Sunday, August 31, 2008
Intuitive Self--swoons (OK, perhaps I've read too many historical romance novels)
Rational Self--Get a grip. He's probably married.
Intuitive Self--He's not wearing a ring.
Rational Self--You don't even know if he's a Christian.
Intuitive Self--Yes, he is. I can tell.
Rational Self--Based on what? The only words he's said so far are his name and "nice to meet you"--hardly conclusive.
Intuitive Self--No, there is something about him...
Rational Self--snorts and rolls eyes
We met a few days later at our city's Hispanic Festival. He was wearing a Christian T-shirt (Intuitive Self: sticks out tongue). He and my mom had a nice conversation while I tried to keep Intuitive Self on a leash. As soon as we left, she turned to me and said, "You need to marry him. And you would have gorgeous children". (Intuitive Self: applauds and cheers Mom). Turns out that Intuitive Self was on to something. Dating was weird and had some twists and turns, but we have been very happily married for over nine years. I am so very, very glad that we met and that we married. He is an amazing person, husband and father. I enjoy him so much. He makes me more myself. Mom was right about the gorgeous kids, too. :)
Friday, August 29, 2008
I was still chuckling at the whole-hearted enthusiasm my kids have for cooking. If something is good, you should use a lot of it! So after appreciative sniffs of vanilla and cinnamon, they added a generous amount to our “crumpets”. That was still in my mind while reading again the first part of Ephesians, and it struck me how closely they were imitating our Father.
1:3—“…who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing…”
1:6—“to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us…”
1:7-8—“…forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us…”
1:18-19—“…the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us…”
The next verses describe how all-encompassing is Christ’s power, present and future, over all things, “the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
2:4—“But God, being rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us…”
2:7—“…that He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us…”
Nearly every verse comes back to remind us of the lavish generosity and richness of God’s love, which doesn’t hold anything back. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is in the next chapter:
“ For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
Now that is amazing, if we really stop and think about it. If like me, you are tempted to doubt, he goes on in the next verse:
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
There is so much in these verses. Don’t just gulp them down. Go back and savor them throughout the day. Maybe over tea and crumpets.
1 1/2 C white rice flour
1/2 C tapioca flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 T baking powder
several shakes of cinnamon
a few shakes of nutmeg
about 1 C applesauce
3 T brown sugar
3 T melted butter
a large splash of vanilla (around 2 T???)
about 2/3 C milk
about 1/2 C of dried cranberries, blueberries and cherries
Stir dry ingredients together, then add wet ingredients. Spoon into well-greased muffin tins (should be full) and bake for about 25 minutes at 400. Serve with butter and brown sugar, and a lovely cup of hot tea with cream and sugar. The recipe made 6 large muffins, with a little batter left over that we fried up like pancakes but with a little extra butter. They were puffy and crispy and absolutely delicious. Real crumpets are made with yeast, but the pancakes looked similar to pictures of crumpets because of the extra baking powder. Ariana's favorite tea is Earl Grey, and the bergamot is really good with the spices and berries in the muffins. You can tell from the lack of precision in the measurements that Joel sometimes got very excited and dumped things in. :D
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Tomorrow we might do a jumping pile with all the pillows and cushions in the house. :)
Did Sarah know what was going on? Did God or Abraham talk to her about this? If so, what were her thoughts and feelings? She was obviously a protective mother--what went through her mind and heart when she heard about this sacrifice? Did Abraham trust her enough to talk to her about it? Did she trust God enough to agree to it?
Perhaps even more importantly, why did Isaac go along with it? Abraham was very old--surely if young, strong Isaac had resisted, he could have escaped. Why did he allow Abraham to bind him and lay him on the altar?
It is possible, of course, that God somehow paralyzed him, or that Abraham tricked him into being bound and helpless. But, somehow, I don't think so. I believe that Isaac trusted God and his father enough to voluntarily agree to the sacrifice. And that leads me to wonder how that trust and faith were built through the years. Am I helping my children to know God in such a way that they will choose to give their lives to Him? I may never get the rest of the details of Isaac's side of the story, but I hope to see my children learn to love and trust God so much that they gladly lay their lives down as a living sacrifice.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Lately, a song from Rich Mullins (about 20 years ago--that makes me feel old) has been playing in my mind each time:
This part has been very real to me:
And I know sacred ears will listen
And holy hands reach out to touch
How can I keep myself from singing
Sacred ears are listening to every whisper in our hearts, holy hands are reaching out to touch us. Reasons to sing, indeed.
