Monday, January 31, 2011

It all began a few nights ago...

(I was going to type up some celebratory post for having stuck with the ol' bloggie for a whole year, but I thought that the anniversary was sometime in February and not the twenty-fourth of January. [THIS CHILD HAS SUCKED OUT MY BRAINS!]  So since today feels like the day when I started Amelia is Rabbit, here's a reminder of the first post.)


It all began last night....

Well, to be quite accurate, it all began last week when I went to the library and came home with a pile of books and we started reading chapters from Winnie the Pooh and A House at Pooh Corner out loud. (I started the wave by reading "In Which Kanga and Roo Come to the Forest and Piglet Has a Bath," but then Steve took over and has been the more diligent of us two in bringing Pooh to life in the spare moments of the day.)

Then, last night, Steve read this:
It was going to be one of Rabbit's busy days. As soon as he woke up he felt important, as if everything depended on him. It was just the day for Organizing Something, or for Writing a Notice Signed Rabbit, or for Seeing What Everybody Else Thought About It.

"It's Amelia," said he.

Hence, the name of this blog.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Snippets and Snapshots from the week (Jan 22-28)

  • The Bronco died this week.  Well, it's not completely dead, but it is getting close.  The clutch has been giving us fits for the entire winter, and since we arrived in IL it has been nearly impossible to drive.  The shop says that the Bronco needs a new clutch to the tune of $1250.  Gulp.  We really don't want to put that much money into a vehicle with nearly 300,000 miles on it.  So now in the midst of everything else, we are looking for a new car and trying to determine the wisest plan of action as far as Money and No Job Yet is concerned.  Being a grown-up is weird.

I guess the lid is organic, too

  • HarriEd likes baby food from jars.  I hope that this isn't an indication that she prefers processed foods over raw, but since she is six months old and I am a persuasive cook, I doubt her tastes will linger in this area for too much longer.  In the meantime, she is enjoying pears, sweet potatoes and prunes.  Rice cereal is still an absolute and resounding NO.  (Here, precious mommy, let me spit all of this white goop back in your face.)
  • I'm still wondering why God gave me, the girl who needs space, a child who likes to remain on my body for the significant portion of the day and definitely all night.  But she's so cute, how can I resist?  And her sad face is enough to melt the hardest of hearts.

They usually get along just fine, I promise.

  •  We have been blessed to be able to stay at the G's house this week while they are off visiting folks in distant lands.  It has been so nice to be able to cook food and have a consistent place to sleep and have a sort-of normal routine for HarriEd.  
  • I went to Zumba this week for the first time.  Wowsers.  The Zumba toning class totally kicked my butt.  I obviously haven't been able to exercise consistently for the past few weeks, but I have tried to sneak it in when I can.  But apparently I was unprepared for dancing with weights and completing a ridiculous number of squats and lunges.  It was fun, though!  And I think that it will be an adequate substitute for the beloved Jazzercise.  (However, I must say that major props go out to Yellow Kim and Black Kim for being the most coordinated, in-shape exercise instructors I know.)

Le maison

  •  We are hoping to get fully moved in by tomorrow.  Steve is over at the new place now to assist in moving the major appliances and I plan on going over later and doing some cleaning.  Hooray!
  • The job hunt continues.  Steve has applied for close to forty different opportunities and has only heard back from one...which happens to be 1.5 hours away.  Blah.  OH!  He has some sort of interview on Monday with an office position for an insurance company.  Pray!

Birthday flowers from Clevi.

  •  The celebrated meal of the week has been Pistachio Crusted Chicken with Avocado Dressing.  Yep, we made in twice: once on my birthday and then again the other evening.  It's crazy easy and so stinkin' delicious and totally healthy.  The best part?  Make an extra piece or two of chicken and have a yummy chicken salad sandwich the next day.

