Monday, January 12, 2015

My One Year Old

Shirley is now one year old.  As of yesterday.  She's officially no longer considered a baby but a toddler!  What??!!  NO!!!!  Okay, I"m not really that sad, but it's definitely bittersweet.  I looked through a bunch of her pictures and videos yesterday along with the ones taken moments after she was born.  It made my heart hurt.  It just went by so fast.  She can never be a baby again and I now fully understand why every momma will tell you to treasure and savor each moment.  
How can I even begin to describe how much I love her?  I spent much of yesterday morning thanking God for her.  I read over Psalm 103.  It describes all that God has done for us.  He's forgiven us of ALL our sins, He's healed all of our diseases, He redeems us from the pit, He crowns us with lovingkindess and mercy.  All of that is WAY BEYOND what we deserve.  In fact, it's completely opposite of what we deserve.  And then He chooses to give us more blessings beyond all of that.  Blessings like my sweet little funny Shirley.  
She's now walking all over the place, like a little waddling penguin.  I have a bag of clothes of hers that I'm getting ready to donate (In fact, anyone have a little girl under a year that's in need of clothes?  Let me know!)  and she'll take one piece out at a time and walk around dragging it behind.  
She has started to make a surprised face all the time.  She forms her mouth into a large O and her eyes become wide as the moon.  
She blows kisses, and she finally started to give me little kisses!  She kinda just leans her mouth towards my face.  
She loves her little stuffed doggie and calls it "Dah-dee".  When I wake her up from nap time she has to grab him and bring him along.  
She loves everyone she meets and will reach out for complete strangers to hold her.  Emily let a random lady in Starbucks hold her the other day.  
I thought that being a new mom to a little baby would be so hard.  I thought I would be lonely at home.  I thought her cries would bug me.  I thought that I would get bored playing with simple toys and reading simple books to her.  I thought I would still love being a mom but I didn't realize how much!  I don't mind if she's my only company during the day.  Her cries make my heart break, even when she's crying out of sinful anger.  I could spend hours (maybe) playing with her and snuggling with her as we fight over who turns the pages of her books!  
When I woke her up yesterday morning the sudden brightness of the light caused her to look at me all squinty-eyed and she smiled a sweet little smile.  I picked her up and she snuggled her head on my shoulder for almost two minutes!  (A rare thing for this always-on-the-go girl.)  It was like a little gift to me on her birthday.  I realized her birthday is more like mine because I'm the one who got the greatest little gift the day she was born.  I'm almost in tears just thinking of it and God's goodness.  
Some wondered why Kwacha and I wanted to have a baby right away, but I don't care what anyone thinks about it.  We wouldn't have wanted it any other way.  Shirley has brought us even closer, figuring out how to care for a little newborn, noticing little bits of each of us in her face.  We get to thank God for her together and depend on Him even more for wisdom in how to raise her.  Most of all we pray that one day she might know Him, love Him and serve Him and experience that greatest joy of all, being with Him for eternity.  
Thanks for reading about Shirley this past year and sharing in our joy.  We are thankful for all of you too!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

11 Months

I can't believe there is only one month left until Shirley is one year old!  This month has been full of new things for Shirley:

She has started taking steps.  She usually only takes one or two, but one day she took six or seven!  I was home alone with her and pretty much went crazy.  It might have scared her because she hasn't done it since.  I'm not really complaining though.  I know it will come soon enough!

Shirley also learned how to climb stairs (and how to get back down).  Now we have to keep a strict eye on her at my mom's house.

She copies everything her mama and daddy does.  She evens copies my mom's dogs!

Speaking of dogs, she discovered Maggie and Tacy this month and she LOVES them.  She's not afraid of them at all.  She'll pet them and stick her finger in their mouths and laugh at them.  I took her over to the back door one day when the dogs were outside and Tacy jumped up on the glass right near Shirley's face but she didn't even blink.  (Her fearlessness may not be a good thing.)

Whenever I tell Shirley "no" or say "Shirley" in a serious tone she shakes her head back and forth.

She also started saying some words and she started pointing at things in books.  Shirley loves her rubber ducky at bath time and she often will say "duh, duh" while she's playing with it.  We checked out a book from the library last week called "Time for Bed, Fred!"  It's a book about a dog finding his bed.  At one point he splashes in a mud puddle and gets all dirty so he has to take a bath.  Well, there's a rubber ducky on that page and she surprised me one day by pointing to the duck and saying "duh"!  Now every time we read it she does the same thing!
At meal times when she's in her chair I tell her to raise her arms up so that I can snap on the tray and now she'll repeat me and say "up, up".  She also loves to say "hi" and she'll wave while she says it and sometimes she'll repeat the word, "baby".

