One final thought: THIS is WHY we are moving to Savannah - I need someone to help ME!
Thanks for your help!
BUT the week-end was great as my sister Anna, brother-in-law David and nephew Tyson (6 months older than Charlie) arrived late Thursday night. In addition to shopping and just hanging out, we made a trip to Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC. Charlie was thrilled - he pitched a major fit after we left the first three exhibits, apparently not catching on AT ALL that we were off to see more animals. But thankfully, about 20 or so minutes into it, he caught on and was excited to see "more anmals." He is not scared of animals (or much of anything, for that matter) AT ALL so he touched and fed every available creature. He are some of my favorite shots.
Notice my face in this last picture. By this point, I was fed up with giraffe slobber. It was very cool to be be so close to a giraffe (they are HUGE in real life! Look at that head!) but really, we were on our 20th piece of lettuce!
In other news, I'm suddenly feeling very pregnant. Twenty-eight weeks today. Yikes. This one is sneaking up on me! I'm tired, lots of things hurt and bending over to pick things up is a fate worse than death. I don't remember feeling such random pains with Charlie but then again, I didn't do the human pretzel every day to keep up with a wild and crazy 20 month old. That probably has something to do with it.Anyway, by popular demand...a photo, taken last Sunday...Anna, also pregnant, is 20 weeks.
Thanks so my growing mid-section, Charlie has finally realized that something is going on. The other day he randomly looked at me, looked down at my stomach and said "baby." We told him there was a baby in there a few weeks ago and he was like, "um, OK, whatever." But I guess he remembered! Occasionally he'll remember the baby's name and say, "Baby. Eyat!" with a huge smile but most often, it's just "Baby." At least he's getting the memo that something is about to change!
In other news, we (well, me, Ryan has been working like crazy!) have really started looking at houses. For you Savannahians, our top choice at this point is a new house in one of the new neighborhoods in the Isle of Hope area. I'm so excited at the thought, I can barely stand it!
The fabric for Charlie's stocking has been selected, purchased and is ready to be cut and sewn. But it might have to wait until after Turkey day, though that would be putting myself slightly behind my self-imposed holiday schedule. :)
And tonight I turned out a little fold-up crayon pouch for one of Charlie's friends who has a birthday this week. It turned out well and was actually a very encouraging project for me...I've made four of these little guys and the first one nearly pushed me over the edge. I thought it was SO hard and it took me about five hours to cut and sew the fabric...and it didn't even look very good! But this one...the lines are straight and in the right place and the corners are actually squared! Not to mention the fact that I was able to make the thing in a reasonable amount of time. I think I'm making progress! Who knows, by the time we move, I might be ready to sew some curtains...
Soon after returning from that trip, I saw a segment on The Today show entitled, "It’s easy being green! 7 ways to help the planet" and subtitled "Lowering your family’s carbon footprint is simpler than you’d expect" and I was intrigued. Here are the suggestions, from Chip Giller, president of Grist.org:
Day 1: Turn down the heat
Here’s a quick, easy solution that will save money and energy: Turn down your thermostat. Lowering your heat in winter by just 2 degrees can cut your energy bill by 10 percent. Get an automatic or programmable thermostat to make it easy to save on heating; set it to turn down when you’re away from home or sleeping, and to turn back up half an hour before you’ll be up and around.
Day 2: Unplug gadgets
Electronic equipment and appliances suck up energy even when they’re turned off — they’ve even earned the nickname “vampires.” Americans waste $1 billion a year powering items like TVs and DVD players while they’re turned off. So unplug your TV, stereo, computer, microwave and other electronics when you’re not using them — or use a power strip that you keep turned off unless you’re using one of the items. And make sure to unplug your cell phone and MP3 player chargers as soon as the devices are powered up.
Day 3: Wash clothes efficiently
When it comes to laundry, there’s lots of room for savings. Ninety percent of the energy used in clothes washing goes to heat the water, so washing cold is a simple way to cut energy use drastically. Plus, make sure to wash full loads. When it’s time to dry, make sure to check the lint screen before every load, and clean it afterward. And if you want to take efficiency a step further, hang some items and let them air-dry instead of running them through the dryer.
Day 4: Eat less meat
Meat production takes a lot more energy and resources than growing vegetables or grains, and 18 percent of human-generated greenhouse gases come from the livestock industry. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to make a difference in this area: Try skipping meat just one day a week. If every American had one meat-free day per week, it would reduce emissions as much as taking 8 million cars off the roads.
