Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Teach us to number our days

I'm continuing to read A Place of Quiet Rest in the morning as I have time. I really liked the part I read today, especially after the day we had yesterday. Today her (Nancy Leigh DeMoss) focus was on restoration of our souls (Psalm 23). Just thinking about that is refreshing to me. Probably because I've felt that weariness of soul many times before, and know what renewal comes with the restoration. It's not just resting, but resting in Him. In all of us there is a deep spiritual hunger and we need spiritual food to fill it. Time in prayer, study, worship, quiet reflection. That's where I find it. It's a good reminder to slow down even if the pace around us is hectic, to make the time to allow Him to refresh and restore us. (I have to take my own advice!)

We had the radio on this morning and Julian came up to me pulling my hand. I wasn't sure what he was doing until he said "dance, mommy". He wanted me to get up and dance with him! How adorable.

It's hard to believe I'm coming to the end of the story of David. Today in 1Kings 1 David is very old and frail. His son Adonijah is appointing himself king without David's knowledge. Those close to him (the prophet Nathan, Bathsheba) warn him so he swears on oath to Bathsheba with others listening that their son Solomon shall be king. David even in his old age made all the plans and preparations. Solomon was anointed as king and he took his seat upon the royal throne. As I was reflecting on what today's word was teaching me, I was thinking about David's old age and how fleeting our lives really are. Many times I hear to live each day to the fullest (Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12.) How many of us really do that? I'll be first to admit I get comfortable in the day to day routines of life and often don't think about it. It was good to stop and reflect on that.

It was so beautiful today, we had to spend some time outside. I put together some food and Julian and I had a little picnic in the back yard. After lunch, we headed to McKee Farms which is a 60 acre park 10 minutes from our house. Julian is finally big enough to go on the kids play structure and he enjoyed it a lot. When we were leaving he got to see a couple fire trucks racing down the street, he was excited about that.

Tonight our small group got together to help some families in the area with groceries. We met at the food pantry and worked together to pick out the groceries and get them ready. Julian got to join us and most of the time he had fun just watching everyone. Our friend played hide and seek and chase with him and he just loved it. He'd squeal with laughter every time she popped out and surprised him.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Had a challenging day

Wow, I am tired! What a day. This ended up being a mixed blessing day. It was definitely more challenging than normal and more draining too. I'm going to try and keep it short so I can get some R&R!

Daddy has an earlier schedule this week so we were solo for breakfast again. Nothing really noteworthy about waffles and strawberries. This was a blessing though, knowing now what comes later in the day. After breakfast, we joined our friend and her son at the Verona library for story time. It was nice. There was play time after and I'm having to watch Julian a lot closer since he's more aggressive now. We went to Culver's after and lunch was fine up until Julian hurt his finger. I felt awful. We came out of the bathroom and all of a sudden I hear him screaming. He had gotten his finger caught in the door! It even broke the skin around his nail and he cried and cried, it was so hard on my heart. I wasn't prepared for how much I would hurt as he hurts. The staff were nice and brought us a couple band aids. We left soon after that.

On our way home, he asked to go to the park so we stopped off. His finger seemed to be doing OK. He loves hanging out on the jungle gym. There were a few kids running around though and one of them knocked him down. I had to talk to him about being careful since it really upset Julian. His mom came over and had a strong talk with him too. It was really windy and the wind was pretty cold so we left soon after. We did some coloring and markers. Then we went outside and I did some more garden prepping and cleaning of the back porch while Julian played.

He took a good nap before dinner but woke up pretty groggy. This ended up being the hardest part of the day. I was finishing dinner and Julian wouldn't let daddy comfort him, he kept wanting me to hold him. Even if I held him a few and then set him down he still wouldn't stop crying saying "mommy, mommy". I tried to interest him in food and when he started to throw it on the floor while crying I decided to take a breather and let him calm down in his crib. When he got up he was back in good spirits and was about to get in his chair when he slipped and bumped his head on the floor. It just wasn't his day! This started the crying all over again and it took so long to finally calm him down. I agreed to let him eat waffles just to get some food in him and end the crying. We definitely experienced some fall out in not having his morning nap. He ended up going to bed well and even played a little hide and seek with me.

I finished 2Samuel 24 today and read more on the Proverbs 31 woman. What really comes across is how her family is her number one priority. This definitely resounded with me as I reviewed the verses of the various ways she provides for them and works hard. Verse 27 really sums it up. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. What a great reminder about honoring God with you work by not being idle. I was also blessed today by a fellow blogger who shared a beautiful song on her blog today. It was Your Hands by J.J. Heller. To listen to it go to

Now I get to wind down and relax after a challenging day.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Back from our weekend away

I have a new look to the blog. I chose a new template on Blogger Design. It was a nice change. I'm back from our weekend away and have a lot to post.

Friday I started a new chapter in my bible study, the Proverbs 31 woman. They made a good point that in reading this, we can look at her as an ideal woman, with characteristics that can be our goal. They cautioned not to use this reading as a way to see if we measure up. That's not the focus. It is so true that this is a lifelong process. Philippians 1:6 is so fitting: being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is good to point out that fear of the Lord, which they mention her having, is not being afraid of God like he's sitting up there waiting to punish us for wrong. It means having a reverence, an awe for who God is that we fear displeasing him with our life. This was a good start to the study.

Our weekend away was really nice. There was so much to bring with all the stuff for Julian in addition to what I needed, but one thing I forgot was his eating chair. He ended up doing pretty well sitting in a regular chair pulled up next to the table, even though the table was only chin-level. We left Friday afternoon and were making great time until we hit construction. It was horrible. It added about an hour so we had about 3-1/2 hours in the car. J kept asking to get up, he was getting restless but there was no where to stop in the construction. He didn't sleep either which means he didn't get an afternoon nap. It was good to see Derek and Rhonda and the kids again. Dinner was supposed to be lasagna but it fell onto the floor by accident and was ruined so we ordered pizza. J was rambunctious so we let him stay up late. He was like a Duracell, he kept on going and going. I was surprised that he didn't sleep very well. It must have been the new surroundings. He woke up at least 3 times crying and crying so each time I got up and held him until he calmed down and went back to sleep. We both were really tired the next morning and ended up sleeping in until 9am.

They made breakfast for us and later in the morning we took J outside to enjoy their swing set. They live on 7 acres with beautiful bluffs filled with trees behind the house. Later in the afternoon, we took J in the car and did a 1.5 mile walk. We had a nasty melt down at dinner with J wanting my silverware and not getting that out of his mind. I had to leave the table and go downstairs to calm him down. He was fine after that and then I got to eat my yummy steak dinner. Sunday came way too fast and it was time to head home. We're really glad we made the trip.

J and I did our grocery shopping this morning. There was barely anyone else there, I think I really like waiting until Monday.

I'm getting close to finishing 2Samuel. Today I read 2Samuel 22. This chapter was a celebration of all the victories God has given David over time. It is in psalm format and he sings of the ways God has worked in his life. These are the verses that stood out to me: verse 3 my God is my rock in whom I take refuge. Verse 31: He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. Verse 33: It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. This was a really good chapter to reflect on my own the ways God has given me victory and blessing. Too many to name here!

I continued in my study of Proverbs 31. The woman described here is hard to find. They comment on how rare is a woman of fine character. Her beauty comes not from the outside, but her inner beauty. Her spirit, how she lives. (This reminds me of Esther!) She seeks the Lord's approval, not the world's. She is clothed in strength and dignity. What a powerful combination.

After lunch, J wanted a bowl and a spoon which I gave him. He then gets his Elmo doll and stuffed penguin and starts "feeding" them. Later, he asked to sit on my lap and then he was "feeding" me! How cute. It was a beautiful day again so we went outside and I ended up doing all kinds of garden preparation like weeding and pruning and general clean up. I wasn't sure this would work with J , but he had his bowl and spoon and was making "dirt soup". That kept him busy almost the whole time.

We did our YMCA routine tonight. Again, it was a hard workout. It got easier after I hit 15 minutes and was halfway through. It was good to work out. We started a new eating program today that we got from our friends. It is basically watching the calories you eat, not eating snacks, eating 4 times a day and nothing after 7pm. This is an area I continue to surrender to the Lord. It will be so good (but also hard) to have my husband doing this with me for accountability. But long overdue. I think I'll sign off now so I get to bed at a decent time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Out of town for the weekend

We are going on one of our first family getaways (other than to see family). We were invited up to LaCrosse to see some friends. It should be a nice time. I'll take a short break and will post next on Monday.

Julian did a lot of crying today. A lot of it was around meals, like at breakfast. I can't even remember exactly why, but one thing was him wanting water when I was asking him to drink his milk. That set off some crying. We continue to pray for wisdom and patience in how to respond.

