Saturday, May 30, 2009

To Everything There is a Season

It's the start of another hay season up here on my in-laws' farm, a summer full of the scent of freshly cut hay, yards of twine, praying for and against rain, and way too much dust. I'm the odd-ball up here. I'm a country girl myself, but I have never driven a stick in my life, am not a fan of John Deere green, and have no interest in commandeering a huge diesel-guzzling machine. But, Wyatt loves tractors as much as my husband and his parents do, and I'm sure the twins are next. Wyatt's love of tractors is so wholehearted that if I hear the tractor coming closer and it's close to nap time, I'll hurriedly turn on the window AC to drown out the noise. Otherwise, Wyatt will hear it and then nobody gets a nap.

For another, I'm allergic to grass. Yes, grass. I'm so allergic, I sometimes have attacks and instant sinus infections just when Doug mows the lawn. In my book, hay is merely glorified grass with some genetic tweaking, but to my husband's family, hay is greenish gold.

Hay has been a constant in my life since '97 when Doug and I started dating. I knew I was allergic when I met him, so it's not like I walked unaware into my future. Now, the aroma of hay fields takes me back to a much younger version of us.

I remember him picking me up at college in the flatbed hay farm truck, which was so loud that all the college city kids would turn and stare. I would have to jump up just to climb into the seat. Though several hay seasons, I fell in love with his large hands roughened by grabbing the twine to hurriedly gather the bales so he could come see me for a date. I fell in love with his strength from hours of manual labor, with his ability to fix just about anything, with the time he would want to share with me even though I knew he was exhausted from a day spent in the sweltering Louisiana sun.

Although our lives have surely changed since those days and the farm has become more mechanized, each summer is still a reminder of how many seasons we've already spent together and of the things that made me love him from the start. And all too soon, Wyatt will meet some pretty little girl who will sweep him off his feet. Maybe she, too, will love him for the country boy he is and for the man she knows he can be.

Friday, May 29, 2009

More Kittens

Wyatt and I were playing outside on the swing set yesterday when we heard a truck stop at the end of the small country road next to our house. A minute or so later, a kitten started to scream. Yep--someone else threw out an animal by our house. We just went through this a month ago with a black lab puppy. It's like these people think it's ok to dump a living, breathing creation on my doorstep. I have zero tolerance for people who throw out animals--find them a new home, kill them yourself, but don't leave them to starve to death or get run over while searching for food.

Wyatt knows the sound of a crying baby, and he immediately scrunched up his face to cry like I was hurting a baby somehow: "Mommy? Mommy?" So, I trudged gracelessly in my garden shoes across the freshly plowed, dusty field towards the woods between us and the road--I looked, I called, I got a deep briar scratch on my leg, but no cat. Of course, when I went back to the house, it started crying again. "Where the kitten, mommy? Kitten sad." Ten minutes later, it stopped crying and we left it at that.

Tonight, our entire family went out to dinner at a cheap little Mexican restaurant where Emerson's fussiness (literally, every second there wasn't food in his mouth) couldn't be heard over the 80s music blaring overhead. Amelia was a happy camper. Wyatt ate his weight in chips, cheese, and salsa as well as an entire bowl of tomatoes after he'd packed them on Henry truck and driven them across the table. It was a relatively good time with the kids.

When we returned home to the bath time routine, I heard the kitten again, only this time, it was from under my house. Jonah heard it, too. Imagine my surprise when TWO kittens squeaked their way to my food dish and let me pet their shivering forms. I let Wyatt come sit in my lap after his bath, and he was enthralled. "I hold out my hand," he says, but the kittens shy away. Then, he saw Jonah hiss at the boy kitten: "Go away Jonah!" he yelled. "Jonah eat them." No, Jonah is a big sissy and will be playing with them before long.

I have a love-hate relationship with kittens. I love kittens that belong to someone else. I hate kittens that ruin my plants and poo on my back steps. Now I have to find homes for these two. Good luck to me.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Building Castles

My brother's wife, Aunt Liza, graduated from LSU law school today; it actually went better than I expected with the twins and Wyatt, although at one point, I held a sleeping Amelia against my chest and a pitiful "I need mommy" Wyatt on my knees. This pitiful mood is new, but when it struck, he couldn't play with Uncle Johnathan any longer, and even M&M's wouldn't cut it--it was mommy's lap or a continued bawling fit.

The two plus hours of my mom, dad, and I playing lap-swap with the babies was made tolerable by a precious lady behind us who would shake her bracelet when Amelia started to fuss, and another couple who would hold Emerson's outstretched hand. Even afterwards at a long, leisurely luncheon, the three of them were easily placated with food. Yep--their ability to behave in a social setting for 5 hours was a God thing because after they got home, they were their normal fussy, I-need-a-nap selves again.

