Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Mornings on Vacation

We are on vacation. Usually if a Sunday falls during vacation we treat it like any other vacation day. In the past Aaron has asked if we could have some sort of service, whether it be a devotion time or singing some worship songs. Usually the time goes by, people get busy, and we aren't able to set aside the time. This vacation we were able to corral everyone and have a short devotion led by my Dad and then sing a few songs. During this time whether the kids wanted to be there or not they all did a good job of answering the questions and joining into the singing. Everyone but Wes. When Papa asked a question Wes was quick with a response, not a Biblical I appreciate what you are doing for me response, but a response like: "This is ridiculous, I am to important for this, and I have better things to do with my time. Wes's attitude stunk! After we had our devotion time together, Flyboy and I took Wes back to our condo and had a little chat. I was really disappointed with his attitude. I asked him why he was so put out. He told me it was because he was just so excited to get his vacation started that he didn't want to have to sit through church. I tried to explain to him that it is only by God's blessing that we were even able to be in a condo, and have air conditioning, 3 resort pools to chose from and a lake to swim in. I told him that God provided those things for us and out of Gratitude we could spend a few minutes with Him. I tried to use a word picture. I said, imagine that you have your whole tote of Lego's.  You decide that you would like to watch Liam enjoy those Lego's so you give them to him. You say Liam, I want to give you my Lego's and you may play with them for 7 days, there are no strings attached but on the 7th day if you chose I would like to play them with you. I can see what you have been building and I can show you ways to grow your buildings and your abilities. So for 6 days you watch him play with the Lego's. Sometimes he laughs and has so much joy, other times he seems so frustrated. You anticipate the day he will bring the Lego's to you so that you may enjoy them together. I asked Wesley how he would feel if Liam said, "I don't want to enjoy them with you, I want to play them by myself." Wesley's response was right on. He said, "I would feel sad because I gave him the Lego's and I would feel sad that he did not want to be with me." 
After our talk I could see he got it. He gave me a sweet and very heart impacted hug. I walked away feeling energized and then it hit my like a two by four (not really sure what that means since a two by four can't actually pick itself up and hit me. And a two by four is not a type of hit...aaaannnnyyywwwaayyy). I became so humbled. God had used my child and an explanation designed for a child to teach me a lesson. Yes Wesley benefited from it but I know it was really meant for me. 
I often give God my last. My last stretch of patience, my last plea for wisdom, my last cry of frustration, my quick utter of thanks, or request for protection. God watches me walk through it all. He watches me enjoy his blessings, or face trials, He watches me do it alone, desiring to fill me back up. He says come and rest, rejuvenate your heart, your soul. be with me. Let me enjoy my blessings with you. 
God used a story about Lego's and two little boys to humble this Momma's heart.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Secret Fears

