Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Calm Down

Can we all, please, just calm the heck down?
I mean good grief...
You're a terrible parent if you vaccinate, if you don't, if you do sometimes.
You're destroying your children if you spank, if you don't, if you do sometimes.
You're killing babies if you go the grocery store with a cold.
You're not informed enough about this cause, that cause, this current event, that current event. Your children are doomed to repeat the worst of history and they're totes going to kill the planet with their plastic bags.
Your children will shoot people (or themselves) if you have a gun, if they don't know anything about guns, if they play video games, if they eat chicken with antibiotics and estrogen in it.
You put your kids in daycare and work fulltime, you stay at home and homeschool them, you work part time when they start public or private school? You selfish horrible person, you made that decision because it's what you wanted and not because it was what was best for your child/the community/ everyone else on the planet.
Your kids are wearing pajamas at WalMart? OMG, I'm calling CPS.
They stayed buckled in their car seats while you stood next to the car and pumped your gas and you stared into space and enjoyed the quiet for all of 5 minutes instead of staring into the eyes of your toddlers as you held them in a baby wrap you made yourself from responsibly sourced 100% cotton gauze?! SOO calling CPS.
You have more than one child? How selfish. Your children won't feel loved or special.
You only have one child? How selfish. Your child will never know the joy of siblings.
You're a Republican? Democrat? Tea-Partier? Libertarian? You really just don't give a crap? Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. It's people like YOU that are ruining our country/world/ future.

It's exhausting. You can't do anything right. Every single decision you make as a parent is scrutinized from every angle and we are all found to be severely lacking in skill, intelligence, and common sense by at least one offended party. Often the worst among them are other parents, usually those related to us or neighbors, "friends"...
All this to say... everybody take a freaking chill pill and mind your own business. Take care of your own children. Regardless of what Hillary Clinton may think, the village is not nearly as necessary as sane parents, and how can we stay sane if we're so busy trying to make sure no one is offended by our choices or worse that the choices we've been making (and generations of parents before us have been making) are going to somehow totally and completely ruin our children. Ya know what? They might, some of them really might. Parenting is hard. We leave the hospital with these tiny little helpless babies and somehow we're supposed to figure out how to get them from that point to standing on their own two feet, capable of making their own decisions and taking care of themselves. That is HARD. LIFE is HARD. Can we please just stop trying to make it SO MUCH HARDER?
Just love your kids. It's really that simple. Love your kids and do what you feel in your gut is best for them and understand that it might not work out just how you thought it would. Just love your kids and take care of them the best you can. The really hard things will come, and you'll make a stupid decision or you'll make a brilliant one and your kid will still get sick or hurt or angry or sad because that's just life. And maybe if we all stop trying to parent everyone else's kids for them we'll have the sanity, and energy, and love left over to handle it when the hard things come. Maybe we'll even be sane and kind enough to be there for other parents when their hard things come.

But good grief, we have GOT to CALM DOWN.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

For The Good

Sitting up awake while the rest of my sweet family sleeps.

Tomorrow is our 2nd Anniversary. Two years of marriage. Two sweet babies. Two sweet, hard, wonderful, precious years. Two years that I am abundantly thankful for...

I keep thinking about the beginning this week. It wasn't what most would call picture perfect. It wasn't what many would call ideal. It wasn't what I thought it would be, but it was what God had in store for us. And isn't that always best? Though things may not be what we would have asked for, what we pictured... isn't what He wants always best? It would be easy for people to look back and say that we were foolish, it never should have happened and countless other snippets. Foolish yes... we were foolish, but I have no doubts that God brought the two of us together.

God has a way of doing things that is far greater than the minds and hearts of men can understand. We think we know what is the right way, the best way. We think we can decifer His will if we follow formulas laid out for us by religious scholars and those who have gone before us. But... His ways are not our ways.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10  “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
     giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
                                                                   ~Isaiah 55:8-11

He will accomplish that which He purposes. How comforting is that? How freeing is that truth? Despite us, despite our plans, our foilbles, our foolishness and our distrust... He will not be hindered.  
 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.       ~Romans 8:28

All things... And nothing can separate us from Him...