I'm so proud of Liza (she had 100+ hours of pro bono work!! Talk about someone who gives back!), but the entire day was just bittersweet and surreal, especially sitting in the same building where Doug graduated just a few years ago & standing outside watching Johnathan and Liza take photos together where Doug and I also had posed. Aren't they just a beautiful couple? I see the same unity in their stance, the same look in their eyes as I see in those old photos of me and Doug. This picture speaks of the hardship they have overcome together, of the joy and relief that they've survived a trial together, of the shared visions of what can now be. They have the look of freedom, of youth, of dreams that are only as high as they can imagine.

I came home and had a good cry.....can't even write this without more tears as I remember Doug and me rejoicing at those same dreams before us, building castles in the sky and sleeping beneath them in wild expectation that something great was mere moments more. I just still can't accept that over means "over." I don't think I'll ever accept it because I know what God has done throughout history in other hopeless situations. I will pray with my dying breath that God overturns everything that has happened so Doug can be reinstated as a lawyer again to follow that dream.

Until then, I ask you, God, will you please build those castles for us? Give us a new, even greater dream? Another unified purpose where visions of what's to come permeate our thoughts, day and night? Something...anything to make the death of this particular dream not so painful.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Who am I?

Each time he approaches, I wonder which child is he this time? Is it the cuddly little angel who sits quietly in my lap as I read him yet another story? The one who puckers up for a kiss as he quietly says "I love you" and skips happily off to bed? The boy who just this week has started bringing me his baby blanket, crawling up & nestling in the crook of my arm like an infant as he requests, "Rock me like a baby. Sing"?

Or is this the boy who says "no" to everything and stamps his foot? The boy who laughs when I tell him to do anything? The boy who screams "my's!" and "I need it!" as he snatches another toy away from his sibling?

While his disparate actions may be confusing to me, Wyatt is just one annoyingly normal toddler trying to work out who he is, what his boundaries are, and how he fits into this big world.

Like Wyatt, the twins are also constantly shifting their personality of the moment. One day, Amelia is the one refusing to nap and can't do anything without mommy's arm around her. The next, Emerson is bawling through nap time and starts with the fussy "muhmuhmuh" as soon as I stand up. Such incredibly different creations to be twins. Yesterday, we even physically moved Emerson's crib into Wyatt's room because their sleep patterns are more alike than Amelia and Emerson's are.

And as I watch each of my three children move from one emotion or personality to another, trying on and discarding identities and attitudes in an effort to develop their own person, I am reminded of how complex we are and how amazing is our God who made us.

God could have created humans to be identical in form, thought, and personality. As much as I sometimes wish I could predict who my children will become next, I'm thankful God is so big that His imagination is limitless, His creation more magnificent than anything I could imagine or complete myself.

If I ever am guilty of believing I understand God perfectly, all I have to do is look at the miracle of my three children to realize I will never be able to wrap my mind around the enormous complexity of who God is.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Just Walking

I am a tightrope walker,
not the sort of activity
I had in mind
when I signed up
for motherhood.

No experience. Never enough education.
Two degrees later,
and still like a freshman in class
with the toughest teacher
everyone else avoids.

A walk sounds easy enough, so
I climb the ladder each morning
as soon as he wakes.
Exhausted, I climb down each night.
repeatedly in the hours between.

Why can’t he write on his castle?
wipe his peanut-buttery hands on the carpet?
drink from the flower pot or kitchen sponge?
lap up his supper like a dog?
bounce on my bed?

I must train up a child in the Lord.
Too harsh. Too lenient.
Obedience & respect. Creativity & individuality.
It’s so hard to keep a balance.

What if I never master this walk?
break his will?
push him away?
make him love me less?
instead of teach him to bend,
to conform,
to simply obey?

My sure steps turn into hesitant missteps as
he pushes and I pull.
We walk confidently until
I try to steer his defiant heart
As he wounds mine:
“I want daddy!”

I’ll climb the ladder again

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blessings & Curses

I "believe" the Word of God, but when I see it lived out, I'm still in jaw-dropping awe of the Scriptures that come to life as I merely sit and watch. Perhaps it's the difference between believing by faith and believing by sight that leaves me speechless. Perhaps it's remnants of unbelief that I'm forced to face when I see God's words jump off the page. Or perhaps it's a little of both.

Over the past 3 years, the only thing I've ever asked God to do to those who have done evil to us is bring them to repentance in Him. Why? I honestly believe the only way the truth will ever be known on this earth is if they sell out to Jesus. Through it all, in the back of my mind, God's promise to Abraham has continued to resound like a church bell: "And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed" (Genesis 12:3). I know this verse applies to Israel, but as one who is grafted in to the Vine, I've seen evidence of it applying to me, too.

