Friday, September 27, 2013

Does God Ever Hit You Over the Head With a Concept?

Wham. Wham. Wham.

For days now, I feel like I'm getting hit over the head with a word. It's coming at me from every direction. From the person who is (ironically) a large part of the reason for some of my discontentment--wham. From my devotional time--wham. From my reading of blogs--wham. From posts on Facebook--wham. From a text--wham. From a magazine article in a doctor's office--wham.

Contentment.
Contentment.
Contentment.
Contentment.
Contentment.

OK, I get the message. Stop already before I wind up with a bruise on my forehead similar to my daughter who has managed to solidly whack herself hard in the same spot three times, two days running.

Contentment!

Contentment
a state of mind in which one's desires are confined to his lot whatever it may be (1 Tim. 6:6; 2 Cor. 9:8). It is opposed to envy (James 3:16), avarice (Heb. 13:5), ambition (Prov. 13:10), anxiety (Matt. 6:25, 34), and repining (1 Cor. 10:10). It arises from the inward disposition, and is the offspring of humility, and of an intelligent consideration of the rectitude and benignity of divine providence (Ps. 96:1, 2; 145), the greatness of the divine promises (2 Pet. 1:4), and our own unworthiness (Gen. 32:10); as well as from the view the gospel opens up to us of rest and peace hereafter (Rom. 5:2).
BibleGateway


In other words, get over jealousy, irritation at the little hills we have to face every day, grumbling at the changes in the weather (both literal and as are related to other areas of life), anger when things don't go quite as desired, and even the self-criticism that leads to discouragement and more frustration.

Focus on God.
Trust.
Find Peace.
Be Content.

No things may not be what I want. My house may not look as I desire, my mornings may not start out with that perfect quiet time, my baby may teeth, my other children may fight, my three year old may bonk her head over and over and over again, my husband may have a broken foot, I may have to run 50,000 doctor appointments in the span of two weeks, and I may or may not get a full night's sleep, I may not be eating a perfectly healthy, whole-foods diet, and I might not have succeeded in fulfilling a single one of my day's plans due to the teething baby and the lack of sleep. And I might never get one voice of recognition for the hard work I'm putting in on a daily basis, while others may have praise heaped upon them who have only been doing this work for a few weeks. I may not be planning a trip overseas. I have bills that need paying and a refrigerator that needs stocking. Kitchen counters that need cleaning and a car that desperately needs an oil change. I may feel completely alone at times, and frustrated with more things than I can count.

And it's okay.

Because God has placed me here. At this time. In this place. With all of these people.

He has always provided. He will always provide.

He knows my limitations. He knows my needs. He sees my successes (and my failures).

All I can do is TRUST in Him for His PEACE. And in so doing, be CONTENT with where I am at in all aspects of my life.

Now to actually live the words that are easier to write.

Which leads me to the next word that has drummed through my head:

thankfulness.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

More Books

Book Review time!

1. Stepford Wives. Short summary: weird town where all the women are extreme homemakers with no time for anything else but scrubbing and cooking and serving their families.

I've seen (and actually own) this movie. As usual, when I ran across the book on paperbackswap recently, I had to get it because I just have a thing about reading the books that movies are developed from. Primarily because the books are nearly always substantially better. But not always. As was the case here.

Its an interesting read, and I think would have been a better read if I hadn't already known what was going on. I did not like the feminist movement attitude throughout the book of "only robotic women would possibly be the kind of women who really find fulfillment in caring for their home/family". Granted, the book took it to the extreme, but the undercurrent of anti-homecaring women was still there. And frankly, the movie end was far better. More, the good guy wins, and therefore, less depressing. Wouldn't recommend it.

2. Life of Pi. Short summary: son of a zookeeper is on a boat with his family, moving from India to Canada while transporting some of the (now closing) zoo's animals with them. Ship sinks, he winds up in a lifeboat with several very odd companions--including a tiger. Survives for months.

This is one of those books I've heard all sorts of mentions of, and again finding it on paperbackswap the other day, I ordered it. Great read. Fascinating story and the writing itself is fantastic. If you want a quirky, somewhat mysterious, insightful, thought-provoking read, go for this. Now how they are going to turn this into a movie with substance, I'm really not sure. Because what drove the book was not the action (I mean, come on, the guy is stuck on a life boat for months--how much action is there really!) but the language and insights. I don't know how well that's going to translate into screen.

3. Alex Rider. So I admit to being a sucker for young adult fiction. While I love a good "grown up" novel, I enjoy the easy-reading, perspective, and frequently simpler or faster pace of good young adult fiction. This summer, Turtle was reading through this series of books. As I'd not heard of it, and my sometimes reluctant reader was absolutely devouring them, I figured I'd better get in on the action. And action it is. Decent writing, good story line, it's a teen MI6 agent. Hard to explain, and despite the implausibility of the book, the stories feel plausible. If such an oxymoron can exist. Mystery, action, adventure...loving this series. (just picked up book 5 for Chris from the library this morning).

4. The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. Short summary:  Glady Aylward was a young, single woman in England who felt called of God to go to China. Despite being told no, she overcomes a bunch of obstacles and ends up going any ways. She serves as a missionary in the remote regions of China with all sorts of crazy adventures, and ends up saving about 100 children from the Japanese occupation of China.

Growing up, I watched this movie more times than I can count, but I hadn't seen it in years. Then, on Netflix the other day, I found it! So I settled in for a bit of nostalgia, and to introduce my husband to a good movie. The movie was every bit as good as I remember, and afterwards we started talking about how the whole story is based on a true story. I got intrigued to know the "real" story of Gladys Aylward, and so snagged myself this book. And wow, as much as I love the movie, the full story of her life is even more incredible.

5. Children's Literature. Our favorite library finds of the last few months for Blueberry were the following:
  • Poppleton. A multi-book collection of rather mundane stories about a pig called Poppleton and his friends. Cute despite the mundane. And I love the fact that they're old enough to not be entirely politically correct.
  • Love the Baby! love, love, love this book. So cute. Its now on my "to own" list. About a little rabbit who gets a baby sister and is told by everyone to love on his sister. He doesn't want to because everyone keeps doing all of his special things with her. Until he eventually caves and does love her. Great illustrations and super sweet writing.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Outside my window...it is dark. The weather is supposed to drop from low 90s today to 75 tomorrow! I'm all for this, as frankly, it has been difficult to go outside and do much for the last while because it's just been so hot.

I am thinking...of my poor husband. He took a spill at Walmart a few weeks ago (no sign, very wet floor). Hurt the left side of his body. Went to the doctor, xrays, etc. Nothing broken, so we thought. He's continued to have some back pain and such. Went to the chiropractor. That helped the back, but his foot (which slammed down on the ground during his slip) has begun hurting more and more and more to the point he got today where's he can barely put any pressure on it at all. We were off, heading back on duty, decided he needed to have a doctor look at it again. Long story short, he might have had a hairline fracture on his left foot from the fall. It's difficult to tell, but the x-rays show calcium deposit which can be indicative of a healing fracture. So he's supposed to be getting crutches tomorrow and being on crutches for the next few weeks. Praying that taking the pressure off is enough to heal this up and that it doesn't have to go any further than that.

I am thankful for...5 consecutive hours of sleep. We've been transferring Baby Q to room with his sister as he's been really restless at night and nursing all night and just not been getting enough sleep for him or for me. It has been a blessedly easy transition. I feed him right before I go to bed and then he's nursed once in the middle of the night and then early morning and gone straight back to sleep both times. Leaving me to have a good solid 4-5 hour chunk of sleep for the last few nights. I can't remember the last time I had that long of sleep. 

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...Baby Q is crawling everywhere. Had his first real lessons involving the word "no" the last few days. Is learning slowly :)  Blueberry is just growing up so quickly. She is putting concepts together in a frightening manner. You can't talk about anything in front of her any more because she'll bring it back out (knowledgeably!) at any given time!

From the kitchen...was a pathetic show of cooking the last few days. We just came off another 15 day shift, and I was wiped. Fortunately, between leftovers, the chef deciding he wanted to try cooking again (he's been out, poor man, due to an arm injury), and going out to eat as a celebration with one of our girls (Kitty), my cooking total has been some pasta, and tonight I made some rice and a Thai omelet. Pathetic but much needed rest. With the chef being out and working 36 of the last 42 days prior to being off now, I've done an awful lot of cooking. The lesson I have learned is that while I enjoy cooking, I don't want to own a restaurant. Ever. Master Chef I watch and enjoy. I have no desire to be a chef.

I am wearing...a nursing shirt and jeans. My hair is brushed, which is more than can be said for earlier today. Sad, I know.

I am creating...organization out of chaos. My house feels messy right now, but that's in large part because I'm in the middle stage of a sorting project. Why is it things have to get messier before they get cleaner? Or is that just me?

I did get through Blueberry's room today with much labeling and some surreptitious tossing of some toys. Also boxing up some others that will get pulled out in a month and traded out. The chaos was driving me crazy, and if I have to be walking through there in the dark in the middle of the night, the toys needed to go or there was going to be two of us on crutches!

I am going...to do the dishes in a minute, before passdown (when we go back on duty with the cottage) starts. 

In my mailbox today.. .was I have no idea because we didn't check. What I'm hoping will be here tomorrow is my new pair of Cushe shoes that I ordered. In my current state of trying to simplify many things in my life, one of those things is my wardrobe. Simplify but also keep nice/upgrade in some areas. I've decided that my body is needing more support than the shoes I've often wound up with in the past that fit fine and were adequate but not necessarily great. Since I'm not a huge shoe person (read, if they fit and look nice, I'll wear the same pair of shoes for ten years before I finally cave and buy something new), I've finally decided to get rid of a lot of my other shoes that are getting worn out and replace them with quality and comfort. Which will hopefully last a long amount of time and provided me the support I want. And as I have no problems wearing the same three or four pairs of shoes all the time, this should work nicely!

I am reading.. .nothing right now, surprisingly. Well, other than some blogs. I just finished a number of books (list to come soon, I hope), and really haven't had time to settle into a new book.

I am hoping...that Chris' foot heals quickly because I am not looking forward to the extra work this might cause for me. I know, so selfish!

I am hearing...the blessed peace of a noise machine over the baby monitor. And no crying baby. Sleep, sweet darling. You need it.

Around the house...as previously stated, it's somewhat chaotic, somewhat organized. Anyone just stepping in might look askance right now, but I know where it's all going, so I'm okay with it.

One of my favorite things...crab. Good crab.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Survival? Take care of a few things that I've been avoiding. Care for my husband and all my children. 

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...
He loves his toes.

And sticking his tongue out.

Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Quick Takes (vol. 30)



#1 - The problem with Conversion Diary is that Jennifer Fulwiler (the author of said blog and originator of 7 Quick Takes) is that she is, while thought-provoking and insightful can also be hysterically funny. This humor, in and of itself, is not so bad until you're trying to nurse to sleep your non-compliant seventh month old and you find yourself shaking, trying not to giggle (and thus wake up the finally-falling asleep little boy). For a giggle yourself, have a peruse of this 7 Quick Takes.

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#2 - We are on day 13 of 15, again. Fortunately, knowing we were going into another long shift, we scheduled some time together while we were off last. So we actually had a date. Without either one of my children! Baby Q did okay--his first time without mommy for more than a short period of time. Fortunately, he randomly decided that bottles are not so bad, not his favorite, but he'll take them at least somewhat. And since we started doing some food a few weeks ago, he made it through. Although he did immediately give a shrill cry the moment he saw me!

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#3 - On the topic of Baby Q, I now I have sitting up and very mobile little boy. He's combining crawling with army-crawling, and is, frankly, a menace. I leave him one place, turn around, and 15 seconds later, he's all the across the house. Finding the one piece of plastic that is floating on the floor. Or pulling the kitchen garbage can down on his head....minutes before we're heading out the door to an appointment....sigh. I foresee a lot of running in my future.