Day 5: Put the brakes on driving
Vehicles consume half of the world’s oil, and spew a quarter of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Leaving your car at home even one day a week can save a lot of gas and emissions over a year. Try walking, biking, car pooling or taking the bus or subway to get where you need to go — or see if you could telecommute to work one day a week. When you do drive, make sure your tires are properly inflated — under-inflated tires can cut your gas mileage by 5 percent.
Day 6: Go green in the home
Pick a small project you can do around the house to cut energy use. Here are a few ideas: Replace six regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs use about one-fifth as much energy as regular bulbs, and last about 12 times longer). Install a low-flow shower head, which will save on water heating and use. Lower the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees and insulate the tank. If you’re feeling ambitious, undertake a home energy audit to identify projects for the future.
Day 7: Write a letter
While it’s true that small changes at home can make a big difference, one of the most important things you can do when it comes to climate and energy is to let business and political leaders know that you care about these issues. Take some time to write a letter to a store, a manufacturer, or your representative to thank them for their good work — or to encourage them to do better. Look at their Web sites for contact info. You don’t have to be an expert on the issues to speak up. And if we all put in our two cents, it will add up to some positive planetary change.
When I look at this list, I realize that in spite of the stereotypes about conservative voters and suburban housewives, I am not such an environmental liability after all! We follow a nearly-vegetarian diet (thanks to my meat aversion), our hot water barely qualifies as hot, our home is an icebox in the winter, I unplug most of our appliances when they are not in use and I only ever wash full loads of clothes. And since I have so much opinion and am prone to fire off letters to almost anyone, Step 7 could become a reality for me any day!
However, I do admit that we could do a better job of caring for the environment and thinking about ways to reduce the impact our carbon footprints. And demonstrating an appropriate level of concern for the environment should be a priority for us as Christians and an opportunity to witness to the world. But don't lose heart...you don't have to switch to all-natural deodorant and toothpaste and start wearing an exclusively-hemp wardrobe to make an impact.
Not that Pat Robertson is my example or political go-to guy by any means, but this is an interesting turn of events: "...there they were Wednesday morning, Robertson endorsing Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, as "an acceptable" Republican "who can win the general election" for president."
And in other news, Sam Brownback publically endorsed John McCain on Wednesday.
Interesting read on this topic:
Who knows if any of this will be significant but I had to share.
and because I have a hard time leaving a friendly fight, I thought I'd respond to his comments...
I agree with you on two points, Glenn. First, I do not think that a single individual can "ruin" our great nation. And like you (and distinct from other Christians, I might add), I am quite optimistic about the future and truly believe that God is reigning and in control. But I digress...Clinton, for example, did not ruin the country. In fact, a couple of good things occurred during his time in office - the Defense of Marriage Act and the 1996 Welfare Reform Act immediately come to mind. HOWEVER, taxes were extremely high (my parents with 6 children living at home on >50K/year had to make monthly payments to the IRS, payments which could have instead been used to help me pay for college or the occasional family vacation) and Clinton did take some shots at home schoolers and the right to home school in general...in addition to sickening me and many others with his personal escapades, not to mention lying to the entire world...
Secondly, I agree with your assessment of the cycles of national politics and it is for this reason that I, until the past few months when Hilary really started pushing ahead in the polls, fully expected and had come to terms with the fact that a Democrat would be elected in '08 as I can certainly understand and in some instances agree with, the country's general level of frustration with the Bush administration.
But my agreement with these two points not change the fact that I do NOT want to pay extremely high taxes to a federal government that does not use my funds for causes in which I believe or support; I don't want an already big government to become even bigger; I don’t want socialized medicine (I’ve had way too much exposure to military medicine!); I don't want liberal activist judges appointed to the Supreme Court; I don't want marriage to be redefined. But even more than that, I do not want Hilary to be my president. While Barack Obama or John Edwards would obviously not be my first choice, I am bitterly opposed to the election of HRC to the White House. First and foremost, she is a socialist and while I agree that she cannot single-handedly turn us into a Socialist nation, I am very uncomfortable with and disturbed by her stance on virtually every issue of substance and her assessment of which issues are THE most important (http://www.hillaryclinton.com/feature/10reasons/?sc=8). I also think she lacks the experience and finesse required to run the most powerful nation in the free world and would be somewhat afraid for our national safety under her administration (not deathly afraid, stockpiling-weapons-and-canned goods-afraid, but still slightly unnerved and on edge about the possibility of future terrorist attacks). And lastly, I do not want her to make history by being the first woman elected as president of the United States. As an American—and Christian—woman, I do not want in ANY WAY to be associated with or defined by her personally, professionally or politically. She is not the wife, mother, friend, business woman or politician that I’d want to be and I think that many American women would agree with me. Any woman who would “stand by her man” as Hilary has is not a tolerant and forgiving wife but is instead an insecure and desperate ladder-climber, willing to sacrifice her self-respect and dignity for the privileges afforded by her last name and marital status. In the “real” world, women who stay with their husbands for their handsome faces or large paychecks are considered fools and I simply will never understand why the feminists of this country have adopted her as their role model. If anything, she represents everything we competent, confident and capable women should detest and seek to avoid.
