Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 Bookish Year in Review

An old familiar and dependable blog post, the review of books and my tedious rating on the blog. It would probably be much easier on myself to just link you all to Goodreads and leave it at that. But I find such pleasure remembering all the books I read, and mostly compiling them all in one place to look at see just how many I actually read. Bliss. Right, review. Ok. For anyone new to my neck of the internet, here's my rough rating system as follows, and I should note I'm generally pretty generous and rate highly. If anything gets below a 3 it must be pretty awful. Ha.

scale of 1-5 (Subject to change upon my own whim and will).

1) being, complete waste. Why did I finish it?
2) being, minimally thought provoking/entertaining. Won’t read it again.
3) being, borderline useful, mild usefulness in instruction about the faults in it/mildly entertaining; Enough good to be challenged, grow a little in thought. Might read it again.
4) being, a really great book, useful to instruct, thought provoking/good entertainment, very challenging, growth as a reader, way more good than bad, would recommend. Worth reading again.
5) being, found enjoyable, challenging, useful in many ways, would highly recommend with no holding back, over all EXCELLENT book. Need to read again!

A 3 1/2 star is not as harsh as a 3, but not quite deserving of a 4 (a really great book), but a good book none the less.

Did I even have a book list of some sort? I seem to be getting lazier with my book goals as the years progress, compared to my 2013 rigid reading plan

Reading List 2016
Non-Fiction 6-12

Health Book
Gardening Book (need to soon lol)
Political Book
Rushdoony Book (I've been reading his IBL Volume 1 for 3 years, I count this as worthy of a cross off)
Gary North Book
Hospitality Commands (le sigh, maybe this year?)
R.C. Sproul Book
A Chance to Die (Maybe this year?)

Considering I exceeded 12 books, I give myself a pass for missing 3 specified books. *Slow Clap for self*

Fiction 6-12

Jane Austen Book Look, I read several Jane Austen Spin offs, I count that worthy of a satisfactory crossing off!

The Scarlet Pimpernel

It counts. It really does. However, I am interested in actually reading Jane Austen 2017.

I'll have 3 Sections: Non Fiction, Fiction, and Children's.

Non Fiction

  1. Nourishment From The Word - Kenneth Gentry 5 Stars
  2. 75 Bible Questions Your Instructors Pray You Won't Ask - Gary North 5 Stars
  3. Jim Elliot: He is No Fool - Irene Howat 5 Stars
  4. The Expository Genius of John Calvin - Steven Lawson 5 Stars
  5. Super Immunity - Joel Furhman 3 1/2 Stars
  6. With Liberty and Justice For All - Dr. Joe Morecraft III 5 Stars
  7. The Sovereignty of God - A.W. Tozer 5 Stars
  8. The Christian and the Magistrate: Roles, Responsibilities, and Jurisdictions - Pierre Viret 5 Stars
  9. Awe: Why it Matters For Everything We Think, Say and Do - Paul David Tripp 5 Stars
  10. Rediscovering Catechism: The Art of Equipping Covenant Children - Donald Van Dyken 4 Stars
  11. Defiance: The Bielski Partisans - Nechama Tec 3 1/2 Stars
  12. Hiding in the Light - Rifqa Bary 5 Stars
  13. Unholy Spirits: Occultism and New Age Humanism - Gary North 5 Stars


Fiction


  1. Death Comes to Pemberly - P.D. James 3 1/2 Stars
  2. The Doctor's Are In: The Unofficial Guide to Doctor's Who's Greatest Time Lord - Burk Graeme 3 1/2 Stars
  3. Mr. Darcy's Diary - Amanda Grange 3 Stars
  4. Smith of Wooten Major and Farmer Giles of Ham - JRR Tolkien 4 Stars
  5. The Three Colonels: Jane Austen's Fighting Men - Jack Caldwell 2 Stars
  6. Captain Wentworth's Diary - Amanda Grange 4 Stars
  7. The Maze Runner - James Dashner 2 Stars
  8. Hostage Lands - Douglas Bond 5 Stars
  9. The Scorch Trials - James Dashner 1 Star
  10. The Death Cure - "" 1 Star
  11. Hammer of the Huguenots - Douglas Bond 5 Stars
  12. The Scarlet Pimpernel - Emmuska Orczy 5 Stars
  13. UnDivided - Neal Shusterman 3 Stars
  14. Cheaper By The Dozen - Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. 4 Stars
  15. The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey 2 Stars
  16. North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell 4 Stars
  17. The Forgetting - Sharon Cameron 3 Stars


Children's

  1. The King Without a Shadow - R.C. Sproul 5 Stars
  2. The Donkey Who Carried a King - "" 5 Stars
  3. The Barber Who Wanted to Pray - "" 5 Stars
  4. The Truck Book - Harry McNaught 5 Stars
  5. Curious George and the Pizza - Margret Rey 2 1/2 Stars
  6. The Money Tree - Dave Hunt 3 1/2 Stars
  7. The Priest With Dirty Clothes - R.C. Sproul 4 1/2 Stars
  8. The Knight's Map - "" 5 Stars
  9. A Fly Went By - Mike McClintock 3 Stars
  10. PJ Funny Bunny in the Great Tricycle Race - Marilyn Sadler 2 Stars
  11. Mother Goose and the Sly Fox - Chris Conover 2 Stars
  12. The Tortoise and the Hare: An Aesop Fable - Janet Stevens 2 Stars
  13. My Autumn Book - Wong Herbert Yee 3 Stars
  14. The Lightlings - R.C. Sproul 5 Stars
  15. The Prince's Poison Cup - "" 4 Stars
  16. The Complete Book of Farmyard Tales - Heather Amery 3 Stars
  17. The Complete Brambly Hedge - Jill Barklem 5 Stars
  18. The Magnificent Amazing Time Machine: A Journey Back to the Cross - Sinciair Ferguson 4 Stars
  19. How Far is Faith - Amy Parker 5 Stars (board book)
  20. How Big is Love - "" 5 Stars (board book)
  21. How High is Hope - "" 5 Stars (board book)
  22. How We Learned the Earth is Round - Patricia Lauber 3 Stars
  23. John Calvin - Simonetta Carr 5 Stars
  24. John Owen - "" 5 Stars
  25. John Knox - "" 5 Stars
  26. Come Ye Children: A Bible Story Book for Young Children - Gertrude Hoeksema 5 Stars
  27. Athanasius - Simonetta Carr 5 Stars


And here is my take away from my Non-Fiction, I am happy with the selections I did read. It was a nice spread of theology, history, health, biography, and political. Also bonus when any of the aforementioned cross over with theology! I can't choose a favorite. I just can't, too many good ones. Plus, they are such different topics it is hard to compare.

