Sunday, August 31, 2008

More Than Enough

Almost 2 weeks have gone by since I last posted and I'm not exactly sure where I have been, but apparently I took some kind of a blogging break.

Our days have been filled with games of Candyland, racing hot wheel cars, eating Popsicles on the patio, and fitting in as many trips to the pool as possible before summer is officially gone.

And during spare moments in between all that fun, I've had my nose stuck in Sally Clarkson's The Mission of Motherhood. Sarah has raved about this book to me forever, but recently she entrusted her beloved marked up copy to my care and said, "You HAVE got to read this!"

Why did I not listen sooner? I love books that renew, strengthen and support the desires that God has already instilled upon my heart as a mother. This book has done all that and more. It has helped to reignite my passion and resolve for embracing God's call on my life during this particular season and to make the most of each opportunity I am given to minister to Park.

But I would be less than honest I did not share that this book has also increased a longing that already exists in my heart. For the last several years, Chris and I have been perfectly content for Park to be our only child. Although we knew we would eventually desire another baby, our family felt full and complete for the time being and we adore the one-on-one time we are able to spend with him.

Looking back, my entrance into motherhood was less than ideal. After a very easy conception and thoroughly enjoyable pregnancy, we were anxiously awaiting the little bundle of joy I had dreamed of all my life.

My labor started out very manageable, and I felt exceptionally prepared from my natural childbirth birthing classes and the midwives who were overseeing my care.

Until it was time to push.

NOTHING could have prepared me for Park's determination to come through the birth canal with both hands cupping his face and elbows pointed straight out. After 5 hours and 10 minutes of INTENSE pushing and exhaustion, I finally heard Chris utter those glorious words.

"It's a BOY!"

Except, I was so out of it by that point that it really didn't register until about 10 minutes later that we actually had a son. A week after his birth, I lost an exceptional amount of blood and was rushed to the hospital. Upon being released from a week long hospital stay, I was readmitted shortly thereafter with additional complications. During this time Park developed severe breathing issues and was unable to sleep unless held upright on someones chest. I was so weak, frail, and sleep deprived by this point, that we enlisted my parents to come and live with us for over a month.

And did I mention that Chris was promoted to be the Sr. High pastor during that time, as well?

There is so much more to this story that I would love to share at some point, but it will suffice to say that unexpected challenges engulfed our family during Park's entire first year of life. I remember rocking him the night before his first birthday and crying tears of joy and relief that we had indeed made it through.

And somewhere around that time the fog lifted and my life regained the rich fulfillment I dreamed motherhood would bring.

About 9 months ago, Chris and I decided to start trying for another baby. I have to be honest in saying my heart was a little apprehensive at the time, based on the rocky days described above. But as each month has passed, that longing has grown into a deep desire for the opportunity to bring another life into this world. Even though that opportunity has not yet come.

Having conceived Park without actually trying, I don't think I truly understood what a miracle it was for God to ordain that particular moment to speak his little life into existence. But as I wait for Jesus to bring another child to my womb, I am extremely aware that He alone is the author of life.

Believing is easy when things are going as expected, but it is in times of longing that the rubber really meets the road.

Do I truly believe God is All-powerful, All Knowing, and able to do immeasurably more than I can imagine? Do I trust His timing and believe in the things I cannot yet see ? Do I long for Him more than I long for what He can give me? Do I believe that His provision for each day is more than enough? Can I submit to His will NO MATTER WHAT?

I have walked with Jesus long enough to recognize that He will work out all things for my good. It doesn't mean I have to like it or understand it, but it does mean I recognize that He is God and I am not. I will choose to trust Him even when I don't feel like it. I will find contentment in the waiting, so that when the blessing comes, I will not have missed out on the enjoyment of the journey.

When Jesus sees fit, He will expand the mission of my motherhood. In the mean time, I pray I am faithful with what He has already entrusted to me, contently enjoying the fullness of loving Park.

And for today, that is more than enough.

"Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it." (Psalm. 37:4,5)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Under The Big Top

*WARNING: This post contains a death defying number of pics and amazing amount of corny circus phrases coined by the Ringmaster.

