Wednesday, February 26, 2014

eleven months

 Very hard to believe the picture below was taken just about a year ago.
Just looking at it makes me uncomfortable.
Pregnancy is a miracle.
I was carrying Owen around the seminary last week and I had a thought... 
He weighs maybe about 25 pounds (I'm guessing)
and I was getting pretty tired of carrying him, for how heavy he is.
Then I remembered that I was carrying nearly double that weight by the end of pregnancy.
See for yourself.
Thankfully, the weight loss that comes with breastfeeding is nothing short of a miracle either!
I weigh less now than what I did before Owen.
Different shape, though. 
But, tis life!

I'm feeling so nostalgic as of late realizing how quickly time is passing.
Like, whoa.
He's going to be 
I just can't even expound upon that.
Just, whoa.
This month has been different, so so different than all the rest.
What's the biggest change you ask?
We're sleeping through the night!
but he did it.
They told me this day would come.
And I'll admit it, I was skeptical.
But it's here.

Occasionally he demands some attention (milk) in the night but it's rare.

We have a fireball on our hands.
He is very observant, always watching.
But when he decides to do something, he does it with everything he has.
For example:
He's loved using his walker since he got it at Christmas, 
but now that he's gained confidence he tries to "walk" with everything.
Most recently, his high chair.
He gets behind it and pushes it all around with a big grin on his face.
Not walking solo yet. He's pretty scared to try.
We've been calling him "scaredy cat" lately.
If anything happens he's not expecting his eyes get big, 
eyebrows furrow and he lets out an exclamation like, "Oooh, Oooh!"

He's starting to show affection more.
Sometimes he'll cuddle with mommy and daddy now.
I've been waiting for this!
It may be teeth coming, but I am cherishing this time with him.
He's started to mellow down a bit.
Before, he would always fight tiredness at all cost.
Never give in to the urge to shut his eyes.
But now, he'll be playing and all the sudden just lay down for like 5 minutes for a rest.
Jonny even rocked him to sleep at church last Sunday for the first time since he was a newbie.
We're having food issues as of late.
Before he'd eat anything and everything in sight.
Like, he could put it down.
But he's not so interested these days and is wanting to nurse more often.
I don't want to force feed him if he's not hungry,
but the tantrums he throws are not okay.
It could be teeth coming (he still only has the 6).
As this is our first, Jonny and I are in uncharted territory everyday.
I need the reminder of God's lavish grace on me every hour 
to be able to parent Owen through the good times and the tough.

He's doing a new squishy face smile lately and we can't get enough of it.
Thankfully we caught it for his 11 month picture.
One more month until we are parents of a 1 year old.
How time flies.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

the very best

I'm currently reading a little book that gives a glimpse into the lives of five "faithful" women. 
Today I began reading about Lilias Trotter. 
I haven't finished her story yet but I was struck by some of her words and wanted to share them.

A little about Lilias Trotter:

Lilias, born in England, lived from 1853-1928. 
She had an incredible talent for art, particularly painting. 
Her mother sent Lilias' work to John Ruskin, known to be "the voice of the art world"at the time. 
He took her in as a pupil and claimed that if she would devote herself to her artwork 
"she would be the greatest living painter and do things that would be immortal."

Here are her words:

"Never has it been so easy to live in half a dozen good harmless worlds at once --art,
music, social science, games, motoring, the following of some profession, and so on. 
And between them we run the risk of drifting about, the "good" hiding the "best.". . .

It is easy to find out whether our lives are focused, and if so, where the focus lies. 
Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? 
Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? . . 
Dare to have it out with God . . . and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His glory.

How do we bring things to a focus in the world of optics? 
Not by looking at the things to be dropped, but by looking at the one point that is to be brought out.
Turn your soul's vision to Jesus, and look and look at Him, and a strange dimness will come over all that is apart from Him."
. . .

Life always has and always will be full of "harmless worlds" to devote ourselves to. 
Be it books, fashion, fitness, music, movies, or "motoring". 
Our lives can be divided and dispersed between so very many interests. 
Or maybe not so many. 
Maybe we just have our one thing that we are intensely passionate about. 
It drives us, it gives us self worth or purpose. 
For Lilias, it could have been painting.
For me- 
In high school it could have been music.
In college it could have been finding a spouse.
Presently, it could be motherhood.

