Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Ugliness of Comparison

Have you ever noticed how woman are always saying, “well my child”, “I wish I could be that skinny”…and on it goes! Maybe I’m the only one who constantly notices what other kids are doing that Klayton isn’t and vice versa or notices how I am so much fatter that someone else at church! It just never stops, the battle of comparison!

As woman we are so driven by our feelings, we don’t control them-they control us. With these feelings controlling us that nasty thing of insecurity rises up and bubbles over. That is really what comparison is all about-insecurity and it starts at a young age.

I remember as a teenager having my first breakout-that never went away! Ha! At first it wasn’t a big deal, when I was in my own bathroom; but then we left the house and all of sudden it felt like all the people with peaches’n’cream skin was noticing my breakout. I just couldn’t stand it, so makeup became my new best friend! The first time I put foundation on, I caked it so much that I had raccoon eyes! I just wanted so bad to cover up the ugliness; but I couldn’t stop insecurity from rearing its ugly head.

Then as I aged and continue to age, my weight-specifically my tummy area became larger than life! And black clothing became my best friend, after all black is the new skinny! I have owned a spanx, I have control top panty hose, skirts that “slim” and who knows what else all in an effort to hide my fat! The insecurities of childhood had grown.
Even becoming a mommy increased my insecurity…well I didn’t call it that right away! Friends that had babies close to Klayton’s age caused me to perk my ear so I could know what their child was doing that maybe Klayton wasn’t and then I would ago home and think of ways to help him along and catch him up! But, then I would also look for ways to brag about what he was doing that their child wasn’t. I was just “comparing”…but actually it was insecurity in how I was doing things.

II Corinthians 10:12, “ For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise.”

I don’t know about you; but out of the two words compare and wise…I would rather be wise. Its so funny to me to realize just how silly I am…okay, its actually kind of pathetic because I am measuring my standard to other human beings that aren’t perfect either!

II Corinthians 10:13, “But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you”.

If we stop and think for a minute often the things we are boasting about or noticing about others to make comparison on isn’t what God notices and doesn’t necessarily have God’s finger of “extra measure” upon. Just because one of Klayton’s buddies is talking and he isn’t doesn’t mean that God looks at him any differently. The same applies to just because I have “extra” body weight on my belly and my church buddies don’t doesn’t mean that God gives more favour to them and just because I think my blemishes make me less beautiful in comparison to my friends doesn’t make me any less beautiful to God.

If we would take time to realize Psalm 139:14, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Our lives would be so much easier and our insecurities would become securities! If the next time I started noticing another persons perfect skin I decided to praise the Lord for making me in the image He has soon sacrificing my insecurity for praise will no longer be a sacrifice because I would believe it! We need to on purpose sacrifice our insecurity, our moments of comparison to praise the Lord! Praise the Lord for the sounds Klayton does make, praise the Lord for the food I do have! I AM fearfully and wonderfully made, this work that God is doing in me is marvelous not because of me; but because of Him!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

