Q: How many tall people does it take to change a seven-month-old's diaper?

A: Three

Our family went road tripping over the weekend. We drove forty-five minutes to the "Big City" just to hang out on Saturday. Actually, I needed to deposit my monthly paycheck, and we went grocery shopping while we were there.

Yes, big fun.

After arriving in the "Big City" an awful smell permeated the car. The odorous molecules were so strong even my lovely Rain Forest car freshener couldn't fight it off. We finally decided to pull over into a vacant parking lot, and Liberty Grace, with a big grin on her face displaying her twin bottom teeth, was removed from the car. I wore a gas-mask.

Reconnaissance of the area showed no open stores or bathrooms, so I spread Liberty's changing pad out on the trunk of the car, propped the diaper wipes open nearby and proceeded to unsnap her outfit and untape her diaper. Liberty very politely waited until her diaper was opened to begin wiggling.

She twisted towards the diaper wipes container, and I deftly swept it out of reach. She twisted towards her diaper bag, and I held her ankles with one hand and shoved the bag away with my other hand. She bent as though she planned to sit up, and the tilting trunk helped her slide downwards. "Sit still, Baby," I instructed, and she giggled at me. I lifted her back into position, and still holding her ankles, reached for a diaper wipe. She saw her chance and seized it, attempting to crawl in the other direction.

"Stop! Jeremy, help!" I shouted. Jeremy jumped to attention and grabbed the dirty baby just in time to catch a smile and a gurgle of happiness. He kept his hand on her chest and shaded her face with his other hand. I noticed how huge his hands were in comparison with her tiny chest, and I smiled to myself.

Unable to continue her freedom crusade, Liberty decided to help change her diaper by sticking her hands where they could be the most helpful. "No, Libby." I said using one hand to hold her ankles and the other hand to block her exploring fingers. We stood at an impasse.

"Kimmie." I called. Kimmie had been laughing at us through the car's back window during this whole process. She suddenly sobered as she realized her regiment was being called to battle, but she faced her duty manfully...um, girlfully.

At first, we tried Daddy on chest and distraction duty, Mommy on legs and arms duty, and Kimmie on cleanup, but our arms kept crossing each other. We finally switched to Daddy on chest and arms -- there was a slight pause while Jeremy adjusted his stance to shade Libby's face with his body's shadow, Kimmie on legs and distraction, and Mommy on cleanup.

It worked! We celebrated our victory by three-pointing the diaper into a nearby dumpster.
From: Missy
To: Jeremy
Sent: 2:12 PM
Hi,
Craig gave me my paycheck today. There are several things that we need, and I was wondering if I could use some money for garage sales on Friday and Saturday. I know that I can find some clothes for you, me and Kimmie which we deperately need, and I'd like to find a small bookshelf for Liberty's room and a large bookshelf for the basement. I may also be able to find a trunk or something cool for the dining room that we could put our placemats and dishes into. Maybe a highchair, and a larger car seat for Liberty, which she will be required by law to have soon. If I can find some cheap games (like Aggravation!) then we could also get a few of those. I already have a print out of where the garage sales are tomorrow and Saturday.
Let me know, please! :-)
Missy


From: Missy
To: Jeremy
Sent: 2:13 PM
PS> I could also be on the lookout for 12" Star Wars dolls for your collection. Also, I need to know your pants and shirt sizes.


From: Missy
To: Jeremy
Sent: 2:45 PM
Another PS> I found a sale that has a snow blower!


From: Missy
To: Jeremy
Sent: 2:50 PM
Oooh, I just found one that has a shop vac, a GRASS SEEDER, BIKES!!! (Maybe I could finally get my bike in time to ride it at the campground!), bread machine, treadmill, weight bench, weights! What do you think? Want to come with me? We''ll have to get up early on Saturday morning. (Maybe you should just not go to sleep?)


