30 September 2008

The Fleece is Wet, the Fleece is Dry

I've always been kind of annoyed with the story of Gideon in the Bible. God told him to go into battle, and guarantees him to achieve victory.

But Gideon's faith is weak
And he asks God for a sign.
God gives the sign abundantly.
But Gideon refuses to believe.
Gideon asks for another sign
Again God answers

Place my name, Angie, in each of Gideon's spots above and that's how my week has gone.

Signs have always seemed superstitious to me, and sometimes even ridiculous. I'm thinking along the lines of, "God, if I open to a Bible passage about a man, that means I should marry that cute guy I like at church." I'm pretty sure most Bible pages refer to a man and Jesus was fully man as well as fully God so if there was no human involved, surely the passage could be stretched if any allusion to Jesus was there.

When people talk about these kinds of revelations from God, they could possibly be legitimate, but there is so much room for interpretation or excuses, that asking for a sign from God always seemed to me like using your own mother as a reference on a job application. Of course, they have your back.

But one morning this week, I flippantly asked God for a sign of reassurance about something weighing really heavy on me lately. The sign was not something I had control over but what I asked for happened - and as in Gideon's case, it happened abundantly, obviously, with no doubt. Rather than thanking God and going about my day in peace, I panicked. I didn't take it as a sign that I need not fear, but rather took it as a sign that my worse fears were coming true.

My situation would have been like Gideon taking the fact that the fleece was wet to mean there's a flood coming, don't fight the battle - even though his initial prayer was for affirmation through a wet fleece and dry ground.

Because my fears were getting the best of me, I again prayed somewhat flippantly for the reverse sign to happen. It did. Just like Gideon's second request when his fleece was dry and the ground wet, my situation had completely reversed. So all should have been good. My fears should have been eliminated, I should have trusted that God was in control as these two signs indicated.

But again, I feared. I complained to my husband who could only roll his eyes and tell me how crazy I am. But yet I still question. Were those signs? Was it just coincidence? Is God playing with my emotions only to allow disappointment again?

I think maybe I'll let these raging questions settle while I go finish re-reading the rest of Gideon's story.

22 September 2008

Wienie Roast Memories

Do country people people still have wienie roasts?
Last night, we sat around our little metal firepit on our back patio. We got out our Target roasting sticks and Asher reminded us that we were like Snoopy roasting marshmallows. I love sitting around a fire poking at the burning logs, watching the flames dance, and looking out for escaping sparks.

Back in the falls spent at Indian Creek, my family had wienie roasts complete with straw bales, burning leaves, and hayrack rides almost every weekend. Because they were so commonplace, I chuckled at my dad's coworkers and city friends from church who got so excited about the whole production. I hesitate to even use this term now, because I'm not sure its used anymore, but I miss those wienie roasts.

I miss knowing the exact spot in the local graveyard where my brother would jump out to spook all those city folk on the hayrack ride. I wonder whatever happened to the dozens of roasting sticks my dad designed and carefully labeled with our last name so they could be used year after year.

And since my parents aren't able to read this blog from their home in Ethiopia, I will even admit that I kind of maybe might be able to see how in the future I could possibly miss raking leaves for days and days and days (and days and days) every fall. Since I am no longer working, I may even get desperate enough to miss the penny my dad would pay us for each hedgeapple that we threw down our back hill and out of the way of the riding lawnmower.

Now that I am one of those cityfolk, and no longer spend weekend afternoons in the fall carrying caramel apple dip and s'more ingredients down the hill for the evening's gathering, I am thankful for the firepit that we were given this summer.

Thank you to Grandmother and Grandad for the memories that firepit brought up last night.

17 September 2008

My Refrigerator is Full

Now that Asher is involved with several "schools," our refrigerator represents well that a child lives here. Getting Asher to answer the question of what he did while I was at Bible Study or Mom 2 Mom is a challenge. I'm usually given a teenage type answer of "Mommy don't ask you questions," or "Mommy not say, 'what you do?'" But every once in a while he provides me with some interesting details.

Yesterday after Bible Study and after we established the fact that Mommy was going to be asking questions and he needed to answer if he wanted to listen to his Bee Music CD, I learned "you grab that guitar." Today after Mom 2 Mom I learned, "teacher say, you get down from box." When I ask about whether he heard a story, sang songs, or even had a snack, I hear an emphatic "no!"

