Thursday, September 29, 2011

[Too] Skinny Minnie

I had my yearly OB appointment on Monday, and as I expected, a large part of the discussion with Dr. McMinn revolved around my weight. I adore my OB.  She really does have a great bedside manor and is full of hugs, but she also calls things like she sees them.  She's not one to sweep anything under the rug.  And just like our pediatrician, she's really cautious.  She's also really blunt about things.  So, like I said, I wasn't surprised that my weight was an issue.  It's not a new thing with us

I was frustrated, though.  First of all, I was just sort of emotional being in a room full of pregnant women.  Graves is not yet six months old, doesn't sleep well, and has of late, has been back to LOOSING HIS MIND ALL DAY LONG so tell me why do I already have baby fever?  Probably because I know that it's not in the cards for us for a little while.  And we always want what we can't have, right? But that's a post for another day.  [Probably another day real soon.] Anyway, a gentle reminder from a friend encouraged me to be thankful for my two little ones and pray for the women in the room who would give anything for just ONE baby. But on to the actual appointment...

I really had my stomach all in knots about what I was going to say to Doctor McMinn.  As y'all know, I get kind of worried and apprehensive about things....even fun things, like birthday parties.  And I knew this was going to be pretty bad. I've been looking in the mirror lately and not really liking what I see.  I've said before, but it's hard to talk/blog about because I know people must thing "Oh...poor thing! It must be so hard being skinny".  I know it's a unique problem to have in our current culture.  But truthfully, I do look in the mirror sometimes and am unhappy with the way I look.  I hate my bird neck and my chicken legs and the dark circles under my eyes really don't add anything to the whole package, either.  And other people have said little things, too.  No one has said anything downright ugly this time, but I can't count the number of times my mom has said "Darlin', you are so thiiiin" before attempting to shove half her refrigerator down my throat.

Like I said, this is not a new thing.  I've struggled with these weight issues most of my adult life.  At my peak weight (excepting pregnancies), like when Peyton and I got married or right before I got pregnant with Graves, I've felt really good about myself and like my weight was in an ideal place. However, there have been three times now where it has dipped down uncomfortably low- the first (and only) time I was away from home for a longish period of time, when I was nursing Annie, and now.  As I said, I don't like what I see in the mirror.  But more than that, I don't like what other people see.  I know (because people have told me of the rumors or some have been bold enough to say it to my face) that some people think I have a "problem".  I said this on Twitter the other day, but it's really awkward when people think your eating is disordered, but really your metabolism is.  I care a lot about what people think about me.  That's why I get all red and blotchy thinking about happy, fun social situations the children and I could potentially be placed in. That's why I have a whole post written about how insecure I am about what people think about our discipline techniques and how I struggle with insecurity.  Sometimes, on this blog, I let go of that and force myself to try not to care, so that I can share truthfully from the bottom of my heart.  But so much of me cares.  I know I shouldn't. But I do.  So, it stings when I hear those things said about me.

And the things Dr. McMinn said stung, too.  The moment she walked in I launched into my prepared speech- "I know I'm too thin.  I hate the way I look and I'm sure I'd feel a million times better if I gained ten pounds. I'm not dieting and I don't have a problem.  Well, I do, but not that problem. I have a problem called a baby that loves to eat.  And another problem called the same baby who doesn't tolerate dairy- aka ANYTHING GOOD."  I explained to her that unlike with Ann Peyton, I had been super intentional about NEVER skipping meals, I had tried to eat more healthy things and I had even tried to cook a bit more.  I made myself eat breakfast when I didn't feel like it, I stopped what I was doing when I got hungry, I fixed myself snacks when Peyton was working late, and I even have a late night (or early's all relative) treat most of the time when I woke up to nurse Graves.  I felt like I was doing pretty good until we discovered his problem was dairy.  And then things just went downhill.  I told her that I was taking a calcium supplement (which I wouldn't have thought of had it not been for the sweet pediatrician we saw for Graves's ears when Dr. Denney had the day off....because I'm a moron (or a mommy?) and something is turning my brain to mush). 

After my lengthy monologue, I took a breath, and Dr. McMinn said there was more concerning her than just the numbers on the scale- I looked pale and tired. She asked me if I felt overly fatigued.  Of course I do.  But what mother with a two year old and a five month old doesn't? Especially when one of those children doesn't sleep through the night.  I stay up too late some nights and we wake up pretty early most mornings now.  Peyton and I, like most typical Americans, cram a lot into our days, weeks, and months. So, I assume most of my tiredness has more to do with our lifestyle than with my weight.   I asked her about the paleness, wondering if I should have some blood work done.  "What do you think is causing it?"....."um, probably just MALNOURISHMENT".  Piss. I cringed.  Images of Sally Struthers and bloated bellies came to mind and then I started thinking my word, this women thinks I look like a concentration camp survivor.  I mean really, my blood ran cold. 

Before I got pregnant with Graves, I had experienced a similar problem when I was nursing Ann Peyton.  By the time my yearly rolled around, I was about to wean her anyway, but since I was wanting to get pregnant soon, Dr. McMinn prescribed some appetite stimulants.  Now- I think I eat a fairly normal amount. I don't eat a lot at one sitting always, but I eat  over the course of the day. For example, today I've had three pieces of buttered toast, a banana, some animal crackers, two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a coke, a box of raisins and two slices of pizza and it's just now three o'clock.  My metabolism has always been really fast and when people ask about loosing the baby weight I always joke about my "literal pound sucking device" and further glamorize the beautiful act of breastfeeding.

Well, this time that's a no go because according to Peyton that can effect my milk supply.  I asked Dr. McMinn what to do and she said she thought at this point the best bet was for her to get me an appointment with a dietitian.  She said she wanted to find someone who had worked a good bit with underweight people before because primarily, they deal with overweight issues.  I did tell her (and I'm proud of myself for being bold about this) that it was extremely important to me to nurse Graves at least for the next six months and that I hoped she would recommend someone that would be supportive of that, too. [I assume most dietitians would be, as they, of all people, would understand the health benefits of breastfeeding, but it never hurts to make a point.]

I'm going to see the dietitian next Friday, but in the mean time, I'd love y'alls suggestions of high calorie, dairy free(*) snacks.

*I've probably mentioned that I tried some pills that help digest the dairy faster, so it doesn't get to the breastmilk and originally, I thought they were working well.  However, if this week is an indication, I might as well be popping Skittles.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Christian Believer: Week Four {Creator}

[Well, I'm super late on this post, too.  I was thinking I might just combine last week's with tonight's lesson, but there was so much good stuff in both, so I'm going to just wait and do the second post later in the week.]

Last week's topic was one of the more controversial ones. Our topic was "God: Creator" (The God of Beginnings) I know some evangelicals feel like it's essential to believe that the Genesis 1 creation story is a literal six day account.  I also know some other people who believe that the who of creation is more important than the how, that the creation story is largely one of allegory, and that the God we serve is big enough to work through the means of the Big Bang, evolution, and a million other things we may or may not have knowledge of.  One of these persons is extremely dear to me (ahem, Peyton) and if you choose to disagree in my comments (which is allowed and encouraged here on In the Warm Hold!) please be respectful and grace-full.  The same goes for "liberal nutjobss" as some call Peyton ;); be kind to my dear friends who hold firmly to the belief in a literal interpretation of Scripture.  The study actually didn't end up focusing solely on the actual dynamics of the creation process and it was very interesting!

