"It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which he creates." ~Amy Carmichael

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Play The Pause

                                                               Quarter Rest Clip Art 

I have recently started teaching piano to a few of my younger siblings and several of my nieces and nephews. I am well aware that one of the hardest things to teach children on the piano is to follow the timing of a piece. To most children, including myself, the idea was to learn it well so you could play it fast. NOT to learn it well so you can play it slow. And rests? Those little symbols are not really serious about pausing mid-song, are they? Yet music composers do not flippantly slap rest symbols into the music, merely to annoy all those aspiring young pianists who play their music. No, they are used intentionally and with purpose.

A quiet, well-placed pause amidst a flurry of notes can heighten the impact of the notes around it and make a piece come to life. The timing and pauses are where the distinction lies between an amateur and a great pianist. Anyone can play the notes. Few will choose to play the pause.

I feel like our life right now is at a “rest” moment. The measures preceding have been rapid bursts of staccato notes – played fast, with little predictability. Then suddenly a pause.

We want to adopt, but due to circumstances beyond our control we must wait. We intend to homeschool, but Addy is still just a baby. Nathan would rather be in a different position, but it is not time to switch. We would like to live in a single-family house, but for now we hear the neighbors downstairs and share the yard. We know we are called to ministry, but for now Nathan is working on the schooling he needs to get there.

The question is, will we play the pause? We have been given an opportunity to rest from the last season and prepare for the next. Our daily lives have stabilized. Nathan has a job where he is gaining some experience in his field while finishing his degree. We have a steady salary. We are living near some family, in a decent house that fits us well. Though Addy is always changing, I am finally feeling like I am adjusting to being a mother. I am learning how to balance the different areas of my life and learning ways to be more efficient and effective in what I do in this season of life. We have time to enjoy our little family. We have people in our lives that we can minister to because of where we are right now.

We can strain ahead, trying to rush into to the next measure. Or we can enjoy the full count of this rest that God has given us. Right now, while there are no emergencies, no great trials, and little pressure – this is the time to tune our hearts to the still, quiet voice of the Spirit. We have nothing urgent pressing us against God. Nothing forcing us to our knees. Now is our time to gain a desire for who God is, rather than what he can do for us. To know he is near, even when all is quiet. To choose him, even in the stillness.

The thing about a pause is that it is not the end. The music is not over. There may yet be pages of music left to play. Any moment the next notes will come crashing in, breaking this silence; perhaps much sooner than we expect. But this pause, if played well, can usher the melody in with a deep expectancy. A readiness for whatever may come. Because we were given a rest and spent it within the abiding presence of Christ.

We can play this pause. Or we can miss it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fail-Proof Baby Sleep Solution

After months of waking up feeling very unrested due to a baby waking up a lot, I have finally discovered how to get a long, restful night with this baby. It is really quite simple and so effective it completely surpasses any effects of teething. Here is the formula:

Day 1: Spend all afternoon playing at Grandma's while mama teaches piano lessons. Then stay home with daddy while mama is gone too late into the evening, so baby gets hungry and fussy for awhile.

Day 2: Play with cousins for a few hours at Aunt Stacey's house while mama and daddy have a date.

Day 3: Go to church, then spend the rest of the day at Grandma's house with lots of attention from cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Day 4: Go to the park for several hours with a lot of family and strangers. Then go to the store. Then go to Grandma's house with more of the same family and strangers. Take some naps, but don't get home and to bed for real until 1:00AM.

Day 5: Sleep pretty well, but get woken up too soon to get ready to leave in the morning. Then spend all day at an amusement park with lots of people and noise and only a short nap or two.

Do all these things and baby will then sleep for most of 12 hours through the night, only waking about three times to nurse and immediately fall back asleep. Followed by a two hour nap soon after. This is a tested and proven theory. The result is a reasonably well-rested mother and child who are both more than happy to spend a couple of uninterrupted days at home.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Don't Paint Pink

It has been a little over three months since we moved and the majority of the unpacking is done. The extra bedroom/office still acts as a storage unit for the yet packed boxes, but there are only a few other boxes lingering in the rest of the house. So my current “settling in” project has been curtains.

