Sunday, May 31, 2009

Round it out

On Mother's Day, Cliff and I chose to participate as a family in Child Dedications. For whatever reason, we waited until Ethan was almost five years old to do this. We had a prep class the week before and made a family video with all the other families to be shown at church during Dedications. During the prep class, the LifeKids Campus Pastor from Oklahoma City said something that caused a shift in my thinking. I had to stop for a moment to let it sink in. At my work we call these " Aha moments." She said that as parents our job is not to teach our children to be well rounded, but to live a passionate life as fully devoted followers of Christ. Literally, everything in that moment became clearer in my life. I knew that my role as a parent was to teach my children to love and obey God, to help them develop a relationship with Him, to teach them the importance of placing him number one.... but all this time in my children's lives and in my own I have sought to be well rounded. This is in fact the very thing I was taught growing up, the same thing my parents were taught by their parents..... and I realized in that moment what I was striving for and what I was teaching my children was an impossible mission. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. My life had just been simplified, brought into focus, and in the following weeks since then, I feel like things that have been cloudy for months have begun to turn clear.
So what does it mean for me to live a life that is not well rounded but passionate and focused in a few major areas, and ulitimately on Christ and developing a relationship with Him?
The first thing that came to mind when I thought about not being well rounded anymore was the bodybuilder from a movie called " The Lady in the Water." Have you seen it? Its an interesting movie, just like many of M. Night Shamalyn' s movies in which all the small, seemingly insignificant things matter and amount to something glorious in the end. IN this particular film there is a man that only lifts weights on one side of his body. He is incredibly lopsided, but his singular focus ultimately leads to something very important and extraordinary. I want to have a singular focus like him. I want to live a life that is important and extraordinary. I want to be a fully devoted follower of Christ, with a heart beating in tune with His purpose- and I want the same for my kids.
Its new territory for me to quit focusing on being well rounded- to not focus on overall perfection....but it is liberating too. I think maybe I have spent so much time on trying to be well rounded that I have missed a piece of that great mission and purpose that God has for my life. I don't want to miss out anymore. I want to live my part extravagently.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

God bless the trees Mrs Brashear

Last night was the wedding of my dear sweet friend, Emily Boozer- now Emily Brashear. She asked me to help her celebrate this moment in her life by being a bridesmaid in her wedding- a very new experience for me. I have never been in a wedding party, in fact, had just a sliver of a wedding myself, and really didnt understand everything that went into it.
It really was a beautiful evening for an outdoor wedding, which took place in a beautiful backyard garden in Edmond Oklahoma.
I stood with aching feet in my strappy heals, praying to God that my little black dress would stay up, that my skirt would stay down( no worries there, the wind was scarce) and that the sweat running down my spine and between my breasts would not be noticeable to the crowd as I tried to stand as still as a statue dispite the tiny evening nats flying around my face, my back, up my skirt........

and I was humbled and blessed in that moment to listen to a very sweaty Pastor Kurt( or was it Craig?)(I had just met Emily and Tim's Pastor the night before at the rehearsal dinner) talk about love, marriage, commitment, encouragement, forgiveness, trust,........... support.
Suddenly, it was laid out very clear to me in his speech my purpose for being there. To pray for my friend and her new husband, to encourage them to stay united and focused on Christ, to be a support to her as she walked down the road of life with Tim.
Deep down in my heart I knew these things... but until that moment I couldnt manage to be them much more than skin deep. So I was humbled... and prayed ferverently to God for a heart so full of love and support for Emily and Tim that it could not help but to spill out and over into action.
To Emily and Tim- I wish you many, many years of love, laughter, joy, .... and most of all, harmony in Christ.
Last night really was an amazing night!!! Thank you for letting me be a part of it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day