The video we watched at the beginning of our meeting this week was a little weird- it was just too scientific, but also too abstract.  I know that makes no sense, but I can't really articulate it any better.

Anyway, there was a lot in our study manual that I found really interesting.  One point it made was that God creates by speech- He is a communicator.  Not only is He a communicator and not only was the world born out of communication, we are creatures of communication.  This explains or capacity for loneliness and also our need for personal relationships, with others and with God Himself.

The book went on to talk about two contrasting theories about creation- both of which are falsehoods.  Pantheism is a philosophy that teaches that in some sense EVERYTHING is God- a rock, a bird, a stick.  Deism, is an opposing philosophy that teaches that God is indeed the creator, but has no continual involvement ("the blind clockmaker").  We had a lot of interesting discussion in our group on this topic and Darlene sweetly pointed out that she thought it was neat that Peyton and I love to talk about philosophical concepts like these.  [We do it a lot of times when we're driving around with the kids in the backseat.]  The book says that "The term that best describes God's relation to our creation is theism.  Unlike pantheism, theism believes God is in the world, but also beyond it; and unlike deism, God, while beyond the world, is nevertheless not divorced from it.  Having created the world, God continues to care for it and to relate to it".  We talked about where we see pantheism and deism at work.  I used the example of a "practical deist".  I've heard the term "practical atheist", but I think practical deist is an even more appropriate term for someone who believes in God and would never officially call themselves a deist, but is basically a nominal Christian, a "pew warmer".  We talked about how we see pantheism in Oprah type, new age "religion".

Another passage from our book that I liked stated "When John (John 1:1-3) connects the preexistant Christ with the Creation, the personal nature of God's action in Creation is dramatically underlined.  If the God who creates the world is also the one who reenters it to redeem it, the relationship between God and the Creation is personal beyond our grasp.  Here again, God is not carefully isolated from the scene, as deism would see it; nor is God part of the problem, as pantheism would imply.  Rather, God is concerned to the point of ultimate involvement and proceeds to be involved."

The book talked about how sin changed and affected creation and finally, it went on to quote the passage from Isaiah 11 that says "The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatlin together, and a little child shall lead them".  I love that and this it's such a beautiful picture.  The reading concluded "Any understanding of God as Creator must include this prophetic vision of nature restored, because in this vision we have the ultimate picture of God's continuing love of creation, and the farthest extension of the sustaining work of the Creator".

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Weekly Happenings Post #132 (September 19-25)-- Biggest House Project to Date

[Better late than never, right? Same for the kids naps today. Anyway, here it is FINALLY.]

 What is that look on Annie's face???

 This week has been kind of crazy. Graves was recovering from an ear infection and then Annie got the stomach bug. I had my own issues- I had worse sinus trouble than I've had since I was pregnant and was just a runny, stuffy, congested mess. Thankfully, I didn't have any of those terrible headaches, but the constant dripping and sneezing wasn't super fun. I think a lot of it also had to do with the project we were working on most of the week (oh! did I forget to mention the HUGE painting project we did this week??) Also, my stomach started hurting on Friday and hurt all weekend. I was convinced it was from drainage, but Peyton's was bothering him, too, and he said he thought it was the cheese pizza we ate that was a bit too....cheesy. I just kept praying it wasn't AP's bug, biting us in the butts.

So the project-- we (mostly Peyton) emptied every last one of our kitchen cabinets, took the doors off, sanded them, primed them, and painted them. Several people warned us what a big project it was going to be, and it was pretty time consuming, but it looks great, I think, and I'm glad we did it!

I feel like I have hardly any pictures this week. Actually, I did probably take MORE than usual, but I wanted to put them in their own posts. My friend Rachel came over to give me some photography tips and I also took a bunch of the project. I'll post those soon! I was planning on doing a What I Wore Wednesday post next week, but I kept forgetting to take pictures and also, I spent a lot of the week in painting clothes!  Speaking of pictures, Cookie sent me this precious little Instagram collage thing last week:

I really didn't spend that much time on the computer this week either and that was good. I SERIOUSLY limited my blog reading and Twitter time and I didn't even write that much- most of my posts were drafts that were seventy five percent or more complete and just needed editing and polishing.

Graves slept SO well on Sunday night, and on Monday morning when he woke up, I fed him and put him in the bed with us. RIGHT after that Annie woke up. Peyton went in to get her and she threw up right when he picked her up. He always gets SO sick if he gets the stomach flu, so I cleaned up the mess and gave AP a bath and he ran out of the house like his pants were on fire!

Thankfully, Graves went back to sleep in his swing and slept pretty late. I turned on cartoons for AP and put her in our bed and got a quick bath. 

I got her some Saltines and Gatorade and while she was eating, I filed a big pile of stuff in the filling cabinet that had been building up on the desk. Graves woke up and I gave him his medicine. I wanted to get a button sewn on one of his outfits, so I let AP look through some spools of thread in my sewing box. I asked her all the colors and the only one she consistently got was pink. Ha! The three of us watched some TV and then my mom came over. Annie had perked up some, but my mom offered to take Graves for a little bit. I had been really trying to keep them apart all morning and washed my hands in between touching them. She got Graves dressed in a Sunday outfit to go show him off to her friends! Annie had a bad diaper, but she was acting a lot more normal, so I told her after I did a few things we'd go for a stroll (she had wanted to play outside, but it had been raining). I got down some Fall/Winter shoes that I had bought ahead and organized some of the kids' shoes. I scrubbed the door to the laundry room because it looked sort of grimey and then I put up some of the kids' clothes that my mom had washed and brought over.

We went for a little half an hour walk and then Annie had a light lunch and I put her down for her nap. She feel asleep really fast and my mom brought Graves back. He fell asleep, too, and I ate lunch and played on Twitter and finished my Weekly Happenings post from last week. I also watched the last bit of Parenthood. Peyton got home and the kids woke up and I ran to the cleaners. Peyton needed a tool from my dad, so we all packed up and went to my parents' house. They were having fish for dinner and we ended up eating with them. When we got home, we put the babies to bed and I got on the computer. I did a little bit of taking stuff out of the cabinets, but I didn't get far. I meant to do that and my Bible Study homework, but I was tired and kind of in a funk, so I just went to bed around 11:30.

For some reason, I was still so tired on Tuesday. Peyton took the week off to work on the kitchen, so I left AP with him since she hadn't been symptom free for twenty four hours.
 He took these.  I guess he wore her out.  And I guess he thought she was ready for regular food.  Ha!