  38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  ~ Romans 8:38-39

Not the things that people think or say. Not the things that they do or did. Not time, or space or distance. None of these things can hinder Him, His love, and His purposes.

Today, I've been thinking alot about three children that lost their sweet Mama. Thinking about a husband who held his wife just days after thier 15th anniversary as she went to be with the Lord. All day I've been hearing about how Saturday night Laura "lost her battle with cancer". I guess that's technically true, but something about it doesn't seem right. I look at Laura's life and I see the way she fought and the way that through the hard she still sought Christ. I see the legacy that she has here for her children, the impact she has left on the lives and hearts of so many. Who can say that she has lost? Though it is heartbreaking that she is no longer with her family here, that she can not come back to hold and help and even simply be with them... this woman was not conquered. I don't know why God chose to bring her home now, in this way, but I know that it was what He had purposed for her. I know that she knew that, I know that she did not fear. How beautiful, even in the mourning, for her husband and children and the world to see that she did not fear. Even in the loss, to see the gain and to know His ways are best...

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:8

I know that Laura lives. No longer on earth, but forever with Christ. And if she lives with Christ, then how can she have lost? 

This is what God has taught me through Laura's life, and now her death... Whether God calls me home in an hour or when I'm old I know that His timing, His ways, His purposes are best. I have no need of fear, only thankfulness for each breath, each gift He has given.

So tonight I give thanks for Laura, her family and their faith in the God that will hold them up. I give thanks for the years she spent with them, for all the ways that He used and will continue to use her life. 

I give thanks for my own family. That he brought Joe and I together and brought these dear sweet children into our lives. 

I am so thankful that His ways are not our ways and that all His purposes will be accomplished regardless of our limited understanding of them. I am so thankful that we need not fear. 

It is so good not to fear...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Two Babies

One shakes her head because the tiny ivory points haven't quite come through, but want to so badly. The other, finally quiet and resting, feverish after a run in with a scale and four needles.
Such sweet pitiful babies...

Lydie is in full swing big sister mode, patting JoJo's washcloth every few minutes and saying "Luuuuuhvah... Luuuuhvah shhhhhhh". Singing what I'm pretty sure is a mixture of her "Hello Lydie" song and "Jesus Loves Me". Perhaps there's a little bit of the Hundred Acre Wood thrown in there for good measure. She's such a sweet little helper. Goofy, yes, but sweet.

Two babies... it's still so strange sometimes to be holding a little bitty and watching a slightly less little bitty running around assembling her stuffed animals for the morning meeting. I really didn't expect to be here so soon. Or ever really. Yes, Wife and Mama...  that was what I wanted -- but I didn't expect the explosion into both and then the multiplication of that second role so quickly. It's good. It's wonderful, but still surreal.
How can He that came after the She already be 4 months old?

She can eat with a fork. And she's speaking in sentences. Her own language, but full sentences with real, solid meanings that I can understand. 16 months old... The next 16 will be harder, but it's a ways away. I bet it will come and I'll wonder when it was that she learned English...

JoJo's smile is all his own. He looks so much like his Daddy, and the eyes are the same in the smile, but the smile itself is different. His giggle is so sweet and innocent. The way he looks like a little turtle as he pulls his head up and sticks the first of his two chins out... 

Oh I love those babies...  


Friday, May 4, 2012

Through My Eyes

I just entered a contest that Focus on the Family is running where they asked moms and dads to write in their own words (200 or less) the impact that a father has on the home. Thought I'd share it here....


-----

Through my eyes my husband is the man my father should have been. He is the man who loves his wife unconditionally, showing his daughter that she is to be treasured and cared for, teaching his son to lead with gentle strength and great love. He is the Daddy who delights in his little girl's adventurous spirit and can't wait to get home from work to be present in her life. He is the Dad who will teach his son with actions, not just words, how to be grow up and be a man of God. He is the force of light and good in a life that had been too long shrouded in scars of the past and fears of the future. He is the shelter from the storms of a broken world. He is the provider who sacrifices his days to feed, clothe and house. He is the leader who encourages us to dream big dreams and fight good fights. He is the picture on earth of a reality in Heaven. A Father who loves, leads, teaches, provides, delights, encourages, protects, and redeems.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Saga So Far

It's been a crazy couple of days here  at Casa de Duffey.

