August 31, 2012

No, Dat Way!

Thank you to those who "Join(ed) This Site"! And it's not too late to still join. It's never too late.

Yeah? Okay.

Moving on.

So when we're driving in the car 99.94328% of the time I hear a running commentary from the backseat from the lips of my favorite two year old. Think ESPN. But without the sports. And the announcers. And the really cool plays that I can only tolerate for 2.7 minutes before I start my own running commentary about the ridiculous pedestal we give to a bunch of guys in tight pants running around with a ball in their hands.

It goes something like this.

Ooh, horsies! Horsies taking a nap? Horsies eat carrots? Feed horsie carrot! Mama, mama, mama, mama, feed horsie carrot, pease! 

Ooh birdie! Up in the sky! 

Ooh, scary barwe! (I missed that one somehow. You'd think I would've kept an eye out.)

Mama, church? Fwens? No church! No fwens! No slide! 

Baby cone! Mama, baby cone! Mama, mama, mama, mama, baby cone! 

Caws coming? Watch foe caws coming?

Song, pease! No sing, mama. Bess the Lohwde, oh my soe', ohhh-oh-ohhh my soe'. 

God's not dead, he shirley alive!

No, go dat way! No, mama, dat way! No, no, no, mama, go dat way

Most of the time I enjoy the running commentary. Except for when he gets it into his head that we need to go another direction. Not the way we're going. Not the way I know we need to go. Not the way I know is the right way. But the way he's purposed in his mind he wants to go.

I think sometimes as adults we forget not only that we were once kids all wrapped up in childishness, but that even as adults we still have a determined self-willed sinful nature.

The Lord gives us the ability and grace to walk with him, to follow him, to obey him, and all the while he listens to our running commentary.

Ooh, shiny things, shiny things!! I need them, Lord, I need them! 

Big house! Nice car! Two-car garage! Playroom! Swing-set! 

Skinny butt! Fancy clothes! Lots of money! Gimme, gimme, gimme! 

Look at her life - oh Lord, can I have it? Please, can I have it? It's so much better than mine! I need it!

Scary calling, Lord, scary calling! No way, too scary! No, no, no, no, no, Lord!

Love her? Forgive him? No love! No forgive!

No, I don't want to go that way! Not that way, this way! No, Lord, I'm going this way!

And as silly as it is for my two year old to sit in the back seat and be my navigational director, it's as silly for us to (try to) direct the mind of the Creator of the universe. The One outside of time. The One above our highest thoughts. The One whose ways are higher than ours. The One who makes our wisdom look foolish. And our strength, weak. The One who says,

Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel?
Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? 
Isaiah 40:13-14

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. 
Isaiah 40:28-31

I want to go your way, Lord. Keep me from self-willed, sin-full determination to go my own foolish way.


(Linked up at http://www.beholdingglory.com/)



August 30, 2012

Follow Me?

*Update* Thanks for all of you who chose to join and making this girl's day!

We need to talk. And I'm not really sure any other way to do this. Except to ask.

You see the "Followers" tab over there? The one with a few faces and then some really sketch blank spots that supposedly represent real life people? Yeah. Talk about a pimple on your wedding day.

So what I'm thinking is maybe we can work together. Like, internetically, we can tandem-bike this thing up.

It's so easy. All you do is click "Join this site" and then a couple more buttons and just like that I have more than 12 followers. (Half of which aren't really even real people.) (Unless they're faceless like that one Cher movie.)

Seriously, you don't even have to read my blog, but if it looks to me like you read my blog I feel so much better about myself. It's like I've taken a Self-Confidence Seminar but without the thousands of dollars, you know? See how that works?

So what do you say, friend, join this site? For me?

Yes, I really took this in real time because I'm that for real.


Honestly, how could you say no to this face?













August 27, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday, Asher!

