Thursday, August 14, 2014


It could be this elimination diet we're on right now (more on that later), but when I typed the title, "perfection", the first thing that popped into my mind was "confection". I would like some sweet confections, yes please. Thank you very much. How considerate of you. 

Sorry, Noah. You're birthday post is so not starting the right way. 
Here are some pictures that I took of Noah on his actual birthday. Hey. I'm glad he's wearing clothes. My originally intent, however, was for him to be in this cute little four piece suit that I bought for him. Complete with a four inch clip-on tie. 

It's still in a suit case. 

I literally had three minutes to take these pictures. If these pictures had audio, then they would be video clips. No…I mean, if these pictures had audio, you would hear Willow and me screaming at each other the whole time. 

"Willow! Get off the chair! I need to take a picture of just Noah because it's his birthday today!" 
"No, Mom!!! Take a picture of me too!" 
"Later, Willow" 
"Now, Mom!" 
….Noah: continues to chew on toy. 

Dear Noah, 
On your first birthday, we had only been in China a day and a half. We were still terribly jet lagged. We forgot to give you birthday presents. We slept a lot. We didn't eat dinner. We ate instant noodles in the middle of the night. We tried to order McDonalds, but apparently they had no chicken or beef because there was some scandal with selling expired meat in China. Since we didn't want to eat a "fish burger", we ate spicy ramen instead. Dearest little boy, I love you tremendously. If you see any goodness in our love, it is because of Jesus. When we make mistakes, I hope that those instances will turn you towards God's perfect and unconditional love. And I hope, with the deepest of hopes, that you will love your Creator above all else. 
Happy first birthday, buddy! 

Noah is 24 pounds (50-70 percentile). He's 30 inches tall (50 percentile). He's running, climbing, walking backwards, dancing like crazy, singing, speaking (mom, dad, Willow, ball, dog, hi, hello, bye bye, that, baby), eating table food, uninterested in baby-food, loves to play outside, obsessed with animals/balls/dolls/cars/stroller rides/iPads/phones/food, loves to give kisses and hugs, sleeps through the night (finally!), enjoys playing with Willow, and likes to be around other children. Noah is definitely a people-pleaser and a very happy little man. He likes to look at books, listen to music, and look out the window. His main bane at the moment is biting. When he's angry, hungry, excited, or jealous--he bites people! He is very entertaining with his copy-cat ways--he enjoys observing someone's action and trying to replicate it (talking on the phone, hammering nails, playing peekaboo). While we were in America, he enjoyed all the rides he received on the farm. He likes to swing, pet dogs, and eat ice cream. The biggest temper tantrums usually involve food, and not being allowed to partake in said food…such as Starbucks frappecinos. 

Noah has been 1 for one week. I'm not too late in this post, right? I feel like a bad mom today because I was distracted again. It is very easy for me to get wrapped up in whatever activity occupies my interest at the moment.I want to share a portion of a blog post written by Alyssa Welch on This blog is no longer online, but I have kept this excerpt saved on my computer to remind me that my life is not about being a mom. Being a mom is not a job, though it often feels like a dauntless marathon. When I focus only on being a 'good mom', I often fall short of my true purpose in life: to worship and obey God. Ironically, when I lose sight of my identity in Christ, I lose the ability to be anything that resembles a 'good mom'. As I was trying to help Noah take a nap today, I desperately wished for a reboot button.  I'm tired of living on the edge of frustration and feeling like my self-control is in shreds. Here's what Alyssa Welch wrote: 

“It's frightful not to live, consumed with that which isn't lasting. Don't miss out because you think everything has to happen perfectly, or on time, or when and how you think it should happen.
Life isn't measured by whether you pursued all your dreams and made them happen. It's not measured by what you did that made you feel successful. It's not measured by talent or ability. Or by a blog, business, beauty, or babies. I don't want to follow a generation of mothers who idealize perfection when it comes to motherhood. There is a huge relief and healing that comes when I let go; let go of perfection, expectations, or measurements I've put on myself possibly by comparison with other mothers.

Let go and find balance; bravery to feel undone, unmade, un-accomplished. Then always, my eyes are opened more to what is important because I am less distracted with making everything happen just right.” –Alyssa Welch

I wish that I had more of her posts saved, because she has encouraged me greatly through her posts over the years. I want to let go of my idea of perfection, my desire to control, my longing to be have a spotless image. These things are nothing. 

So, in line with giving up perfection, here comes a confession: because we didn't have any plans for Noah's birthday on his actual birthday, we decided to let him eat a chocolate instead. So Adam gave him his first candy bar. How's that for perfection?

While I fully acknowledge that I am not a perfect mom, being Noah's mom is the closest thing to perfection I've ever felt. What a privilege and honor to spend time with Noah Silas Johnson. He may grow up to be a heart breaker, goodness knows he's already broken mine in a million little ways.

This Noah look. He kills me! I'm just in love with his chubby face and big brown eyes. Never change, Noah. But also, I need you to grow up. I don't know how to wrestle these emotions!

What is perfection anyway? Is perfection having two messy, noisy kids that drive you crazy? Perhaps. I think God meets me in this chaotic cacophony and reveals a little more of what real love is. I fail, but He prevails. I stumble, but He remains. I sin against others and Him, yet He forgives me. I forget how to live in grace and in love, but He is faithful . And in the heart of a child, in the eyes of an infant, in the ache of a mother's heart--you find a sort of perfection, because you catch a glimpse of what God created us for. It was for love that He made us.

Perfection is in the center of God's will for your life. Whatever it is that you do, do it as if you serving the Lord. Worship the Lord. Obey His commands. This is His perfect plan.

Willow did a pretty good job 'reading' this book to Noah. I hadn't realized she knew the plot to this story, since she never pays attention when I read it. I guess I was wrong!

At this point in Noah's short picture session, you can see the exhaustion on his face. I don't know if he is tired due to jet lag or Willow and mom arguing about who gets to be in the pictures.

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