My 2 year old music critic and my huge chocolate eating dog

It was one of those nights last night. It was bath night – so that was an adventure in and of itself. It was also the night before Elisa’s valentine party at school. I hadn’t been feeling well all day – so I asked Ricky to go to the store and get the valentines along with some pepcid and gatorade (cause of course I forgot to get valentines until the night before – ugh).

We put the youngest 2 down to bed and then Elisa began working frantically on her valentines (which we had again forgotten about). She finished them in less than an hour and headed off to bed. About 30 minutes later Ricky and I heard some rustling in the living room, which is where Elisa had been working on her valentines, and both of us instinctively called out “Elisa – BED!” forgetting we’d already sent her to bed. Then along came Tux (my giant puppy-boxer) trotting along at a pretty quick pace. I told Ricky that he only came running like that when he’d been into something he shouldn’t have been. Then we both looked at each other and realized that the valentines were in the other room (complete with a piece of chocolate on each one!)

The valentines were EVERYWHERE!! All but one of the chocolates were gone – he ate 20 pieces of chocolate!!! We started freaking out – not only because he had eaten alot of chocolate, but because in his frenzy to get to the chocolate he pretty much destroyed the valentines our little angel had spent so much time and effort on!

I read the bag and it turns out that he only ate about 9 oz of chocolate after all – not nearly enough to be fatal. Thank God! He didn’t even get sick – he must have a stomach of steel!

I spent the next hour trying to recover Elisa’s valentines. Luckily I found a bag of chocolate that my mom had bought about a week ago – so I was able to put them back together (and replace a few of them that the dog ate along with the chocolate). Hopefully Elisa won’t be sad that it looks all different. Oh, and by the way – during this fiasco we needed to find out how much he weighed so we’d know how much chocolate was too much chocolate – turns out he weighs in right at 75 POUNDS!!! I knew he was big – but oh man!!

On another note…

This morning while we were driving Elisa to school I turned on the radio.
Syd immediately calls out – “No, mom – not THAT song!”
(Note: it was a very slow, sweet, lovey-dovey song).
So I changed it to PowerFM and I think it was Skillet playing and she said – “Yeah, that one!”
I laughed so hard!! Just to test it out again – on the way home I changed it back to KLTY (disclaimer: I honestly love KLTY – and listen to it regularly) which was playing again a very slow sweet song. She yells out – “I don’t like that song!” I switched it back to Power FM and she yells out – “Yeah – yeah! That one!”

So I guess my 2 year old has inherited my taste in music – woohoo!

What do you know about Jesus?

That’s the question I asked my 2 year old Wednesday night as we were heading home from church. I LOVED her answer. She said…

“Jesus loves God
and God loves Jesus.”

that’s it. I was so excited that she understands (even at 2!!) that God and Jesus are connected. Of course, she then continued on with … “Twinkle, Twinkle loves God and Row, Row Boat loves Jesus…and Mary little lamb loves God and ABEC loves Jesus” My husband looks at me and says, “Now I’m pretty sure there’s some deep spiritual application there if we could just decipher it.” Hilarious stuff.

My favorite part of the car ride home, though, was when my 8 year old asked my 2 year old if she could tell her about Jesus. Syd (the 2 yr old) yells “YES! but Weesa (that’s what she calls her) where’s your bible?”

Ricky and I looked at each other with such tremendous pride in our hearts as we realized how much our little baby already knows about Jesus. She knows that Jesus loves God, God loves Jesus, and that the Bible is the story of Jesus. WOW! We were so proud that our 8 year old was so willing, ready and excited to witness to her little sister. WOW!

If only we were all so willing, ready and excited to share the incredible story of Jesus with those that we love. I love it when God uses my kids to teach me a lesson.

Little girls

I am learning a lot about little girls – since I am trying to raise 3 of them. Being a mother is – BY FAR – the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted. Not because of the potty training, non-sleeping baby, the many trips to the doctor, the constant struggle with messy rooms and messy faces and baths, and all the cooking and cleaning and such – although all of that is hard. It’s because of the many, many emotions that swirl around inside a girls head ALL the time. Little girls are more like little enigmas – it’s really impossible to figure out what to do with them.

My little girl is 8 1/2 now. But 8 1/2 nowadays is more like 10 1/2 was back in my day (like I’m SO old). She is growing up so much faster than I did – at least it seems that way. She is asking questions I don’t have answers to, and is worried all the time about everything. Did we worry that much when we were kids? Sometimes I worry that her worry is a result of my worry. – wow – that’s a lot of worry!

