My boys. My life.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Respect and offending vs living out faith

I'm just going to forewarn you if you choose to read this... this has been brewing on my heart for quite some time. It may ruffle some feathers. In fact, I kind of hope it does and I'm not going to apologize for it. Get that? Not. Going. To. Apologize... that's kind of the essence of what this is about!

I'm tired of living in a country/world that is so focused on not offending and disrespecting others. God sent Jesus to love and accept - I get that. But didn't He also leave His word for us to live by? I'm so tired of so many issues out there... be it gay rights, women's/abortion issues, God in schools, etc. Even that story from out east where there was a father/daughter dance and it was CANCELLED because someone complained. Someone complains about something and issues/policies change so as to not offend and disrespect. What's next? I alluded to the thought yesterday about voting in churches. When is that going to change? In God We Trust on money. So many things that have or will be changed because someone just might be offended.

I don't mean this to come across disrespectful but we as Christians have some responsibility in this. Are we going to turn luke-warm and stop standing up for what His word says? About what marriage is? About what sanctity of human life is? You can love and accept those who live in ways you don't agree. Jesus did that, and we need to follow that example! But that doesn't mean you turn your back on what the Bible says about those issues. Aren't we called to be set apart in this world? For our lives to look different? Aren't we called to carry a cross and be His hands and feet?

Are we as Christians overly concerned with offending and disrespecting others that we turn a blind eye and instead offend God and what His word says? Are we going to continue to let one little compromise follow another and diminish His word and His presence in this world? Are we going to continue to let the moral decline of this country continue down the path it has been going? Or are we going to do something about it?

If you aren't Christian, fine. But if you are... what are you living for? To earn favor of those in this world, or favor in His eyes? Whose cross are you carrying?

** Romans 12:2  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wish I Had Intervened....

This morning I took Ethan and Shane to the zoo. I was kind-of disturbed by something and now regret I didn't do more about it.

Ethan LOVES the stationary train there. He could play on it, probably for hours if we let him. He gets frustrated when other kids want turns, too. I feel like I sometimes am beating my head against the wall and feel like a broken record, always saying to him, "We have to share. We have to take turns." etc etc.

Well, while he was being rather patient waiting for his turn there was a boy and girl playing in Ethan's favorite part - the train engine. The girl, granted, was taking longer than her fair share of time in there. The boy, presumably her brother, was agitating her from in front of the the inside compartment - he was leaning in from the front window. That wasn't too bad, but it escalated. The boy continued to pick this battle, moving inside the train engine and hitting and biting at the girl. I looked around, wondering, where the heck is/are the parent(s)?

I looked around and found a lady, presumably their grandmother, off on the furthest away bench, talking on her cell phone. Once things escalated further to the children yelling and crying, she yelled over a few times to quit fighting. Rather than getting her butt off the bench and off the phone, and trying to actually do something about it. Ugh!

I know... it's not my place to judge, but come on. Kids at 3, 4, 5... whatever they were... don't always know how or make the best decision on how to interact with each other. They need adults/caregivers in their lives to guide them. I will be the first to admit, sometimes I want to zone out. But this was completely out of line and irresponsible.

I regret not doing anything (except for explaining when several children were involved that we need to take turns). The boy was smacking at other kids and I was not about to put up with that if he took a swing at my Ethan. I would have gone over there and had a talk with the kids' caregiver. But instead, I did nothing... and now I just pray that these kids have parents who are more into their children's lives than this grandmother was... today anyway. And that when I have an opportunity in the future to do the right thing, I would be quicker on my feet and go against my non-confrontational personality. Cuz it's sad to think there are kids in this world who need strangers to fight on their behalf.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Some Kindergarten Ramblings From Day #2

I want to try to do a better job of blogging, for my sake as much as anything. If others enjoy reading, then that's a bonus, but not priority. I'm doing this for me, and our kids, to try to remember moments in writing better. I do a good job, I think, of capturing moments on camera. Want to do a better job of writing. So here goes....