We went to play group today for Titus at Blackhawk. I am part of a smaller group in Titus and it was our group's turn to bring toys. It ended up being worth it to drag as many as I did with me. The kids used all of them throughout the play time. Julian was a little quieter and more subdued today. Usually, he's Mr. Social. I'm not really sure why but he still had fun. He really liked the big wheel that had all these buttons and sounds like different horns and music. He was content to not even move around but just press the buttons and "dance" which was basically wiggling around and waving his arms to the sounds. My friend and I had fun just watching. He had a little tantrum while we were doing a craft project. We were using glue on some different cut-outs and he wanted to take the whole box of cut-outs instead of taking just a few. He ended up squawking quite a bit when I put the box back.

It was a busy day as I got home and had enough time to feed Julian and then feed myself before our friend and sitter came so I could go to my bible study.We took a month and a half break while our host was on vacation and it was great to be back together. Today we went through our study of Esther. There were a couple things that stood out. One was how God can use one person to make a huge difference. It's easy to underestimate how God is using you in your life and the lives of others. It was good to take a look at how he's working through you at home, at work, at church, etc. Another lesson was how we are where we are for a reason and a purpose looking at Esther 4:14 And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? For such a time as this represents that timing factor of how God places us where he wants to use us.

For some reason the big melt down of the day is happening around dinner time after Julian's afternoon nap. I finally figured out he was asking for cottage cheese and getting upset because I didn't understand. We were having spaghetti for dinner and he likes cottage cheese in that so I gave him a bowl but then he gets it in his head he wants to eat outside. At this point, I'm willing to try anything so we get coats on and go outside to the patio and he won't eat. Daddy comes home and finds us wondering what the heck we're doing so we went back inside and somehow he calmed down (I think it was when I brought out the grapes) and he ended up eating really well. Go figure!

Daddy was playing guitar and Julian was dancing. I got a neat little video of it. The night went really fast and before I knew it we were putting him to bed. I started collecting some of the things we'll need for the weekend but most packing I'll do tomorrow. I think now will be a good time to sign off for some wind-down time. Be back on Monday!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just a quick post...

Julian and I went to our MOPS group today. As always, he cried when I left him in the nursery but the sitter is really good with him and he calmed down pretty quick. We went over some really good passages on purity in our study today. One of the main ways to stay pure (pure in heart, in thoughts, in motives, in actions) is immersing yourself in spending time with God and in his word so that you are continually confessing/sharing your heart and allowing him to refresh you day by day.

I didn't put Julian down for a morning nap since we didn't get home until around noon. We had lunch and then made a trip to Savers which is like Goodwill. I picked up a few warm weather shirts for myself and a few for Julian. I also found a few toys he'd like. We stopped off at the park on our way home. I loved this park. It had shredded recycled tires as the base of the play area, it was so neat. Julian spent most of his time climbing up and down the jungle gym.

Julian was crying at the end of his afternoon nap and he didn't stop for a while. Getting him to eat something healthy was like pulling teeth since all he wanted were sweet things. He just cried and cried when he couldn't get them. He finally ate PB & J and I played a Thomas video from You Tube and he calmed down.

We went to the YMCA tonight and I enjoyed my workout. The ellipticals were taken so I did 20 minutes of speed walking on the treadmill and 10 minutes of running. Julian was crying when we left him in the nursery but he ended up doing fine. He played with his new digger and train cars for a bit and then daddy read him a book before bed. Well, I have to make sure I don't get to bed at 12:30am again so I think I'll wrap things up.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So many things reflect God's beauty, opening my eyes

This morning we made a quick stop to the grocery story for some things I forgot yesterday. Julian wanted to go to the park and was upset when I put him in the car and explained we were going for groceries. He REALLY loves going to the park now that it has warmed up. Anytime we go in the garage now is a trigger for wanting to go to the park. When we came home, we did play outside for a while. We had a couple balls to hit around and just enjoyed being in the sun and fresh air. I wish we had a little sandbox or something for play in the yard, but we really don't have a lot of room since it's a condo. Julian did pretty well with breakfast, eating mini muffins and yogurt. He's also getting better at using the spoon. I notice he often uses his left hand with the spoon or fork but other things he uses his right.

I spent time in 2Samuel 22. David and his men are again fighting the Philistines. There's a lot of fighting in the Old Testament. Beth reflects how God brings David victory but this time through another person. It says David was exhausted in battle. Beth traces this word and in Hebrew it means to flee or fly away. That what David wanted to do was run and hide. It's refreshing to see David's humanity here. It reminds me of times when battles come and I'd rather run and hide than get into the confrontation. It takes a lot of effort. One of his men came to his rescue. This made me think of how wonderful it is when someone dear comes to our rescue when we need it, when we're exhausted. I can think of a time only last fall when I was overwhelmed in my depression and exhausted from the battle and my sisters came to my rescue. They stepped in to care for Julian as I needed some time out to take care of myself.

I was getting sleepy and then God gave me a second wind and I had a good study of Esther. The author has us imagine what it must have been like as Esther prepared to go before the king. Something in that day that could result in death. What an emotionally trying time it must have been knowing she would do it and it could mean her death. I see this as an example of how God uses trying circumstances to help strengthen our faith. When Esther came to the inner court, it is beautiful as you see no hesitation at all from the king and in fact he was pleased with her as he accepted her and invited her into the court. What a powerful example of an answer to prayer.

Julian did well with lunch, other than a couple mini melt downs. He cried when I wouldn't let him eat a muffin until he ate more of his hot dog. He often cries when not getting something he wants (or not getting it right away) but in prayer God has helped me grow stronger in not just giving him something because he's crying. How this even in a small way can help to prepare him for life and help him grow. He is beginning to learn his colors. He knows red, yellow and blue. Having a couple balloons has helped and also giving him crayons to color with and having him ask for them by color. After lunch, we went to the park for a while. It was really just beautiful today with the sun shining bright, the smell of spring and temperatures around 60 something. There were other kids around today so Julian hung back a bit and didn't go down the slide as much. The highlight was that he got to walk a little chihuahua. He went over to see the tiny dog and the woman handed him the leash and he led the dog around a bit. He ended up dropping the leash but thankfully the dog ran back to his owner. While we were walking home, I remembered reading somewhere today that the next time you were outside to really take it in and how easily you can find five things reflecting God's beauty. This was a really good exercise and I felt my heart connecting with God's. Here are my five of today:
-fluffy little buds on a tree that looked like soft pussy willows
-tree that had bright red fuzzy buds all over it
-the beauty of a bird in flight
-tall grasses softly moving in the breeze by the pond
-leaves and sticks dancing around in circles in the wind
I really appreciated our time outside even more.

Julian ended up waking up early again from his nap. I'm not even sure he went to sleep. He was only down about 45 minutes. So while I cooked, he was trying to find something to do. He saw the pans and said "me cook" and so I got him some pans and put a little bit of water in the bottom and gave him a spoon. He had fun stirring and making "soup". Then he did some coloring and kept calling me over to look saying, "mommy see, mommy see". He'd look up at me with this expectant look with his mouth wide open like "look what I did" and I'd tell him what a lovely picture he colored. After dinner, we played a little bit and then it was time for bed. We spent the next couple hours with our life group. I made a red velvet cake with vanilla frosting as we rotate on treats. We even had leftovers. Today we were talking about the story of Zaccheus and the transformation that came out of his relationship with Jesus. Being a chief tax collector, it was an incredible thing for him to give away half of his possessions to the poor. It shows a heart that desires to please God; a heart becoming so filled with God's goodness that he has less desire for the things of this world. Possessions are just possessions. This is a theme similar to one we talked about in my MOPS group. I was struck then too about how much stuff I hold onto and really having a desire to go through our possessions asking the question, how can we fulfill someone's need? What can I give to bless someone? I really want to take some time and do that. Mindfully unload as a love offering to God. This blog will help hold me to that!

It's now the fun part of the day where I get to relax and unwind. It's also late so sleep will be coming soon.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My little fireman...

This morning I felt a little grumbly in my heart. Not because of anything specific, just a general feeling that thankfully ended up going away. We went this morning to do our grocery shopping. We didn't have a chance to fit it in over the weekend. I wanted to leave our afternoon open in case our friend was coming over but it turned out she couldn't come.

Spending time with God today was nice. How wonderful that I can just come as I am, my junk and all, and he accepts me. He cleanses me as I lay these things at his feet. He pursues me and enjoys spending time with me. This was good to just think about for a while. Today's reading in 2Samuel 20-21:14 didn't go very deep for me. The battles continued as Sheba (a Benjamite) plans a rebellion against David and lures the men of Israel away to his side while the men of Judah stayed with David. David sends his men to overtake Sheba. Even though Joab is no longer commander, he gathers the men and leads them to the fight. He ends up killing (in a very graphic way) the new commander David appointed. Then he goes on to the battlefield where a wise woman of the town gave Sheba over to Joab (again in a graphic scene). There was a famine in the land and David sought the Lord in it.

