Monday, December 31, 2007

Big Girl Bed

Tonight Elizabeth wanted to sleep in her big girl bed (which currently is just a mattress on the floor of her new big girl room) instead of in her crib. Although this is the goal we eventually wanted her to reach, tonight it just came too soon. We JUST started taking naps in there, with me by her side. In my mind, I had thought that we would do this for a week or so, then progress to taking naps in there by herself, and then finally move to spending the night in there. In my mind, this process would take about 3 weeks or so, not 3 days. But there she was, my little elfkin, sitting on her mattress saying, "Night-night," and as I looked at my husband with a worried face, I realized that my little girl is becoming a big girl sooner than I had expected or wanted.

Sometimes I feel guilty, being pregnant and forcing my little girl to grow up sooner than perhaps she is ready. If this new baby weren't coming so soon, she would be able to stay in her crib and not have to move to a big girl bed. My husband and I wanted our children to be close in age, and we both agreed that this was the best rooming situation for our family and our house, but is it forcing my daughter to grow up too fast? I guess I'll never know because it's happening already.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Moments of Bliss

Three moments of bliss today:
1. Sharing a family hug with Elizabeth, Mike, Cheetah, and Bear in the parking lot of a kids furniture store.
2. Giving a hundred kisses to Elizabeth and making her laugh so hard she had to catch her breath.
3. Singing "Jesus Loves Me" as I put Elizabeth down to bed and hearing her trying to sing along.

Oh, I love being at home, spending time with my family. I miss it so much. But perhaps I appreciate it more now because I do miss it so much.

Monday, December 24, 2007

My Favorite Gift (so far)

Last Sunday I received my favorite gift of the season (so far!) Actually, it wasn't for me; it was for my daughter. We had our nannies over for a holiday thank you dinner, and they both arrived with a joint gift for Elizabeth, both very excited to give it. It looked square and thin in shape, and I guessed it was a book that they had purchased for Elizabeth. I thought to myself how sweet that was, especially since one of the nannies had mentioned that Elizabeth seemed bored with all of the books in the house. About an hour later I found out that what was inside the package was far beyond a book to relieve the boredom of my daughter. It was a treasure to both her and me.

The title of the book is "Elizabeth's Day with Bear," and the content of the book is a play by play of what my daughter's day looks like at 19 months with her best friend "Bear." The text is accompanied by pictures that both nannies had taken while watching her over the past 3 months. The pages show how she and Bear eat breakfast together, play blocks together, go for a walk together, play at the park together, and take a nap together. Mundane as it may seem, for a working mother, it is a treasure.

As I read through the book, tears welled up inside of me. These were the things that I used to do with my daughter on my days off last year. Now, two other young ladies get to do these things with her. You would think jealousy would take over here, but instead a sense of gratefulness came upon me. I'm so thankful that these two young ladies take such good care of my daughter and that they care for her enough to continue doing these things with her. And I'm so thankful that they love her enough to take the time to make a book that chronicles what her life is like at this point.

A couple of months ago a friend of mine sent me an email describing her point of view of working mothers. In the email, she wrote, "As for the working full-time thing...I believe in it. [My daughter] will be in wonderful hands and I will be doing what I've been trained and equipped to do for years. Instead of just one person benefitting from my love and skills, I get to help dozens of kids who don't come from the healthy place that [my daughter] does. It's what the kingdom of heaven is about - using your talents to bless others. We'll read to, sing to, cuddle with, and love [my daughter] in the morning, evening, and weekend. During the 9 or so hours of separation, she'll be learning social skills, learning to love others and be loved by others (besides us). It's more than just being great moms - it's doing our part as humans on this earth."

Last Sunday with the help of my daughter, a bear, and a book, I finally realized the latter part of this email. And I'm so grateful for that gift.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


My friend Sarah's blog inspired this one.

In this picture are my daughter and my cousin Janny's kids, Janet Joy (who we lovingly call J.J.) and Caleb (also known as K-Bob). It was taken at Thanksgiving, at the end of a long fun-filled, food-filled, family-filled day. To me, it embodies more than just a day. This picture represents the past, the present, and hopefully the future.

