July 30, 2012

Eat What's Set Before You

Last Thursday at our women's study we got into some lively discussion as we often do about marriage and family dynamics. Several women were making comments like this, I don't want to have an opinion in case it's the wrong one. I worry about pleasing the other person. Even something like my husband asking me where I want to eat I'll say I don't care. 

I sat laughing and nodding, all the while thinking, What are these strange words pouring forth from the mouths of these fair maiden creatures? It seems a distant language from a faraway land. 

Not having an opinion? I hardly know the meaning. I have an opinion about having an opinion.

But here's where I especially have an opinion. (And Matt equally shares it.)

Picky eaters.

I absolutely believe that palates are trained and tastes are acquired and conformable.

Recently we were starting to have an awful time with Asher developing very picky tastes. Basically only anything that was sweet, like fruits. Naturally. While fruits are good, vegetables and protein and a whole myriad of other things are too. After several days of spitting out almost everything that entered his mouth, I realized we were going to have to start from scratch. I acted as if he were 6 months old and I was introducing solids for the first time.

I mixed avocados with breastmilk to make it familiar and palatable. I smushed things up to a consistent consistency in case it was a texture thing. And we slowly but surely started our way up from the bottom again. And...

It worked!

At this moment Asher eats almost everything we set in front of him. We feed the boys what we're eating so that means they're introduced to a wide variety of foods. No special meals because they don't like something. We often say to Micah, I'm sorry, buddy, you can eat your [fill-in-the-blank] or nothing but that means you're all done. We want you to be thankful for what you have, bud.

There are a few certain foods that I truly despise. The mere taste of them causes deep revulsion within. Sour cream is one of those foods. But there have been multiple times I've been offered a meal that someone else had cooked in which sour cream was a main ingredient. And I ate every last bite with nary a peep and I expressed deep thankfulness to the cook.

That tells me that palates can be trained and that I am not a slave to my preferences.

In my travels I've been served some very unappetizing meals with ingredients that I'd care not to explore more deeply. But here's a principle I learned from a ministry leader right before we left for Kenya that I've never forgotten all these years later. Jesus said in Luke 10:8, "Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you" (emphasis mine).

Jesus is sending out the disciples to different towns and he's giving them instructions. And of the instructions he gave them he considered this one important enough to include. Eat what's set before you. Simple. Don't complain. Don't ask for something different. Just eat what's before you.

We're not crazy hard about this. We know there will be certain foods our children truly don't like. But they don't get to eat something different just because they prefer something else. We want to encourage thankfulness and the act of choosing something, not because it's always easy or what you prefer, but because you will to. Choose to.

July 26, 2012

Asher and Armpits

I am having a really weird issue today. The amount of physical activity I've done today is tantamount to lifting my sons in and out of their carseats but my armpits are emitting such an odor as though I've Zumba-ed to Mozambique and back. I know that's way too much TMI and now you think less of me but it's quite bizarre.

Also, if you've commented and I've failed to respond my computer IS NOT LETTING ME REPLY TO COMMENTS OR LEAVE THEM ANYWHERE ELSE and it's causing me a tiny bit of frustration. Just a very tiny bit. I've clicked around in my Internet Options setting and only managed to come away quite scarred that the Lord would ever call me to a techie job. But please know that I read every comment and I LOVE it when people do. It really rather makes my entire week. In fact, if you would feel so inclined to subscribe (just to the right there....), I may not see Self-Esteem Issues for a very long time. Just putting that out there.

I've been having nightmarish issues with Asher's naps for the last couple of weeks. And by "naps" I mean little spurts of sleeping followed by very loud episodes of screaming that I would have the obnoxious audacity to place him in such a contraption as a crib and have the ungodly intention of having him sleep for an hour and a half. Follow this with lots of internal Christian cursing and eventually we found ourselves within the confines of Operation Sleep Baby Sleep for the sake of every last small remaining cell of wholeness within me. 