So it is my intense opposition to Hilary that has inspired me to rally behind an electable candidate. And while there is no mandate, moral or otherwise, to support a 2-party system, it is my personal opinion (note: I did not say “educated opinion”) that voting for a 3rd party candidate is a wasted vote and does not contribute overall to the popular election of a new president. I have made the choice to vote against what I consider a “greater evil” (for lack of a better term) and to throw my support and vote behind the reasonable candidate with whom I have the most in common.
Coming soon: a fluffy post with pictures of my recent sewing projects. :)
a) nominating an electable candidate. I know that this may break your heart but Duncan Hunter does not fall into that category. He is not going to win the '08 election. And neither is Mitt Romney, no matter how presidential he looks :),
b) actually going to the poles and voting for this electable candidate. I don't want to hear (or read!) any of you say, "I just don't agree with any of these candidates. I'm just not going to vote." Whether you like it or not, you vote either way. If you--a Christian, Libertarian or otherwise conservative voter--stay home, you vote for other side. So please, PLEASE vote against the candidate LEAST like you if that makes you feel better, but by all means VOTE. The Christian right is a powerful force in elections and we need US now more than ever!
c) and finally, under no circumstances nominate or support a 3rd party candidate to run on a "Christian values" platform (does the name Ross Perot ring a bell???).
An example of an electable candidate is Rudy Giuliani, who has been called THE most Republican electable candidate in the poles I've seen. He is also, unfortunately, the most likely to inspire the nomination of a 3rd party candidate. And (gasp) - I actually like him! See why below...
From Mayor Giuliani’s Remarks At The Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, Washington, D.C., 10/20/07 -
As you look at this simple list of priorities, you’ll see a great deal of evidence of our shared views and our shard values. I’m not going to pretend to you that I can be all things to all people. I’m just not like that. I can’t do that. And you know that we have some areas of disagreement, but I believe we have many, many more areas of agreement and the one thing you can count on with me is I’ll always be honest with you. I’ll always listen to your ideas. I’ll always take them into consideration. And I’ll do the best I can to honestly tell you mine. I come to you today as I would if I were your President–with an open mind and an open heart and all I ask is that you do the same. Please know this— you have absolutely nothing to fear from me. I find it difficult understanding those who try to make me out as an activist for liberal causes. If you think that, just read any New York Times editorial while I was mayor of New York City...Ronald Reagan had a great way of summarizing it. He used to say my 80 percent friend is not my 100 percent enemy...Government should not force parents to send their children to failing or inadequate schools. Really, the idea, it takes a family, not a village to raise a child...We can all agree to move in the direction of setting specific goals to decrease as much as we can the number of abortions in America and to increase the number of adoptions in America...I can tell you I would appoint Supreme Court Justices in the mold of Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, or Chief Justice Roberts...There’s one last thing that I’ll mention the briefly in the time remaining, but it’s the most important and that is that we remain on offense in the Terrorists’ War against the United States...And we must be prepared to take action and participate in places like Darfur because genocide in Africa is no different than genocide any place else. Never again must mean never again...This conversation that we’ve had about shared values and goals is a beginning, it’s not an ending. I want to work with the community of faith to develop new ideas that can protect our shared vision, building a more civil society, restoring the social contract, promoting a culture of personal responsibility and in the process we’ll achieve our shared goals, protecting our children’s’ innocence and defending the expression of religious faith, strengthening parents’ rights and expanding school choice, advancing toward a culture of life by decreasing abortions and increasing adoptions, appointing strict constructionist judges, and winning the Terrorists’ War on Us. Because the more we all talk together, the more we share ideas, the more we all respect each other, the more we can achieve. I’ll continue to extend my hand to you and I hope that you’ll take it. Together we can help our country rise to new heights and continue to form a more perfect union. May God bless all of us and may God continue to bless our great nation, the United States of America. Thank you.
Bottom line: while he may not be as conservative as we'd like in terms of the social and moral issues that are very important to us, he's not a liberal social activist and will not a be a crusader against these important conservative values.
I encourage you to read the full text of his comments and to give him and his platform real consideration - http://www.joinrudy2008.com/article/pr/919
Not doing so could lead to increased abortions, liberal marriage laws, higher taxes, more limited civil liberties, a more demoralized military, and leave us more vulnerable to future terrorists attacks.
