Friday, February 27, 2009

Confessions of a legalist...

I have to confess that deep within my soul lies the desire to do everything right. I work really hard to make the wise decisions and to the outsider it probably looks like I am doing pretty well. Unfortunately, I think that I am getting farther from truly knowing my Father and closer to being a Pharisee. It is fortunate that I have a Lord that wants me to grow in Him and that He seeks me out before I get too far away. I am glad that I have a merciful Father who speaks to me through the Bible and other people in my life. He has been pounding out a few of my rough spots lately. It is probably because I asked for it when I prayed that He would help me return to knowing the Father's heart.

Tuesday I read this (it is describing people who have a specific idea of what a spiritual person should look like)...
"those who take pride in appearance and not in heart" (2 Cor. 5:12)


Then I read this about wasting time...
"This is why the devil tries so hard to get Christians to be religious. If he can sink a mans mind into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God." -Donald Miller


I was beginning to see how my desire to regain the discipline in my Christian walk, was no longer because I needed to feel God's presence, it was so I wouldn't feel guilty about not fulfilling my "obligations" . How horrible is that? I don't want to feel obligated, I want to, want, to meet with my Father, because I love Him, not because I have to.

Today I read this...

"No longer will I be concerned about what self wants, but about what Christ wants. When I pray I will not always be asking for things for my comfort and convenience but rather I will be seeking a place in Gods will and asking for grace to stand where God wants me. I will not strive to show my love for God by the efforts of the flesh, but rather by the worship and trust of my heart. I will no longer try to show what great things I can do for Him, but will yield myself to Him so that He can show the world what great things He can do for me." - Buell H. Kazee


It has become my prayer, my resolution, my desire. This is what I want - unabashed love for my King. I think He is bringing me back to the basics so I can simply love him again. I am glad for the reminder that it isn't about me at all.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Change of Scenery

Here I am in my old office...

I like that I am obviously channelling my inner valley girl for this photo.
"So, like, hello"

Also notice the decor of the room. Wood panelling always says class and our extra seating for staff meetings were plastic lawn chairs :) Man, I miss that old office.

Here I am in the new office...


Instead of plastic chairs we have plastic toys. I also apparently have more time to try to wear eyeliner (I better keep trying to get it right). It is definitely different and harder to stay focused, but worth every moment.

Join in the fun with the final "Fro at We Are That Family...

One of those days...

Yesterday I had one of those days. I think I was still a little sad from seeing my mom and sister leave. B was having a bad day. The kind of day where everything is a big deal. He fell lots, he whacked himself in the mouth with a toy and it even bled. He smashed his hand under the dust pan. The kid was a mess. I never made it out of my pj's which only made me feel even worse about losing my sexy wife identity only to replace it with frumpy momma. I was counting down the minutes until Norse came home to relieve me. Then I noticed the voicemail on my phone at 4:56 pm. Norse saying he had more to do and wouldn't be home until around 6:30. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? After telling him it was no big deal (I lie sometimes) I burst into tears. It was one of those days.

Today was much better and I contribute it to the nice note my sweet husband left me. It said all the things I wanted (needed) to hear. Here is an excerpt so you can see just how awesome he is.

"I just want to thank you for being such an amazing person.... You are the most beautiful, kind, loving wife that I can imagine... I appreciate your hard work as a mother... I am proud of you..."

Plus many other things that made me swoon. It was just what I needed. Thank you Lord for giving me the man that can make my bad days turn into great tomorrows. You're the best Norse.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Discussion



I had a great visit with my mom and sister over the last few days. They were visiting for the weekend so they could see my handsome son. I love when they come visit because it guarantees I will get out of my pj's and brush my hair for multiple days in a row. I also appreciate the time with them because it challenges me to really "walk the talk" and think about why I believe what I believe.

My family are wonderful people, but they are not "church-goers". I am not sure where they stand with Jesus, but I think it is safe to say that they don't talk with Him on a daily basis. We live very different lives. Mine is pretty simple. Most of the people I socialize with share the same beliefs and values I do. My mom and sister socialize with many different people through work and school. So, we have different views on certain issues. We had some good discussion (I thought) about two topics: homosexuality and denominations.

It was such a good reality check for me to think through these topics. Often I wonder if I am becoming just another "religious" person. So to discuss things brings me back to the heart of God. I thought both issues were going to bring out my "judgemental" side, but felt like God really helped me convey that I am not being judgemental and either is He. I tried to make it clear that God loves everyone, but he doesn't love everything we do. That when we make choices that are contrary to the way He created us, that in the end it is "us" that lose.