The unlikely source for my current attack of I-must-buy-this-right-now? Cloth diapers. I just tried a medium Fuzzi Bunz on Elena and it fit! (Well, it is a *tiny* bit big, but she can definitely wear them). Now I am positively lusting after the gingham pink floral one. We first started cloth-diapering with Joel, and so we have no pink ones. And I normally don't even like pink that much. But it is taking every ounce of self-control I have to not order several right now.
Whenever anyone ask me about cloth diapers, I mention how much money you can save. In theory, and even in practice, this is true. After all, we are using the same ones we got over two years ago, and wouldn't have to buy any more until Elena is potty trained. We saved several hundred, if not over a thousand dollars, with Joel. I am sure we will with Elena, too. I.must.resist.
On the other hand, I do have a coupon that expires at the end of the month...
The first week of school is over (for me--and almost for Carlos). I've got a class that meets for an hour and a half twice a week. It is the perfect size for a language class--about 15--and there are some fun and dedicated students. One, in particular is very vocal. She has opinions, suggestions and questions on everything related to our class, as well as on a wide variety of topics that have nothing to do with Spanish. She is really nice and I've been able to smile and just keep our class focused on the lesson.
Another told me that she has taken the class six times and failed each time. She wanted to know if I though she could pass. Oh, my. Frankly, I can't imagine taking the same class 7 times. I didn't know whether to be impressed by her perseverance, or to doubt her efforts (or her veracity). I settled for letting her know what she'll need to be able to do in order to pass. I'm still puzzled by this, though. If there is a learning disability involved (and I have no indication that there might be) why on earth hasn't someone caught it by now? Why would anyone spend the time and money to take a class seven times without either giving up or learning enough to pass? And who did she have before? I am known as one of the toughest Spanish teachers in the college in terms of grading, and most of my students pass. I am curious about how this is going to turn out, but I hope that this time she succeeds.
Another class starts in a couple of weeks. It will use the new textbook, which will be quite an adjustment. I think that instructors sometimes get attached to the book they start out with (sort of like imprinting on baby ducks). I love our old book, but we'll see how this one goes.
I definitely miss Elena while I am in class. It is funny, because she is not on a schedule, and so she will normally go anywhere from a few minutes to about 2 hours between nursing. Since the class is an hour and twenty minutes, I am gone about two and a half hours. So far, each day my milk has started flowing exactly at the time she started fussing. How cool is that, that God has made us so connected that even miles apart our bodies are in synch?
I am happy about the weekend. I love having Carlos home all day. I'm looking forward to spending time with my sister and my sister-in-law--two of my favorite people in the world--and I know the kidlets are always delighted to see them.
I desperately need to clean house. My motivation in that area has never been particularly high, and even less since Elena was born. It seems so futile. I'll just need to mop/vacuum/wash clothes-dishes-etc again in a few minutes. And if Elena is sleeping, the other two need attention or I need time to relax or work on school stuff. If she is awake, she is probably nursing :D. The wrap helps a lot, but ... Yes, I admit it. These are excuses. But I've convinced myself. It'll all still be there to do this evening, right?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Now, to be clear, in our house, hurting people or property is never an option, regardless of how strong the feelings are. And, particularly in public settings, it may be necessary to go someplace more private so as not to disrupt others. But I think it is worth examining our reactions to a child whose emotions are not all sweetness and light. Even Jesus got upset. There is nothing wrong, in itself, with being angry or sad or any other emotion. If we were His parents, how would we react? Would we hit Him? Send Him to His room until He was happy again? Or would we be more motivated to "weep with those who weep"?
As adults, most of us still throw our own version of a tantrum, just in a more sophisticated way. We don't lie on the floor or kick and scream (at least, I hope not!), but how many of us have lashed out verbally at someone, with hurtful or sarcastic words or yelling? And while it is easy to smile at the unimportance of the little thing that triggers a toddler's meltdown, have you ever overreacted simply because you had already had more than you could take emotionally? Maybe you were short on sleep or not feeling well, or hungry and needed a snack, and one little thing pushed you over the edge? I've certainly BTDT.
I've had times where I was stressed about a situation at work, tired and cranky, and snapped at Carlos. He didn't deserve it. So, as a Christian, and someone who loved me, how should he respond? He could retaliate in kind (punish) or just ignore me or give me the silent treatment (banishment/time out/etc) until I started acting 'sweet'. After all, that is the suggested deterrent, right? Otherwise, we are 'rewarding bad behavior'. But then what? If he made a sarcastic comment back, chances are it would just escalate and I would send a zinger right back. If he simply froze me out, I would be hurt, even if I recognized the illogic of it. And if he made any comment about avoiding me until I was 'sweet', it would not go over well at all.
