Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ready Or Not, Here Comes 2011

2010 was the year of the baby for us, as well as many others.  As  2011 is about to be upon us, I've been thinking about the past year and how things went.  What went well, what I could have done better, that kind of thing.  One of the things that pleased me the most about this year was of course Jude, but specifically that I was able to have him at home successfully without any complications.  It was a wonderful experience and I am so thankful for it!  And while none of it was possible without God's protection, we did plan and prepare for it almost the entire year.  

What do you want out of 2011?  Whatever it might be, how much effort, planning and thought are putting into it?  The reason that New Year's resolutions get a bad reputation is because we just will things to be different in our minds, but do very little to ensure success.  There was a lot to my 2010 - many changes, many failures, but some really significant victories.  My failures were from neglect - lack of attention, lack of effort.  My victories were from fierce commitment and prayer.

I'm convinced that you can do anything you truly desire, commit to and work at.  The problem we usually have is the follow through, which proves how important certain things really are.  How many hours last year did you spend working towards those goals you set last year at this time? And then how many hours did you spend playing video games or stalking on facebook? I'm as guilty as the next guy, but its a point we can't ignore.  If something is truly important and we really expect change or progress, we have to spend the time, work, and preparation for it.

Before the week is out I am going to sit down and think about what I want out of the coming year.  I hope you will too and I would LOVE to hear some of your thoughts.  Accountability is a fabulous thing!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review: For Women Only

For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men
By: Shaunti Feldhahn

Back of the book summary:
What’s going on in a man’s mind? From their early days, every woman has struggled to understand why males behave the way they do. Even long-married women who think they understand men have only scratched the surface. Beneath a man’s rugged exterior is an even more rugged, unmapped terrain. What bestselling author Shaunti Feldhahn’s research reveals about the inner lives of men will open women’s eyes to what the men in their life—boyfriends, brothers, husbands, and sons—are really thinking and feeling. Men want to be understood, but they’re afraid to “freak out” the women they love by confessing what is happening inside their heads. This book will guide women in how to provide the loving support that modern men want and need. 

My experience:
A group of us read this book and went through the discussion guide together over a few months.  It is a VERY easy read, it is based on Biblical principles regarding marriage, but never gets into doctrine of any kind and seems pretty right on in her understanding/discoveries of the male psyche.   The book discusses 7 areas where women often misunderstand or just don't realize about men.  So, even though the reader may know some things, chances are there will be at least one or two areas that will help them understand their spouse better.

I always have great intentions when it comes to my relationships, especially with Randy, but I need lots of reminding and repetitions before I really get something.  This book taught me things I didn't really know before and reminded me of a LOT that I needed to make a priority.  It was a very encouraging read and motivated me to work harder and smarter in my marriage.

My personal tip: Get the Discussion Guide! In it is short recaps, talking points and such, which is great for a group.  However, the best gem in it doesn't even require a group! At the end of each corresponding chapter there are questions (homework, if you will) to ask your spouse.  It may sound a little goofy at first, but most of us agreed that in having these specific discussions with our husband, we gained a much greater  understanding of him, specifically.  Which is what it's all about anyway, right? :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Strong-Willed Secret

A popular post from the archives:

For those who are not strong-willed or have never dealt with a strong-willed child, you may not know what I'm talking about.  And if that is the case with you, be thankful.  Now those of you familiar with a strong-willed personality, here are a few confessions.

The 'will' that is so strong, at least in myself, is often misdirected because of my emotions. Reason gets blinded by the fierceness of how I feel at the moment of conflict. Instead of being a 'never quit' kind of will, it results in an escalating kind that desperately seeks the soothing of the emotional desire.  In other words, I tend to not stop until I get my way, which isn't a noble victory usually.

As any mother will tell you, the hormones flooding your body after giving birth can be overwhelming once the initial excitement dies down.  Adding hormones to an already emotional person can be destructive and especially difficult on those close by (like a spouse).  Adjusting to Jude has been pretty easy, but my dealings with myself have gotten a little out of hand.  The perfectionistic streak took hold pretty quickly, wanting to 'master' the new rhythm of having a baby in the house before I start teaching piano again in a few weeks.  Long story short, I was driving Randy crazy!