For Memorial Day( my seven year anniversary with Cliff) we decided to BBQ out on the grill and spend a leasurely day with the kids since I have not been feeling well. We picked up ribeyes and burgers and Mom decided to join us and brought over some shrimp kabobs( ethans very favorite food is shrimp- he will even eat the tail if we dont stop him!)
Ethan was my grilling helper for the day and would accompany me outdoors each time I need to check the charcoal bricks progress. At four and a half he has already learned that he burns super easy and he took it upon himself to put on sunscreen before we went out.( he did this four times!) He got a new bubble sword which he waived around magnificently and really enjoyed digging in the dirt under the pear tree( see the picture to the right)
Cliffs parents decided to drop in for a visit and we all sat down to a lovely dinner about 5 PM. We followed dinner with a visit to the cemetary to Faith's grave to deliver a floral bouquet I made especially for Memorial day. It was really lovely to see all the flowers all over the cemetary from all the memorial day visitors.
After this, Cliff's parents took us to the store to pick out a new grill for our anniversary! We got quite a large grill, with a prep board on either side- so we will have to grill out again soon so everyone can come over!
Olivia and Ethan were both very well behaved all day and really enjoyed the company. Olivia was quite a ham at the dinner table and as soon as she would lose everyones attention she made funny noises or scooted her high chair about to get everyone looking at her again. I thought she was going to be a quiet little girl but I suspect we may have another preformer on our hands. I am not certain what we will do with two of them, but I know we will never be short on laughs!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rock or Sand

There is a great lyric in a Jennifer Knapp song( my favorite song right now, Trinity) that goes " Where do I stand on the rock or in the sand?. O' Holy Spirit won't you help me understand Holy spirit won't you say a prayer for me?"
This song really reminds me of a song from long ago. When I was a little girl, my mom taught me this song:
The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
And the rain came tumbling down
Oh, the rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
And the wise man's house stood firm.
The foolish man built his house upon the sand
The foolish man built his house upon the sand
The foolish man built his house upon the sand
And the rain came tumbling down
Oh, the rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
And the foolish man's house went "splat!" [clap hands once]
So, build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ
Build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ
Build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ
And the blessings will come down
Oh, the blessings come down
As your prayers go up
The blessings come down
As your prayers go up
The blessings come down
As your prayer go up
So build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Its a very repetitive song as you can see, but becuase of that, it still rings in my head at 29 years old. And everytime I listen to Jennifer Knapp I think of this song too.... and I can't help but reflect on my life and where I am headed... but also, what I am building my house upon.
I think its easy to get distracted by many of the attractive things in life. Not just possessions of course, but a way of life, ways of living, ways of acting... its easy for me to want to build my house and the foundations of my relationships and other things in the sand.
But I dont want that deep down, not really, I dont want a house on the sand.
During this refining period I am taking a deep look at myself, looking at my intent, at the life Cliff and I are building..... and I want to make certain that it is not built in the sand, that I am not building a temporary fortress that will wash away when the rains come....
I want a house built on the rock... so that when the rains come they will not wash away but instead will be blessings on our heads.


This weekend, one of my very dearest friends moved away from Stillwater. I have had really mixed feelings about this which I don't think I have done a good job of expressing. I am really sad she is moving. Happy for her to have a change in her life, but sad that it will be that much harder to get together with her. Truthfully, it was already hard enough.
Today, my other closest friend in stillwater, Amy, announced to me that she is moving back home to Marlow. Her dream home came on the market, the older, Victorian Style 3 story one on Main street, and her husband already got a transfer approved at work. I am happy for her. I am! But am sooo sad to finally make a good friend and then see her move. Cliff and I have been in Stillwater now for almost three years and in that time I have found some friends but only a few close friends. I am sensing that this period of my life, this summer, is going to be all about refinement. There is a letting go of the old and in time there will be new transitions. I went through a similar period just two years ago and it was not easy... but the spiritual fruit of that period has been bountiful. I recognize that there is an ebb and flow in life.
Two dear friends of mine are also going through a refinement period I think. One lives thousands of miles away and has had many difficult life changes in the last six months... the other lives just south down the road and is starting a new career this week. I think its interesting and a bit comforting that God is taking them through a refining period at the same time. I hope that the result of this is a strengthening of our relationships.... and spiritual encouragement.
Its strange that i am not the one moving, and yet it feels as though God is packing up some of the things of my heart and shoving them into a U-Haul for a long journey.....
I only have one request and that is a pit stop at Sonic for a drink for the road!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Strange One