We're living the blessing. In all the trials, in all the losses, in all the sadness, God has still blessed so enormously beyond anything we deserve--our jobs, our children, our marriage, our family. I've seen twice a company's workload miraculously increase when Doug started working there, then go back to "normal" when he left. God has always provided, even in our darkest moments.

And now, we're seeing the other part of that verse, the curse, and it's frightening. When Doug and I read the article, we just sat there in stunned silence. In the last year, Doug's former employer, who refused to stand by him, has lost his career, his wife, his family, his mom, and his dad, each in a different way.

I can't tell you how much these events terrify me beyond anything I've ever felt before. I am far from perfect, myself, and God could just as easily pass immediate judgment on me for my sin. It gives new meaning to the phrase "repent before it's too late." Have mercy on them, Lord. Have mercy on me and my family as well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Even a Wren

A couple weeks ago, a jenny wren decided she wanted to build her nest in an aloe vera pot that sits on a waist-high table in a corner of my back breezeway--not the brightest bird in the book. The twins, Wyatt, and I spend the majority of our mornings out there, so surely, she saw and heard us. Surely, she saw the large, orange cat who lay daily stretched out on the concrete as he guarded Wyatt and the twins. But still, she continued building, determined that this was the place.

I never saw her slip in and out, building her nest out of pine straw and dead leaves, so she must have worked afternoons and evenings. It was a masterpiece of nest building, each snippet woven together perfectly to create a cozy bed of hope for her future babies.

One night, there were two eggs. The next morning, there were five. Exciting. But still no sign of the wren. Then, two days later after we returned from the store, I saw the overturned pot and a couple small feathers on the ground. I knew she had instinctively returned to hatch her young only to find Jonah needing to fulfil another instinct.

When I uprighted the pot, three of the five eggs were still in the nest, but she didn't return. Days later, when I pulled the nest out to show Wyatt, I noticed the three remaining eggs were cracked and empty. I wondered if the mama wren had returned only to realize that there was nothing left for her there.

The whole story saddened me, especially the thought of that mother bird's hopes being destroyed. Sure, she's just a bird, but I've been there and have watched my hopes for motherhood end twice in miscarriage and many other times in just another failed attempt. I can't tell you how many times I, like her, made my nest, wove it carefully & lovingly together with tears, prayers, lots of rest, prenatal vitamins, and everything else I was supposed to do...only to end up just like this wren: childless.

Since then, God has blessed me with three beautiful children, and I thank Him daily for them. But especially around Vacation Bible School time, the thoughts of who I lost still tug at my heartstrings. Then, God has to remind me again of his Word: "Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God" (Luke 12:6).

God doesn't forget a baby wren that ceased to be. God does not forget any of my children. God does not forget me. I need to know it's ok for me to remember them even when everyone else around me forgets. I also need to be reminded that I'm not forgotten.

I saw the mama wren again this evening as the sun was setting. She lit in the crepe myrtle for a second, seemed to look longingly my way, maybe thinking of her lost nest or maybe contemplating a second nest there. Then, she flew off to do what birds do, perhaps to build another nest, hopefully in a better location.

I, as well, can't get too wrapped up in what is lost. I must go forward, trusting the Master's hand to guide my flight, to help me raise my young to be like Him...until He takes me home.

Monday, May 18, 2009


You haven't heard from me much this past week because I've spent all my energy dealing with a defiant toddler. He's been doing so well--three weeks of success using the potty....and then like a sudden summer thunderstorm, it all hit last Monday and decided to just sit on top of our house all week. The twins just sit there staring at his outbursts like he's lost his mind.

I keep telling myself, "It's a phase. He'll grow out of it," but in the mean time, I have been trying to figure out the trick to making him obey since what was working no longer is. I'm back counting to 3 (I thought we'd outgrown that), putting him in his room (because, honestly, this mom doesn't want to see that ugly, grumpy face), and repeating (again) the lecture about actions having consequences. Sigh.

His rebelliousness reached a peak on Saturday. Apparently, when I piled all three kids in the van to return home, I looked like I'd had it and was ready to buy a cage just for him because my parents had waiting for me Sunday a beautiful blooming cactus whose spines curl under at the end. Yes, I accept pity cacti.

Today, he was no angel, but counting to 3 is working again, he only had one accident in his underware, and he only got stuck in his room once. But, in the midst of this all was some sweetness, so I thought I'd pass along an image of brotherly love. He does love his babies, and if they're crying, he tells me to go take care of them. If only all moments could be this sweet, I wouldn't feel like a semi had run over me tonight.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Under Construction

Please forgive the construction going on here lately. I spent last week learning PhotoShop so I could create a background that reflected the mission of this site: to share the love of God with others. What you see is just a draft, but I'm working on it as the children allow.