This last week Randy was sick and a man of even fewer words than normal.  Once he finally felt better this weekend, he let me know a few things.  Now, these conversations were not enjoyable by either one of us, least of all me.  I DESPISE being told what I'm doing wrong.  He called me on some emotional games I was playing and childish reactions that I wasn't and shouldn't be proud of.  This didn't just happen once either.  At least 2 or 3 different conversations over the course of 2 days were had.  Why am I even talking about this?

Even though my strong-will is like a tornado sometimes, when I have limits there is an amazing calm that replaces the storm.  The presence of rules and boundaries that are enforced and I am held to gives me peace.  As a result, I had a fabulous day yesterday and have already accomplished (with joy) so much today! Randy created and consistently enforced standards for my behavior (reactions, etc.) and even though it wasn't a fun experience for either of us, it has had amazing results.

Everybody's different, but from the heart of a very strong-willed child, let me tell you: Consistency, structure, limits, and boundaries brings peace, joy and security.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What Are You Allergic To?

I have a pretty sensitive system, always have.  At various points in my life I've had several weird allergic reactions to certain chemicals and such.  So, I'm used to it, but my latest one just cracked me up and apparently I'm not the only one this time! Not even 12 hours after I'd read about being clumsy for a little while after having a baby I sliced my thumb cutting vegetables.  The last time I had needed a bandage I used one of the last ones. So, of course I got a new package from the store and until slicing my thumb, hadn't used any of the new package.  Normally I use BandAid brand, but this time I went cheap-o and bought Curad.  Anyway, I bandaged up my thumb and went about my business.  That night/next morning while I was up feeding Jude, I noticed my thumb itching pretty bad around the edge of the bandage, almost like poison ivy or something.  The next day it was worse and itching ravenously.  Finally, once it had made a ring around my finger just at the edge of the bandage, I got a clue and ripped it off.  Either I had poison ivy or I was allergic to the bandage!

To make a long story short, I showed my mom a day or two later and once I told her the brand, she too had experienced the same thing.  Funniest of all, unbeknownst to my mom, turns out dad's allergic too! And, googling it produced other people have had issues too!  It's the weirdest thing.  You just never know!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Have Patience, Don't Be in Such a Hurry...

Did you ever learn that song?    I may have sang it in public more than once.  Lately, I have been so impatient about EVERYTHING.  I was impatient about when Jude would get here.  I was impatient about my recovery, getting back in shape, finding the rhythm of day to day when it now includes Jude - you name it and I've been antsy about it!  It doesn't help that November is a blur and now December makes me feel behind already!  The silly part of my impatience is its all related to areas that are almost entirely out of my control!  Time and circumstance have taken over our lives and my little controlling heart can't do a thing about it!

This time of year its so easy to get our minds set on life going a certain way and grow impatient when the universe (our family, the cashier, the traffic, you name it)) doesn't comply.  And when we let that impatience rule everything, we ruin everything.  The joy of all we get to be a part of gets lost.  Faith and peace in God isn't demonstrated in our lives.  Most importantly, we try to take over God's job on the planning committee.  He's the planner, we're just the assistant, free to make suggestions but ultimately in charge of carrying out plans more than making them.

May we all have a patient day!  And here's some childhood inspiration!  Ignore the video and just listen.

Friday, December 3, 2010

December Musings

Welcome to December! I wonder what kind of a winter we're going to have this year.  Last year was definitely something to remember here in Oklahoma.  The winter wonderland we had created quite a bit of trouble for anyone trying to go anywhere! My brothers and sister-in-law spent way too many hours merely traveling here in the metro.  But, if you didn't have to be out in it, it provided a lot of fun!

It really is easy, as the Bible says, to love those that love you, but its quite a different story to love those that hate you.  I think being thankful is the same way.  It was easy for me to enjoy and be grateful for all the snow last year because I got to enjoy it.  The snow loved me, so to speak.  I didn't have to get out in it much and I certainly wasn't stuck anywhere.  On the other hand, I'm sure those that battled with the weather weren't thinking straightaway how thankful they were for wretched conditions that fouled up their holiday plans.  And yet, that's where true thankfulness and peace live.  As we all feasted (some multiple times) last week, it was really easy to be thankful, wasn't it?  But this week, where perhaps stress is greater, there's no days off and the end of the year looms, can you practice thankfulness just as abundantly? That's my personal challenge for this weekend - to see all of the things in my life that 'hate me' and find joy and gratitude for them.  

