Monday, November 25, 2013

How did these get in my bedroom?

I once met a lady who was pregnant with her fourth child. As we were talking somehow the subject came to the fact that her new infant would be sharing a bedroom with her and her husband, due to lack of space in their home. I remember being appalled. 

You see at the time I was a young mom who was pregnant with my second child. I had a bedroom for everyone in my house and I just couldn't wrap my mind around setting up a nursery in my OWN bedroom. 

Oh. My. 

How silly and spoiled was I?

I also remember having a four bedroom home and only two children and actually thinking that I didn't know where I would put another baby if I had one, because my spare bedroom was used for the tread mill and all the other junk that we didn't know what to do with. 

Again. Wow. 

Looking back on that Miranda makes me want to puke. You see I thought that happiness meant stuff, large homes, new cars, pedicures, new clothes, and jewelry. I was annoying and no matter what I had there was always something new that I or my children had to have or else we wouldn't be like everyone else. 

I didn't want others to think I, or my children, were weird or strange or poor. Those labels terrified me!

Bless my heart. 

Now, I am that mom who is about to have four children forth will be sharing a bedroom with my husband and I!  SHOCKING!!!!!

 My home is half the size of that four bedroom home I once had, and I am lucky enough to drive a nice van with room for all of these children. (It is still nice even though it has a large dent in the front bumper. I blame that on pregnancy and sleep deprivation.)

I never want to be the Miranda that I use to be. Although, she still rears her ugly head from time to time to whine about things. (If I am honest her head looks better than the current Miranda's because she keeps her roots done.)  I am trying my best to keep her at bay.

Levi might not get his own bedroom. Actually, he may NEVER get his own bedroom but I hope that I can give him and my other children much more than that. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Top 10 Reasons That I Will Not Miss Pregnancy

1.Sleeping "comfortably" requires 5-6 pillows strategically place around my body. 

2. I am not a fan of waking up with one or both arms or hands "asleep" and then having to stay awake while I move them feverishly in hopes that the circulation will return to them. I won't lie. Due to my thoughts being clouded because of sleepiness, I have thought that feeling might never return to them leaving me unable to move my hands or arms for the duration of my pregnancy. I have been known to overreact from time to time. 

3. Waking to a leg cramp that feels like I will never be able to straighten my leg again due to the piercing pain. I told you, I might overreact a little.

4. Looking in the mirror to see that it appears that I have been stung by an entire bee hive full of bees, due to the swelling that has occurred not only to my face but my entire body. 

5.Trying to decide whether sitting down is worth all the pain and effort of getting back up in five minutes to go to the restroom, yet again. 

6. Planning my trips up and down the stairs to make each trip efficient so that I don't have to do it but a few times a day.  Then crying due to the realization that it is inevitable that I will forget something and my plans will be thrown out the window. 

7. Walking. All walking hurts and feels like I deserve a brownie just for attempting it. 

8. Eating. You would think this would be enjoyable to a pregnant lady. While I do enjoy the taste of food, I do not enjoy the feeling that knives are stabbing my esophagus as I try to swallow it. Thank you indigestion. 

9. Varicose veins - Anyone who has experienced these can give me an amen. My legs look as though I have been beaten with a baseball bat. I have blue and purple bulging veins all over my legs. While they will never fully go away, one of the great rewards I will always carry from pregnancy, they do get much better once I am not carrying all of this extra weight and blood. (I know gross, put your big boy/girl pants on please. Life and labor are much more disgusting. It's beautiful.)

10. Going to my weekly doctor visit only to find that I have gained 5lbs in a week!! I swear I have eaten healthy except for all that chocolate cake, sweet tea, and "granola" bars (Let's just call them what they really are, candy bars with some grains.)

I am aware that the rewards of pregnancy far out weigh all of my moaning and groaning but sometimes we just have to laugh to keep from crying. Or go eat a pan of brownies and make ourselves feel better. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Super husband

A few weeks ago we had a scare. I started having severe stomach pains which felt like I was going into preterm labor. After calling Erik, he decided he needed to leave work and take me to the doctor.  With the help of a dependable friend, (thanks Audrey), to take care of the children, we went to the doctor. Thank goodness we found out it was only a stomach virus.  ONLY A STOMACH VIRUS!! This was one of the most horrible experiences that a pregnant woman can go through! I was pretty sure I wasn't going to survive. (I am a little dramatic.)