On Monday I purposed to stay home all week so that we could have predictability and stability. I was armed with some info from Baby Whisperer and a few maternal instincts. Monday went as normal. Sleep for 25-30 minutes, wake up crying and refuse to put himself back to sleep. So I went in, adjusted his blankie, and laid him right back down. He was very mad about this. I went in a few minutes later and did the same thing. We did this for probably 20-25 minutes. Eventually he went back to sleep and slept for another half hour, at which time I went in and got him up when he started crying. The next nap was the same thing except that it only took about 10 minutes. Tuesday through Wednesday morning were similar, but finally Wednesday's afternoon nap he slept straight through for an hour and a half without me having to go in there. Even though he woke up twice he put himself right back to sleep both times. Today we've had exactly the same thing. All praise be to the Lord from whom all blessings flow. 

I know that I hadn't been good about maintaining a routine for him so he got used to sleeping on the go or being woken up to get out and about, in addition to having been on vacation which really throws a baby's routine off. I'm just very thankful we seem to be getting back on the right track. 

The Lord has been doing so much work in my heart lately which in turn has caused much better attitudes and words (Matthew 15:18-20). By God's grace I've been much more intentional about stopping and saying (sometimes out loud), Lord, I'm very frustrated right now. I need to be filled again with your Spirit. Give me your grace and ability to be patient and kind right now

As a parent you have certain hot-button items that can send you from a stable, emotionally healthy human being to an unstable, wild-eyed and crazed woman who should possibly be institutionalized. One of those things for me are interrupted naptimes. Our bathroom wall is the adjoining wall to the boys' bedroom and right on the other side is Asher's crib. So I was taking a shower and I knocked something over and it was really loud. I was immediately so furious at myself and super frustrated. But I literally said out loud, The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Lord, fill me with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control

It's not like it was a magic formula, but I was taking my anger and replacing it with the living, life-giving word of God. As wise people before me have said, Whatever you feed, grows. If I get angry and continue to feed that with frustrated comments or body language or loud sighs, then my anger will keep growing. But if I stop, take it captive and replace it with lovely and truthful thoughts, then that's what's going to grow. 

Still have a long way to grow but I'm so encouraged at God's faithfulness to transform me into His likeness. 

So, subscribe? Friends?

July 17, 2012

Adult Diapers - A Tale

I realize my posts recently have contained H-rated material (i.e. heavy), which is so not me in real life. To counter this, I've decided that a jaunt back through the pages of time is necessary. I know that I recently said this was full disclosure. But I in fact may have been mistaken. This story might in fact make it full-to-overflowing-stop-talking-my-ears-are-bleeding disclosure.

So. The year is 2004-ish. I think it's around the fall season. I'm in Durango, CO. (One of the most beautiful places on earth and home to some of my best, and worst, memories.) I lived in Durango for six years. Four years of college, one year of staff-interning with our campus ministry, and one year of meeting and marrying my husband.

Hands down I had the most fantastical collegiate experience ever. I had academic scholarships so I didn't have to work and I had the funnest, craziest, best circle of friends in the entire world. My college experience could be summed up in one word - freaktasticallyfun. (Go with me here.)

My roommate and best friend in college was Nadene. During our many years of roommating we got ourselves into all manner of mischiff. And one time, in a moment of weakness, I told her how I've always wanted to try adult diapers. Something about them was so alluring and just beckoned for my usage. But I'd forgotten that I'd told her that.

So one night we're hanging out at a friend's house with a thousand of our other friends (we sound so cool and popular), checking out the cute guys, seeing if they're checking us out, when Nadene whispered that she had a secret idea. I'm always down for secret ideas so we jumped in her car and she drove us to Wal-mart.

We head into Wal-mart, she tells me her plan, I become ecstatic at the reality of living my livelong dream, otherwise referred to as Using Adult Diapers, we make our purchase, and we head back to her car. So, in a normal situation, you buy your Adult Diapers and then head to the privacy of your own home to try them. But we're not normal. Obviously. We prefer to kick Normal in the cajones. So we put our Adult Diapers on in her car with untinted windows in the Wal-mart parking lot, and then through the most hysterical laughter I have ever experienced in my life...utilize them, screaming for everyone within a 25-mile vicinity to hear, "I'm peeing, I'm peeing!

