Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things.

Inspiring, they make me feel more like me.
A two buck gem from Forever 21 that brings any outfit to life. 

My fall workout hoodie. Off the shoulder eighties style, loose, free and happy.
Black leather jacket. Slide it on and instantly you wanna be at a bar, sipping on a beer, oblivious of time. I can't wait to wear it with a girly dress. 

The little hero. 
The Unmanageables.
I've been home most this week with Ethan. It's been great to have so much down time together. We bought "Brave" and have watched it twice. What a sweet movie!
I bought my Christmas ornaments and maybe will start them today, it being rainy and overcast and a perfect day for endless tea and crafts.
My boys are growing, changing, all the time. Ethan is a born leader, logical, direct and smart as can be. Noah is goofy, intent on having his own say, and loves to be snuggled, tickled, and doted on. Noah reminds me a lot of myself: sensitive and stubborn. Ethan reminds me of my older sister: independent and strong. It's interesting how our birth order affects our personalities.
I am looking forward to the holidays, to family time, amazing food, and just being together with each other. The latter, above all else, is by far my most favorite thing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Surgery went really really well. He's got two killer incisions from the skin graphs to add to his previous three. They are right near his groin so he walks like my Grammie, all bent over to try and compensate for the tightness and pain . Then he has his "helmet" to protect his ear which he really hates to wear. He has to wear it for a week, long enough that by the end the front part will be covering his eyes, driving us all insane.

 He has been so brave through all three, never crying or freaking out, even though I know sometimes he wanted to. He always has been super friendly with the nurses and surprisingly resilient and self reliant, like this time as they were transferring him from the surgical gurney to his hospital bed after walking up in recovery. The nurses were preparing to lift him and instead he just crawled right over himself.
He wrote his doctor a letter so that the doctor "would not forget him".  It reads, "Thank you for being my ear docter. I am nervous but, I can't wait becaues after we might get a pet and I will get a huge bag of toys and a bubble gum ice cream cone."
On the front he drew an ear.
I think he's pretty much unforgettable.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Last One.

Ethan has the last of his three surgery's building his new ear on Monday.  What a trip this process has been. It's been one of those growing up things-
When I first saw my son after a grueling labor and realized he did not have a right ear, I didn't really care.
That sounds horrible.
What I mean is I didn't really care because I just thought it would be something unique about him, like my dad, and life would go on and be fine.
What I've had to come to terms with is the reality of living in this world with an obvious deformity right on your face and how that affects someone's life.  Even though I didn't want to face it, just wanted to deny it, shove it under a rug somewhere, act like it didn't exist, I had to face this ugly reality that my son's life will be affected by the fact he was born without an ear.
And the kindest thing to do, I decided, was to try and fix it as much as we could.
It's not perfect and it's not going to be perfect. Our surgeon can only do so much with stolen cartilage and skin from other parts of Ethan's body. It's not like a boob that's just a nice round balloon you fill up or even a nose that has just a small amount of definition. Ears are complex and extremely detailed. Even the best doctors don't do them very well. Our surgeon ONLY does ears, all day long, everyday, and even he said it's a challenge for him to get it to look more like an ear and less like a "bar of soap".
I had my doubts going into the first surgery. Was it really worth it? The risk of surgery, being in a hospital, getting an infection...all for something that may take the small amount of skin he was born with and make it something into something bigger that may look more like a bar of soap than an ear?
But it has been worth it. Even with the eye infection and the horrible first stay in Shriner's that first time-
Ethan's face is now much more symmetrical and though his ear is not perfect it's much less noticeable than the little bit of skin he was born with. It blends.
He doesn't want to go back this time. I now understand why they give them toys and presents all throughout their stay-it's the only positive thing he can latch onto to make him want to go back. His first surgery I kinda thought it was overkill, all these toys at every turn. Now I get it and so does Ethan: surgery sucks. But at least there will be new toys.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Proverbs 31- Love that LADY!

