Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Imagine That

We have loved being able to watch Annie's imagination at work lately.  Peyton and I constantly talk about how one of the coolest parts of raising kids is getting a bird's eye view of their thought process.  I love watching the "wheels turn".  Recently, Annie has been creating little stories in her head.  For example, she will tell me that MonkMonk's "mother" is at our front door.  I think this is hysterical, in part because it cracks me up to hear her say the word mother; she calls me "Momma", and Peyton and I both refer to our mothers the same way, so "Mother" sounds super formal (but really cute).

Anyway, the other night she was playing with this keyboard protector from Peyton's laptop and all of a sudden decided that each little "key" was a picture.  It was so cute and (I thought) so creative!

Some of my favorite lines:
- "Minnie had on a bib."
- "The monkey [how she refers to herself most of the time] had a bib on."
- "And that's me picking up Piglet."

I absolutely love this age!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekly Happenings Post #154 (February 20-26)-- Words That Resonate

 [UGH.  I look like a swamp monster.]

This week was awesome!  I went to two different events where I really felt like shouting "AMEN" almost the entirety of both.  One was a prospective meeting at a preschool (rather a "homeschool organization") for AP for next year and one was hearing Tony Campola speak.

The kids and I were home all day Monday, but it was only semi- productive.  Peyton got up with Graves and then AP and I got up.  I started laundry and took a bath and then Peyton had to leave. I put Graves down for his nap and folded some laundry and played with my Annie girl.  When Graves woke up, I gave them both baths and we all had lunch and then straightened up the disaster den.  AP was not being very compliant and it took a sweet forever.  Anyway, I put them down for naps and it took awhile but then they both took LONG naps. I had to wake them both up.  I wrote a post, started more laundry, had a snack and read a bunch of blog posts.  Once the kids woke up, I decided to take them to the park even though it was kind of late.  We only stayed about twenty minutes and then it got dark.  I was planning on going to the grocery store, but Peyton was going to be home soon, so we just headed home.  Peyton got there and we had a fun time playing with the kids and talking and then we put them to bed and I went to Kroger.
Peyton made them a tunnel out of the boxes the car seats came in and they LOVED it.  I knew AP would, but I was shocked to see Graves want to crawl back and forth, up and down it.  It was so funny because we all three crawled down it and then called to him/patted the floor like he was a dog and at first he started crying, but then he crawled down it super fast.  It was so cute!

  I got home and put up groceries and ate some dinner and then I worked on my Beth Moore study and got on the computer.

We had MDO on Tuesday and it was good, but uneventful.  We got home and all had lunch.  I did two loads of laundry, hand washed some dishes, made pasta salad and cleaned up a bad spill.  The kids played and I cleaned up lunch, vacuumed a bit around the high chair and took off the cover to wash.  I put the babies down for naps and just kind of vegged on the computer.  I did get some pictures uploaded and worked on a post.  The kids woke up and we got ready and headed to our Ultreya meeting.  It was long and when we got home, I fed them and put them to sleep.  I got on the computer and then Peyton got home.
Sister in her 12 mo. dress and Brother in his 18 mo. pjs.  Take that, 25th percentile in weight!

We had Bible study Wednesday morning and I overslept, but I got us all ready super fast and we made it on time!  We had it at the Morgan's church office and it was a little harder since the kids couldn't have free reign.  It was still good, though!  When we got home, I fed the kids lunch and washed dishes, started laundry, and pureed some veggies for Graves.  I got that cleaned up and got the kids down for naps.  I put pictures on Flikr and read some blogs and then I got the kids up early because we were meeting Peyton so I could get a haircut.  After my haircut, I met Peyton and the kiddos at church for our Ash Wednesday service.  We got home and fed them supper and put Graves to bed. We let AP play some and then it was bedtime for her to.  She had a hard time getting to sleep for some reason.  I made some crawfish bisque and straightened the house and then went to bed.

I woke up Thursday feeling HORRIBLE and we had a really big day.  I think it was probably a lot the caffeine withdrawal.  Anyway, Peyton was so sweet and after I got ready he basically got the kids ready himself and I went and laid in Annie's bed.  We got them ready and out the door by 8:30.  We were dropping them off at MDO and then Peyton and I were going to a meeting for a preschool for Annie.  I'll blog more about it later but we were SUPER impressed.  We stopped at Great Harvest on the way there and I got to feeling better.  The meeting was great and then we headed to another meeting with a guy from our church, just to give our opinions on staff, ect. before it was time for appointments to go out.  [In the Methodist church, pastors are appointed to different churches in the district.]  We stopped by Abners for a late lunch and then picked up the kids.  It was the longest I think I've been away from Graves yet.  Everyone said they did great, though! Peyton left for work and I took the kiddos home and got them down for naps.  They took good naps and I got on Twitter and sent a few emails and then kind of "cleaned out" my Twitter friends (people I never interact with, ect).  I got some stuff organized to go to the attic and then got ready.  My mom came over to keep the kids and I headed to dinner with some friends.  I had a blast and when I got home it was almost bedtime.  My mom left and I put Graves to bed and then got AP ready.  She took awhile to go to sleep.  I got on the computer and did a few things and then Peyton got home and we chatted and went to bed.

Friday was kind of a long day.  I stayed up too late the night before and then Graves was up just about every hour his stuffy nose was upsetting him so.  He could hardly even nurse comfortably and it was so sad!  Anyway, Peyton got up with him and I slept in a bit and then around 8:30 I got in the tub and got dressed.  I picked up around the house and fed him breakfast and then AP woke up. We all played some and then I attempted a nap with him.  He was so fussy and congested (Peyton crushed up some adult Zyterec for him before he left) and he had a terrible time, but finally fell asleep pretty late.  I put up some clean dishes and straightened a bit more and then AP and I just chilled out and watched movies on the couch.  She wanted to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas twice, ha!  She got mad about something and was throwing a fit and woke up Graves and her had a terrible time getting back to sleep, but I'm glad he did.  He needed it!

