Sunday, November 30, 2008

So much to be thankful for

This year, even more than ever before, I am overwhelmed by the realization of just how much I have to be thankful for. Adam, Jayci and I enjoyed Thanksgiving with my parents (and my oma was visiting too) this year. They were kind enough to invite three of the kids that they sponsor from downtown to join us for our meal. Adam and I drove down to the projects to pick them up that morning - it was sad to realize how few of these kids had a thanksgiving meal (something I've always just taken for granted). Anyways, having some of our kiddos from downtown join us for our meal only amplified my realization of how much I have to be thankful for.

So here, in no particular order, are just a few of the things I'm thankful for today:

I'm thankful for my husband, who is an amazing dad (even better than I thought he'd be!) and an even better friend.

I'm thankful for my family, for how they support what we're doing downtown and are behind us 100% as the Lord leads us, even when it's to some uncertain and scary places.

I'm thankful for parents (on both sides) who love watching Jayci, even when she screams, poops and spits up all over them

I'm thankful for friends who have babies and can answer all my stupid questions like "how do you get it to stop crying?"

I'm thankful for DVR - a lifesaver when I'm stuck feeding Jayci at all hours of the day and night

I'm thankful that Jayci is healthy and growing so well (10 lbs!)

I'm thankful for online shopping, because Jayci will not let me put her in the car seat to drive to the mall or any other shopping center . . .

I'm thankful for the kids downtown and how much they teach me - about myself, about Jesus and about justice

I'm thankful for the home I grew up in, and that I wasn't born into the poverty, violence and lack of opportunity that the kids downtown have to face.

I'm thankful for my small group - such amazing friends!

I'm thankful for Mexican food (yum!) and El Jinete in particular, especially on Thursday nights with Sarah!

I'm thankful for breakfast with Danielle

I'm thankful for Christmas (for obvious reasons such as Jesus' birth, as well as other reasons like decorations, hot chocolate, the smell of Christmas tree, Christmas music and movies etc etc)

I'm thankful for friends like Gini and Jennifer who will scrapbook with me even when I look like a dork because of my big suitcase

I'm thankful for Vision Atlanta and Metro Kidz and the way these ministries not only transform the lives of kids in the inner city, but also have transformed our lives

I'm thankful that we have a beautiful house and two cars and two crazy dogs (although usually I'm more thankful for Maverick than Charli)

I'm thankful for my sisters who are two of my very best friends, even though I wasn't always very nice to them

But most of all, I'm thankful for a Savior who loves me regardless of how much of a mess I am, who teaches me new things about love and forgiveness daily and who has blessed me with a life that is abundantly more than anything I could have asked for or imagined!

Friday, November 21, 2008

5 Things I Want Jayci to Know

1-Who she is in Christ: Being that my insecurities and awareness of all my shortcomings are some of the biggest struggles I face on a daily basis, I want Jayci to always remember the truth about who she is in Christ. That the cliche is true: inner beauty really is far more important than outer beauty. "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment. . . Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight" (1 Peter 3:3-4).
2-There are way more important things than being "cool": I spent far too much of my life chasing after popularity, or what I thought was cool. But the truth is that there are lots of "cool" kids who are real jerks. It's so much more important to stand up for what is right and make the right decisions, regardless of what the cool/popular kids think about you.
3-People who make fun of you are just jealous or insecure: Having had my fair share of mean words/cruel jokes directed towards me, I've finally realized this truth. Everyone has their own insecurities, which some people try to cover up by putting down others. So love those who persecute or tease you, and remember that what other people say doesn't change who you are.
4-You are responsible for your own choices - I know it's tempting to blame your teacher when you fail, or a friend when things go wrong, or me (and I'm sure I'll make my share of mistakes). But the truth is that you alone are finally responsible for who you are and what you do.
5-Jesus loves you! I know it sounds obvious and childish, but the truth is that if you know this deep down inside, you will never lack for anything. The knowledge of how loved you are by your Creator will make you a secure person, will ground your life in a relationship with Him and will free you up to be who He created you to be.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Writer's Block

Ok so I have absolutely nothing to write about. Apparently, my life is pretty boring right now . . . In fact, I've spent the last 45 minutes or so, staring at Jayci and making big smiles to try and get her to smile - my cheeks hurt, but I'm not very exciting!