Our trip was great – Chicago is beautiful, the shopping is heavenly, my dream shopping experience and we enjoyed lots of quality time together and some really good food, including deep dish Chicago pizza (of course). But right before leaving Thursday, we found out that our elderly across-the-street neighbor (affectionately called The Mayor of the neighborhood!) passed away suddenly while on a cruise in South America. We are very close to this man and his wife and they love us (especially Charlie!) as well. I’ll spare you all the disturbing details involved in passing away on a cruise ship off the coast of COLUMBIA of all places, but suffice it to say that the stories we heard were awful, unbelievable. And the tears of his wife of 47 years were heart-breaking (she’s German – he brought her home from war to be his wife and she never became a U.S. Citizen…that’s another story in itself). Since finding out this news, we have been deeply sad and mourning this loss. Mourning the loss of our neighbor and friend, Charlie’s friend and sad for his lonely wife, across the street all alone in their new home purchased for retirement. I have also been so convicted and saddened by all the times when I rushed by these neighbors, too busy with life to stop and chat. Those with elderly / retired neighbors know how high-maintenance these people can be :0) and these folks are no exception. Having all the time in the world to chit-chat, sit out on the porch, point out all the problems with the landscaping of the yard, etc. can sometimes, well, be a lot of work for the busy young parents across the street. But this whole experience has taught me a lesson about what is important in life: relationships, taking time for people, knowing that life happens in the moments when the chores are not getting done and the daily schedule is not being followed. How I wish that I had taken advantage of all the moments available with this gentleman, to talk about life, things that are really important, to get beyond the dailies. I feel honestly like this relationship and this ministry opportunity passed me by. And I have been grieving this loss and soul-searching, trying to cement this lesson into my mind, hoping for a new “M.O.” in life. My schedule-oriented personality will have a hard time with this one but by grace, I’m hoping for real change…
Anyway, back to Chicago: The Magnificent Mile is indeed MAGNIFICENT. Every store and shopping experience was available, right on this one stretch of beautiful, CLEAN Chicago road. I was able to get re-acquainted with H&M, an old friend from the Charlottesville days, explore several of the most beautiful malls I've ever seen and just generally have fun shopping sans child. It was so pleasant to be able to shop without having to provide a constant stream of food or stop Charlie from crawling under the dressing room stall walls. It really was a treat. I think my favorite mall was Water Tower Place - among other things, the food court was a real gourmet restaurant and I had a delicious falafel pita served on real china! I sure did miss my favorite shopping partners ever, Jill and Libby! In addition to shopping, we also experienced a boat and river tour, which was a quick way to see the famous Chicago landmarks, though not as in depth as we would have liked. We will definitely be back, Chicago! We love you!
Here's a good shot of our boy -
and a precious little foot...
His name is Elliot, for one of my hero's Jim (and Elizabeth) Elliot (the rest of the name is still under discussion). And Elliot means The Lord Is My God...what more could you want? :)
Tomorrow we head back to Savannah, to drop Charlie off with my parents and fly to Chicago early Friday, returning Monday. Ryan has another conference and I'm once again going along for the ride. We've never been to Chicago so even though I hate to leave Charlie, I'm excited to see (and shop!) the city.
1. It helps me stay on top of my wrestling skills: every day with an 18-month old little boy is a wrestling match...
and emotionally -
2. I get to be an interpreter: who knew that "guygise" means "bicycle or "anana" refers to a stinky, dirty, well-loved blue lamb / blanket. And don't forget that "RoRo" means "motorcycle!"
3. I get to read Goodnight Moon (Goodnight cow jumping over the moon, goodnight light and the red balloon...) no less than five times a day and talk about trucks and balls once every twenty-seven seconds.
4. I'm constantly reminded to always wear shoes in the house: tiny trains and cars are NOT fun to step on. Ask my friend Lisa, whose husband had to get stitches after stepping on a star-shaped metal cookie cutter!
5. Children call it like it is: this morning on our walk, Charlie yelled, "Mess! Mess!" (pronounced "Mace!") after spotting our neighbors yard literally covered in tacky Halloween decorations. My sentiments exactly.
6. I get to indulge my creative side by thinking up really good stories like, "the moon is hiding" to explain the waxing and waning of the moon.
7. While daddy's are for fun and games, I'm needed whenever my little son is tired/hungry/thirsty/sick/hurt/otherwise in need of a cuddle.
8. I am allowed the privilege of observing my husband love and lead his son. There is such beauty and strength in the everyday moments of fatherhood.
