Friday, 31 January 2014

Almost There

Well, I still am waiting on this little girl to make her grand entrance, but our lives seem to be at their busiest they have been for a longtime.  I apologize for the lack of blogging, but in this season of my life there is a very very small amount of energy left over when I hit the end of the day  noon. 

There have been a few small moments of peace and quiet in our home lately when I can gather my thoughts and converse with God, but they have been short and are ended abruptly when the fighting, crying, or screaming (from my kids) begins.   

The kids are both getting really excited to meet their little sister. Little A has been talking about the room they will someday share and how much fun they will have dressing up like princesses.  The E Man has been running up to me and telling me to "open it" as he pulls at my shirt. He waits til he sees my gigantic belly and then begins to hug and kiss it. But they are not ordinary kisses, it's like a machine gun of kisses. He bobs his head and kisses my belly at 100 kisses a minute, somehow managing to say "Mwah" with each kiss.  

Hubby cannot be more excited or more nervous about the baby coming. He hides it well but I know that he is feeling anxious about the idea of all that will come after her arrival.  Hubby's job allows him to receive full pay while on paternity leave, he will be home with the kids and I for about 17 weeks.  But not only does he get that time home, he will need to go back for a few weeks and then will have his normal summer vacation time of 8 weeks. I would be lying if I told you we planned it out that way, but it did work out wonderfully.  Except, my hubby, who enjoys working with his hands, staying very busy and not sitting idly at home, will be home for 25 weeks.  I think we are both a tad worried he will go crazy. He will be kept busy taking the kids on special dates we have set up, running Little A to dance classes, and a long list of projects I have been trying to compile. But please pray that he doesn't go nuts stuck inside....or that I don't go nuts having him around so much, I am used to him being busy and taking care of the kids in my own for most of the day. 

As for me, I am beyond excited to meet this little blessing and hold her in my arms instead of my belly. But I finally hit the point in my pregnancy where I am totally torn by my feelings.  On one hand, I want my body back to somewhat normal without a human being inside of it causing all sorts of pain in my legs, back and everywhere else. Because of our little miracle, I am not sleeping, only able to stomach small amounts of nourishment, have heartburn like my chest and throat will soon let away, oh and, did I mention, I waddle like a duck? 

 But on the other hand I don't want her going anywhere!  I remember what labor was like, and I really don't want to do that again. So I am a giant ball of emotions waiting to explode and my poor kids are, I am sure, just stuck wondering what's up with their crazy emotional mom.  

Anyway, that what's up with us lately, I will try to be back on here to share our exciting addition. But I can't promise that it won't take a you can see my writing gets a little more, well, hard to follow when I am not sleeping. 

A very large, but hopefully not for much longer, 

As you do not know the path of the wind,
    or how the body is formed  in a mother’s womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
    the Maker of all things.
Ecclesiastes 11:5
This is not how I look this time around
...we haven't had a chance to get a nice picture yet. 

These were from when I was pregnant with Little A.

Both photos were taken by the lovely Krystal, of Moore Photography and Design 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Called to Be a Mommy

There are few things that can break the heart of a mother more than her child being sick or hurt. There is just something in us that breaks when they are hurting and I am sure that for the rest of our lives it will be like that. Every broken heart, every cold and flu, every fight with one of their friends or siblings, each will effect us nearly as much as it does our children and for possibly longer.

The other night my heart was squeezed nearly to its breaking point as my daughter looked me in the eyes and told me she wished she had a different mommy.

Hubby and I were putting the kids down for bed in their new shared room. We just made the switch to having them together so that we can be prepared for the babies arrival, we didn't think it would be as smooth of a transition as it has been.  Hubby finished their bedtime story and we all cuddled together to say our prayers. The kids call it their "thanks you prayer", probably because we begin by them saying a number of things that they are thankful for.  

After our prayers I picked up Little A and hugged her tight. She squeezed me back and I said, " Oh, I just love hugging you!" In response she squeezed me again and continued to squeeze while she said, " Hug,Hug, Hug, Stop!" It's a little cuddle game she learned from my mom.

