Sunday, December 2, 2012

Life with Lauren: Two Months Old

In order to avoid the unpredictability of a 2 month old, I had written this post on her actual two month birthday, keeping in mind that the next day we were visiting the doctor for her two month appointment. So I wrote all that I could, leaving a few blanks for her weight and length. But after our doctor’s visit, I felt very discouraged about filling in those blanks. Turns out that Lauren isn’t gaining weight well, and we need to visit a stomach specialist in the next few weeks. The medical diagnosis is failure to thrive – talk about heart wrenching for us! As much as I hate to see that she isn’t gaining lots of weight, I know that we are doing everything we can for her: feeding her on demand, snuggling with her, and loving her. Fortunately, she is still on target for developmental milestones (smiling, “talking”, focusing on objects). Now we’re rooting for her to gain weight (and get the acid reflux under control, if that is what is slowing her down). But below is the original post, updated to Friday’s stats.

Weight: Lauren finally passed her birth weight at the midway point of this month, when she clocked in at 8 lbs, 1.5 oz. I was very relieved that she was finally gaining weight at an acceptable pace without needing to supplement.  However, at the next doctor’s appointment, she was 8 lbs, 3 oz, which was only a gain of 1.5 oz in two weeks.

Length:  At birth she was 19”. As of our own observation, she has grown inches! According to the doctor’s visit, she was 23”, which makes approximately 4” of growth in 2 months. Incredible! Right now, she’s our string bean.

Eyes: Dark blue still, but definitely veering towards hazel. She has her daddy’s coloring.

Hair: Brown and fine.

Habits: Lauren is beginning to sleep for longer stretches at night (woo hoo!). The day time napping is a total toss up. Sometimes she will nap independently, sometimes she’ll nap on me, some days in the car seat or Ergo, and other days she eschews it all together. 

Clothes: She’s still rocking her newborn outfits, although the cloth diapers make it a bit harder to snap. The 3 month clothes seems huge, but slowly and surely she’s growing into them. She finally fits into a hat a knit for her which was huge when she was first born! Just in time, too, as things are getting colder. I like to get out of the house every day for a run or a walk, so she needs to be bundled up!

Favorites: Still loves her rattles. Today I bumped it up to include a wrist rattle, which satisfied her need for noise during kick time. She has also started to enjoy a deluxe swing we borrowed from friends. Really, though, Lauren really loves to be snuggled up with one of her parents.

Exciting Events: She didn’t really love her Thanksgiving travels (so many people! so much noise!), but did a great job in the car rides. She got to meet all three of her great-grandmas, plus various aunts, uncles and cousins. They were all smitten with her, even if she wasn’t quite as taken with them. I’m certain that in the visits to come, she will grow to love all of them. Also, at 4 weeks old, little miss rolled over! She occasionally flips from her tummy to her back. Scrawny and strong.

Today, I’m especially thankful to our support system, both close and far. Our friends nearby have provided tangible support and our far away family and friends have been encouraging and provided many a shoulder to cry on. Your love has enabled me to pass that on to Lauren on a daily basis, even when I wasn’t quite sure I’d be able to have the patience to do what needs done.  We love you! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Living with Lauren: One Month

Lauren, 7 days old. Photo by Bethany Miller.

Our peanut was born a little over a month ago, on September 29, 2012. These past four weeks have passed in a blur, between sleepless nights, nearly constant feedings, and lots of wonderful visitors. I’ve been amazed at the feeling of completeness Lauren has brought to our lives. It just feels right, the three of us.

Weight: 7 lbs, 8 oz.

Lauren started out life at 7 lbs, 11 oz, and dropped a pound in the first week. She’s been working on gaining it all back, although she’s not quite there even yet. At first the slow weight gain was thought to be because her tongue was tied. At two and a half weeks, Lauren visited the ENT who zapped the frenulum with a laser to loosen her tongue. Feedings got a little quicker and Dan and I were certain she was gaining weight, but after a visit to the doctor yesterday, she is still 3 ounces away from her birth weight. After some questions and observations, the doc prescribed some Zantac for Lauren, as she seems to be suffering from excess acid coming up into her esophagus (baby acid reflux). We just started this yesterday, and hopefully this helps Lauren gain weight and reduces her afternoon and evening fussiness. I also have a whole list of techniques to (hopefully) keep her happier by keeping her upright more.


