There are days in your life that are good; other days suck -to be honest-, but there are also days where you feel that God loves you so much.
I know it shouldn't be this way, because God loves you ALL the time and EVERYDAY, and you should live your life and you days knowing that He is faithful. But sometimes, humanly, we allow ourselves to mess that up. We let our feelings decide if God is with us, forgetting He promised He will be, and that His promises do not depend on how we feel, but on His character.
I think, however, that God is so powerful and so merciful, that those days when you feel His love more than anything are to be a shout for joy in your life. Like if God was telling you that He gave you this life to live it, to enjoy it, and to give Him praise in everything you do, every single thing.
Those are the days when you go to bed at night knowing that if you would die that very night, you would go to meet Jesus with no regrets, and with no "I wish I had..." in you life. You would face Him, and you would embrace Him crying, thanking Him for the life He gave you on this earth, but even more for the life that awaits you forever with Him.
This weekend I experienced those days...
We went camping as a family for the first time this weekend to Wolf Creek Park. It was actually my first camping experience. I have to say I am in love with camping. I guess I was afraid of it because I heard bad stories about it, and I thought it was gonna be bad, I don't know, I had many ideas about it, but the reality of camping made all those thoughts disappear.
|On the way there, it was far away :)|
To start with, I do have to say that preparing for it is stressful, very stressful, if you are married to Emerson. He is just so anal about some stuff!! But I guess that's also a blessing because we had almost everything we needed, except for a pancake flipper that I forgot to pack.
It was on my list, but when I was packing I got distracted with something else, and by accident I crossed it over in my list, and so it wasn't there when we needed it. But I had an spatula, so there was no problem flipping the pancakes. But wait, that was Saturday morning, so I'll try to tell you the whole story in order.
The trunk was so full when Libby, Dori and I left the house, that I had to push it down to make it close. So yes, we need an FJ. I was telling Elizabeth this morning that one of my BSF questions for last week was if I wanted anything that God hadn't given me yet.
I told her that when I read that question, the very first thing that came to mind was material stuff. And of course that I wanted a house to live in eventually, but that it was okay if we never own one. It is really okay. I always lived in an apartment.
And I might want a second car, but we are fine now. I mean, not that I was trying to give the best spiritual answer, but honestly, after I thought the question again, all I could write was, "No, I have everything I need."
And that may sound lame, right? I mean, as I kept on telling Libby, people who do not have a relationship with God through Jesus, and even some of those who have it, may not understand that in God you really have all you need. And it is a difficult concept to explain, and even more to grasp, if you have never experienced that before.
Of course I want an FJ, hecks yeah!! Especially after all the possibilities that camping has to offer, but what I mean is that there are more important things in life, like wisdom and joy and love, and the fact that we are alive. I felt so alive this weekend. I was crying this morning as I read Elizabeth the first four paragraphs of this post.
I really felt that it was okay if I died. I had given my life to God to the best of my ability. I have a wonderful daughter, a loving and caring husband, I have another baby on the way. We all are healthy, we can see, we can feel, we can smell, we can walk. "Not you, not yet", I told Elizabeth, as tears were coming down my cheeks.
I cried because I know I am so very blessed. I told her that people cry sometimes when they are happy, and that I knew it didn't make sense to her, because you usually cry when you are sad, but I told her I wasn't sad at all.
I had joy in my heart, and I grabbed her by her little head, and kissed her. She pushed me away because she was eating Cheerios, you see, she has no idea yet how much her Mommy and Daddy love her.
I honestly think I need to write for a living, or well, not really, but I am amazed at my own ability to write so much stuff and I haven't even told you the very thing I was planning to say, ha ha ha!!
So, yes, we need a bigger car. I want a bigger car, but we'll have it one day with God's help. I also told Libby as we were walking this morning about Solomon, and his wisdom, and his riches, and how all that collapsed the moment he decided to be a fool and forego God's wisdom, just for running after the wrong things.
"If you want to be a fool, be my guest. But my job as your Mommy is to tell you, to teach you how to be wise in this life, how to make right decisions... You know, like Daddy says, you don't want to be an idiot. And I'm telling you, this King Solomon had everything he wanted, he denied himself nothing his eyes desired, he had everything... and then he lost God for focusing on the gifts and not the Giver."
So, I hope my point is clear, I may want many things, but I am content, very content with what I have in my life.
On the way to pick up Daddy, I got very hungry, and I stopped to have a Quarter Pounder at Mc Donald's... DARN YOU, MCDONALD'S!! DARN YOU!!
It was so yummy, the fries were so, so good, but it gave me the runs at 10 pm that night.
It was raining on our way there, and Daddy pitched the tent with Chino's help during the break before the next wave of the storm came. It began raining dogs and cats. Libby and I were inside, nothing was really organized. Daddy was bringing all the stuff to the tent.