Thursday morning Lydie Bitty went in for her 9 month checkup. She now comes in at a whopping 21 pounds, a height of 28 inches, and a head circumference that I can't remember that fell in the 98th percentile of baby girls her age (which obviously means that she's smarter than 98 percent of the other babies - or ya know, that her parent's both have sort of large heads). She was so brave getting her shots and just had one little tear and that pitiful "Why would you let that woman stab me three times, Mommy?" look on her face. Before the nurse even left the room my sweet girl was back to her normal smiling, waving self.

That night we went to our small group, came home, went to bed -- and everything was totally normal.
Till just before 3 am.

That's when I woke up feeling strange and like my back was being crushed by a two ton elephant. Lydie woke up around the same time so I went to feed her. While I was rocking her I noticed that it wasn't just a regular pregnant back ache, but that I was feeling contractions about every two minutes. So I did all the things they tell you to do to make them stop. I stood, I walked, I sat, I laid on my left side, I drank my weight in water. And then I woke Joe up because it was officially scary now. He prayed with me right away and tried to calm my nerves and then went straight to Super Dad mode timing things so I wouldn't have to, running a warm bath and finally getting Lydie ready to go while I called the doctor.

We got to Brookwood just after 4. They hooked me up to the tocodynamometer (read "thingy that tells them when my uterus contracts") and eventually started me on my old "friend" Terbutaline to stop the contractions. I also got a big shot of Demerol/Phenergan so I was all kinds of out of it - but thankful for the relief. (Don't get me wrong, I applaud those who choose to go all natural, and perhaps sometime in the future I may go that route, but probably not at 25 weeks 2 days. The stress of wondering what's wrong was more than enough for me at that time.)Anyways, the Terb didn't do much so they started me on Procardia protocol. I can not tell you how ridiculously glad I am that it worked, and that I'm not on Terb right now.

Joe went to work while a friend and my Mom stayed with me during the day. Lydie spent the day with Joe's family. They ended up keeping me all day & overnight for observation. Apparently I had ridiculously low blood pressure even before they started me on the Procardia (which is usually used treat high blood pressure/angina), so there were several times we had to wait a little longer than 6 hours for a dose and they wanted to be sure that I could handle taking this at home. Throughout the whole stay our little Jojo did SO GREAT. He kept up his acrobatics and his little heart kept on thumping away. God knew we needed be kept sure that our little man was ok.

Joe was able to come back and stay with me that night and we went home Saturday morning. Lydie stayed with Joe's fam another day while my Mom and little sister hung out with me so I could just rest and get used to being at home on this new medicine.

Our nurses were all SO wonderful. If you're ever spending much time in Brookwood's L&D - hope for Meredith. She's the Wonder Nurse. And if you're in the Perinatal unit - hope for Ada and Nicole. They're the Wonder Nurse Twins (I mean.. not really, but there were two of them and they're awesome).

Also, can I just say how thankful we are for our families, friends and small group? You are all so precious to us - even before this, but doubly so now. Between taking care of Lydie, staying with me so Joe didn't have to miss work, bringing Chapstick and food to the hospital, just hanging out and praying with and for us, keeping me sane via text message explanations of what all the medical gobbledygook meant, cleaning our kitchen, stocking our pantry and fridge with so much food, mysterious cash and gift cards and the pretty sunflowers sitting on my counter it's hard to keep track of all the wonderful things that God has provided through you guys. So this is yet another THANK YOU to everyone who has helped out in so many different ways. Thank you for your encouragement, prayers and everything else... Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you...I can't say it enough... Thank you!

So here we are on Sunday and it's so good to be home with Joe and Lydie! The medicine is making me feel a little woozy, but that's to be expected. We're just taking it a day at a time. I'm not officially on bed rest, but resting as much as I can. Joe's been so sweet taking care of Lydie and making sure I'm not doing too much.

