8.28.2008

What Roman Has Been Up To



Aside from the "toilet trouble" post, and what he has been teaching me, I haven't written much about Roman lately.

A few facts:


  • he has 9 teeth! (and is working on some more)

  • he now says "chewbacca" (thanks, Jon!), "I love you", "I miss you", "oopsy daisy", and a whole slew of other words and phrases!!

  • he prays before meals...which pretty much includes "Thank you, Jesus. Amen.", but it is the sweetest thing you ever did see!!

  • currently his favorite book is "Love You Forever". (I am happy about that because it's also one of my favorites...but, at the rate we have been reading it - about 5 times a day - not sure how long it will be on my fav list. :))

  • he is still obsessed with the "coo-coowave" - traslated, that means "microwave". :) Although, his passion seems to be dwindling....YES!

  • he loves the Vow of Silence CD. I mean LOVES it. He dances to it...hilarious.
I have so many more things to tell you, but you'll just have to come for a visit if you want to experience the rest! In the mean time...here are some photos and videos:


Daddy helping Roman do a sommersault.

mr. funny in the big boy chairtime for bed!cheese!!
video
lunch with Daddy and Adam....very interesting conversation. :)

8.24.2008

"coincidence"

I ran across this today a few hours after writing my last post. I thought it summed up my thoughts much better than I could. :)

Humanism
"Humanism has so permeated our culture that it has even quietly crept into our Christianity [in two forms], liberal Christian humanism and evangelical Christian humanism... Liberal humanism says, 'The chief end of Christianity is the happiness of man when he is alive'... Evangelical humanism says, 'The chief end of Christianity is the happiness of man after he dies'..." Both liberal and evangelical humanists are Cats, but contrary to those points of view, "Dogs say, 'The chief end of Christianity is not to be happy (either before or after death), but rather it is to glorify God'. Happiness [then] is not the primary product of the Christian life; it is a byproduct of delighting in God."--Bob Sjogren in Cat and Dog Theology

Grow or Be Happy?

So, if you're tired of hearing my "faith revelations based on motherhood" you might want to skip this post. :) I can't help it. This has kind of turned into a journal for me and God happens to be teaching me lesson after lesson through my son. It's so much easier to get my thoughts down if I'm typing instead of writing, so here ya go...

Roman is definitely in a screaming stage. It's not all the time. Sometimes it's when he's mad, sometimes it's when he wants attention, and sometimes it's just because he's so excited he can't hold it in anymore!! Whatever the circumstance, it's not something that we tolerate. We have been trying to be calm and consistent with disciplining him. We tell him that it's not okay to scream, remove him from the situation if it's necessary, and tell him he needs to use some nice words instead. It seems to be doing the job, but it's a slow, and sometimes painful, process. You'd think it wouldn't take him long to catch on that yelling at the top of his lungs really doesn't get him anywhere. But, then again, we yell at God...we tell him what we want and under what terms we would like things to happen. That doesn't get us anywhere either, but we aren't about to change our selfish ways.

Sometimes it's a challenge to keep your cool when your child is screaming bloody murder in a restaurant, or letting high pitched screaches out during the sermon at church. (Okay, he is usually not terrible, but when it's your child you tend to think it's a lot worse). It's hard to resist the temptation to just "make him happy". Of course, I want him to be happy. I want him to enjoy life, have fun, and go along our merry way. But, I am constantly reminding myself your job is to help him grow, not to make him happy all the time.

Naturally, I try to create environments where he will be happy. I try to "set him up for success" so to speak by making sure he is rested, fed, and has something fun to do. But, when it comes right down to it, I care more about him becoming a person of integrity than I care about him being mad at me and crying about the situation we are dealing with right now. I don't like it. It's not fun. But, it's what we, as parents, do... and what God, as our father, does.

He does it out of love. He denies us the job we really wanted. He takes us out of a relationship that we thought was "it". He guides us into a place in our lives where we think we can't possibly be happy. It's not what we wanted. But, God cares more about us growing in our faith, He cares more about bringing people into the kingdom, than he does about our "happiness" in the moment.

