28 March 2011

This spot

Mommy, I want to make a sign for this spot that is not normal.

I answered in my "not really paying attention mode" with Ok, that sounds great.

So Mom, how do you spell, "Dad ironed on this spot of the carpet?"

That question snapped me back to attention and we set to work.
Amelie, our budding artist who just this weekend scribbled on the walls of our favorite coffee shop, took a crayon and left her big blue mark on the middle of our family room floor several weeks ago.

Walter immediately set to work trying to figure out how to get crayon out of carpet. I suggested ironing and several internet sites did as well. So, he heated the iron and rubbed it, on top of a paper bag, over the crayon spot.

We removed the paper bag hoping to see the miraculous blue streak disappeared only to discover melted rough ugly spot in the middle of the floor! I'm thinking the rules for taking crayon out of Berber carpet differ from regular carpet.

And so the spot sits in the middle of the floor daily reminding us of that awful moment when we damaged our new home with a well-intentioned try to fix it.

Asher regularly points out and talks about the spot and now he has decided to simply leave a sign over it so everyone will know that Daddy made a spot on the floor.

Nothing like having a flaw pointed out.

Kids are good for that. Amelie often points out peeling skin on my lips as an "owie." Asher tells me that I really should go running more regularly. And he frantically reminds me to keep watching what I am cooking on the stove because he doesn't want the smoke alarm to go off (again?).

I'm thanking God today that He has forgiven and forgotten my flaws! He knows the mistake spots in my life. Those in the middle of the floor that everyone else knows about and the hidden ones that no one knows.

Even though He knows every time my mind judges, criticizes, or feels selfish, there are no signs hanging around my neck saying, "Angie judged that lady with 5 boxes of Fruity Pebbles and 3 packages of donut holes in her cart."

He knows those thoughts and has paid the price to forgive them.

And my spots are gone!

23 March 2011

Handling anger

The anger scale Asher developed last fall has thankfully gone by the wayside. Although his temper can rise quickly, he has either learned how to label his feelings differently or is better able to calm himself down when his blood starts to boil.

I don't take a lot of credit for that other than to point to my intense prayers asking for divine intervention!

Even though I can't claim to have used all of the techniques I listed, my most recent Hearts at Home column lists several ideas of ways to teach children how to manage their anger.

Just thought I would share the ideas here because truthfully, these calming methods work just as well for adults as they do for kids.

18 March 2011


Tomorrow Amelie turns two!
She is not a baby. Too big to be a toddler. A preschooler? Definitely not yet. I don't know what label to put on her, but I can tell you who my two year old is. She is
A cuddler who can quickly detect female arms willing to hold a little girl.
A "hide/seek" player who decides anything not easily spotted is playing hide and seek with her.
Attracted to all things pink and one who talks endlessly of her anticipated pink puppy cake.

Edging me off the chair at this very moment because she just needs to sit so close.
A risk taker who never hesitates to follow whatever Asher does.
An accesorizer who has more sense of when to wear a scarf, carry a bag, or wear pretty pink shoes than her mommy does. She even succeeds at getting daddy to wear a scarf whenever she suggests.
Two is a big year. She will do so many new things this year. I'm excited for Amelie to

go to school one day a week
become potty trained (can this magically happen somehow?)
become a big sister
let go of that pacifier
expand her vocabulary

These days I look at this girl I love thinking about how her world will soon be rocked upside down with the arrival of a new baby. It makes me sad to think my sweet one who just wants to be held will have to be more grown up and independent. She has been my clear answer to prayers and a constant reminder of Hope.

There might not be much room on my lap anymore, but my arms will always be ready for my precious two year old, Amelie.

16 March 2011

Pamper me

We are completely out of diapers in Amelie's size!

I don't know how the diaper supply ran so low without me noticing, and thankfully our Amazon subscribe & save shipment should arrive today, but until then I hope the much smaller sized diapers I've been accumulating for Baby will fit her - or there's always the swimmie diaper option.

This never would have happened my first time around as a mom, and if it had, I would have made an emergency trip to the store last night when I realized the problem we would face this morning.

The first time around, I knew everything about mothering! I spent hours scouring BabyCenter's web site for information on all the trendiest gear and searching for up to the minute lists of what foods are safe for a pregnant woman to eat. Walter regularly listened to my stomach, fascinated that he could hear a heartbeat through skin and, well more skin.

Honestly, I lived that pregnancy to the fullest - squeezing out every bit of compassion people had for pregnant women. I had showers, my coworkers held a guess the baby details contest, I documented my weight gain once a week and we have weekly pictures of my belly's growth.

Suddenly I'm realizing I'm almost done with this, our probably last pregnancy, and I've missed out on all that extra love!

Rather than the cute little pregnant woman, I'm the one who waddles through the parking lot balancing one on my huge belly while holding the hand of a bouncing five year old on the other side. This time around, I get those looks and even words reminding me that I'm "going to have my hands full." Even though I think they secretly wonder what I was thinking!?