I got him up and we all had lunch and then I folded several loads of laundry and read a bunch to the kids.  I handwashed a sink full of dishes and then it was naptime again.  Graves took a short nap and AP just played in her bed and was really not very obedient a good deal of the time.  I worked on my Beth Moore study and caught up on Twitter and then I let the kids get up.  I worked on a post a bit while they played (something I usually really try to avoid doing) and then we cleaned up and headed to my parents' house for red beans and rice. 

Peyton and his brother had met to exercise after work and they came over for beans, too.  We got home and put the kids right to bed and I ironed a bunch of stuff for a consignment sale and another big pile of random stuff that had been building up.  I tagged all the stuff and then got on the computer.  I messed around and put pictures on Flikr and then went to bed.
[I timed my Twitter activity.  Not terrible, but I spent a lot of time on the computer doing other things, too.  I just want to be intentional and not waste time and not even realize it.]

Peyton had to work on Saturday and when the kids got up, I took a shower while Annie watched Elmo.  I put Graves in the Pack N Play because he's getting harder and harder to contain.  He fussed, and I hurried.  I started some laundry and straightened around the house and then I tried to put Graves down for a nap.  He really wasn't interested and I think it was his poor stuffy nose.  I didn't have any baby Zyrtec and I didn't want to try crushing up the adult tablets and he seemed better once he was sitting up.  Anyway, I took out the trash and cleaned our bathroom and then I got things ready and we headed out.  I dropped a check that I owed my mom off at my parents' house and then was headed to drop off clothes for a consignment sale.  Morgan was there when I got there and she watched the kids for me.  I then took the kids to my in laws and I went by Cokesbury to get some Sunday school material Peyton ordered (he's in charge of that for the whole church).  After that, I headed Christ Untied to see Tony Campolla speak at the Mission/Evangelism Summit.  I missed the morning part because I couldn't find a babysitter, but I LOVED what I heard.  I had been so excited, but I was just blown away.  I'm sure I'll do a whole post about it.

After it was over, I picked up the kids and we went over to my parents' house.  My mom fixed B4D and we had a good visit.  We got home and AP had fallen asleep in the car.  I put her to bed and fed Graves and put him down. I got my stuff ready for Children's Church and went to bed really early myself after I took a bath because I had a small headache.

 This feels a lot like I'd imagine soaking in a vat of Icy Hot would.  It's as pleasant as you can imagine.  But it did seem to help my headache.

 One day, I really want to show Graves all these pictures of the things I did for him when I couldn't take Sudafed or Zyrtec, but then I realized it might be kind of awkward to discuss our breastfeeding relationship, him being a guy and all.

Annie woke up to teetee during the night and Graves was up because of his nose and then around 3:00 my headache got so bad I thought I was going to have to wake Peyton up.  I didn't really help we had two kids and a cat in our bed.  UGH.  I took a BC Powder and went to bed and I woke up feeling better.

We got up and got ready super fast.  I woke up late, but Peyton helped me and we got the kids bathed and ready for church.  I did Children's Church and then met Peyton for Sunday school.  After church, we randomly decided to meet Peyton's parents and two of his brothers at his Granny's house for her birthday.  It's a couple of hours south, but it was SO worth the trip.  We had a wonderful time visiting and Annie loved walking around with Granny and looking at all her flowers.  We had to leave kind of early because I had Nursery Committee meeting at church. We stopped at the grocery store on the way and got snacks for the kids and I nursed Graves.  I had my committee meeting and it went well.  After that we went to Radical (we had read it in the car) and then came home.  I straightened the house some and started laundry after I put Graves down and Peyton got AP's supper ready and put her to bed.  I got on the computer and worked on some posts and then went to bed.

Next week looks fun, but busy!  I'm excited about all we've got going on!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Christian Believer: Week Eighteen {Empowering}

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.
Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

("Breathe on me, Breath of God", Edwin Hatch)

The topic for week eighteen was "Holy Spirit: Empowering" (Power to Live and to Serve).  I felt like the material was a little sparse, but it was a good lesson.

We started with the video, which first made the point that many of the significant moments in Christ's life was tied to the Holy Spirit-- his conception, baptism, and temptation.  Then it went on to say that the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost marked the appearing of and the empowering dimensions of the Spirit in the early church and individual believers.  It then discussed Paul's views on the Spirit.  Paul saw the Holy Spirit as central; He is the one who "carries on the work of Christ in the present age".  The speaker also claimed that "without the mission of the Spirit, the mission of the Son would have been fruitless and without the mission of the Son, the Spirit could not have been sent" and also that "the unique work of the Spirit" is to "apply the work of Christ to our lives".

It then stated that because the Spirit is God, early Christians could not understand Him as a quiet, unseen, intangible force.  Then it shared the roles of the Spirit in Christian life:
1. God was present in power- power to "live differently, minister effectively, and overcome ultimate ethnic and racial hatreds by making one people of God out of Jew and gentile".
2.  The Spirit empowers ethical life in all its dimensions- in the individual, the community, and the entire world.
3. The Spirit empowers every dimension of the believer's existence-- to abound in hope, to pray without ceasing, to live in joy, to exercise self control, to experience a robust conscious, to have insights into God's will and purpose, and to endure every hardship

Experiencing the Spirit doesn't primarily have to do with good feelings, but with reality.  The Holy Spirit is also not something Paul argues for, but something he presupposes and argues from.  For example, in Galatians 3:1-5, the gentiles' experience with the Holy Spirit served as primary evidence that their life in Christ was based on faith, not works.  Paul doesn't say "Were you saved by faith or works?", but "Did you receive the Spirit by faith or works?".  It thought that was very interesting!   Then the video pointed out that ethics is fully trinitarian- the Spirit of God forms the believer into the likeness of Christ to the glory of the Father.  [We see this in the Fruit of the Spirit passage in ].  Another really cool observation!

