Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Thoughtful Thursday...

"Welcome anyone who is weak in faith, but not for disputes over opinions. One person believes that one may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. The one who eats must not despise the one who abstains, and the one who abstains must not pass judgment on the one who eats; for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on some else's servant? Before his own master he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand."
Romans: 14:1-4

It sounds so easy, right? Don't judge others. Love thy neighbor. Piece of cake. It amazes me how quickly rules are thrown out the window. I think some of us feel we know God so well, we know His bible so well, we are just so close to God, that when someone else sins, or even mentions sin, it gives us the right to bible thump them across the head and say all they are doing wrong. (That's okay, though, because I've got the in with the Lord, and you don't!)

I've been in recent conversation with my fellow Catholic peers. Different discussions arise, and I am amazed at how quickly people throw Christ's rules about judging others out the window. It doesn't matter what the topic is, those already trying to follow Christ's ways should know He doesn't teach "be insulting and condescending to others." It seems like obvious human psychology that telling someone, "You are so wrong" won't win them over to "our side." We may disagree on things, but Christ doesn't want us to divide against each other. Bickering and arguing over a difference of opinion-- is that the way to handle things? We aren't the judge of one another, God is! Let's help keep each other's soil rich, and build up the soil of those who are lacking in their faith. Let's not divide ourselves and judge each other when we disagree. After all, we share a common ground, the end result is we all want to be with Jesus in Heaven!

It is tempting to take the "I'm better than you" or "I know more than you" mentality. I've even done this myself. The important thing is to remember The Golden Rule, "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them." (Matthew 7:12) Let's try to remember our goal: Heaven!

I think Paul sums this up perfectly in Romans 14:13, 19
"Then let us no longer judge one another, but rather resolve never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother ... Let us then pursue what leads to peace and to buliding up one another."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

We are on our second session of swim lessons with Elijah. If you remember me posting last month, I was having a VERY difficult time with Elijah's independent ways. He was determined to do what he wanted to do. Nobody tell me what to do! Typical 2 year old, I suppose. Now, on round 2... I must say, he is doing fantastic. His love for swimming has returned! He cries when it is time to leave! (But our session is over, honey!! -- Waaa!)

The last 2 sessions, Elijah has been getting closer, and closer, and closer to swimming completely on his own. He practically runs into the pool, steps into the water on hi sown "crawls" the edge of the wall himself, and even holds the ledge with one hand and looks at me with this inquisitive look of "Should I do it? Should I let go?" Last session he jumped to me, I was barely even looking at him! Today, he started using the step to try and practice swimming by himself. Once he discovered what he was doing, he turns to me with a HUGE grin and continues this practice swim on the steps. It's as if he took the plunge, took that leap of faith and realized, "Hey! I can do this on my own!"

Despite this boy's crazy stubborn ways, I love his determination! He sits back and watches, watches, watches, then just goes "gung-ho" and does what he sets his mind to!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Would I dance for you Jesus?

"I can only imagine
Surrounded by your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus, or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence, or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing Alleluia, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine."

This line has always struck a chord with me, "Will I dance for you Jesus, or in awe of you be still?" I've often sat at Eucharistic Adoration, envisioning how I would greet Jesus in Heaven one day. I danced for many years growing up; it puts a smile on my face to think of dancing for Jesus.

There are references in the Old Testament about dancing for our Lord.

"Let them praise his name in festive dance,
make music with tambourine and lyre." (Psalm 149:3)

Today, Patrick and I went to a different parish - our first time at this church. At mass, we were brave enough to venture away from the "Cry Room," -- the first time since Elijah was about 2 weeks old. Quite frankly, we were both sick of the confined cry room separating us from Jesus with their big glass window. I was feeling like a caged animal at a zoo! Ok, granted my child can act like an animal at the zoo, but how is he to ever learn to handle the outside world if he is behind a wall the entire time? He will never grow and learn how to behave properly during mass if he is separted from Jesus. We took the plunge, and agreed we will only use the cry room for when our children... CRY! What a concept. Although Elijah had some of his usual toddler distractions, such as 2 small tractor toys discovered in the diaper bag, and a little brother who is in his face 24/7, Elijah actually turned to pay attention during parts of the mass!