I'm looking for someone who can help me "work around" Blogger's frames and dimensions so that the text part in the center of the screen can be wider and so my title image isn't in that dopey box up top. If you can help, please contact me!!

About the Background: No premade background has said "Yes!!" to me. Then, on a random search for something else, I found a digital scrapbooking kit at When I saw the images, I knew I'd found what I was looking for. Isaiah 1:18 immediately sprang to mind: "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." Without Jesus, I was scarlet, hence the red background peeking through. But, with his redeeming blood covering those sins, I am now white as snow like the blossoms here. Why blossoms? Well, since I am grafted into Him, the vine, I seek to bear fruit; the blossoms represent the potential fruit to come.

About the Title: When I started thinking of a name, I thought of my life before I sold out to Jesus. It's very humbling to think I am just a rib and that God considers my best works to be "dirty rags." There is nothing in me that makes me special, nothing in me that can measure up to God's standards. I am a sinner. However, "In Christ," I am something special. With the Holy Spirit dwelling within me, I am more than just a rib.

I hope this insight into the "why" behind this blog makes it more than just something "neat."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Why Do I Blog

Jennifer at "Getting Down With Jesus" is doing a "Why We Blog" series which compiles the stories of Christian women bloggers. If only my students could speak in such endearing terms about writing! So, in the spirit of the series, I decided I want to tell you why I blog: I have too much time on my hands. I'm KIDDING! Wow--if you believe that, I'll gladly accept you as a babysitter one afternoon next week. After a few hours, most people leave my house running--if the doors are locked, a window escape seems to do nicely. But seriously:
  1. I blog to be obedient to God. After the twins were born, I felt very trapped by the needs of two infants and a toddler. I needed an outlet to reach people, but that seemed impossible considering the sheer chaos just for a trip to Wal-mart! More than that, I grew concerned about how I could fulfill the Great Commission to "Go...tell" people about Jesus, especially since I might leave the house one day a week and since showing up for door-to-door witnessing with 3 fussy little ones in tow might not be the best way to achieve success. I told my Pastor my fears of not pleasing Jesus, and he suggested witnessing in chat rooms. I prayed about it. Nope--didn't feel right. But that night, God showed me I needed to write a once-a-week devotional blog for Christian and non-Christians alike. And thus, "Quail and Manna" was born.
  2. I blog because I want others to know God is the victor over hardships. No matter the hardship, God will not only see you through it, but will also help you be victorious IN (and at the END of) the trial! God will never leave you. My husband and I suffered through years of infertility and two miscarriages. We were married six years before the birth of our first son. A couple years later, we're now also the parents to twins. God is good. Another trial God sent our way was when my husband permanently lost his legal career because of another woman's lie. We're still suffering through this, but we choose to live victoriously to show others that life in Christ is worth everything.
  3. I blog to live out loud for Jesus. In today's society, Christians are being hush-hushed at every turn for not being politically correct. I make no apology for my faith & I want to encourage others to do the same. I want Jesus to be the first thing that comes to someone's mind when they see me and my writing.
  4. I blog for the silence of reflection that comes with blogging, a silence just for me and God to go back over my day and analyze it to see what He is trying to teach me so that I can learn, move forward, and do better tomorrow. This reflection time is when He's teaching me how to see each and every thing that happens in my day as a chance to learn more about Him, and that's something I try to impart through my writing.
  5. I blog to leave a legacy of faith for my children. When I'm no longer around, I want my children to know that they were loved, that their mother tried her hardest to raise them to love Jesus, and that Jesus was the first love of her life. Perhaps they will read my path, learn from it, and not make so many of the mistakes I have.
I think that's it. I was kind of apprehensive to start with and had no idea when I'd find the time to write and research, but the more I write, the more I can tell God is pleased with my work here, the more He blesses me through the process, and the easier the writing come. God speaks through my sacrifice. And I'm the one who is blessed.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It All Comes Back to Jesus

One thing I hope you can gain from reading this blog is the knowledge that everything (and I mean everything) in our lives can direct us back to God and Jesus. Although I fail miserably several times a day, I try to view my life as though I'm wearing glasses tinted by His holy scriptures so that I can then see more clearly what God is trying to teach me. And the more I study the Bible, the more God causes specific snippets of verses to spring to my mind throughout the day as I try to deal with life, to survive another day.

