I submitted a photo to the IHeartFaces weekly contest. This week it's pets, and you can go to my photo blog for the photo of my parent's cat Teddy. It was a completely random shot; I was taking photos of my super cute baby playing at Gramma and Grampa's when Teddy showed up with all his cattish airs about him. He looked down his nose at me with disdain for my foolish camera. He acts like the world revolves around him.
... and other random things because they're cute little details and I don't want to forget them ...
The little Jimmy boy has had all the movements down, and was strong enough to get from A to B aboard his chubby little tummy, but the coordination just wasn't working yet. Until the other night. He worked hard, and he figured the scoot thing out. It's slow, but he's got it down. Watch out world.
He loves mirrors.
He has a favorite big boy food now. Popcorn. It made him figure out how to work his tongue so he can swallow it. So far that's the only solid food he's interested in.
He expresses himself by adamantly kicking and punching all four limbs. Happy, sad, angry, excited, scared, silly, eager, tired, awake... he has this massive workout session when he wants to communicate. So cute.
Last night he was crabby, so I was holding him while visiting with a friend in my kitchen. Suddenly I felt a peculiarly warm sensation. I looked. And there was poop. Everywhere! It seeped through his diaper, his shirt, my shirt... and then some. Poop ga-LORE. I started running water in the kitchen sink for a bath, peeled his poopy clothes off of him and removed his diaper. I stood his naked little self up, trying to wipe off the excess poop so it could be more of a warm water bath and less of a poop bath, when he cheerfully made the situation more fun and peed all over the kitchen rug.
Motherhood rocks. Where else can you find such an unpredictable job that's so disgustingly cute?
Grateful? Ah yes, grateful for snuggly blankets to hide in. It's nearing the end of April, and I'm grateful for warm, snuggly blankets. Absurd? Absolutely. Why? Because there's an estimated amount of up to 6 inches of snow coming. And for THAT, I hate to say, I am NOT grateful.
The word godliness has been running and running through my mind, challenging me to that question, What is godliness?
I’m not meaning a Webster’s Dictionary or Strong’s Concordance definition. I’m not looking for where the word originated and what meaning does it have today. I don’t want to sit and analyze it. I don’t care if it’s a noun, or a verb, or an adjective, or a what-have-you. I’m not after a theological seminary type answer.
What I want to know is what is godliness.
I used to think I knew. Perfection and godliness were two exact things to me. I used to believe that godliness was something you did. Something that you strove for. Something you attained through work. Something you could see. It was a form, something that you put on. Godliness was an appearance.
It was also something that you were enslaved to. Something that no matter how hard you tried you still would never totally and completely attain, though that was still your goal. It was something that God harshly demanded. Something that made every day an uphill struggle to reach. Something that made you a failure if you did not succeed in it. I became so consumed by my godliness that there was room for nothing else in my heart.
I have found that there are many how-to articles and messages related to this subject. I used to soak them up like a sponge. I was on a quest for godliness, and I thought I knew what godliness was.
But now I’m not so sure.
I found I could sure look godly. It’s easy to wear a godly mask.
Yet I realized that’s exactly what the Pharisees did… They looked, sounded, and acted so godly. But they didn’t have room in their hearts for Jesus Christ.
I began to question my meaning of godliness.
And God answered my question.
God said my righteousness was filthiness in His sight.
God said He did not come to call people like me who were so righteous.
God said my good works were nothing.
God said I was nothing.
Nothing echoed in the deep empty premises of my heart.
I was stripped and naked in shame before a holy God. My godliness lay in ashes at my feet. My mask had melted in obliteration and I was nothing.
And then I saw the Cross. I saw all my godliness, all my works, all my filthy righteousness, all my hypocrisy, all my shame, all my guilt, all my sin, all my hopelessness, all my cursed existence, all my nothingness, all of it on that cross in the form of the Son of God. My whole shattered being was up there. His blood dripped down, staining the ground in crimson.
And I realized I was horribly nothing.
And God said I was nothing.
But now that I was nothing there was a Savior. A Savior who loved me so much He took upon Himself my utter worthlessness that I may become the child of God.
His Blood cleansed me and washed away all my filthy godliness, works, righteousness, hypocrisy, shame, guilt, sin, hopelessness, and my cursed existence.
He removed the curse in my life. My mask was gone, and I didn’t miss it. My heart was free. My guilt was no longer existent. My soul had hope.
I was now nothing… But God was something.
But what about my godliness? Isn’t that something I must strive after yet? Perfection? Righteousness? Isn’t that all a part of Christianity?
