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Monday, November 15, 2010

Hard Lesson

Tonight my son learned a lesson. Mommy will stick to her guns, if needed. Unfortunately, tonight, it was.

I make a yummy cheesy tortilla soup and decided to make a batch of it on this cold wintry night. I already knew that it was something Nathan would not be a huge fan of, but I decided to press into him a bit.

I don't want to be a parent who forces my child to eat more than he needs to. I never want to force him to clear his plate or interfere with his ability to know when HE is hungry or full. HOWEVER. I also do not want to raise a child who eats about five things and refuses to even TRY anything outside of his comfort zone. Thus, the scene is set for this evening...

I decided that I would have Nathan try a TINY bite of the cheese soup and afterwards he could have some tortilla, cheese and a nectarine as the rest of his meal. He absolutely refused. So, after getting disrespectful, he sat on the steps while Fraser and I prayed and ate dinner. I asked him several times if he would like to join us. To put it simply...Nope.

So, my son is now going to bed without dinner. :-( I have to confess, that makes me a bit sad. I almost caved (aka gave in to his requests for other items to eat, cause "I hungry Mommy"). I told him dinner was still there for him, and, again, he refused.

I think this might count as one of those "parenthood is not always easy" times. I know that he will not starve and that he is well taken care of. But it still isn't fun to be the "bad guy". I choose to believe that this is a life lesson that my son will learn from and tomorrow will be a new day.

Does this make me hardcore? I dunno (and I'm not really asking...lol). But, for tonight, I will choose to believe that I am encouraging my child to broaden his horizons. I have also taught him that Mommy means business. No means no.

Maybe breakfast tomorrow will be a nice hearty bowl of oatmeal. :-)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Giving Thanks: Year 2

As some of you might remember, I did a month of "Giving Thanks" last November. I want to do it again this year. I need the reminder that there are so very many things in my life to be thankful for. So, I will do my best to keep posting them o here as a reminder of all that is good on my life.

Day 1: I am thankful for a good report from Fraser's heart doctor. Jehovah Rapha!!
Day 2: I am thankful for the right to vote.
Day 3: I am thankful for my husband's brilliant mind. His "knack" for all things tech is an unbelievable blessing to our family (especially when I haven't backed up my computer in over 2 months and he can keep me from having a panic attack that all will be lost!!). I love you, Fraser!! :-)
Day 4: I am thankful for a good report from Nathan's teachers/speech therapist (Parent conferences today). I cannot begin to express my appreciation for how much work they have put into my child and the vast improvements it has made in our lives. Praise God for teachers!!!
Day 5: I am thankful for the beauty of God's creation. What a glorious day here in Colorado!!!
Day 6: I am thankful for a husband who wants to spend time with our son. There is nothing more powerful in a boy's life than a Godly man to lead him and I am so grateful Fraser wants to do that. Nathan is in good hands. :-)
Day 7: I am thankful for a church family to worship with every week and a Pastor that is not afraid to talk about the "hard" issues.
Day 8: I am thankful for the power of the Holy Spirit, and the work He is doing in my heart right now.
Day 9: I am thankful for MOPS and the wonderful women I have met and befriended through that organization. Love you gals!!!
Day 10: I am thankful for my fabulous siblings!! My twin sister, Sarah; Carolyn; Rebekah Urbanek; and David Berg. Y'all make my life so much fun and I am so blessed by each of you.
Day 11: I am thankful for the sacrifices our military and their families have made. Without you, our country would not be the land of the free!! Thank you!!!
Day 12: I am thankful for friendships that have spanned over the years (some even DECADES, gulp!!). :-)
Day 13: I am thankful for my nieces and nephew. What a joy to have each of you in my life! Aunt Liz loves you!! :-)
Day 14: I am thankful for my wonderful son, Nathan. It is so fun to watch him grow up and he brings me such joy in my life. :-)
Day 15: I am thankful for a safe car to drive in the snow, rain, etc.
Day 16: I am thankful for sore muscles from great work-outs. :-)
Day 17: I am thankful for the blessings of food, clothing and shelter. Especially with winter just around the corner.
Day 18: I am thankful for the time I spent at Texas A&M. I met some amazing people there and I am proud to be an Aggie. Whoop!!
Day 19: I am thankful for fun times with friends. Thanks Kate Vogler for letting us join you and Molly on the train and at the Holiday Festival. Great times!! Can't wait to set up the tree. :-)
Day 20: I am thankful for my church ( Denver United Church) that organized a service project where we were able to distribute over 300 Thanksgiving Day meals for the impoverished in our city. What a privilege to teach my 4-year old about feeding the hungry, one of Jesus' final commands.
Day 21: I am thankful to have found a "lost" coat over at my Scottish Mummy's house. Been missing nearly a year, and I was about to give up.
Day 22: I am thankful for the (FREE) Public Library System and all the books and movies we have enjoyed through it.
Day 23: I am thankful for our numerous "modern conveniences" like dishwashers, ovens, washing machines/dryers. I was definitely born in the right century!!
Day 24: I am thankful for a God who answers prayers. Granted, they may not always be answered the way I hope, but He DOES answer them. How amazing to have a God who is near me and cares about EVERYTHING in my life.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ten Years (and counting...)

