Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Few Feet Ahead

Last week one of my running buddies offered encouragement as we chugged up a never ending hill.  Focus only a few feet ahead.  And it worked as we breathed deeply, enjoyed the hard moments, took it slow and made it all the way to the top!  Now comes the four mile training and the same strategy that got us through last week.  I still can't imagine running thirteen miles but I am being daily amazed at how great running makes one feel.

The last few days have had us employing our running strategy in other ways.  Levi has been incredibly sick with ear, eye and bronchiole infections intermingled with hives from the high fevers.  So it is that he's on antibiotics and probiotics again.  Pricey little things, the both of them.  We're loving and medicating and praying hour by hour (even the wee ones in the morning).  

Just before the high fevers and croupy cough hit, we were able to enjoy Levi's second zoo trip where we celebrated a friend's birthday.  Even with sickness looming, he thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Searching for reptiles

A pretend safari
Mesmerized by giraffes 
Watching others flirt with danger
Goofing with Dad
Birthday wishes to Man-a! 

For this week we're getting better, recovering from sore muscles (check out Team India's work), and focusing on the few feet ahead.  Hoping soon we can share that we have an energetic, healthy toddler once more.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Webster's Words: Intentional


 adj \in-ˈtench-nəl, -ˈten(t)-shə-nəl\

Definition of INTENTIONAL

: done by intention or design : intended <intentionaldamage>
If there could be a word to describe our desire for this year, it's this one. That every action we take would flow from it. Too many years disappear with regrets but a year of intentional living should hold no if onlys.

It's January 21st and we've already had our share of purposed and purposeless but the former is winning with a kitchen calendar as our weapon of choice. In fact, every RA in our building is required to have this chosen weapon to help redeem their days. And it is proving effective.
There are days that I'd much rather trade intentional for comfortable. Like Wednesday when we went to play group where moms and kids come from large homes with 2.5 kids and housekeepers that help with their work. I suppose we could call our sweet custodians the keepers of our foyer but often I don't see it that optimistically. That day I wanted a big house and lots of new clothes and no knocks on the door at 11 pm. Then I remembered in all my wishing that God hasn't called us to a big house or even a lot of privacy.  He's called us right now to be fully present and faithful. In 2012 it looks a lot like nine RAs and 120 students.  But there is joy in the present.  And this, yesterday, was a glimpse of it.

I'm discovering how good it is to be stretched.  To spend time with people you perceive have nothing in common with you except thigh high tikes.  When you intentionally break out of the comfortable even if it feels a lot like a fish-out-of-water experiment. 
Intentional is not easy.  Like the five days this week when my body didn't want to run two miles around the block or dare think about the thirteen it's training to run come April. Lazy days are easier. But lazy days don't produce endorphines that add richness to every daylight hour.
Intentional takes effort. Dying to self and living for others. Listening to brokenness. Praying over fears. Patience with fire alarms at 3 a.m. Compassion for the one who burned popcorn to set it off. Laughter for the one who thought Jesus was coming back. And more laughter for the one who neglected to grab clothes because his roommate said, "Hurry Jack, the building is burning down."

Intentional recognizes it is not about me.  Like Jason keeping his word and going on a guys' polar bear plunge when his body begged to go to sleep. Like another fire scare last night and a baby who wouldn't sleep. Then a sleepy afternoon and a baby waking just as I closed my eyes to rest. Holding him I said with eyes closed, "It's not about me, is it? I wish it was, but it's not about me."  He pried my right eye open to reaffirm my somber sentiment.
It takes energy. Sleep (thank you, precious Daddy, for rescuing this tired Mama today). Good, long Jesus time. Huge calendars. And a whole lot of determination to make this year count.  
It takes being intentional every day regardless of feelings. And tonight intentional means pressing post and heading outside my door. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Milestones: 18-21 Months

He's sleeping through the night, dancing to music, learning new words and wrapping college students around his chubby fingers. . . but we have few pictures or video to prove it.  Often when devices come out Levi does anything but act natural.  Maybe this is his latest milestone.  Here he is on a willing day...

So this time we'll share fun facts with pictures and video from the past months.

Weight:  29 pounds 
This was confirmed Thursday and Friday as we were at the doctor both days.   More on that later.
A common sight
Favorite foods: Fruit and juice 
But most definitely not vegetables

Favorite word(s):  Mama, juice and Nana

Favorite toy: Spatulas and other kitchen tools
Every time we read the nursery rhyme book and come to Rub-a-Dub-Dub he points excitedly at the baker who holds a spatula then runs to find his own in the kitchen.  Anyone else think that's a strange nursery rhyme?