For me, watching Park enjoy his Third Birthday Circus truly was "The Greatest Show on Earth!" And although the invitation said "Appearing One Day Only", the memories made wih friends and family on that special day will be cherished forever. To my beloved Hubby, you sure know how to take a girl's vision and run with it!

(For those who were not there in person, please feel free to "Step Right Up" and enjoy some pics:)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Billy, Take it Easy On Me

I am sitting in the chair next to my bedroom window watching the rain fall. The house is unusually quiet with Park down for an unexpected afternoon nap.

He pretty much all but gave up naps a few months back, so it is a special treat to have some quiet time all to myself. Typically, he does play in his room for about an hour as a trade off for sleep, but that time doesn't ever feel extremely relaxing, what with the banging of race cars into walls and cheering for his stuffed animals to fly off the top bunk and all.

Although, I do count my blessings that the animals are now taking over for my cute little man, who has been known to do all his own stunts in the past.

As much as I would love to use this time to post fun party pictures, the thought of waiting for all the photos to upload off my camera would shatter the tranquility of the moment. So, instead I will let you in on some deep thoughts that I'm currently pondering:

1) Why is it that my Tae Bo exercise tape takes only 25 minutes from start to finish, yet I seem to avoid it like the plague? Recently, I've been feeling like I have no excuse not to exercise, so I got Park to do this video with me. He enjoyed it a lot more than I did.

2) How is it that I loaded/unloaded the dishwasher twice yesterday and still found a sink full of dishes waiting for me this morning?

3) Could I travel to Beijing and come back with gymnast Alicia Sacramone in my suitcase without anyone ever realizing I left? Bless her sweet little heart, that girl is in serious need of a hug after getting roughed up by those mean old Olympics.

4) Should I be more embarrassed at the fact that I have tickets to the SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE tour that is coming to Dallas or that I'm counting down the days until the show comes back on the air next summer?

5) If I simply play the Tae Bo tape while sitting on the floor folding laundry, will this count as exercise?

6) Why is it that days you can't take your kids outside to play feel twice as long as days you can?

7) When other people are annoyed when your child throws a loud tantrum at the grocery store, wouldn't that energy be better spent by giving the embarrassed Momma an encouraging smile? (To protect the privacy of the guilty, the tantrum thrower shall remain nameless)

8) Wouldn't it seem only fair to house the large drum set given to the birthday boy at the house of the Grandma who gave it to him? After all, it doesn't seem right for her to miss out on all the beautiful music this little prodigy is creating. (Love you Momma C:)

9) Is it possible to pass off a bowl of Cheerios as our dinner tonight?

10) Did I actually just spend the same amount of time typing this random post as it would have taken to just suck it up and listen to Billy Blanks scream at me to count out my last 4 punches? Three Tae Bo reference must mean I'm feeling convicted to just do it already.

Goodbye tranquil moment, hello alternating knee lifts and side kicks.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Free"- A Birthday Love Letter

My Sweet Parkie Pooh,

It is almost incomprehensible to me that today, you are starting the third year of your precious little life. Wasn't it just 5 minutes ago that I was kissing your chubby little cheeks and celebrating with Daddy as we welcomed you into this world? And as much as I would love to freeze time and keep you just as you are in this very moment, the last several years have taught me that each day holds so many new and precious memories that it is impossible to be melancholy about moving forward.

Each and every month of your life I think, "THIS is definitely my favorite age." You just get better with each passing day, my love. As I looked back over the last two birthday love letters I have written to you, I am blown away at how grown up you have become this last year.

Not only do you have a vocabulary that continues to amaze me, but you also know how to use your words and sentences in a context that just keeps me laughing nonstop. One of my favorite things you say right now each time we leave the house is, "Mommy, I will protect you and take care of everything." You have long since left behind diapers and baby beds and moved into the world of being a big boy. Although, when I tell you this, you are often quick to correct me by saying, "Mommy, I'm not a boy at all, me and Daddy are MEN."

And in many ways, I would have to agree with you.