9. Life is filled with wonder now: who knew that a hot air balloon, rising slowly and majestically over an early morning sky would be so magical? It is when it's spotted by a child, who wide-eyed with wonder, begins babbling, "balloon?! airplane?! bubble?! blue?!" over and over again, standing at the window until the balloon moves out of sight, and then sadly waves and mumbles "good-bye!"
There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again. ~Elizabeth Lawrence
10. I finally see some of the darkness of my heart, the depth of my sin and selfishness and the extent of God's saving and fathering love for me. Loving Charlie more than life itself has taught me that I love myself still more...but mercifully I have a Savior who helps me love him enough to put my trust in the One who promises to sanctify me, love and keep me, and use me-in spite of myself-in Charlie's heart, in this home, in this world.
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:14
Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Isaiah 49:15
And I have been meaning to post about this for a week or so but in between all the trips and illnesses, I haven't had much time: Charlie is having surgery tomorrow to have tubes inserted into his ears. Yes, it's come to that. But after talking with quite a few friends and some really good surgeons, we feel that it's right way to go for him, in hopes of avoiding another illness-filled winter and long-term damage to his hearing. SO I just talked to the O.R. and we have to be there at 7:45 am for an 8:45 procedure. I was crying on the phone with this poor woman, in part due to my hormones, I'm sure, but also because I was hoping for (read: had my heart set on) a 5am arrival time. Why, you ask? Because Charlie can't have anything to eat after midnight tonight or anything to drink after 5:45 am tomorrow. As if the thought of my poor little baby having surgery, including general anesthesia (scary!!!), isn't enough, now I have to worry about him being hungry and thirsty on top of that. I just can't handle him begging for food or drink - that will break my heart! And he's a big eater so it's going to be rough. Thank goodness for the car DVD player. Hopefully that will distract him!
So everyone, please pray for Charlie (and us!) tomorrow. Pray specifically for:
1. General anesthesia - very scary for me. I had to sign many papers during the pre-op that list all the possible side effects and risks and believe me, it isn't comforting. And you never know how anyone, much less an 18-month old, will react to the anesthesia. Pray that all will go well, that he'll respond normally, and wake-up on schedule and in good in spirits.
2. The actual procedure - pray for wisdom and skill of the doctors, that the procedure will go well and be effective
3. Peace for Ryan and me - that we will trust our little precious son to his and our heavenly Father
Thanks for your prayers...and we'll let you know how it goes tomorrow!
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty, I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Psalm 91:1,2
What I Said at My Granddaughter’s Funeral
A Granddaddy’s Thoughts
September 26, 2007
By John Piper
Read this resource on our website.
I had the privilege of sitting with my family while Tom Steller and Sam Crabtree ministered to us at the funeral of Felicity Margaret Piper who was stillborn at full term on September 22, 2007. Her father Abraham asked me to speak for five minutes on “A Granddaddy’s Thoughts.” Here is what I said.
I didn’t know Felicity Margaret. My experience of her life was entirely through other people for nine months. And my experience of her death, even though it was physically immediate and touchable, has been emotionally experienced almost entirely through other people.
So at this moment, what it means for me to be Felicity’s grandfather is that I am living this loss almost entirely through other people’s experience of this loss. And because of my love for all these people, there is a powerful sweetness in this pain.
Being Felicity’s grandfather means that I have tasted her loss through my daughters-in-law, her aunts Shelly, Melissa, and Lesley. The measure of her worth and the greatness of her loss have been written on your faces, and they are the more beautiful for it.
Being Felicity’s grandfather means that I have felt her loss in the shattered expectation of her aunt Talitha, my daughter. It was not easy to go to school on Monday. But you and Mommy made a good plan with the school counselor to inform the teachers and students. And now, in a way you never expected, your heart is knit together with Dasia whose little brother Zach was killed by the dog a month ago.
Being Felicity’s grandfather means that I have felt her loss through her uncles and my sons Karsten, Benjamin, and Barnabas. I broke the news to each of you and watched all your plans change. You are good brothers to each other. And I cannot tell you how much I love the tears and embraces of strong men.
Being Felicity’s grandfather means that I have felt her loss through her grandmother, my wife Noël. Strange and wonderful. Your tears came slowly and have increased. Mine came quickly and have decreased. Almost the story of our lives. Thank you for knitting Felicity’s blanket, and weeping as you decided to give it to her anyway.
Being Felicity’s grandfather means that I have felt the loss through her mother, my daughter-in-law Molly. For her entire life she depended on you more than anyone. You fed her, you cleansed her, you supported her, you protected her, you knew her better than anyone. The grace that God has given you to love her greatly and let her go is amazing. Christ is on display in your life.
