Wednesday, May 21, 2014

10 months

Just getting started
Here we go...

Dear Henry,

In honor of your 10 month birthday, I will make a top 10 list for you, David Letterman style.  You will probably never know who David Letterman is, as he just retired, but he mastered the art of the Top 10.

Top 10 Ways You Know You're a Mommy:

1.  White just isn't a part of your wardrobe.

2.  Your marital life now includes conversations about poo-poo: it's color, consistency, etc.

3.  Showering is a luxury.

4.  You have to plan your bathroom breaks ahead of time because your little one can get into trouble in 2.5 seconds.

5.  You've traded in your regular sitcoms of Sex in the City and Grey's Anatomy for Henry Hugglemonster and Pooh and Friends.

6.  Naps are an exquisite no, it's not you who will be sleeping during these naps.

7.  You can't name any of the recent top hits, but you know every word to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Mary Had a Little Lamb and Itsy Bitsy Spider.

8.  You're known to leave the house without your keys or your wallet, but by golly, there are at least 10 different toy varieties and 3 snacks in your purse.

9.  You have mastered the art of funny faces to distract your fussy little one when he is making a scene in the grocery store, a restaurant, the check out line.

10.  Your little one might know exactly how to push your buttons, but one look with those big eyes will completely melt your heart and turn all of your "No's!" into "Yes's."

It only took 17 shots to get this pose

Sweet Henry, this past month has been so much fun.  You are still army crawling, but man can you move!  We think you are going to skip classic crawling all together.

Feet are funny!

You are trying so hard to walk.  You crawl all over me in an effort to pull to standing.  When I hold you up, you lift your feet one by one, as if you're taking steps.

I wonder what's over here?

You still won't drink out of a sippy cup, but you love to share a water with me, drinking out of my straw.

Your camera looks like a fun toy, Mommy

You have developed some really cute new facial expressions.  Even though everyone says you look just like Daddy, those facial expressions are all mine, baby.  You crinkle your nose, and have mastered the "Not Impressed" face.

Funny face
You definitely have an ornery streak.  You know you are not supposed to play with the trash can, power cords or electric sockets (perfectly baby-proofed, mind you), but you love to play with them anyway.  You crawl right towards them, and when you're about 2 feet away, you turn around and give me a big grin.  If I say No, that grin quickly turns into hysterical laughter.

Just relaxin'

You are such a dare devil.  Your favorite thing is to crawl to the edge of anything and look over the edge.  Whether it's the changing table, the cough or Mommy and Daddy's bed, you are always convinced the grass is greener over the edge.  You have come close to falling many times, and have actually fallen once or twice, but it doesn't scare you.

Over the edge

You have developed a new found hatred of laying on your back.  When we try to change your diaper or change your clothes, naturally we try to lay you on your back.  You hate it.  You cry immediately, try to roll over or sit up, or get away in any way possible.

How many more, Mama?
And finally, my favorite: you seem to understand that I am Mama, and have said Mama several times in the last couple of weeks.

Serious face

We love you so much!


Mommy and Daddy

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Our family's yes.


Such a simple word that often brings forth a life changing and dynamic moment.

I recently read THIS AMAZING BOOK that I highly recommend, and it put the thought into my head of what yes's I have made in my life.

So let's rewind a few years to the first yes so that you can get a good look at the journey we have traveled.

JP and I said yes to marriage.
JP and I said yes to building a good foundation for marriage within a church community.
JP and I said yes to the opportunity to assist in leading a week long mission event at our church called Houston Project.
JP and I said yes when our fearless leaders moved to San Antonio and we became the leaders instead of the assistants.
JP and I said yes when we found out our church was hosting a semester long class called Perspectives.
JP and I said yes when we were given the opportunity to lead a new Houston Project site with Bhutanese refugees.
JP and I said yes the following year when we were given the opportunity to lead yet another new site with Bhutanese and Burmese refugees.
JP and I said yes when we felt God calling us to organize and plan year round kids' ministry with the refugee kids.