My cousin Janny and I were born six weeks apart. Our parents are twins, and we grew up almost as sisters. Janny is the older one, and she has always done things before me. She learned to read before I did. She started dating before I did. She got married before I did. She had kids before I did. She is competing in triatholons before I am. In many ways, she is like my older sister even though only six weeks separate us.

And I am so thankful that she is the older one, for I have learned so much from her. I find myself continually calling her, asking her advice on something whether it's how to make a certain dish or how to get Elizabeth to sleep at night. She is an incredible woman of God and an incredible wealth of knowledge. I am always in awe of how much she knows and how much she does. But most of all, she is an incredible encourager, and when the chips are down, I know I can always count on her to fill my bucket and give me a good laugh.

Janny's kids, J.J. and Caleb, have been anxiously waiting for Elizabeth to "grow up" and play with them, and this Thanksgiving, she finally was able to. Janny brought a huge bag of Mega-Blocks, and the three of them played for hours together in the middle of my mom's living room, oblivious to the football and food preparation going on. As I sat there and watched them play, I quietly enjoyed the beginnings of their relationships as cousins. It was sweet to hear Elizabeth say, "J.J." and it was precious to watch Caleb instruct Elizabeth on how to build a car. They will be good older siblings for her.

I pray that my children will have strong relationships with their cousins like I do. There is nothing quite like it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Tomorrow is my favorite day of the year. I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday by far. Perhaps because it is a simple holiday with no intentional commercialism attached to it. Perhaps because it has all of the yummy foods included in it. Or perhaps because it is all about looking back on the year and reflecting on all that we have been given, instead of complaining about what we haven't.

This year has been difficult for me, and lately I have been focusing on what I don't have. So tonight I want to focus on what I do have and what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my daughter, who is growing and maturing so quickly. She amazes me everyday.

I am thankful for my new baby, who is also growing so quickly. I can't wait to meet him or her in a few months.

I am thankful for my husband, who works hard to make my dreams come true. I know he sacrifices satisfaction in his career so that we can be where we are today. He also worked so hard to find good nannies for our daughter when I had to go back to work. And I'm thankful for our nannies who take such good care of my pride and joy.

I am thankful for my job at Eisenhower Elementary. When things were so up in the air, GGUSD could have put me anywhere. I'm thankful I landed right back where I started.

I am thankful for my family, especially my parents. Sometimes I feel they are working harder to support me now than when I was younger, and I want them to know that I could not make it without them.

I'm thankful for my friends who haven't given up on me as my life has changed so dramatically. Thank you to Lori who faithfully calls me every week, and to Sarah who encourages me to blog even after a two month break. Thank you to Jenny who sends me pictures of her babies in England and still connects with me even though it must seem like I've fallen off the face of the earth. And thank you to Pamie who clips a victory verse to my box everyday at work. I never get to thank her enough.

But most of all, I'm thankful for a Father who sustains me and comforts me during these stressful times. I'm thankful for these valleys in which He teaches me and strengthens me so much. I feel like a different person now, and although I know that the storms will continue to come, I know I will make it through them because He stands with me.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ode to Jennie

OK. I usually write about my life, my family, or things that the Lord is teaching me. But tonight I must write about something a little less important. Tonight I must express my sadness at the voting off of Jennie Garth from "Dancing with the Stars".

I have been a Jennie Garth fan for a long time. Yes, I watched "Beverly Hills 90210" way back when, and yes, I secretly tried to dress like Jennie's character Kelly Taylor. (But then again, in the 90's, who didn't?) I cheered when she finally got together with Dylan McKay, and I cried when she and Brandon decided not to get married. I watched "9-0" (as my fellow fans call it) loyally until the end, and I must say I was relieved when Jennie Garth reappeared on television with the show "What I Like About You." I know most people believe that the star of that show was Amanda Bynes, but for us "9-0" fans, we know who the real star was. (Jennie, that is.)

