Monday, November 9, 2015

Babies Don't Keep

I was in the middle of preparing dinner. The oven was preheating, food processor whirring, and skillet sizzling when I heard the disturbance. My little Munchkin had been peacefully napping...until he woke up screaming. This wasn't the usual "I'm awake, come get me!" cry/scream that I hear when he's ready to be rescued from the crib. No, this was the blood-curdling, "something must be wrong" scream of a hurt or frightened little one. I made sure my burners were off before swooping in and scooping him up in my arms. He snuggled in and held on tight as his cries subsided. He was still tense but as I held him and rocked him, his breathing slowed and he relaxed.

We stayed like that for a long time. His arms stayed firmly around my neck as I snuggled him and rocked in the glider. I thanked God in those moments that I hadn't made it any further in preparing dinner as I didn't want an oven timer to interrupt this quiet moment. He's bigger than he used to be and I realize he won't always want to snuggle. Even now, he can get wrapped up in playing and will try to squirm away if I scoop him up for a hug when he wants to be down and on the move. So I cherished this time of comforting my boy and providing the safety he needed to snuggle and relax while he slowly awoke from his nap. The last line from this poem kept running through my head as I sat there. Dinner could be late and playing could wait, but rocking my baby right then was the most important thing in the world.

 "Babies Don’t Keep"

Author: Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Joy He Carries

Most of us know going into parenthood that we will be teaching our children so many things. How to walk, talk, manners, potty training, reading, driving a car... You get the idea. We also realize that our kids will probably teach us a few things as well, like how to function on minimal sleep, treat a variety of unidentifiable stains, how to hide veggies in food, and the best places to stash treats. We learn what unconditional love looks like and find out just how fiercely protective we can be. But there were things I didn't expect to learn too, things that God has shown me through my son.

Munchkin LOVES music! It is rare that we don't have the radio on at home when he's awake. Thank goodness for our awesome local Christian radio station that has minimal interruptions! I will often catch him clapping or bouncing along to the beat, whether it's music on the radio or the songs his toys play. If I forget to turn on the radio in the car, he will often protest until I remember to do so. But one of his favorite places to experience music is in our church worship service.

Each Sunday, we keep him with us in service until the sermon starts. We've pretty much done this since he was born. As soon as the first song starts, he is hooked. He bounces, claps, waves his arms, kicks his legs, and occasionally squeals in his version of singing along with the praise team. I have had many people tell me how much they enjoy watching him enjoy the music. He has such JOY!! 

One time, while watching him, I began to wonder where my joy had gone. I saw my boy and wanted God to see the same joy in my worship that I saw in his. I think so many of us simply go through the motions on a Sunday morning when it comes to worship for whatever reason. Maybe we're tired, the music is not quite our taste, we had a fight on the way to church, etc...pick your reason. But if God is the source of my joy and he never changes, my circumstances are not to blame for my lack of joy but rather my own choices. No, that doesn't mean I'll always be happy and never sorrowful, but worship is about the one being worshiped and that is why I can still have joy.

So now, maybe I sing a little louder and clap a little more freely. Maybe I bounce and sway with my son a little more and let my circumstances fall where they may. After all, God's in control, right? If I, imperfect though I may be, enjoy watching my child express joy, I want God to have that same enjoyment when I offer up my worship.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Book Review: Diary of a Jackwagon

In "Diary of a Jackwagon", popular Christian comedian Tim Hawkins shares his hilarious perspective on life in the 21st century. This is a wide-ranging compilation of his comedy inspiration covering everything from family, culture, and music to church, parenting, and education.

I greatly enjoyed this book. I have been a fan of Tim Hawkins for awhile and it was fun to not only see new material unearthed from his comedy journal, but also to see familiar bits fleshed out and learn their origins. There were some good laughs and it was nice to read something light and enjoyable. It was like being able to attend one of his shows whenever I wanted!

