Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry ice cream.

It's never really been listed among my favorite flavors, although I do think it is quite delicious. It's not the flavor I typically buy, but it holds a place very dear in my heart.

Today marks the four-year anniversary of the death of my absolutely wonderful Grandma Lois.
As she was dying in the hospital (with the most cheerful heart and kind spirit you could imagine), one of the foods she requested most was strawberry ice cream.

When her lungs finally failed her and she breathed her last, she was surrounded by about 30 members of her family. All seven of her children were gathered around her bed, with their children and their children's children.
The pastor from my parent's church offered up a prayer as her soul left her body, and at the amen we all decided that there was one thing left to do before we left her hospital room.

Eat strawberry ice cream.

It was absolutely fitting, and I think it was a wonderful way to mingle our grief with our fond memories and the joy of a life well lived. The joy we couldn't help but have, because our lives had been touched directly by her.
And she was full of the joy of a risen Savior.
That joy couldn't help but overflow, spilling out onto anyone who came near.

So, strawberry ice cream holds a special spot in my heart. 
It makes me think of my Grandma, and I always love to think of her!

Before she died I was able to tell her that I was (very newly) pregnant with Asher, and her excitement burst out of her lips with a squeal and a, "Ooooohhh, you're going to have so much fun!!!!"
She told me that she was going to float through the sky over to Virginia and watch me playing with my children. That I would just absolutely love it, and she was so excited to watch me.

When I'm outside, I often look up at the sky and smile.

Grandma was the sort of person who was impossible not to love, and I'm so glad to have had such a wonderful example to follow. I'm so thankful to have been close enough to her to be regularly showered with her loving kindness.

She has been one of the greatest examples to me, both in her life and her death, and I aspire daily to match her servant's heart, her kind lips, her contagious smile and her continual outpouring of a love that never ran out.

I want to be her when I grow up.  :)

To my sweet Grandma, I miss you dearly! And I'm eating strawberry ice cream tonight, because I know it would make you smile.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Coffee Break

So, I’m one of the lucky ones. I have, in my care, two pretty good little nappers. 
Both of my boys lie down in the afternoon and give me around an hour and a half (on average) of quiet time.

This is Mommy’s coffee break, and I have been taking full advantage of it!
I used to use this time to frantically catch up on the house that’s managed to fall apart (once again!) and start prepping dinner. Or sometimes I would collapse on the couch and close my eyes and tell myself that if I couldn’t see the mound of toys (piled on top of the mound of unfolded laundry), then it didn’t exist.

One day I decided that instead of a nap (or a massive cleaning spree that resulted in a Mama who really needed a nap but was suddenly joined by two rambunctious toddlers with a fresh wave of energy), I was going to sit, drink a cup of coffee, and read a few chapters of Scripture. I felt so rejuvenated after my little break, that I’ve kept it up and now consider it a vital part of my med-school survival plan! (hah) 
I find it much more effective than a nap, incredibly nourishing to my soul, and a wonderful way to stimulate my mind, which rarely gets a workout beyond that which a conversation with a three-year-old can muster.
My coffee break has morphed to almost a full hour of reading. I am plowing my way through the New Testament, and have been drinking in some wonderful, uplifting wisdom from books on practical Christian living, and how that translates to me specifically as a wife and mother. I often pop into some of my favorite blogs and read stimulating posts on a wide range of topics (everything from motherhood and crafting to politics and theology!) written by people much wiser than myself!

I find it so refreshing, that when I am done I feel ready to tackle the world! (Even the small little one I live in day to day! Which is good, because it usually needs a good tackling!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Don't be a Dragon

This is my little dragon.

Now, there is nothing wrong with pretending to be a dragon, but here's the thing: My son likes to gather all his beloved toys (far more than he can physically play with at one time) and then pile them up into a heap. He sits on top with a scowl on his face, and does his very best to keep his little brother away. He doesn't actually want to play with them, he just wants to make sure Grayson doesn't. They're his, after all. No one gets to touch his stuff.

And we all know dragons do that sort of thing.
(That is, if you read the right sorts of books...)