Mornings with Lauren are beautiful. She is happy to let me do a few chores, participate in tummy time, and read her a few books. We spend most of the morning in her room, just hanging out, although if I want to get anything done, it needs to happen in those few hours of happy time. I think I’m going to be using my slow cooker a lot in these next few months! That way dinner is made while Lauren happily watches from her bouncy seat.

Afternoons and evenings are a bit more challenging. She seems to only be happy while nursing and doesn’t really like to sleep. Again, hopefully these things abate as I figure out how to keep her upright longer (baby carrier) and as the medicine kicks in. Even so, I love watching her throughout the day. She makes some of the funniest faces after nursing or as she wakes up.

Bath time is not a hit yet, and we haven’t really settled into a night time routine.


Lauren has given us some good nights (4 hour stretches of blissful sleep!) and rough nights (I never want to see the clock every hour of the night). We are kind of on a college student schedule. Sleep by 11/midnight/1 a.m., up by 9 or 10. The only way she can sleep in her bassinet is if she is firmly swaddled, so we are very glad that she has some swaddle sacks.


Lauren managed to flip herself from her tummy to her back last week. I think it was a fluke of how her arms were positioned under her. She didn’t seem bothered by rolling over, but she has yet to repeat this trick. Also, we’ve gotten a few smiles. Whether they are from gas or emotion is hotly debated, but they are smiles, nevertheless.


Lauren loves sleeping in her Ergo baby carrier as she is toted around and has tolerated several walks in her stroller. Playing with toys is not happening at this stage, but she is learning to follow the rattle with her eyes. So I guess her favorite toy right now is a black and white rattle. My favorite items are the ones that help her sleep: swaddle sack, baby carrier, and whatever else is working at the moment.
4 weeks old.
We love our beautiful daughter and we are so glad she's here!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our Easy Home Project

A few weeks ago, I got an unexpected email from the contractor who had been in charge of rehabing our house.

"We never installed pulls in your kitchen, so pick some out from Lowe's or Home Depot and we'll buy them and then put them in for you. Also, we found your crown molding that was ordered with your kitchen. Would you like that?"

Say what? We'll glad take the crown molding (there's a family work day in our future!) and I'll happily choose some hardware! Dan and I picked out some pulls, and wallah! Kitchen upgrade.

Here's what our kitchen looked like without the pulls.

And after!

I'll keep you posted for the transformation when we add crown molding. A lot more work on Dan's part -- and his dad's -- but I'm sure it will add even more to our cute kitchen.

(Funny side story about this. Dan was worried that the contractor would mess up installing the cabinet pulls. We really would have no way to make them fix any mistakes, as this was done pretty much out of the goodness of his heart. But Dan decided that he'd trust them to install them correctly, and anyways, had no time to tackle this project himself. After first directing the installer away from the bathrooms (which could also use pulls, but weren't part of this project), Dan caught the guy nearly drilling in the wrong side of the door front! Dan was very chill about it -- "You're not going to drill there, right? It opens on the other side." -- and the installer was very gracious -- "I'm so glad you caught that!" -- but I couldn't help but laughing. Dan's fears were nearly realized.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Dan and I just started our birthing class this week. I'm 36 weeks pregnant and there are a total of 4 class sessions, so we are cutting it pretty close, but it's when we could fit it in -- and when they could fit us in! We learned about the signs that labor was approaching. Nesting, occuring 1-2 days before the onset of labor, was listed. Dan has attributed my flurry of activity around the house to nesting, but I'm pretty sure that this is just general preparedness, my way of getting my head around the fact that we'll have a baby in our arms, soon! But yet, since there are some bird elements in this nursery, I can still call it nesting.

The nursery has been the most planned room in our house, by far. It is one of two rooms that are painted, the guest room being the other. Choosing the color alone took many paint swatches. I wanted to do the room in a light blue-green with pink and coral accents, but I was had difficulty finding the correct shade in the blue family. I finally tore a picture of a tiffany blue journal from a magazine, brought it to the store, and matched it up at Lowe's, and lo and behold, I was in the very palest of the greens! (I still think it is blue, but I'm no expert.) Dan's parents helped us paint when they came out in July and brought the crib for us to use as well.

Next up, I snagged cute curtains at Gabriel Brothers for less than $20. Then, inspired by their cheery colors, I repainting a cabinet formerly used for kitchen storage a nice bright green. I giggled along to Tina Fey's Bossy Pants while sanding, priming, and painting it. Then, I regretted my decision. Oh, not about Bossy Pants, although it is decidedly difficult to chuckle while painting with a full bladder. The regret was about the very bright green. After moaning to my sister about it for several days on the phone, I decided to wait and see if the other things in the room toned it down.