Lastly, it discussed the sufficiency of the Spirit for life in the present.  In Galatians 5, Paul promises this by way of a command-- "Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh".  The Spirit is the key to all truly Christian spirituality and we are to pray "in the Spirit" as well as with our minds.

The workbook started out talking about the disciples and how they did what "assessments of their abilities said they couldn't do".  It then discussed the "democracy" of the Spirit's work and how anyone can be born again. It also said that "the work of the Holy Spirit is, above all else, to glorify Christ" and it is always a means to an end, not an end in itself.

It then went on to discuss Pentecost and how the power of the Spirit works to cleanse and purify the communication process.  It also stated that we can believe something intellectually, but have no moral compulsion to change.  This is where the Spirit begins to work.

The Fruit of the Spirit are about more than good manners and strong character-- they are qualities of life and conduct made possible only by the Holy Spirit.  While these characteristics exist in culture (evidence possibly of common grace), the Fruit of the Spirit is different in degree, origin, nature, and expression.

The gifts of the Spirit are discussed at much greater length because they are more controversial.  Whereas the Fruit is almost always an internal matter, the gifts are to be used for public ministry.  The book then talked about the Pentecostal movement.  Some oppose it and say that all supernatural manifestations of the Spirit ended after the second century of church history.  "At best, the Pentecostal movement brings obvious qualities of joy and enthusiasm to the church; at worst, qualities of self-righteousness and sometimes, doctrinal casualness".

Here are the Scriptures and textbook readings that I really liked:
"...God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right." -Acts 10:34

"When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" -Acts 2:37

"All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.  Everyday they continued to meet together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." -Acts 2:44-47

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completly humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." -Ephesians 4:1-2

"Many find Him rushing upon them like a torrent while they experience the o'erwhelming power of saving grace.  But in others He works in a very different way: He deigns His influence to infuse, Sweet, refreshing, as the silent dews.  It has pleased HIm to work the latter way in you from the begining; and it is not improbable He will continue (as He has begin) to work in a gentle and almost insensible manner.  Let Him take His own way: He is wiser than you." -John Wesley

"Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I many love what thou dost love, and do what thou wouldst do." -Edwin Hatch

"The power to live a new life, oriented around Jesus Christ, carried on within the new order of the Lord- this is the power of the Spirit at work." - Lewis B. Smedes

"The Spirit is poured out on 'all flesh'....the old and the young who are highlighted as recipients of new life.  The old women and men are the people who are passing away, who no longer are present in full power, and who  will soon belong to the past.  Young persons are the people who are not yet powerfully present, whose effective activity lies in the future." -Michael Walker

"The first act of the risen Lord was to breath the Spirit on the disciples and send them forth into mission (jn 20:21-22, Acts 1:8).  This alerts us to the fact that the effectiveness of the church is due not to human competency or programming but to the power of God at work.  The church rides the wind of God's Spirit like a hawk endlessly and effortlessly circling and gliding in the summer sky." -Clark H. Pinnock

Because we believe the Holy Spirit gives power to live and to serve, I will expect and be open to the power of the Holy Spirit in my daily living.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Frog Legs

It's funny because of all the parenting decisions that we've made regarding birth choices, breastfeeding, circumcising, disciplining, and so on the one thing people ask about (and take issue with!) more than anything else is this sweet girl's"frogged" legs in her car seat.

I think it's partly because it's not as "private" as those other things and partly because it's just an obvious thing that people notice.  But I also think it's because some people just don't have enough information.  NOW, I have been rebuked before for being too aggressive about "educating" people.  Here's my take on that: there are lots of things that I never would have set about "researching" as a parent, but based on a blog post, a tweet, or a personal anecdote from a friend, I have sought to do so.  That said, I'm more sharing about this because we get questioned about it a lot.

When AP was eighteen months and we got her a "big girl seat" (yes, she rode in an infant carrier until she was eighteen months), we took it to the police station to have it checked to make sure it was installed properly.  Now, in their defense they were about to take classes on car seats, but I expected them to at least be minimally knowledgeable since the fire station had just turned over this civic responsibility to them.

Y'all, the guy looked at us and said "Why is she still backwards?"  This was before the new recommendations came out that suggested children be kept rear facing until they're two, but still.  He could look at her and tell she was tiny.  I'm not saying he should be trying to force everyone to comes in with a convertible car seat to flip it back around, but it was ignorant he had to ask that question, I thought.  All that to say, I just think it's something that's overlooked sometimes.

Anyway, when people ask me why she's still rear facing, I simply respond "because it's safest".  Because it is.  Several people have shown concern for her "froggied" legs or worried because most kids her age rides facing the front. But she's never objected.  It's all she's known and she doesn't care.  Someone told me that actually some kids are more uncomfortable facing forward because their legs hang over the seat and it's that same feeling you get when you scoot to the back of a chair and your feet don't reach the ground (as a short person I HATE that).  If you're worried about your (or my) toddler's legs, you can just tell them to "criss cross applesauce" which they hear all day at preschool anyway. 

Y'all, this isn't just a hill to die on for me.  It is important to us, but she's been so laid back about it that it's been really easy.  I don't know what I'd do if I had a super tall kid or a kid who hated their seat.  I sure wouldn't flip them before a year and with all our children I have a minimum goal of two years (like my minimum goal of breastfeeding for at least a year) and I'd like to see it through to that point and then assess the situation.  Who knows what will happen with Graves.

Maybe he'll end up being a froggie at almost three like Sister.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

$50 Keeps 'Em Safe

$25 a piece via our insurance company.  Score! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weekly Smorgasbord

Wow. Lots of links this week. I've been going back at some bookmarked articles from a long time ago. I also read someone else's "link list" type post and found several interesting ones. Anyway, here's last week's links:

Posted: 21 Feb 2012 09:12 PM PST
This was an interesting perspective from a working mom. First of all, disclaimer: I know not every working mom probably feels this way.