Peyton helped me get Graves bathed and ready and we went to Mother's Day Out. It was a good day! Afterward, I had to pick up my clothes that I consigned. I usually don't drive from Brandon to Jackson, and I went the wrong way on the interstate and ended up near Peyton's store in Byram. Ha! I finally made it, but unfortunately, I didn't sell much. After that, Graves and I went by Helen's Young Ages to buy him some dressy socks. I brought him home and fed him and then I ran to Target for a gift card, batteries and hairspray. I stopped by Wear It's At (a little consignment store) because I had seen a cute outfit in the window a few days earlier and then I picked up Subway for lunch. I was exhausted when I got home and Graves was fussy, so we both took a nap. We had an Ultreya meeting that night and I felt WORSE when I woke up, but I managed to get ready and we got the kids ready and left. The meeting was good and I'm glad I went. We had a special worship time and then just had dessert instead of our typical "covered dish" dinner. On the way home we stopped by Walgreens to pick up some boxes so we could finish packing up the cabinets (Peyton had done most of it that morning). We got home and I put Graves to bed and Peyton ran to Lowe's. We fed Annie dinner and put her to bed and I neatened up the house a bit and went to bed early.

Wednesday was a fun, busy, Bible study filled day again. We got up and Peyton helped me get the kids ready and then we headed to Morgan's house for Bible study. We had a great time and it's just so nice to be around a bunch of other women who "get" me. I was way behind on my "homework", but I'm so glad I went anyway! Morgan invited us to stay for lunch again this week and it worked out perfectly because Peyton another pharmacist friend over for lunch (they were planning to go somewhere, but since Peyton was in the middle of working on the kitchen, he asked the guy to just pick up something). We got home and put the kids down for naps and then I read Christian Believer for that night. I got on the computer for a few minutes, too, and then we got AP and Graves up and got ready for church. We ended up having to turn around because Peyton forgot the dvd for his study and so we had to kind of rush through dinner. It was BBQ and it was SO good! We had a great discussion in our group and ran by the grocery store on the way home. Once we got home and got the children to bed, Peyton worked on the kitchen and I did the dishes and did some crafting for awhile. I went to bed too late for a school day!

All three of us went to school on Thursday and Peyton stayed home and worked in the kitchen. We stayed for pizza and to help with lunch, and though it was a good day, it was a long one. The younger toddlers seem much younger than the ones we had in that group last year. They all really want to be hugged and held a lot, so it gets crazy at points! Anyway, after we got home, I put the kids down for naps and I took one myself. Peyton took one, too! I got up and vacuumed the floors, cabinets and counters in the kitchen to get some of the dust up. Then I got ready and headed out around six because some girls from church have a Bunco group and they needed a sub and asked me! Peyton was sweet and told me I should go. I had a wonderful time. It was my first time to play and I really enjoyed it. The food and conversation was the best part, though!
 [One of my WIWW outfit pictures.  I typically don't wear my t-shirt tucked in and I typically put up my madras around Labor Day, along with my seersucker, but it was a "tailgaiting" them and this was the best college attire I could find last minute.]

I got home and Peyton said Baby Graves had been a little fussy. I fed him and then we went outside and we both worked on the cabinets- the edges needed to be hand sanded because the electric sander wouldn't get them good. Peyton and I talked and he was really sweet and told me that he shouldn't act like taking care of two very young children all day is a walk in the park, like he did last week. It made me really happy for him to say that. We came back in and cleaned all the dust up in the kitchen. We scrubbed the outside and inside of the cabinets with hot, soapy water. I got on the computer and Peyton played a video game. Our computer was running really slow, but I wanted to get some stuff done, and I stayed up WAY too late. I took a quick bath because I was gross from all that cleaning and then I woke up Peyton and made him help me put fresh sheets on the bed and we went to sleep. Graves was up several times during the night, and I was just so tired.

On Friday, Peyton woke up with Annie and took her to his parents' house so his mom could keep her while we worked on the kitchen. I stayed in bed a little longer and when he got home, I went outside and scrubbed all the doors to the cabinets. I rushed and got ready and got Graves ready because we were meeting Carrie and her children for lunch at Mellow Mushroom. We had a fun lunch and it was nice to only have one child for a bit! When I got home, Peyton's mom had brought AP back. I got them both down for naps and Peyton and I worked in the kitchen, priming the cabinets. We got about an hour in and then Graves woke up. We decided a change of scenery would be good and since we of course didn't want to put him in an enclosed room with the paint fumes, the three of us went outside and primed the cabinet doors. Annie took a solid three hour nap and then we had to wake her up, so we were able to get a lot done on the doors. We packed everyone up and took the kids to my parents' house and then came home for another hour of inside priming. We went back to my parents and had our classic Red Beans and Rice and then came home. We got the kids to bed and worked on the kitchen some more, but I was super tired and finally just called it a night at 10:00. I took a bath, but without paint thinner, I still had lots of paint on me!

It was another rough night. I don't know if it's still his ears or what, but Peyton and I were EACH up with Graves about four times. I'm taking him to the doctor again if that continues! Also, every time I woke up I felt dizzy and nauseous. I was so worried I was getting the stomach bug, but I think it was just awful drainage. We had meant to get up before the kids and work on the kitchen on Saturday, but after that, it just wasn't happening. We ended up sleeping late- around 8ish, ha! Peyton got started painting and I went to the attic to get some warmer painting clothes, some jeans, and the exersaucer for Graves. I changed Ann Peyton's quilt to a comforter for Fall, set up the saucer, and took a shower. I gave Annie a bath and folded a load of clothes and then Claire, a cute girl from church, came over to watch the kids. We decided that without having a "mother's helper" for a few hours the project just was not going to get done. Peyton had finished priming and we got to work painting. We painted the whole inside and most of the cabinet doors.

The kids had a blast with Claire and when she left, I put them both down for naps. I was starting to feel really congested again and the fumes gave me a headache, so I took a nap myself. I guess that kind of defeated the purpose of the babysitter. When the kids woke up, we went to my parents' house for supper and Peyton kept working. Poor guy, he did so much of the work! We had a good, short visit and when we got home, Peyton and I put the kids to bed. Peyton let Annie have a "special treat" and gave her a new catalog to look at. He even let her keep her lamp on. Ha! I got on the computer, uploaded pictures, did some dishes (I just loaded the dirty ones in with some clean ones and rewashed everything since our cabinets were still out of commission), and went to bed.

We got up and went to church on Sunday morning. It wasn't the worst night with Graves, but it wasn't great, either. Anyway, we got the kids ready and left in time to stop and pick up doughnuts for Sunday School. We had a lot of "business" to discuss about the Fall Festival and choosing Sunday School officers and committees for the rest of the year and then we studied some in Isaiah. Our associate pastor, Daniel, preached and it was a great sermon.
Precious little knee socks.  Be still my heart. 

[Another WIWW picture.  I wish I could get rid of my chicken legs instead of getting rid of Baby Grave's chicken hair (have I mentioned it's started to lay flat?? SOBBB!!!).  Also, excuse the atrocious mess.]

We came home and fed Annie lunch and tried to put the kids down for naps. Graves slept for MAYBE thirty minutes and AP never did sleep. I tried to straighten up the house some, but I didn't get much done. My friend Rachel, came over around four to help me learn how to use my camera better. She was so much help! Like I said, I'm going to do a whole post!

 [One of my favorites!]