Monday, November 29, 2010

And We're Back

Isn't it bizarre when your life changes in a huge way, whether for the better or worse, and the world just keeps on turning, almost as if nothing happened?  Your part of the world will never be the same, but still winter keeps coming and everywhere else is business as usual.  It's surreal, let me tell you.

On Wednesday, November 10 at 7:29 p.m., Jude Xavier Butler was born and each day holds a little bit more meaning than the day before.  I was blessed to be able to have him at home in the environment I wanted and thankful that he is so healthy and strong!  This is not the case with many people and feel so indebted to God for such an answer to prayer!  It's definitely the coolest thing I've ever done!

Even though Randy went back to work last Monday, since he was off for Thanksgiving, today is the beginning of a real 'back to normal' week, as if that will ever really exist again!  I love new beginnings, like the start of a school year or new year's resolutions and having him feels like the best kind!  It promises to increase my writing and deepen my discipline.   If you think of it, please pray for us in the coming weeks that we establish healthy bonds and routines that will benefit all of us, but especially Jude in the future.

And before you go, let me share with you the oddest statement I've yet to make.  Here are some pictures of my son - emphasis on MY SON!  It is so bizarre to think that I have a son, but nonetheless here he is at 2 weeks old.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Getting What You Ask For

Happy November!  I love this time of year! Not everyone does, I know, but you have to admit there are several really great things about November.  Changing leaves are beautiful and fun to hear crunch when you walk.  Even if you don't like the cold, a break from the heat is nice.  And Thanksgiving! I think that says enough, don't you? :)

Along the lines of thankfulness and appreciating what you've been given, how often do you get exactly what you ask for?  In my own life, I think I get exactly what I ask for more than I realize.  Don't our desires and expectations for something often stay buried and our actually asking, of God or others, produces the polite things to say?  And who is to say that's wrong a lot of times?  We live in a world of too many wants that are extreme or unnecessary.  But, I was thinking about some of the blessings in my life that I really appreciate right now (like a husband who will do 2 weeks worth of grocery shopping, make dinner, dessert and clean up) and it occurred to me.  Many of those things I asked for.  Many of the things that have disappointed or been mediocre were in fact exactly what I asked for also.

I'm told my grandmother used to say that "If all you want is to get married, ANYBODY can get married."  As teenagers and single adults, or at least the female ones, this is a topic that comes up over and over. And I've known people who 'just wanted to get married' and when they did, all they got was a husband.  Not love, not companionship, but just another set of problems.  My point isn't about marriage as much as it is clarifying what our desires really are and making sure to ask accordingly.  Do we limit each other and God by only asking for surface things?  Not that I realized what I was doing at the time, but as a young girl and beyond, I always prayed for a genuine love in a husband.  I despised fake things and if it was going to be halfway or empty, I didn't want it. And growing, I always wanted to grow (again, didn't know what kind of a load I was asking for, ha!) and not just live life on the surface.  With the included thorns and all, I can say I've been blessed with exactly what I asked for.  Though, honestly I didn't plan or welcome those thorns.

Sometimes we ask for the best, only to be disappointed in what it takes to receive the best.  Sometimes we ask for mediocrity, only to be disappointed in the quality of our gift.  In both cases, though, we get what we ask for.  Neither is to be despised, but appreciated for what they are - exactly what we requested.  I guess in my brain sometimes there is a disconnect between what my heart is thinking and what actually makes it to my lips.  My body assumes the two are connected so if an idea is present in one, it should automatically be in the other. The trouble is, they rarely are.

The lesson I need to learn:
If I want more, ask for it.  Then expect to work for it.
If I don't want to ask for more/work for it, don't be disappointed when it isn't lavished upon me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Family Traditions

One of the joys of my life has always been some of our family traditions.  Usually connected to holidays somehow, there are  times of year and particular milestones that dually bring about fond memories of the past and childlike excitement for future events.  Whether you 'celebrate' particular holidays or not, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Everything from birthdays to christmas and including that random thing your family always did/does even though you're not sure why.