Please know that I seriously do NOT have it all together, no matter what it sounds like. I have some sort of meltdown at least once a week. Like most "real" women, I break down and cry, yell, sulk, grumble, and feel depressed. You just get windows into my day. If you got the whole video tape, you'd have no problem believing me.

Case in point: yesterday, our second baby swing "died". That's a huge problem because Amelia is a problem-napper, and I've only managed to get her to nap more than 15 minutes at a time by using the swing. No swing means she needs to learn to nap in her crib because I'm not buying another one for a 6 1/2 month old.

As expected, she disagreed with me and then proceeded to cry for 1 1/2 hours of her 2 hour afternoon nap!!! The result? Cranky Baby #1 woke up Cranky Baby #2 from his nap half an hour early. Look at the angst in their faces, and all because they wouldn't/couldn't sleep. It wasn't funny then but it sure is now.

And as I was looking at the pictures, it occurred to me that since the twins have increased my workload ten-fold since their birth last October, I act just like them. I may not cry and crinkle up my face with tears, but I'm too often irritable, grouchy, not at all nice to my husband, and short-tempered when my children are disobedient. Yes, God used pictures to convict me of my own need for an attitude adjustment, of my need to express love and patience more with those I love.

While I don't always "get it" when life is happening, when God speaks in the silence of the evening, I am able to reflect, learn, and hopefully apply that knowledge to become a better Christian, mom, and wife. Only at day's end am I able to put everything in perspective, and with the chaos in my house, I need perspective if I want to keep it all together.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Black-a-Berry Picking

Wyatt has begged all day to go "black-a-berry" picking in Opa's hay field. So, after a blessed, cooling rain shower, all five of us loaded up in the silver Gator. Just so you know, Wyatt's version of this outing involves no picking and all eating on his part. In fact, since he doesn't like the vines scratching his legs, he's constantly saying, "Ow! That hurt. You carry me? Pick me up." Mommy ignores such requests. Daddy is a pushover.
We've picked berries on two different occasions this month--the only person who has eaten a berry is (you guessed it) Wyatt and oh has he inhaled them. This is the face of a guilty boy who has been caught purple-handed! The juice has coated his right hand and then dripped down to his elbow! He might have been cleaner if I would have just dipped him in a wine vat.

At one point, Wyatt was standing in waist-high hay grass mixed with new blackberry vines that were shooting up here and there, and he wouldn't move for fear of one of them scratching his legs. I was about 100 feet away and had picked two big handfulls of berries, so I begged him to bring the bucket. Nope. Wouldn't budge. He then stretched out his hand as far as he could toward me and said, "Ugh. I can't reach it." I tried again: "I have lots of berries. Don't you want them?" He tries another tactic, too: "You come carry me." I then tried telling him to walk around the little blackberry vines. This time, he responded, "You hold my hand?" I gave up, walked toward him, gave him the fruit, and walked with him towards the Gator.

And, it immediately struck me about the path God has asked me to walk over the last few years, a path laden with thorns, a path I haven't wanted to walk at times because I knew the wounds I would definitely receive. I've always wanted the blessings, the fruit, that God has to give me, but just like Wyatt, I want to stand in a safe place, reach out to God and say, "I can't reach it," hoping He'll just come to me where I am. However, my heavenly Father patiently insists that I walk the path He's set before me. Even so, He still cares for me just like Doug and I cared for Wyatt tonight. Sometimes my Father makes me walk the thorny path myself, but even then, He walks by my side. Other times, when I'm frozen, hurting, and too afraid to move one step forward, He carries me. I am thankful. I am never alone.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Drama Queen

Sometimes I wonder if anything can happen in my life without drama? I guess not, so I'm officially crowning myself Drama Queen of the year. Don't get me wrong--I hate drama and do most everything in my power to minimize it, but it just doesn't work out.

Do I have examples? Oh yeah...and these are just from today. I made hummingbird food, my mom mistakes it for water and dumps it out. I wash sheets and make Wyatt's bed, he goes in there and totally unmakes it (Why???). I wash clothes, Amelia spits up on them while I'm walking with her past the clothes basket!

And this wins best drama of the day: UPS Freight was a no-show two times last week. Today was their third appointment. Of course, today, Doug gets stuck in traffic. So, at 6 pm, the 18 wheeler is parked on the road in front of my house, blocking the entire lane; thunder is booming closer and storm winds are blowing; I can't get my father-in-law on the phone to come help the delivery guy wheel the washer down my driveway; and I have the three kids who it'll take 5 minutes for me to get loaded up (and that's a conservative estimate if Wyatt balks at the car seat or if it starts raining). D-R-A-M-A.