You might think that's pretty harsh...and, to an extent, it is. You might say "God wants joy for me"...and he does. But, "joy" might look different than we thought. Joy in Christ doesn't always mean that you are in the ideal situation. Joy in Christ means that you are thankful in any situation. It means that God is going with you and, therefore, we have nothing to complain about. He has a plan. A plan to give us hope and a future. The ideal situation isn't until we are with Him in heaven anyway. How he gets us there is his business. We just have to be willing to let him help us grow...and care more about that than we do about our happiness.

8.14.2008

Books

I have a really nerdy love of books. That's right. If I could open a store, it would definitely be a bookstore. (Just in case you were wondering, we would obviously also sell coffee.) :)

Anyway, I just feel like the more I read the more I feel like I need to know more. This is especially true for me when reading God's word. Just a small sip makes you feel parched. I read a few sentences and then I am suddenly thirsting for more of the refreshment that God always has there for me.

So, I thought I would share some of my favorites with you...(okay, I kinda stole this idea from my new best-friend-I've-never-met, Angie Smith - you can find her blog in my list of favorites). But, I really liked reading through her list of favorites...tells you a lot about a person and also gives you some great reading suggestions. So, maybe you should send me your lists, too. Enjoy.

Christian Fiction:
The Mark of the Lion Series - Francine Rivers
The Atonement Child (reading it now...AMAZING) - Francine Rivers
Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers
...are you noticing a theme here? :)
The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis
The Present Darkness - Frank Peretti

Christian Non-Fiction:
The Bible - God
Theology of the Body Explained - Christopher West
The Good News About Sex and Marriage - Christopher West
In the Grip of Grace - Max Lucado
It's Not About Me - Max Lucado
Wild at Heart - John Eldredge
Waking the Dead - John Eldredge
The Lamb's Supper - Scott Hahn
Hail, Holy Queen - Scott Hahn
First Comes Love - Scott Hahn
Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
The Five Love Languages - Gary Chapman
A Woman After God's Own Heart - Elizabeth George

Bible Study/Devotional:
Treasures Uncovered: The Parables of Jesus - Jeanne Kun
Courageous Love - Stacy Mitch
Mystery of the Kingdom - Edward Sri
Night Light (couple's devotional) - James and Shirley Dobson

Children's:
Anything written by Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein
You're My Little Love Bug - Heidi R. Weimer
I Love You Forever - Robert N. Munsch
The Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day - Judith Viorst
The Monster at the End of this Book - Jon Stone
The Kissing Hand - Audrey Penn
The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle
Guess How Much I Love You - Sam McBratney
The Hundred Dresses - Eleanor Estes
Randall's Wall - Carol Fenner

Pregnancy/Childbirth/Parenting:
The Art of Natural Family Planning - John and Sheila Kippley
What to Expect When You're Expecting - Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
What to Expect the First Year - Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
Husband Coached Childbirth - Robert Bradley
The Happiest Baby on the Block - Harvey Karp
The Five Love Languages of Children - Gary Chapman

Really, there are far too many books for me to list, but I thought I would at least share this much. I really do hope I get to hear some of your favorites! :)

The Beautiful Face of Christ

My friend Monica is, in a word, amazing. She is such a Godly woman...warm and winsome :), refreshing to the soul, and encouraging to the spirit. I have the best group of friends anyone could ask for, and I have always struggled to put my feelings about them into words. Monica did a far better job than I ever could have when she wrote this:

The Beautiful Face of Christ

I am setting myself up for failure, and I am taking a risk. There is certainty of failure in that what I want to try to write about can't be captured in words. It's a little like trying to capture the essence of the mountains or the ocean on a 4 by 6 picture. You can't help but take the picture, but you can't help but be disappointed by the result. No matter how many pictures you take and how many different angles, it simply does not do justice to the subject. I am also taking a risk. It's always a risk to write about what you feel, because, after all, someone might read it. Even worse, there is the distinct possibility of becoming sappy as you try to put your feelings into words. I hate sappiness. It makes me want to gag. But, just as I have been compelled to take literally hundreds of pictures of the mountains, I also have to try to write this.
The subject of this little composition is my friends. Now there are friends, and there are friends. These are the friends that everyone wants, but far too few people have. These are the friends that cry with you and laugh with you and laugh at you. These are the friends that are always there to encourage you and that are always there to tell you when you're being stupid. I would try to name names, but how can I? I might miss someone- because I'm good like that- and it doesn't matter anyway, because they all know who they are.
I have had friends before. In high school and college, there are friends all over the place. They're great to hang out with and many of them helped me in my walk with God...but now that I've been out of college a few (five!) years, I find that there are few people that I still keep in touch with. In grad school, I had some wonderful classmates and roommates. I do still keep in touch with them, but if we're not making small talk or talking about physical therapy things, it can get kind of awkward in a real big hurry. There are always those close friends here and there that know all your warts and love you anyway, but this is even bigger than that, though it certainly applies.
How do you even explain what it is? It's a group of people that have come together with a heart for Christ and who want to deeply search for the truth and who want to have a lot of fun along the way. I truly don't know how to explain it, other than to say that it is friendship the way God meant it to be. I remember when my parents made us read about the saints growing up, and I always thought that it was ironic that so many of the saints "happened" to know each other. I am beginning to see that it is more likely that it is a case that each helped (pushed) the others along the way.
That is not to say that we do not have our faults. We get petty and annoyed. We gossip and hurt each other's feelings. At times we even take each other for granted. Yet, there is something there, Someone that is bigger than any one of us.
I feel that I have known these people forever, but the calendar does not agree. It's actually been only a couple of years for me. Let me try to tell you what that's been like for me. At first, it was simply awkward. I can be shy, and I'm definitely introverted, and this was one large, loud group...and we usually end up being packed into someone's small apartment, so it seems like the place is going to bust apart at the seams. Most of them had known each other forever, so I felt like an outsider, and never got all the inside jokes. Yet, somehow, they kept inviting me back, and I always came. I could tell this was a group of people that I wanted to get to know better.
I finally started to get to know the names and faces a little better and start to figure out who fit in where and how. It really got deeper, though, when I started going to the women's Bible study. Every Thursday night, we meet for dinner and time together. Sometimes we even study the Bible. But this has become the place that we talk about anything and everything, from small talk to God, the good, the bad and the ugly. They challenge me, and they have been the means that God has used for my spiritual life to grow by leaps and bounds.
The guys are also very special to me. I wish that all women could be around guys like these. They are guys in that they can be crude and raucous and proud of an especially loud or stinky fart, but they are also manly in a way that few men are. As a woman, I can say that there are few men that are as respectful of women as these guys are. I honestly don't know how they do it, but they have made me see my worth as a woman in a whole new way. I've tried to think of specific examples, but it's all the little things in the way that they show their respect for all of us women. They also unabashedly love and value children, in a society that says children are a nuisance and a bother. I'm not going to lie, though. They have been known to run from a poopy diaper.
I was once accused of being too picky in finding a guy to date. There was a challenge made that maybe my standards were too high and that's why I'm still single, because what I'm looking for doesn't exist. That is not true. They do exist, and I will be single until I find someone that can treat me the way these guys treat their wives/girlfriends.
I love that there is so much talent in this group and the way that it is used to honor God. I love that I know if I spend the weekend with them, Mass will be a priority. I love that when we go to a Mass, or someone's wedding or a baptism, people see us as a group and see something there that is so special that many have commented on it. I love knowing that hanging out and a game of shooting each other with nerf guns may be paused for a serious theological question. I love knowing that these people are my friends now, and that even as the group changes as some move away and others move in and all the other changes that life brings, they will be my friends when we are in eternity with Christ as well. I thank God for them.
How do I explain who these people are? They are my friends. They are my family. They are the beautiful face of Christ in my life.
Thanks, Mon, for taking a risk and letting your heart spill out through this writing. (Hopefully you don't mind that I am posting this, I coudn't help but share your talent and share about the community that we are so blessed to be a part of).

8.12.2008

Sommersault

Roman did his first sommersault all by himself today! I couldn't be a prouder mama! :) Although tumbling and trampoline were my first love, I never made it to the olympics...maybe my son will. (Okay, I might be getting slightly carried away here, but seriously, do you know a 14 month old that can do a sommersault on their own??)

Videos to come!

Love love love.

Toilet Trouble

So, last night Joe and I decided that we should forget trying to figure out what to make for dinner and head over to Ames for some delicious seafood at Red Lobster...and delicious it was! I had the Maui Luau shrimp and salmon. It's sweet and spicy...a delectable treat! :) Joe, of course, got his usual Ultimate Feast, while Roman enjoyed the cheesy garlic biscuits and a bowl of mac and cheese. Very nutritious, I know!

