Saturday, February 27, 2010
I couldn't wait to see my wonderful husband who just kept things rollin' here at the martin house, no sweat! (After I slowly inquired, "So....how did things go????" he even joked, "I don't really know what all the fuss is about...everything went great!" ;-)
And kissing my babies' sweet lil' cheeks, and inhaling their scent, well it was comforting to my soul!
I'm filling in for another storyteller at church tomorrow; must make this quick as I don't know my script, and I don't want to screw up the story of Moses and the Israelites...there are some tough old testament names to pronounce! LOL!
PS-I'm halfway through "Parenting by the Book" (Rosemond)...IN-CREDIBLE! Must share more ideas...Stay tuned...
Friday, February 26, 2010
Okay, anyway, so I've been swimming in books lately, and surprisingly, they haven't been the typical kind I read. Typical being a cute, lighthearted, British-centered novel about some crazy mom struggling to keep up. (Speaking of, if you are in the mood for that I HIGHLY recommend you run and check out, "I don't know how she does it", by Allison Pearson. I laughed out loud more times than I did when reading Nanny Diaries.)
No, lately, I've had my nose stuck in non-fiction books, written by Christian authors. I just finished "Waking the Dead" by John Eldredge (life-changing, completely opened my eyes to something I had never even considered -- the idea of spiritual warfare. More on that in a minute...)
And why have I been so immersed in these books lately? Well, I realized a sobering truth... If someone were to ask me why I believed what I believed, I'm not sure I'd be able to explain my faith very well. I just wouldn't. I believe God created the world and everything in it, including me and every one of us sinners, and for a purpose. I love the Lord and I believe He loves me. But I wouldn't be able to explain, really, WHY I believe.
Distressed about my realization about myself, I talked to Jason about it, and he suggested that I read "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. That's what did it for him, he said. He was a non-believer until he read that book. He's an engineer, a thinker, a questioner, and that book diffused every argument he could have made for why he shouldn't believe in God. And I've been told, "A Case for Faith" (Lee Strobel) is another great book for anyone with doubts...So, I dived into Mere Christianity in hopes that it would give me something concrete.
There was another reason I needed to know more about why I believe...and I'm not even sure if Jason realized how wise I think his comment was, but he said to me during that conversation, "And you know, a person who's faith isn't founded on a solid foundation...that's just the kind of person who can loose their faith instantly when tragedy strikes." I don't want to loose my way because I never really understood my faith.
Okay, back to my recent book selections...
At playgroup this past Wednesday, I was browsing through Laura Beth's shelf of books (I love to see what books people have in their libraries), and I immediately pulled out the book, "Parenting by the Book: Biblical Wisdom for Raising Your Child" (John Rosemond).
Laura Beth saw me holding it and she piped up, "Great book! One of the few I read cover to cover." I was instantly intrigued, for every time we're at the library, I usually check out some "parenting" book to read. And what's funny is I've never been all that thoughtful about the credentials of the author, or even if I agreed with their perspective. And after reading 60 or so pages into "Parenting by the Book," I've come to the conclusion that I wasted a whole lot of time reading those parenting books. In other words, it was the "blind leading the blind."
Rosemond's book is utterly and REFRESHINGLY simple: he presents - and get ready!- not his own ideas about how to raise a child (he even slams his OWN profession of psychologists), but he uses scripture to open our eyes to the best, most straightforward, fail-proof way to raise children. And after all, Jesus Christ is our own "Wonderful Counselor." No need to pay anyone huge amounts of money per hour to fill our heads with psycho-babble...and Rosemond tells you that in his book!
He calls it a blueprint, and jsut look at these two examples: this one you've probably heard - "train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." - Proverbs 22:6
and others less obvious: "Simply let your 'yes' be 'yes,' and your 'no' be "no." -Matthew 5:37. Translated into the wise words I learned from "Sugar," 'mean what you say and say what you mean.' Honestly, as I'm tested daily by my two-year-old, I can tell you that I repeat that to myself no fewer than 8 or 9 times a day. I know I will fail at many things, but I will succeed in making sure my children know if I've said something, I mean it!