On a less dramatic note, I told you all last week about one of the Christian sister bloggers, Ginger, whom I'd met recently. Well, this week, the other sister, Rena of the blog "Insert Grace Here", is celebrating her one year blogaversary. She recently blessed me with a post about chasing rabbits and how sometimes we get sidetracked from the Lord's mission for our day. She's worth a visit...and she has some funny toddler stories, too.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"I'm a Christian"

Doug has been sick today--so, between worship services and lunch with my parents, the babies and Wyatt made sure I had no time to write, much less think. But, in the silence of the evening before midnight when the 18 wheelers start hauling gravel 24-5 again, I ran across a poem. I'm not sure how I have missed it, but it speaks my heart. Were it not for God's grace, there is no telling where I would be. I like to think I'd have turned out fine, but I know without Jesus, I'd have fallen apart long ago. I hope Maya Angelou's poem speaks to you, too:

By: Maya Angelou

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin."
I'm whispering "I was lost,"
Now I'm found and forgiven.

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need CHRIST to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
and need HIS strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
and need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
but, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain,
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
who received God's good grace, somehow.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Covet

My children are living proof that the Bible is true when it says we are born into sin. Coveting is a HUGE problem. For example, the other day, I went to bathe Emerson only to hear my hubby say moments later, "What are you doing? You put that back now!" Wyatt had decided he didn't want Amelia playing with him on the "new" Learning Table I'd gotten out of the attic for the twins. So, he picked it up and moved it across the room. 6 months olds can cove, too. Enjoy the movie:

Emerson has his own blue teething ring.

Emerson sees Amelia's pink teething ring.

Emerson attacks Amelia's pink ring, knocking it out of her hand.

Emerson and Amelia both reach for the fallen pink ring. (Emerson wins).

Amelia picks up the blue teething ring Emerson dropped.
Emerson attacks the blue ring. Amelia refuses to let go.
Both babies fall over, scrambling for the blue ring.
Mommy takes both rings away from the mud wrestlers and puts them in bed for a nap.

Friday, May 8, 2009

"Mama"ssage My Feet

For my birthday, my in-laws gave this three-time mama a gift certificate for her first professional hour-long massage. That was in January. A week ago, I made my appointment, but despite all my planning, my Friday was a regular circus act, and I thought I'd have to cancel. Yes, my circus is unique and I'm not at all sure if people would pay to watch this, but at least it's not boring:
  • Jumping 25 times through the baby gate to the nursery without waking up Emerson & Wyatt--Even bleary-eyed and under the effects of a sleeping pill (I stupidly thought I would get some sleep--duh!), I performed this feat ever so gracefully all Thursday night when Amelia's ear infection kept her from sleeping more than 15 minutes at a time.
  • Seeing with my X-Ray vision--I caught a cheating student and then had to schedule her a proctored re-take. Yes, I can tell one student's writing from another's--it's a gift and a curse.
  • Juggling--I juggled being on the phone with the doctor (again) because Amelia woke up with a pink penicillin rash; finalizing three courses' grades that were due by 5 pm; and troubleshooting for a student testing at the 11th hour when the online testing interface malfunctioned...all while "helping" my parents take care of the kids. And I didn't drop anything. Wow.
  • Using my ESP--I must admit that this act still needs work. UPS Freight had me stay home from 12- 5 Thursday waiting for them to deliver the washer. My hubby called at 4:30 only to discover it didn't make it on the truck (hmmm--they knew this yet didn't bother to tell us?). They then promise to deliver it today, but when it didn't come from 12-2, I blew them off to go have my massage, and guess what? They didn't come today either! So, I guess my ESP works 50% of the time.
After all my circus acts, I did get my massage. When I asked the masseuse if I were holding in a lot of stress, she said no. Know why? Prayer helps! I confess that I'm not good about sitting daily in my quiet prayer closet, but I am consistent about sending sentence prayers heavenward throughout the day (and night). After this week, to not be retaining much stress means prayer is obviously a stress reliever.

The most interesting thing was that the masseuse said I had the most tension in my feet. This is SUCH a God thing! One of the first things my hubby says he fell in love with was my feet. As such, after we married, he started a tradition of rubbing my feet most nights. Do you see? My heavenly Father knew that I would hold my tension in my feet, so He sent me a spouse who would want to lovingly rub those feet. Isn't that just the neatest?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sweatin' the Small Stuff

After two days of antibiotics, Amelia still awoke today with 103.4 fever. She’s getting worse, not better. So, by 8:00, I had already started the process to get her more medicine for the pain. Honestly, with the problems I’ve had this week getting medicine, you’d think my child had some rare disease only seen in wild monkeys in the Amazon instead of a run-of-the-mill ear infection!

