Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers

Source: southernhospitalityblog.com via Melissa on Pinterest

 

I think this speaks for itself. If you have any decisions you need to make, turn first to God’s word. Have a great Thursday!

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Counting to 1000 Gifts: # 21-30

I’ve been counting my gifts and I’m excited because we’ve been reading the book, One Thousand Gifts, for our women’s Bible study now.

So here are gifts 21-30:

21. A great day at the zoo

Here are some highlights (the first photo was taken by me, the rest were taken by Nick):

Little guy studying the map

See if you can spot the baby tree kangaroo!

This bear was swimming around

The two tigers were walking around right by the glass

 

22. Great weather for our zoo trip – it wasn’t too hot or too cold, and the rain held off until we were walking to the car – perfect

23. Friends who are willing to send stuff to me to support me ❤

24. Christian Family Planning Network

25. The flexibility of my husband’s job

26. Groceries

27. A car that doesn’t sound like it’s going to fall apart every time we drive it

28. A working washer

29. Warm clothes for chillier weather

30. A successful Gathering! (event for our church)

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What Would You Do?

I was reading this blog post here and I thought that I had my own take on it, felt compelled to write my own take on it at any rate.

Because how do we react when someone different comes into our church? Like honestly, how do we react? There’s the Sunday school answer, which is that we welcome them lovingly with open arms, but do we really?

At the church I go to now, we have quite a few homeless people that come in occasionally. And to be honest, when I was first confronted with these people it made me uncomfortable. Everyone was like me in the church I grew up in. Well not exactly like me. I mean some people were older or younger, but for the most part, we all came from the same background. Nobody stuck out. Nobody failed to fit in.

But here – it’s not like that. Here I’ve been confronted by the fact that I’m not always the most welcoming person. And it is not easy to write that and put it out on my blog for the whole world to see, but I’m trying to be honest. I’m trying to tell you the truth. Christians aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect and I never want to put up the face that pretends to be. Often I do because that’s what I feel is expected of me. But it’s not helpful. But what is helpful is talking about our struggles as Christians.

So yes, I don’t always know what to say or how to approach that person who enters our church who is different from me. What I used to do was just make myself so busy talking to the people I already knew that I didn’t have time to say hello to the people I didn’t know. It’s funny, most people think I’m really outgoing and sociable, because the truth is, I have no issue getting up and speaking in front of 500 people I don’t know. That doesn’t bother me. But for some reason, speaking one on one with people I don’t know makes me a bit afraid. I don’t know what to say.

But I’ve been trying. And I don’t always do a good job of it. Sometimes I think I use Dom as an excuse not to talk to new people – I’m too busy taking care of him. Not that sometimes that isn’t completely true (some things just can’t wait) but other times, I do think I use it as an excuse. Like I said, I’m Christian but I’m not perfect.

But honestly, those people are just as loved by God as the people who are like me. And they deserve to know it. We talk about the love of God a lot, but I think most of the time we do a really poor job of showing that love to other people. I mean, the love of Christ compels us to love our neighbors, but to be honest, I don’t always do so well in that department.

So I guess I’m putting this out there as a challenge to myself – now that I’ve written this down and made it public, I need to follow through with it. I need to walk the talk as well as talking the talk. It’s scary to me, just a little bit, but I really do want to do it. I want those people to know they are just as loved as everybody else.

What do you think? Do you find it easy to talk to new people in your church or does it intimidate you? Do you have any strategies that might make it easier for me to talk to new people at church? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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10 Finds for Saturday – 9/29/12

All right, it’s that time again – a round up of ten things that I think you should read (or look at or watch)!

1. I Have a Disease: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Face Blindness

2. Hermione Granger Vs. Bella Swan (infographic)

3. Bookshelf (xkcd comic)

4. Episode 1 of 4: The Problem of Slavery in the Amazon (video)

5. Small Cities in the U.S. Paying Off Student Loan Debt for Residents

6. Old Wives Vs. Science (in pregnancy)

7. Baby Brain Map (Interactive)

8. Ten Objections to Christianity and How to Respond

9. Awesome Books to Replace Your Favorite Cancelled TV Shows

10. Insufficient Funds: A Story of Canada (video)

Enjoy!

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Vote!

This is my get out the vote spiel for you all. Basically it is really important to me that everyone votes because it is one of the best ways to have your say in the government. I believe strongly in voting. People worked really hard for me to have this right – I’m not just going to throw it away.

