Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

What a wonderful week we've had with family and enjoying our first Christmas as "us three" instead of "us two!" Here are a few pictures of Christmas Eve and day.

Emery opened up a new pair of pj's on Christmas Eve. Trying so hard to rip the wrapping paper! 

Did it!

Christmas Eve was a busy one, as it is every year. We thought we'd try to cut down on the number of places we go to this year, but it ended up being three in one afternoon! Emery was a real trooper, and even though she wouldn't take a second nap she had so much fun that she even stayed up until after 9:30...two hours past her bedtime. 

Christmas Eve morning, happy as always. :)

She loved the puzzle grandma gave her. She also got a little baby doll that she would rock, feed, and give kisses to. She actually fell asleep on the car ride to the third location with the baby doll held tight in her arms. It was so cute!

Family photo at grandma Ploof's

We started Christmas morning with a yummy breakfast of eggs, venison sausage, and pineapple. Dustin prepared it for us and it was so good!! Then we all read the story of Christmas in Luke chapter two. 

"And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." Luke 2:7
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" Luke 2:14

Last, we opened some presents...
Emery got a little drum from us.

I think she liked it!

Then we went to grandma and grandpa Conners' house...

Emery loves babies! Here is cute little cousin Lincoln, grandpa, Em, and daddy.

She got a cute little pink piano from grandma and grandpa...they had fun with it, as you can see!

Daddy wanted to see if Em could fit in grandma's new soup pot. Yep, she fits!

The stairs, of course! I think she gets her silliness from daddy. :)

Of course, we had to get another family shot of one of the things we like to do best...kiss our baby!!!

Ending the evening with a nice bath and a good book, "The little drummer boy" by Ezra Jack Keats.

We thank the Lord for great weather, wonderful family, and innumerable blessings!! 

"The God of all creation humbled Himself to become a human being—our Savior, Christ the Lord.  Because Jesus was born He could die, bringing the abundance of life we enjoy through Him.  May each of you rest in the security of the Babe whose birth we celebrate each Christmas day." -STR

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A spoonful of sugar

I’m so thankful for my wonderful husband who brings me to my senses and to the reality of useless worrying. While trying to get Emery’s photo book completed and ordered, my continuing education credits completed, tests submitted, Christmas cards and birthday cards addressed and mailed, gifts purchased, hats knitted, illustrations drawn before the end of the year, etc. I became very stressed and cranky. Of course, he very cool-headedly calmed me down and led me to scripture and prayer.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6

“I Will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help [comes] from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

“Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” Psalm 37:5

Why is it so easy to fall into the trap of anxiety? Why is getting upset and angry like the flip of a switch? We can go from a great mood to frustrated and frantic as soon as we think about all that needs to be done and the time constraints with which to do them.

“Do all things without grumbling” Phil 2:14. “Be joyful always” I Thess. 5:16. It’s already a challenge to do things without excessive grumbling or stressing, but to do the task joyfully? Joy: intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness. Really?! How do we have an attitude of exultant happiness while doing our most hated tasks, like cleaning the toilet, going grocery shopping, shoveling the driveway, etc. Not to mention staying cool-headed when things have deadlines and we have limited time with which to do them.  And always? Always, meaning regardless of the difficulty level, the lack of sleep I had the night before, or how much I might detest the task at hand. Of course, the first thing I think of is Mary Poppins singing “a spoonful of sugar” while getting the two kids to clean their room. I looked up the lyrics if you don’t remember what I’m talking about…

In ev'ry job that must be done 
There is an element of fun 
you find the fun and snap! 
The job's a game 

And ev'ry task you undertake
Becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree!
It's very clear to see 
That a... 

Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down 
The medicine go down-wown 
The medicine go down 
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down 
In a most delightful way
A robin feathering his nest 
Has very little time to rest 
While gathering his 
Bits of twine and twig 

Though quite intent in his pursuit 
He has a merry tune to toot 
He knows a song 
Will move the job along

Even though things might not be done by their deadlines, things might not (and usually don’t) go as planned, and, of course, those unfortunate tasks still have to be done, the Lord works all things together for the good of those who love him and He will give us a joyful heart if only we ask. John Piper said, “Grumbling is an evidence of little faith in the gracious providence of God in all the affairs of our lives. And little faith is a dishonor to him. It belittles his sovereignty and wisdom and goodness.”

