Tidbits of Us

I am the wife of an amazing man, seeking hard after God's will for his family, and the mother of 2 beautiful little girls who pull at my heartstrings continually. Our 3rd daughter is due the end of August, 2013. Life has been a whirlwind since our wedding in 2008, including seminary and camp ministry, and God's fingerprints are throughout it all. We are blessed and encouraged that He is equipping us continually for the ministry ahead and pray we are great stewards to all he has entrusted to us, in family, friends, ministry, finances, and of course, the gospel.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

It's been a while... and I'll tell you why...

Life is busy. It's mundane. It's crazy beyond belief. It's routine.

If I say "I'm tired" one more time I'm going to slam my head into a wall. And if anyone knows me, hitting my head is almost one of the very worst thing that could happen to anyone around me, because it makes me instantly angry and it's always... ALWAYS someone else's fault.

I'm not even really tired half of the times I say it, but I don't know what I am, therefore it covers it. It's like those times when you're not actually hungry, but you keep snacking. You're really board or anxious. Or dehydrated. Do you realize you often confuse being hungry with actually being thirsty! We are such crazy creatures!!

We've been doing a lot since the last time I posted. But mostly, my silence isn't due to busyness or lack of. It's not from demanding children or crazy schedules. In fact, most of that is pretty much in the normal range around here. Well, except my newly 3 year old deciding to bring out all the rebellion that comes with this age. That's been really fun the last month!!

I could tell you I've been busy, but really, it's been completely manageable.

Not very overwhelmed either.

Nope, none of those are the "issue" here. It appears to be. I sure look like a maniac from time to time, but I usually save that for my poor husband to try and decode.

Here's what it is... the real truth behind what I label as overwhelmed, tired, busy, or even just in need of a break.

MOM CULTURE!!

The average member creates pure beauty in every craft, home schools, has time to read, sews, dinner is always fabulous as well as her hair, and takes the kids to story time, gymnastics, swimming, football, baseball, and probably even skydiving classes! Every special occasion has a perfectly themed party to celebrate it. Not to mention she has an immaculate and fully pinterest decorated home on a very frugal budget that she always stays within. They always have the best tips and advice and do their own research for pretty much everything.

Members must breastfeed their children, make their own baby food, use cloth diapers, find the perfect stance on the vaccine issue, wear their babies, NEVER have too much TV, eat all organic (grown in your perfect garden out back is best) and have the perfect discipline habits that never include spanking.

The elite members blog multiple times a week and are on their way to publishing a book... and it may not be their first one to be published, it just depends on how long they have been a mom.

If you don't believe me, publicly begin to discuss your personal parenting style in these areas. I promise you will hesitate to share in several of these areas. Not because you have nothing to say or have not figured out what works for your family, but because it doesn't line up with the "mom culture".

I'm not saying that if you do some of these things you're part of the problem, not by any means!! I'm simply stating that those so "into" the mom culture tend to be noticed. Somehow, out of all the moms in the United States, these "mom-culture members" seem to stand out so much that we've begun to believe as a whole that this is what a mom should really look like. THIS is the answer.

The problem is the rest of us moms out here. Watching. Reading. Listening. Trying.

We have forgotten that the average mom is just that. Average.

The "Average mom" member will pin a million things on pinterest and maybe try 10% of them. Even then, half turn out to be pintrocities instead. We burn dinner on a regular basis, and a few nights a week we don't even make dinner. We just throw something together and call it a meal. We take time to do the fun things with our children and we have learned to figure out what will work best for them and us. We've learned 15 different 5 minute buns or braids, or we've cut our hair way shorter then we wanted it because we know if we are not up before the children, our hair will not be done that day. And really, how many of us are up before the children intentionally!

And when I am trying to accomplish something, my children are sure to put an end to that. Simply making me more frustrated because my type A personality "needs" to finish it. There are no stopping points. I can't tell you how many times I've had to stop writing this post this afternoon. You can probably tell by where the transitions are choppy or a sudden paragraph that doesn't quite fit in the area it's been placed! And then I'm more frustrated at my lack of attention and gentleness towards my toddler who just wants a simple snack. It's not my 1 year olds fault she woke up from her nap 10 minutes before it would have been convenient. It baffles me how these mom culutre members get anything done over and above the typical mom tasks. I wonder where their children are when they are blogging or decorating their house or creating beautiful artworks or sewing quilts, or maybe they just don't sleep?!! Their children are certainly not half naked in front of the TV shoving Oreos in their mouth as mine are when I'm simply trying to clean the bathrooms.