And then, because we're not normal (see: above), we go to Denny's. To freaking Denny's. In our used Adult Diapers. (Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm even telling this story.) I remember exactly what I was wearing because the shirt I was wearing wasn't long enough to meet the top of my jeans, which means I had white freaking adult diaper poking out the top of my jeans like a Precious Moments baby bottom butt ruffle. As we crinkle-swished our way to our seats, only Divine Grace kept us semi-intact from hysterical fits of laughter and guilty confessions to the unsuspecting Denny's crowd.

And then (because you know this story's not done), we decided we should head home, as Adult Diapers don't properly contain more than two uses (don't ask me how I know). But on the way we pulled alongside our neighbors who were roommates who we had soul-deep crushes on (who we later went on to date), and they  followed us home. Which means that we had to get out of the car, walk backwards (literally), and make the quickest escape away from them without squelching any potential future shots for dateability.

And that was the only embarrassing part of the night. Peeing in Wal-mart parking lot? Nope. Walking through Denny's in used Adult Diapers? Not even close.

Sometimes I still fear that Normal and I do not reside on the same planetary rotation (I don't even know what that means, but if it means that Normal and I don't know each other's names, then that's what I mean).

There you have it. Full (ish) disclosure.

Some pictures of Nadene and I through the years.

At my wedding.

At her wedding.

In Peru a second time visiting our other best friend, Annie.

Annie! Still friends to this day.

July 12, 2012

Fake Authentic Me

So "one" time my husband and I had a knock-down, drag-out discussion. (Christianspeak for fight.) And in said discussion I made lots of statements that went something like this - me, me, me, me, more me, a little bit more me, and finally some more me. Something to that effect. Can't totally remember now. But I'm pretty sure I was one hundred percent correct, as I often am in my head in the middle of these things.

Do you know a scary thing I heard recently? To be deceived is to be convinced you are right, but actually be completely wrong. And then I read this in my devotional time - For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (Galatians 6:3)

If anyone thinks something to be true, but it's not, he's (she's) deceived, no matter how sincere that person may be. I can be sincere and still be sincerely wrong. So where am I going with this? I'm not sure exactly.

I think it really just gave me pause because I've been that deceived person many times. Here's another confession that's kind of related. Sometimes I pride myself on my "transparency." But I've found that I'm often selectively transparent.

I can share how I "snapped" (i.e. yelled) at my son but it usually has some pretty bow at the top. And don't get me wrong, by God's grace I try to keep a short record and repent quickly, both to the Lord and to the one I sinned against, including my sons. Several times I've held my baby close and looked him in the eye and told him that Mama's sorry I've been impatient and rude and please forgive me, and in all his ten-month old graciousness he scrunches his nose and flaps his arms and I know all is well again.

But some sins are deeper-rooted than that. And while I can have a moment of losing my temper, repenting, and asking for forgiveness, I've also found that I have deeper anger capabilities than I thought was in me. And while I am always forgiven and continually sanctified by Christ, there's some major heart-work that needs to be done. And I can't get away from the reality in Scripture that God uses the body of Christ in the process.

So here's how this is different (in case I lost you at hello).

Fake Authentic Me - I totally snapped at Micah today. I hate when I do that. The Lord totally convicted me, I had to stop immediately and ask him to forgive me and give me greater grace, and then ask Micah to forgive me. 

Ok. All of that is true. All of it. And I mean all of it from the bottom of my heart. But here's the story behind the story.

Real Authentic Me - What is wrong with me??? I find myself getting so angry over the stupidest things, and then I try to scare Micah into obeying and I hate the look on his face and I hate myself when I do it. I know God says that our anger does not achieve his righteousness, so I know that me getting angry is not going to effectively instruct Micah, but my heart is just so much darker than I realized and capable of so much more! I'm terrified that by sharing this that you'll think that I'm always angry or always exploding because that's not true either, but at the same time I'm capable of getting angrier at my husband and sons than I thought was in me. Please pray with me and help hold me accountable in this!