Check out his introduction of Part 1:
"In the 1960's, secular progressives stormed the ramparts of American culture. They took sledgehammers to anything and everything traditional and erected the false gods of their new religions, the most insidious of which has been therapeutic psychology. The new psychology, unleashed from the restraints of objectivity, was programmed to aid in the destruction of the intact nuclear family, and a good job it has done. Mental health professionals attacked the legitimacy of the traditional marriage and demonized traditional child rearing, both of which are founded on biblical principals. Parenting according to Dr. so-and-so replaced parenting according to God's design, and it's been a downhill ride ever since."
He says that the "Parent-centered" family became the "child-centered family," and I think it's absolutely true! I've seen it during my years in the classroom and I realize I've even fallen prey to this idea. Personally, I'm consumed every day, constantly fretting about Jack and Lucy receiving my full, undivided attention 100% of their day, and I've sacrificed so much to accomplish what I thought was a worthy goal. Some days I don't get around to showering, because I wonder, should I really take away 20 minutes of time I could be reading to them or practicing Lucy's ABC's???? And it's not a rare occasion that I finally touch base with Jason about how his day was when it's 10 pm and we fall into bed exhausted.
God places the highest priority on the relationship of husband and wife. Yet, I'd say I spend about 90% of my day in the role of "mother" and a mere 10% in my role as "wife." Jack and Lucy will acquire an expectation of marriage and the role of what husbands and wives do directly from what they observe in their own household. I want to provide a healthy model from them to learn from. Yes, my children are a priority to me - absolutely! But they shouldn't be the only priority! So, our plan...after dinner every night, we're going to put Jack and Lucy in the new gated-playroom, and for 20 minutes, they're going to play alone, and Jason and I are going to sit down together in the nearby room and CONNECT.
And I have to say that's my "plan" because we haven't done it yet; said we were going to do it tonight after dinner, and guess what, it didn't happen...because right after dinner, Jack started succumbing to lack of sleep and became "terror-toddler" who required our full attention. Already failed at my noble attempt. Must do better tomorrow! :-)
And speaking of my wonderful husband who I'm not near right now because I'm blogging (and have been for the past 30 minutes or so...), I'm going to call it quits on this post...I could really go on and on - and I plan to- but no more tonight. I'll pick back up on my thoughts on "Waking the Dead" and spiritual warfare (you simply can not avoid the realization of this idea in today's world and in our community!), and I will definitely reflect upon the section of Rosemond's book I"m currently reading - all about how humility, not self-esteem - is what we need to teach our children. Incredibly compelling!
I'd love to do a book group, but my chances of getting a group of girls together is slim to none, as everyone is so incredibly busy, so I'm it. I'm going to be my own book group. This is really more for me than anyone else, anyway...taking notes, reflecting...this is how I learn. I want to learn, I want to grow. I want to be better...
Stay tuned... :-)
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Let me just tell you how much God has been looking out for me lately...Today was the third "encounter" in a brief period of time I've had with a police officer who passed me as I was clearly speeding (I honestly don't mean to speed, but I promise you there's never a time I'm in the car that I'm not HURRYING to get wherever I'm going), yet didn't pull me over.
Recently, this has happened twice while I was driving over the mountain on Cecil Ashburn. And twice the cop flashed his lights at me, but didn't pull me over. And one of those times, I got a very angry finger pointed right at me as we passed...GULP!
And today, while I was heading up the mountain, via Governors, I passed another police officer who didn't pull me over, yet clearly made a point for me to slow down.
Check out what this guy did...he's coming south on governors as I'm heading north and he sees me long before we actually pass each other. He starts slowing down immediately (I'm fully expecting this is because he plans to do a u-turn as soon as I pass him so he can pull me over), but by the time I reach him, he has completely stopped in the middle of the road, and he's just staring at me. He never turns around to get behind me, just watches me drive by. Very strange. Eventually he starts driving again.
