Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursdays

We Need A Little Christmas

Jr is earning stickers on his “good choices chart” toward the goal of setting the Christmas decorations up for the season.  The kid loves him some Christmas decorations, so the incentive to make good choices and fill that chart is strong.

I am glad, and I am being very generous in rewarding those good choices, because I REALLY want him to get there.

Frankly in this family, to borrow from one of my favorite Broadway show-tunes: We need a little Christmas, right this very minute.

Actually, I think we need a Christmas explosion to  spread throughout this house – we need every reminder of the joy of this season, and why we celebrate it.  We need the togetherness, the songs, the warmth, and the reason to recall and be consumed by the love of a God who sent his son to be born in a barn and save the whole world.

The last few months have been kind of a lot.  Heck, the last year has been kind of a lot.  Good and bad, but very fast paced and intense.  I feel like we are all on overload – puzzle pieces that should fit together, but we are all turned just slightly in opposite directions or something.  A kiddo who is growing up fast and parents who are trying to help him navigate big kid joys and frustrations, with varying degrees of success.  New interests and activities and friends intertwining with the older ones, changing schedules, all whirling around each other.

Like I said, it’s been a lot.

Christmas always brings the focus back to everything central and important – family, community, giving to others….  and most of all, the story of Christ’s birth.

I am ready to see my sweet boy playing with his manger, eager to hear him asking for us to read the Christmas story over and over, longing to see his sweet face by candlelight at Christmas eve service.   I am so ready to just bring it all back to that.

Have you seen Star From Afar ?

I love the idea of it, and I am considering adding it to our family Christmas traditions – too cute.  You hide the star in a different spot each day, and as your kiddos find it, they move the wisemen to it. You can share some scripture as a family each night, and on Christmas eve you move it to the top of the manger so that Christmas morning the wisemen come to the end of the journey.   Such a simple but powerful way to bring the story to life, isn’t it?

Come on kiddo – earn those last few stickers, I cannot bring myself to Respect The Turkey this year.  I am bursting to bring the light and the love and the healing of Christmas into our home, and our hearts.

 

 

 

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Thoughtful Thursday – Not in a hurry

So here we are at 37 weeks – me and my little guy, growing and healthy and truckin’ along.

People keep saying things about how I must be ready to have him out already (I really don’t look THAT big, people,) or that they “bet I can’t wait for him to be here.”

Well, for me he IS here.  he is the little guy I feel squirming around after dinner, pushing his tiny bum into my  belly.  🙂

I am very excited to see him when the time comes – don’t get me wrong – but there is great value, for him and for me, in these last few weeks (however long God decides he should stay where he is,) of me getting to have him all to myself in there.

The time I have had with him like this is something I am so thankful for – after all we have been through, I still end up in awe when I stop to think that I really have this little guy, this gift from God, growing inside me and getting ready to come out and meet everybody.  I am still totally addicted to listening to his heart beat on my little doppler, I still stop and cuddle my nice big bump and whisper prayers of thanks several times a day, I still feel like the luckiest girl in the whole wide world every second of every day just knowing that he is there.

I can’t say time has flown by, like I hear so many pregnant women say – I have felt the weight of the time passing all-too-well.  Known what each day means, for him and for me; and I have never felt relaxed in pregnancy, always guarded, always vulnerable.  There is so very, very much to feel protective towards.

And here we are – 37 weeks.   “Great with child” if you want to be all poetic and biblical about it (how was Mary riding around on a DONKEY like this!?)  Great with Blessing.  Great with Hope.  Great with Joy. Great with Thanks.  Great with Love.

I am not in a hurry – he will come in God’s good time,  and we will be ready when he is.

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Thoughtful Thursday – This is a Test…

We’ve established that I am a total freak of a bit of a worrier.

There are times when I think that the power to be concerned about every conceivable thing that may happen in any given situation is actually my super power, and a gift to be nurtured.

Most of the time, however, I believe that  it is (for the most part,) something I need to rein in – to monitor and control through careful, realistic thinking, and a healthy dose of prayer.

This week has consisted WAY more of me giving into the worry than it has me attempting to keep it in check – and even as I am actually typing this, I am pretty much letting the worry win. 

The current (main) source of concern stems from something that is actually a very joyous occasion – my baby shower, which my dear friend is hosting with Dr. Sissy this weekend.  Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited about it, I LOVE the thought of getting all the women in my life who mean so much to me together for a few hours – what better way to prepare for a baby than to be surrounded by all of that women’s intuition and wisdom?

But the thing is –

 Well – it’s the weather, you see.

All week long I have been watching the forecasts, and all week long there as been a “maybe snow” thing happening for the weekend.  Here it is Thursday, and forecasts STILL aren’t certain, and still vary widely – starting tonight when Dr Sissy and Vaughny are due to fly in, with my parents driving out to pick them up in Kansas er, I mean, at DIA, and continuing on into tomorrow when I am supposed to drive way down South to get some maternity pics taken, then drive back up North to spend time with said sister and nephew.

And even Saturday, when so many people who I love will be gathering in one place, driving over roads that I so desperately want to just stay dry and safe this whole weekend.

So I pray – that the snow stays in the mountains, where people actually seem to enjoy it; that myself and those I love travel safely and don’t take any chances;  and that worry won’t completely control my mind the whole weekend (or the rest of my life, frankly.)   I truly believe that situations like this are a test – maybe from God, maybe from the enemy, designed to make me “walk the walk” and prove that I can and do put my faith in God regarding His plan for our lives.   I know this in my heart.

I have trouble hearing His voice though – trouble figuring out which path proves that?  If I get up tomorrow to a driving blizzard, do I hunker down and cancel plans, or can I only show that I have that kind of faith if I drive out into the blizzard praying He will protect me and that His will be done? 

I have no idea.  I just keep praying for dry roads, a safe and happy family, and that regardless of the situation, I will know God’s voice when I need to.

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Thoughtful Thursday – they are still hurting

A year ago the world was grasping to understand the devastation that had  occurred (and continued to occur,)  in Haiti. 

I wrote this.

A year later the people of Haiti are still struggling and hurting.  A year later people like Troy and Tara (the blog I linked in my first post,) are struggling along with the people of Haiti, working to ease the suffering and help the people survive (and thrive.)

It is easy to forget, easy to assume that a year later things MUST be ok again. 

But  there is so much work to be done.

Be in prayer for the people of Haiti -and for those who are called by God to help them.

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Thoughtful Thursday – Doing a “check in” with myself

In the past I have written about doing a “State of Your Union” meeting with your spouse to kind of check in and keep the lines of communication open regarding long-term family goals as well as day-to-day “stuff” that might otherwise get swept under the rug.

But what about taking a second to do a little check in with yourself – to see where you think you stand, and refocus your concentration and energy where you really want it to be?

I have been doing that this week – spending time in prayer, re-evaluating and re-focusing on goals and just generally setting myself back on the path I mean to be on. 

Some things are fairly simple:

-I cleaned my desk at work, clearing out accumulated clutter that was no longer needed so I can see the forest through the trees again (for a few weeks anyway.)

-I’m in the process of doing the same thing to the closets around the Tree House (a little more painful and time-consuming, because I am a pack rat, but needs to be done.)

-I reorganized my coupon holder to maximize ease of use when planning trips to the store and menu planning.

Some things are a little tougher:

–  I am praying and working on concentrating on the positive aspects of things – not getting bogged down in the problems and negatives that can overwhelm me – blessings abound, and I want to focus on that and not be envious, greedy, angry, or sad.  I am, by nature, a worrier on a GRAND scale, so this takes a lot of  conscience thought (and prayer!)

-I took a good hard look at my spending and budget, and tightened up some slack – I have made great progress in knocking out the last of my left over “single girl” debt, but with the baby coming I want every spare cent going towards getting that ugly monkey off my back ASAP!

Those are the major things I’ve been looking at within my own life –  of course everyone has their own “problem areas”.

Spend a few minutes checking in with yourself and refocusing this week and get 2011 off to a great start!

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Thoughtful Thursday – Confession

A string of interlocking confessions, really.

It was something that happened very early New Year’s Day of this year that brought Spirit of Power into being. Or how deeply that something affected me, rather.

But I never mentioned it here. 

The truth is I don’t much care for New Year’s Eve.  No wait, even that isn’t true; I hate it.  I hate New Year’s Eve, with it’s expectations that you stay out until all hours, crowded restaurants (serving set menus) that people want you to go to, and large quantities of revelers who spend all of that time drinking WAY too much –  either in an attempt to forget the year before, or just “to celebrate” the close of the year.

Last year I thought I had a perfect set up, we just went around the corner to our friends’ place for dinner and a party – right after I welcomed the New Year with The Hub I headed home to my bed not entirely miserable about NYE.  Until I got about half a block from our building and heard a noise that was unmistakably Potter Pie barking his furry head off. 6 stories up at 12:15 in the morning.

I started to run.

I got upstairs to find him out-of-his-mind upset, (I assume from the Fireworks that they set off downtown at 9pm and midnight,) and two of the meanest, most obscenity filled notes, clearly both from the same person (all the same misspellings and awful handwriting in both,) one on the door and one that slid under it about 2 minutes after i walked in and just before I heard running down the stairs outside our door.

The Hub walked in a few minutes later to find me crying in a heap on the floor with Potter – and he couldn’t know, but I felt forever changed.  Wracked with guilt about the poor dog and what he must have gone through that night and cut raw by the terrible words of my unidentified neighbor. Guilt and hurt that is still as fresh and raw as it was when he found us there on the floor almost a year ago.

And for the past year, I have been this new version of me – the version born in that incident.   A version that is just a little bit sad all the time, that is guarded, that only feels happy when her family is in her direct sight.

Above all, a version that hates the home she loved prior to that incident.  Who doesn’t feel safe in her home, and who desperately dreams of leaving it – so that she can start over and make a new home in a place where she can know her family is safe, even the furriest member.

That was where Spirit of Power started – my wanting to make BIG changes to make that happen as fast as possible – to think outside my comfort zone and act boldly to help my family get out of here and to a place where I could feel nurturing and growing our family.

I did talk about all of that, though not the kick that got the ball rolling – see this post.

Slowly it became apparent that we would not be leaving here in 2010, and slowly I went just numb enough to accept that and move through my days working toward the other goals (which all tie into moving) that I also made at the beginning of the year.

But I don’t want to live here.  I have not found peace here in a whole year now. Our family is starting here,  we come and go taking advantage of the fabulous neighborhood here, we have moved forward with completing renovations here, and this is the only “home” we have.  I remind myself that we are blessed to have shelter and financial security and that people live quite happily stacked up on top of each other, raising whole families and even that the idea of it used to be just what I wanted to do.

But I don’t want to be here.  With every fiber of my being and in every situation we have been in this year, I have wanted to be in a place I felt safe and calm, and I will never find that here again.   The coming of The Cub, and the fact that we will bring him “home” to this place makes me feel anxious and angry.

My only truly outlandish, completely selfish prayer is also my most constant – that there is some way to get us out of here that will make The Hub happy financially and leave us all in a new place where we can all find joy.  I try to be patient, try to understand that God has a plan, and to remind myself that we are so, SO blessed and I need to remember to be thankful to Him for all of the amazing gifts he has bestowed upon us.  I will keep praying, and keep reminding myself that every day.

And I will be starting this year at home with my family – The Hub and Potter Pie and The Cub and me – so at least 2011 will start with good feelings.  With all the amazing and wonderful things to come in 2011, I would rather spend it counting my blessings from the very start.

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Thoughtful Thursday – What Matters

A few weeks into this pregnancy I had some very scary and concerning  days –  there are few things scarier to a pregnant woman than the presence of blood. 

And though it was months ago now, and blessedly it did resolve (after a week or so of nervous doctor visits and calls, and what basically turned into bed rest as much as I could do so,) I remember the scared desperation, the prayerful hours of laying on the bed, or sitting with my feet propped up in my office and realizing (and not caring) that I was incapable of thinking of one other thing at all.

I remember it well.

That being said, as my pregnancy has progressed unremarkably for the past months, I have allowed myself to move past that feeling, to start test-driving strollers and fussing over furniture and functioning as though the baby coming is a given – which is something that was hard for me,  we wanted to be cautious, and it had all happened “so easily” for us, but I have begun to picture the future without knocking on wood or thinking the worst.

I have also found myself wrapped up in day-to-day little things that pregnancy can bring  –  my broken out face, worrying about looking frumpy in my clothes, etc…

Until Tuesday when everything stopped. 

Blood.

Blood in my urine, and aching pain in several places, and I was in my car headed to the doctor just one day before I had an appointment to go over my perfect ultrasound results, a day I had been so excited to welcome.

And then it wasn’t the easy answer UTI that everyone said is almost a pregnancy rite-of- passage…  The Cub was fine, strong heartbeat and where he needed to be, but there were no easy answers for my symptoms.

2 days of doctors later, it appears that this mama-to-be has Kidney Stone(s) – probably minor ones, and that drinking lots of water and cranberry juice (and lemonade too, says Dr Sissy) and moving around a bit (in careful ways,) is the best course of action – along with monitoring my temperature, and (my thing, not Doc’s orders) checking to hear that sweet sweet little heartbeat…  (So glad I have my doppler at home.)

And I feel SO foolish for giving even a thought to my zits, or if my maternity jeans are cool enough, or even THINKING of not taking my cousin’s very generous offer of his beautiful nursery furniture because it isn’t the color I originally planned for. 

