Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The wedding at Cana.
Jesus turning the water into wine.
After the chapter was finished, we were talking with the children about what we were just reading. Jay and I mention to them that this was Jesus' first miracle in the Bible.
Rebekah pipes up.
"Uh... you mean other than when He created the world. You know... cuz He's God?"
I just LOVE that my kids get it! They get it! Wow. :o)
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Today is a big day for you. Today you have been with us for 2 whole years. I can hardly believe it!
You are so big now. But I remember when you came out of Mommy's tummy and you were not-so-big (although I thought you were much bigger!). You were a little stubborn thing. You got stuck and it was very difficult to get you out. But once you were here, that stubborness really paid off for you.
You were so sick, and needed a lot of medical attention. You ended up needing all of that extra birth weight, because you lost a whole lot of it in the first few weeks you were with us. Even the doctors were worried about you for a while. You were so small and frail, and you were hooked up to all of those machines, so we couldn't hold you like we wanted. It was very hard on Mommy, because I wanted to hold you and cuddle you and sing to you in my arms to help you get better.
We had to feed you with a tube in your mouth, and I cried a lot, wondering if you would ever get well again. But that is when your stubborness came into play. You fought like a trooper, and began getting your color back a little, day by day. Then, slowly, you wanted more and more food through the tube. You got hungry a lot more often, which made Mommy and Daddy so happy! And soon afterwards, you were able to get off of the machine, and we were able to hold you! And eventually, you didn't want to be fed with a tube anymore, and you learned how to nurse on Mommy like a pro! That made everyone so very happy, because we knew then that you were going to grow into a healthy little girl. And so you did!
You became a rosey-cheeked, FAT little baby. You learned to sit up, and crawl, and walk earlier than most babies do. It was as though that stubborness in you wanted to be done with baby-hood, and you were ready to be BIG like the rest of your siblings.
And I can hardly believe how big you are today. You may be turning two years old today, but you are much smarter than any two year old I have ever seen. You truly amaze us! You have been talking in complete sentences since you were barely 1 year old. You can sing several songs all the way through, including: Jesus Loves Me, The Barney Song, The ABCs, Elmo's World, Clap Your Hands All Ye People, Give Me Oil in My Lamp, All the Children Ought to Know, O Come All Ye Faithful, Great is Thy Faithfulness, and many others. Sometimes Daddy and I just look at you in amazement at all that you are able to do at such a young age. Your brothers and sister were also very smart at your age, but you have surpassed them all... by a lot!
You have turned into such an adorable child, too! You are getting so tall, and you are (finally) slimming out, making you look even taller. You have the most beautiful red hair I have ever seen. And it has really begun to grow long the past few months. You love to sit at Mommy's dressing table and let me fix your hair. You always tell me you want to look "like a princess". And you do, my beautiful child. You also have beautiful eyes of the deepest color blue. They stand out even more with the contrast of your red hair.
I cannot take you anywhere in public without someone stopping me to tell me how strikingly beautiful you are. Everyone (even complete strangers) want to touch your soft, beautiful hair and stare into the deep blue pools of your eyes. And so far, you don't mind it too much. You are very patient and always tell people, "thank you" when they give you such wonderful compliments. My prayer for you is that as you grow older, the compliments of others will not go to your head. I pray that you will continue to be polite as people pass compliments on to you, but that you will accept them with humility and grace, never allowing vanity to enter your heart.
I love watching you interact with your big sister, too. It is so sweet to watch you studying her, attempting to imitate everything she does. You want to dress like her, and fix your hair like her, and smell like her, etc. You are always getting into her closet and putting her shoes on your feet. You take her purse and put it on your shoulder, and walk around the house pretending to be "Sissy". You climb up on the couch and sit right next to her, in exactly the same position. It is adorable.
I pray that you will always have a godly example to look up to, teaching you the way to become pure and godly in girlhood. I pray that your heart will always be tender towards the Holy Spirit, always willing to let it guide you in all of your ways. My biggest prayer for you is that you will grow up healthy and strong, so that you will be able to grow into a beautiful, virtuous maiden, and eventually become a godly wife and mother. I pray you will cling to the Lord with all of your might, and follow Him in all that you think, say, and do.
And I pray that God will grant us many, many more birthdays to celebrate with you.
I love you, my beautiful little daughter. My precious H. E. R.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
They have learned how to ride two-wheel bicycles.
And it proved to be a lot less stressful than we thought it would be. It only took one day, actually just the afternoon. They are some smart cookies, our kids. (But of course I am not biased a bit! ha ha)
R needed no help at all. She took off and never looked back. She was a pro! She did so well, in fact, that we bought her a brand new bike for her birthday, which she LOVES.
B had a little more trouble with it. But, he IS only 4 years old. I didn't even know how to ride a bike without training wheels at 4.
But, since R was firguring it out so well, she decided to take B on a step-by-step bike-riding lesson. B was a good student, and concentrated on what she was trying to teach him.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Not, that I haven't always been proud of all of my children and their accomplishments, but this particular instance really got me beaming.
For the past couple of years, R has been pretty much infatuated with a certain "teen pop sensation". One who has her own television show with her famous father. I am sure you get my drift.
And up until recently, Jay and I were not bothered by it too much. I mean, for all intents and purposes, the show seemed fairly harmless (at first) and the little actress herself seemed to be, for the most part, a generally "good" kid.