Asher, at 10:13pm tonight you will be one year old. This time last year I woke up after a fitful sleep because contractions had kept me up much of the night. The morning of what we did not know then would be your bithday we got up and dressed in as little clothing as decently possible. This was necessary as we were residing on the surface of the sun. Or at least that's what my pregnant body was telling me.

There was some sort of Irish Fest (I think, I can't remember what Fest it was, but it was a Fest) happening downtown so we went. Daddy parked as far away as he could because he likes to do that to me and we walked for a very long time. Across streets, over bridges, through towns and countries, past fields of lilacs and flocks of sheep, wayward donkeys and wild elephants, eventually arriving at our destination where hey! there's a parking spot right there! Isn't that funny how that happens? Every once in awhile on our journey I would have to stop to let a contraction pass.

And I tell the rest of your birth story here.

Moments after your birth.
Those blissful, peaceful first minutes in which nobody else is but you and me.

Happy mama.

Nothing would console you except breastfeeding.
Funny thing is that's still true today, although much less true than it was.

Almost birthday twins!

 WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!!! HIDEOUS PICTURE ALERT!!!


I only include this to show that I am NOT one of those girls who only gains weight in my belly. I gain it in my face, my butt, my arms, my legs, my ears, my eyeballs, my hair follicles, my fingernails, and everywhere else in between.

Chunkies are forming. Mission accomplished.

You've always had this temperament: calm and laidback.

You still have this face! 

You weigh 25 pounds. You're in the 85th percentile for weight and 40th for height, which never ceases to amuse me. That's a funny visual image. You rarely allow us to feed you anymore, you like to do it yourself. I've weaned down breastfeeding to morning and night. You nurse first thing in the morning, before bed, and usually around 10 or 10:30 at night. We've finally gotten your first nap to be consistently good, though your second nap is always hit and miss, usually miss.

You and your big brother have been sharing a room since you were 4 months old. You're still a fantastic sleeper at night. You boys go to bed around 7 and sleep until 7:30 or 8 in the morning. You like to give us a run for our money those first minutes after we lay you both down. Sometimes lights out equals partay! in your minds.

You and Micah are great buddies. He is so protective of you, it melts my heart.  I love to sit back and watch the two of you lost in playtime, side by side. Just today you were figuring out how to put legos together. Micah rarely gets away with taking things out of your hand anymore. You prefer to give off what some people might call The Scream From H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks. Oftentimes it scares Micah so badly he quickly throws it at your feet. I'm with him - anything to make it stop. And quickly, please. You do love your big brother though. A few times now while Micah has still been napping you've crawled to his door, banging and pounding and yelling, and when he comes out you let out a huge squeal and crawl for him as quickly as you can. It's very sweet.

You still have your trademark Wide-Eyed Look. You take everything in with huge eyes, rarely changing expression, particularly when strangers are talking to you. You are very mild-tempered and easygoing. You're often content to simply take everything in, quiet and watchful.

We love you deeply, sweet boy. The day mama found out she was pregnant with you she got down on her knees on the bathroom rug, and with a huge smile on her face she thanked the Lord over and over. And today at lunch as I held your hand in my left hand and your brother's hand in my right I thanked the Lord for the thousandth time for my two boys.

We love you, Rolls.

Birthday boy!

There were no chocolate survivors.

You love to throw balls!
You're welcome.


August 26, 2012

To My Husband on His 30th Birthday

I looked across the circle of people at you. He looks sad.

Something twisted in my heart for you. I felt sad for you but I hadn't even met you. I didn't even know your name. I didn't know that you had just packed up only what would fit in your car, gave everything else away, turned down an offer by your employers to pay for your education, left your hometown, said goodbye to your mama, and moved to a place where you had nothing waiting for you except the persistent voice of the Lord bidding you, Come.

A little while later, there, in the kitchen, you shook my hand. Hi, I'm Matt. 

I'm Sara, nice to meet you.

A couple days later I sat by myself in a coffee shop. You sat with two of my roommates a few tables away. I worked (or pretended to) for a while more, collected my stuff, and stood to leave. On my way out I stopped to chat with the three of you. Salsa music played in the background.

