Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I think they are.

My kids. I think they're funny, which is good, because I spend A LOT of time with them. I'm beginning to wonder if it's an unhealthy amount of time with them. nah. They'll be up and out of my house before I blink, right?! That's what all the old ladies always tell me.
Inevitably, I will be the one with 3 grown adult children still living with me. Oh wait. That's MY mom. Sorry, mom! I wasn't one of them, though...just remember that when you change your will next. ;)

So...my children. They're funny.

Tonight I took them to Pizza Hut to redeem Book It coupons. LA works late on Tuesday nights right now, so it's nice to find something fun to look forward to during the day that will help pass the time in the evening when we're all missing Papi (Spanish for daddy & what my kids call LA).

Judah was needing his drink refilled and was being a bit less than patient with our server who was a bit less than quick.

Like any 6 year old, I presume, or at least any 6 year old that would share my dramatic genes, Judah began to whine a bit about being so thirsty, insisting he was going to die if he didn't get a drink promptly.

Tucker and I began to bust Judah's chops a bit about his drama. Go figure. Drama queen that I am does not tolerate drama from anyone else!

I ask Judah where he would like me to bury him when he dies.

Without skipping a beat, he replies, "In the backyard. under the swings. under MY swing. and put my name on the swing. 'Judah'."

"Okay. Will do."

Tucker chimes in, "And we'll write on your tombstone, 'If only we had gotten him a drink sooner.'"

And, I bust out in uproarious laughter. Have I spent too much time with my littles?

On another day, Tucker was lamenting the fact that he was being "forced" to eat his carrots. He protests on regular occasion (daily) that he doesn't prefer the taste of carrots. I tell him he can choose another veggie to eat, but he refuses to try anything else. Sorry, buddy...ya gotta eat some veggies to remain my son.
just kidding.

As he's choking down his carrots, we're listening to "The Last Battle" from the Chronicles of Narnia series where a picture of Heaven is being described through the allegory of a New Narnia in the story.

Trying to encourage my son, I tell Tucker that in Heaven, carrots will taste good, (even though I think carrots taste great already on earth)...

Tucker's quit witted reply comes before I can even finish my sentence, "There won't be carrots in Heaven, mom."

Guess we'll have to wait and see who's right on that one!

Before I even type this third funny from a day in the life of the Almengor children, I realize that all of them center around FOOD. hmm??? Does this need psycho-analyzed?

Dinner time can be a challenge in our home. Again, I'm hoping this is just the normal course of life for most parents of young kids. They don't like vegetables, but I'm one of those mean mommies who insists that they eat them.

When one of my children is actually eating his/her dinner without complaining or "accidentally" throwing it on the floor or taking F O R E V E R , I try to take notice and make a BIG deal about it.

So, I was commending Bella the other night on how well she was eating her dinner.
"Bella, you are doing such a good job eating your dinner tonight," to which she replied, "As are you, mom!"

That was just too stinkin cute hearing from a brand new 4 year old~!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A chair, a couple tables, rugs, fancy pillows, and some roman shades. That's all. Really.

That's all I want for my living room to be pulled together, fit for public consumption. Oh, and a fresh coat of paint. And, possibly some new wall decor. Then, we can move onto the kitchen where we need another fresh coat of paint, new appliances, counter tops, and recessed lighting installed...minimally.

That's just the main level of our home. I haven't even taken you downstairs to our basement or upstairs to our bedrooms and bathrooms.

Lately, I've become a bit preoccupied with outfitting our living room with new furniture, for starters. It's needed an uplift for quite some time, like since we moved into our home in 2003! ;)

Lawrence and I don't do home projects with gusto like some folk. We call it progress if empty soap dispensers get refilled and burned out light bulbs are changed with any regularity. Seriously.

Apart from our lack of know how, time and money, I think we over think things like house projects a bit, too, which typically ends up impeding any kind of progress.

Nevertheless, I grow impatient with the state of the union here on a rather frequent basis. I want change and I want it now. Actually, yesterday would have been better.

Sadly, I grow discontent and air my grumblings to my husband and friends. Or I scour the internet looking for the right chair at the right price thinking that if I just landed a great steal like that, I could assuage the churning discontent that resides within my heart for at least a week or two.

Where do I go with this daily temptation? How do I respond in a "gospel centered" way to these circumstances?

I first remind myself of the facts of the gospel, namely that because God is a Holy God and fully just and because I am a rebel, one who has turned away from the worship of my Creator to the worship of the created, I deserve God's wrath. I do not deserve God's mercy. I do not deserve God's blessings or favor. I deserve hell.

But, because of God's love, He sent His Son, Jesus, who lived a perfect life and died in my place on the cross taking the penalty of God's wrath upon Himself for my sin. He then rose again from the dead, conquering the power of death, making everlasting life and freedom from sin available to me, too.

