Thursday, March 31, 2011

Don't Cry Over Spilled Coke Zero

Earlier this week when I accidentally knocked Carson's cup (lid removed) of milk off the counter, I reminded myself not to cry over spilled milk. Lawrence told himself the same thing this morning when he spilled some milk after fixing his coffee.

This afternoon at Chick-fil-a the manager must have had the same thought running through his head, only he was focused on not crying over the large cup of Coke Zero that I had dropped after he had kindly filled it up for me so I could take a full cup home to enjoy while the children napped. It was totally my fault that all 32 ounces of pop landed on the counter and oozed their way to the floor, not to mention about 20 ice cubes that toppled onto the gooey mess. I should have known better than to grab the cup (filled to the brim) at the top. I should have set down Coralyn's water and taken the cup at the base. Shoulda, woulda, coulda, but didn't. Thus, a huge puddle of Coke Zero for the manager to deal with.

He didn't bat an eyelash. He immediately asked if I had gotten any pop on me. I said my shoe had just a drop or two on it, and he promptly handed me some paper towels. Embarrassed at the mess I had made and the scene it created, I quickly bent down to scoop up as many stray ice cubes as I could and mop up some of the pop while I was at it. The manager graciously told me that they would take care of it and the paper towels were for me to clean off my shoe. Then, he noticed that my plastic bag (I was taking my salad home since Carson and Coralyn didn't seem to think they should have to wait on me to eat before they got to play) had some pop on it. He offered to get me a new bag, along with another cup of Coke. By the time he returned with my salad and pop, another employee was sweeping up the ice cubes and another was bringing out the mop. Not once did any of the Chick-fil-a employees look or act upset about having to clean up my mess. Crying , or even frowning, over the spilled Coke Zero didn't even cross their minds. Or if it did, they did a fantastic job of covering up their frustration and/or annoyment and happily took care of the problem.

I wish that I always had that same kind of reaction when accidents happen at home. Because, it is a guarantee that accidents will happen, every day. They are unavoidable. And the next time someone spills milk or crumbles their blueberry muffin all over the kitchen floor (right after I swept) or uses the wall to draw a picture instead of the paper I gave them or doesn't quite make it to the potty on time, I want to respond the way the Chick-fil-employees did today.

"My pleasure," that's what they always say after helping you, which they do quite often. In the course of the 10 minutes that I was actually at my table, doing my best to convince Carson and Coralyn they needed to eat their chicken before they could go play, at least 4 employees stopped by to check on us and see if we needed anything. One brought me a fork. One refilled my Coke (which I didn't spill that time!). And one told me to have a great day, since I didn't need anything right then. Finally, one not only brought me a to-go bag, but put my soup and salad in it for me. Customer service is definitely something they excel at, not to mention they make delicious food! Oh, and they let you use multiple coupons at the same time. For instance, today I got a grilled chicken salad, a bowl of chicken noodle soup, 8 chicken nuggets, and a Large Coke Zero all for free!

Today confirmed my previous thought, "If I ever have to work in fast food, I would want to work for Chick-fil-a." They have super customer service, make tasty food and sell it at reasonable prices, honor coupons like none other, and don't cry over spilled Coke Zero.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Coralyn is very good at mimicking and also quite attentive, so sees (and hears) everything I do. And then copies my actions (and words at times).

Some things that Coralyn has done recently that reflect what she must see me doing include:
*taking a burp rag (that we now use for blowing her nose) and wiping down the floorboards
*spreading her toes apart and trying to remove the sock link and invisible specks of dirt (One night I noticed she had stuff between her toes and went toe by toe to get it all out. Ever since then, she has been very faithful to make sure her toes are lint and dirt free! I would almost say she is obsessed with this ritual.)
*using a spoon to stir the imaginary ingredients in her bowl
*blowing her nose in a kleenex or toilet paper
*attempting to wipe after she has gone to the bathroom
*throwing things away in the trash
*opening her drawers and putting her clothes away
*trying to give Bennett (11 months) his bottle or sippy cup
*playing with my hair (that was the best this morning as she actually let me sit and rock her for a bit while we waited for Carson to arrive)
*raising her feet up to put her pants on like Carson does
*doing her best to get her socks and shoes on her feet
*grabbing her coat when it's time to go outside
*holding the remote and pointing it at the TV and pressing buttons
*pushing buttons on her cell phone and then having a conversation as she holds the phone up to her ear (we kept Lawrence's when we got new phones so she could have one to play with without running up our bill)
*taking pictures with her toy camera and saying, "Cheese" as she does
*pressing buttons on the keyboard
*rubbing her hands together when we talk about washing our hands before we eat
*brushing her teeth
*bowing her head to pray
*doing her best to put the keys in the door
*putting the key to her toy car in the ignition spot and turning it, then making vroom sounds
*writing on paper