After lunch, Julian and I took a walk to the park. It was a little cold with the wind, but otherwise a beautiful, sunny day. It was amazing, we had the park to ourselves for the entire half hour we were there. Again we spent most of our time on the jungle gym. Julian isn't really into the swings right now. We climbed up to the higher level where the slides are where I really have to watch him because there are a couple areas that open up leaving room for a fall. We did the slides a few times and then Julian ended up going down the slide on his own for the first time. He called me to go with him but then he was scooting forward on his own so I just let him go. I heard him squeal with delight on his way down. He does really well when there are no other kids. He gets nervous when there are too many kids around. I don't blame him.

He didn't sleep very long for his afternoon nap, maybe one hour. When I was putting him in his crib, he reached out and touched my face and said something really cute. We had this really nice moment, me just holding him and hugging and kissing him before I laid him down. It was sweet. When he got up, I was finishing some things online so he came over and wanted to see Elmo dancing. So I found Elmo on You Tube and then we watched Mickey Mouse. We even found Elmo and Mickey Mouse (in costume) dancing together. Tonight was our YMCA night, so we just had sandwiches and fruit. My workout felt harder today. I don't know why sometimes it feels harder than other times. I picked Julian up from the nursery and the staff asked me if someone in our family is a fireman. I told them no. They said he is so into the fireman/firetruck things and plays the part so well (like playing with fire station Little People and wearing a fire hat and playing the part of a fireman) so they thought maybe he had a relative who was a fireman or something. I think it must be the Elmo Firehouse video he watches.

After the YMCA, it was time to give Julian a bath and tuck him in for the night. After finishing up the last of the dishes, getting the coffee ready for tomorrow and doing the blog, I'm ready to get tucked in too.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

More depth in my time with God

It is weird now to not have our cat Rio around anymore. I keep having "phantom cat" experiences where I'll think I hear her meow, or I'll think I see her out of the corner of my eye but it's our other cat Buca. It's been strange that way. Our other cat, Buca, seems unfazed by it. I think he is enjoying being able to soak up all the attention and sleep in our bed. He's definitely kept me company while I adjust to Rio being gone.

Today at breakfast, french toast was on the menu for Julian. He was about to start eating but saw daddy eating a waffle so that's what he wanted. When he didn't get it he started crying and was going for a few minutes but then just stopped and got back to eating. We all watched Elmo ABC's and sang some of the songs and Julian really seemed to like that. We also did some coloring which is becoming another one of Julian's favorite things to do.

At breakfast, I read a bit more of the "Quiet Rest" book. It was really good today talking about what she called "devotionless devotions". She speaks of times that we meet with the Lord but our hearts are just not in it and it ends up more of a routine. It is so true when she says, "I must make a conscious, deliberate daily choice to sit at His feet, to listen to His word, to receive His love, to let Him change me and to pour out my heart's devotion to Him." This is the kind of time alone with the Lord that I would like to have. Right now, I do enjoy my time of reading, studying and prayer, but I'm looking for more depth. I guess I'd say more devotion. I took some time to pray about that and asked God to bring this about.

David continues grieving for his son Absalom in 2Samuel 19 today. His commander Joab spoke harshly to him that his mourning was humiliating to the men who went out and just risked their lives for David. Joab told him to go to his men which he did. Some of them had been won over to Absalom and David won the hearts of the men and returned to Jerusalem as king. The man who had cursed David just before the battle now comes to ask for his forgiveness. There is still unrest among the men as squabbles arise between the men of Israel and the men of Judah.

While daddy watched the UW Badgers get beat in the March Madness basketball tournament, Julian and I enjoyed some time at the park. He had to take his Elmo book with him so I put it in his little car trunk when we got there. Today, Julian met a little friend on the jungle gym stairs area and spent most of his time there. He met a little girl who was maybe around 12-16 months old and he called her baby. We went down the slide without knowing the bottom was all wet so my bottom got all wet. It was cold too! Must have been from the melted snow.

We went to church this afternoon and our friends from France joined us. The main theme today from Luke was Jesus as the ultimate seeker. I had never thought of him this way, it was interesting. He described how valuable we are to the Lord, he will stop at nothing in his pursuit of a relationship with us. It was refreshing to remember, it's not just us who pursue God, he is continually pursuing us. We picked up Julian from the nursery and she said that he was talking a lot and loved saying hi to everybody. Our french friends invited us to their house for a BBQ since it was nice out (sunny but not overly warm). We were outside with the kids for a bit walking around the yard. We were looking at some plantings in one area and Julian said "make mudpies". He remembered this from a book I read to him a couple times. Good memory! They had a whole box of kitchen play things and toy food that he loved playing with. He got upset and cried a couple times like when he wanted to go upstairs with the kids but I couldn't tell right away what he was wanting. We skipped tonight's bath since we got home a bit past his bed time. We were getting out of the car and he was asking to go to the park again. He can't get enough of it I guess. He still wanted a couple books read to him and would've had more but I told him we'll wait until morning.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Meal-time melt downs

This morning Julian was wanting food faster than I could get it made which set off another bout of crying. At this stage, he really has an incredibly hard time waiting for anything. Maybe it's just being a toddler. When I finally did get his pancake, he ate a few bites but kept wanting the bigger pancake on the plate. When that didn't come and he was told to eat what was on his plate, he really melted down. Instead of just having him sit in his chair crying, I carried him upstairs to his room and set him in his crib to settle down. I didn't hear a peep once I did that and waited about 10 minutes or so and then he was fine. We stayed upstairs a while as he had several books he wanted to read. We went back to his pancake and he ate just fine then.

Today I was in 2Samuel 18. The conflict with Absalom continues. David sent out his troops in hundreds and thousands ordering them before they left to be gentle with Absalom. Beth reflects that this must have deflated his men who were risking their lives to defend David only to be told to lay off Absalom who was responsible for them fighting in the first place. Joab ended up with an opportunity to kill Absalom when a soldier found him with his head caught in a tree. The solider refused to touch him because of David's orders, but Joab and his armor bearers killed him. When David learned of this he went into mourning.

I'm continuing to finish my study of Esther. As the Jews found out about Haman's decree to have them all destroyed, there was great mourning with fasting and weeping as many sought God's divine intervention. Esther was wrestling with whether to risk her life and approach the king on the Jew's behalf when Mordecai reminds her that she too is a Jew and would be killed. He also says perhaps she rose to the position of queen for just this reason. She then asks Mordecai to gather the Jews in fasting for 3 days and then she will approach the king whether or not she will be killed. Here I notice how Esther has a major situation come up. Instead of just going along with what someone else wants, she wrestles with it herself first. She seeks council and then decides to trust the Lord. It is a good example for us of what to do when we are faced with a struggle.

We had another difficult meal time with Julian. He started out okay but somehow ended up crying again. This time I can't even remember what set it off. But again it was nonstop so I took him upstairs and let him settle in his crib. This seems to be working. He didn't end up eating anything else afterward, but his mood had completely changed. We got a late start but still made it for some time at the library. He had a shorter nap as I needed to get him fed before we left for our friends house. They offered to watch him while we get some time alone. This is the first time my husband and I have gone out to dinner in months. We ended up going to a Thai place and then hung out after to share with each other what's been going on in our inner spiritual life. We ended up staying at our friends' house for a couple hours celebrating our friend getting tenure. They had a nice fire in the fireplace which Julian had not seen before. It was nice to have some social time after the week I had where I had so little social contact with everything that happened. Now I have some time to do a bit of reading before I go to bed which will be a nice way to wind down.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Julian's got a belly button!

After losing my cat Rio last night, I let our other cat (Buca) sleep upstairs in our bed. He was really distraught yesterday and didn't go anywhere near Rio not even to go to the bathroom or eat. I had to carry him to his food area so he could do his thing. He was purring so loud sleeping with us and he stayed there all night. We haven't done that since Julian was born because he used to wake us up. He has been my little shadow around the house which has helped me deal with my sadness of losing Rio.

Julian is too little to know that Rio was sick and now isn't with us. For a while he seemed to think the word for cat was Rio. Then I think he finally got it that Rio was her name. Most of all, he loved to pull her tail and I was surprised by how good she was with him. She pawed at him once but I never saw her try to nip. That was restraint for Rio!

It was so beautiful this morning and at 9:00 I wasn't sure what to do so I asked Julian if he wanted to go to the park. He got so excited so we went and I took the long way so I could get some exercise too. We had the park to ourselves for the half hour we were there. We went down the slide and played on the jungle gym. He loved going in and out of this little tube on the jungle gym. For me, it was nice just listening to all the birds and enjoying the sun.

Today I read 2Samuel 16 and 17. David continued on the run from Absalom (his son). On the way, he ran into a man of Saul's clan who started cursing him and pelting them with stones. David wouldn't allow his men to hurt him saying maybe the Lord would see David's distress and repay him with good. Absalom sought advice from two different counsels about how to attack David. The counsel he followed was really from a friend of David's who was risking his life to mislead Absalom and help David.

