Musings on golden moments, perfection and heaven

My birthday was this past week.  My golden birthday…I turned 26 on the 26th.  And golden it truly was, in so many ways.  By far the best birthday I have ever had.  A simple, lovely day spent with my little family.  Glorious weather: a rainy, foggy morning that turned to an afternoon of sunlight and shadowplay.  My new computer arrived much earlier than expected (and I LOVE it!).  Good food shared with good company (my husband and babies).

And then, in my birthday card that morning, my love topped it all off by surprising me with a night away (with a tagalong baby) at a local B&B…for that night!  It was the same B&B, and the same room, that we had booked for our anniversary last year, but that had to be cancelled because it ended up being in the middle of the week-long power outage we went through.   Aaron had apparently been planning this reschedule since January and I hadn’t a clue.  Yes…I am blessed with an amazing husband.

It’s funny though, and rather sad, that even when we’ve been given so much, we still think that we’re entitled to more.  That afternoon, as I was preparing supper, I was thinking about the upcoming night away.  As you would expect, I was really looking forward to the time, especially because certain things had come up during several recent attempts at romantic getaways that interrupted them and caused them to be different than what we wanted them to be.  And this time, my husband had an injured knee that was bothering him and the sweet baby that needed to come with us (since she still nurses several times during the night) doesn’t have the best track record for staying asleep in the evenings.  So my thoughts went something like this: “Why does it always have to be this way?!  Can’t we ever have a perfect evening together?!  Something always has to mar it.”  Yeah…very spiritual and thankful, I know!

But even before those thoughts were gone, the answer came.  The reason why it always is this way — the reason why life is never totally perfect –is  because we’re not Home yet.  And even though there are often beautiful moments scattered about, those gifts from an ever-loving God, we still live in a fallen world.  And as a result, things will never be “perfect” in this life.   Because if they were, why would we long for heaven, our true Home?

So I have a choice.  I can either whine about all the things that aren’t perfect and be mad when everything doesn’t work out exactly how I want it to — taking offense that not everything will be completely “in order” as I would like.  (Sounds rather ridiculous when put like that, eh?!)   Or I can rejoice in all the good gifts that I have been given to me (for there are more than I can number) and when I’m longing for perfection, remember in Whom it is found.  And remember that someday I will experience Perfection, and amazingly enough, it will be even better than the most romantic of date nights here on earth.

And for the record, our little night away was lovely.  Aaron’s knee didn’t bother him too much and our baby girl (who is turning one tomorrow!) slept very well, giving Mommy and Daddy ample time to enjoy the in-room jacuzzi.  It was definitely the most relaxing twelve hours of the past year.  Truly a gift.

Good gifts

(I started writing this a couple weeks ago and then added some final thoughts today.  So the Sunday mentioned was actually several Sundays ago…)

Sunday was one of those beautiful life days.

Nothing spectacular happened, but it was a day filled with many small, simple moments that make me love my life so.  We went to church in the morning, where Aaron led worship (he’s not the main worship leader, but filled in at the last minute).  Came home and had a quick lunch before putting the kids down for naps.  Aaron slept some while I read.  The early evening was spent with the kids.  And then my sweet husband topped off the day with my Valentine’s present.

Like I mentioned, nothing huge happened.  But several times throughout the day, my heart would be filled to bursting at the joy in the little things.  Cedar dancing to Josh Garrels.  Listening to Aaron and Cedar reading “Where’s Goldbug?” (i.e. Cars and Trucks and Things That Go) while I nursed Genoa down for her nap.  How much Cedar and Genoa enjoyed their smoothies at supper.

Sometimes I wonder why I have it so good.  Why do I have such an incredible husband when so many of my friends want to be married and aren’t?  Why have I been blessed two sweet little ones when so many women lose children or aren’t even able to have them?  Why was I born into a country where I have enough food to feed my family, when so many women have to watch their loved ones starve?

I hear about women losing their children or their husbands.  Of others enduring great sorrow.  And I wonder when it will happen to me.  And I find that I can start to live in fear that something will happen.  That God will bring me sorrow to make up for the “perfect” life thus far.  But then I realize that isn’t God.  That isn’t His character.  He wants to give good gifts to His children.