As the average mom, we get through and we enjoy being a mom. We love our children with overflowing hearts. We get tired and warn out, but it's not truly, deeply because of our responsibilities as much as it is the expectations over and above our responsibilities that we have put on ourselves.

And nothing.... not one thing we have done, hits the mark at the end of the day. We simply think, well, we are all still alive. I must not have screwed up that bad today.

But why?? Because we are saturated with mom-culture. It's like teen girls that are so saturated with what media says is beautiful. They don't realize how beautiful they really are. They don't see the virtue in purity or a gentle spirit. They are too overwhelmed with seeing the things that they are not constantly flashed before them.

This is how mom culture works.

I read these two quotes on a blog today, which is what finally inspired me to get around to writing some of my thoughts on the topic....

"And if they're tired [moms], they're weakIf they're anxious, they're unspiritualIf they fail, they're unworthy.

In the end your kids care far less about how presentable their dinner is and far more about how healthy their mom is. They may not understand it in these terms, but they certainly reap the implications of it.Your kids need you to be a daughter of God before you are a mom to them.

While a "good" mom may do a lot for her kids, a "great" mom understands all that Jesus has done for her. Her mothering flows from there, even if the dishwasher doesn't get emptied that day."
Source

 Reading it made me tear up. I want to see myself as beautiful even in the mess, but all I see is a weak, unspiritual and unworthy mom.

I'm not tired, I'm just tired of feeling like a failure if I raised my voice out of emotion when my children were not misbehaving all that much.

I stare down the barrel of my newly 3 year olds newly acquired behaviors and see how fast they frustrate me, and I only feel more heavy at the thought of a whole year dealing with this and watching myself over react every. single. time. Why do I forget to give myself the benefit of the doubt. We have figured out each stage so far, of course we will figure out how to best handle this one, and even our failed attempts will only grow us in wisdom. I forget because I see how much mom-culture has it together. It's a mirror to my failings. 

When I am full of despair and frustration at the end of a day, it's almost never because of my children. It's because of me. Because I expect myself to compare to the moms of mom culture. To the the blogs and books and skills of the moms plastered everywhere. When I say I am tired, I'm really just upset at my failures. And when I realize I'm just being too harsh on myself and expecting too much, I then feel the failure of falling short of seeking God's approval over mom-culture's.

Yes, sometimes I'm genuinely tired. And yes, my children do genuinely frustrate me at times. Sometimes over and over and over in a day. I'll gladly admit that one. But how I catch myself reacting frustrates me even more.

But most of the time, I'm simply another victim of another day of mom-culture saturation.

The worst part is, we moms need each other. We need support. Comfort. Advice. Adult conversation!! Oh that coveted adult conversation!! But we become so saturated with expectations we are afraid to admit how we have been doing things, even if they have been working. We'd rather have the "right" answer for each other then what we've figured out worked best for us, or at least got us through. Because, lets face it, we moms know exactly how things "should" have been done, we've all tried to fit that mold and make it work for us at least once.

So yes, mom-culture has been in my way. Keeping me silent simply because life has been full lately, and I've felt mostly failure at all of it. I want to name the heaviness of failure by what it is. I'm not tired. I'm not overwhelmed. I am not anxious or too busy or frustrated. It happens, yes, but that's not what I am most of the time.

I am heavy with feelings of failing my children. My husband. My family. Myself. My Savior.
I cannot be this mom.

My three daughters deserve an example that cares more about God's approval for my life then mom-cultures unspoken and unrealistic expectations. Not that doing crafts or taking my children to story time is bad, but I don't want them to grow up believing a moms role is to strive the hardest you can at absolutely everything and beat yourself up when you fail. They will have enough pressure from society to be that kind of mom already. I pray I can be the mom that helps them see past that through my example of seeking God's guidance, wisdom and discernment, and most of all, His approval for how I have mothered my children.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gender predictors and wives tales

So I've been silent on here for a while!! A combination of lack of time, and lack of anything worth sharing really. Not that anyone cares to hear my rants to begin with!

But, I had an idea that I've thought about with all my pregnancies. Collecting a good bit of wives tales on how to predict the gender and then testing them out! With Eden (baby #2) we'd thought a lot about not finding out the gender, but I just couldn't hold out. My idea if we did wait was to have a baby shower that was just a fun time doing all these gender predictor things. Obviously that didn't pan out!