Jesus Christ is my righteousness. His glorious salvation has given me freedom. He’s my Savior. He fills me with Himself, with His Spirit. And that is where true godliness lies.
My hope is sure, my faith is strong, my eternity is secured.
I am nothing. Absolutely nothing.
But God is something.
[Originally written in December 2005, I thought it appropriate as we celebrate Palm Sunday and look forward to re-living the death and resurrection of our Savior.]
I like to think of myself as a decorator on a small scale at least. I love decorating our home and making it more "us" (or my husband would probably point out that with the exception of his mancave, it is more "me", but fortunately that's the way he likes it.)
That is until I read all my favorite decorating blogs written by you creative women and feeling inspired I take photographs of my work and I'm like, "Ugh! Why can't this look as airy and cheerful and bright and clean and amazing like those people's?" So I admit, my decorating skills lack to some degree and is far from professional. I will keep working at it though, and am currently accepting advice.
Anyway, maybe you recall that I was decorating on the cheap. Living in an apartment, your options for updating are severely limited. And if you were to have the permission to update, you also might have the cheapskate whims that it's not worth it because a.) it's not free to do, and b.) you will have to put it back the way it was which is also not free to do.
But then one day I thought in my head, "Wait a minute! This is our home. It ought to feel comfortable and cozy and homey. So then I called the company that owns the building and jumped through all the necessary hoops and got myself some permission to update.
And then I went to Walmart and purchased a quart of marked down, mis-tinted paint.
And since it's difficult to paint a whole master bedroom with one quart of paint, I colorwashed it. And because I liked the way it looked, my sister and I used vertical strokes to brush it on.
And this is the result.
(oh yes, my gold door knobs are LOVELY, right? Not to mention the fake plastic-y doors and trim; you're totally digging it, aren't you? Or not.)
So this is what it looks like upon entering our bedroom. I like to think of it as our honeymoon suite, but there's only so much one can do in an apartment, so it's as honeymoon-suitish as my (perhaps lacking?) creativity can make it.
I fell in love with the color scheme of gray with red and white accents. Maybe it was because I already had the red and white accents and gray was the color that looked good with it.
Hubby's nightstand matches the bedroom furniture. My nightstand is this shabby chic one that I pulled out of a shed a number of years ago, cleaned the mice nests out of it, scrubbed it down, sanded it a bit (to enhance it's rickety-ness) and was pretty sure I liked it. The little framed "Always Kiss Me Goodnight" I made while my man was in Iraq and I was really missing his goodnight kisses.
And our apartment lacks in bookshelves, so I store books in as many creative ways as possible--i.e., the stack the lamp is sitting on.
See? More books. (I can hear you muttering under your breath, "Just go get yourself a flipping bookcase already!") Oh, and gorgeous carpet, right?
And as everything always ends up, a quick little photo shoot of my super cute baby who was happy to play under the bassinet he used to actually fit in, but is going to be updated and lent to his cousin who will be arriving in August in the apartment across the parking lot, while I took pictures. (Kudos if you were able to follow that sentence.)
So there you have it. Our master bedroom. I forgot to take a before picture. Like I always forget to.
When my sister and I completed the painting part of our project, my husband wasn't sure what he thought about it. Realizing that his exhausted wife was starting to feel a bit scared that it was a flop and was really trying not to be offended by his remarks he tried to make me feel better--"Babe, I think... I think it's... I really think it's beeeaaauuutifu....." and his sentence would end in hysterical laughter like it was the joke of the year. Ugh. And then it would make ME laugh, even though I really was not happy with his opinions right then. Haha. However, after the furniture was back in place and the walls were decorated, he admitted that he actually did like it and he was glad I painted.
Did you see that The Shop has quite the little handful of fun dainty goodness? What's even cooler is that I'm such a nice person, I thought I would offer these delightful beauties at 40% off for Easter. Use coupon code "EASTER2011". Just thought you might like to know.
Her aspirations were noble, her longings sincere, but her heart was misguided. She was trying too hard.
She longed for romance; God-honoring, pure, beautiful. The kind you write about, the kind that's held up to the young people in her life she wished to influence as godly and worth the wait and to be modeled.
She knew her God was capable of writing the romance of her life, but the years were passing, her friends began to marry, and the young men she thought of, in the purity of her heart, as possible candidates became unavailable one by one.
She read the stories, she studied the authors, she felt hope. But meanwhile she became consumed in the appearance of her life being one of holiness, godliness, righteous; to be emulated. She became a slave to her works, and her emotions told her when she was near to the heart of God, and when she had drifted.