 “Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” ~Matthew 7:9-11

We live in a fallen, sinful world.  And I don’t know why horrible things happen to so many people.  With hard questions like those I just have to trust my Father and know that He is good.  And when hard and horrible things come to me, to rest in Him, trusting in that goodness and His grace to uphold me.  And when beautiful and good things come to me, to accept them with a heart full of thanksgiving knowing that this too is grace.  All is grace.  My sweet husband, my precious children, every moment of this life I love.  They’re all gifts.  And for them I give thanks to my Father.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” ~James 1:17

Of counting gifts and perfectionism

So, this gift list is a day “late”.  However, unlike other late lists, it’s not because we were traveling or internet-less.  We were home all day yesterday and I even had time in the evening to type it up.  But I didn’t want to.  Because you see, I have this problem and it’s called perfectionism.

Back when I only had one baby (and he took two solid naps a day) and life was less crazy, I was able to write down my gifts throughout the day, as they happened.  But now, especially lately, a whole week will go by and my gift journal will remain unopened.  But not because the gifts aren’t there…they are in abundance.  And I’ll still notice them and rejoice in them, and think to myself that I should jot them down.  But that usually doesn’t end up happening and that’s okay.  The important thing is that I noticed them.  But then, Sunday night or Monday morning rolls around and I want to write up my post.  But instead of just writing down the gifts that pop into my head, I freak out and rack my brain, trying to remember every single one, and write them down in chronological order.  Because if I don’t remember every single one and get it down in order, then the list will supposedly be “incomplete”, etc., etc.  As you can imagine, for a tired mommy brain, it just doesn’t happen.  And so I get frustrated.  Not exactly the thankfulness I was going for with counting my gifts.

And so I’m learning and trying to let go of that.  Trying to realize and remember that I don’t need to record every single gift that comes down from the Father of lights (James 1:17).  The important thing is to notice them and thank my Father for them.  And if I get around to recording them, then good…if not, it doesn’t really matter.  And if nothing is recorded for a week, that’s okay too.  I’ll just remember what I can and share those with others, knowing that my gifts are more than I can count.  And I am thankful.

1831. What a great team my husband and I make.

1832. Going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium with Aaron’s family.

1833. Cedar’s delight at getting to touch starfish.

1834. Nursing Genoa in the dark of a secluded corner of one of the exhibits.

1835. The versatility of the Ergo (from baby to toddler).

1836. Chasing Cedar around the kids’ aquarium area.

1837. Cedar’s delighted “Mama!” when he saw something particularly fascinating.

1838. Sitting outside in the sun by the ocean with Genoa sleeping in the Ergo.

1839. Clam chowder in a bread bowl.

1840. Home days to recover from previous days with no naps.

1841. Cedar’s utter enjoyment of “helping water” (i.e. playing in the dishwater).

1842. How easily soapy water cleans up.

1843. Cedar’s “working hard!”.

1844. Looking forward to our weekly at-home date night.

1845. A simple bouquet of two roses and a sunflower from my love.

1846. Genoa in her little jeans and too-short-sundress-turned-tunic over a onesie.

1847. The kids and I helping Aaron clean up his job site.

1848. A dish I randomly invented and threw together turning out just as yummy as I thought it would.

1849. My drying rack.

1850. A package from MoreThanAlive.

1851. New essential oils.

1852. Learning to seek the Father’s will above my own.

1853. A phone call that changes everything and renews anticipation.

1854. Prayer.

1855. How my mom helps me put things in perspective.

1856. Learning to love unselfishly.

1857. Amazing nursing camis.

1858. Eating Ghirardelli chocolate chips off a lid.

1859. My babies modeling their New Zealand wool winter hats.

1860. How much Cedar loves doing his farm animal puzzle.

1861. My love playing with our babies.

1862. Warm Moroccan yumminess.

1863. Chatting with a new friend about food and cloth diapers and life.

1864. Dry rice to help a toddler-drowned phone.

1865. Learning to let go of my perfectionism (again!).

Gifts in the changing of the seasons

1501. New kids’ books.

1502. The Whale and the Snail becoming a fast favourite.

1503. Watching Cedar’s imagination and memory grow.

1504. Learning patience and waiting on the Lord’s timing.

1505. Aaron finishing a fencing job going so well.

1506. “New” winter shirts…all gifts or garage-sale finds.