Now that Jayci has been here for 2 months (whoa! can you believe she's already 2 months old?!) I feel like she's been a part of our lives forever; yet, strangely, I also feel like it was seriously yesterday that we were watching House in the hospital lobby waiting for a room to deliver her in.
Speaking of her being 2 months old, the two month old check-up is brutal by the way. They made me hold down my sweet little girl so they could stick her with needles -- I'll tell you what, she was looking at me and grinning and cooing when all of a sudden she got this shocked and betrayed look on her face and started wailing. As tears welled in my own eyes, I wanted to point at the nurse and shout "it was her! she did it! not me!" but since the nurse might have considered that response a little, well, juvenile - I opted to hold Jayci close and try and calm her down instead (a task which, by the way, took almost 2 full days to accomplish completely).

More updates from the doctor (thrilling I know, but like I said - I'm a little boring right now) Jayci weighs 9 lbs 14oz and is 22 inches long -- she's in the 30th percentile for all her measurements("perfectly proportioned" the doctor said - which I already knew of course).

In other (really exciting) news, I added some more decor to my house (courtesy of Altmix Photography)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jayci's Guide to Style

There are so many reasons I love Fridays, not the least being that I can watch my recorded "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style" (although I shudder to think what he would say if he saw my closet). This week, he says you should throw away any clothing with a stain on it . . . if I did that, I would have exactly one shirt left - and that's only cause I haven't worn it yet!

Tim has a list of 10 Essential items which should be in every woman's closet - so I thought I'd comprise a little list of my own:

Jayci's 10 essential items (which no self-respecting baby girl should be without)

1-Fabulous footwear (notice the boots with the fur)
2-Pajamas with footies
3-Hair accessories (bows, bows and more bows)
4-Baggy tights (because 0-9 months is an appropriate age range for ONE size)
5-Onesies in girly colors with cute sayings on them (like "Daddy's girl" or "I like kisses")
6-Polka dots, polka dots, polka dots
7-Anything pink and brown
8-Pants with ruffles on the butt (it just adds a little somethin' somethin')
9-Bloomers to match my dresses (because showing your diaper? that's just tacky)
10-Anything velour (Jenny from the Block anyone?)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

In the wee hours of the morning

A few days ago a dear friend and mentor reminded me to treasure the time late at night (or early in the morning) putting Jayci back to sleep. I, naturally, dismissed her as crazy. At about 4am this morning, however, it suddenly hit me: an overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy in being awake with my daughter. Soft, warm light poured gently through the doorway and from her nightlight. Her humidifier blew soothing white noise, but other than that, we were engulfed in delicious silence. Sitting and rocking gently in her cozy rocking chair, with her little warmth snuggled next to me, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift of my daughter. Not only her, but this special time we get together, just me and her, where no words are necessary, no wisdom is needed - I just get to be a mom. And the truth is, in the grand scheme of things, the times I will have like this with her won't last long. So from this moment on, I intend to treasure them!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Science Fair Fun

I feel like I need to preface this post by telling you that I have been trying to write it for days and my thoughts just keep going around and around . . . My heart has been burdened and I can't seem to get my feelings down in words. So my apologies beforehand if things wander or don't make much sense!

Anyways, because nothing is better than doing school work when its completely unnecessary, Adam and I agreed to help two of our boys from downtown (Zack and Sabo) with their science fair projects. We didn't quite know what we were getting ourselves into - in other words, we had no idea how unprepared and ill-equipped these poor boys actually were to create a science fair project. Both boys failed science last year (but it 'don't matter' because they just keep moving up in grades anyways . . . science doesn't count). Without our help, I'm almost positive they just wouldn't have done it.