From: Missy
To: Jeremy
Sent: 3:05 PM
Oh, Jeremy. I found a John Deere (I don't know what, but maybe it's a riding mower!!!!) also a DVD/CD rack, bar stools, baby carrier for my bike!, curtains (maybe for our bedroom?), garage storage cupboards and shelves!! Way cool! I can't wait!!!! :-)


From: Jeremy
To: Missy
Sent: 6:32 PM
Missy,
While I admire your enthusiasm, what I think you should do is pay the house payment, pay $251 towards the credit card and $130 for the baby. Take that away from your check, and you are left with $0 to spend. Trust me, Missy, I want you to be able to go garage shopping, but I cannot sacrifice our future financial freedom. Right now, we just do not have the money for garage sales. Please talk to me on Friday. Please also complete the estimate on going to Jackie's wedding and bring it with you on Friday when we do the bills.
I love you.
Jeremy
PS> These are not needs, but wants. All we really need is food to live and God. Everything else is a want.


Does this sound familiar to you? Ha-ha! I'm very glad God has given Jeremy and I to each other. Otherwise, I'd have plenty of pretty things, and no house to put them in! And Jeremy would have a perfect bank account, and no one to help him spend it! :-)
While flipping through computer files on my PC last night, I found this old document, and thought you might enjoy reading about what God did in my life years ago.

“Where are Mom and Peter?” I breezed into the house and curiously questioned my dad one afternoon late in March of 1995. He normally worked at this time of day, so it surprised me to see him when I arrived home from school. I continued my walk into the peaceful blue and white living room, dropped my book-bag near the velvety pinstriped couch, and turned to hear Dad’s response.

His already serious face saddened perceptibly, and he swallowed a few times before answering quietly, “Missy, they’re at the hospital.”

An awful feeling of dread overwhelmed me; with a dull ache in my stomach, I sank down on the couch and sucked in some air. I already knew that a problem existed with my two-month-old brother Peter, but I had assumed the appointment my mom talked about making with the doctor that morning after we all left for school would take care of it.

I had never been so wrong in my entire life, and my thinking and way of life has never been so drastically changed—but God knew exactly what He had in store for my future.

After months of testing and many brushes with death, my family and I found out that my baby brother Peter had an extremely rare blood disorder in which his body did not produce red blood cells. Because of the severity of this disease, Pete needed something to be done quickly. Unfortunately, doctors did not know how to treat this disease that did not yet have a name because of its rarity. They gave my parents a few options that might or might not do anything for him.

As the months passed, Peter existed in the hospital, often on life support. Many times we did not know if he would be alive the next day. Mom stayed at the hospital with Peter, and Dad had to work. Sometimes, after work, he would go straight to the hospital to visit Mom and Pete. At 15 years of age, I had younger brothers and sisters ranging from 11 years down to 18 months, so the responsibility landed on me to cook, clean, and care for six scared children who missed their parents, and who needed to be readied before school, supervised after school and comforted at night as they were being tucked into bed. I know that I did not do this job justice.

One night, my sister Charity’s tiny voice stopped me from stepping out of her bedroom after tucking her in for the night. “Missy,” her voice came out in a half whimper, “is Petey going to die?” My heart squeezed in my chest, and I rushed back to sit on her bed and run my fingers through her blond bangs. I looked down at the small second-grader and then over at the other bed occupied by my nine year old sister, Hannah, who was lying on her side facing us. Her solemn, white face reflected the full moonlight pouring in through the window as she patiently waited for my answer to Charity’s question.

I carefully considered my next words. If I told them not to worry – that everything would be okay, and then Peter did end up dying, how would they trust me again? How would that affect these girls’ relationship with God? God, help me! I cried out silently, ironically feeling like the disciple Peter who yelled, “Lord, save me!” when he was sinking beneath the storm-chopped waves of Galilee.

I decided to be honest with them. “I don’t know, Chari,” I smiled at her, my hand still tangled in her hair. “He might. But even if he did, God is taking care of him.”

Her next question shook me, “If Petey dies, will Mom come home?”