On the other hand, what if he came up and put his arms around me and listened to what was wrong? I wouldn't start cackling inwardly because I 'got away with it'. Instead, I would probably melt, and genuinely apologize for snapping. We would be connected and he would be helping to bear my burden. Thank God, I married a wise man, and he would probably choose the last option. :)
Another thing--have you ever started crying and not been able to stop? Isn't it the most awful feeling? I remember a time when I was hormonal and stressed. I hadn't slept well, etc, and I started sobbing (over something that was truly not the end of the world--we are all still here, after all) and the more I tried to stop the worse it got. I was so embarrassed and frustrated--I hate losing control--but I still kept crying. How frightening it must be as a toddler to have such powerful emotions and not always be able to turn it off on cue!
I know that 'doing unto others' falls short sometimes because we all respond differently (Joel wants to be held during a meltdown, Ariana usually doesn't), but at least it is a good starting point. I am sure that there are kids who like to be alone when they get that upset, too, and I think that is fine. Regardless, we can try to comfort in the moment. Then, when they are calm and able to learn, we can show them other ways to be honest about their feelings in socially appropriate ways.
One thing that I see in the books is encouraging children to 'use their words'. This is great. When it works. Ariana has always been really verbal, but if she is really upset, having her 'use her words' wouldn't always adequately convey the intensity of her feelings. (It doesn't always for me, either, and my vocabulary is far more extensive). For awhile, she would do an angry or sad dance for us. Another thing that worked well was to pretend to be an animal (if a lion felt that angry, how would he roar? How would an elephant stomp if she were that upset?).
By far the most effective for Ariana, though, was story-telling. Even in the middle of a meltdown she would stop to listen if we told her a story about another little kid who felt that way when x happened. It is funny, because even now she will ask for a story about how Sally felt when she wanted the toy but her little brother wasn't yet finished with it, or whatever, when she is trying to make choices about how to handle something. Joel hasn't gotten into stories as much--he usually needs to blow off steam physically--but I can see now why Jesus told stories so much.
There are a lot of other ways where children can honestly and openly share their feelings, such as through painting or drawing. Perhaps writing a song. King David came up with some pretty intense songs, and I love it that they are included in the Psalms!
I am so grateful that God responds to my cries, and that He is patient with me. Just like my children, I am still growing and learning, and from an eternal perspective, much of my wailing seems unnecessary and even obnoxious. Yet He still promises to wipe away every tear from our eyes. What an amazing Father we have!
On the half empty side, I get sick of scrutinizing every bite and carrying Epi-pens everywhere. I feel bad when someone graciously offers us something to eat and I either refuse or grill them on ingredients and cross-contamination issues instead of just joyfully thanking them. Do you have any idea how hard it is to avoid corn?! It is in EVERYTHING! It makes me sad when the kids ask for something they can't have or have to eat something different from everyone else at social occasions, even though they handle it well. I know that Elena is also genetically predisposed to allergies, and I fight the temptation to worry. Starting solids with her is going to be stressful, though we have several months before that will be an issue. I am hoping that the kids outgrow some of the allergies
On the half full side, I am so relieved that we know what was causing the reactions. The couple of weeks before Joel was tested, I was on pins and needles with each meal, fearing another reaction. Also, I am grateful that most of the reactions are fairly mild and quickly controlled with Benedryl. I am glad that the physical reactions like hives caused me to learn more about reactions such as behavior issues, sleep issues and potty issues. For example, if Ariana gets any wheat, she goes wild. She'll be bouncing off the walls, incredibly LOUD, prone to emotional meltdowns, aggressive, and won't sleep well. If not for the allergist (and seeing the difference without wheat) I would have thought these were discipline issues rather than an allergic reaction, but according to the doctor it isn't at all uncommon. I know several kids who respond the same way to food dyes. Dairy causes bladder spasms in some children, and the list goes on and on.
Another benefit is that we are much more aware of what we eat and I'm becoming a better cook :) The kids love to help me cook. This morning, we made a tropical cake (bananas, coconut, pineapple and white chocolate, and a brown sugar glaze--yum!). They love measuring and adding ingredients, and since we do so many experiments rather than following recipes, they are quite creative about suggesting substitutions and combinations. We have a lot of fun, and most of it tastes pretty good. The kids already know quite a bit about cooking and baking, and we have a wonderful time together.
