Sunday, October 31, 2010

Angel Food Ministries

Twice we have received a delivery from Angel Food Ministries. While we are so grateful for the food, there is no gift that beats this sweet delivery...


Friday, October 29, 2010

20

Last week Ryan had his 20th interview (including phone and in-person).

20.

20 times of mentally preparing.
20 times of discussing, answering questions, and trying to say the 'right' things.
20 times of hoping, praying and wanting this one to be THE one.

Ryan has a PR blog. In this post he writes about unemployment. Ryan is always very honest and authentic and I encouraged him to be transparent on his blog about the challenges of being unemployed.

Unemployment is as much a mental game as it is a job-finding game. Some days are tough - discouraging, depressing, and emotionally exhausting.

What is different about this type of waiting than when we were waiting for a baby? When we were trying to conceive it was MY body. My cycle. My ovulation. My health. While we both longed for a child, it was at the forefront of my mind all of the time. Every day I would take note of what my body was doing and where I was in my cycle, and if this month could possibly be the month we had waited so long for.

As Ryan searches for a job, WE wait together. But in reality, the brunt of the work is on his shoulders. He searches. He looks. He meets with people. He works on his resume. He makes new contacts. He interviews. He cannot forget that he doesn't have a job.

To be honest, sometimes I forget. As I'm cleaning, cooking, caring for my babies....I forget. I get caught up in the routine of being a mom and I don't think about Ryan being unemployed.

But Ryan does not forget. Because every day he gets up and doesn't go into an office to work. He doesn't have an office anymore. He has a card table set up in our bedroom. He doesn't have his own laptop, he is borrowing one from a friend. He doesn't have a work-paid Blackberry, he pays for it himself.

I am so proud of my husband. He does not lay in bed depressed and unwilling to face the day. He gets up and every single day works in some small (or big) way toward his next job. He has persevered. He has remained upbeat and positive.

20 people have chosen not to hire him. Yet he remains optimistic about person #21.

I love you sweetie and I admire your determination and positivity. I am proud to be your wife and even more proud of how you have handled the past 5 months. I'm right here by your side waiting for the next call that just might be the one.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Words on waiting: has God forgotten you?

In March of 2009 I wrote a post titled: Words on waiting: has God forgotten you?

Someone commented on that post recently so I took the time to re-read my post.

I said to Ryan, "I'm amazed that I wrote that post!" I am even more amazed that my post now speaks to me - particularly this statement: "They get the job while you or your spouse wait for the call."

I didn't know when I wrote that post that 18 months later we would be waiting for a call about a job.

Yet my post reminds me that God knew. He knew when Ryan would switch jobs and when he would lose his job and when he will start his next job.

And he doesn't owe us an explanation for his timing around any of those events. I don't think that God has forgotten us because I have experienced His faithfulness - both in my life and in the lives of others.

I hadn't read the Wait Poem once during this time. It was so good for me to let those words soak into my heart again.

God has not forgotten us......and we have not forgotten His faithfulness.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Family pics

Ryan's cousin took pictures of our family yesterday. Lauren took a few steps during our photo shoot and we got them on camera! Samuel and Lauren are so sweet. I am madly, crazily, completely and totally in love with my two miracles. They bring me such joy. Blue eyes, precious smiles, blonde hair....we are blessed. So blessed

Here's a few pics - enjoy.









Thursday, October 21, 2010

High Chair Devotions

Recently I began having devotions with Samuel and Lauren after breakfast each morning. This is something I believe is important, so I'm starting while the kids are young.

I've read a few different articles about family devotions including this one.

My initial goals were to:
1). Just start doing them
2). Keep them short
3). Make sure they were age-appropriate

My mom informed me today that when I was little we used to read the Bible together after dinner. Initially I was thinking that we would have devotions after dinner or before bed each night so that Ryan could be involved. But the truth is...we're just too tired. I don't have the energy in this season of life to try to keep the kids focused and listening for any length of time. Plus, if we are gone for dinner or out during the evening then devotions are unlikely to happen.

In the future, we might try devotions after dinner or as part of the bedtime routine, but for now I have the most energy for breakfast devotions (note: I did not write I am a morning person, just that I have more energy). By doing this together in the morning, we can be mindful throughout our day of what we read.

We're using a Devotional Bible for Preschoolers that I think we received as a gift. We read one short entry each morning after breakfast. The kids are finished eating and are still in their high chairs. Each reading includes a verse for the day and a short prayer. I include the prayer but also pray for things like our activities that day or for continued patience for mom or listening and obedience for Samuel or kindness between siblings.

I have no expectations for this time. 

Let me repeat: I have no expectations.

Sometimes both kids are talking. Sometimes one is crying. Samuel often times wants to get down because he's "aw done."

