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Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Tough Questions

What are we having for dinner?
Who's that?
What are you doing?

These are the questions that GG asks.  The ones Rick and I can answer.  

Last night, Rick shared with me an incident that occurred while I was not at home.

After running around and playing, Gabriella had leaned in close to Rick for a hug.  Because they had been playing so hard, she could feel Rick's heart beating.  She put her hand on Rick's chest and asked, "What's that?"  Rick told her it was his beating heart and proceeded to help her feel her own heart beating.  He told her it was how we know we're alive.  Rick shared that she was intrigued.  I guess it was the first time she had ever noticed...the first time she had ever felt a beating heart.  When Rick took her upstairs to change her, Gabriella brought up this new discovery again.  She moved her hand around her chest, wanting to feel her beating heart.  But then, with the innocence and curiosity that only a child can possess, she asked the really tough question, "Stop beating, Daddy?"

As Rick relayed the story to me, I could see the huge tears in his eyes.  
"How do I answer that?" he asked me. With a question that could be answered in so many ways with religious ties and confirmations, there's the lurking and obvious answer that no parent ever wants to discuss with their child and that's the idea that life here on earth doesn't go on forever.

Of course, GG is too young to delve into a discussion so deep and abstract, but who knew the questions would start coming so early.  Rick clearly wasn't ready and I know I'm not.  
The older our children get, the tougher the questions...
How will we answer these?  I have no idea, to be honest.  The only thing I know to do is pray and trust that God will guide Rick and me.  I need Him to help us and lead our hearts so we know what to say.

I guess you're wondering how Rick answered Gabriella.  Well, he didn't.  He ignored the question and moved on...
Maybe it was right.  Maybe he missed an opportunity.  I really don't know.
What I do know is that, for now, the little girl in the picture below thinks that she is going to live forever

And she will.  

And if you take a moment and feel the beating of your own heart, I hope that you know you can, too.
Live forever, that is.

I feel God in the quiet beating of my heart.
I am thankful.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

One More Minute...

Whenever it is time for Gabriella to take a nap, eat, go to bed, or anything else that takes her away from the fun she's having, she always responds in the exact same way, "One more minute."

"Gabriella, come to your high chair for lunch..."
"One more minute."
"Gabriella, time to put away your toys and go to bed."
"One more minute."
"Gabriella, it's time to go inside."
"One more minute."

And you probably won't believe this, but one more minute is always enough.  We give her the extra minute to mentally prepare herself, to keep having a good time, and then she's ready.

On Wednesday, school starts, but I will be headed back tomorrow.  Although I've been back several days here and there for meetings, getting my room ready, and such, tomorrow starts the cycle.  
Another school year.

I'm excited and ready to take on the responsibility of teacher and mentor to my new class.  Don't get me wrong.

But I keep hearing this little voice in my head...

One more minute?

This summer, with the inspiration of a friend on facebook, the Maldonados created a summer bucket list.  I remember going to the store and buying the poster board...
cutting out the shapes...
picking out the colored markers I would use...  
Then, came the brainstorming part.  For nearly an hour, Rick, GG, and I waded through and settled on ideas for activities we could do together.  I was so excited about the list, I had t-shirts made for everyone!  My idea was that we could have t-shirts made each summer as a memento for all of the things we do together. 

The very first thing we marked off our list:  running through someone else's sprinkler.

You might be thinking:  Why didn't they say run through their own sprinkler?

Well, I thought running through our own sprinkler would be something that didn't require any level of risk taking.  It's a bit uncomfortable to run through someone else's yard...through someone else's sprinkler.  I think that sometimes the things in life that are the most memorable, the most fun, are the things that made you step outside of what you think is normal or routine.  I'll never forget running through the stranger's yard, trying to hurry so we didn't get caught.  Their neighbors coming out and watching us, laughing with us.  We had the best time.

We just completed the last item on our list last night...enter a race.
It took us 51minutes and 6 seconds to walk 3 miles in a crowd of 6,000!  When we started, we were behind the cop car that was bringing up the rear of the race.  As we passed more and more people, Gabriella yelled "Good job!" to the racers who were already finishing.  As we began the last mile, GG chanted, "Baconator!" because she knew we would be stopping for a late night treat at one of our favorite fast-food places.

My summer has been spent completing this list.

Just one more minute is what I keep telling myself as tomorrow morning draws near.  I mean, GG gets it when she asks for it.  Every single time, we give her that extra minute.  God can move mountains, so I know He can give me an extra minute, right?

He can.

But He won't.

No extra minutes means that the minutes I do have will always count.

The minutes that I do have will always be appreciated.