I suddenly realized that my fears, wonderings, and inconveniences were nothing compared to what my younger siblings were facing. They understood the situation in varying degrees, and their unknowns were vastly different from my unknowns. I assured her that Mom would come home immediately if Petey died, and the three of us ended up praying together. We knelt by Charity’s bed, the two girls huddling underneath me like I used to do with Dad when I was their age, but when I sat stiffly on the couch in the living room after leaving their bedsides, my anger boiled. I was too young to have to answer questions like that; Hannah and Charity were too young to have to ask questions like that; Peter was too young to have to endure pain like he was: I insisted to myself. My thoughts were indirectly directed to God, because I knew He was listening, but I did not dare to direct them intentionally to God.

I missed a lot of my second semester sophomore year and first semester junior year of high school and failed several tests, taking me from an effortless A/B student to a floundering adult-kid trying to decide what truly defined my priorities. Dad would bring my schoolwork home, and after I had put all the kids to bed I would stay up late to finish it. I put on a brave front around the kids and the people from church and my dad. I could have easily discussed the situation and my feelings with my father, but I knew that he was already over-burdened and facing the same pain and fear that I was. I chose not to add more to his plate, but in retrospect, I wonder if talking about our pain and fears together might have helped us both?

In my bedroom at night, I would pull the layers of blankets over my head, stuff my mouth deep into my pillow, and sob as loudly as I could without waking or frightening anyone, trying to express my hurt and anger and helplessness. In those moments, I sometimes whispered, “Why, God?” but I usually refrained from speaking aloud what I considered to be disrespectful.

Life continued in this manner until the week of Thanksgiving. Mom and Peter had come home from the hospital for the first time in a month. They were only allowed to be home for the Thanksgiving weekend, but our family wanted to be together for it. I stood in the kitchen washing dishes and staring out the kitchen window. The sun shown happily onto my face, but its kind attention was ignored. My hands lay lifelessly in the warm, sudsy water while my mind flew at top speed after one thought, then another. Thoughts gave way to tears, which chased each other silently down my cheeks.

I heard my mom come into the dining room behind me. When I turned to look at her, I saw that she had pulled out a chair, and she was resting her head in her hands. Her face looked so weary. Suddenly, I found myself yelling uncontrollably, “Why, Mom? Why? It’s just not fair! Why is God doing this to Peter—to us?” My sobs overcame me, and I could not speak for a few minutes. When I finally calmed down, I raised tear-filled eyes to my mother’s face. “Mom,” I whispered, “I don’t want to say this, but why doesn’t God just…just let Petey die?” Those words sounded extremely harsh in my ears, so I rushed on. “I mean, he is in so much pain right now, and this is tearing the rest of us up. Why doesn’t God just take Peter home now and get it over with?” I paused then added in a whisper, “I don’t want Peter to die.”

I expected my mother to be mad or shocked or something! Instead, I watched as a look of peace flooded her eyes and washed over the rest of her features. She smiled at me and replied, “Missy, God knows what He is doing. You may not have noticed, but so many lives have been changed because of this. You know that our church is changing. What about the people around the world who have been praying diligently ever since they heard? What about the families I have been able to meet in the hospital, and other people who are not sure if they will make it to heaven who know about this situation, and who are watching, amazed that we can cope through this? No, Melissa, God has a purpose for Peter being here and going through this!”

I will never forget my mother’s peaceful, triumphant smile as she spoke those words. Somehow, in some way, God used that smile to crumble my defenses. I turned back to the sink and plunged my dripping hands back into the water. I noticed the sunshine, and my troubled heart pondered life and God and Mom and Pete.

That night, I did not sob face-first into my pillow; tears slipped out of my eyes and into my ears as I lay on my back and said softly, “God, I know You are in control, and I give everything to You. I’m scared to trust You, but I’m going to anyway. Please take care of us.” I finally realized that my anger or grief would not change anything, so I chose to let God worry about the details, while I focused on trusting Him and praising Him for the little things that I could understand. This does not mean that I was not sad or hurt about the situation, but whenever I found myself thinking too hard about it, I would purposefully remember that God was in control and that He had a purpose for His actions, a purpose that was for good.

