Thursday, July 26, 2007

What does it say about me...

...that a nonfat decaf iced peppermint mocha from Starbucks can get me totally in the Christmas spirit...in July? And that it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to the point of almost mistiness?

I mean, of course, what does it say besides the fact that I'm super hormonal? Oh, and freakishly sentimental. And addicted to Starbucks.

Ok wait, I think I just answered my own question...

Monday, July 23, 2007

It's a Boy!


For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

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,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of the came to be.

~Psalm 139: 13-16

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Faith like my daughter's.

I've often heard, and taken part in, conversations extolling the importance of "spiritual maturity". That place of stronger connection to God and a deeper understanding of his Word, his nature, and his plans. I've been profoundly blessed by my own meager steps in this process over the years, and I have great respect for those whose incredible faith and wisdom stands as an example for me. Sometimes, however, I think I make it all just a little too hard. I lament my lack of focus, my inferior Biblical knowledge, my infrequent prayers. I find myself succumbing to fearful thoughts and wonder what I must do in order to build up my seemingly "immature" faith. And then, I notice my daughter...

I watch her bow her head in prayer at the dinner table, while her father and I are still filling our plates in the kitchen, and I know that had we not heard her sweet voice thanking Jesus for her food, we would have likely forgotten to thank him ourselves.

I hear the confidence in her voice as she inspects a troublesome new "owie" on her knee, and then assures herself that "God will help" it to heal.

I listen as she struggles through a tearful disappointment and stops mid-wail to implore me, "Let's pray, Mama", only to assure me a few minutes later as the tears dry, "I feeling better now. God helped Maya."

She's two. Two. Hardly enough time to have developed a spiritual maturity. I'd like to say that my husband and I could take the credit for the sweet expressions of faith that come out of this child, I simply can't. Our conversations with her and examples for her fall far short of explaining the connection she has with her Creator. We've certainly never modeled the cheer that she often gives after a declaration that God has helped her..."Yay God!" isn't how I'd ever think to offer praise. It's far too immature, right? Lacks substance?

There's something inherent, something so amazingly simple about her faith that serves as a stunning example to me. That is what I want! I want to turn to my God in every circumstance, with total confidence that my owies will be healed. I want to reach out to him in my dark times of despair, when it's so much easier to wallow in self-pity. I want to turn to those around me during those moments and say, "Let's pray", without my pride or shame holding me back. I want to remember when I emerge from those valleys and realize that "I feel better now" that HE deserves the glory, and not be afraid to make it known that "God helped me". And I want to give my praise, however simple and inarticulate it may be. Because I know that my God rejoices with every "Yay God!" I offer him.

I want to grow daily in my walk with God. I desire spiritual maturity. But what I really long for, what I really need, is faith like my daughter's. I pray she never loses it in pursuit of what a mature spiritual life "should" look like. And I thank the Author of life that he's teaching me more about him each day of Maya's life even as I attempt to teach her the same.

Yay God!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Berenstain Bears and Banana Bread

Mommy guilt is a ridiculously strong force. It's not that I don't think I'm a good mother. I know I am. But I get down on myself pretty easily, for one reason or another.

I love spending time with my little girl. But (and here's where some guilt comes in) I'm not a big fan of getting down on the floor and playing. Of course, if she pulls out her blocks or Mr. Potato Heads and asks me to play, I'll oblige. It's just not my favorite thing to do. I don't love that about myself, but it's true. On the other hand, I'll sit and talk with her endlessly; answer a thousand questions about the cars around us on the road without losing a bit of patience. And then there's our mutual favorite activity to do together...READ! We'll sit and read, literally, for hours each day. I love that time, snuggled together under a blanket on the couch, going through stack after stack of books.

Maya's favorites right now are the Berenstain Bears. Mark and I both loved the series when we were growing up, so we pounced on a great eBay auction shortly after Maya was born and we now own at least forty of them. I pictured the Bears being more a staple of her preschool/early elementary years, but after pulling a few books out one day, the girl is hooked on Mama, Papa, Sister and Brother. She loves experiencing all of their adventures, and I love the gentle lessons and sweet homeyness of Bear Country. I've chosen to roll my eyes at the criticism of some who shun the books based on Papa Bear's doofy ways. Maya has enough books featuring terrific fathers, and has an amazingly involved, intelligent and decidedly un-doofy father herself, that I have no fears that one character is going to warp her view of the entire male gender. The Bears have a way of mixing life lessons and new experiences with a focus on love and helping others, and I love sharing those things with my daughter.

Another activity that I never tire of is spending time with her in the kitchen, baking cookies and cakes and other things that strike our fancy. And for my pregnant self - quite a bit is striking my fancy these days! Maya has developed a particular affinity for banana bread. A few months ago I had baked a couple of batches that we'd enjoy together in the morning, during our cuddle time on the couch after waking up. Last week, out of the blue, she asked me again, "Mama, you make banana bread for me please?" Well, who's gonna say 'no' to that? Not me! I promised her that there would be some waiting for her in the morning, and sure enough - the first sleepy words out of her mouth the next day were, "You make banana bread, Mama?" And had you seen the joyous smile on her face when I told her that yes, there was indeed a fresh loaf waiting for us in the kitchen...well, you would have understood why we went through that batch, as well as another one that I mixed up just a few days ago! To see Maya's happy munching and hear her exclaim with wonder, "Mama made banana bread...for ME!", well it just makes my heart sing!

I think when I really examine my feelings of guilt over what I don't do "enough" of as a Mama, it comes down to my fears that Maya will grow up lacking sweet experiences of toddlerhood and fond memories of this mother/daughter time that is bound to pass way too quickly. I don't do very well with the run-around-the-table game these days, and I can't maneuver around the park as easily right now without needing someone else along to help with the climbing and sliding. But those worries ease when I look at the beautiful things I look forward to doing every day with my girl. We have snuggling, we have our long talks, we have our beloved shopping trips and neighborhood walks. We have the Berenstain Bears and banana bread. And I hope, and trust, that those are all things that will fill her memory bank with sweetness and joy for as long as these two-year-old memories can last.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gag-tastic

That's really the only way to describe a morning spent deep-cleaning the refrigerator. I'm not talking just a search-and-toss mission. I mean a serious, remove everything, take out the shelves, scrub and scrape, take-no-prisoners deal. You know that lovely substance that lettuce becomes after a long period of neglect? Yeah. Ew.

It sure feels good to have it done. But there's something about taking on a task like that while 20 weeks pregnant with a head cold that makes you feel like you've just participated in some sort of triathlon. After my fifth head rush of increasing magnitude, I took it as a sign that my body was screaming at me to sit the heck down and leave the freezer for another day. Point taken!

I can now rest my gag reflux until Thursday...bathroom cleaning day.

Who said the life of a stay-at-home-mom wasn't glamorous?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Aspiring to pouch-dom!

A couple of weeks ago, I had this conversation with Maya, who has been quite interested in kangaroos lately...

Maya: "Where's your pouch, Mama?"
Me: "My what? My pouch?"
Maya: "Let's see it."
Me: "Um, I don't have a pouch, honey."
Maya: "Mama has a baby in her tummy."
Me: "Right...Oh! You mean like a kangaroo carries her baby in a pouch?"
Maya: "Yeah."
Me: "Oh, well people don't have pouches. Kangaroo mamas carry their babies in pouches, but people mamas have their babies grow in their tummies. So I don't have a pouch."
*long pause*
Maya (patting my arm reassuringly) : "Maybe when Mama gets older."

So, lest I fear that I will always go through life pouch-less, my 2-year-old has now reassured me that there's hope for the future!