So, overall, yeah, I think it is...two-thirds full? Maybe even three-quarters? ;)
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I remember the surprise, arrogance and finally humor of one who tried to get into the athletes' lounge without proper ID. He couldn't believe that I didn't recognize him and let him in. Afterwards, he made it a point to be sure that I had *my* ID each time he came in. I was amused to see that he has his own bachelor reality show on TV now.
I remember the graciousness of the coach for another athlete, who also needed help with his ID, but didn't speak English. I spoke to him in Spanish, and he later brought me a special souvenir when his athlete won the silver medal.
Another gold-medal winner couldn't stop talking about how excited he was that his little brother had become a preacher. That seemed to mean far more to him than the Olympic Games.
I remember the police dog who was assigned to one athlete who had been attacked previously. Such a beautiful, intelligent and gentle animal.
And I wonder what became of another athlete who will always be in my heart. She was only 15, and she had a habit of ditching the security escort to and from the courts. I stuck with her, and we started talking some. She was interested in why I seemed so happy. On one of the last days, I told her that God loved her, and she started crying. She said that there was no way He could love her after the things she had done. She was only 15. I shared some Bible verses with her and prayed with her. She gave me her address, but I didn't hear back from her. I hope that she came to realize how deeply she is loved.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Ariana is my fabulous four year old. She is also my friend--we have great conversations and love to share a cup of tea. She is very sensitive to others and will pick up unerringly on emotional undercurrents. In fact, she empathizes so well that we have to work at giving her tools to handle feelings before they overwhelm her. She loves art, and her favorite activities usually involve drawing or painting. She also loves to cook. Right now she is into butterflies and superheroes. Every night before going to sleep, she an Carlos swap stories about Firestar (her alter ego), Spiderman, various villans, and Ipis and Upis (invented by Carlos). Much of her time is spent dancing and riding her bike. Ariana is also very content to do her own thing and occupy herself. Like me, she sometimes gets focused on her own thoughts or activities and tunes out everything else. She is fiercely protective of others, and if she perceives any need to defend someone she loves she doesn't hesitate for a second. She'll also grasp concepts quickly and think about them long after I've forgotten an incident. She has tremendous compassion. Before she was born, there were some words saying she would be a healer. She loves science and biology, so I could see her studying medicine, but regardless of her career choices, I know her love will bring God's healing into other people's lives.
Joel is our two year old dynamo. He is in perpetual motion. If an object can be climbed, jumped off of, or crashed into, he will do it. (Some of you remember when he jumped off a 6' slide a few months ago). He will make a marvelous stuntman . He is also extremely affectionate, and gives lots of hugs and cuddles. At night, he will wriggle around until he is touching as many of us as possible. He is fascinated by trains, planes and automobiles. He has Carlos' athletic ability and can throw things with remarkable strength and accuracy (we are working on limiting this to objects like soft, squishy balls that are unlikely to injure anyone). He delights in making us laugh. He is quick to help out. He is also devoted to his sisters and makes sure that if he is given anything--a piece of candy, a toy, whatever--that they get one, too. In spite of his physical rough-and-tumble propensities, he is very gentle with his sisters. If he sees someone who is sad, he instantly tries to cheer them up. His grin is contagious. It is a good thing that we aren't really into punishment, because his smile is so cute that he would wiggle out of it often. He loves to eat, and to cook (most days he and Ariana both help with every meal). He also like hot coffee. Before I ever took the pregnancy test, I felt like God told me that he would be a child of faith. I can see already the trust and fearlessness that he has, and I know that this kid can turn the world upside down.
Elena is not yet two months old, so we are still getting to know her. She has an adorable smile and her cheeks and chins are growing daily. She likes being snuggled and carried in the wrap, and lots of leche. As with the other two, before I even took a pregnancy test, I woke up in the middle of the night knowing that I was pregnant, and believing that God was speaking to me about the baby. I feel certain that Elena is going to be a mighty warrior, and while I hope that she doesn't have too many battles in store, I believe that she will be strong and courageous when they come.
A moment ago, Joel came up to me covered in lunch. He struck a pose--"TA DA! Mami, I'm wearing pizza!" He certainly was. After contemplating it for a moment, though, he decided he was ready for a change. "Mami, I don't want to wear pizza anymore. I want ropa (clothing) now."
