Monday, August 31, 2009

Washing Off the Dirt




Last night as my husband and I washed the dishes, we also helped each other with some dirty places in our hearts. I could have put them in the dishwasher, but somehow the time standing over the sink together seemed important, even sacred.


One of our pastors is always talking about how we have to get alone and quiet in order to hear from God about the condition of our hearts. And it has to be longer than five minutes. So, I went out yesterday afternoon to grab coffee and be quiet. I purposefully left my iPod at home (I'm weak). I sat outside in amazing 80 degree weather and watched the clouds collide, brushing past one another and never stopping. I emptied out some selfish thoughts and tried to figure out why they've resided in my heart. I asked God to forgive me and for crying out loud, to change me! And I felt better, I felt refreshed...

And then I went home.

Back to square one.

Back to being critical, back to being negative, back to being pessimistic.

So, back to the dishes. With every dish I wiped, another bond was strengthened between my husband and me. The more open we were with each other, the more we got to know each other. It's ironic that the more "dirt" you have on your spouse (as we joke with each other), the deeper your love grows.

Proverbs 31:11 says, "The heart of her husband trusts in her..." (ESV)

I'm so thankful for a husband who trusts in me, and whom I can trust as well.

One day last week our family watched a movie that I've been instructed (ahem, threatened) not to mention...and as I laughed and poked fun at my husband for actually liking it, I mentioned that this was a new piece of dirt I had on him. He just smiled and said, "You're my wife. I would hope you'd have a lot more dirt on me than that."

And isn't that what being married is about--helping each other wash off the dirt?


Thank You so much, Lord, for the husband You've trust me with.


Peace of Christ to you,

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Toes and Tushies

Sand-tickled toes...




and bumble bee bums...



are what made up our evening last night!


And whining...




And stealing...




(But that's not what I'm
blogging about today!)





Peace of Christ to you,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In the Kitchen on a Rainy Day






Peace of Christ to you,
Cara

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Paci

That one little word has been in our vocabulary for more than three and a half years.

Woah.

In fact (I can't believe I'm admitting this), but not too long ago, I actually found one of Keagan's pacifiers under the recliner.

Yes, I know he's three and a half.


What? There's no section in Proverbs 31 about how well that woman can vacuum!

Anyway, three and a half years of pacifiers have suddenly ended. (This is exciting and sad all at once, really.) No doubt, I'm super excited to be released from having this tiny but NECESSARY item to pack in bags and purses. But I'm also sad that our "baby" is one step further away from being a baby.

But I love the way God compensates for this: One stage passed only means another one I will enjoy even more! So, I guess I'm cool with it.

Peace of Christ to you,

Guess Who Slept All Night Without a Paci!

This sleepy little lady:



Peace of Christ to you,

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not my child Monday: sit down


One night our family was traveling home from an evening of shopping in a nearby city. Both of our kids ride in car seats, and as we barreled down the high way, I realized Keagan's straps were not properly clicked together. So, I unbuckled my own seat belt, got up on my knees, and turned around to face him in the back seat.

As I leaned across the console and clicked his top strap in place, he pulled his finger up into my face, pointing it straight at my nose.

"Mommy. You sit down. Did you hear me?" [turning finger at his own nose now] "Are you listening? I said sit down."

To avoid the "laughing will only make him do it again" dilemma, all I could do was, well, turn around and sit down.

Surely that was not my child, right?

Surely.

Goodnessmercysweetbelievin'...do I really sound like that?

I need more coffee.


"Not Me! Monday" and "Not my child Monday" were created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what her kids and everyone else's kids surely didn't do this week.

Peace of Christ to you,
Cara

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bless Her Heart


I always learn a lot when I go to a coffee shop.

Meaningless, sometimes annoying learning, but still learning nonetheless. You know, those women whose conversations are so loud that even iTunes can't compete?

Today I've learned more about women and our ability with highly effective communication and also the acceptable uses of "Bless her heart."



Woman 1: So, how are the kids? (These are grown, I conclude later.)