Right after she left, we got ready and headed back to church. It was another good sermon, but afterward, AP was just really fitful. She ran in the sanctuary and then followed out the door while we were both turned around. Shame on us for not watching us better, but it really scared me! And then when we left, she pulled away from me in the parking lot. Peyton, the anti-spanking parent, who was several yards away, said, "You need to spank her". And so I did. Of course, there were lots and lots of uncontrollable sobs, but she recovered and we had a nice talk about not doing dangerous things. We stopped and ate at a Mexican place on the way home. The kids both feel asleep in the car and both woke up mid transfer. We got them back to bed and I got on the computer and Peyton watched TV. Graves woke up a million times. I nursed him, snuggled him, dressed him warmer, and everything else I could think to do. FINALLY, he really went to sleep.

Hopefully, this week will be pretty low key. We have a few things on the agenda and I'm hoping I can motivate myself to get my house back in order (like, by the end of the week).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weekly Smorgasbord

I didn't really do as much blog reading as I typically do this week. I think the links are pretty good, though. Also, I've mentioned several times that I'm trying to pay more attention to my little "side blogs". Orignally, I had planned to do a post on this blog, linking to the other blogs, each time I posted.  That seemed like overkill, though, and I decided it made more sense just to include them here.  Please forgive the self-promoting nature of such a link!

Posted: 25 Sep 2011 08:08 PM PDT
Picking back up on the porch series!
Posted: 25 Sep 2011 08:08 PM PDT
This is a weird conundrum.
Posted: 25 Sep 2011 08:07 PM PDT
This whole situation makes me so sad, but what an amazing display of grace!
Posted: 25 Sep 2011 08:06 PM PDT
I'm so excited about all these 31 days series. I really would like to do one myself, but I'd have only a week to figure it out. Besides that, I have tons and tons of drafts I need to finish, plus I said I wanted to start paying more attention to my "side blogs". There's just not time for everything, sadly.
Posted: 25 Sep 2011 08:04 PM PDT
Just one little way to spread kindness. So neat!
Posted: 25 Sep 2011 08:03 PM PDT
I found a link to this on another blog I follow and the article got me thinking.
Posted: 25 Sep 2011 08:01 PM PDT
I thought this was an interesting perspective. Language warning.
Posted: 25 Sep 2011 01:34 PM PDT
Okay, if you've been here long, you know I love RATM and I LOVE this series. It's really eye-opening to me. Anyway, this one particularly struck a chord. I guess because I recently posted about some of my frustrations in mothering and (like every other time I've done so) got overwhelming support. The same is true in real life. It makes me sad that someone in a probably much more difficult, though similar, circumstance has such a hard time finding support.
Posted: 21 Sep 2011 11:19 PM PDT
So, so sad.

I've stopped doing this even though ours does clip in on top. I put Graves's seat in the big part (or wear him!) and AP sits up top. Basically, the groceries go underneath or around the kids. It's not convenient, but it's good for my piece of mind!
That's it. Like I said, I was sort of MIA this week, so let me know if there's anything that I just have to read!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Five Minute Friday Prompt: Growing

Fourteen pounds and nine ounces.  At five months, Baby Graves weighs two ounces more than his sister did at nine months.

I look at him and as amazed as I am by how beautiful he is, I am also amazed at how big he is.  I never knew I could have anything but a tiny, petite, and though precious, underweight baby.

I squeeze his chunky legs and run my fingers along his soft round baby cheeks.  I admire the "rubber bands" around his wrists.  And it makes me happy.  Because I've done that virtually all by myself.  He hates baby food right now and he hates bottles.  That leg chub?  The rosy pink cheeks? Those delicious rubber bands? I gave him all those things.  When I wake up, exhausted, and feed him at four in the morning because no one else can, I think of those legs.  When I, still exhausted, crave the caffeine he can't tolerate, I envision those cheeks.  And when I look at my own unflatteringliy thin reflection, I'm reminded of those precious rubber bands, worth every calorie he needed from me.

I know the day will come, sooner than I'd like, I'm sure, that he'll be bigger than his sister.  People tell me that all the time. I fairly confident the day will come when he'll be bigger than me.  One day the responsibility of growing his body will no longer rest solely with me.  Yet, I'll always have the even greater task of  growing his heart.

Praise God for the privilege of both!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Miss Independent

I know it is TOTALLY normal for her age, but I never would have expected to see a "strong willed" streak in Ann Peyton.

I was very much a strong willed child.  I was stubborn and hard headed and argumentative.  I would like to think that I've mellowed some and with age and temperance, those same characteristics have become assets and positive parts of my personality.  However, my mom has some stories on me.  I argued with just about every word out of her mouth and I was fiercely independent. 

Well, a few days ago, I saw a bit of my little girl self in Ann Peyton.  I was picking her up and putting her in her carseat and she started freaking out.  Backing up: recenlty, I've developed a new routine. Because I don't usually get Graves's infant seat out anymore (the thing is so darn heavy) and because I really don't trust AP enough to let go of her hand for even one second in a parking lot, I had to devise a system.  [I'm all about "systems".  I like to do things the most efficient or practical way, but more importantly, in cases like this, the safest way.] Anyway, what I do is open the door and unbuckle Ann Peyton and then close her door.  While she's maneuvering out of her seat (she's still rear facing), I go to Graves's side and unbuckle him.  I get him out and go back to her side, reopen the door, and hold her hand while she gets out.  I have him in one arm and her hand in mine and she closes both her door and the drivers door after I lock it (man, a clicker would be nice, because I kind of just wedge Graves between my arm and side so I can lock it).  We do the reverse when we get back in- she climbs in, I shut the door and get Graves in and then come back and buckle her. Anyway, all that to say she's used to getting in and out by herself, but this particular day I was in a hurry, so I just picked her up and put her it.

Well, she started fussing and squirming so bad.  I thought maybe she just wanted a book that was beside her and I told her I'd get it far her after I buckled her.  She looked at me and said probably the most articulate sentence she's ever formed.  She's just not big on complete sentences with a subject and a verb yet.  Anyway, she looked me in the eyes and said "I want to do it myself".  So, I picked her up and put her back on the ground and she climbed in and got situated.  She was all smiles after that.

A part of me really is proud of her because for a little while I worried she would be more than just a compliant child- she would be a pushover.  This girl is no doormat, though. I know I say this all the time, but by and large, one of my absolute favorite parts of being a parent is playing the psychologist/behaviorist. I love seeing her little mind work and her personality develop and watching her interact with others and learn to express herself!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rockabye Baby

I realized that there was a little more I wanted to say in my post last week and since I know y'all are enthralled by my kids' sleep habits, I thought I'd do another full post.

The main thing I forgot to mention is something I really want to always remember.  For some reason, lately, Ann Peyton has gotten so "clingy".  I hesitated to use that word because it sounds so negative.  I started to say "affectionate", but really it's more than just lots of hugs and kisses.  She wants to be held, snuggled with, and especially rocked.  She's also gotten to where she asks about me alot more when I leave her with Peyton or our parents.  I think it's partially getting back adjusted to MDO.  Anyway, rocking is the big thing.  She couldn't have cared less about being rocked as a baby- we just dropped her in her bed and she fell asleep. But around a year, she started to like being rocked.  She goes through phases, but right now it seems to be more important than ever.  When she's hurt or hears something loud (loud noises terrify her) the first thing she says is "Momma rock you" or just "rocking chair". It's her comfort thing.  I'm not sure this is typical of a toddler her age, but it's so her.  She also always wants me to rock her at night.  If I'm gone, Peyton can do it and she can deal, but if I'm here, she wants me.  I think that's so sweet, especially since I have no qualms about saying Peyton is typically the preferred parent.

