Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Every Season - Nichole Nordeman

Two weeks ago at church we had the new director of Women's Resource and Medical Clinic come and share about the ministry there and how our church could partner with them in saving lives. I volunteered there while I was in college for a few years and really saw the fruit that the Lord was bringing through the work done there. Women come in for a free pregnancy test and counselors are privileged to talk with them, answer questions and be with them in a time of uncertainty. Many clients are so willing to open up and talk about spiritual things. I loved volunteering there because each time I felt the Lord using me to impact others lives. To know that a child's life was saved because I was there to talk with a woman in her time of need is so precious to me.

That's why when the director was speaking at church I felt such a tug to volunteer there again. But in this season of my life I have other priorities and other ministry opportunities. I can't take 4 hours out of my day to go and work somewhere when I have two kids who need me. This season of my life is "mother of preschoolers."

Fortunately, a wave of calm and peace came over me as I realized that when I was in the 'college' season of my life I did volunteer and I used that time well. And perhaps when I'm in "mother of elementary schoolers" season I'll be able to volunteer there again.

It just made me think that with each season things change and what we are able to do changes with it. How we use our time, what we can afford, who we are friends with, where we get involved in ministry to others; all these things change with different seasons. There are some constants in the midst of seasonal change, but our lives look quite different from season to season.

I want to make the most of this season, so that when I look back on it I can be proud of the choices that I made. Right now is probably the only time I can really be involved in MOPS, so that is where I spend much of my ministry energy. Before kids I was able to help Hubby with the youth group. I'm not able to do as much now, but one thing I try to do is be available to mentor some of the college girls who'd like to just go out for coffee and chat. And I try to do what I can to free up Hubby's time so that he can do what he needs to do for his job.

It's hard because sometimes I think this season is never going to end. Sometimes I feel summer will never end. Then you get that little cold weather and it just feels so delicious. But then there are things you'll miss, like going out in the pool, the vacation time, the hours spent indoors because it's too hot...no wait, I don't miss that.

But each season does end, eventually. Some may last longer than others but we need to remember the good things about each season and try not to wish it away. The song below is one of my favorites and reminds me that God is with us in all of our seasons.

"There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven"
-Ecclesiastes 3:1

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Culinary schools want ME?

Have you guys gotten the spam message with the title "Culinary schools want YOU!"? I just have to laugh at that because there is no way they want to take me in. My friend pointed out that the culinary schools may want me, but not the restaurants. But I think that neither should want me, I'm a hopeless case.

It's not that I can't cook, I just don't really like doing it. I never had to cook anything growing up and in college I lived off of Hamburger helper and Pasta Roni. Then I moved in with my friend who had taken a vow of freshacy, not using any packaged foods. Living with her really helped me learn to cook, but I can't say that I inherited her love for cooking. When asked what her favorite meal to cook she replied with something like, "If I can cook without the kids underfoot, something with lots of ingredients that is complicated." My reply to the same question was, "Leftovers."

I can mess up meals in lots of different ways. Case in point. Last night I used the last of the white rice and put in some whole wheat rice along with it. But I cooked them both together for the white rice instructions. Of course I didn't realize until after it was cooked and I was eating crunchy rice that the wheat rice needed more water and to cook twice as long.

Wow, and the Lasagna that I made for some friends (and as a new mom meal after their baby was born). I usually use the oven ready noodles but decided to use regular noodles without boiling them, I'd heard you just have to add more water and cook them longer. Hmm, this sounds familiar. Well, I guess I didn't do enough of either cause when I tried to cut a piece for our guests it just didn't feel quite right. We had to wait on our lasagna for another 45 minutes to cook, while poor friend and family had to scrape the sauce off the crunchy noodles in order for it to be edible.

So most of the time I rely on two or three meals per week to cook and then do leftovers the next day. But sometimes if I'm short on time or if Hubby isn't eating at home that night I'll have a TV dinner. Who can mess that up? Apparently me.

Tonight I was cooking a Healthy Choice dinner for Hubby. I don't like to cook on Sundays, if there are no leftovers I find something easy and don't feel guilty because it's my Sabbath. So I put his in the microwave, sat down to eat mine and check some email. I was thinking, hmm, I'm already done eating mine and his hasn't finished cooking. I thought, I bet when I look up at the clock it's going to say 0:03 or something like that. Well I looked up and it said 43:08! Yikes!

I must have put it on for 60 minutes instead of 6 minutes! He said it wasn't bad, but the dessert wasn't worth trying. I've got to start doing meal planning again so I don't get into this. I don't think about cooking dinner until I'm hungry. It's so hard for me to think ahead.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The only political post you may ever get from me

Watch out blog readers! I'm getting political today! I don't usually delve into these things as I see them as divisive and just not fun. But as I was folding laundry the Lord laid this on my heart and I just had to type it out.

