Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Change of Heart

Very recently, I've had a change of heart regarding Santa Clause, as well as the general celebration of Christmas. First of all, let me say that the arguments I've heard against incorporating Santa Clause into Christmas celebration had no affect on my decision. I've heard people say that they don't want to lie to their children. I'm pretty sure that we don't really have to lie to them in order to include Santa in some way. I'm also pretty sure that most parents who use this argument lie to their children about other things. The idea that we shouldn't lead our children to believe that Santa brought the presents on Christmas Eve because we want the credit for the gifts that we spent so much time and money acquiring just seems selfish, though I understand the sentiment better than I like to admit. These aren't bad arguments, but I could skirt them if I wanted.

No, none of these points made it into my internal struggle. In fact, I was driving to Louisville for a doctor's appointment on Wednesday when it hit me. I was listening to the BarlowGirl Christmas cd. (If you don't have it yet, make sure to hit LifeWay tomorrow.) In the midst of the sleigh bells jingling in the background and familiar harmonies in the foreground, I had an epiphany. That's right, an epiphany.

I remembered a story that B.Wal told me about her son, Woodstock (no, that isn't his real name. She's no sadist.). He was looking through the magazines and catalogs that fill our children's' brains with pro-toy propaganda every year, apparently beginning in September these days. He kept seeing pictures of Santa Clause, but he didn't understand. (I'm unsure of the exact wording of the conversation, but I'm fairly confident of the content.)
Woodstock: "Why is he in so many pictures?"
B. Wal: "Because it's a Christmas magazine."
Woodstock: (rummaging through pages frantically) "Christmas is about Jesus, right? Where's baby Jesus?"

This tells me a few things. First off, my friend is doing a great job in teaching her kids the actual meaning of Christmas. Secondly, focusing on Santa just doesn't make sense, even to a 3 year-old, in light of the miraculous Gospel of Christ. Finally, it reminds me of how much I love that Woodstock, and how much I will miss him, but that's beside the point.

Here is my epiphany: When Santa Clause becomes more than a symbol of the infinitely gracious gift that we receive from God the Father through His Son, he becomes a stumbling block. When lights become more than a reminder that the Light of the World entered humanity in the form of a baby, they become useless. When a tree is more than a way of pointing to Christ as the Giver of Eternal Life, it loses its value. These things are great, but only as long as they point to the eternal meaning of Christmas.

Christ came that we would no longer be separated from the Father. He emptied Himself of His rightful glory and took on the humiliating and helpless form of an infant. He came to die for us, and to defeat death on our behalf. He came to free us from the bondage of sin!

And yet, we turn our focus, and the focus of our children, to an imaginary old man who brings... toys. Seriously? Does anyone else feel swindled? The greatness of the free grace of God has been overshadowed by a game of pretend. What a tragedy.

I'm not saying that Santa Clause should be outlawed in the Christian home. He can have a place in the celebration of the birth of Christ, but a little one. If anything, Santa should only play supporting role, if not a walk-on role, in the traditions of Christmas. To make him more than that is to rob our children of the greatest joy of Christmas. It is to lead them to believe that the grace of God that is poured over us in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ is less impressive than an RC car, doll, or video game system.

I have to say, this realization has brought joy already. I can't wait to share the true wonder of Christmas. I am anxious to use the Christmas tree, lights, and gifts as a way to point to Christ. I hope that I can use this opportunity to draw my babies closer to the throne of God. The greatest gift that I can give my girls this holiday is to help them understand the joy and power made available to us through the Son of God. What a privilege!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Day Hath Come

Today is the most important of unofficial Alabama state holidays (and let me tell you, that's a stiff competition). That's right, today is the day of the Iron Bowl. The Iron Bowl, for those of you who aren't affiliated with Alabama, (or worse, don't care for football [gasp!]), is the title given to the Alabama vs. Auburn game.

I've heard some people say that there are other rivalries that are just as intense, but these people have never experienced the phenomenon that is the state of Alabama the week of the Iron Bowl. Everything centers around this one game. Coaches have lost their jobs, Mike Shula most recently, due to an inability to win this single game. Even in the midst of Alabama's currently undefeated season, it just isn't good enough until we see a "W" representing the defeat of mighty Auburn.

Allow me to say that my best friend is an Auburn fan. More than that, she and her husband graduated from Auburn. He even received his Master's degree from Auburn. For them it is a moral battle. I can understand where they're coming from, but I just can't cheer for the orange and blue.