We've always had a "two rock" max.  I would rock her for a few minutes and tuck her in bed and then I'd come in and rock her once more if she requested it, but that was it.  Lately, I'm rethinking that.  I used to just think it was a stalling technique (like EAT! or PLAY!) and maybe at one point it was.  But these days I'm not convinced.  The other night I rocked her four separate times and then she said "I get in bed, Momma" and she went right to sleep instead of talking to her animals for another hour and a half (she had already been talking to them a good bit in between rockings).  Now, I'm not saying one way is better for her than the other- she loves talking to her stuffed animals and "reading" in the dark.  But one IS better for me.  A lady in my Bible Study was talking the other day about how rocking her babies is such a worshipful experience for her.  In truth, it's something I often rush through so lately I've been enjoying it more and thinking about one of my favorite tear jerker books, Love You Forever.  I might be digging myself a giant hole, but I really don't care.  This time is so short.  It's always been important to me that she learn to sleep independently. I'm still not one to co-sleep (although we do let her snuggle in bed with us occasionally when she has those terrible night terrors, but that's really pretty infrequent).  I don't feel like I need to rock her to sleep, either.  But for right now, at least, I'm over the arbitrary ONLY TWO ROCKS!!! rule. I'm not going to let it take over my night and if it becomes a tool she uses to stall a bunch, then we'll revisit it.  But right now, I just want to enjoy this sweet little phase she's going through.  I know the day will come when she doesn't ask about my whereabouts when I run an errand or want me to rock her multiple times before I put her in the bed.

I'm sure this post bored everyone to tears, but it I did it mostly for me and my own records.  One commenter last week pointed out that maybe AP just enjoys her food and her time in bed and that's why it all takes her so long.  I need that reminder to slow down and enjoy these things, too!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekly Happenings Post #131 (September 12-18)-- School Starting + Temps Dropping = BG's First Ear Infection

 Our whole family looks like a hot mess.  AP wanted to wear her bathing suit and of course, we humored her.  BG looks compleatly nekid and poor Peyton and I look like we've been through the ringer for some reason!

Poor Baby Graves got his first ear infection this week.  Other than that it was a pretty typical week and I'm glad he seems to be on the mend.  However, today Ann Peyton is sick.  This is just a hard time of year I think!

Peyton got up with the kids on Monday morning and I sleep a little late because Graves had been up more than usual.  A little face peeked up at me, though, and said "Wake up! Momma!" after a bit and so I went in the living room with them.  Peyton had put on Tangled for Ann Peyton and she was somewhat interested.  She will sit in her bed and read for hours, but she is not a kid who will sit still for a two hour movie.  I think it's partly that she hasn't really been exposed to it, and partly that it's just not her nature.  We had a relaxing morning and then I got Graves dressed and we took his five month pictures. 

Peyton left early for work and I fed Graves and put him down for a nap.  I made AP's lunch and then put her down.  She took a long time to go to sleep and then Graves woke up, but I fed him and he went back to sleep.  Both kids had a long stretch in their beds.  I cleaned up the kitchen, which was a bit of disaster with a big sink full of rinsed dishes that needed to be loaded in the dishwasher because I was too lazy to unload it the night before.  I got the dishes unloaded and reloaded and then made some baby food for Graves.  Peyton got us a new, much nicer, food processor since I did it for Ann Peyton and it was a lot easier and faster!  I made some Kool Aid and took out the recyling and compost.  I got on Twitter and worked on Graves's five month letter and then I had to wake both kids up.

Our washing machine broke (again) and so I decided to take some clothes over to my parents' house to wash.  It broke with a big load of cloth diapers in it; and I especially wanted to get them clean and dry.  I did not want to be out over a hundred dollars over some mildewed dipes! We had a good time over there and I made a quick grocery run for some lettuce and tortilla chips.  I wanted to get a rotisserie chicken for supper, but they were out!  Fortunately, my mom sent me home with a lot of food (stuffed eggs, peach cobbler, roasted peanuts, and leftover beans and rice, plus some pasta and broccoli!).  I got the kids in bed and finished up Graves's post.  Peyton got home and we went to bed.

Graves had a fabulous night,  which of course, meant AP was up wailing.  Peyton put her in bed with us and she slept harder than she ever has in our bed.  We had to get up early for Mother's Day Out on Tuesday.  We all got ready and out the door a little late.  We had a good day.  They seem to go by so fast!  When we got home, AP ate a little lunch and I fed Graves and got them both down.  I ate lunch and messed around on the computer and just relaxed and then I did some in my Beth Moore Bible Study.  When they woke up, we went and ran some errands.

 Peyton bought this weird, rando paci one time when he was at the store by himself with a screaming Graves.  He obviously doesn't take it, so Annie decided it was MonkMonk's.  Apparently then she decided it was hers.  Hilarious!

We went by the cleaners and Peyton voted on a something having to do with our school system.  I couldn't because I STILL haven't changed my registration.  We went by Target to get wipes and a birthday present and then I wanted to go by Hobby Lobby.  I got some wooden letters for a project, a thing to hang Ann Peyton's purses on (ha!) in her closet, some canvases for another project, and some scrapbook paper for a THIRD project.  I still had a few things I needed to go back for, but it was good to get some stuff.  I was running behind and I still had to feed Graves before leaving for a fun consignment preview sale.  We hustled home and I fed him and left immediately.  My mom met me there and we had a great time!  I need to bring her every time, I think; she's so helpful!  I saw several people I knew and it was super fun, but I tried to use restraint.  Having Minnie there helped!  Peyton had taken the kids over to his parents' house and visited and then went for a bike ride while he had some babysitters ;)  I got home and of course, we had nothing to eat so I picked up some dinner from Cheddars, since we still had a gift card. Peyton gave AP a bath and I put up some laundry.  Right at bedtime she told us she wanted to eat (we had been offering her food all day to no avail).  Well, Peyton had a great solution to that problem!
Popeye the sailor girl enjoying some late night spinach!

I did some more in my Bible Study and got on the computer.

Oh, and Cookie had hit up the Target in Nashville bright and early on Tuesday to score some Missoni.  She got Annie a couple of things, too!