Unlike the stereotypical boy who loves to be dirty, Joel is fairly fastidious, and would bathe several times a day. He quickly washed up (after first sharing a very saucy kiss with Elena) and put on a T-shirt. I offered him a pair of his favorite Spidey undies. "No, t'anks." Joel's idea of the well-dressed man includes a shirt and shoes (he is very into shoes), but not underwear or pants/shorts. But hey, he potty-trained himself as soon as he turned two, so at least there is no diaper, either.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
So far, the best solution I have found for pregnancy insomnia is to meditate on Scripture and pray. After all, it put even the disciples to sleep, right? Last night, after waking up for the fourth or fifth time, I was mentally reciting Psalm 23 when I got to the verse that says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…”. It reminded me of a time when God used that verse to really encourage me.
|Photo by OiMax on Flickr|
|Photo by Aidan.Morgan on Flickr|
I know that some of you are in a long-term fight, and that it can be overwhelming. Please know that I am praying for you, that you will be able to lie down in green meadows, rest beside still waters and have your souls restored, that you can be nourished and refreshed even in the presence of your enemies.
When I was pregnant w/ Joel, I was so concerned about how the kids would get along. I wish that I could say our expert parenting produced this wonderful relationship, but I think it is just the way their personalities mesh. A couple of moments from yesterday that made me smile:
Ariana went into full four-year-old meltdown mode because "her broccoli wasn't green enough." I was not as sympathetic as I could have been, although I figured out later that what she meant was that she wanted only the florets and not the stems. Joel, however, immediately ran and started hugging and kissing her, and saying "I sowwy, Nana (Ariana)." She hugged him back tightly, forgetting about the broccoli, and in a couple of moments turned to me with a huge smile and said, "Joel sure loves me a lot, doesn't he?" Then they went back to the table and shared the rest of the broccoli.
Last night, as he started to get sleepy, she began to stroke his head and sing a little song about how much she loved her Joel. There was so much love in their eyes as they snuggled close. Finally, he fell asleep as she continued to caress his head and sing to him.
I have to share a brag on her that happened just now. We've been working on short Bible verses during our breakfast time the last few days, but I wasn't sure how much sunk in. Well, just now, she asked me what 'patient' means. I told her that it means waiting without getting angry, even when it is hard, and that sometimes it is very hard for me to be patient, but that if I pray God helps me. She immediately prayed one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard asking for God to help her be patient while Joel took his turn on the slide, and thanking Him for loving us so much. :wub: Then she happily repeated 'Love is patient, love is kind," until he finished.
I need to put things into practice that well!
I can't believe that Elena is already 7 weeks old. This is her birth story:
I started having some contractions Wednesday afternoon that made me wonder if labor was starting--it was. :) I called my wonderful friend and doula to see if she would check. She came and helped so much--the difference it made just having her there was amazing. She kept me laughing and relaxed with some stories of her son, who is a good buddy of Joel's, and tirelessly applied pressure and massage. By around 5:30 AM she said I was at around a 7, and if we were going to go to the hospital that we should get going. So we got to the hospital, checked in and labored a couple hours there. I was so surprised when they checked and I was ready. I had certainly had some painful contractions, but nothing unbearable by any means. I was in as much or more pain with the previous two births, and I hadn't gone through much labor at all with them.
I am a total wimp when it comes to pain, and I loved my epidurals with Ariana and Joel. I got them at around a 3 or 4 with both--basically as soon as I checked in to the hospital. I had always thought that I would do the same thing with any future births, but almost as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I felt very strongly that I should not do that this time around. I didn't know if there might be some type of reaction or error, but the feeling never went away, so I talked with Heather and some online friends, and got encouragement that I could do it. Then Heather became our doula and worked with us and I felt more and more peace about the whole thing. I couldn't believe how well things had gone.
Things got confusing for me really quickly. It was time to push, my water broke, and my OB mentioned that he could see part of the cord. He and the nurses got very serious and started telling me to push. Carlos later told me that they had all turned white. I was so inwardly focused that I didn't follow what was going on very well, but I could tell by Carlos' voice and Heather's that I needed to push as much as I could. It turned out that the cord was looped across the top of her head. The pushing and birth were far more painful than the rest of the labor, probably because I was so tense. It seemed like forever, although the OB said it was just four pushes, but Elena arrived safely.