See the difference? Even in the Real Authentic Me it's not totally there yet, because if I were sitting down with my friend over coffee I should share specific instances so that I get away from generalizations and start to get specific. The point is not to be voyeuristic (I hardly know what that word means), but it's this:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

We can't walk in the light if we're holding back little pockets of darkness, and if we're holding back little pockets of darkness then we're not going to have true fellowship with one another. We can walk in the light. We can, my friends. Sin does not have to hold us captive. We can have victory through Christ. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. All sin. The dark, secret sins. The public, humiliating sins. But we purpose, by his grace, to walk in the light, in truth, in transparency, and as we do this, confessing our sins to one another, praying for one another, he brings healing (James 5:16), growth, victory, sanctification, and then he uses those very things to glorify himself and his awesome redeeming power. And then he uses the comfort that we received to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:4). As Beth Moore has said, nothing in our lives is wasted. He is able to redeem everything.

But we have to start somewhere. So let's purpose to put away our Fake Authentic Selves and let's walk in the light, as he is in the light, and have true fellowship with one another.

July 10, 2012

Irony and True Life

Hi. It's been awhile. But I thought a good picture might make you love me.

This, my friends, is called irony.
Look closely, don't miss the caption under his name.

That's a Sky magazine (i.e. I was on a jet plane.) Headed to San Diego with my very favorite husband and sons and mother. We spent a week in the San Diego area and then came back to a visit from my very, very favorite mother-in-law and sister and brother-in-law and nephews and niece. So it's been a little quiet around here because I've had hardly two spare minutes to stick in my back pocket.

But that's about to change. Because I've got some things to talk about. (Not really.) (Well, kind of.)

But first, a few pictures.

This is the supreme goal of every airplane adventure.

As is this.

Which leaves Mama time for this.
Dog Anxiety = Solved.

And this. Never again will I lack for in-home relaxation.

For $49.95 I'll take scissors and hack my bangs to pieces for free, thank you.
Why commit? I'll tell you why commit. $49.95, that's why.

Headed to the beach with my little lovies.

I'll be on the floor dead of heart palpitations, please.

We had an amazing time. Made me wonder why five years ago when we picked a place off the map to live, we chose cold, dreary Montana and not sunny, Garden of Eden-esque San Diego. But here we are. And happy we are. So content I'll choose (most of the time). (Part of the time.) (Less time than I should.)

Matt picked some lettuce from our garden a couple of days ago and literally within a couple of hours of having been picked it sat on our counter limp and shriveling. I was shocked that it happened so quickly. It had just been vibrant and alive. How could it die so fast? In an ordinary moment it hit me - death comes quickly when we're not connected to the Source of life.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. - Jesus

And then I read this in my Oswald Chambers devotional yesterday. 

We tend to say, "But God could never have called me to this (a commitment to serve the Lord). I'm too unworthy. It can't mean me." It does mean you, and the more weak and feeble you are, the better. The person who is still relying and trusting in anything within himself is the last person to even come close to saying, "I will serve the Lord."

The more weak and feeble we are, the better. Oh, the mysteries of this life in Christ. I know it to be true. When I rely on and trust in myself (or my husband, or my control, or my plans, or my dreams, or anything else), I totally and completely lack life. I'm envious, easily angered, critical, judgmental, moody, selfish, proud. I don't have peace in my heart and mind. There's a total lack of anything life-ly. 

But when I surrender again and return again to Jesus, my source of life, there's a joy and peace that is so true and real in my heart and mind, I can't adequately describe it. I have life in me again. Life that makes me want to jump up and down over the simple things because they're just so beautiful. Life that makes me wonder at the beauty in my sons and that the Lord thought it good to entrust them to us. How kind of Him, thank you, Lord. Life that makes me want to go out right this second and love someone. Life that makes me hope that I see someone in need so I can bless them. Life that can't wait until I see my husband to tell him that amazing thing about him that I keep forgetting to tell him. Life that breaks my heart in half because I remember the loneliness of that one friend I had and so I stop that moment and pray. Life that is so thankful that I have the marriage I do, and the kids I have, and the family I know, and the friends I love. 

Lord, keep me connected to the only true Source of life. You.