Woman 2: Bless their hearts. They're doing fine, I suppose.

Woman 1: Now is Courtney...

Woman 2: Who knows? She's up in Colorado now.

Woman 1: And she's got...

Woman 2: Oh, yes, she's got some problems. Out of touch for a while. Nothing like [name I couldn't understand].

Woman 1: Oh, bless her heart. Now is she...

Woman 2: Pregnant? Yes. And Lord only knows what kind of mother she'll end up being. Let's just say she has no plans of being one of these stay at home doting moms, that's for sure.

Woman 1: [laughing]

Woman 2: She says the strangest things. If you could just hear. Well, like she said, 'We'll see if mothers really do eat their young or not, once this baby gets here.'




Isn't it funny how Woman 1 barely has to complete a sentence in order for Woman 2 to give an answer in full, and even more than was asked? And I also like how Woman 1 can seem humble and like she's really not digging for gossip...

Because everyone knows that if you don't ask the whole question, then you aren't really gossiping.

Mercy, we've gone from shoes to teaching to Dillards to broken down trucks to Curves to chicken salad that can you believe she gave it away?...

Bless her heart.

Just thought you might get a kick out of that as I have. Have a great weekend!

Peace of Christ to you,
Cara

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Like Half of a Merry-Go-Round

It's not every day that you stand three feet from and listen to someone whose car has been beaten in with a shovel...while their one year old daughter was in the front seat.

Especially not from their significant other.

But yesterday was not an "everyday" kind of day.

She was a former student, and as I lugged my 20 month old daughter toward the swing set to greet her, in no way could my mind (or heart) prepare for the devastating story I would hear in a matter of seconds.

I didn't have to ask. I just listened. And I think that's all she needed, really. Someone to listen.

The problem was a man who's really a boy. A man who put a ring on her finger and promised to love her and said "yes" to a baby...

And now his answer is, "No."

She said her life with a one year old is a road that goes up, way up, and then WAY down. She looked tired and done. Her deepest desire is to be whole, complete, a fully functioning family for her little girl's sake.

But he doesn't.


And I'm thinking, it's kind of like half of a merry-go-round.


Peace of Christ to you,
Cara

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Talimena Drive

Matt and I were blessed Sunday with an afternoon road trip on Talimena Drive to enjoy the warm sunshine along with this gorgeous view of the valley where we live:



It's neat to see all that God made and know that He made us, too...and He loves us even more than this!

And then some obnoxiously loud people came and the beautiful, peaceful moment was GONE!
But it was nice while it lasted, and I'm thankful for those few moments with my husband to stand (er, sit) in awe of God's hands at work.

Peace of Christ to you,
Cara

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Me! Monday #2





Under NO circumstances would I ever allow my 3 year old son to prance around in anything girly. Not me!

Never
.

Which is why I do not have these photos:




"Not Me! Monday" was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Peace of Christ to you,
Cara

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blankies

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18 ESV).

Last night my husband was putting our son to bed, as usual. I had gone out to grab some ice cream for us to sit and enjoy together once the night-nights were all done.

Keagan actually prefers his daddy for tuck-in time. Sometimes I'm invited in for their man prayer, and sometimes I'm not. Most of the time Keagan requests that I just kiss him and leave him and his daddy in the dark. "Shut door, Momma."

Yes sir.

I don't argue really. It's a moment for me to breathe, and I know it's time that he needs with his daddy.

But last night, when Keagan asked his usual, "Daddy, lay down", Matt was not inclined to adhere. Keagan has this multi-layer comforter that he loves...no matter what time of year it is.

Well, it's August. And a 3 year old's mind works a bit differently than a 27 year old's mind.

Matt kept telling him, "It's too hot." And Keagan just kept wailing louder and louder.

It's just a blanket, right?

Not really. Not to him.

See, to Keagan, not getting under the covers means something BIG, something devastating:

It means you're going to leave him.

And no matter how many times Matt whispered to him, "I'm not leaving; it's just hot under there", he never even heard. Because he was so brokenhearted and crushed.