Just wanted to jot down some highlights of Bryce's first day of Kindergarten.

One of my proudest moments is him telling how he saw another child he knows alone on the playground. He said he stayed with him until this friend saw some of his new friends. Bryce could have just run off, but instead, he wanted to make sure his buddy was not alone.

These are the things that will matter in the long run. Grades are important, yes. But I'm sure many would agree that it's far more important to care for others. Be kind. Loving. Compassionate.

Ok... unrelated.... there are things I'm sad about with Bryce gone that I want to remember... I'm getting kinda Toy Story-ish here, but seeing his beloved bear my grandparents got him when he was born.. and some of his other favorites, laying on the floor where he left them, and outdoor toys he enjoys... makes me kinda sad. Like these toys are just waiting on him to come home and play.

Among the sad things also include missing the laughter of Bryce and Ethan in the van. Their nonstop conversation and laughing, and yes, occasional arguing and fighting. After taking Bryce to his second day of school today, Ethan cried once again the whole way home. It is a little hard to take how lost he seems without Bryce around. So much of Ethan's identity has been in his older, big and loud personality brother. It is GOLDEN to see Ethan find HIS voice again. Today we went to Toys-R-Us after Bryce went to school. There was a coupon for $5 off (any amount) good through today so seemed like a good opportunity to give Ethan something special to look forward to. The whole way there and back, he was constantly pointing things out, always saying, "Mommy, look...."  Cracked me up when on Coliseum he said, "Mommy, it's the United States of America flag." His speech is so proper - beyond his years-proper! It's surprising how much I failed to realize how much he was just wanting to be like Bryce. And how much less I could HEAR him when they're together. So even though it is sad for both me and Ethan that Bryce is around much less, this is becoming quite clear how important this transition is going to be for Ethan's development. I look forward to really focusing on him, especially once preschool starts.

We still need to share this news with some family members, but we are putting Shane in the 1s at our church preschool. We believe our reasoning for this is sound. Ethan has some struggles, along with being lost in the mix as the typical middle child. I first wanted his and Shane's preschool days to line up so I could reclaim some me-time and use the time to stay caught up with my business. Especially October-December, I quickly fall behind since it's the busiest time of year for me. However, the preschool days/times didn't jive up, so we found ourselves facing the decision of whether or not to still put Shane in. We decided to for some of the reasons stated above. Also, because it will be easier for me to get involved in Bryce's school year. Because of some challenges we have faced with Ethan's social development, I have refrained from doing certain things with the combo of Ethan and Shane. I look forward to being able to do things again, more easily anyway. And giving Ethan some 1:1 focus so we can further discover his identity and personality. :)

I haven't had a lot of 1:1 time with Ethan. So even though this new stage in Bryce's development is very bittersweet, there is definitely a sweetness being found in my 3-year-old. Shane, too, of course... but Ethan has so much to say and I just can't wait to hear what he'll tell me next!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday, 9/22

A while back I made an attempt to keep up two weekly blog posts. The busy-ness of life has gotten the best of me. I feel like a slacker, ha! Or perhaps it feels like we have been cruising along ordinary days and nothing has jumped out at me that you would find interesting. I feel compelled to write this morning, though. Thanks to some familiar faces yesterday.

Some friendships in life are tried and true, no matter what life brings. They stand the test of time. And of distance. The roots go deep. Yesterday we had the privilege of meeting two of our earliest friends as a married couple - a couple we were in small group with. We 'did life' with these people and have so many fond memories from when our paths crossed in time and location. When I close my eyes, I can still see us over at their house with the field across the road. I can see their kitchen and dining room. Even the lamp in their living room (not on purpose but we had the same set of lamps - we STILL have ours in our living room). I can smell food. I can hear the laughter. With my eyes shut, the memories are so vivid.

