Tuesday, March 24, 2009

So Grateful (a Hide & Seek post) - Philippians 4:6-7

I am so grateful for the comments I received on yesterday's post. It took me a while to work up the nerve to officially announce our news on the blog, so it was such sweet encouragement to read the well-wishes!

Ever since I found myself in this expectant state, I have clung to a verse from Philippians. It's been a while since I did a "Hide & Seek" update, and I just wanted to share a little bit about what God's been teaching me over the past month or so through this particular bit of wisdom from His Word.

Let me start with a little background. I've written about this before, but my first pregnancy basically shattered my pretty little expectations. I was beyond sick. For the first 5 months, I lost weight at every check up, went on disability from work, made several visits to the hospital E.R., and became intimately familiar with the diagnosis of Hyperemesis. For the remaining months, and with the help of a prescription drug, I finally overcame the nausea and vomiting and proceeded to gain, oh, about 50-60 pounds. I was miserable, depressed and F.A.T. by the time we welcomed my beautiful son into the world four years ago.

It wasn't any wonder to my family and closest friends that, when asked about our plans for adding to our family, we always responded with an emphatic "No Thanks!"

Which was really a shame. Because I LOVE being a mom. From the millisecond that my son took his first breath of air... all my physical and emotional symptoms vanished. I have never enjoyed anything as much as I enjoy the journey of motherhood.

I honestly just wished I could do it again without actually having to be the designated "growing place" for any more children.

You know, it's hard to be real enough to write those words. I have so many friends & family who would give anything to know the sensation of life growing inside them; those who have spent days and nights on their knees in prayer (and thousands of dollars on tests and procedures). And I realize that they would give anything for a bout of morning sickness.

But when I saw that big plus sign... my thoughts quickly turned to fear and anxiety.
What would my husband think? (Those 9 months were no picnic for him either).
Would I be sick like last time?
How would I handle that level of sickness when I had a 3 1/2 yr old to care for? Could this time possibly be different?
What could I do differently to avoid the feelings of depression that left me so despondent last time?
Could we afford a housekeeper?
(O.K., so it wasn't all fear and anxiety!)

It just so happened that I had recently been reading through the book of Philippians in my quiet time. And one verse resonated in my mind as I pondered what to make of this news.

Found in the 4th Chapter of Philipinas, verses 6-7 say (in the NLT):
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

For years, I have treated this passage as a slap-on-the-wrist kind of admonishment to myself. If I began to worry about a problem, I chided myself with the knowledge that "the Bible says not to worry about anything! Stop worrying! Stop feeling anxious!"

But I saw finally something different in this passage; God gives me a formula - a clear plan to rid my mind of worry. A way to get out of it, not a guilt trip for getting into it in the first place.

How do I combat worry?
Tell God what I need.
Thank Him for all He has done.

The first and second part come pretty easy to me. I am a pro at telling God what I "need" from Him. But there's an equally important component to the formula. THANK HIM for all He has done.

I can't tell you what this part of the verse has meant to me for the past month. Any time worries, doubts and fears threaten to undo my mental wellbeing, I have been reminded to start THANKING HIM for what He has done, for Who He has been in my life.

And when I pray, make my needs known, and thank Him... guess what?! The second part of that Scripture - the part about experiencing His peace. Well, it washes over me like a river. And I know that He's guarding my heart and my mind.

So... I'm grateful today. Grateful in part for 24 hours of the kind of sickness that brings me to my knees. I'm grateful that I have a son who can feed the dog by himself, dress himself, bring ginger ale to his momma and fix himself a snack when he gets hungry. (Even though the snack this morning appears to have been cream cheese straight out of the tub with a spoon).

I'm grateful for a mom who lives less than 10 miles away and was just looking for an excuse to wisk my self-sufficient yet extremely bored young son off to spend the night at Grandma's house. I'm thankful for friends who emailed today during my worst bout of sickness with subject lines like, "How are you feeling?" or "Thinking of you". I'm thankful for sunny weather that feels so heavenly when I work up the energy to stand outside and soak it up for a moment. I'm thankful for an outlet to express my thoughts in writing. I'm thankful for a flexible job and a good boss! I'm grateful that my husband cleans the dishes and folds the laundry and does the goodnight routine like a pro when he's called in from the bench to do so.

And I'm grateful - SO VERY GRATEFUL - for the beautiful heartbeat, the strong profile, the arms and the beginning of legs... all seen on a grainy sonogram picture yesterday. I'm so grateful that I get to be a mom... again! I'm grateful for God's perfect timing that surpasses my "perfect plan" and His peace that surpasses my understanding.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My First "Not Me! Monday"

(Before I get into this post, I want to ask you to please pray for MckMamma and baby Stellan, who is very sick in the hospital this morning. Click HERE for the latest updates)

You know, I’ve considered participating in the “Not Me” Monday festivities for quite some time. It has always seemed like a creative prompt, a unique posting style, and just a fun way to confess all the little secrets you have (or HAVE NOT, as the case may be) been keeping under wraps.

I really feel like this is the perfect week for me to jump in...because...

I have not been DYING to share some exciting news with you. I could have kept this to myself forever. There’s no way I was even tempted in the slightest to blow the secret that I am going to be an aunt again. To TWINS!!!!

My brother and his wife are expecting their multiple blessings on or around November 1, 2009. I am NOT over-the-moon about this news. And I have NOT already purchased frilly socks, hairbows, accessories and other baby items for these kiddos. That would be silly since we have no clue what the boy/girl breakdown is going to be yet. And I am just not known to be silly, spontaneous or impulsive when I get excited. Not Me.

