Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jonah and Isabel

My friend Erin came in town, and we met up with her and her daughter yesterday afternoon for a whole lot of fun at Chick-fil-A. Her little girl is such a sweetie!!! I wish she and Jonah could play more often. And I wish their mommies could too! I had a great time with Erin. There's something so fun about childhood friendships that just seem to always pick up right where they left off. It is really hard to get a lot of catching up done though when there are little punkins running around, jumping, and stealing food off people's plates. That would be my son. At one point, he leaned in to where his face was about 2 inches from Erin's french fries, and he just stared at them. He wasn't going to ask! But he made it apparent what he wanted! Of course, I didn't get my son looking at the camera in any pictures I took, but here a couple of cute ones anyway:

I have to announce my favorite DVD for Jonah's age......The Letter Factory!!! It's the Leap Frog one, and he got it for his birthday from his uncle, aunt, and cousins in Kentucky, and he LOVES it. (Thank y'all!!!) It's really nice to move past the Baby Einsteins that he loved so much. Seriously, he's so far past those in development that I think he was actually getting dumber watching them! I'd had to hide one of them that he constantly asked for. He's forgotten all about them now that Letter Factory has a home in our house. And he's learning so much already! It teaches the letters and sounds of the alphabet, and today he was looking at a gift box I had from The Limited, which has those words on the top of it, in all caps. He pointed out every letter on there correctly....except he referred to the "I"s as the number one, which makes a little sense. So I'm pretty impressed with this movie! He's had that Leap Frog fridge magnet with the letters that makes sounds, and he's always liked it, but now that he has seen the movie, it makes him like the magnet even more! He'll stand in the kitchen saying the letters, their sounds, and singing along with the songs for about 15 minutes at a time by himself. The mommies of two-year olds who don't like to play by themselves much know that that's a big deal! So I just wanted to make my recommendation and see if your kids enjoy it as much as my boy. One of my favorite things right now is hearing Jonah sing the ABCs. He usually gets all the letters in, but always in some crazy order! It's so funny! Anyway, much of our world right now revolves around letters and their sounds!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Family Time

The last several days have been full of good family time with out-of-town relatives. On Thursday night, Joel had a meeting in Athens, so Jonah and I went along, and we all spent the night at my aunt Joy and uncle Joe's house there. It was so fun! Jonah and Joe played a whole lot together, and after Jonah went to bed, we all watched old home videos of my cousin Lacey's birthday parties growing up. They all included a bunch of family members, so we really had a lot of laughs. I was laughing so hard at one point that tears were coming down my face. You see, Joe and Joy talk a lot about how smart Jonah is (they say this about ALL of their great nieces and nephews all the time!), but it really put things into perspective when we watched the video from Lacey's second birthday, and she can actually SPELL WORDS. We were amazed and kept saying things like, "Why on earth do you keep saying stuff about our kid being smart when your daughter was a genius at two!?!" So Joel was giving running commentary the entire time about what was in Lacey's head at her party while her bigger cousins and friends were playing with toys and going down the slide....things like, "They are so juvenile. When will this be over so I can study physics?" You definitely had to be there, but it was hilarious. Too bad Lacey wasn't there for it! Of course, I'm sure she was glad she wasn't! But it was a great time.

