Simple Bounty

Finding Beauty, Grace and Sanity in a Busy World

god is always good March 13, 2011

Filed under: Christianity,Health — katieosborne @ 3:09 pm
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We spent most of Friday and Saturday at the hospital with Jonas.

The short version of the story: Friday morning he woke up with a fever. He was lethargic and complaining of the light. Ben’s mom came over to stay with the kids, so I could go to the store. I wasn’t gone more than 45 minutes when I got a call to come home. Jonas had had a seizure, something that had never happened before. He was sleeping hard when I got home, and I took him to the doctor, where he sat in my lap, barely conscious a lot of the time, falling in and out of sleep. Still feverish.

The doctor was concerned because it didn’t fit the typical definition of a febrile seizure, and based on other observations, he thought there was a possibility of meningitis. So, off the the hospital we went for lots of tests and waiting. Everything came back fine. We don’t know what caused the seizure.

Yesterday, when I facebooked the news that we were heading home, one of my cousins responded, “God is good!!” It’s a statement we commonly use to express thankfulness for God granting healing or positive resolution in our lives. I’ve been thinking about this lately: We never meet bad news with “God is good!” And yet, he is. He is always good. His decisions are always right and work together for the good of those who love him, even though we cannot comprehend his ways. If the diagnosis had been meningitis, God is still good. If the illness led to my child’s death, God is still good.

I think that one of the biggest challenges in life and one of the most worthwhile is to be able to say, in the midst of trial and even the worst of tragedies, “God is good.” To be able to see his grace in the darkness. In the worst case scenario, is my faith such that I would see His goodness and blessing? Is my heart capable of giving thanks in all circumstances?

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Four July 1, 2010

Filed under: Family Life — katieosborne @ 4:13 pm
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Dear Jonas,100_5691

Tuesday was your fourth birthday. Four. I keep saying it to myself, hardly believing it. 

You, Bridget and I went downtown to the gelato shop for a birthday treat in the afternoon. You rode your trike the whole way as I pushed the stroller. You did such a great job listening and crossing the busy streets. When the girl at the store found out it was your birthday, she asked how old you are, and you replied, “three.” I said, “are you sure?” as you concentrated hard on your apricot sorbet (since they didn’t have mango). You nodded, and then slowly remembered that you get to say “four” now.

Last week, we threw a birthday party and invited all your friends. We filled water balloons and also had a scavenger hunt. Mostly, you kids just had a blast running  around the yard. Dad grilled hotdogs and we had chocolate applesauce cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting topped with dinosaurs for desert. You seemed to think the whole event was pretty amazing. On Saturday, we went down to Great Jonas 4th bday4Grandma and  Grandpa Beem’s house for a little party, and you got to swim in their big pool. You loved it.

Currently, you are extremely interested in dinosaurs. This started last summer when Grandma Osborne gave you a book about them. And once the PBS show, Dinosaur Train, started airing in the fall, you were pretty much obsessed. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could name over forty types of dinosaurs. You just soak that information up, and you talk about it non-stop. I love how you’ve invented your own descriptive words, like “curbivore,” (even though you know the word “omnivore),” and you often call “quadrupeds” “four-drupeds.” That makes me smile. You still like Thomas the Tank Engine a lot too, and since Christmas, you’ve been really into Legos. You love to build, and you and Dad play Legos together most every night  before going to bed.

It’s been a challenging year for you. Learning how to be a big brother has not always been easy, and while you love your sister, it was difficult for you to figure out where you fit in the family after her arrival. That caused a lot of big feelings in you that you didn’t know how to deal with. While you have been learning and making strides all year, it has really been in recent weeks that I have observed a marked change in you with regard to Bridget. You just seem so  much more mature and able to handle the frustrations of having a baby sister. I am so proud of you and the patience and kindness you have extended to her. Not only that, but you have been joyfully trying to teach her how to do things and you seem to take real pleasure out of playing silly games with her. I love watching you two play and see the happiness you have in each other. Sometimes when you’re interacting with her, I hear myself in you, good and bad, and it reminds me once again that you are both watching and listening to everything I say and do, and that you are learning 100_5626 how to be, from me.

