again, you ask for car taysh. again, we watch the videos, the cars slicing across lanes, crunching into one another.
you exclaim WOAH with unholy glee.
this week has been a bit of a taysh.
a little out of control, a little scary, a little painful.
you, hovering over that yawning space, with too many yays to live up to.
vava, growing up by the mouthful, yelping with pain as her teeth cut from the inside out.
mama, a little bit crazy from all the cheering and soothing and back-and-forthing.
you don't get to be the one learning again. you, my brave boy, have to be the first. they will copy you, adoring satellites, and they won't worry about the unknown what ifs because they will have you.
i know. sometime, you will get this.
and you'll be the calm pro when we teach your siblings.
and go through all this madness, again.
that's an awesome challenge.
it made me stop and think about my life. are my dreams big enough, big enough to require the supernatural hands of my Father?
since we moved to thunder bay, our life has shifted radically. we were planning on staying here for a brief eight months until patrick finished school. we couldn't have children. we only brought a few possessions, and moved into a tiny apartment to wait out the school year.
and then God changed everything. we met sam's incredible birth mom, who chose us to be his parents. we fell in love with our church family, whose warm hearts more than cancel out the coldest temperatures i've ever encountered. our mindblowinglyawesome little sam was born and transformed every moment of every day. patrick got a wonderful job. we found a great house. and vava came along, laughing at that foolish word impossible.
[we] ate and were filled and became fat [ha! yes!]
and delighted [ourselves] in Your Great Goodness.
we couldn't have done this on our own. i am in awe when i stop and think of our life makeover.
it's all because of His varied grace.
the Almighty will be your gold and your
precious silver. for then you will
delight yourself in the Almighty
and lift up your face to God.
you will make your prayer to Him
and He will hear you
and you will pay your vows.
so i guess it's time to dream some bigger dreams.
i wonder what happens next?
taysh peash is how sam asks to watch car crash videos on youtube. yes. that happens. : /
i know letting your almost-2-year-old watch dashcam videos of car crashes is pretty close to a parenting fail, but i'm hoping it will be a good lesson in road safety - at least, a good lesson in what not to do. and his reaction is too adorable to miss.
confession time: i'm practically mute in one of the five love-languages.
i am a miserable gift-giver. not miserable like it makes me unhappy, but miserable in the suitability of the gift for the recipient. i never know what to give, what will express love/joy/friendship/congratulations-on-your-retirement. i'm sure if we polled my facebook friends, everyone who has ever received a gift from me would snort in agreement.
world's lamest gift-giver? present.
but. my heavenly Father speaks love in all the languages of the world.
so this week i'm studying about gifts. i don't know if it will turn me into a better gift giver, though - don't hold your breath ;).
God blesses His people with gifts. abundantly, all day long, in every way.
but i'm thinking right now specifically of Spiritual gifts - gifts of the Holy Spirit. (check out 1 corinthians 12-14, or 1 peter 4)
He gives us spiritual gifts for the common good (1 cor 12:7, my paraphrase).
and i've been noticing:
what's interesting about gifts is
they stop being gifts once they're given.
they become possessions.
gifts are only ever gifts in transit.
the point of a spiritual gift (as opposed to a spiritual possession), is the common good - it's meant to be passed along. continually given. a perpetual gift, poured out and poured out and poured out like a jug of oil that never runs dry.
why is it important to God for us to be givers? why does He specifically give us gifts that are not our possessions, but meant to be given?
what do we call people who don't want to give? selfish. selfish.
i don't think it's a stretch to say that the opposite is Godish.
we were made to bear the image of God, the Great Pourer-Forth. in giving, we display His character - and anything that does that glorifies Him :).
except, maybe, the lame excuse for a present i got you last year.
i'm truly sorry : /
i was playing around with cheese & oatmeal tonight, wanting to make something to go along with soup but not bread or biscuits (i've been trying to eliminate as much wheat as i can), and i came up with these little tasties. they were fairly quick and simple to make, and i did the guinea-pigging for you, so you know exactly how much salt not to put in (ugh).
they went really nicely with beef barley soup (in spite of their extra saltiness), and i'm definitely making them again.