I'm an Alabama fan. I have no good reason. My uncle is an alumnus, and Edwin's brother attended for a time before transferring. That's as closely related to either school as I get. For whatever reason, Alabama Crimson is simply a part of me. My dad's an Alabama fan. Edwin's an Alabama fan. After years of cheering for Auburn, my mom is an Alabama fan, as is my brother. Nicholas, who just joined the family, is still cheering for the dark side, but he'll come around.

We're getting a pizza. I've made nacho cheese sauce and cookies. I hope that it will be a good game, a close game. But at the end of the day, I hope that this ridiculous losing streak to our arch rivals will come to a close.

Oh, and ROLL TIDE!

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Very Attaway Thanksgiving

So what does a family do when trapped at home on Thanksgiving, six hours away from the nearest family members? The short answer is, "nothing". This, however, is a blog. A blog could easily be defined as a lot of nothing turned into something. Therefore I will indulge my long-winded soul and expound upon our day. 'Cause I can.

DeLaynie played in her box of rice. Yes, it's a large Rubbermaid box full of rice. It's sort of akin to a sandbox, but with rice inside, and much smaller. You may be confused by this particular choice for playtime, but she loves it. It's messy, but nothing that a broom can't fix. She sat in her rice box and watched the parade. Isn't that what most kids do on Thanksgiving Day? Probably not.

She was a little wacky today. We've had her on medication, including Benadryl, due to her cold. She would randomly start talking about cows. She likes cows. We are about five minutes from a dairy farm, and we pass dozens of cows on the way, so she's familiar with them.

Ella tried to eat the rice. Edwin made a wise decision to put away the magical box of rice, which was an outrage to DeLaynie, who had been doing an excellent job playing with it nicely. This led to a desperate need for the bubble blower, whose batteries appeared to be dead. After a few minutes of begging the bubble blower to work, a few more minutes of begging God to perform a miracle and resurrect the batteries in the bubble blower, and a trip to the gas station for overpriced batteries due to a lack of faith in God to perform said miracle, the bubble blower was back in operation, much to everyone's glee.

This was when Edwin and I ate our lunch. Ravioli lasagna (a much easier version than traditional lasanga), salad, Sister Shubert rolls with honey and butter brushed on the tops (yummy), and derby pie filled our plates and our bellies. It's not a traditional Turkey Day feast, I admit, but we enjoyed it.

Then was nap time, during which Edwin and I played games, and I won. All of them. Every. Last. One. Don't worry. He got me back by making me watch football involving teams that I could not care less about. I like football, but I have to at least know where the team is located and recognize the QB's name in order to get into it.

After the kids woke up from naps, we watched A Muppet Christmas Carol and ate leftovers for dinner. DeLaynie required a lot of holding, cuddling, and sweet talking, as well as a bath, due to a fever and cough. Ella crawled around and begged for our food. She's quite similar to a puppy during dinner time. She can't quite get up to our level, so she sits there, staring at you with pitiful eyes until you give in and give her a bite off your plate.

The kids played well for the rest of the evening, and they went to bed a little earlier than they do when healthy. Edwin and I did some online Christmas shopping and played some more games. He won those. I'm always terrible at night.

That's our Thanksgiving. I know you were on the edge of your seat to know about the menu. It was remarkably pleasant. We didn't have to drag innocent children around, cook excessive food, or even get dolled up. I did make Edwin put on a non-Tshirt, and we put some clothing on the children that wouldn't count as pajamas. That's the highest stress moment we had today. I look forward to Christmas in Alabama, but I'm glad that we had this day for our little family before the craziness of selling and moving things begins. I am quite thankful for a Very Attaway Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful

I am incredibly thankful for our oldest daughter, DeLaynie. She doesn't follow your typical development chart, so a lot of people don't realize just how much is going on in that head of hers, or her heart. She adds more than she knows to this family, and to the world. She is a nurturer and comforter at heart. She is deeply affectionate, surprisingly patient most of the time, and an absolute joy to our family.

Ella is the baby of the family. She has a smile that, as you can tell, lights the world. She loves to giggle, and loves to be held more than anything. Little Ella keeps us on our toes as she follows us everywhere around the house, including the bathroom. She will eat anything, also pretty evident from the picture. She is a people-person, and she adores her big sister.

I've spoken if Edwin before, but there just aren't enough words to explain how much I love him. He is my best friend, and he understands me better than I ever imagined another person could. It's a joy to know that no matter where we go, I'll always have a great minister with me. (I got pretty used to that privilege growing up.)