We have so much to be thankful for. We have sweet families and amazing friends. Our little girl is happy and healthy. Our little boy is growing right where he ought to be. I'm on the way to normalcy. We have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge, water, power, and heat. Joe has a job and a paycheck every two weeks.

God is so good.

Romans 8:18-39
18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
 26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because[f] intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[g] for those who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[h] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[i]35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36As it is written,

    "For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
   we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
 
 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Scattered, but Updating Nonetheless

This might be the least updated blog I've ever had any part in. Oh well, it's not like I have many readers to disappoint.

Anyways, a quick update. Lydie Bitty is now 9 months old. NINE! As in the one that seven ate! As in 3 before twelve which equals ONE WHOLE YEAR. ((shiver)) It's hard to believe sometimes how fast this seems to be going. Along with 9th month of life our little munchkin has acquired 4 teeth (with two more close behind), a ridiculous appetite satisfied by a crazy list of "real" food (Peas, Banana's and Applesauce being the current favorites), this crazy habit of WALKING 5-6 steps at a time, and the most expressive personality I think I've ever witnessed in someone less than 2 1/2 feet tall.

She loves dogs (particularly "Diggy" and Laddie),  The Great Mouse Detective, "Anna/ Go With Him" by the Beatles, the "Hello Lydie" song complete with hand motions, ripping off anything and everything I put on her feet, and most of all her Daddy. All day long all I hear is "DaaaDADaDadadaDAAAAAA". It's precious.

 Our little MAN (because yes, we're having a boy!) is 25 weeks into this whole growing thing and is just as active, if not more so, as his big sister. I secretly think she left an instruction manual in there so he would have a head start on the acrobatic routine. It's still kind of terrifying thinking about having not just two little babies around, but that one of them will be a boy -- creatures I know absolutely NOTHING about. I mean... what if he doesn't like The Great Mouse Detective? Or bouncing? Or hanging out with two girls all day long?!

I'm mostly kidding - I know it'll be alright. Probably...

Life does seem to be slipping by pretty quickly these days though. It seems like yesterday Lydie didn't even know how to sit up or have any hair, but now she's standing and walking and there are these two massive cowlicks that will never go away on top of her cute little head. A "few" weeks ago I was still in normal jeans, but now nothing made without the specific thought of a baby bump will even think about fitting me. Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away, and Christmas after that with February lurking around the corner bringing not one, but two pretty monumental birthdays.


I keep trying to clean the house and catch up on laundry or dishes, but it just never seems to get done. Or even halfway done. There's just plain too much and that nesting instinct still hasn't kicked in from the last pregnancy. So tell me, People Who Have Decent Looking Homes With Children Inside Them, what is your secret? Do you have elves that come over every night? Is Mary Poppins hiding in your closet? Do your children scream in their Jumperoos while you whistle and dust? Seriously, how do you do it?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Baby Bunching 101

There are some mornings when Lydie wakes up crying and I walk in her room only to see this sad little face ("Mommy! Why weren't you here when I opened my eyes!") turn into a smile and maybe even a giggle.. and it doesn't even matter that it's 3 hours before I wanted to wake up. Sure, this morning it happened to be after that sweet little girl finally slept one good long stretch (7 hours!) and I actually felt like a human being, but whatev...

She's almost able to stand up all by herself. Which means before too long she'll be taking those first steps. Then she'll be walking... and running. It's hard to believe that next Wednesday she'll be 8 months old. In 4 months she'll be 1 and we'll be weeks (who knows, maybe days) from Baby #2's arrival. It's all going so fast. Good fast, but fast nonetheless.


Speaking of Baby Duffey numero dos, the big ultrasound is coming up! Assuming the little guy (or girl) doesn't decide to be a little stinker and hide it from us, we'll be finding out Tuesday, October 4th, whether Lydie is going to have a little brother or a little sister. I'm calling it... I think we're gonna have a little boy this go 'round. It may very well be that I'm just used to being pregnant, but this pregnancy has been significantly milder than the last. Plus, I just kinda have a feeling. 