I'm not sure why God is sparing me from all of these speeding tickets I've clearly deserved. But my record remains clean...
Anyone else lucky as me? Or conversely, anyone have the misfortune for getting pulled over every time you speed? :-)
Monday, February 22, 2010
So excited about my cutest find today!
Jack, Lucy, and I went to Randolph to have lunch with the teachers (I used to work there and I keep in touch with many of the teachers I worked with, as well as my old principal.)
Since we were close to Play It Again (a kids' consignment shop here in town I enjoy browsing through), I stopped by. I was hoping to find some spring/summer sneakers for Jack and Lucy. Didn't find that, but I did find the CUTEST SWIMSUIT for Lucy - and a super cute price too, $6). She had lots of fun modeling it for me when we got home.
Check out this girl:
By the way, if you're curious what I looked like as a child, just look at this picture. I swear Lucy looks like my twin!
Look at this tummy! :-) She's been eating a TON lately! Growth spurt for sure! Her 2T clothes hardly fit her anymore.
Check out the "modeling"! LOL! I didn't encourage her to do anything specific at all, either... this was all on her own. I just told her I wanted to take some pictures of her. There's such a spirit in this one, I tell ya!
She was having so much fun, she even fell over! LOL!
And a little glimpse into Lucy's favorite activity this week: cutting paper...I let her cut over a trash can, but you can see how effective that is ;-)
Don't want to leave out my cutie-pie, Jack. Here's a snapshot of him as he was enjoying running away from me last night...
And yep, his face is all kinds of dirty...this was just before bath time...thus the reason he was running away from me :-)
Monday Meal Recipe:
This comes from my friend Monica. Super Yummy! Great for a chilly evening, and since there are a few more of those to come this week, this is a good one to try...
Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 skinned and boneless chicken breasts, cubed
1 10 oz package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 14 oz cans chicken broth
1 10 ½ oz can tomato puree
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chiles
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
Combine all in crockpot. Cover and cook on High 6 hours. Remove and discard bay leaf.
Serve with sour cream, tortilla chips, cheese and garnish with fresh cilantro.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
this is lucy's nursery sticker she had fun tearing and sticking all over herself :-)
Friday, February 19, 2010
This week at breakfast, Jack said his first "real word" (he's said "mama" and "dada", but I consider this his first REAL word).
We were at the table eating breakfast, and he pointed to the backyard, where I had just let Toby out, and he emphatically shouted, "ow-sii." Not sure he was being deliberate in this motion and word, I pointed to the backyard and he did it again, with more enthusiasm. Of course Lucy and I burst out in applause, saying "outside" again and again, encouraging him to say it over and over; which he did, much to our delight!
This wasn't a total surprise, for Jack has been making sounds much more often lately, pointing to things, enjoying hearing people say the word for him. What is a surprise is that I looked back in Lucy's scrapbook to see what her early words were, and would you believe "outside" was one of her first words -- not the first, but an early word. And she said it the exact same way Jack does, with sort of a Japanese dialect and pace to it :-)
I wonder what word will be next?!?
Thursday, February 18, 2010
And here's a sign when you need to recruit the troops, call on the in-laws if you must, do whatever you need to in order to arrange for some quality alone time...
and I say this with love for my friend :-) ...
If you find yourself making requests at story time for certain toddler songs, shouting out a request for that certain song where "they're on the way to Minneapolis, drivin' in my car...", feeling that you'd really like to hear that song, that would serve as a little "pick-me-up" for you...
maybe you need a break...
We all need a break every now and again...look for the signs (for there are many and you can usually discover many signs by merely watching me any given day ;-), and take some well-deserved time for yourself! After all, we're better moms when we take care of ourselves too :-)
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
This plan included, among other things, extending the school day 25 minutes, teachers rotating as tutors for the students. These teachers were being paid over $70,000 a year. They didn't like the changes, and got behind their union and refused to teach according to the new changes.
And the Superintendent fired all of them...and I think it's great!