Finally, I want to mention a recent development for which I am particularly grateful. Yesterday we found out that we have officially been accepted by the IMB (International Mission Board) to go to Nicaragua to serve the people there. Since the Candidate Conference the first week of November, my heart has become more and more impassioned for the Nica people. We will be learning Spanish in Costa Rica for a few months, following orientation in Richmond, Va, which begins in April. The following months are going to have a lot of bumps, and a few bruises, I'm sure. But what a joy to be bruised for the Gospel! What an honor to endure for the cause of Christ. Yes, I am grateful today. Our King has blessed me and our family richly. I hope that we can share that blessing wherever we go, with everyone we come in contact with.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Healthy Streak Ends

In a biological war zone, known as our MOPs group, where children were falling ill by the moment, my girls had remained strong. Ella has had a runny nose and a little congestion, but for the most part, I've had some healthy kids. I would like to think that it's because I'm such an incredible mom, but I'm thoroughly convinced that it has more to do with the fact that I'm not a big socializer.

Last night, however, our healthy streak came to an end. DeLaynie had been sounding like she'd been a heavy smoker for 30 years around 8 p.m. By 11, she had a fever and a cough. She was pretty pitiful, but not that unhappy.

The good news? This explains her Little Miss Bossy day yesterday as well as the previously unmentioned grumpiness that has plagued our home for a few days.

This also means that Thanksgiving plans have changed... again. I'm debating between Chinese food and ravioli lasagna. What do you think? I'm intentionally going for off-the-wall here. I have to admit that there's a certain charm in staying put, eating food that is completely inappropriate for the occasion, and watching movies or playing games with my hubby while our toddler is medicated. I would have loved spending the day with friends and their families, but, alas, it wasn't meant to be. Instead, we'll have a Very Attaway Thanksgiving, which means weird. I love weird!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Little Miss Bossy

I've bragged quite a bit about how well DeLaynie does with Ella. We were pretty worried after DeLaynie first saw the new baby in the hospital. To the right is a picture of her reaction when she laid eyes on the intruder. She became very upset when Daddy picked up Ella. My mother was pretty concerned about the situation, but I was thoroughly convinced that there was no way to rectify the situation at that point, so I just accepted that it wouldn't be as easy as I'd hoped.

Once we got home, however, it was no issue. DeLaynie became intrigued by her little sister, to whom she referred as "so sweet" because that's what we would say whenever she touched her.

Most of the time DeLaynie has been incredibly patient with Baby Ewwa (as she calls her). Even when Ella pulls her hair or takes her coloring sheet, DeLaynie just says "No!" and runs away. She has gotten a little too vigorous in her patting on occasion, but it has never appeared to be intentional, with maybe one or two exceptions... maybe.

Today, however, the older sister in her has come out! All day she has been telling her, "no ma'am!" and "Stop it, now!" She became very posessive of the bubbles when the bubble-blowing machine filled the whole kitchen with them. (This is the best ten dollar investment we have ever made. They sell them at a very popular discount store. It's by the Gazillion Bubbles brand.) Ella has learned to pop them, and DeLaynie wasn't as excited about this new trick as Ella.

As a nice, little tangent: DeLaynie thinks that the bubble wand is an actual, scepter-like wand that you are supposed to wave while the bubbles are being blown out of the blower. She insists on holding it whenever it's on. Just thought I'd share.

In some ways, I'm almost glad she's become so bossy and possessive. From what I've gathered, that's normal and healthy for a two year-old. I'll just choose to see it as healthy development, even as I discipline her when she goes too far or loses her temper. Ah, progress.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Giving In To Christmas

I've finally given up. For a few weeks, I've been ignoring the fact that Christmas is coming. It didn't seem like the time was right yet. Every year I try to keep my Christmas excitement pinned up until Thanksgiving. Yet again, I have failed.

Lifeway was having a sale for loyal customers. A part of it was that you could get the BarlowGirl and Casting Crowns Christmas cd's for $7.99, so we bought them. I made it through Saturday, even with the shrink wrap glistening at me all day. Yesterday, however, I gave in. They were both played... several times. (Incidently, they are very good. I highly recommend them.)

Right now, as I type, Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas is spinning rapidly through the DVD player. Last year I started playing it in September, just because I thought that it might make DeLaynie happy and keep her quiet. It worked really well. I was hoping that it would have the same affect on Ella, but not so much... DeLaynie still likes it.