As far as fiction this year was definitely filled with some severe disappointments. I pick up YA Dystopian after seeing a movie preview or seeing the movie and I'm expecting it to be good and entertaining and it's just a waste of my time. And not very much of it, fortunately. YA Dystopian I can breeze through in a couple hours. There's nothing great about the writing or literature, the story lines are always disappointing, and yet I kept going back to read more. It's like a tootsie roll...candy and yet always kind of gross yet you still kind of eat it anyway. This was a mistake. First off, I am not a Young Adult, lol, secondly, why waste time reading lame story lines and sub par writing? They make for an entertaining movie. But as far as worldview, zilch. So, I was unwise with my time reading several. The only redeeming one this year was to complete the Unwind series by Shusterman. Now that has quite an interesting moral story to tell, and though he lacks great writing, I can forgive him for his choosing a sacred cow to write a good story about, albeit a little lacking (comparing abortion/murdering babies to murdering/"unwinding" troubled teens and donating their organs/body parts). My favorite Fiction of the year? North and South hands down, no debate. It's not that Douglas Bonds books were not fantastic (which they were), but North and South stirred the book lover in me and I admired her writing style, skill, and story. The kind of good that makes me want to read it once a year or more realistically, every other year or so. 

I absolutely read 3948750293586702439875x more children's books than I reviewed. Well, maybe not quite that many, but I did read more than I can count, and read the same books more times than I can count even in one day. So these were just new books I read for the first time and actually gave the time to post on my Goodreads account to review. How can I possibly choose a favorite when I read everything R.C. Sproul AND read Jill Barkem's Brambly Hedge books?! These will definitely be all time favorites for forever. I am slightly obsessed with the mice of Brambly Hedge. I love the pictures, I love the writing, I love the story, I love how clever everything is. It's fantastic! But then you have a whole slew of Sproul books which beef up my children's story collection with wonderful Christian Children's books with good theology. I mean that right there is worth million bucks! Get the Brambly Hedge books and get all the R.C. Sproul books. I don't quite own all the Sproul books, but anticipate we will this year.

Here is my rough idea of new goals, as I am still in the process of creating my reading goals for 2017. I want to read better fiction. I think first up will be Ben Hur. I will not pick up another YA book. There, I said it. Now I can't review one next year out of shame, heh. Next, Sometimes I feel guilty for owning so many books that I have not read yet. I am toying with the idea of mostly reading books off our bookshelves. Maybe if I am diligent I can read a sizable portion. I hesitate to say all, because that's a lot of reading. Plus, I will still probably borrow books too. And buy them. Who am I kidding this is why I have so many books that have yet to be read. But just maybe I will. If I do, I'll note next year review about which came off my bookshelves as a special matter of satisfaction.

If you made it thus far, thanks for reading my rambling. I mostly just post this for my own delight reveling in the friends I made this year in the form of books. :) I linked to several reviews on my Good Reads page, but just the few I remembered writing a review for, I may have missed a couple so feel free to check out my GoodReads Account. It is on that page I try to record my thoughts on the actual book as opposed to only a numbered rating system.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Saga of My Ear

Well, it is incumbent upon me to write this blog post. I have been intending to for quite some time. But the true pressure is on. I sent out our Christmas letter this week briefly describing a monumental event in my life and then referenced everyone to my blog if they wanted to hear the full story.  So hello to all of you kind friends who were curious enough to look this up, and hello to anyone else perusing my story. I am beholden to telling the whole story from the start, filling in little details. So here’s to my ear saga that brought about answered prayers and walking down the road less traveled. A long standing favorite poem by Robert Frost entitled The Road Not Taken:

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Years past I did not take the road well traveled upon and it is has made all the difference, both in good ways and bad, frustrations and elations. So here’s to the road less traveled!

It is peculiar to recount, because for most of my life this is something I have rarely spoken of since it has always seemed so minor.  But the Lord is kind to even give answers to long standing frustrations and dead ends even if it seems minor. Ever since I was a child I have had ear problems, ear infections, ruptured ear drums etc.  The ENT put tubes in and from then on a fear of submerging under water was instilled in me. Fast forward to 4 years ago and random ear pain, bleeding from my ear, and being struck with something very wrong. After an infuriating experience with a local ENT’s office and staff, I subconsciously vowed never to visit another ENT Doctor again after being belittled, told that I’m the reason ObamaCare needs to exist (being a cash pay customer, really? Just because I choose not to have insurance does not mean I am incapable of paying for medical services, nor is it wrong to ask how much a surgery would cost before committing to a surgery!), told I need tubes again (and being poo-poohed for even thinking I still had tubes in there), and I basically knew nothing because I was the lowly patient and he the expert P.A. Right. No thank you. That began my journey into learning about taking care of my own health and finding out what I should do for my ear.

Another uneventful 3 years pass and then things escalated where I had severe ear pain, ear infection, and it was worse than it had been before. In hindsight, I think part of this was brought on due to the excessive amount of sugar I ate after my second baby, David, was born, as I am extremely strict not eating sugar during pregnancy, and had a binge of eating however much sugary chocolate I wanted the weeks following his birth. I think this was a breeding ground for infection. Out of avoidance of going to another ENT I decided to see if a Chiropractor would help, I had heard they could help with chronic ear infections, and though my preconceived notions of a Chiro was of a snap and crack adjusting after car wrecks, I scheduled to see one. Here I should note after asking some questions and reading a little bit, I found it was recommended that Chiropractors can help with chronic ear infections, though this was typically referenced to children. Cue the entrance of Dr. Traver, a person who’s importance to my health cannot be undervalued. At first it was just helping my back pain (unrelated) but later as I began to see improvements with his new technology called an Avazzia, a microcurrent device that helps with pain relief, cell regeneration, and healing the body., hope fluttered inside that maybe things could improve. I was using this primarily to help my ear at this point, but not having my own Avazzia, I opted to go over to my in laws house every day to borrow theirs. It kept my ear from worsening, but it didn’t seem to be improving it significantly either.  A huge low when I found I had a severe ear infection and one month to go until flying to Florida. Upon Dr. Traver’s recommendation I made huge overtures in my diet, cutting out all sugar (which feeds infection), all grains (worsens inflammation), and all dairy (can you hear my weeping?-oh sorry, this is very mucous forming, and when your ears can’t drain, more mucous builds the pressure resulting in: no bueno). When Dr. Traver let me borrow his Avazzia over the weekend I saw big improvements that diet and immune-boosting didn’t show alone. After that we made the decision to purchase our own. I was so scared flying with a weird device would get me in trouble with the TSA, but a simple “it’s a medical device” and scan worked out. My first experience with the invasive TSA was already annoying enough without the added stress of bringing a weird medical device, ha! But this only helped enough to keep my ears from bursting, bleeding, and inducing horrible pain on an airplane. So better, but not enough.