******Heather wrote this:
The OB checked once right after he got to the room and had her push once. Then he checked again, bag and baby had come down some but he thought he felt a cord in the bag before he felt head (so it was: bulging membrane, a loop of cord, head). He had the RN check as well and she felt it too ("Oh crap", she said after feeling it). He commented that heart tones had been great so far (and they had been at home as well whenever I listened). Then he told Dulce that with the next contraction she needed to push...and push hard...that baby needed to come out. She did and the water gushed.
At that point the OB switched from sitting relaxed on the end of the bed to standing, holding back the cord while stretching the perineum (I'm still amazed she didn't tear with all the stretching he was doing!!!). I was trying to focus on Dulce and giving her a calm but firm voice however, I could hear the fear in the OB's voice telling her to push. The next time I looked down I could see a good portion of Elena's head and just a couple seconds later the entire head was out. *****
Later, the OB and nurses told us how serious things had been. There were so many things that came together for a good outcome. If I had had an epidural, if my waters had broken early, if I had had a different OB, if... they agreed it would have been an emergency C-section, and likely brain damage if she had made it. Carlos and I are still dazed with gratefulness that God worked out so many details and that everything turned out so well. Her Apgars were 9 and 9, and she immediately latched on and started nursing perfectly.
Of course, all of us are dazzled by her sweetness, her cuteness, her delightful baby smell, and all her other attributes. :) She has a ton of thick black hair, extremely kissable cheeks, and adorable expressions. She was 8 lbs, 3 oz, 21" and was considerate enough to not even tear me a little on her way out. Nursing has gone really well, although I have an oversupply and OALD that I hope to tame soon. She had some jaundice that kept us in the hospital a few days, so we are all tired and glad to be home together.
The hospital was great. No one even blinked when I declined the Hep B and eye ointment, they assumed that she would room with me, and a couple of nurses even expected her to sleep with me. Even with the high bili levels, nobody mentioned formula, although once it got around that I had been breastfeeding non-stop for the last 4.5 years, they probably assumed it wasn't worth bringing up. :D I am guessing the IBCLC on staff shared that, because I had a couple of nurses say later, "Oh, *you're* the one...". Being away from the kids and Carlos so much longer than we expected was hard, but we are just glad that it wasn't anything more serious.
Ariana adores her. She delights in caressing her and holding her. Joel is very loving, but he also told us that baby Elena was "all done with leche, and now it is his turn". :D Carlos is delighted with her, and has been wonderful at holding everything and everyone together. We have so very, very much to be thankful for.
The Bible is full of wonderful verses about sleep, but I especially love the imagery from Deuteronomy 33:12, 27 "...Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders...the eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."
One of the most beautiful experiences we can have is falling asleep in the arms of our beloved. I am so glad that my wonderful husband had the foresight to get a king-sized bed. Waking up snuggled with our whole family and having the transition time between being asleep and awake full of cuddles and giggles is my favorite way to start and end our day.
|Image credit Jennuine Captures on Flickr|
We are so grateful for all of the ways that you have helped us to connect in a closer way with God. This of course has had a profound influence on our parenting. Yet, in light of a recent sermon, we would like to present to you an alternative Christian view on disciplining children. Christians, of course, are probably the strongest proponents of spanking in the
The Bible is clear that parents have a responsibility to discipline their children. But discipline and spanking are not the same thing. Discipline is about making disciples, or teaching. It is difficult for children to focus on a life-lesson, though, if they are distracted by the anger, hurt, fear, humiliation and resentment that result from being hit. As career teachers, our professional education classes and our years of experience with students of many ages have convinced us that the research is correct in showing that people learn more effectively through positive reinforcement than from punishment (negative reinforcement). You have seen this in the family of Kevan and Heather ********, whose children are delightful to be around. They do not spank, but instead practice gentle discipline.
The false dichotomy that always pops up is that if parents don’t spank, they are not disciplining their children. That suggests that parents are relying on spanking as their main or only form of discipline. Permissive, lazy parenting is neglect. The responsibility given to parents is a great, even fearsome one. By choosing not to spank, we have gained deeper insight into our children’s hearts. It has challenged us to deal with anger and pride, and earnestly seek God’s wisdom, patience and love. Proactive parenting is more “work” than spanking, but already the rewards have been great.
Carlos and Dulce
Most of my thoughts are about relationships with my family and my God. Life has been full of joy, and I want to share my gratitude. Besides that, I am very opinionated, and this will be the perfect place for mounting my assorted soapboxes. So, my disclaimers are out of the way. I hope you find my posts thought-provoking and/or entertaining. Thanks for reading and joining me on the ride!