You are still as particular as ever, and at times, this can cause big frustrations for you. You have been doing a good job of learning how to deal with life when it’s not the way you like it, though there are days when you can fall apart over a hamburger not fitting perfectly in its bun.

Some of the things I enjoy most about you right now include the way you make up songs that just go on and on and the way you love to dance with your sister after dinner. I get a kick out of how you speak in similes – on our walk downtown, you said that Bridget was “singing like a cloud.” You also use terminology you’ve learned watching Thomas the Train. My favorite is when you point out a worker at the grocery store who is bringing the carts in. “Look,” you exclaim, “he’s shunting the carts.” I also like how you enjoy helping me bake. You like to dump the ingredients in, and of course swipe as much batter as possible if I’m making cake or cookies. I love the concentration with which you play. You take it quite seriously and you become very involved in what you are doing. And I love how you pray. Sometimes, like last night, you will interrupt your dad as he prays at dinner to add your own. It warms my heart. I love everything that makes you, you. You are so special and unique.

You are an amazing gift from God, and I love you more than you will ever know.

Love,

Your Mama

(who is now most often addressed as Mom)IMG_2951_2

 

The Little Photographer April 21, 2010

Filed under: Family Life — katieosborne @ 7:57 pm
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Last week, I created a new computer folder entitled Photos By Jonas because he asked me to show him how to use the camera and then happily went about the house snapping pictures. When Ben got home, he gave him an old camera we don’t use anymore. After much use, I believe it is sitting in the “trunk” of his trike, along with a dozen or so dandelions.

Here are some snapshots from his week.

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A March Gift March 19, 2010

Filed under: Family Life — katieosborne @ 10:41 am
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Warmth. Almost a week of warmth in the middle of a Wisconsin March. Of course we’re supposed to get snow tomorrow, but we have been enjoying the outdoors while we can.

So, we had to make a trip to the park.

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Bridget had her first ride in the wagon, and she loved it. She laughed continually the first half of the ride.100_4779100_4780

She was quite interested in the playground surface and all the little bits of leaves and dirt all around.100_4790

Slides have always been Jonas’ favorite. Even when he was small, he had no fear of the tallest slides.100_4770

Swings, on the other hand, he had little interest in until last summer.

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But his sister loves them!

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She is determined to keep up with her brother.

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We had a wonderful afternoon together.

 

Bad Guys January 25, 2010

Filed under: Family Life — katieosborne @ 9:42 pm
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I was helping Jonas put fresh sheets on his bed tonight. There is a particular order that he likes his pillows.

And I commented, “yes, I know you like to sleep on the blue and green Thomas (the Tank Engine) pillow.”

He replied, “yes, and it has to go right there, (closer to the wall, farther from the door), so I’m farther away if any bad guys come.”

(Oh, my heart).

“Is that something you worry about?” I ask.

“Yeah,” he says, wrinkling his nose and looking down.

I hug him hard. “You don’t need to worry about that.” I explain that we have locks on our doors, and we live in a safe neighborhood where bad guys don’t go, and we have guns to protect ourselves just in case a bad guy would ever want to get in.

But all the while I’m assuring him, I wonder if I’m saying the right things. Does he feel safe? Does he trust what I’m saying? Will this put an end to those thoughts? And I just imagine him, at times when this goes through his mind, probably alone, and worried, and maybe a little scared, and I don’t even realize that he’s dealing with these big feelings. I hug him closer, wanting him to know how much I love him. And I want to tell him to come back to our room, where he slept until nine months ago, but I refrain.

All I want to do is keep him safe and protected, and I know that truly, I can’t even promise that, though it is what I want more than anything. And so, I feel a little guilty telling him that no bad guys will get in, yet what else can I say?

I don’t like feeling that helplessness, and it makes me want to pull my wings more firmly around him, but what more can I do, really? The world is not a safe place, and I will not always be able to protect him as I’d like.

I am so grateful to know, to the core of my being, that God is sovereign. That’s not a cop out, just the truth. I don’t know what will happen to my children in this life, and it scares me to consider the possibilities, but it is a comfort to know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and has a plan for our lives. As a mother, that is what I must hold onto and teach my children.