I know especially in Wisconsin, that people are getting a little tired of politics. I get it. I’ve voted more this year than I probably will in any other year of my life. But it doesn’t make voting any less important.

People give lots of reasons why they don’t vote and to be honest most of them are lame. I actually am going to put this video by Hank Green here because I think he does a really good job refuting the reasons that people say they’re not voting.

To me, voting is what separates America from being a place where we have no say and no voice and everything like that. How many votes do you get in a dictatorship? Zero. It’s a very important part of the democratic process and I believe that America should be a democracy and I want to be part of making that democracy better, so that’s why I vote. I do think, like Hank mentions, that voting is a responsibility. In some countries, voting is mandatory. I kind of think it should be like that here because if you don’t vote, you are throwing so much away. You may not have money to help make your community a better place, but you can vote for politicians who can secure funding to make your community a better place. And yes, I know, perhaps you don’t think the candidates are that great. To be honest, I don’t think they are either. Given my choice, I would not have America be a two party system, I would have us have many parties so that we have more choices. And yes, I know we can have third parties now, but in effect if you know what it takes to get a third party candidate on the ballot in all 50 states, you would realize that we are an effective two party state. I don’t love all of the candidates opinions on everything, but I’ve decided what the important issues are and I’m going to go with the candidate that agrees with me most on them.

So anyways, if you need to register to vote, I’m going to insert a little widget below that will help you get registered to vote. I just did it since I need to update my voter registration since moving. It was really easy, it automatically filled in the form for me, I printed it off and I will be mailing it when I finish this post (and when I find a stamp because I’m not sure where I put them).

Patriotic cat is patriotic.

That is all.

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Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith Review

Cross-posting from my other blog, which I hope, I think, to drop shortly and just make this my main blog for reviews and everything else. I can tell you for one thing it’s much less stressful to keep up with just one blog.

Name of book: Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith

Compiler: Margaret McSweeney

Margaret McSweeney is a well-published author often writing online articles for Make It Better (the former North Shore Magazine) and freelance articles for the Daily Herald, the largest suburban Chicago newspaper. In addition, she has authored and compiled several books including A Mother’s Heart KnowsGo Back and Be Happy; Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, Mother of Pearl and Aftermath.

With a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina in international business, Margaret became a vice-president in the corporate finance division of a New York City bank and worked there 1986–93.

As founder of Pearl Girls, Margaret collaborates with other writers on projects to help fund a safe house for WINGS, an organization that helps women and their children who are victims of domestic violence, and to build wells for schoolchildren in Uganda through Hands of Hope. For the past 10 years she has served on the board of directors and leadership advisory board for WINGS. Margaret lives with her husband and 2 daughters in the Chicago suburbs. www.pearlgirls.info

Summary (from Litfuse): Like oysters, women often encounter unexpected grit during their everyday lives. In response, God’s love and grace covers this grit and transforms the pain into a precious pearl that leaves a layered, luminous lining within a shell: Mother of Pearl. This brilliant luster is strong, lasting, and purposeful—just like the love, lessons, and legacies left by the special women in our lives.

Mother of Pearl celebrates the collective iridescence of motherhood. Margaret McSweeney presents a collection of heartfelt vignettes from authors who communicate the importance of the unique relationships between mothers and their children, between granddaughters and grandmothers and between children and the mother-figures in their lives.

These stories tell of the power of faith, prayer, and values, exploring coming of age, the joy of becoming a mother, the importance of motherhood, the ways to heal from a bad relationship with a mother and weathering the death of a special loved one. Poignant and thought-provoking, the stories serve to inspire, encourage, instill hope, and strengthen faith.

The proceeds from the sale of Mother of Pearl will be donated to organizations helping struggling women and children. The charities include Wings (Women in Need Growing Stronger) to help fund the Safe House in the Chicago suburbs and to Hands of Hope to help build wells for schoolchildren in Zambia.

Rating: 5

Reason for rating: This book – wow, what can I say about it. It was absolutely fabulously written and put together. The stories ranged across the gamut and they both made me smile and brought tears to my eyes. Some of the short pieces were more story-telling style while others were more factual but they were all inspiring and some were even challenging. Not in a challenging hard kind of a way, but in a way where they challenged you to take a specific action. It made me long to be a mom like these mothers and to miss my mom all the more. As soon as I finished this book, I texted her “I love you and miss you mom.” I also really appreciate that the proceeds of this book go to helping people. All in all, it’s a great read paired with great causes. I also really appreciated that most of the pieces were short so I could read one or two in just five or ten minutes which would leave me thinking as I worked on other things.