Then Jonah and I joined my parents for a day trip to Lufkin yesterday. Yes, that made three out-of-town trips within one week. It was blast though. Jonah had a really big time. We first went to church at Harmony Hill, which is a special place to us. It is where my aunt Jan goes and all of her clan in Lufkin, where Joy and Joe and Lacey went when they lived there, where I'd join Lacey at VBS a lot of summers when I was little, and where the pastor has had a special place in the lives of our family, having done funerals for dearly lost loved ones. His family has always been so sweet to ours through the years. Anyway, it had been many years since I'd been there. It was even more special yesterday because a really good family friend of ours was there too. The husband was "in view of a call" as a worship pastor there. They live in Arkansas now but went to the church in Tyler that I grew up in. So we "surprised" them (sort of) and got to see their whole family. Their oldest daughter was one of my first little babies to baby-sit when I was in about 5th/6th grade, and I just adored her! She is now 15 years old, and seeing her made me feel SO OLD! It was crazy. We just love that family and hope things work out for them to move back to Texas. After church, we had lunch at Jan's, then went to visit my dad's brother. Three of his sisters came over to visit as well. Jonah had never been out there. My uncle Robert built a house that is on the same property as the house my dad grew up in, and it is a really pretty piece of land out in the country. So Jonah had lots of fun going down to the pond with Papa T and Uncle Robert (or the guy we like to call "the guy who looks like Papa T), doing what all of us kids used to want to do when we were younger and we'd go to Mam-maw and Pap-paw's house. Plus, he had two tractors out there, and if you know my child, you know that tractors are a BIG DEAL in our home. So that was fun! And it was great seeing them. I definitely want to make a point to go down and see my dad's family more often. We stayed there a couple hours and then were on to the next stop in our very busy, fun-filled day: Reese's first birthday party! Reese is my cousin Cory's younger daughter, and the family celebrated at their house with a cookout, cake, and a pinata. Jonah was really cute trying to hit the pinata. Unfortunately, my camera was temporarily misplaced at the party, so I used my mom's most of the time and haven't gotten those pictures from her yet. But below is one of Jonah with his four Lufkin cousins....they were hot, sweaty, and very tired out from the party, but oh so sweet and fun. Jonah has talked a lot today about going to Kate's house and is already asking to go back. He LOVES them ALL so much!

And I have to include a show-off picture of my artsy-craftsy project. You don't know how rare it is that I attempt one and it turns out to meet my expectations! It never happens. But I wanted to wrap Reese's present in a cute way that could be used as decoration in her room, so I decorated this box to match her nursery. You can't see all the letters, but it has her name on it.

Well, I'm making good on my desire to have a slower week this week. We haven't even left the house yet today, which is HUGE for us, and I already said no to one play-date invite this week. Yay! My friend from high school, Erin, and her almost-three-year old daughter are on their way to Tyler, and we're hanging out with them tomorrow. I'm so looking forward to that. Then we'll be heading to Bartlesville this weekend for another visit. Well, Joel is home for lunch, so I'm off to spend some time with my boys!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Too Busy

Those who know me well know that I thrive in busyness. I love it. I love a full calendar. I love to get out of the house often. "Go" is my middle name. But even I have to admit that it's been a little much lately. We've been a tad too busy, and I'm ready to slow it down and have a few calm days somewhere in between the crazy (although fun) ones. Ever since the week before Jonah's birthday, we have hardly stopped or spent much time at home, unless we've had others over. I've started making deliberate choices to say no to some things for next week, so I expect next week to be a little quieter around these parts.

But as far as what we've been up to this week....Joel and I went to Dallas Sunday afternoon, and my parents kept Jonah. This has been a trip I've been looking forward to for months. Joel had a conference to attend, and I was going to play my heart out for two days straight, doing fun stuff, shopping, and hanging out with some dear friends. We first went to visit our friends Holly and Shane and see their newborn, Haven, as well as her big brother Tyce. It was so much fun and brought back all kinds of memories from our first year of marriage and being friends and neighbors with this amazing couple. We would always laugh our heads off together, and it's still always really fun to spend time with them. Wish we could do it more often! So that was a huge blessing.

Then, Sunday night, my car started making a weird noise, and we took it in Monday morning to a mechanic in Euless, and they told us it would not be fixed until Wednesday. We were planning to go back to Tyler around noon on Tuesday, so that definitely changed a lot of our plans. Pretty much nothing went as planned for the trip. But it was still soooo good! When we left the car to be fixed, we walked to the Starbucks next door and were stranded there for three and a half hours until the other conference attendees from our church could drive to the Metroplex to pick us up. I can think of lots worse places to get stranded! Our Starbucks morning began of the sweetest times I'd had with the Lord in His Word, and I felt an overwhelming peace that God was absolutely involved in the details of this situation, and even though my plans had been changed, He had allowed this to happen for a very good reason. You see, I had been excitedly planning to go to IKEA on this trip and spend birthday money on a few things I'd already decided I'd wanted. No, I pretty much thought I needed them. That was one of my major objectives for the trip, and I had planned to do it as early on Monday as possible. Excited is probably not a strong enough word. I was borderline obsessed. But it was so great how the Lord completely prevented me from being able to do that. I no longer had a way to drive myself around, so I couldn't go buy the stuff I had wanted to buy. And I'm saying it was a good thing because I had such amazing time with Him and productive time spent on a writing project, and I really doubt that would have happened had I been able to shop first. I doubt I would have chosen time with Him first. Even though I had wanted to be able to do that with Him on the trip, sadly my first priority was the shopping. And I know if I'd been able to buy the stuff first, I would have been on my little "stuff high" as I call it, and there's nothing like materialism to block my focus and fellowship with the Lord. So it ended up being quite a gift for me. I spent the majority of my time at the hotel, but laying out at the pool some and hanging out in the room proved to be very restful and provided opportunities for talking on the phone to some friends I hadn't talked to in a while. One of them was my college roommate and friend since 7th grade, Amber, whom I've sadly lost a lot of contact with over the last year. It was a wonderful, sweet reunion as we were able to reconnect and hear about what the Lord has done in our lives since we last talked. I was in tears. It was such a good conversation, and I realized again how much I love her and our friendship. I've missed that girl. And what is even better is that she is coming into town this weekend, and we're planning to get together at some point, if it all works out.

