Monday, August 22, 2011


Devoted to my son, Chase Alexander


I know the real battle lies within

But even the outward, I’d be content to win

A heart of stone I can attest

So apparent at two

Also buried deep in my chest

Like a miniature mirror reflecting my sin

You walk around in need of Him

Only Christ can make your spirit new

So look to Him, for your worth and value

Even though God placed me over you

He knew I would falter and need Him too

And when I fail to do what I say

Let me not be your stumbling block, but instead pray

That I would shepherd you well in truth and grace

With understanding that you face what I face

The words He’s given me I now give you

Obey His commands, for they are right and true.

My heels are bruised from digging in

I refuse to let my toddler win!

Get out your shield. Get out the armor.

The battle is worth fighting! I have waged the war!

Your soul is at stake and the winner takes all

Parenting is only the microcosm,

Let us not forget the Fall.

The greater battle involves man and the snake

Evil has made its way in, now our eternity is at stake.

Cling to Jesus in the face of the serpent, my dear son

Take courage that the victory is already won!

The greater battle is inward you see!

Not about all the rules given by mommy.

Those are there to point you on the narrow path.

That you may inherit God’s blessing and not His wrath.

In this fight we are on the same side.

Against us the world, flesh, and devil collide.

They will all compete for the throne of your heart

This has been man’s struggle, even from the start.

The bruises we have from digging in

Are windows to the greater war of sin.

The mundane arguments encompassing this season of life

Are not without pain, not without strife.

But rather the fuel that forces us to our knees

Confessing aloud our guilty pleas

We eagerly bow our heads to receive

Your forgiveness, your love, your empathy

We reflect on the cost of our own stubbornness

How relentless our sin! But how much greater Your rest!

We remember that You paid the greater price

By Your atoning sacrifice.

By Your Spirit our salvation is sealed

And by Your wounds we are healed.

(Gen 3:15 & Isaiah 53:5-6)

Friday, August 19, 2011

What's new with the kiddos

3 has been an interesting age. Chase has gone from completely dependent on me to slowly learning to do things on his own. He wakes up earlier and earlier these days, puts his clothes in the laundry basket, wants to feed the dog and give her treats; he can get through all of our "baby" gates so we've found him wandering into certain places of the house where we don't want him! He gets his sippy out of the fridge and sometimes grabs fruit and proceeds to eat all of the strawberries and put them back in the container. Some mornings there is a puddle of water in the floor from him dumping the pitcher over b/c it was in the way of his sippy in the fridge. He enjoys going on tricycle rides but still loves the "baby" swing that is in our front yard. He's enjoying the water more and more and daddy even took him on the lake in a kayak.

He knows 1-20, is learning opposites, and all his ABC's and is becoming very good at jigsaw puzzles (the cardboard kind without any border as opposed to the wooden kind for toddlers). He works with daddy on the catechism and seems like he understand more and more about God and His creation. He says things like "you are beautiful Zoe" or "Soap-eeee. She's cute!" or "I love you da-da." He seems to understand manners and being compassionate more and more as he'll often say "I'm sorry 'bout dat mama" or "here ya go Soap-ee" (giving her a toy to make her happy). He also tells me about his dreams which 99.9999% of the time involve Lightning McQueen or Mater. He is eating better (as in more variety) but it is still often a struggle to get him to eat. Some days he will clean his plate and other days it's a battle to get him to eat one bite. We are in the throws of potty training. Let's just say the will of a toddler is a powerful thing. (READ: pray for Krisha in this! It can be super discouraging at times.) On the bright side, Chase gets lots of gummy bears ("yummy bears") , M&Ms ("emmawemms") and marshmallows as his treats for going. Currently his favorite toy is his lightning McQueen with his flashlight which he calls "smashlight". Brian and I thought it was funny the first time we heard it, we haven't felt the need to correct it. They are only 3 once, right?

Sophie is also a little fireball. She is both sweet and also a spitfire (especially when I am slow to feed her or take away her milk. NO LIKEY!) She is still very much a people person and has this adorable chunky-cheeked smile. Look at those dimples.Her hair is just spiraling everywhere and she apparently reminds a lot of people of me. She still has only the 6 teeth (her smile is pretty cute with only 2 teeth on the bottom)! She still isn't very comforted by me or anyone for that matter when she is tired. She cries and then curls up on her belly (bum in air) and puts one set of fingers in her mouth and the other set twists her curly locks. (See below for the standing variation)It's prob my favorite Sophie pose. Why? A) for cuteness B) practicality- b/c it's her telltale sign she wants to go to bed C) it isn't a forced pose but a natural one that she made up so I can actually get it on camera!

She does this funny thing were she likes to crawl into my lap and turns around and plop! (but then she doesn't stay there for very long). She tried it on Chase today by backing up and sitting on him. Quite funny. Then she leans her head back to touch his head. Very cute.