A spouse.
Those are all certainly good things. 

But Lilias warns, don't be caught drifting among the "good" and miss the "best"!

How do you know if you're doing that?

Lilias gives this challenge;

What's your first thought in the morning?

What is it you can't wait to get to when your to-dos are checked off at the end of the day?

Be honest.

Is your aim Christ and his glory?

Are you preferring good things when you could have the Ultimate?

If your answer is "no", like mine in countless cases, what do you do?
I know I have the tendency to begrudgingly try to "let go" of these things.
But with that mentality my focus is still on that very thing, by trying to focus on it-less.

Which doesn't work by the way.

I had to read that last point she made again. 
Optics. She's talking about the eye! I imagined a camera and that helped.

"Not by looking at the things to be dropped, but by looking at the one point that is to be brought out."

Focus doesn't happen by erasing the background. 
It happens by illuminating the main thing.
The "best" thing.

The best thing is always Jesus.

"Turn your soul's vision to Jesus, and look and look at Him, and a strange dimness will come over all that is apart from Him."

Illuminate Jesus by taking time to look at him.
And then look at him some more.
The Bible gives us the ability to do that. 
We can meditate on the truths of Scripture that show us God's goodness, 
ultimately in His son Jesus, and He alone is worthy of our devotion.
 . . .
Lilias' last point almost read like a song didn't it?
That's because it is.
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus was written in 1922 by Helen H. Lemmel,
inspired by those very words of Lilias Trotter.
Have a listen, just press play.
. . .
Lilias did not choose to devote herself to art as the renowned John Ruskin would have it.
She chose to devote her life to Jesus and making him famous in the world.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

10 months & I quit.

Two weeks ago Owen turned ten months old.
That makes him ten and a half months old,
in case you weren't sure about how those things work.
Weeks and stuff...they can be tricky.

Well it's hit me like a ton of bricks that he's about to be one.
ein Jahr alt.
That's German for 'one year old'. 
Because we're learning German. 
Jonny & I.
He's learning it for a Ph. D. that is on the horizon and I'm learning it for fun.
And in hopes of traveling and putting it to use one day.

Can you tell my husband has been gone all day and I'm a little loopy?
Spending all day with a crazy, adorably crazy, 10 month old will do that to you.
But he's in bed now.
And I'm sitting here with a slice of whole foods pizza and gonna just spew some words out, k?

Owen's appetite has grown tremendously over the last month and a half.
In early January we went on a trip to see family in Missouri, Arkansas and Texas.
It was then that I started to notice his increased appetite.
I'm sure it has to do with the fact that he's moving a lot more.
Practically running from furniture piece to furniture piece.
He cannot be contained!
He's not walking solo yet.
But could if he got over the nerves.
I feel it too.
He is heavy. Packing on the pounds.
He's fluctuated between 95th-75th percentile most of his life.
(With the exception of his birth and first month where he was considerably above normal)

Some of his favorite foods:
green beans
meat of any kind
toast with coconut oil and cinnamon
He likes bananas but I only give them in moderation (constipation is an issue).
This kid can have fun.
My absolute favorite thing is to watch Jonny and Owen play.
They are such boys.
Owen even laughs after tooting now.
He looks at you and raises his eyebrows like, "Did you hear that?"
But yes, they rough house, like boys do.
Sometimes more than I'd like, 
but I have to remember to chill out a bit.
And if you've made it this far and are still reading you'll get to know what I'm quitting.
Or going to try to quit.
Today, for what feels like the first time, I let Owen make messes 
and instead of following his trail of messes and
picking them up,
I got down on the floor and played with him.
A lot.
And we had fun.
Now I'm not saying I will always resist the urge to tidy up behind him.
But I am saying I'm going to try and be more intentional to stop.
There's a time and a place for cleaning up.
I think realizing he's almost a year old is making me relish the time I have with him.
I want to remember the way his face crinkles up 
and eyes sparkle with delight at the newness of a toy he hasn't seen in the last five minutes.
I want to remember the funny noises he makes.
The way he purses his lips to say "words"
The way he stretches out his arms and rotates his hands when he gets excited.
Things change so quickly.
And I want to see them happen.


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