In my study of Esther today, she had become queen of the most powerful nation on earth. We see that she attained royalty for the purposes of God. Haman was a man elevated to second in command under the king. He was an evil man and was enraged when Mordecai (Esther's cousin and "adoptive" father) wouldn't bow down to him because of his religion. Haman was so enraged that he hatched a scheme to destroy all the Jews. Unfortunately, the king approves this while he is not aware that his queen is a Jew.

Today for lunch the only thing Julian would eat was yogurt. He calls yogurt "Dora" because that's the brand we get. It has a picture of Dora on it. So when he asks for Dora, I know what he wants. I offered him chicken fries, ham, cheese, hot dogs, peanut butter sandwich and finally gave up. He fed himself and ended up with yogurt all over him. In the afternoon, I had some errands to run. The lady at Walgreen's offered him a balloon since he was pointing to them. He kept saying "yellow" though so she ended up giving him a second balloon. We played "balloon basketball" when we got home. He wasn't too happy that I didn't let him bring the balloons into the next store.

It was really funny, Julian was fascinated by his belly button today. It dawned on me that today was one of the first times that I didn't have him in a onesie! I usually have a onesie on him beneath his shirt, but today I put an undershirt on. Throughout the day, he'd lift his shirt and look at and touch his belly button. Then he'd go up to me or daddy and lift our shirt wanting to see our belly button! This is how enthralled he was: He loves to read placing an open book on the couch while standing in front of it. Today he'd be "reading" aloud when he'd step back, check for his belly button, then go back to reading. It was so cute.

He took a short afternoon nap and had fun coloring while I made dinner. He had fun saying "tacos" whenever I asked him what we were saying for dinner. It was so cute how he said it. Daddy played with him for a little bit until he left for a men's get together. I read about four books to him during our night routine. Usually it's one, but tonight I kept going. This ended up being a pretty hard week for me. I'm glad the week is over and I can relax.

Rest in peace Rio

Rest in peace Rio! I sure am going to miss you. 08/03/1991 to 03/18/2010
I thought I would do a short post in honor of my cat Rio. This is for any fellow animal lovers whose pets are also their companions. I also have friends who don't get that close to their pets and that's fine too. I'm not a fanatic but my pets become part of the family. Rio was my birthday present when I turned 21. She has been my companion for just about half of my life. That is a long time. I was still in college when I got her and I was like a little kid I was so excited. She was so tiny she was just a little puff ball. We weren't supposed to have cats so we had to keep a low profile.

Over the years she traveled with me to the various places I moved to (Chicago, Southern Illinois, Madison, WI). She was pretty out of joint when I got our second cat Buca. She was 4 and was queen of the roost. It was amazing how she reacted. She wouldn't let me come near her for 3 whole months! She would hiss at me and literally was downright mad. She finally came around and several years later Buca became her wrestling mate. I don't think they were ever "close" as far as cats go, but she tolerated him. She really seemed to like "punching" him with her little paws and jumping on him and chasing him during their wrestling matches.

She was funny in that she was never very friendly to strangers. She kept her distance and growled or hissed if you tried to pet her. But hang around with her for a while (like my husband learned after a few months) and she would be giving you her classic "head butt" that I think was her form of a kiss. She was so affectionate. Whenever I came home from working, she would be by the door and lay on her back wanting me to scratch her chest. She'd stretch her paws out while I scratched her like she was really enjoying it. She also had this habit I call monkey cat. When she was on the chair and I stood near her, she would "walk" up my legs until her paws stretched out like a little baby with its arms up asking to be held. So I'd pick her up and put her on my shoulder and she'd nuzzle me. She could stay in this position for a while. Once I went and changed the laundry while she was hanging out on my shoulder. That was one of her famous positions. We also had our spats too. She could be moody and sometimes nip you while you were petting her. It wasn't often though.

She was really beautiful, looking like a mix of Maine Coon and Tortoiseshell with black paws, a tabby face with a white mouth, a tan tummy and orange and black/tabby markings down her back. She was an indoor cat but would love it if I took her outside on little field trips on beautiful days.

One memory that really stands out for me is during the time period right after I lost my mother (She died of breast cancer when I was 21). I would have times I would lie on the bed and just cry and cry and Rio would find me and lay on my back and stay with me. It was so comforting.

Over the last 6 months, we noticed she was throwing up more. Then she started having "accidents" and not going in her litter box. She was also losing weight. This was when I knew she would probably not be around much longer. Towards the end, she stopped eating and I think just wasted away. The vet said they could do testing but at her age I decided to just do comfort care. I gave her an IV for a few days, but then she just passed on her own in our basement. It was really hard to watch her go like that, but I am glad she could pass at home rather than putting her through the trauma of going to the vet and having someone she didn't know giving her an injection. Today I did a lot of reminiscing about the wonderful moments with her and what joy she brought to my life. I will always remember her and carry her in my heart.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My little one loves to dance

Today I woke up feeling much better. I'm sure it helped that I went to bed around 9:30 last night. I am still taking it easy eating bland foods just to be safe. Julian wanted to do some coloring after breakfast and then wanted to hear the story of Moses again from his toddler bible. While I ate, I read the Quiet Rest book. The message today was that God's word really tells a love story. How we all have a God-created hole that cries out to be filled, a deep need for intimacy. Many people in the scriptures illustrate this love (Adam and Eve, Abraham, David, Mary and Martha.) Julian wanted to be held again. We saw some birds at the feeder outside and watched them for a while. He wasn't really interested in painting or doing art downstairs.

David's story continues in 2Samuel 15. His son Absalom conspires evil in his heart to win the hearts of Israel and steal the throne from David. Afraid of an attack, David leaves Jerusalem with his officers and household. Beth Moore reflects that David had an opportunity for reconciliation with Absalom. He did allow Absalom to see him, but there wasn't reconciliation. Now we see how bitterness and dissatisfaction has festered in Absalom's heart toward his father. Beth shares that forgiving even if the person takes no responsibility for their actions will save us the misery that would befall, like with Absalom.

I'm really bummed that I couldn't go to my women's study today. I have no idea if my stomach thing at this stage would be contagious so I didn't go. I started the study that we'll discuss next week and it's a good one, Esther. Here the king banishes the queen from his kingdom (the King of Persia) and calls for all young virgins from 127 provinces to come to the palace. The king is preparing to select a new queen. Esther is brought to the palace and the main thing we see is that she won the favor of everyone who saw her. It was said that it wasn't just her outward beauty but with her heart, her internal beauty she won them.

Julian ended up with almost a beard of peanut butter after lunch today. When he was done with lunch he wanted to dance. Took my hand and danced in the kitchen and then he led me into the living room. This was so sweet. Then we collected a few toys and went outside to play. It was really windy so the beach ball I brought out was just blowing away and I had to bring that in. I was then asking Julian if he wanted to go to the park and he said "yes, park" and got excited. So I got his car and when I went to put him in it he started crying. It was like he thought I had changed my mind or something. We went back and forth with this until at a loss I set him inside to see if he'd calm down. I waited and opened the door and asked him if he was ready to go to the park. He said yes and this time he let me put him in the car. The odd thing is once we got to the park and I walked onto the grass to get to the jungle gym he wouldn't come. He put his arms up to be carried and I waited for him to walk. I think he's put off by the grass since he's never really walked on it that much. He started walking last September/October and didn't do much in the grass so now I see why he's apprehensive. So I asked if he wanted to take my hand and he did. Then he walked across the grass finally! He played for a bit on the jungle gym and a girl asked if she could play with Julian's car. I didn't see any harm in it so I said yes. We went down the slide together and hung out a bit more but then I noticed it was time to get him home for his nap.

After dinner, we hung out downstairs with Julian coloring. He's starting to learn his colors a little bit like the blue crayon and the yellow crayon. He turned on the radio and said "dance" and was dancing around the basement. It is so cute to watch him dance. He's doing more of it lately. Again he took my hand for a little bit to dance together. We played until I noticed it was time for bed. Then daddy read him a book and I tucked him in. Pretty soon I'm going to tuck myself in too.

p.s. My cat Rio died today at home. I was glad I could be there, even though it is very sad to lose a pet you cherish.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mommy caught the stomach bug

Well, last night I woke up at 1:30 in the morning totally nauseous. I wasn't able to keep anything down as I got up about 4 times throughout the night. It really hit me hard. My husband was willing to stay home if I needed him to help with Julian but I wasn't running a fever so I told him I could do it. It's been a hard day. I have been in and out of the bathroom a lot so that's been no fun. I'm also very low energy and have a general nauseous feeling all the time. Julian seems to be over his bug though, which is an answer to prayer. His was short-lived. He's had no problems keeping his food down today and had a great appetite. Also lots of energy for play (and energy for crying a lot). He just goes through weird periods where I don't know what sets him off but he cries or whines.

