Monday, December 20, 2010

December 17th

One year ago today
I was afraid
I prayed for peace all day
As I pushed and strained
When you were born
The strangest thing
I thought I loved you before
But the moment I saw you
I felt such a deep, shocking
I knew that a new chamber
In my heart had appeared
That I’d never felt before

One year ago today
Everything changed
You brought such a newness
Your first smile felt like
A proclamation of light
Into the darkness of our world
The strangest thing
I couldn’t have foreseen
How important you would be to me
And I know now what they mean
When they say that motherhood
Is the hardest and best job

One year ago today
Your little life ameliorated mine
You brought such sunshine
Your first laugh sounded like
The most beautiful music
Into my soul
The strangest thing
Nothing I used to think was funny
Compares to how funny you are
You are a little man
In all your antics and mannerisms
I see your daddy in you

One year ago today
I was blessed
With the gift of a beautiful son
The first time you kissed me
My heart melted and I knew
No matter where you go
Or what you do
I will always love and remember you
Of my heart
Son of my soul
Happy birthday to my little love

Monday, December 6, 2010

Crock Pot Corn Chowder

1 onion, chopped and sautéed until tender
3 cans sweet corn (or 2 bags frozen corn)
3 red potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
2 slices bacon, crisped and crumbled (optional)
1 32oz. carton chicken broth
¾ cup milk or half and half
¼ cup cornstarch

Put first five ingredients in crock pot.  Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 10-12 hours.  During last half-hour of cooking, stir cornstarch into milk or half and half; add to crock pot to thicken.

*** I should add a few notes to these recipes.  The corn starch in all my crock pot recipes really is optional.  I thicken my recipes because my husband prefers it that way.  Also, I do not like a lot of salt and find that the broths make the recipes salty enough for ME, however, my husband always adds salt to his dish so it might be a good idea to add a teaspoon of salt or so to the pot before cooking.  Again, totally optional.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Crock Pot Beef Stew

1 lb stew beef, cut into bite-size pieces
2 or 3 baking potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups baby carrots
1 can French onion soup OR one pkg French onion soup mix
1 32oz. carton of beef broth or stock
1 bay leaf

Put beef, potatoes, carrots, bay leaf and broth in crock pot.  Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 10-12 hours.  Optional: To thicken the stew, mix corn starch into milk or water and add to crock pot for the last 20-30 minutes of cooking.

Crock Pot Potato Soup

2 lbs red potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup baby carrots, cut in halves or thirds
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 32oz. carton of chicken broth or stock
¾ cup milk
¼ cup corn starch

Saute onion in 1 tbsp butter until tender.  Put onion, potatoes, carrots, celery and broth in crock pot.  Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 10-12 hours.  Mix corn starch into milk; add to crock pot the last half hour. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Scents of Motherhood

There are some things that you can never forget, and one of those things are certain smells.  Have you ever caught a whiff of something and been taken back in time to something in your past?  There is a certain perfume that I wore when I was dating my husband and when I smell it, the floodgate of memories pours over me.  There are also smells that I wish I could forget…

I’ve noticed lots of different scents this past year.  My son was born in December of last year, so we are about to celebrate his first birthday.  There have been lots of smells associated with becoming a mom.  First, there is the scent of Dreft detergent.  That’s a pleasant smell.  Then there’s the smell of baby lotions and shampoos and powders and bubble bath and all of the squeaky clean smells.  I just love to sniff my son’s freshly washed hair.  It makes me want to gobble him up, or at least kiss him fifteen thousand times.

Another smell I’ve become familiar with is the wood scent of his clothes coming out of his pine chest of drawers.  It’s a pungent odor, but not unpleasant.  This was something new at first, but now it is completely recognizable to me.  Anytime I smell that particular scent in the future I’ll be taken back to his first year.

