Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bottles

In the fall of 2008 I posted pictures of all the baby things that were new around my home: burp cloths and nuks and bottles and monitors and diapers.

And now here we are 2 1/2 years later and we're done with bottles.

It's been four nights since Lauren had her last one.

I'm sad.

She turned 18 months on March 13 and I knew the end was nearing. The pediatrician said at her 18-month appt that we should think about stopping the bottle.

But Lauren really loved her bottle. Really. Really. She asked for it every night and recently had been asking for it multiple times a day when she was sad or tired or needed to be comforted. We always said no unless it was bedtime.

We couldn't even spell bottle anymore because she knew what we were spelling - smart girl!

Lauren didn't need her bottle anymore. It was only 3 oz of whole milk warmed as part of the bedtime routine. But we loved holding her and cuddling her and trying to keep her small for awhile more.

And then Sunday night she ate dinner late and we got busy and she never asked. And off to bed she went. So I tried again on Monday and she didn't ask.

And now it's been four nights.

I nearly cried when I put away the bottle drier that had been sitting on my counter for 2 1/2 years. No more bottles means no more babies in my house.

And that's a hard realization for a mama who loves her babies. 

I also love this stage of learning and growing and laughing and talking and playing and pretending.

It doesn't seem that long ago that I was picking out Dr. Brown's bottles to use with Samuel. And now they are packed away.

It goes by so fast. Some nights the bottle-washing seemed endless. The rountine exhausting. The counter space lacking.

But now we're done with bottles and I'm sad.

At least I still have sippy cups. I don't think I'll let Samuel and Lauren give those up until they're 10.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Laura Story - Blessings

My friend sent this to me last week. I forgot to listen to it until tonight. She knew when she sent it that the words would go straight to my heart. And, oh my, do they ever. Don't wait a week to listen....play it right now and then send it to a friend who might need to hear it as well. I have no doubt it will bless your heart as it has blessed mine.






Blessings
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Monday, March 28, 2011

Little feet


Some friends who were at my house this weekend encouraged me to snap a photo of the shoes in my entry way. Yesterday I grabbed my camera and I love the results!

Seeing this photo tempts me to wake up to the tiny people sleeping in my house so I can kiss and tickle the clean feet that fit so perfectly into these little shoes. 

Seeing this photo gives me hope that spring and puddles and walks and parks are so very near.

Seeing this photo encourages me to focus on who - not what - is important in my life.

Seeing this photo fills me with a deep sense of gratitude for the perfectly precious blessings in my life.

Seeing this photo makes me nearly breathless as I think of how much I treasure hearing the stomp stomp stomp of these little shoes on my hardwood floors.

Seeing this photo serves as a tender reminder that an all-knowing, all-powerful God, saw fit to trust me with two of His beautiful miracles.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Desperation

"The tragedy of the hour
is that the situation is desperate,
but the saints are not."

I heard this quote in a message on prayer awhile back. Recently I came across it again and it's stuck with me because it's making me ponder and question and challenge myself: Am I desperate? If I would consider Ryan needing a job a fairly desperate situation, am I desperate in praying for the situation?

What would it look like if I was?

If our _______________  (infertility,
financial, marriage, parenting, emotional, health, career) issue is desperate...are we on our knees in desperation before our God?

I don't know. I'm just here asking the questions and trying to figure it out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A blogging milestone

Today is a blogging milestone for In Its Time. 

Today my blog hit 100,000 visits.

It's incredible to me that in my little corner of the world...with my little URL that started because of the amazing miracle that God brought into our lives...my little blog has been visited 100,000 times.
My first post was October 8, 2008.

And here we are...100,000 visits later.

Stories told. Pictures posted. New life lessons learned. 30 months of parenting experienced. Countless reminders of God's faithfulness.

The highest highs, the lowest lows.

We've walked through it all on this blog.

As I write this post I think about my life and those things heavy on my heart: Death of a spouse. Cancer. Unemployment.

And yet I also think about the incredible blessings of those I love that fill me with joy: Health. Restored marriages. Pregnancies. Missions trips. Engagements. Promotions. Twins.

I'll leave you with a song that describes what's on my heart as I ponder this milestone. It's my desire today and every day...and with every word I post, Glory to God forever.



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Words on waiting...again

So I was going to post about perseverance. I just read a quote about perseverance in marriage and it's pretty powerful. And I've been praying for perseverance for Ryan a lot these days.

I did a search to see what I've written about perseverance previously and came across this Words on Waiting post I wrote on Tuesday, May 5, 2009.

Lauren wasn't yet born. Samuel was just 7 months old. I had waited for kids and now I had a baby and thought my waiting was over.