Finally, Matt threw off the bulky winter blanket and climbed underneath the sheet with Keagan. He held him on his chest and told him it would be okay.

And the tears eventually stopped.

God is a father to us. God is a father to me. This is hard to remember for me, as I'm sure it is for others as well.

Do you have your own heavy blanket that you're asking, begging, God to climb underneath with you? Something He knows you don't need, but you're clinging to it anyway? Something that, if you would just let go of, He could comfort you more? Recently, I've been in a strange place emotionally and even spiritually. I feel brokenhearted some of the time, defeated, even crushed in spirit. I let the tiniest of details stress me out.

And I don't know exactly why.

All I know is how it feels. Just like all Keagan knew or could think about was how it felt to fear his daddy leaving him. And he couldn't understand that his daddy was right there. All the time. If he'd only have stopped crying and listened...he would've heard those comforting words.

I'm right here. I'm not leaving you.

And He never will.

Peace of Christ to you,
Cara

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Worn-Out Truck

It's a rusty-orange and dirty-white truck.

And it's there a lot.

Because she's there a lot.

She works there.

A lot.



I pulled in to find a park early in the afternoon to buy my groceries, and I saw it right away. And right away, I heard Him tell me to breathe and be thankful.

Thankful that I am blessed. Really, that I am spoiled. Because I don't have to work outside my home (just on the internet), because I am not trying this whole thing alone, and because for me, "alone" just means that I can buy my groceries without my children.

Thankful that I have a husband...and not just one, but one who helps so much. I just heard a girl friend tell me how she notices what an incredible father my husband is. And I know she's right. He's not one of these who looks at you as if you've asked him to slit his wrists when all you asked of him was to wipe some peanut butter on a slice of bread. He's not afraid to get his hands dirty.
Maybe I should have said "poopy." Because that's what kids do. (It's true.)

My morning had been riddled with one frustrating moment after another...and I couldn't even explain why it bothered me so much. I tried. But I couldn't.

The cat's tail had been pulled a number of times, the kids' picnic table had been over-turned, the T.V. station only played "the Elephant" once (and this was a tragedy), yogo-bits were not allowed for breakfast, and the cat had stolen one of the spoons intended for cereal consumption.



But then I saw that worn-out truck. And I turned my wheel into a park, unplugged my brand new iPod, sat with the freezing blast of air conditioning pointed right at my face...and I had to say "I'm sorry."

Sorry for forgetting how it could have turned out.

Sorry for thinking of only myself.

And I know that I'll do it all again in time, but for now, I'm thankful. I'm thankful that I know who drives that rusty-orange and dirty-white truck, and I'm wondering what I can do to help her a little.

"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones" (Prov. 17:22 ESV).

That it does.

Peace of Christ to you,
Cara

What Does YOUR Family Do On Saturday Mornings?

This is a normal Saturday morning for us:


Cereal (the fruity kind), sippy cups, and cartoons.




And messy faces...


Even BW lounges around. He's growing, isn't he? (And if you missed it on my FB, we discovered that Miss BW is actually a Mister BW.)



So, this is our family (minus Matt, who works) on Saturday mornings. What does your family do? Leave a comment and share.

Peace of Christ to you,
Cara

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What We Do

We don't get a ton of time with Matt (a.k.a. Dadddeeeee!), so what we do get, we cherish. Here are a few of the ways we do that as a family:



We go to the mall...sometimes just to "look" and play on the rides.


We travel.

We eat in restaurants.



We hang out in our jammies.


We eat ice cream.


We travel.


We giggle.


We drink a lot of this.


We explore new places.


We eat snow cones.


Did I mention that we travel?


Peace of Christ to you,
Cara

Monday, August 10, 2009

Not Me! Monday

So, I think I'll try this little "Not Me! Monday" thing started by MckMama here. She's fun, and there are tons of other "Not Me! Monday" stories from others to read there.