Neighborhood walks with the dogs - a small pleasure

After getting married, Randy and I have had more than one conversation where we look at each other in disbelief, only to qualify it by saying, "It's not (enter a holiday or event) without (enter a specific tradition)! For example, I come from a large family.  Thanksgiving dinner rarely consists of less than 25 people at least and more towards the 50 range, depending on which side we're talking about.  It doesn't feel like Thanksgiving unless there's a little bit of commotion and random conversations going on in every corner.  As opposites attracting usually creates, Randy's Thanksgiving traditions consist of 10 people or less (at least in my short years with him), and a much slower pace throughout the day.

Showers of food, fun and gifts for the arrival of a new child
Why do I bring this up?  First of all, I think its fun to compare those things in life that just seem solid and automatic, as though there's no other way in the world to do it. As kids, don't we assume that about a lot of things?  Anyway, this is also on my mind because I'm about to start my own family with the addition of a baby Butler and that requires the melding of two childhoods and histories, traditions and all.  No matter what you choose to honor, celebrate or acknowledge as a parent, children grow up with traditions.  I have a strong desire to ensure my kids have really positive and meaningful traditions in their life and I'm looking for some really fun, yet uncommon ideas.  Of course, halloween, thanksgiving, christmas, valentines, easter, etc. have been highlighted in our society, but there's a lot more to living and life than these, as we all know.  There are traditions for the start of a sport season, broken hearts, successes, anniversaries, etc.  Your family is unique and as such your traditions will be as well.  BUT, anybody have any fun/fond traditions that they either had as a kid or have started with your own?

Cedar Creek Camp - a lifetime tradition

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Some Inspiration

It is always fun to discover really cool things, like music or an awesome idea, but doesn't it make it just awesome when it originates with someone you actually know?  We can all ooh and aww over someone in the media spotlight, but its a little empty unless we actually have spoken to them before and they know your name.  Today, I'd like to share with you a few people who I think are awesome, who do some cool things and regularly inspire me.

Hannah Fancher does amazing things all the time that encourage me, inspire me and push me to be better.  She has 5 beautiful children and works regularly to improve herself and her family in so many ways.  I don't even have one child on the outside yet and I'm certain that she is working circles around me daily.  Perhaps I'm slightly biased because she's Randy's cousin, but I am thankful for the inspiration her and her family give me, all the way from California!

Alisha Hurt Photography is the brain child of none other than Alisha Hurt!  Even before we were formally introduced and I simply knew of her through friends, I've been such a fan of her work.  In some circles, photographers are a dime a dozen, getting pretty much the same thing every where you go.  This girl, however, has yet to disappoint.  She always has some creative and exciting take on all the work she accepts.  I love it, it always makes me smile and reminds me that its good to enjoy life.  She currently resides in California if you're interested in hiring her. Otherwise, her blog is continually bringing a bit of joy to the world!

Diane Hullet is a friend who can inspire me in multiple ways (the girl is so much fun to be around), but for this post I specifically am drawn to her sewing skills.  She might argue that she doesn't really know what she's doing and just plays around with stuff for her own benefit.  BUT, I have it on good authority that there are more than a few people walking around with clothing she has made or altered for them.  If she had a business or a blog, I would SO promote it.  What is most inspiring to me is that she may not 'know what she's doing' all the time, but she freely allows herself to experiment and learn.  That is something that a lot of us (or at least me) hinder in ourselves.  We accept that we don't know something and then somehow that turns into we never can or will!  The freedom to try, especially for Diane, turns into awesome creations and skills.

Isn't it great that the world is made up of so many DIFFERENT people. It gives us a lot of inspiration and room to grow!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Doing Good

Who can find a virtuous wife For her worth is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
                                                                                                                                 -Proverbs 31:10-12

Whether you are single or married, or even man or woman for that matter, it is worthy goal to have these words said of us.  Sometimes in the middle of busy weekends or chaotic work weeks, its easy for me to slip into a victim mode, throwing a pity party for things that didn't go right or extra work I have to do.  Its so easy to lose sight of my life through God's eyes and my purpose in other people's lives.  May we all be a person who longs to do right more than be right, and to give life more than get even.

October is my favorite month and we only have 2 weeks left of it!  Take note of the yards decorated today and sometime this week, take advantage of a pumpkin flavored something!  October 2010 will never be here again! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

A little fun for the weekend!