Afterward I pulled back from her and she looked up at me while I said, " did you know that I thank God, everyday, that he chose me to be your mommy?"

"I wish he chose me a different mommy." Was her response.

(I think my heart nearly broke just writing that out)

My pregnancy hormones and lack of sleep totally do not help me much but I was able to choke back the tears that threatened.  All I could say in response was to tell her that saying things like that hurts my feelings and makes me sad. But that I love her no matter what and that God chose me to be her mommy for a special reason and I wouldn't want anyone else. 

I think Hubby had a talk with her after I left the room and he finished tucking them in. But what she said just kept churning in my mind.  

I am sure that there were times as a kid, actually I remember some times, that I wished that God gave me different parents or a different family.  But that family taught me a lot and made me who I am.  There are still times that I cannot believe that we are even related because we all seem impossibly different but they are my family and I wouldn't change that. 

Apparently I am the funny one.   ( Too bad they were laughing AT me not with me)  

Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.
Children born to a young man
    are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
    He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.

Psalm 127:3-5

Read 1 Samuel 1 for a wonderful story of family and being blessed with a child. 

I really feel like God blessed me with each of my children.  I know that I was a part of creating them while they were inside of me.  I know that he has blessed me with an amazing opportunity to teach them and train them in the ways that they should go.  And that they are a part of the purpose that I was created for. 

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

Psalm 139:13-16 

Direct your children onto the right path,
    and when they are older, they will not leave it.

Proverbs 22:6

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.

Psalm 127:3

and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Titus 2:4-5

I believe that there is a biblical calling to motherhood. There are many other callings in our lives that we will walk in, but there is a time and season for everything. 

But throughout everything we walk through there are a some callings that will remain constant. We are called to respect our husbands, which is the best way to show our children how to love their spouse. We are called to train our children and direct them to the right path. And we are called to show them the love of Christ. We are also called to lead them by our example, when we walk out the love of Christ we teach them what his love is like and how they should love others. 

I believe that first and foremost, my job is to be a mother to my children....even when they think I am the worst, when they feel like they hate me, and when they wish they had a different mom.  They are the gifts that God has given me and I will love them more than myself for the rest of my life. 

 I just listened to this sermon about Honouring the Biblical Call of Motherhood.  Its about 45 minutes long but it was well done and speaks to the heart and touches on some of the same things I talked about. Enjoy 

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Words From the Little Pink Book

Just had to share.

This afternoon Little A found a little pink bible that she was given from a woman at the church baby shower when we first had her.   She opened it up and said, " I am going to read to you about grace."

"God gives us grace.   We need to say thank you for the grace that God gives us. "

She flips through the little bible some more then says, " Yupp, the grace God gives us.   Love Grace. "

I am so glad to see that the lesson she learned, Found Here,  the other day actually is sinking in.  

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
John 1:16

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Nana's Glazed Orange Cookies

I have been meaning to share this recipe with you for a very long time.  I made them a while back with a big mess and a lot of help from Little A, but now that my stash of Christmas Baking has been just about depleted, I need to whip up another batch and thought I would share. 

So, without much ado, here are the cutest little chubby fingers helping me to make some very tasty cookies. 

So excited to crack the egg all by herself

Thankfully I had the forethought to use a different bowl. 

Washing up...then playing in the sink with the bubbles.  

She didn't want to use a knife to flatten the top of the measuring spoon,  I guess
she has seen mommy using her hand in a hurry too many times. 

A little flour on the floor (and counter and the stool she is on)  is good for ya. 

I spy : two pink ducks, a baby doll, and the baby dolls bottle
along with the rest of the mess in my kitchen. 

She loved trying to get the orange zest. It took her a very long time to get a
very small amount but she had a lot of fun and was so proud of herself. 

Squeeeeze!!   Real orange juice is better than the rest. 

I prefer to only bake them for about 10-11 minutes so they aren't too crisp. 

Nana's Glazed Orange Cookies

3/4 Cup Crisco 
1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Cups Sifted Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
pinch Salt
11/2 tsp grated Orange Rind

Beat shortening and sugar until well blended. Mix in eggs. 
Stir in flour and remaining ingredients. 
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet. 
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes depending on desired crispness. 
Spread on a spoonful of topping as soon as cookies are removed from the oven.  
Then allow to cool on the pan.