cheese cookies ;)
in a good-sized mixing bowl, whip half a cup of butter until fluffy, then add 1 cup of grated cheddar and 1 egg; mix well. add one and a half cups of oat flour (i just toss oatmeal in the blender until it's finely ground, since that's what i have on hand), 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp salt (or less), 1/2 tsp pepper, 3/4 tsp garlic powder, dash of hot sauce, and any other spices/herbs you like. (this was my fatal flaw: i added a caribbbean spice mix which was absolutely delicious, but it was loaded with salt. my crisps were entirely too salty - next time i'll choose more carefully!) mix thoroughly into a dense dough. it will have a texture kind of like cookie dough, but thicker.
for the first batch, i scooped out about a teaspoon at a time, rolled into a ball, and then flattened it on the parchment paper. for the second, i pressed the dough down onto the parchment, flattened it with my palms, then scored it with a knife into cracker-sized pieces. both were yummy, although it was strange eating the round ones because in the back of my mind i kept expecting them to taste like cookies.
bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet at 350*F for about 20 minutes. the result will be a crispy cracker (somewhat thicker than a cracker, but deliciously crispy like one) with a cheesy, zesty snap.
nb, these are wheatless, but not gluten free unless you take care to purchase gluten-free oatmeal.
well, a lot of them, actually, but one that keeps coming back.
i try really hard to get rid of it, and sometimes i succeed and then suddenly i find it back again and more stubborn than ever.
this morning i was reading proverbs 31 in the amplified bible, to get a fresh perspective on it. (i've been reading it all week, so the words were just kind of too-familiar and running together this morning.)
the amplified verse 12 seemed especially challenging (the 'him' is her husband. or patrick, in my case):
actually, the amplified version is a little bit longer; i shortened it to fit in my little car-card. it really goes like this: she comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.
and this is hard for me, not because i want to be mean or bring evil upon patrick, but because my character wart is this:
i am a horribly unconscious, utterly stinktastic backseat driver.
which might sound kind of funny but not if you're patrick.
so today when i read verse 12, i heard God point out what the verse doesn't say.
so i made up a little car-card to remind me. and i'm going to put it in the car, so i can ride around with it and have absolutely no excuse for forgetting.
i want to do good to patrick. (he more than deserves it!)
God asks it of me. because i'm His, and He wants me to carry His character ...
i've been reading this book called home comforts, by cheryl mendelson. it's kind of a giant delicious textbook for housekeeping. (yes, i realize i'm a huge nerd.) although there are a lot of instructions and detail about the minutae of cleaning and organizing, one of the under-girding ideas of the book is that a home isn't just a place to eat and sleep and store things. it's a place where those who belong are surrounded by things and situations and people they love; a place for activities and restfulness and pleasure; a place that cradles the identities and values of each person and the family as a whole. so i've been thinking a lot about the physical ways to create atmosphere in our home - a tidy space leading to a tidy mind, a well-planned menu leading to healthy bodies, fresh sheets for sound sleeping - things like that.
and fittingly, if unplanned, in my bible reading right now i'm looking at proverbs 31 - what makes an excellent wife. my challenge (the verse that made me twinge in conscience) is 31:27 - 'she looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.'
as my longsuffering mom can attest, i've always been pretty good at eating the bread of idleness. i'd rather bury my nose in a book than tackle chores, especially the boring ones like sorting out old clothes or flattening cardboard for recycling. on the other hand, i love the restful feeling of being in a tidy house and i love to cook and have friends over, so it's not like we live in squalor because i'm just lying around all the time. i've learned to overcome most of my natural tendencies for laziness because i also have a substantial capacity for comfort.
but still, this verse was picking at my conscience. so i imagined that God was going to nudge me into finally putting sam & vava's too-small clothes in storage, cutting out some online time to get rid of fingerprints on windows and dust my bookshelves. (all of which i should do, i know.)
but just when i was about to get out the cleaning chart, He stopped me with this verse:
set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. colossians 3:2.
look well to the ways of my household - but set my mind on things above?
and the light dawned. there's more to the ways of a household than a cleaning schedule and menu.
so, what exactly are the ways of my household, and do they reflect a mind set on things above? i mean, does the routine running of a day in this home point our minds toward God, in joy and thankfulness and love? is there an atmosphere of contentment, generosity, peace? kindness? holiness?