In our home we are often dealing with fears. These fears range from totally logical to completely ridiculous. For Wesley being afraid of storms is a big "logical" fear. Last summer, I was pregnant. Wes and I were at home and I laid down for a rest. In the 20 minutes that I was laying down a storm cropped up. Complete with tornado sirens, a dark sky, and strong winds. Wesley was the one that woke me. We went to the basement, the storm blew over and everything was fine. BUT this experience left Wesley terrified of wind, storms and sirens. I guess it's pretty legit. Another fear that I consider slightly less logical is Liam's fear of the bookcase. Yes you read that right. The BOOKCASE... We had a major standoff about 6 months ago over him not wanting to walk by the bookcase that used to face the door to his room. He decided (I later realized) that he wanted to win a ridiculous battle. Anyway the root of it was an unjustified, unfounded, fear.
But who am I to decide what it is a logical versus illogical fear? For one reason or another if someone has a fear they have gotten themselves to a place that tells them that fear makes sense and is worth the cost the fear brings. Wesley's fear of wind kept him from enjoying many fun things. Coach pitch baseball was probably the biggest activity to suffer. Our ballfields are located on the North side of town. The North side of town is known for having stronger winds. Every ball came became a challenge of him refusing to be on the field in fear of the wind. We were slowly able to face this fear together and by the end he seemed much happier. The funny thing is it wasn't any of my counseling resources or tools that I tried, it was the ice cream that I had broke down and bribed him with. Let's just say in the end this helped me gauge just how serious this fear was.
I often find that I am the same way with fear and God. There are so many things that hold me back or capture my thoughts because of some unfounded fear I hold onto. I know God must think how much more I could enjoy certain things if I would let go of my fear and live life in freedom.
Well at Bible study on Tuesday I finally fessed up to a fear that has pulled at my heart since I was a little girl. This is my fear of death. Not my own death. No I jokingly say that my own death would bring the much needed, uninterrupted, sleep I crave. No my fear is of a family member close to me dying and ability or lack of ability to handle it. My biggest fear is what does it mean when something like this happens to someone of Faith. Why does God chose to let things happen to some and chose to protect others.  I find myself getting anxious right now just writing about it. Well this fear made its way into our conversation at Bible study. I finally verbalized something that has held me back from being vulnerable in relationships, getting close to others, and loving without the fear of losing. The answer to my fears came in the response from one of my dearest friends. I held on to every word she shared because she walked through the very thing I am the most terrified of, Losing a child.
When J was pregnant with JD, she discovered very early on that there would be complications with little JD's heart. Although she was given the option to terminate the pregnancy she valued the little life that had been created, complications and all. She shared that after giving birth she would have put him through surgery after surgery to save him, knowing that he would go through so much pain to ultimately be healed and have a full life later. There was no expense she would spare no time wasted nothing, all out of love this little child who really didn't even know who she was. The comparison she gave to her love and grief for this child and God's love and grief for his children was so beautiful. As a mom I think about my love for my children, I think about how I would do ANYTHING for them. Sometimes being willing to do anything for them involves discipline that is painful for them and me. This temporary pain now is to grow good character to have a long term benefit. How much more our heavenly father loves us. How often he sees us go through pain, hurting both him and us. He allows this to happen because he knows this pain in this magnitude is temporary and will ultimately bring us the greatest benefit. We often can't see the reward or the ultimate good but God promises us he will work for the good of those who love him. I had to laugh when another friend shared her experience that she had had the previous day with one of her boys. She said the day had been awful, she was in tears by 9 a.m. and the day went down hill from there. She said there was a really tender moment she had with that child right before bed. She was working on her Bible study and her little one was watching a movie. He saw his mom reading, crawled up in her lap and begged to be read to. She said they sat there reading chapter after chapter together. She really treasured that time. I had to laugh because I said it reminded me of why God often works in mysterious ways and often does not give us a glimpse into the future. I asked her if I sat her down and said, "Amy, you are going to have an awful day, awful awful, AWFUL. But at the end of it you will have a little boy on your lap and get to read to him." I said would you do it? The pay off really didn't seem that great. But because you blindly walked through your awful day, the reward of having that snuggle time was actually really great, and felt in hindsight totally worth it. You wouldn't trade that moment for anything. But it was because you were not given the choice.
For me as well as with my kids it boils down to trust. Do I trust that even in the midst of my worst fears, God is big enough to work it to my good? And do I trust that even when that good doesn't feel good it really is to my ultimate benefit. I pray I can!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


