Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Ande is almost 2 months old now!

I sent my little clown off to school today quite pleased that she's content with making the costume and having fun rather than having me go out to buy a new costume (what a relief!).

Thankfully, Jaycie was content with the bumblebee costume we found in our dress-up bin as well. She likes the little stinger on her bum!

I was never really big on celebrating Halloween. With three kids, this is getting to become quite a bit of fun!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

All in a name

My cousin, Jody, had a baby last week. She had a baby girl. From what I hear, baby and Mommy are doing well.

They live in Michigan. On average, we see them twice a year. Still, should be fun at family gatherings. Andelise will have a buddy.

My cousin wasn't sharing the name they chose throughout the pregnancy. They knew they would be having a girl. From what I understand, my cousin and her husband had chosen a name from some place they visited quite some time ago.

Oh, yeah...the reason for this post...they named her Analise.

I'm interested in what kind of thoughts went through your head, Jody, when you heard our baby girl's name! Congratulations on the birth of your baby girl! Can't wait for Ande to meet Ana!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Blog Tag

Erik decided to invite me to play "blog tag". At first I decided to ignore it. I don't often take the time for these kind of things. Then I thought it would be good to evaluate why I blog. Afterall, if I can't come up with "5 specific ways blogging has affected you, either positively or negatively", it's probably not worth my time to continue blogging.

The rules were as follows:

1. Write about 5 specific ways blogging has affected you, either positively or negatively.

2. Link back to the person who tagged you.

3. Link back to L.L. Barkat who created the meme.

4. Tag a few friends or five, or none at all

5. Post these rules — or just have fun breaking them.

Here are the ways blogging has affected me:

1. Therapy - Blogging was therapy for me throughout my dad’s battle with cancer. It still is. There’s something about using this as an outlet for my thoughts that heals my heart.

2. Connection - I am able to stay connected with friends and family in a way that the pace of life constantly fights against. I love being able to share updates on our life and know that if people care to know, they’ll read it here.

3. Passion - I have a passion for writing. Although life continues to keep my thoughts jumbled in my head, there are times that my passion is able to come alive and I am able to write and feel somewhat creative.

4. Change - I am changing through the blogging world. For one, I have to be willing to change when I’m sharing my life with others. I cannot blog about marriage needing to be a priority and not make it a priority in my own life. I don’t want to be a liar or a hypocrite. Additionally, reading the thoughts of other bloggers inspires change in my life as well.

5. Memories - I am able to use my blog to document cute things my kids say and do that I want to remember. I’ve always been told I should write things down when I relay them to others. I’ve never made it a priority. Now that I can sit and type on the computer to document it on this blog, the memories are here to look back on. I’ll always remember that at age 2, Jaycie thought little boys have tails!

I decided to respond immediately because it'll loom over me and stress me out if I don't (that's just my anal personality). Still, I'm choosing not to "tag" anyone else. (There's always someone that drops out of the game, isn't there?) Thanks, though, Erik. It was good for me to participate.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Investments

Rod and I went out last night with my brother and sister-in-law. We saw the movie, Fireproof, starring Kirk Cameron. It was clearly not made in Hollywood but still a good flick. So much of the movie caused me to realize that I need to appreciate Rod more and show him. When we're dating, it's easy to go the extra mile to show we care. Why it is that when we are married we become more selfish? It's beyond me. Marriage takes work and intentional guestures to keep love alive.

The movie is based on a "Love Dare". It just shows how one person can make a difference in a marriage even when the other has stepped out. I can attest to this as our marriage went through some rough times, especially early on. I was married young - 18 to be exact. Rod is 7 years older than me. Thankfully, he was more mature as well. Not just in a mental or emotional way but also spiritually. Rod gave our marriage 150% when I had mentally and emotionally stepped out. I wanted our marriage to work. I didn't want to have a failed marriage. I knew divorce wasn't an option but I had set myself up for a life of misery. Thankfully, I had a husband who continued to love me when I was most unlovable. He petitioned God for our marriage. He fasted asking God to change my heart. He allowed God to work in me as he waited and gave himself selflessly.