Here's how the nursery looks now, to the best of my photography abilities. On the left, we have the dresser (purchased from Ikea) with a changing pad on top. There's enough space for wipes up there as well, as well as whatever else we want handy. The green cabinet has more diapering supplies, both cloth and disposable, extra crib sheets, and swaddling sacks. Above the dresser is her special shelf, which I had when I was a girl. Her crib is on the right, with clothing for the months and years ahead stored underneath. (I might want to come up with a way of concealing it better, but plastic tubs are so convenient!)

Items on the special shelf include knick knacks from when I was a girl, Dan's embroidered birth announcement, a cross stitch one of his aunts made him, and various bird houses. We'll switch things out as other items become special. Also, notice the little horse on the changing pad. Of course it won't end up there, but we love it. Dan's mom, sister, sister-in-law, and nieces bought it for the newest addition to the family while at the beach! Dan has declared that THIS will be her stuffed animal. 

Across from the changing area, we have the crib and the mobile my sister and I made! Also, we have the quilt my grandma created, which goes perfectly with our color scheme. And yes, the boppy is in the crib. It won't stay there, don't worry. 

For a few more details, we've got polka dot sheets (and pink and flowered!) and a sweet dust ruffle with a little purple ribbon running around the edge. The dust ruffle came from my friend Mary, when I was helping them pack up to move (weep, weep!). She had several in her basement, still in their original Pottery Barn packaging, and I fell in love. She told me I could take one, and I've been hiding it my closet ever since, hoping to have a little girl. Look who got her wish! 

The bird mobile was a blast to make. Joanna and I found the pattern for birds on Pinterest, and we sewed and stuffed them while hanging out in New York a few weeks ago. The actual construction of the mobile was done by Dan the Man, who used fishing line to suspend it above the crib. The bunting was a shower decoration crafted by Joanna, and the wall art were Goodwill frames that found new life in our nursery. (First I decided to spray paint them all pink, then decided it was too much pop!, and consequently painted three of them gray.) They are filled with fabric left over from the bird mobile, some of the deconstructed bunting, and a quote from the internet. The sweet giraffe stool (currently the home of a plant) is from Dan's sister, too. I love it!

A nursery would not be complete without a chair of some sort. Dan's sister spotted this one on a mother's group garage sale, sat in it for us, and declared it super comfy. We both agree. We both like to sit there and pray for our little one in these weeks leading up to her arrival. We've a library to the left, thanks to the shower attendees, and a basket filled with blankets, burp cloths, and a baby carrier plopped on top. Other baby stuff is stashed behind the chair. I know her arrival is imminent, but I don't care to clutter our downstairs in these last few weeks of pre-baby-ness. (Who am I kidding? We have her stroller and car seat parked in our dining room.) In any case, that's where some extra stuff is stashed right now. 

So the nursery is pretty much set! I need to wash all her clothes and cut off tags, and perhaps organize her dressers a bit better. The only other thing is something I have a question about is... lighting! There is an overhead light/fan combo that I was thinking about putting on a dimmer switch. Let me rephrase: There is an overhead light/fan combo that I was thinking about asking Dan to convert to a dimmer switch. But for night time diaper changing and feedings, does anyone have advice for a lighting source? Will a bright night light do, that I can switch off and on? A small lamp? Or just put the overhead lights on dim? Advice, please!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

An Outdoor Project

We bought a house. This house is pretty fantastic, no thanks to us. It just came that way. However, it did not come with landscaping. No trees. No flowers. A few pieces of grass and lots of weeds were included.

Here we are, homeowners! Notice the blank slate the outdoors presents us with.

Our very first addition to our curb appeal came from Dan's mom, who dug up a few plants from her garden to bring us. We had no garden beds dug at that point in time, so we stuck them in a pot and watered them from time to time.

Next up, my mom volunteered to come out over Labor Day weekend with plants in tow. She has beautiful gardens that needed some thinning out, so she graciously offered her assistance. We hatched this plan very soon after we moved in, and every one knew that I'd be very pregnant by this point in time, so perhaps not a whole lot of help. Fortunately, Dan is the bomb-diggity when it comes to outdoor work. (Pun, get it? Bomb-DIGitty.) He also arranged for his friend to drop off 2+ cubic yards of mulch so our beds would look finished and for the overall health of our plants.