I’m realizing today that there really are just a few things that she needs on a daily basis. Here are some of the things I think she needs from me and her dad:

  • She needs to feel loved
  • She needs to feel safe
  • She needs to feel beautiful (I don’t know why this is – but it seems to be true of all girls.)

It sounds so simple, right? Yeah – not so much. This mothering thing is the most gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, hair-pulling, crazy hard thing ever in life. Each day I wake up terrified that I’m gonna screw up – and each night I lay there praying I’ll do better the next day. There are wonderful moments sprinkled in, but most of the time – it’s just trial and error. I hate that. Each day is a new adventure – we are truly taking it one day at a time.

I’ve decided to start a mom’s support group – for moms of school-aged girls. I figure there’s strength in numbers – right?

I’m also on the search for books and resources to help me in parenting my three girls. If there are any books or other resources that have helped you – please let me know.

Lessons from a 2 Year Old

Yesterday afternoon I was grappling with something God is currently showing me – that will require giant amounts of faith on my part – in trusting that He knows what He is doing and will do what He said He will do.

I really wanted to spend some alone time in prayer, but with 2 little ones – it wasn’t an option at the time. So I decided to take the 2 little ones with me and take a walk to go pick up Elisa from school. I got both girls loaded up into the 2 person stroller (which is wonderful, by the way) and off we went.
We were barely to the sidewalk when Syd (my 2 year old) started telling me (not so politely, I might add) that I was going the wrong way. “No, this way Mommy!!” she kept telling me. “Wrong way – go that way!” she said. I laughed a little at the fact that my tiny little 2 year old thought she knew better how to get there than I did, then I sweetly said to her – “Sydney, I promise I know the way – why don’t you just sit there and enjoy the ride.”

Immediately I felt as though I was the funny little 2 year old, and God was the one laughing at me saying, “Kimberly, I promise I know the way (in fact, I am the Way) – why don’t you just sit back and enjoy the ride.”

I smiled a little as tears began to stream down my face. I am so tickled sometimes at how God chooses to speak to me.

The empty parts of me

I’m in the middle of Beth Moore’s “Living Free” Bible study, which I’m doing along with a handful of other ladies. I needed to flesh out a little of what I’ve been pondering this week.

One of the things Beth said is this:

“The mystery I will never fully understand is why we would trade God, the only source of genuine satisfaction, for worthless idols that can never satisfy. Yet that transaction calls to you and to me every day of our lives.”

I loved this statement. I agree with it. I, too, am a little confused by the truth in it.

It makes me think of what Paul said in Romans 7:15:

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (ESV)

I am a little encouraged that I am not alone in this. It amazes me how I continue to seek out satisfaction in things – in people, relationships, attention of others, food, and so many other things – that I already know won’t give me what I want or need.

I’ve had moments where I knew God was trying to teach me to depend solely on Him – that there isn’t anything else (or anyone else) that can fill my soul. I remember one of those moments came when Elisa was a baby. She was about 5 or 6 months old – and Ricky had very recently been diagnosed with Leukemia. I was trying to stop depending on my relationship with my husband to satisfy my soul, because I had no idea whether or not he’d still be here in a year – and I didn’t want to be left entirely devastated. So, then, without even realizing it – I turned to my perfect little baby to fill the empty spaces in me. I would stay awake at night and watch her sleep because I was afraid that if I left her side for a moment that she would stop breathing and my whole world would come apart. She became everything to me – to the exclusion of the One I really needed.

One night, when I was watching Elisa sleep – I began to cry. I was so terrified of losing my husband and daughter that the fear was beginning to consume me. I was beginning to have a hard time functioning normally. I had become crazy overprotective, and was beginning to hate that part of me. I pulled out my Bible and began to read. I started to read through the Psalms and found so many verses that talk about finding my satisfaction in God alone, He alone is God, God alone is my rock and my salvation, and so many more. I was overwhelmed with the understanding that God wanted me to look only to Him to satisfy me. That night I surrendered my husband and my Elisa to Him. I came to understand that God could take them away from me in a split second if He thought it was best and there would be nothing I could do about it. I had to come to grips with the fact that they are not mine at all, but God’s – and they will never satisfy the empty parts of me. Only God can do that.