And then, much to her joy, a man came along who admired her and they fell in love and wedding plans were made. Their relationship was pure, it had all the elements she dreamed of.
But somewhere along the way she had been made to understand that of all priorities in life, her walk with God was of utmost importance, and it was to come on a different plane than that of her marriage.
She entered her marriage feeling that her Bible study and prayer time was of a higher priority and came first before serving her husband. She thought that having a sweet relationship with God was the jewel of her heart to be guarded above all else, at all costs, including her marriage.
As the months went by, the love story she thought she was living was dying. She and her husband were drifting apart emotionally. Their marriage was mediocre; passionless. She felt her husband wasn't spiritual enough so for the sake of her children, she delved even deeper into what she felt was holiness.
In the sincerity of her heart, she failed to understand the wisdom of a three-fold cord not being easily broken.
A beautiful marriage is not one in which the wife maintains her own spirituality. A beautiful marriage happens only when the man and the woman become one and therefore become heirs together of the grace of life. This is only possible when two lovers are ravished with each other and share the deep, wild intimacy that Song of Solomon depicts.
This is the type of union that God created in the Garden of Eden. He created Eve to be the Lover and Sustainer and Life-Giveralong-side of Adam. She was created to fulfill him.
And so, by the Grace of God, that your prayers are not hindered, (I Peter 3) understand this. Have a deep, passionate, intimate love affair with your husband. This is what glorifies God, and this is how you come to know and understand Him and His love for you.
:: :: ::
The story depicted here is not based on any one specific girl, but on many; part of it even including myself. I fear for the marriages of those girls who approach marriage in this way. I see this trend in conservative Christian circles and it scares me. A void, mediocre, passionless marriage SCARES me, and it is my number one priority to guard against that because don't you understand, dear reader, that such a marriage plays exactly into the Prince of Darkness's hand?
I was busy editing photos for a client and had my little man sitting with me at the kitchen island in his BebePod.He was content to sit there and study a course in the laws of gravity by dropping his toys on the floor and watching them fall.
And then he decided to practice the art of amazing bodily functions and performed his favorite act of exploding through his diaper. Which always tickles him pink to see my reaction. This one called for a bath.
Look at that face! He knows he's a stinker and he loves every minute of it.
But there is no way I could possibly love him more.
In a random blog-perusing-nursing-session this morning, I had to chuckle at this post by kojo designs -- The Universal "Baby Girl" Symbol. Ah yes, every mom's frustration with the stranger gender specifying syndrome, which this mom of a cute little girl knows the solution for.
But I'm a mom of a baby BOY.
One of the reasons I wanted to find out what we were having while I was pregnant was so that I wouldn't acquire a host of yellows and greens and other such neutrals that shout "Guess what! I'm cute and I could be a boy, or I could be a girl! Guess again!" and therefore have to create signs that declare "I'M A BOY" to hang obnoxiously above his head so that my you-offended-me-because-you-think-you-can-tell-a-girl-apart-from-a-boy-and-you-suck-at-it vein wouldn't start throbbing in my forehead.
So the greens and yellows and neutrals that did end up in Jimmy's wardrobe are only worn around close friends and family who know he's a boy and will never ever doubt it.
But there are still those know-it-all's who can't notice the blues or the camo or the planes and cars or the duh-look-at-those-big-boyish-hands, not to mention the lack of pinks, ruffles and bows that this mom would dress her baby girl in if she had one. The worst was the friendly lady who boasted of her four grandchildren who stopped me and my cute baby in a hotel lobby. She gently tickled and gushed over his cuteness and inflated my mommy ego.
(Confession: I take a lot of pride in being this baby's mommy, so I immediately fall in love with anyone who is charmed by my baby boy.)
"Boy or girl?" She asked with a smile.
I gulped in shock; staring at the train running across the bib of the baby-boy-in-my-arms' overalls; you did not just seriously ask that, did you?
And before I could respond she gently stroked his fuzzy red head and declared, "You're just too pretty to be a boy aren't you? Yes you are!"
"Maam, I truly am so sorry your grandsons are ugly," I replied while the words that came out of my mouth were actually; "No, you tell her that you really are a boy!"
So anyway. With all these baby girls that all my friends and family are having, I think I shall do them a favor and learn how to create these super cute bows and such so at least people will know what a baby girl looks like. And in the mean time I guess the little Jimmy boy will just have to continue sucking on blue pacifiers and wearing his shirt that declares, "daddy's happy I'M A BOY".