Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Samuel Beckett Castillo

When I was pregnant with Carter, we had two names picked out from before we were even pregnant. The minute the ultrasound tech told us it was a boy, we started calling him, "Carter."  With this baby, we still had our girl name but no boy names.

It took us awhile...but we have one!  Trying to find something meaningful, thoughtful, strong...and for goodness sake, easy to spell and say, isn't easy.  I didn't want our boys to grow up spelling and re-pronouncing their names their whole life.  (Yes, I love my name.  Yes I married into a more complicated name for English-speakers to deal with.  Yes, I now have 14 characters of total confusion to explain, spell, and re-explain in response to, "Can I get your name, please?")

The morning I found out I was pregnant, I immediately thought of Samuel and Hannah.  The delight I felt...the desire for my sweet baby to grow up in the way of the Lord...the way we had asked God to give us a baby and were granted our request...I sat down moments after I found out this sweet baby was on the way and read and re-read the story...and wrote this.  Once we found out we were definitely having a boy, Samuel stayed on our lists of favorites.  Steven found the middle name Beckett...and it was a perfect fit.

Samuel..."asked of God."  We pray our sweet boy will share many of the characteristics of the Samuel we read of in the Bible.  We pray he will do the work of the Lord, that he will listen and hear the voice of God, and that he will lead others in the way of God's will.

Sweet Samuel...we are so excited to meet you!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Memorization Monday: 1-30-12

***I know this looks like a lot...but please bear with me...there is good fruit here!

Philippians 1:9-11

"And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."

aboundG4052 περισσεύω perisseuō per-is-syoo'-o
From G4053; to superabound (in quantity or quality), be in excess, be superfluous; also (transitively) to cause to superabound or excel: - (make, more) abound, (have, have more) abundance, (be more) abundant, be the better, enough and to spare, exceed, excel, increase, be left, redound, remain (over and above).

I am praying that my love for those around me will begin to not just be adequate, but will overflow and be superfluous.  The way I love Carter, the way I love Steven...the way I love my family...I feel like I can't do enough, say enough, show enough the way I feel about them.  If I see others...all others...through the eyes of Christ, I will love the people around me with this overflowing love.  I'm looking at you, lady in Wal-Mart who talks too loudly.  I'm looking at you, man who slams the door as I face it with a toddler and bags in hand.  I'm looking at you, man with sad eyes and hardened heart on the side of the road.  I'm looking at you, single mom who can't get the ends of your mind, finances, or heart to meet.  

knowledge: G1922 ἐπίγνωσις epignōsis
Thayer Definition:
1) precise and correct knowledge
1a) used in the NT of the knowledge of things ethical and divine
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G1921

G1921 ἐπιγινώσκω epiginōskō
Thayer Definition:
1) to become thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly
1a) to know accurately, know well
2) to know
2a) to recognise

discernment: G144 αἴσθησις aisthēsis
Thayer Definition:
1) perception, not only by the senses but by the intellect
2) cognition, discernment
2a) of moral discernment in ethical matters

But how?  I know Steven's heart.  I know what makes him feel valued and respected.  I know what delights him.  But lady in the check-out line behind me who is stressed all the way out?  Man on the side of the road with the sign and sad eyes?  I don't know how to love you.  I don't know what is best for you.  I am praying this prayer over myself again and again.  The book I read by Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted had a great quote (and by "a great quote", I mean a million...I would like to plagiarize the whole book): "In the Word, poverty, widows, hunger- these are not metaphors.  There are billions of lambs that need to literally be fed.  With food."  That resonated with my heart.  I have been really seeking and searching lately about what it means to meet the real, physical needs of the marginalized in my community.  But I also know it's more complicated than riding around with a food pantry in my minivan passing around food left and right.  To be meaningful, help has to be...well...helpful. It is stupid to pass out blankets to the homeless of Mobile, AL in July.  It is ridiculous to pass out canned goods to the homeless in Philly with no can openers or pots.  It is dumb to give a needy mom a bunch of clothes for her kids that DON'T FIT.  To know needs, you have to know people.  To know people well, you have to have knowledge and discernment.  I love the definition of knowledge used here by Thayer: to have precise and correct knowledge that is both ethical and divine.  And to have discernment that is perception not only by the senses, but by the intellect.  In other words, this isn't going to one dimensional.  I can't read books, pray, or just go impulsively try to find the marginalized and meet needs.  All these have to work together for my love to abound with knowledge and discernment.

