And How

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Last First-Birthday Post.

Oh, can't be so.  The plan was for you to stay a baby forever.  No teeth, no crawling, no naughty stuff...just you, me, and that sweet baby smell all wrapped up in footie pajamas forever.
That baby smell is no joke.  
Well, you have deviated from the plan.  Yesterday, you turned one year old.  I thought about wearing black all day to mourn the passage of the "infant" season of my life (I could seriously have babies around me forever), but truly I'm looking forward to all the fun memories ahead.  Here is a little bit of what you are like at one year old.
Stop that growing, right NOW!
One of my first observations about you when you were first born were your "crazy set of lungs."  That much hasn't changed.  When you are unhappy, you let the whole world know it.  You WILL NOT be ignored!  When your brothers start in to even give you a little squeeze, you sound the alarm at maximum volume.  Baby girl, you mean business!
Being the baby is not always fun.
Luckily, you aren't unhappy very often, and when you are, a snuggle from Mommy (or better yet, a nursing session) makes all well in the world again.  And speaking of nursing, you still like that...A LOT!  Considering that you've never taken to pacifiers or bottles (after steady attempts), I don't anticipate weaning in our future for quite some time.  Right now, you nurse between five and eight times a day, usually for no more than five minutes or so at a time.  Sometimes I get a little teary thinking about nursing not being a part of my life in the near future.  It really is such a joy with you.
Bottle, shmottle...the good stuff comes straight from the tap!
Something else that is a joy with you?  Getting you dressed, brushing your hair, and (as of yesterday) painting your toenails.  I love having boys, but dressing them and shopping for them isn't NEARLY as fun as it is for you.  I have a feeling, this will be short lived, as one day, YOU will be the one picking out the clothes instead of me, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts.
Sugar and spice and everything nice:)
Photo credit:  Shannon  Lawhon Rauh Photography
In the womb, you were my biggest mover.  I seriously felt you move constantly from 14 weeks on, but now that you're here, I've noticed that you are a lot more content to be still.  You love me to hold you all the time (which probably explains why you are my first child who's first birthday came and went without taking steps or even standing), and you seem to be happy to crawl everywhere else.  Somehow, I'm content for you to take your sweet time.
Your favorite place--in Mommy's arms.
Even though you aren't walking yet, there is ton of stuff you ARE doing.  You have the cutest little wave.  You click your tongue (although you can never do it without smiling).  You say Da-da (all. the. time.).  You climb all of our steps.  You can brush you hair.  You try to put shoes and socks on your feet.  You put your hands together to say prayers.  You say "thank you" (actually, you say, "ang-hoo").  You know how to get attention.  You definitely are a quick learner--copying every silly thing your brothers do.  You feed yourself everything.  You are well versed in the art of "making eyes" at people.  You go to bed without crying every night (and you are definitely our best sleeper!).
Tucked in with your favorite blankie and SeaSea the Seahorse.
My favorite moments with you are the quiet times that I rock you and nurse you before bed each night.  Sometimes we read a book and sometimes I just sing to you, but I always pray for you and your future (and your brothers)...praying that God will capture your hearts at an early age and protect you from all the things that I'm afraid to even think about.  You, Penn, and Jude are our treasures.

So, happy birthday, precious one.  Always remember...YOU ARE SUCH A GIFT!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Seeing weaknesses as strengths

Three-and-a-half is a tough age to negotiate with.  Jude spends a good amount of time, it seems, having tantrums, being sneaky, or holding his ground on whatever issue.  The other day, I figured out a way to prevent any future tantrums  and get full cooperation from out little Jude.  The secret?  Give him his way all the time.

Yeah...not gonna happen.

Luckily, that was not my only thoughtful insight.  I have also been convicted lately that I should be embracing what I see as my children's (spouse's, friends', or my own) weakness and try to see them the way that God sees them.  It's hard to realize that the things about my children that I find the most frustrating are things that God has designed in them to bring glory to Him in some way.  They may not be old enough to know exactly how to use these tools yet, but I'm starting to understand that it's my job to help them see.

Where I see stubbornness ("Your shoes are on the wrong feet, let me do it...please!"),
God sees perseverance.

Where I see messiness ("Why are there a million little pieces of paper cut up all over the floor???!!!"),
God sees creativity.

Where I see shyness ("They never do anything on command..."),
God sees humbleness.

Where I hear a million annoying questions ("For the hundredth time, I DON'T KNOW!"),
God hears curiosity.

Where I see danger ("Do not run away from could get lost/taken/hurt!"),
God sees fearlessness.

Where I see weakness, God sees strength.

My prayer is now, not to give me patience or insight on how to deal with the character traits that I find frustrating, but to help me embrace those things and show my children how they can use those traits to bring glory to the Lord.  I don't want to punish those things about my children that God intended/created in them for His purpose.
Photo credit:  Jamie Fleeman Photography

2 Corinthians 12:9-The Message

7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

 My grace is enough; it’s all you need.

My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.