Monday, May 31, 2010

Wrapping up from the holiday weekend

(Monday) Another lazy morning! Somehow it flew from 7:30am when I was thinking of getting up to 9am. Whoa! J was just quietly chatting in his room. We had a nice morning together with daddy not having to go into work. J's favorite toy has now become his little Thomas trains. I let J watch Elmo and the Firehouse and when Elmo got to wear a fire helmet I gave J his helmet and he was wearing it while he watched. He didn't sleep at all during his morning nap. He went down and was chatting away and then 45 minutes later was still going. He didn't howl or complain at all but I thought I'd get him. I was outside his door and I heard him singing. It sounded a bit like the tune from twinkle twinkle. I quick called L so he could listen and we both stood out there laughing before we went in. It was so cute.

I started Luke 11 during my devotional time. Beth stops to encourage us that God has a specific purpose for this study in our lives. We're about 3/4 of the way through. Jesus teaches on prayer after his disciples ask him how to pray. He teaches us in a simple way to talk to our Father, asking for our daily bread (our daily needs), to forgive our sins and protect us from being tempted to sin. Then he tells a story to illustrate the need for boldness in our prayers. He says, verse 9 So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. It is a reminder that God is ready and waiting to respond to us.

We went to the UW Terrace in downtown Madison and packed a lunch. J sat at the table playing with his Thomas trains while daddy and I caught up on some reading. We had a great view of the lake and there was a slight breeze. Very warm but nice in the shade. We were visited by a pair of ducks which was fun for J since I gave him some bread to feed them. Later, J and I went inside and he was enthralled by their big fish tank. He got really animated when there was another little boy just about his age watching them with him, pointing to the different fish and naming their colors.

I got another night off from cooking and we just had leftovers. Later, we played outside. I don't know why, but J wanted to bring his Elmo shape sorter outside to play with. We said hi to our neighbor Bill when he drove by. Then J kept saying hi and Bill had to go in and J was making a sad face. J wanted daddy to play so we went inside to get him and we all played together. Daddy and I were rolling the ball and playing tag by trying to touch J. He loved it when I pushed him around on his little truck. It was hard to get him to go inside. Sometimes J is really antsy when I'm trying to get his PJ's on. He starts kicking and trying to roll over and he won't stay still. When I notice I'm getting really frustrated and he won't listen, I've started a new thing of tickling him, telling him "tickle mommy" is going to come out. Then I tickle him like crazy and he can't stop laughing. It eases my tension and usually wears him out a bit so I can get his PJ's on.

(Tuesday) This morning we did our grocery shopping. J was a bit cranky which is unusual for shopping. He kept wanting to hold things and when I let him he threw it on the ground so I told him no more. Then he was pouting/crying/whining all at the same time. He would say "I want home" or "I want to walk" (since he'd really love to get out of the cart).

In my devotional time, I continued in Luke 11. Here again, Jesus is healing someone by driving out a demon. some of them accused him of working with Satan (what a joke!) the prince of demons. Jesus rightly replies how this makes no sense - if he was working for Satan he'd do Satan's work. He wouldn't be divided against him and heal someone (from verse 18: If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? He then tells a story about a strong man which Beth says is describing Satan. She wants us to not forget that yes, Satan is strong. We are no match for him. He will try to tempt us in so many ways so that we are pulled away from growing closer to Jesus. But he is no match for God. And the Lord will restore what Satan takes from us. This made me think about my depression. Things were so dark and I now know first hand what it's like for Satan to torment you. I had to fight so many horrible thoughts that I know the Lord didn't place in my head. But even when I struggled just to pray and sometimes couldn't even pray, never did the Lord let me go. I didn't know it at the time while struggling, I couldn't "feel" the Lord's presence and didn't feel any connection, but after I recovered I saw that each and every day through that time the Lord upheld me. It is truly like that Footprints in the Sand poem. (See link).

Around lunch time, J was saying "I want to worship" so I put in his kids worship CD and he was moving along to the music. He was saying "the birds are singing" and I could hear them outside and told him that yes, they were. Then he said "sing to Jesus" and so I said yes, let's sing to Jesus. He was really animated.

After that we just played inside for a while, as I kept asking if he'd like to go outside and he'd say no. Then later he was ready so we played in the sandbox for the first time. I think he really liked it. We created a little game where I would fill up one of his toys that is like a mold (a fish, train, sandcastle) and I'd uncover it and say "ta da" and his job would be to smoosh it down. Then he'd say "again?" and we'd start all over. Then I got some of his little cars to play in the sand and a digger. He had a lot of fun making car/truck noises and pushing them through the sand. I got out a couple times to take his picture and he got upset saying "mommy in the sandbox?".

We stopped at the library to drop off some books and during our ride he somehow brought up PalZone which is the play group we go to on Wednesdays. Well, tomorrow is a special PalZone day where we meet at the zoo and have pizza so I was telling him all about it. Then he'd say "again" and wanted me to repeat it over and over while he'd name all the animals we'd see like saying monkeys-ooh ooh, lion-roar.
Later, I heard him reading to himself and kept hearing him say some word over and over. It turns out he was looking at a fire truck book with lots of firemen on every page and he was saying helmet, helmet, while pointing to each one.

He ate the dinner I made which isn't often the case. He likes rice & ate a little pork chop. After dinner, he said he wants to read the Jesus book. I wasn't sure which one he was talking about and then he pointed to his children's bible. So I found the story of Jesus teaching at the temple when he was a young man. I had to clean up after that and I heard J "reading" and he'd say Jesus about every other word as he went.

We usually have our life group but it was canceled tonight so we took a nice family walk. J saw the park and started asking to go and I was glad we still had some light left. We did the slide and swings. He still wants me with him on the slide which I enjoy, but continue to encourage him to try it. At bedtime, I always have prayer time and tonight J says "pray for so and so?" and started saying all these names of our friends and their kids. So we had several people we prayed for.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Enjoying the long weekend

This ended up being a good morning for sleeping in. J was completely quiet so I got an extra hour or so of rest. J played with his trains most of the morning. He asked for pancakes which was right on since I planned on making them. But when they were ready, he wouldn't come to eat them. He just whined and kept playing with his trains. It took several times of asking and finally he came over to eat. Then he went back to play with his trains, hooking them all up together and pulling them across the couch.

I read Luke 10 today during my devotional time. We come to another popular story, the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus and his disciples came to a village where Martha opened her home to him. While they were there, Martha's sister Mary sat at Jesus' feet listening to what he said. Martha was distracted by all her preparations and she got upset. She asked if Jesus even cared about this and even ordered him to tell Mary to help. Jesus corrected her gently saying although Martha was worried about many things, only ONE thing is needed and Mary has chosen it. Beth shares about some of her friends and how they are so different from one another but that is what she has grown to love. She says we need to fight isolation and independence. This was something I needed to fight when J was getting near 1 year old. I was so isolated from people, from friends, from family and was in such a dark place. I see so much value now in the importance of cultivating these relationships. Beth points out that Martha opened her home which is one way of serving, but Mary opened her heart. A key in our lives is cultivating an awareness of his presence.

Daddy got invited to go golfing in the afternoon. A friend won a round for four at a really nice course and this will be the first time he's gone since J was born. He was gone when J got up from his nap. He was looking around for him and was bummed when he learned daddy was gone. I wasn't sure what to do with our afternoon so I asked J. He first said Splash Park, then McKee Farms, then back to Splash Park and then stayed with that. So I got our suits on and we headed into the 85+ heat. The park was a lot more crowded than earlier in the week, but there was still room to move around. J was a lot less enthused with the water today. He followed me in and then at times wanted me to hold him but would say the water scared him or the water was cold. Right when I was toweling off, he started catching the excitement of the other kids and ran around a little bit. The two of us grabbed a bite to eat at McD's and hung out there before church. He's in a teaching room now instead of just a nursery and it turns out they will have teaching over the summer too. This month they continue to teach "God is with us."

Our sermon series on forgiveness continued, this week's focus being forgiving ourselves. One of the highlights was that he shared about how forgiveness can lead to shame. That there is healthy shame, and unhealthy shame. Healthy shame is I am ashamed about what I did. Unhealthy shame is I am ashamed of who I am. The healthy shame is actually good, he says, because it tells us our moral compass is still working. That it is good when there is actually a battle inside of us where we want to resist doing wrong. He reminded us that this is heavy stuff, that our unforgiveness can go very deep and the process can be very hard, but to continue to bring it to the Lord. L wasn't able to make it on time to meet us at church so we met up back at home. We played outside for a while. I just love watching J run around outside. He is so happy and excited. Then daddy needed to grab a bite to eat so we tagged along while he ate at Culver's. Tomorrow, we're thinking of staying around town and trying to avoid major crowds. Maybe a picnic lunch at our university's terrace on the lakefront and then some walking around downtown.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Spending date night downtown

J woke up in a "sensitive" mood today; crying because I put on sandals instead of his gym shoes and his swim suit instead of regular clothes. He just seemed a little off. So it was no surprise that he was not very happy going swimming today. He actually cried a couple times like when we were supposed to put his face underwater for the first time. He kept saying "I don't like that". J is really the only one in the class not liking it. He seems to have an independent learning style. He really seems to do okay as long as he can get used to it at his own pace and do his own thing in the water. He doesn't like the "forced" stuff which is how the class goes. Now that I have learned what his reactions are, I would have been much better off just introducing him to the water on my own instead of through a class. But I wouldn't have known that without trying. We only have 2 classes left, so after that I'll continue to work with him on my own.