Today I read 2Samuel 14. There wasn't a ton of action today other than between David and Joab. David's commander Joab was wanting to see Absalom return so he sent a woman to speak to David having prepared her in advance with what to say. David ended up guessing that she was sent by Joab so Joab came and pleaded to David. He ended up relenting and allowed Absalom to return from being banished but David would not see him.

We got a little time outside but I had a hard time translating what Julian was wanting. Out of the blue, he started to cry and it seemed like he wanted to go inside. Then he was asking for his blue chair so I brought that outside and he was pointing towards the house and crying so we went back inside. I didn't have much energy to keep going back and forth trying to figure it out.

We didn't go to the YMCA tonight and I took the night off from cooking. Daddy was playing with Julian for a while. They had a game of tag with golf going on and then chase and tickle. I love hearing Julian laugh like crazy. It's so cute. Then he was stacking some blocks and pretending it was a rocket ship taking off. I've never seen him do that. He's getting creative. I read him a couple books like his Dr. Suess ABC book. Then right before bed he wanted me to read it again. I'm not feeling all that much better and don't want to give this to anyone so I'm canceling going to my mom's group and bible study. I really want to get some good sleep tonight so I think I'll wrap up here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dealing with a stomach bug

This morning when I went to get Julian I noticed right away he had thrown up in his crib. The poor thing! He hadn't even cried or called out or anything. He had to deal with sleeping in it, yuck! His temperature was fine so he had no fever. I got him cleaned up and everything and he was then asking me to read Dot the Fire Dog to him. That's his usual self so I was hoping he wasn't feeling too bad and that this would be short-lived. Down at breakfast, daddy gave him some milk while I put his bedding and jammies in the wash. I was thinking about what to feed him when I noticed that he threw up the milk. I remembered the BRAT diet for when you have a bad tummy (bananas, rice, apples, toast) and tried a little applesauce (he ate 2 bites), bananas (wouldn't eat) and toast (wouldn't eat). He just wanted out of the chair so I let him get down. Later, he was able to eat a couple animal crackers and kept those down. Both daddy and I noticed he was definitely lower energy than usual.

Beth Moore (A Heart Like His) reflected that Psalm 51 was a fitting conclusion to the story of David's fall. Today I read 2Samuel 13 which changes gears focusing on David's sons. More tragedy befalls his family. The first born, Amnon, became obsessed with his half-sister Tamar. He committed a heinous act against her which I will leave out of the blog but you can read in chapter 13. There was no sign of repentance or acknowledgment of his wrong. Far from it. His half-brother Absalom hated him for this. His hatred finally caused him to lose control and he had him killed. This is also tragic to return wrong for wrong. Beth reflects that God will provide us with positive outlets for emotions that are painful if we would trust and go to him with it. There also was a lack of authority from their father, David, who does nothing in response to Amnon's injustice. Today's study was a good reminder to take my emotions to God instead of letting them fester.

In my other study (Hannah), the Lord remembered her cry for help and blessed her with a son which was the desire of her heart. She gave him the name Samuel meaning "heard by God". She honored her vow to the Lord and once he was weaned gave Samuel to Eli for a lifetime of service in the priesthood. Then she and her husband worshiped the Lord. What a testimony of faith we see in Hannah by honoring her promise and then worshiping after. We see her relationship to God in it. This also reminds me of a difficult time in my life when I was wanting a child and a couple years had gone by and my heart was really aching. I continued to pour out my heart to God and he would bring me peace, but then my heart would ache again. I just continued to go to him in prayer about it and it was like he was holding my hand and made it easier to go through. Then he blessed us with Julian!

Julian took a nice long nap (three hours) and then I fed him some oatmeal for lunch, thinking that was nice and bland. He wouldn't eat anything else but drank water. It didn't take long and that came up too. This really upset him so I wrapped a towel around him and went upstairs to take him out of those clothes and have bath time. He enjoyed himself in the bath and so we played for a while. We then went downstairs and he kept wanting to be held so I think he was still feeling off. I think I heard him say outside and he said yes so we went outside for a bit. It was good for him to get some fresh air. He seemed to perk up. We did a bit of sidewalk chalk, then chase the ball. Then we filled the bird feeders and just sat in the back yard on the patio soaking up the sun.

I've been able to talk to a friend and a couple of my sisters about my cat Rio. Hearing myself describe how she's doing has had me realize that it's really time to let go. Rio is not herself anymore, I can see it in her eyes. She's a dying cat, not Rio a healthy old age cat. She's not eating and she's having trouble walking now too. I will have to give the vet a call tomorrow. I need to get ready for it.

Julian took another nice long nap. He was just waking up when daddy got home. The pediatrician told me there was a stomach bug going around and this would probably just pass. I gave him some saltines for dinner. He wouldn't drink the Pedialyte so we did water and juice. Everything stayed down! Yea! Right after dinner, he was playing his musical toy and dancing around. His energy was back! He was finally feeling better. We had some time in the basement playing with Playdoh and coloring. He had to get a few hits of the drum in too. Then it was off to bed. I decided not to go to our small group tonight. I didn't want Julian to get sick again and then not have me here. I'm really glad I did that. I don't think we'll go to play group tomorrow in case he's contagious. Not to mention, my stomach is feeling a bit off tonight so it's just as well. I think I'll wrap this up so I can get a good night's sleep for a change.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spending time outdoors

Julian was very clingy and whiny this morning. While I was trying to eat breakfast he kept asking to be up and when I said no he started crying. Then my computer was having problems and I was trying to figure out why and he wanted to be on my lap. When I didn't pick him up it set off another torrent of crying so daddy picked him up and let him look at a photo album of himself. He really enjoyed that and was laughing at some of the photos. He started up again after looking at the album so I gave him his nuk. Then when he calmed down I was able to get on the phone so I could get the computer fixed. He was whining and pulling at my leg so I put in the Elmo ABC video so he could practice his ABC's. After I was done we went outside for a bit and got some fresh air. It was so nice out and is supposed to get up to 60 today.

Today's reading was one of my favorites; Psalm 51. It starts out mentioning two of God's greatest attributes, unfailing love and great compassion. Within this psalm you can see the process of confession and restoration of intimacy with God. From the God of love and compassion, David was pleading for mercy. He asks to be cleansed (of his sin). It takes courage to bring our sin before God and humility for the desire to turn away from it. He says "cleanse me with hyssop" and hyssop in the old testament is connected to cleansing from sin. In verse 10, he says "create in me a pure heart, O God". Beth Moore shares that only God can do this, purify us. David was humbled, cleansed, renewed and restored. A good verse to refer to is Psalm 103:10. He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

In my other study, Women of the Bible, we are reading Hannah this week. Hannah was unable to conceive. She was deeply troubled over this, bitter and full of sorrow. She turned to the Lord; wept, prayed and made a vow that if the Lord brought her a son she would give him to God for all his days. When she left the place of worship, she was uplifted. This was just from being with the Lord and pouring her heart out to him. She was uplifted without knowing how her prayer would be answered.

After lunch, Julian was really excited about going outside. We ended up being outside for close to two hours. It was so nice out. I brought out his "popcorn" push toy and his golf club and he played with both. He really liked it when I hit the golf ball and he'd go run and get the ball. After playing a while we went for a walk in his car. We were getting near the park and I wanted to surprise him. I asked him if he wanted to go to the park and he got really excited lifting his hands in the air saying "park" and of course definitely wanted to go. We went on the swing but he wanted to get off right away when he saw the jungle gym. We climbed around on the jungle gym and I got some good pictures. He went down the slide with me a few times and then he met a couple girls that looked around 8 years old. One of them really took a liking to him. She played some patty cake and then gave him some high-fives. She wanted to take him down the slide and that was okay. As usual, he wasn't happy when it came time to leave but it was getting close to nap time so off we went.