And so, I'm bringing a question to you, my friends, who have either received or given pregnancy pampering. What is the best way to take full advantage of a pregnancy?

I have six weeks left and I need to enjoy this for all it's worth. I want to fill these weeks with things like sending my husband out to find something to satisfy my late night cravings, or have him paint my toenails, or plead pregnancy brain as an excuse to cover up forgetting things like having enough diapers on hand for my two year old. You know, those normally selfish things that suddenly get written off as being excusable because of the extra person being carried around.

Help! What are the best things you've enjoyed about being pregnant?

14 March 2011

Renew, Refresh, Restore

Renew, Refresh, Restore

God heard these three words repeated from my lips in quick succession when I walked through a hard eighteen months.

The days needed extra help and I counted minutes until each bedtime when I could lie in bed. While I rested in a comfy hideaway, God melted my heaviness to deep sleep. As I waited for the change to come, I asked Him to allow me to see the breaking of the dawn soon.

I couldn't wait to see the time when light would shine into my days again and the promises He had whispered would be liveable realities. Fernando sang to me about Grace and Peace and I knew only through God's grace and matchless peace would my life feel renewed, refreshed, and restored.

Renewed. Refreshed, and Restored.

Three years later, those sufferings still sting, but the constant heaviness is gone. Emotions of abandonment and desperation gave way to security and peace.

That time of suffering has been washed over with waves and waves of refreshing goodness.

The time I thought was lost has been redeemed with restorative moments. Restored through a little girl and all her sweet cuddles and soon through a squishy kicky one I will meet face to face.

Yes, the suffering lasted much longer than just those 18 months and I refuse even now to declare it officially over, because it isn't and never really will be over and complete.

But when my three R words came to mind today, I praised God because the work is being accomplished.

Renewal, Refreshment, Restoration.

Wait for it. It will come.

08 March 2011


Grandpa is free!

Free from a worn out body, a mind that blocked connections from being made, and free from an existence that Harvey never would have chosen.

Yesterday morning, he broke away and met Jesus. Today he exists more alive than ever.

He can run, remember people, hold conversations, and worship God who never left him for a moment.

Isaiah recorded God's promises of this, "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he. I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you.; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." (46:4)

God rescued Grandpa from a horrible trap that felt painful to watch.

And today I'm remembering him not as the distant man stuck in a wheelchair, but as the farmer who loved to collect. The one who could fix everything and had the odd supply ready out in one of those barns. As the electrician he spent hours installing wiring in the house I grew up in. He was the Grandpa who cut the corn off hundreds of cobs on the annual corn freezing days.

I think of times out in the field on a tractor, combine, or driving a wagon around the farm. When the work was done and he and Grandma came to town to celebrate our birthdays, Grandpa never turned down an ice cream sundae at the Old Country Buffet.

I share my love for angel food cake with strawberries with Grandpa but I doubt I'll ever convert to the instant coffee he didn't mind drinking. Mom kept it in the back of the cupboard especially for Grandpa to drink before they drove the 45 minutes back home.

My Grandpa, the one who wiggled his ears knowing it would make all of his grandchildren smile.

He is free today!

02 March 2011


My boy is five today!

One full hand of fingers. No longer a baby, not a toddler, and now not even a preschooler. He's five. Five year olds do so many things.
go to Kindergarten,
learn how to read,
lose teeth,
figure out how to ride a bike,
learn how to win and lose.
He doesn't need to be swaddled, burped, fed, or pushed in a stroller.
But he does still
need hugs,
cry in frustration,
hear noises in the dark,
want someone to lay with him while he falls asleep.

He's still my boy.
The one I waited for
Who looks exactly like his daddy
With the wild imagination
He's my Asher, the boy I love.

01 March 2011

Letting go

We've made the plunge. Today I will drive to Bible Study as many other moms ---- in my very own sleek and silver mini-van!

I'm excited to talk on the phone hands-free. I'm anxious for Asher to be able to buckle himself into the car. The handy kid-viewing mirror means I won't have to adjust, readjust, and adjust my mirror to make sure little hands are being kept to themselves. Best of all, one more item got checked off the "to do before baby comes" list.

But last night, we left behind Walter's single man car. The one he drove when he picked me up for our first date, and the one where he always held my hand while driving. That car we popped balloons in and scrubbed away the words "Just Married" from.

So I'm a little sentimental. I hold on to inanimate objects as if they have feelings and will miss me too. Last year letting go of our house led me to constant reflection. This year, it's the letting go of a car and acquiring a minivan.

My house and car didn't have arms to reach out and hug me one last time. Or warm faces to place a last kiss on but there are people who do and I guess that's where this post is heading, naturally yet unplanned.

That last goodbye is never easy. Words don't naturally come - there's too much and yet nothing more to say. Memories have been made and the last goodbye in a parking lot, a busy street, a hospital room will not be the memory I love the most. By then it's too late. Too late for one last meaningful conversation or shared experience. At that moment of letting go, it's time for simplicity.

A simple goodbye, a final kiss, one last look.