Friday, February 29, 2008

Mmm...Cereal and Mangos!

So, here's the cereal. I'm not sure which is more yummy - the cereal or the baby? :)

And the mangos? This morning, Zach, Dave and Caleb were headed to the play area at Sandia to do some sledding. Caleb kept asking whether or not Owen and I were going along. I told him several times that we weren't, but he kept asking.

Finally, Uncle Dave explained, "No, Caleb. It's only going to be you, me and your Daddy. Just the Three Amigos."

It seemed as though a light had gone off in little Caleb's noggin'. "Oh," he said. "The three a-m-a-n-g-o-s!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What a month!

At Owen's 4 o'clock feeding this morning, I was thinking back over this past month. It's been a whopper! At first my thoughts were of how it seemed to be a month that had come full circle - full of endings and beginnings. The big ending, in my mind, was my Grandma's death. However, it only took a second before I realized that, in truth, that event was much more of a beginning than an end. Yes, it was the end of her life on earth. But it was also the beginning of eternity for her in the presence of her Creator. Something for which I'm sure she always longed.

So, the month of February 2008 has truly been a month of beginnings. On the 5th, my Grandma started her eternal walk with her Lord. I can't think of any better, or more enviable, beginning imaginable.

On the 12th, Caleb's "official" education began. School doesn't begin until the fall, but he's registered for pre-school. It will be a whole new, very exciting era in our lives, especially Caleb's! He's ready! (The real question is, am I? Probably not.)

On the 18th, Mary Grider went into labor. I had the honor of being her doula, and assisting a VERY strong and mature young woman welcome her first little baby into her arms. It was a long and challenging labor, but she prevailed because of her dependence on God and her ability to look to Him to be everything she needed. The experience opened my eyes to the way I view prayer and my ability to fully rely on God, in faith, to answer those prayers. It needs some attention, but I look forward to the challenge. (Thank you, Jesus, for loving me so much that you lovingly point out weaknesses and areas that need correction and improvement!)

Also on the 18th, my little Owen started teething. He refused to take his bottle or his pacifier. Poor little Pumpkin! It's just one more (painful) reminder that my baby is growing up. He's going to be 6 months old in less than a week. The 6 to 12 month period is one of my favorites. So many new things are happening all the time! Soon he'll have teeth peeking though those pink little gums. He'll finally flop all the way over from his back to his tummy. It won't take long after that before he'll be scooting around the floor. He'll get faster and faster, then he'll pull up on everything within reach. Before I know it he'll be walking. And talking. (Okay. I have to stop or I'll cry.) It's definitely bittersweet. Every new accomplishment is so exciting, but every one is also a reminder that he's getting to be more and more of a boy, and less and less a baby. (So, his first birthday is September 3rd. It's the same time that Caleb will be starting school. If I'm particularly bleary-eyed this fall, you'll know why.)

On the 21st, I decided to commit to at least one month of journaling my prayers (and God's responses) in the hope that it will increase the level of interaction I experience in prayer. I truly believe that prayer is meant to be an open dialog between man and God. During conversation with family and friends, I grow closer to them. Our relationship expands and grows. I want the same thing to happen during my conversations with God. I know it already does, but I want that potential growth to be maximized. I don't feel like I give God nearly the time he deserves, but when we do spend time together, I want to be fully present and fully emerged in His presence.

And speaking of growth in relationships, on the 23rd, Zach and I (and Caleb and Owen), had the pleasure of having dinner with new friends, Chris and Jane. Friends, especially Godly ones, are such a blessing! I've also had more excuses (than normal) to spend time with Faerl lately. It's so good to have her back from Atlanta. I thank God for new friends (and the return of old ones)! I have a feeling that these three will be good for us in more ways that we realize. They challenge us to look at things from new perspectives, to branch out in new directions and to seek God in everything we do!

Today, the 27th, marks the beginning of my prayerful consideration of whether or not it is really God's intention for us to look to meat and animals for sources of our nourishment. It's something I never thought about before. I like meat, it's good for you, what more is there to consider? Just this morning, though, my eyes have been opened to all sorts of views (beyond the standard "it's wrong and you're a monster for eating animals") that I had never even considered. Thank you, Jesus, for challenging me with new points of view and for leading me and guiding me in every decision. Thank you for helping me to advance your kingdom on the earth in every way possible! (For a very insightful, Godly look at vegetarianism, look at Greg Boyd's blog "Why I'm a Vegetarian" and the following two posts. It's eye-opening, for sure.)

Tomorrow, the 28th, is the first meeting of the book club that Faerl and I are starting. It's the expression of our desires to enjoy the fellowship of other women, build new friendships, exercise our brains and bodies (it's a book/pilates club) and learn new things (it's really a book/pilates/cooking/knitting/who knows what club). The possibilities are endless, and I couldn't be more excited!

That's it for now, I think. But who knows. There's still a few days left of February 2008 and who knows what those days may hold! Thank you, Jesus, for new beginnings!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day, my sweet Zachary!