WHO CARES!?  The ONLY important thing is the safety and well-being of this gift from God growing inside me.  Protecting him, celebrating him, and thinking of him and of his Creator are all that matters.

Of course I can’t wait for this all to be behind us – I pray that joyful times will soon be back in our home and hearts.  I thank God for The Hub who possesses amazing strength (while knowing just when to give me space and when to defer to my choices,) in difficult times, and for my sweet puffy doggie who always seems to know when to stick close to mommy.  It is good to be loved and safe with your family in scary times.

So I concentrate on the health and well-being of our son and myself FOR my son, and my family…I concentrate on honoring God by cherishing the life he has growing inside me….

  I concentrate on what matters most.

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Thoughtful Thursday – Worry Wort.

I could be on the Olympic Worrying Team.

Actually, I think I would be the captain of it.

Since I was young, I have been haunted by the bad things that could happen in a given situation.  I was the little girl who always got her ice cream cone turned upside down in a bowl, (or skipped the cone all together,)  so there was no chance of an accident happening and me feeling sad.  (I tried really hard to get Dr. Sissy to do the same, so she wouldn’t end up being sad either.  I worry for others too, not just myself – have to spread the talent around, you know.)

Heaven knows that this whole “unbelievable gift from God,” “Miracle of life in my care” thing has ratcheted my worry up to levels that even I never knew could exist within me.  And it’s not just the big things I worry about either.  Oh no – it isn’t just your average every-mom pregnancy concerns, the worry strikes at seemingly innocent targets.    I am wearing high heels for the first time in MONTHS today, (because I have been so concerned about something happening,) and every time I get up to walk around, I catch myself picturing how awful it would be if I fell, and how scared and terrible I would feel.  Every time I step in the shower, I have flashes of me slipping and laying there hating myself for having taken the chance at all.

It isn’t like I think all of this is normal.  Getting used to the eyerolls from friends and family is one thing, but what really eats away at me about it, is how very un Christian the whole way of thinking is.

After all, Philippians 4:6 instructs us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Prior to my pregnancy, I had been working on doing just that. Trusting that God’s plan was at work, that worry was fruitless, and prayer and acceptance were the answers.    But beyond the first sight of that second faint little pink line all of that kind of slipped right out the window.

I know some of it is heightened because I am actually treated medically with everyday medication for an anxiety disorder that has been severe at times in the past, and that medication went on vacation along with my M.S. injections when we decided I would try and carry a baby.  It isn’t permanent, and I haven’t been struggling  with any kind of overwhelming or crippling anxiety, but it may contribute to the elevated unreasonable worrying.

It doesn’t change the truth of my behavior anyway.  I know where my peace will be found. 

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus told his followers to “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

It isn’t like my reasons for worry will lessen over time.  Raising a child takes a great deal of faith – and to me faith has always been like a muscle, it needs to be trained and exercised – through prayer and study of God’s word –  to allow it to grow stronger.

I will be mindful over the coming days, careful to heed God’s instructions, and I will call upon the Spirit of Power that each of us is given to truly live in my faith that God will provide and bring peace.

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Thoughtful Thursday – quicky version

Add another to the list of things that make Keri cry. (And to this one in the group of songs I want to sing to Cubby)

I think everyone, kiddos and adults equally, deserves to be reminded of that – early and often.

So today you remember it from me.  🙂

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Thoughtful Thursday – The Thankful ed.

Feeling very thankful and blessed and VERY aware of it lately.

Any time I stop and really think about it for even a moment, I get overwhelmed by the blessings God has poured out into my life.   It humbles me to even try to comprehend.

My amazing family – starting with my parents and the adoption that brought them together with Dr Sissy and me, the unconditional love and the guidance and wisdom they have given us;  The Hub and my sweet, furry little Potter Pie – and the home we have built and share together.

And now the bambino – this little Curd of a Cub (since my daddy always called/s me Ker-Bear, of course the little one is “the Cub”) who is doing SO well – growing strong and safe inside of me, leaving me totally in awe of how amazing that is, and again, so SO humbled to be trusted with “the heritage of The Lord” (Psalms 127:3.)

From little things like Potter being extra cuddly, or being able to sink into a nice comfy seat after a long day and just relax – to giant things like the health of my family, the roof over our heads, and another amazing day starting each morning, I just have these moments of being overwhelmed with thankfulness in my heart.

I hope I always remember to stop, to take it in, and to be thankful, in actions, words, and prayer.

I hope you take a minute today and celebrate a “Thankful Thursday” too – and count all of the blessings He has filled this life with for us all.

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