And now, here we are.  On the brink of yet another summer and yet another Houston 1:8 (formerly Houston Project.)

Looking back four years ago, we could never have imagined this journey we have been on.  God didn't ask big things of us.  He gave us a chunk at a time, so that each successive thing seemed just enough for us to handle.  Y'all!  I can only imagine what I would have said to my 20 something self if I knew that I would be carting my 2 month old baby twice a month to an apartment of international refugees.  That is madness!

I'm sure it sounds like madness to many people.  And maybe that's ok.  I think we all are a different brand of crazy, and maybe ours isn't to your liking, because it's not the crazy God wants for you.

I look forward, and I am so excited to see what God asks us to say yes to in the future.  Because I know two things for sure:
1.  He will continue to ask if we continue to say yes.
2.  He will ask us to do something slightly (maybe more than slightly) uncomfortable, but He will always equip us with more than we could ever imagine.

What is God asking you to say yes to?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Guatemala, part 1.5

No, I haven't gone to Guatemala, yet.  In fact, we leave exactly ONE MONTH from today...allow me to pause for a mini-freak-out-session.

I meant to write this as a two part series only, with the second part chronically my experiences in Guatemala, but I feel like it is my duty to let my readers know of God's extreme faithfulness over the past two weeks.  Thus, I give you, Guatemala 1.5.

So, anyone who knows me know that I am a sucker for a good story, and I am known to tell quite a detailed story, myself.  I would like to begin with a reminder of one of my favorite stories in the New Testament, found in Mark 6.

The Story of the Fish and Loaves (as paraphrased by me)

Jesus and his friends needed a break from life, so they decided to go to a remote place for some peace and quiet.  But God had other plans.  A group of people saw what they were doing, and followed Jesus and the disciples.  Jesus had compassion on them, for He was their Shepherd, and they were His lost sheep.  After some time had passed, the disciples came to Jesus and said, "It's late, send the people home so they can find something to eat."  Jesus, ever the Good Shepherd, said "You give them something to eat."  The disciples were confused.  "Should we buy food for everyone here?"  To which Jesus asked, "How much food do you have?"  When the disciples looked at their food, all they found were five loaves and two fish.  So Jesus had the people sit down on the grass in groups of 50's and 100's.  Then, Jesus, blessed the food, gave thanks, and began passing out the foot.  Despite the scarcity of food, 5,000 people were able to eat until they were full.

Ok, holy-moley, this is a great story.  And this past couple of months have been my own little lesson in God's provision for this medical trip.

Two weeks ago, as I wrote my first Guatemala post, I was in a low place.  I was doubting.  I was asking God what His plan was.  I was asking God if He forgot about us.

You see, our fish and loaves were a limited budget and scarcity of medications.

How can you go on a medical trip without enough medication?

I was terrified.  I thought about throwing in the towel and giving up.  All I could see was failure ahead.  And I do not like failure.  All I could picture was crowds of people, and us with our up-turned hands saying "No more."

But God had other plans.  We prayed.  We prayed some more.  We asked others to pray.  And we brainstormed.  And lo and behold, not only did we find a new company where we were able to order all of our medications with LESS than our budget, we also found out we had overpaid, and actually had twice the budget we initially thought. AND we were given medications from a previous trip that we needed and are completely free.

Praise God!

God has more than provided, He has given us an abundance!

What are your fish and loaves in your life today?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy (late) Mother's Day

Y'all know I'm not really one for holidays.  Mother's Day, however...I think I can get behind this one.

