"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

11 Months

 She was NOT feeling the headband!

At 11 months, Mataya Hope is always moving!  She loves to walk with help - but quickly drops to her knees when she is in a hurry.  We laugh at her race crawl.  When she is sprinting, she breathes with the cutest "he-he-he-he!"

She loves to get into things. . . cupboards, my work files, iPads, tissue boxes, tub faucets. . . nothing is safe.  And I love it!  The look of wonder and mischief in her eye is so fun.  I love to see her determination, curiosity, and spunk.

Along with getting into things comes temper tantrums!  She knows how to throw a fit when she is removed from a space she is trying to explore.  Sassitude. . . I love it!

She loves to talk and uses more and more words every day.  She has only put two different words together a few times.  It usually includes yelling at Krissy's dog, "No Moll" was her first "sentence."

She is very friendly from my hip.  She loves to yell "HI!"  And then bury her face into my shoulder when someone replies.

In church this week she was convinced that anyone raising their hands in worship was waving to her.  She was sure to yell "Hi!" to them all.

She loves music.  She sings along and dances on her butt.  She tries to copy Sierra's dance moves and singing.  It is so sweet.

She has (finally) decided a sippy cup is fun.  And she loves a straw!  She was so proud of herself when she figured out how to suck from a straw.  It was precious.

She loves all food - unless it is spicy.  Spicy food she spits out with great passion.

There are really not toys she loves.  She just likes to explore and whatever she finds, she plays with.

She hates shoes.  And diaper changes.

She adores her siblings, Krissy's dog (sigh), and momma and daddy.

Her paci is her most precious possession.

She has a very sweet essence.  She is adaptable.  She tolerates interrupted naps like a champ.  She does well at doctor appointments, sporting events, and shopping trips.  Quiet locations are more of a challenge!

Mataya Hope-y Girl, I adore your energy, spunk, passion, sassitude, kisses, snuggles, words, dance-moves, giggles... You are pure sweetness and total joy.  You are a gift, a treasure.  There is never a day that goes by that I do not thank God for you, tiny one.  Never one day.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love Is. . .

As our children have grown, the topic of love has been front and center in our home.  What is love?  How do we love well?  How is it appropriate to express love?

I have watched my kids love BIG.

I have watched them fail miserably at loving.

I have observed myself doing the same.

Though there is much I do not understand about love, there are a few things I think I do.  And when I think I know something (insert rolled eyes and laughter here), I tend to share it.  (And all my children yell, AMEN! while they groan!)

So this Valentine's month, I have been sneaking notes into their bedrooms.  Most of them have been a Bible verse on the front, and a bit of (unasked for) momma advice on the back.

 This is my favorite love passage.
Last year when the going got really tough with our oldest I asked an artist to make this verse into a HUGE sign that I have hanging in our dining room. God has used it in major ways in my heart.  Some nights when I was up with the baby and praying for my teens it almost seemed as though certain lines were highlighted.  Loving is so very hard sometimes.  He used this verse to help me focus and refocus and refocus again.

I shared this passage twice with my kids during the week before Valentine's day.  Once in a private personal way.  The second time as a family devotion.  We rarely do family devotions (yep, you heard it here first!) - but this one was good for my heart on Valentine's morning.  Talking to each child about how I am inspired by the way they love - one child is such a protector, one excels in kindness, another never ever keeps a record of wrong, one is easily angered, ALL inspire me to love bigger, deeper, and more richly.  We then talked about ways that God may be calling us to love better.  It was a time I will treasure.  I so appreciate the knowledge my kids bring to me.
This passage is one I have been circling in prayer. (Read The Circle Maker?)

Until we really grasp and accept just how much God loves us, we are incapable of  security.

Oh, how I want my kids and grandson to be secure, truly secure, because they "get it!"
I also shared this verse.

Only when we receive His love, can we give true love.
What more to any of us long for than true love?

We have a standing joke around here that I am a lot of things, but I am not very fun.  It is true.  Fun is not my top priority.  However I am working on it.  Chad recently said that laughter is one of his love languages. . . so I am trying to speak his language!

In light of that "need" one day I gave this Valentine to Chad and the teens:

Sometimes when you have teenagers, shocking them is good.

The reaction of each of them was so very funny.  And it is true. . . not?
The last year has been hard.  There have been moments in which I am tempted to stop parenting.  I become cynical and sometimes feel as though parenting is really just a crap shoot.  I am tempted to take a "why bother" approach to parenting after all you do your best, and in the end, your kids do whatever they want . . . right?!?

I feel like a failure often and an expert - NEVER.  But, by the grace of God, I have not hardened my heart.  As a mom with 18 years of parenting experience, and a kid of LITERALLY every age and stage at this very moment, I can tell you I know very little.  I have read many books, gone to many workshops, and spoken to many, many other moms.  I have done and will continue to do all I know to do to shepherd my children.  

As I parent Mataya, 18 years after having my first baby, so many things have changed.  It makes me realize anew that there is only One that never changes.

I so want my kids to know Him, to love Him, to follow Him, to serve Him.

I am learning that I have very little control over that.

But I can share Him and His word with them.  I can pray it over them.  I can hang it on my walls.  I can play it on my stereo.  I can write it in Valentines.

And I can trust that His word is living.  He will use it as He wills.  He is the author of life, and He and He alone will write the last chapter.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Promposal 2015

One local teen tradition is the "Promposal."

In all honesty, I was not a fan of this tradition.  To this momma, it seemed like a bit too much.  

A "Promposal" is a creative way of asking a girl to Prom. Many promposals are better planned than the average marriage proposal. . . at least in my day!

When Jamison started thinking about Prom, he knew he needed not only a date but the perfect way to ask that date.  I kept thinking, if you are going as friends, can't you just ask her? Is this promposal really necessary?  

Sierra was quick to put me in line!  She informed me it was absolutely necessary in no uncertain terms!  (Ha!)

So.... after many lunchtime conversations, Jamison and some of his friends came up with a plan.  They decided to create a life size jack-in-the-box.  They would put this box in front of her front door with Jamison inside.  When she answered the door, and turned the crank on the box, he would play the song on his phone, and then pop out of the box with a sign that said "I'd be 'jacked' if you would go to prom with me."

Once the proposal was planned, I admit it was fun.

Watching Jay and his good friend, Jackie, create a huge box from scraps of cardboard, search out the perfect way to make the crank, etc... was fun.  Brenna helped make the sign.  He borrowed my vehicle to transport the props.  One friend made sure his future date would be home and answer the door, another friend rode along, rang the doorbell, and took video.

His once grumpy momma took a screen shot of their picture on instagram.

I have been reformed.  Though not necessary, a promposal can be good clean fun.  Jamison enjoyed the process, and I think Emily, his future prom date, did, too.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

True Confessions

Despite the cuteness oozing from these photos, Mataya Hope-y Girl was CRANKY today!  In fact, it was because she was so fussy that I dressed her so cute.  I even did her hair.  I figured the cuter she looked, the more my weary heart would smile each time I bent down to comfort her crabby self!

Yep. . . true confession!

 This is one of the only "no no's" in our house.  Which, of course, makes it her favorite spot.  She sings "no, no" while she swings the door and waits for someone to come move her.

When the teens got home from school today they all commented on how cute Mataya looked, they busted a gut when I confessed that her cuteness was actually momma hack #7077 or something close to that.  That is one of the best things about baby parenting at this stage of my life.  Fussy babies are exhausting, but I so appreciate the tiny-ness of their problems.  Soon her tooth will poke through, her nose will no longer be stuffy, and smiles will once again prevail.  Until then, I will give thanks that I have arms that offer comfort her and a goofy of sense of humor to comfort me!

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Grandson

Our beautiful, precious daughter, Krissy, is expecting her firstborn, a son.

A son!

He is due to arrive June 19.

My baby is having a baby.  There are times when joy and mourning kiss.  This is one of them.

Though none of us expected to have this next generation begin quite so soon, I am so very proud of my daughter for choosing life for her baby - my grandson.

My grandson!

My precious, tiny, fully-loved grandson.

While he may have been a bit of a surprise to us, we know that God never, ever, ever creates a baby by mistake.  He has been planned since the beginning.  He is a gift, a treasure, a blessing.

I thought much before blogging about this tiny one.  His story is not mine to share, and yet it is.  Though there will be much that I process in more private journals, I have decided that he must be included in this blog.  I never want him to wonder why he was excluded.  I want him to know he has been adored by his family. . . all of his family. . . from the moment we knew of his existence.

My precious grandson,

You are dearly loved.  Your mom and dad have given me the honor of being at several prenatal appointments.  Hearing your tiny heartbeat and seeing your tiny self on the ultrasound screen has been a precious gift.  You are beautiful.  Perfectly formed.  Wonderfully made.  I am so very thankful.

I have thought long and hard about what you will call me, little man.  You see Grandma Donna is Grandma.  Grammy is Grammy.  As you and your Auntie (!!!) Mataya will grow up so close in age, I think I need my own "Grandma name."  At the moment, I think you shall call me LaLa.  Your mommy loves Spanish.  Abuela is Spanish for Grandma.  And I love music.  When my heart is happy, I am always singing a silly tune.  So, I think I will be your LaLa.

No matter what you call me, precious baby, know that I was praying for you long before you were conceived.  God has a beautiful plan for your life, little one.  A beautiful plan.

Your LaLa