As a family we are always under construction. We just added a baby girl 7 short months ago. On top of that my niece came to stay with us for the summer. But more than just adding or changing the people joining our family, the kids are growing older, more mobile and forming stronger more independent ideas. Now that Wes and Liam are old enough to interact and some what play together, things have gotten more and more chaotic. Liam is getting old enough to form his own opinions and interests. Most of those interests revolve around the things his brother is also interested in. This causes problems when Wesley has nominated himself to be the ruler of such interests. We have also put the boys in the same room. We did this at the beginning of the fall last year in order to prepare them (and the nursery for the new baby.) Uggghhh thus ensues the chaos. From as early as 5:30 a.m. to as late as 9:00 p.m. arguing, laughter, screaming, play, stomping, wrestling, hugging, pretend, hitting, shoving, talk. It is difficult to wake up too. Frustrating to fall asleep to.
Recently Flyboy and I went on a date. We enjoyed a nice dinner then headed to a local bookstore. Flyboy spent the whole time looking at photography books and ESPN magazines. I on the other hand grabbed book after book on child rearing, discipline, and structure. The book I came home with was: The Strong Willed Child, by James Dobson. All it took was me reading the preface to realize we were dealing with not two naughty difficult to hand children but two strong willed little men who need firm discipline to break their will but not their spirit. I got home with my book only to have the 2 babysitters we hired greet me with, "wow those are two very strong wills you have sleeping in one room." Confirmation I got the right book and a suggestion to split them up. Give the strong wills their own space. I think this would help in times of discipline. It also helps us continue to train Wes to be the oldest and take on the additional responsibility and ultimately privilege such a role should hold. Currently because the boys are together 24/7 it is very difficult to parent the boys based on their developmental level. I know some parents can handle this but I often can't figure out how to incorporate something as simple as a shower let alone cater to 3 individual personalities and stages of development.
Right now it is the baby and the boys. We cater to the infant and lump the boys into the more independent self sufficient category. Which in reality Liam is still not at a stage where he can handle the independent responsibility of himself. We are still wiping the child's but. I feel when he can take responsibility for getting up and peeing in the morning IN THE TOILET, instead of laying in bed and peeing in his pull up, when he can handle fully dressing himself, this includes snaps, buttons and zippers, when he wipe his own BUTT, then we can readdress whether he can play in the front yard without an adult like his big brother.
We have adopted a philosophy in our home that we are currently holding tightly to. B doesn't happen till A is completed. So until the boys do what is required of them they will not have the privileges those requirements earn them.
This parenting thing is constantly a learning process....

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A pain in my GUTT>>>

Recently I have been struggling with chronic pain in my stomach. It is by no means extreme, but it won't go away and therefore is becoming unbearable. I went to the Dr. and she is having me do an elimination diet. I know that I have a milk allergy, but she is wondering if cutting out gluten will be beneficial. Well just so you know there is not a whole lot that accommodates gluten and milk allergy. At least not a lot in the super small town I live in. Oh well, I always fantasize about becoming one of those kitchen efficient, made from scratch, down to earth momma's so maybe here is my motivation. It boils down to make it from scratch, cheat, or starve to death. So far the starve to death option is the only one I have had time for. Having 3 very demanding little people, plus a son with a soy/almond allergy makes cooking next to impossible. Recently I have been losing my appetite which has made deciding what to eat a lot easier but gaining and maintaining weight much more difficult. One of the positive aspects of all these health issues is my ability to serve reality consequences to the boys (and sometimes flyboy) and sleep train Emmalee. I don't have the energy or blood sugar levels for creative discipline, and Emmalee is becoming so high maintenance with her sleep so I could see it was time. I used to feel bad feeding her and then putting her in bed to "work it out." But now my belly hurts and holding her while she squirms and practices her Olympic gymnastics routine is just not working out. 

Day 3 of sleep training
Afternoon nap was a success! I needed that encouragement!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

What promise?

So I titled this blog pilgrimage to a promise. It never dawned on me that this title may be ambiguous. Well it didn't dawn on me till flyboy tactfully asked "what promise?" What promise...What promise??? Only the promise that it does get better then this! The promise that I am not stuck, that I will keep moving forward, no matter the circumstances. Sometimes I think it is hard for flyboy to understand. He has his world at home and at work. He is a husband, father and pilot. His eggs are spread out so to speak. I on the other hand have all of my eggs in one basket and I am in that one basket 24/7. Don't get me wrong, I love our kids, being a stay at home mom. A wife. But when things go wrong in that basket I am screwed so to speak. Okay so screwed was kinda strong (it's been a long day.)

To sum it up I hold tight to the fact that I am moving forward. There is a purpose and glory to God in what I do. This is a journey I am on and it is bringing me to the promise God has designed for my life. Sometimes I think I am just so eager to get what it is God has planned. The ministry he is bringing me to do. I have to remember the whole thing is a journey the whole thing is a pilgrimage and God is being Glorified. I think I am a little too eager to get the prize. Then I have to remind myself to live moment by moment.