 

Gentle Reminders Of God’s Love and Faithfulness December 1, 2009

Filed under: Parenting — katieosborne @ 11:38 am
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I have long felt that my mission in life is to be a mother. I was never really interested in having a career; in college I followed my interests, but I never new what I wanted to do with that education. I felt destined to be a mother. That’s what my heart really longed for.

When Ben and I began the journey toward parenthood, it wasn’t easy. The first three pregnancies ended in miscarriage, and I wondered if I would ever have the opportunity to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth to our children. I felt a little desperate because that is what I felt God had given me a passion for. I vividly remember thinking that if I could just know what was ahead, if I could have a glimpse, I could feel better about our losses. If I knew I would have to endure ten miscarriages before having a healthy pregnancy, I felt I could face that pain, knowing it would end with a baby in my arms. But the uncertainty, the wondering if it was all in vain – that was hard. And I knew that God is good, and I knew there was a purpose to the pain. I  also knew that he put that passion inside of me. I did not believe that he would leave that unfulfilled, but I didn’t know how he would choose to fulfill it. What if this was not his plan for us? To be honest, I didn’t know if I could be okay with that.

God is so faithful and so generous. It was in those years that I really began to learn what it means to trust him and to wholeheartedly believe that his plan, his timing, is far superior to my own. He has blessed me so greatly. I am so undeserving, yet he takes pleasure in pouring out such beautiful gifts in my life. It is easy in hindsight to see God’s hand, and now I know that I really needed those times in order to understand more about his character and his love for me – for it to become personal. I have struggled all my life believing that God’s grace is for me, that he truly loves me, though I always believed it without question for others. Because of what I have seen him do thus far, I am confident in his trustworthiness and his working in my life and the life of my family. I don’t have to be anxious (though sometimes I am) because he is a good God who, for some inexplicable reason, loves me.

I have had a great reminder of these truths in recent months, as once again I have been filled with doubt over the direction of our family, and once again God, through our family trials and his guiding hand, has gently reminded me not to fear. The summer and fall were a bit rough for Jonas and therefore, for me. As Jonas turned three, we were met with some challenging behavior. I tried to take it in stride, remembering that we had recently moved and he had a new baby sister. Those are huge things for little kids. He needed to learn how to fit into the changes in our family, and I was sure that it was normal for him to act out his anxious feelings. His behavior was unacceptable, but at least it made sense in context. As time went on, I didn’t feel that anything we did made any improvement. I grew frustrated, discouraged, and sometimes angry. Conversations with my mom made me fearful, as she was very adamant that he was acting this way because of something we were not doing, and if I didn’t fix the behavior problems with a firmer (i.e. more punitive) hand, he would be completely out of control down the road.

As I was mothering a new baby and trying to work through this rough period with my toddler, I felt I was completely losing my focus. I started ignoring some of my parental instincts in hopes of getting my toddler “under control,” I was forgetting what I knew about child development and what I knew about my particular child, and, worst of all, I was trying to fix it myself. I felt like our home was turning into a battleground, and I felt bad about how I was dealing with the situation. My own resources were failing me. And I grew anxious. This thing that I so longed for, that I wanted more than anything – motherhood – I felt like I was failing. I felt I wasn’t cut out for it. I began worrying that I was going to ruin my children. What was God thinking giving me these precious kids?

I am often amazed at how slow to learn I am. It took me this long to truly, with every fiber of my being, get on my knees over my children. That desperate seeking, when all else fails. Why is it not the first place I go? I need these constant reminders to drive me there – these realizations that I can’t do this on my own – a denouncement of my independent streak. And without fail I am given the sweet reminder that he is in control and that he is faithful. I do not need to fear. I do not need to be anxious. He has proven himself to me over and over, and yet I am so slow to trust, so slow to go to him, so slow to believe that everything really will be okay. I try to do it on my own. I can’t.

