, anywhere that this singer of this song may see it, that you would like to see more songs by the writer of this song (whomever that may be and maybe it is the artist herself...*wink again*) on future albums. :)


Change of Heart

>> Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stop by my house any given Sunday at around 9:45-10am and you are almost guaranteed to see chaos. Hubby and I are dressing boys, trying to get dressed ourselves, feeding people and getting food ready to take to church (our house church always has lunch together after the service), taking the dog out, ... There is always some sort of last minute thing or complication that delays us getting out the door. And hubby hates to be late, especially to church.
Since we do go to a house church, the environment is a bit more casual and laid back during the service. I usually have at least one boy on my lap during church and then after the service we have to deal with the challenge of feeding ourselves and our toddler and getting home before pre-nap meltdown begins or Lucas falls asleep in the car (which is NOT good 'cuz then he won't sleep at home). Sundays are not always a day of rest around here, at least not before 1pm. This level of busy-ness and lack of structure makes it hard for me to concentrate at church. Hard to be worshipful and reflective and intentional. But I realized something today. It is not really about what is going on around me that makes it hard for me to "enter in." Well it is, but that is not the full story.
We were responsible for teaching the kids today. The lesson was on the boyhood of Jesus and we just got the materials last night. So after we got home from a wonderful belated birthday dinner out, hubby and I read over the lesson and planned out what we were going to say and present to the kids.
Then today in church, before going downstairs to teach the kids, I was more "present" for worship than I have been in awhile. Lucas was throwing a tantrum, we had the normal level of crazy this morning, but still my mind felt calm. My heart was still.
Why? I can't say 100%. Probably partly because Hubby and I had some much needed connecting time last night, partly because I got a little extra sleep this morning. Maybe too because I actually took the time to fix my hair and not pull it back in a pony-tail this morning so I felt a little more put-together. But I can't help but think it is also because I read over that lesson last night. And then again this morning and was running over the story in my head, thinking about Jesus in the temple with the priests and what God would have me the kids learn from this story. My heart was a little more focused, a little more centered. And church was great. Even the meal after felt less hurried, less crazy. Lesson learned, hopefully.

Psalm 86
A prayer of David.

1 Hear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my life, for I am devoted to you. You are my God;

save your servant who trusts in you.
3 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.
4 Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

5 You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.
6 Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my cry for mercy.
7 In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.
9 All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord;

they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth;

give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.

14 The arrogant are attacking me, O God;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life— men without regard for you.
15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger,

abounding in love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;

grant your strength to your servant and save the son of your maidservant.
17 Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Change my Heart, Oh God (Words and Music by Eddie Espinosa)

Change my heart oh God, make it ever true.
Change my heart oh God, may I be like You.

You are the potter, I am the clay,
mold me and make me, this is what I pray.


Things I have recently done while Babywearing

Cook a full Thanksgiving dinner

Decorate the house for Christmas
(and undecorate the house from Christmas)

Change a stinky diaper (or 2 or 3 or...)

Order groceries online (thank you PeaPod)

Iron fabric for slings and other sewing projects

Teach other people how to wear their babies

Participate in a Drum Circle

Clean up dog poo in the backyard

Soothe my sick toddler

Empty and reload the dishwasher

Fly to California (babywearing in the airport and on the plane too)

Attend a funeral


Watch my Gators play football...and WIN!! HOORAY!!

Hold my toddler's hand through a very crowded museum

Play cars and pretend to be a car

And oh-so-much more....

What are some of yours? We mommies get creative and just do what we gotta do!!


You can take the girl out of Florida...

>> Thursday, January 8, 2009

...But you can't take the Florida out of the girl!!!
And this Florida girl is just trying to stay calm and not let my anxiety get the better of me. BIG game tonight, HUGE!! I have the biggest of crushes on Tim Tebow and even have Hubby's permission to marry him if he were ever to offer. :) I'd be just as thrilled with an autograph (hint, hint to my sister who is AT the game- that lucky girl!!). I really just want my Gators to win and win big!! Timmy deserves it! We are eating orange foods for dinner, I have my toes painted blue, I am wearing an orange tank top and Gator flip-flops...I am ready to cheer !! Just one thing left to say...
GO GATORS!!! Make this Florida girl proud!!


Another year older...