I love you so very much, Zach, that I'd love to declare my devotion from the rooftop. I'm not exactly sure how I'd get up there, though. And if I did make it up there, my oh-so-graceful nature that you've become so enamored with would probably lead me right off the edge and into a body cast. So, this is probably the best bet all the way around...a much safer alternative, for sure.

Eleven years ago you asked me to be your date for the prom. I said yes. A week later you asked if I'd go out with you. I said yes. Giving my life to Jesus is the absolute best decision I've ever made. The decision to spend my life with you is a very close second.

I can't imagine my life without you. I don't want to. I refuse to. The overwhelming theme of our relationship has become, "Dear God, how good can this possibly get?" I love to look back and see who and where we were and marvel at what we've become. In just 11 short years, our relationship has evolved, expanded and improved in so many ways. I can't even fathom what it will be like after 40 or 50 more. Although I do know that I can't wait to hold your wrinkly hand in mine.

Every day with you, Zach, is a treasure. Every year is a blessing. I love being your wife. I am honored to be your best friend. I am excited to be the mother of your two beautiful boys.

I love my life with you, Zach. Thank you for being my forever Valentine.

your Sarah

P.S. Speaking of your boys, Caleb's breathing sounded kinda funny this morning, so I asked him if his nose was a little stuffy. "No," he said. "It's just a little sad."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What a trip!

So, we ventured to the grocery store today. It turned out to be quite the trip. In honor of Valentine's Day, they had a chocolate fountain set up in the produce department. They'd set out huge, yummy strawberries and everyone was allowed to take one. I gave one to Caleb, because I knew he'd love it. He did...and he had the chocolate on his face to prove it.

I had one, too, and it was really yummy! (What a refreshing's not every day that you get to eat a free chocolate-dipped strawberry while perusing the produce!)

The people were extra friendly today, too. Seems like everyone was stopping to say a smiling "hello". I couldn't help but think that I must look extra good today. I didn't do much with my hair, but maybe it was working for me. Not so fast, Ego. Turns out I had a glob of chocolate on my lip. It matched quite nicely with the glob that I had on my chin. Hmm. My humble pie definitely didn't taste as good as the chocolate covered strawberry, but I suppose it was still worth it.

(By the way, I didn't discover the mess until I was at home, putting Caleb down for his nap. So, thank you to the approximately 30 to 40 people that I came into contact with in the grocery store that chose not to mention my messy face!)

And one more thing of note. While we were doing our shopping, I discovered that Owen's got quite the taste lists! The scan shows the holes and nibbles, but it doesn't quite capture the sogginess. Oh, boy!

A Bedtime Conversation with my Caleb

I was just about to get ready for bed last night when I heard Caleb calling for me. I went in and he was sitting on his bed waiting. The CD that plays while he falls asleep (they're not lullabies, mind you, they're "rockabies") had ended, and he wanted me to restart it. This is how the conversation went:

"Momma, would you start my rockabies?"

I couldn't resist flopping on his bed and hugging him first. In the middle of a nice cuddle, I told him, "Sure, Babe. I'll start them for you."

"Momma, did you just call me a baby?"

"No, Sweetie. I called you 'Babe'. Remember, like I call Daddy 'Babe' sometimes? It means that I think you are super cute."

"Oh, yeah. You're right."

Ah, my cute little boy and the things he says. They never fail to make me smile!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Ramblings, and a Pair of FAST Underwear

First post after Grandma. I think something lighthearted and fun is in order.

But first a quick diversion. Her services were yesterday and they were so nice. God was glorified, and that's exactly what we'd wanted.

As people were passing by afterwards to offer their condolences, a man took my hand and said, "She's at rest." Almost instantaneously, a thought popped into my head: "No, she's not." It wasn't accusatory, or suggesting in any way that he was wrong. It's just that the feeling I have is that she's not at rest. She's probably, as my dad would say, "busier-than-a-son-of-a-gun". And that makes me happy. It'd make her happy, too. Of course, I could be wrong. She may be her Father's feet. Either way, she's doing whatever the heck she wants to, and that's a really nice thing to think about.

Now, on to the fun. A few mornings ago, Caleb came running into my bedroom. He was fully dressed for the day, but he was carrying a pair of "tidy whities" in his hand. In a very serious, very matter-of-fact manner, he said, "Mom, I've got to change my undies."

"Great", I thought. "What happened?"

Holding out the new undies, he explained, "These are my 'Go outside in the backyard and play football, FAST' undies." He proceeded to strip down, and I noticed he was wearing a different pair of tidy whities. (He probably only has those two pairs. All the others are Curious George, Lightning McQueen, etc.) As he pulled the old ones off, he said with a bit of disdain, "These are my SLOW football undies."

"Oh." Of course! I should have known.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Selma Osborn (Jul. 19, 1917 - Feb. 4, 2008)

Tonight my Grandma is in heaven.

My heart is heavy. There's a sadness I feel that can't be undone. The tears that are hot on my cheeks are a present reminder of her absence. The tears are not for her, though. They're for me. For my mom. For my uncle. For everyone who is missing her.

