June 19, 2012

Updates, Airplanes, and Little Boys

An update on our lives. I went back with my old (much-loved) airline job. I've been working for two weeks now and I've been reminded every day why I love this company so freaking much. I have not had one stressful moment. Not one. I love my job. I love my co-workers. I love what we do. I love that I'm only working ten hours a week. I love our airplanes. I love the view from our airport. I love the airline world. Love, love, love.

But here's where we're at. Our company was underbid by another and we lost the contract. Which means that at the end of this season we're done here. Which means I'll be furloughed again for three years with this company. Which means that I'll have three years to come back with my original hire date. (Again, hire date is everything.)

We had a big meeting last night with some company bigwigs (one word? two?) and it was very enlightening. Made me very excited for some possibilities in the future. Since I originally came back seasonally anyway, the loss of the contract didn't affect me too much, except that it nixed future possibilities of coming back seasonally, but it affects my co-workers greatly and I hurt the most for them.

So, we'll finish the summer season (our busiest) out strong and leave on a good note. We're making the most of it, getting in as many trips as possible. California next week. Overnight to San Fran and/or Chicago, just Matt and I. Hopefully. (Mom? Mom Two? Bueller?) And, due to some recent changes in United's travel benefits, I was able to choose another person to receive our exact flight benefits so my favorite MIL now has them too. We're talking Hawaii, we'll see.

It's hard to explain how passionate I am about travel and culture. Enough to get me a degree in it obviously. International Studies. Not a lot of good for any career other than perhaps Wendy's, but I loved what I studied. When I'm feeling discontent or frustrated or unhappy, my first thoughts are usually something like this. I wish we were in Chile right now. Or Turkey. I miss Greece, I wish we were there right now. Oh, but Romania, the people, the memories. That one castle in the mountains. Puerto Rico, I miss the beach. But Costa Rica, it was amazing. No, Peru was my favorite. That train ride through the mountains. It was magical. I want to be there. On top of Wayna Picchu again. But not starving to death this time. No wait, I loved New England. Just us and the drive and the fall leaves and that bed and breakfast. That was magical too. And Dunkin Donuts on every corner. I want a donut. With a cup of coffee on a deck overlooking the mountains. But I'd rather be in Seoul. Those pictures were awesome. Or the Great Wall, that'd be kind of neat. But I love South America so much. I miss Argentina. But I've never been there. I want to visit so badly. And Paraguay and Uruguay too.


And then I realize what I'm doing. Not dealing with whatever's at hand, just trying to escape to my favorite world. Travellandia. It's a nice world it is.

Moving on. Matt is finishing up his second semester in his graduate program. He's doing fantastic. He's great at balancing working full-time with a graduate program and still being a great dad and husband. I'm very proud of him.

Asher is an army-crawling machine. He can get up just fine and just when he's about to crawl, his roly-poly belly drops to the ground and he resorts to army crawling. He's 9 months and weighs 24 pounds. I could eat his chubbies all day long. I've also reverted back to my prayers of, Please don't get any older. Please stay this way forever. But I prayed those same prayers for Micah and now he's 2. Somewhere, somehow, something went wrong. We're still breastfeeding full-time and I absolutely love it and so does he. By this time Micah was getting more and more uninterested, eventually weaning himself right about 11 months. I'm not sure when we'll stop, but for now I have no plans for it.

Micah is in the funniest, most fun stage ever. I love, love, love his words and talking. He says the funniest things. I was giving him a bath recently and I had to also wash his car's "butt" and "face" and then he was happy. He is very, very organized and particular about shapes and colors and lining things up. He's always lining up all of his cars or toys, always facing the same direction, always with a certain order (either size or type of toy, etc.). We think he has a very logical, mathematical mind. It's so fascinating to see. We also love that he's at an age where we can hang out and have conversations. I weighed him today and he weighs 34 pounds. These big boys of mine, where did they come from??

I'll save the rest for another day. Thanks, y'all.

