Monday, September 26, 2011

This Morning

It was very hard to get up this morning. I laid in bed an extra fifteen minutes after my alarm before forcing myself out of bed. I've had Sweet Girl's cold since Thursday and though it's better, I still don't feel great. After a my morning reading, I curled up and closed my eyes on the chair. I saw Coach get up, but I couldn't bring myself to get up again. Later when he walked through the living room again, I opened my eyes to talk to him. Then I hopped in the shower before he headed off to work. 

Sweet Girl slept in while I did some cleaning for the day, a little bit of Internet surfing, and debated about waking her up... twice. I walked in her room, pulled open the curtain... but when I went to lean down and rub her back, I just couldn't. There was no reason except that I don't want her up late. I just thought, "Well, maybe she needs this rest. I know she's a lot better from the cold, but maybe she just needs more." So I waited. However, I did leave her door open and turned on some classical music while I cleaned. It did rouse her eventually I think and at 10:30, my sleepyhead was awake. 

We dressed, prayed and nursed. I fixed scrambled eggs and she ate a whole egg's-worth. Then we shared the last muffin of a batch from last week - warm with a generous pat of butter. Just the way we like it. Inside, I felt a warm joy, spending my morning with my Sweet Girl.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Whatever is Pure

"... whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8b

We were eating our oatmeal together, Sweet Girl and me. There was newspaper crumpled on the table from a package recently opened. I thought I'd take a look at it. It was from Colorado and it's interesting to see what's going on somewhere else. So a picture caught my eye and I started reading. And when I finished, I was disgusted. I did not need to know about that. I wish I hadn't picked it up. That verse popped in my head and I realized what I should have been looking at and paying attention to all the while was right in front of me, and always is - my sweet, pure, innocent daughter... who is always teaching and reminding me of important things. Whether she knows it or not.


The plan was to leave Monday to visit my best friend who recently had her second child. But when Sweet Girl had a fever on Sunday, Plan B was to leave Tuesday. The fever was still there Monday night, so there was a dilemma of whether to leave Wednesday, or just leave next Monday since I had plans for the weekend. 

All day yesterday I fretted. Which was the better plan? Lord, make it clear to me, I prayed. Nothing, nothing until the evening; I felt we should just leave today. I let my friend know, I packed up the rest of our things and went to bed early. Sweet Girl hadn't had a fever all day. It was a great, normal day. We were set. 

But when she woke up over and over, 5, 10, 20 minutes apart. And felt very warm again, I knew we weren't going to go. And when she threw up all over me, there was no way I'd be able talk myself into it no matter how great she seemed to feel when she woke up. No, it just wasn't going to happen. 

I really don't like my plans getting changed and things not happening how I see them. I'm a planner by nature and when I have something in mind, it takes a while for me to reprogram my brain to accept a different plan. When we were living the baseball life, this was quite a problem until I just planned on not knowing. As long as I knew I wouldn't know I was okay... for the most part. Now that my life is much more predictable, I am back to liking it that way and not being as flexible. 

In my devotional book, Jesus Calling, it recently talked about not planning. I took it half seriously knowing that I had also read that for every minute you plan, you save ten minutes of the future. "Yes, planning is good." I thought. And that is true... to a degree. But when planning becomes my security, and I get frustrated when my plans get changed, then it is not good. Planning is important, but it must be flexible. And it must not become an idle. I must have faith in Christ that if my plans change, then that is okay. It may even be better than what I had planned. I need to remember to ask God to bless me when I make plans, and to guide me as I make decisions about the future. I am always being reminded of how I need to make God a part of every aspect of my life. Every part.


Sweet Girl and I went to the park yesterday. It was a beautiful day and I'd been meaning to take her for a while. Every time we would pass the church playground by the library, full of children laughing and playing, she's point longingly, and guilt would fill me for not taking her to the park each and every day. So finally we were going. Thoughts of her running across the green grass toward the stairs she would quickly climb filled my head. They must have been based on my little sister's first visit to a park in China when she was just a little older than my daughter. I was excited for Sweet Girl; she was going to have so much fun!