We were going through the mass and we all began to sing, "Alleluia," just before the Gospel reading. Elijah perked up and began to DANCE! He danced with such excitement, joy, and pure glory. He danced in a way I've never seen him dance before, this dance was pure and from the heart. When the Gospel was over, and we sang "Alleluia" the second time, Elijah danced again! The usher even leaned to me and said, "That's the Holy Spirit!!" I'll admit, I got choked up seeing him dance for Jesus! It reminded me of being pregnant with him. He would be so calm or sleeping before the Gospel, but when the Gospel reading began, he would always wake up and start kicking around!

Watching him dance for Jesus' words today, I rememembered the song "I Can Only Imagine," by MercyMe. I thought to myself, "That's right Elijah Anthony, you dance for Jesus!"

Ahh... a child's faith. It is so pure. This takes Jesus calling the children in Luke 18:16-17, "Jesus however, called the children to himself and said, 'Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it."

Let us sing and give praise!

Praise God in his holy sanctuary,
give praise in the mightyh dome of heaven.
Give praise for his mighty deeds,
praise him for his great majesty.
Give praise with blasts upon the horn,
praise him with harp and lyre.
Give praise with tambourines and dance,
praise him with flutes and strings.
Give praise with crashing cymbals.
Let everything that has breath give praise to the Lord!
(Psalm 150)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tubes for Elijah.

We took Elijah to the ENT today. Poor guy has had ear infections every 2 months since he was 11 months old.

Needless to say he'll be needing ear tubes now. I'll let everyone know when his surgery date is set. Please keep him in your thoughts & prayers!

(And yes, I think Mommy is more nervous than he probably will be!!)

Monday, July 20, 2009

My gift of HOPE.

Yesterday afternoon, AJ’s Godfather Max, told us he was entering the seminary… he has decided to become a priest! Words cannot describe my excitement. We moved from San Diego just over a year ago. I questioned if anything I did mattered, or was it just some frivolous “good times” type of memories. I put so much of my heart and soul into the campus ministry, all to get pushed and shoved away. I left feeling frustrated and hurt. Through God’s awesome gift of hope, given through Max’s announcement, I am once again reminded of God’s great mercy, and when we trust in Him, there is nothing to worry about.

I spent a lot of time this last year, completely overwhelmed with AJ’s severe reflux disease and quite honestly, feeling frustrated with how things “went down” before we moved. I had a conversation with God that went something like, “God, I’m really hurt right now. I’m really frustrated. I don’t know if, how, when, I can put my trust into another parish. I just need some quiet time right now, God.” Of course God doesn’t want us to NOT go to church, and no one should neglect God, spending time to worship Him, or forgetting to feed their soul. I know he didn’t want me to not go to Church, but between AJ’s reflux, Elijah’s asthma at risk, my complete exhaustion, being forced to a cry room (even if kids aren’t crying!), seeing questionable things and politics in the Church at our new parish, and my frustrations about San Diego, I couldn’t take it anymore. I just needed time to regroup.

God is the ever loving Father. I truly felt He understood my need for quiet time, my need for space, and was just waiting for me to come back. He was giving me the space I needed, the time to grieve over past campus ministry days, and the time to think about what the future has in store. Just like the prodigal son (or… daughter), he was going to be right there waiting for me. I’ve done this to Him before, on a much more extreme level, and yet His love for me, one of His children, is so great, He still puts up with me! Only being a Mom makes me understand how this works. No matter what, you will always love your children. No matter how much they drive you crazy, tork you off, neglect you, hit you, talk back, whatever the example may be, you still love them. You also know what it is that will make them come running back to you… basically how to butter them up again. ;) I think in some ways, we’re all like his toddlers. Sometimes we have our fits or temper tantrums; sometimes we just need to get it out of our system. But, God knows His children. It is remarkable how well He knows his children.

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I think of God’s gifts of faith, hope, and love, I always seem to forget about that “hope” gift, and how powerful that gift really is. Yes, yes, “the greatest of these is love,” but hope is still a fantastic gift. Over the last year, I was losing hope. I never lost my faith. It may have gone on the back burner, but it was still there with that little flame flickering beneath. But hope? Where did it go? I questioned where things were going. Is it okay to say I was questioning where my Church was going? Guess I just did. I was seeing things that were really making me lose hope in the future.

But, God gave me one of His beautiful gifts. He knows me so well that it would take a blindsided gift to renew my hope. He surprised me with this gift of hope – in a way I never would have thought possible! This package included reassuring me that I’ve made a difference in things I’ve done, and He helped prove it to me through our youngest son’s Godfather announcing he is entering the seminary! He is going to become a priest! A priest, a priest! I was taken off guard, but it is perfect, it makes perfect sense! I couldn’t be happier!

