Friday, September 11, 2009

Trials in mothering

I read several parenting books this summer. I found them all helpful, but especially this one: Instead of telling me how to raise a generic child, this enabled me to actually UNDERSTAND myself and my child, and parent him accordingly. I highly recommend it!

Sadly though, it's just really difficult to be a good parent. And it's tremendously challenging to be a good, gentle parent. It's not easy to love someone who hurts and angers you, and your child can do this in a way few others can. When I read the book I just recommended to you, it altered my parenting, and Sam's behavior improved dramatically! Until this week. This week, Sam discovered true temper tantrums. He's always had fits when he was overstimulated, but these are entirely different. In my panic, frustration, and exhaustion, I have been anything but gentle. I have been an angry, inconsistent, and harsh parent. My sinful responses to Sam have caused us both much grief.

Last night, I was at my breaking point. I called my mother in law, begging for advice. I'm so thankful for her gentle reminders. She raised 4 boys, and thus endured 4 years of "terrible two's"! She gave me a few ideas of things I could try. But most importantly, she reminded me (once again) that he is a little person. And as such, a sinner in need of grace, just like his mama. This conversation made me realize that when Sam's behavior is getting worse, he needs me to 1) show him lots of tenderness and grace wherever possible and 2) be faithful to punish him consistently for real wrongs. My mother in law also told me that I was a great mom. I didn't feel deserving of her praise, but I was a whole lot happier and more motivated this morning. And so far Sam is responding beautifully to these changes. I think her example of "gentle parenting" toward ME (constructive criticism accompanied by kind words of affirmation) really drove the point home. The human heart craves gentle parenting. It did mine a world of good! I'll keep striving to be this kind of parent for Sam...

Friday, July 17, 2009

some new pics

I don't have time to write a post, but I want to post a few pictures of Sam for Grandpa Ed, (Joe's grandfather) who is facing brain surgery next week and likely in need of some cheer. These were taken at Rehoboth Beach, where we went for a family day trip last week. I hope this sweet boys face makes you smile, Grandpa.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

a quick hello

Stacy and Mark were coming through town, so they stopped by our house for the night. They arrived around 11pm, so of course we had to stay up until 3am talking and laughing together. Then we dragged ourselves out of bed at 9am, so that we could have breakfast at Plato's diner before they had to take off. We really enjoyed seeing them! And I was especially happy that I finally got a nice photo of Sam with his Aunt Stacy. =)

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Last night, I was quite discouraged about being a mother. I was weary of it's relentlessness...I was exhausted from the sleep deprivation (who would have thought this would go on for 2 yrs?)...In my minds eye, I was a failure as a mother because I forget to ask God for His help, because I often feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, because I'm so impatient with Sam...In that moment, every mom I know seemed like June Cleaver, except me. I knew my feelings were exaggerated, but I was still overwhelmed with sadness and frustration.

I woke up this morning to a beautiful spring day, which made me feel a little more hopeful. But still I struggled with feeling inept. And as I was checking my email, I glanced over at Sam and observed this little scene:

Sam had gone and picked up his baby doll (we got it some time ago, but he rarely plays with it) and began to feed it a bottle. I wish I had a video clip to show you how tender and nurturing this rough and tumble little guy was towards this doll! You can see in the first two photos how carefully he is positioning the baby in order to give him a bottle. As he was playing with the doll, he was asking if he was hungry and offering him a bottle, and referred to the baby as "Sam". I was encouraged by this scene because it made me realize, I have done some things well! I felt, for a moment, like I could see myself as Sam sees me. In the day to day, yes, I have moments of failure and weakness. But overall, I'm a mother who faithfully loves her son. More importantly, I realized that God is gracious in spite of my failures. Who Sam becomes can be affected by my parenting, but it does not depend on my parenting. I'm so glad that at the end of the day, God is the perfect parent that I cannot be. May both my strengths and my weaknesses teach Samuel seek his Father in heaven! And as for me, I will seek His help more often in raising this child. I NEED it!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Apartment therepy!

My friend Becky let me read her copy of the book "Apartment therepy". I got so excited that I jumped right in and rearranged/cleaned our main living area and our bedroom. The book helps you determine your sense of style, and then takes you through an 8 week (1 room per week) process to transform your apartment into a place you find comfortable, useful, and beautiful.
I'm enjoying both the process and the results. I'll keep you posted. =)

Friday, March 27, 2009

My favorite boy!

Who can resist this sweet face?!?!

Exploration, adventure and discovery...

feeling the water
Sam and Mama by the lake
Running with glee by Buddy Attick lake
Sam watching a Robin and saying "Hi Bird!"
The first blossoms of spring!
posed on a stump
"I fix it, tree"
Sam was trying SO hard to get that stick to connect to the tree!
Laughing at peekaboo (I was hiding behind a tree)
Handsome boy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

First visit to NJ

I had the great privilege of spending this past weekend with my sister and her husband at their home in New Jersey. Stacy and I had a grand time talking, eating, and being girly. Mark played video games most of the time, in effort, no doubt, to counteract the estrogen. =) We had a grand time together. I'm so glad to have her in my life.