When we eventually get home from our morning activities, and are eating lunch, I often find out a few more details about the day. I love all of you teachers who take the time to provide parents with information describing what you talked about during the day, because those guides help me to at least know what questions to ask.

Yesterday during lunch, we sang the song "God is so Good" and repeated his memory verse from Bible Study. Today we talked about creation and how "God created the trees and the Earth." He gets so proud of himself after he says his verse and continues to repeat it as long as he gets any kind of reaction.

13 September 2008

The Bishop is Missing

"Mommy, help you find bishop!"
"Knight wants eat cookie."
"Go to Farmer's market, play chess!"

Tonight, I'm coming out of the closet about yet another obsession of Asher's which is not exactly typical for a two year old. In recent days, I have heard Asher say each of the above phrases.

We are all kind of relieved that he no longer begs to open the cleaning supply cabinet every day and doesn't (usually) ask to sleep with his "cleaning supplies" anymore, but Asher's latest love is almost as worrisome for such a little boy.

Walter and I are impressed that he does know the name of all of the chess pieces, can set the board with each piece in its starting position, and has a basic idea of how each piece can move. We just get a little worried when these pieces take the place of stuffed animals in his bed or when he tries to walk around imitating how a bishop would walk.

I will also go further in this confessional to provide parents with a tip: you can find videos of almost anything on Youtube - including clips of chess games. Asher doesn't watch a lot of tv or videos, but he does regularly "watch chess." But not the ones that fall down, and not the ones with eyes - those chess video clips are just a little bit too scary for us.

All you parents of children with normal interests, we invite you to bring your kids over and expose Asher to some typical two year old boy games. Obviously, we are not making cars, trucks, and trains as interesting as they should be!

09 September 2008

First Day of My Stay at Home Life

Today was Tuesday and I was at home.

I didn't go to visit my interns, just played with my one mentee named Asher.
I didn't edit any papers, just got out the coloring book.
I didn't attend any meetings, but made sure Asher kept his afternoon nap appointment.

I keep thinking its Wednesday. Why else would I be home during the day since I was also home yesterday? I keep thinking about making sure I have everything ready for being gone all day tomorrow, but I will still be here.

Maybe I should have spent the day preparing an elaborate dinner and actually unpacking the suitcase from our weekend getaway. But Walter is studying tonight and Asher and I had ice cream for dinner.

This was the first day of my new life.

01 September 2008

Reaching the Clouds

"You Get Big, You Reach Clouds," stated Asher earlier this weekend.
(These days when Asher says "you" he is referring to himself.)

Since reading The Happy Hedgehog, a book about a hedgehog who spends his days watching the clouds, Asher has had a fascination with clouds. Throughout the summer, he has talked about how he wants to touch the clouds. Although I'm referring to it in the metaphoric sense and he wants to physically touch them, I assure him that someday he will in fact reach the clouds.

So when we were driving home late at night this weekend, Asher declared the leading statement to this blog that someday when he got bigger, he would reach the clouds. Never wanting to miss an opportunity, I again agreed that someday he would reach the clouds, but he could probably touch them faster if he stopped using a pacifier - something we've discussed for many months. He didn't object, but the moment passed and he was soon snoozing in his carseat.

On Saturday morning, Walter and I were still in bed while Asher was jabbering in his bedroom. I could hear him saying mostly nonesense words and then distinctly heard, "You throw it way."

Hmmm...what was he going to be tossing in the garbage, I wondered? So I called out and asked him what he was throwing away?

Confidently, he responded, "pas-fier" Then we heard clunk-kachunk of the diaper pail going back and forth. He not only threw it away, but had put it in the place of no return! There was no going back now!

Throughout the morning, we worried about the remorse Asher would have when naptime came around, but there was no mention of the pacifier and he fell asleep like he had been sleeping without a pacifier for his entire life.

The truth is he had slept with one at every sleep-time since he was 48 hours old. Deciding whether or not he would struggle with nipple confusion if we introduced a pacifier was the first major decision Walter and I made for our son while we were still in the hospital. The decision seemed so huge at the time.
Two and a half years later, we are so proud of our Asher who took a first step towards reaching the clouds! What a big boy he is becoming!