Upon arriving home I began to “cheat”, eating that delicious glutenous cheesy pie we all know and love as pizza. And donuts. If ever you wondered what my kryptonite was, that would be donuts. But that sank me to newer lows and I reached a point of despairing. Here is a picture of life: wake up, use avazzia, breakfast, take care of boys, read the bible with them, use avazzia while they played, various things whether errands, household things etc, then lunch and naptime, during naptime more avazzia, after the boys wake up different occupation as the day prescribed, spend several hours making weird healthy grain free, dairy free dinner, family time in the evening, then more avazzia before bed. Basically I felt like my entire life was devoted to just keeping my ear from getting worse by spending a lot of time making healthy food and using the Avazzia. It was so much better than before, but this infection just never went away no matter how much I tried!  I prayed and wondered if my life would consist of ear management health stuff, a thorn in my side like the Apostle Paul’s thorn, though I have cried out to the Lord he was not removing it. Perhaps it would remain all my life. This was very depressing to think of, constant ear pain that fluctuated from bearable to excruciating depending on how strict I was with what I consumed and how often I used the Avazzia. As I prayed I laid it all before the Lord saying not what I will but what He Wills with my life, even in this ear problem. This whole experience has given me a lot of empathy for those with chronic health issues without answers. Then the age old question came to mind once more, could I still have a tube in that problem ear? Samuel then encouraged me to look up medical terms and specialist language for my hypothetical tube still in my ear. Upon discovering this extremely rare and barely ever happens condition of a tube that intrudes (tube is pushed further in ear rather than pushed out where it falls out) or an ear drums growing around the tube, I felt that hope flutter once more. At my next appointment I brought this question to Dr. Traver and after looking in my ear very thoroughly he confirmed seeing something greenish in my ear. My tubes were neon green! A friend who is a Nurse Practitioner saw the same thing and she had been trekking with me on my health frustrations, she was convinced it had to be a tube or some other foreign body stuck in my ear. He recommended seeing a specialist, cue my inward turmoil of facing another ENT!

As I found the ENT, who will remain unnamed, I made the decision to just face it head on and go in there with my questions and my flicker of hope that he could help me and remove this tube. I am much more sure of myself and confident today than I was 4 years ago, with many emotional and relational problems that just shattered who I felt I was (another story for another day, maybe, I've never written about this one). No more, I would not let some medical professional push me around, I wanted answers and I was going to get them one way or another. My best friend Hannah offered to go with me, and I declined knowing I could face this alone, but after her kind insistence she met up with me to be my support. Over all the ENT was very kind and he listened to me as I condensed my ear (life) story in the span of a few minutes, summing up with my big question, do I have a tube in my ear? He took a quick look and confirmed the infection and was “shocked” my doctor didn't prescribe some prescription ear drops to clear up the infection.  He took some time to explain what he saw in my ear and even gave a head nod to the possibility of a tube in there, but until I used the drugs he couldn’t see anything. Which I found odd that two other medical professionals had looked in my ear and had seen something but he did not. I digress. After a frustrating decision to just take the drops, I stopped by the pharmacy on the way home. Give me the drugs... except finding out it cost $255 for a tiny little bottle! No. No no no. Why would I throw that money down the drain for an experimental hope that it would enable the ENT to see a tube that others already see? The Pharmacist recommended checking the manufacturers website for a rebate. I go home and look it up, and it only applies to those with insurance, not cash pay or on government medicine. Okay. So here I am in tears railing against the drug company game of how and when they manufacture drugs and the generic brand is not available. During this evening, I had fixed dinner and didn’t sit down to eat with Samuel and the boys as I did not feel hungry. This perplexed 2nd Samuel and he asked daddy what was wrong with mommy and he said I was sad. He comes over to me quietly and hugs me, for a long time patting my back. After that he tells me it’s time for dinner and I replied I wasn’t hungry I didn’t feel like eating. He then turns to me in the next room and says matter of factly, “Momma, you eat food, food will make you happy.” If only it were that simple! I love that boy with all my heart and find such joy that he is so perceptive and compassionate, even as a 2 1/2 year old. But... every time I eat a donut my ear gets worse unfortunately, ha. Well, I go back and am ready to just pay the price of the experiment and get another Pharmacist who suggests using a website called Good RX and I get a discount there and it acts like insurance so I get the manufacturer rebate and the Good RX discount making it only $71. Hmm. At any rate, I thanked the Lord for allowing us to save a big chunk of change! Well fast forward two weeks later and Dr. Traver and my Nurse Practitioner friend both confirm seeing something in my ear. After being a dutiful robot, er, patient, I returned. The ENT looked in my ear again, and said nothing about the tube, only the ear was improved but not totally cleared up yet. Only at the respectful pressing, prodding, and urging the Doctor to actually look in my ear because another Doctor and Nurse Practitioner saw something in my ear, did he look again (but no, not when the lowly patient asks, only when other medical professionals recommend, silly me). After looking a second time he still didn’t see anything, and when I pressed again that Dr. Traver saw something in the bottom part of my lower ear, he looked again and to his utter amazement there was something. We went to a separate room where he has his special equipment and was horrified by the horrendous damage inside my ear. What sweet relief lit my heart. Finally. Answers. He couldn’t pull it out, after trying and causing me enormous pain (trust me, after giving birth to two babies with out pain meds, I’m not one make light of pain), he scheduled me for surgery. Woohoo!

Alright, now we are at the exciting part of the story. I am ecstatic to finally have a definitive answer. Let’s get this tube out of my ear and let the healing begin! I wait patiently for the office to call and give me surgery details and pricing. They give me details and their pricing, but can’t tell me about the Anesthesiologist or Surgery Center. When I call the Surgery Center they tell me sorry but we don’t have any information on your surgery yet because it is in September (2 1/2 weeks away), on September 1st. And it is currently August and they only deal with August scheduling. OKAY so am I supposed to wait until September 1st to get details for my September surgery?? Headache.

