Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Down Swing

I've really hesitated to write much about our time with Samuel in the NICU after his birth. Part of the hesitation is naturally due to the lack of free time I have for all things blogging. I'm happy I've been able to post a few pictures and what not! I've also been so ecstatic just to have my family back together again. What a joy to have all my little chicks safely under wing. I seriously thought about hunkering down in the house for a good month--no phone, no Internet, no visitors...

But, perhaps my greatest cause for hesitation as I have mulled over how to share all that God has done in my heart and in our family through Samuel's birth and recovery has been my fear of re-visiting all the emotions of that month. And it was very emotional. When I took Samuel in for his check-up this past week, I felt a knot in my stomach as we passed the hospital. All the familiar landmarks caused a rush of memories to flood my mind. Images of my sweet boy hooked up to monitors and poked with tubes and wires and bandages and hoses; the smell of antiseptic foam; the distinct beeping noises of the monitors around his warmer. I didn't dwell on those thoughts, but they reminded me of how serious that time was and how difficult it was to walk through that valley.

While I am still rejoicing in the good health of our son and the reunion of our wonderful family, the last couple weeks I've found myself beginning to feel the "down swing" of life with a newborn. The sleepless nights; the horrible messiness of our house; the disconnected mealtimes; the difficulties of managing 4 separate individuals with individual needs. It's all wonderful, of course, but not at all easy. Samuel has colic that keeps him (and me!) awake through the night and the girls are all requiring more and more attention as we progress through our school year. Really, we are just experiencing (again!) the reality of adding another family member to the mix and navigating our way through those first months of finding the "new normal." And, I find myself really turning to the Lord for strength and renewal each day. He is so faithful!

I receive the newsletter for my parents' church and the pastor had written a brief exposition on the first page. It was an anecdotal piece about falling and I found the last paragraph to be so encouraging:

Our lives at all times are more at the mercy of the forces that act on us from the outside than we may be willing to admit. We are vulnerable as human beings--some of us more than others. At all moments our lives are also are in the hands of a Sovereign God who loves us dearly. We may find ourselves, at moments, feeling a bit helpless and have a realization that what is about to happen is going to hurt--and still be unable to change it. Out faith is Jesus Christ though gives you and me the assurance that God is with us before we fall, while we fall and after we fall to help us pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and move forward. My prayer is that we can all feel secure and firmly grounded in the knowledge that we are SO loved by Jesus Christ.
Dwight McCormick II


Thursday, October 23, 2008

His First Date...

Samuel had his first date today. Granted, it was with his mother, but it was a celebratory event all the same.

He will be 2 months old Saturday. Two months...and how did I ever manage to live life fully without him?

Today, I took him (and him only) for his one and only follow-up appointment with his surgeon. As expected, the surgeon was ecstatic over Samuel's progress. He is weighing in at a hefty 10 lbs. 8 oz and has exceeded all expectations. He's been rolling over on his own for a good week, now! Instead of being behind the curve, he is well ahead of it and that is entirely due to God's great blessings and grace.

To celebrate his good health, I took my sweet boy to Trader Joe's to buy some fruit and lotion. They were out of the lotion I was hunting for (boo-hoo), but we did splurge on strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Samuel spent the entire shopping trip making adorable cooing sounds and locking eyes with anyone and everyone who peered into his car seat for a look-see at the most beautiful boy. Ever.

After the store, I wanted to eat at Chipotle where they make a mean vegetarian beans-and-rice-and-all-things-yum-o bowl. But, the line was entirely too long and time was short. That was okay. The whole recycled-building, crazy-good food atmosphere would have been lost on Sam anyway.

When we got home, we settled down for a nice nap on the bed while the girls watched a movie on the computer. I vaguely remember being able to nap in the middle of the day with our first baby. Sigh. Those were the days... It was nice to have some snuggle time with my little man.

All in all, it was a good first date. He was ever the gentleman, allowing me to pick and choose the activities and providing wonderful companionship. He dressed stylishly, yet comfortably. Oh, and he kept the drool and other bodily noises to a minimum. Always a plus! I'm looking forward to our next date...

Thank You, Lord, for Samuel and the miracle fo his life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Abundant Life and the Word of God

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJV)

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NKJV)

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 1 Peter 2:1-2 (NKJV)

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. James 1:25 (NKJV)

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)

There is a connection in the Scriptures between abiding in Christ and the word of God. To abide, we must continually lay aside sin and worldly pursuits and turn our attention to the word of God. Growing in our personal relationship with Jesus Christ depends on it!

The enemy would lead us to believe that abiding in Christ through the word of God is optional, that we can know the Lord in other ways.

But apart from God’s illuminating words, we will stumble along the path of life and never mature and attain to what the Lord has in store for us. True joy will elude us and sin will overtake us.

Are you tired and frustrated? Are you struggling with life-dominating sin? Have you become entagled and consumed by the things of the world? Do you feel overrun?

Then spend time with the Lord in the Bible; prayerfully read and think about His word. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart through it, and then apply the counsel of His word to your life.

You will notice a marked strength in your life. The Lord will restore joy to your life and a renewed sense of confidence. You will find strength to resist and overcome life-dominating sin. Your mind will be renewed to the things of God, and you will begin to discern the will of God through the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

In short, you will grow; you will have life, and have it more abundantly.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

It's hard to tell which pumpkins are cuter.
Oh, who am I kidding? My pumpkins are the cutest in the patch!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Melt-in-your-Mouth Cornbread

This is for Mrs. Pear...and because we are having chili and cornbread for dinner, and I have about 5 minutes to blog today! Enjoy!

Melt In Your Mouth Cornbread
2 C all-purpose, unbleached flour
2 C corn meal
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 C light brown sugar
2/3 C vegetable oil
2 C milk.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (2) 12-cup muffins tins or (1) 9X13 baking pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, brown sugar and vegetable oil together until smooth. Gradually whisk milk to egg-sugar-oil mixture. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients all at once and whisk just until combined (do not over mix). Pour into prepared muffins cups or pan. Bake: Muffins--12-15 minutes, Pan--30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hold Onto That Thought...

Tonight, we applied our tag team system before bed time. Charlie tackled bath time with the younger two while the older two helped me clean the upstairs bedrooms, hallway and bathroom.

First, let me just say that while we were eating our dessert at Culver's, we were working out the details of our tag team plan and when Ruthie heard me mention the word "chores," her eyes lit up. When she realized she was going to be assigned to the work crew, she leaned over and hugged me tight saying, "I love to clean Mommy! I'm a very good organizer!" True, daughter, very true. Please hold onto that thought as you grow up and I start giving you more things to do!

As we made our way around upstairs--picking up the toys and laundry, me--vacuuming, them--dusting with baby wipes (a great way to dust, by the way)--we ended in the bathroom. I gave Emma and Olivia (fresh from her shower) wipes to clean off the dresser and step stool and then asked Ruthie to get the toilet brush and scrub the bowl. Mistake.

Big, big mistake.

All three girls started arguing over who got to clean the toilet bowl!

Charlie was coming up the stairs and started laughing as he heard me say, "Believe me girls, you will all have ample opportunities to clean toilet bowls in your lives."

Again, hold onto those thoughts, daughters. I see many dirty toilets in your future and I hope you have the same enthusiasm for cleaning them as you did tonight!

Thank You, Lord, that my daughters are so willing to help and eager to please. Thank You that we have so much joy in our home right now. Thank You that we are all living and loving in Your perfect will. And, thank You that we have toilet bowl cleaning to laugh over...In Your Name, Amen.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Little Encouragement for the SAHM

I read Mrs. U fairly regularly and enjoy her posts so much. This quote on her blog was encouraging to me today:

The important thing about being home and having the responsibility of the family and the house, is not that others think it is okay, or that anyone approves, but that it is something that God gave us permission to do.

There are many days when the weight of what others think or the unsolicited opinion of another makes me wrestle with my position, my title, my choice. But, tonight as I tucked my girls into their beds, my heart was filled with gratitude to the Lord for allowing me the privilege of being home. Not only that, but I am grateful my husband desires for me to be here as well.

Motherhood is a calling, a privilege, a gift...Father, help me never forget what You have called me to do. Help me to love my husband and submit to his servant leadership. May I be a blessing to him always. Equip me to impart Your truth and wisdom to my children. May all who enter our home find comfort, peace, solace, grace, forgiveness, mercy, kindness, and, most importantly, LOVE. In Jesus' name, Amen.