Tuesday, July 27, 2010

the second child

I've noticed something interesting: since Natalie has never been the "only child," she doesn't always know what to do with herself when she temporarily gets to be! One night when Sarah was staying with my parents, Natalie turned into an utter ham, enjoying having all the attention to herself.. Other times though, especially since Sarah has spent quite a bit of time playing with the neighbor's granddaughter this summer, Natalie seems a bit lost. She gets clingy and fussy. She'll play some, then fuss and cling some more. You can tell she really misses her big sister!

I think it's sweet, but I confess I don't really "get' it. I too am a second child, and I remember just enjoying getting to be an "only" once in awhile! Maybe it's because I have a brother rather than a sister? Or maybe because the age gap between my brother and me is larger than the gap between Natalie and Sarah? I don't know.

I think we've got a few pictures, both from the recent Fun Fest and from earlier this evening. Hopefully I'll be able to post those soon.

P.S. I thought of something else regarding Natalie and Sarah's "word lists." At 15.5 months, BOTH girls could say "Mike." ;)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Natalie says

When Sarah first started talking, I created a document to keep track of what she was saying when. I first started tracking when she was about 15 months old. Natalie is closing in on 16 months, so here's a list of what she can verbalize.

Give (as in, "Give that to me!")
Thank you
Please (This is new as of yesterday, and it sounds like "pea".)
How are you?
Wanna go.
Want down.
Wanna see.
What's that?
Bobby (We have no idea who or what this refers to, but she says it quite clearly, and she says it a LOT.)
Wanna sit (She's only said this once, to Nelson.)

I'm looking at this list, and then looking back at Sarah's list. I really remember Sarah being an early talker, but her "words" list from 15.5 months is NOTHING like this! I had a list of thirty-two words that Sarah could say at that age, but they are just words--no phrases or sentences like Natalie has (and she has several!).

I'm thinking either I'm just better at deciphering the "baby talk" with Natalie (although some of these phrases are so crystal clear anyone who hears her knows what she's saying; a clerk at Wal-mart about fell over when Natalie asked, "How are you?"), or interacting with Sarah has taught Natalie more advanced language skills.

Whatever the case may be, it's interesting. I'll try to keep updating Natalie's list of words (and phrases and sentences) like I did for Sarah. It will be neat to compare them at various intervals!

Monday, July 5, 2010

I have seen a vision of the future...

Last night we went over to the house of some friends for "sparklers and s'mores." It was a fun Fourth of July party. Our friends have a son named Ashur, who is Sarah's age. She was looking forward to going to play with him and even drew him a picture for the occasion.

We were the first to arrive at our friends' house (even though we were a few minutes past the start time). Ashur has one of those battery-powered vehicles that children drive around in. Some look like Jeeps, but Ashur's is more like a four-wheeled ATV--just the "Power Wheels" children's version. Ashur had been driving around in the neighborhood with his daddy when we arrived.

He drove up the driveway and into the backyard where we were. He stopped next to Sarah. "Hey, you want a ride?" Without hesitation, she climbed on behind him and clung to his waist as he drove around the yard.

Ashur's mom and I both cracked up. It was reminiscent of a teenage coming-of-age drama, where the young man rides up on a motorcycle and greets the girl with, "Hey, baby, want a lift?" and they ride off into the sunset or something!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

ponderings and reflections

For the summer, instead of a Bible study, the women of my church are doing more of a "book club" type thing. We are reading C.J. Mahaney's Living the Cross--Centered Life. This is the first book I've read by Mahaney (although he quotes Charles Spurgeon, John Piper, Jerry Bridges, and R.C. Sproul, so he must be good, right?).

It's a small book, only 156 pages, with short chapters--nice, light summer reading.

Or maybe not.

This book is short, simple, and profound. It cuts to the heart. And it exposes my own sinful pride.

In one chapter, describing the crucifixion, Mahaney asks with whom we most identify. Faithful John, standing by the cross, caring for Jesus' mother? Peter, weeping bitterly because he has failed, both Jesus and himself? The thief on the cross--a great sinner, yet willing to repent and convert? The loyal women, standing nearby?

I am not so arrogant as to compare myself to Mary or John. But I think part of me likes to think I resemble the centurion--a poor ignorant schmuck just minding his own business. Sinful, sure, but mostly because he doesn't know any better. And then he sees the truth and acknowledges Jesus as the Son of God.

Then Mahaney reminds me: we are ALL the people in the crowd. You remember the crowd--that noisy, riotous, rebellious bunch who hated Jesus and were screaming, "Crucify Him!" We are all enemies of God; Calvinism calls it "total depravity." Scripture reminds us that "no one seeks after God, not even one."

Not even me. I am in the crowd, angry and hostile. Mahaney writes, 'Even if you can't recognize yourself among the angry faces, or distinguish your own strident voice...He can." This is the gospel in a nutshell. I, like Paul, can label myself the "chief of sinners." Not ignorant or unaware, but purposefully, rebelliously sinful. There is no hope, and nothing in me that will choose God. I will always choose my own way instead.

In the garden, Jesus prayed for the Father to take the cup from Him. The cup is God's wrath, which we all deserve to drink fully. But even after praying that prayer, Jesus submits to drinking that cup...down to the very last drop. God's wrath is poured out in its entirety...on Jesus. I deserve the cup, but there is nothing left in it for me to drink.

And that is why we have "no condemnation." That is why we can come "boldly before the throne of grace." That is why we have "a future and a hope."

To which we can only say a very heartfelt "Praise the Lord!"