The smells of motherhood can be overpowering at times.  I doubt I’ll forget the smell of spitup anytime soon.  When I walk into his room every morning, the overwhelming smell is urine.  This morning, I picked up my son and was smacked in the face with the scent of a freshly dirtied diaper.  This makes most people groan, but I gladly change his diaper no matter how much it makes me want to gag.  One reason for this is that I just remind myself that there are lots of women in the world who only wish they had a baby whose diaper they’d be privileged to change.  (YES, it is a privilege to change a baby’s diaper!  Jesus says in Matt. 18:5 that whatever we do for the “lease of these” we do for Him--- He counts service to small children as service unto Himself.) 

I am so eternally grateful for the wonderful gift of my son and all of the scents and smells that come with him.  I know in the coming years he’ll emit lots of new smells (some good, but mostly probably not so pleasant!), and I will rejoice in each one because it will mean that he is a part of my life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Small Things

I was thinking today that there are a lot of small things that make me very happy.  I am grateful for God for…

  • My Dr. Grip ink pen.  It’s pink, and it makes me VERY happy when I get to write with it.  It writes so smoothly because it has gel ink, and the ink is very black.  It’s a fat pen with a great rubber grip that helps my hand not get tired when I’m writing long letters.  (Yes, I still write old-fashioned letters!  And send them in the mail!)
  • My small whisk.  It was a wedding present, and when I think about all of the wedding presents I received, it is my second favorite.  (Right behind my Kitchenaid mixer.)  It is an 8-inch whisk with a black rubber handle and I use it frequently.  It makes me happy because it’s JUST the right size.  Bigger whisks feel clumsy in my hands.  I whisk everything with my small whisk and rarely use my big one.
  • My pocket ESV Bible.  It has a brown leather cover and crinkly pages.  My mom gave it to me for my birthday a few years ago, and it makes me happy despite its very small print. 
  • Undies with stretchy lace waist bands.  This prevents the “sausaging” effect.  ‘Nuff said.
  •  Liquid eye liner.  I never can get an eyeliner pencil to look just right.  I’m not saying that my eye liner looks especially good, but it’s definitely better than when I use a pencil!  (Now to find the perfect mascara…)
  • Little boys’ socks.  Two nights ago, my Little One was sitting on the floor and he pulled off his socks.  The next morning, his socks were still sitting where he’d left them, and it brought tears to my eyes just seeing those sweet little socks sitting there.  I almost took a picture of them (now I wish I had so I could post it here), but then I mentally made fun of myself for being so incredibly sentimental.  I know that he is going to grow up so fast, and I will look back on these moments wistfully.  I am trying ever so hard to enjoy them RIGHT NOW because our lives are a whisper and a vapor and before I know it he will be a man and his wife will be picking up his socks in my place.  It just made me inexplicably happy to see his little socks sitting there where he’d left them.  Small things.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Today I had to discipline my son.

He has recently started doing two things that are very bad; biting and throwing a fit when he doesn't get his way.  I don't think he totally understands that when he bites someone it hurts, but he certainly does understand that he's angry when he throws a fit!  Well, today he started to throw a fit when I took something away from him.  When I say that he "threw a fit," I mean that he started screaming.  So, I flicked his little lips and said, "no fits!"  As soon as I did this, he knew that he was in trouble.  His big blue eyes filled with tears and he cried as if his heart was breaking.  This melted my heart and I hugged him immediately and told him how much I love him. 

A little bit later, I was rocking him in the rocking chair before nap time and he bit my arm.  When he does this I really think he's being playful and affectionate.  It makes me think of Tinkerbell giving Peter a "loving bite" on his chin.  However, this affection is somewhat painful because his six (or seven!) little teeth are SHARP!  So when he bit me, I flicked his lips again (this "flick" is actually very gentle; it's just enough to let him know that it's not okay) and told him, "no biting!"  Again, his big blue eyes filled with tears and he sobbed as if his heart was broken.  We were already sitting in the rocking chair, and I could suddenly feel his sadness deep in my bones and it brought tears to my eyes.  Of course, I know that it is my privilege and honor to teach my son obedience to God and kindness to others, so it is my duty to discipline him when he is naughty.  Still, this is no easy task when I know the discipline will hurt his feelings!  I hugged him tightly to me and told him that I love him so much, but that he has to learn not to bite.  Soon he calmed down and we snuggled for a while until he fell asleep.