I started off the day getting to sleep in while JP got up with Henry and fed him breakfast.  While he was feeding Henry breakfast, JP also made me my breakfast: pancakes and bacon...Yum!  While I was eating, I was bombarded with a host of Mother's Day cards: one from Henry, one from my four-legged children, and one from my hubby.  I also got a lovely locket that JP assures me Henry picked out on his own :)

Then we got back in bed in our jammies and had some family snuggle time while watching Dumbo in Mommy and Daddy's bed.  Then JP gave me a second treat and put Henry down for his nap so that I could get nap #1.  After naptime, JP fed Henry lunch and took him to run some errands, while I settled down for nap #2.  After my nap, we filled our blow up pool and had some family swim time.  After swim time and Henry's nap, I got to pick the restaurant for dinner, and picked my favorite: Chinese food.

Yes, yes, it was a great day.  My favorite part was not HAVING to do anything.  JP did the dirty work and changed the diapers and braved the battle that is feeding time, while I got to do the fun things: playing in the pool and snuggling at naptime.

The day before Mother's Day I told JP all I wanted was to be ALONE.  To do NOTHING.  Then, with my wish fulfilled, I felt an incredible feeling of loneliness.  Don't get me wrong.  JP and Henry were only a few feet away in an adjoining room.  But as soon as I had my peace and quiet, all I craved was my family.

I thought I knew longing as a teenager.  You know, watching endless chick flicks and reading impossible romances and pining for whatever teenage heart-throb was the flavor of the month.  Then college.  Where life revolves around caring about everything while seeming to care about nothing.  Trying to be that care free girl that is fine with just dating and hanging out, while knowing that I really was just one of those "marriage material" girls.

But I never knew that gnawing feeling of emptiness until I became a Mommy.  Every time I leave my son, whether I'm leaving him in the capable hands of my husband, family, babysitter or church nursery, I feel a familiar tugging in my heart.

The tugging whispers "Something's missing."

After carrying my son for 38 glorious weeks, he became part of me.  One became two.  My formerly selfish decisions were filtered through the sieve of what affect each decision would have on my son.  Every morsel of food I put in my mouth was immediately turned to nutrients for my tiny child.  I felt every hiccup, every stretch, every kick of frustration.

Although I delivered my child, he will always be a part of me.  He will always be a part of me that lives outside of my body.  To leave him is to leave a part of myself.  This is the gift of motherhood.

The first time I saw him

So no matter how much the mundane can frustrate me, no matter how many times I have to chase Henry across the room to keep him from going after the one cord that is within reach, no matter how many diapers I change or shirts that are ruined with spit up, he will forever be this child of mine.

This is the greatest gift of all: the gift of motherhood.  And I will be forever grateful to JP for making me a mommy and to Henry for teaching me to be a mommy.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Are you an orange or an onion?

Y'all...this mom stuff is hard.

One of the things that I have struggled with as a new mama is a feeling of identity.  Does anyone else feel this way?  Allow me to explain...

I pride myself on being a woman that can juggle a lot of "balls."  Included in my list of balls are: Megan the mom, Megan the PA, Megan the wife, Megan the daughter/sister, Megan the missionary, Megan the friend.

Sometimes I feel like I am just hopping from one "job" to another, without having a lot of time to just be myself.  It's left me with a sense of forgotten identity.

Here's a funny little quip to entertain you and illustrate my point: Henry had his first swim lesson this week.  It's a mommy and me class, so that meant I had to get in the water with Henry.  Naturally, this means I have to wear a bathing suit.  The only bathing suits I had are my pre-pregnancy two piece swimsuits, and my maternity swimsuit.  I felt like neither of these things fit the occasion.  I mean, who shows up to a swim class of babies and mommies in a cute bikini?  Not this girl.  So, I went to Academy (twice) to pick out a modest one piece (and take it back to replace it with another).  Lo and behold, I show up to swim class, and one of the mommies is wearing a two piece.  Haha.

Have you ever had this feeling, mamas?  Now that you're a mother, you should do this, wear this, refrain from this...I even hesitated to cut my hair for fear of it being pegged a "mommy haircut."

Which brings me to my question: Are you an orange or an onion?