Here Dan is, starting to work on the very rocky soil by our deck. (All of the soil, in fact, was incredibly compacted and rocky.)

Now, to throw a wrench in our plans, my little sister had to go and get a job the Tuesday before Labor Day in a spot a few hours from my parents' house. The world was thrown into an uproar, and various family members helped her find an apartment, move her things, and set up her classroom in a few short days. Accordingly, our plans were rearranged. (No worries, Jo!) Instead of my parents visiting over Labor Day weekend, they came the next. It gave Dan a few extra days to get the garden beds dug to his (and my!) liking. I did helpful things like sort through the rocks he turned up. This was a multiple evening chore. He must have spent 10 hours working just to get the beds ready.

Mom and Dad arrived late Friday night, and Saturday morning we got to work! It was cool and rainy, which is very unusual for the summer we've been having, but perfect for planting. We laid out things, rearranged a bit, and stuck them in the ground, even taking the plants my mother-in-law brought from the pots and replanting them in the ground. We have a dogwood planted out front, which you can see below (far right), and I can't wait to see it bloom next spring!

The end results?

It is amazing how a few plants can change the house from being plopped on a lot to being loved. I've been instructed to water daily until the plants are well established, and I can proudly say that I've done it... for 2 days. I'll stick with it until the baby comes. Then it's Dan's job for a few weeks!

I'm positive that there will be some more changes to come in our landscaping over the next few years. We'd like to grow something on the trellises attached to the top of the fence (we needed some more privacy on our deck) -- maybe clematis or roses or trumpet vines. I hope to plant a couple of trees out back, too, to provide some shade. Oh, and a veggie garden next year. But for now, I am satisfied with the major changes these plants made to our curb appeal! Thanks Dad, Mom, and Dan for all of your hard work!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Gaining Confidence

I don't know how I missed out on confidence in doing simple household tasks. Oh, I'm not talking about baking bread or frosting a cake. Those things I love to do! (You do not need a bread maker, by the way, to make bread.) I am not even talking about things like scrubbing grout or wiping off walls. I suspect I'm not a very good housekeeper, but I can do it. It is just a question of forcing myself to get it done.

No, I am talking about things like hanging pictures, washing the outside of double hung windows that flip into the house, using a cordless drills, gardening, and even painting. Somehow I missed out on the training that prepares one for those tasks. My sister somehow was trained, as I learned when she visited me in Wisconsin, several years ago. She and my mom are the masters of home improvement around 175 Water Street. My dad has many admirable skills, but the desire to complete home repairs is not one of them. So anyways, Joanna and mom are the experts, a bond that was forged after I left for college, I think.

My liberal arts education did not offer a course in basic home skills, a course obviously lacking if you are seeking your MRS degree. Or perhaps, the MRS degree provides a husband, who, in theory, would be capable of doing some of these things. And living in on-campus housing wasn't exactly a place to hone these skills as an independent young adult, either. There is a reason I know how to bake bread but not use a cordless drill! I think the fine for a hole in the wall was instant death by RA, who just happened to be my roommate.

So somehow, I graduated from college and got married without learning these skills. And then marrying Dan just let me piggyback on his skills. Mr. Handy, he just knew how to do those things, even the chores that he despises. In our first apartment in Belfast, he hung the pictures on the walls and led the painting of our room a horrible color called asparagus. (The choice of the paint was the fault of both of us. It was an atrocious color!) He amazes me anew every so often with his competence with power tools. I have tons of respect for his capabilities in this area! He worked in a nursery in high school, so he has way more knowledge of gardening than I, and it probably goes without saying that he can use a cordless drill. (He can even do caulking and plumbing and basic electrical wiring! The list could go on and on.)

Since our first apartment, we've moved a couple of times, but each time I've managed to get someone else to do the moving-in items that I haven't been confident to attempt on my own. But with this move, we are home owners. I don't have to stress about a landlord yelling at me for messing something up. I'm also home all day long, which Dan is not. Surprisingly, he doesn't always feel like helping me nest after a full day of work. Weird, right?

So, I'm preparing myself for the challenge. Part of me is yelling "GIRL POWER," but that's really kind of lame. Women everywhere have had to hang up their own pictures on the walls and figure out how to flip the windows inside to wash them (way easier than dragging a ladder outside to wash them if you don't have the flip kind of windows). These are just life skills, at least for someone who cares about their living environment. Sometimes I choose to believe that some people are just handy -- Dan, his sister Kristy, who will tackle anything (dryer broken? I can fix that!), my sister. And sometimes I get overwhelmed by the scads of information available on the internet. (Just look up washing windows if you want to read a million opinions on how to get it done.)