Here's the thing, I feel like I rarely if ever have my stuff together, but I probably blame myself WAY more. Because it's so much more a result of my own laziness than her's is. I have a couple of hours almost every day when both kids are napping and typically I do not spend it being productive. At least not the whole time. I do a lot of housework, ect., when they are awake, too, and I probably neglect Peyton more than I should. And I don't have that extra, um, forty hour a week responsibility.
Posted: 21 Feb 2012 08:20 PM PST
The first of two articles on "blogging controversies" that I read this week.
Posted: 21 Feb 2012 08:19 PM PST
"It was a hurried prayer because I was nearing the drop-off line and it wasn't eloquent because my out-loud prayers never are (please don't send me hate mail, but I get suspicious of eloquent out-loud prayers because they feel contrived and inauthentic to me, like putting on a show or using them as teaching moments while pretending to talk to God. I guess I just think that if you really really mean it, it comes out as messy as you feel, and we all feel very very messy.)"

Posted: 21 Feb 2012 08:18 PM PST
"I realize, I do, that you used to be fed in more ways, used to be held closer, close enough to run your hand along my arm. The longer we're married, the more perspective I have on phases, how there's another side to this."

So beautiful.
Posted: 21 Feb 2012 03:17 PM PST
"What am I cultivating? My marriage, or my platform? My children, or my blog? My home, or my credentials? My heart, or my God's?"

This was a powerful post and it was one of three times I've heard something similar this week. I wonder if maybe it's a call to step back?
Posted: 21 Feb 2012 03:16 PM PST
"If we're going to suggest that Jesus' silence is a kind of consent then don't we also have to accept the possibility that Jesus' silence suggests He accepted the Judaic view? To me, that seems only honest."

 I don't necessarily agree with this whole post, but that right there was an awesome point I never thought of.
Posted: 21 Feb 2012 03:15 PM PST
"Has shame ever helped a woman? This is just the other side of that same "You're not enough" coin. One side telling us that we are not enough because we are not thin and the other telling us that we are not enough because we are not curvy. The coin is flipped–over and over–and all we "win" is the Divide-and-Conquer strategy of the enemy for the daughters of God, a planting and tending of that old Compare-and-Contrast seed of jealousy, undermining relationships, courage, guts, friendship, vulnerability, sisterhood. We won't shame each other into wholeness."

Posted: 21 Feb 2012 03:13 PM PST
Such a sweet post!
Posted: 21 Feb 2012 03:12 PM PST
"Long before Facebook when parents were forced to use face-to-face conversation to brag on their kids (I MEAN, can you even?), my grandmother used to smile knowingly and say, 'every mama crow think her babies are the blackest.'" "I have pretty much stepped right into that truth and rolled around in it."

Isn't it so true?
Posted: 21 Feb 2012 02:20 PM PST
Interesting piece on blogging controversies (specifically in the Christian community).
Posted: 21 Feb 2012 01:08 PM PST
My favorite this time is when girlfriend is squirting breastmilk in her buys' eyes with a dropper.
welcome to my brain . net: Why I hate the party system
Posted: 20 Feb 2012 03:00 PM PST
"Shulz exposes (SPOTLIGHT) how most of use a "series of unfortunate assumptions" to do this:
1. The Ignorance Assumption. We assume they don't have access to the same information we do, but if they did, SURELY we would agree. When we then discover that, in fact, they DO have the same information, we move to the second assumption.
2. The Idiocy Assumption. We have to think that they have all the information they need, but must be too stupid to figure out what is right. Yet, sometimes this involves people we know and we can't ignore the fact that we believe some of these people actually have a reasonable degree of intelligence. So, we then move along to a third assumption to solidify our rightness.
3. The Evil Assumption. "They know they truth, and they are deliberately distorting it for their own malevolent purposes.""
Posted: 20 Feb 2012 02:57 PM PST
This is interesting because I was JUST talking to a friend about this phenomenon (in which the mom does everything to take care of the kids and the house while the husband lays around watching TV).  I guess the dynamic is slightly different if you're a SAHM, but to be honest depending on your kids' ages and temperament, the number of them you have, and so on....I don't think it has to. I'm really thankful Peyton and I have a good flow and I'm honestly AMAZED by mom's I know whose husbands hardly know how to care for their children if they are sick or away. Okay, and I'm equally amazed by husbands/daddies that load ALL the dishes and know where clean sheets are (looking at you David Howie).
Posted: 20 Feb 2012 02:46 PM PST
Very interesting- who gets to "tell the story"?
Posted: 20 Feb 2012 02:42 PM PST
Powerful post from a foster mom.

Fornication, adultery, and the UMC | John Meunier
Posted: 19 Feb 2012 10:37 PM PST
"In our culture, we tend to frown much more on adultery than fornication. My theory is that we do this because we don't really consider either a sin. What we object to is the broken promise. Cheating on your spouse hurts that person and violates a commitment. We almost never speak of it as an affront to God, though, which explains why we find adultery easy to condemn but speak hardly at all about fornication – unless it is concern about diseases and pregnancy."

Very interesting. I find this to be SO true.
Posted: 19 Feb 2012 10:21 PM PST
This is kind of interesting. Personally, I think the crunchy/hippie thing is a cute way to describe something that's obviously much deeper than that. I also think it's so funny because I never, EVER thought I'd have a bit of that in me. And I'm not hardcore crunchy. We're actually a bit of a conundrum over here with our cloth dipes under our smocked bubbles and our homemade baby food right next to our Debbie Snacks, but it is what it is.
Posted: 19 Feb 2012 10:08 PM PST
"Be bold about your weaknesses and you will change people's lives. Be honest about who you actually are, and others will begin to be their actual selves around you."
Posted: 17 Feb 2012 10:31 PM PST
"The genre allows the rapper to cram loads of biblical and theological content in a single verse. I think we love hearing the Scripture 'preached' lyrically. Second, there is a 'cool factor,' which has helped bridge generational and cultural divides. But we can't explain this without acknowledging the sovereign workings of God."

