Thursday, November 25, 2010

We Asked for This

Today is Thanksgiving.  A time to give God thanks for all things.  This year we are particularly thankful for His provision for us despite uncertain times.  We are not only not without a place to be, but find ourselves having to decide which of four offers to accept as our new temporary residence.  God truly is good.

When we were having yet another of those late-night conversations in which we try to solve our current unemployment dilemma as well as cure the world of its problems my husband said something startling--"You know what I realized the other day?  We asked for this." 

Say what?

He then proceeded to explain.  We all have people that we admire so much that we'd like to mature into what they are.  People who live and demonstrate their faith in Christ in a way that exudes love and mercy.  In our case, every one of those people has been through something profound--or more than one something.  Heartache, loss, poverty, etc.  Each of those people has grown in ways that wouldn't have been possible had they not been placed in those circumstances.  Those are the people we have prayed to be like.  We not only asked for this, we prayed for it.

God has granted those prayers.  Now we can only pray that this fire will do its work of refinement, while also praying for provision of work in His good time.

So we give Thanks.  Thanks for providing us the opportunity to grow.  To become a family filled with mercy, faith, and love toward others.  And, of course, thanks for the provisions that keep showing up where we wouldn't have thought to look, from the most unexpected places.  God is good, and today is for remembering that his goodness transcends our worldly perceptions and giving thanks for that goodness to us.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Projects

I've been trying to remind myself that, despite things being rather difficult and frightening right now, we have a lot to be thankful for.  So, Mercy has had some exposure to Thanksgiving crafts.

She couldn't quite figure out how to hold her cornucopia up for the camera...

The dessert-style pumpkin muffin...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gilead is Nine Months!

How did that happen?  Despite all of the major transitions we've undergone since Gilead's birth, I still can't believe that nine months have gone by.  I took Little Guy in for his 9 month check-up yesterday, and he's certainly a growing boy.

Weight: 18lbs. 13oz. (24%)
Height: 29 inches (77%)

He must a small bone frame under there, because despite the desparity between his height and weight he still has chubs!

Like his sister, he is falling off the bottom of the chart in the gross motor department.  Therefore, we're supposed to call the pediatrician in a month with an update on his progress.  If it isn't as much as she would like he'll be evaluated.  However, I'm not as worried about him as I was Mercy.  Not only was she behind, but her movement patterns weren't normal.  His are normal, just way behind.  He's finally able to sit up for decent periods of time, but he can't get himself to and from sitting yet, let alone go anywhere or pull himself up.  Maybe he's just relaxed.  After all, his face looks like this most of the time...

Well, minus the cracker all over it.  But he is a pretty happy guy.  Before we know it, a full year with him will have somehow flown by!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mercy Pets a Cow

Yesterday we spent the evening with friends who have a small farm, which provided Mercy the opportunity to play with and pet kitties.  Much to her delight she even got to pat a duck. And that reminded me that we have a video of Mercy petting a calf from the pumpkin patch that is awfully cute.  So I suppose this is mostly for the grandparents...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just Before the Morn...

We've all heard it said that the night is darkest just before the morn.  There is always morning for the Christian, and yet I find myself getting lost in that dark just prior to the dawn all too often these days.

The "what ifs" consume me.  Some pettier than others  What if we don't have an income soon?  What if the economy doesn't pick up soon?  Where will we live?  How will we provide for our two children?  What if we never own a home?  Or even live in one?  If I were to become pregnant again, could we afford a vehicle that we could get three car seats into?

Every now and then I still get upset over how long it will take us to own a home, but right now, I'd just like a home--even if that means a low-income apartment.  The prospect of living in your vehicle is one thing without children.  With them, unthinkable.

Not that it will come to that.  Though our families' homes are currently filled with other family members in need of shelter, we do have many friends who have volunteered bedrooms or basements.  In fact, we're currently living in the home of some friends who are out of the country.  They'll be returning at the end of the month.  And although I can't honestly say that living in a basement or all four of us sleeping in one bedroom is my idea of a desirable living arrangement, I know that it is much better than what some are currently facing.  I have never had so much compassion for the destitute as I do now, when I feel the potential for being in that same situation breathing down the back of my neck.  I know that God, and my husband will care for us, but things are frightening nonetheless.  Some situations require a constant reminder of the fact that there is hope.

We've often joked that finding employment will be much like finding one another.  Just when things began to feel hopeless, just when it felt we'd waited forever, God brought us together.  And it was so, so very sweet.  It still is.