The Wallaway Thanksgiving Special has been pushed back due to an unfortunate event. We'll probably join a kind and merciful family from our church for Thanksgiving, or we may do one of those really off-the-wall celebrations, like eating Chinese food on the floor, watching the first season of 24. Maybe a combination of both.

No matter how, exactly, we celebrate Thanksgiving, we will kick off the official Christmas season with a trip to see the Christmas lights at Freeman Lake in E-town before coming home to watch a Christmas movie on Thanksgiving night. My personal favorite is A Muppet Christmas Carol, at least for the whole family. My favoritey-favorite is It's a Wonderful Life, obviously. I do love me some Jimmy Stewart... but that's beside the point.

Anyone else having Jingle Bells stuck in their head?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Youth Weekend!

Edwin organized a discipleship weekend. The first event was a lock-in at a laser tag joint in Louisville. It sounded like a lot of fun. I would've loved to go, but there are two good reasons why I couldn't. One is 2 1/2, and the other is 8 months. It's probably a good thing that I didn't go. They were there until 3 a.m. Edwin got to bed at 4:40! It's the youth weekends that make you wonder where, exactly your youth went.

This left me at home, alone, with the kids in bed. What did hip, 24 year-old Hannah do? I rode my bike (indoors), watched t.v. shows on the internet, and went to bed. Because yes, I'm just. that. cool.

The wonderful news is that this year, I'm leading the girls' Bible study, not hosting. I love teenage girls. They make my heart smile with their giggling and excessive packing, but I'm not sure that I'm up to it. It's a good year to teach, not host. We have some good people allowing their homes to be ransacked for the cause of Christ. Good people. Courageous people. Gotta love those people!

This two-coffee day is about to hit the ground running, so I better get ready to sprint.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Snow!

There are snow flurries dancing outside the window. I don't know where they're coming from. The sky is void of clouds, but every few minutes, there will be a few little flurries scurrying through the crisp air. I couldn't capture the flurries on film, but I thought I'd share the backdrop for their performance anyway.

Late yesterday afternoon, there was some real snow. It didn't accumulate, but it was enough to scare some people into saying the "b" word. (You know, blizzard.) It seems like there are always a few people convinced that 2 inches of snow are going to go apocalyptic.

I love snow. I like cold. This cold is a little extreme, I admit, but I'll take it. As long as I can look out the window and know that it's cold, without actually experiencing it, I can handle it. Hot cocoa and central heating. I love cold weather!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Depravity and Super Why

I've mentioned before that I really like the show Super Why. I like the way that DeLaynie interacts with it. I like that she gets so into it. There is a problem with it, though. This show always turns the villain into a victim.

Toward the end of each show, the Super Readers (Super Why, Princess Presto, AlphaPig, and Wonder Red; yes, I said Wonder Red) ask the villain of the story why they keep doing whatever it is that they are doing to cause trouble. The bad guy almost always answers the same way. "I don't want to, but it's in my story." Then Super Why changes the story and the bad guy turned good makes buddies with the original victim. There are some slight deviations, but that's the formula.

It seems like kids have a real issue understanding that they are capable of not doing whatever their depraved little hearts tell them to do. So, why do we create a show that encourages them to refuse to take responsibility and blame some other, unseen force? Even in Christian shows, there always seems to be some sort of reason for the bad behavior. "I lied so I wouldn't get in trouble." "I said that mean thing because she was being mean to me." "I didn't mean to break the vase!"

When do we teach children that they act bad because they are bad? We're doing them a great disservice by not acknowledging their evil little natures. No parent wants to look at his or her child and see sin, but it's hard not to. Just give 'em a minute. Before children can know forgiveness from their sins, they have to acknowledge that they are sinners. They aren't going to come to that conclusion on their own. It's a great priviledge as a parent to guide our children to the throne of God, and the first step is to help them understand that they have "fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Only when they understand the debt can they understand the grace extended to them.

I'm not kicking Super Why out of the house. I'm just going to take every opportunity to teach DeLaynie and Ella the truth of why they do what they do. It's not enough to teach moral truths. We have to teach spiritual truths. Even as we teach them that we are all sinners, we also have to give them unconditional love. Love and godly discipline go hand in hand.