In my time alone today, I continued in Luke 10. This is the famous story of the good Samaritan. I didn't remember that it starts off with an expert in the law "testing" Jesus by asking him what the way is to eternal life. Here is what he replies in verse 27: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' After that, Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan and asks which one acted as a neighbor. Both a priest and a Levite-those you'd expect to stop-left him to lay there while the Samaritan was the one who stopped to help. This man showed mercy to a stranger lying beaten and bleeding in the road. Beth (in Jesus, the One and Only) says that God demands passionate action. Again, I can recall times when I've been moved to do something like pay for someone's groceries who is in line with me using food stamps yet I've chickened out. I pray for passionate action instead of indecision when God brings an opportunity my way.

I decided to read my Ecclesiastes study for next week (chapter 6) and here are some of the highlights. This chapter tells us that hard times can become the best years of our life. Then he moves a different direction and says that someone can have all that they desire but God does not enable him to enjoy them so he is miserable. Yet someone else can be filled with gratitude in what they have realizing it is a gift from God's hand. The key he says is that enjoyment is a gift God gives us. Also, out of adversity can come wisdom which can protect from further trouble and pain. Bottom line, no matter what our circumstances, we must learn to accept and understand God has chosen or allowed them out of love and wisdom. What he sends us is always designed to benefit. It is good to hear this again and again, because it is so easy during my day to find myself grumbling about something. Like J having some temper time or being aggravated in the car. But just the other day when I was aggravated in the car by a slow poke, I had the thought what if God is somehow protecting me from an accident? Like what if by this delay I end up not being in the way of someone who is driving reckless? OK that may not be true, but it blessed me and calmed me down.

J was hungry for lunch. He has a whole PB & J sandwich (usually he only eats half). After lunch, we stopped at the library, got some ice cream and then checked out our missionary friends' yard sale. They gave me some children's learning CD-Rom's for free. Boy, was it warm out. Over 85, sunny and barely any breeze. J liked their daughter. She was reading a book under a tree and he sat down right with her to listen then was following her around a bit.

L and I got to have a lovely date night tonight thanks to our friends from our life group. They offered to watch J anytime and he has fun playing with them and their kids. They got him a wonderful birthday gift of a Thomas the Train set with several trains and a wooden track. He was so excited he was shaking. He loves Thomas but we've only watched videos since the trains are not cheap to buy. So we left him quite happy there. We headed downtown to State Street. It is a pedestrian mall that connects the state capital with the UW Madison campus. It is great just to walk and talk and the night was nice as it started to cool off. We decided on a new Indian restaurant (new to us) that was a bit of a walk which was good. Out of our time we decided we'd like to have a deeper focus in our relationship on how we are doing, how things are really going. In the past, it has helped to go through some type of relationship book together so we're thinking about doing that. It has been a really good conversation starter and it's helped us to keep communication flowing in our strong and weak areas. J was waiting at the door when we got back and was really excited to see us and show us what he was playing with. We ended up hanging out for a while and talking. Then we realized it was getting late although J was still wide awake. And now I'm starting to fade so I'm going to wrap things up.

Friday, May 28, 2010

J has a play date with the girls

Yesterday we had our first park date of our Titus mom's group. We're no longer meeting in the church gym, but meeting at various parks around the city. I was the "host" which meant I picked the park and got there early to welcome people. We met at McKee Farms. It was nice meeting some new moms and this time I let J do more running around on his own and was able to have more conversations. An older boy, Steffano, was helping keep an eye on him. We had fun until 4 school buses full of older kids came and so most of us left since the kids were too rowdy for our little ones. It ended up being close to lunch time.

I got together with my women's bible study group to review Ecclesiastes chapter 4. The highlight for me was where the author says enjoyment does not come from possessions or riches. Nor does it come from companionship, popularity or fame. It comes by knowing the living God and taking everything from his hand with thanksgiving, whether pain or pleasure. I do believe God controls what comes into your life. So I need to remember that what's happening is happening because God allowed it, so there must be some way he's going to use it for my good (Romans 8:28).

When I got home, it was pretty warm so I got on J's suit and we went in his pool for the first time. We played with his water toys and then he was asking me to sit with him but I didn't have on my suit. I decided I'd put it on and I brought a few balls into the pool too. Soon after that he was wanting to go back inside.

For my devotional time, I finished reading Luke 9. I had a thought. I was thinking how when I read about David so often I was really moved and so in awe of his relationship and devotedness to God. Yet I'm noticing that I'm not having that experience in this study. I think part of it is that I just really can't fathom all the miracles Jesus is doing. I'm reading and it's like, oh-he did another miracle. Not, wow-this is so moving and incredible to think of someone blind regaining their sight! Like verse 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. I want to be amazed. In my reading, the disciples were arguing over who among them was the greatest. We see how very human they are. Here, Beth says that the road to greatness is through humility. That is an area I could grow for sure. Beth says that God wants us to get beyond the "self" stuff; self pity, self indulgence, self absorption, self exaltation. This is a daily challenge.

For dinner, we were meeting friends at a pizza place. They have been raising money as missionaries and are soon moving to Malawi, Africa so we wanted to treat them. J kept saying "pizza pizza" while waiting for daddy to get home. He loves pizza so he ate well and then did a lot of coloring so we were able to hang out for a couple hours and he actually stayed content in his high chair. We played outside for a little bit when we got home but it was getting dark.

This morning, we had a play date at my friend Joan's with her daughter and Heather and her daughter whose birthday was today. Our kids are all in the turning two stage. It was a good opportunity for them to practice sharing as they all wanted what the other one was playing with. J kept going into Joan's daughter's room and bringing out more and more toys. Heather made the cutest little monkey face cupcakes which the kids loved. As we were getting ready to leave J found a musical barn toy magnet and started dancing to the songs then the girls started dancing too. It was so cute watching all three of them dance together. When we got home, for some reason I got my nerve to cut my hair short. I just was ready. So I got my hair cutting scissors and cut probably 4 or 5 inches off. It feels much cooler so I think it'll be good for summer.

We ended up futzing around before and after lunch so we didn't do much outside in the afternoon but ran to the store, stopped at a garage sale and made a stop at the library. It was pretty cute at the library, J made a friend of an older girl. She kept asking him to watch her puppet show but he didn't want to sit so she ended up reading him a couple books while they sat in a chair together. She'd just make up the words from the pictures.

In my devotional time, I started Luke 10. Jesus sent out 72 disciples to teach and heal. Beth shares that often our work for the Lord is done not by ourselves, but in fellowship with others. The disciples came back elated by all they were able to do for Christ, but he corrects them saying they should instead rejoice that their names are written in heaven. In other words, the greatest cause we have for joy is not what we do but who we are, children of the living God. She says dare to do what he's calling you to do. Often I'll get these ideas of blessing someone in a specific way, but then I end up for one reason or another not doing it. I see how I rob myself of the opportunity not only to share joy, but to receive it by giving of myself.

During J's nap, I was blogging and lost track of time. By the time I looked at the clock it was 5 minutes until L gets home from work and I hadn't made dinner! Oops. I ended up making grilled cheese but J was in a funky mood and cried most of dinner, not eating much. He perked up once I said we could go outside to play. Tonight, he was using my golf club to hit some plastic golf balls around the driveway. Then he had fun throwing balls into his pool. Before bed, I gave him a bath but he still hates getting his hair and face wet. He cries and gets so upset yet all I can do is go fast. Hoping there will be no carryover, I tried to get him excited about swimming tomorrow. Then daddy came up and did the rest of tucking him in for the night. I'm looking forward to the longer weekend. So far we planned a date night tomorrow night and then L goes golfing Sunday so maybe J and I will have a play date.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We had so much fun today

Oh what a fun day!!! Last night, I didn't get to bed until 12:30am so waking up I was really tired but we had a lot of fun activities so at least I wasn't dragging. After daddy left, we played outside for a bit and then it was time to go to Pal Zone. There were a lot of kids today, many were new. J did well avoiding tug of wars when kids would want the toy he was playing with. I'd get him involved in something else right away. He was excited about doing circle time and didn't lag behind this time. He liked these two older girls and was holding each of their hands while in between them. He seemed fascinated with their hair too. Since the group has a field trip to the zoo next week, the book today was about zoo animals. The craft was decorating a lion with yarn for the mane. J helped with glueing and pressing the yarn on.