I was ready to share with the world my 'wise words' on waiting.

And here I am almost two years later reading those 'wise words' and thinking to myself: that girl didn't know anything about waiting.

Well maybe she knew some things about waiting, but she wrote with a confidence of someone whose waiting was over and lessons were learned.

She didn't know she would soon wait again. 

She didn't know she would have to re-learn many of those lessons on waiting that she thought she had mastered. 

As I read the list of verses on waiting in my previous post, I had to ask myself:
Am I trusting in His holy name?
Am I laying my requests before the Lord and waiting in expectation?
Am I waiting patiently for God?
Am I putting my hope in His Word?

And most of all, do I believe that blessed are all who wait for Him?

I want to be that girl again. I want to be the girl from 2009 who wrote the words on waiting post. Because after years of waiting, I thought I had learned my lessons and achieved my badge of honor in the category of waiting.

But I'm not that girl. I'm a girl whose found herself in another season of waiting. And I'm still dealing with bitterness and impatience and all the yuckiness in one's heart that comes out during refining seasons of life.

Part of me wants to tell that girl to stuff it

And then there's another part of me that longs to be that girl who was filled with trust and faith and confidence in a great big God who had answered amazing prayers in her life - one was growing in her womb and the other she held in her arms.

Where did that girl go? Is she lost? Battered, broken and beaten? Will she discover new words on waiting?

I don't know. Because I'm not yet on the other side of my waiting.

But with all my heart, I hope and pray and beg and plead with God to not let me waste this season of waiting.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Big boy

We've got a love for Thomas and all things trains around our house these days....
Please notice the 'big boy' undies are on over Samuel's diaper. We're hoping to change that in the next few months.




And, of course, Lauren wants to do whatever her big brother is doing....


Friday, March 18, 2011

Corrie Ten Boom quote

"Every experience God gives us,
every person He puts in our path,
is the perfect preparation for a future
only He can see." 
--Corrie Ten Boom

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Out of my control

Today is my husband's 35th birthday.

And today was a good day. A really really good day. He told me multiple times how loved and cared for he felt by our family and friends. 

We baked birthday muffins and birthday cookies. We sang Happy Birthday. We had birthday balloons and birthday decorations.

Ryan had breakfast with friends, lunch with his family and enjoyed a night out with his first St. Patty's Day green beer.

It was memorable. It was fun.

However, I was reminded today, once again, how out of control I feel when it comes to Ryan's employment status. I can bake, cook, buy, celebrate, decorate, love, and laugh with my man.

But I cannot get him a job. I cannot employ him. I cannot help him fulfill his God-given role as provider.

I can encourage him. I can affirm him. I can help him feel loved and supported and appreciated.

And maybe, for today, that just has to be enough.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The power of prayer

Do you believe in the power of prayer? Do you pray as if there is great power in prayer? What is your greatest answer to prayer? 

My mom's group is reading Celebration of Discipline together and we are currently discussing a chapter on prayer. It's excellent (as they all are!). My friend KB wrote the following about one of the greatest answers to prayer that she has experienced in her life. KB is an amazing prayer warrior and I am so very thankful she had the courage to pray a prayer that gave ALL the glory to God.

Then I think of ridiculous ways that God has answered prayer in my life. My best friends, Stacy, JeriAnne, and I all dealt with infertility for awhile before all our wonderful children came. At a meeting, I asked people to pray that my friends would have kids before me. On the way home, MB asked me why I prayed that, and it was because I really meant it. I didn't want to have to know what it would be like to have kids before they did. A little later, Jeri heard from a teenage mother from her hometown that she wanted to give her baby to them. I got pregnant then Stacy got pregnant, and we were all in awe of how good God could be. Then Stacy had another miscarriage, and we were back at square one wondering what in the world God could be doing. Right? If you don't know the story, it's really just a miraculous showing of God's timing that we could have no idea of how good it was. It would have been great if Stacy had kept that baby, but God intended Samuel for them. A day or two after Chloe was born, Jeri got a call from another mother looking to give them her baby. Knowing she couldn't take on two newborns, she called Stacy. There is Samuel. My friends both had babies before I did and now we all share in the joy of motherhood together. Listening to Stacy or Ryan tell their story is absolutely amazing, and God has been glorified and praised often because of this.

I love my story and I love hearing it told from the perspective of a friend who prayed such an amazing prayer that only God could have orchestrated the events to make it happen. All three of us wanted babies, and yet KB prayed that her two friends would have kids before she did. God heard that prayer. He answered that prayer.

What if KB had never prayed that prayer? Would the events that occurred still happened in a timeline that allowed Jeri and I to become moms before KB? 