I’m also not one who would get so caught up in the excitement of the BIG FAMILY NEWS that I would neglect to notice a few suspicious symptoms of my own. Not Me.

I would never summarily dismiss the achy back, increased irritability, and extreme fatigue by blaming the symptoms on stress or maybe the flu. Nor would I, after several days, have finally purchased a home-pregnancy test. Just to ease my mind, you know.

I would not have taken said pregnancy test while my husband and son were outside in the front yard playing football. And I most certainly would not have sat in utter disbelief for ten minutes while staring at the bright magenta plus sign.

I would not have been so rattled and surprised that I would need to process the information for four days before I could even tell my husband.

Nope, not me.

And I certainly would do nothing to take any of the excitement away from my brother, his wife and their BIG NEWS by being due on the EXACT SAME DAY THEY ARE DUE.

Definitely Not me...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Sticky Predicament

I'm not sure which part of my instructions he had trouble understanding.

All day, as my son chomped on his new gum, I kept reminding him, "In your mouth or in the trash can."

But the temptation to try to blow bubbles, stick the piece to his nose, or see just how far he could stretch it with his fingers was just too great.

The first piece of gum was ordered into the trash.

Several hours later, he convinced me that he could handle the responsiblity of chewing...just chewing... a second piece.

You know, NONE of my friends allow their own three-year olds to chew bubble gum.

So when Drew walked out of my bedroom yesterday afternoon with a web of sticky orange goo connecting his hair, hands, mouth, shorts, and knees together, I saluted the collective wisdom of my friends.

And then I started fussing.

"Look at you!"
"How am I supposed to get this off of you?"
"Did you get gum on my bed. So help me, there better not be gum on my bed, son!"
"Why did you do this?"

Twenty minutes later, as the shower water continued to fall on his sticky little body and the gum held on despite my best scrubbing efforts, I chose his punishment. No gum for three days. Trust me, it made much more sense than the 14 options that came to mind first.

I have a hard time choosing consequences for my kid. How about you? It would be so easy to continually put him in a time-out for every infraction. But he's getting savvy, which means the punishment must fit the crime a little more closely these days.

So, poor choices about gum = no gum
Failure to put away toys = failure to be able to play with said toys the next day
Not eating what mommy makes for dinner = not eating dessert later

And sometimes, this puts me in a sticky kind of predicament. It makes me pause before I punish. It makes me think about what kind of lesson I want my child to learn when he makes choices (both good and bad ones). And it just takes more work, quite frankly.

So... I'm putting this out there to you today. Leave a comment and let me know about a time when you were able to creatively discipline your child according to the situation. I'm looking for good ideas.

Kinda like the time my sister slammed her bedroom door when she was a teenager. My mom subsequently removed the door from it's hinges for a week. I don't think another door was slammed by any of us throughout the rest of our teenage years.

So, go ahead. Give me some good ideas for the next time my little man of mischief gets himself into a sticky situation!

Friday, March 13, 2009

You have to pass the ball

My husband loves soccer. And with his sturdy build, physical endurance, and years of practice, he's a pretty good player!

When our son was born ( 9 lbs of pure boy ), my man was already sizing him up for his first pair of cleats and shin-guards.

Dreams of practices, drills, coaching and cheering filled his head...He was so excited about what it would be like when our son could finally share in his beloved sport.

While those dreams sat on the sidelines for a few years, Daddy continued to play the game himself while Mommy & Drew watched practices, drills, and cheered from the bleachers.

That is, until March 7...

Last Saturday, my husband stepped off the field as a player and donned the visor, whistle and clipboard of a coach.

And Drew took the field, in cleats, shin-guards, and a bright yellow jersey. Number 7.

My husband is now the coach - and grandparents, aunts and uncles keep me company on the sidelines.

I must admit, the skills and the drills leave a lot to be desired in 3-yr old soccer.

But I never imagined I could be so passionate about a sport until my eyes fell on that adorable Number 7 with the shaggy hair and the baggy shorts.

Monday, March 2, 2009

All His Bags are Packed, He's Ready to Go....

While cleaning out a closet yesterday, I came across Drew's suitcase. He was thrilled and immediately took off with the luggage in tow. After several quiet minutes had passed, I went searching.

"Where are you going?" I asked, when I found him busily working next to his dresser. "To Grandma's house! I packed all the things I'll need."

Apparently, a trip to Grandma's house these days warrants the following necessities:

11 shirts
5 pairs of pants (including Drew's favorite pair of soccer pants)
6 pairs of underpants
6 pairs of socks
2 pairs of shoes (1 pair of tennis shoes for running and a pair of flip flops for the "warm summer days")
1 pillow
6 stuffed animals
1 pair of soccer cleats
1 pair of shin guards
2 soccer balls
1 pair of soccer socks
1 pair of mittens
1 hat
1 hammer
1 drill
1 preschool workbook

Once all items were securely zipped up into the suitcase, he managed to lug it through the house and out to the garage. After his daddy helped him hoist his belongings into the car, he shut the door and came back inside.

Unfortunately, I neglected to unpack the car last night after he went to bed. So, this morning, I was forced to dress my son in the only clothing I could find... a short-sleeved shirt (hello, 30-something degree weather), a pair of just-a-little-too-short jeans, and socks.

When we pulled into Grandma's driveway this morning, I instructed him to "RUN FAST" to the front door. My mom opened her door to find a grossly under-dressed 3 yr old standing in front of a frazzled mommy with a suitcase, 6 stuffed animals, and 2 soccer balls in her arms.

"Y'all have a great day!" I offered.

With a cold "inside" day ahead of them, I bet that suitcase full of stuff should keep them busy (at least until lunchtime!)