But today, I refused to sit around sulking while Dan enjoyed a well-deserved morning of mountain biking. I grabbed the hammer and the picture hanging kit, the measuring tape and the five frames I wanted to hang in the nursery, laid them out, and jumped in. You know what? Five frames are hanging neatly above the glider. Only one picture had to be readjusted. And I am one step closer to being more competent around the house.

Here's to trying something you aren't confident in! It just might turn out better than you think.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Baby Clothes

Yesterday, I attempted to sort out some of the itty-bitty baby clothes given to us over the past few months. Some were hand-me-downs, from friends with 3 little girls who moved to California. Others were from my cousin, who had a baby girl last December. Still others were new, gifts from the ladies who showered us with love a little over a week ago. We have been blessed with clothes for our little girl, and I am entirely grateful.

That being said, I also am a little overwhelmed. It wasn't until this baby shower that I realized that not all one piece baby apparel are called onesies. The ones with long sleeves and legs are sleepers (who knew?). I only found out after my sister-in-law handed me a detailed gift list (thanks Shelley!). So yesterday, in merely the 0-6 month category, we had shirts, pants, onesies, long-sleeved onsies, sleepers, sleeper dresses, complete outfits with matching tops and bottoms, and a few little jackets and sweaters. I sorted once, I sorted twice, and then I left them in piles on the nursery floor.

Feeling the need for some love from some other mamas, I posted on Facebook:
Just trying to organize all of our little one's clothes makes me feel woefully unprepared for having a baby! Onesies, sleepers, dresses, itty bitty pants.... Will I possibly know when to put her in what?
Sweet, reassuring comments came back. Sometimes social media is great.

When Dan came home for lunch and asked about my morning, I confided that I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with clothes and that I felt like I'd never know how to dress our baby. Being the supportive guy that he is, he walked up to the nursery with me and took a look. He was impressed by the piles and joked, "She isn't even here and I've been invaded by pink!" But then he made me laugh by pointing out that I have tons of clothes, so the baby would also need* lots of different items.

"How many babies have died - actually died," he asked, "because they weren't in the right clothes?" I had to admit that I had not heard of any fatalities because the baby was wearing a sleeper vs. a pants/onesie outfit.

So Dan wisely dealt with the pregnant lady. And that's one thing I love about him. He listened to me, made me laugh, and reassured me that we are in this together. We'll figure things out as we need to. And if we can laugh about it, we're in pretty good shape.

So thanks, family and friends, for the inundation of adorable baby clothes. Not only will they clothe the babe after she arrives, they made me appreciate Dan's easy-going nature.

*I'm using the term "need" lightly here. I know babies don't actually need lots, but since we were gift lots of different items, we'll pretend she needs them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Full Heart

So much has happened in the past few months, but oh so few updates. I'm overwhelmed by the providence the Lord has showered upon us. The blessings have come amidst challenges, but I'm struck by how beautifully God is orchestrating all things.

Because my heart is so full, I'm going to list some of the blessings that spring to mind.

1.) A healthy, growing baby girl! She cooperated to give us a hint of her gender about 4 weeks ago, and Dan and I are thrilled. She's kicking and growing (evidence: my bulging belly!).

2.) The purchase of a newly-renovated historic home! We started looking for houses last fall, but once we found out we were pregnant, we started looking again. We wanted a room for the baby and a room for guests. (We think that the arrival of our little cutie will draw some more visitors.) We put an offer in on one house, but the home inspection turned up more work that we were willing to do. Right at the same time, this house came into our hunt. It's in downtown Dayton and was completely rehabed by a Christian non-profit group. High efficency systems, new kitchen, gas fireplace, and a fenced in backyard makes it a perfect fit for us.

3.) Friends and family who made our move smooth. The downside of living 4+ hours from family is that they aren't always available to help on moving day. On the plus side, our church family and Dan's co-workers stepped in to make our move go flawlessly. We were completely moved in about 4 hours. Then, my mom and my sister arrived to help unpack some boxes. We wouldn't have been able to do it without these wonderful people.

4.) A vacation coming up! We're headed to the beach with Dan's family -- all of them! I'm so excited that we'll all be together for an entire week. We've missed family time.