But, how do these facts connect with my desire to have a nice looking living room?
Well, I consider specific implications these facts have for this circumstance. Stay with me.

I consider that if I deserved hell for my sins, then I definitely don't deserve a nicely furnished living room. But, that doesn't really bring joy to my heart to ponder too long because I still really want nice, new furniture.

Then, I remind myself that God loved me enough to crush His only Son. If he loved me enough to do that in order that I would have eternal life and freedom from sin, can't I trust Him to provide all that I really need for a joy filled life? That may or may not include nice living room furniture.

Reminding myself of these truths doesn't automatically cause me to abandon my desire for new furniture and leap for joy at the absence of it. Over time, however, as I rehearse these truths in my mind, it does begin to have an effect on my affections. I DO really experience a change in my attitude regarding the condition of my home.

I cannot remain sullen and discontent when I consider, truly consider what God has done for me.
I could go out and buy a new chair and experience a sense of release from that churning discontent. But the contentment would fade faster than the fabric on my chair, and I would have to buy something else.

When I take the time to remember the facts of the gospel and consider the implications those facts have on my particular circumstances, my heart is moved. It may take some time, but it does soften. It does change. I do begin to experience that abundant life Christ died for, no matter what abundance or lack thereof in material possessions I own.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday to my girlie

I was smitten from the moment I saw her.

After a long labor and 2 hours of pushing, my first and only girlie made her entrance into our world with just one final thrust from my body.

Beautiful but not breathing as she should, Bella remained in a special care nursery for a couple days until she was flown to Hopkins' NICU where she puzzled her doctors and enamored her nurses. She appeared a giant in that NICU amidst all the preemies. No preemie, Bella was born 4 days past her due date and 2 days before Valentine's Day at 8 lbs. 5 oz.~

She came in the inconvenience of Lawrence's busy season and a rather big snow/ice storm.
But, she was a dream come true, and we willingly embrace all the inconveniences this little gift from God has since brought us.

Fierce independence likely served her that first week of life when she fought for breath and life. I must remember that when that same independence stands to drive its wedge between her and me. When filled with faith, I pray her independence will serve her in whatever God may call her to face, that it will drive her to persevere in hardships and challenges, that it will cause her to not give up when others throw in the towel, that it will win for her many mountain top experiences in this life for her good and God's glory.

From 2010_10 Fall fun

Determined silliness. The girl loves to laugh, and she's got a great one. Mouth opens big when she has been delighted with life. Rather than feeling tortured when tickled, she LOVES it and nearly begs for more. "Squeeze me hard, mom" she'll say to me and then giggle long and hard when I do.

Basketballs, Barnie, shoes, swimming suits, purses, 'footie pajamas', dresses, 'footie tights', treats, pizza, pasta and princesses are a few of her favorite things.

From Father's Day, 2009

Born with natural rhythm, Bella is nearly compelled to move her body whenever she hears a beat of any kind. She loves to dance and wear her leotard and tutu.
She adores when Grandma paints her nails, and there's a special twinkle in her eye when she sees her Abuelo.

From Bella's First Birthday Party

My sweet Bella girl, your name means beautiful. I pray you will grow into a beautiful woman on the inside as much as you already are on the outside. Just as you wooed my heart from the moment I met you, I pray God will woo your heart and that you would know Him as your greatest treasure, better than fashion, food, friends or fun. He is worth loving with all your heart, soul, mind and strength for He has loved you with an everlasting love.

Love you, baby girl!

Monday, February 07, 2011

She Grew Up

She grew up with a mom, dad, sisters, and brother,
Two sets of grandparents who dearly loved her.

She grew up with a roof over her head and food to eat,
Living in a yellow house on Bridge Street.

She grew up knowing Jesus and memorizing His Word,
At the age of eight, making God her Lord.

She grew up not knowing how blessed she was,
Not knowing what she had not everybody does.

She grew up mostly immune to suffering
Except for the occasional spanking.

She grew up thinking all would remain the same
Until that day when everything changed.

Her dad got sick and died from cancer.
Why did God allow it? No one could give an answer.

She grew up learning God controlled all things.
The Creator of life became the One who made it sting.

She grew up learning that God was also good.
Who else did we have to thank for all our food?

She grew up wondering how both could be true:
God be good & in control when this suffering she knew.

The answer came when she saw what God had done.
To atone for her sins, He crushed His only Son.

She grew up knowing for her sins Jesus died.
But now it was God's love for her she could not deny.

She grew up knowing truth in her head not her heart,
But over time the Word washed & God's Spirit did impart.

She grew up from her suffering in more ways than one,
Receiving love from God the Father & not just the Son.

And for all who question God's love in their suffering she does pray
They'll come to see God's love for them in much the same way.