No matter what we're having one thing is certain. Joe and I are extremely excited about meeting this new little one. I mean, how cool is that Lydie will have a little brother or sister that is so close to her in age? It's like an eternal (well... long term anyways) sleepover. Sure it's a little hectic that we'll already be a family of four (the bottom half being almost exactly a year apart), but God knows what He's doing.


It's funny, as soon as we announced the news of #2 we saw a great divide in the people we know. Those who really believe God is sovereign and those who think we have any kind of control over our lives (or potential lives). I can't count how many times people have asked in various ways "You know what causes that, right?". Some well-meaning acquaintances even expressed condolences. (You know, because having a 2nd baby ruins everything...) Joe's response to the first question has become mine, mostly because my initial reaction isn't nearly this restrained.
Of course we know what causes "that". God is the giver of life. God is the one who knows the number of our days and the time that those days should begin. God is the one who is forming "that", and every other, child.  (Sometimes I like to add that our first child was conceived with the help of not one, but two methods of "reliable" birth control, but that's beside the point.) To suggest that we have the ability or the right to control when or if a child is born is just evidence that we, the created, still think of ourselves as equal with the Creator. And it's just plain not true.


So no, we didn't exactly plan this. And yes, we know what caused it. And no, we're not disappointed. 


And yes, we're ecstatic.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

From August - But Still Mostly Applicable

Walk and Not Faint

Have you not known? Have you not heard?The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31




I never get tired of knowing that God has, does and will continue to provide for his children.
I never get tired of knowing that I'm one of them.


Sometimes, though, I get tired of reminding myself that the heartaches, discomforts, pains, and hurt of this world will actually be over someday. I tire of reminding my homesick heart that this is not a forever home.

But I will keep reminding myself and I will treasure the joys that God has provided. I'll hold them all dear and count them every chance I get and always remember that every good gift comes from above. My husband, our unborn child, our families, our friends, this apartment, our jobs... every little thing is from Him. Every heartbeat, every breath, every moment.

And I will never tire of telling the world how kind and great my God is. I will never tire of loving my Jesus.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh (Lydia) Joy That Seekest Me Through Pain

I can tell this is the beginning of a love/hate relationship.

I love the fact that there are doctors and scientists who have developed vaccines that help keep my little Lydie healthy.
I hate that it hurts when those vaccines have to be injected in her little chunky legs.
I hate that when things hurt my little Lydie she sometimes cries (and screams, and turns red, and shakes her little fists, and quivers her little chin... and cries).
I love that Joe and I get to be the ones holding her (rocking, bouncing, cuddling) calming her down.

I know that chances are it's going to be A LOT worse than it was today at times. I mean, we live in a broken world and there's pain and heartache and disappointment, I get that. I just didn't realize until those little tears streamed down her sweet little face that Lydie, my little Lydie, was going to have to face that kind of pain.

Part of me wants to protect her from all of it. Just hole up in our little apartment, far away from needles and other things that can hurt her. But that wouldn't be good for her either. Pain... sucks, but it helps us learn. Where would I be if I never fell down, scraped my knee and felt pain? Where would I be if I had never experienced the heartaches and disappointments? C.S. Lewis put it well in The Problem of Pain when he said this:
"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

As strange as it is, I don't want to protect Lydie from all pain. Don't get me wrong, I won't be leaving piles of glass and rusty nails around for her to hurt herself. It is certainly not my desire to create pain for her. However, I don't think it is our job as parents to shelter our children from any and all pain. No, our job is to tell her that pain does exist and she will experience it and that when she does... listen. It's our job to help her, as best we can, to understand and discover what God may be shouting to her little heart. Maybe it's something simple, like "Listen to Mom, she's trying to keep you safe". Perhaps, though, it could be something much more difficult to understand, something like "God is sovereign".

No matter how hard it is, I want my little girl to feel that pain. I want her to listen to it. I want her to learn from it.

But I'd really be alright if she never, ever, ever had to get another shot.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Smiling Mucus Ridden Munchkin




Even though she feels cruddy and has A LOT (it's just ridiculous really) of yucky mucus all up in her business -- she still has smiles for Mama.

Precious girl...