Aug 31, 2014

Sentimental Sin

And so I sneak in a second post for August, getting it in just under the wire! ;)


Summer is officially over in a couple of days...I guess I should say, summer break!  This has been the first year where we had an obvious beginning and end to it - being as last year was the first year for the girls being in school....I wonder if that's why it seemed to pass so quickly?!?







And in a couple of days my oldest little ladies will return to their sweet school.  We were already back the other night for an open house, where we met and mingled with families from last year and some of the new families joining the school this year.


I'm ready though....not so much ready for them to return as I am ready for the return of routine!  We plan to begin/work on sleep training the baby when the girls return to class.  She did a half hour in her bed this morning - not too shabby for her first time!  I hope to get a regular pattern out of her and have her in her room for all naps and bed time soon.


I never like the sleep training bit....it always feels like it will never happen and I hate hearing them cry if/when it comes to them having to cry it out.  But I know that she will learn, they all have, and in no time my baby girl will be sleeping on her own and these precious baby day snuggles will be a memory!


I'm getting sentimental in my old age!
 

Actually...when I think about it...I'm becoming less sentimental....well...when it comes to material things, it seems.  I find, that as of late, the idea of holding onto things, for the pure sake of memory, is... tiring!  I've never been a minimalist, in fact, both hubby and I have pack rat tendencies.  But it seems with each year and each move that the idea of stuff, is just...overwhelming!


Now, Dave and I haven't moved a whole lot ourselves, two apartments and three houses in our ten years - but I do change rooms around....frequently....and in doing so, that's when I most notice all the things we have accumulated.


Especially this last move of bedrooms.  Where we tore out our closet..(a tad premature on the idea of dividing our giant bedroom into two rooms) and putting our oldest girls in our third floor and thus eliminating basically all of our 'extra' storage spaces.  So the items that were housed in the now-gone closet and tucked away nicely in our third floor are piled...yes, piled, in our master bedroom.


I look at this pile...knowing that we still have items stashed else where in the house, and I become anxious.  Stressed even, at the fact that we have this...stuff!  Stuff, after moving here just over two years ago.  Stuff, after two...or three?!?..giant purges!  Stuff. Stuff. Stuff! And well, I just feel done with it.





So why do I keep many of these things?  Because culturally I feel I must!  Take for example...my wedding dress.  It's tucked away, in a protective bag, in a storage space in our third level....it sits there...in the dark....tucked away... and has been...for Ten. Years.  Why do I keep it?? Because our culture says I should.  It says that the memory of my wedding is locked in that garment and to not have that article of clothing stashed away, to virtually never see the light of day, is what validates our wedding day.


Let's just forget the few hundred photos....


I have carried this dress through each move and held onto it through each purge...and for what?  Will my daughter's want to wear it someday...highly unlikely....will I wear it to our 25th or 50th anniversary... HA!!!  So why do I keep it....


It's just an example of the many pieces of sentimental....stuff...that we... I, keep.  This stuff that weighs on me...even when I don't realize it!  Now...please, I'm not saying that sentimental things are wrong...and even if I was, who cares, it's just my opinion after-all!  But what I am coming to realize is...that many items I "treasure" are only treasured because the culture I'm in says they have value.


But do they really?

 
With the loss of my dad, just over two years ago now, the idea of sentimental items....has been a bit touchy....a bit too real for me.  Things that once held some meaning became the only connection to someone I love...and have loss....


But it has also given me a fresh perspective on this idea of holding memories in items.  And in doing so the value that is placed on such...things...until they almost become idols...of a sort.  I have, now in my possession, things that my dad used, things he made with his own hands and things that he kept for his own sentimental reasons.


I have fretted over the stained glass lamp that hangs in my home...knowing that a tossed ball or thoughtless move of furniture could case this lamp to break....shattering into a million pieces...taking with it....him?!  No...he's already gone....the lamp is a wonderful reminder of him, of his thoughtfulness and his creativity...but it's not him....


Right after his passing, I feared greatly about the above mentioned incidences...knowing that whoever broke it would suffer a terrible wrath...my inner turmoil would be unleashed and ohhh they would know....know the awful, awful thing that they would have done....


Wow....real Christ like eh??


Choosing a thing over people?  Loving a thing to the point that imagining the possibility of what might happen and already knowing the out come....even to the detriment of someone else???  Strange, the importance the inanimate can take!







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I have since pondered on these feelings of mine...pondered on how an item can hold such precedence over other matters...like time spent, memories made and feelings ministered to.  How items we carry around with us...become almost a shrine to the memories kept with them.  How the fear about losing stuff...will somehow cause one to lose that which is associated with it....