Anyway, the point to all of this drama is how my husband saved the day. Now, one of my parenting goals is to teach my girls to never look for a man to be her knight in shinning armor. We all have flaws and no one will complete your life and "save" you. That is chick flick garbage at its best. However, I do want them to see how their daddy swoops in and takes care of their sick pregnant mother while taking care of everything else in the house. I want them to find that godly man who will take care of them when they need help. In sickness and in health, for better or worse, for richer or poorer. Sometimes I think we forget what those words really mean.

Erik had to deal with my whining from my quarantined bedroom upstairs. He had to run up and down the stairs a million times bringing me things I needed. He had to run to the store and pharmacy about a dozen times. All while homeschooling two children to get them ready for their community day on campus the following day, taking care of our almost two year old, cooking for them, cleaning up all of our messes, etc.   He swooped in and took care of EVERYTHING without complaining at all.

 I know some of you may think "This isn't a big deal, quit bragging." But unfortunately I don't seem to praise him for all he does enough. I suspect many of us don't praise our spouses for all the sacrifices they make for our families. This is something that I intend to correct. 

Days like that make me realize that we ARE going to make it. You know there are days when the chaos piles up and you think you will never survive. This incident could have been one of these times but it made me realize that even though it is tough, Erik and I can do this together, as long as we are seeking God and depending on Him. 

I Corinthians 13 

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Continuous Battle with Self

Great theologians and philosophers such as C.S. Lewis and Phoebe Buffay have spoken and written about this subject. (Yes, the Phoebe from the T.V. show FRIENDS.)  The subject I am speaking of is selfishness. Phoebe talks about it in an episode of FRIENDS when she is trying to convince one of the other "FRIENDS" that no one does anything out of pure selflessness. There is always the element of self and the desire to get gratification from helping others. C.S. Lewis spoke of it when he admitted that even in his writing when he was trying to glorify God, he was in a constant battle within that truly his writing was about himself and not God. 

This has been an area of great sorrow for me lately as well.  See, even as I write about seeking selflessness and humility it is about me. This drives me insane!!! My husband even had a dream about selfishness which was very vivid and real to him recently and he RARELY has dreams that he can remember. He dreamt that he came up with a great idea that touched thousands of lives. He had a dream job in which he implemented this idea and shared it all over the country. While speaking in front of a large crowd it hit him like a lightning bolt that this entire idea, no matter the good it was doing, was about him. He said he shot up from his sleep and couldn't sleep the rest of the night. He was so distraught over making sure that he doesn't live that life. The life where no matter the good that the world sees you doing, no matter how selfless it seems, it is really about glorifying and elevating yourself.

 There seems to be no greater tool of distraction or defeat than that of being consumed with self. It can keep us from serving and following God. It can keep us from relationships and friendships. It can even keep us from experiencing the most amazing gift of giving life to our children. Our love for ourselves is the deepest, strongest, yet most toxic and destructive love there is. 

I find myself sabotaging relationships so many times because I feel the need to talk about myself. In my desire to share or tell someone that I relate to their issue, I end up making it all about me. Humility is such a struggle. My nature is to be talkative. Many times in chattering there is no room for humility.  

So what are we to do about this overwhelming problem of selfishness? Honestly, I have no answers. I am thankful that I do know the one who has all of the answers but I also get so caught up in myself that I don't seek Him for the answers. I get caught up in my own mind. I get lost in feeling sorry for myself or trying to figure out how I can do more to make it feel like I am truly giving my life to God. When in all reality He wants a REAL relationship with me. He doesn't want me talking about it on a blog or flashing a biblical status or quote. He wants me broken and bent, on my face before Him seeking and listening.  Why is that so hard?  He has ALL of the answers if I would seek Him. My worst enemy and my biggest obstacle is myself.

I end with something from Mother Teresa that I "happened" upon. (The quotes mean I think God helped me "happen" upon it as I have been struggling with all of these selfish thoughts.) "There is a very holy priest, who is also one of the best theologians in India right now. I know him  very well, and I said to him, "Father, you talk all day about God. How close you must be to God!" And you know what he said to me? He said, "I may be talking much about God, but I may be talking very little to God." And then he explained, "I may be rattling off so many words and may be saying many good things, but deep down I do not have the time to listen. Because in the silence of the heart, God speaks."