My doctor called in medicine, but two phone calls to Wal-mart later, I learn that this particular medicine isn’t made anymore (???), so they had to call him back. No. They don’t call back. They informed me everything is via fax. I’ve worked in an office before, so I know how faxes get left waiting until some unsuspecting person needs to send a fax and finds a lot of incoming faxes in her way. In a way, faxes are like the “To Do” list on my kitchen counter—everybody makes sure to walk as far around that part of the counter as possible because if you catch a glimpse of what’s written down, you might feel guilty enough to do something on it.

So much for living in the fast communication age! I call my doctor back—nurse is out to lunch and won’t be back for another half hour. No, nobody else can help. 45 minutes later, I call back Wal-mart again, but this time, it’s ready! Smoke signals…pony express…morse code—any of these could have been faster! I immediately abandon my three kids at my parents’ house and drive the 7 minutes to Wal-mart where I wait (again) for them to run the new insurance cards. At 1:58, I exit the store.

Do you know what that means? I spent SIX hours just trying to get ear drops! How’s that for lack of progress today! I get home at 2:30, feed everybody, and put them all down for naps. I’m exhausted. And then it hits me. Why didn’t I ask God for help? When Amelia woke up, my first instinct was to call Doug and ask him to pray for her. God as Great Physician, no problem. But then I spent the next six hours being frustrated as I played phone tag, and not once did I ask God to help speed it along.

How is it that I can give God the BIG problems like infertility and Doug’s career being taken away more easily than I give Him the day-to-day minutia of my life? It makes no sense! I know in my heart that God cares about every aspect of my life. Now, I’ve just got to work harder getting that head knowledge to my heart.

I imagine God’s paternal relationship with me is much like my relationship with my 2-year-old; I can just picture God dropping his forehead into His hands as He says, “What did daddy tell you to do when you needed help? Now why didn’t you listen?” And as I drop my head in shame, He draws me close into His lap, kisses my tears, and tells me He loves me and that I’ll do better next time. Then, with a gentle pat on my back, He puts me down and tells me to “Go on” to face my next challenge.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It's a Small World

I have recently been reminded that although the world may be vast, it's also quite small. A couple weeks ago, two sister Christian bloggers found me, and they're from my area, so that's quite special. Both have been an inspiration for me (and a help as I'm trying to learn the ropes of blogging). Ginger of "Here's My Cup Lord" is celebrating her one year blogaversary. Click on her button at the bottom of this post to read her inspiring Bible commentary and try some of her yummy recipes! You'll be blessed...and a few pounds heavier if you try them all. I've also started a Blogroll (yes--I've learned a new word!) to the right of my page of other Christian sites I find inspiring.

The second thing I have been reminded of today is that my problems are small in comparison with others' problems. To prove this, my sister by marriage sent me a great laugh in the form of another mother's potty story entitled "Embarrassing Mommy Moment." It makes my experiences with Wyatt seem small in comparison. Wyatt's newest potty quirk is peeing on ant nests (an awful new habit I'm trying to break).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Godly Response in All I Do

It's been a really hard day where I've had to just "sigh" repeatedly, cry a little, and pray a lot. Why? Because God requires me to glorify Him in everything I do and say, and honestly, that's oh so H-A-R-D many times a day.

Amelia and Emerson had their 6 month appointments today. Emerson is now 19 lbs 7.5 oz and Amelia is 15 lbs 10 oz. We saw OUR pediatrician; he apologized for the other doctor's actions, noticed Amelia's new tooth (it fully popped through the gum this morning), said she's getting a second one, and also said she has an ear infection probably due to the swelling. And as if she understood him, she now has a full-fledged fever to go along with that diagnosis.

And the day just went downhill after that. I've had to guard my tongue when what the human part of me wanted to do was just yell at someone. An hour waiting in Wal-mart for Amelia's prescription saw me leaving with only one medication. I was irritated but was able to be kind to the woman working the register. (Poor hubby then spent an hour trying to pick up the other meds and still only got one because he paid cash for it--they were planning to "wait list" it for TWO DAYS while insurance determined whether it would cover it or not--Hello! Sick child!? Needs meds now!!)

Later, UPS Freight called to schedule delivery of my new, big washer (yippee!). But then, the woman said they wouldn't take it down my driveway because it was gravel. Huh? So now I need to pour a concrete driveway by Thursday, too? Otherwise, you'll leave it at the curb? Do you realize I live in the country, not a city or subdivision, and everybody out here has gravel driveways...and I paid for delivery to my house, not to my mailbox? What? No, I don't own a truck. I have 6 month old twins and a minivan! At this point, I was about to bite my tongue off, so I did the only thing I knew to do--I gave her Doug's cell number. My knight in shining armor rides again.