"Reformed hip-hop is a theologically driven masculinity movement. It says no to the prom songs to Jesus in ccm, no to whiny emo Christian music for hipsters, and no to empty, shallow, individualistic Christian music lacking theological content produced out of Nashville."

 Super interesting.
Posted: 17 Feb 2012 10:27 PM PST
Yes, so tired of this being a "litmus test" for salvation.

"That means we're going to have to get used to some card carrying evangelicals experimenting with ideas that centrists, like me anyway, consider less than helpful. But if a writer tries to ground his argument in Scripture, and identifies himself as a member of the body of Christ, charity requires me first to humbly listen." We have to become radically Protestant again. At times like these, there arises a longing in Protestant breasts for the magisterium, for an authoritative body to pronounce a final verdict to deal with the troublemakers by edict. But that is not a Protestant theology of the church and the Holy Spirit."

Weekly Happenings Post #153 (February 13-19)-- All You Need Is Love

Last week was Valentine's.  We didn't really do much of anything at all.  We had a nice date recently, so this week wasn't much different.  It's just nice to be daily surrounded by the people you love, though, isn't it?

Peyton was off Monday morning and I slept half an hour later than him and the kids.  Once I was up, I got some things priced and tagged for a consignment sale, straightened up the house and took a bath.  Graves took a short nap and then we got ready and did some errands.  We went by the bank and to drop my clothes off and tried to go buy me a new sewing machine but the store is closed on Monday.  We went by Target to make a return and I got toilet paper, diapers, and milk.  I don't think I've ever had a "necessities" trip like that before!  We stopped by Chik Fil A on the way home and then Peyton got ready for work and I fixed the kids lunch.

Our dishwasher was broken so I had to hand wash dishes and there were, um, quite a few.  It literally took almost an hour after I boiled the little sippy cup parts (because I'm anal) and had to stop and start with tending to the kids.  I vacuumed around the highchair and in the bathrooms and then put Graves down for a nap.  He slept a bit while Annie helped me chop onions with our new veggie chopper thing.  I put her down for rest time (she had taken a car nap) and she woke up Graves.  UGH.  I cleaned up the kitchen (that veggie chopper is a pain to clean; it's really not even worth it and I should just use a knife, but my eyes are SO sensative to the onions, I can hardly see to chop them).  Anyway, no one rested very long but I did manage to get the kitchen mostly cleaned up.  I cut my finger on that freakin' veggie chopper and I was just done.  I was getting AP up and we were about to get ready to go to the preview sale for that consignment sale and Morgan called.  I was planning to drop the kids off with my dad but Morgan wanted to see if I could watch her kiddos while she ran in a store really close to our house.  It was raining pretty bad and so cold and I said sure!  Y'all I'm trying to say this with humility, but it felt SO good to be at a place where kid clothes didn't take priority in my life over serving a friend!  We had a fun time with Mary Milton and Sarah Beth and I adjusted our plans and we met my mom at the sale and she just sat in the car with the babies.  They were both asleep by the time we got there anyway.  We ended up following my mom home and hanging out at their house a bit.  We had a good time and I put Graves right to bed when we got home.  Annie helped me clean up some and then I put her to bed, too.  That second car nap really screwed us thought and she finally fell asleep around midnight.  Ugh.  I got on the computer and worked on my Weekly Happenings post and caught up on Twitter some.   I went to bed, but it was a rough night.  AP woke up to use the potty and had a hard time getting back to sleep and Graves was up more than usual, too.

Tuesday was a loooong day....good, but long.  It was also Valentine's Day.  We needed a sub at Mother's Day Out and a month or so ago when Peyton visited me up there he thought it looked like so much fun that he put his name on the list.  So Darlene asked him to work!  Anyway, we all four got up and got ready and headed to school.

 We had a good day and it was fun having my Sweetie there on Valentine's Day.
 [Mr. Peyton, the P.E. teacher]

On the way home we went by Abners and AP fell asleep in the car.  I was discouraged and frustrated.  Graves had taken an unusually long morning nap at MDO so I was sure he wasn't going to be cooperative either and I was sort of tired and ready for a break.  Somehow, Peyton managed to transfer her and she stayed asleep in her bed.  I fed Graves lunch did a few things around the house- unpacking their bags and Valentines from MDO, and a few things I didn't have time to do that morning like picking up laundry and making our bed.  I attempted to get Graves down for a nap around two but he wasn't having it.  He stayed in his crib about twenty minutes and I got on Twitter and then realized my phone was missing.  Peyton was at the courthouse trying to resolve a traffic ticket so I Facebooked him but he didn't respond.  I got Graves out of his crib and AP woke up and I decided we'd go to my dad's office to call Peyton since it's only about fifteen minutes from our house.

Peyton didn't answer but Daddy said he'd keep trying him and stop by our house on the way home.  The steps up to my Dad's office were so steep and I was sweating by the time we left.  Also, Graves had a dirty diaper and was still in cloth.  AHH.

We went by the gas station on the way home because I needed gas and I knew it would be easier to change the dipe in the car than at the office or in the office parking lot where there was no trash can to dump everything.  After that, we headed home.  Graves fell asleep and I was going to transfer him, but right before we left I had pulled the sheets off his bed to wash them.  Of course, by the time I got it fixed there was no hope of transfer.  He was actually in an okay mood most of the afternoon.  The babies played and I started laundry and got some chicken baking for Peyton and then Daddy came over.  Peyton did have my phone and I felt better knowing he had it.  I was still a little nervous about being without it (it's just isolating and I feel vulnerable?) but it's a testament to how much better my anxiety is that I didn't spend the whole afternoon fidgetty with nerves.  Anyway, Daddy played with the kids a bit and I worked on our new car seats. [We got three new ones for Graves- one for each of our cars and one for my moms'.  I liked the new ones better, though, so I put two of them in my car and sent AP's old one and another one home with my dad.]  I got the straps moved to the right places and then installed them in my car.  I was pretty proud of myself.  Daddy left and I started folding a big load of laundry while the kids played.  I sang to Graves some and he LOVED it.  I fed the kids dinner and gave Graves a bath and got him to bed.

 Bedtime was rough; he was so tired and frustrated and I had told AP she was having a bath and she wanted to get in the tub right then.  I ended up sending her to time out for being rude and I told her I was taking care of Graves and she said "Take care of me, Momma" was pitiful.  I got him to sleep finally and I let her take almost an hour in the tub.  I ate my supper and played on Peyton's iPad and then I got her out and we read and she had a snack and then went to bed a bit later than I had planned.

Wednesday we head Bible study and I got up when Peyton did and fed Graves and then stayed up and worked on the Bible study.  I took a bath and got Graves ready and then we had to wake up Annie.  Bible study went well....this study is AMAZING.  We got home and all had lunch and I started laundry, made our bed, and hand washed some dishes.  I played with the kids some and then put them down for naps.  I finished a post and then I ready all the Scripture for Christian Believer.  It was a good bit.  After that Graves woke up and I read the textbook and then I played on Twitter. Peyton got home and we woke AP up and headed to church.  This week's lesson was kind of dry but we managed to have some good discussion.  We went by Target for diapers and a mirror for the car to see the kids and then by the grocery store.  We got home and fed the kiddos and put them to bed.  I straightened the house, cleaned up the kitchen, had supper, and packed our stuff for the next day at MDO.  I set up the mirror in my car and took out the trash and then I got on the computer and went to bed.

Thursday wore me slap out.  We had MDO, of course, and it was my day to stay the whole time-- meaning eight until two.  That in itself is exhausting, frankly, but usually it messes up one or both kids' naps and Peyton was working the evening shift.   Anyway, MDO was good until the very end and then we had a LOT of crying and general melting down.  There were just not enough arms for all the upset kids and it was a bit chaotic.  After we left, the kids fell asleep in the car and I drove by Sonic, but they both woke up right after that so we went on home.  I let them play some and fed Graves a late lunch (he had breakfast late at MDO and nursed a really long time so he wasn't hungry until we got home) and then put them both in their room for "rest time".  They neither one went to sleep, but AP stayed in bed for about an hour and Graves played in his crib for maybe thirty minutes.  Not too bad except that I had to keep going in there to change Graves's diaper or find his paci or toy or help AP go to the potty or whatever.  I just laid on the couch the rest of the time.  I got Graves up and he played some and then I attempted a nap again after AP got up.  He fell asleep and slept for about forty minutes.

When he got up, we went to the grocery store to get a few things and then I let them play while I put up the groceries and washed some dishes.  I ended up reorganizing a whole cabinet and then it was supper time for the kiddos.  I fed them dinner and started making some food because the Howies were coming over for lunch on Friday and we decided we'd take turns making lunch instead of bringing it.  I made pasta salad and fruit salad and then I took a break and got Graves to bed.  Once he was asleep, Annie and I made brownies from scratch(!!!) and I made some chicken salad.  I got AP to bed and folded a bit of laundry and did dishes and then got on the computer.  Peyton got home and we talked some and went to bed.

We all woke up around eight on Friday with both kids in our bed.  Graves had woken up at six something to eat and Annie had an accident in her bed before that and I didn't want to change the sheets and all that.  I got a bath and then hustled and striped AP's bed, started laundry, and vacuumed the kitchen and den.  Peyton bathed the kids and was heading to the gym and had turned on a movie.  I put Graves in his crib with a toy and vacuumed the bedrooms.  I fed him breakfast, ate my breakfast, and started straightening some piles and then I cleaned the guest bathrooms.  We should have lunch dates at our house more often, ha!  Peyton got home and a guy got there to fix our dishwasher and I got dressed and did my make-up while Peyton moved a big filing cabinet into the laundry room.  Carrie and her kids got here and Peyton left to get his hair cut.  We had a really good time and got to talk a LOT more than at a restaurant.  The kids all helped clean up before they left and it was almost naptime.  I finished picking up a few things and washed the dishes from lunch and then I realized AP had fallen asleep playing in her gingerbread house.

 I nursed Graves and put him down for a nap and then I checked Twitter and worked on a couple of posts.  I read a few blogs and then I watched an old Christian Believer video so I could do my post later in the weekend.  Once they both woke up we got ready and headed to my parents' house for Beans and Rice.  Ellis came over while we were there and it was fun to visit and catch up.  I put the kids to bed and then talked to Peyton when he got home and went to bed.

Peyton was off all weekend and I meant for Saturday to be super productive.  And it just wasn't.  I didn't sleep that late (8:30), but when I got up I was so tired and had a bit of a headache.  It was raining and yucky and I just felt off.  Peyton made us breakfast and I fed Graves and AP played while I organized some stuff in the laundry room to make room for our new microwave.  I also got down some "buy ahead" shoes to try on both kids and put some others up in the closet for later.  I started some laundry and then hopped in the bath. We played with the kids a bit and then left to run a couple of errands.  We went by Continental and got my new sewing machine(!!!) and then stopped by Peyton's parents' to visit.  We were planning on going by an antique store just to browse, but it was so cold and rainy and Graves was getting fussy, so we just went on home.  When we got home, we put Graves down for a nap and AP and Peyton chilled out for a bit and watched a movie.  I laid down, too, and ended up falling asleep.  I got up and had a snack and started going through the buy ahead closet and getting some things down for AP.  At that point, Peyton remembered that there was a get together at some church friends' for a missionary in town.  We hurried and got the kids ready and headed over there.  It was fun and on the way home we went by Target because I wanted to buy some rabbit ears for the TV.  We also got some new Tupperware, a plastic bucket, and some bath salts specifically for "Allergy and Sinus Sufferers".  We got home and fed the kids and put them to bed and I took a bath and went right to bed, too.