But we're plugging away. Doing a little each day to help all of us focus our hearts and minds upward. Usually when I start reading and point out the picture, I can get the attention of both my kiddos for a few minutes.

And really, at this age it's about developing a habit that will hopefully carry into adulthood. I've always struggled with consistency in my time with the Lord and maybe, just maybe, I can help my children develop that habit at a young age.

We have children's Bibles that we read on a regular basis, but I love the topics that are presented in the devotional Bible, along with a verse and prayer. Three years from now my kids might need something with more 'meat,' but for now it's perfect.

And what better way to start our day than with a little spiritual food for breakfast?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gratitude Journal

Years ago when I was part of a Homemakers group, we developed the habit of writing in a gratitude journal. It wasn't something I have continued through the years, but I'm picking it up again.

There are SO MANY ways we've been blessed during this season of unemployment. We are continually surprised, amazed and so grateful at how God shows us that He will provide for our every need - whether that's through a financial gift, an act of service or a note of encouragement to lift our spirits.

I DO NOT want to forget a single act of kindness shown to us as we walk this road.

So I have a gratitude journal on my nightstand. And I plan to write ways that people have loved us, served us, and cared for us.

Scripture tells us to remember. My gratitude journal will help me do exactly that.

I wrote a post last month about choosing to be grateful. I cannot look at my list of blessings and not be grateful.

God I am so grateful for the many ways you show yourself through my friends and family. You love us deeply, greatly, sweetly, gently, hugely, profoundly, surprisingly and tremendously. All the glory goes to you Jesus. All the glory.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Small moments of joy

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about parenting being hard.

Which it is.

But in the midst of hard parenting days (or weeks or months), there are small moments of joy.

Moments that cause your heart to melt.

Moments, in which, you are reminded that these little people are gifts from a great big God.

Moments that make the hard parts of parenting so worth it.

Moments that include....
  • Praying after breakfast and hearing your 13-month-old daughter say "Amen."
  • Hearing your son recite (with help) the words of 1 John 4:19. His first memory verse!
  • Your son asking his father for a hug. 
  • Your daughter clapping as soon as you start singing If You're Happy and You Know It.
  • Cuddling in bed watching Land Before Time with your two-year-old as you discuss Ducky, Littlefoot, Petrie, Spike and Cera.
  • Reading Who Said Boo? for the 15th time in a day. 
  • Swinging with two children on your lap. 
  • Seeing dad and son playing Bad to the Bone with their 'stick' drumsticks.
  • Watching your daughter's eyes (actually her entire face) light up when she sees you - because you are one of the most important people in her world.
There is no doubt that the small moments of joy outweigh the hard moments by a landslide. Thank you Lord for that!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lauren's talking!

Samuel is saying new sentences every day and Lauren's saying new words every week. Life is full and so much fun with these two! Here are a few of Lauren's new words:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What are you waiting for?

Here is a quote from the sermon I posted yesterday:
"If we remember that everything that touches our life is sifted through the hands of a loving God, if we understand that He is in complete control, if we understand that in order for us to wait we are not waiting for the stars to align, we are not waiting for the circumstances to change, all we are waiting for is God to say NOW - all He has to do is give a word, He spoke the worlds into existence - whatever it is we are praying about can literally be taken care of."

There is both relief in that statement as well as frustration.

How wonderful to know that it is not up to us alone to make things happen. Most days, most hours, it is wonderfully relieving to know that for all of Ryan's efforts and work, God and God alone is in control of his future. Even though Ryan has more than 1,500 LinkedIn connections, and he is part of many networking circles, and he has more than 7,000 PR blog readers a month....ultimately we are not waiting for just the right person to contact Ryan. We are waiting on God to say NOW. We are waiting for the nod. We are waiting for Him to give the word.

However, there are times when my mind chooses to wander and not focus on truth. That's when the frustration sets in. That's when the temptation to give into discouragement is high. Because we know this is one of those times when God has not given the nod or spoken the word.

Those times are infrequent and I believe it's because I have experienced the faithfulness of God. I have seen His goodness firsthand. I am living the miracle He performed in my life.

So yes, we're waiting for God to say NOW. And maybe that's what you're waiting for too.

But maybe you haven't experienced a life-changing miracle yet. Don't give up. Don't let your waiting get the best of you.

Beth Moore says,"If Jesus gives us a task or assigns us to a difficult season, every ounce of our experience is meant for our instruction and completion if only we'll let Him finish the work. I fear, however, that we are so attention-deficit that we settle for bearable when beauty is just around the corner." - Beth Moore.

Some people are waiting for all the stars to align so their prayer can be answered. Friends, I'm waiting for the One who calls each of those stars by name.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lauren's talking!

Waiting...patiently?

My mother-in-law recently sent Ryan and I a sermon titled A Patience Question. It is fantastic. The message offers five benefits of waiting on the Lord and I've listened to it at least three times.