I just realized (remembered) that this past Labor Day weekend marked ten years of me living here in Denver. I cannot believe it!!! If you had told me back in 2000, when I first came out here to go to Denver Seminary to get my Counseling degree that I would still be here 10 years later, I don't think I would have believed it. Hoped for it, maybe, but not believed it.

This past decade has been an amazing journey for me. I left the wonderful state of Texas for a great adventure and I have not looked back (well, hardly ever).

My first three years here in Colorado were dedicated to my education at the Seminary. While I was there, I learned a ton about counseling, therapy, theology, the Bible. I met some amazing people while I was there, many of whom I am still friends with. :-)

I also met my future husband, Fraser, at seminary. I can remember having conversations with some of my friends back at A&M about how I would meet and marry a man from Seminary and I hoped it might be the case, but after a couple years of no prospects coming in (I also remember having conversations with fellow students there about how we should join the recruitment team to bring in decent boys!! lol), I started to think that might not happen. Little did I know, that I had already met and befriended him.

God taught me some amazing things in my years at Seminary. Some were educational. Some were heart things. Things about Himself, about me. I'm still learning, too.

About 7 months after I graduated from Seminary, Fraser and I were married. We worked in several places, bought a house and then I got pregnant.

Our son, Nathan, was born at the end of July in 2006. Which means that he just turned 4!!! Also, he is officially a Colorado native. That is pretty cool, given how much the "locals" care about that. :-)

I have FINALLY found a local church after 8 years of not having one. We've been there for 2 years now and I LOVE it!! So much, in fact, that this fall I will be stepping up and leading a small group and I am extremely excited to see what God will do through that group.

I've been attending MOPS groups for about 3 years now and I love what a ministry that has been to me and Nathan. I've met some pretty fantastic moms there and I look forward to more fellowship in the years to come. :-)

I have no idea where I will be in another decade, but I sure wouldn't mind if it was still in this beautiful state. Who knows?!? :-)


Top Ten of the past 10:
1. Moving to one of the most beautiful states in the country (HUGE leap of faith).
2. Meeting some amazing fellow students (local to international) at school.
3. Graduating from Denver Seminary with a Master's in Counseling.
4. Meeting and marrying the love of my life, Fraser. :-)
5. Numerous trips to my grandparents place out in Crested Butte (other places, too).
6. Going to Scotland with Fraser.
7. Becoming a mum. ;-)
8. Hiking, camping, biking in the beautiful outdoors.
9. Living and learning so much about the Denver area.
10. Becoming a homeowner.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The power of NO

My husband was recently talking to me about a concept he and some guys at work have been discussing lately, the power of no. It got me thinking...