Like I said, Coralyn is quite the copycat. I enjoy watching her do all these things, but it is also kind of scary to think that she not only sees (and hears) what I do, but imitates me. Oh, how I pray that I can say as Paul did that people would imitate me as I imitate Christ. My heart's desire is certainly for Coralyn to see my relationship with Jesus and to want that for herself.

At least I know that I have a little monkey on my hands. And it's definitely a monkey see, monkey do world in the Young house.

Well, I had better go check on my little monkey before she turns our house into a jungle!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Big Baby

Usually being called a "big baby" isn't a compliment. But today, and every day for that matter, I would be honored to be known as a "big baby." As long as we're referring to my relationship with God, that is!

This morning as I did my homework for the Beth Moore Bible study I am doing, I read Psalm 131. David opens by saying that he is not proud or haughty and that he doesn't get involved in matters that are too difficult for him. (Boy, would I love to be able to honestly say all those nice things about myself!) Instead, he compares himself to a small child who is with his mother. Since he's using contrast I am going to assume that this particular child isn't hungry, tired, whiny, or fussy. No, this child is happy and content, sitting quietly in his mother's lap, enjoying a good snuggle, perfectly at peace in his mother's arms, trusting her fully with his very life.

I remember those days. When Coralyn would let me hold her and rock her. She didn't squirm or fidget. Of course she couldn't even roll over on her own yet, but hey the moments were sweet and precious nonetheless. Every once in awhile I will get to enjoy a quick cuddle with Coralyn, but for the most part she is a very busy little girl with no time (or patience) to sit still on my lap.

Even though I don't get to experience the peace of a child resting in my arms very often, I can definitely relate to the concept of a child trusting me completely with her life. Coralyn has no sense of fear. At least not when I am there with her, to help her down the steps or climb up on the jungle gym. She just steps right off, fully expecting me to hold her hand and make sure she reaches the ground safely. Or she will just move on up the stairs, trusting that I am behind her in case she trips and falls back. I love that! Coralyn has never asked me, "Mama, are you going to hold my hand and make sure I am okay?" She just trusts that I will. She doesn't stop to consider that I would let her go or stand by and watch as she puts herself in harm's way. Why not? Because as her mother I would never do those things! It's not in my mama DNA. And somehow, without us ever having a conversation about this, Coralyn knows this to be true. So she simply trusts me with her very life.

The same needs to be true of me as God's child.

It's a choice though. David writes, "BUT I have stilled and quieted my soul..." Obviously, there was a decision to be made. He could be proud and haughty and get involved in things way over his head or he could be like a small child. Apparently, David went with option #2. I want to do the same, to choose to rest in my Father's lap and enjoy His presence. Recently, I have been glad to climb into His arms and feel the warmth of His strong, yet gentle, embrace. I have known His comfort and heard His reassuring whispers, "Everything's going to be okay. I'm right here." I think of the times Coralyn has fallen and come to me crying. I pick her up and wrap my arms tightly around her. I give her kisses and tell her she's going to be fine. I rub her back and stroke her hair. I hold her until her tears are gone and she is ready to face the challenges of life as a toddler once more. What a beautiful thought to know that God does the same with me, His beloved daughter, when I am hurting or confused or just need a hug.

The thing is that I too often start to fidget and squirm and end up jumping out of my Father's lap, running off to do my own thing.