Imagine you are voting in the 1780s instead of today. Consider 2 candidates. Candidate 1 holds many to most of your same views on the economy/taxes, foreign relations, social issues like welfare, and moral views. Candidate 2 is different on many to most of those same issues.

But, what if Candidate 1 was for slavery and Candidate 2 was an abolitionist? Who would you vote for? Would slavery be an important enough issue to make you a single-issue voter? Would you give up voting for someone who shares most of your views to go with someone who supports the rights of African Americans?

These are some of the things I am considering the process of choosing a candidate for this year’s election. What are the big issues, who supports what and is there an issue that is the deciding factor for me?

Have you seen the movie Amazing Grace? It is the story of William Wilberforce’s quest to end slave trade in England. The movie is about how he continued to fight the good fight, to stand for those he had never met simply because it was the right thing to do. I thought it was interesting to see how the opposition to abolition was portrayed. There were many good points on their side. How would the economy fare if slave trade was abolished? Wouldn’t it be better for a gradual change instead of all at once? And even if England stopped the slave trade, wouldn’t France just step in and take all the profits?

As I was watching I realized what a major shift the politicians and public had to make. It seemed insurmountable at times, even to Wilberforce. What changed everyone’s minds and hearts finally? Overcoming selfishness and facing the facts. The fact that it is not right to treat a human like that. The fact that these people were human beings that God created, not animals or a lower class of humans. That skin color doesn’t determine worth. The facts were laid out for a long time and no one could dispute them, yet still the slave trade continued. That is until one day it was too clear for anyone to turn the other way.

My hope is that one day we will look back on abortion the way we now look back on slavery. My prayer is that we will overcome selfishness and face the facts. The fact that there is life and personhood before conception. It’s obvious with today’s medical technology that babies in the womb are humans and don’t become human simply when they are born. We can know that life begins at conception, because at conception a process begins motion, the fetus keeps growing and growing. You can’t pinpoint a time after conception that signals, ‘okay, now it’s human.’ The sex of the child is determined at conception, how could this fetus be a boy or a girl, but not a human? Even if you could say ‘well, it’s not human until this..’ At 5 weeks the major organs are developing, the heart starts beating and blood is pumping. That’s before most women even notice they’ve missed a period! Not only is the child harmed through abortion, the mother is also in danger of harm physically and emotionally.

I feel strange even pointing these things out, since it’s not obvious to the world. I wonder how the abolitionists felt when they told people of the horrible atrocities on the slave ships and plantations and then were met with nonchalant attitudes.

As we near the current election, I keep hearing about ‘women’s rights’ and how if you aren’t for abortion you are against the equality of women and setting women back 50 years and on and on. “Women’s reproductive rights?” What exactly does that mean? The right to control your own uterus, no matter if another human stands in the way? I think that EACH person has a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and as humans we need to stand up for that to apply to each person, even those who are still in the womb.

I don’t really care for politics. I dislike discussing it with people because I know I’m not fully educated on all the issues. I just don’t have time for that, but even if I did have the time, it wouldn’t make a difference in my vote. Simply said, a law allowing innocent human life to be killed is enough to make me a single-issue voter. I don’t know about all the issues, but I do know who stands for what on this issue. And for me the choice is clear.

The Cookie Suit

Last weekend G pitched a fit when we tried his little suit on him for Sis's upcoming wedding. He lay on the ground crying and saying, "I don't wike it, jacket owf. Take it owf!' Plus he threw the ring bearer pillow on the ground. A did the same thing with her dress and said the beads were hurting her. Needless to say, I was not encouraged by this and in my head flew visions of screaming children running down the aisle or through the church like they were being tortured.

A friend gave me a little suit that was smaller and I tried it on him today. I picked after naptime because I thought he'd be more cooperative. He was not.

Then I got an idea!

A throwback to my psychology degree (see mom and dad, it was worth it!) I decided to use positive association with the suit. I said, 'hey Grant, do you want a cookie?' and told him when he got his suit all on that we'd go get a cookie. He cooperated slightly better though he was still grabbing at the coat wanting to take it off. I called it his Cookie outfit and I think I'm going to try putting it on him every few days to get him used to it. Maybe he'll even WANT to put it on so he can have a cookie. We've got 3 weeks until the big day, so hopefully this will work!

Here we are in the pantry anticipating the cookie

Jacket on, success! Do you think we could move from unhappy to slightly happy?

Okay! That's a little bit of a smile! I think we are on to something here.

A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do, right?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Parenting is an apprenticeship, not obedience school

I'm a part of a new Sunday School class for parents of elementary age and younger kids called the Homebuilders class. For the first few weeks of the class we've been looking at a book called 'Parenting in the Pew' by Robbie Castleman. I've not read the book, but I really enjoyed our class today and it's good to hear from other parents about how difficult and challenging this whole parenting thing is.

