Mac-a-doodle-doo!

Lilypie Fifth Birthday tickers

Keegan Joy

Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Johnny

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Dreaming

Before I had kids, I thought I would dream about them all the time. I thought they would hold such a place in my heart that even in sleep I would weave intricate stories and scenarios for them. I imagined rich dreams of fairy tale lives full of Olympic gold, names in bright lights, and exotic travels around the world. 


I do dream about my kids, but in a different way than I expected. Often I am trying to protect them, tornadoes are common and there is the odd running from the kidnapper situations as well. I also dream of another little girl, but that's another story for another day. 

A new reoccurring dream is one of the best dreams I have ever had. It's a dream that has deep colors and is sharp in clarity. It's a dream that gives me such emotion and happiness, that I can feel myself smiling in my sleep. It's a dream where I can hear my own laughter and sense the glee in my voice. Each time I have this dream, I raise my hands and think to myself, "Finally, it has happened!" It's the dream where Johnny stands up and walks. 



It's not that I covet the day he will walk, I know it will happen at some point and I am so pleased with his overall progress. I do, however, anticipate that day. I look forward to it and imagine how different he will look upright instead of scootching on the ground. I think about how happy we will all be to see his hard work pay off and I cannot wait to see the smile on his face as he toddles towards his desired destination for the first time. It's a fantastic dream. As soon as I wake up and realize it hasn't happened yet, I take time to revel in that space, where a dream lingers into reality. I know, without a doubt, that even this best dream cannot measure up to how extraordinarily special that day will be. 

As I poured over these thoughts this morning after waking from a "Johnny Walked!" dream, I wondered if my anticipation mirrored God's anticipation when He waits for us to walk with Him. I wondered if He sits, watching us struggle, seeing our progress, all the while looking forward to that day that He knows we will follow His footsteps. He loves each of His children even more than I love my son, and Johnny's physical footsteps are of little importance when compared to the spiritual footsteps God wishes us to take. And if God knows each day of our lives, which I believe He does, does He look forward to our journey turning to Him, just as I dream about my son's paths and how they will be travelled?

The anticipation is a nice place to be. Especially if I am in good company with Him while He waits as well. 

Juxtaposition

Thursday was a day steeped in Tiny Blessings Ministry. I had woken up early and finished two more hats to add to our stash for Methodist Willowbrook. I prayed for twins, a boy and a girl, fighting to grow strong in the Antepartum wing of the hospital, willing them to grow so they could have a twin set of hats delivered with our other items. I had painstakingly sewn on buttons to gowns and hats that would be the only item ever worn by the babies they were made for. It is tedious to put on those details, but we try to add them when we have the chance, showing love for the few moments their families will ever spend with them here. I looked forward to seeing an old friend, blossoming in the last days of her second pregnancy, happy for her to have the chance to take our gowns to serve more families. I reflected on all these great, ministry focused moments as I sat on the floor of the gym, watching Mac play basketball and busily working on a blanket. Methodist has asked us for more blankets to bless their families and I wanted to get to work at once, using one of my favorite yarns. 



As I worked, I received a text from a friend. She counsels at a faith based pregnancy center and was just made aware of a couple who had come in for counseling. The couple was pregnant for the third time and was leaning toward having their third termination. My friend urged us to prayer as they headed back to the ultrasound room and that is where their story, as far as we are concerned, ends. I doubt there will be more information that we are able to have, more than likely, the information we have toes the line of what is allowed and what isn't. Regardless, my heart breaks in this instance. 

As I immediately began to pray, asking for this couple to see God's own handprint on their child, for them to see the life bestowed upon them, I glanced down at the blanket quickly taking shape in my lap. My already broken heart sunk even further. All day I had spent time ministering to families willing their children to live. I had prayed for families that would only know their child as a medical concern and hesitatingly counted the weeks of pregnancy knowing their time with their child would end as soon as labor began. I had carefully made sure that all items were stored and paired together, showing care and concern for the last gift these children and their families would receive. I had prayed for the hearts of the families, friends, and medical staff who lovingly usher these children into their arms and back out again far too soon. Any one of these families would be honored and ecstatic to welcome this cast out child into their lives. 

How could I be busily praying for children who would pass away because of God's plan in one moment and be trying to pray for a child who would pass away because of man's plan in the next?

In "Mom World", when mom's miscarry and then get pregnant again, they are often referred to as "rainbow babies", in reference to rainbows coming after a storm. I often think of babies that are miscarried or who pass away when I see rainbow items. I now add the babies who lose their lives to the abortion industry in our country and around the world. The irony that I was making a blanket that naturally lends itself to a rainbow pattern wasn't lost on me. I pray that this couple chose a different route for the third gift they were given and that more couples and moms, seeking to end life, will make different choices in the coming years. As we pray for these decisions to change, we ask for loving support and care for moms in difficult circumstances and encourage you to find a local, faith based pregnancy center that can give guidance in these situations. 

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." -Matthew 19:14

Tiny Blessings Valentine's Event

This past Tuesday we had a small ministry gathering at my home to promote Tiny Blessings and simply enjoy fellowship with crochet-ers and non yarn aholics alike. We have been bestowed with even more great women joining us and pledging to make items for the numerous places we serve and it's wonderful to see so many details falling into place. The three of us "founders" that were present had a great time talking to our friends and compatriots that were there and wished we could have seen everyone that encourages us, supports us, and helps us along our way. I was also able to gather several donations in the days preceding the event and am busy sorting all the donations between the ministry opportunities we have. 






This morning I took some of those items to Methodist Willowbrook for them to sort through for distribution of Valentine's hats. I also grabbed a few blankets for them because they are always in need of blankets for babies in the NICU and for their bereavement donations. We were able to give 26 hats and 4 blankets today and will have more ready to go by the end of February, that was just the Valentine's hats!


Lastly, tonight, I took 13 gown and hat sets to a friend from high school for the hospital she works at. While they frequently get larger items, they were in desperate need for smaller gowns to give to the families they serve. We are hoping to at least fulfill this need for their hospital as we expand and move forward. It's a wonderful connection to have and it was so nice to see an old friend (who is almost due with a baby girl)!!!


Lastly, a few prayer requests-

First, that our ministry would continue to be God led and servant minded so we can be where He wants us as we work and serve. 

Second, that our ministry continues to grow and multiply. That more commitments are made to help us and that we are able to connect with CyFair Hospital to see what their needs may be. 

Lastly, one of our servicemen that we made a hat in honor of last year is nearing the end of his third deployment in Operation Enduring Freedom. Please pray for his safety in these last few days, for strength for his family, and some pure rest when he gets home. Prayers and thanks for all of our men and women who serve in our armed forces. 





Old haircut

I was going through old pictures and came upon these. Not super great quality but that is what happens when you take an iPhone picture of a disposable film picture!


The first time I cut my hair to donate. I woke up one Sunday and decided it was time to chop it off. We went that afternoon and everyone in the little hair cutting place (what would you call a little local place like TGF?) watched as they put my hair in a pony tail and chopped 14" away. It felt amazing to have the weight off and I immediately loved my decision. Friends were shocked, but it made me happy to give that first batch away. 


September 2000 for reference


January 2000 just after I cut it. 

Gig'em!

Embracing Glitter

Our girls love princesses. They love dress up. They love pink. They love barbies. They love pixies and ponies. They love dresses and skirts, especially ones that twirl. They get excited to get new shoes. They nurture and care for their beloved stuffed animals. I just wrote an entire post about one of them being attached to the man of her dreams. Everything the girls touch has glitter in it. 

You cannot fight the glitter, it's impossible. It's on shirts, dresses, shoes, purses, bags, cards, toys, dvd cases, the list goes on and on. Our lives became easier when, instead of cursing the glitter, we embraced it. It makes them happy and it's fairly easy to sweep. 

We have girly girls. 

