Sunday, November 8, 2009

"In lieu of the holidays" trip

Since most of you haven't seen pictures of us since July, here are a few from our September trip to St. Louis and Dallas.  Because we won't be going to either of these cities for the holidays, we decided to take a trip during one of Ron's easier times to "make up" for being gone later.  

 Cousin Ainsley, Aunt Erin, She-She, me, Cousin Cami and Annie the Cowgirl

Paw-Paw and Marmee (my parents) with Annie at my grandparents' lake house

All of the great-grandchildren with my grandparents.  Annie is in the very middle on the bench with only her sad face showing.  My grandfather is saying, "Uh-Oh!" and my grandmother is saying, "Hang on, Pap!"

Annie and Cousin Ryan showing off their skills to one another.

Cousin Jaden showing Annie how to drive the car.  Jaden adores "Baby Annie" and it is the sweetest thing to watch him take care of her and try to make her happy.

 And this was actually taken a couple of weeks before at our house when Ron's parents came in town for Annie's Dedication.  But since it was so cute, I had to include it :)
One of these days I'll get around to posting in the right month... but not today.

Fall-ing thoughts...

Although I can never decide which season is my favorite - Fall or Winter - there is something about the Fall that gets me so excited that I am viscerally filled with joy... smelling the crisp air is like menthol moving throughout my entire body.  And besides the normal favorite things (crunching leaves, first evening fires, apple picking, etc), some of the best things EVER have happened/happen in the Fall...

1. I began to fall (no pun intended) in love with my husband.  I can't remember an exact moment or anything, just a gradual falling... and yet I knew that it was happening as we sat around a fire at a friend's house in November thinking, "Lord, if he's not the one, then I need to get out NOW because we both know I'm losing my heart fast!"  Thankfully, he was :)

2. My sweet Annie Kate was born.  She fills my days with laughter, singing, silliness and wonder.  Motherhood is by far the most awesome, amazing, coolest, most difficult, stretching, makes-me-realize-how-dependent-on-God-I-am thing I've ever had the privilege to do.

3. Apple cider donuts, pumpkin-spice lattes, pumpkin bread.  Need I say more?

4. Changing leaves - not just the colors alone, but a daily reminder that the process of death can be beautiful when LIFE is the end result.

5. First day of school... well, at least when I was in school we didn't start until September and that's still how I like to think of it.  I actually envy teachers and mothers with school-age children because they get to pick out all their new supplies like artsy notebooks and the perfect ink pens.  But nothing would excite me more than receiving my book list in English class!  I could do without Hawthorne and Faulkner, but bring on Atwood, Shakespeare and Salinger! 

6. And let's be honest, you get to wear the BEST clothes - sweaters, boots, coats, scarves - oh how I love layering!

P.S. One of these days I will get around to posting about some actual events from the past months... so sorry, but as I sat down to type, I couldn't find the camera cord to download the pictures.  Yes, I know, typical me.  Happy (late) Fall :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer Days

According to the weatherman, this June has been the "gloomiest" month since 1904 with only 4 sunny days!  But that hasn't stopped us from having a great time at home and out with friends.  And when the sun has peeked out, I remember why I love Boston summers and am so thankful to be living in such a beautiful place.  Here are some pictures from the past month and a half with some explanations...

This is one of my favorite outfits worn on one of the sunny days!  On the hanger, it looks sort of like a ruffled and decorated egg, so when I showed it to Ron, his response was, "Hmm, that's interesting." Not exactly what I was looking for.  But doesn't she look cute anyway?

This is Annie and her friend Skye (my friend Laura's baby), who's only 5 weeks older than she is.  They LOVE to play together - stealing each other's toys, babbling and screaching back and forth having their own conversations, and pulling each other's hair.  What fun!

Going to an 80's birthday party for a friend...too bad Ron and I got in an argument and we didn't end up going - ha ha!  I think she would have won the Best Costume award for sure!

Following are several eating pictures... I laugh at her almost every day while she's in her high chair and couldn't resist posting them.  She makes the funniest faces and just smiles and laughs the whole time. 

She loves prunes!

She hates green beans, but you'd never know by the sweet grin on her face.

She's very into eating things on her own.  No, I did not give my child a mud pie, but more of the teething biscuit might have ended up on her face, hands, bib and tray than in her mouth!  We're still working on it :)

This is what happens when Daddy dresses her... but they both have such a great time, who cares if it takes them 30 minutes? 

A couple of weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon, we headed to a specialty nursery with our friends Dave, Laura and their baby Skye.  Since Dave and Ron both work with plants, this was a treat for them!  We weren't planning on buying anything, but when we found a hosta plant variety called the "Brother Ronald" we couldn't resist!  

Here's Annie and me with our friends Laura and Skye, also taken at the nursery.

And here's Dave, Skye, Annie and Ron.  After the nursery, we went and ate ice cream at this farm - it was delicious!  

Ron can always make Annie laugh like crazy!  Here he's tickling her back with his beard.