One of my best friends, Megan, was able to come Monday night and pick me up from the hotel, and we hung out that evening, which was so fun and always uplifting. We ate at Panera, drove around, went to her new house, reminisced, talked a LOT, and then decided we needed more food, so we ended up at Pei Wei for lettuce wraps. We ate well that night, to say the least! It was so fun and so great to hear how the Lord has been faithful to answer her prayers and fulfill some of the deep longings she's had since I've known her. She is full of wisdom, and I love her and am so enjoying God's blessings with her. Needless to say, the crazy, frustrating car-trouble provided numerous opportunities for God to show Himself off and do sweet things for my soul. I had to hitch a ride back to Tyler with some of the others from our church that went to the conference, while Joel stayed behind an extra day to wait on the car. He just got home late last night, and it feels good to have all three of us back together again. We were also incredibly blessed in a big way concerning the car expense and God's provision once again. I am humbled by His mercy and His generosity that sometimes makes itself known through other willing vessels within the body of Christ. Oh, how we have felt God's love this week!! Have I mentioned that yet? =)

As for Jonah, he just gets funnier every day. And sweeter...I think. He is certainly testing some boundaries, but I must say that as long as we are consistent in our response to that, he really reacts well and seems to do well within the boundaries. I've seen where he is definitely starting to be motivated by praise and approval. The other day he was in the guest room playing with his new train (and it took a few days for him to figure out how to do some of the things on his own), and he came running into the room where I was, excitedly shouting, "I did the yellow one!! I did it! I did it!" It was the first time I'd seen him really proud of himself for something, but it was funny that he went across the house to find me, tell me, and see my reaction. Having no idea what he was talking about really, I congratulated him, proudly exclaiming "Good job, Jonah!" And I really saw something in him that loved my words. They affected him like I'd never seen before. Maybe he'll be a typical firstborn after all! Our main problem this week is that when he doesn't want to do something I ask him, He tells me, "No way, Jose." Seriously! What am I supposed to say to that?! It's so funny, yet naughty. Sometimes, it's "No way, Jose, Mommy!" I think we laughed at it a few too many times when he first started saying that phrase, so now we have a little problem on our hands! But he never fails to make me laugh. I may have written before that one of his new words he uses a lot is "later." Well, it was great at first, because if he really wanted to do something and I told him, "later," he was absolutely fine with it. He was content to know that he could do it sometime. I never had to give details of what I meant by that. However, now the tricky little guy has turned it back on me....When I ask him to do something, he VERY sweetly tells me, "later" as if to say, "No mommy, I don't plan to obey, but I said it sweetly and I sound like you, so let it go." It's so ugly. And entertaining at the same time.