Find Mother of Pearl on Inspiring Voices

Find Mother of Pearl on Amazon

Find Mother of Pearl on Goodreads

Disclosure: I was provided with a free e-book copy of this in exchange for my honest review. These thoughts and feelings are 100 percent mine and 100 percent real!

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By Faith

2 Corinthians 5:7

For we live by faith, not by sight.

What a short verse but what a powerful statement about Christianity. Faith – that is the be all and end all. If any verse is relevant today (I mean they all are) but we are thousands of years removed from when Jesus came to die for us. We don’t personally know his physical self. We can’t touch the wounds in his hands and side the way Doubting Thomas did.

Which is why we need faith. Because let’s face it, we would be lost if we had to rely on things we can see. Because when I look at the world I see tons of problems and frankly it’s a little depressing – human trafficking, hunger, child abuse – the list goes on. But when I look to the Bible I see hope. Hope through the faith that I have that he will take me to heaven to be with him someday. And that is a truly beautiful thing.

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Foster Care, Adoption, and Older Kids

I don’t know if you know this but I have long wanted to be a foster parent and/or adopt kids. It’s something I feel strongly about – that every kid deserves a loving home. And for some kids, it’s easier to find them homes than others. Many people are looking to adopt babies – older kids not so much. I was reading a newsletter from Adoption Resources of Wisconsin and I mean I had always been vaguely aware that it was harder for older kids to be adopted but I never realized just quite how hard it really is. Almost half (43%) of the kids waiting to find a permanent home are over age nine but almost three-quarters (72%) of adoptions are with kids under nine. And I look at these kids all the time. Adoption Resources of Wisconsin has a database and I look at it all the time. My heart wants to be a mom to these kids. But unfortunately a lot of them are just not a fit for our family. A lot of the kids would benefit from families where they are the youngest or only child and that’s not a reality for us right now. It is, however, my hope that Nick and I will be able to start the process of fostering kids when Dominic is a little older. He still needs me too much to add on another kid right now. But my heart longs to love these children and I hope someday we will be able to.

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Safe, Legal, and Rare

Isn’t that the abortion advocates line? Safe, legal, and rare?

Well I can tell you first off that it isn’t that rare. Personally I know at least 5 people who had an abortion (or were the guy in an abortion situation) I have met at least three other people who had abortions (or were the guy in an abortion situation) who I don’t personally know. And these are just the ones I know of. That doesn’t seem very rare to me.

And what about safe? As I’ve mentioned before, abortion carries risks, both physical and pyschological. It can even lead to death. Not just where it is illegal but in places where it is legal too. This blog post here talks about a few of those cases where legalized abortion resulted in death (though certainly not all).

So I guess in the end all they made it was legal. And that’s not something to celebrate at all.

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4 Months Old!

Wow how time flies. I absolutely can not believe that my little guy is 4 months old already! I feel like time has just gone so fast.

He had his four month well baby visit on Wednesday. He is 17 pounds and half an ounce. He is 27 and a quarter inches long. This makes him a pretty big baby. He is off the chart for his height and in the 75th percentile for his weight. His head circumference is 42 and a half centimenters which is also the 75th percentile. All this to say, no wonder he looks so big – he is big!

We think he might be getting teeth. Sometimes he acts a lot like he is but yet we see no teeth. It’s frustrating that the only way to really tell whether all that fussiness was due to teeth is to see teeth but we have yet to see them.

He constantly amazes me with his little smiles and giggles. Even when I don’t necessarily want to be changing yet another diaper, a little smile from him can turn my frown upside down!

He knows how to roll from front to back and from back to front. He can’t sit himself up yet but if you sit him up he can hold his balance quite well. He loves to stand up if you hold him up. The doctor thinks based on the gross motor skills that he is already exhibiting that he will learn to crawl early. I saw him stick his butt up in the air a couple of times today but it didn’t amount to anything.

We went on our first shopping trip to Walmart earlier this week and Dom really enjoyed it. There were so many things for him to look at!

We hope to be able to take him to the zoo before the weather gets cold. I think he would really enjoy it. We almost went on Thursday but then it rained. I am also looking forward to starting him on solid foods with baby led weaning at 6 months.

So that’s your Dominic update 🙂

dom blog

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