Julian continues to be such a good sleeper, it is such a blessing. After his nap, we read some books and then I got dinner ready. During dinner he was practicing his ABC's again. Something like ABCD---H---LMNP--QRS--WXY-now I know, now I know. It is so cute I'll have to get a video of it. He wanted to go outside again and play but I told him we were going to the YMCA and he'd have some fun playing there. When we were leaving, I picked him up from the nursery and there was an Indian man picking up his son. His son is often there at the same time as Julian. The dad told me that he was in the room today and saw Julian. He said Julian does so well in the nursery. I told him how we've been going for over a year now so he is really familiar with everything. Then he said Julian kept bringing him toys and he was having him put Little People in a bus. I think he has a new friend, as Julian was following around the little boy and offering him crackers. He even tried to put one in the boy's mouth! He's not shy. Later at home he didn't fuss and was really good about picking out a book and going upstairs to get ready for bed. We ended up reading a couple books, his dad read one and then I read one. Today went so fast, it's nice to finally be winding down.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Julian gets his groove on

We remembered daylight saving's time and I slept in a bit since Julian was sleeping too. Daddy was off to work this morning to do some overtime so Julian and I were on our own. He was really whiny like he didn't get enough sleep and was wanting to be picked up and held a lot. He did OK with a breakfast of pancakes and strawberries. He wanted to color from his Thomas activity book but then wanted the magazine I was looking at so I let him flip through the pages. Then the cutest part of the morning, Julian was dancing to music on his nursery rhyme toy. He'd go over and press the button for the music. Then he'd dance in the middle of the room waving his arms up and down and dance around in a circle. When the song ended he'd say "yea" and go back and press the button for another song to start dancing to. I got a little of it on video. I danced with him for a bit and then he changed gears wanting to sit in his chair. He ended up falling over (onto carpet) and crying but then started saying "painting?" and so I took him downstairs to paint. We ended up playing with Playdoh making "pancakes" again and play cooking and eating them. This kept us busy for a while. Later, after he went down for his nap, I gave Rio her IV. That still sounds goofy to me and I'm wrestling with whether it's just time to put her down. It's not easy for me to think of ending her little life. She is breathing better today so I'm glad she's not struggling for air. Yesterday afternoon she actually came upstairs and hung out which she hasn't done in days.

Today I finished the second half of 2Samuel 12. One thing Beth points out is the impact of David's fall into sin. Not only did it effect those right around him, but it affected the neighboring nations. These nations had their eyes on him and had gained respect for him and for his God watching the course of his life and kingship. After this, the nations lost respect for both David and God so the effect was far-reaching. Yet through David's failures, God is teaching the very essence of salvation; he will forgive the sinner yet judge the sin. As Nathan predicted, David's son fell ill. David was brought to a crucial place of depending on God as he fell to the ground and fasted and prayed. Even though the answer was no, David put himself at God's mercy. One of the most painful experiences would have been David turning to worship God after his son died. He could pour out his heart while at the same time acknowledge God's goodness. In this process, his relationship with God was restored. In reflection, I see that even though David fell, his intimacy with the Lord was restored very quickly. And I believe so it is with us. That as soon as we come to him, he is right there meeting us. James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. God responded by then blessing he and Bathsheba with another son, Solomon.

We visited Grampa again today at the hospital. It's turning out to be a beautiful day. The sun is shining bright and it's above 50 degrees. The wind is a bit cold though. As we were walking down the hall to the room he starts saying "Mickey Mouse?" remembering the balloon he saw yesterday in Grampa's room. My husband's sister and two boys were also visiting so they got to see Julian too. He was a little bit shy at first and wasn't talking much. He kept saying a word that sounded like crackers but I knew it wasn't crackers, then I figured it out. Sometimes it's like learning a foreign language keeping track of words Julian learns. This word was actually "checkers". He kept asking for checkers because we sat in the lobby yesterday and introduced him to checkers there. He also kept pointing to and asking for the markers the nurse had up on the dry erase board except he called them crayons. He was getting a little insistent so instead I brought out his coloring book and a crayon and then he got really focused on coloring.

At church we continue to study the book of Luke and Jesus redefining the status quo. Jesus goes to the house of a prominent Pharisee where he is being constantly watched. He talks about the Sabbath and asks them a couple questions but they have nothing to say. He ends up healing a man which he knows is controversial since it is the Sabbath. He later shares a parable about whether whether to take the place of honor at a friend's table or taking the lower place and ends with a promise, Luke 14:11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. John Rosensteel (our preacher today) used a visual to describe what this is like, he brought a ladder. He reminded us how in life as we move up the "rungs of the ladder" we get a distorted view of people and situations. It didn't take me long, but on our way home I caught myself doing this saying something negative about someone driving. It's too easy to look down and be critical or judgmental of others and John encouraged us to take the place of Jesus who humbled himself. One of the scriptures he referred to was Phillipians 2:4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

We had dinner again with our friends from our small group, the ones whose daughters really like Julian. He wanted to go in the play area and started crawling in the tubes. I was a little nervous for him to go in there alone and my friend must have sensed that since she sent her kids in to join Julian. He went down the slide with their son and had this huge grin on his face. Later when he was halfway up the stairs to the tube slide something must have spooked him and he started calling for me but then it turned to crying so I scooted up the slide just to find they had gone down the other way. Finally Julian and I met up and he calmed down. After a few minutes he was right back at it and wanted to go in again but they had shut it down for cleaning. He went over to visit a couple of the girls from the play area but got a little too close to one girl. I think he liked the Dora picture on her shirt but he started almost pawing at it so I had to go get him. Later, he visited their little boy in his car seat and was really good about being careful. I never know what he's going to do when he goes up to people so I stay close.

It's the close of another day and getting too close to tomorrow already so I'll sign off for now.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Visited Grampa today

After pancakes for breakfast, Julian wanted to color for a bit. Then I went downstairs to check on Rio. This morning she seems worse. Instead of laying on the bed she was sitting on the floor and her breathing sounds wheezy like her nose is stuffed. I got her IV equipment and Julian was upset with me being downstairs so I thought I'd keep him busy with my watering can he was reaching for. He was pretend watering but couldn't reach the plants so I took him around to the plants and helped him "water" them. Then I went downstairs and gave Rio her IV. She was real squirmy. Part of me feels like maybe my next step should have been putting her down instead of extending her life with the IV. That's what my husband is thinking. The vet thinks the wheezing could be a sign that her heart is too weak to pump the extra fluid so it's gathering in her lungs. I have to make a decision soon.

We spent some time at the library this morning and I checked out Dot the Fire Dog (one of his favorites) along with Elmo goes to the Firehouse. I also got a book called Who's Been Here which is a story about discovering which animals made which tracks. It was really dreary outside, very windy with light rain which pelted your face.

Today I read and studied the first half of 2Samuel. Beth shares how this is a very painful chapter to read where David is confronted by Nathan (a prophet). The Lord sent Nathan to David. He tells a story which alludes to David's behavior and shares words from the Lord which were basically, "I anointed you, delivered you and gave you Saul's kingdom, why did you despise the word of the Lord?". He wounded the heart of the Lord. Then David admits his sin to Nathan who tells him that David is not going to die but the Lord will bring calamity out of his house and his child will die. David fasted and prayed but his son still died. After the death, he went out and worshiped the Lord. His heart is turning back to God. He comforted Bathsheba who later gave birth to another son, Solomon, whom it says the Lord loved. Beth reflects on this sharing what happens when we don't confess our sin right away. It ends up festering inside us and effects us not only emotionally but can have a physical effect. She calls it sin sickness. It also puts a wedge between us and God until we confess it to him and seek forgiveness. She refers to Psalm 32:3 When I kept silent my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

We spent the afternoon up at the hospital visiting my father-in-law. We have been estranged from him and my stepmother-in-law for over a year. It's a very, very long story. It's related to my long-term depression and major differences we had. We are working on reconciliation and I think this was a good step in that direction. My husband's dad had part of his lung removed because of a tumor in it. They think they got it all but won't know for sure until after a few days of reviewing test results. I think it really made a difference for his dad to see Julian and for Julian to see his Grampa.

The big excitement for this Saturday evening was going to get groceries. My husband was invited to a friend's home where some of the men from his men's group at church were hanging out. So Julian and I got the shopping done while daddy was gone. I love how our grocery store will have neat things for Julian at a great price. It's where I got him his first sled and then today I got him a large plastic golf club with a large plastic golf ball. I was showing him how to play and we had a couple different games going. In the first game, Julian would throw the ball to me and say "hit it" and I'd hit the ball and he'd go running for it. Then we played a game like tag where I'd try to get the ball to him and he'd try to dodge it. Later I saw him practicing hitting the ball with the club. He's getting the hang of it. I get some alone-time and can relax and curl up with a book.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mom's night out

This morning I woke up and was not feeling good. I went in to Julian and he was in such a good mood I had to try and be perky. It didn't work. Within a few minutes I was in the bathroom getting sick. It was odd because then I felt better and it seemed to go away. I was able to respond to Julian's request that I read him the Thomas book.

I read more of A Place of Quiet Rest. She had written a beautiful prayer that the Lord would use this study and make us more like Jesus in our response to our circumstances. She prayed (and I shared her prayer) that I would have a deeper desire to make this relationship the most important in my life. That is my heart's desire. She included some words from Elizabeth Elliot who lost her husband years ago when they were missionaries in Ecuador. She reminds us how we need him every hour. How as we get older we realize just how desperate is our need for him and that there is no way to lead the Christian life without strong effort, faithful commitment and the spiritual disciplines (like spending time alone with God).

