Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Angels Watchin' Over Little Will

All night, all day, angels watchin' over me, my Lord.
All night, all day, angels watchin' over me.

All night, all day, angels watchin' over little Will.
All night, all day angels watchin' over Will.

Have you heard this song?  It's an old spiritual that is just so wonderful.  Take a second to listen to the video at the end of this post.  I promise your heart will swell...  :)

This is the first song that popped into my head when I held Will in the hospital.  Not sure where I heard the song - it's an old spiritual I sang it to him many times in the NICU.  It has been sung over and over and over again in our rocking chair, in his nursery, in our little home.

Though, at first, I sang to him to help him get to know my voice, to offer something familiar, and to calm and soothe my little buddy into sleeping the night away...the song has taken on a lot more meaning.  I sing it for a lot of reasons now...

...to remind myself that the Lord has not fallen asleep, He does not slumber.  He (and His angels) are watching over my baby - day and night, night and day.  I need not worry about strokes and seizures and kidnappers and SIDS and everything else nasty that runs through a mama's mind at night...

...to proclaim to the enemy that the atmosphere above and around my baby is protected by the Lord and His warriors.  Satan and his minions have no place in our home.

...to sing the Truth.  The more I sing what is True, the distance between my head and my heart becomes less and less.  My heart is transformed, my mind is transformed.  My strength to believe is renewed, my spirit is encouraged.  I continue to have hope.

...to praise the Lord for His watchfulness, His care, His nearness.  He loves my little one more than I ever could.  He watches over Will, sings over him, delights in him.  Praise the Lord for His Father heart.

...to pray for God's continued watchfulness.  Oh, how my little Will needs Him.  Oh, how our little family needs Him.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Storms and Adventures

I found this painting at a eccentric little shop in Northeast Iowa.  I barely cared what the price tag was, which is unusual for me - I just fell in love with it at first sight.  It's an old paint-by-number picture that an old man rescued from a flea market, then painted and framed himself.  I loved the colors, I loved the story, and even more, I loved that it reminded me of the Dawn Treader from Narnia.  A picture of adventure on the high seas for my little man's nursery!

I stare at this picture a lot when I am feeding and snuggling Will.  It's right in my line of sight from our rocking chair.  At first the picture was endearing, but now the picture seems meaningful...providential, even.  Let's see if I can explain...

1.  Before Will was born, an acquaintance told Mark that he felt like the Lord might be saying that there would be "storms" ahead for our family.  He said that the Lord wanted to remind us that no matter how intense, we needn't be afraid because God was with us.

2.  Later, after Will was born, our sweet pastor came to pay us a visit in the NICU.  He told us about how the Lord woke him up at 4AM that morning with two passages on his heart.  One, from Mark 4 where Jesus calms the storm, and two, from Mark 6 where Jesus walks on water.  He shared that in both stories, Jesus sees his disciples struggling against the storm, straining at their oars, but then later, He offers help and wisdom and tells them to not be afraid.  Things were hard at first, but then the Lord's power came through after the struggling.

3.  A few days ago, we were giving one of our dear friends a quick tour of our home.  We stopped at the nursery, I bragged shamelessly about the cute picture of the ship. :)  Our friend said it reminded him of the quote by William G.T. Shedd (an old Presbyterian pastor), "A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."

I am sensing the Lord bring some sort of connection between these three things.  We have been living in a storm lately, we have been struggling, we have been afraid.  We continue to find ourselves in the middle of tossing and turning waves.   Perhaps we weren't meant to be in a safe harbor.  Maybe the Lord's power will come through after some of this struggling.  Maybe the Lord's strength will shine through more brightly in the midst of our great need for Him.

The Christian life isn't meant to be lived in a safe harbor.  We weren't intended to float in smooth-as-glass water.  Instead, like our little paint-by-number picture, we were meant to have our sails unfurled, filled with wind, tossing and turning and buoyant a midst the white-capped waves.  We, by the Lord's power and provision, can weather the storms, stay afloat and go on adventures in the high seas.  He is with us, so we needn't be afraid.

When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace.  In every high and stormy gale, my Anchor holds within the veil.  On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name.  On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dear Will - Four Months!

Happy Four Months, little Will Bug!

You're sure getting big!  You're in medium gDiapers and size 2 regular diapers.  You are completely out of all of your newborn and 3 months clothes, and you're wearing almost all 6 and 9 month clothes.  You're starting to get wider and thicker and are looking like a little boy more and more every day!

You can roll from your tummy to your back, if you really want to.  Auntie Micah taught you how!  And, you've rolled from your back to your tummy once in your crib when we weren't looking.  Way to be sneaky!  We think you will start rolling more and more soon, because you twist to your side a lot and move around in your crib all over the place.  We'll put you in your crib one way, come back to check on you, and find you turned a 180!