It kept on raining, and thankfully he brought the sandwiches I had made for dinner inside. I don't remember if the pack and play was inside already... Oh, yeah, it was.
|Daddy fighting the wind|
So anyway, at 7 pm or around that time, the storm hit, I mean the wind, very bad. The rain-fly was blown away because the stakes came out, and all the wind was hitting the tent. The wind was so strong... the storm was so strong that I was scared, and you could see how the tent was kind of like a bubble on the inside, you could see the wind hitting it very hard.
Emerson asked me to stand on one corner of the tent, while he was standing on the other, just in hopes that the wind didn't blow away the tent. I put Elizabeth on the floor, and I kicked her with my knee when I tried to reach the corner of the tent, then she began crying... I held her really hard, I don't know if she was scared because of the noise, or in pain for my kick, or hungry because it was 7 pm and we hadn't eaten dinner yet... and then I heard my husband say, "WE ARE SCREWED"
Okay, so, there are things in life you don't ever want to hear, right? Like, I don't know, the doctor telling you you have cancer, or stuff like that. But Emerson was the experienced one here. According to tradition, his grandpa was like the king of camping, and he used to take all the grandchildren to I don't know where, and it was amazing, and yada, yada.
But my trust, my total trust was on him, and then I hear him saying that we are screwed. It is really funny now, really funny. Actually, after everything calmed down, Libby and Mommy were laughing at Daddy, and telling him, "We are screwed, every one for himself", like Michael Scott says in the episode of the fire safety when Stanley has a heart attack...
She was so happy and laughing, and I told her that she probably had no idea what had just happened, but that we were making memories, and that that story has to be told in every camping trip we go as a family.
So I was feeding Elizabeth during this windy thing, she ate like half a sandwich, and one banana, but the thing was that during the worst part of the storm, especially after Daddy announced the good news, I remember that all I did was hold her, and I whispered, "Let's pray"
I don't know really know why, and this sucks, but lately all I tell her whenever we see a car accident, or hear of someone having a hard time, all I tell her is to pray with me. And it sucks not because praying sucks, but because I do it so in automatic, that sometimes I feel like it is wrong.
But I guess it is not wrong. Actually, I think it is good that praying is my automatic response to stuff I have no control over. So we prayed... I don't remember exactly what I said, but I remember telling God that we loved Him very much, and that we could see how powerful He was making the wind move like that, and the rain falling down so heavily.
But that we wanted Him to stop, that we were afraid the tent was gonna go away, and that we just wanted the wind to stop. And that if He decided not to stop the rain nor the wind, that at least, He will calm the storm.
I don't really know how many times I told Libby that God was going to help us, or how many times I repeated "It going to pass, baby", I just remember that Daddy suddenly stopped standing on the corner, and the rain wasn't as heavy, and the wind was calmer. I told Libby, "See, baby?? God answered our prayers. The storm didn't do anything to our tent."
|After the storm and with a full belly|
That night when I was putting Libby to sleep I read to her Mark 4: 37-40, courtesy of my iPhone:
"A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so it was nearly swamped. Jesus was sleeping on a cushion. The discipkes woke him and said to him, 'Teacher don't you care if we drown?' He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his dischiples, 'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?'"
I laughed as I read it to her, because previously we had been joking with Daddy about Jesus waking up in the middle of the night, on the boat, and watching the storm saying, "We are screwed! Everyone for himself!"
But I thanked God for the storm, and for how He had helped us see that He did have control over it. As Elizabeth was falling sleep in my arms, I remember the night she was born. The nurse was coming to our room and Emerson said, "Our daughter is coming", but I didn't believe him. He actually recognized her cry.
That night I didn't sleep, I was just holding her, and telling her how much I loved her. I told her many things... and I ended up sleeping with her in my arms, because otherwise she would cry. That night I thanked God for Libby, and that night at the campground, I thanked Him again. I told Libby I would not sleep again, if that was what needed to be done for her to sleep because it was very, very cold, thanks to the wind.
But she slept like a rock in the pack 'n play, covered by two pajamas, and two blankets :)
|Singing to Libby|
|Photo after she was out|
Well, she slept like a rock, I didn't. It was so cold that I was getting up every hour just to go and touch her hands and her head. I didn't want to wake up and realize my baby had died for hypothermia or something.
The next day, she woke up as happy as usual, and at 6:20 am. Oh, I forgot. Firday night McDonalds made me pay my burger and fries with a really bad stomachache, and it ended up in tragedy for the people using the restroom during the time I was in there. Poor them, but it was either them or my intestines.
All I'd say is that having a baby helped me learn how to hold it. I was so ready to push Elizabeth out, but the nurse told me to hold the urge to push, and I did, like for twenty minutes. Thanks to that, it didn't end up in tragedy for me, or my pants on Friday night.
The next morning we played a little bit before making breakfast. Elizabeth loved the feeling of the sleeping bags and the sleeping pads. They are comfy and they bounce. We hanged out with Dori, and took some cute pictures.
|With Daddy and Dori|
We started making breakfast, I don't know, around 7 am, maybe. We had pancakes, and after getting ELizabeth her morning bottle, I wished I had brought my blender. I think I wrote a post about my little traitor when I stopped breastfeeding her because she loved the formula. But now, it's like she never knew the thing.