These moments are some that I know I will never forget.  How can a mother forget teaching her child what "no" means?  How can a mother forget the deep hurt that fills her heart when her child is hurt?  I can only imagine that these empathetic feelings will grow stronger and stronger as he gets older.

I can't help but think of my Heavenly Father.  If my small son's tears hurt my heart that much, how much more then do my tears hurt Him?  I'm sure He loves me far more than I love my son; He sacrificed His son for me, after all!  Therefore, He must hurt for me when I hurt. What a thought!

Monday, October 25, 2010


With tears in her blue eyes, she said,
“It’s broken, Daddy!  I don’t know how to fix it.”
As she held the fragile thing out to him,
He could see the pain it had caused her.
His dark eyes were filled with compassion
He held out his hands to her and she gave it to him.
He looked at it carefully, running his thumb across the edges.
“Do you see this?” He asked softly.  Those eyes
Were intently watching her as she moved in closer.
“This sharpness is what severed it in the beginning.”
As he spoke, he showed her a small edge protruding
Sharper than any knife she’d ever seen.
Her eyes widened and her face flushed.
He continued, “It seems to have gotten worse since then.”
He paused. “Sometimes these things cannot be fixed.”
She took a deep breath and waited
For his solution.  His eyes were piercing
As he said, “You will need to take care of that
Before anything else can be repaired.”
She sighed and looked down.  This
Would be much harder than she’d thought.
“I should have brought this to you sooner.”
She couldn’t stop the tears from flowing down.
She felt her father wrap his arms around her as she cried.
“My child, “ he said, “you know that I love you.
I understand that you cannot be perfect.”
Her shoulders shook and a great weight was lifted.
She knew what she had to do, and now
She was prepared to do it.  He waited
And when she returned, she handed it back to him.
The sharp edge was still there, but it looked
As if she’d filed it down until it was quite dull.
“That hurt a lot, didn’t it?” he asked.  She nodded.
“It will never go back the way it was,” he smiled,
“Although sometimes I think it’s better afterwards.
There is some beauty in symmetry, but I like
All of the little differences that make you unique.”
She thought about this.  “We’re all so different.
Is that why?” His smile widened.  “Yes.”
He handed it back to her.  “Is that better?”
She turned it over and over in her hands, realizing
That although it wasn’t the same as it was before
It was beautiful in its own strange way.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Dear Pastor of the Church I Pass on My Way to Work Every Day,

Please note that when you spell "EVENING OF PRASE" incorrectly, it not only stresses me out, but makes me want to scream.  Also, you may be losing out on potential church members and/or converts because of this irresponsible lack of attention to detail.  Please, change your marquee message!


Monday, October 11, 2010


As a child I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit.
-Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

When I was sixteen I fell in love with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  Something about the language enraptured me.  The story reminded me of Beauty and the Beast, my favorite fairy tale.  Through the years, though, it has become much more to me than just a story.  To me, there are many life applications in this, my favorite novel.  The most recent has been the conviction that many of us (and myself in particular) fall into pride like the main characters.  To see what pride looks like, watch Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth.  They both exhibit pride (and prejudice!).  Mr. Darcy’s pride is apparent, whereas Elizabeth covers hers with laughter.  She pretends to be the “everywoman” and to eschew pretension, but she secretly thinks that her understanding is superior to everyone else’s.

We know what apparent pride looks like, but secret pride is hard to pinpoint.  We go to church and we say all of the right words.  We sing the songs and smile and shake hands and pretend to love everyone.  But when push comes to shove, we look down on those who are different from us.  Yes, even when they aren’t all that different!  We don’t truly love and accept others the way Christ loves and accepts us!  We don’t extend the same grace to others that we want (and need!) extended to us!  We think that we are superior in some way: “their marriage is unhappy;” “their children are unruly;” “their clothes aren’t just right;” “they never talk;” “they talk too much;” or whatever small thing that irks us. 
It is certainly not easy to love and accept others the way that we should, but that is what Christ has called us to do.