So, I collected my list weeks ago... before my bump was even really showing. Went through them, peed on a few things, collected my results and lost the list! Finally found it a week ago, slid into the small crack under my nightstand drawer and the base of the night stand. My oldest loves to play "mail boxes" and slide papers into small cracks. I'm guessing this is what happened here. I feel slightly bad for blaming my husband who diligently vacuumed the house the day it disappeared. I knew it had fallen on the floor by the bed and figured he tossed it in the process. Sorry love!

Then my baby found it... and tore it up. Along with our dog, who for some reason really likes to eat paper with sticky stuff on it. Usually post it notes and band aid wrappers. When I caught the baby tearing up the list I also caught the dog eating some of it, which was a little weird since she normally doesn't eat just normal paper.

Oh well.... so I've salvaged all I could and it's not in too bad of shape. There is a chunk missing, but it's from the right side, so I remember most of what's missing based on what's still there. :)

We find out the gender tomorrow!! So I figured I better get this going soon! I've decided to try a column format and see how it goes... Sorry, they are random and in no organized order as far as the list goes! The more complicated ones and comments on them are below quick list. I've highlighted my personal results for this pregnancy. Of course, I have comments about most and my results. They will be below.

For those who could care less of the details: my final tally was 11 for girl and 9 for boy of the ones I tried or will announce (there are two I know the answer to, but it's none of your business!)


** THEORY**                        *SIGN FOR GIRL     *SIGN FOR BOY
1. How you carry                        High                               Low
2. Where you carry                  All around/watermelon   Front/basketball
3. Heart rate                             150's & higher                140's & lower
4. Cravings                                  sweet/citrus                     salty/savory
5. Face Breakouts                    A girl steals your beauty    mild to none
6. Hang ring over belly                back and forth                circles
7. Morning sickness                     moderate to severe         mild to none
8. Side you sleep on                     right                               left
9. Hair                                          thin/dull                         thick/full
10. Hands                                     soft                                dry
11. Moody                                    yes                                not so much
12. Size of boobs                          right is bigger                left is bigger
13. Feet                                         normal                          colder
14. Leg/armpit hair                       normal                          grows faster
15. Headaches                              mild/none                     frequent
16. Direction pillow faces             south                            north
17. Color of pee                            dull                               bright/neon
18. Previous child's first word       any but dada                dada
19. Sex during conception            dad aggressive        mom aggressive
20. Dreams of gender (opposite)  dream of boy                dream of girl
21. Hold out hands naturally        palms up                       palms down
22. eat garlic                                 no scent                   comes out pores

(I'll just say now, no one needs to know if one of my boobs is bigger then the other, or who was more aggressive in bed!! I may have a huge lack of filter in almost every area, but I DO have limits! Just saying!)

some that are too long for the column format:
23. Mom's age at conception, with (not adding) the number of month baby was conceived: Both are even or both odd = girl. One even and one odd = boy.

24. Moms age at conception PLUS (add) the month of conception: odd = girl. even = boy.

25. Pee in a cup with baking soda covering the bottom: nothing happens = girl. Fizzes = boy.

26. Boil red cabbage 10 minutes. Combine 1 part cabbage water with one part pee. Purple = girl. pink/red = boy. (For this one I knew the water was so purple the pee wasn't going to change it. And it didn't. So then I diluted the water since I had used a lot of cabbage with just enough water, in a smaller pot. Just in case it would have made a difference if there was more water then cabbage. It didn't make a difference at all in changing the color. Still purple.)

27. Look at the hairline of your last child: if it comes to a point then your next will be opposite gender. Straight and the baby will be the same. My baby barely has any hair, so I'd say it comes to a point, but that's unfair since her hairline isn't really there yet at exactly one year old (on Monday!) But the hairline of my oldest is straight, so it's true that our next child after her was the same gender if that means anything.

28. Pee in 1 tbl. crystal drano - I found two outcomes for this one. If it's green it's a girl and blue it's a boy, but also if it doesn't change it's a girl and becomes dark brown within 10 seconds means boy. I didn't try this one simply because there were lots of suggestions on adding the pee while outside and not in a glass cup. It made me feel cautious enough not to want to try!