1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Orange Juice
1/2 tsp Orange Rind ( or more if you like) 

Just like most of Nana's cookies, these taste awesome frozen. But they are also great fresh with a big glass of milk or a nice cup of tea.  

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Teaching Grace

Last night I had a very interesting experience with my Little A. She was being a grump as we neared bedtime and was not playing nicely with her brother or her baby cousin.  I had already sent her to her room for a break and to think about her actions and while we were up there we talked about what God has told us about how we treat others.  Before letting her go back downstairs to play, I reminded her of the consequences of her actions and told her that if she wasn't sharing and playing nicely she would be sent back upstairs and would go to bed early. (There wasn't that much time til bed, but any thought of an early bedtime is a bad thing in her mind)

After a few happy, playful moments Little A wanted to cuddle her Daddy and read a book.  She climbed up on the couch with her chosen literature and as the were about to read, the worst thing happened!  Her little brother wanted to read to! (Insert sarcastically shocked face here)

So of course, the best way to handle this terrible situation is to try to push him away from her and Daddy, with her feet.  She kicked/pushed him and knocked him into the coffee table. I looked at Little A sternly and she immediately began to cry as she realised that she was going to get into trouble for the choice she made.  I sent her upstairs to her room to think about what she did and went up after a couple of minutes to talk with her.

When I got upstairs I began our usual discussion.  There are always 3 things on my list to talk with her about when she has gotten in trouble or has gone for a break. We always try to ask her:
1) what she did that was wrong?
2) why is that wrong? ( normally we try to talk to her about what God has called us to do or behave like when we talk about the why, it's not just a simple "it's not nice" kind of answer)
3)what should we do next time ?

This time when I asked her what she did that was wrong, she started to answer then began to sob and say "I have to go peeee!" So we ran to the bathroom to do her business and continue our discussion.
She knew exactly what she had done that was wrong and began to sob as we discussed the rest. It took a long time to get through our 3 point discussion.  She had a hard time answering my questions because she kept saying things like, "I don't want a spank, you shouldn't give me one."

Spanking is not something that happens very often in our house, I would rather exhaust all other alternatives consequences first. But we have actually sat down with Little A and asked her what she thought we should be consequences for certain behaviours and she herself chose spankings. I was shocked but it is what works for her.

Anyway, to try to help her understand things I asked her what should happen to her little brother if he kicked her. "He should have a spank." She responded without tears.  "So, if you kick him, what should your consequence be?"  "I should have a spank," she replied with a sad nod.

This is when my heart was rocked by 8 little words from the cutest girl I know.

"Mommy, I want you to show me grace."

Please just let that sink in for a second.

How would you respond?

I was horribly torn.    On one hand she had just been trying to get out of her consequences for kicking her brother and she really did not want to have a spanking.  On the other hand, I believe that we are the best example of who God is for our children until they have a chance to experience his love on their own. So because I feel like we show her a picture of who God is, in how we love, show grace and in discipline and correction, I was stuck with indecision for a moment, thinking"what should I do?"

This is not a normal request for a 3 year old, to ask for grace.  Maybe to ask not to be spanked or not to have a time out, but the words that she chose made all the difference.  

Probably a week and a half ago Little A got into trouble for being disobedient. It was mild and really wasn't something I needed to stand my ground on, but I had told her to do it and she chose not to listen.  She did not get a time out but I did pull her aside, sit her on my lap and have our normal 3 point discussion. She asked me if she was going to get a spanking for what she did.  Really, I was not about to give her one for something I didn't think was a big issue, but I used the opportunity to teach her about Grace.  " Do you think you should have a spanking for doing what you did?"   
"Yes." she responded downcast. 
"Well, this time mommy is going to show you some grace. I know that you were caught up in what you were doing and that you were not trying to disobey, so I am not going to spank you. I am going to show you grace just like God shows us grace." That was all I said. I didn't go into much detail of what grace is or tell her a long story about what God has done for us. It was short and sweet and I didn't think it sunk in at all.   
She had not talk about grace since then and never had before that time. 