The sermon is based on Psalm 40:1-3:
I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.

You can print out a PDF of sermon notes here.

I was going to type up some notes, but I would have typed up the entire message. So I will just leave you with a question you'll hear in the sermon. It's a patience question:

Will you wait on God?

Will you?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The upside of unemployment


The upside of unemployment
is that you get to
do a lot of fun things
together as a family.
Like go to
corn mazes
and play in
corn pits
and have tons of fun
with tons of corn
and cute kids
whom I love
and adore

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Parenting is hard

Yes, this week I decided that parenting is hard. 

Or maybe that's what was confirmed this week. 

Because I knew parenting was hard. I was just reminded this week, that it's still hard. Even without a newborn in my house anymore.

Because parenting is definitely harder with a newborn!

Lauren and Samuel have colds. Lauren has been up three nights in a row. I took her to the doc today and she has an ear infection. So that explains the late nights and little sleep. Cold season has begun again (already?!) and it is tough with little ones. Runny noses, congestion, ear pain...

Three nights of little sleep has taken its toll on mom and I now have a cold.

So what am I doing up late at night when I should be catching up on all the sleep I've missed this week?

I'm catching up on all the other stuff in my life that I don't get done while caring for the little people in my life.

As a mom, you just have to push through the lack of sleep.

As a mom, you deal with the sore throat and cold symptoms. 

As a mom, you get outta bed, face the day and smile for your kiddos.

As a mom, you have the privilege of caring for little ones all day every day.

As a mom, that is what is so wonderful and so hard all at the same time.

It's not a big revelation, but it's true. And I just needed to remind myself of that this week.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dear Samuel

Dear Samuel,
Happy 2nd birthday little man!

We are so blessed to have had you in our lives for the past two years. Two years of loving you, laughing with you and watching you learn and grow.

In the past year you've gone from learning to walk to running everywhere - all the time. You went from only saying a couple words to communicating in full sentences (sometimes). You recognize family members, friends, our church building and grandma and grandpa's houses. You can count to ten and sing all of your ABCs. You amaze us!

Your language has exploded in the last few months. You are talking so much. Your dad and I often hear short phrases like: daddy circles, mommy teeth too, more tickle, tower, what daddy doing, baby no no, Sammy in, why, big garbage truck, pancakes and sausage, baby sit too, Sammy do it and my turn.

Last week I was pushing you in the swing outside and this is how our conversation went:

Mommy: "I love you Samuel."

Mommy: "Can you say, "I love you too mommy?"

Samuel: "I want some cheese."

This made me laugh and reminded me that your priorities in life are food and playing.

But you are learning and growing quickly because last night when I put you to bed I said, "I love you Samuel." And completely unprompted you responded, "Love you mommy." My heart melted.

Even though our family is facing some difficult times right now, I am thankful that you are shielded from the realities of this world. Soon enough you'll be faced with stress, anxiety and worries when life doesn't pan out the way you think it should. For now I am grateful that you are content to play with mom, dad and Lauren all day, every day.

Samuel I am so proud of you. You are curious, smart and brave. You are full of energy and life. You laugh and giggle and smile frequently. You continue to love music and dancing. I taught you Skip, Skip, Skip to My Lou recently and it is so fun to hear you singing the words to yourself when you're playing. But nothing compares to having you sing along with me when I sing How Great is Our God. I hope Samuel that you will know deep down inside, how truly great our God  is.

Samuel our prayer is exactly what your Papa Dean prayed for you last night: that you would always know how much we love you and how much God loves you.

Happy Birthday my miracle boy. I can't wait to watch you learn and grow in the coming year.

I love you,
Mom

Friday, October 1, 2010

Our very own Curious George

I have a very curious little boy. Adventuresome, brave and curious. He is full of energy and likes to explore. Let me take you on a journey of the past year with our little guy....


















Eating cat food
















Emptying out the contents of his formula container from the diaper bag



















Distracted from reading books by the excitement of dumping out a container of Q-tips 









 




 








Climbing onto a chair in the kitchen, getting a bag of potatoes and opening them all over the floor






















Eating chips found in a Tupperware container in the pantry














Pulling stuffing out of couch cushion (not sure how he even got the zipper open!)














Climbing onto the shelves in our porch














Sitting on the kitchen floor eating the leftovers that were on a plate that he pulled off the counter




















Building a 'tower' with mayo, chicken broth, cup cake liners and mac-n-cheese














Sitting on top of his changing table pulling out wipes. Guess this means he can climb on top of his changing table now.


















One of my all-time favorite pictures - Samuel eating a chocolate chip cookie at about 6:30 in the morning. He pulled it off the kitchen counter where I had left it (wrapped in paper towel) the night before. His only words: "Nummy!"