We had lunch at home and listened to our kids worship CD again. This time J was dancing to it. When it was over, he said "more worship" so I played some more. Then we got all ready for going to Splash Park. This is a kid's park across town that has all kinds of water jets and sprinkler fixtures coming out of the cement. At first J didn't know what to make of it. He'd never seen anything like it. But seeing a lot of kids having so much fun, he went in with me. He got a little scared at first by the strong jets of water but we found a softer sprinkler that he liked. Then he really got used to it and we moved around the place. There was one other mother going in the water but after she left I was on my own. J and I had a lot of fun. I think we'll be spending a lot of time here this summer! Afterward, I picked up a few more things from the Savers (like Goodwill) store. A few sleeveless tops for this warm weather and some thin material shorts. J fell asleep in the car so I picked him up like a baby and walked him into the house. He startled a bit and cried out, but then I soothed him and he was asleep in my arms. I just stood there with him for a while, enjoying such a peaceful moment watching him sleep.

When J woke up from his nap, he got up right away. He usually lays in his crib for a while and takes some time to become fully awake. Right away he was asking to get up and read David and Goliath so I read the story from his new bible. He liked imitating my voice as I pretended to be Goliath. I had an intense workout today. It was raining and we got a bit delayed so I only had 20 minutes. I ran the entire time and bumped up the speed a little bit. Whew! It was a good challenge. When we got home, J wanted to go outside. He just loves outside. But we told him it was raining. During his night routine, daddy was getting ready to read him a book and he looks at me and says "bye mommy". I asked if he wanted me to go and he said bye again. So I let daddy take over and had to laugh at that.

I just spent some time reading some of the blogs that I follow and I found a new one that really spoke to me. It felt like the Lord sent me to it, so much on there was encouraging to me. Click here. (Yay! I finally figured out how to do a link!)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Help my unbelief ... and cherishing "uppy"

J wanted to go outside this morning after daddy left but it had started to rain. We stayed in the garage for a bit since he wanted to hear the thunder as the storm was coming in. It doesn't seem to spook him. Another new toy he's been liking and playing with a lot is his Elmo shape sorter. He likes to name the color of the block as he tries to find the matching shape slot.

Today in Beth Moore's book Jesus the One and Only, the reading was in Luke 9. Jesus came down from the mountain and again a crowd met him. A man pleaded with Jesus to heal his son of a demon. He shared that he had asked the disciples for help and they could not do it. The man said "but if you can do anything, take pity on which Jesus said (Mark 9:23) Everything is possible for him who believes. The father had an interesting response, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief! So here you see he has a desire to believe, yet confesses his lack of faith while crying out for help to overcome his unbelief. This is an area I can relate to. Many times I pray for things and maybe struggle to believe God will bring the change. But we have a big God! An all-powerful God! I need to check areas of my own unbelief and ask for greater faith. Jesus healed the boy and they were all amazed at the greatness of God. One other point she mentions that I agree with is how prayer is a critical element of faith.

After J's nap, I put on a worship CD for kids that I found for J. I heard about it on one of the other blogs that I follow. It's called Cedarmont Worship for Kids Vol. 1. The funny thing is as we listened to it, it really ministered to ME (even though it's kids singing). Each of the songs are ones I'm familiar with and hadn't heard for a while and I really enjoyed it.

J wanted me to hold him a lot today. I love this. Who knows how long it will be before he won't ask for that or want that. He says "uppy" when he wants me to pick him up. Then he helped me cook his quesedilla (he liked pushing it around the pan).
Here's a picture of him napping.

I've started selling a few things on EBay (like a camera that broke when I dropped it) so J and I went to the post office to ship out one of the items. I asked him what park he wanted to go to and he went back and forth but we decided on Elver Park which was nearby. We ended up playing there for an hour! We did a little of everything and I liked how he was "driving" with the steering wheel on the jungle gym and he would say "mommy sit in the car". I'd sit down behind him and he'd pretend we were driving somewhere. I asked him where we were going and he said to the grocery store. Cute!

I got my camera today! Long story short, I was supposed to be getting one from my credit card miles but they no longer sell the item so I just went to EBay and got the same camera that I had before which broke. I can't say how nice it is to have one again. I really miss taking pictures of J every day. I'll have to get back into that. My babysitter called at the last minute to cancel tonight saying she didn't feel well. Thankfully, our second babysitter (my husband's friend) was able to come. J actually cried when it was time to go to bed. He wanted Dave to read him books and was so sad when I took him upstairs. I can't remember the last time he cried about going to bed. We are so blessed that he is so easygoing about sleep.

We met with our life group to talk about Sunday's sermon on forgiving others. We each were able to share about people we haven't forgiven. Especially those we have pushed back in our minds that we just went on with life but when we think of them we know the pain and emotions are still there and there's more work to do. We agreed that our speaker mentioning to see this person's humanity is a helpful way to start the process.

A blog award...

I am the recipient of this blog award!
My blog friend Tea over at Homemaker's Heart ( sent it to me. I was surprised since I've never had a blog award. So the rules are, in accepting it I need to tell 7 random things about myself:

1. My mission in life is to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and to love my neighbor as myself.

2. I am SUPER blessed to be a stay at home mother to an adorable 2 year old boy and our life is an adventure every day.

3. I'm thinking of getting my hair cut real short (now it's shoulder length) but I'm a bit nervous about it.

4. Just started selling things on EBay and finding that I like to do it.

5. Am really happy that I finally have some mom friends who I can go on play dates with, to the park, picnics, etc.

6. I love watching my husband with our son; reading books to him, wrestling with him, playing catch with him.

7. I love to read.

This was fun!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Blessed in my prayer time today

Since we didn't get to go over the weekend, this morning I put together my menu for the week and took J to do our grocery shopping. He's still my little helper in putting things away.

In my devotional time, I continued in Luke 9. I am already more than halfway through the study. One of the things this study is about, Beth says, is being able to put ourselves in the shoes of Christ's disciples. I started to pray for my time with God and was turning my heart and mind to him and it was like I could feel him turning to me like he was taking my hand to draw me close. It was a really neat moment. The study today was about the transfiguration; Jesus takes Peter, James and John upon a mountain and his face changed and his clothes became bright. They were witnessing his glory. Then a cloud came and a voice said "This is my son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." (Verse 35). Just as Jesus revealed more of himself to his disciples, as our relationship with him deepens, he reveals more and more of himself to us. There is always more to learn about him! I also read from Ecclesiastes ch. 4. In the last chapter, we were learning that God has a wonderful plan for each life. In ch. 4 the question is raised how can a loving God allow certain things to happen? I think that's a good question. The author shares that if we accept that God's motives come from a loving heart, we can enjoy all of life, even the painful parts.

It was a really hot day today. It got over 90. After lunch, we went outside and J played with his lawn mower while I raked up the grass left over from mowing. I used the grass as mulch in my little garden. J helped me lay it on the plants. I got J's pool out of the box and started blowing it up. That was a lot of work! J ended up getting too hot so I let him cool off inside for a bit and then finished blowing it up and putting the water in the pool. I think we'll use it tomorrow since it got a bit late.

When J saw his pool from the window after his nap he wanted to go swimming. It was hard to tell him we'll need to wait until tomorrow since he seemed so excited. He's been enjoying a See and Say talking toy that has numbers 1-10 in different colors. It has him pick the number by its color and press it. He rushes through it when he does it on his own, but as I played with him for a while he would follow the voice and pick out the colored number as I encouraged him. He's beginning to move from learning to say (most) of the numbers 1-10 to just starting to learn to recognize the numbers by sight.

I had a good workout at the Y tonight running for 20 minutes and walking for 10. For J's bedtime story, daddy read from the Jesus Storybook Bible I learned about from my blog friend Tea at Homemaker's Heart ( There are wonderful stories of the bible with each one pointing to the underlying theme of Jesus. Yesterday at church J was learning about David and Goliath. After church, he was talking about the giant and showing me these little paper David sandals he "made" with help. So daddy read him the story of David and Goliath. He was excited telling me how the giant went crash.

I just saw the temp and it's 80 at 10pm. I'm thankful for our A/C. We can't keep it very low but it still helps with the humidity. High of 86 tomorrow! The little pool should feel good for J.