Here are a couple of videos of some sisters you might have heard of.  I'd forgotten about the band She & Him (featuring Zooey Deschanel) and stumbled across a new video, which reminded me of how much I enjoy them.  And there is a video of Emily Deschanel, who stars in Bones.  Just some quirky fun to brighten up the day! :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Changing Seasons

I went on a walk with the dogs this morning and was so thankful for the cool weather! So much so that I thanked God that the weather didn't stay the same all the time. And then it struck me how resistant to change we can be in our lives, all the while ignoring its natural, God-designed place in the world.  Everything has stages of growth, death, rebirth and change.  The natural world, weather, communities, families, relationships, physical bodies, personalities and hearts alike have, are and will go through shifts, growths and changes.  To stubbornly sit and demand that our circle is perfect and should never change or get better is naive and harmful.

There is beauty and benefit mixed with struggle and suffering in each season and change.  Whenever I can embrace that truth, the journey is a lot more joyful.  You'll never be here again so have a wonderful day!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Caring Too Much

I don't know about you, but I've said the words, "I know, I care too much about (insert personal flaw, like what I look like, money, clothes, etc.)" only to inwardly rationalize it away and never think of it again.  We all, I think, could have a laundry list of things that we easily get caught up in that, if we were honest with ourselves, isn't glorifying to God much less healthy to ourselves.

The majority of things aren't wrong to ever consider or do something about, but we just can't seem to leave it at that can we? Our considerations turn into obsessions or worrying escapades and before long the rest of our life only gets a fraction of attention. We all appreciate it when you look nice when you leave your house, but if how you look dominates more time than the needs of people around you or the health of your soul, its probably not something to brag about!

Here are a few things that I care too much about:
Being rejected
The age and quality of my kitchen floor
Being right
Being vulnerable
Just to name a few... :)

This weekend, think about something you care too much about and instead of just acknowledging it and leaving it where it is, try to care a little bit less. Replace it with a prayer for someone who needs it or a task you've been putting off. Growing rarely comes by leaps and bounds but by conscious decisions and tiny thoughts at a time.  Have a wonderful weekend!

35 Weeks

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Comparing, Contentment & Giraffes

Happy October! If I wasn't convinced before that October is my absolute favorite month of the year, I am now.  LOVE this weather! Taking walks with the dogs is so much more pleasant and fulfilling lately.  Which brings to mind the endless struggle with contentment.  Whether its just a nasty habit of finding the negative in everything or constantly comparing my life to others around me, contentment seems like a life-long lesson that may never completely leave me. Despite that possibility, I'd really like some ideas on promoting a content spirit in my every day life.

After perusing in the internet, below are a few suggestions I found that I liked.

-Cut down on your tv/movie/magazine/media time.  A constant ream of impossible standards or fake lives is a sitting duck for satan to plant a seed of ingratitude.
-Cultivate your creativity - spend time creating (writing, painting, building, etc.) stimulates positive and fulfilling feelings that do wonders at counteracting restless emotions.
-Spend time outside - whether 10 minutes or an hour, it energizes the mind and can remind us of all that God has provided.
-Focus on the journey of things, instead of an expected outcome.  If we appreciate processes, our idealistic expectations tend to relax into joy for the experience.
-Stop complaining - just eliminating the negative words can push out the discontent

What helps you appreciate your life, weakness and misfortunes included? How do you pursue contentment?  Life is changing so much that its clear that circumstances cannot be relied upon for this, so how do we keep steady when the winds are constantly shifting around us?

Who doesn't marvel at the giraffe? Even though as a kid one tried to attack me with its tongue, I still can't argue at the unique coolness of a giraffe.  But if humans were giraffes, how many would despise their height and long for a solid coat instead of one with spots?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Learning how to grow

The quote by Oscar Wilde at the top of this blog has been one of my favorites for a very long time.  It's a favorite because I identify so much with it.  There always seems to be an aspect of myself and/or my life that I've not felt satisfied with and for a while I approached that fact as a victim.  As a swooning teenager, I could convince myself that my circumstances would just magically change one day, the way they do in the movies.  If I hope and pray just a little bit harder, everything could just fall into place.  This quote summarizes the blaring billboard I was missing in myself.  I spent so much time thinking and obsessing over situations and negative circumstances that growing in the midst of life never occurred to me.  I honestly didn't understand that growth was something I would have to have an active part in.  The kind of growth that can really change our life doesn't just happen - we have to facilitate it and be open to it.  For me that usually means doing something different!  And you can't really say "I'll grow later". Trust me, I've tried.  Today is the day for the growth of tomorrow, as corny as that sounds.  I'm down to about 6 weeks or so left before (so I'm told) my life changes more than ever before.  It is tempting to use this stage of my life as an excuse to grow later because growth is happening whether I want it to or not!  But I'm thinking that there is still growth I can learn and facilitate for myself.