I glanced up at the speakers. I like this music they're playing, I love salsa music.

You smiled so big, so sincere. Me too! All of my roommates in Texas were from South America and we used to have salsa parties all the time.

I laughed. No way! I studied in Costa Rica and every weekend we went salsa dancing.

We agreed that we had to have a salsa party. My house and we'll invite everyone we know. It'll be so fun! 

I drove away thinking about the conversation. As I turned from 3rd onto Florida I thought, I can't believe I'm going to marry that guy. 

I froze. What? Where did that come from?

I called you, terrified. I'm sorry, I'm going to have to back out on the party. We should totally do it some other time though. It was good talking to you.

I didn't tell you that it was only fear that caused me to back out. Fear of that thought that had crossed my mind at the intersection. Fear of what the guy I used to date would think. Fear because really, I didn't even know you. 

You left me a message. I listened to it 347 times. I loved your voice. It was so kind but sexy too.

A few weeks of awkwardness passed. You tried to get my attention but I snubbed you at every turn. Not because I wasn't interested. But because I was too interested. Something was different about you but I couldn't take the risk. I didn't think my heart could take being broken again. So I pretended that this was all fun and games, but that night I cried alone in my bedroom.

Come in! I quickly wiped the tears away thinking it was one of my roommates.

But it wasn't. It was you. What were you thinking? Now I looked like That Girl. The unstable one. With issues. You don't even know me but now you've seen me crying. That's deep, man.

You looked startled. Oh, I'm sorry! I was just wondering where you were and thought I'd see if you were in here. Are you ok? You are? Ok, well...sorry again. 

You backed out and so did every hope of my getting to know you. I liked you so much. I was so interested in you. I just didn't know how to show you and my fear of being rejected swallowed my desire to know you. You're kind to everyone, what if I'm totally reading this wrong and you haven't really been extra kind to me?

A few days later Nadene called me. Guess who just called me and asked for your number? 

I died a little inside from happiness. For the first time in all those weeks of what I now know was pursuing I dared to hope that maybe you were being a little extra kind. I couldn't wait for you to call.

And you did. And you kept calling. And you kept reminding me, I'm in this. I'm all in. 

And on February 10th, 2007 I married that guy.

And on this, your 30th birthday, I say to you, I love you, Matt. I love you more than you'll ever know. And on those nights when I lie in bed and I think of how much I love you and Micah and Asher the very next words that tumble out of my heart, in a rush to be heard, are, Please, Lord, keep them safe always. 

I love you and I'm so glad you're not a quitter.

Happy 30th, babe.

February 10th, 2007

August 26th, 2012


August 20, 2012

Self-Esteem, a Recovery

We had a pretty laid-back weekend, which was exactly what we needed. We had a super busy week last week and so it was nice to take it easy for two days. We went to the farmer's market, bbq-ed, had friends over, I baked blueberry muffins, had some time to myself, we ate pizza, and I may have also had a minor (major) self-esteem meltdown. But my husband totally came through.

I was totally beating myself up that I hadn't planned a party for Asher and how could I let such a  milestone go uncelebrated and their closets are totally disorganized and the room in the office is completely unfunctional and I'm not saying things will make me feel better but I am affected by my environment and I just function better in an organized environment and they don't even have real decorations on their wall and her daughter's room is so cute and she's just so creative and you don't even have to spend a lot of money, you just have to be creative but I hate arts and crafts... And so on and so forth.

Matt intervened (thankfully), Babe, are you comparing yourself to Velma* and Tootsie*? You have to stop comparing yourself. Just because you've seen pictures of their rooms doesn't mean you should start feeling bad about yourself.

*Names have been change to protect the identities of the innocent and also my self-esteem.

I sniffled. And Betsy. You forgot her.

So I took his advice and threw myself into planning a party for Asher. I can do this, I can do this, I can do this. 