Meanwhile we are preparing for a trip to the Providential History Festival in Nebraska, one I didn’t really want to travel to in the first place, and really considered canceling since I’d be getting home one day before my surgery. God, in His providence, moved a friend to text Samuel to invite us to stay in their home if we went to the conference. We weren’t planning on it, but this text prompted Samuel to look into travel arrangements. He decided he couldn’t take off work to drive up there, but if I drove with the boys and he flew, he would only miss one day of work instead of several. I was not in favor of this at all. Driving with a 2 year old and 1 year old for 13+ hours? No thank you. Well, we ended up arranging to have his sister ride with me to help with the boys. So the trip was on schedule. And I packed a lot of my healthy weird diet food. Driving up to Nebraska I get a call from the Surgery center less than one week prior to my surgery to find out their price for the surgery. On the drive back to Texas the anesthesiologist office called to give me their pricing days before my surgery. What kind of procrastination do I have to deal with just to know how much this 15 minute procedure to take a tube out will cost? Combining the billing from three separate entities cost upward to $4,000 for this short procedure. To say we were frustrated and annoyed at this delay in information is an understatement. So I stop in Oklahoma City for the night at a friends house. Originally we had planned to stay in Tulsa with a different friend but due to circumstances it worked out in OKC. Samuel calls me after I give him the surgery cost and suggests we look into the “Free Market” surgery center in OKC and their pricing. Their website listed the same surgery at a 1/4 of the cost! Well, it would have been nice to plan this while I am in OKC rather than passing through, except we couldn’t because all the delays in finding out how much my surgery would cost, we didn’t even have a chance to compare pricing elsewhere, because they wouldn’t give us any pricing. I am just ready to have this tube out, to have this driving with 2 little ones done, and I’m really uninterested in looking in the Oklohoma Surgery Center.  But in order to respect my husband I call in the morning we are due to leave. I ask about their regular scheduling time frame, and it’s usually within a week to set up, so I briefly explain I happen to be 10 minutes down the road traveling home from vacation and wondering how quickly they could schedule a foreign body removal from ear surgery. She says she would need to check with the surgeon and call me back. I honestly am not expecting a call back that day, and so we have everything packed and ready to load up if I don’t hear from here in the next two hours. 15 minutes later she calls back to tell me they can schedule me for a pre-op visit that day and surgery tomorrow, oh and the surgery costs less than listed because it is a tube removal. Surprise of all surprises!!! Faster answers, faster billing information, faster scheduling, and faster everything. Sign me up. Literally, in just a few hours. It is amazing how when the bureaucratic middle man is cut out how efficient things become.

Here’s the interesting part, if Joel had not texted Samuel inviting us to stay in their home, we would not have even considered going to the conference due to Samuel’s work schedule. If Samuel hadn’t bought tickets to fly and leave me to drive, he would have been driving with me intent to get home as soon as possible, no time to stay an extra day for surgery. If we had stayed in Tulsa instead of Oklahoma City, I wouldn’t have been as interested since it would have been a couple hours away instead of 10 minutes. Months before I even had seen the ENT all these little details were worked out so perfectly I couldn’t have even known to pray for such things!

And so I had my surgery done one day earlier, at 1/4 of the cost, with superior care in the surgery center, warm blankets brought to me, someone beside me upon waking up, thorough explanations of everything to be done, what to expect, and what was done. They offered me something to eat and drink upon waking as well. Excellent service, not to mention Dr. Jason Sigmon who listened to me, gave me exceptional care, and performed the surgery and was very informative during the post-op visit as well. If only all such Medical care looked this way, professional, timely, and hassle free.  With our “health care” we use (medical sharing ministry, not traditional insurance), this seems to be a big inconvenience for us, if our “insurance net” will foot the bill, why even bother? Because more than anything, we desire to live our lives in conformity to Christ Jesus and His word. We do not want to be those who profess with their mouth and live shockingly unlike the commands in God’s word. This requires sacrifice, this requires diligence, and even inconvenience. We are to be good stewards of our money.  We are not going expect other’s to pay for our needs, nor are we going to “milk” the system just because that’s what everyone else does. If we have to “pay twice” because we choose to eat well, pay more out of pocket to keep our bodies healthy, or even use different practices of medicine that may not be “covered” by conventional medicine and “insurance”, then so be it. We wanted to save money for those sharing our medical need rather than just have the mindset that because we have others to share the cost and we can get our medical care covered let’s just do whatever is set before us.  Instead we chose the road less travelled, not only in our health care, Doctors, and “insurance” choices, so in our overall medical care, in our searching out answers and even better pricing to save money, and in being diligent in whatever surfaced in this crazy struggle.

An overview would be to say that Dr. Traver Sopoci truly restored my confidence in medical professionals because he is a caring, understanding, and compassionate Doctor truly committed to helping people solve their underlying health problems and become well.  The Microcurrent Technology Dr. Traver uses (one of his many tools in his Doctor tools box) is called an Avazzia, an electrical stimulation device for pain relief, cosmetic enhancements and overall well-being, has exciting new research on a myriad of health problems it is helping. I can't even tell you all the things it does, but I can tell you it has helped me most specifically with pain relief for me. There are even instances of it helping with restoring hearing loss!  Dr Traver has restored my faith in Doctors and I owe a lot of hurdles I overcame due to his practice and his applying himself to research and continuing his learning and studying.  Also, the surgery center is called The Oklahoma Surgery Center. For those interested.  An interesting side note is that after my experience here some friends of ours ended up using OKC for a different surgery partially due to our highly positive review.

Suffice it to say, God is so faithful to hear our desperate cries, even after years of silent struggle. My ear is still not “normal” but post surgery of removing a 20 year old tube causing chronic infection, inflammation, and pain, my body now has a chance to begin healing. And eating a donut here and there is not quite so destructive. Shh, don’t tell Dr. Traver! :D

Friday, January 8, 2016

2015 Book Reading Review

Well, for anyone who has been tracking my reading progress the last few years, it is time again to assess and compile my completed reading list! It is always so fun to review all that I have managed to soak up through literature. So let's get on with the drill.