Friday, June 28, 2013

Lot's Wife

Lately I have been consumed with "What ifs". Surely I am not the only one who does this. I think, "What if I did this differently? Or, What if I had made this choice instead of that?" I admire those who seem to make choices and never look back. Those who are so convinced of their decisions that they never seem to think twice about them. I have NEVER been this way. I always think of the 1 million different options and it is maddening. In my wondering and searching lately, I read two things. Almost like they came from God or something :)

The first thing came from "Radical" by David Platt. He spoke of how we, in our comfortable Christian culture, seem to always ask "What is your will for me God? If God would just show me and tell me then I would do it."  Wow!!! That is me!! I can't even count how many times I have said this.  I have made God's will to be so confusing and never feeling like I know what it is. He tells us in the Bible that His will for us is to go and tell about him. Period. Nothing else. It isn't that complicated. There are approximately 1.5 BILLION un-reached people who have NEVER heard of Jesus. That sounds like a good place to start!

The second thing that hit me between the eyes came from Genesis 19. God sends messengers/angels to Lot and tells him to get his family and leave Sodom. They are reluctant. I think "Man, if God sent angels to me I wouldn't be reluctant." But would I? I am sure I would analyze and think about what they said and rationalize that these people could in no way be angels. The main part of this chapter that struck me was when Lot's wife looks back at the city when she is specifically told not to. She looks back. Why was she looking back? Was she curious about what was happening? Was she longing for something she was giving up even though God specifically told her to? What could be so important that she would disobey God like that? Then BAM!!!! She turned into a pillar of salt!! Whoa! Looking back was a BIG MISTAKE! 

If you read on, you find that Lot later has crazy dysfunctional issues with his daughters which most likely might not have happened had their mother been there...who knows. But the point is Lot's wife wasn't obedient. She drug her heels. She looked back. She wasn't fully seeking and trusting God. I DO NOT want to be Lot's wife. I don't want to harm my family by looking back or not being obedient.

 As wives we have the ability to harm our husbands and paralyze them or we can be supportive and see them become the men that God intended for them to be. We can pray for them continually. We can speak life into them and not bring up all of our frustrations with them (my main area that needs work). By lifting them up, never ceasing to give up on praying for them, and believing in them we can see God miraculously change their lives. Guess what else happens? We change too!! Our hearts will soften. We will become focused on God's will for our family and the role that we hold as wives and mothers.

 We have to let our men lead (I know that might step on some women's lib ideas :). If we are lifting our husbands up in prayer and verbally and with our actions then their hearts will be more likely to be open to God. God desires husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Who wouldn't want to be loved that way? As much as Christ loves His church!!! That is an awesome love!!!  If we are both seeking to put our spouses before ourselves, and of course God before everything else, then our marriages will flourish.

 Our selfish desires and "rights" are deception seeking to rob us of our families. I know. I lived there for a long time and our marriage almost dissolved many times because of it. We still struggle with our selfishness. The devil knows exactly how to get to us. He whispers all the time, "What about you? Don't you deserve this or that?" Actually, we all deserve death and hell but thankfully God provided a way out of that. Just because He is awesome. He didn't have to do anything for us. 

So my prayer is to not be Lot's wife. I want to help guide my family, with my husband at the lead, to wherever God would desire us to be. I feel that I have made an effort in that direction by coming to Oregon. I haven't done everything perfectly and I am still trying to figure out how to balance being a wife, mother, and investing in others, but I am learning.

Monday, June 10, 2013

God and Christopher Robin

God and Christopher Robin

Anyone that knows me knows that I love to read Jen Hatmaker's books, blogs, devotionals, etc.  I just finished reading her devotional for moms called "Out of the Spin Cycle". It was filled with encouragement for moms but one particular point stood out to me. She talks about how our idea of who God is can be formed from our relationship with our parents. The idea of that scared me to death! She acknowledges that as we grow older and mature that we are able to realize that God is nothing like any human that we might try to equate Him to. However, while we are children we might form the idea that God isn't forgiving, holds grudges, with holds love, is easy to anger (Yikes! Not that I am easily angered or anything :),etc.

I thought of the many  times that I have lost my temper, spoken words that were deflating instead of encouraging, and the times that I have been unforgiving. I in no way want my children to think that God is ANYTHING like me. I fail so often and He never does.

 I decided to talk to my children about this at our morning devotional time. I told them about how I had read that children will sometimes think of God as behaving or acting like their parents. I told them that of course their father and I don't always react perfectly or handle things exactly the way that we should. I explained how God was forgiving and when they come to Him and confess their sin that He forgives them instantly and He NEVER thinks of their sin again. He doesn't shame them or hold it against them. They can ALWAYS start clean. They can NEVER stray too far for God to accept them back instantly and love them unconditionally. He never withholds His love for them.

 The responses I got were interesting to say the least. Isaac immediately responded with his father's personality and wit saying, "Oh, don't worry, I know God is nothing like you or Dad."  Hmmm....very glad he understands the concept but not so sure how to feel about mine and Erik's examples. Apparently, we make the distinction very clear for him. At least he gets the concept.

