Sunday, April 14, 2013

Living Hope

My very cute 3 year old looks at me and rolls his eyes as he mutters, ‘whatever’ under his breath.  You would have thought I had asked him to give away all of his toys instead of pick up the napkin he dropped on the floor.  I freeze. I know that I need to address this…but how. 

Once again, I am a deer caught in the headlights of parenting.  So many times during the day I find myself at a loss for how to raise this spunky child well.  How do I explain grace to a 3 year old? How do I get to the heart issues and not just get him to obey?  How do I tell him more about  Have I pra.yed enough for him and his sister today?  I find myself overwhelmed most days.  Dismayed that the tantrums (on both of our parts occasionally) continue and we feel like communication is falling on deaf little ears. 

I so desperately want my babies to know and love Him, but many days I stumble through my own faith and doubt that I am passing much on.  It is times like this that discouragement sets in and my reading goes into overdrive.  I pour over books, pr.ay for insight and wisdom to stick. We plead with God to give us wisdom in our daily lives and interactions with the precious ones entrusted to us.

 Today 1 Peter 1 struck me.  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given u a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in Heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation is revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”  

Living hope.  This is what I have. And this is what God is working in the lives of my little ones, even though my attempts are feeble. It was such a reminder of what my Heavenly Father has been speaking to me in these months – that He is infusing hope into every part of my life. His hope is what nurtures my children along. It is what nurtures me along.  I am so thankful for that reminder in these days where it feels like I am swimming upstream. 

So once again, here’s to hope…that God is working in spite of me.  That He is moving in mighty ways in my life and the lives of my family.  He is infusing hope in dark places and His light will shine.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Here's To Hope

I am not a big resolutions person…you could have guessed that by the fact that I haven’t blogged in forever and have told myself that I want to do more blogging this year.  My husband loves my lack of follow through…he adores it.  It usually works this way:  I get a great idea and start it. I fizzle out about halfway through the project and then he graciously comes along and finishes it – mainly because he can’t handle to see it sit.  I like the idea of coming up with resolutions, filling out those forms with hopeful answers…and that is usually as far as I get.  So, more years than not, I come up with themes for my life, goals, resolutions…and forget them a few weeks in.

But this year God is placing a theme in my life that I just can’t quite shake.  Again and again, He keeps bringing the theme of Hope back into my life. 

I’ll be honest and say that it is easy for me to lean toward despair instead of hope. I mean really, look at where we live and tell me how in the world I am supposed to find hope in this madness? But I really feel like that is the challenge God has given me this year. 

At the beginning of the year I was looking at statistics on the website of the WHO (World Health Organization). I saw that this country we live in had moved down in the ranks of having the highest infant mortality rate in the world…which is a good thing. But I found myself miffed.  Those stinking African countries that just keep getting worse and worse were moving to the top of the list! This was not okay with me. 

I had to stop and check myself.  Over the next few weeks as I examined my heart, I found that the hardness and hopelessness and despair of this place had become a thing of bragging rights for me.  I mean, if I can live and survive and raise my family well in this pit, then I am somebody, right?  Hero status is a lot easier to attain at chu.rches back home when you can tell horror stories.  When was the last time you oohed and ahhed over a story from a worker in France where life is pretty cushy?  That is my point. 

I thought back to a conversation I had witnessed a few years ago. Two women (stay at home moms) who work for our organization were basically having a brag contest. They were subtly striving to win the title of who had been closer to our friends who have been murdered in this country. They went back and forth recounting all of the occasions that they had talked with these people, had supper with them, seen them on the street, breathed the same air, etc. It was ridiculous. I walked away feeling sad for them that their identity was wrapped up in this.  

As I sat bemoaning the (slowly) improving state of this country, I thought back to my friends. I realized how sad it was that my identity had become so wrapped up in the suffering and anguish of people. I want to see people as treasures and full of deep potential for good rather than statistics of despair.  

Around the time that God was working on my heart about this, I also began to hear many stories of hope and positive things that God was doing. People He was changing, lives He was touching, healings, miracles, restoration.  And God brought this word hope.  That verse, “see I am doing a new thing” has really resonated with me.  God has been faithful to give me some beautiful glimpses of what He is doing in this place and I am so thankful for that. 

So this year, that is my plan, to stick with hope.  I am excited to see how God keeps bringing stories of hope and His faithfulness to me. I smile a little each time as I stand in awe of His goodness. It is easy for me to forget what He is doing here, but He is making it glaringly obvious and I rejoice in that. 