HarriEd waiting for her daddy to get out of his Bible Content exam.
  • We traveled down to Covenant twice this week - once on Monday for the general orientation and then again on Tuesday for an entrance exam.  The campus is nice and small and the folks are friendly.  There are lots of people with babies and children, so I like that.  I was told that one family from the UK came with one child and now four years later, they are leaving with five.  Oh boy.  (I would guess that maybe another desperate family gave some kids to the UK family, but I believe it to be otherwise....)  The biggest difference between Bible college and seminary?  No long list of rules at the orientation (no rules at all, actually) and the place is swarming with men.  
  • Well, HarriEd is demanding my attention by attempting to make the Great Escape of the Century from her Bumbo chair.  Tally ho!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Teeny-tiny Goals Part One: Introverted Goals

This is super-late, I know.  All of the New Years posts on self-improvement and vision for the upcoming months are history.  But I actually did make some goals for 2011 and, thanks to the many hours spent on the road over the past few weeks, I've had a chance to refine them further in my mind.  Now I want to write them down.

Now having goals is really important for me because I want to get things done in life, but without a plan I tend to waffle around.  Focus, Amelia!  In the past I have been able to set really big and exciting goals because, well, I dictated my own time.  Now with the amazing HarriEd, things are really different.  In order to accomplish any of my goals I have to resize them into teeny-weeny segments and very realistic expectations.  Does this feel like under-achieving?  Yes, it does.  But will I achieve anything if I don't set goals?  Probably very little.  So here we go.

I mentally organized my list of goals into two categories: introverted goals and extroverted goals.  Here are the introverted goals I hope to reach this year.

  1. Pray more.  I want to start and keep a prayer journal with personal requests and the requests of others.  Steve and I have begun praying together as a couple, too.
  2. Read at least one book a month.  I probably already do this, but I wanted to have a specific goal to meet in this area, anyway.  I was reading in John Piper's Think about how we have to exercise our brain in the area of reading.  If we don't read then we get out-of-shape in our brain.  My reading brain certainly feels out of shape these days and that's something that definitely needs to be remedied.  This month I'm working on Jerry Bridges' The Discipline of Grace.
  3. Start a regular Bible study.  We are reading the Bible through with the ESV reading schedule, but I desire to start a personal study time.  This will probably happen during HarriEd's first nap of the day.  I'm looking at getting one of these studies, or maybe even a Beth Moore one.  Any suggestions are welcome!
  4. Make wardrobe changes.  I'm pretty sure that the majority of my wardrobe consists of clothes that I bought when I was sixteen.  Maybe it isn't that bad, but I'm ready to move into a more mature realm of dressing without sacrificing cuteness or the budget.  So, I want to  make small changes to my wardrobe through the purchase of classic pieces and the creation of adorable accessories.  
  5. Building the Etsy store.  Again, I'm thinking small here: small baby clothes, small accessories, small items for interior decorating, anything that I can create in an afternoon or in a series of 15 minute intervals.  This makes me crazy excited and I cannot wait to dig out my sewing machine and get started.
There you go.  The list of introverted goals.  Maybe I'll be able to give little updates here and there about how it's all going.  Now I need to go take advantage of the napping child and read some more....

Have a splendid day, everybody!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Grace Alone

January seems to be the month of moving.  First it was a move to the ends of the earth eastern Missouri to spend a semester of training at Child Evangelism Fellowship's Children's Ministries Institute.  Then it was starting classes at Cornerstone Bible Institute and having to make the drive in sub-zero South Dakota weather to move back into a dorm (times two years in a row).  This year I'm moving back east with a baby and husband and a queen-sized mattress.

I was thinking about each of these moves this morning and the similarities and differences between them.  As far as similarities are concerned, each move has been related to continuing down a path of formal education.  Each move has been about getting more engaged in a vocation of ministry.  Each move has been right before my birthday.  And, each and every time, it has been freezing cold.. (I'm wondering when we're going to spend a January move heading toward the West coast.  Monterey, anyone?)