One of the topics today was on Modeling, specifically how we model worship to our kids while we are in church. Now I'm not dealing with this right now as my kids are still in the nursery during 'big church.' But, modeling behavior is something that I've had on my mind for a while. I've heard all the quotes:

'Practice what you preach'
'Kids learn more of what is caught than taught'
'Your children will become what you are, so be what you want them to be'

Today the quote of parenting as an apprenticeship was burned into my memory. I am aware that I am basically performing on stage for my kids 24/7 (well, maybe 12/7since they don't see me at night). As my sister and I were arguing this weekend A came in and asked, 'Mommy, why are you and Aunt Sis arguing?' Sigh. I want to provide the best model for them in all aspects of life, especially spiritually, but I need God's help to do that. I know perfection isn't possible, and it's not bad if they see me doing wrong things as long as they also see me asking for forgiveness or admitting what I did was wrong. I don't want them to think I'm perfect because they aren't perfect either and they need a good model of repentance as much as they need a good model of obedience.

But there are some things that I am a 'Do as I say not as I do' kind of mom. Most of these have to do with food. I feel slightly hypocritical as I refuse to give my daughter a cookie at breakfast and tell her, 'Honey, we don't have dessert after breakfast' when she didn't see that I ate a whole piece of cheesecake for my breakfast. Hmm. Or when I make her eat all her green beans and there aren't even any green beans on my plate. I saw an article one time about a woman who, for 30 days, only ate food that she would feed her child. And if she wanted to 'cheat' she had to give it to her child too. I wouldn't have lasted 30 days. Doing these kinds of things was much easier when they were little and they didn't know what chocolate was or what it tasted like. Now I only eat cookies during nap time, and I always look down the hall to make sure they are not waking up before I get the cookie jar down.

I personally need to be more disciplined about things that are good for me. Things like going to bed earlier, not spending so much time on the computer, not biting my nails, studying the Bible more regularly, and not eating so much junk food.

Until I master all that (ha!), I'll try to keep my cookie eating out of sight. Hehehe.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A man of many talents

Right now Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen are chatting with A and G. They are telling them all about the surprise birthday party they are throwing for Flo. Oh, now Doc Hudson is in on the party, and Mia and Tia are coming too. Oh, and Luigi and Ramone. It's amazing that all of them can fit in the bathroom as the kids take their bath. It only makes sense when you realize they are all being voiced by my husband.

He truly is a man of many talents. He can impersonate all their favorite characters like VeggieTales (excepting Junior and Laura), the Cars crew, Sesame Street, and Tigger. Then he makes up voices for toys that don't have specific voices like Meow-Meow, Papa Bear, Big Duck, and on and on. They love to have characters from books and coloring books talk back to them. One of A's favorites from an old coloring book is Surfer Dude with his SoCal voice. Then there's Widow the spider and Coral the snake (with a lisp) from the Poison Patrol gang (gotta love that safety propaganda). I don't know how he can come up with so many different voices but it's like having Robin Williams around the house and the kids just soak it up, asking him to make pretty much everything talk to them. It's not like things have to have a mouth for them to talk either, our Heinz bottle comes alive with a dull whiny voice and Mustard tells him to go back to the fridge to the delight of the kids. I think that Hubby created the voice of 'Grins and Giggles' (a high pitched demented clown) just to annoy me one day but unfortunately it stuck. Even though we've long used up that bottle of baby wash, Grins and Giggles still attends all their baths.

Perhaps it started when A was very little. We had a little fingertip toothbrush that looked like a little puppet. After a while she decided she didn't like getting her teeth brushed and so Bristles from Brussels was born. Bristles takes the red-eye from Europe every night just to brush their teeth and chats about what they had to eat that day. He speaks English, but with a Dutch accent of course.

G is always saying, "Hey Purcey, gess what?" or "Hey Ketchewp, gess what?" or Hey Whoever in order to get Hubby to say "What" in the appropriate voice. So the other day at church A learned about some Old Testament story involving leprosy and brought home a picture of a man with dried corn glued to the body (ewww...). She was telling us the story and G says, "Hey, Weprosy, gess what?" Sorry, buddy. We aren't going to be voicing infectious diseases. You know, we gotta draw the line somewhere.

Sometimes I get a little jealous when the kids are clinging all over their Daddy. G used to favor me, I used to be the one he'd want to cuddle with and go to when he needed comfort. I don't think I was ever that for A, she was always 'Daddy's little girl.' I joked that when G was born there was finally 'one for me.'

When we got out of the car on Sunday for church A was holding daddy's hand and G was holding mine. When G wriggled out of my hand to hold hands with Daddy I said, 'Why can't I be the favorite?'

However I can't get too jealous because I realize, what an amazing man I've married. I get him as my husband! I knew I wanted to marry a man who would be a good father, but I never could have imagined how good Hubby would be with our kids. How they absolutely adore him, need him, and want him. It makes me love and appreciate him all the more. The best part is I am top in his list, so I guess I am someone's favorite.