Wednesday was full, but good!  We had our ladies Bible Study Wednesday morning at Morgan's house and I was surprised we were even close to being on time.  Graves had had a particularly difficult night (he was really congested, but it was clear- I thought it might have been teeth.  AHH!) and I was just not on the ball.  Also, Peyton still had his bike in my SUV and that makes me nervous.  I am not a great driver, anyway, and I don't need an object bouncing around and hindering my view.  The thing weighs as much as I do, but I got it out! Anyway, I dropped Ann Peyton off at the Morgan's neighbor's, who keeps the kids, on the way in.  We had a great study and the kids and I ended up staying and eating lunch with Morgan.  Haydn came home for lunch, so we got to see him and a friend he brought home from work, too.   We got home and I put the kids down for a nap and checked in on Twitter a little and then got busy reading for Christian Believer that night.  I was WAY behind!  Graves woke up and was SO cranky, but I managed to do some reading.  He was still feeling bad and I decided we just wouldn't go.  He cried and fussed for a solid two hours and then Peyton found the nasal bulb and suctioned him.  We had given him some Tylenol and I decided he might be hungry, so I fed him.  Not sure what worked, but he got all smiley.  Peyton suggested we just bring him and we could see how he did.  I had to do a mad rush to get ready.  I got dressed and fixed myself supper since we weren't eating at the church that night ( dairy?).  I ate in the car and we dropped the kids off.  The study was good and I only had to go take care of Graves once.  The minute he saw me, he perked up and they shoo-ed me out and said he was fine.  We went by the grocery store to get a rotisserie chicken and when we got home, we fed Annie and got her to bed.  Graves fell asleep on the way home and we just dropped him in bed.  Peyton cut up the chicken and I cleaned up the kitchen and straightened the house.  I got on the computer for a little bit and then went to bed.

We had MDO on Thursday and it was kind of crazy.  I didn't mention that Darlene was out of town this week, so we were a teacher short.  She's a floater and does some office work this year, so it wasn't a huge deal, but for some reason everyone was sort of cranky on Thursday. I ended up staying a little bit late and helping out.

I can't forget to mention Ann Peyton's little boyfriend.  He was taking her around the room, showing her things and saying "Ann Peyton, this is the kitchen...." So precious!

I dropped the kids off with Peyton and went back to Hobby Lobby.  I got SOME of the frames I needed and a few craft things.  I got home and the washing machine guy had come and said it would be NEXT TUESDAY OR WEDNESDAY before he could fix it.  Graves was up, but Peyton had fed Annie a (messy) lunch and given her a bath and gotten her to bed. 
 Who is that huge kid?

These were AP's little tennis shoes.  With one of each, the things that they can both wear are EXTRA special to me!

He left for work and I fed Graves and snuggled him and got him back to sleep.  I ate lunch and got on the computer and he woke back up.  I started folding some laundry and then Annie woke up, too.

I took her outside to water some plants and then I got a package ready to mail. 

 [My friend Ashley is adopting a PRECIOUS little boy and he should be stateside SOON.  Here's are Liam's goods from a couple of recent consignment sales.]

We folded more laundry and played on the floor with Graves (and with packaging tape) and AP ate supper.  I put Graves to bed a little early because he was so tired and rubbing his eyes all pitiful.  Annie and I had some us time for an hour and a half- I put up a bunch of clothes in the nursery while she told me about her number puzzle ("That a three, Momma!" (correct!); "That a six, Momma!" (correct!!!); "That THIRTEEN, Momma!" (um, no)). We also read one of her long books (The Tale of Tom Kitten) and a Bible story and I put her to bed.  She had a bit of trouble falling asleep and I went in and rocked her several times.  I actually really enjoyed it every single time.  I got on the computer for a few minutes and then fed Graves.  I was so tired that we actually both fell asleep at nine something while he was nursing.  I woke up and put him in his bed and went back to sleep.  So much for the good intentions of the one night I was going to fix supper!  Ha.  Peyton got home and woke me up and we talked a few minutes and then I went right back to sleep.

It's a good thing I did because it was a MISERABLE night.  Now, I've been clear that I make no claims about Graves sleeping through the night.  But he does okay.  Thursday night? Not the case.  He was up every hour of the night until about four.  At which point he screamed on and off (mostly on) until around seven.  At which point I called the doctor.  At which point he started acting completely normal.  Geez. 

Peyton was working the afternoon on Friday and so we decided to go ahead and go to the doctor and then run some errands and take turns just running into places quickly.  We got the kids ready and I got a shower and then we loaded up.  Since Graves didn't have fever and was acting okay, we went by Primos for breakfast.  We were kind of rushed, but it was so good!  Peyton dropped me and Graves off at the doctor's office and he and Annie drove through the bank and then took a walk around the lake by the pediatrician's office. Dr. Denney had the day off, so we saw a sweet lady instead. Of course, Graves fell asleep in the waiting room and stayed asleep through being weighted and having me change his dirty diaper.  I almost got his clothes changed without waking him up. [Oh! and sidenote: he weighs two ounces more than AP did at nine months old.]  The doctor we saw was so friendly and when she said Graves's first ear looked "beautiful" I was a little discouraged.  I was sure it was an ear infection (Annie had a good many her first Winter) and I just wanted to know what was hurting him.  She checked his second ear, and sure enough, his first ear infection! We got his prescription and since he seemed to be doing better (being upright helps), we ran a ton of errands.  We went to the post office to mail a package, dropped of his prescription at Walgreens, went by Rainbow (a health food store) to get me something to take that helps digest dairy quickly, and then went to Walmart to get some of those things you put in the heels of your shoes.  We got gas and went back to Walgreens to pick up the medicine.  I ran in and got a flu short and then we went to the tax office for Peyton to drop off something and then to Cokesbury and Goodwill.  Whew!  When we got home, AP told us she didn't want to get out of her car seat!  Crazy girl.

Peyton had to hurry and get ready for work.  I nursed Graves and sine it was so pretty we went outside for about twenty minutes.  I fixed Annie's lunch and did a few things while she was eating- I cleaned out between the windows and the screens on them in the kitchen, dusted in the nursery, and straightened up some piles around the house.  I straightened the nursery and vacuumed out a desk drawer where some hole punches had spilled.  Once I got AP down, I fed Graves and got on the computer for a few minutes.  I unloaded dishes and then I let AP get up.  She never did go to sleep.  I swept and mopped the kitchen, bathroom, and sunroom floors and then swept in the den.  I was on a cleaning kick and I could have gone on for hours.  Ha!  Graves woke up, though, and so we headed to my parents' house.  We had Beans and Rice and I got some laundry done.  We stayed late because my mom's dryer takes forever.  The kids were getting tired and I ended up bring damp clothes home to put in our dryer (we needed underwear!).  I got the babies to bed (they both fell asleep in the car), unpacked everything and started reatheating Peyton's beans.  I got on the computer and then went to bed.
Annie had a visitor Friday night!
Graves actually slept better than he has in months on Friday night.  Poor baby was SO tired!  Also, I think it helped that I let him sleep in his swing so the fluid wouldn't drain and hurt his ears.  I guess that was the problem Thursday night?  Anyway, he slept eight hours, got up to nurse, and then slept another five!  Annie woke up early on Saturday, but Peyton put her in the bed with us, and she didn't even wake up when he got up and got ready and left for work.  The kids both slept until around nine!  I pumped a bottle and then hopped in the tub.  I had about an hour and a half from when I got out of bed, and I managed to pump, shower and get ready, give both the kids baths, give Graves his medicine (it's a bigger process than it sounds) and wrap a birthday present.  Once we were ready, we headed to Aubrey's birthday party!  I was pretty nervous, since we had such a rough go of it last time, and I knew it would be all the same people.  I know that's stupid and they probably don't even remember, but I'm just insecure about things like that. I hate that Peyton was working because I know he would have really enjoyed going with us and he wouldn't have himself worked up and his stomach in knots over it ;)  Anyway, we had a great time at the party!  Carrie's grandmother held Graves basically the whole time and he was so content.  Annie did pretty well, too.  There were a few hard moments, but I think at her age, birthday parties are just kind of hard when they're not your own ;) I was so relieved to have a better taste in my mouth and I wished I hadn't stressed myself out over it so much!
Last time to wear these sweet antique shoes, I think!