Sometimes it seems as though others don't have valleys.  They skip along their merry way without being touched by suicide, singleness, or long-term unemployment.  And yet, my husband reminds me that they are not without their trials--we simply can't see many of them.  Either because the nature of those situations is private, or the individuals who are in the midst of those trials don't share them with many others.  My father's suicide was certainly the most traumatic life event I've ever experienced, and singleness was hard.  Unemployment when one has a family to support is also a hard thing.  All of those are also very public things.  And yet, I'm thankful that my marriage is sound (and yes, very sweet) and our children are clothed, fed, and healthy.  Yes, they are kept that way by the generosity of others, including the government, at the moment.  But in God's providence, they are.  

And so, in all things, we are to be giving thanks.  I'm trying, but if you run into me on a particularly rough day and ask how I'm doing, you just might need to be prepared to see me fight back a tear or two...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Such a Big Boy!

Gilead is working hard at mastering the art of the sippy cup...

And he's so proud of himself!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Persevering in Faith

Faith is an easy thing to have when you don't need it.  I know that we actually need to have faith in all things and at all times, but there are also times that require it in much larger quantities than do other seasons of life.

We're in one of those large dose seasons.  Unemployment is becoming exhausting.  Discouraging.  Depressing.  All things that, as Christians whose true hope is in Christ, it would seem we shouldn't be feeling.  Except maybe the exhaustion part.

I am reminded constantly these days that we don't and truly can't know the mind of God.  From my earthly perspective it seems wrong and terribly unfair that those who may be less qualified, poorer students, and generally less responsible are getting jobs when my husband, who has over 80 applications out, has not landed one yet.  Or that every one of those other guys we know is an extrovert and that our introversion seems to be a strong disadvantage.

Some extroverts will basically tell us to "get over"  being an introvert. That would be akin to our telling them to think things through before talking.  Or to let someone else do the talking among other things. Although I understand that some extroverts think they already do.  Regardless, it is an extroverts job market right now, and we have known a couple of more honest extroverts who have willingly admitted as much.  Some companies even require you to go to a social as part of the interview process, which is a very, very painful experience for an introvert--even when we put on our game faces and try to be  more outgoing.  I would love it if the extroverts and employers of the world could really understand that an introvert can do just as well, if not even better, at getting the job done.  Maybe not as a used car salesman.  But as an accountant, it's a sure thing.  It's a bit like the guys who can't see past the flirty girls to the true gems that aren't laying on the surface.

That was a bit of a digression.  So sorry.

Ryan has had an interview a week for the past several weeks.  We've heard "no" from a couple of those, and have yet to hear from a couple of others.  So there is reason to hope.  However, I find myself wanting more and more to have someone just hold me and tell it will be alright.  I know that it will.  And my husband does tell me that we'll be alright.  Often.  But when there isn't a means to provide a home for your children in the immediate future, nor has there been for one for sometime, one begins to falter.  Or at least I do.  I pray daily for the faith required to continue in hope, knowing that our Father in Heaven will not leave us.

In the meantime, we are so thankful to the friends who are letting us stay in their home while they are overseas and for a church body that truly does care for us.  The blessings are here, they are very present in our lives.  This is simply one of those times in which I need to actively look for them and then make sure that I take them to heart.  God is good.  And our job right now is to continue to persevere, knowing that He won't let us slip out of the palm of His hands.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mercy's First Haircut

It only took 2-1/2 years for Mercy to grow enough hair to require a trim.  Yes, 2-1/2 years.  However, she's ahead of the curve as far as I'm concerned--she beat me to the quantity of hair she has by a good year.  I was a bald, bald baby and toddler.

Deciding to do it was tough.  After all, it took over two years to grow that lovely head of hair, and I didn't want to risk messing it up.  However, her bangs grew past her mouth and became harder and harder to manage, so we decided to give it a go.  I checked into local kid haircut places and wound up deciding to try Little Clippers in Lake Oswego.

Mercy chose the red Lightening McQueen car over a girly one...

The first cut...

She got to watch Thomas the Tank Engine while getting a trim...

Andrea, her stylist, was so good with her!

She left with a pretty hairdo, too!

And a first haircut certificate.
 Most places I found (apart from the cheap ones that make me nervous) were charging $8 for a bang trim and $15 for a haircut.  We got it all done for $13 at Little Clippers, and the experience was well worth it.  I'm hoping that now that there are "lines" to follow I might be able to keep it up a bit myself, but we'll see.

All in all, the experience was much less traumatic than I had anticipated, and Mercy still talks about it.  I think she'd like to get many more haircuts in the future!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gilead's New Smile

When Mercy was about Gilead's age, she developed what we referred to as her "cheesy grin."  Gilead seems to be following suit and developing one of his own...

These are Mercy's versions when she was about the same age.

Nope, they're not exactly the same, but they both definitely ooze character!