Thursday, September 26, 2013

Something Better

My husband and I have been together for almost six years, and one thing that he knows well about me is that I like surprises.  Of all kinds.  Whenever he plans a special date, he keeps everything a secret just so I can be surprised.  This is one of the many things I love about him.

Last year, I turned 30.  The day fell on a Thursday, so Aug said he wanted to take Jonathan and me out for a surprise family celebration.  

He took me to a cute Korean restaurant that served one of my favorite dishes (kimbap - aka Korean cooked "sushi" rolls) and then we drove around a beautiful park.  

Everything about the evening was so thoughtful and sweet, but somehow as we were driving around, I started getting inexplicably sad.  Now that I look back on it, I realize I had just gotten pregnant then, so maybe it was the extra hormones flying around.  But despite all of the sweet gestures and plans, I think I felt sad because I was turning 30 and I hadn't realized until that moment that I had actually wanted to celebrate with other people.  I had built it up in my head as a magical and amazing day with everyone dropping by with birthday wishes... but as the day came to a close, I found myself feeling discontented because it was turning out to be a relatively normal day (especially in comparison to the grand day I had imagined.)

On the drive home, I cried to my husband out of confusion ("I'm not sure why I'm crying!" and "I didn't realize I wanted a big celebration!"), all the while unsuccessfully trying assure him that I was really grateful for all of the surprises he had planned - and that this was just a hormonal moment.  Aug was so sweet through it all, patiently listening and enduring my brattiness.  I dried my tears and got over it myself.  30 was just a number, after all.

Saturday rolled around, and Aug told me that he wanted to take me out on a date.  

Little did I know that this date would turn out to be a surprise birthday party at a restaurant filled with many of my closest friends!  Aug had been planning it for weeks.

I was stunned and sincerely touched by everyone's presence and, most of all, by my husband's thoughtful plans and patient silence as he had given ear to my whiny complaints just two days earlier.  

He knew what I didn't.  He knew something better was in store, just around the corner...something even better than what I had imagined.  Yet he loved me enough to let me wait for the surprise.

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I used to be a pessimist.  I used to tell myself, I would rather have low expectations and be pleasantly surprised than have high expectations and be sorely disappointed.

But this isn't the way God works. 

William Carey once said, "Expect great things from God.  Attempt great things for God."

My Father knows what I don't.  He knows the greater things yet to come, and He always comes through.

Instead of settling for low expectations so I can be "pleasantly surprised" by the mediocre, He is calling me - challenging me - to expect great things from Him.  Even when His answer to my prayers is "No," or "Wait," I can hold onto the truth that it's because He has something better planned.

And I'd take that over the best things I myself can fathom any day.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How to Make a Mama Feel Loved

Before I had kids, a friend of mine told me, "I feel loved when other people love my kids." I didn't know how deep that truth was until I had kids of my own.

We are really blessed with a loving church family - with people so close that they are "aunts" and "uncles" to my kids.

People who will, without fail, come and greet my kids with a huge smile.  (Even on grumpy days when they don't smile back.)

People who will hug and hold my babies as if they were their own.  And even change their diapers (willingly!).

People who will get down on their hands and knees to play with my kids.  For hours, even.

People who see my kiddos for more than who they are at the moment - whether it be runny-nosed, spit-up prone, fussy,

or just plain mischievous.

I love seeing others love my babies.  It makes me feel wholly loved by them, too.  Because I love my kids fiercely, when I see others loving on them, I feel like they are joining in on my cause...that they are teaming up with me to care for and love my little ones.

This got me thinking...

My Father in heaven is a good Father....Creator of every single being on earth.

Does He feel the same way when I love those He has made?  When I see them for more than who they are at the moment - whether it be needy, hurtful, unpleasant, or difficult to love?  When I see them the way that He sees them (like this lady)?

Could it be that loving those around me is a way to really show love for the Father?

Could it be that His heart is warmed at the sight of others joining in with Him to love those He has created?

Something to think about as I go through my day...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Yummy Gummy

My birthday was a few days ago, and I think it's safe to say that my friends know me well. :)

I've loved this brand of gummy bears for over a decade.  
So why is it that I just discovered today that the green bear is actually...strawberry!?

Off to hide the stash from the little person in my house that is starting to love these things almost as much as mama...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Ten Things

I love making lists.  Apparently there's a German word, entlistungsfreude, that so aptly puts into...word...why I like lists.  This word means the satisfaction achieved by crossing things off lists.  (btw, I don't speak a lick of German.  I read about this in this month's issue of Real Simple)

So when my husband told me about this trend that he's been noticing around the Web, I got kind of excited:  101 Things to Do in 1,000 Days.  We have been meaning to make our own elaborate lists, but haven't found the time to do we simplified.

I give you... Ten Things.  

Ten Things to Do By the End of 2014.  Because we're simple like that.  My husband took me out on a surprise lunch date, and after we ordered, he pulled out 2 slips of paper and pens and we got to work. 

Here's my list:
1. Potty train Jonathan
2. Start blogging as Gummy Bear Mama
3. Write a draft for a children's book
4. Go running/walking every week & lose baby weight
5. Learn to make pho
6. Complete a project with the sewing machine
7. Download iPad app and make my own fonts
8. Fill up photo albums with all of the photo prints we already have
9. Raise at least $500 for Carlin*
10. Finish reading through the Bible and read through it once more

Things can get pretty competitive between my husband and me (friendly competition, folks) so I may or may not have jumpstarted this blog just so I can cross it off on my list.  Well, for the sake of "winning" and entlistungsfreude, of course.  :)


*Carlin is the sweet 4 year old daughter of my friends Catherine & Michael.  She was diagnosed with cancer over the summer and has been bravely undergoing many medical treatments.  You can read more of her story here and buy a t-shirt here to help out their family.  Thanks!