God filled my life with joy that overflowed all boundaries, and no way existed to contain it. My best friend, Jen, and her family came to visit for Thanksgiving, and God allowed me to serve Him sooner than I thought. Jen’s grandmother needed comfort about a situation her son was in, and because of what God had taught me through Peter, I could share His joy and peace with her. Later that night during my devotions, I read Matthew chapter 11, where Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist started to doubt whether Jesus was really God. John was in prison, about to be beheaded, and he sent a messenger to Jesus to ask if Jesus was really the one that John had preached He was. In essence, John wanted to know if he was about to die for no reason, if he had wasted his life trusting that Jesus was God. When I read this, I expected Jesus to be angry that John would dare to question Him, but instead Jesus turned to the people that were around Him, including John’s messenger, and He began praising John’s faith! I could not believe this! God does not mind being questioned; He knows we will all have doubts that His way is right, and He still loves us! That Thanksgiving eve, God enabled me to thank Him for putting this in Peter’s life, in my family’s lives, and in my life.

The summer of 1996, I worked in the kitchen at a beautiful summer camp in the mountains of upstate New York. The doctors were trying a new treatment for Peter, and he was stable enough for him and Mom to stay at home and travel back and forth to the hospital twice a week. Before I left home, I decided I would not tell anyone at camp about Peter. I was tired of thinking about Peter’s pain; I was tired of hearing everyone’s sympathies, and I was tired of explaining exactly what disease Peter had. I kept that promise to myself. I refused to tell anyone, and every time someone asked the group to give testimonies of how wonderful God has been, I sank lower in my seat and stopped my ears to the Holy Spirit’s urgings.

In the middle of July, I finally gave in. “Lord, to tell You the truth, I’m scared. It is so much easier to hide from this situation. I rested for a while, but You made sure it was not a peaceful rest. I realize now that for half of the summer, I’ve robbed others of the blessing You could have given, and I’ve robbed You of the glory You could have received. Please forgive me, Father, and please give me the strength to do this.”

The next time my kitchen supervisor asked for testimonies at lunch time, I volunteered right away. I told the entire story, and I finished with this statement that I carefully evaluated before letting it out of my mouth. “I would willingly go through it all again, because God showed me His grace really is sufficient for me.”

The following afternoon, my parents called the camp and I was brought out of work to the phone to hear that once again Peter had gone to the hospital. Because of his weakened immune system, Chicken Pox threatened his life. The doctors expected him to die before I could make it home, so my parents told me it was my decision whether I left or not. In anger, I rushed outside, looked up at the robin’s egg blue sky framed by the Appalachian Mountains and tall pine trees and cried, “God, what happened? I opened my mouth, and right away it piled back in on me! This is what I was afraid of in the first place. What are You doing?”

He opened my eyes, and I saw the majestic mountain He had made that I was staring at. He struck me with my own smallness and His sovereign awesomeness. I did not hear a voice, but God plainly said, “Missy, just yesterday you praised Me for giving you this trial. Have I changed? What is the difference between today and yesterday? My grace is still sufficient for you.”

Peter lived through the Chicken Pox, and six months later, January 1997, we decided to try a bone marrow transplant. At this time, this procedure was still experimental. I vividly remember reading through the stack of papers containing streams of statistics that the team of doctors had sent home regarding the process. The doctors told our family that there was an 80% chance that he would not live through the procedure and a 98% chance that if he did live through it, the transplant would not cure him. But he was dying anyway. Although many people angrily disagreed with us, we decided that the 20% and 2% shots were worth it.

Peter was still recovering during the first week of June, when it was time for me to leave for college. I had chosen a Christian college in Florida, a twenty-hour drive from my family in New Jersey, and leaving them at this time was horrible to me. My parents, however, would not allow me to put it off. Dad took off from work to drive me down there and say goodbye, while Mom had to stay home with Pete and the rest of the family.