I will never forget that night – I will never forget that moment of surrender. It’s been almost 8 years since that night – but I still have to surrender them to God on a regular basis – sometimes even daily. How quickly we return to our old ways. I am so grateful that I know a God who so often and so freely gives grace to those who seek Him.

Jesus, thank You for Your grace today. For Your desire and ability to fill me up in all of my empty places. I pray that today I will look only to You to sustain me. That You alone will be my desire.

“You open Your hand and satisfy the desies of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all His ways and loving toward all He has made.
The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD watches over all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD,
let every creature praise His Holy Name forever and ever!”

(Psalm 145:16-21)

Here is my heart

“Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous.
It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
Elizabeth Stone

Here is my heart.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately with Elisa. She is 8 years old now, going on 13. When she was little I would always say that when you’re a mom, there are good days and bad days. One day you will feel like the worst mom in the world, and the next you feel like a genious mom. Well, now that she’s 8 – those genious days are very few and far between. I feel like I’m constantly screwing up. I know it has to be normal to worry all the time about whether or not I’m doing things right, and about what kind of woman my little baby girl will turn out to be. I hope I’m not alone in my constant second guessing, and my perpetual cycle of worry and guilt. I knew being a mom was hard from the moment she was born. It started out crazy hard – adjusting to a new little life I was responsible for. It got a little easier when she began to understand me and I began to understand her. Then it got really fun for a while – when she was constantly learning new things. Every day was an adventure of what new thing little Elisa would master today. Then it began to get hard again. Each day it feels like I understand her a little less. Each day I feel more and more that I have no flippin idea what I’m doing. I am beginning to really understand the importance of praying for her daily. The importance of praying with her daily. I feel like I have no control whatsoever of who she turns out to be – and that scares the pants off of me. She is so frustrated all the time – and I have absolutely no idea how to help her to deal with life. Mostly because she and I deal with life so very differently. I don’t understand the way she processes and interprets things. I’m trying desperately to understand.

When Elisa was itty bitty – I believed she would be my only child. Although I was desperately in love with my child, I always wanted more children. After several years of pleading with God to give us another child, she was still my only. I accepted it – and began to look forward to spending all my effort and love on her. I had this dream of her growing up to be my best friend in the world. We would be so much alike and do everything together (like the Gilmore Girls – one of the reasons I love that show so much). I’m beginning to realize that my dream is just that – a dream. She and I are so very different. I always wonder how someone so very different than me could have been raised by me – weird. I am reminded, though – that although she is not like me so much – she was created in the image of God. She is more special and beautiful than I ever could have dreamed of. She is unique. She is exactly who God planned her to be.

With that in mind, my prayer is that God would give me the ability to understand her better, to relate to her better, to love her the way she needs to be loved, to teach her His ways in ways she understands, and to always appreciate the uniqueness of her character.

I am renewed today with a tremendous love and appreciation for my little girl. I pray that tomorrow it will be renewed again. I pray that God will make me into the mother that Elisa needs today – and that through my love, she will see Him more clearly.

10 years and counting

We met at the Magic Time Machine Restaurant. He was the Outlaw Josey Wales. I was Pippi Longstocking – big hair and all. He was so cute. But he hated his job waiting tables (it was actually one of 3 jobs I think – trying to work his way through college). So he quit. I was sad – but didn’t think he even knew who I was. Apparently he did. He decided that he would have to get his job back so he could get to know me well enough to ask me out. He came back as Captain America. I remember the day really well. I had just finished putting on my Pippi wig and walked out of the girls bathroom when Ricky’s friend, Aaron (now he’s my friend too of course) came out of the boy’s bathroom and asked me if I had any safety pins because Ricky was having trouble with his costume. Ricky?? I remember getting really nervous & excited flutters in my stomach when I realized that Ricky was back!! I was so excited – and so nervous so I avoided him all night.

At the end of the night when we were all starting to clean up he caught me at the dishwasher and asked if he could talk to me in the lunch box (it’s a booth – they all have themes). I tried to be all cool, but was freaking out. I said sure. So we went to the lunch box (which seats 10 I think) and sat at opposite ends of the long table (smooth). Then he asked me out. And after I finished sweeping my station we talked all night (until midnightish) in the valentine booth.

Our first date was June 22, 1998. We went to Bennigan’s & a movie (actually 2 – although I only remember one of them – 6 days 7 nights. It was horrible).