It's not going to be Pinterest-worthy but who cares. It'll be my three favorite guys, my family, good friends, little and big, food, and cupcakes. What else is needed to be happy, right?

Except for perhaps a certain 2 1/2 year old potty training himself.

I have tried to introduce potty training to Micah many times and he has not wanted anything to do with it. I haven't pushed it because I know my son and he will not be pushed. It would only serve to make him antagonistic.

(Oh my gosh, where does he get that from? How do I live with myself? )

Recently however, he showed some interest in wanting to sit on the potty, but as you'll notice in the picture, diaper is fully intact. Just a little sitting action. Nothing to fluff your feathers about.

Cuteness overload.

Further cuteness overload.

But today, folks. Today. Completely on his own, without even getting my attention, I just happened to notice, he went to the potty, assumed the position, and pee-peed in the potty.

*really big exuberant exclamation mark*

He has now done this three times, not even wearing a diaper until his naptime. So I'm curious to see what it'll be like when he gets up. Amazingness. Other parents really are telling the truth when they say, When they're ready, they're ready. 

So I think we're headed in the right potty direction. Time will testify. I'll keep you updated, if I should perchance remember, which I probably will.

How about you, anything spectacular happen in your life this weekend?

August 17, 2012

He Makes All Things New

Oh man. Oh my gosh. 

Good job, Asher! 

No sing, mama. (Translation: stop singing, mama.) (My feelings. They hurt.)

Watch a moo-ie, pease. 

Love you, dada.

Just a few phrases of late from my favorite two year old. Just a little crushing of mine heart to keep me going.

Asher will be one in ten days. Ten. As in, in less than two weeks I will have a one year old. Seriously. Stop it. Should I have a party? Planning parties make me want to......I can't even think of something horrible enough. Maybe procure a rather sharp object and stab myself in the eye? Is that fitting? I think so.

I was recently telling my mom that Pioneer Woman holds the longstanding honor of being She-Whom-I-Wish-To-Be, but whenever I imagine myself at one of her many cooking parties I want to hyperventilate because it's so far out of my skill set I couldn't even fake it. Do any of you have anything like that? Just the thought of having to do a particular thing causes anxiety of the serious sort?

On that note. A related topic. (Not related at all.)

2nd Corinthians 4:7 says, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us."

What's "this treasure"?

The verses prior give us an indication. In a nutshell, knowing God through Christ. In the context of presenting this truth to others.

Verses 1-6 state that we don't do this in a way that's underhanded, or tampering with the truth (literally tamper in the Greek was used in reference to merchants watering their wine down), openly stating the truth of the Gospel (that is, each of us are born with a sinful nature that separates us from a holy God, but God in his great mercy and lavish love and predetermined will opens the eyes of our hearts to shine the light of the knowledge of the truth of Christ, that through Christ's sinless life, crucifixion in which he bore our sins, and resurrection that conquered death, we could be made new, not a result of working hard and trying to be good, but by faith, believing in our hearts and professing with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, we are saved. Given new life, made new, redeemed from every sinful, shameful covering, and presented as righteous before God. Loved and kept by him until the day of his coming).

Say that five times fast.

Going back to my original point. (Not the party and sharp objects point. My next one.)

Essentially when we call ourselves Christians (literally follower of Christ) we are made his ambassadors. And here's what verse 7 has to do with it.

This treasure, this immense, unimaginable, perfect, holy, righteous God of all creation living in us, that treasure resides in jars of clay. Simple everyday jars of clay. Jars of clay used for not very exciting things. And jars of clay used sometimes for big exciting things. But still jars of clay nonetheless.

Have you ever seen one? In Athens I've seen whole shops of them. They're not that impressive. In fact your eyes would probably flit over them to shinier objects. (Squirrel!)