I'm reading Potty Wise (from the authors of the Baby Wise series) and am in the preparation-mode for potty training. I don't know when we'll do it. Not anytime real soon, I don't think. But I always like feeling prepared for the next stage! I'm definitely picking the brains of every mommy I know who's done it. I know for sure that I want to wait until I'm confident he's ready, take the more aggressive approach where you drop everything and just stay at home for several consecutive days focusing on potty training, and put him in big-boy underwear more quickly, using pull-ups very little, except for nighttime and a few necessary exceptions. Those are some of the things that are important to me. So, if you have potty training ideas, suggestions, stories from experience, or training plans that fit within those criteria, PLEASE share! I'm trying to soak it all in and would love to hear anything anyone has to offer me!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day Thoughts

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful daddy and to the amazing daddy of my son! I was thinking about how blessed I am to have two men in my life who reflect the Lord to me by the ways in which they father their children. My dad is the most obvious example in my life of how God can turn anything into something beautiful, and no relationship is beyond the reach of God's touch of healing. I love our relationship and am so thankful for how much sweeter God has allowed it to be during my adult years. Through my dad's unfailing and selfless love for me, I really get a glimpse of God's love for me too. At the top of my thankful list for this year is God's gracious gift in protecting my dad when he had his heart attack three months ago today. Thank you, Lord, for that happy ending. And as I have watched my husband with my son this week, I am blessed by their sweet bond. They have a special one, and I know it will last forever, even when Jonah is all grown up. They will be friends, and it will be dear. I see in Joel some amazing father qualities that I know originate in the heart of the perfect Father. Joel does so well in being strong, steadfast, and consistent in the area of authority and boundaries, yet he doesn't sacrifice love, mercy, and affection to Jonah. What an amazing blend of justice and love/grace that automatically points towards the Lord and reflects who He is as a Father to us. Today I miss my father-in-law being on earth. I miss the time I didn't get to have with him. But I know for sure that the best of Bill Estes is definitely in my husband! Joel has so many of his dad's admirable characteristics, and this wife and mommy is way blessed by them.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Happy Anniversary To Me and Joel!

Well, I wanted to talk about this when I posted this morning, but I ran out of time, and Jonah was very ready for me to be off the computer then. The pool time this afternoon was great but cut a little short by a random thunderstorm! But that's ok. I'll take whatever tan I can get. =) It has been a much needed time of stillness with the Lord though. As I reflected on the four years I have been married to my sweetie, this became my prayer:

Lord God, I am thankful for the many blessings you have poured on us these last four years. I am thankful for the lessons. I still long for more. I desperately want our marriage to be a picture of Christ and His love for His children. I'd love for our life together to reflect you in such a compelling way that others are drawn to you and want to know you more intimately. Some days I feel like we are nowhere close to that. But Lord, I confess that I do not pray nearly enough to that end. Keep me on my knees for my marriage. Energize me every day to fight for continual peace, a godly attitude, graceful speech, and selfless service in my home and on my part. I want to live it. I want to tear down pride and always be willing to be the first to change when our marriage moves further away from reflecting you. Keep me sitting at your feet every day, soaking in all that you have for me. That's the only way I will ever be filled up enough to love in the way you want me to. Whenever I get up and walk away from that place, sit me back down. Thank you for the huge blessings during the last four years - through the numerous life changes, moves, beautiful additions, and tragic good-byes - life has been full. I am especially thankful for how you have revealed you through all of those things. And most of all, thank you that your grace never gets tired of me.


Here are before and after pictures of my new (old) dining table. The project is nearly complete. There are a few touch-ups to be done, but it has already been put to use several times. I love it! I think I may have found a new hobby: hunting for really old pieces of furniture and refinishing them to make them look prettier! Hopefully there will be more of these opportunities in the future. But let me tell you, I am no expert. However, I do have FRIENDS who are! And I take advantage! =) Seriously, I have had a few "consultants" who have walked me through the steps and let me borrow tools and have graciously lent a helping hand when needed, and I am so appreciative. Joel is just hoping that the new table motivates me to cook more!

Here's what it looked like when I got it:

And the finished product:

So fun! I feel really blessed.