29. Yes, the all known Chinese gender prediction chart... well, here's the deal with that. It's calculated on your LUNAR age at conception and the LUNAR month. (Whatever that is!!) Some charts you were to put in your info and it calculated that stuff for you. Other sights didn't. But I used a few different sights and always had mixed results even when they were all calculating it for me. I even did it with info from my other two girls and most of the time it always said my one year old was a girl (correct, and I'll note she was the one that carried just like a girl as well.) And it was mixed on if my oldest was a girl or boy... and she's a girl. So I'm not putting much trust into that one.


A FEW NOTES:
#1-2, I carried my first so low and round and only in front, I had people tell me our TWO ultra sounds saying girl were wrong, and we'd better have it checked again or buy a boy outfit just in case. She was so low she wasn't in my ribs/lungs at all, and I thought women were exaggerating about how bad that was. Well, she's definitely all girl at almost 3 months old! Eden is obviously a girl as well, and she carried typical for a girl. Middle/high and put weight on me EVERYWHERE! And yes, I think she was spending most her time using my lungs for boxing bags and playing piano on my ribs! I apologize to any woman I thought exaggerated how uncomfortable a baby in the ribs/lungs can be!!


for #3, the latest heart rate was 130's, but my old midwife said all babies have high heart rates until the 2nd trimester, and by the time you may start seeing a "reliable" pattern after that, it's time for the gender ultra sound anyway. But so far the heart rates have been in the 170's twice and once in the 180's until the last one at 15.5 weeks. 


I did try #6, but to be super fare, I didn't hold the string. I taped it to the table and left if for a long time until it wasn't moving at all. then I laid under it for a few minutes, not touching it or breathing in it's direction. It didn't move at all!! When I held it up myself I got both results multiple times.

As far as #9, my hair is thick to begin with, so I really wasn't sure how to answer. It hasn't changed for any pregnancy other then it stops having those random strands that fall out during the pregnancy until a few months after and then it falls out like crazy. Still doesn't make a difference in how my hair is though. With this pregnancy I still have hair falling out in the shower and in my brush, which is slightly odd from the other pregnancies, but not odd for normal life when not pregnant.

#21. I didn't try because I read it and knew the "answer" so felt it would be unfair.
#22. I love garlic but not heavy at all, and not heavy enough to see if it would come out my pore or not! Based on my normal garlic habits, I couldn't smell it out my pores before, and I still can't now. So if it's suppose to be heightened for a boy, then it's not.

And there you have it... if you've stuck with me this long!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A melting away...

My heart breaks with the news of the school shooting in CT. I really can't seem to get over it, and at the same time, I don't want to. 20 parents came home to decorated trees and stockings hanging, but missing a huge piece of their hearts. I am so angry that some seek to find a reason that will make them feel safe. They can't believe in their hearts that someone could be evil. They have to have another reason why this happened, and why if they surround themselves with people not like "that", then it won't happen to them. Others feel the need to use it as a podium for their political stand on gun control or the lack there of. I wish the "simplicity" of it could settle in people's minds. We are sinful by nature. We HATE light. When you truly hate, you will do anything that is the opposite of love. Anything. This is why it happened. Because hate is an evil thing harbored in hearts of man kind. Pure Evil. Your hate may be on a different level, but it's there. All it takes is a little work here and a little pressure there from satan and your hate will intensify. Your hate is no better then his was. It's simply not as intense.

But why glorify him by analyzing who he was and why he did anything.

20 babies sleep with God each night. There's a beautiful song that I pray when someone I now has gone. And when these babies had gone. "The angel's wings cover you tonight, Hallelujah, press your head against the breast of Christ, Hallelujah."

My heart breaks at the thought. I've heard of such great tragedies before and not been rocked as I am now. BUT, it. is. good. It is good that I am shaken. It is good that sin has shown it's evil face and I have broken at the ugliness of it. We as Christians have become so numb to the evening news. People are murdered on a daily basis and we, I, don't blink from preparing evening dinner. But this time, this time it overwhelmed me. I have held my children every day the past week and thought of the parents who didn't know they wouldn't hold their babies again. The parents who went to bed two nights in a row while the lifeless body of their child still lay on the cold tile floor of the school while police and medical examiners documented everything.

I just can't stop aching. Pray against evil. Pray hard. Tell the world the good news of Jesus and pray they are given the only thing that can bring true light and love into their hearts. True Love.

I know that's heavy and sad. I'm not sorry for it. We need to become desensitized to the depravity of mankind. We just do. I do.