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#4 - Doctor appointment--Baby Q is now 19lbs 7oz. That makes him only eight pounds less than his sister. Who's betting he's going to beat her before his first birthday? On the other side though, Blueberry is now on the chart for her weight!! A whole 10th percentile! Miracles do happen. Doctor is finally off my back though and is agreeing with me that she's just inherited my family genes--short and small. Best kind.

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#5 - To make this shift even longer, this last week we had a doctor's appointment EVERY SINGLE DAY. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. And one of the girls was home sick Wednesday and Thursday. Sigh. I love my job, but my down time during the day throughout the school year is huge. And when we don't get it, I get really tired. And truthfully, during six days, eh, a shift like that is annoying but not killer. When it's days eight through twelve of 15, you start losing your mind a little bit.

I think I could have done with a little less of the introvert gene and a bit more infusion of extroversion in my personality. It would probably help matters greatly on weeks like these when, by the end, all I want to do is hide from the world for awhile. Not that I'm angry with anybody or upset really, I'm just drained and needing some space.

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#6 - My arms are sore. And surprisingly they're not from lugging around Baby Q (for once). No, this time they are sore from playing a video game on the Xbox Kinect. It's called Fruit Ninja and is much fun. Slashing fruit with your hands like you're a Ninja. Except then you wind up with sore arms. Oh well, I needed a workout.

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#7 - Last night I read something that really made my day. Uplifted me, in fact. Robin McKinley has been one of my favorite authors since I was young teenager (I'm pretty sure I was 12 or 13 when I first read a book of hers--Beauty). She writes fantasy, and is just a fabulous writer. Her worlds are so alive and her character development is inspiring. My only complaint is she has a thing against writing sequels, and so has left several worlds with no sequels that are screaming out for another book!

Any ways, I read her blog, well, I used to. Then over the last year I've really had a hard time keeping up with anybody's blogs. Just recently (as in the last month/few weeks), I've been changing that again, and enjoying getting back into that realm of reading.

One of my complaints about reading her blog in the past was she could be sometimes a little depressing. She's not a Christian, and it sometimes shows strongly. Not so much in her language but just in the hopeless tone that sometimes would creep into her writing on her blog. She has also spoken pretty strongly against religion/Christianity a few times.

Well, you can only imagine my delight upon reading a post of hers the other day that stated "...this time last year while Jesus was gripping me by the back of the neck (rather like Southdowner with a recalcitrant bullie) and saying, You’re MINE now, get used to it."

I was startled. Excuse me? Robin McKinley talking about Jesus? Talking about Jesus claiming her? What?! So I did a search on her site for "Jesus" (love search engines) and just around the time I quit reading last year--SHE BECAME A CHRISTIAN!

I'm thrilled. I needed an uplifting. I'm feeling tired and discouraged, and even though I have never met this woman, as a writer, she has been one of those people who I have followed my whole life (I've even emailed her a few times with writing questions) and to see the Lord work in her, bring her to a relationship with Him, is so encouraging.

Thanks Lord for some good timing.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mommyhood

It's a baby boom again. Lots of friends having first babies and several having second or even third babies.

I shall not lie, I am glad I am not a first time mom anymore. Things have been so much easier with Baby Q than they ever were with Blueberry. Part of it, I think, was due to the birth experience itself and the lack of stress I felt post-labor. Part of it, though, is definitely the comfort of knowing what I'm doing, what's going on, and even who I am as a mom.

So many questions the first time around. Cloth diapers--yes or no? Co-sleep? How about bottles? Pacifiers? Baby food--make my own? Or stumbling onto the concept of baby-led feeding. How to nurse. How to take care of  plugged ducts. Baby is sick--time to panic or not?

Knowing what I believe, how I prefer to raise my kids, what works for our family. All of these things are so much simpler now. I'm a much more relaxed mom of newborn this time around.

So happy new mommy-hood my dear friends. It does get easier.

In some ways..... :)