I often wonder how I can cultivate more friendships with "non-christians". How do you do it?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Making a House a Home

I love blog hopping at home decorating sites. It is so fun to see how creative people are and how they can decorate with things that I never would have guessed could look so great. The Nester did a great series on how to spruce up a room in 10 minutes or less and people linked up their transformations here. Take a look.

I have two things that prevent me from jumping into the decorating frenzy headlong.
1. I am lucky if I can keep my house clean for 24 hours, why in the world would I put up more stuff that I just have to clean?

2. I am still afraid to put holes in the wall. I know it is our house, but even with the stud-finder (haha- I bet all you single ladies had one of those *wink, wink* - I couldn't resist) I have still missed the stud and put the nail in drywall alone. Then I feel like an idiot when I confess my blunder to my perfectionist carpenter husband.

3. My house must be at least 3 times SMALLER than the houses I see on other blogs - who really has enough space to have a craft room, office, exercise room, bathrooms you could sleep in, kitchens with an island, and spots for little tables with cutesy things on them? Certainly not this girl.


But, I LOVE to have a house that is warm and inviting. I really want to cultivate my homemaking side and be more hospitable. I have a wish list that includes all the things that I am seeing across the blogosphere that apparently make a world of difference.

Picture Frames of all Sizes & Spray Paint- So I can frame whatever the heck I feel like and paint them any color I want.
A Mirror or 5 - It makes a room look bigger and ritzy

A Wooden File Cabinet - To hide all my paperwork.

Night Stands-Because we live like senior citizens and read or do sudoku's before bed.

A NICE Slip Cover for our Couch - Hubby is adamantly opposed to any slipcover, but I am convinced if I buy the $100 one, it will fit like a glove.

Lots of people are using glass hurricanes, plates and other things that I am sure my B would destroy so I am holding out for a long while on those.


I admit it would be fun, but sometimes I wonder if by wanting those little touches in my house I am only revealing that I am not content with what I have. How do you balance having a beautiful home while not getting caught up in material wealth? Isn't a true home one that makes you feel welcome regardless of the decor?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Just Put it in the Blender

Before motherhood, I was not a person concerned with things like pesticides and fertilizers. I was also not concerned about saving money. Then I entered the sisterhood of parenthood and realized that making your own baby food can be healthier and cheaper. It is also fun!

If you are a mom who has a little one I suggest you head on over to Wholesome Baby Food. This site is fantastic and eliminates the need for any of those expensive baby food recipe books because they have tons of recipes listed for FREE! You can't beat that!

I also wanted to share the other thing that has revolutionized my life. I know I may be a little in the dark ages, but ladies if you have never had a food processor you MUST try one out. I was a food processor virgin until I inherited this beauty from my sister-in-law, who, Norse thinks, inherited it from his parents.



I know it looks a little vintage, but it chops my socks off! I am not sure how I ever lived without one. You may think the blender is good enough, but after using the FP I now know how naive I was.

Happy homemaking!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentines Day after Baby

This was our first Valentines Day since B was born. I thought I had set my expectations quite low. After all I let my hubby spend the majority of the day snowboarding with a friend. It is just a Hallmark holiday, right? We spent Friday night at a fundraising banquet for the DREAM program (DREAM enables people with disabilities to ski and snowboard) and enjoyed listening to the band (Norse refuses to dance in public and I have learned to live with that.) We also "won" some auction goodies for our valentine's gifts.

The previous year at the banquet we won a night at the Kandahar Lodge at the Whitefish Mountain Resort. We had to use it, so lucky for us we were able to book for last Saturday night, Valentine's Day. Remember, I wasn't looking for anything incredibly romantic, we were taking the boy with us. I remind you my expectations were quite low, I just wanted B to go to bed at his normal bedtime, and Norse and I to just be able to relax, watch some TV, and maybe hit the hot tub. Not too much to ask, right? Well, apparently my expectations were just a tad too high, because I ended up with a whiny son who would NOT sleep until well after 8:00 pm and only after we turned everything off and were quiet. Then my husband fell asleep at about the same time, so I got to enjoy the evening watching a Cosby show marathon and wishing for some chocolate. LAME!

I guess it was just another reminder of how my life has changed since the baby came. I know it is only for a season and B will be able to do overnighters after he is done nursing and more comfortable with other people. I think I was just shocked to realize that staying at home can be (and is) more romantic than an evening out. It was just another reality check as I learn what parenthood is all about.