When "Dancing with the Stars" revealed their list of celebrities this season, I was more than ecstatic to see my girl Jennie on the list. It has been several years since she has been on network television on a weekly basis. She started off okay as a dancer, but then she had that horrible fall. As she said tonight, that was probably the best thing to happen to her because since then, she has worked so hard and she has improved so much. Every week I have spent all of my votes on her, dialing in 1-800-868-3401 over and over until the operator tells me I have no more votes left on that phone. But alas, last night it was not enough. Despite my 15 votes, she just couldn't beat the Osmond machine that has wrongfully launched Marie Osmond into the finals. Such is life.

Honestly, though, I have a great deal of respect for Jennie Garth. She is beautiful, she doesn't believe in plastic surgery (her solution to growing old in Hollywood is to move to Idaho!), she is an incredible mother of 3 beautiful girls, and she truly is real. She has showed her emotions through this whole "Dancing with the Stars" competition, and for anyone who knows me, you know how much I appreciate that. She is a true star in my eyes, and I am so sad to see her go.

OK. Now I can sleep tonight.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Favorite Moments

At eighteen months, here are some of my favorite moments with Elizabeth:
  • listening to her laugh uncontrollably as she plays with her daddy
  • telling her "I have a secret" and then whispering in her ear "Psss Psss Psss Psss"
  • watching her figure something out (like how to unlock the tot locks on the cabinets) for the first time and then beaming with pride
  • getting a wet, slobbery kiss from her on the lips
  • having her identify the parts of her body
  • watching her look for the foam letters I, X, Y, and J in the bathtub
  • reading the same book over and over and over to her
  • watching her talk back to the finger puppet in her Little Lamb book
  • hearing her imitate an elephant and watching her do the hand motions that go with the sound
  • listening to her identify all the members of my family (Mama, Dada, Papa, Maama, CeCe)
  • watching her read her nursery rhymes book and doing the motions that go with each rhyme
  • kissing the soft, blond curls (that I prayed for when I was pregnant!) on the top of her head
  • praying with her at dinnertime and watching her bow her head and say "Amen" when we finish
  • watching her suck her two fingers and knowing that at eighteen months, she already has her nervous habit

Thank you, Lord, for the incredible privilege of being able to watch her develop into who you have created her to be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Boy or Girl?

We had our 20 week ultrasound yesterday, and what an emotional day it was for me. It started out exciting, seeing a close up view of our baby, watching it's four-chambered heart beat so strongly, examining it's profile for resemblances of either myself or my husband. It's amazing how much you can see in such a blurry black and white image. Already I can tell that this child has a completely different profile than Elizabeth does. The head is bigger, the nose is sharper, the chin is more defined. I remember when we had our ultrasound for Elizabeth that I was convinced she looked like me. Everyone thought I was crazy saying that based on an ultrasound, but I could see my profile in her. And sure enough, as she's grown older, she may look like her daddy face on, but from the side she is surely my child. I told my husband that this child must look like him.

I then went from excitement to worry for my new baby. Worry because I can already tell that people aren't as excited about this baby as they were for my first baby. When I got pregnant with Elizabeth, I received tons of cards from friends and family. When I got pregnant this time, I received three. I understand the novelty of having a baby has gone away for us because we supposedly know what we are doing now, but I still want this baby to feel special and wanted and celebrated. I want this child to know that it was a miracle that God created, not just an accident that happened one night. I worry that this child won't be as amazing as Elizabeth is and won't get the same attention that she does. And I worry that I will then try to overcompensate for it and cause an issue between my children. I worry, and I worry until God tells me not to worry anymore. It doesn't make a difference in the situation. This baby is what it is, and there is no changing that. I simply need to love my children the way God commands me to, and trust Him with their lives the way I do with my own.

We didn't find out the sex of the baby, so don't even ask. I know, I know...we're no fun that way. Call us old-fashioned. We like to have the surprise at the end. So what do you think...boy or girl?