1507. Mushrooms.

1508. Pumpkin pie casserole.

1509. Homemade meatballs.

1510. Waking up to a light dusting of snow outside.

1511. Fires in our woodstove.

1512. A pizza party at Aaron’s parents’ house.

1513. Going bowling with Aaron’s family.

1514. Watching Cedar ride the coin-operated train at the bowling alley.

1515. Going shopping as our little family.

1516. Being able to buy so much good food.

1517. A full pantry, fridge and freezers.

1518. Genoa’s little pink shoes.

1519. Watching “Cars 2″ with my love.

1520. Making breakfast sausage (with ground beef).

1521. Our new glass storage containers (Glasslock Snapware).

1522. Wearing my shirtdress over a skirt.

1523. Genoa trying to get the board books out of their basket.

1524. Napping babies.

1525. Snowy trees on distant ridgelines.

1526. Little ruffled trouser pockets.

1527. Chubby baby bottoms.

1528. Eating Chocolate Hazelnut Butter by the spoonful.

1529. Figuring out which essential oil to try next.

1530. Cheddar avocado sandwiches.

 

Of big boy beds and packages from the other side of the world

1471. Aaron making Cedar’s big boy bed.

1472. How much Cedar loves his bed and that he helped with the “scoos” (screws).

1473. The bittersweetness of his first night in it.

1474. Aaron getting to go to his finish carpentry workshop.

1475. Our first weekly at-home date night…so nice in spite of being exhausted.

1476. Chipotle brought home.

1477. Watching “Prince Caspian” in my love’s arms.

1478. Canning applesauce with my husband.

1479. An even number of jars canned (to satisfy my OCD-ness).

1480. An unexpected box of goodies from New Zealand.

1481. Hand-me-downs for the babies and Mommy.

1482. New jewelry…some made from paua shells.

1483. A wrap shirt dress…on the very day that I was bemoaning the fact that none of my old ones fit me anymore (they weren’t made for nursing mamas!).

1484. Cedar wanting to wear bright red pajama pants with cars on them and a pair of blue-striped gloves when we went for a walk.

1485. My apple pie turning out very yummy despite forgetting to make enough crust for a top too…so I covered it with crumbled leftover cinnamon roll biscuits.

1486. A spur of the moment garage-sailing excursion.

1487. Adding more 50 cent dresses to Genoa’s little girl dress collection.

1488. Finding a four-person tent for $6.

1489. Aaron finding a push lawnmower.

1490. Holding a real conversation with Cedar.

1491. Cedar saying “Meat. Fun” when I told him that we were having steak for dinner.

1492. How much reading loves us singing/reading his Baby Beluga book…

1493. …and then he tries to sing it too.

1494. My recreation of an artichoke and turkey/chicken panini from Panera.

1495. Most of our Azure order arriving…including my natural “Nutella” (finally!).

1496. Strauss Family Creamery yoghurt.

1497. Cedar matter-of-factly helping himself to another Fig Newman.

1498. My love watching the kids so I could sleep another hour.

1499. Genoa FINALLY napping solidly after several days of not.

1500. Anticipation.

Of good food and Winnie-the-Pooh

1441. How much fun Cedar has playing with all the little cars he was given.

1442. Talking with a friend about baby stuff (and discovering that we both had planned to use the same very rare baby name!).

1443. Genoa’s huge smiles and her little gasps when she’s excited or happy.

1444. Little legs and arms flailing in excitement.

1445. Growing times in our marriage.

1446. Having good friends over for dinner.

1447. Amazing steak.

1448. Chocolate pasta with raspberry sauce and whipped cream for dessert.

1449. Cedar recognizing me humming the Winnie-the-Pooh theme song and asking to “watch Pooh?”.

1450. Throw-together dinners of leftover quinoa pilaf and a skillet mix of ham, onion, kale and apple.

1451. Playing games with Aaron’s sisters.

1452. Making pumpkin cream cheese bread.

1453. All our lights making our cottage so cozy in the cool, dark evenings.

1454. Sharing and praying with my sisters in Christ.

1455. Scrambled eggs.

1456. Cedar singing “up, down, up, down” from Pooh.

1457. Going (organic!) apple picking as our little family.

1458. Searching for a certain type of apple with Aaron.

1459. Tidy rows of trees.

1460. Cedar and Genoa in their sun hats.

1461. How, when asked where he was going when he walked off, Cedar replied “appa piteen” in a tone of “Duh, Mom!”.

1462. Talking and dreaming and planning with my love.

1463. An hour on the lake with Aaron’s family.

1464. How excited Cedar was watching Daddy being pulled behind the boat on the tube.

1465. How much Genoa moves around on the floor.

1466. Aaron ordering his new Chromebook.

1467. Fun cribbage and Draw Two games with my love.

1468. Aaron’s amazing bread.

1469. Eggplant melts.

1470. A lovely evening with my husband.

 

