Saturday, January 29, 2011

Darling Adria (and our new camera)

Here's my new favorite picture of my little lamb:

Yes, we got a new camera, and that IS excellent photo quality, isn't it? Hoping for many more fun pictures along the way!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I lift my eyes unto the hills. Where does my help come from?

I lift my eyes unto the hills. Where does my help come from?

Usually those words are followed by this: My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip - He who watches over you will not slumber; Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you The LORD is your shade at your right hand; The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm - He will watch over your life; The LORD will watch over your coming and going Both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121

Sounds amazing, doesn't it? Just what I want, really! But these days my question isn't answered so soundly. For me I am looking around and asking, "where does my help come from?" I would love to answer it as did the Psalmist. But I just can't. I ask my questions and I don't feel like I hear an answer. I make my requests, good ones, and they too go unanswered. These days it kind of feels like I'm on my own, and left to do the best I can do.

Mostly these prayers are in reference to my family, for peace, or rest, or just to experience God in some sort of way! Or for him to just deal with me and my heart. I'll tell you, 3 a.m. prayers are pretty raw, and you can do a fair amount of looking for help. But I don't know where my help comes from.

I've actually gotten mad at God, and I decided I wasn't going to talk to him or ask him for anything else, since I kind of felt like I was on my own anyway. But I keep finding myself praying and talking to him before I can stop myself, and when I realize what I'm doing I'm just left in a fuzzy quandry.

I ABSOLUTELY believe in God. I absolutely believe he's good, and knows all things and controls all things. In a very active way. And I believe in Jesus. I believe he is who he says he is, and that he did what he says he did. But I also want him to draw close to me and interact with me, which I do NOT believe he is doing. Perhaps one day he will again. But not these days.

So I have a lot of dissonance in my heart. Because really I love him. I fear him a bit. Or maybe I fear him really, and love him a bit. But I'm also mad at him and want to pout and give him the silent treatment. To see if he notices? Maybe with the challenge for him to prove to me who he really is. Because perhaps therein lies some of my confusion.

IS he the only way to heaven? ARE we really just supposed to do the best we can and see how things end up? Is my family anything special to him at all, and does he really hold onto us so we can't slip away? I feel like I don't know the things I used to know.

I know I'll probably be referred to go back and read my Bible more diligently, or seek more fervently. But why is it up to me to do in order to experince Him? And when I'm at my end, isn't that when his strength is made greatest? (Sigh--does that mean I have more to drain out of me before He'll answer me?)

My Nanny died last Thursday, January 20, my anniversary. (It's just coincidental that it happened to be my anniversary.) So what happened to her? My training and my belief tells me she knew Jesus so she went to heaven. I know what she believed! But is it so appealing to go to heaven and worship before someone we hardly knew here on earth? What is really true, here?

And yet, as if sending me a directive from beyond the grave, she compelled the Hospice chaplain to share Philippians 2:12-18 at her funeral--specifically poignant was 12-13--Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

So... so I guess I still feel like pouting. And I do not have any clever conclusion to draw at the end of this post. I cannot shake what I believe, even when I'm not sure of it. And I guess I will carry on. But I do feel like I'm at the end of my strength, and I hope this doesn't make God angry, but for now I'm leaving it up to Him, and to the church to function like he's called it to. Grace means that forgiveness isn't due to what we can muster, and if what I have believed my whole life is true, then he won't let me slip through his fingers. This probably isn't what testing is supposed to look like, but I hope he keeps holding onto me when I can't hold onto him any longer.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On this date 3 years ago...

On this date 3 years ago I made the best decision I ever have made, and married the greatest man I know--Jason King. Not that I'm biased at all, but I seriously think I got the best man in the world. Not to say that you other ladies don't have nice men too! But for me he is everything I want, even while we were just friends I measured other men against him, and I am going to keep him until the day that I die. That is IT! They say the first few years are the hardest, to which I say, I cannot wait to see what the rest of our years together look like!