And the reason? So that. So that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

So that we don't get a big head and begin to reckon ourselves as beautiful vases (vahzes, if you will) that God has the privilege of inhabiting. Or, on the flip side, so that we don't think we're so ordinary, so lackluster, so covered in dirt and shame, that we could not be known by such a God. God sees not as we do. He sees death and he makes new. He sees ashes and he makes beauty. He sees ordinary, seemingly worthless jars of clay and he shines his great and brilliant life through it.

Don't fall prey to the lie that you have to beautify yourself into a rare and priceless vahze and then you will have value. You have value because Christ created you and loves you and will transform you from the inside out. And he said that he makes all things new. All things.




August 13, 2012

5 Years In Montana - a Recollection

August 1st marked five years that we've lived in Montana. It's crazy to me that it's already been that long. Those first weeks and months are so crystal clear to me, I would think they just occurred last year.

It was a sunny, beautiful summer morning in Durango. My parents were there, as were our pastor and wife, and a couple friends. Matt left bright and early to pick up the moving truck, which is attached to a now (not then) funny story. Matt picked up the truck and was moving along back home at a very rapid speed. Whilst driving a tiny voice piped up in the back of his mind, Don't forget to release the parking brake on your car. Immediately he looked into the rear views and unbelievably there were flames! Literally flames coming from underneath the Jetta!

He screeched to the side of the road and was frantically trying to wave people down to help him put out the fire that was infernoing our car and nobody would stop! Finally an older man and his wife pulled over and sloshed bottled water as quickly as they could and miraculously were able to get it put out.

This all served to fill Matt with lots of peace and joy at the start of our two-day journey north.

(I had actually never seen him so angry and flustered.)

But our car was saved, our house was packed, the truck was loaded, the good-byes were made, and we were off. Full of excitement and curiosity at what this new season held.

Knowing what and who we know now it's impossible to imagine that we didn't know then. How could we not know the friends we would have and the places we would live and the sons that would reshape the very center of our hearts? They're all so deeply ingrained into who we are now, how could we have been absent of them then?

After two days of driving we pulled into Missoula in the dark. I had never stepped foot in this place, everything was foreign to me. We drove down Higgins looking for our "hotel." Hotel is a vast stretch of the imagination. Seedy place across from the seedy adult bookstore is a more apt description. We fell exhausted into bed and woke to begin our first day in this new place.

Our friend from Durango flew up that day, for the day, to help us move our things in. Who does that? To this day one of the most humbling and kindest things anyone has ever done for us.

We spent the next few days unpacking, settling in, getting to know this new city. We heard somehow of this thing called Church at the Fair. It was the first year in which dozens of churches around Missoula were coming together to worship together as a united body of Christ at the fair. We went hoping to meet some people. (We didn't.) I watched all the people greeting each other, knowing and being known by one another. It seemed so foreign and impossible to me. What would that look like to know and be known in this unimaginably different and unfamiliar place?

I say all that to say that yesterday we again attended Church at the Fair. But this time we were accompanied by our boys. And we sat with friends. And I stopped to chat with another on the way in. And throughout the morning and afternoon we made small talk with people we know and love. And I called my mom who now lives ten minutes away to tell her about Micah loving the pony ride.

Everything was different.

But we couldn't have gotten here without having been there. We couldn't skip the hard parts. In fact the hard parts were part of the story.

As one man said,

Lord, to everything that has been, thank you. And to everything that will be, yes.

I'm a ways from there yet, but I'm closer than I was five years ago. And Montana has a lot to do with that. Happy 5th anniversary, Missoula.

Our first apartment

Matt cooking our first meal for our first guests and friends.


Our first friends and dinner guests, Chris and Gloria.
Still dear friends today.


First visit to Glacier Park. Always beautiful.


Our first winter here.
(It was literally close to zero degrees in this picture. We're tough like that.)




August 06, 2012

Breastfeeding: An Evolution

Mayday, Mayday, my comments are now working! I repeat, my comments are now working!

I appreciate the level of concern shown and I'm so happy to report that I can now reply back to your comments so hitherto no more shall you wonder.*

I just found out that it's World Breastfeeding Awareness Week. I don't know how this escaped my attention. In honor, a little reminiscing is in order.