So, here’s to hope!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Baby Zar - Catching Up

So, I have good intentions that don't always (usually don't) materialize in the fantastic things the could be.  I am sad that I don't keep up with my kids more - writing monthly updates about them, writing letters to them, writing down every milestone they reach.  If I am honest, I am doing good to keep them fed and clothed and breathing most days. And I don't buy into the whole 'the universe revolved around my kid' thing anyway. But...I realize that I have fantastic kids and should share more about them.

The night before Baby Zar was born - a bike ride and mexican food worked wonders for kicking labor into gear!

JUNE - She is here! After much waiting and longing and praying - this precious girl joined our family.  It was love at first sight and we feel so honored to be her momma and daddy.  Born very quickly in the car, Baby Zar surprised us with her beauty and grace.

Brand new...I couldn't stop kissing those cheeks!

Snuggles with Big Brother...he was smitten

She slept a lot. I stared a lot

 JULY - 1 Month - Baby Zar took her first big road trip, saw her first parade, met lots of family and friends and just blessed us in general.
Enjoying the early morning light...the girl had such sweet expressions when she was a wee one

Baby Zar and Ma (my Grandma). She couldn't get enough of Baby Zar and it was so special to see them together

AUGUST - 2 Months  We enjoyed traveling, and exploring and the beauty of summer.  We spent a lot of time with family and loved watching our kids change and grow.  Baby Zar continued to mellow out and we continued to fall in love with her more and more.

Relaxing under the big tree in our backyard...on my baby blanket

Cutie patootie

SEPTEMBER - 3 Months  Baby Zar became more alert and fun.  She took her first trip out west to Wyoming to my parents' house. She started 'talking' more and became so fun!
Such a pretty little thing
She (just like her big bro) loves her Uncle Tate!

Enjoying a fall evening

OCTOBER - 4 months - Baby Zar and big brother became good friends.  We had family photos taken and said goodbye to family and friends.


The file on this is funny...but you get the idea. Baby Zar was so skinny still...A.P. said last night that she reminds him of an alien in this photo! :)

NOVEMBER - 5 months - Baby Zar took her first international plane trip (out of the womb) and did great.  She visited Dubai, moved to this crazy country, and started to develop more and more of a personality
Loving the mall after being cooped up in the plane for so long
Passed out in Dubai after all that travel. This store suits her... 
I still can't look at this photo without cracking up. These two are hilarious!

DECEMBER - 6 Months - Baby Zar celebrated her first Christmas, Started eating more food, met new friends and became a fashion icon.

Modeling one of her swimsuits in preparation for vacation

Enjoying being clean after a bath

JANUARY - 7 Months - Baby Zar went crazy over the walker that A.P. brought home and loved being mobile.  She tried new foods, learned to sleep better and discovered how much fun her brother was.
The girl loves hats!

The lady who worked in our house in Maz...Baby Zar was crazy about her

Baby Zar spent many chilly winter mornings looking like makes me smile.

FEBRUARY - 8 Months
Baby Zar spent her 8th month of life in Thailand...poor thing.  Actually she wasn't such a fan of having her schedule thrown off, but was a good sport as we enjoyed the beauty of that place. She explored new places and new food. She wooed everyone at the meetings we attended and Thai's swooned over her blue eyes and beautiful smile.
Experiencing the ocean for the first time.  She was a BIG fan! A few minutes after this, she fell asleep in my arms while I was waist deep in the water. 

Baby Zar quickly followed Little t's lead and loved wearing only a diaper on the warm days in Thailand

Enjoying a break in the stroller while we visited the circus

MARCH - 9 Months
Baby Zar exploded in the development department this month...much more vocal (saying Dadda and Te-ta for the men in her life, saying night night, and general babble) moving everywhere, waving to everyone, social as all get out

Wearing a pretty bow to celebrate Daddy's birthday

She scooted over to say hello - my fave jammies of her

Chilling in her diaper and all smiles for Daddy who walked through the door

Sweet baby on her 9 mo birthday
APRIL - 10 Months! Man this girl is busy! Trying to decide whether it is worth it to crawl - she has taken a few inches forward on her hands and knees.  She would much rather stand and loves to let go of whatever she is hanging onto.  She is so friendly and happy. Waves hello when we turn a computer on (because of talking on Skype) asks to be put down for naps (says nigh nigh and lays her head on her shoulder), loves 'wrestling' with her brother and is getting into movies. She says Ta Ta Ta as she points to everything, loves to wear hats, eat naan, play pica boo, and put on necklaces. She is such a sweet ray of sunshine and we are so thankful for her!
She put her necklace on herself

Tickles from Daddy - I was trying to capture her (8!!!) teeth in a photo, but have still not been successful

10 Months old today! We love you sweet girl!