Until yesterday. 

So, there I am torn, her sad little face staring into my eyes waiting for my response.  I had to ask myself, is it more important for her to have the consequence we just discussed her deserving, or is it better to show her the grace of God and let her continue without the consequence. 

I don't allow my kids to manipulate me with their tears (they are both amazingly gifted at faking them), and we, Hubby and myself, both believe that we must follow through with any consequence that we have set out, consistency is key with parenting.  But.  She really seemed sincere in her request for grace. It didn't feel like manipulation and I felt a stirring in my spirit to allow this to be about something bigger than a consequence. 

So I sat her down in front of me and held her hands. "You know what sweetie, this time, I am going to show you grace.   It was not okay that you kicked your brother. God has told us that we need to be kind to our brothers and sisters. ( John 13:34  simplified for kids) But God has also shown us grace, we sin and he still chose to send his son and forgive us even when we don't deserve it.  Next time when you don't like what your brother is doing, you need to remember that I showed you grace and that you need to show him grace as well."

She hugged me with tears in her eyes and ran to her room to finish getting ready for bed. 

Thats when I started to doubt.  I started to feel like I had been played and she just got away with something and was going to continue to use the "show me grace" thing to get out of trouble. 

But then, when she was laying in bed and saying her "Thank you" prayers (when she says thank you to God for a million things that she is thankful for), part of her prayer went like this:
"And thank you God that Mommy showed me grace like you do."

The doubt began to slip away and was able to trust again in the leading I had thought I felt.  Today, to add to the reassuring, Little A stopped herself a few times when she was being mean to her brother. Then at one point she actually stopped herself when he was being a pest and said "I am showing you grace, here let me help you."

I almost cried.  It was amazing to actually see her grasp hold of grace and what it means.  

Grace is something that most of us adults don't really understand.   We get the basic idea but we constantly fight against it feeling like we must do something to earn it instead of allowing the real miracle of grace to cover us and all of our sin. Then, because we don't walk in grace, we fail to show the grace of God to others as well.  

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16

Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:13-14

Monday, 6 January 2014

My One Resolution

I sat down the other day to think of some resolutions for this new year.  This is not something that I normally do, or at least do well. I have on occasion chosen a resolution and went at it hard and heavy for about a month or so before it died out.   

As I sat thinking of all of the things that I could do better this year:
~ be more involved at church
~spend more time in prayer
~spend more time outside with my kids (especially in the snow, I hate being cold so they miss out on playing outside while its really cold, unless Hubby takes them out)
~ read more & study more 
~ go on more dates with Hubby

Then it finally hit me.  The best thing I can do this year, the thing that I can do that will actually make a difference is this:

Love God, 
Live like Christ, 
Do what He made me to do. 

That's it.  That's all folks. 
My resolutions really just need to be those things and everything else will fall into place. 

That is how we are supposed to live anyway, aren't we?

There are so many times in our lives that we feel the pressure of being more perfect, more like someone else. We feel like we need to do more and be more.   But what we really need to be doing is spending more time Loving God and letting His love shine through us, making us More Like Christ, and causing us to walk out what He has planned and created us for. 

All of the resolutions that I was adding to my list of things to do better, are good things.  But even though they are intended for good, if we are doing them out of our own selfish desires to seem more Godly or more "perfect",  than they are a hindrance and not a help. 

Looking at my first list of resolutions, they are all attainable things.  It should be easy to get more involved in church, be with my kids and date my Hubby.   But, those things will flow naturally when we are Loving God and Living more like Christ.    Those activities will be easy when I am doing what He made me to do. 

We don't need to think about what we can do better.   We need to think of what we need to get rid of, walk away from, and let go of in our lives.   
When we get rid of our distractions we can focus on God and spend time basking in His love.  
When we walk away from negative relationships and unhealthy habits we have more time to Live Like Christ. 
When we let go of our need to be perfect, our guilts and our baggage, we can actually Walk in what we were Called to. 

So, What are you resolving to do this year?