I agree that unions do send a message of entitlement to its members, and our generation is already struggling enough with consequences of what comes from living a life as if you're entitled to anything you want whenever you want it. Have you seen statistics of what credit-card debt amounts people are currently living with, treating that amount as if that's just part normal monthly expenses.
Another aspect of this story that particularly bothers me is that we're talking about teachers here, people who hold a job that has such responsibility. How many people do you know that go into teaching because "it pays the bills"? Seriously, teachers aren't just "doing it for the paycheck!"
I believe these teachers should care enough for their students that if it takes 25 more minutes a day and some extra tutoring, then that's what it takes. I wouldn't be thrilled about the extended day, to be sure, but if teachers truly care about their students' education, performance, and improvement, then they should suck it up and put forth the extra effort.
I applaud the bold move, taking an action that most people wouldn't. It will be interesting to see what happens and who will come in to take over all of these positions that are now empty.
Monday, February 15, 2010
They planned, quite elaborately I've been told -- spreadsheets, timelines, and diagrams were drawn on white-boards apparently; how cute is that?! -- for all 5 of the wives to meet and have an entire day and evening being pampered.
All of the couples arrived at our house at three o'clock. We all got to meet each other and visit, and the husbands sent us off for a four o'clock appointment for mani/pedicures! We took our wine in "roadies," and off we went.
While we were off enjoying great girl-talk, massaging pedicure chairs (some that even went a little wild with the "butt" massage-hey Amy!!! :-), and getting our nails done, all the husbands were back at the house hard at work preparing a most delicious meal!!! We were told that dinner would be served at six! How exciting!!!!
When we came back, we walked into:
-a quiet house (guys had arranged for childcare at the Billings' home)
-mood lighting :-) candles were lit everywhere!
-a wonderful aroma from all the cooking they'd been doing
-the fine china was out and the table was set so beautifully (Steve googled how to fold linens in a fancy way ---awwww!)
-awesome cheese platter with fresh Parmesan, goat cheese, proschuttio, and real balsamic vinegar from Italy.
-and our husbands ready to wait on us hand and foot!
this glass heart was our cake topper from our wedding cake! :-)
We were slightly overwhelmed, quite honestly! It was so wonderful!
They stood before us, saying the sweetest, most honest words any husband could ever say to their wife. We prayed together and had a truly wonderful meal.
Julian made a crazy-good shrimp chowder, served with Paul's deliciously fresh salad. Then, for the entree, we had a trio of smoked trout with a super-yummy sauce (which Julian had made in his smoker), asian salmon made by Steve, and seasoned chicken cooked by Zach. Jason prepared the sides- seasoned green beans and champagne-asparagus risotto (to which an entire bottle of champagne was used for the liquid :-).
Then, the men led us into the den where we all sat to let dinner settle, and each husband told the story of how they met their wife. Amazing guys, wonderful stories, such a blessed time together! I found it really powerful, and it just spoke to me so much of how God is in such control, and we'd really be messes without Him!
We had four options for dessert: chocolate pie, strawberry pie, red-velvet cake, and pink cake. So, so, so yummy!
We reluctantly went to fetch our kids at about 9:30 pm, sad for the night to be over! And look how hard the guys worked on cleaning the kitchen...zach washing the deep pot is particularly cute!
I am so happy to have met what feel like instant new friends, and I can't wait for the next time we all get together. The wives want to do a dinner for the men, but I'm not sure we can top what they did for us!!!! We are five, very lucky, wives!
Husbands: THANK YOU! You gave us an incredible gift for Valentine's Day, which every one of us thoroughly loved -- almost as much as we love YOU!
Sunday, February 14, 2010
So, I need a new Bible.
I'm fond of the New Living Translation that the pastors use often when scripture is displayed on the screen at church. I talked with John Tanner about his thoughts, and the NLT was his recommendation (that or the TNIV).
Anyone have any suggestions!?!
Here are pics of Jack and Lucy opening V-day cards from "Baba and Grandpa."
My parents sent a Valentine's Package too:
To all our much-loved family and friends: Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours!