Monday, March 24, 2008

Sound effects

Is it innate for boys to enjoy making sound effects?

Brandon's first imitation was the "ah-hem" of someone clearing their throat—before he even turned 1 year old!

Now he imitates the vacuum cleaner, the blender, and the microwave... all with the same loud (and, could I affectionately say, slightly annoying?) drone...

And he's starting to pick up the percussion parts of songs he hears on KTIS or Christian CDs! He must have inherited that charming little quality from his mother... :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

10 things you might not know about me

Hey there... I got “tagged” on Kim’s blog to list 10 facts or oddities about myself. Isn’t everything about me an oddity? :) ha ha Well anyway, here goes...

1 – I am virtually 100% Norwegian in heritage, and I was born on Norwegian Independence Day (May 17th).

2 – This Norwegian girl grew up in a renowned German town in southern Minnesota—and does NOT like saur kraut!

3 – As a child, I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up, like my Grandma Minnie was. Instead, I chose business as my college major and held jobs in the fields of Human Resources and Finance. Now that my husband and I are considering home schooling our children, my childhood wish of being a teacher may come true.

4 – Growing up, my favorite color was red. I had red everything... red toothbrush, red carpet, and even a red phone.

4 – In my youth, I remember going to Valleyfair a few times. During those days, the employees wore "old time" costumes, the ladies in long blue skirts and the guys in red knickers. I was certain that you had to be a really special person to work there!

5 – I received the "Dorian" outstanding vocalist award my senior year of high school, which entitled me to a scholarship offer to Luther College that would cover voice lessons... not exactly what I considered a vital use of scholarship dollars! As badly as I wanted to attend Luther, I chose Mankato State instead.

6 – I was hit by a car during my last year of college. It happened in broad daylight as I was walking home from class. Rather than being angry that this young lady hit me, I felt grateful to God that I had no broken bones or internal injuries—just 10 staples in my head and some road rash! There was a big controversy in the college newspaper over whether or not I was in the crosswalk at the time I was hit, which sort of added insult to injury. [For the record, YES, I was in the crosswalk—however, after I got hit I was no longer in the crosswalk. Get it?]

7 – I shook Arnold Swartzenegger’s hand in 1992 when the "Planet Hollywood" restaurant was about to open in the Mall of America.

8 – I consider chocolate and creamy coffee drinks to be my only vices. No guilt! :)

9 – If I had to choose between a beach or the mountains for vacation, I’d choose mountains.

10 – My only claim to fame: I sang with Lisa Keith as the opening act for Avalon at the Women's Expo in 2004!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tending my flock/God cares about me

This has got to be one of the most challenging times of my life. I have been awake since about 3:30 this morning (Ryan kept waking up because his pacifier had fallen out of his mouth) and finally I just decided to get up at 5:00 to have a quiet time. I journaled my mothering woes to the Lord, pouring out my frustrations and concerns to Him—primarily related to Ryan’s poor sleeping habits at night—I am tired—both literally (I rarely get more than about 3 consecutive hours of sleep; more commonly interrupted every 1-2 hours) and figuratively (this has been going on for months; it is grueling, and I have grown tired of it)—and confessing my self-pity (i.e. "Boo hoo... Momma takes care of everybody else’s needs, but nobody cares about Momma’s needs").

So I was digging through my Bible to find the verse that says God cares about me—which is 1 Peter 5, verse 7...

"Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you."

But then I also stumbled upon this little nugget toward the beginning of chapter 5...

"Care for the flock of God entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God."

Isn’t that great? God has called me to be a wife and mom. Through verse 2 (above), I recognize that He has entrusted a little "flock" to me—Brandon and Ryan—and I am to tend my flock willingly (and joyfully, I might add) because I am eager to serve God. THEN, in verse 7, He also reminds me that He cares about what happens to me, and tells me to give my worries and cares to Him! Oh, thank you, Lord!