I will pray that God gives me an attitude of holiness, of grumble-less living, of singing a merry tune while I work, and of joy…always.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More thoughts on time

Lately I’ve been thinking about time. Where does the time go? During this season I am constantly reminiscing about last year at this time when I was 8 ½ months pregnant, huge, uncomfortable and uncontrollably excited to be a momma and meet our new baby. The anticipation of finding out whether we’d be having a boy or a girl, being able to try out all of this fun baby stuff on an actual baby, finally being able to look into the eyes of the creature that had been kicking me in the ribs for the last few months! I just kept thinking, “next year at this time we’ll have an almost one year old!” It was just so surreal.

January seemed like the perfect time to have a new baby (what time isn’t perfect for a new baby?!) with the cold months to enjoy that bonding time curled up on the couch with the newborn who would sleep 18 hours a day and eat the remaining 6. During summer we’d have a 6 month old who could sit up, scoot, and crawl around the grass and in the sand. In the fall we’d have a 9 month old who could move all over, dance, laugh, play, and enjoy lots of walks through the crunchy leaves. And now during this time of year we have a little monkey who crawls at super speed, pulls herself up, tries to stand for a bit on her own, and listens closely to try to understand what mom and dad are saying and participate in the conversation in the ways she knows how.
I didn’t know of this kind of joy before Emery came into our lives. The love I have for my husband, although profound, is utterly different than the love I have for her. I remember the first time I saw her, those big eyes, round chubby cheeks, tiny little clenched fists, skinny little legs. She was perfect. I remember staring at her for hours thinking about how great God could be to make something so beautiful, a 7 pound 4 ounce little life. A miracle!

During chiropractic school I had to take a class on embryology (the study of the growth and development of the human embryo from conception to birth) and it made more of an impact concerning my appreciation for God and on my faith in Him as my Creator than anything I’ve ever read or heard previously. I won’t go into detail or bore you with complicated terminology, but this most remarkable process is so incredibly mind bogglingly complicated that it is an absolute miracle that the greater majority of us end up with, not only ten fingers and ten toes, but also two eyes, two ears, one mouth, one liver, one heart, lungs that work, a brain that functions, a working digestive system, circulatory system, endocrine system, and on and on. Not to mention that everything is all in the right place…no ears on our legs, kidneys in our chest, eyes on the sides of our head instead of in front. The most extraordinary part of this all is that everything is formed to exact specifications, perfect guidelines, and all in it’s place within only 9 months! And many babies live completely healthy lives when they are born at only 6 months! I wish I could show you my notes from class or press on you in a better way the detail and complexities that go into this process. The crazy part is that we don’t even know everything there is to know about embryology yet. We are still learning.
This brings me back to time. Time is so fleeting, so precious, and yet we don’t even realize how fast it gets away from us. My baby will be turning one in only a matter of weeks and there is so much more I wish I wrote down, documented about her first year, because I know I’ll forget. I already forgot so much. But all I can do is put it all in God’s hands and know that He has it all written down, for “even the hairs on your head are all numbered.” Luke 12:7 and “He determines and counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.” Psalm 147:4. I pray that in the coming years I am able to be a faithful steward of the miracles God has given me, that I’m able to be the wife and momma God has called me to be, and that I can redeem the time that passes, every minute that goes by, and use it for His glory. “My times are in Your hand” Psalm 31:15.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Weekend Away

This morning we woke up to lots and lots of snow! Dustin took the snow blower to the driveway twice (so far) and the girls and I shoveled the smaller areas multiple times but it keeps coming! We were planning on heading home tonight but it won’t be happening. It seems we are snowed in pretty good.
 Since we don’t own a snow blower I’m a little worried to see how much snow we have to shovel just to reach our front door. I really shouldn’t complain since we have been completely blown away with the kindness and generosity of one of our neighbors, John. He lives alone with his two cute kitties, lets us borrow different tools from his massive garage, and is always so helpful with any electronic/motorized device. Out of the goodness of his heart (and probably feeling a bit sorry for us since we have an itty bitty lawn mower and a single shovel with no garage) he has mowed our lawn with his riding lawn mower and snow blowed our driveway on almost every occasion since only a few months after moving in. Yes, it’s true! We are so thankful for the wonderful people God puts in our lives.