The other day, I was at Big Lots looking for something. I can't remember specifically what I was looking for, but I wanted to see if they carried the item I wanted. As I walked through the store, I stopped and looked at several other items that I liked/wanted. In fact, I nearly bought a few of them. But, I refrained and ended up leaving the store without buying anything. As I was walking out, one of the clerks said, "You're not getting anything?" The way she said it was full of surprise, like she had never seen anything so crazy in her entire life. I simply smiled at her and said, "Not today." As I was walking out to the car, I wondered how strange that must have seemed to her. In this culture, we can hardly go anywhere anymore without buying more stuff (most of which, we don't need). That's kind of sad.

As many of you know, Fraser and I have been maintaining a tight budget over the past year and half as we are working towards becoming debt free. Well, one of the things this has done has made me think twice (sometimes even 3 times)whenever I am shopping about whether or not we really need the item, or is it simply a want?

When I was at Big Lots, there were several items I wanted (really badly, in fact). They are things that would be nice to have, but they are not necessities at this point. I could have EASILY spent $100 on these items and walked out with a full cart and an empty wallet. But, I chose not to. I made the conscious decision to not buy anything on impulse, and you know what? It has worked really well for me/us.

I guess I just found it interesting that it was such a shock for that clerk to see someone acting out of self-control. Now, I would be lying if I said it was easy or fun to have to be so careful about how we spend our pennies. Let's be honest, it's not. But, I know that we are learning valuable lessons and I like to think that Nathan is picking up on these lessons, too.

The word "no" is powerful, indeed. But, it doesn't have to be a negative word. For me, right now, that power of "no" means that I can have enough money to pay for food and things we need, while living within our means and paying down debt. I like to think that I have learned to wield the power of that word (at least in this area). Have you?

Dirt Therapy

How do you deal with life? What are some of the things that you do that give you relief? When things in life get too stressful, how do you cope? I do several things. If time allows, I go to the gym. Working out is one of the best ways for me to decrease my stress level immediately. I love the power of pounding away the worries on the treadmill, or pumping up the weights and working up a great sweat!!

I also write. Writing things out allows me to process the thoughts I am having about whatever is going on in my life at the time. I find it extremely cathartic. It's also fun to look back on things later and reflect on how life changes and see that we can get through things and survive what might have seemed impossible at the time.

One of the best types of therapy for me, though, has to be dirt therapy. Sadly, this type of therapy is only really available in the Spring and Summer. But, I engage in it as often as I can in those months. :-) I LOVE the feeling of getting my hands dirty and digging around in the dirt. There is something so very basic and therapeutic about getting into nature and becoming so close to the earth.

I was able to start engaging in some dirt therapy a couple weeks ago as it FINALLY gotten warm enough here in CO to begin planting flowers. It was WONDERFUL!!! And, I also love maintaining the flowers throughout the summer, as that also qualifies as therapy for me. :-)

Here are some pictures of what I have planted (so far). If time/money allows, I might even add more!!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

That really chaps my hide

Nathan and I were taking a nice stroll this evening to go get the mail. We looked at some dogs and had a jolly 'ol time on the way there. On the way back, not so much.

There was an older man and woman strolling around calling out for "Braden." They walked next to and behind us and suddenly found him in an alleyway behind their house. The women then yelled at him to "get over here right now!!" We kept walking home (faster). As if that wasn't bad enough, when he got near her she proceeded to keep yelling at him. "Do you pull this sh** with your Mom?!!"

Seriously??? Lady, can you not see my 3-YEAR OLD right here next to me, innocently looking at you because you are making such a ruckus? He even called "get ovah heah" after she yelled it at the boy they were looking for. Thank goodness he didn't repeat the last thing she said. I'm not ready for that conversation yet!!

I just find it sad that she was unable to control her tongue enough to not yell that in front of me and Nathan.

Suffice it to say, that really chaps my hide!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Not Milk?

I have decided that I want to try a dairy-free diet for the next month. Gulp. The main reason is that I have a suspicion that I have become lactose-intolerant. I know that it runs in my family, and I have noticed some of the "signs" in myself over the past several years. Grrr.