My sweet Madison is still so young and simple minded. Of course we have not talked with her about it, but we have tried to love on her every moment we could. That Friday night we had a fire in the fireplace although it was 70 something out, invited family and friends over and had a pizza picnic in front of the tree. She had a blast. She still asks to do it again. I crawled in her bed with her and read Green Eggs and Ham for the millionth time, and I was sure to go really really slow. We looked at every part of every picture and giggled at all the silliness. I can't tell you how many times she has gotten to stay up late this week, just for cuddle time and "one more book".

We've also been doing advent with her, focusing on giving to remind us that God gave us the best gift of all, Baby Jesus. Madison has made it clear she is very excited to eat baby Jesus!! What she means by that is his birthday cake. :)

We've taken her to buy and wrap gifts for mom, dad and Eden, talked to her all about the nativity while she played with our figurines, gave food to a food pantry and coins to the bell ringers. Yesterday we made and decorated cookies for all our neighbors. We gave each one a note telling them about baby Jesus and how we are learning about giving while we get ready to celebrate his birthday.

Today we found a special little silver gift bag by our door. There was a tiny puppy in it, which during nighttime prayers she finally named by saying, "And thank you for Figaro my tiny tiny puppy because he so so so so cute!" (that may not have been the exact quote, but all the important parts are there.) And a note. A very sweet note written on two purple post-its. It read:

"Dear little neighbor, thanks for the candy, cookies and nice note. You did a great job decorating them and they were very good!! When we got home and found your gift it really helped me feel better because a doctor had just tole me that day that I have skin cancer. I am so glad you know about Jesus! Thanks for making me feel better. We all had a cookie and some candy. You are special!! We hope to meet you someday soon. Merry Christmas, Love and Blessings."

God's timing is beautiful.

After a week of emotions and sadness. A week of looking at my girls and wondering what in the world I would do "if". Seven slow days of constantly remembering that 20 parents are not able to do what I get to do with my little girls.

After a week, god has shown me beauty. He has shown me a melting away of evil. He has reminded me what baby Jesus came for. To save our souls and fil our hearts with love that we may love and bless others in a way only one filled with the Spirit can do. A way we can only do with his guidance. Perfect example, if we didn't have the love of Christ in our hearts and the desire to show it to our girls, we would have made cookies for ourselves alone. Forget all that work for the neighbors! My little girl not only helped this woman to feel some joy yesterday, but in turn showed her mommy what God intends the world to look like. that amidst the evil and hate, He is there, working. He is there loving. He is there holding. He is there changing lives.

Yes, it is good to be shaken by such evil. To not be numb to it. To recognize satan's work. BUT, God is at work in even greater ways, no matter how the sin of the world has attempted to cover it up.

He has already used those 20 little lives to change thousands of others. A much greater work then satan could have predicted. Satan never wins.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

three. point. one.

Miles that is. Three point one miles. I can do this right??

It's chili. Not too bad though. I love that my father-in-law's car has working heat. Stupid knob in ours broke over a year ago, and we thought, who needs it living in Texas and Florida, right? Right. Gosh I'm nervous. It doesn't make sense though. I'm really just being dumb. Really dumb. People run more then this every day... for fun. But I need this. I just do. I need an accomplishment more then the dishes or changing a days worth of diapers. Couldn't tell you who for other then me of course.

Gosh, I'm really a little jumpy in my stomach. This is so dumb.

I'm doing good. Enough time for breakfast from Burger King. Some OJ and sausage, egg and cheese crissont. Oh theirs is so much better then Mcd's. Better not eat too much of it though. The OJ hits the spot! The lady at the window wants me to have a nice day... too bad she has no clue I'm about to go torture myself for almost 40 minutes. Man, I hope I can do it in 40 minutes. I hope I can do this without walking.

Lord, if you could just give me this one. Please.

Getting close... gosh, their are lots of people already. He's loud and obnoxious... really?? He drove here from Miami? For this? Yep, he's going to make sure everyone knows it... oh, and off comes his shirt. I'll steer clear of him for sure. Yep, I'm preregistered. Goody bag in hand... sad day. Just a bunch of fliers from sponsors. Could have at least thrown in a Gatorade or something. Unless theirs something I don't know about how dumb it is to run after drinking Gatorade. Gosh, I'm so lame.