So, I guess I'm going to thank God for not giving into me like I give into Gabriella.  I think in the long-run my time will be richer, filled with more love, and focused on the only things that matter because for me, there will be no extra minute.

But now that I think about it, I could just be late to school tomorrow and there's my extra minute!!!  
Problem solved! hahaha  :)

I see God in the list that has helped guide my family this summer.  

Well, I've got some work to do.  Fall is just around the corner and I think we need a list!


Monday, August 6, 2012

We Don't Fit

We don't fit.
By we, I mean my family.
By fit, I mean anywhere...most recently, my car.
When we found out I was pregnant, one of the first things my doctor asked Rick and me was about the size of our car.  How were we all going to fit in my Nissan Sentra?!  Well, Rick and I worried and worried about this.  Maxing out our monthly income doesn't leave room for any extras, so a new van was not an option.  Our idea was to save.  Save, save, save, so that when we had enough, we could just buy a van flat out with no monthly commitment.  Until then, we resigned to the fact we were going to have to carpool everywhere we went.

Until one day...

I asked Rick just to try and see if three car seats in my car would fit, and you know what...
they did! Well, that solved the problem of the immediate travel needs of my family.  And so it has been since we brought the twins home on March 26th.  It's a tight squeeze and I usually have to hold diaper bags and such in my lap, but it's become our normal.  No complaints here!

However, now that I'm going back to school, we have somewhat of a dilemma.  I will be driving my car to work and Rick will be here without a car to take the girls anywhere.  No big deal, right?  Wrong!  Being in a house day in and day out with 3 children under 2 1/2 can make the walls close in on you fast.  I hate to think of Rick wanting to get out of the house, and being stuck here.  Every day.  All day.  I wouldn't want that for myself, so I don't want it for him either.

Next dilemma:
The double stroller doesn't fit in the trunk of my car and the twins are growing.  This means we can't put the twins side-by-side in GG's stroller anymore.  We need the double stroller.  As my family prepares to do a Midsummer Night's Run Saturday night, you wouldn't believe the lengths we're having to go to in order to get everyone downtown.  First, we're having to borrow my mother-in-law's car and then take another car.  All this just to get everyone somewhere together...it sure does take a lot of planning and foresight.

These are the kind of sacrifices my family makes in order for Rick to stay at home with the girls.  I'm sure if we were a two income family, we'd hop into our van, with all of our belongings in the back, I'd have plenty of leg room and my lap wouldn't be full. 

Seems like the more my family does lately, the more I'm reminded of this whole transportation issue.  I'd be lying if I didn't say I didn't get frustrated sometimes.  


At church on Sunday, the reading was about the Israelites complaining to Moses and Aaron.  They were angry that they had been lead to the desert with famine in their certain future.  The Lord tested the Israelites and told them to go out each day and gather food.  If they followed His instructions, He would rain down bread from heaven.  In true God fashion, the desert was filled with quail and some kind of bread flakes.  Moses told the people, "This is the bread the Lord has given you to eat." 
Jesus 1  Doubters 0

***Break for a caveat***
I'm in no way a theologian and don't even think I come close to interpreting correctly what God has shared with us in the Bible.  The above story could be totally wrong!  ha!!  However, even if it is, I'm sure something like this has to have happened in history, so just go with the biblical flow...k?
***End caveat***

So, anything my family has ever needed, we have had.  We didn't even think we could fit in my car and look at us now!  All piled in, getting from Point A to Point B.  Granted, it's not very comfortable, but to be quite honest, quail and bread flakes don't sound too appetizing either.  They get the job done, though, don't they?

My point is:
God isn't going to lead my family to a place and then leave us hanging to figure out everything on our own.  We don't have a bigger car because we haven't needed one.  Yet.
That's faith...doing the stuff that makes you uncomfortable and then trusting.

Fast forward to Saturday night...
transferring cars
installing car seats
following each other downtown
trying to find 2 spots together so we don't have to look for each other in the madness
But then...
The gun will sound.
And guess who will be starting that race together...
We will have made it.

For now, we'll continue saving for something that fits us.  I know that God will make sure we get where we need to go and come up with some way to help Rick during the school year.

Of course, I do believe in miracles and if He wanted to just plop down a van right in the middle of our driveway, that'd be just fine with me!  For the record, Lord, I'm okay with that!


I hope you see God this week, today, right now.  I hope you see Him in all of the ways He meets your needs.  And hey, if you happen to be at a Midsummer Night's Run this weekend, I hope you'll see Him if you see my family and all of our contraptions.  It will be clear that only an act of God could get us there!