Anyway, we are finishing the meal and Roman starts leaning on my arm because he is so tired. So, I leave Joe to pay the bill while I take Ro to the bathroom to change his diaper and put on his PJs so he can go to sleep in the car and we can just carry him right in to his crib. Seems like a great plan right?

We get into the bathroom and the changing table is in the handicapped stall, so I walk in, close the door and get Roman settled on the table. I hand Roman his blanket so I have a free hand to reach into the diaper bag and pull out a fresh diaper. He immediately throws the blanket over his head, off the changing table, and into the toilet. Crap. What now??? Okay, so only part of the blanket was in the toilet, but...EWW!! I drag the sopping wet-toilet water end out of the commode and drop it on the floor while I finish the diaper change and figure out how the heck I am going to handle this situation.

We finish. I roll the wet end of the blanket into the dry end so that I am not carrying a dripping pee blanket out of the restaurant. I throw it on the floor in the car, santize my whole arm that carreid the blanket, and it goes immediately into the wash when we get home. Big day.

8.11.2008

Called to Faithfulness

We had the annual Babbitt campout this past weekend! Thank you, Mike and Joyce for what is always such a good time. I tell them this over and over, but going to their house really feels like going home. Our friends have made so many good memories there; it has become a sort of haven for all of us.

On Sunday morning, all 15 of us and went to church in Rockwell City. We sat in the choir loft of this small-town church, and pretty much filled it. After the opening song, the priest looked up at all of us and said "Holy smokes! We have more people in the choir loft than we do down here!" This was, of course, quite an exaggeration, but they were happy to have us and we were happy to be so warmly welcomed.

The gospel reading was from Matthew 14, where, during a storm, the disciples see Jesus walking on the water. They think that He is a ghost...so Peter, trying to determine if it really is Christ, tells him "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water". Jesus replies "Come". Peter goes to him...he walks on water through the power of Christ, but when he realizes that he is walking on water he becomes frightened and starts to sink. Jesus, of course, reaches out to him and upholds him in his moment of doubt.

So, the priest is reflecting on this reading and says "You know, we aren't called to success. We are called to faithfulness". The truth is that Peter could not physically walk on water. And you know what?

Jesus knew that.

Jesus knew that Peter could not in a million years walk on water. He knew that after less than a split second of Peter attempting to walk on water, it would be bath time for our good buddy Pete. Peter couldn't walk on water. We can't walk on water. The truth is that Jesus knows all of this and yet he says "Come". Why?? Why would Jesus beckon Peter out onto the sea? He certainly didn't want Peter to drown...this guy is supposed to be building the church!

Why would Jesus put us in these situations where we are sure we are destined to fail??

The truth is that you and I are a bunch of failures. :) Keep going with me here. You and I...on our own...are just a "beautiful letdown" (as our friends in the band Switchfoot would say). Jesus knew that Peter wouldn't succeed.

But, Jesus knew that He could sustain Peter.

What I find fascinating (and 0h, so relatable) is that Peter asked Christ to summon him. Peter knew that Jesus could sustain him, but when it came down to it, he still doubted because he knew that he was dealing with his flesh. When he stopped trusting that God could overcome this situation regardless of his weakness…he sank.

It's so appropriate. We have to ask Christ to come in and work in us. And how many times do we doubt? We have professed that he is capable. We know that God can handle it. We are aware that all we have to do is remain faithful.

Jesus knew that all Peter had to do was be faithful to the call. Jesus wasn't asking him to figure out a way to overcome the physically impossible. Jesus was asking him to be faithful. All He wanted Peter to do was trust. Seems simple, right? We read that Peter, in his moment of doubt starts sinking. And we think, "Gosh, he was walking on water. He was so far already. All he had to do was keep his eyes on Christ."

Seems simple. He was walking on water…what’s not to trust??

All God wants from us is our faithfulness…to keep our eyes on Christ and walk toward Him. That seems simple, but you and I both know that God asks us to do uncomfortable things sometimes. Go talk to that woman who is sitting by herself. Heart-breaking things. Praise me in a time of mourning. Impossible things. Go to another country...for a year. But He's asking because he wants to show us that he is faithful. He can sustain us.