My plan is to go cold turkey and try and have at least 90% of my diet be completely dairy-free. As I have been preparing for this shift over the weekend, I have been quite shocked about how much of our American diet has milk or milk products "hidden" inside. I am going to have to learn all the lingo for all the words that are used to describe milk products. Geesh.

Of course, I have had some training in this, because my Scottish Mummy (my mother-in-law) has an allergy to corn. That amounts to about ten different "ingredients" that need to be looked for. So, I have some experience in learning to carefully read labels and in researching all the "names" for an ingredient.

In spite of previous experience, I think this could be quite the challenge. But, my hope is that I will know by the end of this month whether or not I have lactose intolerance. If I do, I will then have to try and figure out how severe it is. I have read that there is a wide range of intolerance, some people can have yogurt and cheese and others can even have a small amount of milk. I would also need to find out if I can take Lactaid when I have dairy, and see if that is sufficient.

Lots of questions still to come, and I hope I can have the discipline to stick with this for a month, because I think I need that long to really know if I am feeling better or not.

Wish me luck!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Kindness of a Stranger

So, Nathan has a Valentine's Day party at his preschool this morning. One of the things he received was a shiny red heart-shaped balloon!!! Now, if any of you know my son, you know how much he LOVES balloons. Well, I tried to have him tie the balloon on his wrist (to NO avail), so I had an inkling the balloon might be lost to the sky. Well, we made it to the car, left it there during lunch, and also left it in the car during afternoon preschool.

Then, we drove home after school.

I tried again (to NO avail) to have him let me tie the balloon on his wrist. Well, he was not fully out of the car before a gust of wind blew his nice shiny red heart-shaped balloon right out from his grasp. We said good-bye to the balloon. But, then I noticed that the balloon had been "caught" by a tree about 20 feet from our car. So, I showed it to Nathan and he then proceeded to request that I get the balloon back for him. Oh boy...

Well, it was too high for me to reach by hand, so I went into the house and got a broom. Sadly, no matter how ard I tried to reach for it, I just couldn't get it. Just as I was about to give up, a car stopped in front of the tree and a man asked if he could help me. "Yes!!! That would be great!!" So, he came over and we managed to work with the broom and his height and we disentangled the balloon from the tree, without popping it!!!

So, the kindness of a stranger helped save my son's shiny red heart-shaped balloon from the neighbor's tree. :-)

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Top Ten of the Past Ten

So, a couple weeks ago we rang in another year, and another decade. I had some friends who were commenting about their top ten events of the past decade and thought it would be fun to do the same. Funnily, it took me a while to come up with ten things. LOL I guess I don't lead a very eventful life! I'm ok with that!! Drama never was a strong point of mine. =)

So, without further ado, here is my list of the top ten events of the past decade for me:

1. May 2000 - I graduated from Texas A&M University with my Bachelor's degree in Speech
Communication.

2. August 2000 - I moved to Denver, Colorado to attend Denver Seminary.

3. May 2003 - I graduated from Denver Seminary with my Master's degree in Counseling.

4. January 2004 (2000-2004) - I met and married my amazing husband, Fraser.

5. July 2004 - We bought our first house in Centennial, Colorado.

6. September 2005 - Fraser and I traveled to Scotland to see his homeland and meet many of his friends/family.

7. July 2006 - We had our first child, a son, Nathan.

8. September 2006 - I traveled to Texas with Nathan to go to my 10-year high school reunion and my sisters (and some friends) got to meet Nathan for the first time.

9. I started to attend MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meetings. I have meet some amazing friends through this fantastic organization.

10. We finally found a home church here in Denver. It is a church plant, Denver United. What a blessing they have been to me and my family.

So, there you have it. My top ten!!

Liz <><

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I am married to an amazing man, who is also the love of my life. We have three kids who constantly keep me on my toes! God has richly blessed me and I am grateful for all He does for me.