Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eight months

Our little doll baby is now eight months old! 
I can't keep up with this little one! Since she really started crawling, she is on the go! Her curiosity is endless though it seems to be focused on everything that is off limits. For example, she knows she is not allowed to crawl into the bathroom, so her favorite place to crawl is the bathroom. She always bellows a giddy laugh when she's heading towards the bathroom, which is hilarious because she gives herself away every time. It's amazing how attractive things are when she can't have them.

She also loves shoes, especially laces.

Because of this naughtiness, she has a steady diet of dirt and hair from off the floor. The kitchen is the worst. I'm always ushering her out of there, and she is always finding tiny pieces of week-old cilantro leaves on the floor by the trash can.

Most likely eating hair.
This weekend is the first time she ever said "Mama." My mom actually heard her first, and I said, "No, she couldn't have said that, she doesn't say that yet." Then, later, she said it again and Jon and I heard her. We looked at each other astonished and laughing, and now she keeps saying it like it was always a part of her lexicon. She doesn't address me, really, but rather she uses this precious word when she is in need. When she is in her crib and desperately wants out? "Mamamamamama!"

Likely because we are always applauding her, Daphne also learned how to clap. It's just really sweet and precious. She gets so excited and over the top with her clapping, it's just too cute. We've tried to capture it on video with no luck, but I really hope I always remember how genuine her excitement was.

So curious...

Friday, April 22, 2011

No longer primitive here

Just one of MANY trees down in our beautiful city
We have had intense storms here in Centralia, and there have been confirmed tornado sightings. Our apartment was without power for three whole days, which was inconvenient to put it nicely. The worst? Cold showers. But, today, the power gloriously returned and I'm reveling in the 21st century advancements we are so blessed to have. I know it's silly to complain about no power when there are so many people in such worse conditions, but it was difficult to do the things we take for granted. No injuries were reported here, though there are some folks with a lot of home/car/business damage, so we really were super blessed.

Now, onto FILL IN THE BLANK FRIDAY! I love these. :) Join the fun by clicking here!

1.   Fridays are   the day when I can actually feel tension leaving my body. I think I'm super stressed, usually, but Fridays, I feel like I can just take a breath and a break.

2.   Books!     make me terribly happy. I LOVE getting a new book, snuggling in my bed and getting lost for hours. I really need a good fiction book to get lost in.

3.  Something that inspires me is    reading other people's creative writing, listening to certain music, looking at certain art. These things remind me that beauty and meditation are important and have meaning, and I'm inspired to get lost in my feelings and creativity as well .

4.  If I had the day off today I would    have sat at my house with no power. Soon, I will have a lot of days off (every day off!) and I will have to find much more valuable things to do   .

5.  If I had to put a label on my home decor style, I would say my style is   non-existent right now. I love elegance, damask patterns, nature-inspired decor, feminine florals, bright teals, pinks and black and white, and all kinds of art, but I have no money and little creativity on how to decorate without money .

6.  Concerning politics I would say I'm   rather ignorant, honestly.

7.  I'd like to go to    Hawaii      so I could   see the ocean in style  

Saturday, April 16, 2011

God uses surgery to majorly bless us

For about two days, Jon had been complaining that he had stomach pain. Jon's body is pretty sensitive to the things he eats and to his environment, so we really thought it was just something simple. By the end of day two, this pain became persistent and sharper, and he really felt that it would be best to go to the ER just to find out what was going on.

Our lovely friends graciously watched Daphne for us and we headed over to the hospital. The waiting room was relatively empty. There was a little girl who had cut her foot and some waiting family members of an ER patient. We waited the obligatory hour or so, and then Jon got called back. I remember thinking, "This is probably just something he ate, or he pulled a muscle lifting weights, and they're going to tell us everything is fine."

In the hospital room, we were separated by a curtain from an older woman who had experienced a strange dizzy spell. She told the doctor that she became so cold it felt like she had been placed in a meat locker. The doctor solemnly said, "Like you were cold." Jon and I looked at each other and died silently laughing. We spent a lot of time laughing in that room, and we realized it was the longest amount of time we'd spent together alone since Daphne was born.

"I feel like we're on a date," I shyly said to my husband of three and a half years.

Poor Jon got stuck with a lot of needles and then had to have a CT scan. As we waited to hear the results, we sat with each other and counted our blessings. It was so wonderful to know that we had friends who could watch Daphne, we had jobs that were flexible enough for us to take off because of the ER visit, that we had a God who was going to be by our side no matter what the results were. It was so nice, this conversation we were having, so nice to just give thanks in that hospital room.

Not that we were really all that worried. Jon's stomach had actually stopped hurting, and he was slightly annoyed that he decided to come. Then, Dr. Whitehead ("Dark hair, Whitehead, that's what I say to help people remember me," she said when we first met, grabbing a hunk of her very curly hair), came in and said with really no prelude, "You have early appendicitis."

"What?!" Jon said at the same time I said, "Oh!Em!Gee! Are you serious?!" (Yeah, I can't believe I said that, but I did.)

We were stunned. It meant he would have to have surgery, something neither of us have ever done. Fortunately, they caught it early, which meant we could go home that night and get some sleep before surgery the next day.

God orchestrated that so perfectly. If Jon hadn't come in when he did, it's possible his appendix could have ruptured. God gave Jon time to go home and eat, to sleep, to pray. He gave me time to clean our apartment and prepare for my mom to come stay with us so that she could watch Daphne. There were so many blessings weaved throughout this experience that Jon and I marveled at how good God was.

This wasn't the last time Jon praised God during this situation. Not surprisingly, after he came out from the anesthesia, Jon apparently repeatedly declared, "God is good!" When our pastor came and prayed with us later, he hoped that someone in the recovery room was touched by God through Jon's praise. I hadn't even thought of that, but it made me smile.