God is Good: When Life Turns Upside Down and God is the Only One Who Understands

*This is my testimony that I gave at ladies retreat this past Saturday. Our theme was, Taste and See the Lord is Good. Obviously this is not how it came out at the retreat because I strayed from my notes, bad Kendra! I don't like doing that because it doesn't make me feel eloquent at all! I’ve sat down many times over the last couple of months to work on what I am going to say…I have cried many tears hoping to have shed them all by now. I still don’t know 100% what I am to say and there are still tears to shed because my life has been turned upside down and God really is the only One that understands. Everyday it seems we face obstacles, things that hinder us from completing our to do list, from having our time with the Lord to not getting the housework done, or the errands completed. Have you ever had that kind of day? Nothing seems to be going right and you wish you could just go back to bed and hide under the covers. But there are days that sometimes we just can’t seem to recover from, it takes time to to recover from financial loss, a death of a loved one, cancer, infertility…my life was turned upside down in December and I’m still waiting for God to turn it upright once again. I know when He does turn it things still will not ever be the same, I hope to become better because of these days and more in love with Christ. What do you do in these times? For me I started claiming a Bible verse, Psalm 34:4, "I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. But have you ever experienced a time when that hope your clinging to seems to disappear. What do you do? Unfortunately, for me I felt as if God had forsaken me, did He really understand? What do I do now? My family and friends don't understand, I don't understand...you choose to still listen. You realize there's more to the story. Often times as Christians we read a verse; but forget to read the verses prior or the verses after. So, if you choose to cling to a verse-get to know it inside and out! See, I didn't even realize our theme verse was in the passage! Ha! After I claimed the verse and it fell through, I was done with that passage. When I finally decided to keep reading, I read our theme verse, Psalm 34:8, "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him". Taste and see, it's a command and with all commands we have a choice... obey or disobey. And the reward to taste and see the Lord is good, is blessings. Now it doesn't mean our life will be turned right side up immediately because of our obedience. But can you imagine the blessing of being able to cling to what the Lord has for us when everything else is spinning out of control? So, choose to listen, even when you feel God has forsaken you He is still speaking and has something to say to you. As I continued reading the passage, I read Psalm 34:20, "He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken". Bones are the promises that have never been broken, just because I'm weak does not mean his promises are weak. When life has turned upside down and no one understands but God, cling to His promises! I admit when things are seemingly on a downward spiral its not always easy to remember; but I am choosing to cling to my Lord and know that God is good!

10 on Tuesday

1. Silent on here because I have been SO busy! Can't wait for a moment to just breath!
2. This past weekend our church hosted a ladies retreat! It was awesome, fun and just what I needed! I had an opportunity to speak and tomorrow I will post my notes!
3. As soon as the retreat ended Joseph and Klayton picked me up and we started making our way to Massachusetts. Currently, we are somewhere in Pennsylvania and should be in Massachusetts sometime around 6 tonight.
4. On Sunday we stopped in Indiana where Joseph's parents met us. We got a hotel and were able to spend the evening together as well as Monday morning together!
5. Yesterday we saw snow. So not enjoyable.
6. I sold $46 worth of jewelry and bookmarks this past weekend! Yay!
7. I bought Norwex body cloths, or are they face cloths? Can't remember right now. But, I just started using them Friday night and I really like how my face wash regimen has been cut down to just one step!
8. Klayton turned 18 months on Saturday and I still need to take his pictures and do his 18 month post.
9. Please keep my family in prayer right now, we need it!
10. Wow, I came up with 10 random thoughts surprisingly fast. I just impressed myself! Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

10 on Tuesday

1. So happy to finally have the forest waxed off my eyebrows and to have gotten a hair trim!
2. Lasagna and breadsticks is on the dinner menu tonight!
3. Of course we enjoyed Sonic drinks since they were half off ALL day! Love their drinks!
4. Tonight I'm going to start getting things ready for our next "tour" of deputation. We are off to Massachusetts!
5. I learned something new today... dryer sheets are a no-no! They have so many toxins and collect bacteria. Anyone want my old dryer sheets?!
6. Klayton gets to go see his doctor for his 18 month check up on Friday!
7. Operation Be a Better Housekeeper has not been doing to good yesterday and today. Therefore, lots of cleaning tonight.
8. I'm slowly getting back on the diet train. I haven't been horrible; but I haven't been awesome either.
9. Klayton and Joseph already gave me my Mothers Day gift since we will be on the road in May. A set of stainless steel pots and pans! Yay, we have been keeping an eye out for a good deal for over a year and finally got one yesterday!
10. For this week I'm looking forward to spending time with my mom and sister as well as our church's ladies retreat!
Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Lil Helper

Sometimes I get concerned that Klayton is not talking yet; but then I get reminded that he is capable of doing much! For example today we went grocery shopping and when we came home, he helped me unload and put the groceries away. And I don't mean that he was just playing with the bags and tossing the groceries on the floor for me to pick up. He would take an item out of the grocery bag, turn and hand it to me so I could put it away. Items like cheese though, he took out of the grocery bag and put into the fridge bins! Klayton was on the receiving end of many cheers today to encourage him to keep being such a good helper! He really is growing and changing so much these days and I think talking will be right around the corner!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