I woke up Sunday feeling some better, but Graves was stuffy and had been up a lot during the night.  I contemplated staying home from church, but since it was just a runny nose, we decided to all go.  We listened to the missionary, who was from Mountain T.O.P (a ministry in Appalachia) during the Sunday school hour, and it was really neat!  After that, I volunteered to help with children's church because the girl that was sopposed to be assisting had a conflict. We read Radical on the way there and back.  We got home and put AP down for a nap, but Graves was super cranky.  Peyton and I had lunch and finished Radical (this week's chapter was long!) and then discussed our budget and some possible cuts.  Graves ate lunch and we put him down and then I caught up on Twitter and had a little computer time.  Then I watched Lost and folded clothes until it was time for church.  We went to our study and then came home and put everyone to bed and went to bed ourselves.
Peyton decided to let AP sleep in her gingerbread house on top of her bed.  Her response: "Papa, that looks dangerous." Hilarious.  She did end up sleeping in it, though.

This week has been pretty laid back so far and it should continue to be.  We have some fun things going on, so that's exciting!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Marriage Letters: My Job- Your Job

 I decided to take a stab at the "Marriage Letters" challenge I mentioned last week. I'm linking up with Amber as she and her husband and dear friends seek to "hold their marriages up to the light". 


Your job is hard.  Your job is hard physically. You're on your feet for eight hours straight.  You don't have a "lunch break" or anything close to that. Many nights your first stop is the bathroom, because your store is hectic and doesn't always allow for the luxury of visiting the toilet.

It's hard emotionally and mentally. You endure rude people all the day long.  But you give them grace.  Because as often as not, they are sick people.  Sometimes, they are very sick people.  I often joke that although I get screamed at all day long at my job, at least our little munchkins don't scream and cuss at me.

My job is hard.  It's hard physically.  For months now, Graves has taken everything I have to spare.  I don't mind it so much, but it's a bit exhausting frankly. I hate the way my clothes hang even when I'm intentional about eating something every two hours. Those headaches I get are rough especially without the medicine I know would help, but it's exponentially worth it for him.

It's hard emotionally and mentally.  I feel the burden of two lives, two hearts, two souls on me.  All.  Day. Long.  Their safety and protection is my responsibility and their character will be (probably a substantial) part of my legacy.  I question often if I'm doing this right, if there's a better way, if I could give them more.  Some days I feel like every bit of my soul and strength has been poured in to them.  And I'm not sure that's a good thing, because I hardly have any left for you.  For Christ.  Other days, I have spent too much time staring at a screen or worrying about an outfit and a Holy conviction mixes with a sick guilt and I fear I've failed them again.  It's hard because I can't keep a thought in my head.  I often wonder if motherhood has allowed me a small taste of what your little attention disorder feels like.  I complete tasks now the way you always have...over the course of hours. Making a sandwich can take an hour, folding a load of laundry can take an afternoon, and cleaning a bathroom can take a day. And as a result, my thoughts are fragmented as well.  I say "Ummmmm" and pause for a good half minute multiple times during our conversations.  "Do I need some B12 injects or some nice herbal memory stimulants?" I inquire of you.  "No, Sweetie, you need to eat more, sleep more, and relax more.  Oh, and exercise more."  I usually want to throat punch you on the last line of this frequent dialogue.

Your job is important.  You help people.  You make them well.  On Sundays when I sulk through those last moments of church without you and make my way to Sunday school alone, I am reminded that you are gone because of the importance of what you do.  People need medicine every day of the week and you are there to make sure they have it.  You are a blessing to so many.

My job is important.  While you hold physical lives in your hands, daily, I hold something equally important.  I once heard a story about a woman whose friend gifted her with a book about the great cathedrals of Europe and how no one knows who built them.  The giver related it to her friend's role as a mother and inscribed the book "with admiration for what you are building when no one sees".

The thing....the wonderful that I am not alone in my building.  I may do a bit more of the daily hammering and carving.  But at night when you get home and drop every, EVERYTHING, for them, you are putting on the crowning touches.

Thank you for the crowning touches and for the acknowledgment and validation of my hammerings and carvings.

I love you,

Friday, February 17, 2012

Five Minute Friday Prompt: Delight

I am learning a new way. Learning to delight in relationships, not in stuff.  Learning to delight in people, not things. Learning to delight in the eternal, not the temporal. Slowly learning, but learning.

It feels good to be at a place where I put serving a friend before kid clothes and don't hesitate to do it.  Delight found in the moment where I watched her two little ones play with my two little ones while she ran to the store in the rain.  Delight in not feeling one ounce of worry about being late to a sale to buy Summer clothes for a boy and a girl whose closets already overflow.

Delight in finding the energy from somewhere after a long day to extend a bedtime and let a precious little girl enjoy making brownies with me.  Delight in those perfect moments that were just the two of us...that we didn't have to share with anyone else.

Delight in the extra effort those chocolate squares costs me.  Delight that I could overcome my fear of the kitchen in order to use products that are better for my family, but more importantly, better from a global perspective as we seek to use ingredients produced not from the sweat and toil of another little one.

Delight in friendships that challenge me, books that convict me, and a family who supports me. Delight in a Lord who loves me and guides me.  Delight in a new way.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Words and Pictures

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” -Anias Nin

The other day the prompt for Febuary Photo a Day was "self-potrait" and I shared this picture with a caption saying that it was assuredly the most accurate self portrait I could ever create.

I'm a girl who who knows her assets as well as her shortcomings, her strengths as well as her weaknesses.  And here's the thing: I will never be as good of a photographer as I am a writer.  I capture our lives much better with words than with images.  My fingers pound these keys with much more skill than when I bumbley hold a shutter button.

Ann Voskamp wrote on her blog once "I pick up a camera and the lens is my ink...".  I'm the opposite.  The ink is my lens.
I have said often that our photographs are probably the most important tangible thing our family possesses, but as much as pictures help me capture a memory, more often than not, my words capture it better.