I have no idea and to be honest I don't really care. What matters to me is that KB so strongly believes in the power of prayer that she prayed a courageous, bold prayer on behalf of her friends. She petitioned our great God about babies. No request is too small. No prayer is too bold for our God.

Thank you KB. And thank you Lord, for showing three young women the incredible power of prayer.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

18 months

Dearest Lauren,
Today you are 18 months.

I can hardly believe my sweet baby girl is 1 1/2 years old already. Everyone tells you it goes by fast, and they are absolutely right.

You are changing before my eyes. Growing, talking, playing, pretending, singing, reading, dancing, climbing on things, and following the lead of your big brother.

I want to stop time. I want you to stay this small, this sweet for awhile longer. Not forever, but for awhile.

Our neighbor Sinead says that she loves this age because everything is new and exciting and filled with exploration. It's so true! Every time you do something or see something it's like you are seeing it or doing it for the very first time. The smallest things bring you such joy.

This week I opened up the Memory Game that we had been given as a gift for Christmas and you sat in your highchair multiple times and just looked at the cards, stacked them in piles and named the items on the cards like "Balloons" and "Cheese."

One of my favorite things you do is run across the house to me when I get home on Mondays and Wednesdays from work. You yell, "Mommeeeee, mommeeee, mommeeee" and you're smiling ear to ear. It melts my heart.

One of the hardest things for me to do is leave you...just about anywhere. You have quite the attachment to your mama and tears flow freely when you know I'm going to leave you in the nursery, at Gpa and Gma's house or even with your dad. When I go to work I often have to walk away with you crying your eyes out - thank goodness you are home with your dad and brother and you very loved and well taken care of.

I feel like I have a special bond with you Lauren. Dad sees it too. Maybe it's that way with all moms and their baby girls. Maybe it's because you are so attached me at just 18 months and you're not yet ready to go out and explore the world. Maybe it's because you are so much like I was...as Grandma Ruth continually reminds me. You look like I did, you act like I did (I cried until I was four when my mom left me) and you are as picky of an eater as I was.

Your favorite foods these days include cheese, applesauce, cereal, yogurt, noodles, fruit and toast. That pretty much sums up what you eat.

I am so proud of you - how smart you are, how quickly you are learning so many things and how you desire to do the right thing even though I'm beginning to hear "no" more and more these days when I ask you to do something or tell you to stop doing something.

You have an incredible love for your blankets and your teddy which you ask for frequently. I know it's just a stage. Samuel loved his teddy too. But the attachment is so sweet.

Sometimes it takes my breath away how much love I have for you.

I can't wait to paint your fingernails, go to the library and sit and read books together, and brush your hair into pig tails.

I know that time will come. It will be here soon.

So today I cherish the moments of my 18-month-old baby girl: dancing together around the house, lots of hugs, "gentle" as you tenderly pat my face, excited screeches for "ELMO!", your ability to sign so many things to communicate with us, and your feisty spirit that dictates what songs we sing and books we read.

All my love baby girl. Today and every day. 

Mom

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dancing in the Minefields

A friend recently told me about this song. I hadn't heard it, but immediately went to You Tube to listen to it and watch the video. I loved the lyrics from the moment I heard them. I have listened to this song a few times and think it is the ideal song to post in honor of my anniversary.

Dear Ryan,
Happy Anniversary sweets. Here's to 10 years of living and loving. Here's to two incredible miracles that fill our hearts to overflowing. Here's to waiting on the Lord and trusting in His timing for our family, our marriage and our future. This is much harder than we dreamed...but in the face of all this chaos baby I can dance with you.




Dancing in the Minefields

Well I was 19 you were 21
The year we got engaged
Everyone said we were much to young
But we did it anyway
We got the rings for 40 each from a pawnshop down the road
We said our vows and took the leap now 15 years ago

Chorus:
We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for

Well ‘I do' are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I've heard is a good place to begin
Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price for the life that we have found

Chorus:
And we're dancing in the minefields
We're sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for
That's what the promise is for

Bridge:
So when I lose my way, find me
When I lose loves chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith
to the end of all my days
when I forget my name, remind me

Cause we bear the light of the son of man
So there's nothing left to fear
So I'll walk with you in the shadow lands
Till the shadows disappear
Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos baby
I can dance with you

Chorus:
So lets go dancing in the minefields
Lets go sailing in the storms
Oh lets go dancing in the minefields
And kicking down the doors
Oh lets go dancing in the minefields
And sailing in the storms
Oh this is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for
That's what the promise is for

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The secret of a good marriage

Do you know the secret of a good marriage?

You might have a few ideas.

If I had to throw out a few ideas of my own, I might include things such as prayer, commitment, love and respect.