10 on Tuesday

1. Gotta give a shout out to my mother in law and my mom's coworker Kristina! They both think I'm looking skinny...yep 2 of my favorite people!
2. Speaking of which, I am back on the diet train! Hoping to lose 10 lbs this month.
3. Klayton has two chipped front teeth. They are sharp! He fell this weekend and punctured his lip with them. So, we are thinking maybe it's time to see a dentist...
4. Last week it seemed like we were sweltering in the heat and now today were wearing sweaters and jackets ! Maybe were just big wimps?
5. My sister and her husband came up yesterday to spend the night. We went for a walk, ate homemade pizza, watched a movie, went to lunch, did errands and a little shopping! It was a fun time with them!
6. Joseph goes to the doctor tomorrow for his knee. It went out on him last week and has been giving him grief ever since.
7. Referring back to number 3, we did find a dentist for Klayton. They seem really nice, so once we have the money to do so he will be seeing the dentist.
8. Please keep my family in prayer. We really need it right now.
9. I am not pregnant; but I have been so sensitive lately...as in I get my feelings hurt. Knowing this I'm having to choose to take a step back from things and just breathe.
10. What's on your dinner menu tonight? Stromboli for us! It's one of Joseph's favorites-yummy!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

God's Not Dead

As I was doing my previous Easter posts, I just kept getting convicted that I needed to post why we celebrate Easter. We don't celebrate a bunny...yes we did the Easter egg hunt and the basket; but those were from us to Klayton, not from a bunny. We celebrate because simply put my God is not dead. I love this chorus:

God's not dead (Oh, no!)
He's still alive
God's not dead (Oh, no!)
He's still alive
God's not dead (Oh, no!)
He's still alive
I can feel Him in my hands (clap, clap, clap)
Feel Him in my feet (stomp, stomp, stomp)
Feel Him in my heart (dum, dum, dum)
Feel Him in my soul (whooo)
I can feel Him all over me.

I am thankful that I have a God who died on the cross for me, what love! And then He rose again and lives in heaven; He gives me hope that no matter what happens I will always have a God that hears me because His love didn't just stop at the cross, it lives beyond the cross as well!

Needing strength for my journey, I knelt at the cross Where Jesus once died for me
And I asked, “Is this the place where hope abides?” And this He said to me:
“Beyond the Cross is a tomb that is empty You won’t find Me there anymore
And beyond the tomb is life ever-lasting And hope forever more.”
Then I sought reassurance and I went to the tomb
To the place where His body once laid
And I cried, “Lord, help me see. Is there hope here for me?” And this I heard Him say:
“Beyond the Cross is a tomb that is empty You won’t find Me there anymore
And beyond the tomb is life ever-lasting And hope forever more.”

Do you have this hope? Do you know HIs love? Easter is about what He did for me and you!

Happy Easter

Our day started with Klayton finding his easter basket from us! It was filled with mini m & m's, reese pieces, a marshmallow football, jelly beans and a bunny holding a soccer ball!

We always dress up for church on Sunday; but for some reason its even more fun to do so on Easter! Does't my little man look sharp?

I'm always looking for an excuse to get my picture taken with my Babycakes!

Our family!

After church my mom and sister hid eggs and little treats for Klayton to find!

He had 24 eggs to find! 12 were plastic eggs with little treats inside!

Klayton also found a box of animal crackers, bubbles, an Easter sock monkey, a play recorder...

Yep, he's spoiled! Today was so fun and special as we made more memories with our little man!

Dying Eggs

Another memory in the books! Maybe some would think he is too young; but I beg to differ...it was quite fun! Jailed to his high chair Klayton dyed Easter eggs!

After dying about 10 eggs, he decided it was no longer fun...maybe a little boring?