But instead of running, she held my hand and we slowly walked toward the playground. Instead of getting excited about the stairs, she climbed slowly after my prompting. She warmed up after a bit, but there was still no squeal as she ran to the next exciting thing. I was puzzled. Sometimes she is so outgoing and bold. Other times she acts just like I remember being as a little girl: timid and cautious. As I watched her and pondered all of this, it brought back memories of my childhood.

I've always wished I was more of the enthusiastic type. Someone who gets others pumped up, always more than ready for the next thing. Sadly, when I think of prominent memories from my childhood, they are filled with disappointment, usually after I had been excited about something. Like the time we visited a pig farm. I was so excited and I ran toward the pigs, just to slide in a big puddle of mud. It ruined the day. Another time in school, I was excited about a worksheet we were doing - some sort of word game - and I said, "Yippee!" or some other enthusiastic phrase. The teacher turned around and sharply asked, "Who said that?!" Of course, I did not tell her it was me. Maybe she thought I was being sarcastic, but at the time I did not think of that. I did not even know what it meant to be sarcastic at that innocent age.

Are these moments in my life the reason why I'm shy and cautious to get involved... afraid to say hi to an old acquaintance or a new face? Sometimes, I feel I am afraid of life. Unwilling to try new things, to break out of my routine and comfort zone. But there have been times in my life where I have done a number of new things in a remarkably small amount of time. When I started college, I met people left and right, and was excited about it. When I started my first job out of college, I was extremely personable, meeting people both within my job and socially. When we traveled around playing baseball, I continually put myself out there to meet all the girlfriends and other wives. In all these instances, I surprised myself. It wasn't like me. And now, I am back in my hometown, yet feeling like the "new girl at school." I don't have a solid circle of friends, but I am in a comfort zone enough that I don't need to seek out adventure. However, there is a craving. Yet I walk around the community in fear of coming in contact with someone who will actually talk to me. I freeze when I see someone I know and I don't know what to say. When I'm prepared, I'm okay. But if not, I'm like a turtle who retreats into my shell each time I see someone.

I know my problem is fear. Fear of rejection or embarrassment. Yet I need to find my confidence in Christ, not what a stranger thinks of me. I need to find my joy in Him, not being approved of by others. But how do I do that? I have started praying each morning that God would prepare me for whatever encounters I may have that day with others. And He has! When I am mindful of drawing my strength in Him, I can and He does strengthen me. But I'm weak and things get busy and I forget. And I get lazy and I don't want to put in the effort. It's a continual struggle. But over time, I pray I can keep Him ever closer and closer to my heart so I can boldly share Him with others by being warm and welcoming, enthusiastic and joyful, all without fear.

"But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.'" Matthew 14:27

Friday, September 16, 2011

Four years ago...

... I married the man of my dreams.

And I am so happy I did, and grateful to God for blessing me with such a perfect match to help me grow into the woman I am meant to be. It's not always easy, but it's always good. And it just gets better.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy September 1st!

September may be my favorite month. To me it is the beginning of fall, my favorite season. It includes many birthday days: my youngest brother, my youngest brother-in-law, two of my best friends (same day one year apart!), my mother, and as of 12:07 am today, the second son of my best friend (one of the mentioned above)! And let's not forget the ever important wedding anniversary on the 16th, which I share with an aunt. Whew!

If that's not enough, it's a big month in the Orthodox Church. Today is the beginning of the Church year. The 8th is the Nativity (Birthday) of Mary, the mother of God. The 14th is the Elevation of the Cross (close to my heart because it's near our wedding anniversary). Also, the 16th is Sweet Girl's Name's Day (which, traditionally, can be celebrated similar to a birthday) and the 26th is Coach's Name's Day. So, yes, it's a busy, celebration-type month. I'm excited!

I set various goals for September to help me be focused with my time and energy. They include things such as blogging, reading, things with Sweet Girl, homemaking, crafting, and spiritual. We'll see how I do! I tried to keep it to only a few things per category, but my mind is brimming with things I want to do, so it was hard. More about all those later! Hope your September is blessed!