As a postscript I thought I'd add something encouraging I just read. This is from the website of the magazine Thriving Family, a Focus on the Family publication. They have some really good articles from time to time that really speak to me. Here's an excerpt from the post "Mommy Tasking": What we moms need, what our minds miss most and what our hearts intensely seek is the seemingly lost ability to monotask. We long for a quiet moment on a porch swing to laugh with a child, a chance to linger over dinner with our husband and the satisfaction of allowing a burgeoning idea to playfully work its way through our brain....
The article is about multitasking and how that can take over a mom's life. She continues: Multitasking isn’t just a solution for improved productivity; it's a value statement that says more is always better and quiet times are unproductive times. I suspect that God couldn’t agree less. The Bible does not say, “He leadeth me in the path of astounding productivity and dizzying accomplishment whereby He is exceedingly impressed.” No, God wants us to lie down in green pastures, and He wants to lead us beside still waters to restore our souls. This really spoke to my soul.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Learning more about forgiveness

Our friends are leaving soon to go to Malawi, Africa, as missionaries and they threw a going away/birthday party today at a kid's indoor gym place. Most of it was for older kids, but there were a few things J could do like tossing balls, playing in a kids car, walking on the big gym mats. I held him on one of the tall mats so he could jump and he couldn't stop laughing.

Later, we hung out at home playing outside and it was pretty warm. It was pushing 90 today. The neighbor gal came over with some bubbles that J liked chasing after. She also offered to babysit if we ever need it. I opened up his new bubble mower to try it out but it wasn't working so the neighbors helped get it going. He wanted to take it all over like going partway around the block. He got sidetracked by some boys playing in their sprinkler and wouldn't come so I had to carry him and the mower home. J had fun playing with a lot of his new toys today.

We are continuing the forgiveness series in our church and today the focus was on forgiving others. He used a visual of dirt and how out of the dirt (of our lives) can come something beautiful like flowers. He went over what forgiveness is and what forgiveness isn't. (Like forgiveness isn't that you are saying what happened was okay.) One of the things that stood out was that forgiveness isn't reconciliation. That they are separate things. To forgive someone, you don't need the other person to admit their wrong, it is just getting your heart right. But in reconciliation, the other person (or you both) admits their wrong, and it starts a process of restoring the relationship. L and I stayed after to pray with people yet no one came to our areas. So we just prayed on our own until we decided it was time to go. On our way out, we had great timing as we ran into my friend Eileen. She invited us out to dinner and we had a really nice time. Our husbands finally got to meet and talk and the kids did well too. J ate really well which was surprising. He's often finicky and yet today he had no problems sharing my chicken burrito and peas and rice. He really liked the Spanish rice. The only bad thing was when J was dancing in the bathroom and fell and bit his lip and it bled. I so hate when he gets hurt! It always hurts me too. I was glad it stopped quick and he calmed down.

Looks like this week is going to be warm and in the 80's every day. I think I'll get out J's new pool. Auntie Amy got him a pool with a little elephant slide that'll be fun to try out.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

J's Day of Celebration

What a wonderful celebration day. Even though I'm really tired from all the action, I just have to write about it. J started the day opening a gift from Auntie Kelly and Uncle RoRo, a giant dinosaur with all kinds of different sounds and he walks too. We didn't have much time to hang out since we needed to get to the church for the dedication. We were a little late but they were still checking people in. J was fine until it was his turn to go up to the stage, then he started acting up. I felt a little embarrassed but then he quieted down and they read a scripture we chose (Ephesians 5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.) Then they prayed over him and us as a family. They even had a cake and punch reception but J hit his head when he walked into a table so he was bummed for a while.

The rest of the day was like a whirlwind since there was so much to do. We got to the park and did all the set up work. We had lots of people to help, which was great, then we got to enjoy a nice picnic lunch. We ran a little short on food (not good) so my sister ran out for more subs. There was a big lull while we waited for her to get back so we could sing J happy birthday and cut the cake. It turns out daddy had gone up the hill so he missed the singing so everyone sang a second time. Oops! Then we were blessed with so many sweet gifts for J. He doesn't understand the opening gifts thing so daddy and I helped.

He had a great day. He kept grabbing my hand saying "mommy come play" but I was pretty busy hosting so he had a couple trips to the kids play area with Uncle RoRo and Mimi my step mom. My niece M.E. spent some time with him and so did his little friend Steffano. J kept hugging him. Finally, after we had things cleaned up mommy could relax and I enjoyed some time at the kids park with J.

My family came over after the party and the kids all played with the new toys. The house looked like a hurricane hit it. J was amazing, still going with no naps. We went out for a birthday dinner of burgers and ice cream.

The last special part of the day was my saying goodnight time with J. After our usual routine, I held him and started singing happy birthday really softly. He kept saying "again" and had me sing it like 5 times in a row. Every time I finished he'd say "yay". While I was singing, he cupped my face in his little hands. It was such a sweet moment and end to a great day.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Soaking up the morning sun

This morning after daddy left, J wanted to go play outside. It was already 62 at 9am. J quickly lost interest is chasing balls so I got the idea of getting our camping chairs and setting them outside. I got my coffee and the newspaper and he had his sippy cup and a few books. The two of us sat out there reading until it was time for his morning nap. It was really nice.

Today I started reading Luke 9. Jesus called the twelve together. Verse 1-2: He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Up until this time, Jesus had been acting on his own. Now he equipped the disciples. Beth mentions how the disciples had been granted a privilege beyond all others based on what they'd seen. Yet then he also gave them power and authority while he was around to continue teaching them.

At my bible study, we went over chapter 3 in Ecclesiastes. One point made in chapter 3 is that as we grow in our knowledge, we discover that the more we know, the more we realize we do not know. Yet that is the life of faith. To rest in his arms letting the enigmas unfold, trusting in the wisdom of our heavenly father. Another part that stood out to me was in verse 13 it talks about man gaining pleasure from toil. The key, they found, is that it isn't lasting pleasure. The secret is that it is only a vibrant relationship with God that produces lasting enjoyment.

My babysitter showed me a new game she was playing with J while I was gone. She would sit J in the cardboard box and he'd put on his fire helmet. Then she'd pull him around the room on their way to a fire. When she stopped, J would stand up with his pretend hose and pretend to put out the fire. She left and he wanted me to do this a few times. Then we took a little trip to the library and I found a bunch of good books. When he got up from his nap, one of the first things he did was go through the new books and select a few for me to read before dinner.

During dinner, J had a little meltdown while eating spaghetti. He seemed to be getting frustrated by how much he was dropping into his bib. After a few bouts of nonstop crying, I laid him in his crib as a way to calm down. He was fine after about ten minutes and then finished eating. It was so out of the blue. We headed across town to our friend's house to pick up a water cooler for J's birthday party. J wanted to take some of his new books with him. Usually he'll pick one or at the most two. This time he wanted to take four with him and was upset when I told him it was too much. We compromised and I let him take two. He did end up reading both of them in the car. They were outside with the kids so we stayed to play. J loves their daughter who's a little older. She would ride her tricycle and he'd push her. Then she pushed him on a little scooter. He wanted her to chase him and he'd laugh like crazy when she did. For some reason, he wanted to wear her bicycle helmet so he had that on while playing.

One more day to get the final preparations done for J's party. Will have a lot of running around tomorrow and my sister and brother in law are coming up to stay the night. So I probably won't be posting for a few days.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Had a little picnic

I have a giant box that I set up in the living room to see if J would play with it. He wasn't playing with it until I showed him mommy could fit in it. Then he crawled in with me. We played house and put a bunch of his little toys in there and then J crawled in to hang out and play with them.

I continued in Luke 8 today. Jesus and his disciples sailed across the lake from Galilee. There he heals a man who was demon possessed. The people were overcome with fear as they found the man peacefully sitting at Jesus' feet in his right mind. Jesus restored his mind and his dignity. Beth reflects that this was such a loss for those people. Instead of welcoming Jesus who just healed this man, learning from him or possibly being healed themselves, they asked him to leave thus missing out on what he may have had for them.

It took J a while waking up from his morning nap. I had time to put the clean sheets on the bed and put away the towels then he was finally waking up. My friend from Titus and her 2 daughters met J and I at the park after lunch. We hadn't been to our neighborhood park in a couple weeks since the weather hadn't been that good. Today was a gorgeous, sunny day. Joan and I seem to have good conversations when we get together. I shared about my difficult time of life after J was born and she shared some of her struggles too. It was fun watching the kids get to know one another better. We brought J's new tiny firetruck and he played with it for a while and then Olivia did too. They had a bit of a tug of war over it but then Olivia gave it back. J found a boy who brought a dump truck and a digger and the boy shared them. I think he was tired when we were leaving since there was no complaining like he'd usually do.

This morning J had more fun in his play house box. This time he'd rough house by rocking it back and forth and almost falling over but enjoying it. Then he played crash with his cars inside. We went to PalZone for some play time. I talked to a couple moms who were there for the first time. One had a boy that was a handful. I'm really glad for this group. It has been a great place for J to get the opportunity to play with a lot of different kids and work on sharing, story time and crafts. It was just beautiful outside when we were leaving. It was like a perfect day weather-wise.

