27 November 2015

a November report

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
-Ephesians 1:3-4
November's post count threatens to stay at 1. That would be an all-time low, so here, let's bring it up to a respectable pair with a haphazard dump of thoughts.

Mothering Ellie is hard now. Not because she is a terrible person. She isn't, despite living squarely in the greatly-ballyhooed second year! It's just that . . . she is a person. She has all the frustrations, and complexity, and forceful opinions of a real live human being. Furthermore, she fully believes that the world is her own private kingdom; whenever that turns out not to be true, woe to the bearer of bad tidings (and that's usually me). We have conversations that contain way too much "but why?" and not enough "yes mommy." We both lose our tempers. Ellie flops onto the floor. I flop onto the couch and fume for a while, and then I pray as hard as I can to Jesus. I apologize for my impatience, and she gives me a peck on the cheek and goes to find some salt to dump on the table.

Oh, I love her. I think of the love God has for me, and how tiny my love for Ellie must seem in comparison to His! But I love her up and down and all around. I can delight even on the worst days in her hilarity and intelligence, her sprightly imagination, her ridiculous mood swings and jaw-dropping moxie. (She calls me honey. Jared calls her a sassball.) I can't figure out if she is very much like me, but she is very much herself. And I like herself.

Zoe has fully arrived on the scene and is here to PARTY, ya'll. What's that Mother Goose rhyme? "Upstairs and downstairs and in my lady's chamber?" Add "munching dirt, collecting bruises, and constantly in danger," and you have Zoe. Half the time she wants to be glued to me, and the other half of the time she is an absolute hoyden. She climbs everything and crawls at lightning speed, and these days she has enough strength and wit to satisfy her curiosity: what's in this cupboard? oh goody! I can open it! oh look, a bottle of hairspray and a toothbrush, such fun I will have!

Of course, she then puts on a convincing show of innocence, what with her blonde wisps and round eyes and joyous grin.

can I eat it?

This Thanksgiving, I gave thanks mostly for the "spiritual blessings in the heavenly places." My material blessings are wonderful, and I do pray that I'd have a clearer vision of them each year, so as not to fall into discontentment. But strong family and abundant food and lovely house aside, I'm most struck by the riches of Christ's love. By the fact that he never abandons me, even when I cannot see Him or or muster an authentic hallelujah. By the fact that he understands me, every tightly wrapped rose-petal layer of my heart, even when I cannot begin to understand myself. By the finality of justification, the permanence of my inheritance, and the unstinting abundance of his grace that meets me in my native poverty.

Confession: I always thought it sounded a bit hokey and self-serving to say "Oh, don't congratulate me! I'm so weak! These good things I did were only by the grace of God! " This year, though, I came to that point: I realized that it is all through Him. Really. I failed enough this year that I came to see that failure is my default state, or would be, outside of God's enabling-- left to myself I fall, and fall down with a thud. I just don't have anything good that I ginned up on my own, and I never have. My supposed triumphs are Christ in me, and each gives one more reason to marvel at Him.

In quietness and in trust is still my strength.

23 November 2015

then she said

"Does the sky have a belly button?"
-working on anatomy facts

 "I close the curtains so we can fall Zoe asleep!"
-helping her sister take a nap

"I want to work with Daddy in the garage. And I want a pink hammer and pink nails and pink screws."
-big plans for her home improvement career

"Can you draw a blue elephant?"
"Can you draw your toothbrush?"
"Can you draw Daddy's swimsuit?"
"Can you draw a sad egg?"
 -commissioning crayon art from her mother

Jared: Do you like your lollipop?
Ellie: No, it's a CANDY.

Me: Ellie, I am in charge because I am the mommy. You are not the mommy.
Ellie: I'm the Ellie?
Me: Yes.
Ellie: You can be the Ellie. I will be the grandma.

Jared: What did you do today?
Ellie: Grocery store!
Jared: And what did you get there?
Ellie: Oh, just some things.

Ellie: I want my cantaloupe!
Me: Your what?
Ellie: My cantaloupe!
[I look around and then realize]
Me: You mean your envelope!
Ellie: Yep. My cantaloupe.

Jared: Ellie, do you want to run an errand with me?
Ellie: Ooh! What we gonna pick out?
Jared: We're going to get some tools.
Ellie: Shoes?! 

[as she assists me in the kitchen]
Me: Good job stirring!
Ellie: Good job tasting!

Jared: Hey, where's my knife?
Ellie: I take it! [displays proudly]
Jared: And where's my fork?
Ellie: Oh, it's all gone! You can use your hand.

Ellie: Can we go to grandma's house?
Me: We don't have a car today, so we can't go anywhere.
Ellie: Yeah, our car blow up.