November 4th, my dad called to tell me that Peter again delicately hung in the balance between life and death. Instead of experiencing immediate sadness, anger, frustration, I felt peaceful. I asked all of my new college friends to pray for him. Then I went down to the lobby of Bradley Tower where I lived and found Debbie Faubion and Jenny Jallen, two of my friends. When I told them of the telephone call, they both expressed their sympathies, and we all sat down on a nearby overstuffed, pink couch to talk. God’s strength permeated our conversation, and I know that all three of us walked away with God’s amazing peace and contentment.

God has definitely changed my life and thought processes through this situation with Peter. I know that whether Peter lives or dies, his life is in God’s hands—Who, like Romans 8:28 says, works all things together for good for those who are called, according to His purpose—and I know that His grace is sufficient!

November 11, 1997
Pensacola, Florida
My family has been under quarantine for the past week with the flu. Liberty and I had it first, and we lovingly passed it on to Kimmie who decided to share it with Jeremy.

Thankfully, although I felt completely awful, I probably had the least of it. Kimmie was hit hard, and as a result, we have our very first carpet stain that WILL NOT COME OUT! I scrubbed and scrubbed. If I ever find out the flu is going around again, I'm going to start feeding my family clear liquids ahead of time instead of chili. That way, the carpeting won't be permanently discolored. Today is Kimmie's first day back at school this week, and I am hoping that she'll be able to make it through the day. She's excited because she lost 12 pounds while she was sick! (Those twelve pounds are soaked into my carpeting, I know.)

Jeremy succumbed yesterday and missed work. He's sleeping right now, so I'm not sure how he'll be feeling today.

Oh boy, while I was typing this, Kimmie called from school to say that she felt very sick. (She just ate lunch.) I told her to have her temperature taken and sit quietly in the nurse's office for a little while. I wonder if I'm going to need to pick her up.
Liberty and I have a head cold that is not much fun at all. I feel like I'm underwater most of the time. I can see and hear everyone from a distance, and it is a very strange feeling.

I've also been having some very strange, yet highly entertaining dreams recently. Maybe due to the cold medicine???

Let me tell you about one of them:

I had just been hired by Craig, and our office was on the 57th floor of a skyscraper-type building. Craig wore thick, black-framed glasses, and he tended to slouch. In real life, Craig is married to Kathy, and they have a 13 year old son named Jake. In my dream, Kathy was named Lois Lane, and her dark hair was cut into a smooth pageboy style like Terri Hatcher sported on the TV show "Lois and Clark." When Craig introduced me to Jimmy Olson, I recognized Jake.

So Craig, Lois, Jimmy and I worked together in this office on the 57th floor. A tall, skinny lady with long, mousy brown hair also worked in the office. She wore clear-framed glasses and always carried a clipboard with her. I'm not sure what her job was, as in my dream she mostly stood around in the background.

After I had worked there for about a week, Lois walked into my office carrying a red, full-body leotard on a wooden hanger with a gold colored hook. The leotard even had attached feet. She informed me that it belonged to me, but she did not tell me what it was for. She proceeded to hang the clothing on a special hook built into the wall of my office. For a few days, it hung there as I worked, and I would turn in my desk chair to look at it, wondering what it's purpose was.

Time passed, I'm not sure how much time, and I noticed that Craig had some peculiar habits. (Boy, that's an understatement in real life! Ha-ha!) He would be calmly working at his desk, and then suddenly jump to attention. He then would grab at his shirt collar and run to an open window at full speed. After that, he would disappear. I asked Lois and Jimmy about this behavior, but they acted like it was normal. It took me quite a while to catch on, but I finally realized he was Superman! :-)

I pondered this fact. A few days later, I was sitting at my computer, still pondering while I worked, when I suddenly realized what my leotard was for. I was supposed to be Supergirl! Ha-ha! This realization both shocked and satisfied me. I was very happy to attempt to be Supergirl, but I was nervous that I wouldn't be very good at it. I mean, that's a lot of responsibility to live up to, you know! I sat and thought about it for a long time.