I love this little girl so much.  It's so cliche to say but it is so hard to imagine that there was a point in life where she didn't exist.  She brings her daddy and me so much joy with her sweetness and spunkiness.  I just love being her mama!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Sovereignty in the Details

During the wee hours of Sunday morning my Uncle Gary's gallbladder ruptured.  We weren't sure if there were other problems involved but it wound up only being his gallbladder.  He had surgery that night and is now in recovery and he is going to be okay.  We are all so grateful.
Another little something happened on Sunday and I hesitated in writing this at first, just because I know my own heart and how easy it is to seek attention for silly things.  But I am just so thankful to God in the way He kept my little family safe and when I think about it, it reminds me of His loving care and sovereignty.
On Sunday afternoon as we headed back home from church, Kwacha, Shirley and I got in a little accident.  We skidded a bit on some large puddles right before a giant wave hit our windshield and completely blocked our view of the road.  We crashed into yellow sand barrels, which protected us from hitting a concrete barrier, but which also sent us back into the lane.  Kwacha lost control of the car and we clipped, of all things, a tow truck!  We didn't have to wait around for CHP in the rain.  (Don't worry, we DID file a report with our insurance later that day.)  The tow truck owner was on his way back to his lot with an empty truck.  So he took us home and then took our car back to the lot with him.  Our car was definitely totaled but we all came out without a single injury, not even whiplash.
I mean, God is in the details, isn't He??  We could have crashed into anything after that wave hit our windshield, but we hit sand barrels put their for our safety.  We could have crashed into another car causing injury to others but we didn't.  Out of all cars we hit a tow truck!  His truck was fine and he was able to take us home immediately.  And on top of that, God protected my sweet husband and precious baby.
He could have not spared us and He would still be just as good and sovereign.  He could not have spared Uncle Gary and yet He would still be just as good and sovereign.  I thought of Philippians 2:7 where Paul talks about how God had mercy on Epaphroditus when He spared him from death.  He never has to spare us from death, but it is always by His mercy when He does.  I am so thankful that I serve such a loving, powerful God!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Companionship of the Lord Himself

I don't really have anything in particular to write about today, except some random thoughts perhaps. Shirley is wonderful to me but there are other things in life besides Shirley.
Speaking of Shirley though, I do love her so much.  And I absolutely love my husband.  I have a few friends that can bring themselves to tears just thinking about loved ones dying.  I was never one of those girls until I got married.  Okay, I know this post is starting to get morbid but stay with me.  I know that worrying about what could happen is never productive.  What is the point in worrying about something that may not happen (and usually won't)?  As the Bible says, "sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matt. 6:34)  But I do sometimes wonder to myself how I would handle a really difficult trial like that.  I know that God's grace is great.  When my dad died I experienced the comfort of God through His Word and sweet friends.  He does give a peace that is beyond understanding.  But as hard as it was to say goodbye to my dad for now, in my mind I think it would be even harder to have to say goodbye to Kwacha or Shirley.  Could I handle it?  I think it comes down to this: Do I love God more than anyone or anything else?
That is an important question to ask myself.  I may not have to worry about Kwacha or Shirley dying today, but how is my life right now a living testimony that I love God more than either of them?  I'm not writing an answer to that right now.  I have to search my heart.  But the cool thing is, if I love God more than them, I am also going to love them in just the way that I should!  That is an extremely comforting thought.
I shared the following with a couple of friends recently who experienced the extremely difficult trial of miscarriage.  I can't empathize with them, but I definitely sympathize.  
It's a quote from Stepping Heavenward.  One of my favorite books. It's at a point in the book where an older lady who had lost most of her family is talking to a younger girl whose fiancĂ© had just died.

Sometimes I find it a help, when dull and cramped in my devotions, to say to myself: Suppose Christ should now appear before you, and you could see Him as He appeared to His disciples on earth, what would you say to Him? This brings Him near, and I say what I would say if He were visibly present. I do the same when a new sorrow threatens me. I imagine my Redeemer as coming personally to say to me, 'For your sake I am a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; now for My sake give me this child, bear this burden, submit to this loss,' Can I refuse Him? Now, dear, He really has come to you in this way, and asked you to show your love to Him, your faith in Him, by giving Him the most precious of your treasures. If He were here at this moment, and offered to restore it to you, would you dare say, 'Yes, Lord, I know, far better than You do, what is good for him and good for me; I will have him return to me, whatever it may cost; in this world of uncertainties and disappointments I shall be sure of happiness in his society, and he will enjoy more here on earth with me than he could enjoy in the companionship of saints and angels and of The Lord Himself in Heaven,' Could you dare to say this?

I hope this may encourage you in whatever trial you may be facing.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

10 Months

Shirley is in the double digits!  This is the first month where I've truly thought, time is flying. I can't believe she's already 10 months old.

In an outfit from her namesake, also known as Tilly.  :)  My little French girl.

This month was exciting because our friends, the Hodzi's, visited from Zimbabwe!  For those of you who don't know, Dany lived with us for 6 months my senior year of high school.  After 6 months she went back home to Germany and than she returned to go to the Master's college where she met her husband, Thomas.  Thomas is from Zimbabwe and they moved back there when he finished seminary to be involved with full time ministry.  (I basically copied her life.  ;) 

This is the best shot I got of Joel.  It was so fun to hear him rattling off in German.  I hadn't seen him since he was about Shirley's age and I had never met Aleithia.  (I know I'm spelling that wrong!)