I have come to the point in my life where I long to be the wife again. I spend so much time and energy being "momma" that sometimes there just isn't the time to be the loving wife too. How do I make the most of the limited time I have with my husband? I am open for suggestions, because this momma needs to rearrange her priorities.

Friday, February 13, 2009

SWAK (Part 4) - You've gotta Fight for your Right...



It is the last day of the SWAK carnival and I just don't know how to end this little series. I really adore my husband. I have been reflecting on all the amazing adventures we have had along the way. It has been 8 years of marriage and almost 10 years of being together. I can hardly remember life without him. I laugh thinking about what I had envisioned as my true love. It certainly wasn't some redheaded Montana man. I never even wanted to get married, so imagine my surprise, when the words "I will" left my mouth when I was only 20 years old. I was naive, but in love. There were few marriages I knew that hadn't ended up in divorce, and here I was wondering if it was truly possible to live happily ever after.

I have painted a pretty rosy picture of our love story, but feel that I need to share that it isn't always fun. Yesterday, That Family, made a list of marriage killers and we have waded through each one. We continue to struggle, but persevere. We have learned to forgive. We have learned to be accountable, even when we don't want to tell the other how we screwed things up.

There have been nights where our backs are turned toward one another as we quietly weep because of the hurt in our hearts, just hoping that the other will take the first step toward making things right again. There have been holes punched in walls (ok only once) and letters written to each other when it was too hard to say it face to face. There have been guilt offerings of flowers or a clean house. There was the year I was "psycho" and the year skeletons were revealed. We've been without and we've been with much. Through it all, it has been the faithfulness of a Mighty God who has carried us. It is by His grace that we still enjoy one another. We have had to work hard to win back each others trust, to undo the wounds we have caused in one another. Marriage is hard, but worth every moment.

I write these things because I want you to know, dear reader, that hard times come and you have to make the decision about how you will respond. I have learned that marriage is not 50/50 it is 100/100 and even when one isn't giving their 100%, it does not give you an excuse to stop trying. It does not help to belittle him in front of others or just in the quietness of your mind. It does not help to expect things to just change. It does not make a stronger marriage to suffer in silence. You must fight, even if that means letting go of your pride, getting counseling, weeping before the Lord or asking your spouse for forgiveness. You must take responsibility for your marriage before it is too late.

Sweet Norse, I wouldn't trade any of the tears, sleepless nights, or difficult times we've had, because I know it has only made our marriage stronger. Thank you for sticking with me through the "psycho year", the PMS, the house hunting, and the addition of B. You have given your 100% so faithfully, even when you did not want to. You, my love, have fought for our marriage and changed because of the Lord working in your heart. I know hard times will come again and we will have to fight harder than ever, but it is my desire to love you with all I have, as we grow old together. Thank you for asking me to marry you and for continuing to be my true companion, everyday.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

SWAK (Part 3) - You change me.



There are 2 types of people in our lives:
1. Those that bring out the worst in us
2. Those who bring out the best in us.

In the 8 years I've been married I think I have changed a lot. I think all the good change has come from my husband influencing me. We may not have started out bringing out the good in each other, but that has changed.

Because Norse is an introvert, I've learned to appreciate quiet times (and people).

Because he thinks before he speaks, I've learned that not everyone needs to hear everything I am thinking.

Because he is an early riser, I've learned to just not say anything in the AM because I am too grouchy.

Because he sees beauty from the inside out, I've become confident that I don't need to look a certain way to be beautiful.

Because he works hard, I've learned that you can't be a mooch.

Because he is patient, I've learned to wait on God and not be so annoyed with people.

Because he is humble, I've learned not to try to get "my way" because I think it is the only way.

Because he knows almost every song known to mankind, I've learned to appreciate music from the 60's, 70's & even the 80's.

Because he has family, I've learned that love is shown in different ways. (I may still believe that my family shows it better
though)

Because he has become a dad, I've learned that his life can't always revolve around me.

Because he puts others first, I've learned to see the needs of others more often.

Because he is honest, I've learned to not do things that I would need to lie about.

Because he has been described as a "stoic" person (and also an "expressionless norwegian") I've learned to ask people what they are thinking instead of just assuming the worst.

Because he loves God, he introduced me to Jesus.

Because he takes care of me, I've learned to rely on other people more.

Because he is shy, I've learned the best times with people are often one on one.

Because he is athletic and outdoorsy, I've learned to hike, backpack, snowboard, and canoe.

Because he hunts, I've learned to eat venison and see it as God's provision and a healthy way to reduce animal population.