Well, we had planned a day of swimming with a friend in Lindale, but her son has a skin rash that might possibly be contagious. So those plans, sadly, got canceled this morning. We didn't want to take any chances. But I think Jonah and I are about to head off to the pool for a while, because I had already gotten my hopes up for a TAN today! I'm going to drop him off for a nap at my mom's house while I head back to the pool this afternoon. I'm excited to have some time alone to sit in the sun and read, journal, and really pray through some things. I'm seeking God's heart on some ministry opportunities that have come my way lately. I only want to do what He wants me to right now, and it's so hard not to say yes to all of them, because they all sound fun. But I want to guard against getting over-committed, and I want to make sure I have the time to stay at home enough with my son to really focus on some character training during this really important stage of his development. But my mom and I have recently agreed to coordinate the women's Bible studies at our church. I'm SO excited about the task, but I know God will just have to do it through us, and it won't be about us, that's for sure, because it is a big job. A little overwhelming even. I've never been in a church where there are so many women's Bible studies offered. They offer about 8-10 in the fall and spring semesters and usually half of that in the summertime. It's amazing to be in a place where there are so many gifted Bible teachers and women who are interested and passionate about being in the classes and studying God's Word. It really is incredible. But all that to say, things have to be organized way in advance. We just met this week about what our role will be, and we have a mere two weeks to coordinate EVERYTHING for the fall studies....figure out studies, find teachers, set up schedules, purchase studies, etc. It will be a busy two weeks! I plan on leading a study in the fall....Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. If you've ever read or taken that one, feel free to comment on anything you learned or gained insight on. I'd love to know! Those things I know I'm going to be doing, and I'm so excited about those ministries. They are my passion! But I'm also prayerfully considering some other things too....the big one being a return to MOPS next year as a discussion group leader. I'm excited about the thought of having a group of moms that I can relationally invest in, in a more organized way. But I've also loved doing that with any moms I come into contact with, through playdates, playgroups, coffee dates, etc., and I know that MOPS would limit me from being able to devote as much time to those relationships and get-togethers. I'm just dying to know what God wants me to do! So hopefully today, He and I can sit and chat about it and I can hear from Him. And maybe He will be gracious enough to let me get a good tan too! =)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My Baby is Two Years Old!!!

Well, the party has come and gone. It was so busy that it was kind of a blur, but really fun! I'm posting pics for you to see! He had a good time. He really loved the attention when everyone sang happy birthday, and after he blew out the candles (with help), he decided to take the unshelled peanuts that were in a nearby bowl and place them on his cake. He pushed a whole bunch of peanuts into the icing. It was funny. Weird. But funny. We had lots of good laughs! Jonah's great aunt Jan and my cousin Cory's wife Heather came from Lufkin, bringing the three girl-second-cousins, so it was great having them there too. Wish we had had longer to visit with them. Jonah loves his train we gave him. Only part of it is put together yet, so I will post a picture once we get it all together. But he likes playing with it now, even not finished, and he also got a bunch of toy zoo animals that he is obsessed with. The animals really like to go on the train. He's a creative little guy. =) One day I'll have to blog about the lessons learned about children's birthday parties since becoming a mom. I'm learning a lot about what works and what doesn't! The bottom pic is of two of the Lufkin cousins, Alex and baby Reese.

We had a really fun time with Candy, Jen, Eric, and Ciera visiting. We had fun with sidewalk chalk, as you can see below. We also went to Canton to a newer water park on Sunday night with a group from the children's ministry at our church, and it was so much fun. I only have this one picture of him walking into the water park all excited, because the rest of the time, I was in the water. Such a fun place. It's called Splash Kingdom, and I highly recommend it to families nearby. It's one of those places that is really good for both older kids and little bitty ones - and adults for that matter! We loved it. Check it out here:

And finally, I have to include some photos of Jonah when he woke up Saturday morning. Of course, the only two days of the year that he sleeps extra late are Christmas Day and his birthday! I can't believe it! The two days we were DYING for him to wake up! So, we were in his room the second we heard a peep that morning....and I captured this pic so I'd remember what he looked like the first time I saw him as a two-year old. Yes, he's got a pacifier in his mouth and one in each hand! I wonder if he slept like that! And he got his beloved red donut for breakfast that day, complete with two candles. What a fun day!