You don't have to be a "success". God isn’t asking you to do something great. He is asking you to rely on Him when you’re thinking “I’m going to drown”. God certainly wants us to use our gifts to honor him, but the truth is that nothing we accomplish in this life is going to matter much unless we are greeted with the words "Well done, good and faithful servant" in the next.

8.07.2008

I have been reading the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. It's a very thorough introduction to Christian theology - great read for anyone who is a believer, and also a great book to hand to someone who has a lot of doubts about religion. This book is definitely going on my list of favorites.

I have been writing down quotes that have touched me while I was reading (I borrowed this copy...just thought that maybe my friend Anna doesn't want her book scribbled in, underlined, and with my personal thoughts forever scrawled all over the pages).

Anyway, I was going back through the quotes that I had written down. So many of them caught my eye again. (Have I mentioned that I would really like to write a book someday? The more I think about this, and the more that I read thought-provoking books that really change me for the better, the more I desire to make a difference in that way. Not the point, but thought you should know.)

C.S. Lewis is phenomenal with analogies. As soon as he gives an example I think "wow, that is complex...don't know if I am going to be able to follow this" and then he explains it in such a way that makes it crystal clear. There are so many things that I love about his writing. So, here is a little snippet for you to sample:

"God made us;
invented us as a man invents an engine.
A car is made t0 run on gasoline,
and it would not run properly on anything else.
Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself.
He himself is the fuel our spririts were designed to burn.
There is no other.
That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way
without bothering about religion.
God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself
because it is not there.
There is no such thing."

There is no other. As the song states "There's a God-shaped hole in all of us". We have a void that can only be filled with Christ. How many times have I sought after something that was going to really bring fulfillment in my life? Someone that would be a comfort to me? It doesn't matter what we try to fill it with...destructive things, things that seem insignificant, or even things that are good things - things that are God-given, if we don't fill the void with Christ himself, we are incomplete and cannot experience the life that he offers us...life to the fullest.

Audrey Caroline

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2CnUtVY35o

My friend Kim sent me this video the other day. It is the story of a baby girl, Audrey, born to some amazing Christian parents, Todd and Angie (Todd is a member of the Christian band, Selah). The family was told at one of their ultrasounds that she had several problems that would most likely be fatal. The doctors recommended that she terminate the pregnancy. The song and video are such a beautiful witness to how they handled the situation. Baby Audrey lived two and a half hours instead of the two minutes that they thought she might live. It's a tear jerker for sure, but totally worth watching. This family is so beautiful...yet another example of how precious life is, no matter our circumstances. I added the Smith family blog to my "blogs that I love section" because I was just so blessed reading more about their family and their story. Angie is so willing to be transparent with her struggles and with the things that God is teaching her. Some of her entries about her kids make me laugh out loud because she is just SO honest. I love it...you know that's what every other mom is thinking. :)

As I was watching some additional videos of the Smiths on Youtube, Angie was talking about how they kept trying to prepare themselves for "plan B". They had planned to have a healthy pregnancy and another daughter to bring home and raise to be a Godly woman. After Audrey's diagnosis, they started preparing for the possibility that she may not live but a few minutes...every parent's nightmare of a plan B. But, what she said she has come to realize is that there is no "plan B". Maybe to us, but not to God. God knew. God knew Audrey. God knew how long her life would be. God knew that people would be changed because of her. God doesn't have a plan B. God has a plan. Period.

That is a lot to swallow when you are in a situaion like the Smith family has endured. I can't even begin to imagine such a trying time. I am so thankful for their witness...they have showed that our suffering isn't about us. Our victories are not about us. It's all about God. God is going to do what will bring him glory...what will bring people to him. The Smiths brought Audrey to Him, along with hundreds of others, I am sure. Thank you, Smith family!

O God Beyond All Praising
O God beyond all praising,
we worship you today
and sing the love amazing
that songs cannot repay;
for we can only wonder
at every gift you send,
at blessings without number
and mercies without end:
we lift our hearts before you
and wait upon your word,
we honor and adore you,
our great and mighty Lord.
Then hear, O gracious Savior,
accept the love we bring,
that we who know your favor
may serve you as our king;
and whether our tomorrows
be filled with good or ill,
we'II triumph through our sorrows
and rise to bless you still:
to marvel at your beauty
and glory in your ways,
and make a joyful duty
our sacrifice of praise.