Thursday, May 26, 2011

National Jukebox

Randy stumbled across something recently that I'd like to share.  The Library of Congress recently 'released' the National Jukebox, which makes historical sound recordings available to the public free of charge.  Right now the Jukebox includes more than 10,000 recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925, but I believe it is their intention to continually add to the collection.

For all kinds of reasons, I think its pretty great that they've compiled it all and are sharing it with everyone.  I've browsed around a little bit on it, but I'm sure I haven't even touched the surface.  What I'm most excited about is how much of a teaching resource it can be.  Whether you're studying music or just that time period in any subject, having access to the original music can provide a very educational perspective.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

What Mothers Do

About a month or so ago, I ran across a book, "what mothers do: especially when it looks like nothing" by Naomi Stadlen.  At first glance it seemed to address a lot of what I was dealing with currently.  I went out and bought it but haven't made the time to finish reading it.  But, I'm now working on it.  Today I read this passage and thought it was really worth sharing.  I wish I would have been told (and equally listened to) something like this.  The further I get in time away from those first weeks and months, I see how applicable this is.

"...She supposes her baby must be out of line because he does not do what the expert assured her was "normal" for a baby of that particular age.  It may sound strange, but the solution to this "problem" does not seem to be a super-expert...If she feels disoriented, this is not a problem requiring bookshelves of literature to put right.  No, it is exactly the right state of mind for the teach-yourself process that lies ahead of her.  Every time a woman has a baby she has something to learn partly from her culture but mostly from the baby.  If she really considered herself an expert, or if her ideas were set, she would find it very hard to adapt to her individual baby.  Even after her first baby, she cannot sit back as an expert on all babies. Each child will be a little different and teach her something new.  She needs to feel uncertain in order to be flexible.  So, although it can seem so alarming, the "all-at-sea" feeling is appropriate.  Uncertainly is a good starting point for a mother.  Through uncertainty, she can begin to learn."

My biggest complaint over the last 6 months has been control.  I've wanted it all to be an exact science when I should have been embracing the instability and confusion.  So far, I really enjoy the book, even though I'm only 50 pages in.  It is discussing all of the assumptions about motherhood that just get overlooked and not acknowledged (even by ourselves) as significant, not just in accomplishment, but in how it changes our lives (body and spirit).  It's helping me appreciate the whole process more, anyway.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Jude Report: 6 Months & Counting

Last week was Jude's 6 month appointment with the pediatrician and her first response was "He looks fantastic!" So, looks like we're on the right track! He's sitting up on his own most of the time, likes to bounce and face-plant some, but most exciting is that he officially has a tooth! I think it came through Tuesday night, but didn't notice it until Wednesday night.  Anyway, praise God everything is going like it should and here are a few recent pictures. Until today, I hadn't noticed how prominent his little elf ears are becoming - so cute! :)

Playing with a stuffed turtle Uncle Stephen & (soon to be) Aunt Hannah got him. 

He LOVES Randy's guitar and sheet music. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

When It's Time To Change...

Whew! I am exhausted! Thankfully, its the result of some really good things.  Friday night Randy and I stayed up too late watching movies, but it was really nice to spend the time together like that. Definitely worth it! Saturday was packed with yard work, laundry, time with my nephew Eli, our friend Zade's 2nd birthday and then great conversations into the wee hours with Zade's parents.  Definitely worth it! And then today, despite the sleep deprivation all 3 of us were experiencing, we made it worship services early, I pulled off my first piano recital (as a teacher), and some good fellowship at dinner time.  And again, definitely worth it! But boy am I tired!!

This great weekend has brought to my mind lots of changes.  Kids grow and change, relationships change, the scenery can change, some people leave, new people come around.  And sometimes that scares the tar out of us, doesn't it?  But today, I'm not scared and I want to encourage you to not be either.  Every stage of life has beauty and strength if you intend to find it.  Every circumstance, group of people, or location, has value and benefit if we search it out.  As we sit on the brink of summer, think about the good, the growth and the gem in wherever you are, be it a brand new situation or one covered with dust.

Monday, May 9, 2011

There Are No Bad Things

In a typical day of the average American, wouldn't you say a lot of it would be spent trying to make themselves feel better?  Everything from discomfort, boredom, frustration to actual pain and suffering, we work really hard to eliminate it, don't we? I know I do. If I just wasn't so tired, hungry, upset, mistreated, left out, etc., then I would do what needs to be done.  I'm especially bad about expecting my day or an experience to go one way and then when it gets fouled up, everything is just over. I give up, in a fit of frustrated self-righteousness!  And then what if something really bad happens? My heart just about refuses to accept it. "It's not FAIR!!"