So – 10 years ago began our relationship. At the time I couldn’t imagine loving him any more than I did – but now I realize how wrong I was. After 10 years I couldn’t imagine a more perfect person to spend my days and nights with.

Ricky, you are amazing. You have such integrity, you are crazy smart, you are so kind and compassionate. You make me feel beautiful, and special & talented. You are a better father every day – better than any other father I know. You make me so proud to be your wife. I love you more than I could ever say.

Thank you for 10 years of adventure & excitement – here’s to 10 more!

Leverage

I read a post today from Jason Berggren who has made a recent announcement about changing careers to pursue his passion. Here is a paragraph:

“Truth be told, the thought that in 10 years I could be looking in the mirror wondering why I didn’t try to pursue my passion more aggressively also haunts me. We have one life. Let me say that once again. We have one life. One life to leverage all that we can to make a difference with all that we have.”
The above paragraph – especially the last sentence – really hit home with me. Not because I am realizing that there is something more that I am supposed to be doing – but because I’m doing it now. My entire life up to this point has been preparing me to do what I’m doing now. I am absolutely certain that God has put me in the place that I am “for such a time as this”. (I’ve been really taken with the story of Ruth lately – incredible story – you should check it out.)
The underlying passion throughout my life has been music. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t survive without it. Over the last 3 years (especially this last one) I’ve been learning how to worship through music. Really worship. When I’m worshiping in that way it’s like I’m doing what I was always meant to – like it’s the reason I was created – and that I’m preparing for eternity when I’m singing to God in worship. I am constantly amazed at how much I’m learning in the middle of this ministry. I am just SO honored to be a part of it. I don’t understand why God has allowed me this opportunity – but I am definitely going to give it everything I have – for as long as He lets me do it (forever would be fine with me).
I’ve also never felt this sense of urgency before – that if I don’t tell them about Christ – no one will! My husband and I prayed last night that God would give us scripture to pray for the people of Roanoke – we were drawn to the story of John the Baptist and the calling of the first disciples. When God said, “follow me” – they immediately did. Not because He looked cool, but because they already knew who He was and when He came to town they were ready to give their lives to Him. John the Baptist came first. To tell them. There was something different about him. He was wild and obviously passionate. He was constantly saying “I am not the Christ – but I can tell you that He’s coming – and you won’t believe how wonderful He is!” That’s my passion right now. I want to connect with the people of Roanoke in such a way that they will know that I have passion – that there is something different about me. That there’s something different about Compass.
I have gone off on a tangent – I know. Here’s one last verse from Jason’s blog. At Compass we’ve come across this verse a few times in the last few months – it’s really meaningful to me.
“And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.” 2 Corinthians 8:10-12

Growing Pains

My daughter, who just turned five yesterday, woke up this morning complaining about an aching leg. I told her that it was just growing pains (although it was probably just that she slept funny) and that because she is five now, she must be getting bigger. She asked if that meant she would need to go to work like Mommy and Daddy.
Isn’t it funny that she thought that because she was getting bigger – she must already be “big”. I tried to explain to her that there was much more growth that needed to happen before she needed to get to work. She asked if there were some things she could do now. “Of course” I told her – she can do chores and feed the cat. There are lots of things she is ready to do now – the size that she is.
I wonder if that applies to me? Just because I’m growing doesn’t mean I’m ready for everything God has in store for me just yet. But I AM able to do SOME things. I just need to make sure that He is the One deciding what I am able to do – and not me. I also hope that I am able to do those things He’s entrusted me with as enthusiastically as my daughter does her chores. She is so excited to be able to do things for me – hoping to make me proud. She never thinks about the things she is not able to do yet – because she considers it a privilege to do things I let her do. God is so much smarter than I am – he knows what I’m ready for and what I’m not. I need to remember that it is such an incredible privilege to get to do the things He allows me to do. He obviously doesn’t need me. I’m not THAT important. But how great it is to be invited to be in on the God things that are happening around me.

Wisdom from a 4-Year Old

My 4-Year old has a unique understanding of things. Sometimes I wish that I thought the way she did. She started Kindergarten last week and is learning this week about Creation – specifically the first few verses in the Bible. So, she has been asking a lot of questions – and I am loving it. Yesterday, on our way to school, she asked me if Jesus was God – and if so, how.
Well, I explained to her that yes – Jesus was also God – and then gave her the ice/water/steam analogy in the simplest way that I possibly could. She then said – very matter-of-factly – “Oh, I see – His first name is Jesus and His middle name is God.”