June 13, 2012

Authentic Friendship

Micah has had separation anxiety from Matt and I off and on since he was about nine or ten months old. It's ranged from the mild (he's over it in five minutes) to the severe (he just simply won't stop crying until we come get him). Matt and I are big softies and we've never been able to just let him cry it out the entire time. I'm mostly referring to when we leave him in nursery for church or with babysitters at my Bible study.

My study has actually been one particular place that Micah rarely ever gets upset to go to. He seems to love it, which is always a huge relief for me. (See also: crying often results in I-can't-think-about-anything-else-until-he-stops and so it must stop.) But this one particular week a couple of months ago I dropped him off thinking all was well...and he had a complete melt-down. Complete. Melt-down. I was totally confused and thrown off and quite frankly, had no idea what to do.

There were other moms dropping off their kids and I was trying to get the situation resolved quickly. (Also see also: this was not working.)

So, thinking fast, I said, Micah, do you want to come with Mommy and get a treat and then you can eat it in here with your friends? I was thinking Distraction Was the Key. Obviously, he stopped crying quickly, we went and got the treat, and headed back to eat it with his friends. Because that's what we had agreed upon. Except that he forgot that he had signed on that dotted line. Because we were not even back to the nursery yet and he was crying.

As most of you can probably guess, the second time trying to drop him off was exponentially worse than the first time. Why didn't I foresee that? How could I not have known?

I was acting on what I knew to be best at that time. I didn't have prior experience to draw from. I didn't read that chapter in the book. My best thought at that time was that a distraction would probably work and since he loves treats so much it would probably make him forget that I was leaving. But I was wrong. Obviously. And I'm sure the other moms standing around could have easily told me that. And if it were me four years from now, three years ago, I would have probably judged her in my Inside Voice.

Not too long ago I saw a mom with her kids and her toddler had a bottle with kool-aid in it. First thoughts: judgment. Second thoughts: more judgment. It actually didn't hit me until today that that's exactly what I was doing. I didn't see a person. Another mama. Beautiful kids. I saw an unhealthy choice and I threw the baby out with the bathwater.

Can I tell you the most refreshing people for me to be around? They're those who don't feel the need to be Correcty Correcterson. I can make a bad decision and not fear their judgment. I can choose differently than they would and not fear that I'll somehow hear about how they're right and "other people" who choose differently are wrong (passive aggressive language results in inner combustible flames in my cerebrum). Yes, there's a place for speaking the truth. In love. Lovingly.

Not in self-righteousness. Not in pride. Not in judgmentalism. I remember Beth Moore saying one time that if anything in us gets the slightest happiness or self-satisfaction in calling a certain person out, then we are probably not the person to call that person out. Unless we can do it humbly and gently and lovingly, then there is probably somebody better. (That's my paraphrase.)

So, just some thoughts I've had swirling around as Matt and I pursue authentic friendships with others. How about you? Who are some of your favorite types of people to be around?

And...just because I can.

June 04, 2012

Prayers for My Sons

How do I pray for my sons? What do I pray for my sons?

I've heard this argument from married, childless folk - Why would I want to bring kids into this world? It's so messed up as it is, I wouldn't want my kids to grow up in this kind of world.

Ok, but here are my thoughts. One, I'm pretty sure that people are not more sinful now than they have been in the entire history of the world. In fact, during the writing of the New Testament, the Roman empire was at the peak of its sin-filled decadence. Nowadays a lot of people go to church and pretend to be religious and keep their vices for their secret life. Then, people went to their religious temple of choice and engaged in unabashed sex with the temple prostitutes. Nowadays people have abortions privately and secretly. Then, if a child wasn't wanted they openly went and left them on the rocks to die.

So what's my point? (Besides being inflammatory.) (Which is not my point.)

My point is that this argument falls pitifully short because in every generation, none more or less sinful than before, there have been brave, steadfast, godly men and women who have carried on the work of the Gospel and God's kingdom, being the tools that God used so that we today in our so-called enlightened era could have a copy of God's Word and worship openly and freely (in America at least). And many of those men and women had godly mothers and fathers who prayed unceasingly for them.