>> Wednesday, January 7, 2009

...but I'm not sure about the wiser part. I am 32 today. The big, insignificant, smack in the midst of my 30's 3-2!! I am usually one to reflect and ponder life on my birthday. And doing so in this moment, I am just struck by the fabulousness of my life. For all the challenges and sometimes struggles, I am an abundantly blessed girl. I see that very clearly in this moment.

Oblige this birthday girl as I share with you some of the reasons I am a grateful girl whose heart, today, is overwhelmed by the blessings of all my boys (shown in order of their entrance into my world)

Hubby showing yet one more way you can wear a wrap :) I wouldn't recommend putting a baby in this hold... a basket of fruit perhaps
Micah, looking up at his Mama
Sweet (yet sometimes oh-so-naughty) Hadley Barkalicious (that is his full name)
The joy of my life- LRB

My CLB, with eyes the sparkle and a smile that melts me.
For more Wordful Wednesday, visit Angie @ Seven Clown Circus


Nap time Woes

>> Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Yesterday morning, while changing Caden's diaper and watching Lucas play on his train table, it occur ed to me... my baby is almost 5months old!! WHAT!! How did that happen?!?! My sweet little newborn is fastly going from "lay-there-stay-put-go-with-the-flow" infant to "opinionated-on-the-go-schedule-balking" older baby. He is rolling over, starting to sit up, finding his "voice" and making the most adorable "talking" noises... So now, the lines I have been feeding myself about it being OK that he is not on a schedule and doesn't take predictable naps, those don't really fly anymore. This kid needs some structure. And mama needs him to nap by himself for longer than 30 min.

Lucas was never a good napper and we have dealt with sleep issues with him from day-one. He has never slept-in, never taken long independent naps and has always seemed to get by on less sleep than other kids his age. I do not want to repeat that with Caden. It is exhausting. He is already shoeing some signs of liking only to nap with me or while someone hold him. No, no little Caden. We will not be walking that road again.

In order to help me change the course and teach me how to teach Caden how to nap, I decided to get some help from the experts. Elizabeth Pantley's new book The No-Cry Nap Solution ( full title: “The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems” by Elizabeth Pantley) has a lot of good ideas and solutions for whatever your/my nap time woes are... and boy, do I have them.

Admittedly, I have only read about half the book, so far. I WILL read the whole thing at least once. I love how she is not at all condemning of different philosophies. She says that it is OK if your baby only naps in a sling if you want it to be that way. It is only a problem if you think it is a problem or you don't know how to transition out of it eventually. She talks about co-sleeping and how to work that into your nap time solutions. The most helpful thing for me so far is the info on sleep cycles in babies and how much/how often he should be sleeping. Did you know that when a baby wakes up after a 40min nap, it is probably because he/she hasn't learned how to transition from one sleep stage to the next so you just have to help them learn that? I also love the information of what she calls the "sleep gifts," the benefits bestowed on our bodies from each stage of sleep. This has been really helpful as I take a close look at Lucas' overall sleep habits and ways I can help him adjust to get the most out of his nighttime sleep and naps. My only complaint so far (and again, I haven't read the whole thing yet so maybe this comes later) is that there isn't much talk about strategies when you have an older child to entertain too and can't just sit by the baby as he sleeps. That is my challenge at the moment.

Plus, in the midst of trying to teach Caden to be an amazing napper, I have decided that it is time for Lucas to be potty-trained. Call me crazy... I call myself that every day! But the boy is almost 3 and is just being stubborn! I need to get Ms. Pantley's book about No-Cry Potty Training next. Does the "no-cry" apply to Lucas or me? :) I would love to hear from mommies of little boys out there about how best to potty train stubborn little men who can't be pulled away from the glorious train-table long enough to even sit on the potty. Maybe I need to get him some reading material and let his daddy teach him the fine art of potty time being reading time. :)

So this week, I am taking some of the ideas I am getting from Ms. Pantley's book and I am teaching my baby how to nap....hopefully. Wish me luck! :)


Psalm Sunday- the comeback

>> Sunday, January 4, 2009

Admitedly, I am a slacker... a huge, easily distracted, too-much-on-my-plate slacker mom. My resolve to post a weekly reflection to keep me grounded and give me much needed perspective for the week has certainly been lacking lately. No promises that I will be as consistent as I should, but here's trying...