I hope, though, that when I get to a point where I need God's help, I trust Him, completely. I don't need to stop and ask if He will be there with me or if He is going to take care of me. That's a given. That's who He is. It's part of His God DNA. So, I just have to take the next step, and as I do, His hand will be holding mine, keeping me steady and leading me to safety. And I bet just like I smile when Coralyn "jumps" off the front porch expecting me to catch her, God loves when I trust Him fully with my life.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One Man's Trash, Another Man's Treasure

Right now Coralyn is fascinated with putting things in the trash. She will find little pieces of dirt or whatnot on the floor (even though I vacuum and sweep, all the time it seems) and take them to the trashcan, push the button to open the lid, deposit her "treasure" and then proudly come let me know about her good deed, repeatedly say, "Trash, trash, trash."

I like that she is a good helper and knows to put things in the trash, although at times I wish she wasn't so good at finding the dirt on the floor. Once she finds something, there is no ignoring it. She is insistent on taking the item, no matter how small, to the trashcan, immediately.

Yesterday, since it was so nice, I let Coralyn go barefoot in the house. Plus, the kitchen floor was extra slick, or so it seemed, and she had fallen twice in her socks. I thought it would be easier to go barefoot and not deal with socks and slippery surfaces, not to mention avoiding a third bump on the head. While it was a success in that Coralyn didn't fall again, it was a failure in a completely different way. Although I had just swept the kitchen floor, her barefeet seemed to be a magnet for any dirt pieces that had avoided my broom. Every time she saw or felt a speck on her foot, she would plop down on cry out, "Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh." She would sit there and do her best to remove the annoying speck. If she couldn't get it herself, she insisted that I come, right then, to help her in her time of dire need. As soon as we got one piece of dirt taken care of, she would get up, take a few steps, and we would go through the whole ordeal all over again.

If only she would be this insistent on keeping her face clean. Oh how she hates for me to wipe it off after a meal!!!

Anyway, this morning her "obsession" with trash went to a whole new level (I didn't know it could get any greater, but I was wrong). She was sitting and eating breakfast when we heard the trashman coming. Food instantly lost all value (which is extremely surprising for Coralyn, given she loves to eat and the first thing she does each morning when I greet her is to put her finger to her mouth and repeatedly say, "eat, eat, eat" just in case the sign wasn't enough to communicate what she obviously wanted) and we had to get up out of the chair and race to the door to watch the trashman do his job.
"Trash, Trash, Trash" she says as she is in mid-bite.

And we couldn't leave until the trashman had turned off our street and was out of sight. Only then did food regain its appeal and back to the kitchen we went. Until we heard the trashman again, on a different street. Despite my explaining that the trashman wasn't on our street, we had to get up and see this for ourselves. Carson and Coralyn stood at the door for quite some time, waiting expectantly for the beloved trashman to return. Eventually the hungry belly won out and back to the kitchen we went, again. Maybe this time we will be able to finish our breakfast!

Nope! I knew it. See, last time the trashman was getting the garbage on the other side of the street. Now he is back to collect the trash on our side. As soon as Coralyn heard the squeaking of his brakes, she dropped her spoon, announced, "Trash!" and lifted up her arms for me to get her down, right away! This was the real deal, the trashman was coming to our house to get our trash. Coralyn and Carson stood mesmerized as the steel arm lifted up the garbage can, threw open the lid, and dumped the contents inside the big blue truck. And they stayed there, once again, watching until he turned off our street.

Here he comes!

Notice the bib is still on. I wish you could see her tongue sticking out as she watches intently for the trashman to come in front of our house.

There he is!!!! Wow, look at him empty the trash can!

Once again, we are headed back to the kitchen. Hopefully we can get in those last few bites of yogurt before the recycling man comes! :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Handful, A Mouthful

Coralyn is growing up so fast! And as she does, she is able to do so much more. Lately, she has been doing 2 things quite a bit. First, she goes around trying to carry as much (well, more really) as her little hands and arms can hold. Second, she jabbers almost non-stop. Sometimes she says real words, but for the most part she is just talking away in her own language. Other times you can tell she is really trying to communicate something to you and really wants you to understand the words coming out of her mouth. Unfortunately, for now, it just sounds like jibberish. Any day now she is going to spit out a whole sentence that makes perfect sense, and I am going to be the one who is speechless.

