I usually have some sort of Caleb story for Matt when he comes home from work at the end of the day.  Perhaps I should use my better judgement and keep some to myself, but a recent conversation went like this:

Me: So, Caleb almost gave me a heart attack again today…

Matt: What did he do this time?

Me: Well, I was going to take the kids on a walk.  I was holding Norah, walking out into the garage to put her in the stroller, and Caleb was behind me.  As soon as I hit the garage door button, Caleb sprinted out past me down the driveway as fast as I’ve ever seen him go.  He got all the way to the middle of the street before I could put Norah down, run after him, and catch him!  Thank goodness no cars were coming!  

Matt: We need to get a leash for that kid.

No kidding. This is not the only instance of behavior that drives me crazy.  We generally keep all bathroom doors closed and child locked because, well, you know.  Apparently Caleb has decided he is ready to potty train.  Anyhow, the other day, Caleb used his little potty chair and we’d dumped the contents into the toilet.  I went to his room to grab him a new diaper, and not 20 seconds later as I walk into the bathroom again, I see Caleb: hand in toilet, drawing it up to his mouth to drink.  AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!  At least he likes to flush, otherwise I would probably have used lots of soap in his mouth instead of just the gallon of water I almost choked him with, trying to wash his mouth out.

I think I see a pattern emerging here.  Case in point: tonight I was scrolling through old pictures and found this one of Caleb when he was just under a year.

It seems I’ve been missing the signs for a year now.

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I don’t know about you, but I was totally bummed out when Picnik decided to close up shop.  I used their photo editing website all the time, and even though I didn’t subscribe and pay for the extra features, I found it very useful and fun.  I’m not sure who recommended it to me, but I recently found PicMonkey: another free, online photo-editing option.   Not that I get much computer time these days, but I have happily been editing photos here since I tried it out.

Here are some before and after pictures that I edited on PicMonkey:

You can do a little editing or a lot of editing:

They have some fun features like the focal zoom you see above.  I had a little fun creating a collage of some pictures of Norah.  The only drawback is that you first have to save the collage to your computer before you can edit it.  No biggie, just an extra step.  The first picture are the originals in a collage, which was super easy to make.  Took me less than 5 minutes.

Now for some fun!

Overall, I really like PicMonkey.  In fact, I may like it even more than Picnic!  It is just as easy to use (perhaps easier-I love the photo drag and drop from my files when I want to edit).  It basically has all the presets Picnic had, plus a couple more.  The only drawback I currently see is that you can only have one photo open to edit at a time.  Also, it appears there are “Royale” features, which are free for now, but I wonder if they will charge later on.  (I may end up subscribing because there are some good ones!)  Here are a couple more photos, just because it literally took me about 20 seconds to edit these photos and who doesn’t like looking at babies?!! (These are for you, Grandparents.)

Awhile back I wrote a post about loving God when things are going well.  I’ve been thinking about it lately, wanting to follow up, so today when our pastor spoke about idols in our lives, I knew it was time to write.

It has always bothered me when I hear people making fun of Christians or saying hateful things about them.  In particular, it bothers me that people call Christians hypocrites.  In my mind, I always thought these haters must have met a Christian who didn’t really follow Jesus, or perhaps they were just out to complain, or maybe they just had their own issues.  In my self-righteous thinking, I figured if they met me, they might form a different opinion.  I’m nice, right??

Unfortunately, I’m realizing that my pride goes deeper than I thought it did, and perhaps it’s the dishonesty that is so offensive.  Because I tend to care too much about what other people think of me, it’s easy put up a front.   I’m probably even trying to convince myself that I’m “good enough”.

This year, our church began a Bible reading plan together.  I started out right on track.   In fact, I think God was really causing me to look at my own heart, and teaching me some really good things.  What is there?  I’m a Christian, so it’s supposed to be a love for God and others, but mostly I think it’s love for myself.  Hypocritical: someone who says one thing but does another; the people I’d been reading about in Matthew; and me.  Here’s the funny part: I had been reading about these prideful people, praying that God would give me humility, talking about being faithful to him, and lately, well, let’s just say that I haven’t been very faithful.  I’ve totally gotten off track with the reading program and I have not been faithful in prayer either.  Even these “baby steps” I was feeling positive about have been replaced with backward strides.  What do I spend my time thinking about?  Myself.

You know what is even more amazing?  God has been kind to me.  So kind.  He has given me things in the last three months that I totally don’t deserve.   Matt went out of town on business for two weeks and I was overwhelmed by how many people offered to help me while he was gone.  People that I am not very close to even came by to help!  It was God’s kindness that sent them to me.  A friend’s husband bought her a spa package for her birthday, and he paid for me to go with her!!!  Talk about kindness and undeserved blessings.   I could go on, but I want to wrap this up.

Mostly all of this is to say that there is alot that I don’t understand about God.  A passage comes to mind, 2 Timothy 2:11-13:

11 Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

I shouldn’t pretend that I have it all together, because I don’t.  But God has it all together.  He does remain faithful, to Himself, and to us.  I want to be faithful like that.  Unfortunately, my will and my desire isn’t enough to do that in me.  There is so much I don’t understand about God and so much I have to learn.  The Bible says is that His “grace is sufficient” for us.  And He is faithful.   I need to cling to this, so I write these words to help me remember the Truth.

Another Kindness from God

Being a mom of two is a little crazy and hard work, but I love it!

After reading one of my cousin’s recent blog posts, I started thinking again about something that’s been on my mind for awhile.  Without trying to sound conceited or patronizing, I am wondering how one remains faithful and loves God more when things are “going well.”

In all honesty, I found it easier to reach out for God in the difficult circumstances I went through several years ago. At that point, all I could do was reach out and just hang on.  For the past 6 years or so, my life has been really good…perhaps even easy.  Sure, I’ve had challenges (starting a career, having a baby, navigating life changes, etc), but there have been no tragedies.  No death, no divorce, no major health issues, no lack of security…   I live in America; I live in abundance.  Perhaps the biggest challenge I face on a daily basis is simply my faithfulness to God instead of living for myself or any of the other idols we worship in our culture.

Several years ago I came across this verse, and it imprinted deeply in me:

Psalm 37:3 “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and [a]cultivate faithfulness.”

I can’t say that I’ve always been faithful.  In fact, I’ve been far from it quite a bit.  But God has always been faithful.  And I know He wants me to walk in that, to practice that.  Sometimes I think it might look like mopping my floors or planning a meal.  Sometimes it means forgiving someone even if they aren’t sorry, or giving my son loving attention when I am tired of him and would rather do something else.

Truthfully, I’m not completely sure I know how to love God more, but perhaps faithfulness in the little things is a start.  I may not be moving fast, but I suppose even baby steps will take me somewhere.