I read so many blogs that are the "perfect package".  The blogger weaves beautiful words with breath taking images.  And I've wanted that for myself so badly.  But I've finally made peace with the fact that that will never be this place. Just like I've finally told myself I will not become undone again over a less than Pinterest worthy house. I don't have room for those feelings of inadequacy anymore.  So I'm done. I want to use the time I've redeemed from worry and anxiety and feelings of inferiority and focus on my favorite craft.

I am going to try once a week at a minimum to really write.  Meaning not a post of links, not a post of the past week's events, not a picture post, and not a summary of a doctrinal study I'm going through.  Meaning really write.  Write about feelings.  Write about life.  Write about love. Process things.  Find beauty in things.  Seek to capture truth.  Enjoy this canvas I've been blessed with.

Some weeks this may mean a Five Minute Friday post or a Just Write post.  I hope to write Peyton a Marriage Letter once or twice.  Other weeks I'm sure this will see me just pouring out what's on my heart or sharing something about the children or my faith.

That's not to say I will ever, EVER stop taking pictures of my children and sharing little glimpses of our days and that's not to say I won't carve out a bit of time trying to improve my skill at that craft.  If I can go from taking mediocre photos to taking better than average ones, I will feel so very accomplished.  But even if not it will be okay.  Because I am...and can finally say this in more than a whisper...a storyteller.

That's why the words are so important.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Weekly Smorgasbord

Links for this week:

    Posted: 13 Feb 2012 09:18 PM PST
    I can't really believe this was even an issue. She had a cover, for goodness sake! Also, the comment from Jessica's husband (Mathew Paul Turner) is really great from a man's perspective, I thought.
    Posted: 13 Feb 2012 09:16 PM PST
    Really important post here.
    Posted: 13 Feb 2012 09:16 PM PST
    This was really interesting. And scary. But good for me to read.
    Posted: 13 Feb 2012 09:14 PM PST
    "I often see parents treating a "temper tantrum" or "freak out" as something to be punished or ignored. This approach makes me uncomfortable for several reasons. 1) it teaches the child that his extreme emotions are unacceptable and, 2) it teaches the child that he must figure out how to deal with his emotions by himself (or else he will be punished or ignored)."

    This is an interesting theory and something I'll have to mull over. Another post promised to you once I can process and articulate my thoughts.
    Posted: 13 Feb 2012 09:12 PM PST
    "Let's decide today, to begin to strip our minds of what the beautiful standards are. We can continue to paint our nails and comb our hair, but in this age of Pinterest and all else, let us not let the beautiful standards define us. Let us not look to impossible things to define us."
    Posted: 13 Feb 2012 09:12 PM PST

    Ahh, yes.
    Posted: 13 Feb 2012 09:11 PM PST
    "You know, much of the pain in childbirth is related to our own fear and resistance. Dr. Sears called it the Fear-Tension-Pain Cycle because we're afraid so we hold back and tense up so there is more pain so there is more fear and on it goes, around and around. So to interrupt the cycle, we need to surrender to the process, to lean into the pain. It seems counter-intuitive, we should run from pain, right? But believe it: leaning into the pain makes giving birth easier."
    Posted: 13 Feb 2012 09:09 PM PST
    "It's what my mother said too, Ann: When it is hardest — that is when you sing the loudest. The devil flees at a hymn."

    Posted: 13 Feb 2012 09:08 PM PST
    She does it again! Great post. I have my own "7 inspired" idea for Lent. I'm planning a post about it soon.
    Posted: 13 Feb 2012 09:07 PM PST
    Interesting question. I really liked the idea of "You have a beautiful family".
    Posted: 13 Feb 2012 09:06 PM PST
    Powerful post. are um, scandalous.
    Posted: 13 Feb 2012 09:06 PM PST
    "I cried because I felt safe."

    "I cried because making love to him was much-needed refuge from our life outside our bedroom, which, right now, is steeped in unknowns and curve balls; details that seem bent on driving us apart rather than together."

     Truly beautiful post.  Again, view with discretion.

    25 Extremely Upsetting Reactions To Chris Brown At The Grammys
    Posted: 12 Feb 2012 09:09 PM PST
    This is so distressing to me.
    Posted: 12 Feb 2012 08:17 PM PST
    Very interesting cost comparison of cloth vs. disposables
    Posted: 10 Feb 2012 09:07 PM PST
    "I look at them and I want them to know their beauty. I want them to know that they are not model-gorgeous or Hollywood-gorgeous or (God help me) toddlers-with-tiaras gorgeous, and I want them to know this because they are real-person beautiful, stunning each, loved and important and out to better this world with their presence."

    "It's holy work, seeking beauty, and not just in the oldie-but-goodie 'we're made in God's image' way, but in that I'm building two confident women and a nurturing man. The best way I can make the world a better place is by sending my little people out into it as the most compassionate they can be, and so I tattoo this message beneath their skins, in their hearts and in their sights and in their bloodstreams: this world is filled with beauty. That person is filled with beauty. You are filled with beauty."

     Oh my word. READ THIS. One of my favorite posts ever.
    Posted: 10 Feb 2012 09:03 PM PST
    "When I instead embrace that this beautiful child is quite possibly the best teacher I've ever had, I enjoy mothering so much more."
    Posted: 10 Feb 2012 01:17 PM PST
    There's a big controversy about if this dad's behavior should be applauded or condemned. I don't think it's appropriate to publicly embarrass his daughter, but I do think that there are a lot of really disrespectful kids whose parents did not raise them to be that way. What I don't get is why he shot the laptop.  It seems like his point would have been made more effectively if he gave it to someone (maybe a college student) that could use it and could otherwise not afford one.
    Posted: 10 Feb 2012 12:54 PM PST
    This was a really good reminder about something that I know will be hard for me. I want to set standards for my children and I want them to know that we never want them to compromise their values, but I also want our relationship with them to be "safe".