Finally, I stood up and slowly walked to the bright red article hanging from the hook on my wall. I poked my head out of my office door to see if anyone was around, then I proceeded to wiggle into the tight-fitting outfit. I was surprised to find a red cape attached to the back because I had not noticed that there before. When my clothing was finally situated, I turned to my old clothing left in a pile on my desk, and I folded it and placed it neatly on the credenza next to a large-leafed, dark green plant. I stepped out into the main office, where Lois looked up from a stack of paperwork that she was carrying towards the file cabinet. "Wow, you look great!" she said encouragingly. "I especially love the boots."

I looked down and saw that I was wearing knee-high, red boots with a six inch heel. (Ironic, I know. Seriously, who can save the world while balancing on six inch heels? Good thing I was Supergirl!) "Thanks." I said briefly. I wondered if my identity should be kept a secret, but since she was the one who had provided my outfit, I decided that she probably already knew about my second job. Jimmy also looked up from his desk. He gave me a quick grin of support, but did not seem surprised either. The clipboard girl hovered in the background as usual. No direct eye-contact there.

I followed Lois behind a wall created by file cabinets. "I'm not so sure about this," I informed her referring to my new still-unnamed duties. "Oh, you're going to be fine, Missy. Don't worry about it!" She opened a drawer and began filing unhurriedly. Her easy confidence in me bolstered my courage slightly, and I walked into Craig's office to look out the window that he always jumped through.

I quickly confirmed that the window actually WAS very high from the ground. The outside world seemed to swirl in colors of gray, while the warm colors of the office welcomed me to stay inside. I hesitated slightly, then stepped up onto the wide ledge of the window sill and breathed the cooler air flowing in. The wind picked up and blew my hair straight back from my face. Inhaling the windy energy, my body almost eagerly leaned forward. My right booted foot lifted into the air on the outside of the ledge, and for one brief second my left foot still contacted the wood of the sill. Then miraculously, I was soaring upward towards the sky. I considered putting my right fist over my head, movie style, then decided against it. It wasn't necessary, and I decided that the wind rushing against it would quickly make my hand very cold.

I don't remember much of what followed, just that I flew around for a long time in a world of grey. I saw lots of litter blowing around on the streets far below, but not many people. Those that were out, wore winter coats and walked briskly with their heads down against the wind. I didn't save anyone or do anything spectacular, but when I returned to the warm colored office, I received a hero's welcome. They were all so proud of me, and they told me so many times.

As I stood in the small circle of co-workers, I glanced from face to face. Craig, Lois, Jimmy and the Clipboard Girl talked happily amongst themselves, eating a celebratory white cake with lots of whipped white frosting. I glanced down at the piece of cake resting on the small paper plate in my hand and reflected. I was happy to have made them proud, but I yearned for my future adventurous duties, where I could really be of benefit.

Hm, I wonder what Liberty's been dreaming?
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I want you to know what an awesome man you are and what a great husband and father. When I met you in college, one of the things I was most attracted to was your love for God put into action in your life. I loved and respected the fact that your words and actions first went through a filter of "is this in line with God's Word?" As a result, I could see Jesus in you.

