January 24, 2014

Trekking Through the Bible: Job

One of my goals this year is to read the entire Bible in chronological order. To help me absorb more of what I read as well as to help with accountability, I plan to post weekly about what I read the previous week. I got busy prepping for Evan's birthday bash and missed last week, so I'm just writing one post on Job.

Job is the 18th book of the Bible but fits in chronologically after the first 11 chapters of Genesis, right before Abraham. Job is the story of a man who loses everything, and he had a lot to lose: 7 sons, 3 daughters, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 she asses. In almost in instant, it's all gone. His children are all dead, and his animals are either dead or stolen.

And how does Job react?

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Wow! Often when I hear this verse out of context, I think of material possessions. If I lost all the things I own, I know I'd be okay. But to lose your children? I can't imagine praising God upon hearing my son is dead. 

As I read on, I started to get confused. While I'd read parts of Job before and knew the general idea of the story, I don't think I've ever read the entire book before.

"Am I missing something?" I asked Nathan.
"No, you're just not missing the part that most people miss," he told me.

You see, Job is held up as this amazing person who keeps his faith throughout unbelievable suffering. While he does have an amazing faith and never curses God, after he is inflicted with sores from head to toe, he says (Job 3:11): "Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?" His reaction is certainly understandable, but I was surprised to read it. We remember Job for his "naked I came from my mother's womb" faith and tend to overlook the part where he wishes he had never come out of his mother's womb. He wasn't perfect.

This realization caused me to think about what that I say and how will be remembered. I'm not just talking about the legacy I leave after I die but how I'm perceived right now. Will people remember the good things I say or just that one ranting Facebook status? Am I saying any good things worth remembering? How often am I saying "Blessed be the name of the Lord" in my daily life? 

January 22, 2014

One Year

One year...one year from a tiny, helpless newborn who can't hold his head up to an energetic toddler who can feed himself. When I was pregnant, I wasn't sure I was ready for just how quickly my baby would grow and change. After Evan was born, I would look at babies a few months older and think, I'm going to have one of those in just months? It's been a lot of fun to watch Evan reach new milestones this past year, but when I look back, the changes are just phenomenal.

Overall, I'm loving this age. I think the word that best describes Evan now is inquisitive. While he's always loved exploring, now it's less about going and more about doing. He's slowing down (at times, anyway) and figuring out how things work. He's currently fascinated by stacking things - blocks and whatever else he can find. Several times now he has sat on the floor of his room with me before bedtime and spent a half hour building towers. Considering Evan learned to crawl before he sat up on his own, for a while I didn't think he would ever sit for a half hour doing anything. At around eleven months, he become interested in stuffed animals again after totally ignoring them for about seven months. Now he babbles to them, usually in a higher voice than he uses to talk to people. He's become very interested in books. I think I could read him all his board books (around 20 now) five times each every day and he wouldn't get tired of them. He's also figured out doors recently and shut himself in his room the last two days. Let's hope he doesn't figure out locks for a while.

His language development is beginning to take off. I started teaching him a few signs when he was six months old, and while he started doing "milk" and "eat" around seven months, by nine months he wasn't signing at all and didn't even seem to respond much to me signing them. He was just too focused on mastering walking for a couple months. Now he's signing "milk" again sometimes and is starting to figure out "water." As far as spoken words, "Dada" has taken on a clear meaning lately. He also says "Day-Day" sometimes for Adyn and often says "Duh! duh! duh! duh!" when he has a rubber ducky. "Mama" has become less common, only coming out when he wants to nurse and I'm distracted with something else.

Evan's appetite has increased immensely in the last month or so. He never wanted to be spoon fed more than a few bites until he was ten months old and refused to be spoon fed at nine months when he was teething. Now he's much more into food, both being fed and feeding himself. Meat and cheese are probably his favorite foods right now. I'm thinking we might have to raise the grocery budget soon, and he's still nursing four times a day. 

Although Evan started walking one day shy of nine months, it took him another month to walk more than twelve steps at a time. He stopped crawling (at least 95% of the time) around eleven months and is walking very well now. He loves to run from us and be chased. Another interesting part of his physical development is he's figured out how to snap his fingers in the last month. It isn't very loud, but considering I can't snap my fingers at all (seriously) I find it crazy that my son already can. 