In my devotional time, I continued in Luke 8. Jesus returned and a man named Jairus fell at his feet pleading with him to come to his home and tend to his sick daughter. As they left, the crowds were crushing yet Jesus was able to feel someone touch him. His "power" had gone out from him. He asked who touched him. Finally, a woman with bleeding issues for 12 years confessed why she touched him and how she'd been instantly healed. Jesus said, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace." It was then that Jesus found Jairus' daughter had died but he commanded her to get up and she lived. I love what Beth says here, that God can't resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need him. This story of the woman with bleeding always moves me. She so completely believed and trusted in the Lord that in her mind if she could only touch him she felt she'd be healed. And she was.

J and I had a little picnic outside to enjoy the beautiful day. I think it was over 75 today. It was great hanging out on the patio eating together. J asked to play in the sandbox so we opened it up. He only has a bucket and shovel and a small bowl but it was enough to keep him happy playing in the sand. We also spent some time playing with his bucket of balls. Since he had a long morning nap and wasn't tired in the afternoon not wanting to nap, I let him stay up. We watched a bit of Veggie Tales "Lord of the Beans", a spoof of one of my favorite movies Lord of the Rings.

After dinner, we had a good workout at the Y. Lately, instead of trying to read while I work out I've been using the time to pray for J. I just open my heart and pray for all the things that come to mind. It's been such a good time of prayer as there are so many things to pray about and it's also uninterrupted time. While we were putting him to bed, he dragged all his blankets out of his crib and was putting them on the floor and laying on them. Daddy read his book and then I tucked him in.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Trip to the doctor

This morning was J's 2 year well child visit with our pediatrician. It turned out he needed 2 more shots, but then none until age 5! I always hate that part because he's so trusting of you and then you allow this person to just jab him and it's really upsetting. I'm glad it's quick though. J did really well getting weighed on the big boy scale and sitting through the hands-on exam. He can say our pediatrician's name now, which is cute. He's only 25 pounds and in the 5% range for height. He's so little (but I like that). After that, we did our grocery shopping for the week. He's now saying "I can walk" going into stores and places so I'm doing less carrying. When we got home, I wanted to get out our garden hose and J got the idea to play fire fighter with it so I ran and got his fireman hat and we went around "putting out fires".

Today was our big expedition to get the sand for his sandbox. I had no idea how much to get so I got 7 (50 lb.) bags but only needed 5. I don't have any of the sand toys yet and I won't introduce him to it until his birthday. I just realized today that the sandbox is a purple dinosaur. I thought it was a turtle! We also got a little wading pool today that was only $4. The reality of summer being around the corner is becoming more real. J wanted to go to McKee Farms after the store, and they were setting up for a carnival. The last time J was at a carnival he was only 2 months old! It'll be great if we're around for it. During J's nap, I used his stroller to wheel the 50 lb. bags of sand one by one to the back yard and now the sand is ready.

After dinner, we went to the Y. I did a fast walk for 30 minutes without running today. I don't think I'll drop my run again since I didn't feel like I got a very good workout. J colored a spider man picture. His pictures are getting more and more colorful now. After the Y, daddy and I spent some time outside playing with J. He just can't get enough of being outside and always asks to go out. Tonight, he started a new game saying "1-2-3 go" and he'd start running. I don't know where he got this idea but I liked it. Daddy would slowly chase him and he'd run and laugh. I couldn't believe how much energy he had left to burn off before going to bed. We pulled off the tiny band-aids from his shots (tweety bird and snoopy) and he wanted to take them to bed with him. Kids have such goofy ideas sometimes.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Parable of the Seed

This morning J and I slept in a bit. He got to bed a little late last night and wasn't up at the usual time so I took advantage of some extra rest. After breakfast, he was playing with his bristle blocks which is rare. He was pretty creative telling me he was making a see saw as he stacked the blocks on top of one another, and then he was making a sandcastle. Both were ideas he came up with on his own out of the blue.

In my time alone this morning, I started Luke 8. Jesus was traveling from one town and village to another. His disciples were with him but also some women like Mary Magdelene and Susanna. Someone told him that his mother and brothers were waiting outside. (Verse 21) He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice." Beth (in my book Jesus, the One and Only) shares that our kinship with Jesus is based directly on what we do with God's word. That hits pretty deep. Later in the passage, Jesus tells the parable of the sower. I love this illustration. Seeds that fell along the path are like those who hear God's word with joy but then it gets snatched away. Seed that falls on the rock is like those who hear the word but have no roots. They believe it for a while, but when tested the roots don't hold and they fall away. The seed that fell among the thorns is like those that hear but the word is choked out as they go and are distracted by worries, riches and pleasures of the world. Finally, seed on good soil is like one who hears the word and retains it; they hear God's word and they put it into action. This reminds me of the verse in James (1:22) - Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Those are powerful and hard hitting words. It's really good to think about. I know there are many times I can read God's word but then fail to do it. What a call to pay attention and put those things into practice.

We had quesedillas for lunch. Now this is something J really loves. I have no problem getting him to eat these. He ate a whole tortilla and asked for more so I gave him some of mine. He even ate some banana with peanut butter too. He was hungry. We visited L's friend Susan who just moved into a new house. J found a little ukulele he played with until he saw the back yard with several balls lying around. We spent the rest of our time in the yard and he went on a trampoline for the first time. It was so great watching him get used to trying to walk around. He held my hands and we jumped and he was laughing so hard. Then they threw some of the balls in to play with and J and I had a great time. On our way home, we had a coupon so we stopped for some ice cream. Yum! Yum!

We went to the late service tonight since we were asked to be available after the service for people who want prayer. We started a sermon series on forgiveness. Tonight's message looked at our human way of getting even. Like when someone hurts us, we are triggered and want to hurt them back. He speaks about David (which took me back to my old study!) where David is ready to strike back at the wealthy but mean and stingy Nabal who slighted David after he and his men protected Nabal's men and sheep. It was Abigail (Nabal's wife) and her words of wisdom to David that softened his heart and he did not strike at Nabal and his men. His soft heart is key here. I know I have to ask the Lord to give me a soft heart towards others, especially those who hurt me, so I don't end up falling into the trap of returning evil for evil. It is so tempting to do that sometimes.

I let J stay up a bit later tonight to see his uncle from Chicago who stopped in. He has a business trip in the Madison area. I'm getting a purple turtle sandbox from one of my sisters and he brought it here for us. That's J's birthday present. He is turning 2 on Saturday! I have a lot of preparation yet to do for that day so it will be a large part of the upcoming week.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Blessing of Forgiveness

The day started off with J being in a fussy mood. This carried into his swimming lesson where he just never really let go and had fun. He was stiff and cranky and just didn't enjoy it. Our instructor works well with him though and gives J space when he needs it. He said it's only lesson 3 so I need to give him time and patience with getting used to something so different. So I really need to let go of my expectations and ask God for patience.

I finished Luke 7 today and it was a story that I find very powerful, the woman who anoints Jesus' feet. Luke 7:37-38 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. The Pharisee seemed put off that Jesus would allow her to touch his feet. This was such an intimate expression of love. Jesus shares a parable that teaches those who have been forgiven much, love much yet those who have been forgiven little, love little. He then in a matter of fact way lists the ways this woman has shown her love for him from the moment she came in and how the Pharisee didn't. Jesus says to her that her sins are forgiven, that her faith has saved her and to go in peace. I know that peace he's talking about. A peace that comes when you can allow your darkest deeds to be forgiven and you let Jesus make you clean. I am so thankful for his mercy in that way.

We hung out at the library for a bit today and returned a bunch and got a bunch of books. I found some good ones for J; a couple dinosaur books, fire bears book, counting book with tractors, dump trucks, etc., a Veggie Tales book and an Elmo alphabet book. He loved knocking over the giant stacking blocks and he loves hanging out there. It was hard to get him to leave though.

Our friends from our life group have been so good to us with watching J when L & I want to go out together. They took him again tonight. L's coworker was having a party and invited us but to be honest I really didn't want to go. I'd know absolutely no one and would rather stay back with our life group friends and J. I didn't want to let L down so I went and we met two couples we hung out with most of the time. That was good. Afterward, J was having so much fun playing with their kids when we came back that he didn't want to leave. We had a really long goodbye. After getting him to bed, I realize I am just exhausted while I am writing this so I think I'll wrap it up.

Friday, May 14, 2010

To Everything (turn, turn turn)

We started the morning with reading a book and J seemed in a fine mood, but then a couple things didn't go his way and he was easily upset with long bouts of crying and pouting. Nothing I did calmed him so I let him calm down on his own. I decided it was better to keep his morning nap rather than push it to get to the Y so J won't be this edgy the rest of the day. Daddy left early to spend most of the day downtown as he'll be meeting with a couple brothers in Christ and also getting a little alone time.