We got home and I told AP she had thirty minutes to play and we started our "countdown" to nap time.  I fed Graves and made the bed, gathered laundry, filled the dishwasher and unpacked the diaper bag and then put her down. Graves seemed like he took FOREVER to go to sleep and I held him and tried to get him down and then had lunch.  I watched a little special recap episode thing of The Good Wife and started folding all the laundry I had brought over to my parents' (and some embarrassingly, from before our machine broke).  Graves finally went to sleep, but AP never did.  I got her up after almost two hours and she helped me with laundry and then I fed her a snack and of course, she fell asleep in her high chair.  I got her out and she stumbled over to Big Ole' Frog and fell back asleep on him.  I would have just pushed bedtime way back, but we were having friends over, so I let her snooze for about thirty minutes.   
She was pretty ill about it when I woke her up.  She kept telling me "Momma hold you!".  Graves was still asleep so I did hold her while I fixed my makeup and took several baskets of laundry to our room.
 I even offered to let her use my blush brush.  She was not a happy camper!

  Peyton got home and, typically, she perked up immediately.  She told him all about the party [Cupcake! Umbrella! Rain! Kitty! Tent! (Aubrey had gotten a Hello Kitty umbrella and generously, let Ann Peyton play with/in them), Gumdrop!, Swing!, Dog! (Annie played on Aubrey's swingset and got a little scared of Knightly, the Howie's sweet, friendly, but BIG dog].  It's so neat to hear what she remembers about things, I guess because it gives us a little insight into what is important and meaningful to her right now.  I cleaned the guest bathroom really quickly (I'm so thankful I had time to use my rust remover in the tub and and do my tooth brush toilet bowl routine, but why do I wait for company to do all that?).  Peyton took a quick shower and then our friends, the Harkins, came over.  We ordered pizza (and I gave my new herb thing or whatever that lets me eat cheese a far so good!) and sweet Hank and AP were so precious.  They held hands and played together so sweetly.

After they left, we got the kids ready for bed.  I had ordered a new CD player because Annie's broke and it came in.  I got it off eBay so I cleaned it.  Then we realized that it didn't have an adapter (the listing did say that), so we searched our house for one or for the appropriated sized batteries.  Finally, we ended up just taking them out of another toy. We finally got both babies down and Peyton helped me clean up the kitchen and load the dishwasher.  I did a quick straighten in the living room and then got on the computer.  Peyton told me about how his day at the pharmacy had been stressful and I told him mine had been, too.  NOW, I acknowledged that his day probably was more stressful than mine, but mine was difficult nonetheless.  Annie is really dependent on her nap (I know I say that all the time) and frankly, she's not real fun to be around when she misses it.  I know I've got it good in that she's mostly an easy child and Graves has come around to be one, too, but still.  Peyton was all "Yeah, Sarah Denley, birthday parties are tough".  Well, here's the thing, buddy- for me, THEY ARE.  Putting my kids on display, in front of people that don't know me or what kind of mother I am,  in what seems to be a hard situation for them, isn't easy.  Like I said, it was much better than I expected, but I really worked myself up about it.  I got close to tears and told him "You know what, I KNOW your job is intense, but if I had the sure conviction I wouldn't kill anyone by giving them the wrong drugs, I'd have traded places in a heartbeat with you this morning.  I could run around a pharmacy for three hours just fine and you do great in social situations with the children.  So yeah, I wish we could have just switched places.".  He did sympathize with me somewhat, but I know he thought I was being melodramatic- which, of course, I was.  He said my life would make a good sitcom, ha!

This seems to be our only (or one of the very few) constant struggles we have.  I know he thinks my job is important, but I don't think he thinks it's very difficult.  And, alot of times, it's not, but some days it IS  hard.  It's draining because Graves likes to be held or at least talked to a lot of the time that he's awake.  And Annie's starting to want to be in a constant dialogue when she is awake.  All that is wonderful, I know, but being "on" constantly is me anyway.  I feel kind of like my brain is mush at the end of some days.  I know that's every mom, but I guess it's just hard that I know Peyton thinks this is so easy sometimes.  I think it compounds things that I never taught school, so I don't have much to compare it to.  I mean, I know it's harder than student teaching, I know it's harder than running suicides for cheerleading, I know it's harder than Graves's actual birth, and I know it's harder than any of the 400 level classes I had to take to get a minor in History.  But realistically, I haven't done many truly hard things in my life.  So, I have no street cred.  Peyton's a great guy and I hate putting this out there because it makes him seem insensitive, but I hope I compliment him enough on here, that you can see that overall, he's an amazing person and I try never to take that for granted.

Anyway, we watched the Parenthood premiere and went to bed.

Graves woke up a few times, but it wasn't terrible and we went to early church on Sunday morning.  Peyton left for work and I went to Sunday school.  We had a shower for our friends, the Deckards, who just got custody of their eighteen month old nephew. We got home and I let Annie play a little and fed Graves and then fixed her lunch and put her down for a nap. Well, once again she never did go to sleep.  I let her get up once to go eat some more.  That is so not like me, but she didn't eat much at all for lunch and I knew she wouldn't go to sleep hungry.  I also let her get up to sit on the potty, because even though I KNOW that's a stalling tactic, she hates the potty so much, we decided it's worth letting her out of bed for.  Anyway, after about an hour and a half of that, I threw in the towel.  I did managed to write a post and work on a couple of other drafts and also read some in Christian Believer during that time.  I ate lunch and then Graves woke up, too.  I hung up clothes in our room, dusted and cleaned the bathroom.  I also Windexed all our mirrors.  I fed Graves and we got ready for eventing worship.  They both feel asleep in the car.  Ugh. The service was really good.  Our associate pastor, Daniel, preached a truly excellent sermon.  It was all about being transparent and being a reflection of Christ's light.  He told this beautiful story about a taxi driver who got a call to pick up a woman and take her to a hospice center.  He turned off his meter and drove her around for hours, letting her see the places of personal significance one last time.  Daniel talked about how we should open our eyes to how we can love and serve others.  Like I said, excellent word.

We got home and Peyton was waiting for us.  I fed Graves and he took AP outside to water plants.  Of course, she got sopping wet.  She asked to wear her bathing suit (a little late on that one) and Peyton said she could.  We got back in the car and ran by Walgreeens and the grocery store.  We put the kids to bed and I finished scrubbing the tub.  I had let the cleaner sit on it all day and I got IN the tub and scrubbed with all my might and I FINALLY (after two years) got the ring completely out! I got on the computer and Peyton watched TV and then I cleaned up the house and we chatted and went to bed.