Wait, oh, they know me... oh gosh. Don't act dumb or nervous or divulge too much info about how your not going to be able to run this whole thing like a wimp and then your going to cry about it. To late. I need to learn how to filter. Sure I'll run with you... but I won't be able to keep up and I'll simply feel embarrassed, but I did warn them my pace was super slow.

stretch. walk. kill time. pet the pretty golden lab.

There's a six year old boy with his dad. How sweet is that. He's going to remember this forever. And he's going to run faster then me.

Lining up... yep, you said all of that in the three emails you sent. Find the middle area. Don't go to the front, you'll just embarrass yourself. Don't go to the back, you'll set yourself up for failure. Nod to the other girls, set up your music... he said go... don't you dare cross that line until your already jogging.

Every. Step. Must. Be. At. A. Jog.... well at least I started it the way I wanted to.

And look, they are already faster paced then me... that's ok. Don't get caught up in their pace. You've got yours memorized. You know what your breath sounds like. You know what your feet sound like. You know what your hips and knees and ankles and feet feel like at your pace. You've got yourself memorized... stick with it. Don't get caught up in the rush. You've got this. Listen to the words. I love this song. Just sing to it in your head. Your starting off great!

It's beautiful. My chill is almost gone. Just moving. Double check sounds of my breathing... yep. I'm still on my usual pace. Nice.

Gosh, look at their heads bobbing over the bushes way up there around the bend. they are so fast. That's just insane. There's the boy with his dad. Look at him run circles around his dad as if this is nothing! I bet he will get a good nap when he gets home. Maybe I should start my girls off running that young. Maybe. That's if I stick with this... few... this. is. getting....

One mile. done. Boys with water... no, I don't want to even try to grab a cup. I'm good. Make sure to say thank you. Keep on trucking.

Right turn. There's already people on the other side of the street headed up the last mile. She's waving to one. No, two. Take out headphones... I think she's talking to me. Her son! Wow, he's in the lead. Her husband right behind him. How did she end up all the way back here with me. She's so encouraging. She's right. Of course I'm not going to stop jogging. I've got this.

I'm actually going to pass someone. Such a dear old man. He looks as if he's going to fall over. He can barely stand up straight to run... sweating like crazy. He's doing amazing. I want to give him a hug so bad! Wave, call to him that he's doing great. He's got this. thumbs up. I hope he was encouraged. I hope I helped some.

Cows. Madison would love to see the cows. It's such a pretty morning.

There are the girls I started with on the other side of the road. They are not that far ahead. I know I'm close to the other side of the road. I know I'm close to half.

Few... turning... Ok, Lord, I need my second wind. I need it now. There's a sea of people ahead of me. I know I'm not last, but I'm not far from it. I can't really do this. I know it. I've never done more then 2.5 miles and I've only done that twice... over a week ago! This is ridiculous.

Lord, it's nothing to ask you to give me this. It won't effect anything in the grand scheme of things. I need you to show me your going to give me this. I just do.

Another turn.

I'm past half way. Just listen to the music. Sing it in your head. Watch the birds flying. Listen to your breathing. Still on pace. Nice. That's something. Listen to your feet. Feel your body move. No. Never mind. Don't feel your body. Don't pay attention to the details. Just listen to the music.

Right turn... two miles done. Not bad. But I knew I could do two miles. It's going to get harder from here. How's that second wind coming??

Is that?? Yes, yes, it is! that's my car. That's my hubby! He's driving the rout. Oh, don't tear up now, don't loose it now. You still have so far to go. My baby girl is waving. Blowing a kiss, did she catch it?? Take that energy. Take that moment and keep going. Don't get too excited. Listen to my breathing... yes, I'm still on pace.

Water table... ok nice boy... we'll try this. Hmm... getting close... those runners all took water from the kids on the left... poor guy on the right, just wants to help. Point to him... dang, he's holding out a bottle... no. "Cup". Yes. Just in time. Nice job. Don't forget to say thank you... oh stink! Water, control the water... sip... that's good enough. Dump it and trash the cup... few. Just enough to stop the dry throat.

We've got to be close to 2.5... just have to. There are so many people in front of me. So many I can't even see. So many that are already done as if this was nothing to them. Why can't they see it's not nothing to me. I need to get this. I know there are others behind me. Not many, but there are.

Visualize. I'm right in the middle. Bird's eye view. There are just as many behind me as there are in front. Nice. See, you got this, you can keep up. You're ok. Keep that view. Hang onto it...