...that if I sold or gave away my wedding dress...that my marriage would crumble???


What if you have a bad memory...and you feel these things are all you have...well I sympathize...because that is me.  My memory is less then admirable...and I barely can remember what happened last week, let alone, months or years ago...and so I take pictures....hundreds...thousands, of pictures!  Is that better?? No...not really....not if it evokes the same heart response!


The fact that I would run back into a burning building to save my laptop - thus all the pictures stored on it....says something about the level of importance these images have to me.  Is it wrong to want to treasure the past....I think it is. 

Philippians 3:13-14 says, "Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

As well as Isaiah 43:18-19; " 'Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.' "


And there are many other scriptures that talk about sufficient is today, not looking back and keeping our eyes on the works God is doing in our lives now


So I see plainly, in God's word, that treasuring the past and thus idolizing the items associated with it is certainly a sin.  Especially when these items take over your home and your heart!  I am coming to realize that the items that I associate with my wedding, my childhood....or even my dad...are just that...items.   


 
 
 
I do not think it is wrong to treasure memories, loved ones or special occasions. I think it is lovely to look back on photos and see how my children have their grandparents, ears, eyes or smile!  And I do not think it is a sin to see where God has brought you through the years....good...or bad.


What is a sin, is the place of honour we give to these memories. 


I have come to terms...for the most part...that the lamp from my dad....will probably...eventually, break.  And though in that moment...a small piece of my heart will deeply ache....I know that it was just a thing...that locked away in me is the memories and who I am is the product of who my dad was and what he meant to me!  That my wedding dress will someday be purged (it's really only a matter of when...) and that regardless of it's leaving my possession, I will still love and cherish my husband! 


 
 
 
And so....I am seeing in my sentimental sin....that I place importance on things and the memories of times gone, where I should be looking to the work on the cross...the only thing to be treasured! Holding onto things will not grant immortality, will not secure my loved ones memories...not the memories I have...nor what they have of me...but that my faith in Jesus and His death and resurrection are what grant me life eternal.


So...friends...keep those trinkets, keep the baby shoes, keep the hundreds of photos that make you smile...but keep them in the place they belong.  As temporal, earthly and fleeting.





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Aug 19, 2014

Cold and Quiet August Days

Well...yes...I have been a little silent this month....a few reasons I suppose...



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One...I don't have much to say that I haven't already said.  Basically the days are flying by fast, school starts in two weeks, my baby is three months on Thursday and I just don't know where the time is going!


It's been cool here...much too cool for most people...but I have to admit...I've been enjoying it!! It's like a prelude to autumn but without the feeling that snow is around the corner...unless it is...then I'm not so happy!  Buuut, I doubt the white stuff is going to fly anytime soon... today was much more normal for this time of year!!  But these cool days had me making chili and thinking of baking...and regretting the fact that I planted no pumpkins this year!





 
Even though it has been cool, we have gotten to the beach!  Not as often and I would have liked but at least we made it there a few times and with a newborn in tow! On our last trip there, I finally remembered to bring along a watermelon with us. It is essential beach food you know! Plus the kids love it...not me so much...I'm just weird I guess!  But anyways...I had wanted to try cutting it a little different - the way I have seen on...the Internet...(read, Pinterest!).  I tried the cubed cut way and it was GREAT for the kids!! Easy to eat and less mess....well...as less mess as eating watermelon can get!







I love this little beach of 'ours'!  It's super close to home and so perfect for kids!!  I wanted to "waste" much of the summer there....but the weather just hasn't co-operated!






So we have been busy indoors.  Bringing me to another reason for my absence online.  We have been in the process of  moving bedrooms around, then painting them, plotting new reno ideas and drinking far to much coffee!  The older gals we now have squared away in our third floor space.  It's a half story, really, and for a short time it was our "parent oasis" but that has changed.  I had originally intended to show you pictures of the before and after...but I did not get pictures of either....so I will try to remember to get photos of this space as our big girls' bedroom.  It's super cute up there and a much bigger room then I thought it would be for the two of them!  Still some things to finish up, like trim and better flooring (it's painted plywood right now) but all in good time!




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And Alice, well she's got her own room and it's well on it's way to being finished!  So far it's adorable...I'm really soaking up this little girl thing...something I never did with my older gals! I stayed clear of pink for them...over all...so let's just say, Alice's room is making up for all the pink I didn't have before! *wink!*  And this littlest one, she's doing so well!  Still sleeping through the night, still happy and content!  She's stared to laugh now and it's adorable!! And her smiles still melt my heart....and her daddy's!  ;)  And, like I said...she'll be three months old in a couple of days!! Crazy!!