 Annie scooted herself over to this plastic thing and she was so proud of herself!  She's not quite crawling, but gets around by pulling forward and scooting all over the place.  Any day now and she'll be completely mobile - yikes!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Annie Banannie

Annie is now 8 1/2 months old!  And since most of you don't get to see her often (or even at all), I'd like to tell you my top 10 favorite things about her in no particular order:

1. how she LOVES to be outside whether that's going on a walk, hanging out with her dad by the grill, sitting on the steps with me or watching the dogs run around at the park

2. how she laughs all the time - when she's tickled, when I dance for her, when she sees the dogs playing together and running around the house, when she sees Ron come in after work

3. how she has this little patch of hair on the back of her head that grows faster than any other part; seriously, the girl would have a mullet if I didn't cut it often (3 times now which is a lot considering most people don't cut their kids hair until after the first year!)

4. how she laughed and laughed when she saw me at the airport after leaving her with my parents for 4 days - so hard to leave her for that long, but I was thrilled that she not only remembered me, but giggled so much that I am sure she missed me!

5. how she said "Dadadadada" the other day when she saw Ron out the window (all the books say that she can't associate words yet, but who cares?)

6. how she looks when she has fallen asleep in my arms or on my shoulder, sometimes I don't ever want to put her down in her crib

7. how excited she is to see me or Ron when she wakes up from a nap - she flaps her arms and legs and giggles (this is one of Ron's favorite things to do!)

8. how she babbles and talks to herself in her crib when she wakes up in the morning; I love to just listen to her noises!

9. how she responds to music - it calms her and puts her to sleep; she smiles when she sees people worshipping God at church or in our small group (you should see the way she watches her dad!); she squeals with delight when we sing show tunes or Disney and dance around the living room (The Sound of Music and the Lion King seem to be her favs right now!)

10.  how she gets this mischievous look in her eyes that convinces me she will live up to her namesake and get into all sorts of scrapes and adventures

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Right to Understand

In church on Sunday, a good friend of mine, Sandra, spoke on giving up our right to understand God's actions or restraints - when He does something that hurts and is confusing or when He doesn't do something that we've asked.  Sandra said that throughout her life, when difficult circumstances arise in both her life and in others, God has asked her these 2 questions:

1. Do you trust Me? 
2. Do you give up your right to understand what I am doing?

Whoa...I was immediately thrown back to this month 5 years ago when these very same questions brought me to a turning point in my faith.  And although most of you who read this blog know my story, I feel like there might be someone out there who doesn't or who needs to hear it again.  Maybe you feel like God failed you, like He didn't come through for you, or maybe that He's denying you something you've asked for over and over again... Whatever it is that you're dealing with, I want to give you hope.

In May of 2004, after praying and waiting and being sure that I knew how things were going to eventually play out in a certain situation, I was blindsided.  I did not just feel like the road made a big turn and I went off course, I felt like God told me to go down a certain road that ended with me going off an uncompleted bridge, straight into a freezing river.  I asked myself, "How could I have missed this?  How could God not tell me when I asked so many times?  Can I even hear the voice of God?  Why would a God who claims to love me and know what's best for me allow me to be shattered and utterly lost?"  Trying to make sense of what had happened, I was overcome by loss and anger.  I shouted out loud to God, "I don't believe You!  I don't believe that You know what's best for me!  How could this possibly be what's best?! I don't believe that You are good or that You love me!  But oh, how I want to!  Show yourself to me God!  Show me that You are true, that the things I've read and been taught about You are true! Prove Yourself to me!"  

And by His grace, He did...

I was too angry and hurt to hear His voice for a while, so He used other things to speak - His people to give word pictures; a Watermark song "Mended"; a section from the book The Princess Bride; a line from the movie LOTR: Return of the King; a dead tree trunk that had a sprig of a new and different tree growing from within.  God uses all things to show His grace and reveal Himself, if only we are willing to see.  

Over time, I was healed from the loss; but greater than the pain from the loss was the pain of not knowing why.  Over and over again I asked for understanding, I pleaded with God to show me why...and the only answer I got was that it was not what He had for me. At first, this was not an acceptable answer, but as He proved Himself to me, showing me His good, loving, merciful character, I was able to release my right to understand and to trust His sovereignty.  

Back in high school, I remember sitting in my driveway after midnight with my good friend, Alex.  He said something that has stuck with me even 11 years later: "In all situations, we have to remember that God is good and that God is sovereign.  If we can remember that, then everything will be okay."  (Wow...pretty profound for a 17 year old - thanks Al!).  And that's true even today...for me and for you - if we can choose to believe that God is good, that God is sovereign, and (I'd like to add) that He loves us, everything will eventually come into line.  It's when we have an experience with God - when we know Him and have seen His character - that we can believe and trust Him; first came the experience, then the belief and trust.  This doesn't mean that we don't question, that we don't get angry, that we don't feel sad and loss; it does mean that God is not afraid of those things and He will prove Himself to us if we humbly ask.