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Good Mother

Hello. I'm back. It's been 2 1/2 months, and for those of you who are reading this, thanks for not giving up on me! I knew I would return. It just took me a little while to get adjusted to my new situation in life. "My Life as I Know It" changed dramatically in September, and I am just now settling into my new "life as I know it." I feel in a way like I've moved houses and have now unpacked all my boxes, set up each room in the house, found where the nearest grocery store is, and returned to the routine of my life.

Through all of this change in my life, I've learned a lot. I won't bore you with all that I've learned, but I will share the one major lesson God has taught me. I used to think a good mother was one who stayed home, took care of her children and her home, and taught her children everything they needed to know in life. That was my dream, my goal, my purpose as a mother. When I suddenly had to go back to work full time and semi-abandon that dream, I was devastated (as evidenced by the last few blogs I wrote). I now understand that a good mother isn't necessarily one who stays a home. And a good mother isn't necessarily one who works full-time either. A good mother is one who does what is needed for her family at this season of time. And that is what I have done. I choose to work full-time at this time in my life because it is what my family needs me to do. Perhaps at another time in my life, I won't have to work full-time and I will be able to see my dream come true. But if that never occurs, that's okay because I know that I am doing what the Lord has called me to do, and that is to take care of my family.

"A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
...She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
...She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed:
her husband also, and he praises her.
Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
(various verses from Proverbs 31)

To all of the mothers out there, here's to you for doing what your family needs you to do!

Friday, August 31, 2007


Elizabeth has developed a new little quirk. If she is drinking something and she spills, she will immediately get up, go to the drawer which holds the towels, pick out a towel, come back and wipe it up. I'm sure she does it because she's seen me do it hundreds of times in her life, but everytime she does it, it is so fascinating to watch. She's become my little cleaner-upper!

A friend of mine reminded me yesterday that God didn't create the mess that we are in currently. We did that all on our own. However, He will come along side us and help us clean up our messes and turn them into blessings somehow. He will be our cleaner-upper, and it will be just as fascinating to watch.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Sometimes the "ifs" don't work out. On Monday I was set to go back to work part-time "if" my job-share partner agreed it was okay. And although she was 95% sure that it was okay, on Tuesday I found out that "if" was not going to happen. So now I am returning to the full-time work force with a heavy heart and a tumultous stomach.

Sometimes the "ifs" do work out, though. None of this would even be possible "if" we couldn't find childcare for my daughter. And yesterday, we did. In one day we found two nannies who can watch Elizabeth for the whole week. (They will have different days, not that Elizabeth needs two nannies to watch her at the same time.)

So who's in charge of the "ifs"? Obviously, it's God. And although I don't understand His answer to the "ifs", I trust Him completely. Because with God, there are no "ifs".

Monday, August 27, 2007

U Turn

Sometimes God makes us do U-turns in our lives. I remember seeing a bumper sticker years ago that said, "If you're going the wrong way, God allows U-turns." Although I don't think I was going the wrong way, I do think God has led me on a U-turn today.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I made a decision together that I would take a leave of absence from my job and stay at home to take care of our daughter. He said financially we could make it. Well, yesterday, after going over our expense list for the umpteenth time, he came to me and said that we weren't going to make it. I have to tell you, this is not what I wanted to hear. And after many, many hours of tears and a very sleepless night, I woke up this morning knowing what I had to do. So I got on the phone and grovelled for my job back. It was humiliating, to say the least, but it is what God asked me to do, and so I had to put my pride up on the shelf and do it.

I'm still not sure what the Lord is doing, but I do know that He is in control. He is still my pilot, and I cling to that fact when I think about all of the other things that still need to fall in place. We still don't have childcare for my daughter. My job-share partner still needs to okay the whole situation. My district still needs to permit me to come back. There are a lot of "stills", but I trust that the Lord is "still" omniscient and "still" all-powerful.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Small Victories

Today Elizabeth ate chicken for the first time. Not that she hasn't been given it before. Or not that she hasn't tried it before. But today she actually put it in her mouth, chewed it, swallowed it, and asked for another piece. I was so excited by this momentous occasion (up until now her diet has consisted of cheese, yogurt, peanut butter sandwiches, potatoes, and bananas), that I cheered so loud for her, you would have thought she was a movie star or something. She, of course, loved that and was encouraged to eat more. I think she ate a good third of my chicken breast, which I gladly gave up for the sole comfort that one more item of food has been added to her menu. To say the least, it was a big day!