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Our Joe is a growing weed!!  He is just over two and the size of most three year olds...and even some four year olds!! I kid you not!! He's a big boy, a very sweet big boy...and a very much two year old, boy!  He has a great love for his sisters...mostly to annoy and pester the older two and then a sweet, gentle...bop you with a car, love for his little sis.  He refuses to use the toilet...refuses...so we are still in the land of diapers....did you know we have been in this land (of diapering) for seven years now...isn't that a crazy thought?!






In all honestly it hasn't all been great....there have been days of kids fighting, hubby and I 'talking', baby fussing, toddler tantruming and just the downs of life that will always accompany the ups! But that's how it goes - life is all those ups and downs...and cool quite days or hot and loud or any combination in between...well, that is what makes up this time here on earth....and it's how my days have been this past while.


And well...I guess the short of it all is that, it's just been life happening around me....nothing exciting but....captivating, troubling, surprising, annoying, amazing, mundane, wonderful...life!













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Jul 23, 2014

Two Months, Too Fast!

And just like that - our baby girl is two months old!




I'm not one to keep a good record of these things, to mark the month by month kind of growth and changes - getting three out of four (so far) baby books, mostly, completed is an amazing feat!! But I was thinking of my precious baby girl and how so much has already changed in these two short months.


Even over the last month alone...see the changes from last month to this month's, 'Wonderland' photos!?!





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She's growing so fast!!

*sob!*
*sniff*


Okay...composing myself now...so I wanted to record some of the changes and little things I have taken the time to or just happen to, notice these past few days...


Just tonight, as I was trying to settle her - working on having her learn to fall asleep on her own better and maybe in the bassinet (?!?!), out of habit, I ran my lower lip across her forehead....and noticed...that sweet, sweet baby peach fuzz is gone!  There's hair there, longer, not fuzzy anymore, hair.






Her feet.  Still adorable!  Still one of the most edible bits on her!  But no longer that buttery soft, delicate, newborness.  Not that that stops me from snarffling them in any way!



 
 

I am noticing the rapid change in her eye colour! I think we will have our first brown-eyed beauty!!  She may go hazel like my second oldest gal - but I'm thinking....(and maybe hoping!? *wink*) that this little one will take after her momma!






And ohhh, her adorable faces....yes, ALL of them!! She has so many looks about her!!  I can't get over it!! I smitten by her cheeks, her chin, her sweet dimples...all four of them!  I love her lashes and eyebrows and her scrumptious ears!  All the bits and all the expressions - how they capture my heart so!?!



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And over these fast flying months, there is one thing I look back on so fondly - it is those first few nights in the hospital!  I don't think I can articulate how special those nights were!  I will never forget her precious little body, heavy in slumber, slumped on chest, using my breast as a pillow (lol!) and the amazing sound of her breathing - precious new life, a miracle in the flesh! If I pause, I can still feel the weight of her little body laying on me.


 
 

*sigh*




It's amazing how the days have flown.  How our littlest, Little is just such a completing part of our family!  And on that note...Dave and I have had some serious conversations about our family....and whether we are 'done' or not....it's really a hard decision....


For us...but probably with anyone, really...there are many factors to consider....but for me...and us...it's the fact that each pregnancy, after as many sections as I have had, comes with greater risk.  Greater risk for miscarriage and greater risk for myself.


But how to decide we are 'done'....that our family is...complete....and how to go about it....


A few years ago...about four months before I became pregnant with Joseph, Dave and I came to a realization that we had too much control when it came to how we viewed our two children and the idea of any more.  We realized that we needed to repent of our poor heart attitudes and give back control to God over this area of our lives. (more on that in this post) 


So recently we have revisited these revelations.  When we repented, at that time, we gave over the size of our family and the timing of when/if we were to have any more children, to God.  And I cannot ignore how richly and amazingly He has blessed us since!! 


But, now...a little over two years later, two more kids and two more C-sections...we stand...wondering what to do...


We know the Lord is the one who opens and closes the womb....but also, He gives us the means, tools and wisdom in many areas of life....so is this one of those areas....a place where we can just leave it all up to God and He will make the choice for us....or is having children a result of the act of love?  Where-in God has granted us the means to make a choice in this matter. 


