Thursday, May 16, 2013

Talks of Heaven and Hell and everything in between

I've been thinking about Heaven a lot lately.  Just wondering about it.

No, that's not quite right.  I've been thinking about my mom a lot lately.  As she's with Jesus now, I've been wondering a lot about Heaven, too.  As it turns out, I had a lot of misconceptions and generalizations.  I guess I've kind of Hollywood-ized Heaven in my mind.

Thad and I recently sat down for a meal with our pastor and his awesome family to discuss some questions I had.  What followed was an amazing time filled with laughter but also enlightenment.  Isn't it great when you have a mentor like that--one that really knows the heart of Christ, and will take the time to help you grow your faith?

Well, I got to pass a little bit of that enlightenment on today.  Maybe I can be a mentor, too?

I had my niece and nephew over for the afternoon today.  They are three and five years old right now, and a couple of my favorite people on this good earth.  It was a beautiful day out, so instead of video games, we decided to take a blanket out to the front yard and have some together time.  We're not very good at just sitting, so we played some games, we found shapes in the clouds, we pretended, and we talked, talked, talked.

One thing that has been heavy on my nephew's mind is his Grandma Nancy, who went to be with the Lord last June.  As you can see from the picture, they had a wonderful relationship!  As it happens, we talked about Grandma Nancy which led to talk about Heaven which led to talk about Heaven vs. Hell and how you get to either place which led to talk about God and Jesus and sin and forgiveness.  Guess who is super thankful she just had a crash course/refresher on Heaven?  This aunt here!

I'm not sure that I did or said everything right, but it kept their interest for about 45 minutes.  But seriously, I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to witnessing to a five-year-old!  I especially thought I was bumbling it when we had the following conversation towards the end:

My niece: I don't like God.
Me: Why?
My niece: He's mean.
My nephew: Oh man, she's going to Hell!

I gotta tell you, it was hard to keep a straight face.  In fact, I didn't even try.  We talked for a little while longer on this subject, and then moved on to other things.

I called my brother later this evening to tell him what we talked about, just in case he had to field some questions he wasn't expecting.  He said that after he picked the kiddos up, just before they got home, my nephew said:

"We need to always listen to God.  We should talk to Him every day."

And there's your lesson for the day.  Straight from the mouth of a five-year-old.

Not to toot my own horn, but I can't tell you how glad I am that some of what I said made sense.  That even if he got nothing else out of our conversation, he understood that amazing principal.  My little auntie heart is full to bursting!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Little Humor

Yeah, I may be addicted to animated GIFs now.  I know, that's so yesterday of me, but they're fun!  Here's one I made from pictures we took at my baby boy's birthday.  It makes me laugh!

Seriously, this stuff cracks me up.  I may update this page with more GIFs as I make them.

This one cracked me up too!

Here's the good stuff, a little slower and closer!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Post Where I Tell You What to Do

It probably won't be the last time I try to tell you what to do, either.  I'm bossy like that.

Tonight's rant is brought to you by my grief and regret.  The letters G and R?  Anyway...

Do you know someone with a terminal illness?  Or who has had an extended hospital stay?  Or someone who has chronic pain?

Well, based on my experience with both of my parents, I can tell you this: as long as it doesn't bring them more physical pain, they are starved for human contact.  They don't just want it, yearn for it, they need it.  You can address this so easily, but might not think to do so.  Take their hand.  Give them a hug.  Crawl into the hospital bed with them.  Just let them feel connected to you physically.  It will help them so much mentally, spiritually, emotionally.  And in the end, it will help you just as much.

I'm remembering all of the times my parents reached out for my hand.  I held their hand for awhile, sure.  I mean, I'm not a monster, right?  Right?  But I'd always let go so that I could talk with my hands, or get up and pace, or show them something new I'd discovered.  Something that doesn't mean anything now.  Now that I can't hold their hands.

As I said, tonight's rant is brought to you by my grief and regret.  Please, please, please make sure it's not yours as well!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dear Wils

Dear Wils,

When I started this blog, I was thinking that I would chronicle our adoption journey.  And I've done that to some extent.  But part of our adoption journey is my journey into motherhood, which you might find interesting one day.  (I figure you'll be totally embarrassed by this as a teenager, but someday, if you get to be a daddy, maybe this will mean something to you!)

You see, you freaked me out.  Hardcore.  I've expressed it a little bit before, but before I actually met you, and after we were matched with your birth parents, my logic and my emotions parted ways.

Intellectually, I knew that I wouldn't be a perfect mom, but there was no reason I couldn't be a good mom, or even a great mom.  I knew that from a needs standpoint (food, water, shelter, love), your needs would be well met.  I knew you would change my life completely.

But then the emotions kicked in.  I put all kinds of pressure on myself.  I knew that there would be times when I would break your heart, and you would break mine (it hasn't happened yet, of course...knock on wood).  I knew that I would love you eclipsingly, so if something happened with the adoption or to you, it would break me.  I never worried about dropping you on your head, but about messing up as a mom in so many other ways.

I could go on and on, but even I think it's kinda boring.

When I met you everything changed.  I settled down and realized that you were the reason my life had followed this path.  You were the reason my parents adopted me, why I went to MidAmerica Nazarene University instead of Seattle Pacific University, why I've never moved away from my hometown even though I've experienced awful personal tragedy there, why I met and fell in love with your daddy.  All of that happened so that I could be here when it was time to start the adoption process, which led me to you.  I believe that God had you in mind for me all along.  That's a lot of pressure to put on your little shoulders, I know, but I don't expect you to feel the same way.  Maybe you'll get it if/when you're a daddy.

