Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Idols, Veggie Pizza, & Mules

Last week in my group's Bible study we discussed idolatry and its effects on our lives. When I hear the word idolatry, the first image that emerges from my mind is one of manmade figurines of wood, clay, or metal. I also envision a shrine and people bowing down to worship the idol. While this depiction of idolatry happened countless times in the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, it is not what typically occurs in modern day America. And it still breaks my heart to see images of other people groups/religions bowing down to false gods and goddesses still today.

To be clear, idolatry is defined as "1. the religious worship of idols. 2. excessive or blind adoration, reverence, devotion, etc. Synonyms: obsession, madness, mania." John Piper gives a concise definition, "Treasuring anyone or anything more than Christ is idolatry."

Idolatry can be very easy to spot...a vast collection of sports cars, crying + screaming tweens (and moms!) at a Jonas Bros. concert, or it can be very subtle...like stubbornness. Yes, you read that right. I discovered a convicting gem of a passage in 1 Samuel 15:22-23,
But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”

I cannot tell you how many times these verses have been brought to my mind in the past week, especially over two slices of veggie pizza. Who knew conviction was an available topping? My husband and I ordered a pizza with half veggie, half BBQ chicken. This was a treat for both of us since normally we order plain ol' pepperoni. I ate my two slices, he ate his four, and I saved my two other slices for the next day's lunch. The next day, my mom picked me up and we went out for lunch. While scarfing down a ginormous Philly cheesesteak, my poor husband calls from home asking if he could have my last two slices of veggie pizza for his lunch. How did the sweet, loving wife respond? [Cue the violins] She said (in her most pathetic, whiny voice), "but those are my slices, and I never get veggie..." My poor husband said, "okay" and that was the end of the phonecall. The following day, while eating my beloved veggie pizza....the oddest thing happened. It no longer tasted good, in fact it felt more like gravel in my mouth (Proverbs 20:17). I suddenly had a clear example of how I had failed to serve him and insist on my own stubborn behalf. How foolish I was! I apologized to my husband and asked his forgiveness for my crummy attitude of selfishness.

Back to the passage, it all begins with our heart and the motives within. Beyond verse 22, we see two similes that compare the sinfulness of rebellion and stubbornness. Frankly, it's the subtle sins within that seem more difficult to identify, control, and conquer. And sometimes, because we can't see them in the way we can like drunkeness or adultery, it is easy to gloss over them and attempt to rationalize them away (veggie pizza, anyone?).

But from these verses, it is clear that rebellion and stubbornness are major offenses to God! By having witchcraft and worshiping idols thrown into that same mix, it really ruffles my feathers. How many times do we excuse rebellious attitudes with "oh, she's just being a teenager!" or "boys will be boys?" Often times, the phrase "stubborn as a mule" comes with a knowing smirk or a frustrated sigh, but never to the equivalent degree of hearing "oh, he's just worshiping idols!" :) That puts some perspective on it!

At least to me, it is a little too ironic that within the verses of 1 Samuel 15:22-23 both submission and stubbornness are juxtaposed. I know I wasn't the best example of submission as a child, and yes, I'm still a work in progress when it comes to my marriage. Come to think of it, submission and stubbornness are really on the same continuum:

Submission (Serving others) <--------Your will--------> Stubbornness (Serving self)

On the far left, you willingly (and hopefully not begrudingly) put your will aside for someone else. But on the far right, you choose not to yield, thereby demanding your will.

Scripture is clear that the appropriate choice is submission (Ephesians 5:21, Colossians 3:18, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 2:13-14, James 4:6-8). As seen in the passage from 1 Samuel, anytime we disobey God, we reap the consequences of disobedience; in this case, Saul was rejected as king.

It's time to remember that obedience and submission have blessings attached. Sometimes immediate, sometimes tangible, most importantly, the smiling approval from God.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Details of the Big Reveal

Several people have asked how we exactly told our families about the sex and name. So, here's my summary:

For out-of-staters, we simply gave them a celebratory phonecall. We wished they could've made it to our party, but c'est la vie!

On Saturday, March 21st, we held a cookout at my parents' house with hotdogs, hamburgers, and the usual yummy faire. Everyone invited knew that we were going to announce the big news, so in that sense, it wasn't completely a surprise as to the reason for our gathering.