And there are some differences about this move that are significant.  I am now packing for three people instead of just one.  My life routine will remain primarily the same as life in Nebraska (being wife-y and mommy) while Steve goes back to school.  Instead of moving to a dorm life where others are in the same transitional boat, I'm moving into a house in a rural town where people are engaged in the same everyday activities that have occurred for years.  (No ice-breaker game nights or school cafeterias around here.)  There isn't any person in a position above us to pick up the slack when we fail: we're the grown-ups now.  I feel very, very small.

Our first week has been challenging as we face the uncertainties of job hunting and the Bronco being an absolute pill and waiting for the house to be ready for us to move into.  It's been hard feeling like we're in limbo without a clear direction.  I have this insatiable desire to Do All the Things and that's just not possible at this point.  Steve and I  are both experiencing moments and hours of down-in-the-dumps in which our brains feel foggy and we just can't see anymore.  We are both terrified of messing up.  Then I hear from my family about the serious health struggles my grandad is facing and the uncertainty and stress that it brings.  It's weird and depressing.

But it was so encouraging to go to church yesterday and hear the Word of God and remember that He is faithful to that Word and the promises that He makes.  It was good to remember that He is still working out His sovereign will in this world and even though we feel like we are just a blip in this ocean of flat Illinois whiteness (yes, it has snowed and snowed and snowed here) that He hasn't forgotten about us.  He won't forget about us.

We sang this song in church yesterday morning:

Every step of faith we make to move is by His grace.  Each time we think hopefully and joyfully about the future is by His grace.  Every chance we take to get to know people is by His grace.  Every good-supportive-wife thought or action that I take is by His grace.  Each opportunity to serve Him and each other is by His grace.  It's a tremendously humbling truth because we can't claim any of the fame for ourselves.  All of the glory goes to God.  At the same time, it's a wondrously empowering truth because He supplies all of our spiritual, physical, and emotional needs with His abundant goodness and grace.  This is the truth that I must preach to myself and allow His Word to preach to me when we are facing a large and looming world.

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.   
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
      “ For Your sake we are killed all day long;
       We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:26-39, New King James Version)

May Jesus Christ be praised!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Harriet at Six Months

This child is growing like sweet corn in the summertime!  Here are few HarriEd highlights of the past few weeks.

  • She is eating baby food.  Yes, it's true.  I had been holding off to make sure that she was really ready before we dove headlong into the world of pulverized vegetables, but apparently her six month birthday was the magic time to begin.  And she is really, really ready.  After being introduced to sweet potatoes last Saturday, HarriEd taste for the orange stuff has progressed to the point of eating half of a jar of it in one sitting.  While bouncing along in the Bronco on Monday, she ate 3/4 of a jar of sweet potatoes and devoured an entire teething biscuit.  She was a happy little clam.  Maybe she has just been hungry?  My goal is to make all of her baby food from the raw fruits and vegetables and to make cereal from the actual whole grains, but moving has put a hold on that endeavor.  Earth's Best Organic baby food and cereal is a great substitute in the meantime.  This afternoon we tried rice cereal and bananas and she made a face of extreme disgust and spit it out.  Hmm.
  • She can sit up completely on her own.  She will also reach for things, grab them, and pull herself back up to sitting repeatedly.  She also loves to pull herself up with my fingers and stand for a while.
  • She loves to eat paper.  Apparently she thinks she needs more fiber in her diet.  Tags are her biggest downfall.  
  • She will stare at herself in the mirror and squawk like a parrot.
  • She finds beards to be particularly interesting facial features and will attempt to pull them off of the owner.
  • And, lastly but most importantly, she has TWO new teeth.  HarriEd has been teething for months, or so it seems, and finally Tooth #1 popped through on Sunday night.  This morning brought out Tooth #2.  (I can't believe she is old enough to have two teeth.  Crazy!)  She seems very pleased with herself for this development.  We are pleased parents since this will hopefully alleviate some of our sleepless nights.
Most pictures of Harriet look like this:

Cameras are just so interesting.

Here she is with some baby food.
Yay, rice cereal.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Little life update

HarriEd is sleeping on my other arm so I'm attempting to give typing with one hand a shot.  This may be the shortest post with the longest typing time in the history of blogging.  Oh...there, I got my other hand extracted.  Now we're at full typing speed again.

So we landed in IL on Tuesday afternoon.  We were planning to make the trip all in one day (it's about a ten hour drive on an easy going route) but after getting a later-than-desired start on the road (thanks to a 45 minute foray into the realm of Rear View Mirror Attachment) and driving into some nasty fog-turned-into-ice in the evening, we decided to pull off for the night.  If you ever need to stop in Macon, MO, I highly recommend the Comfort Inn.  It's reasonably priced, super nice, and has a swell hot tub. (I'm sure that the availability of said hot tub was accentuated by the fact that I had been riding for about six hours in a cross legged position in the back seat of the Bronco, thanks to the gigantor laser printer being packed under my feet and HarriEd's need to be entertained/fed.)  All that to say that our trip went very smoothly.  Steve did an excellent job driving with the Uhaul trailer.  HarriEd did an excellent job being herself and staying mostly calm.  I did an excellent job keeping various and sundry packed items from falling on my head.  God is so very good to us and we're glad to be here.  Thank you so much for your prayers!  I can honestly say that I never felt tense about the weather or about driving decisions or even about having to spend money unexpectedly.  Me, not worrying?  That is an answer to prayer!

We are renting a house from an older couple in the church here.  It was built in the 50s and hasn't seen a whole lot of updating since then, so the couple and their son are spending quite a bit of time and effort fixing it up.  So far the floors have been sanded and sealed (yay for hardwood floors!) and some painting has been done on the walls.  We can't officially move in until the fixing up is done (boo for noxious fumes), but we were able to unpack onto the enclosed front porch.  The house is quite large compared to our first little place (even most apartments are larger than 512 square feet) and my mind is starting to cook up decorating ideas.  Any room can be spruced up with some retro curtains, right?

(I'll try to post pictures soon.  Steve is over there now helping with the floors...I should have sent the camera with him....)

We're staying with the Gs in the meantime and I'm grateful for their hospitality.  While I'm ready to stop living out of a suitcase for a little while, I'm so glad to be able to stay in comfortable places with comfortable people.  There's a Wal-Mart here (I know, Amelia goes to the Big City) and a wellness center that I'm planning on getting a membership to, thanks to the generous gift from ma famille.   Steve will begin his part time studies with Covenant Seminary on Monday.  He is taking one class through their extension program (Reformation and Modern Church History) but it's exciting to start progress in that area of life, too.

While dealing with the practical aspects of a major life change, it's hard to keep in mind why we felt led to make the life change in the first place.  Last night I attempted to summarize all of our reasons for moving into a concise thought.  Basically, God is leading our hearts into a vocation of ministry, either as a pastor and pastor's family, or as teachers in the church or in a Christian education environment.  We're seizing the God-given opportunity to receive both formal education from seminary as well as practical application in the G's church to discover how we fit into the ministry of the local church and the body of believers as a whole.  And that's pretty much it.

That's an update on us.  I need to get a HarriEd update going....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Peeking in

Hello, bloggie world!

I'm back for a few days to wrap up the final packing needs and then load up the Uhaul and make the move.  I kind of feel like right before HarriEd was born: there must be something I should be doing but I can't find it.  Steve thinks that we should get out Phase 10.

Our trip to California was filled with family, food (seafood!), lots of snow (??), time with friends, and memories made at Disneyland and the Beach.  I have pictures to prove it, believe it or not.

For now my internet time is limited, and probably will be for a while.  I'm going to write posts in an off-line state and then upload them to the ol' blog when I have a chance.

Pray for us as we move.  It's hard to jump into the seeming unknown sometimes.  Suddenly quiet little small-town life doesn't seem so bad...but I know that as soon as Steve went back to working nights I would feel differently.  Pray that our housing situation in Illinois would continue to work out.  Pray that God will provide a job or an inheritance.  (Mostly a job.)

And now I'm off again!  See you soon!