So, somehow a discussion on kids' cartoons turned into a sermon. I hope it wasn't too annoying. And remember that I'm usually preaching to myself more than anyone else.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanksgiving Cometh

I'm excited about this year's Thanksgiving feast. It's the second annual (because Thanksgiving is an annual event, after all) Wallaway (Wal+Attaway) Thanksgiving Special. Last year was the first time B. Wal and I had ever hosted a grown-up Thanksgiving. B. Wal did most of the work, for which I am highly appreciative. I'm also glad that she and her family prefer ham to the traditional turkey. My dad doesn't like ham, so we didn't have it much growing up. I've always enjoyed it though.

I honestly can't remember what all I'm in charge of. I know that I'm in charge of rolls, a pie, something green, and one other thing. What I gather is that B. Wal is all too aware of my lack of expertise in the kitchen and doesn't want her Thanksgiving ruined by a Hannah snaffoo. (Is that how you spell that? I've never seen it written before.)

Unfortunately, this will most likely be the last Wallaway Thanksgiving Special, at least for a while. Next year will find us in another country, if all goes as planned. Who knows what holiday, if any, next Novemeber will see us celebrating. One thing that I do know is that we will be celebrating God's faithfulness, even in the most difficult of situations. Now, that's Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm in a Scavenger Hunt And Other Stuff

Rachel has included me as a part of her bloggy scavenger hunt! She's giving away some good looking prizes, so click on over and check it out.

In other news, I wasn't able to go back to full-time nursing after the IMB Conference. Which is sad for Ella, I guess. I don't think she minds at all, actually. What really annoys me about the situation is that I've already gained some weight since stopping! (I know, I'm quite an the example of ideal motherhood.)

This comes at an unfortunate time, weather wise. It's really, really cold out! I just checked the weather, and it feels like 16 degrees, 16! I can't take an infant and a toddler, who are currently the only completely healthy kids in town, into immunity-demolishing weather like that. (I'm not totally sure that cold weather really does reduce immunity, but why take chances?)

Let's keep in mind that the holidays are coming. It would be pretty easy to let it go until Jan. 1. But I won't do it! If for no other reason, I have no clothes one size up, except for a couple of pairs of shorts. Therefore, I will find a way, or make a way, to lose the couple of extra pounds, and keep it from coming back. I welcome, beg even, you to hold me to it. This is a group effort!

One more note: Silver Treats is holding a jewelry give-away. I wanted in on it, and you can do the same. Head over to SilverTreats.com to enter!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why, Hannah, Why?

If you are looking for a great way to spend a lot of time getting very little accomplished, I have an idea for you. Puree a pumpkin. A friend of mine suggested it. She's quite impressive. She starts with a pumpkin, and just a few hours later, a pie is formed.

I ran out of pumpkin for my breakfast muffins. (Spice cake mix+ pumpkin puree= pumpkin muffin.) I eat them everyday because they're really low fat and calorie, and they go well with coffee. I decided to give in to peer pressure and make the puree from the pumpkin that we picked out for October festivities, but deemed too gory to cut into in front of DeLaynie.


If I'd had a food processor, it wouldn't have been that bad. What I had, however, was a handy chopper. A cute little device that holds one cup at a time. It took a while, but after a few hours, and one, big mess, I had a pureed pumpkin. A lot of it. Way too much. An amount equal to 7 cans.

The only thing that I use pumpkin for is my muffins. Now I'm going to be spending a lot of time looking for pumpkin recipes. I hate pumpkin pie, so I'll be looking for other uses, such as breads. I have used it for brownies, but Edwin gets bummed out when he walks into a house full of brownie smell without "real" brownies. Feel free to let me know of any exotic pumpkin recipes you have. I love a good recipe.

Eh, it wasn't painful. I'm glad there are people in this world like my pumpkin pureeing friend, but I think I'll go with canned if it's an option. (Granted, if we go overseas to do missions, there may be no option.) Pumpkin anyone? ;)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Edwin!



My husband turns 29 today! God has given me a great blessing in Edwin, and today we celebrate his grand entrance into the world. I began praying for him when I was twelve, and God has graciously blown me away with the answer He has given me in Edwin.

He is a spectacular daddy, husband, and pastor. He puts his all into whatever he does. He is completely responsible with all that God has given him. He is constantly challenging me, usually without words, to work toward a greater passion for Christ and a better understanding of who He is.

Thank you, Edwin, for being the husband that you are. Thank you for being the man of God that you are. I love you!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ode to a Good Cat

We found out that Emma, our cat for almost 5 years, was hit by a car today. She joined our family a few weeks into our marriage. I had been begging Edwin for a cat, and Emma walked up to me in the parking lot of our apartment complex. I text messaged Edwin with the message,"I made a new friend... she's kinda hairy."