Fireproof shows what God can do when people submit to Him and allow His love to flow through them. I am so grateful that God loves me even when I reject Him. I am also forever grateful that my husband allowed God's love to flow through Him and he stayed in a marriage when the world would have told him he was justified to leave.

I hear the movie isn't in theaters in Joliet any longer. I believe Orland Park is the closest theater still showing it. The content is uplifting and we don't often get to walk away from movies feeling challenged to love and live for God. If you desire to have more movies of substance in the theaters, make a point to get out and see it at the theater. It's worth the investment to support movies like this!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Harvest Time



Ecclesiastes 3
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

The cousins looked for Papa's favorite corn.



Grams gave out rides in the tractor bucket


Great Grandma Tuttle cuddled with Andelise


It was fun for all!


He hath made every thing beautiful in his time.

Monday, October 20, 2008

3-years old!

Jaycie turned 3 this past weekend!

JayJay is our little drama queen. I ask her to make a happy face and her eyes will shine as she smiles. Ask her for a sad face and her smile will turn upside down as her eyes look to the floor. How about a surprised face? Her mouth will open in awe as her hands go up by her face and her eyes open wide. An angry face will bring her eyes to narrow and her nose to wrinkle while her lips purse. Of course, all of these requests will only receive a response on her terms. If she doesn't feel like acting, she won't participate. All you will receive is a pout.

She is our strong-willed child. And independent. "I do it myself!" is commonly spoken from her lips. Oftentimes, I can hear her daddy (over her screams) saying "as long as I'm ten times your weight, you will obey me." Despite her little frame, this little girl has some strength to fight us on everything from going potty (where it should go) to what clothes she should wear (summer v. winter - we do know to pick our battles).

Jaycie's smile can light up a room when she wants to. She can be so silly that laughter fills the room. At the same time, she can scream so loudly that our ears hurt. She looks up to her big sister and imitates her in so many aspects. She loves her little sister and can often be found with her nose right up to Ande's talking to her (sometimes scaring her with her lack of respect for personal space).

I never knew how much God could teach me through a child as He has through Jaycie Mariah. I'm learning that all of our characteristics are valuable. They just need to be directed correctly. Strong-will is a good personality. As long as we don't forget about the people around us. We cannot be so stubborn that we forget that people are what matter. It cannot always be "my way or the highway". Being a drama queen gives many options for the future. As long as we don't use our drama to manipulate others. When God gave me Jaycie to raise for Him, He gave me a mirror image of my personality. As I mold my little one with God's help, He is molding me. He also has me talking to Him a lot more!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jay!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Spectating

Yesterday we went to Chicago to cheer Rod's sister on in the Marathon. It was a strange feeling all together. Not running it myself. The race cancellation last year and all the baggage that went along with that. My Dad and Rod's Dad both gone from this earth. I attempted to just push all my feelings aside as God decided to work on my heart to appreciate everyone who came to cheer me on last year.

There is a whole lot of waiting and walking for spectators of the Chicago Marathon. Thankfully, I had brought snacks for the girls as well as paper and crayons. We didn't get to the marathon until my sister-in-law was half way through the race so that cut off some of our waiting time. Then there was all that goes along with having a newborn - feeding and diaper changes - it helped make time go by. Still, it's difficult to get into a position where one can actually see their loved one run the race. The finish line was a mess last year that I never was able to experience. This year I attempted to find a place to watch the runners so I could experience it as a spectator. I found it too difficult to attempt with kids unless you really want to make it your goal. You can find a place to watch people but without an obvious sign for the spectator or the runner, it's extremely difficult to find each other.

My mother-in-law was able to spot Rhonda once around mile 13 but Rhonda said she never saw any of us. It was really interesting being on the spectator side this year. Minus the newborn, I probably would have tried a lot harder to find Rhonda or a couple of my Team in Training teammates that I heard were running in memory of my Dad.

To everyone who cheered me on last year, I didn't realize the effort involved. Thank you over and over again. And as for a future marathon, being a spectator just stirred the fire. I want to cross the finish line in Chicago! And I definitely learned I need to wear identifiable colors (like a Team in Training jersey) and my support team cheering me on needs large signs on a pole with big balloons.