I do know that now, I freaking love being your mom.  Yeah, it's not easy.  I mean, you're not exactly the perfect baby any more than I'm the perfect mom.  But who wants a robot for a kid?

Here are some of my favorite things:

I love that no matter what's going on, or who's got you, when I enter the room you wriggle around until you can make eye contact.  Maybe you do that with everyone, but it feels pretty special to me.  And it's the cutest thing ever.

I love how you sprouted teeth early.  I used to think your toothless grin was the cutest thing ever, but then your first tooth broke through on 9/13/2012 and your second on 9/23/2012.  And now I think your toothful grin is the cutest thing ever.

I love how you wake up happy in the morning.  I go into your room to get you up and about, and you do a little pushup so that you can smile at me very sleepily.  And it's the cutest thing ever.

I love how you talk to your feet, just so that you can hear the sound of your own voice.  It's the cutest thing ever.

I love how you like to shout and smile at the same time in your johnny jumper.  It's the cutest thing ever.

I frequently take you, some toys and your lunch into my bed for some special cuddle time.  I love how you smile so big it takes up your whole face.  Then, when I climb into bed beside you, you reach for my face and wriggle your little body around until you're plastered right up against me.  Then you're content to take your bottle or play with your toys.

And, you guessed it, it's the cutest thing ever.

I love you more than I can express, baby boy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Why I Can't Watch Smash: a Rant

I was messing around on Hulu, trying to find a new show for some mindless alone time, when I decided to try out Smash.  Let's face it...I'm a sucker for good music, and there's some really great songs on there.  And it's about musicians trying to make it on the great Broadway.  Who doesn't like a Cinderella story?

But there's also a lot of cheating.  I know, because I read Wikipedia, which has to be factual, right?  ;)  (I mean, it's part of the character definitions--who cheated on whom and with whom.  Not sure I'm using whom right there, but you get my drift.)

Why?  Why does cheating have to be such a predominate theme in pop culture?  Why do shows, movies and books have to make it such a seemingly normal thing?  Is it just because it's forbidden and therefore exciting?  It's also demoralizing and crazy-destructive.  I can't rationalize enjoying or supporting something that makes cheating so accessible--I can't have it in my head at all.

So, take a hike Smash.  It could have been beautiful, especially with the adoption story line potential.

Anyway, I don't do cheating unless we're talking diets.  Then you can consider me Hollywood!  (Hmm...I'm having a huge and sudden craving for bacon...)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Secret Weapon for Parents

My boy is getting SO big! *sniff*

It's hard to believe that he was ever not able to hold his head up on his own!  Now he does push ups!  He wore one newborn sized outfit, but now he's in 9 months clothes (and he's only 4.5 months)!

Now, don't let the serenity of this picture fool you.  That's really just an exhausted mama--enjoying a cuddle yes, but all too ready to pass out at the same time.  It's not that he has been a difficult baby--we're just first time parents.  We still have to repress the inclination to jump when he makes the slightest noise.  We're getting better at doing things one handed, but we're by no means pros.

Despite everything we may be doing wrong, we have discovered a secret weapon.  I'm going to share it with you.  I guess that makes it just a weapon?  Whatever.  Here goes.

The Cathedrals.

Yep, you read it right, The Cathedrals are our secret weapon.  Do you remember them?  They're kind of like a southern gospel barbershop quartet.  They were my daddy's favorite group--honestly, I love the Cathedrals because they link me to my dad.  I have such fond memories of singing along with Daddy as he drove down the street.  But they are seriously old school!  I'm not sure how it came up, but Nikki and I were talking one day, and discovered that our dads had this in common.  She had a couple of songs on her iPhone, so of course we had to start listening to them!

About this time, Wilson started to get really fussy.  As soon as he heard "The Rocks Shall Not Cry Out", he settled down.  And that worked every time.  We took the following video as proof!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Philosophy and Bitterness: A Bedtime Story

Yeah, so it's 12:45am, and I'm not in bed asleep.  I should be, since I've got a demanding day tomorrow, but oh, well...

See, I'm up because I get so annoyed with people who always ask why.  Obviously not my sweet, three-year-old niece Sammie who's going through that stage.  But with grown ups.  Anything difficult happens, and they curl up in the fetal position, suck their thumbs and say, "Why did this happen to me?"  Implying, of course, that they didn't deserve it.  If you're one of these people, I've got no time for you.

The way I figure it is: if you're going to ask why something happened to you, you've also got to ask why it shouldn't have happened to you.  Or who should it have happened to.  (Sorry mama, of course I meant "to whom should it have happened".)

You can't ask why without asking why not.

I also want an honest answer: did this really happen to you, or because of you?

These tend to be the same people who ask why do bad things happen to good people?  My mathematical brain then goes down this train of thought:

If bad things happen to good people, then it also follows that good things happen to bad people.  So I've established that there's good and bad people, and good and bad things.  The next step is to reason that good things must also happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people.  So whether you're good or bad, good and bad things are going to happen to you.

When anything happens to you, what kind of person were you?  Good or bad?

Why doesn't anyone ever look at something good that happens to them and ask if they really deserve it?  Why is it only the bad that we don't deserve?

Anyway, this early, early morning rambling is really a warning: don't come whining to me about something bad happening to you.  I'm gonna want an honest answer about whether you're a good people or a bad people.  Don't get me wrong--you can cry on my shoulder.  I'm just gonna be real with you in return.

Now, my baby is crying.  I'll self analyze and tell you that he's one of the best things, and it happened to someone who's neither good nor bad.  Or perhaps both.  Either way, it's time to make up a bottle.