So far I've managed to refrain from nick-naming
Asher "Smaug"

"Being a Dragon" has become a legitimate offense in our house. I frequently have to remind Asher that he is acting like a dragon, and that selfishness is not allowed in our home. It's hard not to smile when commanding, in a stern-like voice, "Asher, don't be a dragon."
Motherhood is full of silly little things like that.

Now, I think this sort of selfishness is normal in a three year old. (At least I hope??) But this basic form of selfishness grows as we do, and it rears its ugly head at all ages. For example, since having children I've been surprised to find out how selfish I am about my sleep. I have to pray every night before I go to bed that the Lord will help me prevent fire flaming from my nostrils when my toddler greets me before six o'clock in the morning. (It helps when I get to bed at a decent hour!) 

Selfishness is always destructive, both to yourself and to those around you. Selfishness destroys homes, shatters friendships, rips apart marriages, and is the driving force behind those nasty self-pity-parties. Dragons are destroyers, and the only way to avoid this destruction is to avoid thinking about ourselves too much. The trick is to think out. Don't think about what you don't have, give thanks for what you do. Don't think about all the ways the world has let you down, think of all the blessings God has showered upon you. And then look to the people around you and consider the ways you can bless them. We are called to be thankful, and we are called to serve out of that thankfulness. This is our Christian duty, and this is the only weapon that can defeat dragons.

If you find that you dwell on yourself often (your circumstances, your looks, your desires, etc.), whether positively or negatively, you may want to grab yourself a sword and shield and prepare yourself for battle. There are beasts lurking in the shadows, ready to wreak havoc on your loved ones.
God has called you to knighthood. 

"Above all, [Take] the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."
Ephesians 6: 16-17

As I train Asher in the ways of kindness, it is my hope and prayer that he will learn to conquer selfishness at an early age, and therefore be equipped to slay those dragons as he continues to grow into a godly man. If he achieves knighthood as a young boy, those fire-breathing beasts will be easy to recognize, track, and kill when he's a man.

But first we have to get him to learn that he's not the dragon. 
He's the one to slay it.


p.s... this little guy doesn't seem to think he's a dragon, 
but he may have other issues going on...

I walked into the room and found him like this.
Completely stripped and in Asher's coyboy boots.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

19 Months of Grayson Goodness and Other Randomness...

So, Gray turns 19 months today! I know, not really that monumental, but I'm continually reminded of how quickly he is growing up.

He's shooting up like a weed, and any concerns we had about his health have almost completely vanished. 
Seriously, this kid is so tall. And his feet? Wow. HUGE.

Last night we took his pacifier away for good. We expected to be in for a long night and an early, early morning. We were pleasantly surprised! He didn't even cry. I guess it was time!

He's talking more and more, and even singing. This is a fun treat, because Asher still, to this day, won't participate in singing. I have no doubt he knows the songs, but he would rather sit quietly (or not so quietly) than try to chime in. 

Gray is such a fun little guy to have around! He smiles all the time, cuddles on command, and absolutely loves to read books with his Mommy. (So much so that if I'm distracted on the computer I can count on being surprised by a random book being thrown in my face! Subtlety isn't listed among his virtues.)

My boys are growing so fast, I can barely keep up.

Asher now uses the potty largely without assistance. I often walk by the bathroom door and find him sitting in there with a big smile on his face. (No doubt thinking about the treat he is going to get when he's done!) He's learning at lightning speeds, and asks questions ALL THE TIME. While he doesn't ask the famous "why... why... why..." very often, he will ask you "what's that mean" with a similar zeal. And he can quote Toy Story like nobody's business.
(Don't tell him, but Woody and Buzz will be here on Christmas morning, waiting under the tree! Many thanks to Gramma and Pappy! Yippee!!! I can't wait. I'm tempted to pull them out of the box and play with them myself! How fun is this??)

My boys run laps around the house (literally!), scream louder than I knew was humanly possible, pull all the cushions off the couch at least twice a day, tackle each other on endless repeat, and delight in trading sippy cups full of milk. 
You've heard of Milk Duds? They're milk-buds. (Doughty humor alert!!)

I can't believe how big my babies are!!!
Today I've been focusing on being as sponge-like as possible. I have to soak up as much of this fun, little stage as I can. It will be over in a blink...