Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Parenting: Finding Rest

I remember back to Chase's early months where he'd fall asleep on me or Brian and how I just loved it. I loved knowing Chase was resting on me and that nothing could harm him; I could feel him breathing and hear his little sighs. I would lay there no matter how uncomfortable it was just to cherish those moments with my son.

As he's gotten bigger, he doesn't exactly like to sit still, much less fall asleep on us. But sometimes, just sometimes, if I wrestle with him long enough, I can convince him that I make the best resting place.
Does anyone else think it's funny that when your kid is sleepy, they fight their nap more than anything?! Why is this? You'd think someone tired would find enjoyment in being laid to rest.

I'm learning that rest is not only a discipline for kids to learn (one which affects their mood all day), but also that I myself struggle with resting. I'm not necessarily talking about enough sleep. I mean rest as in, not pushing myself beyond my limits; actually having a cutoff for what is to be "worried about today" and what is left for tomorrow. I think I mistakenly go after each day carrying the wait of not just daily burdens but long-term burdens. This makes me wearisome from the get-go. (On a sidenote, I admire those who have hearts big enough to be long-suffering without getting depressed over life's sorrows; those who let their hearts grieve over the sin that has entered the world without relying upon distraction to survive; those who have a disciplined work ethic and yet find enjoyment in rest, trusting that rest is a good thing and that God not only allows for it, but prescribes it. I think I will only know that balance in heaven.)

I am typically a super-disciplined person. But that's the problem. I have a love-hate relationship with rest: I know that I need it and that it's good for my sanity and I'm probably a much nicer individual when I get it; but I hate its unproductive, lazy, wastefulness. Part of me would much rather be checking items off my to do list; but this is my "do-it-myself" mentality.

Unfortunately, this extends to the gospel. I'd often rather rely on my hard work than simply come to my Father's arms and rest. The truth is I don't always know how. My body, mind and spirit seem to fight rest and yet I crave rest and peace of mind.

God has to wrestle me (usually through feeling sick or overwhelmed) to the point where I give in. Fortunately no broken hip as in Jacob's case.

Today I feel like waving the white flag.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Grief Observed

Grief seems to be pervasive in this season of my life. I don't mean to sound depressing; in fact I think grief, especially when you are simply sharing in others' grief, can lead to thanksgiving. The harder lesson is obviously being thankful when the grief is your own.

There are three incidents specifically which have spurred me to think more about grief. (and start reading C.S. Lewis's A Grief Observed.) You've probably seen the news of the terror strikes in Mumbai, India around Thanksgiving. For most, this is a little removed as it is half-way across the world. But for me, it is very close to home. This is the hometown of much of my Indian family and the hotels attacked were common stomping ground for both tourists and locals alike. In fact my dad normally spends Thanksgiving there. I feel sick just thinking that he could have been there!

It's unbelievable to think that last New Year's, my husband and I were in that exact hotel taking pictures of the city and enjoying India's culture.
The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, India

Here is the lobby in which the terrorists entered and started shooting. The front desk made phonecalls instructing people to stay in their room but this wasn't until the terror has already begun.

Here is the pool.

You may recognize this shot from the news. We took this photo to record how beautiful the architecture of this hotel really is.

Here is "Old Taj". This part of the hotel was originally here; notice the winding staircase and the oculus that opens up to a blue sky. When some of the survivors on the new reported climbing down 18 flights of stairs, we aren't talking short stairs!

Survivor, Jonathan Erhlich reports his escape.

Here is an interesting shot of this beautiful hotel side by side with India's vast poverty.

Here we are inside the beautiful 5 star room (myself 6 months pregnant). This is where people literally hid for 48+ hours while some were taken hostage. (You'll see some trying to escape the flames and gunfire here.

Here is the gateway of India which is backed up the the Indian ocean. In fact our hotel room looked out towards this historic monument. It is postulated that the terrorists came by boat and arrived at the gateway of India to start their attack.

"According to details available with Indian intelligence and the information given by the terrorist who was picked up by the Mumbai police in an encounter near Chowpatty, the terrorists hijacked an Indian fishing boat, the Kuber, somewhere near Pakistani waters. They beheaded the majority of the boat's crew of six and only allowed one crew-member, Amarsinh Solanki, to live so that he could help them with navigating the boat to Mumbai. The coast guard found a Global Positioning System abandoned on the fishing trawler that was drifting nearly four nautical miles off the coast of Mumbai early on Thursday, November 27 morning, several hours after the terrorist attack began... Arms, ammunition and plastic explosives were quickly transferred to the waiting boats that took the terrorists to the Gateway of India which was the pre-arranged launching pad for the terrorist attack."

(cited from Saikat Datta, "The Gateway of India",,)

I grieve for those who lost loved ones, who must now pick up the pieces of the rubble; those who are orphaned or without shelter, jobs, or support. My heart hurts for the hospital patients who were seeking healing only to be ruthlessly targeted. I grieve for the tourists who came to broaden their world perspective only to be buried there; but even worse the locals who are haunted by their memories and cannot escape the ruins of the attack.

Now that 200 are dead and hundreds wounded, what will India do to cope with such a loss?

I am thankful indeed that God protected my relatives who live there and also my father from the brutality that occured.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Parenting: In His Image

Ever wonder why, as parents, we love to take pictures of our kids? They are just sooo precious.

I think the reasoning is more than vanity (that our kids are cute b/c we think we are attractive.... okay, that may play a part I guess... perhaps I'm doubly guilty as many say my husband and I look alike. hehe. I promise we are not related!)

But I truly think there's more to it. Something innate in us.

My son Chase looks so much like my husband, it's crazy! I could just sit for hours looking at pictures of how Chase's eyes are so blue (like Brian's) and how he is just so cute and expressive and how his soft profile is the same one I see in my husband. (see for yourself!)

I am convinced that God, Who made us in His image, has put in us (parents) a desire to see our kids grow up to be just like us (well, minus our flaws of course!). They are more than physically like us; they are reflections of who we are, inside and out. The more we reflect our Maker ,the more our kids will see that they too are- in fact- imago Dei (the image of God).

My heart is warmed when I see pictures of Chase with his daddy. I don't always see myself as a child of God, bearing God's image. But delighting in the similarities I see between Chase and Brian must only be minuscule compared to the joy it gives our Heavenly Father to look upon His children who seek to become more and more like His Son.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Parenting: Bearing With Your Children

Cute picture right? I've decided that teething is like the thorn in every infant's side! Cutting teeth is painful for both adult and child: child in that they physically hurt, their nose runs, they get diaper rash and don't get any rest (except for those 5 seconds that Chase stares at the grape Tylenol convinced that it's a miracle solution or if not, it tastes so good that time stops for those few seconds).

The only thing I know to do is to:
- expect that this will be ongoing his whole infancy
- bear with him ( I can try holding him, singing to him, distracting him, numbing his pain, giving him a teething ring, putting him to bed, etc.) Ultimately it has been a test of long-suffering for me. Am I a good long-sufferer? If I went to the doctor and asked what could be done and they said,"nothing." "You will just have to bear with your child in their pain. Just give them-- yourself," would I be able to do that and do it well?

I always thought myself more on the compassionate end than the "oh, well. Suck it up end." But I'm realizing it takes more than compassion to be long-suffering. It takes patience, it takes trust that it is God who is in control and no matter what I do to try and minimize Chase's pain, teething is inevitable.

I wonder if there are trials in my life that cause God's heart to ache with mine? Sometimes I feel God is so distant how can He possibly be long-suffering? Is He not the one who brings both calamity and good things? (Lamentations 3: 38) But my friend Bonker reminded me that Lamentations also says that "Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men" (Lamentations 3: 32-33 NIV). I like how simply the NLT puts it "For He does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow."

Communion for me has been a good "physical" reminder of Christ's suffering on our behalf. How cool that God knew that we as humans would need that tangible reminder that He is with us and that He has suffered in ways deeper than we can imagine. Just when I thought that no one could understand how long I've suffered; "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin."(Hebrews 4:15)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Parenting: God's Leading Is Two-fold

I read recently in Instructing a Child's Heart (Tedd & Margy Tripp) how instructing your child doesn't just mean correcting bad behavior but using other moments to teach and praise your child. I knew this all along, but never realized what a negative impact it could have on a child to only "teach" them through disciplining bad behavior. It's no wonder that some kids thrive on negative attention. That may be all the attention they get.

I certainly do not claim to be an expert. In fact, my inconsistency with my bulldog proves my lack of "parenting" skills. It does make sense that a child would associate any instruction with punishment if that was the only time you gave it.

Psalm 23 speaks to this: God's rod and staff comforting us. His rod being His authority, knowing what is best and rebuking us when we are in the wrong, but also His staff that supports us. I think part of God's rod and staff comforting us has to do with His mysterious mixture of grace and justice. There are instances that He withholds judgment or gives blessing but also times when He sends us to our knees in repentance. I don't know about you, but I'd surely take God's instruction in the form of a praise for the good I've done than a conviction that leads me to repent of the evil in my heart.

How is it that I should be as comforted by His discipline of my screw-ups as I should be concerning His affirmation of my obedience? Sure feels better to receive praise for obedience if you ask me!

I have noticed with my own son that setting "no limits" is not a form of love or even safe. Chase plays and learns much more when I keep him in the bounds of my pasture (aka on his blanket and not scooching over to the computer cords or towards the scary bulldog). He will, however, cry if I move him back on his blanket when he'd rather explore crawling on our hardwood floors (yeah, letting him do that has backfired on me one too many times) It's sad to see him so upset over desiring something that seems so harmless, but I know that my letting him explore on his own is doing him a disservice. To an extent, just setting that boundary for him, even if he dislikes it, sets some kind of consistency that mom is going to snatch him up and place him back on the blanket. He doesn't appreciate it in the moment, but can you blame him? When God snatches me away from the edge of his pasture, I'm not exactly ecstatic.

But a friend mentioned to me that there is comfort even in that part of God's instruction. We come to learn our boundaries and feel security in them.

Psalm 23: 4 "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Parenting: God's Rod of Discipline

As a parent (Krisha talking), I see more and more analogies to my role as a mom and the Christian life. My son is at that age where I think he shows hints of rebellion (like shrieking for no reason other than to hear his voice and biting people to test out his new chompers). God's discipline is always something I've struggled to understand.

Proverbs 3:11-12 says: "My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in." I never understood how God disciplines us for a "greater good" than now -when I feel grieved to have to discipline my child at such a young age. Chase is like me, unaware of his dad's (or mom's) ultimate purpose in the discipline but learning that he must change his behavior (which I pray becomes heart obedience and not just modified actions).

Sounds all simple as a child right? But what about God's discipline to us as adults? Do we truly believe it is for our good and because He loves us? In that moment when our hand was smacked our our cheek is stinging, when we do not feel like he has comforted us or given us our hearts desires; perhaps He's withheld something or even allowed us to experience suffering; do we truly receive God's rebuke without resentment?

I never realized how much I flee from discipline (as well as suffering). Our culture tells us to minimize pain (and that that is happiness), but I didn't realize that I'm just as weak as my son, wanting to avoid any pain that comes with discipline and rebelling in the moment due to not fully understanding the reasoning. I came across this quote that made me think of God's discipline in a different light.

"To be left uncorrected would be a fatal sign: it would prove that the LORD had said, 'He is given unto idols, let him alone.' God grant that such may never be our portion! Uninterrupted prosperity is a thing to cause fear and trembling. As many as God tenderly loves He rebukes and chastens: those for whom He has no esteem He allows to fatten themselves without fear, like bullocks for the slaughter. It is in love that our heavenly Father uses the rod upon His children. Yet see, the correction is in measure": He gives us love without measure but chastisement "in measure." As under the old law no Israelite could receive more than the "forty stripes save one," which ensured careful counting and limited suffering; so is it with each afflicted member of the household of faith-every stroke is counted. It is the measure of wisdom, the measure of sympathy, the measure of love, by which our chastisement is regulated. Far be it from us to rebel against appointments so divine. LORD, if Thou standest by to measure the bitter drops into my cup, it is for me cheerfully to take that cup from Thy hand and drink according to Thy directions, saying, "Thy will be done."- Charles Spurgeon

I'm sure you've come across those kids in public that go crazy! No discipline at all by the parent standing by watching them run loose in the store. We probably have moments at home where we let offenses slide because we simply feel like we do not have the energy to instruct or correct. But our kids? Never! They would never carry on like those undisciplined hoodlums!

But how many of us actually see ourselves as those kids? We assume we are the opposite kind of parents; we desire well-mannered kids even if it demands consistency and applying some form of discipline. But in our relationship with God, He is the parent and we are the children. Now that I am the child, do I crave God's discipline or would I rather He "let [me] alone?" I confess there are many days that I'd rather run through the store knocking things off the shelves and being left to "fatten myself" with all the ice cream I could eat than receive His discipline knowing it hurts, but it's because He loves me.

Anyone who knows me know I am somewhat of a melancholy person. But I can be encouraged, as Spurgeon points out, that God's love is given without measure! His discipline is limited... but His love endless. So I guess a parent who understands God's discipline is one who still grieves having to use the rod but also one who knows the ultimate goal is to discipline in measure so that love can be given without measure.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Parenting : God's Ferberization

An observation I (Krisha) made several months ago is that my relationship with my son is analogous to my relationship as God's child. I remember the age when Chase started sleeping through the night. I had debated on whether the "cry method" (aka Ferberization) actually made sense or just sounded cruel. Books esteemed it as the sleep method in which you allow your child to cry for a specific amount of time before you respond. This is supposed to allow your child to learn to settle himself although I had heard that in some cases, your child could grow to distrust that the parent will meet his needs.

Chase has actually done really well with the sleep boundaries we've set. If he cried for an extended amount of time I would go in, check his diaper, make sure there was no obvious discomfort and put him back down. I aimed to meet his basic needs while still hoping that he would learn to settle himself. Once he did, it proved very helpful in measuring his cries. I could gage whether his cries were simply "I don't wanna go to sleep mommy" or "something is terribly wrong! Could it be my diaper!?" All in all, Chase is a success story to my variation of the sleep method.

Myself, however... I am a different story. I feel like lately.... no... that is an understatement... for the past 7 months or so, God has used the cry method with me. I am at that stage (eyes rubbed red, puddled in my own drool, pained by my inability to escape His confines, arms outstretched, and countenance distressed that no one is coming to scoop me up out of my misery). How long O Lord?! How long?!

It's amazing that my child still smiles at me each morning when I wake him up, even if I let him whine a little before falling asleep. If only I could trust that God's mercies are new each morning... I have a lot to learn from Chase.

Psalm 28
"To You I call, O Lord my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if You remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to You for help, as I lift up my hands toward Your Most Holy Place." (Psalm 28:1-2)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm an aunty! and Brian's an uncle!

We are proud to announce that Jen & Tyler (Brian's sister and brother-in-law) just had their first baby. Welcome Colin James Robinson! He arrived yesterday 11/17/08 weighing in at 8lb. 9 oz. and 21 inches long. Jen was in her 37th week; yeah big Whited babies! Or maybe I should say big Robinson babies? (Chase also in his 37th week was 7 lb. 4 oz... I cannot picture how big he would have been if I had been in my 40th week or even past.)

We are so excited to be aunt and uncle to this cute little guy; Chase is officially a cousin! (Soccer team of 2 and counting....)

For now, here are some pics of Jen & Tyler. I think Chase actually resembles Jen is his cute profile. We are looking forward to seeing this new family of 3 at Christmas!

Jen & Tyler (Congrats to the new parents!)

Brian & Jen at her wedding

Brian, Chase, and Jen

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Nostalgic fall...

Brian, my mom and I recently took Chase on a hike to capture the peak foliage on our camera and remind ourselves why we call this home. I got so excited scrolling through these pictures that I can't decide which ones to post. They are all too beautiful.

I feel that part of my identity(Krisha talking) is growing up in these beautiful mountains. As a teen, my favorite memories were during fall because it was cross-country season and it was the one sport where it took all of my mental discipline to be able to endure those miles and yet it was so enjoyable and rewarding because you could get lost in nature's beauty. A run along the parkway, though tiresome and painful on my knees, was easily justified in just the first 5 minutes of forgetting my wordly worries and basking in the colors that are only here for a season.
Growing up, I had fond memories of driving on the parkway with my family to the Peaks of Otter (just outside of Roanoke). There are so many colors for the eyes to see that it is overwhelming!
You feel like you are drowning in God's beauty.

There are reds that burn brighter than the sun,
yellows that are pure as gold, and the sea of orange so rich- that you can taste it!
When I think of autumn here in the Roanoke Valley, I think of stepping onto our porch and feeling embraced by the mountains all around us. I picture the fall leaves whirling around as you go down the street; I envision hiking trails that are so covered with leaves that you hear nothing but their crunch under your feet and you feel like you have escaped civilization and entered into a secret wonderland.

I can taste the warm spiced cider and I yearn to roll down the windows, feel the cool breeze, and listen to the Appalachian music (with the dulcimer) and the folksy bluegrass music; they are rooted in the simplicities of life, the love of family, and the faith in Christ that brings meaning to it all. It makes me proud to be a Virginian.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Once Upon a Pumpkin....

Once upon a time, there were three fun families. They decided that instead of taking an expensive trip, they'd meet in the a town known as the Big Lick. The "bicklickers," as we shall call them for folklore's sake, were known to be friendly and say things such as "y'all." The land was so beautiful that many would come from far and wide (even from VA Beach). While the 3 fun families were contemplating communal living, they thought they'd enjoy God's orange earth by taking a trip to Jeter Farm. (There are pictures below in case you are from a land where orange does not exist. )
On Jeter's Farm, the three families spent time with their young admiring the beautiful fall colors,

going on a hayride,

venturing through a corn maze,

petting (or should I say feeding) some animals at the zoo,
and picking some pumpkins. What makes a perfect pumpkin you ask?

Well, first off, you must be willing to look high and low. It must be perfectly shaped, cheery, and inviting. Appears this man's pumpkin is smiling.

This one has a notable stalk. Quite kissable if you ask me.

This one was hiding amidst some others. Did I mention it may take some diggin' in the dirt?

It must stand out in the patch!

And when you know you've found the perfect one, it will make all other pumpkins pale in comparison!

Oh.. almost forgot. They must be easily transportable! Looks like they picked the best in the patch.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

1/4 Indian

When I was a kid, my sister and I would go the Roanoke Indian Association functions with my parents and we always dressed up. Here is a photo of me as a kid in my cute little outfit that showed my belly. I always enjoyed the culture and the dances(the "stick dance" in particular) and the food of course.

So, you may never know looking at me, much less looking at my son, Chase, but he really is 1/4 Indian (the dot, not the feather). My aunt Sabita who Brian and I visited in Mumbai last December gave us this precious outfit for Chase to wear. At the time I received the gift, I was still expecting and so it gave me something to look forward to. It's actually for a 12 month old, but I was anxious to try it on because he's growing so fast.
I think someone wants some mango kulfi!

He's so handsome in his kurta

I love this one with his elephant!

Happy Birthday Nu-Nu!

I would like to wish a Happy B-day to my sis, Renu!

Here's a photo of her b-day dessert that consisted of a peanut butter crust (pb, confectionery sugar, butter), moose tracks ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate chips. This recipe was my fave back in college that Kate Early (formerly Gerber) used to make me every bday!

This is Zoe watching me prepare the dessert, hopeful that I'll drop some on the kitchen floor.

Here's the cute couple! (Renu & Bryan)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just stop paying your morgage

If you want the truth about the bailout, read Peter Schiff's article.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's good to be back in Virginia

After being in Florida for a few years, I got to experience why it is good to be back in Virginia. This past weekend I headed out on the trail with my Dad and one of his fellow co-workers. It was a great weekend: hiking over 20 miles on the iconic Appalachian Trail in peak Fall color over 3 days...and my dad and I got to see two bears. Here are two of my favorite photos.

From Shenandoah National Park - Appalachian Trail - Beahm's Gap to Compton Gap

From Shenandoah National Park - Appalachian Trail - Beahm's Gap to Compton Gap

The rest of the pictures.

The GPS track and pictures

Shenandoah National Park - Appalachian Trail (Beahms Gap to Compton Gap)

Widget powered by EveryTrail: GPS Geotagging