How do you grow? Where are you learning to grow?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Prenatal Workout Recommendation

Though I have not always exercised as much as I desired and intended to, I have been able to maintain a fitness level that I am proud of, all things considered.  The number one thing I've been able to do most of the time is walk 5-6 days every week for 30 minutes or more. That's free and relatively easy to do.  But walking can only do so much so before I got pregnant I went on a search for a safe but challenging prenatal workout.  This one came highly recommended and after using it (at least some) throughout my pregnancy, I feel confident in sharing it with those interested.
Summer Sander's Prenatal Workout, if done consistently, does two things that I love.  #1 It challenges your entire body to stay fit, regardless of the changes going on.  #2 It addresses pregnancy pains/symptoms with the program.  For each trimester there is a completely different workout, which is hard to find in workout DVD's like this.  
My one 'testimony' is from about a month ago.  Before I started the 3rd trimester program, I had a lot of hip, pelvic and lower back pain off and on all day.  Within two days of my first routine, the pain was almost gone.  Since starting the 3rd trimester, I no longer have any issues in that area. More than anything, I attribute that to the squats they incorporate into EVERYTHING. But still, the entire thing is sooo good.  So, if you're ever looking for a good workout DVD for pregnancy, give this one a try. It is available on Amazon for $12.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Purpose, Presence & Permission

"No struggle will come your way apart from God's purpose, presence, and permission." -Max Lucado

Last night Randy was late coming home from work because of a special event they were having on base.  I'm not one to care that much if he's late unless we have plans of some kind.  Well, yesterday was Wednesday and in order to make our rounds on time, we need to leave the house by 6:15.  He hadn't been available by phone since 10:00 a.m. and by the time 6:00 rolled around I started to worry.  Not a good thing in general but certainly not when you're pregnant.  Since he has NEVER been this late without calling before, between 6 and 6:25 I managed to work myself into a panic, complete with tears.  Everything was of course fine.  He hadn't had his phone with him, wasn't in a position to leave and didn't realize how late it was.  Just one of those things.

The reason I'm sharing this incident is because it demonstrates a lack of faith.  I prayed for Randy's safety, but I still allowed myself to react as though something had happened to him.  And isn't that what worrying is most of the time?  What if this happens or maybe that will be a problem?  Though I'm as guilty as the next guy, the incident above reminded me that worry - especially panicky worry - is not faith.  Not at all.  Even though our emotions have a hard time accepting the realities sometimes, the quote above is true.  God's purpose, presence and/or permission is always at work in the things we face.  If I can honestly believe that, then the panic and worry should subside into peace.  God's will for me is safe and secure.  Of course, I'm not criticizing grief or emotional reactions to life's struggles.  But the preemptive panic and worry that is usually ignoring God's control of all things - that's what can run rampant and ultimately only borrow trouble.

And while I need to trust God's will and protection of Randy much more, I did make it very clear to Randy that from now until the baby comes, he should never be without that phone! :) And in honor of our 4th wedding anniversary, here's one of my favorite songs with a couple of pretty good singers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Get Fuzzy

Next to Calvin & Hobbes, Get Fuzzy is probably my favorite comic and as such I have a daily strip sent to my inbox. In the last month or so, there was a hilarious series that daily just cracked me up. That's due partially to the language arts references, which I love, but still is just too funny not to share.  So, when you have 5 minutes to relax, have a few laughs on me. And for those unfamiliar with Get Fuzzy, the premise is Rob lives in an apartment with a generally offensive cat, Bucky and a sweet, but not that bright dog, Satchel.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Potty Training: More Work Than Necessary?