approveG1381 δοκιμάζω dokimazō
Thayer Definition:
1) to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals
2) to recognise as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy

pure: G1506 εἰλικρινής eilikrinēs
Thayer Definition:
1) pure, sincere, unsullied
2) found pure when unfolded and examined by the sun’s light

blameless: G677 ἀπρόσκοπος aproskopos
Thayer Definition:
1) having nothing to strike against, not causing to stumble
1a) of a smooth road
1b) metaphorically of not leading others to sin by one’s mode of life
2) not striking against or stumbling
2a) metaphorically not led into sin, blameless
3) without offense, not troubled by a consciousness of sin

For fear of losing every single reader I may still have at this point...I will keep this short but...if I am not motivated by the love of Christ...if my motives are to make myself feel better, be a good example for Carter, or to check off some list I'm made up, I might as well just quit.  When I test my motives....I pray that they are found pure...as if they are being opened up and examined in the brightest light of the sun.  If I am not serving those around me...marginalized or not, as I would serve Christ Himself, I am not serving with right motive.  This is not guilt-inducing...but is reason to search my heart.

filled: G4137 πληρόω plēroō
Thayer Definition:
1) to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full
1a) to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally
1a1) I abound, I am liberally supplied

fruit: G2590
Thayer Definition:
1) fruit
1a) the fruit of the trees, vines, of the fields
1b) the fruit of one’s loins, i.e. his progeny, his posterity
2) that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result

righteousness: G1343δικαιοσύνηdikaiosunē
Thayer Definition:
1) in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God

through: G1223 διά dia dee-ah'
A primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; through (in very wide applications, local, causal or occasional). In composition it retains the same general import: - after, always, among, at, to avoid, because of (that), briefly, by, for (cause)

On my own, I cannot love like this.  I cannot figure out what my place is among the hurting of this world.  I will never bear fruit, and I certainly would never be able to be "as he ought to be, righteous, acceptable to God."  But...through Jesus Christ, I am all of these things.  Through Jesus Christ, I am redeemed and able to do the work of God.  Through Jesus Christ, I can have knowledge and discernment that leads to love that abounds and abounds.  Through Jesus Christ.

Next week's verse: 

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."

2 Peter 3:18

**Apparently memorizing prayers from the Bible are my new thing.  Especially short ones :)  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Memorization Monday: 1-23-12

"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper, I will not fear; what can man do to me?'"  Hebrews 13:5-6

The first part of this verse is literally translated;
Let your conversationG5158 be without covetousness;

Easton: Conversation
Generally the goings out and in of social intercourse (Eph 2:3; Eph_:22; R.V., “manner of life”); one's deportment or course of life. This word is never used in Scripture in the sense of verbal communication from one to another (Psa_50:23; Heb_13:5).

So...may the way of my life not be characterized by a love of money.  May I not make decisions based on consuming as much as I want and hoarding the rest.  May my life be characterized by much more than a love for that which will waste away.

content: G714 ἀρκέω arkeō
Thayer Definition:
1) to be possessed of unfailing strength
1a) to be strong, to suffice, to be enough
1a1) to defend, ward off
1b) to be satisfied, to be contented

To be content has to do with strength...and unfailing strength only comes from the Lord.  I don't have to summon up the ability and self-control to deny myself everything in Target.  My first job is to seek Christ with all my heart, and my satisfaction in Him...my contentedness will fill me with the strength it takes to deny self of things I don't need.

never: G3364 οὐ μή ou mē oo may
That is, G3756 and G3361; a double negative strengthening the denial; not at all: - any more, at all, by any (no) means, neither, never, no (at all), in no case (wise), nor ever, not (at all, in any wise). 

When I am determining how to spend my money, God is not standing over me in judgement.  He is in me, reminding me that the things I can buy with money will not fulfill me.  He is filling me with satisfaction in Him that leaves me so full, it would be gluttonous to feast on anything else.  In contrast, He will never leave or forsake me.  It is not that God has given me financial freedom, the truth is that I am free because of the identity He has given me.  I do not have to depend on what we have or don't have to fulfill me, because I am totally fulfilled and kept in Christ Jesus.