Because he is financially responsible, I've learned to reconcile the checkbook and not spend more that I have.

Because he loves me, I've learned that that is enough for me.

I love him.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SWAK (Part 2) - I love you...


I started SWAK early, so if you want to read the first part of the story you can find it here

Part 2 ...

He had gone home for the weekend and I was eagerly anticipating his arrival back on campus. I missed him (and i was insecure). He called to tell me that he wrecked his car. It was totaled. It was a long night that Sunday. We talked a long time. We cried. He was depressed. I was out of control. He told me he loved me and I reciprocated. Things began to change.

We were making new commitments. Trying to help each other not to drink so much. It was summer and time to go back to our respective homes. We spent hours on the phone, almost nightly. We wrote sappy letters chronicling our pathetic lives without one another. I went to visit him and we had this conversation.

Him : "Do you believe in God?"
Me: "I believe in a higher power, but I don't really know much about God"
Silence

We headed back to school. Both of us had new resolve to make better decisions. This is when he started getting weird. I would walk to his dorm and he'd be reading a ... Bible. Can you believe it? Then he didn't want to come to my house because of what went on there. Next he invited me to Church and Bible Study and IV. He was changing and I was trying to change.

Then it happened. I was 19. Life was crazy. I felt hopeless. God drew me to himself. I confessed, I was lost, I needed help, from the only "higher power" that existed. I needed Jesus and he met me where I was. He took me and began the process of changing me from the inside out. He promptly ruined all my goals and replaced them with His plan for me. That handsome boy had led me to Christ and he stood with me as I began to leave the things that were hindering me behind.

I love that boy from my college days (turns out he was a redhead) and I love him even more since he has been my husband for the last 8 years. There is no greater gift he could have given me, then or now, than to introduce me to the Savior of the world. Thank you Norse. You are wonderful.


Please join the carnival and read other stories of the men who make our lives better.

SWAK (Part 1) - The Meeting.

(I am participating in the SWAK carnival that officially starts 2/11, but felt I needed to preface my entries with this post...)


College, the new chapter in life. Barely 18 and ready to spread my wings as I headed off to the University. Little did I know what I would find there. I was a good girl, sowing some wild oats, and college was the perfect opportunity to do that without consequences. I was becoming an adult, but I still dealt with things like a child. The eleventh floor girls became my friends.
I tried to balance the pull of my family life (dad is dying), my classwork (which was hard to know about if you don't attend class), and the ever present smokin' hot men in the building.

Enter the men (more like boys) of the second floor. Yummy. Between meeting in the elevator, rush week, and just college life in general my paths were intersecting with all sorts of new people, too bad my brain was not intersecting with making good choices. I was a little lost, OK VERY lost, some might say I was floundering. You see, I was a good girl, good grades, minimal poor choices, and there on scholarship money. Most would think I wouldn't screw that up.

I blame it mostly on the boy...


That muscular cutie that I met the previous weekend at a party at Cory's house. I think he was blonde. He had a hat on and was kind of quiet. I think he lives on the same floor as Brandon. With only a tiny amount of stalking I figured out his number and invited him on a "group date" - you know the ones where your friends go to the movie with you for the sole purpose of embarrassing you, making you fall out of your chair, and force you to sit RIGHT next to him.
It was a miracle that he talked to me again afterward. I was smitten and I thought maybe he was too, but you never know, it could have just been the beer talking.


We continued on the same path, but he managed to get decent grades (I think because he went to class). Together we became even more entrenched in our bad habits. We weren't very good influences on one another, but we didn't really notice. Time passed, secrets were shared, love (or at least lust) began to grow. Life seemed almost manageable when we were together. And things started to change.


(I guess you'll have to come back tomorrow to see what happens next )

Monday, February 09, 2009

Todays post sponsored by the letter "H"

The sweet author at littletoes assigned me the letter 'h' so I can play along in this little blogging game. I get a letter and have to post the ten things starting with my letter that I love. Here it goes! Be sure to leave me a comment letting me know if you want to join the fun!

1. Hubby - The most handsome, wonderful, forgiving, amazing man I know. I love him more than any other.
2. Hugs - I must say I love hugs from those I love, but I do not enjoy hugs from acquaintances, strangers or stinky people.

(These first two pictures were taken by Alicia Brown)

3. Harley's - Even though they have been "yuppified", Harley Davidson's are so "sick" .

4. Hats - All varieties of hats make me happy, but I have a soft spot for cowboy hats, especially the US made Shady Brady's.