We don't know how old she was. Every time we took her to the vet, they said the same thing, "She's about 6." Every time for 5 years!

She moved with us to Louisville. She spent much more time inside than she liked, but she didn't complain... too much. We lived next to a water reservoir, and there were a lot of geese who flew around our window. She would make strange sounds, similar to a dolphin, when she saw them. I almost called the vet because I was afraid that she was choking. She was simply trying to seduce the geese into her tummy.

Then she moved with us to Hodgenville. She got plenty of time outside here. That's where she spent her days, running around and attacking various small animals.

Sadly, this is where her days ended. Edwin was especially close to her. After trying to find a good dog, we finally gave up and accepted that we really like cats. Now she has left us. She was a good cat, and we'll miss her.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Should I Start a Therapy Account for the Girls?

Sometimes I worry about messing up my kids. I think about all of the things that I could say or do that would scar them. I think about the little things that my Sunday school teachers said that changed my theology for years. I think about off-handed remarks that teachers made that left a lasting impression on me. And I get concerned.

Then I remember the countless theological discussions that my dad and I had in the car. He would sit through a relentless barrage of questions, trying to answer each one thoughtfully. Many false doctrines met their end during those discussions. I know that it had to be annoying. It was during one of these discussions that I pulled the truth out about Santa Clause. At least that's how dad tells it. The way I remember it, he gave in pretty quickly.

I remember the conversations that my mom and I had sitting in the kitchen floor, and the time that she pulled out her "dream house" floor plans. I don't think that she ever thought she'd get her own home, but it's almost finished now. It's a part of being a pastor's wife, until recently, that there is a peculiar uncertainty. If your husband loses his job, you lose everything. Churches are moving away from the parsonage approach for that reason. I am excited to see my mom moving into the first home she and dad have ever owned. I appreciate her sharing that dream with me when I was nine. It helps me join with her in her joy.

I remember "camping" in the den with the whole family huddled around our gas logs. We would pull all the mattresses in one room, watch a movie, and get something similar to a night of sleep.

I remember the ritual of choosing a Christmas tree from the farm and cutting it down. After that we would watch dad wrestle with the tree until he deemed that it was straight in its stand. Then he would spend way more time than anyone thought necessary putting the lights on in his meticulous way. Finally, we would put each ornament on the tree. Bigger ones toward the bottom, lighter ones toward the top. Well after Christmas, we would go through a similar ritual of taking down each ornament and packing them away carefully for the next year. Edwin doesn't understand the value of such traditions, so I'm hoping that we can find a Latin American tradition that fits our family in a similar way.

I remember all of the camping trips. During some, we thought that we would freeze. Others were so hot that we could barely sleep. Many contained a trip to the ER for Micah. Most included a sunburn for me. All created memories, and (almost) all were fun.

The Christmas before I left home for college, dad framed the page of his prayer journal that he had begun for me when I was an infant. There were lines on the page for various areas, but the margins were filled with random notes as well. I know that his prayer has changed my life, and Edwin's. Dad had been praying for him too, though not by name.

I share all of these memories with the hopes that it will bring comfort to anyone who may find themselves worrying about emotionally scarring their children. Although a momentary slip of the tongue may leave a lasting impression, it's the consistent love and nurturing that really take root. We will make mistakes as parents, but when we strive to raise our children God's way and cover the lives of our children with prayer, good things happen.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Want to Write a Book

I really do. I have a few ideas, but most of them are nonfiction. Seeing as I have just about no education to back up my theories, I figured that I'd wait until I get some credentials, and some more wisdom while I'm at it. I could use some of it.

On my devotional blog, I'm working through the Proverbs 31 woman. I have realized that the thing that bothers me the most about what I lack is that I have no money-making talents as of yet. I need to learn how to make thread or something. Where's a field? I need to consider it and buy it. That would make me feel better.

No, I think my best chance is to write... something. I think that venture may be a little further down the line. Stay tuned. You'll be the first to know when my first major (or minor) book deal is coming down the pike!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Little Baby Noises

What is it about "ahhh-blah-mooshy-boo" that is so cute? Why does it sound so sweet? Ella is vocal now days. I hear these little noises following me around most of the day. I'll turn around, and there's Ella, crawling behind me, telling me about her day. I just wish I understood.