I can only smile as I watch Coralyn try to carry 5 teddy bears, or all of the plastic play food she owns, or all the toy cars we have, or three sippy cups, or like today 2 very large jars of peanut butter that my brother-in-law gave me for my birthday. The peanut butter was sitting on the coffee table, as I hadn't had time to put it away yet. Well, obviously, that was not where the peanut butter belonged and my "OCD" daughter decided they needed to be put in their proper place immediately. She grabbed one of the three jars and lugged it into the kitchen and put it in the open fridge, where Lawrence was getting a drink. Coralyn then came back to the coffee table and decided to try to carry both of the remaining jars at the same time. This didn't work too well. But she didn't give up; she was determined to carry them both. After many unsuccessful attempts and several falls and the jars coming very close to crashing onto her poor little toes, we stopped trying to take pictures of our little helper and give her a hand with her load.

She dropped all the bears (and one bunny) because she just couldn't hold onto them all!
She is telling us, "Uh oh!" (one of her favorite things to say these days)

Coralyn attempting to pick up the jars of peanut butter, refusing Lawrence's help.

She was able to carry them both for a little bit. But not far.

If Coralyn wouldn't try to have her hands so full, she would be able to actually enjoy whatever she was carrying. As it is, she has so much stuff that she is lugging around that she can't really play with the toys. Or she trips and falls because she can't see where she is going or the weight of the items are just too much for her little body. Usually, I try to help lighten her load, but for the most part, she wants nothing to do with my help. Little Miss Independent wants to do everything on her own, even if what she wants to do is beyond her ability.

Right now, as I type about my precious little girl, she is bringing me every single toy that was on the living room floor. And of course, as she does, she is carrying on quite the conversation. :)

Okay, back to my thoughts. As I watch Coralyn load up her arms, I wonder how often I do the same thing. I try to have as much as I possibly can (house, car, furniture, clothes, friends, activities, etc.). These are all good things, just as are the toys Coralyn tries to carry. But like my little girl, I become so overloaded that I am unable to enjoy what I have or I am so busy trying to get more that I don't realize how silly I look or that I am missing out on something even better that God may have for me. But because my hands are full, I can't receive what He wants to give me. Or because I want to do things on my own, my way, I refuse His help and end up getting hurt or losing all that I was trying so hard to hold onto. I wonder if God thinks I am as cute as I think Coralyn is. I doubt it. I bet He gets frustrated with me. BUT, He still loves me. And He always will.

Well, I have more thoughts in my head, but they will have to wait for another day. My little explorer is trying to figure out what all the buttons on the computer do. We just might have to have a friendly little conversation, one where I do the talking and she does the listening.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Big Brother

I have been avoiding my Beth Moore Bible study. It's not that I don't like the Bible study. Not at all. I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Well, some parts have been hard to swallow, but only because God was helping me deal with my pain and grief and teaching me to trust Him in the midst of this difficult part of the journey that I am on, the journey that leads me ever closer to Him.

I have been putting off doing my "homework" because I know that the topic will touch on the raw emotions that are still rampant in my heart. I know that I will have questions. Mainly "why" questions (didn't I just blog about that!). I know that my questions probably won't have answers, at least not immediate ones. I know that I will be left with the choice to trust in God's goodness or to doubt His faithfulness.

It's funny how when you are trying to avoid something or put something off, God doesn't let you get off the hook. During the kids' naps today I have gotten a lot done: folded and put away 4 loads of laundry, cooked the meat and cornbread for supper (as well as prepared the salad), wrote two letters, checked e-mail and facebook (several times), made a list of things we need to buy for foster parenting, and lifted weights. I was running out of things to do, and the kids are still asleep (not complaining!). God seemed to whisper that I had time to take a look at my Bible study homework.

Reluctantly, I got out my Beth Moore book and my Bible and opened to Psalm 127. I had already completed the first part of the homework for this particular Psalm, which is why I didn't want to work on the second part. I knew what was coming.

Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from Him.
Children born to a young man are like sharp arrows in a warrior's hands.
How happy is the man whose quiver is full of them!
He will not be put to shame when he confronts His accusers at the city gates.

I'm not gonna lie. I did end up crying at some point. BUT I also smiled. I am so blessed to be a mother at all. I have a precious daughter, whom I love with all my heart. She is definitely a gift from the Lord, a reward I certainly don't deserve. I am most assuredly happy to have her in my life. She brings me such joy!

But, I would love a house full of kiddos. I have always dreamed of having a big family (I am an only child and vowed to have lots of kids when I was young). And of course, being the planner that I am, I would ideally like my children to be 18-24 months apart so that they can grow up together and be playmates and lifelong friends. However, that plan has kind of been shot to pieces and I am having to accept that. Not just accept it, but truly believe that this is God's best for us. As I am in the process of doing that, I still have questions, especially when I read verses like the ones in this Psalm. "If children are a gift, a reward, then why hasn't God blessed me with children, plural?" or "If God knows the desire of my heart is to have lots of kids, why isn't He fulfilling that desire?" "Did I do something wrong so as not to receive this gift, this reward of children (again plural)?" "Why do some people get to have lots of kids who are spaced exactly right and we don't?" "Why do some people not get to have kids at all, even though they badly want kids?"

Like I said, my questions don't really have immediate answers.

YET, I realized that while I am sad about our loss, I can't let it take my eyes off all that I do have, all that God has given me in my wonderful little girl. And so I was able to smile, really big actually.

I also had to smile when Beth Moore talked about how we are mothers to more than just our biological children. So, so true. And if I look at it as I probably should, I do have a house full of kiddos. On Tuesdays, I get to take care of little Bennett (10 months). Then come April, baby Nik (3 months) will join us every day except Thursday. And of course, I have my beloved Carson (3 years on March 31) every single day!!! I have been watching Carson since Coralyn was just 2 months old. He has become like a big brother to her. When we go to the library people assume he is my son, that he is Coralyn's big brother. He proudly tells everyone, "This is Cocoa." When she starts to run off, he races after her and tries to protect her from the library ladies and their carts full of books. He holds her hand and dances with her during the song part of story time. When we check out our books, the library worker scans a book and then hands it to Carson to put in our bag. Everyone always comments about how he is such a good helper. I couldn't ask for a better big brother for my little girl. We always wanted a son first to protect any daughters that we had later. God didn't answer our prayers how we thought. We didn't give birth to a little boy, but we got a big brother for Coralyn. And to boot, he is about 20 months older than Coralyn and they love playing together every day. In a way, God has fulfilled the desires of my heart, to a T. Another smile, a huge one!

All that to say, doing my homework was hard today, but I am so glad that I did. If I had tried to hide from God, I wouldn't have been reminded of the blessings I do have. I would have missed out on the smiles He had for me.

I need to keep this in mind as we get ready to take a look at Psalm 128:

How happy are those who fear the Lord --
all who follow His ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
How happy you will be! How rich your life!
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine, flourishing within your home.
And look at all those children!
There they sit around your table as vigorous and healthy as young olive trees.
That is the Lord's reward for those who fear Him.

I am interested to see what Beth will have to say and what God will teach me. This time I won't put off doing my homework.

Side note: Coralyn just woke up from her nap. She had a huge smile for me when I went to get her out of her crib. I told her, "Let's go get Carson." She laughed and smiled even bigger. As soon as she saw him get out of his bed, she was doing her happy dance. What perfect timing! I love that Coralyn loves her "big brother" so much!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

He's At It Again

Yep, God's at it again. He's talking to me, and once more He has used Ruth Myers to do it. While the kiddos are napping, I figured I could read today's entry.

It is so relevant to today, my birthday, that I just had to share (even though I have already posted one blog today).