It amazes me how one decision, as our friend joining the seminary, can make such a big affect in my life. Who am I to take this so dearly? It is like a ripple effect, this decision is the pebble tossed into the lake, and it will make many, many ripples around him. I’m sitting here on the other side of this lake, but I feel that last ripple! It touched me, and that is exactly what I needed. Nobody else would notice this last ripple, it makes almost no change in the grand scheme of things, but it affected me. I was questioning many things in recent time. This decision has given me the hope I needed. I know God knows this is just what I needed to hear, it is what our family needed to renew our hope. Hearing that this fantastic person is giving his life to God is just what I needed to refuel my hope that yes, God knows what He is doing, and even though things may feel like they are moving with no direction, if I hold on to that gift of hope, I have nothing to worry about.

My life and my vocation are decided. This decision from our friend is life changing, it is a huge deal. I’ll be honest; I think I sound incredibly selfish sitting here with this “I-I-I” and “me-me-me” talk. I’m just a measly little stay home mom. Somehow, through God’s amazing love, He knew that one of His other children needed an extra boost, a recharge of the faith battery. He knows us so well; He knows our needs so well. He answered my needs, my prayers; He has refueled my spiritual soul with this awesome gift of hope. It’s like when someone brings you flowers to cheer you up, these are God’s flowers!

I don’t think I could have ever guessed that I would hit a “spiritual low.” I’m sure it is just part of the ebb and flow of life, but I’m so happy to say that this has given me the spark I needed. It has put God back on the front burner, back in perspective, back at Number One. I feel terrible I neglected Him, but He is ever so merciful, and I can’t thank Him enough for giving me hope back. He didn’t have to give me this gift, but He did! He loves us so much and works in ways I will never understand – not on this earth anyway!

I’ll wrap this up sharing a prayer to our Lord Jesus…

Thank you, Jesus! I’m nobody, and you still look to me when I’m in need. I’ve neglected you and hurt you, and you even died on the cross for me. I don’t understand how one little thing can make such a huge impact on my life… and I don’t need to understand. Knowing you, Jesus, is all I need. Your gifts of faith, hope, and love are what I need in life. You amaze me with your never ending love and mercy; I can never thank you enough, Lord Jesus!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Crib!

No, not for a new baby!  In case you didn't follow my crib drama on Facebook... our crib that we've had for over two years was RECALLED!  Ugh!  I was hesitant about taking it apart and returning the bolts like they asked... but I just had a feeling I should.  I didn't want Adam to be one of the babies to get hurt.  You know what happened when I took the crib apart?!?  A CRACK where the screws connect... a fairly large crack at that!  One that was just waiting to break apart.

SOOO... here's our NEW crib we picked out with our voucher/refund from Jardine Cribs... needless to say, we didn't buy Jardine this time... we went with Delta!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

mommy burn out.

Maaaajor "Mommy burn out" right now. Major.

...And that's all I have to say about that. :P

Friday, July 10, 2009

Baby Doctor Drama.. and other things!

Is it so much to ask for an appointment for your child? Apparently to Loma Linda Medical Offices... it is!! First off, they were constantly losing our paperwork. I broke down and complained to Patient Relations. THEN they told us they wouldn't see AJ for his 3 month follow up because they were booked. Ok, I understand being booked... but don't tell me you can't see my son when YOU lost the paper work for his follow up THREE TIMES. Long story short, I called Patient Relations and filed a complaint again. The lady said she'd take care of it, don't worry. Lo and behold, the next afternoon they MAGICALLY have an appointment come available for July 20th! Whoohoo for that!

Oh! On another note... AJ cut his first tooth day before yesterday! GO AJ!! I've yet to get a picture... it's not easy getting this kiddo to open his mouth!

No word yet on the specialist for Elijah. Our nurse practitioner forgot to put in the referral when we went it.. luckily I was following up and so NOW the referral went in. Hopefully we will hear something about setting appointments in a week or two.

Other than that, not a whole lot happening! I haven't had much time to do any scrappin'... been busy dealing with doctor drama, a teething baby (who is trying really hard to crawl AND walk, but not there yet), and a 2 year old who is... well... TWO!! ;)