I was blessed with parents who were very wise and discerning with money.  I learned from a young age to spend less than I had and how to manage funds.  My parents intentionally taught me to budget my giving me small amounts of money each month to buy clothing for myself, teaching me to save for big purchases and limit my small purchases.  I learned to shop for deals and to restrict myself because I knew that they weren't going to bail me out or fund a large purchase that I had not had the foresight to save for.  As we grew, Travis and I received more and more financial responsibility until we moved out and were on our own.  For us, it was almost a natural extension...a simple last step of financial freedom and responsibility.  By then, I was totally comfortable with budgeting and handling money.  This has been a gift not only to me, but to my marriage.  I am forever grateful my parents took the time to not just live by example, but to teach us explicitly how to handle finances responsibly.  

The Spirit, however, has trained me even more deeply.  Knowing how to manage money isn't enough.  Having the right view of money comes from the Holy Spirit.  I have to be deeply rooted in my identity in Christ to not crave more clothes, different food, fun experiences, new gadgets, more...stuff that costs more money and causes more tension.  There is nothing inherently wrong with things.  But when I become an over-stuffed consumer on goods, I am not trusting Christ as my identity...I am trusting my things.  I have been there and find myself there more often than I care to admit.  Just because I can afford it doesn't mean I should.  To be an effective manager of money, I should simply spend less than I make.  To be a godly manager of my money, I need to be consistently aware that my resources are for His glory and my joy.  He, never things/security/status, are my salvation and joy.

I think my tension comes with leaning on the Spirit when I am not sure about the line dividing, "providing for our family" with my purchases and buying things that are just for comfort and are excessive.  I'm not saying we should feel guilty about every treat...but I am saying, I struggle knowing exactly where the line is for our family.  Entitlement has so permeated our culture that every person feels that they deserve to live at the level of everyone else...which is a relentless, vicious cycle.  Everyone thinks they are the middle class.  There is always someone with more.  Do we need our own rooms in our home?  Do we need to eat meat with every meal? Do we need different clothing to wear every single day...for how long?  None of these things are wrong.  But there are many things I accept as the "norm" for a family that aren't necessarily true.  The tricky thing is that these sort of things are sorted out on an individual basis with the Spirit.  I can't look to another family to know what is "right" for our family.  But I think being content with what we have has a lot less to do with drawing exact lines defining excess and much more to do with have a constant right view of God...which only comes from time with Him.  It's not an easy thing to know the heart of God...it takes time and an openness of our souls.  But when we seek Him...He reveals Himself.

God is teaching, teaching, teaching me about this.  It's like a thought on the tip of my tongue that I can't quite get out.  I know He is slowly uncovering something that will change my worldview...and while I'm glad He's giving it to me in pieces I can understand...I am impatient to see what this means for me.  I have always been a bleeding heart for social justice.  (Which is interesting, since I am, on other issues, one of the least compassionate human beings to have graced this planet.)  I have always had compassion for the "least of these."  But I have always struggled with what to DO.  What will make a lasting difference?  Will this improve quality of life or deepen a cyclical problem.  I read this book a few years ago.  Recently, I read this book and am now reading this one.  Our church is studying Philippians.  Much of what we are learning deals with how the Body functions in Gospel partnerships.  It is uncanny the connections the Spirit is making with my heart about what it means to live sharing everything we have for the Gospel.  And then I'm going to a Ladies' Bible Study where we are continuing a study on the life of Paul...a man who did all things for the sake of the Gospel.

Living so that all things are for the sake of the Gospel...living like I really love my neighbor as myself.  That is different from what I am doing in a literal sense when it comes to my finances, activities, and maybe even perspectives.  It's all tying in together and making me continue to question my motives and decisions.

I feel a little scared, a little excited, and a bit confused about what exactly God is doing in my heart.  But...I know the Lord has promised to never leave nor forsake me...and that He is my helper...

This week, I am memorizing Philippians 1:9-11...a powerful prayer for myself and others.  (When you don't know what to pray...just pray the prayers of Jesus and Paul...)

Philippians 1:9-11

"And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."
**As I seek, I am praying this over myself...that my love for those around me will abound more and more...and that it will abound with the knowledge and discernment necessary to be fruitful.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kicking up the Dust

Baby boy made one of his first milestones today: kicking hard enough that I feel his little feet pattering with my hand.  Now, just to get him to time it right so Daddy and big brother can feel him too!  I'm sure it won't be long! Relishing every moment of this pregnancy, time with Carter, and anticipation for this new life coming!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dear Baby: Little Brother

Dear Baby,

There's something you should know up front.  Things are a little different this time around.  I've only taken two pictures of this pregnancy, and we are halfway to holding you.  I don't know that I've written as much about each doctor's visit and I know I haven't gotten much done on your nursery.  