To back up a few paces, in case you didn't know this about us, after college Tim landed a job as an engineer at Cummins in Columbus, IN. He went there a semester before I did but once I finished college I joined him and we were married soon after. I can best describe our time in Columbus as fun, faith-filled, care-free, friendship-filled and lonely. Yes, all at the same time. It was such a time of transition for us. Learning how to be a married couple. Learning who 'we' were. In a town with no family, our friends became our day-to-day family, if that makes sense.

So a few months back when we learned two of our back-then family members would be in Fort Wayne for a few days we were excited. They had moved back to their home state of Texas a mere month or so after Bryce was born. They had a little boy they named Bryson (they call him 'Mav') a couple months before we had Bryce. They have since added two more to their family, as have we. But when they walked in the door at Cracker Barrel, we were all all-smiles. Even though so much had changed in our lives and theirs since we saw them last (4+ years ago), we were still all kinda the same, too. Still able to talk and laugh at just about anything. Sometimes it is challenging to carry on a conversation at a meal with kids in tow. We've experienced that plenty of times. So I wasn't sure what to expect with their five kids and our three. But the kids sat on each side of us parents so I sat next to Tami and Tim sat next to Trey. The kids were all mostly perfect. Thank you, Lord, for giving us well-behaved kiddos on this special day to catch up with our old friends.

Fort Wayne is home now and has been for some time. Maybe not the entire four years we have lived here. We moved up four years ago, late September and Tim started his job as an engineer at Parker Oct. 1, 2007. We have now been here longer than we had been in Columbus, but not by much. Fort Wayne is certainly home now (we feel pretty settled here now) but there will always be the Columbus connection ingrained in us. Our friendships we made there during our formative marriage years are tried and true and it's amazing when we have gone back to visit or we talk with friends from that time and place in our lives.... how quickly we pick up right where we left off. I was having a conversation yesterday with another tried-and-true, deeply-rooted friend in my life about how she and her husband and Tim and I had both lived in towns with no family before kids and how crazy-special those towns and friendships still are. We concluded that those years are our "good 'ole days." Nothing we would change now, nor would we go back to those times and places except to visit. But it's something that is forever a part of us and who we will always be. In fact, as I've mentioned, how our church family was our family. And the church pastor who married us... we named Shane's middle name after. We will forever be grateful for our Pastor Danny and all he taught us. Can't wait to visit Columbus again soon. We've wanted to for some time now again but I think yesterday definitely put the itch in us again.

Anyway, it was fun taking a step back in time for a couple hours yesterday. Suddenly it felt like the last four years had zipped by. And the Michael W. Smith song lyrics mean more: "Friends are friends forever, if the Lord's the Lord of them." We have our growing families but our friends are still our friends and will always be. Along with their fun southern accents!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday, 8/11

I have a lot to be thankful for this week. But being on my own, this may be short and sweet.
These newborn days have gone so smooth and I have it pretty together most days. I have Shane to thank for that. He is continuing to do long stretches of sleep at night and then going back to sleep til mid-morning. I have enough time to eat breakfast, shower, feed Bryce and Ethan and even a few odds and ends. Even photo editing. I can't believe how perfect he is. He really is. God has blessed us with the ideal newborn. He cries when gassy and during baths. But he is so patient and calm otherwise. I love his sweet personality already. After two high-strung, intense newborns and now toddler/preschooler, his quiet and calm demeanor is a breath of fresh air. I love Bryce and Ethan and their unique ways very much. But God knew I needed a laid back child for #3. And knew this Momma needs her sleep to feel sane, too. Thank you, Lord!
I love this candid of him. Taken Tuesday morning, 8/9, when I was on my own for the first longer stretch and thought Tim was going to be gone overnight. I was very thankful when the trip went well and he returned late that night. But even so, Shane's peaceful demeanor made the long day go smoother for me than had he been your 'typical' newborn.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thankful Thursday, 8/4