The night of his birthday, before I put him to bed, I was singing to Evan about how we'd had a good year and we would have even more fun in the next year. As I sang, I realized I'm really excited about having a toddler! The fact that my baby is no longer a baby really doesn't make me sad at all. I'm just looking forward to what's to come.

January 9, 2014

Trekking Through the Bible: Genesis 1-11

One of my goals this year is to read the entire Bible in chronological order. I've never attempted to read the entire Bible in one year, but since all previous attempts at reading the Bible without a time limit have failed, I'm giving it a try. To help me absorb more of what I read as well as to help with accountability, I plan to post weekly about what I read the previous week.

Last week's reading was Genesis 1-11...the beginning. I read through the story of creation, Adam and Eve in the garden, Cain and Able, Noah, the tower at Babel, and lots of genealogies. It's interesting to me how when I read a part of the Bible I've read before, even stories like these that I've heard since before I could read the Bible myself, I still discover something new. So, this week's post is just some of these various observations and ponderings.

I didn't recall that the river in Eden branched out into four heads: Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel, and Euphrates.

I also didn't realize the place Cain was exiled after killing Able was called the Land of Nod. Why would anyone think that's a good name for a company that makes toys and children's furniture? Very strange.

I always forget how soon after creating the world God decided to destroy it again. Granted, it was actually about 1600 years later, but it's only the sixth chapter of the Bible. It only takes a few chapters to get from "God saw that it was good" to "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth."

Do you ever wonder how it was that Noah found grace in the eyes of God? He couldn't have been completely sinless, so just how wicked was everyone else in the world? Was Noah just the least wicked?

The dove with an olive branch has come to symbolize peace because when Noah sent out the dove the second time, she brought back an olive branch as a sign that there was dry land and new growth. What if the raven had brought back a piece of moss? Can you imagine that on a Christmas card?

Interesting names from this reading: Arphaxad, Peleg

Feel free to share about what you've been reading in the Bible this week, whether inspirational insight or rambling observations like mine.

January 1, 2014

New Year, New Goals

At the beginning of 2012 I set 12 goals to achieve. However, succeeding in my unwritten goal of getting pregnant kind of derailed my progress on most of them. It also prevented me from setting any new goals for 2013 since a year ago I knew I could have a baby at any moment. It was difficult to focus on any other plans at that point. However, I never completely lost sight of my 2012 goals.

Here's a look at what I've achieved over the past 2 years:

Financial Goal (a.k.a. the BHAG)
1. Pay off half the student loans   We've now paid off about 85%.

Business/Career Goals
2. Update my physical portfolio This hasn't happened, but it hasn't really been needed. This was a goal when I wasn't sure if I'd be seeking a new job or going full-time freelance.
3. Create an online portfolio It's not perfect, but it does exist. As with #2, this was more of a focus for job seeking.
4. Decide on a freelance business name and create a business website Core Spring Design is very much a business now! 
5. Complete at least one paid freelance job I had 4 clients in 2013 and am working on a retainer for one of them.

Homemaking Goals
6. Bake with yeast I made homemade pizza. It wasn't great. I'd like to try bread.
7. Switch to using homemade or natural cleaning supplies This has mostly happened, but I'm not sure I like the baking soda and vinegar route. I need to look into other options.
8. Decorate our bedroom This never happened in the two years we lived at our last house, and we moved to a new place at the end of 2013! Maybe this bedroom will look more put together.

Personal Goals
9. Complete a 5K race I ran a race 11/16/2013 in 42:43.
10. Figure out my blog purpose I basically decided to not take blogging too seriously. I still want to write about life, but my focus is more on my design work.
11. Make something with a sewing machine I haven't decided on anything I want to make that's really beginner level. I did use a needle and thread though.
12. Visit a place I've never been before (new state or new part of a state) I haven't been to any new states in the last two years. In fact, other than visiting Nathan's parents just across the border, I haven't even left the state.

For 2014, I want to set goals that more closely relate to my priorities. Making homemade pizza doesn't really help me get where I want to go in life. 

This is what I want to achieve this year:

1. Go on one child free date with Nathan each month.

2. Get out of the house with Evan at least once a week.
3. Read to Evan daily.

4. Get out of bed by 7:00 each morning.
5. Walk (preferably run!) Adyn every morning.
6. Read the entire Bible.

7. Create a weekly cleaning schedule and follow it.

8. Become completely debt free while maintaining an emergency fund of at least 3 months' expenses.

9. Make double the income I did in 2012.
10. Design 3 portfolio-worthy logos.