I think this is how God reacts when I do something that He is proud of. Don't get me wrong...I know we are saved by grace and not acts, but I do think He gets excited when we do things that show we are walking by faith in Him. Like these latest decisions that my husband and I have had to make. As difficult as they were, I think perhaps the Lord was cheering loudly for us, just like we were cheering loudly for Elizabeth and her chicken. Yep, these small victories in life are huge in the eyes of any parent.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Major Decisions

OK. So it's been a while since my last blog. The reason...well, let's just say I've had to make some major decisions in my life, and I just wasn't ready to blog about them yet. But now I am, so here it goes.

On July 25th, I found out that I was pregnant again. This was a shock and surprise to me, as I truly thought it was going to take us a while to conceive again (it took us almost two years to get pregnant with Elizabeth!) I waited until I was almost 5 days late before I even took a test, and the first test I took was an expired one. When it came back positive, I still didn't believe it and so I went to Rite Aid and bought the $17 pregnancy test. When it also came back positive, I figured it must be true, and so this story begins. I am currently 8 weeks along, and am feeling all of the joys of pregnancy, my nausea being the worst!

At about the same time that I found out I was pregnant, we were interviewing daycare providers for my daughter Elizabeth. With me working part-time, this has been a difficult search. We have gone down every avenue of daycare within the city of Orange: licensed daycares, unlicensed in-home daycares, looking on, and finally nannies. We thought we had someone that was perfect, but when we offered her the job, she politely declined. And after the last nanny asked for $125 a day, I looked at my husband and started crying. It was clear what the Lord was telling us: I needed to stay home fulltime.

And of course, after you make a HUGE decision like that, the enemy starts attacking you, and that's exactly what he did to us. In the last week, I think I have shed more tears than I have all year (of course, some of that may also be from those lovely pregnancy hormones!) There were several hurdles to jump over once we made this decision, but after each hurdle the Lord has carried us over it and continually confirmed that this is His calling for me this year. Everyday I am feeling more and more confident of this decision for our family.

So, that's why I haven't been blogging. But guaranteed, I'm back and I'm looking forward to sharing more of my new life with you as I get the chance. Thanks for reading, and thanks for not giving up on me!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

There's No Place Like Home

I went away this weekend, to attend a baby shower of a good friend of mine in Denver. Mike stayed home and watched Elizabeth for three days, and although he has done this before, it still was a bit of a scary thing for both of us. I'm proud to say, though, that my husband did outstanding! He not only did the basics of feeding, bathing, and putting her to sleep, but he went for walks with her, took her swimming everyday, and even ran errands with her. When I came home on Sunday, he was a plethora of knowledge on her habits and idiosyncracies of late. It was so sweet, and inside I was just beaming with joy thinking what a good father my husband has become.

Going away is good for all of us. It gave my husband confidence in his childcare abilities. It provided an opportunity for my husband and daughter to bond, something that I have to make sure we build into our family time. It rejuvenated me and gave me an amazing appreciation of my family. It was good for me to go away, but I'll tell ya, by Sunday, I was ready to come home. When the airline agent told me my flight had been cancelled and that I would have to either fly stand-by or wait until Monday to fly home, I have never prayed harder to get on that stand-by flight. All I wanted was to get home. I understand now how Dorothy felt. Yes, there is no place like home, and I am so thankful I have a home that I look forward to returning to. Thank you, Mike, Elizabeth, Yoda and Obi (the dogs), Luke and Lea (the cats), and the one who gave it all to me, Jesus.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Big Girl Day

I let Elizabeth feed herself her yogurt yesterday. This is the result. She refused to let me feed it to her, and although I knew she wasn't completely ready to do it herself, I let go of my anal, clean-freak nature and let her at it. It was hysterical! She would dip the spoon into the yogurt and then hold it vertically, spilling all of the yogurt, before getting it into her mouth. Eventually, she figured out (after MUCH prompting from Mommy and Daddy) that she needed to turn the spoon horizontally in order to actually taste the food, but for a while, she didn't even care about doing that. She was just pleased as punch at the fact that SHE was feeding herself. SHE was a BIG girl today!