Here is my reading goals for 2015:

Non-Fiction 6 to 12


Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators – David Chilton
Political book (The Real Lincoln - Thomas DiLorenzo)
Rushdoony Book (Sovereignty)
R.C. Sproul book (The Holiness of God)
Pierre Viret book 
The Hospitality Commands
Gary North book (Tithing and the Church)
Pregnancy book (Real Food for Mother and Baby - Nina Planck)
Sophie Scholl book (Sophoe Scholl and the White Rose)

Fiction – 6 to 12

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The War for Mansoul – Bunyan
The Giver – Lois Lowry
The Return of the King – Tolkien
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet
The Book Thief – Markis Zusak

As per usual, not all the books on my list were read, you win some and you lose some. I see it more of an aim to keep me focused. I read much more than those listed above, but it is still nice to "cross off" books I actually intended to read. The Chilton book I had every intention of reading, but when talking to my father in law, his brief synopsis left me not really caring to pour my precious time into it. I probably won't try to read it. The Hospitality commands I do want to read, it just got lost in the shuffle. If I borrow it from a friend that's motivation enough to return it. As for The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, I find myself less enchanted with it, as I saw it more of a watered down morally questionable version of Pride and Prejudice, *sigh*. It's fun to think of a modern day P&P, and I did enjoy watching the youtube vlog series, but too many cringe moments and too many times the Lord's name was taken in vain, that I decided reading the book was not worth my time, nor worth overlooking such a HUGE deal as my Holy God's name being used in such sinful way. And so I let it go. I did check out The Book Thief from the library, and I did enjoy the movie, but for some reason the style of writing just did not draw me in, and after a couple chapters I set it down and returned it. I am deciding with fiction if it doesn't capture my attention and draw my imagination in, then it's not really worth my precious reading time to plug along and try to "get into it". It's just not worth it to me, I have an extremely long list of books I want to read, and many more on my bookshelves begging for my hands to open and jump into. There, those are my exc- err, reasons for why I didn't finish my list again.

My long standing rating system as follows:

scale of 1-5 (Subject to change upon my own whim and will).

1) being, complete waste. Why did I finish it?
2) being, minimally thought provoking/entertaining. Won’t read it again.
3) being, borderline useful, mild usefulness in instruction about the faults in it/mildly entertaining; Enough good to be challenged, grow a little in thought. Might read it again.
4) being, a really great book, useful to instruct, thought provoking/good entertainment, very challenging, growth as a reader, way more good than bad, would recommend. Worth reading again.
5) being, found enjoyable, challenging, useful in many ways, would highly recommend with no holding back, over all EXCELLENT book. Need to read again!

A 3 1/2 star is not as harsh as a 3, but not quite deserving of a 4 (a really great book), but a good book none the less.

And so THE LIST. The List of what did get read. Broken up into three sections, Non-Fiction, Fiction, and Children's. I haven't even kept my good reads up to date on all the children's books we have read together (2nd Samuel and I). Eeek! So much to do.

NON-FICTION


  1. The Fruit of Her Hands - Nancy Wilson 4 Stars
  2. Feminine Appeal - Carolyn Mahaney 4 Stars
  3. God's Mandate for Biblical Education - Robert E. Fugate 5 Stars
  4. Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History - Richard M. Hannula 5 Stars
  5. Healthy 4 Life - Weston A. Price Foundation 4 Stars
  6. The Holiness of God - R.C. Sproul 5 Stars
  7. Leading Little Ones to God - Marian Schoolland 4 Stars
  8. The Real Lincoln - Thomas DiLorenzo 4 Stars 
  9. Tithing and the Church - Gary North 4 Stars
  10. Pierre Viret: Angel of the Reformation R.A. Sheets 5 Stars
  11. Potty Training in Less Than A Day - Grace Goldenbloom 
  12. Toilet Training in Less Than A Day - Nathan Azrin
  13. Toilet Learning: The Picture Book... - Alison Mack
  14. Toilet Training - Vicki Lansky
  15. Peacemaker - Ken Sande 4 Stars
  16. Sovereignty - R.J. Rushdoony 5 Stars
  17. Real Food for Mother and Baby - Nina Planck 4 Stars
  18. Effective Prayer - Charles H. Spurgeon 5 Stars
  19. Praying Successfully - Charles H. Spurgeon 5 Stars
  20. Sophie Scholl and the White Rose - Jud Newborn  4 Stars
  21. The St. Andrews Seven - Stuart Piggin 5 Stars
FICTION

  1. The Return of the King -  J.R.R. Tolkien 5 Stars
  2. The Giver -  Lois Lowry 4 Stars
  3. Gathering Blue - "" 3 Stars
  4. Son - "" 3 Stars
  5. Messenger - "" 3 Stars
  6. The People of Sparks - Jeanne DuPrau 4 Stars
  7. The Prophet of Yonwood - "" 2 Stars
  8. The Diamond of Darkhold - "" 4 Stars
  9. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley  2 1/2 Stars
  10. The War for Mansoul - Ethel Barrett (Based on Bunyan's Story) 5 Stars
  11. The Betrayal: A Novel on John Calvin - Douglas Bond 5 Stars
  12. Persuasion - Jane Austen  3 1/2 Stars
CHILDREN'S