We've been dating and married for almost ten years now, and as you well know, our life has not often gone according to our plans. Even though in reality our life has been going better than we planned because it's been going according to God's plan, several times you and I have been upset with Him because He wouldn't change to do what we thought He ought to do. During those times I have wondered if either you or I had changed so much from who we were attracted to in college that we wouldn't be attracted to the people that we have become, but I want you to know that the man you have become (with God's help) is so manly and wonderful and Godly to me. I have always begged God to let me be married to a man who is a spiritual loving leader for me and for our family, and watching you this past Easter weekend has made my heart jump up and down like a joyful little kid who gets to go to the circus! (By the way, I have never been to a circus, and I want VERY badly to. ;-)

You took control and made great decisions. You drove Kimmie to the various places where she needed to go and talked father/daughter things with her, allowing me to take care of Liberty at home instead of trying to fit Liberty's needs in amongst all of the other things that needed to be done. (You will never be able to comprehend how much that meant to me.) You laughed, played with, fed and changed Liberty. You laughed and played with Kimmie and I. You even found time to whisk me away from it all for some rejuvenation. Wow! But the best part of the entire weekend was when you sat at the head of our supper table, and after carving our Easter turkey, you opened the Bible and pointed our family to God.

This is the man who I married: tender, strong, loving, masculine, caring, logical, playful daddy, loving disciplinarian, lover, gorgeously sexy, Godly, leader, servant, friend, partner, soul mate, life mate.

And I am glad and proud to be married to you!

With LOTS of love,
your wife, Missy
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Guess what? I get a vacation day tomorrow! Yipppeeeeeee! :-)
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When Liberty was first born, I struggled to find time for my devotions, and when I shared this trouble with a friend, she suggested that I read my Bible aloud to Liberty while I was feeding her. This worked out great for several months, and although I gradually began to find time for my own devotions again, I continued reading the New Testament to Libby each day. About a month ago, we finished the book of Mark, but now that Liberty is eating mostly solid food, I find that our reading time has diminished greatly.

I have also been asking God for wisdom in bringing my girls up to love Him whole-heartedly. Many times I allow myself to get bogged down in "discussion" with Kimmie (anyone who has or is raising a teenager should know what I mean by this) over small points or rabbit trails, and I lose sight of the big picture, the goal that she will soon be an adult, and she needs to be trained in order to be a responsible, Godly, happy adult who can live on her own and make wise decisions.

All of this is to show you where I am right now. I had come to a turning point in my walk with God, and I was ready to start something new in my Bible reading. I asked God to show me where He would like me to start with Him. I've read the Bible several times over (some parts much less than others), and every time I do, God shows me something new and relevant to be used in my life. It's so cool! About a week ago, I began reading in Genesis chapter one. I've decided to read the Bible straight through again since it's been a while since I've done that.

As I read, God impressed on me the fact that from the very beginning, He created us for relationships. Mainly, relationships with Him, but also relationships with each other that point us back to him. I have several relationships in my life. I am a daughter, a mother, a wife, a friend, an employee. But as I watched God interact with his first two children, Adam and Eve and later Cain, I see him as a parent, which is where I feel the most needy right now.

I tend to go to other parents for advice, commiseration, laughs, etc. and there is nothing wrong with that at all, but I usually forget that God is a parent too. In fact, He has experienced EVERY situation that could possible occur, AND He's handled it correctly too! What an amazing resource! And in James 1:5 He even says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."

So now, every night before I open my Bible, I've been asking Him for wisdom to parent my girls His way, the right way. And my devotions have been incredible! I find myself comparing my reactions to Kimmie and Liberty with God's reactions to Adam and Eve and Cain (because that's how far I've gotten so far.)

Do you realize that God LISTENED to Adam blame Eve (and God), and He listened to Eve blame the serpent, but he did not wait for the serpent to give an excuse. When I am faced with, "Well it's not my fault because..." I usually cut it off midstream; I don't have time for worthless words.

I wonder why God listened? And I wonder why He did not wait for the serpent's excuse? I think it is because He was interested in developing a relationship with us, but not with the serpent. When I cut my teenager off because she's not saying anything worthwhile, maybe I am teaching her that a relationship with her is not worthwhile to me. That's not what I mean to communicate at all, but I wonder if that is what I am communicating.

God is working in my heart to teach me to be "quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because" like James 1:19 -20 says, "my anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."
How do you know when it is time to stop?