Rhonda finished under 5 hours and didn't collapse in the unseasonable heat (although not nearly as hot as last year - she said there was ample water and Gatorade at every station this year.)

Congratulations Rhonda and all the other marathon runners. It is truly an accomplishment!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Something to think about

The following song lyrics attempted to penetrate my heart a couple weeks ago:

I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene
And wonder how he could love me a sinner condemned, unclean.
How marvelous, How wonderful And my song shall ever be
How marvelous, How wonderful is my Savior's love for me
He took my sin and my sorrows and made them his very own
And bore the burden of Calvary and suffered and died alone

The words "and suffered and died alone" made me think. God really can relate to what my Dad and Rod's dad were going through. While we sat with our dads at the end of their lives, Christ had suffered and died alone. It's something to reflect on. Something to think about. Something to remember. In my pain, I cannot forget the pain Christ endured for us. We can know that he didn't create us and leave us. He cares. Even when we don't believe it. He still cares.

"The fact is, God did come. He entered this world in human flesh, and saw and felt for himself what this world is like." -- Philip Yancey, "Where is God When it Hurts?"

Thursday, October 2, 2008

In My Confusion

There's no denying it, it has been a rough time here in my heart and mind these past months. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I've pushed God away. At the same time, I have far from embraced my relationship with Him. Overall, I would say that confusion has mastered this time in my life.

While I have not soaked in the Bible as I had while Dad was enduring his battle with cancer, I still have read Bible verses that have been printed in magazines, posted on blogs, or written in different books I read. I continue to attend church. My identity still lies in being a Child of God.

I have continued to pray in my confusion but find myself pausing and asking myself why I am praying. I pray because that's what I do. That's what God tells us to do. My conversations with God have been quite limited and oftentimes one-sided as I continue to struggle through this period of my life.

There are moments that God is able to penetrate my heart despite my lack of embracing Him and His Word. I continue to read "Where is God When it Hurts?" (Books are a slow read these days.) Here's another glimpse of what Philip Yancey writes in his book:

"The possibility of miraculous healing offers tremendous hope for the Christian. Yet if healing does not come, that dashed hope can be a great impediment to faith that can lead to feelings of betrayal and despair."

While the hope of healing carried me through Dad's battle with cancer, I struggle now. Why did God choose not to answer such an important prayer (in my opinion) at the same time answering such small prayers in comparison to the request of healing my Dad?

"...a hope for healing should be presented realistically. It is just that -- a 'hope', not a guarantee. If it comes, a joyous miracle has happened. If it doesn't come, God has not let you down."

This is what I'm attempting to believe. I know our God has not changed. I know the God I have been taught to love and embrace; the God I have learned loves me so much that He died for me; has not let me down despite my disappointment that a miracle was not performed so I could continue to share life with my Dad. I even know that in His own way, God did heal my dad. There is no more pain and suffering for him. He is whole again and with God for eternity. What greater healing can there be?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Visit from the Tooth Fairy


"Can I write a note to the tooth fairy?" This was our daughter's request going to bed the other night after losing her first tooth. My husband came downstairs to see how he should respond to her. "Does the tooth fairy take teeth?" he inquired. I informed him that it is customary for the tooth fairy to take the tooth and replace it with money. "She is practically in tears because she doesn't want the tooth fair to take her tooth" he informed me. He comforted our six-year-old by telling her he would leave a note for the tooth fairy.

After remembering to place some money under her pillow, I went to sleep. A few hours later I awoke to her cry. "My tooth is gone!" she sobbed. I looked at her holding the plastic baggy in her hand which held her tooth. Taking her hand and guiding her hand to feel her tooth in the bag, she calmed down a bit. I then reached under her pillow for the money that was there. I placed that in her hand. A smile covered her teary-eyed face as she asked me to stay with her for a little while.

All I can figure is that her fears entered her dreams and convinced her the tooth fairy took her tooth. I told her to dream about losing more teeth so she can get more money. (She wants enough money for a Webkinz.) I don't know how the tooth fairy operates when she visits your home (or if she even comes). In our home, the tooth fairy doesn't leave quite enough money in exchange for one tooth to buy a Webkinz! For that matter, the tooth fairy now doesn't take teeth either. She just leaves money in exchange for a "note".