The two girls with sweet Dany.

Don't you think they could be sisters??

Aleithia's so beautiful!

And the big accomplishment this month?  Standing with no hands!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Review

My friend, Jennifer, wrote a book.  

Everyday Poetry: Looking on the Bright Side of Life

When I think of Jen, two words come immediately to mind; friend and funny.

Jen deeply values friendships and she is a faithful friend herself.  She regularly hosts get togethers, whether it involves coffee at a local coffee shop or dinner and a movie at her house.  She cares for others and this is seen in her thoughtfulness.  
Jen is also really funny.  She makes me laugh in a way that few others do.  She uses her wit and sarcasm to form a creative sense of humor.  

Why am I going on about these two character traits of hers?  Because they shine forth in her book.  

In "My Forever Friend and Sister" she demonstrates how great friendships can be made within one's own family.  A Record of Rights reveals how friends can show us our own sin in a helpful way.  An Entirely Lovely Afternoon and Twilight reflect her enjoyment in spending time with those close to her.  

Jen's sense of humor is shown in poems like To My Headache, The Subtle Dangers of Whipped Cream and in one of my favorites, The Fugitive - a poem about a weird dream come to reality, a cheeseburger dropping by for a visit!  

Her creativity with words is seen in Harry the Canary, Questions Over Brunch and Unexpected Endings.  

While Jen excels with the unexpected and "experimentations on traditional form", you will still find the occasional traditional poem with beautiful word imagery in Unexpected Bougainvillea and Dictionary.

I have to admit, my favorite poems are always short and sweet and Jen has a number of these in her book.  I'll share a few with you:

Short Summer Haiku

Coffee in the shade.
Nice afternoon naps.
Fun parties at night.

The Inevitable Mr. M.

'Tis grand
to hold your hand
as we walk through life
as husband and wife.

and one last one,

Little Poem

At the end of the day,
I open the window and lie in bed.
Freedom flows through the curtains,
and cradles my head.

I actually meant to write this review awhile ago, but things worked out perfectly as it happens to be Jen's birthday today!  So, happy birthday my sweet friend!  Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with us in your delightful book.  

You can order one yourself from Amazon, right here.  And seriously, you should get a copy yourself, if for no other reason than to read about that runaway cheeseburger!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

9 Months

As per usual I am a little behind again in posting about Shirley.  Poor second child.  I'm definitely not planning on doing the monthly update again, maybe just a monthly picture.  

Usually I'm the one taking the pictures around here, but the one above was taken by her daddy!  I love that you can see her little teethies.  This month Shirley started pulling herself up on furniture, my legs, the dogs...okay not the dogs, she doesn't even know the dogs, but she'll pretty much pull herself up on anything.  

This little girl is such a character.  She makes the funniest noises and faces and she finally started saying "ma ma ma".  No, she doesn't know what it means yet, but someday!  She also learned how to clap and wave to friends.

Before I fell asleep last night I was looking at the picture of when I first met Shirley.  I will never forget that moment.  All those nine months I was wondering what she'd look like and what her little personality would be, and then I was so surprised to see that to me, she didn't look like either Kwacha or me, she just looked like her own person.  And now nine months later I just can't believe there was a time when she didn't exist.  I love her so much and daily thank God for her.  He is so kind and loving to give us such wonderful gifts.

"The Love of Christ constraineth us." 2 Cor. 5:14

"How much you owe unto your Lord!  Has He ever done anything for you?  Has He forgiven your sins?  Has He covered you with a robe of righteousness?  Has He set your feet upon a rock?  Has He established your goings?  Has He prepared heaven for you?  Has He prepared you for heaven?  Has He written your name in His book of life?  Has He given you countless blessings?  Has He laid up for you a store of mercies, which eye has not seen nor ear heard?
Then do something for Jesus, which is worthy of His love.  Give not a mere wordy offering to a dying Redeemer.  How will you feel when your Master comes, if you have to confess that you did nothing for Him - but kept your love shut up, like a stagnant pool, not flowing forth to His work.  Out on such love as that!

What do men think of a love which never shows itself in action?  Why, they say, 'Open rebuke is better than secret love.'  Who will accept a love so weak - that it does not actuate you to a single deed of self-denial, of generosity, of heroism, or zeal!  Think how He has loved you, and given Himself for you!  Do you know the power of that love?  Then let it be like a rushing mighty wind to your soul - to sweep out the clouds of your worldliness, and clear away the mists of sin.  

'For Christ's sake' be this the tongue of fire that shall sit upon you; 'for Christ's sake' be this the divine rapture, the heavenly affection to bear you aloft from earth; the divine spirit that shall make you bold as lions and swift as eagles in your Lord's service.  Love should give wings to the feet of service, and strength to the arms of labor.

Fixed on God with a constancy that is not to be shaken, resolute to honor Him with a determination that is not to be turned aside, and pressing on with an ardor never to be wearied - let us manifest the constraints of love to Jesus.  May the divine loadstone draw us heavenward towards itself!"



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