However, we also have smart, inquisitive, adventurous, active, and well rounded girls. They love the stereotypical pink side of themselves, but being scared, playing hide and go seek, and taking on any boy that tries to get in their territory. Matt has been waiting, patiently for the day he could introduce his girly girls to this. 


A blanket on the ground, Legos poured around, and three imaginations running wild. Mac is an amazing engineer, crafting ships with intricate landing gear, and funny details that you wouldn't think a five year old girl or boy would know about. Keegan is a builder, looking for patterns and absorbing the time with two of her favorite people. They happily listen to Matt put together sets and he patiently encourages them to build something new for themselves. If I had known the Legos were going to be so great for all of them, I would have bought them years ago. 

I'm glad for my girls having a good balance. We encourage that it both of them. I was quite happy today when Keegan picked out Doc McStuffins and Palace Pet Valentines and Mac picked out Star Wars. I'll take them however I can get them and whatever stage they are in. 

Another happy thought, while neither valentine set had glitter, there is always room for glitter stickers and markers when decorating their valentines box!

Listening

One of my daughters has a huge crush on a boy we know from church. Huge. Talks about him constantly and, to be fair, they do seem to be good friends who enjoy each other's company. She has their lives planned out and is just waiting to be old enough to get married. It's adorable and while we don't encourage it too much, she does say some pretty profound things about why she likes him and wants to spend time with him. 


Problem is, she talks about him all the time. All. The. Time. Understandably, we get tired of it and want to hear her talk about something else from time to time. The other day we were in the car and the talk about the boy started. In my frustration I told her I needed a break from hearing about the boy. That I wanted her to talk about anything else and to stop telling me about him. 

She complied and remained silent. 

Immediately I regretted what I told her. Yes, it's more than likely a little crush. Yes, it will probably fade away and make room for someone else before long. Yes, it is tiring to hear her talk more about this boy than most any topic. 

But there will come a time when I am desperate for all three of my kids to tell me about their crush. When I beg to hear them tell me the name of the person who has caught their eye. When I want to know why they are attracted to them and how they want to spend time with them. When they hesitate to tell me anything about who they like and why. Why was I setting a precedence today that I didn't want to hear something that was so exciting and meaningful for them. What else was I going to do as we drove? And worse, was I teaching them to remain quiet about this stuff because it may bother mommy?

I apologized to my sweet girl and told her I was so happy for her that this boy meant so much to her. I told her that I would love to hear more about him and asked if she could tell me what she was saying again. Her face lit up in the rear view mirror and I knew it was worth hearing about him again. 

I hope I remember this lesson in the years to come. Most of all, I hope they remember the time mommy apologized and reaffirmed how much she wanted to hear about something important to them. It's important now, and will be more important then. 



Crust

Matt had a meeting for lunch at a Greek restaurant we both like so he bought extra food to go, rented a couple of movies, and we had a nice dinner upstairs. We were both disappointed when, after looking at the goodies he brought home, we discovered that there was no flat bread or pita bread. I thought I might make a quick batch of flat bread (pizza crust sans toppings) and see how it goes. We could always run to the store if we needed to. 


The recipe was fairly easy and decently good, even if it does come from the kitchen of my arch nemesis, Bobby Flay. It had no ancho chiles in it though, so it's completely out of character for the leprechaun from the food network. I made the chewy version and it will be a great pizza crust one day, specifically a real rustic pizza with a hodgepodge of foodie toppings and fresh herbs pretentiously sprinkled on top. It wasn't the best flatbread, but it beat getting out in the cold rain! 

I baked it on a pizza stone covered with cornmeal at 500 for about 10-12 minutes. Because it was "naked" I could easily check it for doneness. If it had toppings, I would wait until the cheese was melted and the crust was a light golden brown. It's a nice recipe to have on hand because you can keep the ingredients easily and it only takes an hour to rise. I can see adding these ingredients to our "always have in the pantry and fridge" list so we can make pizza if all other plans fall through. 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pizza-dough-recipe.html