Today in church we talked about the difference between charity and unselfishness as discussed by C.S. Lewis in the Screwtape Letters. Unselfishness is doing something for others but making it clear that you are doing so at the expense of your own needs or wants or goals. It is still about you and can make the recipient of your unselfish deed feel that they owe you a favor in return. On the other hand, charity is doing something nice for others or giving to someone in need with no regard for your own needs. Helping others is the goal and so there is no need for the recipient to recognize how you sacrificed to help them. Unselfishness says "I'll give to you even though it is not my first choice." But charity says "It is my desire to help you and I feel good when I am able to reach out to those in need."
What a poignant distinction, at least to me. In what spirit do I give to others? Do I want them and others to know my sacrifice or do I give simply to help someone in need without needing any recognition or payback? Is my goal and desire to help or be seen as someone who helps? Am I just unselfish or do I truly exercise the virtue of charity? What about you?

Lord, make Your face shine upon this servant, that I may know and do your will with Your heart and not for any personal gain. Save me in your unfailing love.

Psalm 31

1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue;

be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
3 Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
4 Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.
6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols; I trust in the LORD.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,

for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
8 You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.
9 Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;

my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.
10 My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning;

my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.
11 Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors;

I am a dread to my friends— those who see me on the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.
13 For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side;

they conspire against me and plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God."
15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.
16 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. (I just love that verse! It is truly my prayer.)
17 Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I have cried out to you;

but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave.
18 Let their lying lips be silenced,

for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.
19 How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.
20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men;

in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues.
21 Praise be to the LORD,

for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city.
22 In my alarm I said, "I am cut off from your sight!"
Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.
23 Love the LORD, all his saints!

The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.
24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

(No song this week.... I need to get to bed and the Psalm speaks for itself.)


The Problem Is...

Lucas has a new obsession.... the movie "Cars". We borrowed it from my sister-in-law and he already has a good portion of the movie memorized. He only watches in 20-30min. segments but he wants to watch it all the time. The little $2 Lightning McQueen matchbox car he got in his stocking is one of his favorite Christmas gifts.

So, this morning as we were finishing breakfast, he asked me to watch a bit of the movie. "No," I told him, "we have to go upstairs and get ready for church."

He came and got right up in my face and said...

"The problem is, mommy, that I don't want to do that. I just want to watch "Cars" and NOT get ready for church."

I couldn't contain my laughter! What 2 year old talks like that?!?! I guess my little precocious man who is too-smart-for-his-own-good. So hilarious!
Since when does my two year old make the rules? Oh, yeah...he just thinks he does. :)


A New Beginning

>> Friday, January 2, 2009

My Family
(L to R- hubby, me, my mom, my beautiful sister Ashley, Caden, my dad, Lucas)

Bloggy-land is running over this week with posts full of resolutions and goals and the best of intentions. I am no different than my fellow moms in that I have several (ok, LOTS) of areas in my life that need improvement and are in desperate need of a resolution or two. But, you aren't gonna see a list here. Sure, I have one. Not written down anywhere, mostly in my head. And I am not gonna list it here, at least not yet. It is a work in process. I am pondering the list in my mind, in my heart, and praying that God will show me how to move forward from here.
In years past, I have started the new year with any number of things I want to change in my life in the coming months. Lose weight, get in shape, read more, pray more, yell less, spend less, ... I keep up with these things off and on, but like most people, my resolve fizzles fairly quickly. Because of my usual trend, I am approaching things a little differently this year. Instead of adding more things that I have to remember to do, to be, to accomplish.... I am subtracting. I am simplifying. Cutting out the things that clutter my mind, my day, the top of my desk. I am reading some really clarifying books that are helping me gain much-needed perspective. I am thinking of ways to keep life organized and simple and stress-free. Beyond that though, I am taking a strong look at the ways we spend our days and "free time." Am I filling my days with things that matter and am I filling them too much? I am learning that my own whole-ness and that of my boys (young, old and canine) really depends on how well I am able to filter out the unnecessary clutter in all areas of life.
So, expect some up-coming posts on how I am reducing my lists and not adding to them. About how I am cutting things out and not adding more things in. Whatever your resolutions or goals are for the coming year, I pray that God would show you how to proceed, give you the perseverance to stick to it, and the grace to not get down on yourself if you can't. I have always been one to have very high expectations of myself. So this time I am trying to just see things for what they are and pray that God would help me make the small adjustments that will make a big difference.


Baby Love Slings


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