Hey so I am excited to write a little bit on being a woman, on what makes me tick, on how that lines up with also loving God and striving to live my life with Him. Like I mentioned yesterday I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a "godly" woman. Even the phrase kinda gives me the willies, makes me think of white gloves and tights.
And there's a big chunk of the problem right there. It seems to only be natural to have certain ideas associated with certain phrases. Stereotypes and cliches. Yuck.  I think a large part of growing up and also maturing spiritually is letting go of those automatic responses to certain ideas and instead replacing them with an openness to God Himself; a back and forth listening and pouring out our very selves before Him as we engage in our daily lives and decisions.
I've been wanting to write on Proverbs 31 for awhile.  I really love this little chapter in the Bible. It feels like a quick "one, two" (that's punches) to a prevailing train of  thought that runs like wild chickens throughout a lot of Christians today. Let me show you what I mean. Have you ever read, been told, or believed without asking God first that:
1. God really really really wants you to stay at home with your children.
2. You can work but only if you absolutely HAVE to for financial reasons.
3. Children are your first priority and if you work, you are putting them as second, or worse.
4. God will like you better if you homeschool.
5. You love your children more if you homeschool.
6. Your children will turn out and love Jesus if you homeschool.
7. God really really really wants you to homeschool.
8. Have as many children as you can. If you have anything less than three you are selfish.
9. God does not want you to spend a lot of time or money on your outward appearance. It's vain.
10.The less money you have and can live off of the more you love God.
Sound familiar?
The first time I went to Proverbs 31 after struggling with a lot of guilt in terms of wondering if I should and could work as a christian mom I anticipated being reprimanded by the scripture. Put back in my place- straight up told I should be at home baking bread, crocheting booties, and picking out homeschool curriculum.
Which, I should add here, is perfectly wonderful and good. There are many women who are called in their own hearts, by God, and also by the specifics demands of their families to stay at home doing the above said duties (and many more) to love and care for their families' present and future needs.
However, when I went to Proverbs 31, instead of the big paddle whipping I was expecting, I found confirmation and an amazingly abundant amount of freedom in doing exactly what I was doing: working my ass off everyday for the present and future good of my family, my marriage, and the society I live in.
Read Proverbs 31:10-31 and what you see is a woman who is working really hard, doing what she's good at, for the good of her family and society.  I'm going to take this verse by verse so we get the full picture of who this woman was and what she was doing.
vs. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
Talk about a helpmate. With her by his side, this man lacks NOTHING of value. He wants nothing. She meets his needs, whatever they were. He believes in her and knows that she can accomplish whatever it is their family needs.
vs.12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 
Simple question: am I doing my husband good, or am I tearing him down?
vs. 13-15 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
This lady is MOTIVATED! She works with "eager" hands. She's responsible for providing food for her family as well as portions (payment of some sort) for her servant girls.
Servant girls.
Yes, let's say it again- SERVANT GIRLS.
This lady had help, and lots of it, and she was responsible for taking care of her help.
vs. 16-20 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She's smart in business and makes good financial decisions which grow her family's financial assets. She's able to multitask and take on different endeavors at one time.
vs. 20-22 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
This lady had money girls. Hard earned,  BIG money.  Most women back then dressed in simple white clothing and it was only the very wealthiest that could afford dyes of any sort.  She's not worried about "when it snows" because she has made sure that her family's needs will be met even when hard times come (she's got savings). And she has extra money to help the poor and needy in her society. This lady has her finances in order and  is able to make money, save money, spend money, and give money.
vs. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She married a respected man!
vs. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
There she goes again, working and making money!
vs 25-26 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
This is one of my favorite parts because it shows her attitude in doing all that she is doing: this lady is joyful and not afraid of the feature in any regard. She's someone who if I lived back then I'd wanna go to to listen to all my crap and confusion and you know what she would probably say? Chill out. God loves you. Rest in Him.
vs. 27-29 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed;her husband also and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass the all."
 I think this sums up a large part of what it means to be a woman who is seeking God and seeking to be the best mom and wife she can be-has she made choices so that her families needs, emotionally and physically, are met and in return they bless her and praise her.  She's taking care of her family eagerly and with joy and they love her for it.
vs. 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
She's got more than just her looks. She's got an impenetrable respect for God and what He has called her specifically to. She fears what the Lord thinks of her,  not what others may impose or imply. Her fear, respect, and will to follow go to one source: God and God alone. There is so much strength and freedom there.
vs. 31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Love this too. She gets to enjoy the fruits of her labor and the accolades it brings her. She gets to soak it all in.
So I don't know about you, but when I read this passage none of the ten  sentiments above are confirmed in MY life. Some or all may be in yours and that's good. The key is that we as woman are working with our husbands  and seeking God to guide us in the specific decisions we make for our lives and our families lives. The key is HIM. An open, back and forth relationship with God in which we can hear His voice and know that we are walking with Him. It will look soooooo different for each and every one of us! We are so unique- there is not one woman who is put together the exact same way as another and the way in which we take care of our families and live our lives will be unique too.
I've stayed at home full-time, I've worked part time, and I've worked full time outside of the home. There is not a perfect way. Each has their challenges, their struggles, and their benefits. Like I said in my last post, there is no normal, no "right" way,  only a Love that is able to redeem every aspect of our lives as we offer our hearts up to Him.  He gives us the strength to get up every morning and fulfill our responsibilities with joy, whatever they may be.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Redemption: the New Normal.

I miss Joey terribly.  It's late and I haven't seen him since Sunday and at two o'clock this afternoon with the world buzzing around me it was fine but now, with only the buzz of the fridge, I really really miss him.
I know I shouldn't feel entitled to having a normal life, because there is no such thing, but sometimes during the day when I'm running around, here and there, and the thought occurs to me that soon I'll be off, I'd like to be able to think that soon I'll be relaxing with my husband. But no. I don't get that thought.
Although his profession has given us a very comfortable lifestyle and a certain security (as much as one can have) for our future, this aspect of it makes me sad tonight, and on other night's, when I have more energy, makes me angry.
Also been thinking a lot of Proverbs 31, the "go to" chapter it seems for women when we wanna know how we should live.
I love this woman. She's strong, smart, and confident. She laughs at the future. She's brave. She's joyful.  Her husband trusts her, her children love her.  She works her ass off. She makes wise financial decisions and grows her family's assets. She reminds me to dig down, deep deep down, and do everything I can to be the best woman I can be, to become the full potential of what God was thinking when He formed  me in my mother's womb.
Of all the different directions I am pulled and all the struggles that exist in each one, the most securing, comforting, thought is that no matter what, I am His, and He is mine. There is so much freedom there to be who we were created to be, to take risks, to explore, to not get stuck in boxes and cliches as to what things are "supposed" to look like; as to what 'normal' is.
There is no normal, only a Love that never stops, that reaches into every situation, every schedule, every mistake, every regret, every doubt, and offers redemption.