She loves her smoothies. There's this place called Jamba Juice, and we went there once. We drank a mango, strawberry, banana, peach, and cherry smoothie, and she just loved it. After that, I began giving her a smoothie with half a banana, one big strawberry, Yoplait yogurt (the bananas and strawberries kind), and water. Then I added little by little regular milk.
Now, after drinking 8 oz of formula in less than five minutes, it takes more than ten to have her drink at least 4 oz. But give her a smoothie, and if she's hungry or thirsty, she's done with it in three minutes, tops.
|Drinking her formula|
|Helping Mom with her hat|
|Daddy making pancakes for breakfast|
While we were making breakfast, we had to put Libby in the pack 'n play. Then I went to take a shower and when I came back, we heard for the first time "Ma ma". Daddy laughed, he said it was out of necessity she had said it, because she wanted me to taker her out.
It was really windy and cold that morning because of the cold front, but we had pancakes and milk, and bacon. We had a really good morning, and then Libby took a nap. By the way, Daddy thought it was going to be funny to wake her up banging some pots and pans like in that movie Men of Honor, with the guy saying, "I stole a pie, I stole a pie". He didn't bang them very hard, but she did wake up kind of crying.
Sometimes I wonder if we are good parents. I mean, anybody can have a baby, but that doesn't mean you are a good parent. I question myself too much sometimes. I want to be this perfect godly mom, and I know I just can't.
But we must be doing something right because when I look at Libby, she is this happy, and not only happy, but joyful baby. She is very content, very active, very healthy. Those are God's blessings, and I also know we are molding her and playing a role in the human being she is becoming.
She is really funny.She laughs when the elephant comes (read Daddy blowing his nose), or whenever I change her diaper and pull her legs straight, stretch her arms, and start kissing her armpits.
She doesn't really cry unless she is hungry or very tired. And when I say tired, she has to be VERY tired, because she can hold it for at least five or six hours without sleep if you entertain her.
I don't feel we've changed to be parents, if I make sense at all. Emerson is still this funny guy that laughs at everything, and he is not fake. I have tried to be a cute mom, but it doesn't feel right. Like the other day, we were watching Harry The Bunny, and I was trying hard to be cute and gentle, but suddenly Bonnie The Bear appeared and I yelled at her, "You suck, Bonnie, you suck!"
We have so much fun with her, sometimes at her expense I have to say, not in a mean way, tough. I'm honestly following God as my example of a great parent. I think Libby is a wonderful girl, but she is my daughter, so what can I say?
Anyway...We had hot dogs for lunch on Saturday, and Elizabeth was so happy all the time. She was just talking and yelling, I don't know if at the birds or what, but I can tell she really enjoyed camping. She did see the birds and was pointing them out.
|Libby taking her nap|
We had quesadillas for dinner, and we went to have smores with some friends from church. Libby had an icicle with Daddy, and we took pictures of the birds, our tent, and the view.
|Mom and Dad|
|Hungry pink rabbit|
We tried to start a fire that night, but we just couldn't. We looked at the stars for a while, and I remember kissing Emerson a lot this weekend. Libby went to sleep like at 9 pm because of all the noise, and was up at 5 am.
Daddy picked her up from the pack 'n play and we slept one more hour together with her on the sleeping pads. We tried to take some photos of the three of us "sleeping", but we just couldn't pretend to be sleeping without laughing, especially because she was asleep.
|Baby sleeping with Mom and Dad|
We woke her up like at 6:20 am, because we wanted to go see the sunrise. It was beautiful, and Libby liked it. Well, I don'really know if she could actually realize the sun was coming out or not, but she looked at it. We had strawberries, Chex and scrambled eggs with turkey breast for breakfast.
That day went very slow, everybody left that morning, but we decided to stay and have lunch before leaving. The weekend was coming to an end, and I felt kind of sad to come back to "reality" but it was so worth it.
|Sunrise with Daddy|
|Sunrise with Mommy|
|"I finished cleaning the tent like you asked, Daddy"|
Coming back, we prayed that God will bring us home safe, and we thanked Him for the wonderful weekend we had as a family.
Camping wiped me out, I was so tired... I took a nap in the car, but it wasn't enough. We had Chipotle for dinner on Sunday because there was nothing to eat here since we were away for two days.
In other news, we don't want an FJ anymore. Emerson discussed with me the pros and cons of a Ridgeline, an FJ, and an Odyssey. The last one has the biggest space, so we want that one.
Ha! Yeah, tomorrow we'll get it... (Where's that sarcasm font??)
I loved camping, and more than that, I loved spending time with my family. I can see myself spending many weekends like this with my children and my husband, just going out and enjoying nature and life.
Thank you, God, for the life you gave us here, and even for more, for the one that will never end :))