You are taking after you cousin, Lydia, and starting to sound like a little screech owl.  You still talk in your regular voice, but you've figured out how to screech more high-pitched.  When you first did that, I was sure you were angry, but you smiled at me - you were just having fun!  You giggle a lot now and hardly ever stop smiling.  I think I said this earlier, but if I had a nickel for every person that said you were social and smiley, I'd be a rich lady.  You flirt and coo and smile at everyone.

You aren't sleeping through the night quite as well anymore.  You went from not waking up at all, or just once...and now you are waking up two and three times to guzzle an entire bottle.  You must really be growing!

Even though none have popped up yet, you are teething.  You gnaw and gnaw on your fist (and refuse teething rings), and drool puddles and puddles everywhere.  Are you sure you're not dehydrated?  You are sure losing a lot of spit.

You've gotten your first case of the sniffles just today.  The first of many, probably!  Your nose is a little runny and you sneeze some and don't have quite as much energy as usual.  You're not running a fever, and you sure haven't stopped smiling, so I think you're going to be okay. :)

You still love going on walks, love pulling mommy's hair, you love splashing in the water of your bathtub, and you LOVE being read to.  Your favorites seem to be the very last page of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (the pretty butterfly), and the black and white zebra on the animal book Grandma Bev got for you.

You also really like camping.  You first camping adventure was a success!

You met your new friend, Acacia, who is another baby that was born to the people mommy works with at ATLAS.  So far, all the ATLAS babies are girls, so you are outnumbered!

You have given up nursing almost completely now, you little rascal.  I am still mad at you about this.  Thanks to your auntie Amanda and your new friend Amber, though, you are still exclusively on breast milk.  The Lord is so, so good to provide this for us!

We are having so much fun with you, mister!  You are a treasure to us, and you bring us so much joy!  Love you like cah-razy.

Lots of smooches,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Left-Sided Miracles

Will's prognosis is really up in the air.  We have heard things like cerebral palsy, issues with high/low tone, vision impairments, leg braces, learning disabilities, more seizures, etc, but no one can really say, for sure, what the future holds for him.  In search of some more definitive answers, one of our doctors did some digging and found a case study of a little boy who had had similar seizures and strokes in similar parts of his brain.  

This little boy's entire left side was paralyzed.


Since then, I have been watching Will's left side like a hawk...like an insane hawk.

Every kick, every punch, every push and wiggle...was that his right side or his left?  Right.......breathe, swallow, wait, pray...  Right...  Left!!  Right...  Right...  Left!!!!!  

I am so thrilled to testify to the Lord's goodness in saying that both of Will's little arms and legs and eyes and ears are working equally well.

I can still hear our neurologist's words ringing in my ears...  "In the spectrum of strokes, your son has had two, LARGE ones.  He's suffered a very significant injury."

Every left-handed punch, and every left-footed kick, and every left-eyed squint is a miracle.  We are seeing a lot of miracles these days.

The Lord is so, so good to us.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Stages of Will's Hair-Dos...

1. At birth, you had dark, dark, dark hair...and lots of it.

2. In the NICU, you sported the faux hawk, courtesy of a fun nurse.  We kept it this way for a month or so.

3. Later, your head grew faster than your hair, so you had a mullet...  Your hair also grew in lighter, so you had a blonde-ish mullet with dark tips.  Classy.

4. Now, you are blonde with a very...shall we say, "distinct" rooster tail.  I really wanted to cut the crazy hair off, but your dad said, "No way."  He thinks it's your "signature" as the Will Man.  Who knew you could have a trademark so early in life!  

Way to rock the rooster tail, dude.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Several Things...

Mark is on a trip to the Boundary Waters, so my mama came to pick Will and I up so that we could drive across the state and spend time with family at the Mississippi this weekend.  The picture is the view outside my bedroom window at my parents' place.  (I miss the hills, bluffs, and woods of NE Iowa.  Sorry, Sioux Center.)

Four reflections on the last day and a half...

1.  Moms are super selfless to drive 5 hours to just come and pick you up.
2. It takes a holy moly heck of a long time to pack up one 3 month old baby and one hopelessly overpacking mama.
3.  While, at first, it seems like a good idea to leave after leading worship at Harp & Bowl (9:30PM) to drive across the state because your baby will sleep the whole way, note to self, it is NOT a good idea.  Your baby will wake up every time a streetlight or car shines light in their face and you will have a terrible time staying awake, since you were up the entire night before with your little guy who wanted to play with Mr. Monkey more than he wanted to sleep.
4. If you find yourself driving long distances at around 3 in the morning, spit sunflower seeds.  You will magically stay awake, think of the most genius ideas you've ever had, and have silly and delusional conversations with the Lord.