Of gardens and family photos and faraway friends

1411. Catching up on laundry.

1412. Our new Turkish-looking duvet cover.

1413. The bittersweetness of pulling up the summer garden.

1414. Our candle lantern hanging by the back door.

1415. Catching up on some Internet reading.

1416. My new hanging spice rack/cooking area (I love IKEA!).

1417. Knowing there is grace even when it seems like I’m tired all. the. time.

1418. Having an extra pizza from the ones I made the night before so all I had to do for supper was throw a salad together.

1419. Finally being able to do a whole workout session without being interrupted and having to move on to something else.

1420. Sunset-coloured roses from my guys.

1421. Talking with a close friend that lives in Minnesota.

1422. That singing with Aaron at the local crisis pregnancy center fundraising banquet went so well despite several complications.

1423. Finding some good stuff at the MOPS rummage sale…

1424. …like a denim jumper for Genoa, just in time for our family pictures.

1425. Finding cute dresses to put away for a couple years.

1426. A really fun family portrait session in the park.

1427. Anticipating seeing the photos.

1428. Spending Sunday morning at home together.

1429. Pumpkin pie French toast.

1430. Going to the local plant nursery with the kids.

1431. Planting our fall garden.

1432. Being able to help plant since I wasn’t nine months pregnant this time.

1433. Wearing Genoa in her first back carry.

1434. Seafood pasta and artichokes for supper.

1435. Avocados for 77 cents each.

1436. Genoa putting herself back to sleep twice after fully waking up at night.

1437. A phone call from a friend on a long faraway trip.

1438. Brisk mornings.

1439. Chatting with a friend that I haven’t talked with in a long time.

1440. Chubby polka-dotted legs.

 

Gifts from a busy week

Even though I do know that it’s actually two days after Monday, I still like to add the “multitudes on mondays” button at the bottom of the list because if I didn’t my OCD-ness would freak out because this list would be different from the other ones. !!!  My excuse for the tardiness is that we had a super busy weekend traveling to the coast for Aaron’s cousin’s wedding and we didn’t get home until late Monday evening.  Then there was groceries to put away, stuff to unpack and tired babies to put to bed.  And I spent yesterday doing FIVE loads of laundry, plus diapers, finishing unpacking and trying to put my house back together since we left in kind of a rush.  So there you go.  But don’t worry, this list only goes through Monday…so that way it’s still not different than the other ones.  Whew.

1371. Pumpkin spice candles.

1372. Cedar and Aaron running manly errands together.

1373. Having Aaron’s sister and her boyfriend over for supper.

1374. Quiet days following busier ones.

1375. Rain, rain and more rain.

1376. The first fire (in the woodstove) of the season.

1377. Pumpkin pie cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

1378. Honey mustard lentil and ham soup.

1379. Our little cottage…so cozy in the rainy cold.

1380. My white IKEA candle lanterns glowing vanilla-scented light in the morning.

1381. My love making me tea.

1382. Close friends getting engaged.

1383. An impromptu fun trip into town…no grocery shopping at all!

1384. Good discussions in the van with Aaron.

1385. All the fun good-quality toys they now have at Barnes & Noble…so many things I wanted to buy for Cedar and Genoa.

1386. How much fun Cedar had wandering around Barnes & Noble.

1387. A simple supper at Panera.

1388. Trading sandwich halves with my love.

1389. A free pumpkin spice latte because of Aaron’s Panera Rewards card.

1390. Driving home through a lovely dusk.

1391. Genoa watching me with her huge blue eyes while she falls asleep in my arms.

1392. How much joy Genoa’s smiles bring to so many random people we meet.

1393. Scarf weather.

1394. Wearing my merinos.

1395. Having our Australian friend over for dinner and learning so much about that amazing country.

1396. How patient my husband is with me.

1397. The beauty of organic produce.

1398. Spending time at the beach as our little family.

1399. Nursing Genoa in a little secluded stairwell between shops.

1400. Driving around the redwoods for an hour so the kids would nap.

1401. The random little dewy garden outside the rehearsal dinner location.

1402. An excellent breakfast prepared by Aaron’s aunt and uncle who we were staying with.

1403. The loveliness of the redwoods.

1404. The most amazing reception food I’ve ever had.

1405. Cheesecake.

1406. Shopping at IKEA.

1407. Walking into Chipotle with Cedar on my back in the Ergo and holding Genoa (Aaron had gone in to order while I changed their diapers in the car).