One of the only things with the book is it feels very disjointed at times with each chapter being on a different topic. Considering the type of book though, it is almost to be expected. For those unfamiliar with Tim's comedy, this might not be the best introduction to his work. Might I recommend checking out his YouTube channel? :) You can find it here. Just be prepared for some laughter!

Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 stars!

Happy Reading! Soli Deo Gloria,

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Book review: Henry Hodges Needs a Friend by Andy Andrews

"Henry Hodges Needs a Friend" by Andy Andrews is a fun children's book that will entertain a wide variety of young children with its rhymes and illustrations, though its intended message may miss the mark a little. Henry is a lonely, little boy whose parents decide to help by finding him a pet. His imagination runs wild as he imagines what kind of "one-of-a-kind" pet his parents have in mind. A trip to the shelter later, we meet Hap and they live happily ever after.

The illustrations, imagination, and rhyming lilt of this book are all enjoyable and I had fun reading it to my son. However, the implications of the story never quite sat right with me. First, Henry really has no friends that are willing to make the drive down his long, dead-end street to see him? Just because friends don't live nearby doesn't mean you don't have friends. Also, it just seems wrong to me to imply that a pet can take the place of a human friend. I'm glad to see adopting pets from the shelter promoted but there's something to be said also of learning to overcome our loneliness and boredom and learn to be a friend and make friends.

Saying that Henry needed his "one-of-a-kind" friend just like the reader's friends need them makes me feel like I'm being compared to a dog. So while the composition and illustration of this book is bright and engaging, I think I'll be taking the opportunity to discuss the issues further when we read this book in the future.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Stockholm Motherhood

Wikipedia defines "Stockholm syndrome" as this:
"Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors."

I think there is just a little bit of Stockholm syndrome involved in mothering. Yes, the majority of what we put ourselves through to raise our little ones and minister to our families is because of how much we love them. Love is how we can change the fifth blowout diaper of the day, clean up the highchair for the umpteenth time, and snuggle our little ones when the thermometer reads 101°. In my experience though, there are times when something else seems to be at play.

Case in point: several months ago (probably 5-6 months at this point, but it's taken me awhile to write this), there was one evening where Little Man screamed his head off the entire time I was preparing dinner. He had a clean diaper and was not hurt, just wanting to be held at a time when I was unable to and Daddy wasn't home from work yet to play with him. So I put him in his jumper where he could see me in the kitchen and went about my business. Even though I knew I was doing something totally reasonable and ultimately for my son's good by not giving in to his demands, it was SO. HARD. He can get LOUD! And part of my momma heart wants to rush over and sweep him up, but the wife and homemaker part of me knows that I needed to tend to other matters at the moment. And eventually, he settled down a little and only protested his imprisonment occasionally until Daddy got home and rescued him.

Later that evening, I was going to run out to deliver some boxes to friends that were moving and then run a quick errand. Little Man was getting his bath so I laid everything out that my husband would need to get him ready for bed. As I prepared to leave, I kissed my freshly washed babe and said goodnight. That's when the tears started. I didn't want to leave! Despite being in capable hands, my little munchkin that had terrorized me just a few hours previously was holding sway, not only over my emotions, but seemingly my logic as well!

Please don't misunderstand. I love my son dearly. And in not saying every new mother feels this way. But I think anyone will tell you that the first year of your child's life is HARD and that it doesn't get easier really, just challenging in different ways. Especially with a first child, there is a significant amount of adjustment and sacrifice to the point where I felt I was losing part of myself.

I'm slowly learning to not feel guilty about leaving him for the occasional date night or errands, to not feel like I'm abandoning him even when he hasn't had a difficult day. He now has a few babysitters that he absolutely adores and who love him too and for that I'm extremely grateful. At almost one year old now, I feel like I'm finally discovering more of the new me and seeing that she does still have glimpses of the old woman in her. Thankfully, God is not finished with me yet! Whenever I feel trapped, I know I can run into his faithful arms and remember who is really in control.

Philippians 1:6 ESV
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

Soli Deo Gloria,