Big curve. Yes, I know I'm getting there... wait. I hear a car. They are coming up behind me. My family. I love my family. My girl is waving. My baby is chilling in her car seat, along for the drive. Madison is so excited to see me. I can't wait to hug her.

Keep on running. I know I've hit my max achieved. I'm going to break that today. I know I can.

Lord, Please let me have this.

I see it... It's still far but I see the tent top. Here come the trees lining the street. I'm in the area. I have to be at 3 miles... I just have to... curve. It's not just around the curve after all.

I can't believe this. I'm so close and yet I'm not going to make it.

Music. Breath. Still on pace. But for how long??

Another curve. It's not just around that one either. I'm actually not going to make it. It's never going to be just around the curve is it? This is ridiculous.

Being passed again... wait a minute... it's the old guy!! He must have gotten all warmed up because he's running perfect now. Sweating like a pig, but running like he does this every day! Ha! He probably rolled his eyes at my attempt at encouragement. Now I feel really dumb!

Aching. Can't listen to my body anymore. I'm certain I have a blister on a really odd spot on my foot. Stop listening to your body. Don't feel it. Just listen to your breath. Check. Now just listen to the music. Sing in your head.

There's a guy! wait... that's not where we started. Point one mile left... really?? Still?? I'm so close and I'm actually not going to make it. I've beat my best. But it's not what I set out for. It's not going to satisfy me. I have one tenth of a mile left. One tenth. And I'm not going to be able to do it.

Ok Lord, you've got me this close. I need a second wind. I need something. Show me your going to let me have this.

Visualize. Crossing that line with Aaron and the girls to meet you. I'm going to cry. Why is this so emotional for me?? What in the world? Just picture hugs all around. You've got this. That's the goal.

Your doing it. It's there... it really is around this curve.

There they are! But they are a bit in front of the finish line... Ahhh. I can't just scoop her up. I can't just run into Aaron's arms... She's running with me... my sweet little girl. Such a beautiful smile. She's freaking adorable! She's running with me.

There are the girls. Yep, the ones I couldn't keep pace with... really?? They are coming back for me? Oh wow, they have a much larger pace... oh but it kind of feels good on my hips. Here we go...

Check the clock. 35:35. Yes, under 40 minutes.

Stop, breath. No, walk. Walk it off. Turn around. There's my girl. Scoop her up, bring her to the finish line too. She's so excited to run the race with mommy. Hugs. Smiles. Kisses. My baby in my husbands arms, smiling and kicking at the sight of me. He's proud of me.

There's the mom with the campion son. She knew I could do it too.

I've accomplished it. Thank you, Lord. You gave it to me. You let me have it. Such an insignificant thing, but you decided I could have it. Thank you.

Juice table. and they have bananas. God is good.
Now to get home and prep our Thanksgiving dinner. And what a good day for it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Reflections

I look at my sweet babies faces and can't believe I they are mine to cherish, to nurture and raise in this world. It blows me away.

I have the sweetest 2 1/2 year old in the world, and I can't believe for a moment that is a bias opinion. She's never been through terrible two's. She is so verbal it's insane, constantly pulling out words we didn't know she had stored in there and sentences far beyond what I see most her age using. She is a nurturer at heart and is full of compassion. She cries if the dog is in trouble! She is sensitive and curious. She knows what she wants. She is my sweet pea. My amazing little girl with beautiful brown curly hair, hazel eyes, my nose and her daddy's dimples.

So how could I ever love another being as much as I am overwhelmed by how much I love her??

You hear people say it's instant love the minute you meet your sweet child. No matter how that child became yours. And it's unbelievably true!

So when your smitten by your toddler and find yourself overcome by how much and how deeply you love them, and your pregnant, you wonder. Can I possibly love my second child as much?? Will I play favorites, just because this was my first baby and she got the extra "new mommy" love tokens??

And then you see her. You actually see her as your giving birth to her. I know, maybe that's a bit weird, but what an amazing and wondrous moment in time! My body completing for the second time one of the greatest things it was created to do aside from glorifying God, and how was this miracle not glorifying Him! And this tiny little raisin was placed on my chest with all her screaming and crooked nose. It was so crooked! At one point Aaron looked at me and asked if it was going to fix itself later on. I reassured him that surgery would do the trick if it didn't. :)

There wasn't this sudden realization. There wasn't a feeling that washed over me. There wasn't anything extraordinary. Just the joy and busyness of the nurses and midwife. Just the cry of our new baby girl and the excitement shared between Aaron and I as we admired her. But, even without something to draw attention to it, it still happened. I still fell head over heals in love with this little baby girl, as I knew I would.