A few years ago I heard Dr. Laura Schlessinger (author and radio talk show host) give her definition of a good marriage. She says the secret of a good marriage can be summed up in 4 words:

"Choose Wisely...Treat Kindly."

Hmmm.

That's not what I would have expected from this highly-opinionated, straight-forward woman. I would have anticipated something deeper. More complicated. More difficult.

And yet in contemplating this 'secret', I realized it was indeed, quite difficult.

Choose wisely. Treat kindly.

I made my choice in 2001.

Therefore, I need to focus on part two: treat kindly.

For those who know me well, and who might be among my friends with whom I share prayer requests, you know that I have asked for prayer regarding the same issue for a couple years.

It's incredibly humbling to admit that I need prayer for and continue struggle in the area of treating my husband kindly.

I am often impatient, short, and rude with him. My words are disrespectful and my tone is offensive.

When Samuel does something that he knows is not OK, he will often hear me say, "Absolutely not."

And yet, someone could say the same to me about how I treat my husband. I did choose wisely. He is a wonderful, funny, giving, loving man. And I have struggled with treating him kindly for years.

Last month I read this comment on another blog and it hit me deeply: "After 19 years together, Russ and I have concluded that the key [to a good marriage] is plain old kindness. We treat each other better than we treat anyone else."

Plain. Old. Kindness.

One definition of kindness is: Goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others.

What's my deal? Why do I struggle so greatly with treating the love of my life....kindly?

My one hope, my one piece of encouragement is that kindness is a fruit of the Spirit and therefore the more I seek the Lord the more he can mold me, shape me and transform me from the inside out. I need Him to replace my ugliness with kindness. I need Him to help my conversation be full of grace.

We're 10 years in and it's not a secret anymore. I know what it takes to make my marriage good.

And I know the choice is up to me.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

In Its Time

Ten years ago Ryan and I were searching, reading and praying about a marriage verse. We wanted to choose a verse that reflected our relationship journey...a long, wonderful, painful journey that eventually led us to commit our lives to one another.

One day Ryan came to and excitedly said, "Listen to this: Ecclesiastes 3:11 - He has made everything beautiful in its time."

We both knew that was verse we had been searching for. It expressed exactly what we felt about our dating relationship.

Ryan and I met when we were 17, in our junior year of high school. I was dating another guy. We worked at the same pizza joint. By the end of the school year I was single and on June 22, 1993, Ryan picked me up for our first official date.

That night was the beginning of an eight-year journey together. We had many rocky months of dating and eventually broke up for a year because we spent more time hurting one another than loving each other.

But on August 19, 2000, Ryan dropped to one knee...on a street corner late at night...and asked me to be his wife.

Good or bad. Better or worse. Forever and ever.

As I say in my personal testimony, God took us apart for that time so we could see our need for Him. Then, He brought us back together...in His time.

When I look back on our years of dating, much of it was filled with heartache. We were not living for Jesus...we loved the world and we made self-centered decisions that caused us each much pain.

But we serve a God of love and grace and unending forgiveness. He not only restored Ryan and I to Him, but he allowed our relationship with one another to be restored.

We still bare the scars of our dating years, but our mistakes have made us wiser and more committed.

Having dated for eight years prior to marriage, we knew it was God - and only God - who could have taken our broken, messed up relationship and made it beautiful.

Its been nearly 18 years since that shy, cute, high school Senior asked out a girl he had a crush on.

Wednesday we celebrate 10 years of marriage. 10 years of laughing, learning, praying, crying, seeking, trusting, doubting, believing, growing, waiting and loving.

And we believe even more strongly today that God, does indeed, make everything beautiful in its time.

Friday, March 4, 2011

By Your grace I will wait

You’ve been pushing and demanding. Are you accusing God of not caring? God says, “I have a treasure I want to give you. I want you to know Me, but you’re going to have to wait.”

If your heart has been impatient or angry towards God because He’s not moving in a situation as fast or in the way that you think He should—even just this moment, confess that to the Lord.

Repent. Lift your eyes up to Him, and with faith say, “Lord, by Your grace, I will quietly wait. I will wait patiently for You to do what You’re going to do. I will wait patiently for Your purposes to be fulfilled. I know this isn’t the last chapter. I know this isn’t the end of the story, and I know the end of the story is worth the wait. - Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What God is looking for

My husband sent this to me today and I couldn't agree more with what he wrote:

This struck me today listening to Hope Baptist sermons. Amidst the craziness we live in right now it is good to know that we don't need to be super Christians we just need to be available to God. In this season of unemployment I can't think of anything more encouraging.

God is not looking for super Christians he is looking for available followers.