Physically, you are able to lift more weight and power through more things then I would have ever believed possible for a three year old. You are the most self sufficient little fellow, rarely asking for help with ANYTHING. It is not unusual for you to move heavy chairs across the house to turn on lights or to scale the counter tops to reach the highest cabinets. Nothing is impossible for you because you won't stop until you find a way to MAKE things happen.

From the first moment I felt you in my womb until this very day, you never stop moving. You are an action packed force to be reckoned with and there is nobody that loves life more than you. You can jump the highest, run the fastest, and throw the furthest. You can climb anything in the blink of an eye and shame on me if I turn my back on you for any reason whatsoever. Ironically, though, you absolutely love to cuddle and will curl up with me for a good hour of book reading on a regular basis. You will never know how thankful I am for that precious time together.

So much has changed from last year, but there are a few things that have stayed exactly the same. Hands down, you are still a daddy's boy. He is the end all be all of your world. Nothing pleases you more than a few hours of, "JUST THE BOYS!" And can I just say that I'm not sure who has more fun, you or daddy? Park, your daddy spends so much time loving on you and teaching you. He has so much patience with you and although he is quick to discipline when necessary, he never gets tired of having you right alongside him. It is such a joy for me to see the two of you together.

Also similar to last year, you are OBSESSED with baseball, which really makes me laugh considering it is Daddy's least favorite sport. We aren't sure where it came from, but there is no denying you have a gift in this area. You hit the ball with such force that we go through bats on a regular basis. You will use the tee as a last resort, but you prefer Daddy or me to pitch it to you. Every now and then if you have trouble hitting the ball, you will say, "We need a new pitcher. This one just isn't any good."

There are so many intricate things about you that make me smile at God's creativity. You are truly marked by His workmanship. One of the traits that Jesus has given you that I most admire is your passion. And although many times it is the very thing I have to work so hard to reign in, it is so often this specific quality in you that reminds me of His reign over our lives.

This morning you woke up and said, "I am so excited to be 'free' (three) that I can hardly stand it!" Never forget that you are indeed free, my little sweet P. Jesus payed a high price for your freedom and He has plans for your life that are far beyond what you can dare to imagine. I love you with all my heart and I am so excited God chose me to be your mommy that I can hardly stand it!

Happy 3rd Birthday, my love.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Just Clowning Around

I am long overdue on my Allaso Ranch wrap up post, complete with an insane amount of pictures and stories of life change and revival. It is in the works, but I'm having a hard time completing it because it almost seems impossible to capture with mere words all that this last month was about. And although I'm hesitant to put a timetable on when it will appear on the blog, I can tell you that I am hopeful to complete it sometime before we return there next summer.

Did I just take vagueness to a higher level or what?

In the mean time, I can share with you that we are currently in the throws of party planning. As unbelievable as it is to me, Park will be turning three next week and he had a special request as to what theme his party would revolve around this year.

When next Friday rolls around, Park's Third Birthday Circus: The Greatest Show on Earth will be appearing for one day only at our house. Well, technically, the show is already in progress because there is a little boy so excited for his party that he has walked around looking like this for the past week:

By the way, Chris wanted me let you know that we are more than willing to rent this little clown out, so that you, too, can experience ear piercing squeals and getting your nose honked every five seconds as he shouts, "STEP RIGHT UP, LADIES AND GENNLEMEN!"

My husband is nothing if not a generous man.

I also might as well admit to the entire Internet that we are THOSE people. You know the ones I'm talking about? The obnoxious parents that enjoy throwing large birthday bashes that our little man will probably not remember six months from now. We don't spend crazy amounts of money or anything, but we do love to go all out in the planning department. And even though I realize this is more for me, considering Park would be happy with a just a cupcake and some streamers, I find it to be a much needed creative outlet that I look forward to each year.

Especially since I simply dream up the crazy ideas, whereas hubby does most of the actual work.

And it would be wrong not to give props to my mom and sis, who are always assigned to any party duties that require the use of kitchen appliances. What can I say? It's not my fault that Challi can ice a mean cupcake.

And I think what I look forward to the most each year is the chance to bring our families and precious friends together to celebrate the blessing of having them in our life, investing in Park right alongside us.

After all, it definitely takes a village to raise a clown.

(Or at the very least, to keep us out of the funny farm:)