Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Challenges of Parenting

So, it's finally happened.

The thing I've dreaded (and, at times, fancied myself immune to) for months. Maybe even years.

It's a scene we're all familiar with: a haggard mom is desperately trying to rein in her wild children while out shopping, seeming to need at least another pair of hands (or two). And we all look on with a mix of pity and haughtiness, imagining that if those were our kids, they would not be acting out in such a way. At least, I have done this numerous times in the past - and now all of my ignorant ways have caught up with me.

Nora will turn one year on December 3rd, and for the first time on Monday, I was a bit embarrassed by her behavior while I was out shopping at a local craft store. She was impossible to calm and was throwing full-blown temper tantrums when she didn't get her way. Which, for her, was basically that she wanted to practice her walking or get out of the shopping cart. Still. I can't believe that I'm already in "that stage" of life, and how did it come so quick?

On the one hand I greet this phase with excitement. My Nora is growing up, and with that, she is becoming her own person. I am already seeing her personality start to shape. A few things I already know: 1) She is stubborn. She will force you to help her walk around the kitchen table thirty times, and if you dare stop, she then proceeds to flop to the floor, throw her head back (thereby hitting the floor), and then cry even harder. The little spitfire. 2) She is insanely joyful. The girl never stops smiling, and when my husband or I (or really, just about anyone) walks into the room, she greets you with her greatest smile, no matter her mood. Just today, her charm worked its magic and won me a free drink at Starbucks. The man behind the counter didn't stand a chance against her happiness. 3) One more thing that is worth noting (although, if I could, I'd write sweet things about her all day), she's a bit sassy.

This leads me into the second emotion that I am wrestling with. It is one of gravity. I am slowly becoming more and more aware of this new job title I've been carrying for a year and all of its responsibilities. I'm a mother.

When someone asked me how motherhood was treating me, for the longest time I would answer that it was perfect because I was essentially Nora's buddy. I wasn't disciplining or correcting her. She didn't do anything worth correcting. She ate, slept, played a bit... That was essentially it. So I just kept her company.

But now I am entering into the next phase. This phase will see several different faces, I know. I will have to grow and adapt and humble myself. And mostly, pray. Each day will present a new challenge as my husband and I try to discipline and instruct Nora in the ways of the Lord. And it is more than just a bit daunting.

But mostly, as I said, exciting.

I believe and pray that God will do great things through her. She is strong-willed and spirited. And as her name means honor, so I believe she will have to be those things in order to be honorable in a fallen world. She must have strength of will and character to hold fast to her convictions.

As I am struggling to harness some of her sassiness, I don't want to break her spirit. I know God gave it to her for a reason. Join me in praying for wisdom and discernment as we raise our children. Without God, we would fall short each and every day. Thankfully, he is available as our greatest resource.

Praise God!

Friday, November 9, 2012

India: Book 2

If you've read my previous post about my writing, then you know that I am currently waiting for Zondervan to decide whether or not they want to publish my book! Still can hardly wrap my mind around that----in fact, I'm trying not to think about it too much or else I'll have a panic attack. In the meantime, I am beginning to write my second book in the series.

Planning a book, especially a historical novel, requires a lot of time researching on the internet. Something that I do not feel very competent in (do they have a class for that?!). I am finding that books are still the way to go. Crazy, eh? In this day and age, with countless resources online, I still find an old-fashioned book the best tool.

In this novel, the heroine is a young woman who wants to pursue nursing. In 1820. Not only is a career for a woman practically unheard of, but, in this time, the only people who cared for the sick (outside of actual physicians) were prostitutes and criminals---as punishment.

Eleese Roscoe comes from a prominent family in England, and therefore her father refuses to allow her to partake in something so scandalous. So she convinces him to allow her to travel to the family silk plantation in India, where her grandfather is the burra-sahib ("great man"). Her intention is to secretly care for the workers and orphans who live on the plantation, but when she arrives, India is on the verge of a Cholera pandemic. Leesa quickly learns that she is in over her head and must rely on the Lord to sustain her---not something she does easily. But then, how often are we good at that?

On top of all of that, her father entrusts her care to the man she despises most: Captain Jack Connor. (What is a story without romance, really?) Jack must give her passage on his merchant ship to India and then guide her through the jungles of India to the plantation. And this journey is not an easy one, for countless reasons. But you will have to read it to find out (I'm hopeful it will be published, am I not?).

As you can see, I have a lot of research to do! India, ships in the 1800s, East India Company, a bit about China... etc., etc. My workload is cut out for me, but I must say that I love this part of plotting. Most of the time, when I'm not really thinking about the particulars (like the fact that most people only bathed once a week, if that), I wish I lived in another century. Nothing too barbaric. Maybe just the 1800's. Where I could wear pretty dresses and ride horses everywhere I went. If someone invents a time-machine, I'm all over that. Anyone else with me?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Family Fall Mini's

As you may know, I have been playing around with photography, trying to expand my knowledge and grow my skill. So I asked a few of my friends if they would be willing to do a mini family photo shoot before it got too cold. I picked a day that the weather forecast looked good and everyone was free, and then scheduled it. Poor kids, it actually turned out to be a pretty dreary day with bitter winds. In a few of the pictures, you can see how cold they were from their red noses! But they are oh so cute!

This time, I downloaded a trial for Photoshop and I am trying to decide if it is worth the purchase. As of now, it's on my Christmas List because I have really enjoyed working with it so far. The photo editing website, PicMonkey, does a pretty good job too (though I have run into more than a few problems with it, so you can't count on it to be consistent), in case you are looking for something free.

Anyway, here are a few of my favorites. I love fall and this brother/sister duo:

Aren't these sisters the sweetest? Their smiles are so full of joy!

Happy Anniversary, Maurice and Michelle! 

Katie Vogel Media

Katie Vogel Media