Our lives have gotten so complicated this year. Jeremy and I have been married almost four years, and most of that time, we were alone. You already know Jeremy's relaxed approach to life, and I have adopted it for the most part. (Mainly because if I didn't I would go insane trying to speed him up.) So the first three years of our marriage have been very easy-going and laid-back.

In January, I found out I was pregnant, and began dreaming and planning, but we remained calm through it all. Kimmie became part of our family last March, and although there were added responsibilities, her arrival did not significantly impact our stress-level.

This all changed when Kimmie's school started in August and Liberty was born in September. Now, it seems that most of my days are spent driving to and from my work, Jeremy's work, babysitters, school, school activities, last minute shopping for school activities, eye doctor visits, regular doctor visits, dental visits, grocery shopping (somehow, we consume much more food now than we previously did) church, church activities, youth group, youth group activities, sporting events...

At times I think of my mom who had nine kids, lived twenty to thirty minutes from town, and had only one available car while my dad was at work. She carted (and still carts) kids to and from town due to work, church, school and fun activities several times a day. Currently, five kids are still living at home ranging in age from 12 to 19, and they are all very active in various things, and there is still only one working car between them all.

I have one kid in school/sports/church and one kid who is interested in nothing but eating/sleeping/playing, and I'm struggling to keep up. How is this possible? How does my mom do it?

Truthfully, when I'm ready to throw in the towel, and say, "That's it! We're dropping out of everything!" seeing my mom's example is what keeps me going with a smile on my face and with love in my heart.

Mom, my husband and kids will thank you someday!
Jeremy took a trip to the emergency room last night. He had been having chest pains since Saturday evening, and on Sunday evening, his left arm began tingling during church.

The four of us drove to the hospital after dire warnings from Jeremy's grandpa regarding the lack of urgency the emergency room attendants would employ. Thankfully, his grandpa lives in another state, and our emergency room attendants considered Jeremy's chest pain to be very urgent. They immediately gave him a curtained off room and a stretcher. I got stuck with the paperwork.

Kimmie stayed with Liberty in the waiting room, and I was allowed to be with Jeremy after I finished filling in the blanks. When I pulled back the curtain, Jeremy's chest was exposed and several plastic coated wires had been adhered to his skin. He lay on the hospital bed looking very weary and slightly shaky. I can only remember one time that he has been to see a doctor since I met him in 1997, and my mind struggled to grasp the concept of his 28 year old body hooked to machines. The screen on the one closest to him displayed four lines travelling across the monitor that blipped and jagged depending on his body rhythms.

At first, two or three nurses in the room performed different duties, but after the blood was drawn and the EKG had been taken, only one popped in and out. I sat on a rolling stool on the right side of the bed and held Jeremy's hand. We didn't speak very much at first, and I briefly considered what my life would be like if Jeremy died. I would need to sell the house, and choosing where to live after that would affect all of my other decisions. That's about as far ahead as I was capable of thinking at the time. Jeremy informed me that I had better marry a nice man who would be very godly.

I thought to myself how nice, godly men probably wouldn't be extremely hard to find (although I know several women who would contradict that), but finding one who would even come close to measuring up to Jeremy would be just about impossible to find. That thought made me VERY sad. Jeremy's my best friend. He's the one I turn to for logic, stability, shelter, love, reality, pointing me back to God. I told him this, although he has already heard it from me many times in the past. He told me several times that he loved me, and his voice trembled with feeling. We both wondered if it would be the last time we shared those words.

Then the doctor came in and declared that Jeremy had pulled a muscle in his chest, probably while lifting Liberty with her car seat. Ha-ha!! :-) My big, strong man sheepishly peeled the adhesive pads from his chest and pulled his shirt back on over his head while the nurse coiled the wires and replaced them on the nearby machines. Jeremy signed the necessary paperwork, and the four of us strolled out to our car about an hour and a half after we had arrived.

Throughout the rest of the evening, he clutched at his heart in assumed pain whenever he needed to do any Liberty carrying. Although, he did make a nice supper for us once we got home. :-)
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