So on Sunday during the ministry time after the sermon was over, I sat reflecting on my situation 5 years ago and I was so thankful - thankful that God proved Himself true to me; that in His mercy He drew me close again; that He was not discouraged by my anger, my doubt, my questions, my accusations; and that because of that situation, my faith was refined, hardened and proved genuine.  I don't want to be arrogant; I know that my situation is mild compared with some of the true tragedies that others have gone through.  But I hope that even if horror comes to me in greater proportions I will still believe Him true; yet even if I am not, He will prove Himself to be. 

My encouragement to you is this: if you are angry, hurt or confused by God's actions or restraints, if His character does not seem to line up with your experience, then humbly ask Him to prove Himself true to you, to show you Who He is and how much He loves you.  As one who has experienced this for herself, I know He will be faithful to do it.  

Sunday, April 12, 2009

From Annie Kate

Hi everyone!  This is Annie Kate.  Shh, don't tell my mom, but I thought I would post something since she's not so good at updating her blog.  I will be 6 months old on the 17th and I am learning so much so quickly!  

I love to hang out with my dad!  He can't wait until I can throw so we can play catch.

I can grab my toes and roll from side to side.  I can roll from my stomach to my back sometimes, but I haven't quite figured out how to get my arm in the right position every time, so I get stuck and mom has to help me.  

I've been borrowing this Bumbo seat from my friend Ellie Phillips and I like sitting in it to play and eat.  I can't quite sit up on my own yet, but I'm super close!

And speaking of my friend Ellie, here we are (with our moms) on Easter Sunday wearing matching dresses!  We didn't plan it, but don't we look cute?

I love Sunday mornings because we get to have Dunkin' Donuts in bed and play all morning before church. Well, only mom and dad get the donuts.  They must be tasty because they eat them all up and won't share with me! 

Here's me eating some pears.  I've gotten so much better at eating solids in the last couple of weeks!  I've also had rice cereal, bananas, carrots and avocados.  I could do without the rice cereal, but I love all the rest and wave my arms all around so that mom knows that I want more!

And here's me one more time on Easter Sunday.  Daddy is behind the camera making silly noises and faces; he makes me laugh all the time!

Okay, I've got to go to bed now!  Please come see me in Boston!  I sleep through the night and everything so don't worry, I won't keep you up :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Update on AK

Update on AK...all is well and she is perfectly healthy!  We saw the Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist and he said that the bump behind her ear was nothing to worry about and perfectly harmless (huge sigh of relief).  He said it was probably a cyst or a swollen gland, like my pediatrician thought, and that it would either disappear on it's own or we could remove it at a later date when she's older and more easily able to tolerate a surgery.  So thank you, thank you for praying for our sweet daughter!  And by the way, she's five months old today - I can hardly believe it!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

All Things New

With the arrival of Spring and the world becoming new again, so are many new things happening with the Goode's up here in Boston!  Our life is definitely living up to my blog title :) After much prayer, fasting and guidance we are starting a new company called THE NARROW LANE! And although I am technically the owner (hee hee!), Ron will do all the work! He will be doing lawn care and service, in conjunction with our friend's company, a landscape design firm. And although this is quite a deviation from his previous thoughts about occupation, he is really excited about owning his own company! We are praying for God's blessing and are trusting Him to take care of us. Ron is busy getting things ready with business cards, flyers and gaining accounts. Please pray that we gain enough clients to make this venture profitable for our family, a blessing to our investors and a way to increase the Kingdom of God. 

The company logo is pictured above and the picture below is of Annie (4 1/2 months) and I on a recent trip to Waco.

I am busy taking care of Annie, who is growing like crazy! She is almost 5 months old (on the 17th) and her little personality is beginning to come out: she likes predictability, does well on a schedule, is easily contented and cries only when she needs something. She loves to be tickled, talks and squeels constantly, and chews on anything she can get her hands on! We love to read books together and go on long walks when the weather is above 40 degrees :). Annie Kate's a little skinny at only 13 1/2 pounds and almost 26 inches, so we started solids a little early, as per our pediatrician's instructions. At this time, she's only eating rice cereal, but a friend of mine gave me a book on making your own baby food, so I'm super excited about trying that out in a few weeks!

On a more serious note, Annie has had a lump on her head behind her right ear since birth that is not going away. The doctor has been aware of it and thinks it's just a gland that's swollen or maybe a cyst, but we are going to see an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist tomorrow to have more tests run. At her last check-up she had some blood work done and her white blood cell count is unexplainably high. He said it is probably nothing, just her body reacting to vaccinations or maybe fighting off a cold, but because of the lump, he wants to make sure and find out exactly what's causing the levels to be so elevated. I'm trying not to think about scary words like "cancer" and "leukemia" but that's sometimes easier said than done... But I do know that God is GOOD and He is FAITHFUL, so no matter what comes our way, we know that He is still our God and we will trust Him with our daughter's life and her health. But we also believe in prayer and in healing, so please join with us as we ask for her complete healing and full health. I'll update again when I know more. Thanks so much for your prayers and support!

Here's a short video of Ron making Annie laugh - she's such a joy!