DeLaynie is talking more too, but she uses real words. Last night she pushed my head toward Edwin and said, "kiss!" I'm not really sure how I feel about that, but I choose to think it's sweet. I guess that it's a good thing that our daughter enjoys seeing my husband and I share affection. I'm sure that someone out there finds it creepy, but I can't come up with a logical reason why it would be.

Ella and DeLaynie have something similar to conversations now. DeLaynie will come over to Ella and say, "It's my sister, Ewwa!" Then Ella will respond with, "aaababadoo". This continues for a while before it turns into pure screeching, which has its own kind of loud cuteness. They are going to be such good buddies! (I hope...)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A New Book Review

I finished A Mom After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George today. It was good. George has always struck me as a super-woman. I'm not sure that I could handle it. Okay, I'm sure that I couldn't. I found the section titled "From a Dad's Heart" especially insightful into the type of marriage that she and her husband Jim have. I believe that her spiritual gift is service. She really seems to l-o-v-e serving her family. I hope that I can gain a better understanding of ways to implement servant leadership as a mom from reading this book. Although a lot of what she says is her personality and gifted-ness, most of it is Biblical. I hope that I can continue to develop in my desire to love my family sacrificially and give them the best care possible. That is going to get more interesting as we head overseas, but I am sure that the challenges we face there will only deepen my understanding of God's faithfulness.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ella's A-Crawlin'!

Ella took the next step in her journey toward total mobility (and messiness) today by crawling with her tummy off the ground today. We are super-excited. DeLaynie never crawled, so this is my first time to experience this phase. Here's a video of this exciting development:

video

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cranky Kiddos

So Edwin and I came home late yesterday afternoon. The kids seemed pretty pleased to see us. Well, DeLaynie did. Ella seemed to be only semi-conscious. They woke up a lot last night. My dad said that it's because they wanted to make sure that we were still here. I like that idea. It's much sweeter than the idea that they're not feeling well or are totally off-schedule since no naps were taken yesterday (the plane's fault). I didn't let them take too long of naps today. Call it punishment, or call it a pre-emptive strike.

Even in all of their grumpiness and tears, I still want nothing more than to cuddle with them and kiss their fat cheeks. They like that for a couple of minutes before wanting to wiggle around. I'll take what I can get.

It was weird to be away from them. Edwin and I kept thinking that we forgot them somewhere. I'd wake up in the early morning and think that Ella must have fallen off the bed. Yes, she usually ends up in our bed for a couple of hours due to falling asleep mid-feeding. Then I'll wake up and move her back, or I'll nudge Edwin, pretend to be asleep, and hope that he takes Ella back to her bed. Whichever!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

So I Was on the Plane...

And I was bored, so I did what many of us do while sitting there, trapped. I looked at the catalog that is full of products that can only be sold to an audience who can't go anywhere, isn't getting proper oxygen, and hasn't slept properly. That would be me. Granted, I wouldn't actually buy anything that this excellent publication is trying to sell me, but I have to admit that there were a few items that I found a tad bit tempting until I saw the price. I thought that I'd share one of my favorite products that I would never buy.


I'm not someone who is going to have dead animals on my walls anytime soon. That could change, I suppose, but it's just not really my style. This, on the other hand, is a whole new category of weird. Forget the fact that it's creepy, and I don't think that I'd ever be able to get changed in the same room with it, but why? It's a fake dino-torso. Can you imagine walking into the den at 11 p.m. to grab your magazine and seeing this fella staring at you in the dark? Am I just not getting something? If it were given to me while I was in a college dorm, then okay, maybe I could understand... but this lovely piece of artistry will put you back $89.95! I'm not sure what they would have to pump into the airplane cabin to get me to buy this thing, but it has to be illegal. If anyone actually owns this good-looking guy, I'd love to know why. I need to understand the psyche that would see Rex here and think, "Now that looks like a wise and necessary purchase!"

Friday, November 7, 2008

Mini-blog #3

We're finishing out our time here at the ol' ILC. We've met some precious(!) people in our small group. They all have kids that are about the same age as our own. We are absolutely positive that this what we're supposed to be doing.We won't know for absolutely, positively sure for another couple of weeks, but everything looks to be moving forward. Just keep praying.

I can't wait to get home and see my girls! I need to kiss on those fat cheeks and talk about all of the castles and gorillas in our backyard again. (De has an excellent imagination ;)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mini-blog #2

Day two of the conference is coming to a close. We received more information today than we are mentally equipped to handle. Edwin and I were shocked to be faced with the utter lostness of the world in which we live. Billions of people are living without Christ, and will one day die without Christ. Why are we so okay with it? Why are we more concerned with our childrens' comfort than teaching them to store their treasure in Heaven? It hurts to realize how thoroughly we are failing.