This week has been a long and strange week. Almost two weeks ago I was shocked to find out I was pregnant. And then elated. Cliff and I began making plans for a new baby and even thought of a few names. We were talking about the name Alex Zander for a boy and either Amelia or Jemma for a girl. We told Ethan, and a few friends and family and everyone was rejoicing with us.
On Friday of last week I was bringing my mom home from Surgery in Tulsa and my car broke down at the very first light in Stillwater. It turned out to be the Transmission but we were not surprised. Boris had made a great run... was now 10 years old and had earned more than his keep in his time with us. We talked it over and decided to get a newer vehicle that would have room for three kids and a pal or extra rider( such as Grandma). Saturday afternoon we got a smokin' deal on Spifferifica, a lovely 2004 Chrystler Pacifica that cost just under $10,000.
I had a sore throat for most of the week which I attributed to allergies and pregnancy and tried to ignore. By Sunday night it had been unbearable too long, and I decided that I would head to the Dr Monday morning.
By Monday morning I was experiencing a very small amount of spotting which was unusual for me in a pregnancy. I mentioned this to the Dr when I went in to have my throat checked out but since it was so light it wasnt much to worry about. I was diagnosed with Strep Throat and given an antibiotic and sent home. At this point my sore throat was so bad that I no longer had a voice and I spent 2 days home from work sleeping and thinking and practicing lines to the Godfather to amuse myself.
By Thursday my throat was practically as good as new( a little wraspy but in a 1940's Jazz Club singer, after a cigarette or two, kid of way) but the bleeding was getting worse. I called the Dr's office and asked to have labs done. I also began to experience some cramping and pain in my right ovary but it would come and go and didnt seem like a big deal.
Friday morning Dr Smithton called me bright and early to let me know the lab number was low,200, and should really be around 1000. He thought this was Indicitive of a miscarriage but it was time to wait and see. By Friday afternoon I had constant pain in my right ovary and it was really distracting me from work. I called the Dr's office becuase I was really concerned and I got in to see Dr Evans since the Memorial Holiday was starting and Dr Smithton had gone out of town. Dr Evans felt around on my abdomen which was very sore everytime he pressed near my right ovary.
He sent me over right away for an ultrasound. The ultrasound technician turned out to be the same woman who did the original Ultrasound on Faith that came up with the initial diagnosis. It was a strange moment. She was able to confirm on the screen that there was no baby to be seen in my uterus but that its lining was very thick like it should be in pregnancy. She couldnt really see anything to indicate for sure that there was an Eptopic Pregnancy but she did see something small on my right ovary that was suspicous. She said with a lab of 200 it is way way to early to see ANYTHING and the number needed to be over 1000 or 2000 for a baby to be big enough to see in the uterus or the tube. She felt uncertain about the suspicous spot and called the Head of radiology who logged into the system from home to look at the Ultrasound. He felt the same way, something suspicous but too early to tell.
They sent me home and Dr Smithton called me as I was driving home.
He stated that it is most likely that I am experiencing a miscarriage. He said I could even have an ectopic pregnancy but the chances are very good that since my numbers were so low when I came in on Thursday that I was already miscarrying and even if its an ectopic pregnancy I will probably miscarry that. He offered me some pain meds and told me to call with any questions or concerns I might have and also to go back to the ER if I experience more pain.
After I got home I continuted to experience light bleeding but nothing like a period.
And this is where I am at now. I have spent the day with my family, crampy, waiting, wondering, wishing this would hurry up and conclude so that I could move forward.
Its a strange place to be at..... just waiting.
Yesterday I had copious amounts of peace but today the saddness is starting to set in. I know that life is unpredicible. And I am thankful for the many blessings that I already have in my life. I do trust God and his plan and direction for my life. I rest in knowing that His Plan is there.
But it is amazing to me the amount of loving and planning and wanting that can develop in just a few weeks. I know things are not going to work out for this pregnancy, for a baby at this moment, but I really wanted that baby, wanted the challenge of bringing a third child into my home, a fourth child into my heart, and I know Cliff wanted that too.
We weren't planning for a fourth pregnancy and we certainly were not elated about MORE diapers to change, but in that short period of time we felt so blessed. Absolutely and crazily blessed with life. The bible says in Psalms " Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. " And I like the idea of a full house. Yes, I am tired. Yes, having children is hard work, but the blessing of having those children, it is a blessing straight from God.
Afterall, God's greatest miracle is life.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mommy's Day

Little Red,

Remembering you, thinking of you, loving you today along with my other 2 amazing kids.