Being Felicity’s grandfather means that I have felt the loss through her father, my son Abraham. The words from Saturday morning’s phone call are cut into my heart, “Daddy, we lost the baby.” Nothing, Abraham, has gone deeper inside of me than your loss.
Being Felicity’s grandfather means that I have felt the loss through her great grandfather, my father Bill Piper. And this experience is totally different from all the others. In this case, the loss is all gain. My father died six months and sixteen days before Felicity did. I believe the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ covers the sins of all who trust him and all who are not old enough to trust him here but will trust him later.
Therefore, I believe Felicity and her great grandfather met each other early Sunday morning in the presence of Christ. And my father said, perhaps, “Hello, Felicity. I’m your great grandfather Piper. Come, there is somebody I want you to meet. His name is Jesus. He’s the reason you’re here. You don’t need to be afraid. Your Savior has led you all the way. And Jesus does all things well.”
He received a clean bill of health - everything looks good and he is developing normally and on schedule for his 2/21 arrival date. This might sound trite to some of you but a baby growing and developing normally really is a miracle and with Charlie, we were informed of potential kidney problems during this ultrasound so it was such a relief to hear "Your baby looks great!" God is so good to bless us with this new baby and we stand amazed at his greatness in forming him.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Speaking of Proverbs...a few months ago, I started out on my own quest to discover what the Bible has to say about women and their roles and responsibilities. I really honestly can't stand the normal Christian "Woman" books (anything by Elizabeth Elliot being an exception). I have yet to read even one that I like or would recommend to others. For once, I wanted to know what the Bible says instead of reading what everyone else thinks the Bible is saying. I started with Proverbs 31 (of course) and haven't left yet. There is so much in this passage that I'm really taking my time and trying to apply it to my life right now. I highly recommend a slow reading of this chapter and Matthew Henry's Commentary on these few verses.
The picture...during a 48-hr respite from illness a week or so ago, Charlie enjoyed his first lolly pop at a friend's birthday party. Needless to say, he loved it!
However, one brief clip ruined not only this episode but my entire opinion of and trust in the Sesame Street organization as a whole. In this clip, different types of families were being showcased: families with one parent, families with two parents, families of different races, etc. This was all fine and good until a picture of a family with two mommies and two daddies appeared on screen. This to me is completely unacceptable – not only is this type of family not yet mainstream: it is not even legally sanctioned! As far as I know, same sex parents cannot yet adopt children jointly. Additionally, neither the federal government nor the majority of our states have yet to embrace homosexual marriage. Same sex families are against my moral and religious beliefs and it is for this reason that I primarily object to this clip. However, I also object based on the facts above: this type of family is not yet mainstream or legally sanctioned in this country. We must draw the line somewhere and I insist that it be drawn based on legal precedent. If not there, where is it drawn? Should I expect next week or next year to see a picture of a mother, horse and child displayed as a type of family?
I also believe that Sesame Street, as a non-profit organization, should be less focused and engaged in current political hotbeds and more focused on its primary objectives:
"The [Sesame] Workshop is committed to the principle that all children deserve a chance to learn and grow; to be prepared for school; to better understand the world and each other; to think, dream and discover; to reach their highest potential."
Advocacy entertainment is not appropriate for young children, and on controversial issues, I prefer that the education of my children be left to my judgment and guided by my moral standards. By engaging in this very controversial social battle, Sesame Street has abused the trust and lost the respect of many parents across the nation and the world.
I take this issue quite seriously and request a response to my concern at your earliest convenience. Thank you in advance for your attention to this very important matter.
Also, anyone have any tips for the awkward 18-month stage / dropping the morning nap? It's not going so well for us!
However, though we had a blast and really enjoyed spending time together as a family, I did learn (or re-learn) that mothers of young children absolutely do NOT go on vacation. Or at least a vacation is not really a vacation for the mother. Murphy's Law for Charlie's young life is that he is always sick when we take vacation or go on trips. It's been this way since he was about 3 months old. And when he's sick, he wants me. End of discussion. Crying, whining, tired, and desperate for mom. That pretty much defines Charlie when he's not feeling well. And add to that the uncertainty and newness of a strange condo, and well, that spells not much time off for this mom. Ryan was nice enough to man the battle stations for a few hours so that I could enjoy some beachside reading time but much of the time, I was on Charlie duty, reading on our balcony while he slept. Thankfully we had a beautiful 9th-floor balcony facing the ocean...it really was quite a pleasant spot for reading and thinking and such. I finished reading Honey for a Child's Heart (GREAT book, by the way) and delved into Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson, which is exactly what I needed to be reading. I think that Charlie is the kind of kid Dr. Dobson had in mind when he wrote this book: "all afterburner and no rudder." Charlie also proves his point that "one of the scariest aspects of raising boys is their tendency to risk and limb for no good reason. It begins very early. If a toddler can climb on it, he will jump off it. He careens out of control towards tables, tubs, pools, steps, trees and streets...his mom has to watch him every minute to keep him from killing himself." That defines Charlie to a T. As several close friends and family members have said, "he's just making up for lost time." Sometimes I just cannot believe that this is the same kid who couldn't sit up a mere 6/7 months ago! I literally save him from injury or death multiple times a day. Anyway, all this to say that combined with Charlie's sickness and just being Charlie, I was struck with the reality that a vacation is not a vacation for me. Sure it's a break from the usual routine and a nice change of scenery...some quality time with friends and family and a lot of good food. But a "vacation" in the normal sense of the word? NO WAY.