Didn't Klayton do a good job?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

1st Egg Hunt

I am sad to report that I didn't get any pictures. I was so focused on enjoying the time with Klayton and making sure he got eggs!
Today we went with my mom and took him to, The Gardens, a retirement center here in Cherokee, Iowa. There was a magic show that Klayton watched, I don't think he understood everything; but he sure kept his eyes peeled to the magician! After the magic show there was an Easter egg hunt. All the kids were allowed to find 4 eggs. I so wanted Klayton to do it on his own; but mommy mode kicks in and I wanted to do it for him so he didn't miss out on any eggs...there were so many other kids! I helped Klayton find two and he found three on his own! It was so cute, he would find an egg and put the egg he had already found down so he could get the new one! After he found an egg he would then run to the next egg! He wouldn't slow down for a minute! To commence the fun he enjoyed a peanut butter cookie and is now sound asleep!
Tonight we will be dying Easter eggs!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Little Radio Flyer

Last October for Klayton's first birthday we bought him a Radio Flyer Stroll and Go Trike...best birthday present ever! This past week we had my dad, Grandpa put it together and Klayton loves it! Here's some proof:

His face just lights up every time we put him on it for a ride!

And I think my face just might light up as well, watching him on it! I love my little guy!

And this one...well its because I just think its cute!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sometimes I really hate not being able to sleep. The nights when you want to sleep; but you just keep thinking about the, "what if" of life. Lately, this has become a common practice for me, Joseph will say to stop thinking; but I just can't seem to shut my mind off.
I play things over and over in my mind...things that have already happened and that I can't change. What if... Then there are things that have yet to happen with many possibilities for an outcome. What if...
Thankfully, during these times of what if I know that there is A God that is not a what if god.
Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
And I must admit in those moments I have let my mind wonder, "God are you fully aware of what my family is facing?" But, then I remember that nothing happens that God is not aware of...
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31
All God wants of me tonight and in every sleepless moment is for me to follow this verse:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
So, tonight I'm asking for the rest that only God can give!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Big Debate

As a parent decisions are made everyday concerning your child. What will they eat for each meal? That is a minor decision; but what you decide to feed them will more than likely be different from what your neighbor is feeding their child. So, does that make oatmeal or the cereal wrong to eat? Which one is right or wrong? There is no right or wrong, it's just a difference in parenting styles. But, often times when someone makes a decision that is different from ours we cringe, silently judge because our way is better! And truthfully your way is probably better for YOUR child because God gives us the child(ren)/parents we need. Ultimately, God equips the parent with the knowledge and love that is required for their child and it is only with His help that we will know what is best for our child(ren).
Often times as we grow along our child God will show us things that we need to change, stop or start doing for our child. As a parent it's our responsibility to listen to His prompting. I believe that God is directing us to step back from vaccines for now. Klayton has had all his shots up until 9 months, they were on a delayed schedule. He received his 9 month shots at 14 months. We actually have an appointment scheduled for April; but God has not given us peace to allow his doctor, whom we love, to administer his MMR. I trust my doctor fully; but I also know that she is required to persuade a parent to vaccinate, after all they are government funded and the parent doesn't pay for well baby visits. I'm not going to push the issue with her; but I am thankful that she encouraged a delayed vaccine schedule and had actually advised us not to let Klayton get the Hepatitis B shot that they wanted to give him at birth! From day one my husband was not comfortable with letting Klayton get all his childhood vaccinations and I have been uncomfortable with each dose that has been administered thus far. Thankfully, Klayton hasn't had any reaction at all and I chalk that up to God protecting this Mama's heart. As I have gone into each well baby visit in the past, I haven't been unsettled about the shots, maybe uncomfortable because of what they were going to do to my baby! However, the MMR is one that I just can't seem to get that peace about. So, I started praying and researching. Through this process God put a pastors wife in my path that was such a blessing to me! She didn't push the issue down my throat or criticize me for vaccinating Klayton thus far. Her attitude drew me in my desire to study it out more. This pastors wife, also happened to work in the medical field! God knows how to teach us lovingly, with His hand guiding us He allows us to grow and learn. When we are going to fast He just pulls us back a little or if we are moving to slow He gives us those gentle nudges! When I had met this pastors wife I had stopped thinking about the MMR and was going to just do it; but through the process of time...she opened up to me about her own experience with infant vaccines. She to had given her kids the vaccines; but with her youngest she started doubting the power of the shots. Instead she started taking those extra steps towards a healthy body for her child and family. Her son had not been developing like they thought he should and was showing signs of autism so they switched to a gluten free, dairy free diet and did a metal detox. Listening to her experience and seeing her son just renewed my desire to start searching once again about the next shots Klayton was scheduled to get. I read about aborted babies being used to make the vaccine...I'm against murder (abortion) and my heart is truly torn about letting them put something into my child's body that was created out of death. The point of this post isn't to persuade parents or other mommies to vaccinate or choose against vaccination and that is why I am not going to post all my findings. I'm using vaccinations as my reason for this post because its helping me as I have researched this matter that what I do for my child may not be right for your child. And you know what it's ok! I'm not always going to agree with you and vice versa; but I just have to measure myself up to the things God is prompting me to do or stop doing for Klayton. If I fail to measure up to what HE is asking then there's an issue.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Missionary Wife-Dealing with Sickness

