Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Four jobs I've had:
1) Barista, in college
2) Buildings and Ground Secretary at GSCC
3) Mommy
4) "Business Manager" for our business, Armworks Hand Therapy

Four movies I've watched more than once:
1) Moulon Rouge
2) Journey of Natty Gann
3) Annie
4) Aladdin

Four places I've lived:
1) Boring, OR
2) Tacoma, WA
3) Wilsonville, OR
4) Salem, OR

Four TV shows I watch:
1) Last Comic Standing
2) The New Adventures of Old Christine
3) The Office
4) American Idol (I'm a bit embarrassed to admit...)

Four places I've been:
1) Sweden
2) Oaxaca, Mexico
3) Whistler, BC
4) Victoria, BC

Four people who email me regularly (doesn’t include blogging comments):
1) Ryan
2) Sister
3) my Bible study girls
4) Our medical billing office

Four of my favorite foods:
1) Vanilla ice cream with lots of Hershey's
2) Granola cereal
3) Grilled Salmon
4) Red Lobster rolls

Four places I would like to visit:
1) Galapagos Islands
2) Buenos Aires, Argentina
3) New York
4) Banff, Canada

Four things I'm looking forward to in the coming year:
1) June 8th, the beginning of my second trimester
2) Summer Travels: Diamond Lake, Cultus Lake, Tri-Cities
3) October-ish. Chemo's done
4) Birth of Glover #4!!

Four friends I'm tagging:
1) Brenda
2) Ginger
3) Tiffany
4) Ellie

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Gaining a Global Perspective

It would be an understatement to say I have been impressed by how my friend Kristi has fostered in her children a global perspective. Right now her two oldest girls (they are 10 and 8 right now, I believe) are raising chickens and using the money they get from selling eggs to support missionaries in India. And they are growing organic vegetables and using the money they get from the sales of those to support missionaries in Asia. Just think of that... these girls are WORKING THEIR TAILS OFF and with the money they are raking in they are NOT dreaming of the next super-dee-duper thing they want to buy. They are enthusiastic about giving it away.

Our entire family is so extremely far away from that perspective. And I don't see it getting any better on its own. As an example, Jackson just recently made the connection between the little coins he gets and purchasing Hot Wheels (and it was my doing...I took him to the store and showed him how the whole free market works). He is now obsessed with earning enough (a whole dollar!) to buy the next one. And I know the drill. As soon as that one is purchased, the thrill of it is gone and he wants another one. Why? Because material things will never satisfy, of course.

I have always felt a bit discouraged at the thought of getting to the place where Kristi has gotten because I cannot imagine how I could get my kids to think that way. No, wait a second. Yes, I CAN imagine a way. I just don't know if it will work.

As a method of encouragement for other moms in my shoes, I am going to chronicle my journey towards giving my children a love-burden for the lost world. As with so many things, this is not a sprint but a marathon. You can't do anything in a rocket-ship fashion and expect the propulsion to last. So I am starting by collecting ideas of ways kids can help. I am on the hunt for hands-on, experiential, show the kids a bigger perspective opportunities. I want them to fall in love with the idea of helping. It seems like this is at least a two-pronged first step:
  • first expose them to needs through conversation, books, maybe an Internet video or two.
  • second, get them to see that these people are helped by other people doing something.
I don't want them to be forced or manipulated into giving up their cold, hard-earned cash. That seems like it will cause resentment and in the long run will not accomplish a love for the world...maybe at best it would accomplish a guilt in their heart. God gives us the opportunity to experience guilt, and that is OK, but my suspicion is that it is PASSION and LOVE that will be a stronger motivator.

So, off I go. Like I said, I will update you on how the marathon is going, and hopefully provide enough information and encouragement for you to take similar steps for your kids, if and when you tackle this "giant."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Can I See the Baby?"

That was the question I got last night from my four-year old. I lifted up my shirt just enough to reveal my still-flat(ish) tummy. "No! I want to SEE the baby! When is he coming out?!?" It's gonna be a while, sweetie. About seven months.

Then he and big brother notice the funny texture of the skin in this area. Yes, my "family of stretch marks." "Why is it like that?" they ask. That's just what often happens when God grows a baby, and then another baby, and then another baby in a mommy's tummy.

Today, my six-and-a-half-year-old asked to see my baby again. That surprised me because he knows the baby is not visible and that it will be a long time yet. "Okay," I said as I humbly lifted my shirt again. He gently touched the sagging, pathetic skin and said, "I like that God gave you skin like this here." I just smiled.