Now, I know what you're probably thinking.  It is way too soon in my experience of motherhood to have an opinion on potty training!  And in my defense, there are some things that are always better thought about beforehand.  However, this is more of query to those with opinions than anything.  Recently I ran across a highly recommended pediatrician that has very radical instructions/opinions about potty training.  At least they sounded radical to me because I'd never heard them before.  His take is to not 'train' at all and eventually the child will do it on his own.  I would love for you to read what he has to say (it's just one page) and let me know what you think.

Dr. Kelly Stephens - Potty Training

Dr. Kelly Stephens - Radical Thoughts

On the way to church Sunday we passed a local nursery and they had pumpkins out! Not sure how handy I'll be in the carving department this year, but it made me excited and nostalgic all at once.  This is last year's adventures.

I made a couple of pumpkin pies from fresh pumpkin - no cans!  And yes, you can taste the difference - they were delicious!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Real Life

It's Monday and life is getting more real all the time.  And for that I'm thankful.  As a teenager and especially in college, I spent a lot of time in my head and less time really engaging with others and my surroundings.  A lot of people are starting new stages in their life right now - new school, new relationships, new roles, even a new season is about to begin.  No matter what your new 'thing' is, you only get this opportunity once.  I'm on the downhill slide now of this pregnancy and the realness just keeps coming.  It is so exciting but I could miss it, overlook it or not really appreciate it.  I've done it before and I'm sure I'll do it again. But, this time around let's really live it, give it our full attention and don't hurry it away.

Last year about this time, we took a trip to Colorado and this was taken at the Great Sand Dunes Nat'l Park.  Talk about real life, after hiking 3/4 of the way to the top, we turned around because of the SAND STORM that attacked us!  It was a great day. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Book Review: Ministry of Motherhood

I recently read a book that, in light of my impending motherhood, should be on my reading list yearly if not more.  Its a few years old so perhaps many have already read it, but at the chance that some hadn't, I thought it was good enough to share.

The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ's Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children
By Sally Clarkson
In my own preparation for the tornado that motherhood is about to bring me, much of the information and conversations are on childcare, as in diapers, furniture, discipline, and so on.  There is less talk about  the spiritual lives of children and what I can do outside of "set a good example" or "teach them the love God", which, by the way, I expect are core principles to parenting.  The difficulty is that it rarely goes further than that.  How do you set the right example and how do you teach them to love God?  The great thing about this book is that, to me, it showed me several ways to just that AND kept parenting in a healthy perspective.

Just a taste of what this book discusses:
We are expected and commanded to give good gifts to our children.  Clarkson shares her desire to make sure those gifts weren't just physical things and what she came up with.  Below are the 5 sections of the book and within each section are approximately 4-5 chapters that go into detail about how to give that gift.

The Gift of Grace
The Gift of Inspiration
The Gift of Faith
The Gift of Training
The Gift of Service

Ultimately, the book is a mother sharing stories about her own children and what they've learned from each other, but every section was full of things I either hadn't thought of or was not remembering long enough to practice it in my life.  It is sold on or you can save money like me and borrow it from your local library!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Eating an Elephant

 "How do you eat an elephant?"       

"One bite at a time!"

It is silly but holds so much good advice for every part of life.  This week I've committed to not only watering our plants first thing in the morning, but also doing some weeding.  It doesn't have to be tons, but some. This morning, though I wasn't that motivated to do it, I started watering and had almost talked myself out of weeding when guilt took over.  By the time I had taken my body to its limit, something amazing happened.  I felt so much better.  My backyard needs a lot of work and has shouldered a lot of neglect this year, but it didn't feel doomed.  And the thought that I would come back in a day or two and do a little bit more just energized me.

Emotions, just like Oklahoma weather, are bound to change if you give it a little time.  My habit is to tackle (or maybe endure) something full force and then when I stop, put it completely out of my mind until it becomes a fire again that forces itself onto me.  That approach is mere survival and is more like a spasm than anything and only reoccurs, usually worse. What I'm thinking today is that my emotional control is no different than weeds.  If I monitor my emotions regularly - not just when things seem out of control - I will find handling an out of control situation a lot easier.  I guess anything unhealthy or sinful is managed a lot easier when monitored regularly rather than only thought about in the heat of a tempting moment.

Little things and big things seem to morph into elephant size over night, in our heads at least.  Overwhelming tasks can quickly cause you to quit altogether because it all just seems too much to handle.  If we (I) would only recognize that the only way things get better is one step or bite at a time, real growth and improvement would be inevitable.