And I have to admit: I was not OK with that several times during the course of the week. As I fed my sick little boy his lunch and wiped his nose for the hundredth time, I was secretly pouting and feeling sorry for myself that I was not enjoying my "vacation." And then would come the guilt over even entertaining such a thought. And then more self-pity for the guilt. It was a never-ending cycle. And I realized that God was dealing with me...using Charlie's neediness to show me the ugly parts of my heart, the parts still in need of refining. And so I repented and begged for JOY and PEACE in serving my family, for the ability to give up my FAVORITE things for them (which, incidentally, could be reading by the beach or pool :)). This was my issue du jour of last week, turmoil going on inside my heart: thankful for the privilege of mothering Charlie, ashamed for my selfishness and sin and oh-so-thankful for the forgiveness and healing that can be found in Christ. Without Ryan and Charlie, I would probably still be thinking that I'm overall a pretty good person...hard worker, honest, faithful friend, etc. But because and through them, I'm able to really see myself, and as a result of God's grace in my life, become a more peaceful, unselfish and giving person. And I've been able to taste and see God more in all of this - this IS his plan for my sanctification, not just some accidental issue I have stumbled upon. God is really doing some business in my heart, and further proof is what I read just yesterday, in the chapter on mothers and sons in Bringing Up Boys...
"Your task as a mother, in conjunction with your husband, is to build a man out of the raw materials available in this delightful little boy, stone upon stone upon stone. Never assume for a moment that you can "do your own thing" without serious consequences to him. I believe this task must be your highest priority for a period of time. It will not always be required of you. Before you know it, that child at your feet will become a young man who will pack his bags and take his first halting steps in to the adult world. And then it will be your turn. By all expectations, you should have decades of health and vigor left to invest in whatever God calls you to do. But for now, there is a higher calling. I feel obligated to tell you this, whether my words are popular or not. Raising children who have been loaned to us for a brief moment outranks every other responsibility. Besides, living by that priority when kids are small will produce the greatest rewards at maturity."
So there you have it. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and joy when I read these words, knowing that the sacrifices required by motherhood are truly for the best; best for me and my sanctification, best for Charlie and his life, worth it in the end for all of us and most importantly, designed and mandated by the One who created all of this.
In Savannah, my previous and future home, it's only 97 but it feels like 110. In Macon, GA it's 99 but feels like 106. In Atlanta, it's 98 and feels like 105.
Could it BE ANY HOTTER?
So I woke up with an excruciating migraine, my pregnancy treat Du jour. Last time around I was plagued with migraines until about Week 17. This time I've been plagued with severe nausea, preventing me from eating just about everything and now the migraines have set in. *sigh* But after one pain pill, one half of a phenergan and lots of water, I finally emerged from Migraine Hell. I was so excited to be feeling better that I celebrated by joining the YMCA, buying cleaning supplies from Dollar General (great deals can be found at dollar stores!) and buying one of just about everything at Super Walmart.
Tonight I rejoin the world of meal preparation. It's been frozen food for the past 6 weeks but tonight, I'm braving the kitchen and preparing
Buffalo Chicken with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce and Roasted Sweet Potatoes, a Food Network / Robin Miller original. Normally I love her recipes, so I'm excited.
Currently reading (since I now have time to read !!): Rock Star Momma by Skye Hoppus, Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson and Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss (obviously NOT in order of importance).
Week-end plans...to Macon, GA for a friend's white coat ceremony (basically an initiation into medical school official ceremony).
Things to do this week...organize my office, work with Charlie on animal names and sounds, attempt to workout a couple times, get the broken door-lock on our ghetto Kia Sorento fixed.
You may be wondering: is this their baby???!!! The answer is "No" 'tho we have one just like it! Yes, it's true - if all goes well, we will welcome a second Baby Moody on Feb. 21st and we could not be more excited...and nervous. Once again, many changes at once...new baby, moving, new house, new job, etc. But it sure keeps life interesting!