This is when the snow wasn't so bad yet...

                                           Where'd Tori go?
 As you can see, the snow was up well past the glass door and a couple inches over the lawn chairs!

We’re having a great time staying at my parent’s house this weekend while they’re away at a seminar for a few days. It really is a blessing to be able to spend some quality time with my two youngest sisters. Since we’re far apart in age (10 years from Tori and 15 from Grace) we didn’t really spend a lot of time living in the same house or growing up together, so it’s nice to get to stay for a few days when we can. It’s also so cute to see how excited Emery gets to see her aunties! She kicks her little feet and squeals when she sees them, putting her hands out for one of them to pick her up. She definitely loves them! We were able to have dinner and visit with my brother, his wife and their two adorable boys on Thursday as well. It’s a blast to see the cousins interact with each other and get excited when they see each other.

Grace and Emery. Emery thinks she is hilarious, even if Grace just looks at her and smiles Emery will laugh at her!
        Tori and Emery. Emery loves to give Tori kisses :)

As some of you may know, when it came to crawling Emery decided she wanted to be different so she would only scoot around on her belly, or “army crawl,” until just recently. I guess it just wasn’t her style. :) As she’s been pulling herself up, walking around (with assistance of objects in her reach), she has finally learned to crawl like all of the other babies she knows. Dustin and I had basically given up trying to teach her (yes, we’d get on all fours and show her the ropes), and figured she’d just transition to walking without ever really crawling. So it’s been pretty exciting, and honestly a little strange, to actually see her crawl normally!
Another thing she learned over the weekend at grandma and grandpa’s house is how to climb the stairs! Obviously with someone spotting her from behind, she absolutely loves climbing up the two flights all by herself. She’ll turn around to look at you and start laughing, climb the next stair, turn and laugh, etc. It’s pretty cute!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

First Blog Entry

I have been thinking about creating a blog for some time now, but for reasons mainly based upon being too busy or too tired (once I did have a few spare moments) it just never happened. Also, I didn’t even think to pray about it until just recently. When I finally did pray it became clear that I needed to make this blog not just about me, Dustin, Emery, family, friends, or just life in general, but also about my Savior. I don’t want to create something just to leave a mark, to make memories, or to make myself feel special. Although I’d love to do all those things (I especially like feeling special), I want this blog to reflect the glory of my Lord. Although, as you’ll probably figure out (or maybe you already know), I’m not the best writer, the most creative, most witty, and I definitely don’t have the most interesting life, but I hope that in the entries I write, Christ can somehow be reflected.

The clock in our bedroom is still one hour ahead of all the other clocks in our home, even more than a month after daylight savings. It only takes a few seconds to set it back, and although I look at it multiple times per day (and night) I have yet to take the time to do it. I think I’ve actually become content with just leaving it. I don’t know why. Is it laziness? Apathy? Unconsciously wanting to see if it can stay one hour behind until the next daylight savings? Whatever the reason, it got me thinking. What other things in my life are left in this state?

Jonathan Edwards wrote, “Resolved, never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.” (The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 1)

I don’t want to become apathetic in life, in relationships with family and friends, and especially not in my relationship with God. Every moment is a gift. Every breath I take is grace; grace to use the next moment to glorify Him. Not to be redundant, but eternity is, well eternal. Forever and ever and ever. I pray that I can be more faithful with the things God has given me and not live an apathetic life, content with an unlived day passing by. I pray that, like Paul, I’ll be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7