Yeah, I have got to admit that even though I occasionally dream about a tummy tuck, I am glad that the Lord marked my body with visible reminders of the sacrifice it takes to be a mom. Our bodies are the first great sacrifice we make - but only the first of many sacrifices. As a mom you give and give and give of yourself - your time, your emotions, your heart, and your body. And in return, we receive an even bigger blessing - the joy of watching our children grow and, I pray, become what God intends them to become.

So wear those marks with pride and joy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Politics for the Six-Year-Old

Davis overheard me listening to the the Pennsylvania primaries on the Georgene Rice show yesterday and asked me if the guy I wanted to win had the most votes or not. "No, he doesn't," I replied. I then launched into a politics and government lesson about how the primary and general election works. I drew several "R's" on one side and several "D's" on the other. "We are over here on the "R" side. The guy I wanted to win, Mike Huckabee, he did not get enough votes, neither did this guy, Mitt Romney, or this other guy." I erased an "R" for each of these names, leaving only one R left. "So the only guy left on the R side is John McCain so his name goes down here in the General Election Box. And then here on the other side are the Democrats. There are two Democrats left, Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton. They are both trying to get their name in the General Election Box and we will know that in a few more weeks. But when it comes my turn to vote in the general election, I am not going to vote for any of these guys," I said, pointing to all three, "because all of these guys think its OK for a mommy to take a baby out of their tummy before it is ready to come out and then let it die and I don't think that's OK at all."

He has heard me talk about abortion one other time, so the concept was not totally foreign but his eyes got saucer-sized and he said, "Well we've got to DO SOMETHING about this!" I joined in his enthusiasm, "YES! We do!" I started to explain how we could raise money for places that help mommies that find themselves pregnant even though they are not ready to be pregnant. He interrupted my idea with one of his own: "No wait!! We can take a bunch of money and go to those guys that make the laws and tell them that we will give them all this money if they take away that bad law. And then, maybe they would be foolish enough and take the money and God could use their foolishness for His goodness!"

God will certainly, upon a day, use their foolishness for His goodness. Alleluia!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Is "Achoo" A Word?

...because if it is, then my nearly 17-month-old child has finally said his first word. Prior to this monumental occassion, we had no "ma-ma" or "da-da" or even "no." Not a single syllable. (Okay, ONE syllable: "OOOOOO," as in "Oh, look what I did!") What a turkey. His comprehension is remarkable: "Put the toy in the toy box." Immediately the toy is thrown in. "Are you hungry?" a big head nod as he walks to his highchair. "I'm gonna gitcha!" And off he runs with gleeful giggles.
But now, ever since his older brothers were fake sneezing and he was laughing hysterically over and over again after each dramatic achoo, he says, "ah-ah-ah-ah.... TUUU!" Oh, and you should hear the enthusiasm and the high pitch in his voice. And the head-tilt-back-wind-up and the head-thrown-forward motions. And the dimple-encased smile - oh it would melt your heart right out of your chest.

Incidentally, "Achoo" is on the official Wikipedia's list of onomatopoeia's. Their definition clearly considers onomatopoeia's to be words. So in case you are wondering if I am officially considering this a first word (rather than an additional sound), yes. I am. It's going in his baby book tonight.

And for comparison's sake, recorded in both big brothers' baby books is a long list of words (about twenty!) they BOTH had by 18 months - and even 2 and 3-word phrases. So he has some serious catching up to do in the next several weeks. Many people have consoled me that "Einstein never spoke until he was four years old."

Perhaps we have a genius in the making.

And Speaking of my baby...

Weston is approaching the magical age of 18 months. He has been throwing little "mini-tantrums" for a handful of months already, but those were "fake ones" if you ask me. They gave me the opportunity to teach and train a little (like, for example, he knows what No means and how he is to respond to that command, he is learning that when he flops on the floor and cries when he does not get his way that it tends to clear out the room of specators and that he needs to come find me in another room so he can do it again. etc, etc.)

But like I said, those were practice tantrums. The real ones are just now upon us. Therefore, it is time for a refresher on child training. For all my kids I have relied upon the wisdom of Elizabeth at "Raising Godly Tomatoes," a website by a mom of "ten kids so far." Yah think she knows what she is talking about? Yeah, probably.

If you are having any trouble training your little one, I highly recommend a dose of her wisdom. I can't say I agree with everything she says, but much of what she says is peppered with incredible helpfulness.

Here is a quote that caught my eye today: "Enjoy your wee ones, but don’t delay discipline and training forever. It's perilous to wait until your child has reached the hefty age of two or three years old, as many of the so-called childrearing experts of today are now recommending."