Yesterday was a big girl day, and I'm feeling my heart torn. On one hand, I'm so proud of my little girl, learning and growing and becoming more independent. But on the other hand, I miss my little baby who used to be so dependent and needing of me. I know I'm not the only mom who has felt this way or is feeling this way currently, and I realize this is the cycle of life. But this is just how I feel. I wonder how I'll feel in 17 years time when it is time to help her move into her college dorm or 30 years down the line when she is asking me parenting questions about her baby. I guess this is what they mean by motherhood. And although I am a little sad today, I'm so glad to be a part of this club.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lessons Learned from Traffic School

So, I've been at Traffic School for the last two Monday nights. Not my favorite thing to do on a Monday night, but I didn't really have a choice. A couple of months ago I was going too fast down Cambridge on my way back from Trader Joes (I take that short cut because there are less lights...there are also more cops, I came to find out.) Before I knew it, there were lights in my rearview mirror, and for the first time in ten years, I was getting a speeding ticket. I probably deserved it, and I probably needed to go to traffic school again, just to hear all of the stories that would scare me back into driving safely. I'm sure my husband was not thrilled about the $300 ticket we had to pay, but he's probably secretly thankful that I got scared by the stories and am changing my driving habits for the better.

My attitude about traffic school in the past has been that they make it so incredibly boring that you never want to go back and you change your driving habits for good. Obviously, that only lasted 10 years for me the last time. So this time, I took a different approach to traffic school. I tried to learn some new things and put them into practice so that I don't end up here again in another 10 years. So here's what I learned:
1. The most popular ticket was for speeding, but not on the freeway. Most of the tickets I heard about were given on the residential streets where 25 is the speed limit unless otherwise posted.
2. The second most popular ticket was for the infamous "California" rolling stop. No, it is not a legal thing to do in California. And yes, you will get a ticket for doing it.
3. The reason that the speed limit is still 65 mph is because the highways were built in the 1930's and 1940's when cars could only go that fast. Today cars can go a lot faster, but the highways haven't been updated to handle that.
4. The hands-free law doesn't start until next July (2008), contrary to all of the emails I received this month.
5. The number one cause of death in children in America is car accidents. Yikes!

As I looked around, I saw people of all different ages and ethnicities in the room. There were Caucasians, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians. I sat next to a woman from Iran and a man named Salvador. There was a young girl in there who truly had only been driving for a few weeks and an older gentleman who was 84 and was in there for his first ticket ever. It was a true cross section of America, and as I think about it now, a true picture of what salvation is like. There we all are, sinners, sitting in that court room, waiting for our punishment. We all deserve to go to jail because we broke the law (even as miniscule as speeding is, it's still against the law.) We are all equal offenders in the eyes of the law, and we all deserve the same punishment. But then Jesus comes out and gives us our yellow certificate that says we are free to go. Free to go, and we didn't even have to go through traffic school. We stand around in shock, joyfully elbowing each other and thinking, "Thank goodness I don't have to sit through another 8 hours of hell." Of course, in order to stay out of traffic school, we have to take the yellow certificate and change our driving habits for good. And there in lies the true test.

So there are my lessons from traffic school. Not thrilling, but surely life changing.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Impact of Words

I swam competitively for 13 years when I was younger. Swimming was a huge part of my life for a long time. Practice, sometimes double, everyday. Swim meets on Saturdays and Sundays. When I graduated high school, I officially "retired" from swimming. I decided that I had had enough of the chlorine and early morning workouts, and that I didn't want to wake up at 5 am anymore. (Ha! Little did I know!) I hadn't touched a pool (in the competitive sense) for over 15 years.