Here's what Myers writes on day 11 of her book 31 Days of Praise:

Thank You, my gracious and sovereign God, that You have been with me and carried me from the
day of my birth until today...
that You have known my whole life, from beginning to end, since before I was born...and that You wrote in Your book all the days that You ordained for me before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139)

I told you it was fitting for my birthday. Yet, the connection doesn't stop there. She goes on:

Thank You that in Your gracious plan to bless and use me, You've allowed me to go through hard times, through trials that many people go through in this fallen world. How glad I am that You're so good at reaching down and making something beautiful out of even the worst situations! How encouraged I am when I think how You did this for his brothers hated and abused and betrayed him, and how You worked these things out for blessing, both for Joseph and his family and for countless other people.

I praise You that the things that happened in my past, both enjoyable and painful, are raw materials for blessings, both in my life and in the lives of others...And thank You for the things in my past that appear to be limitations, hindrances, bad breaks...How comforting to know that in all my distresses You were distressed. And how I thank You, Lord Jesus, that on the cross You bore my griefs and carried my sorrows, as well as my sins..that I can kneel at the cross and worship You as the One who took on Yourself all my pain and experienced it to the full. And how comforting to know that in the present, day by day, You feel with me any pain, confusion, inner bondage, or struggles that stem from my past.
Thank You that all these seeming disadvantages are a backdrop for the special, unfolding plan You have in mind for me...

I 'm so grateful that all my past circumstances were permitted by You to make me see my need of You and prepare my heart for Your draw me to Yourself, and to work out Your good purposes for my life. I rejoice that You are the Blessed Controller of all things -- You are now, You will be throughout the future, and You always were. All my days had Your touch of love and wisdom, whether or not I can as yet fully see it.

And Lord, I choose to look beyond my past and present troubles in this life -- this temporary life -- and fix my eyes on the unseen things that will last forever. I praise You for the eternal glory these things are piling up for me as I choose to trust You.

Well, thanks for listening to me for a second time today. Since it's my birthday I figure I can get away with posting multiple blogs! :)


I am no longer in my early twenties. Not even my mid twenties. Today I have entered the realm of my late twenties. Man, I am getting old! :)

As I read Psalm 71 this morning, I had to laugh:
O God, You have taught me from my earliest childhood,
and I have constantly told others about the wonderful things You do.
Now that I am old and gray,
do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim Your power to this new generation,
Your might miracles to all who come after me.

Granted, I am not that old. At least I don't feel all that old. And with a last name like Young, I can always joke that I am "forever young" (hence the name of the blog) or that I am "young at heart."

And I don't have gray hair. Well, not too many of them. I guess that is one benefit of going bald in May. No one will be able to tell that I am getting a few gray hairs. Hopefully my hair doesn't come back in gray! :)

Anyway, the main point of what David is saying is that he wants his life to count. His whole life is dedicated to telling people about God, sharing what He has done in his life. David didn't figure that he had outgrown praising God or that he had spent enough time proclaiming God's goodness and awesomeness. David wasn't planning on retiring, at least not from teaching others about his powerful, mighty, faithful, sovereign God.

As I look back on this past year, David's words resound in my heart. I too want my life to count, every day of it. A friend of mine in college once said (and she was quoting someone else, but I am not sure who), "How you live your life is how you live your days." So, if I want my life to really matter, then I have to make sure that I spend each day wisely, doing what counts, taking the time to evaluate what is truly important, what is going to make a difference in the long run.

Some other verses stuck out to me as well as I thought about my relationship with God, what He is doing in my life, and how I want to live fully committed to Him. I mean I really want to follow hard after Him, pursing Him with all that is within me, giving Him everything I have and holding nothing back. This might mean that people will look at me like I am crazy or that I have lost my mind or that I am foolish. That's okay, because it's probably true. I will just sing along with DC Talk and explain that I am a "Jesus freak."

Oh yeah, here are those verses that stuck out to me:
O Lord, You alone are my hope. I've trusted You, O Lord, from childhood.
Yes, You have been with me from birth; from my mother's womb You have cared for me.
No wonder I am always praising You!
My life is an example to many, because You have been my strength and protection.
That is why I can never stop praising You;
I declare Your glory all day long.

This past year has been a hard one, if I am honest. BUT, it has brought me closer to God than I have ever been before (and I trusted Jesus as my Savior when I was 5, so we are talking 25 years of knowing Him!). Through our trials, God has been my hope and my strength. And I pray that He has used our difficulties to show His power and goodness. I pray that my story has been for His glory (as we say at DC). One thing I know, the only way that I have been able to come through this valley is because God has been at my side every step of the way. And for that reason, even in the midst of our pain and grief, I have honestly been able to praise God. Like the song goes, "He gives and takes away, but I will choose to say, 'Blessed be the name of the Lord.' Though there is pain in the offering, Blessed be Your name."

David reflects on this concept just a few verses later:
Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
You have done such wonderful things.
Who can compare with You, O God?
You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
BUT You will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.

I can't get over how God's Word has been speaking to me right where I am at, reminding me of exactly what I need to hear. I am amazed at how God knows every single little detail of my life and cares enough to interact with me on such a personal level. He is the Creator of the universe, sustaining His immense creation every single day. He alone keeps the zillions of stars in place and knows all their names. He alone provides food for the animals, from the lions on the African Sahara to the penguins in Antarctica to the kangaroos on the Australian outback. He knows when a tiny sparrow falls to the ground. How much more does He love me?! I am blown away!

I am doing a Bible study when some of the women at church and once again, God knew this is just what I needed. It's called "Stepping Up" and as usual, Beth Moore is an excellent teacher. She is leading us through the Psalms of Assent, and God is really hitting home that I am on a journey, one that leads me closer and closer to Him every step of the way. I might have to go uphill at times or through a dark valley or make my way over rocky terrain, but any difficulties along the way are SO worth reaching my end destination: God Himself!

So I will end with David's words that have become mine as well:
Be to me a protecting rock of safety, where I am always welcome.
Give the order to save me,
for You are my rock and my fortress.

And then my life verses from Psalm 62:
I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me (not even Satan).
O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.

Bring on the late twenties! May they bring me all the closer to my God. May I use them to boldly proclaim the faithfulness and goodness of my Lord, my Savior, my Friend, my Jesus.

How fitting, we are on a journey, a path God has laid out and prepared for us.

May we look toward the Light and may His face shine upon us as we follow hard after Him.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Coralyn is 17 months old today! How did that happen? :)

Last Thursday I was talking with two good friends (Jeanne Hewitt and Amy Sellars) about our kiddos. Amy has a little girl who is 18 months old and a son who is 3 months. Her daughter looked very, very much like her daddy when she was born, but is starting to look a little more like Amy now. Her son also resembles his daddy, but I personally think he looks more like his mom at this stage than his sister did. It's funny how kiddos seem to take after their "opposite" parent. Coralyn certainly has her daddy's face. Several times when I have been in the store with Coralyn (Lawrence not with us), people who I don't know (but who know Lawrence) come up to us and say, "Oh yeah, that's Lawrence's little girl." Yes, she has my hair, but everything else is Lawrence.

Jeanne's son and daughter are all grown up, so I don't know who they resembled as babies, but that wasn't really the point of our conversation anyway...

Amy was saying how even though we had no idea what our children would look like, now that they are here, we take for granted how they look. Of course they look like that, that's how they're supposed to look. That's who they are! How else would they look? If they were different, they wouldn't be them. I got to thinking about how God carefully designed each and every one of us, intricately weaving us together so that we are just the people He wants us to be. We look exactly as He planned. He sees us and thinks, of course that is how they look. That's who we are, because of Him!

I added that I feel like I have also known Coralyn my whole life. Life before her kind of seems to float back in my memory. I know that I had a life before her, and remember those times, but now that she is in our lives, I don't know what we would do without her. Now that she is such a huge part of our lives, our lives would be incomplete without her.

