Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Five years!

Last Friday marked the fifth anniversary of the day Mark and I got married! It's hard to believe it's been that long already! Five years ago we were entering the unknowns of being married after a three-year transatlantic relationship, moving to a city neither of us was familiar with, and starting medical school.

Lots of change all at once is considered a good thing, right...? I hope so, because that seems to be a pattern we're falling into in our marriage! Four years in, we graduated from medical school and nursing school, had Anna, moved house, started Residency and I became a stay-at-home mom. All within 6 weeks!

But it has been good ... so good. Even with the difficulties and challenges, these last five years have been such a testament to God's goodness and ever-presence. My life is a continual reminder to me that this earth is not my home. CS Lewis and God sum it up well when they write (respectively):

"If I find in me a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." (Mere Christianity)


"All these people died still believing what God had promised them ... They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland." (Heb 11)

When I lived in England, part of my heart was here with Mark. And now that Mark and I are together, part of my heart is still in England. And I made my peace with that a long time ago. It is a reminder to me, though, that neither England, Tulsa, Mark or wherever we end up on the mission field, are my true home. I'm still waiting for that! But in the meantime, I love that we just celebrated five years :)

Mark planned a surprise weekend trip to Kansas City. We were in KC a year or two ago for a medical conference, and I loved the downtown areas we got to see, but didn't feel like we really got to spend time exploring the city because of the conference. I guess Mark tucked that away, and brought it back out when he was planning our anniversary weekend :) We stayed right in the heart of downtown, and got to walk through the city and explore to our hearts' content. We left Anna with Mimi and Papa for the weekend, and had the freedom to eat when we wanted, sleep when we wanted, wander through downtown after dark without worrying about our poor baby's bedtime ... :) The highlight of the weekend, however, was that our anniversary weekend in KC just happened to coincide with my favourite football team in all the world, Manchester Utd, being there! So I got to see them play live against the Kansas City Wizards :)

I just love that Mark knows me well enough to pull off an anniversary weekend involving going to see a football game. It definitely wasn't the tropical all-inclusive beachside super-romantic getaway that girls always want (and that in other circumstances I would not turn down!). But he knows me well enough to know that given the choice between a cruise and watching Man Utd play live, I'd be in that stadium in a heartbeat :)

So ... thanks for a perfect anniversary weekend, neener! I loved it, and I love you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thoughts on a food fight

So we have entered a new stage with Anna: a departure from her previous unquestioning obedience and acceptance of what we put in front of her. This has so far only come up at meal time and bath time; meal time in that she has developed likes and dislikes for certain foods, and bath time in that she doesn't want to get out. This is very new and unlike our previous mild-mannered, obedient child! Yesterday when Mark started to get her out of the tub, she started flailing around and kicking water everywhere, and when he laid her down on her towel and wrapped her up, she got this (admittedly adorable and hilarious!) pouty face and wouldn't look at him.

I am still trying to figure out what approach I want to take with her when she pouts or throws a mini-fit ... I obviously want her to understand the role of child and parent, and how obedience and respect play into that relationship. But I don't want to entirely stifle her ability to say no and assert her opinion, because at some point down the road I want her to be able to stand up for herself! I read recently that her ability to say no to peer pressure and bad influences in the future depends on her having the freedom to say no earlier in her life as well. I don't think I subscribe to this view, because on the one hand she is acting out of obedience to a higher influence than the one that is tempting her, and on the other hand she's placing her own wishes and feelings over her obedience to me. So I don't think that if I stress obedience when she's young, she's going to end up rebelling and giving in to all kinds of awful temptations as soon as she's faced with them! My intention is definitely to raise children who are well-mannered and obedient, and can respect my God-given authority over them even when it clashes with their own desires. However, I do want them to know that I will take into consideration their preferences and opinions when I'm interacting with them, and I don't want to shape our kids' personalities into something that's rooted in legalism and fear of punishment. I want them to know and experience grace and forgiveness as part of their daily lives, because that is how my Father is raising me!

I know this may all sound a little heavy, bearing in mind I started this blog talking about bath/meal-times and we've had a total of about 3 little fits so far! But something else I read recently that I definitely do subscribe to is that when parents raise their children, they need to do so bearing in mind the kind of adult they are aiming to see their child become. All of the little choices we make when we raise Anna and discipline her, and the little habits we develop in our interactions with her, will have an effect on the adult she will one day become. That kind of makes me want to do it right! How do parents cope who don't have the perfect Parent to follow....?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I am no longer married....

... to an INTERN!!

As of July 1st, Mark is a second year resident. This will mean a slightly lighter schedule, less call at the hospital, a (marginally) larger paycheque each month, and more time at home! This would be a little more exciting if his first weekend as a second year wasn't his call weekend for this month ... but that's ok. He has a month of working 8-5, with some half days sprinkled in there, so we're not complaining :)

The last weekend of June was the annual Image Summer Retreat - a weekend away to welcome the incoming interns, send off the graduating third years, catch up with returning alumni and enjoy the pool and lake at the retreat center! This is Anna with one of her little friends that came to hang out with us for a couple hours during the retreat so her parents could take the older kids horseback riding! It is so much fun watching Anna interact with other kids now - her personality definitely emerges more strongly when she's playing.

In all honesty, I actually have kind of mixed feelings about the retreat; we usually end up more tired at the end than we were at the start and don't get to spend a whole lot of time together because of various meetings the residents have to attend, but it's still a fun weekend.

And speaking of fun weekends ... happy 4th of July to those of you who celebrate it! It's kind of a funny holiday for me, but hey - I'll take it if it means parties and an extra day off for Mark :)