I have had very different breastfeeding experiences with Micah and Asher, probably mostly due to one being my first experience and the other...not.

Breastfeeding was extremely painful for about the first 4-6 weeks with Micah. Actually, a funny story that kind of has to do with breastfeeding. My first night sleeping with Micah (which would have been his second night of life), I fed him, burped him, swaddled him, and put him back to sleep right next to me. I then laid down to get some much-needed sleep. But alas, an hour or so later he woke up crying and so I fed him, burped him, swaddled him, and put him back to sleep. And then laid down to get some much-needed sleep. The sleep was much-needed. Not sure if you caught that part. Well, this continued for, let's see now if I can remember correctly...the whole night. 

And at one point I considered asking somebody if he was okay because he had all of his needs met and I wasn't sure if he knew that because he kept waking up. (I'm serious as a pimple on a 25 year old.)

I came to dread the nights. I knew it would be one wake up, followed by internal pleading to Eat, quickly, please! followed by trying to fall back asleep as quickly as I could to get as much "sleep" as I could before the next nightmare slash feeding after another.

I struggled so much and all of it alone. And only because I was so afraid to tell someone because I didn't want them to think I didn't know what I was doing. Which is funny if you think about it, because I didn't.

This all contributed to my wanting to quit breastfeeding from the very beginning. It hurt. It caused contraction-like pain. It required me being awake all night while I watched Matt sleep through feeding after feeding which in turn caused lots of angry looks and whispered murmurings about how "some" people are so selfish. I simply wanted to quit. If I went to formula then Matt could help feed too. But then it was formula and I'd heard all the judgments there and I didn't want to be That Mom.

I'm ashamed to admit this but I had a person in my life at that time who was so anti-formula and so pro-breastfeeding only that it was fear of her judgment alone that I stuck it out.

I just reread that sentence and I can hardly believe it's true. I feel sorry for the me that I was then. I'm so much more unconcerned now as a mother about what people think of me. In fact I think I've swung to the other side. I recently was part of a "friendly" debate about the Time magazine cover that showed a breastfeeding toddler. My contribution was simply that we shouldn't judge and should instead put our energies toward more important things like children who have no parents at all.

But after reading many of the vicious comments about how "wrong" and "gross" it is, I was tempted to resolve to breastfeed my child until the tender age of 18 and then wean him only because parents perhaps are not allowed in college dorm rooms. I'll show them gross.

But as an insecure first-time mother, that's where I was. I went on to breastfeed him until almost a year but I often longed for the day when I was no longer needed. I had many moments of enjoying the closeness but equally as many of simply wanting my freedom back.

My experience with Asher has been completely different, and I can only think it's because I now have a tiny bit of motherhood under my belt. I know how fast this season goes by and I'm less concerned with my "freedom."

Asher will be a year old this month and we are still nursing 4-5 times a day. I have loved it. It was still very painful in the beginning but I pushed on with the hope that comes from experience that this too will pass.

I've said pooh-pooh to the naysayers on both sides. I breastfeed because I love it and I know that before I know it he'll be grown and this time will be only a memory that I alone will cherish so deeply. The countless secret moments in the dark of cuddling close, of instant comfort, of tears fallen on soft faces, of whispered prayers. I will never get it back.

I don't judge like I used to. I still judge, but not like I used to. It's a process, no? I inwardly cheer on the first-time mama who dares to share in a room full of moms that she's thinking of quitting because it's hard. I was too proud to share and I suffered so much because of it. I inwardly rejoiced at the acceptance and encouragement she received. She's a smarter first-time mama than I ever was and I'm so proud of her for it.

So in honor of this special week, let us resolve to see the mama, the sister, the daughter, the wife, as more important than the boob, the formula, the "right" way, my way.

Happy Boobies Week.

*There was no concern shown but I appreciate that you guys were all internally concerned and just lacked opportunity to express it.