In my devotional time, I continued in Luke 7. Here, John the Baptist (who was in prison) sent two men to question if Jesus was the one to come or someone else. Jesus told them to report the miracles they'd witnessed and that the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the deaf hear...Beth says that John was probably wondering how he is going to "prepare the way" from prison. John was likely fighting some doubts about his calling and even who Jesus was. We too need to work out our doubts with the Lord instead of letting them fester underneath.

I also read more in Ecclesiastes starting chapter 3 in which we read the famous lines like, there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. There is an appropriate time for all of life's experiences; a time to be born, and a time to die, a time to mourn and a time to dance.... We don't get to escape sorrow, mourning or even death as these are a part of our living experience. But there is a hope in it too. I'm thinking of the verse from John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. Those words bring me comfort having lived through a period so dark I didn't know if I'd come out and be "me", be Tracey again. I thought I was lost, damned...for real I thought that. Even when I could no longer "hear" God's voice, he had never let me go and I came out of it and I am Tracey again. Yet a forever changed Tracey.

There's something from yesterday I forgot to share that has to do with this. I'm wrestling with some of the author's comments on chapter two of Ecclesiastes. He says, "All in life comes from God's hand so pain, sorrow, bereavement, disappointment as well as gladness, happiness and joy; all these things are gifts from God. When we see life in those terms, every element of life can have its measure of joy - even sorrow, pain and grief. These things were also given to us to enjoy." I can't see enjoying sorrow, bereavement, etc. After talking about it with L, I think I understand it better. He was saying when someone reaches a point that they can actually give over their sorrow, pain, etc. to the Lord as an act of worship, there is joy in that. Yet he says he doesn't picture many reaching that point in their faith. That makes sense to me, and I know I'm not there.

After lunch, J and I took a trip to Home Depot to buy some things for the garden. We're in a condo so we have just a tiny space but this year I'll fit 3 cherry tomato plants, 3 regular tomato plants, 2 green pepper plants and 2 banana pepper plants. This will be enough to have it fresh with salads, for spaghetti, etc. but not enough for canning or freezing which is fine. I also bought and planted some flowers and a few hostas. I thought of my blog friend Tea praying over her garden and remembered to pray for God to breathe life on the plants so they would flourish. I rewarded J for being so patient at the store with a trip to McKee Farms, the park he loves. He made a new friend, an older girl named Virginia who was 5. He's already a charmer. He was trying to tickle her and would run up to her and run away giggling. She pushed him on the swing and then she had to go so she gave him a little hug. It was so cute.

On the menu for tonight's dinner was tacos, but I realized at the last minute that I had no ground beef. I thought it would be nice to not have to cook so we went to one of our favorite spots, Culver's. There was a little boy maybe 6 who came up to J and started talking to him while J was eating ice cream. He said what a cute little boy J was. I made the mistake of letting J hold the ice cream cone. Then he wouldn't give it back (we were sharing) and a few times almost lost it. He got really upset when I needed to take it back so I got a spoon to feed him and that solved the problem. We played outside for a while after we got home, but J wanted daddy too so he went inside looking for him and daddy came out. Eventually, it was time for bed so daddy read him his book and did the tucking in tonight.

Today I met two moms who were commenting on loving the stage J is in and they were wistful about it since their kids were now 5 and older. This is another way I think the Lord is telling me to savor my moments with J since they go so fast.

Here's the address for the song Turn, Turn, Turn (sorry I couldn't get the link to work)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Power of Prayer

Today was yet another cloudy day, but this time warmer going up into the low 60's. Daddy had the day off and we kicked back with nothing on the agenda. One thing I did with J was watching some Sesame Street video clips on counting 1-10. I'm trying to teach him how to count on his fingers but he doesn't get that yet. I think he liked our fireman game last night as he put on his fireman's hat and ran around rescuing kitty. This time daddy got a picture of it. He also liked dancing around with his musical toy that sings "wheels on the bus". He did that over and over. Of course, we also read some books.

During my devotional time, I continued in Luke 7, Jesus and the widow's son. He and his disciples and a large crowd went to the town of Nain. It seems now wherever Jesus goes there is a crowd. In this town, he saw a widow whose dead son was being carried out of the town. This was the widow's only son. His heart went out to her and he told her not to cry. Here I read this as Jesus isn't saying don't cry, there there, it'll be OK, he's saying don't cry for there won't be a need for sorrow. He touched the boy's coffin and commanded him to get up and he did. Jesus reached out in his compassion and raised him to life. The people were filled with awe and praised God. (I would too!) This news about Jesus spread throughout the countryside. As I'm reading this, I just notice how many short stories there are of Jesus and his healing that I don't remember. Some of them just aren't talked about very often. It has been really good to read this slowly and let them soak in.

Daddy had some rare alone time with J while I went to my women's bible study. We had a good discussion on chapter 2 of Ecclesiastes about the meaningless pursuit of pleasure. To sum up the pursuit of pleasure, we discussed how pleasure is fleeting. Nothing lasts. Yet there is a pleasure and contentment that does last, and it is only found in Christ. It is from the hand of God. I shared with the group that before I found Christ, I remember having this thought that my life will just add up to be a long series of events; one after another and one memory after another with no meaning. That changed when I found the Lord. Instead I have this peace, this contentment in knowing that this life is but a stage and I am just passing through; that my real life begins in eternity when I will see God face to face. That to me is inspiring. We also discussed how Solomon concludes that wisdom is better than folly, but both share the same fate of death so he finds the pursuit meaningless.

We had Dave, one of our babysitters, over for dinner tonight. We got to use J's new scoop bib since we had messy spaghetti and it did a great job of catching the spills. Dave will stay with J while we go to an equipping session at church. We were invited to be prayer givers as the church enters a forgiveness sermon series. If anyone wants prayer after the service, we will be at tables in the back to pray with them. For a couple years, we were part of a prayer group that met at 6am Tuesday mornings to pray for the church. Since the group ended, they haven't had a prayer ministry but now they will be laying a foundation for the prayer ministry through this. It was a good reminder of the power of prayer in a person's life. I can still remember clearly a time I went up for prayer and what an impact it had on me what the person shared. I'm thankful to be a part of it yet I'm battling some feelings of nervousness too. Thoughts like, what if my mind goes blank or I can't think of anything to pray. I know this is another opportunity to just trust the Lord and he will do the work through me so when the thoughts come I just lay them down and won't dwell on them. I saw some familiar faces at the training session, a couple of whom I hadn't seen since J was born but they had partnered in prayer for me and L during that time. They were so happy to see I was doing well and it was so good to see them.

When we got home, J was waiting at the door with his huge smile and quickly took me to where he was playing and showed me his cars. When Dave left, J wanted to go outside so I showed him it was dark but he really wanted to so we waved goodbye to Dave, got a little fresh air then tucked J into bed. Mommy may be able to tuck herself in before 10:30 tonight so I better wrap up here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Faith of a Centurion

Last night, I got to bed around midnight and so this morning I felt pretty tired. I asked J if he'd rather stay and play at home or go to PalZone and he was gung-ho for PalZone. We rode with daddy in to work and then I took the car and we headed to PalZone. He had the most fun pushing around a toy grocery cart and putting play food in it. I would talk with him about the food and what he was picking. There was a little phone by the kitchen set so he picks it up and is talking and I hear him say something about spaghetti and cheese. I love to see his imagination going. He flitted around the room playing with all sorts of toys and was doing well with the other kids. He was having so much fun that he didn't want to go next door when it was circle/story time. I took his hand and we went. He doesn't yet say his name when they ask for it, but he picks up his name tag and sticks it on the board. For the craft, he got frustrated as I tried to teach him using scissors so he just colored the project and then said all done. After that, we were able to squeeze in a late morning nap.

For my devotional time, I was reading my Ecclesiastes book. Here Solomon was talking about his pursuit of wisdom, of folly and madness. He finds wisdom to be better than folly but the same fate overtakes the wise one and the foolish one; they can't escape death. He shares that man finds satisfaction in his work and this is from the hand of God. We see that God wants us to have joy. Those who recognize the joy comes from him have a rich experience because our faith pleases God. I started Luke 7 in Jesus the One and Only. Beth shares that she loves watching Jesus operate in relationships. This section is about the Centurion. He is seeking healing for one of his servants. He is a man of great faith. He says of Jesus, just say the word and my servant will be healed. When the Lord sees someone prone to selfishness and pride humble themselves before God's word, he esteems them. The Centurion's faith was amazing to Jesus. He is moved and acts to heal his slave. Seeing that he knows all, it is incredible to see him amazed here. Again, it shows how God is pleased by our faith.