Curtains make me happy. I cannot explain it, they just do. Nathan doesn’t get it either, but he is happy that such a small thing can make my day (week!).  I am too lazy to paint right now (besides the fact that we’re in a rental, so I’m not even sure if we can) and I don’t have a ton of d├ęcor, so curtains can do amazing things to bring color and a finished look to a room!

The down side is that the nameless person who picked the “neutral” wall color for this rental house…well…failed at picking a neutral color. It definitely has a pink tone that kills certain colors or shades. I am using our lovely deep purple curtains anyway for our room and it looks reasonable, but I am still at a loss for what to do with the living room. I tried a dark brown, but it darkened the room more than I like and the style didn’t work like I thought it would. Those curtains are going back to the store next week! However, I am hesitant to use a lighter tan/khaki color because of the wall color. I would so love to remove any pink hues from these walls! Lesson? Make sure your neutral colors really are!

As of now, I have collected enough curtains and rods for all the windows I am going to worry about for now. Except the living room, as I mentioned already. The trick now is to get them all up on the windows. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike hanging things on walls?? Nathan was kind enough to hang several for me as a Valentine’s Day gift, but I didn’t have most of them yet. He really is a lot better at getting things straight and in the right place, but he doesn’t particularly enjoy it either. So this week I am trying to get over my dislike and get those rods on the walls. Two down. Six to go. Hey, it’s progress.

In the meantime, I need some input. For Addy’s room I am sticking with a clean, contrasting white/black theme, with an accent color. Partially because I really like that look and partially because it is easy to change out accent items if we end up being here for some time and have another child…like a boy. However, I don’t know what accent color to use. Pink would be easy, but *every* little girl has a pink room. Our room is deep purple with silver/gold. The main living area is all shades of red.

 So here is my question to those of you have more decorating experience than I have: 
Would it be too difficult to find matching items if I use a blueish-green color? Does it work to have slightly varying shades together? I know there are a million shades of teal, so that could be trouble. It is such a pretty color though! Plus, it is still girly while being a little bit more unique than pink. 

And with that, I had better go get some things done with my day...like maybe hanging curtains. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Making Time

Nathan says I should start blogging again. I say I don’t have time. He says make time. So this is me trying to make time ;)

Have you ever tried to “make time” with a baby-almost-toddler around? It looks something like this:

I think to myself, Ah, Baby is still sleeping. I am too awake to get anymore sleep, so maybe I’ll try blogging now. After all, if I get up now she’ll just wake up anyway.

Start up the laptop and get everything ready…just in time for baby to wake up.

Type a few words. Move baby hand away.

Type a few more letters. Delete all the 0’s she just added to the page.

Type a sentence. Realize she is hungry.

Type one-handed while feeding her.

Change positions so her foot can’t pound the keyboard while she nurses.

You get the idea. I guess I won’t get bored while I try to write anyway, right? Now that she is finally preoccupied by Mr. Teddy, I guess I’d better type fast!

I don’t have a plan for what I want to blog about. It is really just an attempt to get myself writing again. That, and perhaps have an outlet for the things going on in my heart and head. The last couple of years have been good, but also very full and often stressful. Unfortunately, I quit writing during all the upheaval and writing used to be one of my primary methods for dealing with emotional stress. Addy doesn’t like having an irritable mommy though, so we will see if this helps. That is, if I actually succeed in making time for it on a semi-regular basis. 

I spend a lot of time reading other people's blogs while I feed a baby or wait for her to fall asleep. So I may be doing a lot of commenting on and sharing the interesting tidbits I find on other blogs or Pinterest. Even though I generally feel overwhelmed and behind, I have been finding more time lately to try new ideas and work on some projects around the house. Which has been great! Especially with Nathan on the South Beach diet right now, I am doing all kinds of healthy food experimentation! Sometimes it's scary...

 Well, I need to get going with my day. We are leaving Thursday for a long weekend in Nashville, so I'd like to get as much non-packing stuff done around the house today as possible! It is always soo much nicer to come home from a trip to a reasonably clean house without loads of work waiting for me. I finally understand why my dad always made such a big deal about cleaning up the house before we left anywhere for an extended period of time. As a kid, who CARES about the dishes when we are leaving to go have fun?? ;)