Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Love Letters

Love Letters to God 

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Love Letters to My Spouse

I never knew true friendship until I met him.  It all began when he asked me in an email what were my views on Love.  He said he had recently had a conversation with a friend about it and he wanted to know what I thought.  I returned an essay on the topic.  I recall I wrote something like the agape notion of love even though at the time I am sure I had no understanding of the term.  I would have to find the email again, which I saved of course, to quote it.  But it said something to the effect: to love for the sake of love, in which there is something to love, a good, in everything.  I stated that everything which God has made is meant to be loved. Everything that is created, everyone, is worthy of love, and I loved all things because God created them. Then I concluded by saying that I loved him based on my previous premise.  I hardly knew him when I declared my love for him.  But, the moment I did, we were bound.

 Andrew and renee

Love Letters to My Kids

[I made a photo book for Alex after a year of writing icons and at the end of it I wrote this.]

"Dear Alex,

'Permit the children to come to me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands upon them' (Mark 10:14,16). It all began when you asked me to copy an Icon of Christ with all the children. But instead of drawing the children from the icon, I drew you and Kristiana so that you might know that you are children of God, the Son, Christ Jesus. Through this sacred window into Heaven I hoped that you would recognize and feel God's love, and in return, I hoped that you would love God.

Alex, I am so proud of you and this year we have spent writing icons together. We have learned so much about faith. You have helped me to grow closer to God and love Him more by giving me the opportunity to look through these windows into Heaven more often and more seriously. I pray for you constantly that you will grow to be a good and holy man. I pray that you will not turn your back on God. I pray that you will love God all the days of your life and you will know His love as well. Remember that God is "Everywhere present and fills all things." You can take God in with all your senses and with your whole body. You can even see Heaven everyday in ordinary things. You can see God on a painted, wooden plank. You only need to have faith. Thank you for this special time together, Alex. I will cherish it always. Love, Mommy"

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Love Letters to Friends

To those who have inspired me, loved me, prayed for me. To those who stand by me in the hard times and the good.  Thank you.  May God bless you all the days of your life. (P.S. Don't be sad if you don't see your picture. I just don't have pictures of all the wonderful people I love).

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Firstwives BU


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tot Talk: Prayers

"Kristiana, do you have any prayers to offer?"

"Yes, I thank God for rainbows!" 

I add, "Oh, good.  Rainbows are God's promise to never destroy humanity again to punish us.  It is a sign of hope for us."

"Annie, do you have any prayers to offer?"  Annie simply looks up and nods her head up and down a couple of times.  Then she makes some barely audible humming and cooing sounds through her pacifier. 

"Lucy, do you have any prayers to offer?"  I am making a habit of asking our three month old for her prayers so no one forgets that she is a person and one day will offer her prayers aloud.  

Kristiana bursts in, "Lucy has prayers.  She thanks God for boobies." 

"I'm sure she does."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

7 Quick Takes - New Vocabulary

1. My father-in-law set us onto watching the new Sherlock Holmes series from the BBC.  It was very good.  Once we finished watching the two seasons he had, I downloaded the complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes onto my Kindle for $0.99.  I have been enjoying reading it very much.  I do not think I would have been prepared mentally to enjoy it so much as a youth.  I am glad I am reading it as an adult.  I have had to look up new words every other page.  Thus, I have been increasing my vocabulary.  If you wish to increase you vocabulary, simply pick up a copy of The Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 

2. I have been busy going to the gym and caring for my nieces.  The nieces have been coming over a couple days a week so their parents can take them to soccer practice after work.  They live out of town.  It has been good to spend extra time with them.  But, I will be honest, it is tiring having lots of extra children in the house.  I thought kids were supposed to get easier as they get older, but it's a whole different kind of difficulty and tiring.  

3.  The fitness instructor at the gym I have been going to has me feeling really insecure about my body.  She is way over the top about fitness.  She yells at the class telling us to work harder and gives details on how we ought to do it.  This should not make me feel insecure, but it does.  Supposedly, this would be the mark of a good instructor.  I mean she works us hard and gets us in shape.  But, could it be too much for the novice?  I expect a lot from myself.  The fact that I cannot achieve what she demands makes me feel very discouraged.  I have a long way to go, a lot of weight to lose to get back to a good weight.  I feel like there is great meaning in achieving this.  It would mean I would feel more comfortable not having to battle with the big belly just sitting, or stuffing big thighs into pants.  It would mean my clothes fit.  It would be good for my varicose vein problem.  It would mean that I am not doing something wrong.  I am working hard and finally seeing some results.  Hopefully, I can keep it up.  I put it all into the hands of God.  Nothing is achievable without Him.

4. Speaking of the gym, after a particularly hard workout and tears were wiped away from my eyes (emotional anguish, not physical), I exclaimed to myself and to Facebook the famous Nietzschian quote,"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." This is not always true, but we certainly do learn from our experiences and adapt to manage life's challenges better.  It is why captives can endure years of torture--they adapt to their situation.  Anyhow, all this to say, while I was pregnant, my husband and I determined that perhaps future pregnancy would be unwise, since the pregnancy was so difficult.  However, I will not fret over it if another pregnancy should come, because I have learnedfrom the last.  I will need to adapt to the situation and prepare our family better for it.  I am stronger now. 

5. Our little baby sleeps long stretches at night.  It was not by my design.  I just can not seem to wake her in the night.  Which makes me feel a little guilty since according to NFP protocol this does not cause extended infertility.  But, I think I will take the rest she has afforded me.  Finally, a baby who sleeps well.

6. Pudgey Wudgey was a baby.  Lucy with one of her cousins, her brother and sister. 

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7. Alex was a slug giving slithering rides across the floor.  Kids do the darndest things. Earlier in the week, the kids turned on the hose in the backyard to make a river and a dam.  I told them to turn it off, because it wasted water.  So they filled up their sandbox with water and told me it was the ocean.  Then they made little islands in it.  The only problem is now they do not have a sandbox and they constantly come inside muddy and wet.  But I cannot be too upset.  I was a daily mudpie kind of kid.  I don't remember my parents ever fussing at me for it. 

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Wonders of Nature

Well I said I wanted to get back to nature this summer.  I just didn't think it would be this easy.  Nature is just knocking at our door every day here.  This week the cats attacked a quail nest.  The result was that the kids got to rescue/manhandle a baby quail.   After purchasing baby bird formula and reading the baby-bird care insert, I realized that caring for the baby bird might be more difficult than caring for my own newborn.  So I went online and found a nearby bird rescue.  

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Later that day, grand mom found slugs to catch and observe. Life is so fascinating.  We only need open our eyes to observe the wonders of nature.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Teddy Bear Picnic

This is how I found Annie this morning.  All by herself.  No one else was up.  She had found teddy bears, climbed up on the sofa, covered herself with a blanket and was cuddling the bears.  She is a person who knows how to take care of herself pretty well.  She will do well in this world.  She knows what she wants and knows how to get it.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

7 Quick Takes - #FirstWorldProblems

1. I have been fretting about my weight lately.  My clothes do not fit and I am as heavy as I have ever been.  Also, I believe this would help the veins in my legs more so, if I were A LOT lighter.  I have been working out and trying to eat less, but I do not think it has helped much.  I am not comfortable at this weight.  I think this is a terrible problem.  This is one of my new prayer intercessions for myself.  But at least this is a sign that I have plenty to eat. #beingoverweight

2. This week, I signed Alex up for home school.  I worry that I will not be able to execute this properly considering that Alex has his own notions of how home school ought to be.  I worry that I will not be diligent enough to make this work, that I will lose stamina for the challenges I will face and get lazy.  I also hate to have to gird myself against those who do not agree with our decision to home school. #privilegededucation

3. Always in the summer we struggle to make bills because my husband's paychecks only come during the school year.  So we try to financially plan and he also gets summer teaching.  But something always seems to come up.  Then we have to figure out how to make things work.  I stress.  Then we have to play catch up in the fall, which is another reason why we never seem to have enough in the summer, because we are always trying to recover from the previous summer.  Nothing will ever be solved until we change, i.e. accept the means we have.  Yeah, that means fewer luxuries like new clothes and meat for dinner whenever we like.  If we had not made so much debt getting educated, we would be in a better situation.  My advice, counsel your kids to not go into debt for education.  Education is good, but do it without debt.  #debt

4. Speaking of luxuries, we took the kids to play in the downtown area.  There are all sorts of kids rides down there.  We all delight in watching the kids have a good time…Our kids always get strawberry or chocolate flavors in their milk if they want it…If they want something all they have to do is use proper manners and give us a quasi-good reason.  Then we wonder why they think they can manipulate us with fits.  Think again, kiddos.  I guess it would help our budget if we knock off this kind of parenting.  But, we do want them to have fond memories of childhood.  We do want to reward them for doing/being good.  We just have to figure out how to do that without opening our wallets.  #overindulgentparents

5. Every time we come to Spokane...#momiwantaponyride



6. Strawberry Picking #payingtodolabor




7. A relative of ours has come for a visit.  We all love him very much, but it's been hard to express that over the years.  Without saying too much about his situation, he's homeless among other problems.  As we sat around catching up with him he said, "Being homeless sucks, that's why everyone on the street is high.  It would suck even more sober."   Immediately, this leads to some pretty stern reflections.  Firstly, I reflect about how it would feel to not have enough to eat, especially when I am fretting about having too much to eat.  He said he did not have any food for four days last week.  Needless to say, he has been scarfing down food at meals like a person who hasn't seen good food in a while.  Seeing someone without, firsthand, sure does make all the luxuries we enjoy daily seem greater and makes all my troubles seem petty.  #realitycheck