1408. Finding a new (green!) long-sleeve shirt at Costco.

1409. Genoa staying asleep in the van while Aaron unloaded it and I put away groceries.

1410. The loveliness of being home.

 

Garden vegetables, lessons and memories

1336. Remembering meeting my love for the first time (in person).

1337. Three amazing and full years together.

1338. Eggplant parmesan from our own fresh eggplant.

1339. How much better nutritional/brewer’s yeast makes tomato-based dishes taste.

1340. Making pesto.

1341. Eating from our garden.

1342. How fresh tomatoes make almost anything taste better.

1343. A pear cranberry galette…very yummy in spite of kind of falling apart.

1344. Continuing to learn how to be even more vulnerable with my husband.

1345. What an amazing songwriter my husband is.

1346. A quick morning trip into town to get produce.

1347. Discovering that one of the local stores (since Trader Joe’s is an hour away) has pretty good prices on organic produce.

1348. A bag of six organic kiwis for the price of a single conventional one.

1349. Shopping with my babies.

1350. How adorable Cedar looks in his “new” overalls.

1351. That Genoa’s clogged tear duct is finally healed.

1352. Learning and growing in marriage.

1353. Learning and growing in parenting.

1354. Being able to talk to and get good advice from my mom.

1355. Aaron teaching me cribbage (my new favourite game!).

1356. Yummy skillet vegetable medleys…taken mostly from our waning garden.

1357. An adorable new apron…a gift from my sweet husband for my “fall baking”.

1358. A dozen red “Happy Fall” roses from my love.

1359. Being able to go out by myself for an hour or so to run some little errands while Aaron stayed home with our napping babies.

1360. Fun books from the book sale…$3 a bag, but half price for us since Aaron helped set up.

1361. Cute jeans for Genoa.

1362. BabyLegs at a great price.

1363. An unexpected phone call from a friend.

1364. Reading with my love.

1365. Cedar doing so well at church.

1366. Find Tevas 40% off when I already needed some new ones soon.

1367. Dreaming with my love of places we could move to.

1368. Lots of energy despite being up quite a bit with a fussy baby.

1369. Early morning editing with my little girl.

1370. A clean house.

 

Of little boy clothes and cooler weather

1301. Unpacking and putting everything back to rights.

1302. Cedar’s first haircut.

1303. Sleep.

1304. An accomplished morning in spite of needing more sleep.

1305. Filling our fridge again.

1306. A supper of yummy bread, good cheese and fresh fruit.

1307. Finding good deals on winter clothes for Cedar.

1308. Little boy zip-off trousers…so he can be just like Daddy.

1309. Anticipating cooler weather so we can get out of our summer clothes.

1310. A cute striped maternity shirt to add to the collection for next time.

1311. Dinner at my in-law’s house.

1312. Encouraging words from a mama of many.

1313. Going to my brother-in-law’s band’s first concert.

1314. Being awakened in the morning by a kiss.

1315. Dozing between my babies in bed, nursing one and then the other, while listening to the rain outside the open windows.

1316. Cedar falling asleep in our bed after his morning nursing.

1317. How Cedar is starting to string words together.

1318. Avocados.

1319. Going the local Tomato Festival.

1320. Tomato taste-testing.

1321. Walking and exploring together, with Genoa in the Ergo and Cedar in the backpack.

1322. Finding an unexpected park.

1323. Cedar going down the slide all by himself.

1324. His chubby little face peeking through portholes in the tunnels.

1325. Eating outside on our patio.

1326. Drinking Blue Lady tea while reading to my littles.

1327. Cedar putting his arm around Genoa while they were sitting next to each other.

1328. Genoa’s chubbiness in her BabyLegs.

1329. The best pizza I’ve ever made.

1330. The evening being cool enough to actually use the oven for supper.

1331. A morning cool enough for long skirts, sweaters, oatmeal and hot tea.

1332. Looking forward to having some new friends over for supper.

1333. Gretchen’s super-helpful “Understanding the New Facebook” post.

1334. Looking at different friends’ pictures of England and remembering our trip there exactly two years ago.

1335. The beginning of autumn.

 

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