Things are a little different from when Carter was coming and two parent-to-bes were preparing for their first baby.

But don't fear, sweet one.  You have some perks that Carter didn't.  

We know so much more.  We know already the way it feels to love a baby...and we feel that love only a parent feels for their child already with you.  We didn't even know how to love like that when we were awaiting Carter.  We know better how to prep a nursery that will be an even more useful, cozy spot for you.  We already have blankets and clothes awaiting your arrival.  We know how to whip a diaper on to a newborn in a few seconds, and how to soothe gas/tummy/rash/food intolerance/breastfeeding/sleep issues.  We know how precious every second is.  We know what rules we care about and the ones that we are okay with letting slide in dire situations.  We know how to ask for help.

We've learned to love each other better.  We know how to depend on each other more deeply and how to communicate more effectively.    We know that there are a lot of things you are going to teach us...but you have much more educated parents than Carter had.  You can think of us as Parents: v2.0.  It's a good thing for you dear baby boy.

You also get a big brother.  Did you know I wanted one of those my whole life?  Not that I wanted to replace your Uncle Travis...no way!  I adored him...and I LOVED bossing him around.  You can't do that to a big brother.  But I so wanted a big brother to show me things and teach me.  You get that.  You get a big brother to walk in front of you and lead you into adventure.  And, I know I'm biased...but you have the sweetest, most fun big brother on the planet.  Get ready...you're going to love him so much.  You two are going to have so much fun together.  And?  I am secretly so pumped to fill our house with "boy stuff."  I was such a tomboy as a kid...so throwing footballs, shooting Nerf guns, playing spy games, and building forts...I am already daydreaming.  Can I play, too?

I will probably say this to you a million times when you arrive:
Fair is not everyone getting the same thing.  Fair is everyone getting what they need.

Baby boy, you are a second baby.  There may be less of some things...but there will be a lot more of others.  

And in all things, at all times, there will be more and more and more love than you can imagine.  Of that there is no shortage.

I love you sweet one.

I cannot wait to meet you.

You're halfway to my arms...but you are already deeply in my heart.


PS: We are working on a name.  I promise.   It's coming.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes

Carter is learning his body parts...and will show you when and if he is in the right mood :)

He does got the second mile.  No pointing to the mouth for Carter...no, that finger goes straight on top of the tongue.

"Where is your nose?" should always be posed after, "Where is your mouth?"
Because of the "going the second mile" thing.



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Letters to Carter: Big Brother

Dear Carter,
You are going to have a little brother!  Gosh....it's hard to believe we're halfway to another baby boy joining the house.  You are going to LOVE having another boy around here to boss around and plan adventures for.  I can't predict your personality...but I totally think you're going to have a lot of instructions for this little guy.  I am just praying that you will gain a bit more control of swatting before that defenseless boy comes around.  He will need you to go easy on him at first, little one.  Please?

Big eyes...stuffing your face with Cheerios.
You love Cheerios. 
But nothing like the way you love blueberries.  I have to hide them in the grocery cart, or you go bonkers to have them RIGHT NOW.

You are starting to be quite the big boy, imitating everything we do.  In the tub, you pretend to squirt your shampoo in your hand and then rub it in vigorously.  You hold tissues up to your nose and blow (a direct result of last week's sickness...but unfortunately this also is just pretend...I'd be the luckiest mom on the planet if you'd already figured out nose blowing), stir pots, and throw away your own diapers.  Well...you throw away your own diapers unless you get distracted, in which case you just toss them on the floor and go play.  You are obsessed with using your own fork and spoon.  If we will load it, you can aim it.  Mostly.  Occasionally, you can stab something with your fork, but you are getting to be exceptional and getting whatever is on there in your mouth!

Black Bean Beard

You love to play outside.  You like chasing Maddie, hitting your balls across the yard with your hand, throwing sticks, and picking up rocks.  You like swinging and investigating.  Sometimes you stand at the door, leaning your whole body into the glass, moaning to be let out.  You can almost get your hand around the knob to turn it...we're about to get into a whole new level of baby-proofing before you escape! (Why is it called baby-proofing?  Babies get into nothing.  It's toddlers that need the padded walls and cushioned corners!)