There is a void in our hearts that wasn't there before. In concert with this new found void, however, the constant theme I hear is: "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"

July 19, 1917 - February 4, 2008. I'm sure I'll be seeing that quite a bit over the next several days. It looks so final. But thank God (thank God, thank God, thank God) that it's wrong. He's been preparing me for this transition for the last week or so. Reminding me that the last date is not the end. Even more so, it's the beginning. The beginning of such an incredible time for her. Freedom from the prison her feeble body had become. Now she can breathe deep the freshest air she's ever known. She can see to count the trees on the farthest hill. She can walk, or even run, down the paths of gardens more beautiful than she ever could have imagined.

I have so many wonderful memories of my Grandma. All of the best ones, though, are of her in her garden. Who knew that a half acre in the middle of Albuquerque could be so fertile, so lush. Corn, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, strawberries, rhubarb, peaches, mulberries and flowers like you wouldn't believe. (I know I'm missing quite a few crops. Those are just the ones I remember.) She worked so hard, and it showed. It was beautiful, an oasis. If she could do all that in the middle of a desert, I can't wait to see what she does with her own little piece of paradise.

Dear Jesus, thank you for the hope we have in you. Thank you that this isn't the end. In one fell swoop you conquered death. You took away the pain - both hers and ours. Thank you for your peace and your comfort. Thank you that one day soon, I'll see my Grandma again.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

What a difference a smile makes.

My baby, Owen, is five months old today. I know I'm partial, but I swear he is the most beautiful baby in the world. Not just this hemisphere, mind you. The whole, big, huge world. One of the things that makes him so absolutely endearing is his smile. It takes over his whole face. His big, round checks become thoroughly pitted with dimples and his eyes usually squint so much that they come close to the point of closing altogether. (That particular trait he inherited from his Aunt Anna...thank you, Auntie!) The most beautiful part about his smile, though, is that it's absolutely instantaneous. He just sits and watches, waiting for you to look at him so that he can flash his smile at you.

Yesterday morning, the Holy Spirit was working on me. That's where that thought came from: "What a difference a smile makes." I was positive he was referring to Owen and how he can light up an entire room with a quick grin. I figured he was encouraging me to smile at others. It can be such an encouragement. My smile doesn't hold a candle to Owen's, but maybe it could help brighten someone else's day.

It turns out, however, that that wasn't entirely the sum total of the Spirit's message for me.

Yesterday was a rotten day for me. My grandma is on her death bed. That has had me in a major funk for the past several days. A gray cloud that's just not going away, and I'm not so sure I want it to. How is it that someone so dear can be laying in bed with their body slowly but surely giving out on them, while we all just go on with our busy lives? It just doesn't seem right. On top of that, Owen didn't feel like going to sleep very easily. He usually conks out on his own in a matter of minutes. Instead, he cried and fussed and cried some more. He finally cried himself to sleep for his afternoon nap and I proceeded to get big brother, Caleb, down for his own nap. (I was SO excited, by the way, because this meant there was a glimpse of freedom on my horizon. An hour or so of peace and quiet all to myself. I had to spend it doing taxes, but nonetheless...)

But then Caleb was (uncharacteristically) disobedient while we were doing his nap-time routine, so I told him we wouldn't be able to read a story before his nap. Tears ensued. Then he really started acting up, so he got a spanking. More tears ensued. He was a regular 'ol snowball that was getting bigger and bigger and getting dangerously near avalanche status. We managed to regain his composure, though, and got him into bed. With a sigh of relief, I headed back down the hall to the kitchen to get some lunch, which, according to the somewhat woozy feeling I was experiencing, was long overdue. But, no such luck. I hadn't even made it to the kitchen when Owen started crying again.

"You've got to be kidding me."

He'd been asleep for maybe 20 minutes. My hope for some time alone was dashed.

There were a few more annoyances to my day... Zach had planned to be home by 4:00 so we could have a family evening together. He got held up, though, so it was 6:00 before he made it home. Not his fault, but just another bummer. And when I went to pour a bowl of applesauce for Caleb to go with his dinner, nothing happened. Nothing, that is, until the contents of the entire (brand new) jar came out in one swift gush onto the counter.

Again, "you've got to be kidding me!"

It wasn't long after the applesauce episode that I began to hear a still, small voice again: "What a difference a smile makes."

"What? There is no way in heck I'm going to be smiling now!"

But, in his oh-so-gentle, yet persistent way, he kept on working on me.

"Wait a minute. You mean I should CHOOSE to smile? Oh, right. What a difference that could make."

My selfish side would definitely have preferred to spend the evening in the middle of a full-fledged pity party. But, how much fun would that have been? After all, my pity party would only have been attended by 3 people - me, myself and I. And, believe me, I was no fun to hang around with last night. So I did smile. Rather half-heartedly at first, but it did help.

Maybe next time I will remember to do it a little sooner. (Thank you, Holy Spirit, for teaching me and guiding me. Most of all, though, thank you for being patient with me...especially when it takes me all day to get the message.)