I've been feeling this exact way about my weight.  Despite my hard work and best efforts, I (so far) can't seem to really lose weight while still nursing Jude.  Have you ever felt that way about something?  I'm certain there are so many more people who have much more legitimate complaints than I, which is partially my point.  It's become very clear that God is allowing this to work on my pride problem.  I do not like it, but I have to admit, its definitely a good choice to teach me.  Quite a sore spot.

I recently heard someone talk about suffering and its role in our christian lives.  Their point was that in a christian life, there can be no bad things, according to Romans 28:28-29.  There may be things we don't like or wouldn't choose, but they are all opportunities to be shaped more Christ-like.  From that view, every single negative thing that comes our way is a wonderful thing - another chance to grow and celebrate God's power.  I do not live this way, not even close.  I'm more likely to whine and complain about the slightest pain or discomfort than to be thankful for what anything negative might allow me to do.  But I'd really like to try to change that.

So, here's my first try.  I really wish this weight-loss was a lot easier, but I am thankful that I'm gaining mercy and empathy for any and all who have ever struggled.  I'm glad to be reminded that Jesus willingly allowed so many things to happen to him that he never deserved and could even have stopped. In light of that, who am I to demand that things be easier for me.  And, I look forward to the day that I can genuinely have a meek and gentle spirit about me.

"I work like it's all up to me and pray like it's all up to God and rejoice in the circumstances."
                                                         - Ken Hutcherson

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Momma mia!

When you have a baby, your mailbox (literal and electronic) seems to get flooded with offers and magazines from the get-go.  It's nice to have information about what's happening in your child's life to consult from time to time, but I do think there is a down side. Because magazine articles rely so heavily on statistics and short articles, it is easy to start clumping every mom together and expect that your life as a mother must fit a certain type or mold.  It's like you move from a glamour magazine that's deciding if you're  style is 'sporty' or 'fashionista' to a baby magazine that tries to categorize your parenting style.  It's fun, I guess, and sometimes informative, but I think it does just as much harm in my thinking as good.

With Mother's Day today, I've read a lot of mothering things lately and one thing is clear: Every mom is different and every child is different so therefore their relationship is different.  But its easy to overlook that.  Mom's compare their abilities to other moms.  Mom's compare their children to other children. Kids as they age compare their moms to other moms.  And I'm not going to say that just because every mom is different then every mom is a good mom. Its sadly not true.  There are heartbreaking stories everywhere about moms who never really mothered, but only neglected or abused. But what I am saying is that being a different kind of mom,  having a different kind of relationship than those you see around you doesn't make you a lacking mom.

It wasn't until I had Jude that I understood how powerful motherhood is.  The impact it has on your heart and the innumerable directions things can go because of it.  It seems foolish to expect that every mother should fit into one of a few molds.  It's just silly.  My mom didn't mother in the days of google and cable internet.  But she rubbed our feet and sang us songs.  My mom never rode a roller coaster in my lifetime (that I know of), but she always wore herself out to make us feel special on our birthdays.  Still does.  I was blessed with the opportunity to be a nanny for a couple of awesome little boys, Collin & Jared for about 3 years.  Because of that experience, I wasn't freaked out by motherhood like some have said they were. Yay for me, but then instead I've let my schedule and my perfectionist nature stress me out.

Some idolize their moms just because of the role they play. Others criticize every last thing about their mothers, somehow expecting them to be perfect.  And I think the truth is at the heart of both.  We love our mothers because of the role they play. They are our mothers - who get up in the middle of the night for you, who donate part of their body/life/identity to you, and sacrifice their heart for you.  But also, we learn to love them because they are imperfect, sometimes broken, sometimes clueless and yet they mother anyway.  Randy has often made the assumption that because I've taken care of children before that I should always know what to do with Jude.  And sometimes I'm just as clueless as he is, but I don't give up because it gets hard or I don't know the answer.  Motherhood isn't about perfection.  Motherhood is about love.

Whether you are a mom trying to be perfect or a child with perfect expectations for your mother, remember that perfect can not and does not exist.  But love abounds. Thanks mom for continuing to mother when I didn't think I needed one.  I definitely get it now.

Happy Mother's Day