In A Heart Like His we were finishing 2Samuel 11, the demise of David. Something that really stood out is that from the time he first had the thought of desiring Bathsheba to then asking his servant to get her to then actually bringing her into the palace, he never stopped to reflect and repent, crying out to God for help. Instead he fell deep in sin with Bathsheba and then deeper still in arranging the death of Uriah. So not only did he commit adultery, but then when she got pregnant he tried to arrange it so her husband would sleep with her and think the child was his. When that didn't work he didn't just let it go but instead arranged for Uriah to be killed on the battlefield. What I'm taking away from this is that the KEY is really our minds. That our thought life and what is happening there is key. It is so important to examine and always be aware when our thoughts are leading to potential sin. This is a good verse to memorize and keep near your heart. Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

I took Rio to the vet today. Their main finding is that she is very dehydrated and she's lost about 50% of her body weight. The only way to know more would be to do tests starting with blood work. It could be kidney disease, thyroid disease, cancer, they're just not sure. I just want to do comfort care at this point since she is so old. So they are having me give her daily IV's which I started today at the vet's which should prevent her from dying a horrible death from dehydration. I still need to decide now how long we watch and wait. When I brought her home in her carrier, Julian laid on the floor in front of it talking to Rio. Then I put her in the comfy chair and he tried to play with her. I had to tell him she was not feeling well and give her space and he says "Rio has an owie." He learned this word when mommy cut her finger with a knife two days ago. So cute to see him use the word in that way.

Tonight I had a great time going out with my friend Cecile. We got tickets to a concert by Fernando Ortega, a Christian artist. I had seen him about five years ago and really liked his music so when I heard he was coming to our church I knew I wanted to go. It was a great show and I liked his sense of humor. I forgot just how funny and candid he is as he introduced the various songs. This is also the weekend Blackhawk dedicates to the arts so we got to see the art showcase afterward. I really missed putting Julian to bed! It's so rare I do these nights out and so I'm so used to being the one putting Julian to bed and doing our little routine. It's great though that daddy got a chance to spend some time alone with him.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Julian learns the color blue

I woke up with a pretty uncomfortable headache and stuffy nose. I found out later from a friend that what I described could be sinus related (with the weather being wet and rainy) instead of a cold. I took some Advil and thank goodness it went away pretty quick so I didn't have to change any plans.

I continued my new devotional book A Place of Quiet Rest. The first chapter was really good. In her introduction she (Nancy Lee DeMoss) draws from Mark where Jesus is continually being approached by people in need. Each time, rather than say he's too busy or let's do this later or somehow brush them off, he meets their need by surrendering himself and his time and devoting himself to them. She asks the question, "How did he do it?" The key she said to avoid becoming drained and ineffectual is that Jesus goes to a quite place to pray and spend time with his father every day. She then has you look at your own quiet time asking if is a time where you are cultivating a meaningful, intimate relationship with the Lord through study of the word, praise and prayer. She had different answers you could choose and this really had me closely examine myself. Overall I (hope) I am striving to grow in intimacy with God but must admit there are days when I'm going more on routine than really from the heart.

Julian and I had our play group at Titus. It is such a great feeling to now have several moms that I know and have made a connection with. There were at least five moms that I could hang out and chat with whereas before I was lucky if there was one. So it was really nice and actually an answer to prayer. Julian does really well too and enjoyed playing with cars, trains, Little People house and balls. I think he had the most fun discovering the tents today. They've always been there but today there was a new one, Thomas the Train, which he loves. He spent time going in and out of that one and then began exploring the others around the room (there were about four). What a great idea of something to bring to the big play area in the gym.

After lunch during play time, Julian pulled out the guitars. He gave one to me so that we could play them together which was fun. He has a hand held talking/singing toy that sings the ABCs and various nursery rhymes and he had fun with that. Then something cute was when he pulled out his red chair saying "chair" so he could sit. Then he said "blue chair" which was a different chair he wanted to sit in and he was pointing to it. I got it for him but I was so surprised that he learned a color. I'm not quite sure how but whenever we read Thomas I'm telling him that Thomas is blue and Percy is green. During finger painting I have him pick colors by pointing and I tell him what they are so maybe that's how he identified blue. Anyway, that is neat!

My women's bible study has been on break and started up again today. I'm so bummed I wasn't able to make it. My sitter has been out of town and I reached her today but she had a doctor's appointment. By then it was too late to call any backups so I'll have to wait until next week. We were going to study Ruth so I think I'll review it again on my own since it was such a good study.

Rio is not doing any better. Today she didn't come upstairs at all and spent the whole time in the basement. It's just not the same without her up and about. She's always where we are even if she's usually sleeping. I gave her water a few times and then offered her more soft food but this time she just smelled it but wouldn't eat. So she seems a bit worse today. We have the vet appointment tomorrow so we'll see what they have to say. I'm just praying she's not in any pain.

Tonight Julian and I watched ABC videos again on You Tube. He likes the Sesame Street ones the best. Later, Lanty was playing guitar so Julian and I were dancing a bit. He was uncooperative at dinner and kept asking for foods other than what we were having (meat loaf and green beans). He wouldn't even take a bite of it. He just ate cheese and had some milk. I offered it to him two other times after dinner was over and he wouldn't eat it. Still trying to learn creative ways of dealing with this.

Time to wrap things up and have a little time to relax and then take care of Rio one more time before I go to bed. (And can I say "time" one more time?!)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My wonderful cat named Rio

Julian and I went to our MOPS group this morning. I had prayed ahead of time since Julian has had the hardest time in their nursery and I don't know why. Each time we've gone there he just cries and cries after I leave. My prayers were answered today. Julian did start crying when I left, but the sitter knew him and after 3 minutes I didn't hear him anymore. Our time was really good today with the author of our study coming to speak. Her main focus was on materialism, what we need versus want and what we already have. One of the scriptures we looked at was in Exodus when God gave the Israelites manna to eat. The interesting thing here was that God didn't give them an over-abundance, he gave them just the amount they needed for that day. So the point was asking ourselves what do we truly need. I was really convicted to be more mindful of my purchases asking myself what is it that God wants me to have and do I really need this. So many times I just buy something because we can afford it and I'm not always focused on those questions. She also had us look at how many things we have and really searching our hearts to see where we just have "stuff" and a way to honor God would be to give those things away. In doing that, she also challenged us to give some things away that are really hard to part with. It's easy to give something away you no longer use, but a real sacrifice would be giving away something we really like.

Something sad that's happening is that my beloved cat Rio whom I have had for the past 18-1/2 years is slowly dying. She was my first cat and has been with me through so much. One incredible memory is when my mom died and I would have a crying spell while laying on my bed, she would come up and lie on my back to comfort me. She is a very affectionate cat and loves to give little head butts but only with me and also Lanty. She doesn't seem to be in any pain, but she's slowly wasting away. Every day we let the cats up from sleeping in the basement and the last few days she hasn't come up right away. Well today she didn't come up at all so I went down to check on her and found her sleeping in a cozy spot. I left for MOPS and 3 hours later came back and she hadn't moved. So I got her up and let her drink some water and gave her some of her favorite treats. She only licked them a little bit but didn't eat them which she's never done. We call her the stomach because she is always mooching food so to turn away her treats I know things are not good. We have a vet appointment Friday to do a basic exam and talk to them about comfort care.

Turning things on another somber note was my study of David. I read 2Samuel 11 today which is when David falls. Up until now we have seen so much of God's character in him; now we see the other side, human sin. The shift of his life is so huge. In a few short verses he falls to the depths. He had a major lapse in self-control. He stayed behind while he sent his men to war. One night he got up and walked the roof of the palace and saw a beautiful woman bathing (Bathsheba). He wants her so he has her brought to him and they were together. She becomes pregnant and so to hide his sin he has her husband Urriah sent to the front lines and he is killed. This actually started back when he didn't heed God's warning about the king (Deuteronomy 17:17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.) I think we often get a warning like that from God, a little heart check or that small voice as God warns us of impending temptation to sin. We also see here the importance of accountability, having the right people in our lives who love us enough to challenge us and possibly risk offending us to save us from falling. No one questioned what David was up to. Just like our MOPS meeting this morning, again I saw the subject of "wants". In this case, it was that David had grown so used to getting what he wanted that he dove headlong into sin with Bathsheba out of selfish desire. This was a good reminder that we are never far from the possibility of falling and need to guard our hearts and keep ourselves connected to others who we can be accountable to.

I had a really tough workout at the YMCA tonight. The elliptical I normally use wasn't available so I used the treadmill. I went for 30 minutes alternating with 5 minutes of walking and 5 minutes of running. Wow, it felt good to really push myself and work hard so in that way it was rewarding. It was harder on my knees though. Julian did well in the nursery. I got there just in time for closing. Not much else to report so I think I'll call it a night.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Play date today

After daddy went to work today, Julian wanted to watch a little Elmo. This Elmo video I found is perfect for him, it has segments on dancing, books and music. It's fun to hear him make comments and point to things while he's watching.