Whew!  For some reason, that felt like a really long week.  Sometimes they seem so long (not even in a bad way) and sometimes they just fly by.  It's weird because I'm not sure that even has to do much with what we're doing or not doing.  Anyway, this week is going to be busy.  Poor Annie has a little stomach bug and Peyton already took off the rest of the week because we're going to be working on our kitchen!! Basically all we are doing is painting and then later in the Fall we're having someone redo the floors.  Everyone who we have told that we're painting the cabinets ourselves has acted like it was a huge undertaking.  I'm a little nervous, ha!  Peyton's probably going to be doing most of it, anyway.  I'm sure the grandparents will watch the children some, but we haven't lined up constant childcare, so I don't know how helpful I'll be most of the week!

Weekly Smorgasbord

A little mishmash of stuff from last week:

Posted: 11 Sep 2011 08:59 PM PDT
One of the most though provoking 9/11 posts I read.
Posted: 11 Sep 2011 08:49 PM PDT
"Learn from the terrorists: Don't throw your life away pursuing their future. And don't throw it away on the American dream. Fall in love with the final future glory. 'Rejoice in hope of the glory of God' (Romans 5:2). 'In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore' (Psalm 16:11)."

"This carried Jesus to the cross. It may carry you to Mecca."
Posted: 18 Sep 2011 08:02 PM PDT
One thing I love about my marriage- Peyton and I honest with each other. Sometimes PAINFULLY honest. It can be so hard, but it is so worth it.
Posted: 18 Sep 2011 12:44 PM PDT
Such a fun new "day-of-the-week" meme! Very encouraging.
Posted: 18 Sep 2011 12:40 PM PDT
I recently found this blog and I think some of the stories are so interesting. This one is about a former klansman and how he's been redeemed from his sin.
Posted: 18 Sep 2011 12:38 PM PDT
"It's so easy to lose the moments in the minutia."
Posted: 18 Sep 2011 12:37 PM PDT
Making this. For real.
Posted: 18 Sep 2011 12:37 PM PDT
I (like everyone else) think this is such a neat technique. Might try to practice some this week!
Hope you enjoyed the smorgasbord!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Christian Believer: Week Three {Scripture}

This week in our Christian Believer course, we talked about "Scripture" (God's Book for God's People).  It was interesting, but for some reason, the conversation was a bit slow getting started.  By the end, though, we had some great discussion.

We started out watching the video, and it made several important points regarding Scripture:
1. Scripture is full of doctrine, but there is also a doctrine of Scripture itself.
2. The Bible is God's way of revealing Himself.
3. God is the source of the Scripture.  It is inspired (God-breathed).
4. The Bible has authority.
5. The Bible is the source of what the church believes-- doctrine.

After the video, we discussed our readings.  We read some about King Josiah, and how, of all the Old Testament kings, he was one of the few who actually headed God's word and then we moved to Psalms.  One of my favorite passages was Psalm 119.  My favorite parts were "I have hidden your word in my heart" (Psalm 119:11), "I am a stranger on Earth" (Psalm 119:19) and "Your statutes...are the joy of my heart" (Psalm 119:112).  I also really like 2 Peter 3:16 because it basically says "some things are hard to understand".  It brings me comfort that the Bible itself says that it's not supposed to be easy to understand!

The readings in our study manual discussed both the Old and New Testaments.  I love this sentence about how the first Christians viewed the Old Testament- "They believed that the One whom they called Lord was anticipated in this Book".  It reminds me of what value should still be placed on those books!  It went on to talk about the gospels and how they are "biographies" of Christ, but they are so urgent and insistent, some readers don't want to call them that.  Finally, the reading said of the book of Revelation: "A remarkable book written to the people in a time of severe persecution to sustain them in their knowledge that at last their Lord would triumph". Beautiful summation, no?

The reading went on to try to articulate why the Bible, which might be considered unattractive to the casual reader, stirs us so.  It stated that the Bible is all about the incredibly challenging, but also very significant, subject of God's relationship with the human race. It gives a "new dimension" to our self worth- if we are important enough to be pursued by the eternal God, there is more to us than meets the eye!

In our discussion, we talked about the Bible's importance and the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.  That is- we as Methodists (and more broadly, as Protestants) place a unique emphasis on the Scripture.  In our churches, Scripture is elevated about tradition, experience, and really most anything else.  In our other book, we had a reading from the Formula of Concord and think it stated our believes so well.  "We believe, teach, and confess that there is only one rule and norm according to which all teaching (dogmata) and teachers are to be appraised and juged, which none other than the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments...Other writings, whether of the fathers or more recent theologians, no matter what their names may be, cannot be regarded as possessing equal status to Holy Scripture, but must all be considered to be subordinate to it...." Another reading from the Docrinal Standards of the Untied Methodist Church states "The Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation".

One member of our group questioned Peyton about his beliefs, being a former Catholic.  Peyton answered that although he thought sometimes our churches did themselves a disservice by ignoring tradition, Sola Scriptura is the reason he left the Catholic church.

That said, there was a paragraph toward the end of our reading that struck a cord with me.  "Theologians sometimes remind us that we should not confuse the Bible with the Word of God.  That is, our Lord Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, while the Bible is a document of many words and not the Word of God in the same sense Christ is.....While the Bible is not to be confused with the Word made flesh, and is by no means to be revered in that fashion, it is nevertheless crucial to knowledge of Jesus Christ."

I thought that was so interesting.  Because, just as we obviously see any tradition that puts anything equal with the authority of Scripture as flawed, maybe sometimes we elevate the Bible too much.  It's a neat thought to realize that there is something above Biblical knowledge and that is Christ Himself.  And I would add- a personal relationship with Him.  Another thing I think protestants struggle with is that although we say that we don't put anything equal to the Scripture, sometimes inadvertently, we do.  I know many Christians (myself included) who sometimes unfortunately, subconsciously elevate the words of people like C.S. Lewis or Beth Moore a bit too much.

The readings from our other book were also interesting this week.

One passage from Jerome pointed out that "Scripture offers itself in such a way that an uneducated congregation can more easily learn from it" and that "both the learned and the unlearned can discover different meanings in it". So true!

Ulrich Zwingli, a Swiss reformer, points to the importance of knowing the Bible- "For if we are not versed in Scripture, how are we to tell whether the priest who teaches us is expounding the pure truth unadulterated by his own sinful desires?"  I think this is so important and I'm glad that so many before us have made the Bible truly accessible so we are not entirely dependent on the clergy to teach it to us.

Finally, a twentieth century theologian, Alan Richardson, says "The inhabitants of the world may learn righteousness when God's judgments are in earth, but only if they have listened to the thunder in the voices of the prophets of the Old Covenant; they will learn to hope amidst the chaos of twentieth century civilization, only if they have caught the authentic Galilean accent of the New Testament, as it speaks of the sure mercies of God's covenanted grace.  The Bible, the Old Testament as well as the New, teaches us the vocabulary of the divine language; unless we have learnt to understand this tongue, the words of God spoken through the events of our day will be lost in the bale of conflicting voices, and the meaning of the twentieth century crisis will remain hidden from us."

Possibly my favorite passage was one by John Wesley and is the perfect closing and summation to this post: "I want to know one thing, the way to heaven- how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach the way: for this very end he came from heaven.  He hath written it down in a book.  O give me that book!  At any price, give me the Book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me.  Le me be homo unium libri [a man of one book]."