Hefty age of TWO or THREE? What a counter-cultural idea!

She has great advice for training when you start early and when you start late, she addresses whining, sibling squabbles, and feelings. Her explanation of Tomato Staking is really good, especially if you have a particularly difficult child. She even has help for potty training.

One of these days I will get my "Obey Mommy The First Time" method up on this site. Perhaps another day, when I am not stuggling through first trimester morning sickness.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Parenting Nugget

So, I will continue my ravings on the wisdom of Diane Moore, her recent talk at Mom to Mom and her book "Parenting the Heart of Your Child" with this little installment:

She talks about how to form health bonds with your kids. The image she showed us was a triangle cut into three shelves, much like you would see in a healthy food pyramid. Each of the three shelves has its own word:

"Bond" is at the top, smallest part of the triangle, and "boundaries" is at the wide bottom shelf. Her suggestion is that in order to create strong bonds with your kids, you must start at the bottom of the triangle and create boundaries. Lots and lots of healthy, firm, loving boundaries. This establishes a sense of security and safety, and also teaches the child how to create their own healthy, safe boundaries.

The next step toward healthy, strong bonds is to give the child responsiblities. This, I think, communicates to your child that you trust them with that responsiblity. Bonds then come quite naturally in an atmosphere of loving boundaries and trusting relationships. I have a perfect example of how this worked in our house just this week:

I have been feeling a bit under the weather lately and really needed some help from my oldest child (6.5yo) when it came to dinnertime. I have many times had my two oldest boys set the table for dinner but always have to walk them through every single step. What is more, my oldest is often times overly concerned that his younger brother is not doing as much as he is required to do, and "why do IIIIIIII-EEEE have to do it?" etc., etc.

One afternoon, when it was just the two of us for a few moments, I told him I had a new thing I needed him to do. "What do I HAVE-TA do?" was his slightly annoyed response. "Oh no, sweetie, you don't Have-ta, you Get-ta!" His countance changed immediately and he was interested, "What do I get-ta do?" "Well this thing is, like, a seven-year-old sort of thing. Do you think you can do it?" With puffed-out-manly-chestedness he said yes. I explained that his seven-year-old job was to set the table all by himself, without my help to tell him "next the the the napkins... Do you think you could do this?" The next night I had him draw what he thought would go on the table and we talked about that for a bit. The following night I set him to the task, telling him that he was on his own and if he needed help reaching anything (and he would) he could just ask me and I would gladly get down for him.

It might seem like a little thing, but handing over the full responsiblity must have communicated trust because he could not be more pleased with this task that he had previously complained nightly about. I was astonished, quite frankly, but I immediately recognized Diane's triangle. And when I was able to praise him for a job well done (never mind the few missing items - that was beside the point), he was all cuddles and sweetness.

Thanks again, Diane, for another nugget of parenting GOLD!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Truth is... I Don't Deserve YOU

So, we solved our picky eater challenges with one simple method: Dinner each night is to be eaten without complaint with no more than two bites of each thing remaining. If this challenge is met, then on Friday Said Pickey Eater gets to choose whatever he wants for the family to eat. It has worked like a charm and the torture that was family dinner has now returned to its former pleasantness.

But yesterday, after a full day of playing in THE REAL SUN, where the temperature touched 78 degrees (holy smokes!), my pickey eater was not hungry in the slightest for dinner (you know how a full day of activity in the sun can squelch the appetite!). He picked at his chicken, never did touch his green beans, and even complained about the taste of his roll with honey butter slathered on it. He finally gave up, pushed his plate aside and said he just couldn't eat any more. Since instituting "The Challenge," he has never done this. Never.

I immediately wondered how "failing to meet his challenge" on the very first day of the new week would impact the rest of the week's meals. I was not looking forward to finding out, and envisioned 5 torturous nights of fighting him on meals because the motivation to try was long gone. The next morning, however, I got my answer. He came up to me with humble eyes and said, "Mom, am I not going to be able to make my challenge this week since I did not eat my dinner last night?" I had a flash of divinely inspired brilliance and answered very softly, "You didn't eat you dinner last night but, sweetie, I am going to give you grace and we will just forget that last night happened. It will be a fresh start, ok Little D?" His countenance lit up and he said, "Thanks for the grace, Mom!" And added as he walked away, "...even though I don't deserve it!"