This week has been simply amazing! I have soooo much to be thankful for and hope I don't leave anything out. I want to remember this week for the rest of my life. I know we have to get back to the ole routine but I wish the week didn't have to end. :-) It's been such an incredible week for our family. We welcomed our son last Friday at 12:54 pm and took him home with us Sunday afternoon. He weighed in at a plump 9 lbs 11 oz and 20.5 inches. We are so thankful for his healthy arrival. Early pregnancy things were looking iffy with the cyst on his neck. But thankfully that cleared by his 18-week ultrasound. Then at birth he wasn't breathing when they laid him on me. He turned blue and remained inactive for a solid minute. The nurses (including a NICU nurse) reacted quickly and put a tube down his mouth and nose. After lots of gurgly, choking sounds he eventually started breathing and then was at peace in my arms.
Then there was our neighbor-friends who took such good care of Bryce and Ethan for the first 24 hours. We dropped them off Friday morning and the kids had a great time while there. From playing outside to letter-shaped pancakes Saturday morning... we are truly blessed to have Dan, Kelly and Oliver Krieg in our lives.
And then the boys were taken care of by my family. My parents and grandma had a great time with them Saturday morning until we got home. And Tim's family will be on their way to see us tomorrow. We are so blessed by our families!
Shane has been an awesome newborn! The first night he was up off and on but ever since he has consistently slept 6-6.5 hour stretches. He has spoiled his Mommy and Daddy. I hope we don't backslide. Ethan did well the first week (but often slept with us in our bed) and then backslid around week 2. But Shane is larger in size and has been such a calm, patient newborn. It's crazy to think he's already on a predictable schedule. All week he has ate and been in his crib by midnight. Slept til 6-6:30 am. Then goes back to sleep in his crib. Wakes up again around 9-9:30 to eat. Eats around lunchtime. Eats mid-afternoon. Eats before we have dinner. Mid-evening feeding around 8. And then eats again before bedtime. I feel like I gave birth to a 1-2 month old. To already be on such a set schedule. He's such a blessing!
Then add family time. It's been soooo nice having Tim home. This transition has been the best yet. And I hope I don't feel different when we're back to reality and I'm on my own. But honestly I think that part will go well, too. Not that I won't be looking forward to Tim walking in the door, but I feel like my confidence is higher right now. And the boys have done so well, too. They love their little brother.
Bryce has been at VBS all week, too. Our neighbor-friend has been taking her son and Bryce to it. These two boys are such good friends and have really enjoyed Bible School. And the timing has been a blessing to us. Not that things have been real overwhelming but we are trying to maintain the house. Bryce would be getting bored if he were here. So this has been a wonderful, positive outlet for him during the mornings this week.
And lastly, we've had three straight nights of meals from friends. And a couple more weeks of meals provided. That is such an awesome help to not have to worry about cooking during this time of transition.
I just feel so happy and joyful. My cup is full! No... it's overflowing!

Monday, August 1, 2011

What's In A Name?

Now that Shane is here, I thought I would explain the significance of each of our boys' names. Their first names are not after anyone - just names we like. However, the middle names are each meaningful to us.

We settled on Bryce for a boy name before even finding out he was going to be a boy back in 2007. And the middle name was a very easy choice for us. Tim's middle name is Douglas, which is also his dad's first name. Thus, Bryce Douglas.

Then when we were due with Ethan in 2009, we thought a great middle name for him would be his other grandpa's first name - my dad's name. Thus, Ethan James.

Obviously this pregnancy we did not know we were having a boy until he was born. But we knew the middle name would have to be significant no matter what we had. So there's a little story here to Shane's middle name. Tim and I were married in 2004 in Columbus, IN. We lived for several years in a town where our church friends were our family - at least our family away from family. We grew quite fond of our church and pastor, Danny. Thus, Shane Daniel. We thought this was an appropriate middle name of meaning for Shane, our third son. Since getting married is how "we" began.