looking well to the ways of my household doesn't just mean fresh linens and clean countertops (although it definitely includes those too). it means deliberately fostering love and forgiveness and thankfulness, joy and devotion and honour. it means turning on happy music and dancing in the kitchen. it means i'm sorry springs quickly to the tongue, and i forgive you springs more quickly. it means an open door and a ready welcome. it means prayer is a constant glad conversation, not just a mealtime telegram. it means being present for each other, not just bodies rattling around inside the same four walls.
it means caring about every soul under this roof. (i'm praying for you, sheldon!)
it means deliberate love.
i want to nourish an atmosphere that feels kind of like colossians 3:12-17 ...
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved,compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,giving thanks to God the Father through him.
i'm not a very bold or brave christian. i don't enjoy debating or arguing with people, although i love to talk about Jesus and the gospel with those who want to talk. however, in the conversations that i have had with most of my friends about God, i've noticed 2 main themes.
either they think of God as an indulgent fool, who loves us all enough to wink at our sin because we're not really all that bad; or they think He must not exist, because there is too much injustice in the world and a loving God wouldn't permit it.
apparently, we have been thinking of God like this for ages.
you have wearied the Lord with your words.
but you say, 'how have we wearied Him?'
by saying 'everyone who does evil is good
in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.'
or by asking 'where is the God of justice?'
we weary God. that's a lot of aggravation, to weary His merciful heart. imagine being considered so, by the very ones He knit together, the very ones He breathed life into with care and blessing.
i think i'd give up. 'fine then,' i'd say, cold as ice, 'if you think i'm a fool, an ignorant or blind God, i'll be one to you. and you want justice? i'll give you justice. hell is exactly what you deserve.'
but thank God His heart is not my heart.
He offers mercy. salvation. justice? not justice - so much more than justice.
return to me, and i will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. (malachi 3:7)
in 2012, i decided to read through the bible in a year. it had been a few years since i'd done it, and i enjoyed the challenge. three chapters a day, and five on sundays - simple. i stayed on top of it all year long, except the last 10 days. so when january rolled in, i was a bit behind, but managed to finish the whole bible by january 3rd. pretty happy about that :)
this year, i'm going to try to read topically instead of cover to cover. i'm planning to do 50 mini-studies on whatever piques my interest.
my first study is titled glory to God, and i'm curious about how and why and how again.
i found something cool.
glorify means "to speak praise" or "to make glorious; to cause so to appear."
in joshua 7, and again in john 9, people were trying to get someone to tell the truth. and they prefaced it by saying "give glory to God."
so either it glorifies God when we tell the truth, or else praising God makes us more willing to be truthful.
i'm guessing it's both.
i think i've got a mental block or something, because God has to show me this all the time, but anything glorifies God that displays His character. and since God is truthful, truthfulness glorifies Him - it's a mini-print of Him.
when we display God's character, we "cause so to appear." it's not that we create or add to His glory, but we put it on display.
He hides His glory.
we uncover it. reveal it.
it is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out - proverbs 25:2
today is a special day! our handsome sam-son is now 22 months, and little vava-love is twelve weeks old today :).
sam has been adoring blueberries lately. he calls them bays and asks for them several times a day. he eats them plain, mixed with oatmeal and peanut butter, stirred into yogurt, or along with any other fruit. when we were in halifax, and his little routine was topsy turvy and everything was new and different, we could always be sure of feeding him bays.
he's been just a bit more cuddly since our trip, too. he's been coming to sit on my lap a few times a day, bringing me books and enjoying some quiet snuggles. i don't know if it's a new stage, or if he appreciates the security after a whirlwind trip, but i am loving it. he's the most precious little guy.
vava is changing in leaps and bounds - and while she can't yet leap or bound, she's certainly trying! she kicks her gorgeous legs and waves her fierce arms as if she's trying to keep up with samjam. she coos and calls out and smiles like a sky full of sunshine when we talk to her.
before we left for halifax she was sleeping ~9 hours a night, and while we were there she started doing 12 hours. i am so so grateful to have two wonderful little sleepers who are so much fun to play with during the day, and so delicious to kiss goodnight!