Friday, April 11, 2008

Summery Fun

My children are growing into true Oregonians (they have no other choice, as they are born and raised here...). And as true Oregonians, the moment the mercury burst past 60 degrees fahrenheit, they begged me to turn on the sprinkler that points at the trampoline. We take what we can get. As you may notice, the swimsuits are so far buried beneath raingear and winter hats that I encouraged them to just strip down to their briefs. Good wedding slide show pics someday.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Great Speaker

I got to hear Diane Moore today, the author of the book Parenting the Heart of Your Child. The morning was full - absolutely FULL - of wonderful nuggets upon which to chew. So that I don't forget what I heard, I am going to put a couple of my favorite nuggets here!

Whenever possible, when dealing with obstinant behavior, put yourself in the role of judge and jury. Do not put yourself in the place of lawyer (therefore giving - quite by accident - your child the same role). Its the difference between leaving the room or not.

An example...

"But I don't wanna clean my room!!!"

"I asked you to clean your room and I expect you to obey."

A judge and jury walks out at this moment (insert the wham! of a gavel here), reinforcing the fact that this case is closed. A lawyer stands in the room, arms crossed, inviting the other lawyer in the room to present his closing arguments.

When I leave, my child then has two choices: continue the defiance, or comply. And when I come back in the room and it is not clean, my next move is plain and simple to the both of us. He will not be surprised when I come back in and say, "I asked you to clean your room and you did not. You disobeyed mommy and now I will give you a spanking." (And, for the record, after the spanking the calm and collected question is, "are you ready to obey now?")

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Davis' definition of Worry

Last week was my turn to teach our family Sunday School lesson. The lesson was all about right thinking. And the lesson was very timely for me. I was to teach to the class (at about a 4-5th grade level) what right thinking is (how God desires us to think, and what he desires us to focus and think on) and what wrong thinking is (when left to our own selves, the poisenening places our mind will go). As I was preparing, the Lord brought several "put on and put off" verses to my mind.

Like for instance, we are to put off worry and anxiety and we are to put on a spirit of prayer and thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God). When I asked the class what worry was, my enthusiastic 6-and-a-half-year old popped his hand up and said, "It's when you think that you aren't in God's hand anymore."

Are you really only six, my boy?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

New Skin

I exchanged emails with one of my wonderful sister-in-laws and she was briefly sharing with me the adjustment that she is undergoing with the addition of her second little baby girl. Oh, how I remember how challenging it was to care for just one baby and myself. Then, when the second came along, i remember thinking, "Why did I ever think just ONE was tough?" That really is how life is for me: in each new phase of life, the Lord is preparing me for something bigger, more challenging, but also more rewarding. In light of her email, partnered with some recent news we got around our house, I got philosophical really fast. It was good medicine for my soul to put things in some new terms. I don't think she will mind if I share with you the words I wrote to her, as they could be an encouragement to others. At the very least, I need to read them a few more times, myself.

"Parenting and marriage, and LIFE really is a process of shedding the skin of our youth and replacing it with new skin that is more mature, less self-focused. And with each new phase of life, I feel like I shed another layer of skin and beneath it is revealed something more Christ-like. That newer skin is less selfish, more compassionate, patient, and persevering. I think of the kind of parent I was nearly 7 years ago, and the kind of wife I was ten years ago, and am so thankful for the work the Lord has done in my life.

"I honestly never like the shedding process, and I always think that the skin I have now is just fine, but on the other side of the process, when the painful shedding process is over and done with and I see what new thing Christ has done in me, the skin I newly find myself in is a closer reflection of how Christ wants me to look.

"In each phase, I have the choice to “lean into the wind” and embrace the challenge, in order to become the Mom and wife I am called to be, or I can wail against it and be blown away, leaving me embittered, resistant, and no wiser. I have to be honest that I often times spend too much time fighting against the change, wishing that I could somehow escape from the current parenting or life situation. But deep inside, I know that is not going to be the best for me or my family. So I lean in and embrace."

I continued in my email to my Sister-In-Law, "I know you are encountering situations that are exponentially harder than you have encountered in the past, but I encourage you to lean into it, embrace where the Lord has placed you right now and allow him to do a work in your heart and in your family. I really think that is why we are allowed to be parents: to grow us up. And we have all sat on the floor and cried right alongside a wailing infant and a tantrum-ing toddler. It is a miserable place to be. But God (I love those two words) will give you the wisdom for each situation if you ask for it. That has gotten me through so many endless days. I pray you will find the same measure of grace and help!"

Of course today I am looking with some trepidation at the new skin the Lord might be revealing as we face a new challenge in life. I am thankful for the opportunities He allows into our lives to show us that He is Faithful. I cling to the promise that the Lord will carry on to completion the work that He began in us.