Traveling with children or in my case a child, is very different from traveling as a couple or a single adult. I have experienced both sides of the coin, our current situation is obvious: traveling with a child. While on the road, our purpose is to make a great first impressions and present our ministry to churches. Its very important, that when possible churches are able to meet the entire family.
The first missions conference Joseph and I ever participated in was shortly after we were married. It was a great conference and I remember the weather was bitterly cold-even by Illinois standards. The Tuesday before the conference was to finish I started feeling under the weather; but I sucked it up and still went to the meeting. By Wednesday morning, I felt worse. I should have stayed at the hotel; but knew how important it was to get to know the church people...so, I went to the morning meetings. Even with the opportunity to rest in the afternoon I continued to worsen. Before Wednesday evening services they served their international dinner, there was so much yummy food and yet it all looked disgusting to me. I was miserable and feeling more miserable with each passing moment. By the end of church services, I couldn't even stand and visit with people. I felt so bad, so guilty. When we got back to the hotel we learned I had a fever of 103...no wonder I was so miserable.
Last year we were in a conference in Arizona when Klayton came down with, I don't know what. Well, he was throwing up and it was a no brainer that I would stay back from the meeting and take care of him. Now we come to last week, a missions conference in Texas. After Thursday night services we were at dinner with all the missionaries and pastoral staff. I knew Klayton was not feeling up to par and it was guaranteed when he threw up at the dinner table. We went back to the hotel and discovered a climbing fever. I felt so bad. By morning his fever had broken; but we stayed in our room most of the day just to give him rest and keep him away from more germs. About a couple hours before the service he seemed to be himself. I was torn, in my heart I thought that I should just remain back in the room and miss the last night of the meeting. But, I knew it was also important for the church to remember us and see us as much as possible. So, we went to church. When we finally arrived back to our room that night, I noticed that he seemed to be heating up and in the night he woke up with a temp of 102. Klayton was so restless and uncomfortable. I felt like such a bad mommy-talk about two bad mommy moments in the same week...not good.
While I have been on the road with Klayton, I have also been learning my role as mommy! He is after all my first and only child thus far. Its so easy to question every decision I make as it is; but add the pressure of thinking, "what will the pastor think?" On and off the road, Klayton needs to come first...before our ministry. Its important to raise the necessary support; but I am learning its not important when it comes at the expense of my child's health. And besides first impressions aren't that great when you are feeling under the weather!

Here are some travel tips for MW's traveling with kids...or sick kiddos:
1. Have a working thermometer. Check the batteries ever so often, so when the time comes that you do need it, it works!
2. Sometimes, eating habits on the road aren't always that great. A healthy immune system needs to be maintained. If possible travel with a multi-vitamin so that they can get the necessary vitamins. I give Klayton a liquid multi-vitamin daily.
3. Keep fever reducer medicine thats unexpired on hand.
4. If you have a child with allergies, be sure to have allergy meds with you.
5. Make sure that your child stays hydrated. We always have juice/water bottles with us.
6. Keep crackers on hand. Their easy to toss in the diaper bag or leave in the glove box of your vehicle and they help settle the stomach!