You see, an orange is a fruit made up of multiple sections that add together to make a whole.  If you took away one section, you wouldn't have a whole fruit anymore.  But each section is completely separate from the next.  Although you wouldn't have a whole fruit, you could remove a section of the orange without interrupting the integrity of the fruit.

An onion, however, is different.  An onion is comprised of layers, not sections.  A layer of onion isn't an entity unto itself.  It is only when you add all of the layers together that you understand the identity of the onion.

Most days I feel like I am an orange.  I alternate from one section to another, never fully integrating them together.  I wish I was an onion; with each layer complementing each other, so that the onion doesn't make sense until all the layers are added together.

I still struggle with who I am as a person versus what I mean to someone.  I try to indulge myself in things meant just for me: a hot bath, a run around the neighborhood, reading a good book...but these things leave me with a nagging, guilty feeling.  If I do something just for myself, I can't help but feel selfish.  Surely I should be spending that time serving someone else, right?  The other part of me feels like I can only serve others if I keep myself healthy and happy.

It's a constant battle.  One that I'm not sure I will ever conquer.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Guatemala story, part 1. hit me like a ton of bricks today.  I was sitting, talking to a coworker at 2 am, chatting about how I'm going to Guatemala this summer; wait a minute...that's next month!

Holy hot mess!

This week has been tough, y'all.  I'm already CRAZY nervous about going on this trip.  Not because I've never been before, not because it's an unknown adventure, but because I'm a mama.  It's as simple as that.  I feel like I've upped my ante.  How ridiculous is that?!  Is my life worth more simply because God used my meager body to house another human being?

I had some tough conversations this week.  Conversations that made me pull my hair with frustration.  Conversations that made me weep.  Conversations that made me put pen to paper and really got the cogs in my head turning.

But to really understand my story now, I have to rewind to the original story.

This is a story about a shy, naive 16 year old girl, venturing to Guatemala on spring break for a mission trip, honestly because that was what all of her friends were doing.  Truth.  This girl always knew she wanted to be a health care provider, so when an opportunity presented itself to take care of a sick 3 year old girl, she jumped at the chance.  With the help of a doctor, she sat with this sweet child while she vomited, while she sweated from fever, while she desperately tried to drink water, juice, Pedialyte, while knowing that it would make her sick.  After a day of trying to nurse her poor patient back to health, this teenage girl had to let go and pray for a miracle.

God didn't deliver a miracle that day.  The little girl died.  And a part of the teenage girl died too.

That teenage girl was me....I know, shocker.  Even as I sit here, that story brings tears to my eyes.  I can still picture her sweet face and tiny hands.  I still remember her red and yellow plaid shirt that was probably meant for a little boy, but it was all she had.  This story is what propelled me through tough undergraduate studies and the grueling torture chamber that is PA school.

I always promised myself I would go back when I could do something about these problems.  So I eagerly signed up for the chance to go to Guatemala this summer on a medical mission trip.  This time, I told myself, this time, I can save that little girl.

WRONG.  Can I just tell y'all how wrong this thinking is.  I admit, I am proud.  I am proud of my accomplishments, I am proud of my profession.  But seriously, who am I joking?  I'm no savior.

But I know Who is.

And I forgot.

I forgot that even though our goal may be physical healing, we are merely representatives of the One who heals our deepest, darkest wounds.

So while I sit here worrying that my skills, my knowledge, my supplies won't be adequate, I sense Jesus is practically shouting at me that I'm right.  Only by faith can I ever hope to be a tool in His miracles.

I don't have answers.  I don't have answers to the big question of why life isn't fair.  I don't know why Jesus decided to collect that sweet Guatemalan child early.  I don't know how we are ever going to collect enough medical supplies to treat all of our patients.  I don't know which medications we'll need.

But I know that He is Sovereign, and that He will provide.

I titled this post, "My Guatemala story, part 1" because I am so eager to share part 2 when I return.  I'm expecting big things.  I'm expecting miracles.  I'm expecting Jesus.  Please join me in fervent expectation by praying as I travel with my team in mid-June.