Until today. Today I swam for the first time in 15 years. I was extremely nervous about it, visualizing myself immediately sinking to the bottom of the pool. But I was pleasantly surprised. When I got in the water, it all kind of came back to me. As my arms pulled through the waters, I could feel them sculling as I had been taught to do so long ago. I could hear my coaches saying, "Don't tuck your chin. Keep your head up," as I sprinted 25 yards. And I could feel it was wrong when I took a breath off the wall, something we used to get penalized for in practice. It shocked me how after 15 years, my coaches' words were still so fresh in my ears, as if they were right there on the deck blowing their whistles and yelling at me.

My husband often tells me to think about what I am going to say before I say it because whatever I say, it will stay with him for a long time. I guess that's true for coaches, teachers, parents, and people in general. Funny how I hold all of those titles. I guess that means I better learn this lesson soon!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Imitators of Christ

The other day I caught Elizabeth playing with a napkin. She had it wadded up and was wiping her nose, similar to how her daddy does it. It was the cutest thing, especially with the sound effects she was adding. She would wipe and wipe and then blow. I have etched that moment in my mind to remember forever.

Elizabeth has been imitating us a lot lately. She likes to brush her hair when I brush my hair. She joyfully brushes her teeth when I brush my teeth. She absolutely loves putting on our shoes and walking around in them. She longs to do "big people" things, and she gets so excited when she has the opportunity to do them.

And then it got me thinking. That last sentence is the attitude Christ wants us to have. We are called to be imitators of Christ. That means we do what Christ does. We walk like He walks. We talk like He talks. We treat others the way He treats others. And we are to do all of these things with the same joy that my daughter has when putting on my shoes. So proud because we're just like mama, or in His case, Abba.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Some of a Thing is Better than None of a Thing

This morning I had a monthly prayer group scheduled with a group of women that I adore. We have been meeting for almost 7 years and have watched each other walk, stumble, stand up, and walk again with the Lord. I treasure the time that I get to spend with these girls once a month, and I look forward to hearing what the Lord is teaching them lately. Many times I feel that I learn the lesson too as they share their experiences and discoveries with the group.

This morning, however, my husband wasn't feeling well, so that meant one of two things. Either I could not attend the prayer group, or I could take my daughter with me. I chose the latter, and headed to our meeting with as best a positive attitude as I could muster up.

You know the rest of the story. My daughter was well behaved for the first hour, but after that, she was done. Nothing was pleasing her. Not Cherrios, not cheese, nothing. I ended up leaving early and feeling frustrated that my once-a-month time with my friends was cut short. And then the Lord reminded me, "Some of a thing is better than none of a thing, Robyn." This has been a saying that He has been reminding me of a lot lately, and I have to admit, it has taken me a while to get used to this idea. I've been a mom now for 14 months, and just now I'm learning that with children comes sacrifice. Actually, I've been experiencing that for the past 14 months, but I think I am now just growing accustomed to it . I have learned this lesson and am now making it part of my thought process. And as a teacher I know that that is true learning.

But it's okay because Elizabeth is worth the sacrifice. She is worth missing part of my prayer group. She is worth missing part of my cousin's wedding because she wanted to run around during the ceremony. She is worth not having been to a movie in over a year. She is worth it all to me, and as I drove away this morning, my pity party turned into a rejoicing party, thanking the Lord for the little blessing that is now fast asleep in her carseat. So today the sacrifice may have been time with my friends, but at least I got an hour with them. That's better than none.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The "C" in Robyn C. Liskey

I have always been proud of my middle initial. I make sure I include it in every signature I make, whether it's on a check, a timecard, or an important document. I love the "C" in my name because the "C" stands for "Cheryl", and that's my mom's name.

This is my mom. Many people have commented to me how beautiful she is. One friend told me she was "well preserved." At 62 years old, I think she looks great, and I pray that when I am her age, I will look just as good.