Our time spent helping them was interesting and eye-opening. Although we visit them at home every Saturday and see them a few more times throughout the week, this was the first time we had spent any amount of time in their homes. When we got downtown with supplies and ready to work on a very large project due in two days, Zack's mom wasn't sure where Zack was -- outside somewhere? Once we finally got him inside and started to work on the project, Zack's mom joined us and actually seemed quite into the experiment (which paper towel was most absorbent), despite the fact that she had no idea what the scientific method was, or what hypothesis meant, or even what his problem was, or his conclusion should be . . . The good news is that we were able to empower her to help Zack finish his project, and I left feeling completely certain that she would make sure he turned it in (because now SHE was invested in the project herself).

At Sabo's house, we went upstairs to help him put together his poster board (since he had already done the experiment) Sabo's grandmother cannot leave her spot on the couch, so she cant help him. Sabo and his brother Sincere share a room which consists of bare, dingy off-white walls, two twin beds with bare matresses (no sheets) which were stained, lumpy and all-together unappetizing as a place to sleep (which is probably why 8 year old Sincere usually sleeps on the couch in front of the tv). Seeing how this eleven year old boy lives helped me understand why he seems completely depressed every time we are at his house or in his neighborhood, but is a laughing, funny, normal boy when we're at our house or church or anywhere else.

This understanding helped me come to an important realization about why these boys fail. (Well that's not super-accurate, because there are LOTS of reasons they fail) but one important reason is that it is so much safer to NOT TRY than to try and fail anyways. Because how are these boys supposed to do a science project that has to be typed when they have no computers? or parents who know what "hypothesis" means? or parents who can get out of bed for that matter . . . (As a side note - why would they give inner-city kids a project that requires typing and "dressing up" for the presentation??)

I dont even know what my point is, except that these boys are precious children of God. They deserve to be loved and cared for as much as we do, as much as Jayci does. But just because of where Jayci was born, she is going to be given so many more opportunities and chances for success. Because of where these boys are born, they face obstacles that often seem too big to surmount -- but I guess that's why the Lord tells us to take care of "the least of these." By loving them and helping them, I see Jesus and feel Jesus and am filled with a joy that comes from knowing that He loves his children all deeply regardless of their circumstances.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Gift of Epic Proportions

So little Jayci has a cold. And let me just tell you, it's about as miserable for me as it is for her. Every sniffle and cough, my heart just breaks for that tiny little body to be experiencing such misery. I was also completely unable to resist her charms, and continued to cuddle and kiss her throughout her bout with the cold. The result? I too have a nice runny nose, itchy throat and lovely cough(not to mention a killer sinus headache because I tend to forget to blow my nose, and instead I sniff it all farther up into my nose and sinus cavities - yum).

Honestly, there are lots of things about being a mom that were a lot, well, harder, than I thought they would be. Her being sick and miserable (aka - fussy, very fussy and crying and constantly wanting to eat but being unable to breath, freaking out in frustration and thus growing desperately hungry again in an hour or so), combined with me being sick and miserable has made for a difficult week.

But the truth is that a difficult week is nothing compared to the amazing gift that Jayci is in my life. Through her, I've been given a small look at how BIG God's love is for His children. Before having kids of your own, it's nearly impossible to understand the depth and type of love that a parent has for their children. Through her, I've been offered a glimpse at a whole new aspect of my husband, and I've fallen in love with him all over again (nothing melts my heart like seeing him be a daddy to our sweet little girl). Through her, I've already learned so much about myself as a woman, as a mother and as a person. Through her, I've had to grow in my faith and trust in and dependence on the Lord - I absolutely cannot do this without His guidance and leading. There are so many ways that Jayci is an amazing gift in my life and I cannot wait to see what else the Lord has in store for us through her!


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