I decided to bake and decorate a cake with boyish colors and the name on top to give the big reveal to everyone. I had so much fun decorating the cake with blue and green dots and circles :)
We got everyone together in the dining room and I still had the cake cover over it, even with a handtowel draped on top to prevent overly curious eyes from trying to peep :)

We gave a 3-2-1 countdown and I lifted the cake cover lid off.

Here's what our families saw:

The cake turned out beautifully (if I do say so myself) and delicious. After everyone got a view of the cake, Brent gave a speech about how we decided on the name and our prayers for our new son.

Caleb was one of the 12 scouts who was asked to see what the Promised Land looked like. What they saw there were men who were as large as giants along with fortifed walls. Only Caleb and Joshua of the twelve scouts gave the go-ahead based on faith and believing God's promise to take the land. Imagine, God clearly gave them insight on where the Promised Land was, yet ten men refused to accept that message in faith. We are hoping that our Caleb will take God at His word in everything he does, and remain faithful to God, no matter what. For the entire account, read about it here in Numbers.

We are still working on the middle name, and I think we're getting closer to a final choice. But rest assured, it will be special just like his first name.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

We are proud to announce...

It's a BOY!

The ultrasound went very well on Friday morning and the first image that appeared on screen was a baby with its legs spread wide, and thus, our baby boy was immediately discovered. :) Not only was that prayer answered (that we would be able to see the sex), but more importantly, all the organs look healthy and well-formed. I loved seeing his face, beating heart and aorta, diaphragm, bladder already collecting urine, and a detailed view of his spine.

The entire time he was looking right at us :) We were able to watch him open his mouth, and also practice sucking. He seems like a chill little dude; his pose was laidback with an arm behind his head and legs spread. I guess right now, my womb is a comfy hammock for him.

I had really been looking forward to looking at 3D pictures, but because he kept looking straight at us, and not giving us a profile view, we were unable to get 3D ones. But, I think this was a blessing in disguise, because the sonographer offered us a visit in another week for them to practice their 3D skills. So, we get a free hour extra viewing our little boy :)

We are so blessed to have a healthy little boy on the way. We don't deserve such a great gift! With that said, the name we have chosen for him is Caleb. It means "faithful," and indeed God has been faithful to us unconditionally.

"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him." ~Psalm 127:3

Friday, March 13, 2009

Make your vote! Boy or Girl?

So we are exactly a week away from hopefully discovering what little Baby Wells is. I put up a poll at the top left of the blog. Please vote!!!

And since so many ask, no I don't have a feeling or knowing what this baby is. :) I can't wait until Friday!!! Also, we will be revealing the sex to our families first, so unfortunately, I can't promise that you will know immediately. But, I'd say within a week :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What's a laid-off mom to do? Be a stay-at-home mom!

I came across this article a few minutes ago,

Several interesting observations collected from these new SAHMs (emphasis mine):

  • "Lucas and other laid-off women like her are involuntarily experiencing the life of a stay-at-home mom, and they are getting to know a lot more about the details of their children's daily existence. They are also discovering some of the things they have been missing."
  • "After years in which her husband was the main caregiver, she is finding the time off with her children to be an unexpected blessing."
  • "Before, I felt like the manager or director of a family. Now I get to do the Mom things --making the lunches, taking my daughter to school. It's been fabulous."
  • "As for Quinn, her younger daughter recently delighted her by announcing she had decided to forgo any summer activities --she just wants to hang with Mom."
I am amazed at how surprised some of the moms seem to be of the fact that children are a blessing. Imagine, parents having fun with their kids, laughing, playing, enjoying them! The part that broke my heart was the daughter who desires just to spend time with her mom than do all the summer stuff.

Is it possible that parents make "proper" parenting harder and more complex than it needs to be? Moms and dads alike easily bemoan carting their children from soccer to piano to math club. But sometimes, a kid just wants to be a kid with their parents. Do humans just really want to love and be loved? Is it that simple?