It was another cloudy and coolish day so J and I spent our time indoors after lunch. Again, we spent a lot of time reading. He also wanted to see the Veggie Tales story of Moses over and over. Every time we go up or down the stairs now instead of crawling J is asking for my hand so he can walk up. It warms my heart to see him mature yet at the same time a little wistful as he moves away from his babyhood. I went about the afternoon preparing for when L would get home completely forgetting that I had to pick him up. I was just getting J up from his nap when the phone rang. Yikes! Daddy wondering where I am. He was really understanding although I had no great excuse, just a complete mind blip.

We weren't able to get to the Y in time since the nursery closes. J and I played fire fighter. He put on his helmet and I got him a "hose" (extension cord) so he could put out the fire. I used crunched up newspaper for the flames. Then I stuck Tigger on top of a chair so J could go and rescue the kitty. He had so much fun joining in with whatever I made up. Then we spent some time coloring. One of his pictures with all different colors was so neat that I'm thinking of framing it. L has tomorrow and Friday off so we'll have some extra time together. I better get some good sleep so I'm off to wind down for the night.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A marathon of books

At breakfast, I read more from A Place of Quiet Rest. Something she said hit home. "I find it impossible to cultivate an intimate relationship with God or become the woman he wants me to be apart from spending daily time alone with him. It's not possible in human relationships and no more possible in our relationship with God." She likens this to manna the Israelites got in the desert. How just as they relied on this manna daily for their sustenance, we rely on time alone with the Lord for our spiritual nourishment. I think I agree with that. I notice my heart being disconnected and less purposeful those days that I'm not taking that time to be alone with him.

This morning we drove with daddy to work since he can't park down there due to construction. We drove home and stopped at the Sequoia library where we hadn't been in a while. We spent about an hour browsing through books, reading to J, playing with foam letters and numbers. He interacted well with a few of the kids that were there, but with one got a little grabby so I had to referee.

At home, J got a nap while I had some time alone with the Lord. I started Luke 6 today. Jesus speaks of being Lord of the Sabbath. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus. People are already starting to come against him. Jesus never allowed himself to be trapped like that. As he healed a man with a shriveled hand, he asked what was lawful on the sabbath, to do good or evil? The Pharisees were furious and couldn't argue with his response. His question made them look foolish. They were discussing what they could do with him while Jesus brought restoration to this man.

Tonight I was to bring a meal to a mom in our group who just had her second child. I am usually very organized but the day got away from me and things were not planned out. To make a long story short, I realized I wouldn't have the time to make a full meal since I had to pick my husband up from work so I picked up something from My Menu which they'd have to microwave. I felt bad about that, but they were very gracious and invited us in. J had a great time pulling all kinds of toys out of their son's toy box. Their son was very generous letting J play with all his toys. It ended up turning out well and we even had time talk for a bit.

Today we were on a book marathon. We read a book when he woke up, books after breakfast, probably 8 books at the library, a book before nap, books after lunch, books after dinner, a book before bed. Whoa! It helped that I got several books from the library on fire fighting, earth movers, construction and dinosaurs. A lot of these we read a couple times through since he just can't get enough of them. I'm so glad he loves to read. It's something L and I also love to do. But I don't think I could go on a reading marathon like this every day!

Our small group got together tonight. We discussed the sermon which was related to Jeremiah 29:7 when the Israelites were exiles in Babylon and God told them to bring peace (shalom) to these people. A main thing we were looking at is participating in God's work of bringing peace to our community. We shared ways we are currently doing that and ways we feel God is calling us to do that. One place we mentioned that we often overlook is bringing shalom into our own home, and into our marriage relationship. An example was "picking our battles" so to speak. Choosing not to make an issue of something and instead being silent about it when we realize it would not bring peace and would not be worth the argument. I need to do more of that. I tend to speak off the trigger and when my anger is triggered, I need to take time to process and not speak.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Touch that Heals

This morning after daddy left, we went and did our grocery shopping. J got pretty antsy toward the end of the trip wanting to get out of the cart. Then I forgot that my credit card was closed out because of two fraudulent purchases (kinda scary) so I have no card until the new one comes. They put my cart in the cooler and I went to the bank and back to pay the bill. I also stopped by the post office to mail out an EBay package. I just started selling items there (due to buying the wrong thing) and had my first sale. It went well so I think I'll do more.

The day was just bing-bing-bing nonstop. J had an abbreviated nap and we had just enough time to eat and go. We had a neat activity planned. I signed up as a volunteer for a study day at our church. Every year the college students are invited and they open up the whole church so the students can study, eat, hang out, eat some more. I didn't want to get a babysitter to go volunteer, but since I wanted to help out I decided to bring J along. I thought it would be a good experience to serve with him. We were greeters and handed out a study day info sheet and J got into handing them out a bit too. Most of the time he colored or played with his car and played ball with one of the ladies. The college students and other students thought he was so cute. I'm glad we did this.

In my devotional time, I continued in Luke 5 where Jesus healed a leper and a paralytic. The man with leprosy came to him with complete belief that Jesus could heal him. Verse 12-13: When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him. To me this account is so moving. This man completely trusts that Jesus has the power to heal him, humbly comes to him, and Jesus's first response was to reach out his hand and touch him. In that time, touching a leper was completely unheard of. Lepers were shunned. We see Jesus' love, his compassion in his gentle touch, a touch that heals. Just writing that brings to mind again how thankful I am for God's healing touch in me bringing me out of a dark depression (see Feb 20 post, "We like our books and taste of Africa"). A friend sent me wishes for a happy Mother's Day on Facebook saying how wonderful that the HAPPY part is true. This past week I've had a lot of difficult memories resurfacing from that time period. I look at it as ways the Lord wants to continue the healing, by being able to accept the past and the memories that are there. Thank you, Lord. Later, it says that often Jesus withdrew to lonely places and prayed. If you follow closely in the gospels, you see that although Jesus' ministry was so busy with so many followers, he would often get alone to have times of prayer with God. I thought about my prayer times and it would be good to take more time to pray. To just sit before God, quiet my heart, and pray the things that come to mind. I enjoy times of praying for others, yet it isn't always as in depth as it could be.

This was Y night and it was a challenge doing my regular workout. It felt harder on my knees and overall I was just more tired. I had to really push myself. These last two nights I got to bed at 12:30am since we've had a lot going on but it's just a reminder that I need to get more sleep. So I'm going to hold to that. When we got home, J wanted to play outside. He walked over to daddy's side of the car and took his hand saying he wanted to play with daddy. So we kicked a ball around for a bit before taking J to bed.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A trip to Baraboo

Today started off with reading from the picture/sounds book with J. I think this is moving onto his list of favorites. Since we can't have pancake Saturdays due to swimming lessons, we had pancake Sunday. J got upset when he wanted the "blue cup" (water) and I would only give him the green cup (milk). This set off a crying jag that wouldn't stop until I gave him blankie and nuk.

For Mother's Day, we have a tradition since we both lost our mothers that we make a day trip to visit the cemetery and surrounding area. L lost his mother when he was 19 to ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and my mom died from breast cancer just before I turned 21. We have a bittersweet kinship having both gone through the tragedy of losing our moms around the same time in life. Today we went to Baraboo to visit L's mom's site since Beloit (where my mom's site is) was a bit far to do in one day. In Baraboo, we took a scenic drive including showing J daddy's old neighborhood and stopped at Devil's Lake to get our annual state parks pass. It was the first time to Devil's Lake since J was born so his first time there and L made sure to get a picture. J got some wildlife cards at the park office that he carried around with him. We went down by the water and he enjoyed playing in the sand on the beach. It was not quite 60 but beautiful with sun and wonderful view. On our way home, we stopped to see L's dad in Portage with whom we are in the process of restoring our relationship. He has many talents and woodworking is one of them. J enjoyed playing with a small, wooden tractor and riding on a wooden rocking horse which could be things Grandpa makes for him in the future. J didn't have a nap but he was all wound up in the car making little stories up while he played with a tiny dump truck.

He got a short nap and then we went to church. He graduated from the infant room and moved into the toddler room in what is called Planet Kid at church. It'll be neat to see how he grows now that the focus will be on teaching a verse for the month while doing crafts and singing songs. I think he will like it. Afterward, we stopped at the infant room to say goodbye to everyone. He had a little fan club! There were about 6 or 7 volunteers who just adore him who all came around to say goodbye and wish him well. It was so cute. The message today was about loving and serving in our community. Extending ourselves to others by partnering with God. There's a study day tomorrow for the college students and J and I will be volunteering at the welcome desk in the afternoon. It should be fun! We had a nice dinner at Panchero's with our life group friends and their kids. J and I shared a carnitas quesedilla and he loved it. He also just likes saying the word quesedilla. At one point, he grabbed my hand and said "come here mommy, walk" and took me around the restaurant where he hopped into a couple booths just to sit. Our last stop was at Culver's where moms got a free sundae. Not that I needed it, but it was yummy. A nice Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

ABC's and 1-2-3's

Had J's second swimming lesson today. He wasn't as excited today as he was last week. His face seemed to say the water was colder than he liked and he seemed to have more fear this time about getting his face wet. He did like it when they brought out the toys to play with. Daddy was with us this time and they were throwing the ball back and forth. He also liked it when he got to "jump" from the side into my arms. Kept saying, "again?" but then wasn't happy when we'd go back to moving him in different positions. It will probably just take him a while to really get used to it.