5.) Time to enjoy life. School ended a few weeks ago, and I don't know how I would have been able to pack up, close on the house, and move all while teaching. I don't have a summer job (although I might try to find something). Also, I'm not going to be teaching next year, so I have some time to get settled in and then love on our little package of joy when she arrives!

6.) Dan. He's been super sweet throughout pregnancy. I've had it really easy, but for the things that have been different, he's been really supportive and/or understanding. For example, he didn't tease me about crying after we didn't buy ice cream at Meijer the other day. Yes, I cried because I didn't get ice cream. What can I say? I love ice cream. Anyways, he's going to be an amazing dad.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

An Exciting Surprise

Dan's reading Paying for College without Going Broke.

I'm reading Help! Surviving a Baby's First Year.

And, in case you're still not sure what is going on, we're having A New Baby.

We can't wait for October 9, 2012!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Knitting Away

I've completed a few knitting projects that I thought were especially cute that I wanted to share with you!

The first project was three hats, commissioned by my sister-in-law for her two kids (my niece and nephew) and her sister. She told me what she thought would be cute and shared a few pictures on Pintrest, and this is what I came up with!

There was a zebra, a koala, and a dinosaur. I was able to take a few pictures of the kids modeling their hats during Christmas Cabin.

The other two boys are wearing their Christmas hats from last year. :) Yay!

The next project I cast on was for an adult sized sweater. I'm making Tea Leaves Cardigan using Cascade 220 Quarto yarn, a present from my mom from Christmas. I made my first ever swatch to make sure the sweater was not either too huge nor too small. I've cast on, now, and I'm 29 rows in. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Last but not least, I knit my nephew Ben a dino hat for his first birthday! This was the third attempt at a hat this winter, and this time, finally, it fit! The problem wasn't Ben's head, but rather that I didn't use a pattern any of those times. The final time I based it on a pattern, but I was still doing some improvisation, but fortunately it fit. Phew! A picture of it on Ben's adorable head is forthcoming.

And, on a related note, I'm thinking about starting a little shop in Etsy to sell knitted children's hats. I enjoy it and it might let me make a little extra money. I'll let you know when I make the plunge!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Looking at 2012

The first time I remember making a resolution for the new year was when I was in middle school. At that time, The Brink -- our middle and high school youth group -- did an all nighter at the church. It pretty much involved lots of pop, pizza, movies, and silly dares such as running outside in bare feet. Yet in the midst of the craziness, probably before we popped in our traditional girl movie, Little Women, I pulled out a new journal to record my goals and aspirations for the year.

A new year always brings a feeling of quiet anticipation, just like before my pen hits the first page of a new journal. The story of my life will soon be written there, but I don't know what it is yet. If I were really awesome, I would try to coordinate a new journal with each new year, but my rate of filling pages ebbs and flows over the course of the year, and I inevitably finish a journal mid-year, with a new journal to start on an inauspicious day such as March 13 or September 25.

This year I didn't really make an resolutions. Recently I made a 30-before-30 list, so that gives me some goals to work towards over the next few years, but I didn't want to make a resolution just because the clock was ticking. But last week, I was challenged to pick a word that would highlight an idea that I would like to dwell on this year. The word that has emerged from my contemplation has been humility.

Humility, synonymous with lowliness, meekness, submissiveness, an antonym of pride. Yikes, right? In our world, humility is not a valued trait. We'd like athletes to be humble, but as for us, the regular folks, we want to be revered and loved. We're encouraged to endorse ourselves, to highlight our best characteristics, and to be blunt about our best qualities. But as someone who is not of this world (1 Peter 2:11), I'm called to live a life of humility, mirroring Christ's humility.

"In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant..." (Philippians 2:5-7)

There are an abundance of verses about humility, and I could copy a bunch of them down, but let's be honest: if Jesus exemplified it, that's what I need to emmulate. Enough said. For me, as this year begins, humility means thinking of others more than myself. It means using my gifts and talents for the glory of God, not for my own gratification. It means serving others, day in and day out. It means making myself nothing that He may be glorified.

When all is said and done in 2012, I want to look back and see how the year was characterized by the indwelling of the attitude of humility in my life. I'm praying that it grows within me, even though that's a terrifying prayer. Growth is worth the discomfort, and I'm anxious to becoming more like Christ each day. Life is fleeting, much too short to remain stagnant. Therefore, let 2012 be filled with growth!

The Lettered Cottage