Just as parents who work full-time may never know the ins and outs of their kids, the same is true of the children; they may grow up never feeling like they ever knew their mom and dad. I also wonder about the blessings that have been forfeited due to lack of time and deepened relationships. There just can't be a pricetag on being able to love on your kids full-time.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Getting ready for the Baby: Cloth Diapers

Before I was pregnant, several of the bloggers I read had mentioned cloth diapers (CD). Naturally, I balked at the idea, because "eww, that's gross" and thinking they were ineffective at absorbing leaks and such. But the benefits (I believe) more than make up for the ick factor (which is present either way!). The cost savings, environmental concerns, baby's health, and cute fabrics rank on my list. Note: while the cost savings are worth it, if you choose to do cloth, you will ultimately be spending some money (however much is up to you) up front; these are an investment after all.

Today's cloth diapers are nothing what parents used 30 years ago. Diaper Services still exist, so even if you aren't keen on the idea of laundering them yourself, there are companies which will do it for you.

If you Google "Cloth diapers," you will certainly receive millions of pages on the subject. I felt so confused as someone who had only had experience with disposable diapers, and no knowledge of cloth. Because there are so many types nowadays: All-in-Ones, Pocket, One Size, Prefolds, Fitteds, etc. I needed a glossary for such terms (with pictures please!). It took awhile to understand this new vocabulary, but I feel quite comfortable now with it. An encouraging word to ladies without children is to go ahead and research your options now. I am already feeling the time crunch at 18 weeks along, but am so glad that I was well-versed in CD-ing, now that decision time is approaching. And for me personally, it takes awhile for a new idea to really settle into my mind and feel comfortable with it.

Last night my husband and I headed out to a local organic baby store for a CD workshop. It was my first time seeing and touching the varieties of CD in person! I was glad to see that we were not alone, we were one of about 12 couples. It made me feel like I wasn't the only weirdo in town. :) Let alone I have several close friends in my Bible Fellowship group that are using, or will be using cloth.

After hours of research and reading lots of reviews from DiaperPin.com, we decided to start off our new adventures in CDing by using Bummis brand organic cotton prefolds with Thirsties brand covers. For newbies to the CD scene, the prefold is what the baby will be primarily messing on, and the waterproof cover (which goes over/on top of the prefold) will make sure it is contained, and doesn't get transferred onto your lap.

Our initial investment is a mere $120! Not too shabby, considering that some estimate using disposable diapers (DD) from birth to potty training can add up to $2500. Here's a quick breakdown courtesy of Motherease brand CD:

"Disposable diapers get more expensive as they get larger, but the average cost is about $.35/diaper. Based on 6,500 changes (average 7 - 8/day), cost would be $2,275 for 2 ½ years. However, babies diapered in disposables tend to be changed less often than babies diapered in cloth. Based on an average of 5 - 6 changes/day, cost for 5,019 diapers would be $1,757. Cost of 1,500 disposable wipes would be about $100., making the totals $1,857 to $2,375. (average .37/change)"

I'd like to interject something about the statement, "However, babies diapered in disposables tend to be changed less often than babies diapered in cloth." At first glance, the reader might believe that cloth must hold less or be less effective in containing the mess. But the real meaning behind this is that caretakers of babies in cloth know relatively soon that the baby needs changing. Disposable diapers and their mysterious gels are designed to create a "stay-dry" feeling and soak up everything, thereby only postponing a needed change. What does this mean for the baby? Well, first, no regular consumer truly has an idea of what chemicals are in a DD...what your baby is wearing/sitting in for hours at a time. Second, babies in DDs are subject to diaper rash due to infrequent diaper changes where moisture abounds, growth of bacteria, friction, and allergies to chemicals to name a few. An extensive list of diaper rash culprits is here.

Have I sold you on it yet? :) While I still don't hold all the answers to issues that I know will arise once I start using them, it is never too early to learn, learn, learn. One of my latest homemaking endeavors is making my own cloth wipes. I made my first one Wednesday night, and I'm embarrassed to show the picture, so I'll spare you until I get it down pat. :) I am a beginner at sewing, so needless to say, I need much practice.

I'll leave with one last thought. Being the logical-minded person I am, I have noticed on ads for toilet paper, diapers, kleenex, paper towels, etc. that boast "cottony feel" and "soft and quilted for your comfort." Methinks paper products are simply trying to be like cotton! Why wouldn't I go to the real source if that's simply what paper is trying to emulate?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of this...questions, suggestions, anecdotes, etc. What worked? What didn't?