Thanks everyone, for the birthday wishes, cards, gifts, etc. I'm blessed to have sweet family and friends who did not let me forget that it was my birthday too! I almost did. I'm off now to attend to some pastoral-wifely duties....I'm joining Joel tonight as he visits a community group. I'm excited. Partly because my hairdresser is in that group, and I really need her advice about what to do since my new haircolor has majorly faded and the blond underneath is showing through. How's that for motives! =)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Funny Jonah

Jonah is confused about something. I think he thinks his dad doesn't live here! Whenever Joel comes home from work or comes home for lunch, Jonah gets so excited of course and exclaims, "Daddy come over!" Really, he wakes up in the mornings and first asks if daddy's at work. If Joel is at work already, I tell Jonah, and Jonah says confidently, "Daddy come over later" or "Daddy come over in a ittlebit" (yes, that's "little bit") It's keeping us laughing though. Joel really doesn't work that much! =)

I just moved a couple of hot wheels that Jonah was playing with, and he didn't like it, so he said, very sternly might I add, "No sir, Mommy!" I missed the chance to correct him for speaking to me like that, because I was trying so hard not to laugh! I knew that as a mother there would be moments where I see or hear myself through my child, but I didn't know it would be so soon! Oh, the laughs just keep coming....This kid is hilarious.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Keep It Simple, Sweetheart!

The title of this post reflects the name of the Bible study class I'm taking for the next six weeks, and yesterday was the first time we met. My mom is taking it with me, which is fun. I don't think we've ever done one together. I feel so blessed to be a part of this group and to sit under teaching of yet another amazing godly woman. I'm so grateful God keeps putting these people in my path! I would love for her to mentor me, but probably everyone that knows her asks her to mentor them, so I am not going to. But I'm still praying about a mentor. But anyway, the teacher is authentic, spirited, funny as heck, and passionate for God's Word. I'm loving it. The focus of this study is on simplifying our spiritual lives, and it zeroes in on the two greatest commandments God gives, to love Him and to love others. The first three weeks will focus on knowing and loving God through His Word and through prayer, and the last three weeks will be on loving one another. I'm already feeling pretty challenged. This study is not in book form, we are just studying the Bible how God leads and journaling our way through the various passages and topics He leads each of us to personally. For instance, as we focus on studying God's Word this week and next, we will choose something to study so that we can put into practice the studying-strategies that we learn. This is the most fun part, for me, because I love Bible study! But God is already surprising me with where He is taking me. I decided I would study a particular text and definitely not pick a topic to study. Nothing against topical studies, they're just not my favorite. It just takes more work to figure out the appropriate contexts for passages when you're jumping around to different passages. So I tend to lead more towards studying a passage that has a clear beginning and end. So anyway, I had plans to do that. But then God changed them. He does that a lot, I'm learning. The teacher had a little notecard that listed some topic ideas, and the bottom one caught my eye and made me say, "darn!" The topic was none other than "the tongue." Yuck. God has already been convicting me so much about that lately, and part of me resisted studying that further. But God starting working in my heart, and by the time class ended I knew I needed to choose that one as my topic of study for the week. If the Lord brought up this issue with me last week, then I better go ahead and go as far with Him down that road as possible and learn ALL that I can about it, so I can change and be done having to revisit the issue! And it's only been a couple of days of studying, but I am so blessed by what He is showing me. I love that He loves us enough to take the time to show us where we need to change so that we don't have to miss out on more abundant life with Him. Because of what I wrote last week about words coming from the heart, I've been looking more closely at the heart issues that spur ungodly conversation issues like complaining, nagging, etc., and these heart issues include selfishness, lack of trust, insecurity, and discontentment. Actually, there are sadly a whole lot more, but I'll spare you. And me! But it's been eye-opening to say the least. And incredibly exhilarating, because God never shows us something ugly about our hearts that He doesn't always have the remedy for. And His remedy always showcases His loving grace. So as I deal with those things with Him, and they are of course an ongoing process and time is involved, I know more of His amazing attributes and can have a deeper and sweeter friendship with Him. What a good God. I will try at least once a week to blog about this Bible study journey just as a way to think through what He is showing me and to remind myself of the important things. Just putting this stuff out there in blog-world is hard, but it is a form of built-in accountability that I know is good for me.