Jeanne brought another dimension to the conversation when she mentioned the first time she cuddled with her daughter. At that moment, when she snuggled with her baby girl, she realized that she was holding the person who would be her best friend for life. How awesome is that? I know that Jeanne and her daughter are extremely close. I pray that as Coralyn grows up, we will be friends. I know that I will have to discipline her and that she won't always like me. I probably won't be the very first person she comes to with every single thing, but I sure hope she does come to me and shares her secrets with me and asks me for advice. Ever since I found out we were having a girl, I have prayed for a close relationship with my daughter. I look forward to spending time with her no matter what we are doing: playing with her in the backyard, taking her to sports games, having coffee with her (when she's older), helping her study, traveling and taking lots of pictures with her, and much more. I pray that as we spend time together, we will share a deep love. I pray we are friends, best friends even. And if I can be as cool of a mom as Jeanne that would be pretty cool too! :)

With all that said, my baby girl is growing up, FAST! I like that she is growing up and able to do more things for herself. Though some of her accomplishments, like turning over an empty laundry basket, scooting it over to our bed, and using it as a stair to climb up on the bed all by herself, do scare me. I have to be more alert than ever! Part of me wants to keep Coralyn little forever, but then I wouldn't get to take her to kindergarten, or watch her perform in a school play, or cheer her on in Biddy Ball, or help her fill out college applications, or celebrate with her when she gets an engagement ring, or go wedding dress shopping with her. I look forward to every single moment I have with my "little" girl. Every day moments like watching her use a spoon to eat her breakfast or having her sit in my lap to read a book or hearing her laugh on the swing. It's these "regular, normal" things that build a strong relationship with my daughter. I am so thankful that we have already shared so many memories, and I pray that we get to make many, many, many more together.

I know it's only been 17 months since Coralyn entered my world (well really 26 months if you count the time she was inside me), but she has turned my life upside down in that short time. I love her so very much and am blessed beyond measure to be her mama.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why, Why, Why?

If I had a penny for every time Carson (my almost 3 year old daycare kiddo) asked me "Why?" throughout the day, I would be a millionaire. Well, maybe not a millionaire, but I would be well on my way!

"Why is Coralyn eating breakfast?" "Why is Coralyn sitting on the potty?" "Why are you cleaning that?" "Why is it dirty?" "Why did T-Bone (our cat) go downstairs?" "Why does T-Bone what to go outside?" "Why did Cocoa's Grammy leave her shoes here?" "Why did Cocoa's Daddy go to work?" "Why are you cutting the paper?" "Why did you shut the door?" "Why can't we go outside?" "Why is that hot?" "Why are you making bread for later?" "Why isn't Emma here today?" "Why is she at home with her Daddy?" "Why is Aaron gone?" "Why is he at school?" "Why are we going to the library?" "Why are we going to put the food out for the birds?" "Why aren't the birds coming to eat yet?" "Why are the dogs barking?" "Why are they talking to each other?"

I think you get the idea :)

I don't want to quench a curious spirit and really do believe that "why?" can be a great question most of the time and lead to some great teaching moments. BUT, after about the 50th "Why?" in 2 minutes, I am ready to be done with curiosity and teachable moments. I am done trying to truly answer the question or give yet another explanation. "Because I said so," or "That's just the way things are" are much more typical responses. And around "Why?" number 378, I end up telling Carson, "All done! No more asking 'why?'!"

The worst is when the answer to "Why?" is totally obvious and Carson already knows the answer. Or I just told him the answer to the exact same question 6 seconds ago. At that point I want to remove "why" from the English language, or at least Carson's vocabulary.

As I was getting frustrated with Carson's endless "Why's" I got to thinking about how often I ask God "Why?" How I want an answer, expect one really. I don't just ask one time either. I keep on asking, again and again, day after day after day. I wonder if God feels like I am pestering Him or if I annoy Him at times. I wonder if He thinks, "Great, here comes Sarah again. I bet she wants to know why." I wonder how He responds when I have asked "Why?" for the 4,592nd time. I hope He doesn't get as frustrated with me as I do with Carson.

So, I am left with 2 choices. Realizing how annoying "Why?" can become, I could stop asking God "Why" all together. Or, if I am expecting God to be patient with me, no matter how many times I ask "Why?" I should probably show that same patience to Carson.

Seeing as how we are supposed to go to God with our hearts open and share our deepest feelings with Him, I don't think eliminating "Why" from my prayer life is a viable option. That leaves me with learning how to be patient, even after the 217th "Why?" in just 10 minutes.

That leaves me appreciating God's extreme love and patience for me!

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