  1. Three Best-Loved Tales: My First Counting Book; The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse; Home for a Bunny - Garth Williams  3 Stars
  2. The Boy Who Listened: The Story of Samuel - Carine Mckenzie 5 Stars
  3. The Happy Man and His Dump Truck - Golden Books 3 Stars
  4. The House That Jack Built - Golden Books 3 Stars
  5. The Tale of Benjamin Bunny - Beatrix Potter 3 Stars
  6. A Bargain For Frances - Russell Hoban 3 Stars
  7. Bread is For Eating - David Gershator  3 Stars
  8. Little Lamb Bakes a Cake  - Michaela Muntean 3 Stars
  9. Sergeant Murphy's Busy Day - Richard Scarry  3 Stars
  10. The Firefighter's Busy Day - Richard Scarry 3 Stars
  11. A Fox Lives Here - Pearson School 3 Stars
  12. Bugs and Butterflies - DandiMackall 3 Stars
  13. Five True Dog Stories - Margaret Davidson 4 Stars
  14. Dangerous Animals - Melvin Berger  3 Stars
  15. The Little Red Hen - Justine Ciovacco 4 Stars
  16. Goodnight Sleep Tight Little Bunnies - Dawn Apperley 3 Stars
  17. My Book of Birds - Tibor Gergely  3 Stars
  18. On The Farm - Richard Scarry 4 Stars
  19. Arthur's Tractor: A Fairy Tale with Mechanical Parts - Pippa Goodhart 2 Stars
  20. The Boats on the River - Marjorie Flack  3 Stars
  21. Farmer John's Tractor - Sally Sutton 4 Stars
  22. Building With Dad - Carol Nevius 3 Stars
  23. The Old Red Tractor - Andreas Dierssen 1 Star
  24. 101 Dalmations - Walt Disney Company 3 Stars
  25. Two Happy Dalmations: Pongo and Perdy - "" 3 Stars
  26. Lady and the Tramp - "" 3 Stars
  27. The Rescuers Down Under - "" 1 Star
  28. 102 Dalmations - "" 1 Star
  29. Pooh Goes Visiting - A.A. Milne 4 Stars
  30. Eyore Has A Birthday - A.A. Milne 4 Stars
  31. The Picture Story of Wyatt Earp - Felix Sutton 3 1/2 Stars
  32. Sheep in a Jeep - Nancy Shaw - 4 Stars
  33. Sheep Take a Hike -  "" 4 Stars
  34. Sheep Blast Off - "" 3 Stars
  35. The Tree House that Jack Built - Bonnie Verburg 3 Stars
  36. Dan Yaccarino's Mother Goose Book - Dan Yaccarino 2 Stars
  37. Holly Hobbie's Nursery Rhymes - Holly Hobbie 4 Stars
  38. Jame's Heriot's Treasury for Children - James Heriot 5 Stars
  39. Sheep on a Ship - Nancy Shaw 4 Stars
  40. Sheep Go To Sleep - "" 4 Stars
  41. Sheep in a Shop - "" 4 Stars
  42. Sheep Out to Eat - "" 4 Stars
  43. The Tuttle Twins and the Creature From Jekyll Island - Connor Boyack 5 Stars
  44. The Tuttle Twins and the Miraculous Pencil - "" 4 1/2 Stars
  45. Caps For Sale - Esphyr Slobodkina 3 1/2 Stars
Well, I surpassed my non-fiction goal of reading at least 12, and met the goal with fiction. That is always a happy moment to reflect upon my reading progress. As expected, my time for reading has fallen by the way side after the first weeks of David's life. It's like this influx of time to read during recovery, then after that barely any time at all. It will get better in the coming months, I know. It's already getting better with him going to bed around the same time every night. Did you know you could put your baby and toddler to bed at the same time each night?! Yes, it's totally possible. Also, you can make them nap at the same time. It just takes work, patience, and more patience. Did I mention patience? Yes, definitely patience. Also a lot of determination. But such is mom life. And I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world! Oh, and pop on over to my Goodreads Profile to see my scattered thoughts of the aforementioned books.
A few currently reading books is the long standing Institutes of Biblical Law by Rushdoony, as I am still in the ladies bible study from two years ago. We've surpassed the half way mark, woohoo! I am determined to read Calvin's Institutes one day, but I don't think that will be this year. I am skimming over Month by Month Gardening in Texas, mostly just about herbs, veggies, and trees, skipping the landscaping, flowers, etc. It's a bit overwhelming, but I want to get a handle on this whole gardening thing and be able to produce a thriving garden to help feed my family delicious and nutritious food. I have started The Baby Whisperer but part of me doubts I will finish, I got what I needed out of it, but I really do like it a lot. Also The Cure is in the Cupboard a book about the many uses of oregano. And can't forget Nourishment from the Word by Ken Gentry, a book our church is reading together. The boys and I are continuing to read from Come Ye Children, although since David has been born, I've had to change up our morning devotion routine, since he is not able to sit as long as his big brother yet. We're working on it, so in the meantime the bible story book is hit and miss. Hopefully we can finish it this year.

I am feeling hopefully and ambitious this year in terms of reading. I want to continue to branch out in my reading endeavors, to span the breadth of knowledge or learning I can attain. I want it to be practical and useful to my life, but also stretch me and cause me to go outside my comfort zone. So here's to a new year and starting to compile a new reading goals list!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015

Has it really been 6 months since I last posted? Oops, I guess I failed at completing my blogging once a month goal for 2015. Well, I had no idea how busy two little people could make one momma. But I didn't blog consistently before that, so I guess I'm out of excuses! As I sit here waiting for my Creamy Pumpkin Tea to steep, I reflect on what this year has meant.  It has been a very blessed year indeed. Some highlights include trips of various kinds, but the best of all was the birth of my little David Livingstone Allison! An early birthday present to me, he was born August 16, 2015, and my birthday is August 31. Really I couldn't have asked for anything more well timed than his arrival, the experience was easier than my first labor, and I had way more energy as I welcomed this tiny little human being into the world for the first time.



There is something incredible about laboring and going through the hardest physical event in my life and then those sweet blissful moments immediately after as you look into those tiny little eyes. There is no way to describe it, words cannot contain the love that wells up in this momma's heart. But there certainly are physiological explanations of the rush of the "love" hormone as your baby is born. Love indeed! Oh sweet baby love. It really is a thing. With 2015, I am braver. I am less afraid.  I am proud of the fact that I had another home birth, My boys are the most beautiful gifts God has ever given us, and to have that beauty magnified and intensified by a natural birth, in my own home, with the most amazing birth team (Paula Davis, Leah Larson, Dawn Housos, and Lisa Rutledge!!), is something I never knew I had the strength to go through and finish, It is absolutely worth it.

2015 has been both empowering through the healing and strength of Jesus Christ, and humbling knowing how weak and feeble I am apart from that source of strength. I know who I am, and I am His. I know that this life He has given me is both beautiful and worth every hard decision I have made. I would not be who I am without what He has had me walk through. And so I smile. So I laugh. 2nd Samuel has such an infectious laugh and I am letting go more and more to have that hearty laughter erupt from deep within me. To let the joy overflow, to enjoy the moments, to enjoy the days, to enjoy what God has given me. Truly I am so undeserving of two such precious little gifts. But being a mom of two is harder, and there have been days when I would cry, get stressed out, get overwhelmed at how tedious and time consuming everything would take, and let Satan steal my joy. And I realized, I really don't have it as together as I thought. Why would I be crazy enough to miss the special moments with my two little boys, yes they grow so fast, but the hours go SO. SLOW. God has humbled me, I cannot do everything I thought I ought. Instead I had to apologize to some and say, "I just can't do that right now, I don't have time." Because my time should be filled with a laughing baby who coos with delight just when I smile and say "Hi!", and with moments of "Another book?!" from an energetic boy who just wants, "Momma lap!", and brings the books to pile on, to snuggle longer, and teach him how things work. Yes, slowing down, organizing, reassessing, and being honest have made the days so abundant. This Christian life, living in accordance with God's word, it doesn't always come easy, but it comes with the help of the Holy Spirit of God sanctifying, molding, shaping, humbling, and making me more like Christ. And how can I be purified unless the fire rages? It brings out the impurity I never even knew was there, that sin lurking, that joy stealing.



And so I have a 4 1/2 month old who is cutting two teeth, What?! And a two year old who loves helping momma, who loves sharing his favorite toys with his brother, and who loves all things tractors, backhoes, and even books. But TWO. How can he be TWO already?! I know exactly where the time is going. It is going into teaching, loving, nurturing, and shaping the eternal soul of not just one, but now two, little boys. My time is in serving. My life is serving King Jesus, my family, His people, the lost and broken, and doing so with joy, pure joy.

I have loved 2015 and all that the Lord has taught me. I love this life He has given me. I have loved weathering the changes, when once upon a time I was terrified of change and dreaded it and feared it. Praise God for every single good gift He has bestowed upon this weak and needy child of His. I thought I knew what "I need Thee every hour" meant with one baby, but oh boy, I know it more dearly with two.



Left is January at a dear friend's wedding, and Right is September. WOW how much he has grown in less than a year. (:

My prayer for 2016 is that I might know God better, and better make Him known. To glorify Him and to enjoy Him. And through that, be the wife, mother, friend, and person who exemplifies my Savior day by day.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Babies, Babies, Babies!

Well, considering I have this huge protruding belly carrying a tiny little human (who feels more the size of a baby elephant when moving, let's be real), what else is on my mind a lot than babies?  As I've been counting down the weeks, it's soon to be counting down the days.  Yesterday I pulled out my meticulously organized baby boy clothes from last time and they were just so tiny compared to my huge chunky monkey of a toddler in his 2T clothes. It got real. Really real.  Taking those clothes out, looking them over, deciding which should be his "first" outfit was exhilarating! It also made the nesting bug bite again. I've got the various rooms and cabinets organized how I want them, but after the reality hitting me that this little boy would be here soon made me want to get some more done. I've got a nice freezer stash, I've washed sheets and had my handy man set up the new cosleeper, so I decided some deep cleaning ought to fit the bill.


So this morning after our relaxed and lovely routine (about to be derailed by the baby train) of packing daddy's lunch, making breakfast, eating together, reading the bible and singing, I packed 2nd Samuel's new to him cat in the cat back pack and off he went to grandma's house to play for the half day. And so began the task of deep cleaning my kitchen, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming and cleaning in general. Special request made by Samuel was to have the fridge cleaned was even completed. It's such a satisfying feeling to work and finish what you start out doing.  2nd Samuel came home, it was nap time, and then I get a text from my midwife asking if she can come to the home visit early, meaning no nap for me.

All of a sudden pregnancy wear and tear hit me like a ton of bricks. Everything hurt, everything ached, I was exhausted, pregnant bodies can't lean and clean and rub and scrub in weird positions like non-pregnant bodies.  But the show must go on, so we had a wonderful visit and I found out the baby had moved half way to where he needs to be (he's halfway posterior?), progress! And then sheer exhaustion again, fussy toddler, zero motivation or energy.  2nd Samuel has definitely gotten immensely clingy these last weeks of pregnancy, and being away from mommy half the day made for tears over nothing and needing mommy close.  Ah well, then dinner.  Who wants to cook dinner anyway? Not this lady. But then I think of my hard working husband, how hungry he'll be.  Then I think of real food, how delicious it is (as opposed to a PB&J, am I right?). Then I lean on God's strength when I am weak, and muster up all the motivation I can, because even though my tank is running on empty, I am still capable of cooking dinner, whereas in a few weeks I'll be recovering from the miracle of natural child birth (not so capable), so I get up and cook a yummy meal I've been thinking about for 2 weeks now.  And the raw foods. Has anyone else seen Food Matters, the documentary? Raw is important. Some nights cooking food is as good as it gets.  But I feel so much better eating salads, and my man loves his salads. So out comes my sheer gratitude to the friend who dropped off some trader joes ready made salad bags, throw in a few farmers market veggies, and viola, delicious raw salad. But, then I see the green beans, yummy locally grown green beans, the stuff that bursts with flavor from being picked only a few days ago. Yup, throw 'em in some bacon grease and you have a winner! Meanwhile all this food motivation is dampened by a toddler who cries because he dropped green beans and I asked him to pick them up.  A toddler who cried because the overwhelming task of cleaning up toys and books before dinner. We were definitely on the same emotional wave-length tonight, sheer exhaustion on all fronts, emotional and physical. And instead of letting my emotions rule me, I cry out to the Holy Spirit to give me patience and teach my child the same. And you know what? He did. Oh how gracious our Lord is in our weakest moments. Together we cleaned up those toys, encouraging him in the midst of his not wanting to do those things, in the midst of my not wanting to do those things, working together, overcoming the flesh together, and learning to discipline ourselves, even when it's not easy. But the serious parenting moment came when I told my precious son that I expected him to not fuss or cry at the dinner table, that we would have a pleasant and cheerful dinner together (daddy was working late). And you know what? We did. It was cheerful. What is cuter than a 20 month old boy who is "mmming" as he eats the food you concocted? (:

Then came the zero motivation to go take my evening walk. Ugh, Houston humidity is not conducive to getting out the door, let me tell you. But I feel better when I walk. So I think of this baby, I think of all these little things, eating well, preparing the house, doing small physical things like walking, stretches, etc., which are all a part of getting ready for labor and beyond. So I do it. You know what, it was not as humid as it was yesterday! The first few minutes tears well up in my eyes and all I want to do is go lie down on the couch, but then I see my son pushing that stroller and his chubby legs pumping as fast as he can go, his smile of sheer delight, and I can't help but smile, and thank the Lord for the joy and encouragement He has placed before me.  I have my ladies Skype bible study to attend, but my phone won't connect me to the call. I try and get on, the dog goes crazy, the toddler starts crying, and I am just needing to go inside to get on the computer... not good. Samuel is home, he takes the boy, disciplines the dog, and I go inside to a messy table, tiny full pregnant bladder and sigh. Clean the table, use the toilet, get on skype. More fussy toddler, but daddy cares for him. I was able to connect with some precious like-minded saints of Jesus Christ tonight despite all the set backs, all the exhaustion, and all the roadblocks.

And this was just today!!! These last couple weeks have had days like today. Zero energy or motivation, or both, to get the daily things done. But I know it will be worth it to save all those freezer meals for the changes a 2nd child will bring.  I know the pregnancy aches that make sleep and comfort elusive will be exchanged for a tiny newborn crying at all hours and nursing at all hours keeping me from sleep. Nobody said being pregnant was glamorous, nobody said it was easy.  But what it is is an unspeakable joy and privilege to nurture and grow a tiny human inside your body! That the Creator and God of the universe chose me to be a mother, to give me a child, and to give me the knowledge, compassion, and love for this little on yet unborn, that is something truly amazing. Some days may be hard, but knowing the sacrifices are for a helpless little baby make it more than worth it, it is humbling.