Only three more days until Jonah's birthday, and I am getting really excited. Today I made the icing for his cakes, and I've been working on last-minute details. It looks like almost everyone invited is going to be there, so we might have a little crowd on our hands. I thought it would be small just because I figured not everyone could come. Summer birthdays tend to be that way with vacations and all that. So now I have to be praying for good weather, because it would be really cramped in our house to have all those people. It's planned as a backyard party. So join me in praying please, because there's a chance of rain!!! And I have no clue what to do if it rains. Candy, Eric, Jen, and Ciera will be here tomorrow evening, and we have lots of fun stuff planned for their visit, even a trip to a waterpark! Yay! I'm so excited about that. Ready for them to get here. Well, that boy is awake from his nap and yelling "I want out" so I better go get him. And I need to see if I can come up with an alternate dessert for our community group's cookout tonight since I just forgot about the brownies in the oven while I've been blogging! Where oh where has my brain gone?!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Birthday Week

This is going to be one fun, busy week! Five more days until my baby turns two years old! What a little man he is already. This last month has brought so many changes in terms of his speech, developing personality, and a newfound desire for some independence. He's recently started eating cereal with milk out of a bowl and with a spoon, and as if that isn't big-boy enough, when he finished eating today, he picked up the bowl and drank the remaining milk and didn't even spill! That may not sound like a big deal to many, but to this mommy, that's huge! I wanted to cry. =) I just can't wait for him to open his present from us. I already wrapped it, and Jonah excitedly anticipates the day he can open it! It's a really big box (because it holds a train set), and I asked Jonah this morning what he thought was in his present, and he paused for a minute and then confidently exclaimed, "A Red Donut!" Wow. I could have gotten off a whole lot easier with this birthday present thing if I'd known that was his big dream. I guess we'll have a birthday red donut for breakfast that day.

On Friday, my friend Melody (a college friend/roommate) came into town, and it was fun hanging out with her. Actually, it was a very encouraging time. She came over and had lunch with us, then she so sweetly joined me for an errand to Toys R Us, and we spent some good relaxing girl time at Starbucks. Good times. Later that afternoon, Joel and I took Jonah to the pool for his first swimming experience of this year. By the way, I cannot believe we haven't been able to go to the pool this year before June 1st! I think it's the first time I can ever remember that happening in Texas. But it was great fun! The water was still pretty cool, but Jonah loved jumping from the side of the pool into Daddy's arms. He sure wanted to be held the whole time in the water, but when Joel would let go of him, he'd realize about two seconds later that he was ok thanks to his floaties, and he'd get happy. Can't wait until we get to go again!

I'm so thankful for some new energy God has recently given me for a particular relationship in my life. I've been so burdened for someone I love, and I have been disheartened to see this person make some choices that I know will have very destructive consequences. I know that this person hasn't been anywhere in his/her heart that I haven't been, but I am just overwhelmed with gratitude that God did not leave me there and that He provides grace and forgiveness for everyone and LOVES to redeem messed up lives. That is His specialty. I want so much for this person to realize that and embrace a whole new life with Him. I've prayed for so long about my role in it, if it involves speaking out directly and/or a "confrontation" of some sort. Although I've wanted to speak up at times, God has kept me silent, never giving me confirmation that that's what He wanted. So I've just waited and prayed. And just this week, I sense that He's leading me to just pour out love on this person and to really nurture that relationship more. I didn't realize I had stopped doing that, until He pointed it out this week. I never stopped loving this person, but I realized that I had stopped opening up my life as much, I stopped inviting this person in, and I learned that fear of rejection was definitely playing a part. I had no idea. I have to be willing to keep trying, even when there is resistance, keep opening up my life and building a relationship in an effort to let Christ shine through. I cannot be a vessel of God's abundance grace if I close myself off or stop trying to erode the distance that is between us. So I felt refreshed, knowing that God wants me to stop thinking so much about what I can say and more about how I can find opportunities to once again invest in this person on a relational level and surround him/her with God's love. His love is the only thing that changes people anyway. And I will definitely have to look for those opportunities. They are not just coming my way; I'll have to be intentional. And He has already started leading me to some of those opportunities. But I am SO EXCITED about what God is doing in this situation! I realized a few days ago that if He were showing me all of this about how I am to respond to this person, He is STILL AT WORK. Why else would He even be showing me this stuff?! He is working in this person's life. And I may just get to play a role in expressing God's love, so I have to be willing to do that. But He's doing something! That I know for sure. And sometimes when you pray for something for so long and you haven't gotten any signs that change is happening or coming, it gets hard. My friend Kelli calls those signs "glimpses", and that's exactly what I got this week: a glimpse into something God is working on, and it brought hope and encouragement. I can't wait to see how He finishes it! (Phil. 1:6)