However, as most of us are aware, that "good" kid's behavior lately has become somewhat less desirable. She has begun to display a bad attitude, more promiscuity, etc. And I am aware that her personal life doesn't necessarily mean that she will bring those traits into her show. But, as we were watching the show together the other day, I was shocked to find that the episode was all about how she was "old enough" to make her own decisions about her life, and deliberately disobeyed her father's command that she stay home. Instead, she lied and sneaked out of the house and jumped on an airplane in defiance of her father's wishes. Several other episodes of the show since that time have contained the same rebellious behavior.
I waited to see what my sweet daughter would do about such blatant disregard for the 5th and 9th Commandments, and to decide when I was going to have a conversation with her about it. Thankfully, I didn't have to wait long. R told me immediately after watching the episode that she couldn't believe that HM would do such a terrible thing! Without me saying a word, she told me that HM was breaking God's Commandments and that she couldn't believe it. We talked about it a little more, until I was sure she understood that she was always to behave in a godly way, regardless of the way people she likes on TV are behaving.
Several days later, I was folding laundry when R came up to me and told me that she had something important to talk to me about. Having forgotten the events from a few days before, I was completely surprised to learn that she had been thinking long and hard about our conversation about HM. She told me that she was very upset about the way HM had been behaving on the show, as well as with the behavior of the actress that played her in real life. R told me that she no longer thought MC was a Christian, but someone who was heading in the opposite direction from God. I sat and listened with awe as R told me that she had been thinking a lot about it, and that she had finally decided that she no longer liked HM, and didn't want to watch the show anymore.
And now, whenever we go to the store and we see HM merchandise, R just shakes her head and says, "No. I don't want that. I don't like her anymore." This is BIG, people. I mean, R LOVED HM and MC. She at one time wanted everything in her bedroom to be labelled with HM. She got the wig, the microphone, the makeup, the clothes, the posters, the school folders, pencils, pens, umbrella, cds, itunes songs, etc. with the HM logo on it. She LOVED it.
But, she has also gotten over it, almost overnight. She has done a complete 180. She has decided, all on her own, to have as her role models, young ladies who more closely follow the Lord and His Commandments. She has traded in the worldly ways of HM with more god-fearing characters like Laura and Mary Ingalls, and Elsie Dinsmore.
While my daughter is far from perfect, this new decision of hers has really impressed me. The fact that she would have the maturity in her young spiritual life to see something that violates God's law, that most of the world would think is "no big deal", and go against the flow and completely change her life to "flee from all unrighteousness" is truly astounding to me.
It gives me a glimmer of hope that whenever Jay and I are teaching our children about the Lord, R really is listening. And that gives me so much peace, that we might just be doing something right with this parenting thing.
Like I said before, I am one proud mama. :o)
Thursday, January 1, 2009
And I say, "Good riddance!"
2008 turned out to be THE most difficult year of our lives, bar none. We had an enormous amount of devastating events that occurred back, to back, to back... all in one single, solitary year.
Our faith was tested more in 2008 than in any other year since becoming Christians. But we also grew stronger in our relationship to the Lord than ever before. We learned to trust Him with our very lives. We learned to rely on Him for absolutely everything. We relied on him for food, shelter, clothes, everything. We lost "fake" friends, moved far away from "dear" friends, rekindled relationships with old friends, and made new friends.
Our marriage became stronger in 2008 than it had since 1997 when we got married, and in all of the rest of the years combined. Jay's prolonged unemployment, in essence, "forced" us to spend A LOT of time together. So, obviously, there was also a lot of "forced" communication between us. We overcame many, many obstacles during those stressful months. And, we have come out of it all in much better shape as a result.
2009 definitely brings with it the hope of better things yet to come. At the very least, it has to be better than 2008... for our family anyway.
We don't normally put too much stock into all of the "hype" that accompanies New Year's. To us, it has always been "just another day". We are much too old and too tired to ever really stay awake until midnight and "watch the ball drop". This year, however, we decided that we wanted to usher out the burdensome 2008 year, and say "HELLO!" to this new year -- this "fresh start" and "new beginning".
So, we did something that we hardly ever do. We let the kids stay up past their bedtimes. We told them they were allowed to stay up as long as they possibly could. Which, of course, got them so excited, one would have thought they had just witnessed the ball dropping to ring in the new year.
We played board games. We ate lots of snacks and junk food (another thing that doesn't normally happen in our family). We played video games. We chased them through the house, and let them jump on their beds. (Okay... we did a LOT of things we don't normally let them do. But this was no ordinary day for our family, and we wanted them to know it).
Eventually, though, the late hour began to take it's toll on the children. They got slower, and slower until, they all got very still (which also doesn't happen often). I put a bunch of pillows on the living room floor and they all got their blankets and cuddled up while we watched videos until the time came for the ball to drop.
They didn't last that long.
The Next to Go...
After we put the littler ones to bed, we did go ahead and wake R up for the ball dropping. She woke up for the last 5 minutes of it, but was very groggy, so I made her stand up to try to help her stay awake (she had told us earlier in the day that she really, really wanted to see it).
When the countdown finally came, and the ball dropped, she looked at me and said, "That was it??????? I thought the ball was going to drop." After I explained that it had been dropping, slowly going farther and farther towards the bottom of the pole, she said, "Oh. Well, that's boring. I'm going to bed now."
She told me this morning that she thought the ball was going to fall really fast when the clock got to zero. She said that she enjoyed all of the silly stuff we did as a family (video games, jumping on the beds, etc), but that she probably wont stay up that late anymore.
Ahhh... That's my good girl. :o)