Now, we know God is all powerful and that nothing...(but you know...not having fun!) is 100% guarantee for a means of birth control - I know that no matter our choice, God can over-rule it - I mean, we were told that we might not have any children....just saying....  I also know that God sees our hearts, He knows us and I know that He won't give us more then we can handle...but I know that He has granted much wisdom to us all.  I have looked through His word and it is easy to see how it talks about the blessing that children are and oh, I agree - but how many are a blessing?  Two, eight....sixteen???  Or one...is one still a blessing?


Of course they are!!  The answer really lies in our heart.  How we view the gifts that God has given, whether it be one...or twenty-one!  It lies in our hearts in the reasoning's behind the choices we make to have or not have some, any or more.  And I think at the end of it all there really isn't an answer....not a blanket, universal, I got it, you got it...answer!  What I do know is that, I'm crazy blessed!! I'm crazy happy with my Littles and love them more then I could imagine a person could ever love something!!


And with all these thoughts and wonderings, I think it is why each moment with my sweet Alice is beyond precious.  Why I linger to look at her, study her, when other duties are calling.  It's why I can't take enough photos, pause long enough to watch her sleep, or kiss her enough times.  And yes, it's why I certainly cannot hold her enough!!!

It may be my last time to soak in these precious baby days, of my own babies....our own blessings.
Then again...it might not be!

And...maybe it comes with age...or maybe experience....but whatever the reason...whether Alice is our last baby or we have oodles more....I can't express just how fast and fleeting the time is!  How they are newborns and needy to growing kids on the way to independence in, what feels like, a matter of mere moments...the days just don't slow down!

So I have slowed, where I can, pausing, when I can and soaking in each moment...while I can, of these ever fleeting and oh, so special moments!


*sigh*


Now excuse me while I go snuggle my little ones....





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Jul 18, 2014

Seven in the Sun


My baby, the one who made me a momma - she's SEVEN now!!


 
 
It has come faster then I could ever imagine....and hard to believe in her life time again she will be a teenager!  But right now, she's still a big, little girl! 
 
 
And true to the joys of having a summer birthday, we packed our picnic basket and headed to the beach!  Well, not before a few phone calls, gift opening and a visit from one of her three grandmothers. (blessed little Littles, aren't they!?)
 


My hubby's parents and his two youngest brothers joined us at the water.  The day started a tad on the cool side but quickly it warmed up and there was plenty o' beach fun to be had!!!


 
 
 
We enjoyed swimming, sand and relaxing on the shore.  The clouds we heavy in the sky but there was ample sunshine as well....that is...until about supper time....when our view went from sweet summer skies...to head for cover!
 
 

 


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So with quick action we moved the 'party' to a nearby pavilion where we broke out our supper.  The rains came and poured out...but only for a mere ten minutes and then the sun was back...just in time for dessert!

Oh except I had forgotten it...the dessert...so I decided to improvise...and just grabbed a pail of sand to satisfy our sweet tooth.

"What??" you say!

tee hee!!

A few weeks ago I found this recipe for Sand Pudding and figured, what better time to try it out then at a beach birthday!



 
 
 
It was a hit - but wow, it looked so real!! It was a bit of a mind game to actually take that first bite!!
 
 
All in all, it was a gorgeously lovely, sunshiney, summery day!  I think our little seven year old was super happy!  She sat in silence, the whole way home, with a sweet little grin on her face! 
 
 

 
 
Happy Birthday Olivia!!!
You are a blessing and a treasure!!
We love you!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jul 7, 2014

Firebird - A Review

Well this is a long over-due post!  A couple of months ago...(I blame my tardiness on the newborn - she's cute enough to handle the blame! *wink*) I received a free copy of the children's board book; Firebird from B&H Publishing Group in exchange from my honest review of it.


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But in all honesty....it is my husband who has read this, much more then I!! So I asked him for his review and he was happy to give it!


Review from my Hubby - the official bedtime story reader:

"Great message but maybe a bit too old for a board book - I think it would be well suited to read to our girls in the story book format (ages 5-7).  But still a wonderful message that we all need to hear and be reminded of!  The illustrations are really nice!!"




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And after reading it through a few times myself I have to agree - I should have ordered/requested the picture book format - just because the story, I think, needs a bit more expanding then the board book format allowed!  But that being said, the message is still clear in this story and it is a great way to introduce the fact that God is always there for us - no matter what we are facing (the storms of life)!





The quality of this board book is great and I think it will stand up well to the....'love'...from my toddler!  My boy really likes it, it holds his attention and he enjoys pointing out Firebird on each page!



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Overall a great little book with a great big message!





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He still loved to bask in the sunshine.
But more importantly, knowing the sun was always there,
Firebird had learned to rejoice in the rain.




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