Her favorite expressions are:
"milk" (signs it)
"MEEEE!" (I think she's meaning "more" or "mine")
"Thank you" (she both says it and signs it)
"Doggy" (she says and signs it- patting her leg)
"Buh" (also referring to doggies or specifically Zoe. You mean you don't teach your kids that dogs say "buh." FYI that's bulldog for "woof!")
and recently sounds like she might be trying to say "all done" and "buddy" (referring to Chase)

This duo rarely ever sleeps at the same time. (i.e. I am almost always up potty training or making sure Sophie is cared for.) She's still at the age where she does not like me checking on laundry and leaving her in the play room. She will stand at the gate and scream. Thankfully Zoe is a good buffer b/c she distracts Sophie and then she wants to pet the doggy.

(no Soap-ees were harmed in the capturing of this photo)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Just when I thought...."

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Dumb and Dumber (ok, so those that know me are saying "many of them are from Dumb and Dumber, Krisha"). "Just when I thought you couldn't be any dumber, you go and do something like this. And TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF."

I have to start out a heavy-heart blog with a little bit of humor, right? I've had many thoughts over the past years. But since I've had children, since I've been married, since I've recently traveled to some far out places, since I've lived abroad on my own in VZ, since I've had the commuting/working long hours in a big city and now the stay-at-home mom in a small city life; since I've turned 30, I am realizing that life is so so different than what I thought. For example, everyone (myself included) thinks that they have certain standards until their circumstances change and they are forced to revise their standards. But the issue is that most of us are busy trying to control our circumstances so that revision is never needed.

One example I faced years ago when I was living as a single overseas was my standard of eating. I always told myself that I not only liked healthy food because it's healthy but also because it tasted good. That is it worth the money to have fresh fruit and veg and that I would eat less quantity if I had to make up for not having the money to always buy it. But then when you live in a place where the country's resources don't allow you to have that standard - what do you do? What do you do if you go to the market and they don't have fresh fruit and no one culturally eats raw vegetables and thus you can't find them? Do you pay exorbitant amounts to have people ship things to you? Do you go to a bigger city? Because then you are breaking your standard of "I just can't live with myself paying $8 for 3 pieces of fruit." Or maybe you are breaking your acculturation standard of: "here I am trying to be one with the people and I am putting up a cultural barrier by leaving the town to get better groceries because their groceries aren't good enough" just to satisfy your other standard of "I will eat healthy no matter what"!! Have you ever been in a place where your standards seem to be at war?

We recently took a trip overseas to a place where my standards of hygiene and safety were completely at war with my standards of culture (and being that ethnocentric American who thinks our country is the best in everything). I HATE the thought of being that ethnocentric American. I know, deep down, I am very American and yet I always sought to respect other cultures and their differences.... or so I thought. Heck, we ALL think that of ourselves until we put ourselves in these situations where we have to choose between standards. The reality is most of us avoid putting ourselves in any situation where we would compromise any of our standards.

I kept asking if it just plain wrong or "different" that there is no sewage systems and that babycarseats cannot be found (much less seat belts). I had to laugh at the traffic conductor who was waving a wand while cars, buses, CNG's, rickshaws, and (in my opinion) very brave pedestrians were crossing without even acknowledging the stoplights much less the baton-guy. We joked that perhaps he was fanning himself. There was one point in the trip where we were in a motorized rickshaw and my husband says "hey wifey, you'd better lock your door." And my response was "Umm.. I don't have a door." I had to laugh out loud at the point. Our American mind thinks "control" and "safety- first!" And it just didn't seem to mesh with the Eastern relativism of "anything goes" and "who needs rules?"

My point is that we always see ourselves in a better light until we are in those hard and often dark circumstances. If anyone has read "The Life of Pi," you get my gist. (He' appalled with the thought of killing ANYTHING whether animal or human or insect. But after enough starvation and survival, Pi must choose to revise.) Anyone can claim to have a heart for the poor and homeless until you go to Asia and are confronted with too many beggars to count. All of us think we are compassionate (especially to the handicapped or the mentally challenged) until you are presented with the question of whether or not you will house this homeless person or special needs person in the room next to your infant. Most of us would be okay with living under our means and using some of our savings to help the community in some way, right? But there is ALWAYS A LINE WE DRAW.
We want to be generous, but not when our own security is at stake. We want our children to be around kids of other socioeconomic classes and yet we don't want the issues that come with that (that they may pick up bad habits or be exposed to things we don't approve of). We pride ourselves as Americans who LOVE freedom and "don't judge." But how many of us can honestly put ourselves (or better yet choose to put ourselves) in a place where we are willing to sacrifice our own freedom for the sake of others?

Everytime I venture overseas (no matter what the culture- LatinAmerica, SE Asia, or wherever), I am reminded by how all of us seek to control our circumstances, uphold our standards, and avoid anything that may make us question- why do I have this standard? And what am I living this way for? That is NOT to say we should live without standards. But our hearts are definitely opposed to analyzing our standards and the reasons behind them. We don't like too much introspection because with it come the skeletons in our closet. Why not just stay right where we are and never change anything? Wouldn't that make like much simpler? After all, simplicity is what we are going for in life, right? (read with sarcasm)

  • As a high schooler, I had the standard that I'd definitely have a phD of some sort by the time I had a family. After all, I defined myself by my academic achievements and my ability to scale the ladder and prove myself. (On a funny note, a fellow high school grad asked me at my 10th year reunion what I did now. He said "Krisha was like the smartest person in our class. Are you like a doctor now?" Then I told him I stay at home with my children. He was shocked!)
  • As a college student, I thought I'd perfectly balance my friends, family, spiritual life, etc. I had the standard of reading every book in every textbook and appreciating what my parents made possible for me when they put me through college. I had the standard of ALWAYS taking time to celebrate birthdays. I had the standard of always having some exercise outlet. I had the standard of always taking time to encourage friends. I thought myself an excellent communicator..... then ....I got married!! Boy, do I think differently of myself now!
  • Seminary came and the standard I had of "I will never commute more than 30 min. or pay tolls to earn a wage" went out the window. The standard of "I will use my college degree and press on for a further degree" was set aside for the sake of supporting my family. (I guess I can at least say we kept our "no debt" standard).
  • But even that was challenged when we left seminary, jobless and with a newborn. All the planning we did to ensure financial security while starting a family seemed thrown out the window by uncontrollable circumstances. Our standard of "why rent when it's so much smarter to buy as long as you don't incur debt" was put on hold as we continued renting. Even my "I will never allow myself to be at home with a kid and without a car" (just for safety reasons) was compromised in efforts to live off of one car while we secured jobs. The standard of "I have always and will always keep up with cleaning my car and I refuse to be a bad steward of the few things that I own" (as I never pay for carwashes or things I can do myself) morfed into a dirty car over the years where the side paneling is falling off. I guess I didn't give in and pay $ to have it cleaned, but I cringe at the duct tape and think "how tacky" and yet "how far I've come Lord to letting go of things my pride held onto." God has surely been gracious to me. He's provided a way for us to exercise back when we lacked finances to belong to a gym; He's allowed us to invest our $ in a home rather than rent. He's provided clothing for our kids... I've learned that there's no shame in hand-me-downs and even though I still value dressing nicely, I can let it go if my kids don't have the most modern outfits for the sake of saving some $. I've learned to borrow and trade and coupon, rather than just buy. All that said, I'm still in process of revising my standards. I haven't arrived yet, nor will I ever this side of heaven. I still wrestle with the fact that my car does not have a means to which I can play music other than radio. Pretty cheesy right? But hey I grew up with a family who loves music and you'd think every car would have the ability to play a CD or ipod even if you use an adapter, right? Nope. 90's tapedeck here. Sounds like pacman is on a crunching spree in between every music note. The key is to insert and eject the adapter tape at least 3 times and then the volume chimes in. But anyways, would I have ever stood for this before? My pride still struggles not to care what I have. Not to care what people think. Not to compare! (yep, I'm female) Not to put so much emphasis on the temporal when there is an eternity out there that needs to be lived for God's glory starting now!
I thought I'd end with this quote:
"I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation. I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please."-- Wilbur Rees

Hopefully you see the context is not literal. Rather it's poking at how LITTLE we DESIRE GOD. It's really convicting and when I read it, I thought "how awful." But I think that conviction can be taken two ways:
Option 1) We see something convicting and say "that's terrible. Well, I'm definitely not in THAT category" and we start to self-justify how are aren't really THAT bad or how we don't need to repent or allow God to change us because we really aren't that bad and we resent anything that makes us feel convicted by saying "I will not feel guilty. There is no need for me to change. I am just fine the way I am!"
Option 2) We see something convicting and go "wow. Lord. Yep. Guilty." But it doesn't end there. We don't stay in our guilt. We confess. We "own it." We man up or in my case "woman up." And say, "God I surrender." I need You to grow my heart to care about You above all things. And we are forgiven. And He gives us strength to change.

So back to the beginning quote. We don't "totally redeem ourselves." Christ can. And does.

Come Ye Sinners (2 stanzas from my favorite Hymn ever)

"Come, ye weary, heavy laden, Bruised and broken by the fall; If you tarry 'til you're better, You will never come at all. Not the righteous, not the righteous; Sinners Jesus came to call. Let not conscience make you linger, Nor of fitness fondly dream; All the fitness He requireth Is to feel your need of Him. This He gives you, this He gives you, 'Tis the Spirit's rising beam."