I so desire to live out my calling in a way that brings Him honor—and with joy, patience, and purpose. There is tremendous sacrifice in the roles of wife and mother, and not a lot of glory—Oh Lord, help me to live for YOU and YOUR purposes—willingly and joyfully—and not for the accolades of others!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

From "soul holes" to "soul whole"

A friend loaned me a book recently, and with it she passed on some old MOMSense magazines. God used an article by Elisa Morgan to touch my heart this afternoon. She was writing about a frustrating moment with her toddler. Here is an excerpt:

"How am I supposed to know how to do this? No one has ever taught me this stuff! I'm tired of being the one who has to have the answers! ...

"It was a moment in time when I came to grips with my mothering inadequacies. It stands as a monument in my days, reminding me of how I began to see what I don't have, what I can't do as a mother. This moment in the basement brought me face-to-face with some deeper crevice in my being. A gap. A wound, perhaps. It was empty where it should have been filled. A soul hole.

"...As unsettling as it was to experience that emptiness, I now know that it was good for me. In fact, now that I've identified their shape, I find 'soul holes' often in my life.

'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' In Matthew 5:3 Jesus spoke to the crowd... The word He chose for poor actually means poverty-stricken, bankrupt, with nothing left in the house.

"Why did He choose these words? Because until we understand our neediness, we can't experience fulfillment. As long as we think we can handle it all, we will. Until we understand what we can't do, we won't have a clue what God can do.

"Inadequacies show us our need. And when we experience our need and then bring it to God, He can meet it. And when He meets it, we can be whole. Soul whole."

That was soothing balm for my soul! I know this stuff, and it may seem really basic to some people, but it just came to life a little more for me today—that God wants me to recognize that I need Him. That's OK with Him—He's not burdened by me coming to Him. He WANTS to help me! Sometimes I feel so alone in this journey as a mother... like Elisa wrote, I often think, "How am I supposed to know all this? I'm tired of being the one who's supposed to have all the answers." I pull back from people around me for fear of either burdening them with my concerns or looking like an idiot for something I "should" instinctively know. I can even feel like avoiding God—like I'm asking for too much, or complaining too much—which makes no sense, because God WANTS His kids to come to Him and lean on Him!

So my new favorite verse is Matthew 5:3... As the NLT puts it, "God blesses those who realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them." Oh, Lord, how I need You!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hidden Jewels

This really hit me -- here's an excerpt from a devotional written by Nancy Campbell called, "Hidden Jewels".....

Malachi 3:17, "And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels."

Every saint is a jewel of God. I am convicted by God to look at people (and also my children) in this light. Often we cannot see the jewel as it hides behind the rough exterior. All we see is unsightly hard rock, but God wants us to look beyond what we see on the surface.

We sometimes hear the phrase, "He's a diamond in the rough." This means that the person is pretty rough on the outside but inside they have a heart of gold. We need to be reminded that there is a diamond, or perhaps a sapphire, an emerald, an opal, a ruby or an amethyst in each person. The jewel in every person is different. Each jewel will reveal different colors and lights of God's character. But we cannot see the beauty shining from the jewel until it has been cut and polished. And what a painful process this is. Much cutting has to be done to reveal the many-faceted hues and beauty of the gem. The cutting goes on and on. And when it is finished, the polishing starts. It hurts.

I know God has to do so much more cutting and polishing with me. May we let Him do His work and cut away all the roughness and hardness. May we also have patience with all God's saints, even those who are still rough and uncut.

May God give us patience with our children. God has given us the task of being a lapidary (a cutter and polisher of gems). It is the lapidary's art to reveal the gem. Sometimes we may feel it is a hopeless job. But we must never give up hope. There is a jewel in every child of God. There is a precious jewel in every one of our children that waits to be revealed. We must see it by faith. We must pray it into being. May God give us vision, patience and understanding as we fulfill this great task. It does not happen over night. It is painstaking and time-consuming.

There will come a day when God will make all His jewels into a crown...