5. Halpert - Jim and the rest of the crew at The Office are some of my favorite TV characters.

6. Hiking - I missed out this summer because my sweet baby was my all consuming hobby, but my hubby and friend went to GNP and were able to capture this spectacular view.

7. Huckleberries - Delicious! The best treat when found trail side on a beautiful hike.

8. House - I really love my house. It isn't too big and it isn't too small. I can see the lake and the mountains. You can see it here.

9. Half-sister - 12 years apart and 3 states away, she is my little sister, and I love her. I am also thankful she loved me when I wore these white capri's one month after baby and still carrying much of my weight gain right where white pants accentuate it. What was I thinking?

10. Hillbillies/Honkies - I love 'em because I am one. I enjoy all sorts of activities that would put me on the same team with this group of people. I don't deny it, I embrace it. (The picture is of my uncle when he was a boy)


I thought I would also throw in a list of 10 things I hate...

1. The Holocaust
2. Hitler
3. Head-lice
4. Heresy
5. Homicidal Maniacs
6. Hoochies
7. Hornets
8. Humidity
9. Hounds-tongue (It's a noxious weed)
10. Housework

How about you?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Partisan Politics

Just something I have been wondering about...

When politicians are frustrated that their idea, bill, or stimulus package isn't getting the go-ahead they resort to the argument that it is just another example of "partisan politics". Couldn't it be that not all American's agree and their elected officials are just doing what they should be by representing the "other" camps reservations and not just being "yes-men (or women)"?

Hope

I am fortunate to be involved with some amazing ladies in a new study group. It is refreshing for me 1) because I get to hang out with the "bible study chicks" and 2) because I am child-less at our meetings! This week has been a challenge for me to dig in to the content of our little book, it seemed a little monotonous - until today!

I have been reflecting on the instability of life. People these days, more than ever, seem to be somewhat pessimistic and almost fatalist in their thinking. It was so inspiriting to be reminded of the hope I have and the hope that Abraham had in the face of insurmountable circumstances.

These are just a few of the hope-filled words (from Romans 4) I read today:

"In hope against hope he believed..."

"Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated..."

"...with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform."


So be encouraged sweet reader that He is able.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Marriage, Money and Mother-in-Laws

It is that time of the week - "SFMTY" Time. I promise I will dig out some of my amazing pictures, to kick up the laugh factor a notch, but for now you will have to suffer through more of these great pictures of my grandparents.

They have been married now 50+ years and this was their wedding day.
Aren't they adorable. My grandma's dark hair sweetly styled with the little curl in front, while my grandpa's curly locks were slicked back with Brylcream. (He still uses the stuff!) I love that it seems like such a simple wedding. Not the obscene ceremonial gaudiness that we create now. It reminds me of a time when no one had much, but at least they had one another. We may be getting back to that time.

This next picture includes the new in-laws; my great grandma (whom I never met, but I hear she lived up to her name, Grace) and my grandfathers parents.

Don't they look thrilled? It seems as though mom and daughter are really trying to be nice. My grandpa is either frightened or caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. My great-grandpa looks as though he just went off the deep end and in the grand tradition of Mother-in-laws, great-gran looks like she can't believe her son married her.

I get along fine (even good most of the time) with my MIL, but was curious how you cultivate good relationships with your in-laws? It seems difficult to go into a family that already has daughters. How do you deal with the family dynamics when a grandchild is born? This is my current dilemma - how do I not feel like my son is "left out" when grandma shows a preference for her daughters children? Any suggestions? I am not used to "competing".

Wordless Wednesday - Baby Blue I Love You



For more great pics, check out Wordless Wednesday @ 5 Minutes for Moms

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Adventurous Eating

We broke the highchair in today. It was our messiest eating session EVER!


He is to the point where he loves to feed himself, but I have to get veggies into him somehow. So, after an unsuccessful attempt at spoon feeding pumpkin and green beans, I gave him the rest. Mr. Independent made a HUGE mess, but also got quite a bit in his pie-hole. Man, I love that kid!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Living with my little boy.

Life with a son has yet to bore me.



Everything is for climbing over.




He enjoys playing with the animals, but I am not sure they enjoy playing with him. 


The excersaucer can no longer be my babysitter because he has learned to bail out over the top. 


He also finds leftover treats from the previous meal hidden underneath.


He and Nadia have perfected the art of begging.


Which is why I am so glad his new highchair came today! He seems to like it very much.


With all the fun we have to have together who has time for cleaning?