Of course, that is easier said than done, and I don’t have all of the answers to the “how.”  What I do have is the example of Christ: the One who walked and talked and supped with sinners just like me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Son...

You might be the mom of a boy if...

... you gasp when he passes gas and he thinks that's funny so he pushes out another toot and laughs at your face, then tries to push out another one.

... you scream when he pulls your hair and he thinks that's funny so he pulls your hair again and laughs.

... he whimpers from the other room and you find him stuck under a chair/bed/table/any big piece of furniture.

... you smack his hand when he touches something he's been told not to touch and he looks at you and laughs, then tries to touch it again.  (And you smack his hand until it's red but it doesn't seem to faze him at all.)

... you give him a toy and he throws it just so he can watch you pick it up again.

... you sing him your made-up song and he snuggles into your shoulder and goes right to sleep.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again ” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore. Heaven may encore the bird who laid an egg.”
-G.K. Chesterton

Do Not Give Up

Do not give up. Fight the good fight
For we know that despite heavy losses
The final battle will be won.
Do not give up.  Prove that the faith
You profess to possess truly
Is as strong as steel.
Do not give up. Live as a testament
To the fact that through Christ
All things can and shall be done
Do not give up. For the great reward
Shines brightly and you always said
It would be worth it in the end.
Do not give up.  Mirror the love
That covers the multitude of sins
That you committed of your own accord
Do not give up.  Extend the grace
You desperately need
to be extended to you
Do not give up.  For we know that all things
Work together for good and someday
We will all meet together in the clouds.
Do not give up.  He will give you strength
To be the example to me
That will help me not to give up.
Do not give up.


My son's name means victorious, and this is no accident.

I started out 2010 with a New Year's resolution to be victorious.  We know that we will ultimately be victorious when we are on the Lord's side, but sometimes we fail on a daily basis.  I want to have victory in my life over the things that attack me.  I want victory over insecurity, victory over pride, and victory over anger and bitterness.  I want victory for my son, victory in my marriage, victory over Satan's evil attacks against all the relationships in my life.  He wants to separate us from Christ AND each other, but I'm on to him!  I will hold onto Jesus and cling to His peace and trust in His name for my victory.

This is not always easy.  Let me rephrase that.  It is NEVER easy.  I know that He wants me to live a victorious life in Him, but I have to choose that victory.  I have to fight for that victory.  We are warriors, after all.  I hope it gets easier as time passes, but at this point in my life it is a daily, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute scene of hand-to-hand combat.  The sweat pours off me and my blade is hot from hitting my foes so frequently.  I have to keep my focus Heavenward in order to be victorious.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Little One

Sometimes there are words spinning in my head just itching to come out, but I haven't had the heart to release them in a long, long time.  That isn't normal for me, but I've come to know a new normal in the last two years and maybe normal isn't so great after all.  My sister has always told me how weird I am and I think she was right.

One theme that recurs in my head over and over and over again is this amazing state of motherhood.  I try not to be one of those moms who rhapsodizes about her child so much that it makes everyone around her sick.  I am fully aware that I am biased toward my son; I fully believe that there has never been nor ever will be a cuter little boy or a sweeter or more amazing one.  But I am also fully aware that every mom feels the same way and I'm okay with that.  In any case, I love my son wholly and unconditionally and radically.  I say radically because it surprised me just how much I loved him from the moment he was born, and I love him even more deeply today.  I was shocked by the depth of my feelings; I had no idea that I had this capacity for love.  I was surprised because I thought I already loved someone as much as one human can ever love another, and that love is for my baby's father.  I do love my husband trulymadlydeeply, but the love I have for our son is deep and beautiful and strong in a completely different way.  I recently read a mother describe it as discovering another chamber in your heart, and I think that explains it perfectly.

I've always been a romantic, so I don't blame you if the above paragraph makes you a little nauseous.  I told you the words were trying to get out... now they won't be flying around in my head, bumping into my skull.