Today's devotional time was in 2Samuel 10. This story had an unexpected twist. We get to see again what kind of man David is and the heart he has. He heard the king of the Ammonites died. He wanted to show kindness to the king's son Hanun just as his Father had showed kindness to him. So David sent a delegation to show sympathy for the king's death. Here David exhibits the character of God in his show of sympathy says Beth Moore. Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. Hanun's men mistrust David saying instead of kind intentions he sent his men as spies to which end they end up treating the men with disdain and humiliate them. What a turn of events! So David's heart is pierced and he becomes protective of his men by sending his army to fight and Hanun's men were struck down. He protected their dignity.

We had a lunch play date today with my friend Tina on the east side of Madison. It took Julian a while to settle in and feel comfortable. He wanted me holding him for a while. The kids would try to hold him and he'd squawk. He usually warms up after he's had some time to check out the scenery and become comfortable in a different place. It was rainy outside so after lunch we played in the basement. The kids played well together and I got to catch up with Tina a bit. Since she has 3 kids and a strong faith, she's been a great mom mentor for me especially now that Julian is testing the waters of his independence.

They sent us home with a little people's car since we have a gas station and little people, but no car. He got home and was playing with it right away, making driving sounds and rolling it around. Before he went down for his nap we read a Thomas the Train book. He pointed to the big blue train and said "Thomas" so I let him know it was not Thomas. I showed him that the small blue train was Thomas. He goes back to the big train and says "Gordon" which was right! Lanty and I have been telling him the names of the different trains and yet I really didn't think he would remember the name of the big blue train versus the small blue train. He proved me wrong!

Tonight we met in our small group so our babysitter Dave came over. Dave didn't even have his coat off before Julian was on his lap getting him to read Thomas and other books to him. I notice he's now saying "copter" when he sees the helicopter whereas up until now he would call it a plane so we'd correct him. In our group today we were discussing the sermon which was from Luke; Jesus eating with the tax collectors and sinners, challenging the social boundaries of the time. We had some good discussions sharing our own reflections and thoughts.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Honoring others with loving kindness

This morning Julian was practicing his ABC's a bit more. This time I could make out more letters. He'd sing some letters real clearly and then mumble through. It sounded something like ABCD mumble...HI..LMNOP I know mumble mumble.

I got a lot from today's study. I read 2Samuel 9. If you remember back to when David and Jonathan's friendship grew, Jonathan had him promise to always remember his family with loving kindness. In this chapter David honors that promise by calling for anyone in the house of Saul. It turns out that Jonathan's lame son Mephibosheth is alive and David seeks him out. David honors him by granting him the land that had been Saul's and the honor to always eat at David's table. Mephibosheth was amazed at David's kindness. This was huge for in that time to be disabled you were looked down upon and even shunned. David accepting Mephibosheth without regard to his handicap can be compared to how God wants us to come to him as we are and he loves us as we are. This is true friendship, for David to bestow this honor on Jonathan's son even though Jonathan had long ago passed. This makes me think of the prayer of my friend today, to have love for difficult friends who don't give to you on the level that you give. While a natural reaction would be to pull back and give less, her prayer touched me to love them even more. So that is a prayer that I have too, since I need God's help in doing that.

Once again David and his men are in battle, this time with the Ammonites. Although the Ammonites gathered foreigners in addition to their own army, they were still overpowered by David and his men and they surrendered.

During lunch today I had bible songs playing in the background. They remind me of some of the songs from vacation bible school when I was a kid so it's fun to pass them on to Julian. He liked when I was singing "let my people go", which is part of a song about Moses leading the Israelites to freedom. I asked if he wanted to hear about Moses and he said "yeah" so we got out his bible and I read the story of Moses. On each page he'd point to Moses and say his name and then go "wow". We'd finish and then he'd ask to read the story again so he was really into Moses today.

We had some play time in the basement. We played with the music set and Julian was shaking the hand bells singing "Fish fish fish" song from Elmo's world. Then he drummed a little bit too and handed me a maraca to play along. Then he found a red bowl and he said cook. I said, "are you going to make soup?" He said "no, pancakes". So I got out the playdoh and we flattened out some pancakes and he put them in the bowl to "cook". He'd take one and make chomping sounds pretending he was eating it. This was fun since he doesn't do a lot of imaginary play yet.

I had a tough workout at the YMCA today. I don't know why it was so hard since I went on the same elliptical machine but it felt much harder so I only did 15 minutes on there and did the bike for the other 15. Julian had no problems in the nursery today. When we dropped him off he actually put his arms out for Megan, a staff person, to pick him up. He'd never done that before and I could tell she was pleased.

Tonight I could tell Julian didn't really want to go to bed even though this was a night he goes to bed later since we have our workout at the Y. I had to herd him upstairs by picking a couple of his favorite books and luring him upstairs with them. After writing the blog it's now my turn to wind down and go relax a bit.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Overwhelmed by God's goodness...

We had a fun morning. It started out with eating pancakes and the chocolate on his mouth made Julian look like The Joker! Then we were reading a bunch of different books. Julian was going through a Clifford book on the ABC's and out of the blue says "L-M-N-O-P". Somewhere from Thursday to Sunday he learned some more letters. He surprises us sometimes with things he's picked up. Like later he was asking for Melvin which is a book about a truck named Melvin. He found the book and starts paging through it and then says "I can try, I can try" which is exactly what Melvin says in the middle of the book. Some things really stick with him. He must have been in a playful mood as he came up to me covering his eyes saying "peek-a-boo" and played that for a little bit with me. Then he was paging through a Richard Scarry book naming things like cake, school bus, barn, egg, picture. Right before nap time we were doing leg rides. I asked him if he wanted a horsie ride and he says yes and proceeds to climb onto his stuffed horse and got upset that it wasn't going anywhere. Not the horsie ride I meant!

I finished 2Samuel 7 today and chapter 8. I continue to be moved by the demonstrations of David's love and dependence on the Lord. I see a man whose heart is fully given over to Him. In this chapter he sat before the Lord and "offered him a prayer". He's in awe of how the Lord has been with him and granted him favor and so he poured out his heart. This is just after he was anointed king following all these years of struggle and the Lord promised his kingdom would endure forever. Now he rests from his enemies and seems overwhelmed by God's goodness. Beth reflects that David's prayer to the Lord is an expression of the intimacy he shares with him. I desire that kind of intimacy! I took some time to think of when I've been overwhelmed by God's goodness. The main time is God's grace in opening up my eyes to Jesus and leading me in taking the steps to follow him. It seems hollow to say I'm so grateful because words can't express how thankful I am to have found and be found by him. Another was finding my husband Lanty who has a powerful faith and has blessed my life incredibly. Another area it's hard to find words. And a biggee is the arrival of our son Julian into our lives, and being rescued from the depths of depression many months after he was born and then for the first time really enjoying raising him; just being overwhelmed by wonder and awe of the greatest gift he's given me. In chapter 8 we return to the battlefield where David is fighting for his kingdom. The Lord gave him victory wherever he went. What a powerful relationship! It says David reigned doing what was just and right for his people.

Several times today like when I got Julian up from his nap, when we were eating dinner and on our way home Julian and I would have these long "conversations" where I could make out about every 5th or 6th word. He'd go on and on and I'd respond back to him. He continues to learn his ABC's and sang different parts of the song. It's neat watching him learn this now that he's interested.

We had a wonderful time having lunch at the house church of a group of friends. This is a group from our old church which was on State Street and we later moved into house churches. It didn't take Julian long to warm up and start playing with the kids. It was great they had Thomas the train which is one of his favorites right now. What was really wonderful was when the moms were all in the kitchen sharing challenges with their kids and how they're responding. It really helped me to hear different perspectives on discipline and praying for your children in the midst of the struggles. Before we left, as a song on the piano was played Julian comes over and grabs me by the hand wanting me to dance with him. It surprised me how immediately I got really choked up and how something this simple was just so touching.

We picked Julian up from the nursery at church and they told us he was dancing with them again. Sometimes they hold his hand and other times he dances on his own. I told them how he was dancing with me earlier and they said "what a charmer". We went to McDonald's for dinner with our friends the Ane's and Connie and Nate from our life group. Julian kept taking fries off daddy's tray and it was hard getting him to eat anything else. It was great seeing Julian do so well with the Ane's daughters, 9 and 11. They just love and dote on him and he eats it up sitting in their laps or letting them carry him. He really is a charmer.

It came time to give Julian a bath and all I have to say now is "do you want to play with walrus?" and Julian goes to the stairs to go up and take a bath. He loves his bath toys and the walrus seems to be his favorite. He'd probably sit in there all night if I let him. He'll often get upset when it's time to be done so we go back and say night night to his bath toys.

Well it turns out I did have more to write about today. And now it's time to wrap up for the night.