Now, for a little perspective, it's not like we've got it easy. We both work really hard, and struggle with frustrations, limited vision, and dreams not yet realized. We disagree. We keep learning each other, and more ways that we are different than alike. But that's not to say incompatible.

I have long believed that the secret to our happiness comes from Philippians 2:3-4--"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." We don't always get it right, but that's what we're going for. And when we do get it right, there's nothing like our love in the world.

I love it that he shows me unexplainable and undeserved grace when I'm a fool, and make a fool of myself. I love it that he holds me when I cry and fall apart. I love it that despite my shortcomings and when I don't believe it myself he thinks I'm strong, and smart, and pretty. I love it that he knows that I give of myself to him, and that he gives of himself to take care of me. And I love it that he loves to make me laugh. The big loud one.

My man got us a sitter and took me to dinner at Season's 52 in Atlanta with a lot of silliness and those big loud laughs. What a fabulous night out enjoying my husband! Thank you baby! I love you!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Amazing new experiences

Little Adria made a big discovery today. She is now experiencing the world using her hands! She's been able to grasp things for a few moments before she'd drop them if we put them in her hands, but she never really seemed to realize that those were her hands that were holding whatever. However, a few weeks ago she started holding her own hands out and gazing at them, turning them over and opening and closing them, as if trying to figure out what they were, and realizing that she controlled what they did. Well today she took it a step further, using those little hands to reach out and stroke and experience several of her toys!

I know it's a simple thing, but really I was amazed and so proud to watch her putting things together that she controlled her hands, and for her to begin to use them to experience her world in a new way!

Adria loves this little musical sea horse she got for Christmas, and she was checking it out thoroughly.

Adria received this Garanimals Playmat, with lots of fun, colorful images, and fuzzy, crinkly, smooth and puffy features, as well as flaps that open and close to show other images. It was PERFECT for her to explore with her hands! You can't see it in the pictures, but her feet were going crazy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Snowy, sicky, sleepy, and saying goodbye

Last Sunday evening (a week ago now) the Georgia skies opened up and dumped beautiful white powder on everything around! And I mean powder! It was the kind of snow that was good for crunching under boots, forming snowballs and snowmen, and especially for sledding! Jason and I had some fun outdoors with a trash bag and piece of cardboard while Adria napped, and then she got her first taste of the white stuff too. Doesn't seem to have liked it as much as her mommy and daddy! All in due time. She still doesn't like baths as much as I do either.

But because we live in Georgia, and because in Georgia all snow leads to ice, we were iced out of work and in the house for an extra 2 days! Schools were closed all week, but I had to drag my butt back to work on Wednesday. And of course by "drag my butt" I mean get Jason to drive me through the snow, slush and ice and deliver me to my office. And then come back and pick me up at the end of the day. :)

I hate it that our little Adria has come down with her first cold. We've taken her to the doctor about it TWICE (because we're new parents, she's a new girl, and none of us have ever dealt with baby-colds before), the first time last week to address her congestion, and this week to address her cough. Both times the doctor told us we're as lucky as can be, considering we have a little sick baby, but it started out as just a head cold, and her cough is just a natural progression of it working its way out. (Sidenote: we've found a really wonderful doctor. We started out with one who was just a bit... cold, or sterile, or, funny as it sounds, professional for our tastes. But within the same practice we started seeing one Dr. Elder, who listens to us, but always talks to little Adria, and treats all of our concerns with legitimacy. Yup. We like him.)

In any event, I was sooo happy about the snow days, as much because it was another break for me from work, but because I got to stay home and snuggle and watch and care for our sick little baby! She's been surprisingly happy throughout her first cold, however, still smiling, and even giving us her first real laugh. As always, I'm so happy that she's happy! She actually sat out of daycare all week, and after I had to go back to work, she and her Daddy got to spend their days together. All around good stuff there. AND, we're celebrating MLK this weekend, so she'll get to stay out of daycare from last Saturday through this coming Monday--nearly a week and a half! Anyway, I'm happy about that because we know she's getting the BEST care, and staying on her schedule and getting plenty of rest