Long shirts and leggings are the best post-maternity outfit ever.  This is my uniform.  I'm not kidding.  I wear them every.single.day.

Today, since I am home in Elkader, my mom and I are going to go downtown to visit a cute little shop we've come to love.  I am hoping it is a more enjoyable adventure than it was last month, though.  Last time, the cashier (who used to be my high school English teacher) asked if I was having a boy or a girl...  To which I replied, "Um.  I had a boy...two months ago, thank you very much."  Thank you, deary, for ruining my self-esteem for the next three weeks.  Nevertheless, I do still have fond memories of your unit on Greek mythology.

Will is teething.  He is still smiley and good-natured, but is majorly chomping on his hand and drooling so much I'm positive he will get dehydrated.  Also, he went from drinking about half a bottle to a FULL one, seemingly, overnight.

Happy 33rd anniversary to my parents today!  They taught me that nasty fights don't have to end in divorce, that opposites do work well in balancing each other out, and that keeping Jesus at the center of your marriage is the best thing ever...

The end.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Thank You Card DIY Tutorial

As promised, here's the full tutorial for my cutie-pie thank you cards.  They are so easy.  I promise.  This may as well be called a DIY for Dummies because anyone can pull this off with flying colors in a really short amount of time.  We're talking no fuss, people.

You will need...

  • Card Stock - I am a paper snob, so I get mine from papersource.com, but you can use whatever you have on hand.  
  • Paper Cutter OR Scissors and a Ruler
  • Tape (Washi or Decorative - I got mine at Target!)
  • My Instant Download template for the "Thanks! You rock." attachment.  It's in my shop HERE.
  • Envelopes - again, I'm a paper snob, so mine are from papersource.com, but you can get a million for a few dollars in the Wal-Mart paper aisle.  They are "invitation" size.
First off, download my template, print as many copies as your little heart desires, and cut them apart using the lines I provide in the template.

Next, haul out your cardstock and cut a regular sheet of paper in 1/4ths - each section will be 4.25'' by 5.5''.

Choose one or two cute colors of tape, rip off a piece (just tear it up!  There's no need for perfection here...), and use it to attach the "Thanks!  You rock." piece.

Write your thank you message on the back of the card.  Stick it in an envelope, attach a piece of tape to the seal, if you're feeling even more crafty...

 Address and stamp!

Last, give yourself a high five for being so darn crafty.  You rock.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thanks! You Rock. DIY Instant Download

Before Will was born, we received many, many, many wonderful gifts from some super sweet people at our baby showers.  I wanted to send cute thank yous to everyone, but didn't really have a ton of time to commit to a project, so I threw together these little cuties in less than a jiffy...

And...here's the best part.  I just uploaded the file to make these on my Etsy shop.  The DIY file is available for instant download HERE and is only five smackeroos.  Hooray!

Stay tuned for the full tutorial.  It's the easiest thing ever.  I promise.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Today's Letters

Dear Sioux Center,
I love your trees, your little boulevard, your bike trail...  I love walking past the football field, the swimming pool, some lovely friends' houses...  I love quiet walks through your neighborhoods, little town.

Dear Will,
Wowza.  Jackpot.  I found out that if you get three naps a day, you giggle and smile every other waking moment.  You also slept from 8:30-5:30 last night.  You are an angel child.  Quit making all the other mamas out there jealous.  It's really not very nice.  Also, I am thinking about cutting your hair - you have a nasty cowlick in the back.  Also also, I may kiss your cheeks right off your face.  The odds are high...

Dear Mark,
Come home soon, and quit going on so many trips.  Will and I miss you.  We want to have family cuddle time again.  Since you are doing ministry sorts of things, I suppose we will try to be patient...

Dear Iced Decaf Americanos,
You bring so much joy to my life.  Thank you ever so much.

Dear Garden,
I gave up on you.  I'm so sorry. Let's try again next year with raised beds, mmmkay?

Dear Self,
Never start a garden for the first time when your baby is under three months.  Dumb, dumb idea.

Dear Ina Garten,
I am in love with you and your husband and your food adventures.  Can I come over soon-ish?

Dear Jesus,
You are so good to me.  Thank you for throwing some happy things in to brighten up some of the stressful days.  You are a Good Encourager.  Love you lots and lots.

Liza Jane DeYounge


Instant Downloading Goodness

Friends.  I am super pumped about this revamping some things.   Here's a teaster!

This print is available for INSTANT DOWNLOAD.  You'll download the file, open it up, and hit "print" at work or home...and voila!  You will have a super cute piece of art to frame in seconds - and for dirt cheap.

AND...  If you print this and hang it up somewhere, take a good quality picture, and email it to me (ldeyounge@gmail.com)!  I will send a special present to the person with my favorite display via snail mail.

Major exciting...  Stay tuned for more downloading goodness.

Click HERE for the file.

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