I'm married to a true man of God. I complain without end about how he doesn't pick up after himself, about how he says he'll do the dishes 'tomorrow,' about how he doesn't do everything exactly my way, and this is a man I could have lost. Granted, appendectomies are very common, low-risk surgeries, but as they wheeled him away from me down to surgery, a piece of my heart sliced open in sadness at how I treat this precious gift from God. We talked briefly about what could happen, and we prayed several times surrendering our control to God, but it was in that moment that I truly realized how much I'm blessed to have Jon as my husband.

Later, Jon told his visitors that this experience had brought him closer to God than he had been in a very long time. He explained that the cares of this world and his responsibilities overwhelm him daily. He noted that now that we are truly in over our heads, as far as things being out of our control (specifically doctor bills that we certainly can't pay), he feels at peace. We absolutely must trust God and surrender because this situation is beyond our reach. And that gladdened his heart like nothing has for years.

It's strange to say that surgery blessed us, but throughout this entire experience, we were confronted with blessings. We are both so grateful to God for the revelations of goodness and also for Jon's healing and recovery. The God we serve has a better plan than we could have had for ourselves. I mean, who would plan an appendectomy for their life? Probably no one. But, without this one, our family would have missed out on a lot of gifts from our Father.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Friday, April 15, 2011

Taking a break to fill in the blank

 It has been a crazy week. Jon went to the hospital with stomach pain on Tuesday and on Wednesday had an emergency appendectomy. It was actually an amazing experience, one I will capture with more detail later. Also, Daphne has started clapping, which is probably the cutest thing any baby has ever done. Once I am able to catch it on film, I will write all about her and her adorableness. For now, I am taking a break to fill in the blank. If you want to play along, catch up with this awesome blog here!
1.   My favorite daily responsibility is  gosh. Just the word responsibility makes me cringe. Umm... I would say driving to work. I have about 30 minutes to talk to God, listen to the radio, and to see some of the most beautiful sights on a rural drive. Recently, all these baby farm animals have been born and I squeal with delight when I get to see prancing new goats and fresh little calves. 

2.  My least favorite daily responsibility is  pretty much everything else. I desperately need to learn to find joy in washing bottles, making dinner and lunches, and doing the dishes .

3.  My favorite cuisine to eat when going out is    Mexican or a good steak. Jon and I both love Mexican food, though, and we could probably eat it every day .

4.  My favorite cuisine to prepare at home is    anything that turns out well. Jon is super picky and I have so much anxiety about preparing meals, from spending money on groceries to finding new recipes to watching out for our health. I hate it right now, so hopefully when I'm home full-time, I'll find some fun things to make.

5.  Andy Warhol said that everyone is famous for 15 minutes. My claim to fame is   I've had some funny little things occur. For one, I was on the Bozo show when I was five. Then, when I was like 23 or so, I was in a commercial for a restaurant in Eldorado, IL. I think it was called Yesterdays. Anyway, my mom and I were having dinner there and they started filming. Unfortunately, I never saw the commercial, but a friend of mine saw it on TV once. He said that I was featured prominently, which seriously cracks me up. I really wish I could see it! :)    .

6.  If I could have 3 wishes I would wish    I have serious ones, but I'm going to be whimsical and dream fun things. First wish: to live in a beautiful home in a part of Hawaii that never faces any kind of natural disaster occurrences.  Second: that I could eat anything I want but always have a perfect figure. Third: that I had unlimited knowledge about planting gardens, crafting, building sailboats, and baking.

7.  My biggest pet peeve is   when someone else says, "Well, actually ... " after I say something. Basically, any time someone feels the need to prove how wrong I am. Gosh, I hope I don't do that to other people, because that is annoying!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Perhaps contemplative after all

With two hours left on my 30th birthday, I'm feeling somewhat contemplative, though not as much as I thought I would. This is most certainly a dreaded age for many people, but I feel nothing terrible about reaching this milestone. I thought I would, and I think if God hadn't changed my life in such extraordinary ways, I probably would have been devastated.

At one time, my internal value rested solely on what other people thought of me. I was young, I was beautiful (though, I didn't exactly know that - I knew I was sought after), I was thin.

I was also promiscuous, a closet addict, a heavy drinker, a victim of abuse. I mastered living a double life. I've always known how to present well, and it meant life or death for me to do so.

Or so I thought.

When God reached out to me, when I was 25 years old, I wanted to ignore Him. I wanted to continue to destroy myself under the guise of fun. I wanted to make something of my life without turning to Him, because I knew He would force me to change, and it was terrifying.

God did not let me ignore Him. Thank you, Jesus.

He most certainly did force me to change, a little at a time, and it has been difficult, yes. And, it has been glorious and lovely and sweet. I'm still changing, but I think it's ok, this day, to recognize that the changes I have made, the changes that He wrought in me, have rendered me beautiful. Truly beautiful.

No longer am I very young or very pretty or very thin. But, the transformation that took place in my heart, that broke the chains that held me to darkness, has created light inside of me.

It's Jesus in me that is beautiful.

What a blessing that I, a damaged and broken person, has been renewed. I am a wife in a committed Christian marriage to a man that loves me and will always be loyal to me. I am the mother of a healthy and darling daughter who will grow up so much differently than I did. I am a friend who loves generously and isn't afraid to invest because God has given me such amazing friends. I am a servant of the MOST HIGH GOD, and I will be with Him eternally.

This number, 30, held such a negative connotation to the frivolous and sad girl I once was. But, I am new, and 30 is a reminder to me that I am amazingly blessed.