I'll be 10 weeks tomorrow and today I heard the heartbeat...and it almost stopped mine. Though I've done this all before, it still amazes me and brings tears to my eyes. Carrying a child is a privilege and an honor (even though there are many things about pregnancy that I detest!) and I'm thankful for the opportunity to do it again.
Those of you with multiple children...I'll soon be pestering you with questions and begging for advice!
It has been quite a busy summer for us...and we finally have some big news to share! First of all, as I have mentioned briefly in other posts, Ryan has been totally immersed in the job search for the past few months...we've been to Greenville (SC), made several job-focused trips to Savannah, head-hunters have been emailing and calling non-stop. And we've been thinking and praying and thinking and praying...what a big decision! Ryan has been so stressed for the past month in particular, really feeling the pressure to make a decision. This is the fourth move we'll make together and the third city we are choosing but it feels different, much different - the other moves were temporary. We knew we'd be in both Charlottesville and Augusta for a mere three years. But this time, this move is permanent. We hope it will be our last and if not our last, our last for a very long time. I have tried to be supportive and helpful but silent on this issue...Ryan has committed 14 years of post-high school training (rigorous training, during what many consider to be the "best years" of one's life) to his career and I wanted this choice to be HIS to make. Anyway, in recent weeks he narrowed his options to two practices in Savannah, one private practice job and one hyprid of private practice and academics. And this is where he really began agonizing as both choices-very different from one another-are good opportunities. So to make an already long story short: we headed to Savannah last Monday evening (July 2) for him to meet with one of the practices and to enjoy some time with my family at the beach. On Tuesday morning he awoke early and headed for his meeting. Three hours later he called me and said, "Well, I have a job. I signed the contract." So it's now official - we are headed to Savannah next June for Ryan to join a private practice group! He is thrilled and believes this IS the job for him. And while we are are nervous, we really believe in our family motto: Nil desperandum Christo duce (where Christ leads never fear). And for the record: I'm so proud of and excited for Ryan - he's dreamed about this since he was a little boy. Congratulations, honey! I love you!
In other news, I gave my notice on Monday. My last day as a slave to corporate America is July 27. My conversation with my boss went well, even better than the best case scenario I could have imagined. He was so kind in his response and did express sadness (which of course I would want him to do after working so hard for so long! :-)). I was in tears by the end of our talk, realizing what a big step this was and how my life was about to change. I have not yet informed my co-workers, at his request, as we have a meeting Tuesday to discuss "alternatives" but regardless of what he has to offer, I've already made my decision. The sacrifices of time with my family and my personal sanity are just not worth it to me at this point. I've loved my job and been proud of my accomplishments but motherhood changes everything. And the kind of family we want to have does not allow for two stressful, high-pressure, all-consuming careers. I have been thoughts on this topic but those will come later... Charlie and my nephew - they are six months apart and they LOVE each other. It will be fun for them to grow up together in Savannah!
A blurry shot of us on the beach waiting for the fireworks to begin.
The sisters and their boys...looking a little tired. :)
I'm going to re-enter blogosphere by participating in a fun little blogging game sent to me by Jill. I'm too tired and overworked to understand what this is myself but click here for an explanation...
1. “What were you doing 10 years ago?”
Graduating from high school and getting ready for college! It's my big reunion year!
2. “What were you doing 1 year ago?”
Working, mothering, etc.
3. “Five snacks you enjoy:”
Smoothies, cheese, chips & salsa, yogurt, granola sans almonds (hard to find, I'm allergic to almonds)
4. “Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:”
Baby Got Back, Bohemian Rhapsody, Be Thou my Vision, Amazing Grace, And Can it Be (random assortment, huh?)
5. “Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:”
Buy beach houses, re-decorate them and sell them for a profit (keeping a few for myself); start medical clinics in various parts of Africa; purchase a new wardrobe (sorry, I have to be honest here!); support the International Justice Foundation; pay off Ryan's loans :)
6. “Five bad habits:”
Surfing the net; stressing out; sleeping in; falling in love with um, questionable TV shows (Desperate Housewives, HBO's Big Love); gossiping
7. “Five things you like doing:”
Writing, working out, cooking / entertaining, shopping, getting pedicures
8. “Five things you would never wear again:”
bone-colored pumps, culottes, jumpers, tiny bikinis, high-rise blue jeans
Now, I’m supposed to tag 5 other bloggers who are supposed to answer these questions on their blogs. So: Amy Claire, Ethan (Megan), Maryanne, Posey, Maxeys (Katherine), go for it!