But for those who know my mom, they know that her outside beauty is simply a reflection of her inside beauty. My mom is one of the most giving, selfless people I know. She put aside her dreams and desires to raise my sister and I until it was convenient for her to go back to school. She is a nurse by trade, but she takes care of so much more. In addition to taking care of our family, for the past 16 years, she took care of an elderly woman, bringing her meals, taking her to doctor's appointments, sorting out her financial life, decorating her house for Christmas. You name it, my mom did it for Antoinette. Just a few months ago Antoinette passed away, and although there was a great burden lifted from my mom's shoulders, I can tell she misses the woman she has taken care of for the last 16 years. By nature, she is a caretaker.

My mom and I had a strained relationship while I was in high school. I always thought we were opposites and that's why we didn't get along. It wasn't until recently that I realized we are very much the same, and that's probably why we didn't get along. One of the best decisions my husband and I made was inviting my mom into the delivery room when Elizabeth was born. It bonded us in a new way that words cannot describe. I'm so glad she was there and that we can share in this motherhood thing together.

I could go on and on about my mom, as I'm sure so many of us could. But I'll end with this. The name Cheryl means "Beloved." I have been blessed to be hers for the past 33 years, and I hope she knows now that she is mine.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Outside of the Box

My daughter is taking her first round of swim lessons this week. I say first round because I know that this is the first of many more weeks at the pool. But of course I am taking a million pictures because I want to capture every moment so that I can scrapbook it and remember it forever. By the end of the week, I'm sure I'll have over 100 pictures from swim lessons, and I will choose 6 to remember the whole week by.

This picture, though, tells the story of the week. Everytime I say to Elizabeth, "Okay, we're going to go underwater," she vigorously shakes her head "no". (This is a new development. I'm looking forward to her learning "yes" ASAP.) Being the forceful mother that I am, I then proceed to make her go underwater, and she comes up with this expression on her face. I LOVE THIS EXPRESSION! It's like, "Oh my goodness, I didn't want to do that but it was so much fun and I'm so glad I did it but don't make me do it again!"

It made me think of how my life is often like that. I am the safe one, the one who usually doesn't take any chances in life. I got straight A's, went to college, got my credential, became a teacher, married my husband, and bought a house all like I was supposed to. I go to church on Sundays, do the shopping on Mondays, clean the house on Tuesdays, and teach school on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays. I like my life like that. It is predictable, enjoyable, and, as I said before, safe. But every now and then (usually through the prompting of my riskier husband and definitely by the design of our Heavenly Father), I am pushed outside of my box. And you know what...I LOVE THIS FEELING! I love the rush that I feel when I first step out the box. I love the nervousness I experience as I anticipate what will happen that is beyond my control. I love the thrill of coming through whatever it is and realizing that everything is all right. I love it all, but I have to remind myself that I love it all when the next opportunity comes to step outside my box again.

God knew what he was doing when He paired me with Mike, my husband. He knew that Mike would put that expression on my face and cause me to say, "Oh my goodness, I can't believe I did that but it was so much fun and I'm so glad I did it!" And at 33 years old, I'm also learning to say, "And maybe I'll do it again!"

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My First Blog

OK. So here I go. Upon reading a friend of mine's blog, I was inspired to create my own and share my thoughts on life with the world. At first I thought no one would care to read my writings, but if you are reading this, obviously you do.

I have always enjoyed writing. As a teacher, I think writing is the key to learning. It allows us to process our thoughts and make concrete what we are thinking inside. I wish I could give my students more time to do this in class. Unfortunately, all they currently get is a spiral-bound notebook at the beginning of the year with the instruction, "If you have free time, feel free to write in your creative writing notebook. And if you want me to read it, place it on my desk at the end of the day." Sadly, I think only one student took advantage of that last direction. But that is for another blog.

As time goes on, you will meet my family, my friends, the people who make up the life I now live. I am not ashamed to say that I love my life currently! As a stay-at-home mom/part-time teacher, I feel I have the best of both worlds. God has blessed me with this opportunity at this time in my life, and I am so thankful for it.

So there it is. My first blog. It wasn't THAT hard! Now what will I write about next???

My Life As I Know It

The Blog of Robyn C. Liskey