You make me swoon :)

Yes.  The ball falls backward every. single. time.

You love pressing buttons.  Cell phone buttons, remote buttons, and buttons on the elevator.  But nothing beats a button that makes noise.  The washing machine/dryer/dishwasher buttons are certainly your favorite.  You love to help me get those started!  We had to curb your enthusiasm for the dishwasher by removing the knob (thank you Uncle Kyle) so that you can't start/stop/restart/stop/restart/stop the dishwasher all day long.  The engine was going to blow up.  And that's not in the budget.

Another thing that is not in the budget is dog therapy.  We have spent 16 months protecting you from Maddie.  We were careful to introduce you as a person we loved and came before her.  We watched to make sure she didn't lick your face and hands.  We made sure she didn't knock you over or bark at you.  Now?  The tables have turned.  

"Be gentle Carter."

"Gentle hands Carter!"

"Carter, please do not feed that to Maddie!"

"Maddie wants hugs, please...Carter do not hit Maddie again."

"Carter, Maddie was sitting there first."

"Carter, do not throw your supper to Maddie."  --This one Maddie is a fan of.  Unless it's Carrots.  She doesn't like those either.

"Carter, that toy is not for Maddie!"

Umm...sorry Maddie.  Toddlers are a force to be reckoned with.  Now, we are trying to preserve our poor dog's sanity.  Such that it is.  Or was.  


Our first real sickness is over.  I'm aware what a real blessing that is.  I'm aware of the fact that a lot kids don't make it 16 months with no antibiotics, real fevers, or the sleepless/listelessness/lethargy/pitifulness that makes up having a sick baby.  We have been really blessed.  But alas, sweet boy, you had a runny nose that turned into a sinus infection.  Blugh.  You were completely pitiful with your fever, runny nose, and nasty cough.  Thankfully...we're halfway through bubble gum flavored amoxicillan that you think is manna from heaven....and everything seems to be clearing nicely :)

Sick little eyes...wouldn't eat anything except yogurt/banana/peanut butter smoothies.  There is nothing more pitiful than sick babies...though I did enjoy the perk of all the extra rocking I got to do :)

Carter, you are non-stop...you are kissing, hugging, throwing, running, falling, climbing, and talking all. the. time.  You go from one thing you are not supposed to do to another.  You shriek, hit, crawl under things to find your toys, pull out, and press buttons that make noise.  You stand on your tippy toes to reach things you shouldn't have and topple stacks of things placed neatly.  You run like a well-oiled machine that can't even lay still for the 30 seconds it takes to get a clean diaper.

But you still let me rock you to sleep.

You still run up to hug my knees.

You still curl up beside me when you are getting sleepy.

You still curl your hand into my necks when you are tired.

You are a big boy.  But you will always, always, always, always be my baby.  You big brother, you.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Memorization Monday: 1-16-12

"The Lord is gracious and merciful
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."
Psalm 145:8

Merciful: H7349 רחום rachûm
BDB Definition:
1) compassionate
1a) always of God with one possible exception

I am so grateful for promises like this.  Simple, easy to remember...and filled with truth that penetrates my soul that is so "prone to wander".

I am grateful that His mercy is not like mine; nor His patience or love as short-fused as mine can be.

This week I am memorizing: 

"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?

Hebrews 13:5-6

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Nerf Guns, Slingshots, and Legos...that's what little boys are made of

We are so excited!  Carter is going to have a little brother...it's a BOY!  We are blessed that he is as healthy as can be and the pregnancy is advancing normally.  Thank you for your prayers and support.  

Seriously.  How much do I love little boys and all their antics?  I can't wait for the fun we are going to have!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: 2011 in Review














Next week I'll post a picture of our sweet baby boy/girl with the big gender announcement :)

What a wonderful year 2011 was...and how wonderful 2012 will be!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Memorization Monday: 1-2-12

"The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."
Psalm 145:8

I'm starting off the year with a simple and encouraging verse to remind myself of truth when I can't remember. 

 When I get frustrated and feel myself losing trust...I am giving the Holy Spirit this ammunition to speak truth into my heart from truth I have hidden there.

Have a great first week of this brand new year!