I thought that was it. Then, I start getting emails and phone calls letting me know that Tommy and Eric have been disbarred. What response do people expect from me--jubilation? A "Yay, Justice-Has-Been-Served Party"? Absolutely Not! It doesn't matter if they treated Doug wrongly. I'm not saying God isn't punishing them for hurting one of His children. But I'm not celebrating. Someone else's judgment isn't funny. It's a reminder that we need to repent while we have the chance. We all deserve God's judgment. I am intensely sad as I think about the impact this will have on their wives and children. I should know how devastating disbarment is to a family, and I wish that on no one, not even my worst enemy.

Day is done, right? Wrong. Almost 8:30 pm, and a process server comes by to serve Doug with papers from Mississippi. Now, he is going to have to fight for his law license in that state as well. I break down and cry at this point. What does God want from me? From us? What am I not giving Him that He wants from me? I know I'm in the center of where He wants me to be. I feel that intensely in my soul. I may have good days and bad days like most people, but I'm sold out to Jesus, and He makes me complete. So, what's up with this? Must we be like Job and have everything taken away? Oh Father, please have mercy.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

And on the 7th Day...

God rested. So, maybe that's what Wyatt is doing, too. We had six glorious days last week with only one potty accident. And then today has been a complete mess. I just knew it was going to be "one of those days" when I went to pick up Wyatt after morning worship only to find him marching around the playroom with no shoes and no shorts. He was too young to be mortified. His mother was not. Apparently, he had gone to the potty, but he hit his pants instead of the potty. And then he had an accident afterwards....and again while watching Veggie Tales this afternoon....and again at church tonight. Sigh.

I thought we'd made such progress (especially considering how proud of himself he is when he potties properly), but I guess we still have more work to do on that front. Yep, that deserves another sigh. We'll start over again tomorrow.

On a happy note, yesterday and today, Amelia has been up on all fours, rocking back and forth. It's just a matter of time before she learns to go forward instead of backwards. I'm pleased, but oh will that be an adjustment for Wyatt! Maybe if Emerson sees her moving, it'll encourage him to suck it up, stop fussing, and work on crawling, himself!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Good, The Bad, The Amusing

The Good: My children got to experience their first crawfish boil! Sure, two of them mercifully slept through most of it, but Wyatt thoroughly enjoyed himself. He petted the crawfish and then ate his weight in crawfish, shrimp, corn, and brownies. It was a great way to celebrate my sister-in-law's pending graduation (she has one more final!). 42 pounds of mud bugs gave their lives for a good cause.

The Bad: At the crawfish boil, I was sitting with my back turned to Wyatt, but I guess my mommy-radar never turns off. Even though I am not even listening to Wyatt's constant chatter, I still somehow manage to tune in enough when he speaks words I shouldn't hear, such as "That's a stinging worm." I turn, and sure enough, there was a huge, black, stinging caterpillar on his shorts. I jump up and scream, "Wyatt! Don't touch it!" I continue to yell this phrase, as if repetition and volume are the 2 components to keeping him safe. Granddaddy swooped in for a save, at which point Wyatt burst into tears. Turns out, he had already "petted" the stinging caterpillar. The swelling was down by tonight, so all is well.

The Amusing: My father-in-law has one of those super duper lawnmowers that can turn on a dime and goes faster than I can run. My husband loves it. I do not. He goes too fast (because he can), ultimately hitting things in his path. Last year alone, he killed a small bush, dented 2 of the posts on Wyatt's swing set, chopped a hole in my watering hose, and pureed a couple toys left in his path. And, since I am female and can't help myself sometimes, my husband has had several warnings about his actions on this expensive toy. Today, though, was the coup de gras. He hit and broke a water line where it comes out of the ground for the faucet I use to water plants. Yep--broke it. Water everywhere. Angry? Oh no. I think this is hysterical. So, instead of finishing the mowing, he had to turn off the water to the entire house, dig up the pipe, go to the store to get the pieces, and reassemble it. Lesson learned? I doubt it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Return to Eden

My dad enjoys reading Chuck Missler online at Koinonia House, and recently, Missler posted a news item that is SO incredible, I have to share. This article "Straw-Eating Lions and Vegetarian Cats" is about a cat named Dante and a lionness named Little Tyke, neither of whom eat meat. Apparently, cats aren't supposed to be able to live without meat in their diet; yet, this cat is thriving. The same is true for the lion. As the article states, these two creatures "are not freaks of nature; they are reminders of how nature was meant to be," a return to the way animals were in the Garden of Eden. I've grown up knowing about Isaiah 11:6-7: The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox." But to see this part of God's Word become reality in my lifetime is just awesome!