And then the sheer horror of hearing and reading about Planned Parenthood murdering tiny babies and literally selling their body parts?! Unfathomable. Wicked. It is a tragic horrifying reality no matter what, but one that hits me right in the deepest heart of me, for I carry a child inside my womb, a real human being, a life, an eternal soul of immense value for he is made in the image of God... and I can't wrap my head around those who literally do not care about that kind of life.  On top of that, instead of throwing a life away, some sick and depraved people are literally keeping body parts for a profit. How grotesque can one get?  I am reminded of a few verses in light of this darkness:

"That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us." Eccl 1:9-10

"For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood." Proverbs 1:16

"Their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; Wasting and destruction are in their paths." Isaiah 59:7

Wicked people have always done wicked things, this is not new, but it is still unspeakably evil.  This is just a repackaged medically sanitized way of shedding innocent blood in the name of "women's rights", what about the human rights of the unborn? Oh how my soul grieves for those children who never see the light of God's creation due to the choices of their mother, one who is supposed to cherish and nurture them, even when it is hard, who instead choose death and destruction.  When you have no standard for morality, all things go.  God's word is the standard for morality, no human can ever authoritatively make up a morality.

And so, in my honesty of the evening, I do not pretend that pregnancy is easy, for the sorrows and pains of this life are a result of sin and the fall of man, but children are a blessing.  As I listened to a sermon earlier while cleaning by Joe Morecraft, he addresses this very point, yes there is a curse, but children are not the curse, that is the blessing in the midst of it all. I have hard days, days where I cry and tell my husband I am just ready to meet this little guy and have pregnancy finished.  But in the midst of it all, I know in the ordinary moments of day to day life, I can rest, trust, lean, and depend upon my God to sustain me, to keep His promises, to find joy in His redemption, and know He will give me the strength I need for another moment. In motherhood I have found the words "I need Thee every hour" to be so sweet and so true. Sometimes it is a moment by moment thing. The joys outweigh the hard moments, and the joyful moments far outnumber the hard moments. With the Holy Spirit of God living inside me, I know that the tears may last for the night, but joy always comes. I want to model that to my sons, that even when life is not easy, it is good being a child of God.

And also, God's good gifts help too, like chocolate. Yes, chocolate helps those long hard days. (;


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Honoring Fathers

Yes, it is late, and yes I am still going to share a few thoughts about "Father's Day".  As a first thought, I am thankful that for the third year in a row, I am married to a wonderful man who is a godly father. Three years counting the first father's day our son was in the womb!-I think that is an important distinction to make, as our culture generally makes comments about "soon to be a mommy/daddy/parent" when expecting the first little one, as if the unborn child doesn't make you a mom and dad right now!  Your unborn child is just as much a child as children outside the womb. Location doesn't suddenly make you a "mom" or a "child".



With that being said, I praise God for my husband and the gentle and loving man he is toward our son and our unborn son.  There is nothing like it in this world to hear 2nd Samuel excitedly say "Daddy!" and for 1st Samuel to scoop him up in his arms and whisper "I love you".  But it is not just those moments, but the moments he changes diapers, puts him to bed at night, plays with him, feeds him, holds him, hugs him, reads books to him, reads the bible to him, prays with him, including him in household chores and projects, letting him "drive" the truck to toss out the trash in the dumpster, and yes, even lovingly correcting his disobedient behaviors.  It is in all those every day ordinary moments that show his love and affection for our son.  When he runs a fever from teething and daddy cradles him in his arms all night long just to make sure he is breathing and to give him sleep, even though daddy doesn't sleep well, being so concerned for his welfare. Those are what makes him such a gentle and loving daddy.  But the taking the time to train him up in the fear of the Lord, to have family devotions every night, to pray for his son, that is what makes him a godly daddy.  Even more than that, living out the fruits of the Spirit, loving our son in his helplessness, being patient at a young boy who is curious and wants to be just like daddy, finding the joy in having his son around, having an attitude of peace (not yelling or getting angry, or fighting with mommy), showing kindness toward him in including him in important daddy things (building, fixing, showing him how), goodness by the grace of God and Christ in him, and of course the gentleness I have mentioned before.  It is displaying Christ in his words and actions, having routines of daily bible study, singing praises, and praying to our Father in heaven, these are things that I am so grateful to see in my son's daddy.  I think the peace and gentleness are what I marvel at most, being so different than what I have known.  To have a household of Christ's peace, to not worry or cringe at harsh words, this is a joy unspeakable for me.  It is easy to honor a father such as my beloved Samuel.

And on top of that, I am grateful to Samuel's own father, who he is so like in many ways.  To have my son's grandfather to be a godly man that imitates Christ in his daily ordinary life, to see the way that love for Christ overflows into his love for his son and grandson, the tender care he shows to one so little, is such a blessing to a mother's heart.  Out of the few people he names, grandpa is one of them, "Dada" is the clear distinction from "Daddy". 2nd Samuel points to pictures excitedly and says "dada!", and when he sees bikes, he says "dada" because he knows grandpa has taken him on bike rides. It is easy to honor a father such as my father in law.



But what about those hard to honor?  This is something that has been a great struggle for me.  I find comfort in these verses:

Psalm 68:4-6 " Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him. A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely;"


Psalm 27:10 "When my father and my mother forsake me,Then the LORD will take care of me."

It does not matter whether we have good, bad, or absent fathers, what matters is what scripture teaches us and promises we can cling to.  God's word shows what good father's look like.

Colossians 3:24 "Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged."

Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go,And when he is old he will not depart from it."

Deuteronomy 6:7 "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."

These are only a few examples, but how many treasures of wisdom does God's word have to say on the topic of fathers!  God revealing Himself as a father is very telling. What I am trying to convey is that father's are worth honoring.  All fathers.  Even if your situation seems impossible, even if you have no relationship with your father, even if you don't know your father, the role and calling of father is honorable.  All men who beget children may not be honorable, but the role of father is honorable.  We need God's word to teach men how to become honorable fathers, and this is only done by the Holy Spirit of God working in the hearts and lives of men who love Christ and His word, seeking to apply it humbly and faithfully to their lives.  Men who are not afraid to admit their sins, faults, and shortcomings, but to fall upon the mercy of God time and again, to believe in Christ and to trust that He really does make us new creatures, the old man having passed away.  Being a godly man doesn't mean you do everything right 100% of the time, it means relying upon Christ 100%, striving to be like Christ, to repent unto Christ.

I know God is sovereign and places each one of us in the families that he does, with the father's that he chose.  I am grateful for the good things my own father did do right, as well as the hard situations I have gone through.  Through the good and bad, God used and continues to use these things to sanctify, to humble me, and to make me more like Christ.  This doesn't mean everything is perfect, or pretty, or is how I want it to be, but it means I can trust in a God who loves me enough to test me, try me, to search my heart and see if there be any wicked way in me, and to lead me in the way everlasting.

And so today, I am not only grateful to my husband and the wonderful daddy he is and grows to be, but I am infinitely more grateful for my heavenly Father, who never fails me, never forsakes me, and is perfect and heals my heart of the hurts of the past. Oh how I love my Lord and Savior more with each passing day!!