My first "Not Me! Monday" story is from our weekend getaway! As I said in my last post, we loaded up Saturday night and--as one of my friends calls it--we had a Sabbatical Sunday. I like the sound of that.

Well, Sunday morning we ate breakfast at IHOP--the only place there is to eat breakfast on vacation. (Seriously, we ALWAYS manage to find one no matter where we go.) Anyway, the hostess sat us in this big open area where there were lots of people who had no children. These people looked rather grumpy. These people glared at us a lot. These people were turned off by the fact that we had two small VERY CHATTY children under the age of 4.

What did I NOT do? Let's see...I did not stare right back at the man directly behind my husband who was telling me with his eyes to shut my little girl up when she was squawking at her chocolate milk. I did not bribe my son with what he might get later on if he would just sit down beside me like a decent, sweet, well-mannered, human child.

I also did not drop my daughter off at Life Kids with chocolate milk spilled all down her front, either.

I wouldn't do that.
I didn't do that.

And to prove it, here's a picture of how sweet my little angels were at breakfast:





So there.

Peace of Christ to you,
Cara

Sunday, August 9, 2009

How Was Our Trip?

It's weird to look at those pictures I posted last time and now say, "I was just there!" The pictures did portray the hotel very well...it was SO NICE! We arrived in Tulsa around 9 on Saturday night. Keagan was all pumped about the swimming pool, so once we got settled in our room, we changed into our swimming attire, grabbed our--rather large load of--swimming paraphernalia and hit the pool. It was cold! But we had such a great time, and seeing Keagan's excitement was so worth it. Kate was finished swimming within about 30 minutes, so I took her back to the room to go night night. By that time, it was around 10:30! (WAY past her bedtime!)

Let's just say that sleeping our whole family in one big room is...well, interesting. Kate slept in her pack-n-play, and the general plan was for Keagan to sleep in one double bed while Matt and I took the other one. Simple enough, right? Not exactly.

Both our kids sleep alone in their separate bedrooms with the door closed, so anything else is just distracting to them. I put Kate in bed and sat in the little hallway by the bathroom so I could have some light. I got a little time in my bible, which was really nice. Pretty soon, I could hear, "I pushed 6!" outside the door.

Keagan likes elevators.

Really, Keagan likes nearly everything we do that's new, especially things he gets to announce loudly to other random strangers we meet along the way. He loved telling the desk clerks, "I go down!" each time we'd come down from our room on the 6th floor. Did I mention that the desk clerks were SO nice, and well, anyone who gives you a warm chocolate chip cookie upon checking in is a friend of Keagan's!

Back to the sleeping arrangement: Well, I guess that chocolate in his cookie got him wired, that and being in a new place, so it was nearly impossible to get that kid to sleep! We couldn't be too harsh on him because he would just start wailing, and then that would wake up Kate...you get the idea. So, we put him in our bed until he fell asleep.

And then I blew it. I picked him up to move him to his bed, and voila! He was wide eyed and bushy tailed! I'd drift off to sleep and wake only to find him staring straight at me. Have you ever woken up to someone staring at you? It's just not right.

So, after 1 in the cotton pickin' morning, Keagan finally got to sleep. And so did we.

And guess what time the boogers woke up. Yep. 7 straight up. "Good morning, Momma!" Aye...

We got to visit lifechurch.tv, which is always an awesome experience! We both felt God speaking to us there, and we got to talk about what we heard on our drive home. After a full day of shopping and playing at play stations, the kids were sacked out! So, we had some great quiet time together then. I can't tell you how nice that was after a day of exceptionally loud squeals!

So, that's how our trip went. We enjoyed ourselves a lot, and we really needed that time together as a family. I'm praying we have a better week this go round. And for anyone who kept up with our diaper saga and is just dying to know which route I took (you know you are!), I did take cloth with us. And it was fine! They actually work better than disposables, believe it or not.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Matt surprised me with an early birthday present:



Love that guy.

Peace of Christ to you,
Cara

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Quick (but much needed) Getaway

So, this is where we're headed tonight:





Peace of Christ to you,
Cara