That's where you and I come in. So what are some things that I pray for my sons? I pray lots of things for them and some prayers are ones that I was inspired by as I heard of other parents praying similar things for their kids. (A good point for the importance of walking in community.) So here are just a few things that I pray for my sons whom I love more than life.

I pray that God would open the eyes of their hearts to understand who they are (sinners) and who God is (righteous and just and loving) and their need for him. I pray that God would draw them irresistibly to himself and that they would walk with him all the days of their lives.

I pray that God would give them the grace they need to live holy lives in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. I ask the Lord to give them steadfast hearts to walk the path of righteousness and truth. I ask the Lord to give them wisdom beyond their years and to always see the path and consequences that a decision will have.

I pray that they would be godly boys and then young men and then men and then old men. I pray that the Lord will give them honest hearts and hearts sensitive to discipline and instruction. I pray that God would give them the grace they need to turn from temptation and instead be courageous, pure men.

I pray that the Lord would make them change agents for his kingdom, accomplishing the plans and purposes and calling he has for them. I ask the Lord to give Matt and I wisdom to see their "bents" and to give us wisdom and insight as we raise them.

I pray continually that the Lord fills us with his lavish love for them, and that we would be a close family all of our days. I have prayed from the day that I found out Asher was a boy that he and Micah would be best friends all the days of their lives, that they would be like David and Jonathan. I ask the Lord to knit their hearts together in unity, to sharpen one another for godliness, to be mighty warriors for his kingdom.

I only fear this culture and its influences when I've taken my eyes off of Christ and the power that lives in Him, and consequently in us who have trusted in him alone for salvation. If we are not raising the next generation of godly change-agents, then who is?

I know that my God can give my sons the grace and the power they need to glorify him in the midst of a sin-filled world. And I look forward to being on the journey.

June 02, 2012

A Frustrated Rant

I'm debating writing this post. I really am. But I'm mad, and when I'm mad, I write.

I just came from visiting a particular website. A website for a very well-known mega-church (I hate that term) in America. And while on this website I visited the pastor profile for this very well-known pastor. Go ahead. Ask me. Ask me what he's achieved and accomplished and excelled at. Because I can tell you in great detail. And do you know why?

Because he told me in great detail on his profile page. Every big amazing thing he's done and book he's written and platform he's spoken on, I now know very well. But here's the thing. I don't flipping care. I don't care. I don't care about your major accomplishments and amazing success and the fact that you're one of the world's most downloaded and quoted pastors and have written 16 books and are the founder of the second most innovative church in the country and have a skillful mix of bold presentation and clear Biblical teaching. I don't care.

I came away with a ridiculous amount of irrelevant information about this guy and zero information about Jesus. I can't help but think of that one time when Jesus was responding to the disciples when two of them were asking (well, their mom was) to sit at Jesus' right and left hand. They wanted position and recognition and honor. Why else would you ask for that? Instead, Jesus said that non-believers lord their position over others and exercise their authority over others, but Jesus said it's not to be this way among you. "But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave" (Matthew 20:26-27).

I understand that there's instruction for Biblical church governance. What I'm really railing about is my intense dislike for the celebrity pastorate. I know people can't help if others like them and their style. Popular speakers and teachers can't help that a lot of people like them, and I'm sure they have to continually pursue humility, maybe on a minute by minute basis sometimes. But I get angry when I come across something that instead seems to give others ample reason to think they're even more amazing than others may have initially known.

I know you like my teaching, but here's all these other things about me that are so amazing, I don't want you to miss another opportunity to think I'm out of this world with awesomeness.

I don't know. I'm continually walking that line of loving others lavishly and undeservedly like Jesus does, and calling a spade a spade, like Jesus does too. I love God's bride, the church. I don't love when our "mega-churches" and "mega-pastors" look more like Christianized Hollywood.

What do you guys think?

(I may end up deleting this post.)

(I really do love people and I hate feeling like I'm being an Attacking Adeline.)

(I'm just frustrated.)

(Let's still be friends?)