We are positive that this is the road that God has made straight for us. But I don't think that we are the only ones called to this mission. Jesus told all of His disciples to go. Not just the ones who had some sort of super-Christian calling. We aren't that special. I don't think that every Christian needs to head overseas right now, but I do think we all need to prayerfully consider it. We will stand before God and give account of how we used what He has given us. I don't know about you, but that scares me. I want to live my life in such a way that I can look back and say that I used every opportunity for the advancement of a Kingdom that will not fall. I've missed a lot already. I can't go back and change that, but I can use those missed opportunities as motivation to make sure that I make the most out of the time given to me. He has numbered my days, and I want to make the most out of them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mini-blog #1

We're at the International Learning Center in Richmond! The International Mission Board (the branch of the Southern Baptist Convention that deals with sending missionaries overseas) is similar to a small government. They abbreviate everything, require a great deal of paperwork, and have their own institutions. From now on, I will refer to our location as the ILC. It sounds cool and makes me feel a little bit like Jack Bauer.

We are in a small group with two other couples who have small children. They are incredibly sweet, and not even I have had a hard time with talking to them. I might have talked too much, but I haven't said anything too stupid yet.

Edwin and I are thrilled to be here, and really looking at possible jobs. We are open to all kinds of possibilities, but we do have a few ideas in our heads. I'm not sure if when we'll know our official placement, but we should be almost positive about if we are going by Friday! Keep on praying for us. We really appreciate the time that you put into approaching God on our behalf.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Going to Virginia...

We leave to go to Virginia for the IMB conference tomorrow. Don't worry; we will be voting. We believe that we should always perform our civic duty. So we will be at the polls, bright and early. Actually, it may be too early to be bright. We'll see. (Edwin wants to be there when they open.)

Because our schedule will be tight, I may not be able to blog. I'm not sure about the quality of internet there, either. I will try to mini-blog a few times, as I am able. I will give you a full, if not anonoyingly long and detailed, update when I get back.

I would like to thank B. Wal and my mom for taking care of the girls while we're gone. I am not at all worried about them and their safety. It's a very big relief to have such amazing people to take care of my precious daughters. I love you both.

We're very excied to kick off this adventure. Thank you for your continued prayer and support.

Hannah

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Art: It's About Perspective

Most of the time when I go out without the kids, I bring DeLaynie something back. This small gift never costs more than a dollar (plus tax), and it's just a way of letting Dee know that I love her, and I want to be her favorite. I'm just kidding on the last part... sort of. ;) The last thing I brought home was one of those paint pallets that you dip a wet paintbrush into. You then spread the slightly tinted water over your page to create a masterpiece. This kept DeLaynie entertained for two days of art time. Then almost all of the paint was gone, and she was thoroughly bored. She did very well with the concept, and caught on quickly. Here are a few shots of her most prominent piece:

This is how I originally had it on the fridge. Then it occurred to me that I may be putting my budding artist in a box, so I rotated it a few different ways to see if it moved me differently.


Anything? Me neither. I'd love for you to post comments on what you see. The last one looks a little like a clown taking off his hat. What I really see is a precious two year-old having a good time. That's one of the prettiest pictures I can think of.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Post Trunk-or-Treat Analysis

Anyone else nabbing candy from kids who are too young to realize it? Yeah, me neither. That would be wrong. So wrong, in fact, that I think we need to start a group for people who can't help themselves. Not that I would attend, obviously. But, those who do come should bring their kids' candy, so we can dispose of it properly (trade ya a Kit-Kat for a Snickers?).

In other news, I forgot to put the memory card in my camera last night. DeLaynie and Ella were in different costumes because it was warmer, and because it's fun to dress children in different costumes. I didn't get any pictures, but my friend got one of each kid. It's very sad because the pictures that I thought I was taking were going to be really good. DeLaynie was really happy when her friends pulled up, so she was smiling in the non-pictures.

I told her that we were going to see her favorite buddy tonight, and she ran to the door, opened it and ran out, calling his name. She loves that kid! Tonight she had a love fest with him and his sister. They kept hugging and kissing each other (on the cheek, only), and we kept telling them how sweet it was. (Well, it was!)

The kid's candy twelve step group will meet at my house, just because I'm that supportive. Let me know if you're in, and if you have any Snickers.