Which brings me to "sleepy"! I had been HOPING and PRAYING that little Adria would be sleeping through the night by the time I got back to work, but as I've been back for a month now, it still hasn't happened. For a while I was still getting up with her in the night and giving her a "pat, pat, shh, shh", patent pending, and putting her back to sleep without middle of the night feedings. But alas, she still kept waking up. And then she got sick. And I just felt so sorrrry for her, so the late night feeding is back. I'm still hopeful that sleeping through the night will happen soon, maybe when she starts feeling better from her cold. Sigh. I was thinking about it the other day, and even though she's just 3 months old now, it may have been a full year since I've slept through the night! I'm still hoping and praying, and looking forward to it for both our sakes. Maybe once she's feeling better my late night "pat, pat, shh, shh" move will make another appearance.

And finally. I also received the news this week that we're losing my Nanny. She's well in her 80s, has raised 6 boys, has 8 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren (including Adria), not to mention daughters-in-law, and grandchildren-in-law. But she has congestive heart failure, and is getting weaker day by day and starting to slip away from us. My Nanny has always been special and precious to me, and even though she has 4 granddaughters, I feel like I've always been something special and precious to her too. I started getting her to tell me "her story" a year or so ago, and have been amazed and drawn in by her life, and enjoyed writing some of it down. I got to have some special 1 on 1 time with her last year when she was doing very poorly and I made it to her bedside. She bounced back from that, and I was thrilled to get to introduce her to her littlest great-grandchild in November, and they had some very special times together. I haven't been able to go to her yet, because of little Adria's sickness, and because Adria so generously shared it with me too. I am hoping to get to go soon, but am glad for the sweet and special times I've gotten with her 1 on 1 in the past that I fear I may not get anymore of even if I were able to be with her. She's on my mind a lot, of course, and with all my heart and prayers I wish her so much comfort and peace, and that when she is welcomed into God's heavenly kingdom, she's able to dance before him in a way she hasn't been able to move for years. I love you, Nanny!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy 3rd monthday, baby girl!

On Adria's 3rd monthday we had some fun taking pictures of her! Here are a few faves!

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I'm not a big fan of making resolutions--in fact I'm a little resistant to the idea. If I need to change an activity or focus in my life, I shouldn't wait for the new year, and it would be good to always keep assessing how I'm doing as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, and person. And in my life, change is needed often, not just with one big push, once a year.

However, that being said, I received an encouraging forward in my inbox a few days ago because of New Years, I suppose, which did cause me to start thinking more about the type of person I want to be--now, and during my children's formative years, and even as I die. (For once, an internet forward that was just the right thing at just the right time! How infrequently does that happen??) In any event, there are 2 characteristics I want to add to my life and be known for. I want to be patient, and I want to be present.

AS a wife, mother, daughter, friend, and as a person, I want my life to be marked by patience, and consistency, and perhaps also constancy.

And I want to really be present for my life. I am a time waster by nature. (Good thing I work kinda fast to make up for it!) But I want to really hear when I listen. I want to laugh when I play. I want to be vulnerable when I love. I just want to really drink in the things of my life and be present, to serve both myself and those I'm doing this life with.

So a question I've been asking myself lately, which at least for the last 2-3 days has been effective is, "how can I make the most of this moment?" Whether it's feeding my daughter when I'm dogggg-tired, or when I'm nervous about some looming obligation or challenge, or irritated when I get cut off in traffic! If I'm a time waster in my own right, I don't have time to add laziness, or nervousness, or irritation to my life. (Of course some of those things are a part of life. But if I can stop and ask myself about how to best be present in some particular moment and CHOOSE, I want to choose better than that.)

So "how can I make the most of this moment?" Maybe it's opening the Bible and re-directing my nerves to prayer, or actually getting on the treadmill, or really listening when I'm talking to someone. It seems like those actions I could so easily resolve to do better at are served with this one: presence.

So. Remind me that this is what I want my life to be about, as much as how I want my January to go! And maybe these characteristics will be my February resolution too.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A little more Christmas

I got a few more pictures of Christmas from my dad; here they are!