Then came the most perplexing response of all....Mallory. She never ceases to surprise me. Her response was that she imagines God as a giant Christopher Robin.  Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...... I really have no words. Christopher Robin does seem kind and caring. I get that. However, what is really perplexing is that I could probably count on one hand how many times she has watched Winnie the Pooh or read any Winnie the Pooh books. We just aren't Winnie the Pooh people. I never watched it much so I just don't think about having my kids watch it or read the books.

So, in my attempt to teach a great lesson I came out of the lesson feeling a little confused, defeated, and laughing at my daughter's ability to keep me thinking. However, I feel like maybe the thought was planted  in their minds and I am going to try to remind my children daily that God is better than anything that we can imagine!! He will ALWAYS love us, in spite of our sin and bad decisions. He holds no record of wrongs. He isn't sarcastic and demeaning. If we make a bad decision we can bring the effects of that decision to Him and He can help us make something beautiful from it. We can't imagine or fathom His grace and love. That is the greatest concept that I hope they learn and carry with them forever.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Blessing Not a Burden


                          Blessing Not a Burden

This is my first blog and I can't think of a better way to start than with exciting news! We are expecting another child!! I know many of you will think we have lost our minds. So let me put some of the concerns that I have heard or will hear to rest.

(Warning- a sense of humor is required to read the next section. I like to make jokes. Maybe a personality flaw, I don't know.)

1. Yes, we do know what causes this.
2. No, we are not trying to be like the Duggar's. Although, I admire their faith and ability to raise what appear to be very polite and productive children who have strong faith, it isn't really our goal to have 19 children.
3. No, we haven't joined a hippy cult that has lots of babies :)
4. And no, I do not think that all of my internal organs will explode or fall out of my body as a result of having four children. (At least I hope not!)

Whew! Now that is out of the way I would like to talk about why I chose to blog. I have thought about it for quite sometime but I never wanted anyone to think that I believe that I have some awesome wisdom to impart on others. However, when I think about all of my pretty awesome friends who blog I thought about how I don't think of them as believing they are all knowing. I enjoy their blogs. They are honest and real and it helps me to know them better and sometimes realize that I am not alone in some of my beliefs and thoughts, or even sometimes to see a different viewpoint and understand it.
Here is what I think about the gift of life, God wants us to be thankful for it and cherish it. We are to protect children and be thankful for the joy and love that they bring. There was a time not long ago that society considered children to be a blessing, not a burden. I feel that our world has bought into the lie that children are too expensive, stressful, and just plain inconvenient.  I admittedly have fallen victim to those fears as well. We do live in an expensive and fallen world (Really, there is nothing new under the sun. The world never has been perfect nor will it be until our Savior returns.) but I can't believe that is a reason not to bring a child into the world.  Actually, I think those are good reasons to bring a child into the world. Maybe it is an opportunity to live a different a life. A life not filled with materialism. A life in which we live for something other than ourselves. A life in which we seek God and His wisdom and protection because we can't raise a child in this world on our own with our own power.

Is raising children challenging and difficult at times? Absolutely! However, if we are honest with ourselves and think about the things in this world that have helped us to grow as a person, I am fairly certain that we would all conclude that those things were not easy and that we had to work hard and make sacrifices.
Do I fail daily in parenting and pretty much everything else? Of course!! I try to make those failures learning experiences for my children as well as myself. I want my children to understand that all people are flawed and we mess up but by God's grace we can try again.

When I was younger, I really didn't want to have children. I had a different plan and children would have slowed that down. Then God gave me children and I realized that my plans were weak, flawed, insignificant, and selfish. I AM NOT BY ANY MEANS SAYING THAT ALL PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE CHILDREN AND ARE SELFISH IF THEY DON'T. (Just want to make that clear.) I believe God has other plans for some people and that may not involve children. My own experience is that I have never been happier than when I am seeking God's will and teaching my children about Him and His love and dying to my selfish desires.

I don't know why God entrusted these beautiful lives to Erik and I. There are many people that deserve this gift and haven't received it but I have to believe that God's plans and ways are higher than ours. We can't understand His ways but we learn to trust and follow and hopefully raise children with that same faith, whether we give birth to them ourselves or adopt them.

I have never been more excited to see what the future holds and I am fascinated at how God chooses to show me that He is in control. I may not know what the future holds but I know WHO holds the future.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8 NIV)
"Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:16, 17 NIV)

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV)