Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday:Peekaboo


video
Carter loves to play peekaboo....and he loves his Grandaddy!  Putting them together makes the perfect afternoon :)

PS: Can you tell this baby knows just what to do when the camera is out?  He's too funny!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ma and Carter gave me leaky faucets

I've never been a "crier".  I mean, I cried during Fox and the Hound in elementary school, but gosh, who didn't?

I remember feeling a little emotional once and trying to summon up tears because I thought I would it would make me feel better to cry a little.  I worked for the better part of an hour on a drive to let myself have a little cry before the ridiculousness of the situation overwhelmed me and I had to quit.

am was not a crier.

But then something happened.  Well, actually, two things happened.  At then end of 2009, one of my dearest friends, my grandmother, passed away.  A few months later, I found out I was pregnant.  Losing one of the most special people in my life coupled with a surge of hormones in my body was the perfect storm for many a cry-fest.  On top of this, my sweet little Mexican husband discovered country music for the first time.  Suddenly, he was coming home from work, playing the hopelessly romantic, hopelessly sad, and/or hopelessly poignant songs that only rhyme if you speak in thick southern drawl.

He would play a song and watch as his normally tough-as-nails, can't-make-herself-cry wife sobbed through some new song he loved.  Steven watched me, stupefied by my new-found inability to control my emotions.  He waded the waters carefully as I sobbed through Up, an unthawed baked spaghetti, a phone call to Ma before I remembered I couldn't, and more country songs than I really care to admit.  I promised him that I would be much better once the pregnancy hormones evened out, but definitely would be more in control once Carter got here.  He nodded and smiled.  He knew.

He has a way of always knowing.

I had Carter and blamed all the emotion on being tired and the hormones associated with nursing.  I still missed Ma and welled up when I thought of showing her pictures of Carter or telling her his latest news on the phone.  I knew this would get better with time.  I welled up when I told the pediatrician about all the trouble Carter was having nursing/spitting up and promised her that I "was never like this."  I teared up sometimes when I felt so happy I might pop, but I assured myself that I was just a "new mom" and that this was a phase.

Well...I now have an almost one year old (gasp!) and I am finished nursing.  I still miss Ma, but the pain is less of the sharp, stabbing that it was two Christmases ago...and more of an accepting ache.

And guess what?

My tears still flow much more freely than I'd like.

When I was pregnant, everyone told me my body "would never be the same."  I never knew they meant my eyes!  I have leaky faucets, and I have not found a plumber to fix them.

I know some people say a good cry is good for the soul, but I find myself a little annoyed when I'm fighting back tears when a song reminds me of how much I miss Ma, when I blink quickly because of a Hallmark commercial, or when I brush away the trails down my cheeks after a touching note from a friend.  On the other hand, I think I am a little more approachable than I was.  I am a little less insensitive.  I am a little more compassionate than I've ever been.

I think Carter and Ma conspired together to give me leaky faucets.  I know they made me a kinder soul.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Memorization Monday: 8-29-11

My problem isn't so much that I don't use my time wisely and don't get enough done.

I've pretty much never been bored a day in my life.  Even as a little girl, I was constantly busy.  Busy playing, planning, plotting...always busy doing something or other.  It hasn't changed.  When I used to have the summers off before Carter was born...I remember dropping into bed at night, exhausted.

What was I even doing all day that made me so tired?

Anyway.  I will be busy every day of my life...because that's how I am.  I have a pretty good understanding that I have 24 hours.  When I add something, I know something else has to go.  When I take something out, I almost always know exactly how I want to fill that slot.  I plan my days, plotting how to use my time efficiently.  But what I am not always wise about...is choosing what I will spend my time on.

Enter the verse that is now repeating in my head over and over:

Eph 5:15  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
Eph 5:16  making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Eph 5:17  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

As I studied this verse, I loved how it talked about examining your "walk" or your life accurately and diligently, with precision.  It warns us to look at our lives and how we spend our time carefully, but also in an ongoing sense, always weighing out the way in which we invest our time.

carefully G199 ἀκριβῶςakribōs
Thayer Definition:
1) exactly, accurately, diligently
Part of Speech: adverb
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from the same as G196: G196 ἀκριβέστατος akribestatos
Thayer Definition:
1) exact, careful
2) of the strictest sect: the most precise and rigorous in interpreting the Mosaic law, and in observing even the more minute precepts of the law and tradition

This was really my favorite discovery. "making the best use of the time" is translated more precisely as "redeeming the time"...it is from a metaphor in the Greek referring to the way merchants bought things at times when it would be most profitable.  In other words, walk carefully, using your time for the right things in the right seasons.  In other words, every thing in life isn't for every season.  It isn't always my job to work with every ministry, be a friend to everyone, and do everything that I think looks like fun.  In this season of life, my house isn't always clean, and I can't do every activity that I think would be interesting and I can't be a good friend to every single person I meet.  I have to weigh carefully what we do, make "sacred use of every opportunity".  I am in the season of being a young mother.  It is my job to keep our home a peaceful place to live.  It is my job to love and support my husband.  It is my job to raise my little boy.  It is my job to teach him academically, physically, and spiritually.  It is my job to walk with other people, especially women, in my community, encouraging and building friendships.  Those are the things I have to make a conscious decision to invest in the economy of my "time".

American Standard Version
Eph 5:15  Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise;
Eph 5:16  redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Eph 5:17  Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.


redeeming: G1805 ἐξαγοράζω exagorazō ex-ag-or-ad'-zo
From G1537 and G59; to buy up, that is, ransom; figuratively to rescue from loss (improve opportunity): - redeem.
2) to buy up, to buy up for one’s self, for one’s use
2a) to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the time our own


Henry:
redeeming the time (Eph_5:16), literally, buying the opportunity. It is a metaphor taken from merchants and traders who diligently observe and improve the seasons for merchandise and trade. It is a great part of Christian wisdom to redeem the time. Good Christians must be good husbands of their time, and take care to improve it to the best of purposes,
Gill:
Ephesians 5:16  Redeeming the time,.... Or "buying time"; a like expression is used in Dan_2:8, which we render, gain time: but in the Chaldee text it is, "buy time": and so Jacchiades, a Jewish commentator on the place, renders it, העת הזאת א־תאם נמכרים, "ye buy this opportunity"; and the Septuagint version uses the same phrase the apostle does here; but there it seems to signify a study to prolong time, to put off the business to another season; but here taking time for a space of time, it denotes a careful and diligent use of it, an improvement of it to the best advantage; and shows that it is valuable and precious, and is not to be trifled with, and squandered away, and be lost, as it may be; for it can neither be recalled nor prolonged:

I read an incredible article pertaining to this idea in Reader's Digest recently.  Here are some of my favorite thoughts:



"Your decision about allocating your personal time, energy, and talent shape your life strategy...Allocation choices can make your life turn out to be very different from what you intended.  Sometimes that's good: Opportunities that you never planned for emerge.  But if you don't invest your resources wisely, the outcome can be bad...When people with a high need for achievement have an extra half hour of time or an extra ounce of energy, they'll unconsciously allocate it to activities that yield the most tangible accomplishments.  Our careers provide the most concrete evidence that we're moving forward...In contrast, investing time and energy in your relationships with your spouse and children typically doesn't offer that same immediate sense of achievement.  Kids misbehave every day.  It's really not until 20 years down the road that you can say, "I raised a good son or good daughter....People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and overinvest in their careers, even though intimate and loving family relationships are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness...Families have cultures, just as companies do.  Those cultures can be built consciously or evolve inadvertently."
"The Bottom Line on Happiness", Clayton M. Christensen, Readers Digest, February 2011


I am very often driven by the tangible; a meal cooked, a house cleaned, a party planned, an e-mail sent are ways of "checking off boxes".  Playing in the floor with a sweet boy?  That is something that doesn't check an immediate task of the to-do list, and as much as I enjoy that time on the floor, my driven personality often sits on my shoulder, telling me to "get busy".  I almost feel guilty when I'm on the floor, teaching him to fit the circle in the round hole and play peek-a-boo.  I keep repeating this verse to myself, reminding myself that I am investing my time wisely in something far more important than a clean house or a prepared meal, though those are important.  I just want to be conscious of my decisions.  It's important that Steven and I think about what we want in our marriage, family and lives...and then make day-by-day decisions to meet those goals.  Especially when the goals are as broad and far-reaching as those we have for Carter and our family at large.


One of the blogs I read, Letters to Ames, wrote a piece about mothering that included this same thought.  I loved this portion, especially:



"In the heat of the moment, though, my mind tries its best to take me to a dark place. I become bitter and resentful and frustrated all too easily. It's during those moments that I reference a verse from Nehemiah, a lesson about which I learned from Andy Stanley. Nehemiah was responsible for rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, a city very important to the people of God. Time and time again, his enemies tried to get him to stop. They used every trick & distraction they could think of, but it didn't work. Nehemiah simply said, "I am doing a great work, and I cannot come down."

There are so many other things trying their best to work their way into my heart and distract me right now - things to buy, places to visit, projects to start, more things to buy. But right now? Right now, I'm a mother to five children, three of whom are extremely needy. Right now, I am a mother who works full-time and prepares boring meals. Right now, I am a mother who doesn't make her bed very often, or even shave her legs very often. I am a mother who misses a lot of things, a mother who longs for those things & more. But right now?

I am doing a great work.
I cannot come down."



I keep repeating that refrain from Nehemiah to myself as I invest my time in Carter.  I keep repeating that to myself when I am tired and would rather just tuck myself in for the night.  I keep repeating that to myself when I am making decisions on how to use my day. 

We are called to not be "foolish"...which means "without reason" or just "without reflection"...acting rashly.  Really, repeating what was written above. Making decisions with no real reasoning or purpose.  To use the "church word" these days...We are called to act "intentionally".



foolish: G878 ἄφρων aphrōn
Thayer Definition:
1) without reason
2) senseless, foolish, stupid
3) without reflection or intelligence, acting rashly
Part of Speech: adjective


Not as fools, who walk at all adventures, and who have no understanding of their duty, nor of the worth of their souls, and through neglect, supineness, and want of care, fall into sin, and destroy themselves; but as wise, as persons taught of God and endued with wisdom from above. -Henry

Steven and I have been reading Jesus Calling before supper every night we remember (let's be real) and it's been refreshing and so...spot on.  I guess things led by the Spirit have that tendency.  This was a portion of the reading on August 10th and what turned my heart toward this verse for this week:

"Energy and time are precious, limited entities.  Therefore, you need to use them wisely, focusing on what is truly important.  As you walk close to Me, saturating your mind with Scripture, I will show you how to spend your time and energy."  -Jesus Calling, Sarah Young

Whew.

I know these are long posts.  And I know my mother and grandmother are most likely the only people who read the whole thing.  I wonder if Carter will even read the whole thing when he gets older.  But...this blog has become as much of a journal to me as it is a way to help keep friends and family updated on Carter.  And it's...for me.  So I will not apologize for the length or content...but if you made it all the way to this point.  Thank you.  Mama and Grandma :)

This week's verse:

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3


Happy Monday.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

First steps

video
Carter took his first steps yesterday!  I was writing our little meal plan for the week on the chalkboard while Carter played with the letter magnets on the front.  He wanted my chalk, and he took about 3 steps before he got to me and I realized he had not been holding on to anything.  Then, I held out my cell phone in front of him a bit later (with Kyle as my witness!) and he took SIX steps!  By the time Steven got home and I was able to show him, he was incredulous that I had not been videoing!  At this point, Carter was getting a little tired of the whole game and only mustered up three steps for the video.  But they are steps.  I can't believe it...but they are steps.

He's going to be zipping around before I know it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

"Daddy"

Carter definitely starting saying "Dada" yesterday...he's been using that sound for awhile, but he was referring to Steven when he said it yesterday.

That pretty much made for a happy, happy man :)

Carter is also saying "uhoh" a lot when he drops things or throws them on the ground.  I'm pretty sure he thinks "uhoh" means, "I just did something fun!"

:)

Happy Friday.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A boy and his ball

video

This is one of Carter's new favorite things to do.  He LOVES picking up this ball and throwing it.  He loves to follow it and do it over and over.  Though sometimes, as seen above, his plan is foiled by launching himself toward the ball and completely missing it :)

And yes, the dog is in the background trying to find any supper remnants from Carter's high chair.

*sigh*

It's one of her new favorite things to do.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Helmet Head

Sometimes, you just need a helmet on when you play.
with your button up shirt.
and no pants.
It's the wardrobe of an 11 month old at play.





Monday, August 22, 2011

Memorization Monday: 8-22-11

1Jn 4:12  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

one another: G240 ἀλλήλων allēlōn
Thayer Definition:
1) one another, reciprocally, mutually
Part of Speech: pronoun plural reciprocal

abides: G3306 μένω menō
Thayer Definition:
1) to remain, abide
1a) in reference to place
1a1) to sojourn, tarry
1a2) not to depart
1a2a) to continue to be present
1a2b) to be held, kept, continually
1b) in reference to time
1b1) to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure
1b1a) of persons, to survive, live
1c) in reference to state or condition
1c1) to remain as one, not to become another or different
2) to wait for, await one
Part of Speech: verb

love: G26 ἀγάπη agapē (the good kind :))
Thayer Definition:
1) brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence
2) love feasts
Part of Speech: noun feminine

perfected: G5048 τελειόω teleioō
Thayer Definition:
1) to make perfect, complete
1a) to carry through completely, to accomplish, finish, bring to an end
2) to complete (perfect)
2a) add what is yet wanting in order to render a thing full
2b) to be found perfect
3) to bring to the end (goal) proposed
4) to accomplish
4a) bring to a close or fulfilment by event
4a1) of the prophecies of the scriptures
Part of Speech: verb

Gill: "...the sense is, that whereas God is invisible in his nature, and incomprehensible in his being and perfections, so that there is no coming to him, and seeing of him, and conversing with him in a familiar way, and so not of loving him as he is in himself, and ought to be loved, as one friend sees, converses with, and loves another, and finds his love increased by sight and conversation; then we ought to love the saints and people of God, who are visible, may be seen, come at, and conversed with..." 

We love God...by loving Him inside the people around us.  We hug him by hugging our brothers and sisters.  We serve Him by serving our neighbor.  We hurt Him...when we hurt those near us.  

Obviously, no one would argue that God's love is perfect without us.  He doesn't need our particpation to have the most perfect, faithful, and abounding love.  However, the word perfected seems to suggest completion and full accomplishment.  In other words, when God's love grows into our hearts and flows out of our lives, it's almost like a new creation.  God's love has created new life in our dead hearts...an ability to love like He does (did you notice the type of love the author uses...agapē, the type of love our Father feels for us.)  He fills us with His heart...and that creation fully accomplishes the most perfect love.

We will not, in this life, be able to completely understand God because His dimensions are just too much for our minds.  But...we can see Him, touch Him, feel His heart...when we love one another.

Whew.

This week's verse: 

Ephesians 5:15-17
"15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."

I am specifically praying that I will be more intentional about seeking the Lord's will in how I manage my time...that I will honor Him with the way I seek His will in the minutes of my day.  I am typically a pretty good "time manager", but I want to be sure I am seeking His purposes with even my small minutes and what I choose to give priority...trusting that God will show me His will...and how to seek that which is important to Him in all things.


Happy Monday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Henry and Carter

stair climbing is his favorite.  no worries...I was cropped out of the shot and made Steven count to 3 so my hand would only be away for the picture!

Just look at those sweet cheeks!

 He was very concerned at first about Aunt Teri Lee's attempts to make him laugh...

 ...but he came around! :)

 Touching "gently" :)

 They're going to have so much fun together!

 You can't see it very well here...but they are holding hands :)

 laughing at silly Carter :)

 kisses for Henry

secrets :)


 just look at those hands and little pouty lips :)

 woke up to watch some TV with Andi

 little old man :)

still trying to figure out that TV!



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Mama"

Carter says...a lot.

But he hasn't really attached any meaning to his random jabbering.  Although, he does prefer you to look at him and act like you're listening carefully to every word.  Please and thank you.

I have no idea where he would get that from!

Anyway.

This weekend, he totally said "Mama"...while pulling on my jeans for me to pick him up.  Then some more when I asked him to say it. 

I have witnesses people.

Mama.  First word.  Confirmed.

:)

All my indoctrination while we are home together all day worked ;)  And now I prompt him to repeat it all day long 'cause I just can't get enough.  I know the day will come when I wish he would take a ten minute break from saying "Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaama!" all. day. long.

But that day is not today.

Put it on repeat, baby boy.  I can't get enough.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Memorization Monday: 8-15-11


1Jn 4:9  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
1Jn 4:10  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 
1Jn 4:11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 
*bolded words are the ones that correspond to the definitions below

manifest: G5319 φανερόω phaneroō
Thayer Definition:
1) to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way
1a) make actual and visible, realised
1b) to make known by teaching
1c) to become manifest, be made known
1d) of a person
1d1) expose to view, make manifest, to show one’s self, appear
1e) to become known, to be plainly recognised, thoroughly understood
1e1) who and what one is
Part of Speech: verb

live: G2198 ζάω zaō
Thayer Definition:
1) to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)
2) to enjoy real life
2a) to have true life and worthy of the name
2b) active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God
3) to live, i.e. pass life, in the manner of the living and acting
3a) of mortals or character
4) living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul
5) metaphorically to be in full vigour
5a) to be fresh, strong, efficient
5b) as adjective active, powerful, efficacious
Part of Speech: verb

propitation G2434 ἱλασμός hilasmos hil-as-mos'
atonement, that is, (concretely) an expiator: - propitiation.

ought: G3784 ὀφείλω, ὀφειλέωopheilō  opheileō of-i'-lo, of-i-leh'-o
Including its prolonged form (second form) used in certain tenses. Probably from the base of G3786 (through the idea of accruing); to owe (pecuniarily); figuratively to be under obligation (ought, must, should); morally to fail in duty: - behove, be bound, (be) debt (-or), (be) due (-ty), be guilty (indebted), (must) need (-s), ought, owe, should. See also G3785.

What is love?

It's one of those "hard to define," "means a lot of different things to a lot of different people" type words.  It's a word used to describe something we feel...a choice we make that does always make sense even inside us.  How then can we define it?

God did.  He showed us what love looked like when He put us before Himself...when He didn't have to.  He was under no obligation to give us anything but justice, and He sent a part of Himself to pay our punishment.  It's completely astounding.  I understand why the word love that is used to describe the way God loves us is typically a different word altogether than the one that is used to describe the way we love.  I hardly ever love like that.  And I don't know that I ever do it with a pure motive.

And because of this unbelievable love, we can love through Him.  He is a channel by which we have access to grace, love, and joy that we are not born with.  Because of this, we "ought" or we "owe it" to Him (not that we could ever begin to repay Him) to love one another.

In this, we truly live.  We live the way we were always meant to.

It reminds me of one of those marked moments from my childhood.  One of those times that sticks with you forever.  A moment that changes you.

When I was little, Travis and I really got along well.  We were good compliments for each other, enjoyed playing the same kind of things, and liked each other in general.  But of course, there were times when are little sinful hearts wanted our own way.  I'm not sure what we were doing, but one morning we were playing together in the garage and I hit Travis for doing something or other that really made me mad.  At that moment, Daddy walked into the garage.

Blast it.

He was always calm when we were in trouble...which was just as scary as the punishment sometimes.  He came over to us, clearly upset.  He asked for the details, and realizing that there was no real conflict other than me just getting ticked and decking my brother, knelt down in front of me.  He asked me to straighten my hand out and make it completely stiff.  He pressed my fingers together and made me make it as hard as I could.  To my complete horror, he then lifted and swung it as hard as he could at his own face, striking himself on the cheek with my stiffened hand.  I will never forget the way my stomach felt, the sting on my hand, and the hot tears in my eyes.  It was the worst spanking I never got.

I cried so hard.  I loved my daddy so much, and seeing the red mark on his cheek from my hand shook me to the core.  My stomach was so tight I felt like I might throw up.  He held my hand then and told me that the way my hand felt on his cheek was nothing compared to the way it felt when he saw Travis get hurt.  Travis was his only son.  An image of him.  He loved Travis more than any other little boy on this world and would do anything to protect him from harm.  He told me that there would be times in life when people would put Travis down, hurt his feelings, and maybe even hurt him physically...but itwouldn't be here.  It wouldn't be at our house with the people who loved him most.

Then, knowing that no conflict is one sided, Daddy took Travis' hand and repeated the same strike and discussion about his love from me as his daughter.  Travis was just as shaken.

I won't say we never hurt each other again, but things certainly changed that day.  Because of Daddy's love for Travis, I saw my brother in a different light.  I saw him not just as my little brother, but as my Daddy's little boy.  One who had been anticipated, loved, and one who brought pride and joy to my Daddy's eyes.  It changed the way I felt about Travis.

I want to see the people around me through my Savior's eyes.  I don't want to try to summon up some love based on the way they treat me or what I can get from them, but based on the way Jesus feels about them.  His beloved children.  The lambs He carries.  The redeemed He has saved.  In this love, I will learn to live as Christ always intended.  These words I am know carrying in my heart add a weight and a lightness to my soul that I cannot describe.  I am really learning the difference between knowing about a verse...and studying it until it pierces your soul.

I am going to keep working on memorzing these verses and add verse 12 because it just completes the thought, and I want to have the full context in my heart.

Then I really will move to the next verse I have my eye on.  :)

Happy Monday...

Friday, August 12, 2011

About a Million

One of my favorite things about being a stay at home mom is that summer isn't over this week.  I always hated that we were packing our school supplies when it was still a million degrees outside, there was still produce in the garden and thunderstorms still rolled in the afternoons.  All those things meant it was SUMMER...not time for fall, apple picking, warm clothes, and least of all school.

And I loved school.  And fall.

So...rock on summer.  Carter and I are soaking you up.

Carter and I have harvested about a million tomatoes (Note: "about a million" is my standard number denoting any large amount that I have been to lazy to get an exact count...used often in my verbiage to express "a lot" in a slightly exaggerated way) this week.  I've made two quarts of salsa and two quarts of fresh tomato sauce for the freezer (see, I can count..whew.) and have, with the help of copious amounts of tomatoes sliced on homemade rosemary bread (yumm, yumm, yumm) have let nary a tomato go to waste.

Again...relief.  There is nothing I hate more than food waste.  I have no idea why I have such a problem with it..but I can't stand to throw food away.  Even peelings and cores have to go in the compost or I just get twitchy about it.  My cucumbers are trickling in now..mostly finished, and my green bell pepper seems to be finished producing after a stunning two peppers.  Wow...blow me away little pepper plant.  My swish chard is doing really well...and my one carrot that germinated (stinker) is about ready to pull.  I think.  Not that I can really tell.  I think my sweet potatoes will be done at the end of the month.  And I'm pretty sure, if things go as I hope, I will have "about a million" of those.  Which is amazing..because I can eat 'em three times a day.  My little herbs are about finished, though my rosemary is still looking good and I hope to save my oregano plant for next year.  I also have some seedlings on top of my fridge (no sunlight or water until they germinate...or so Google says) for a fall planting.  I'm going to be a little late, but I hope I'll still have a good showing.  Based on my experience these last two years and more research online, I am hoping to really do things well next year.  I even have a little plan in a notebook.  Of course.  Because if I'm going to do anything in life it must involve a plan.  In a notebook.  And on my Blackberry.  Just in case.

Fall planting will hopefully involve some more basil and oregano, spinach (tons of blessed spinach...poor, poor Steven...I am like Popeye in my ardent love for spinach) lettuce, carrots, and rainbow chard.  We'll see what comes of it :)

Since this was actually not intended to be a gardening blog, Carter is also popping some teeth out.  Sloooooooowly.  He has the slowest growing teeth I've ever seen.  (Which isn't actually saying much.)  His top left tooth is through the skin (whew!) and moving slowly along...and I think the top right one might be next.  It's hard to tell.  He doesn't love my "which teeth are coming in exams".  He is trying to figure out if he likes kissing or biting with these new teeth.  We are, of course, saying "no" very firmly and pulling away like he just amputated our appendage when he does chomp down, but he is still testing.  Which is actually his new hobby...testing.  We've started being more firm about his crazy acrobatics on the changing table...and his tossing of his plate when he is finished eating....or bored.  He gets his feelings so hurt when we say no (and/or pop that chubby thigh if necessary) but then does it on a smaller to scale to see if that's acceptable.  We hold our breath and refuse to look at one another to keep from laughing.  He just wants to know how much he can get away with.  He flipped his plate full of food over the other night...and after getting in trouble, tapped it with his finger while giving me "the eye" to monitor my reaction.  I gave him "the eye" back, and he backed down and ate.  I turned and asked Steven, "When is he going to stop testing (meaning this particular issue) us?"

"Never."  Steven responded.

Ah, right.  Thanks for those encouraging words.

But he's right.  We all still test to see just how much we can get away with, don't we.  And he's a little sinner...not yet redeemed from the hold of sin.  Oh little boy...we've got some battles yet to fight, don't we?  Because while it's cute now...it's not really.  You are learning to submit to higher authority.  Ahh...it's never just about the plate flipping, is it?

Though he's on to matters of right and wrong, Carter is not all "testing limits" and "getting popped" :)  He's totally all about hugs...like launching into your arms, burying his face in your neck and slathering it with kisses kind of hugs.  Oh. My. Gosh.  It makes my heart actually, physically flutter.


He loves to go out to the garden with me in the sling and help "pick" tomatoes.  He loves to play chase and use his dino to zoom around the house, barely with enough balance to prevent a face plant.  He LOVES to dance (We have videoed this, but I can't post until we have a better one.  Seriously, I have some small amount of pride left that can't quite handle my ridiculous moves on camera on the internet.  Any of my high school cheerleading team out there?  They can attest to my "funky" moves that are the kind of funky kindred to a teenage boy laundry hamper)  He is still pretty shy around new people...and by new, I mean anyone outside our little family of three and a handful of other people.  I wonder if this is a phase or just his personality.  Maybe he'll be more like Steven in this.  More like his Daddy?  I'll take it.

I love that guy :)

So the last little Carter tidbit?  When we're reading before nap/bed...Carter is occasionally just knocking the book down and turning right on his side in my arms and looking at me with these little eyes that seem to say, "Enough with the books Mama...rock me and let's do this thing."  Cracks me up.  So I rock him.  I look at his pudgy little baby self and try to soak in every single second.  I keep myself from looking in his eyes..because doing so makes him crack up...which makes me crack up...which prevents sleep.  When his eyes stay closed, I lay him down.  He usually doesn't cry at all anymore...just rolls over with his little lamb and sleeps.  He's sleeping all night still....although he does usually wake up once and cry for a little less than a minute before sleeping again.  I don't know why.

But I LOVE sleeping through the night.  Oh yes I do :)

We've pretty much finished out our summer travels and have several weeks with not much on the books.  It's a nice change of pace, and a welcome "lull of routine" to enjoy these dog days of summer.  As the second year rolls by without buying supplies, decorating a classroom and getting ready to greet students, I know even more than I am right where I want to/need to/ love to be.

There's "about a million" things I love about my job now :) 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A game of chase with one who loves to be caught

video
Carter loves for his daddy to chase him around the house.  
Steven loves to hear that giggle.  

I love nights with my boys.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Nashville

Steven, Carter and I got to Nashville this weekend with Rique and Sarah to meet our new nephew Elliot :)




 He sure loves to cuddle :)  And I love that little round belly :)

 Elsie trying to get in on the photo shoot action.
Greg...being Greg :)


Keeping his feet warm in the sweet slippers from Uncle Rique and Aunt Sarah

 Elliot has perfect "Nashville rocker" hair

 See what I mean? :)

 Because he couldn't get left out of a Wordless Wednesday!

Leaping into my arms for another hug and kiss.  Yes, yes, yes.

The whole gang with our new boys :)  And proof that Morgan and Steven were indeed present for the weekend.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Memorization Monday: 8-8-11

So I'm still working on this passage this week:


"7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."

1 John 4:7-11

It is tempting to want to rush and try to memorize and study quickly.  Well, it's tempting for Type-A people like me.  It's not like I have a Bible drill I have to report to or an event coming up during which I will be required to recite this verse aloud before the multitudes.  I am better to learn it well than learn it quickly.  So this past week I only worked on verse 7 and 8.  The order of the words got me all scrambled.  It's so easy, conceptually, but I kept getting the phrases out of order, I think, because they are so similar.  But I learned some pretty amazing stuff.

As I studied through each word, I had to stop with the first one: Beloved.  

Beloved: G27
ἀγαπητός
agapētos

Thayer Definition:
1) beloved, esteemed, dear, favourite, worthy of love
Part of Speech: adjective

To learn to love, I have to understand completely that I am loved.  I am esteemed.  I am worthy of love.  I always know this cognitively.  I think my heart even always feels it.  But there are times that I don't act like I am loved.  I put myself first in fear that others aren't going to care for me.  I talk about myself hoping that others will be convinced of the good in me.  I get so busy with myself, I can't even see what others need to love them.  

To love...I have to know that I am Beloved.

The two verses that I worked with use two forms of the word love:
love: G25
ἀγαπάω
agap
Thayer Definition:
1) of persons
1a) to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly
2) of things
2a) to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing
Part of Speech: verb

love: G26
ἀγάπη
agapē
Thayer Definition:
1) brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence
2) love feasts
Part of Speech: noun feminine

I found this helpful explanation here:
"Agapaō is an exercise of the will, a deliberate choice.  Agapaō is defined as To esteem, love, indicating a direction of the will and finding one’s joy in something or someone.” (Complete Word Study Dictionary).

But I say to you, Love (agapaō) your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44 (ESV)

God is not instructing us to have feelings of affection for our enemies like we would towards family or friends.  It is a moral or ethical love, a duty that God commands His children to observe.  He is commanding an outward expression, not an inward expression of feeling. 

Contrast that with agapē which means “Love, affectionate regard, goodwill, benevolence. With reference to God’s love, it is God’s willful direction toward man. It involves God doing what He knows is best for man and not necessarily what man desires.” (Complete Word Study Dictionary).  This word is found 117 times in the New Testament.  This type of love is seen here:
  • Greater love (agapē) has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 (ESV)

So...knowing that, look at the verse (note: G25 is agapaō (love as a choice) and G26 is agapē (love that you feel emotionally in your heart and the way God loves us):

 1Jn 4:7  Beloved,let us loveG25 one another: for loveG26 is of God; and every one that lovethG25 is born of God, and knoweth God.
1Jn 4:8  He that lovethG25 not knoweth not God; for  is love.G26 

We are commanded to make a choice to love each other with the love that is in us by the Spirit of God...who loves with a love that involves "willful direction" and "loving affection".

The point of all of that is....we can't love that way.  We can't perfectly choose to love each other the way God loves us.  

But God.

But God put His Spirit inside us.  And His Spirit is the perfect love.  He is all types of love, complete love... and it is inside us to give to others.  That's what the second part of this means.  Without grace, we could not love the way that is complete.  We could love, but it would not be what He meant for us to share.  

But with Him, we can love one another in a way that gives us a glimpse of the way God feels about us.

And I am so grateful for that.

I know I've probably lost most of you by now.  Waaaaayyyyy to heavy on the word study.  But I must, must, must write one more thing.  

The word "from".
"for love is from God"

G1537
ἐκ  /  ἐξ
ek  /  ex
Thayer Definition:
1) out of, from, by, away from
Part of Speech: preposition
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: a primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence action or motion proceeds), from, out (of place, time, or cause; literal or figurative

We don't have to summon love up.  The point of origin...our love in motion begins with our God.  It flows into us freely and can be given the same way.

From a commentary by Gill:
"This (talking about the way we love when we know God and the way we love when we do not) is not the cause of passing from death to life, but the effect of it, and so an evidence of it, or that by which it is known; brotherly love being what the saints are taught of God in regeneration, and is a fruit of the Spirit of God, and is what true faith works by, and is what shows itself as soon as anything in a regenerate man; nor can anyone love the saints, as such, as brethren in Christ, unless he is born again; a man may indeed love a saint, as a natural relative, as a good neighbour, and because he has done him some good offices, and because of some excellent qualities in him, as a man of learning, sense, candour, civility, &c. though he has not the grace of God; but to love him as a child of God, a member of Christ, and because he has his image stamped on him, no man can do this, unless he has received the grace of God; so that this is a certain evidence of it" 

Those who aren't saved can love others...but to love the way the family of Christ loves one another...that takes grace.  Which also means to me that we can love one another in a simple way that doesn't necessarily represent God...without His grace.  We can be lured into the thinking that we are loving one another when we are just caring for each other the way the lost care for each other.  To love each other the way the brethren of Christ should, we require grace.  If love is easy, it is probably not the love this passage is referring to.  If we love the way we did when we were lost or the way the lost love, we are not loving the way we are called to.


What I've learned this week?

I can love pretty easily the way the world loves, with affection that drops if my will changes...loving those who love me or serve me.

To love the way Christ commands me to love requires grace.  If my love for others seems easy and looks like the love I see "in the world", I'm probably not loving the way I've been commanded.

Whew.  I'm sorry for the complex word study here today.  Well.  No, I really enjoy it...and it taught me a lot. And blogs are perfect because if the reader gets bored, they can just close the window.  

My thought is that I will probably work on verse 9-10 this week, and finish 11-12 the next.  May we love one another with the grace of the Spirit in our hearts.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

video
Carter "fake coughs" for attention now.  When we're busy, we often hear a little "ahem, ahem" in the background....when we "fake cough" back, his whole face lights up.

It's not talking, but it's enough "we understand each other" to make us all happy :)

Of course, once we pulled the camera out, it was time to get OUT of that high chair :)

Steven took a whole series of pictures...but the best ones (lighting, sharpness of focus, etc.) were crying pictures!  He is really a happy kiddo these days...but apparently not at this moment! PS: The hair was all Steven's doing.  I think that's why Carter was crying ;)




There...Daddy's tape measure made it better!  (PS: Thank you Kelly, for letting us borrow this super cute shirt!)