In my devotional time today I read further in the book on Ecclesiastes (Is This All There Is). We are all looking for the secret to finding what delights us; the secret to contentment. Solomon, David's son, is the speaker in Ecclesiastes. He finds that there is nothing in and of itself that can bring contentment; that pleasure is fleeting. He asks, "What does pleasure accomplish?" Verse 10: I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work. Yet everything was meaningless, chasing after the wind. There was only momentary enjoyment.

I also started Luke 5. Jesus calls his disciples. What did they do when called? They got up, left everything and followed him. Could I have done that? Really? It is hard to imagine, yet that's what he was calling them to do. Beth shares how amazing it is that the Lord calls mere mortals to join him in his work. Being divine, he had the power to do it all himself, yet he desires that we join him. She says every person who believes has been summoned by Christ, they have been called. She introduces the idea that Jesus is working in every area of our lives. We tend to limit his true influence by thinking he's only working in an area visible to us. She brings up verse 23 in Colossians 3: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. That is something I need to keep in front of me. In all I do, to set my heart on doing it for the Lord. Sometimes in my heart I grumble or complain when I think L isn't doing enough with J or enough at home. It ends up taking away the joy it could give me to picture I'm doing the work I do for the Lord.

It was another cold and rainy day today so after lunch we played inside. We had a lot of fun reading his new book with sound buttons. The book has pictures of things that make sounds (a bird, a cricket, a water faucet) and you press the picture to hear its sound. We must have spent a good half hour reading over this book and pressing all the buttons. Later we spent some time at the library. We found a counting book and J was holding onto my finger and then pointing my finger at the pictures while he counted. It is so cute watching him learn 1 to 10. He found an ABC book that had little windows that opened and closed where different letters with pictures were hiding. These are two things he's focusing a lot on lately.

Our friends were kind enough to watch J so hubby and I could have a nice night out together. Thankfully, J loves playing at their house and was content to be there. We had a nice dinner at an Indian restaurant (Taste of India) and then parked the car near campus and sat and talked. Mostly about things we're focusing on right now in our lives and what the Lord is doing. L will have a couple days off next week so that'll be nice. Some of it he'll spend on his own since that's the way he really recharges his batteries. For some reason, J was fascinated with my eyebrows tonight. As I held him while saying prayers, he kept tracing my eyebrows with his tiny finger. He'd go from one eyebrow to the next and then back again. It was funny! He didn't say anything so for whatever reason they intrigued him tonight. Well, now it's time to go bring in a few plants so they don't get hit by FROST tonight! It is really cold out.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Raining all day

During breakfast, I was reading A Place of Quiet Rest. It has been good to think about the time that I spend with the Lord more in depth and also gain ideas to enhance that time. She is encouraging as she shares to face the work of every day with the influence of some quiet, thoughtful moments spent with God.

J and I went to the last Titus meeting of the semester. It was a wonderful brunch with a garden party theme. The decorations were so lovely with live plants and flowers, trellises and candles throughout the room. We were able to share what we'd like to see next fall. I mentioned a guest speaker talking about home schooling would be really good. Also, more focus on being able to pray for one another as this has been on my heart. We were invited to lunch but had to take a rain check so I could make my bible study in time. We started the book of Ecclesiastes. Some felt that this book is depressing, yet others said it encouraged them by remembering how empty the world really is and that fulfillment is found in a relationship with Christ that will last forever.

I was reading the end of Luke 4 in my devotional time today. Here Jesus reached out to people in their homes. He healed Simon's mother and the interesting part is that immediately she got up and started serving them. Her focus wasn't on herself, it was on giving back. The next morning, Jesus rose early to be by himself with God. He did this a lot. I had to ask myself if I'm willing to do that. Get up early to spend some time alone with God. I'll have to pray for strength in that. One area that's been an answer to prayer is having more patience with J. I'm finding it especially in the times he's the most challenging when he's tired and cranky or having a bit of a tantrum, God is helping me stay calm. Thank you Lord!

We had nothing on the agenda for the evening, so daddy, J and I enjoyed some fresh air while taking a walk around the neighborhood. It was a little brisk as it cooled down from the day. It was bath night, so J enjoyed playing in the tub for a while before going to bed. He still doesn't like getting his head wet when I wash him.

Today was drippy and wet with light steady rain all day. We hung out indoors reading books and playing with J's new Disney car track set he got from our babysitter.

Today I finished up Luke 4 in my devotional time. Jesus says in verse 43, I must preach the good news because that is why I was sent. And he kept on preaching in the synagogues. Beth highlights here the main focus of Jesus' ministry, to preach the good news. Healing people was helpful for this life, but only the gospel would impact people for eternity. Regardless of how many people were pulling him in different directions, he kept with his main priority.

J woke up early from his morning nap. We hung out on mommy's bed and cuddled for a bit before going down for lunch. He was busy playing this afternoon when all of a sudden he was crying like he got hurt. I came over and checked him over and he looked fine so I just rocked him and held him until he calmed down. A bit later, I was changing his diaper when I noticed his eye had a big bruised spot that was swelling. From asking him, I think somehow he hit himself with one of the cars right below his eye. I can't picture what he did though. I held an ice pack on it to stop the swelling, although he didn't enjoy it. Now it's turning into a little shiner. :(

We had "scubbidy" (spaghetti) tonight which ends up being really messy for J. At L's urging, I went online and bought a couple pocket bibs that have a scoop to catch spills. Hopefully less clean up! After dinner, J had a lot of fun with some new toys he got from L's coworker. The toys had buttons with sounds which he can't seem to get enough of. Daddy's putting J to bed tonight. I hear a lot of noise and some singing. Sounds like they're having fun.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Hint of Summer

Yesterday was a really fun day. It started out with a bunch of moms from our Titus group getting together for a play date at McKee Farm Park, one of J's favorites in Madison. It was already no jacket weather at 10:30am and was beautifully sunny. It felt like a hint of summer. The kids had a great time especially on the slide. My friend Eileen would send her son down and I'd catch him, then she'd send J down so I could catch him and they loved it. They also loved walking along a ledge with us holding their hands. Eileen got some good pictures too. Speaking of pictures, it turns out that I won't be fixing my camera. It would actually cost more to fix it than the camera's worth because parts are so expensive. So I went to plan B and used my credit card miles to buy a new one. I can't wait to start taking pictures again as I love recording our days that way. After the park, Eileen and I headed down the street to Noodles for lunch with the boys. I put J in a booster seat for the first time and he did well.

When we got home, I thought J would be tired and want a nap but he kept saying outside so we threw the balls back and forth. Our neighbor came over to visit and to see my garden. He and I always talk about our gardens and what's growing. J and I went to Elver Park to get more mulch. I let him get out and he wanted to help so he held onto the shovel as I guided the mulch into the bucket. He loved it. We got to watch a fire truck that was practicing driving through cones. Then we played in the park for a while. We got a lot of fresh air. J was a good sport as I took him to the second hand shop to look for a few summer outfits. When I'd hold up a shirt to look at it he'd say, "put that one here mommy" and point into the cart. Such a cutie. Before his nap, I read him a counting book. He's learning to count to ten. He'd say 1-2-3-4-6-7-10 on just about every page.

We met with our life group for a night of sharing. The topics were: Talk about your best friend, your happiest moment over the last few months, confession on what would you like to do over from last week, your vision for life group. This ended up being a great opportunity to get to know one another better. My happiest moment was when J and I went to the grocery store and were "dancing" in our seats in the parking lot. Also a time I was holding him right before bed and just rocked him and held him close savoring the moment.

This morning Eileen and her son joined J and I at Pal Zone. J was not into the story time part. He was more interested in another boy's toy and got very physical trying to grab it and I had to step in. He got loud and upset so we went back to the play room where he calmed down. After lunch and an errand, we spent some time hanging out at the library. I'm able to browse or go check out books at the counter now while J plays in the kids area. I used to need to carry him with me so he wouldn't run around but he's getting really good about staying in one place. J had another interesting dinner. Two packs of apple sauce and some goldfish were all I could get him to eat. When I was walking into the nursery at the Y, I heard a little voice saying "fire fighters" and I knew it was J. Sure enough he had on a fire helmet along with the boy next to him and they were playing fire fighter. He was really wound up, I wasn't sure if he'd go to sleep but he did.