How Deep The Father’s Love For Us…

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

I feel like I should sing myself this song every time that Ella frustrates me… though it doesn’t cross my mind at that moment.  I know, I know, “I’m a good mom”, “I’m doing my best”, etc… But if we’re honest – sometimes we’re not.

Sometimes we just want our kids to be quiet, behave, and let us do what we’re trying to do.

Growing up, I dreamed of being a mother.  I knew I’d rock at it because I adored kids and babysitting was so easy-peasy.  I even worked in childcare for several years – working my way up to being an assistant director in a pre-school setting. 

So why on earth is being a mother so difficult? 

Where is my creativity when it is time to decorate a turkey feather?  (Seriously – we did this tonight because it is DUE tomorrow and I’d forgotten.  I even allowed her to use – gasp – GLITTER)

Where is my excitement for I-Spy?  (Seriously – that is the worst game ever on 295 and we are forever on 295)

Where is my sense of “Who cares that all the puzzle pieces are on the floor?  Let’s play a game to find them!”  Just kidding – that chick has NEVER existed.  I hate puzzles.  I hate losing pieces or having to find pieces.  I had stepping on the pieces that have the little red knobs that make it easier for a kid to pick up the piece.

I really do love my kids, but some days I honestly do feel like running away.  Not that I would, because I’d never let their little lives leave my control.  I barely trust Jeff to watch them and do things “my way”… GREAT story on that…

A few weeks ago, Jeff and I had made plans with another couple to double date.  It didn’t work out with their sitter, but we kept Katie lined up and decided to go out to dinner ourselves.  When we got home, Katie had WONDERFULLY gotten both kids ready for bed.  I said, “Where did you find those pajamas for Joe?  I didn’t even know we had those?”They were in a drawer… who cares?  When she left, Jeff said, “So those are the wrong pajamas, right?”
They were.  But not because of any valid reason.  I really had forgotten that they existed and probably would never have found them.  Katie did a wonderful job, but I always have this odd tone to things I don’t expect with my kids. 
(I’m sorry if I offended you that night, Katie)

I bet there are lots of times when God looks down at us and sees our rebellion and our scrunched up “I don’t want to obey you” facial expressions; our disobedience and our choosing things for ourselves (his children) that he wouldn’t choose for us.  And yet – HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR US…

I can’t count for you the number of times my father has referenced God’s love for us and sacrificing Jesus in his sermons… how often he’s looked a parent sitting in the congregation and asked if they would sacrifice their child for the people around them – or for a stranger.  I’ve even heard those references since becoming a parent and let me tell you – NOT A CHANCE would I allow my kids to go through what Jesus did.  And yet – HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR US…

My youth minister from middle school sang this song on his CD.  I got our praise team at United to listen to it, and we added it to our list of songs we used.  Every time I have ever sung these words, I have been moved…so deeply.

“Behold the man upon the cross, my sin upon his shoulder; Ashamed I hear my searing voice call out among the scoffers”
How often do we hear someone say (or perhaps we’ve said it ourselves) that if we’d lived back then, we wouldn’t have yelled “CRUCIFY HIM!”  Yet I guarantee we would – Peter denied him, John ran and hid – and they were the big dogs.

I am totally unworthy of God’s grace.  And yet, I am his child and HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR ME.
HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR YOU.  HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR ELLA.  HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR JOE.
How deep MY love for Ella…  How deep MY love for Joe…
My love can’t compare to God’s, but I can try harder.  I can pray that God brings this tune to my brain every moment I am tempted to yell, to shame, to hurt with words.

This past Monday, the Bible Study that I am a part of started Priscilla Shirer’s study on Gideon.  In our first video from her she talked about her shortcomings in doing Bible Study with her children.  It was funny when she told the solution, but I am seriously going to take it to heart.  She said that before her children left the confines of her van to face the day she prayed over them.
Here is a quote from her blog (dated Oct 30, 2011):

You are a man of integrity and character. You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength. You will be a blessing to your teachers and a blessing to your friends. You are the head and not the tail. You are above and not beneath. You are a leader and not a follower.

Normally, I say only a few more things before sending them out the door, backpacks securely in place, to school.

You are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

You are a man of valor.

You have the whole armour of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.

You will bless the Lord at all times and His praises shall continually be in your mouth.

Oh, that I can pray this prayer over my children every day… but I want to add “HOW DEEP IS GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU, CHILD” and then hope that it all sinks in…

P.S.  Here’s a video of the song… it isn’t Scot singing, but it is close: http://youtu.be/CYV7hpD9JTI

Here We Go Again

Well, here we go again… reminds me of a Music & Drama song (anyone?).

I’m going to blog.  I know, I know – I’ve said this in the past and haven’t made the time.  BUT, I figure that if I have time to check facebook and email, then I have time to blog.

Come back soon… there is more to come.

I know, I know… but I PROMISE this time!

Neglecting the second child already…

Ella was a complete surprise. 

In March 2008, I had “puffed” up a little and Jeff had started jokingly talking to my belly.  BUT I was on birth control, so I wasn’t worried about his insinuations.  On Monday, March 17, 2008 we went to California Pizza Kitchen with friends for a not-crowded St. Patty’s Day dinner.  I had a couple margaritas (the only drink they serve that is green)… no worries.

On Wednesday, March 19, I knew something was up.  There are things that happen in a normal cycle that weren’t happening… I was WAY off so I knew something was shady.  That night we had a mission dinner at our church and I was the person designated to talk about the mission we were supporting.  Everyone was shocked to “see” that I was so nervous… I wasn’t socializing, I was visibly sweating, my voice was shaky…
HA!  They had no clue that I would be making a run to CVS following the dinner.

At CVS I picked up a two-test box of the digital tests (I ain’t into reading the lines) and a 6-pack of beer for Jeff… I figured that if the answer was what I thought it would be, he’d need at least one of those.

I watched t.v. for a bit and then took a commercial break to pee on the stick.  It said “pregnant”.  I slowly went to where Jeff was lifting weights and waited for him to notice that I was there.  When I told him, he had NO REACTION AT ALL…  He just went back to lifting.
I took the phone to the computer and called my mama… here is how that conversation went:
Sandy: “Hello”
Evelyn: “Hi” the sobs start here
Sandy: “Evelyn?  What’s wrong?”
Evelyn: between sobs “I don’t think anything is wrong”
Sandy: “Then why are you crying?”
Evelyn: “Because I peed on a stick…”
Sandy: bursting out laughing “And it said?”
Evelyn: said in heaving sobs “That I’m pregnant”
Sandy: hysterical laughter

Yep – there you go folks, the most compassionate mother ever…

The next day I called a friend’s ob/gyn (I didn’t have one) and requested an appointment.  When the nurse told me that their next “new mom” orientation day was in three-four weeks I yelled at her, “BUT I’M PREGNANT NOW!!!”
They scheduled me to see a nurse practitioner the next day.
On March 21, 2008 it was confirmed that I was indeed pregnant…

From the doctors office I immediately went to Barnes & Noble and bought a pregnancy journal.  I wrote in it faithfully – every question I had, every insane thought in my head.  I saw the same nurse practitioner quite often and she informed me that I was the most hilarious mom-to-be she had ever worked with.  Not because I’m really all that funny, but because I KNOW when I’m being ridiculous and I often started my questions with, “I know I’m not supposed to believe everything I read online, but…”

I posted ultrasound photos and belly pictures on my blog and updated everyone I knew every time I spoke to them…  We still have her first ultrasound photo in a frame (thanks, Kris).  I was the ultimate mama – just look at my facebook photos.  I am up to EIGHT albums dedicated just to Ella!!!  I took so many pictures of her in our 10 days in California last year that she started saying, “No pictures, mama” and still shies away from the camera.

Now – THIS BABY?  The speck, as we’re calling “it”…
Well, I have some ultrasound photos.  They are tucked into my agenda and have yet to be scanned…
I went to price pregnancy journals last week.  The same one I used for Ella is actually the cheapest, but I deemed the $13 to be “too much” figuring that I’ll just find Ella’s and write in a different color ink.
Um… I’m almost 17 weeks and have yet to do that.

Back to that wonderfully compassionate mama…
When I was in high school we ran across a bunch of 110 film.  For those of you too young to know what that is:

Hannafords (a grocery store that used to exist in Richmond) was running a special on developing film – $3 a roll!  We took a huge bag in.  You’d be surprised to find out that there were BABY PICTURES OF WARREN in the developed pictures.  Poor second kid…

I’m having a feeling that I become like my wonderful mama every day.

Despite her laughing at my tears and never developing baby pictures of Warren, we knew we were the two most loved kids in the world.  We still know that.

Man, I hope I’m like my mama…

As for the speck… here’s the most recent ultrasound photo taken in the emergency room while they were supposed to be checking my kidneys (they did, but then they took pictures of the baby for me…)

January 31, 2012
I really do need to dig out my pregnancy journal from Ella and check somethings… for example, I *think* I felt the baby move yesterday and they were surprised at my 16 week check up that I hadn’t… but I can’t remember how far along I was when I felt Ella’s flutters.  Yesterday wasn’t flutters, it was like a tiny elbow or foot (so it very well might have been gas…).
 
Mark your calendars, people, April 2 we find out if Speck is a Joe or an ***** 
(not telling our girl name yet!).  
I am super excited about that!!!! 

Blessings…

My status on Facebook today:
November 30, 2011 – Today I am thankful that I have such an incredibly “comfortable” life. Leaving the gas station today, there was a woman (pretty young) with her very beautiful dog sitting at the corner with a cardboard scrap that said, “Trying to get home for Christmas”. I gave her $20. I know, I’m not supposed to give cash out of my window, but it was what I had and I had it to spare. We’ve also been able to donate a toy to Toys For Tots (Ella picked one she has and loves), money to the red kettle for the Salvation Army, and the donation for a meal at the Martin’s checkout. If my life weren’t so comfortable, these little things wouldn’t be possible. Thank you God for more blessings than 30 days worth of posts.
We are blessed beyond measure, aren’t we? 
I went back and read my post about being content.  I’m almost there and have an addendum to post next week… but today, I am fully focused on all that I have.  
Today was Ella’s 3-year-old check up.  While I may not have those five kids that I had once planned to have… I have one incredibly healthy little girl.

She amazes me (and frustrates me) with something new every day.  If I never have another child, I’ll consider myself beyond blessed to have this one.
I have a car that is nearly paid off…
I have a house that is “ours” and is as much room as we really need…
I have a family who loves me and supports me in anything and everything I do…
I have everything I need and most everything I could ever want.
Aren’t you blessed too?

If I’d Only Known…

My beautiful sister-in-law Kristen suggested that I blog about Ella being two so that she’d know what to expect with J.J. (he turns 2 at the end of this month).  I’ve spent several days mulling this over…

Let me start with this… I worked in a Private Preschool for a couple of years about 10 years ago.  For about a year, I was the lead teacher in a classroom with kids ages 12 months – 24 months.  I loved that room.  I loved those kids.  Then, after we had two teachers leave for lunch one day and not return (shouldn’t the fact that they were carrying boxes out been a clue?), I got popped up into the 3-year-old classroom.  I worked in the 3’s class for about four months until an Assistant Director position came open at another location under the same company.  I interviewed and with amazing references from one of two bosses in my lifetime that I have adored, I got the job – meaning I left my boss I loved and went to work for the worst boss I have ever had.  Seriously.
In my six months as an Assistant Director I was consistently left “out of ratio” – however I always worked it out to be watching the school age kids in the front room while toting a baby from the nursery (keeping all the other rooms “in ratio”).  It was incredibly stressful.

That said… do you notice which age group I NEVER EVER worked with?

Yep – the two-year-olds…

I was completely unprepared to be the mother of a two-year-old.  C.o.m.p.l.e.t.e.l.y. U.n.p.r.e.p.a.r.e.d.
I’m just now finding my bearings for this year and we’re less than two months away from her 3rd birthday.

What do I wish I’d known… I’d heard that three is worse than two and from that time in the 3s class, I can tell you that (in my opinion) – it is true.  She has not nearly been as bad as several kids who still haunt me…

Things we’ve accomplished at two: 
That catching snowflakes is one of the best parts of winter

That it is fun to save money

That heartbreak comes at any age… (giving up Nuks will always be her first)

Learning how to walk the dog (though that job doesn’t last all they way through the neighborhood yet)
*can’t find the picture!

How to garden with her daddy…
How to walk on a balance beam
That road trips to visit family is worth the car ride
How to properly hold a guitar 
(can’t wait for her to be big enough to hold one that will play & take lessons)
 That vacations with family are the best!
  
To climb stairs without giving her mom a heart attack
That carousels are fun and not torture

How to “fall” into a pool, turn around and find the side without drowning 
(still with supervision, though)

A bit about the family tree – Mommy is mommy, Mac is mommy’s mommy, GG is Mac’s mommy
(and that EE counts as an extra grandmother)

That costumed creatures are still REALLY freaky- Cmor, Barney, Cat in the Hat, George…
all good from a distance and with Amy & Jackson in the middle

Being able to do crafts… with glue… and only make a minimal mess

Walking through the Zoo or Maymont without a stroller and without having to be carried 
(just did this).


That babies live in tummies first…
(though actually being pregnant is not required – Ella often has a baby in hers)
And that holding babies requires one to be very, very careful…

That we live in a neighborhood (and that we are in OUR neighborhood when we get here)

Learning how to take our diaper off in bed-with or without poop in it 
(she did this again last night – no poop)

Do you know what my Pre-school program did with the two year olds?
They potty trained them.
By the time those kids got to the 3’s room, they were already using the potty.


Things we have NOT accomplished at two:
POTTY TRAINING!

I’m pretty sure that this will get accomplished at 3.

Kristen, I really wish I had known how cool it would be to watch my own child (not someone I’m paid to watch) learn new things.  There are days when I hand her to Jeff as he walks in the door and take time for me.  There are days when if someone touches me or pulls on me one more time, I’m going to scream.  
I wish I had known just how whiny a two-year-old can be.  
And that “whiny” is a tone… not just an action.

That said, every day that she says something incredibly smart or does something she has never done before (like putting her pants back on after she takes her diaper off in bed… pretty impressive) I am glad that she’s two and able to tell me what she wants and verbalize her thoughts.

I’m sure there is more to share… but it about time for her to get up from her (no longer every day) nap.  Two has been difficult, but I’m afraid of three.
Ask me again in a year and I’ll let you know…

Melancholy…

mel·an·chol·y/ˈmelənˌkälē/   Adjective: Sad, gloomy, or depressed.

I’ve been feeling melancholy lately… I’m not able to put my finger on exactly what it causing it.

It may have something to do with the music I’ve been into lately.
For example… I’ve just discovered Sam Bradley (who I really like!)
Here are the words to one of his songs called Sea Blue:

Sky is clearin, city scrapes my eyes
Ocean is not movin, I cry
Wind blows through the doorway
It chills me to the core
Sea blue on the horizon
I can’t feel blue for that much longer
So pack up your belongings
And crystallize your conscience
To live for love is clearly nonsense
We seem to need a whole lot more
The world’s steady population
Defines that you’re the only one
Been fooled my many imitations
I’m done, I’m done
So kiss the world goodnight now
It’s you I want to hold
Rain at my window
These walls don’t shelter cold
So pack up your belongings
And crystallize your conscience
To live for love is clearly nonsense
We seem to need a whole lot more
(guitar)
So pack up your belongings
And crystallize your conscience
To live for love is clearly nonsense
We seem to need a whole lot more
The sky is clearin’
City scrapes on lies
Ocean is not movin’
I cry

Here is the video for this song…


Who knows… maybe it is just that I’m getting older, but I don’t *feel* older.
I posted a bunch of pictures from camp years gone by recently on facebook.  I look at myself through the years and see myself changing size and shape, and maybe looking a little older, but I still feel like that girl I see in the pictures. 
 
I’ve also run across pictures of myself from high school.  In one I’m wearing a half-shirt (yes people I did actually wear a half shirt) and I can see my stomach muscles.  I think it just makes me sad that I’m not so young and carefree anymore.
 
NOT SAYING THAT I WANT TO EXCHANGE WHAT I HAVE FOR THAT – just remembering how fun and free-spirited I was.
 
I posted to one of the teens from church recently that she needed to enjoy each day of her senior year because that young freedom only comes at that one stage of your life.  I even admitted to being spun in circles by another student while he held me by my ankles.
If someone picked me up by my ankles to swing me now I don’t know what I’d do.  Have a heart attack maybe?
 
Okay… now no one start getting concerned.  I’m not so blue that I’m going to do anything crazy (though a nose piercing has been mentioned in many conversations recently).  I just felt the need to vent it out.
And now I’m going to go back to listening to my melancholy music.
…because that’s what we do, isn’t it – when we’re down we listen to music that feeds our mood instead of reversing it?
 
SCRATCH THAT – I’m gonna listen to something that makes me want to dance.
(If you haven’t gotten to Britney Spears yet… she’s #2 on the playlist below)