Me and my sis in front of her pretty house

Delicious "Baba Booey"(pb and choc) cupcake from an local bakery called "crumbs"

This broke my diet. But it was worth it!

Saturday night: dinner and a chick flick =)

Stacy and Mark snuggling. cute tat!

awkward!!! Do we pose alike or what???

ah, that's better.

By the magnolia tree


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

death of the american dream

I am really fighting covetousness and discontentment lately. Yes, I should be thinking about the huge portion of the world that has less(much less) than I do. But sadly, I tend to focus on the culture around me, which is so financially prosperous. Today this struggle reached a climax when I started a new job. I now nanny for a family who owns the most beautiful house I've ever set foot in! It's not the most expensive house I've ever seen, but it is just perfect. If I could design a living space, that is exactly how I would make it. Huge kitchen complete with espresso machine, open living room with tons of windows overlooking wooded walking trails, a huge closed in back porch with a fireplace, xm radio throughout, huge pieces of art from a gallery the wife inherited from her father, all modern but livable furniture, etc. It was simply stunning. I'm so glad I get to work there one day a week! But as I took in the beauty, my heart started to fill with desires to possess this...Followed by sadness at the realization that this is not the life I have chosen. Though I may someday own a house, I will never have a house such as this. In that moment, I believed the lie that "If I only had ____ then everything would be okay."(a phrase our pastor used in a sermon)

And then, the Holy Spirit convicted me. He reminded me that I have the greatest possession... Jesus. And suddenly I felt truly wealthy! I really got the concept of storing up treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy. I know that if I had that house, it would be so hard to feel that this world is not my real "home"...So though I struggle with appeal of luxurious living, I would never trade my mansion in heaven for this mansion on earth!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

a few recent photos (finally!) from my new camera

My sweet little guy hugging his new bear. Doesn't this face just melt your heart???
Sam loves to sleep on our bed. He also likes to "play" sleep, but this is the real deal. He was totally OUT.
Joe and Sam had a blast playing in the snow this time around. (Sam was scared of the snow last time) Sam's face was as red as a tomato when he came in and he didn't care one bit. Like father, like son!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Doctors and abortion

I've spoken before of various things I think Christians should be do in regards to fighting abortion. Here is one of those opportunities. President Obama believes in abortion to such an extreme degree, that he would remove even this clause, which protects pro-life doctors from any obligation to perform abortion. We need to do our part to make sure no such law can be passed!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

back to

I've been lazy and have gotten away from posts which have anything to do with being "green"! Sadly, in the rush of life, I've forgotten to be earth-conscious much of the time. But whenever we let go of something, it's because we've chosen to invest our time in something else we deem more valuable. My "treasure" has been my son. Since I've had to work in recent months, all my extra energy has gone to striving to love/train him well. And really, part of the work of caring for the earth is raising children who are conscious. So here's my question for the day: How can we raise a "green" generation? I'd love to hear your thoughts or practical ideas!

I love the term I just used--"conscious." If you've seen the movie Wall-E you know about its depiction of the human race (many years in the future) as fat, helpless, blind followers of what they are told. Now that is an extreme picture, but if we allow ourselves to grow lazy, we are heading in that direction. I want to raise Sam to be conscious... of His God and eternal things....of the beauty and the chaos that exists in the world...of the needs and emotions of all those around him. I think it is in this context that he will care about preserving the earth in the right way. I hope he will do his part not only to stop destroying the world, but to help bring it(and its inhabitants) healing and to truly enjoy its beauty. It seems to me that focusing merely on avoiding plastic might keep us breathing longer, but it will not help us feel the wind caressing our faces or smell the sweet summer honeysuckle. And it will certainly not yield the joy of giving food, shelter, medical care, and the gospel of Christ to an orphan. So though I will continue to live in a "green" way, and hope Sam will learn from this example, it is not my focus in educating him. I will teach him by exploring the outdoors, and pausing to study the ants. And when he gets in conflicts with his little friends, I will talk with him about his emotions and then ask him to think about the pain he has caused his friend whom he loves. And throwing food on the floor is a problem, not just because it's gross and wasteful, but because it's ungrateful for generousity of God's provision. (If we don't need/want something we have, we should give it to someone who does. Recycle!) And I'll tell him that though mama would enjoy some new shoes, she won't buy them until her old ones fall apart, so that she can help those that have real needs, not just American ones! ;) And then, (here's the most important part) I actually have to live this way. I need a lot of prayer. :)