Accomplishments:  Signing more, please, thank you, all done, and milk.
Saying mama, dada, pa pa, nana, juice, no no, uh oh, and attempting other words while understanding what seems like everything including his dad asking, "hey punk, you wanna fight?" and him shaking his head emphatically no.
He's currently working on thumbs up but is having trouble lowering his pointer finger so he sometimes walks around with what could be interpreted as a gun.
Funniest moment: Levi standing in the booth at Subway doing his chicken arm flap dance to the music playing.  
We tried to capture it on video but shy Levi appeared.

Kisses for a hurt Daddy
Most treasured memory: Uga muga and Family hugs
Recently Levi has been pulling my face to his as we rock at night.  We rubbed noses this night and in a nostalgic Mr. Roger's uga muga moment I whispered "I love you" to which Levi replied, "I woah woah."

During one of our many hug sessions I walked up to Jason and Levi and Levi put an arm around each of our necks for what began daily family hugs and kisses.  To date, if he finds me and Jason hugging he comes to wrap his arms around our legs and whimpers to be included.

At Grammy and Grandpa's
And, a milestone for mom.

Mama Intuition
I'm always a slow one at getting things.  Like mama intuition.  We've been thankful Levi has been so healthy his first 1 1/2 years of life to not need much intuition, but Wednesday after two weeks of a cold and cough, Levi's cough changed and I sensed something was wrong.  Thursday morning I took him to the doctor expecting to confirm my suspicion.  But Levi wouldn't cough for them and upon examination everything seemed fine.  So I went home with confidence shaken.  Still something seemed wrong.  And Thursday night he spiked a terribly high fever.  We were back in the office Friday morning and again they found nothing but a tylenol reduced fever.  As expected my crooping toddler refused to cough until the doctor left the room.  The doctor gave an antibiotic to at least make [me] feel better.  It made her feel better too because I got out of her hair.  I had decided I wasn't leaving the office without some significant meds.

Six doses of medicine later Levi is slowly returning to his old self and my confidence as my child's best doctor is growing.  Hurray for God-infused intuition and for a baby who's getting better!

At the lake on RA retreat

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What's New and Book Review Combo

I'm typing quietly because we just closed our apartment door at midnight and have approximately seven hours before the silence gets chased away by nine RAs ready for retreat.  We try to enjoy both the silence and the chaos fully...thus the quiet typing.

Breaks come at the most appropriate times.  And then when we enjoy them thoroughly nights like tonight feel excitingly electric with the energy of everyone coming back.  So we took an excited toddler and friends to Chick-fil-a, baked muffins to prepare for the on-the-road team breakfast, helped a stranded RA and talked a lot.  Now all is quiet especially since the RA guys just left for the ever-essential Cookout for late night greasy burgers that will presumably help them roll out of bed easier at 7 a.m.

Just wanted to quickly share a book we had the privilege of finishing during our semi-quiet break.  It's our primary read for the team going to India in May and you can get a copy FREE.  Here.  Thought we would share from the last page a challenge that follows a convicting look at the suffering of the "untouchable" children of India and one organization offering hope.
The world is broken, filled with so much suffering, so many precious children -- all lost and helpless.  I want to lead them to Jesus, the One who is their hope.  But I can't turn back the clock.  Time flies by and before we know it, it's all over.  There's the final good-bye from this earth and to all the things we thought were so important and held on to so tightly.
Think about it!  One hundred years from now, what do they matter?  The house, cars, clothes, pearls, bank accounts, vacations, real estate, opinions of others, honors we sought and lived for.  Oh, how silly we are not to live in the light of eternity! 
Now is our opportunity to see these precious people come to know the Lord.  Amy Carmichael once said, 'We shall have all eternity to celebrate the victories, but we have only the few hours before sunset in which to win them.' 
What a day it is going to be when we stand before the throne to find multitudes that no man can number from every nation, every tribe and every tongue!  Our willingness to work these few hours will make eternity that much richer. 
I plead with you to stop and think about what I am saying.  Take your driver's license...and look at it.  See your date of birth on it.  How old are you now?  Maybe 20, 40, 60 years...  Add 100 years to your present age.  Where are you now?  Where is your house?  How much do the opinions of others matter to you? 
You see what I am talking about. 
Live in the light of eternity.  Love God by loving others.  Make your life count.

Whew.  Such a simply written book that grips the heart and challenges us deeply in this new year ahead.

And now for another new year challenge:  good rest.  Tomorrow morning the silence gives way to chaos.  : )

Night all!