In recent weeks, he has provided me with words of wisdom and encouragement from people in my life, he has rekindled my joy in my family, he has helped me to see things more clearly, and he has been working changes in both my and Jonas’ hearts. Things have been a lot more peaceful at our house lately, though I recognize that could all change tomorrow. We are certainly guaranteed a host of parenting challenges in the coming months and years. But what I know, and what I do not want to forget, is that God is for me and for my family, and he is faithful to his covenant people. He hears my prayers, my fears and uncertainties. He hears, and he lovingly responds. He loves my children far more than I ever could, and I believe that he is working in their hearts. I am merely his (very imperfect) instrument, and the fact that he has entrusted them to me, sinful and incompetent as I am, is humbling and proof to me of his great, great love and his awesome power.

All this is not to say that all of a sudden we have a perfectly angelic three year old. Of course not. But I feel like our family is right again, and I feel renewed in my work to mother my children. What a gift I feel God has given me these last few weeks. By calming the storm in our home, he has clearly shown me, he is in control, and I do not need to fear over my children. These little parenting trials seem so momentous and daunting when you are in the midst of them, and you can’t see what is ahead, and you want nothing more than for your child’s heart to be soft and open to God’s teachings. But just like before, I am learning that I can trust him in all things and that he is working even when we can’t see his hand in the moment. Little by little, I am learning to give up my control – so hard, despite the fact that it’s an illusion to begin with. The last half a year is a reminder to me that I should be praying earnestly over my children in all circumstances, not just when things are rough. It has been a purposeful time that has drawn me closer to him, which is the whole point of this life, anyway. No doubt there will be larger parenting trials in the future, but I’m thankful that he’s getting me there with baby steps.

 

Play (Or Perhaps More Aptly Titled ‘Time’) October 12, 2009

Filed under: Family Life,Parenting — katieosborne @ 11:05 am
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Jonas is now playing on his own…..FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME.

He’s done a pretty good job of learning to play without me over the last year, but hasn’t really been able to sustain his own play for long periods of time until recently. All of a sudden in the last few weeks, he is lost in his own little world for an hour or more at a time. His imaginative abilities have taken off. Watching him has brought to mind Montessori’s belief that play is a child’s work. He is so earnest, almost studious sometimes, as he plays, oblivious to everything else.

He still asks me to play at times, and I make sure that I still do that daily, as I think it is good for me. I find it hard to play creatively with his cars and trains and animals. I guess most of us lose that ability for imaginative play somewhere along the road to adulthood. I have the hardest time just being in the moment with him when we play. My mind wanders to things I need to get done or projects I’m working on. So, I’m trying to do better. I’m trying to take a lesson from him. And I’m trying to make playing with him the most important thing at that moment.

I have to admit, it is nice to feel a little less needed. And it’s a little bit sad to feel less needed. I mean, it’s great; it’s good for both of us. It’s so nice not to hear the pleading for someone to play as I clean the kitchen or nurse Bridget. I don’t miss that! And now I can appreciate playing with him more than I did when it was a frequent request. 

I have found myself with so many mixed feelings as I journey through motherhood, and this is just one more instance. It gives me such pleasure to see them grow and excel, but I also recognize little milestones like this as one more subtle sign that all this early mothering will be done too soon. I feel the passing of time so quickly lately, and it almost frightens me because I take so much of what I have now for granted, and I don’t want to look back and say, “I missed too much in these precious years.” I know there is sweetness and hardship in each stage of life, and I do look forward to seeing what each of them become as they make their way through it. I certainly don’t want them to stay babies forever. I guess I just have a hard time letting go of things, even when I am appreciative of the change and aware that greater things are to come. I don’t think I’m even talking about play anymore.

This is probably just me getting too melancholy as I sense such a shift in the physical seasons. This started out as a little post about how well Jonas plays, and has become a small lament over the speed at which they’ll be grown and gone….despite the fact that the youngest doesn’t even sit yet, and we hope for more!

I just have a thing about time. I let too much of it slip through my fingers without savoring it, and then I wonder where it has gone. I’m always remarking to Ben, “do you realize that such and such a thing happened this long ago? It seems like such a short time ago. When that much time passes again, we’ll be forty.” He looks at me rather blankly when I say stuff like that.

As I sit typing this morning, I hear him climb out of bed, but instead of coming right down the stairs as he usually does, he has stopped to play with some farm animals and a tractor that were left in the loft last night. I wonder how long he’ll be up there.