It's so hard to describe when you try. To put into words how you love them the same, to the same strength, more then anything of this world. Not one more then the other. To the point your overwhelmed when your thinking of it. Overwhelmed to the point of feeling the tingle you get right before your eyes grow moist. Or your smiling ear to ear without even realizing it yet.

Our little smiling infant. Our people loving baby who loves to laugh and giggle at just about everything! I mean everything! She's barely 7 months old and crawling and pulling up to standing. She's so aggressive with finger food even though it hasn't even been quite a month since she started eating solids well. She's playful and moody! She snuggles into me when she nurses and it warms the deep parts of me. She wants what she wants, when she wants it! Our hands will be full with her! She's as bald as can be with a few random strands a few inches long. She also has my nose, which straightened out, and her daddy's dimples.

Her eyes are becoming the same beautiful hazel as her big sisters.

Sometimes I wonder as I play with Eden if Madison wonders if I love her more. Of course at 2 1/2 years old she probably has no concept of that yet, but when the thought pops in my mind I can't help but quickly rebuttal in my brain that I couldn't possibly love one more then the other!

A momma's heart is a strange thing. Strange, and beautiful. Moody and brought to frustrations others may not grasp. Needy for the love and affection only their children can provide. Joyful at the little moments other's didn't see.

I've heard people speak of the love you have for your children the moment they are yours. I've experienced it twice, though I couldn't tell you the "moment" it happened. I just knew it was there. As if it always had been and was just looking for it's way to the surface. I can't explain it, and I can't help but wonder, whenever we are blessed with a third, will it happen all over again? I know it will. I am confident it will be as deep and full as with Madison and Eden. But I can't help but wonder how it could be possible to have even more of a mother's love then I already have! How can it be contained?! It is a mystery.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

something of value

I have wanted to update this for a bit, but just haven't gotten around to it. So, here's a nutshell with a few reflections to share.

In June we left Texas since we were still getting paid from Aaron's compensation package. (They make it sound like a sweet deal with that title and all you "get" with it, but it's really just to glaze over the fact that you lost your job unexpectedly from their mistakes... yes, I'm still bitter and yes, I am still choosing to ignore it instead of deal with it. But at least I recognize it, right??) So we could travel and have a "vacation" without worrying about a paycheck for a bit.

We visited and stayed with a few of Aaron's students along the way in Houston and New Orleans. We were able to visit the French Quarter, which was new for both of us. After a LONG 15 hour drive that was meant to be 12, with a 3 month old and a 2 year old, as well as some marital strife, we finally made it to SW Florida.

We were intending to stay for 3 weeks and then travel up to NC for a few weeks, and finally back to Kentucky to pick up where we left off when this Texas job swept us off our feet. After our shorter then expected tumble head over heals, here we were, bruised from the fall, in SW Florida. Clueless and bitter. We began to see how someone else's mistake was really going to effect us in full force. So much was given up to go in the beginning. We'd have so much more accomplished with Aaron's school if we never went. But how were we to know. Looking back, if we had known it was only going to be a year, we don't know if we would have even gone.... but we don't know that we wouldn't have either. It would have been an entirely different mindset to know up front I guess.

So, after a handful of weeks, we chose to stay in Florida. It's the first time we chose to live somewhere with no real "reason" as to why we were there. I can't begin to express the things we talked about, struggles we tried to work through, feelings and emotions drawn out. All while living with family in cramped spaces, trying to keep the appearance of having it all together in this step. It exhausts me to think about again. I don't think I even know fully what Aaron was going through/dealing with during that time. He was trying to keep from piling more on me, and I was trying to do the same with my feelings and emotions. Yes, it was a lot. It's also why I haven't updated in a bit. I just haven't wanted to think about what our summer looked like for us.

We went back and forth with our decision up until the day we put our first months rent and deposit down on our new place. We just didn't have any strong, good reasons to be anywhere. I had to start working at a day care to help until Aaron found a reliable job. Again, I can't express the emotions this brought out. I enjoyed the work and talking to adults during the day, but I struggled with the girls being in daycare, even though they were in the same building as me. It was bitter sweet as most would say about being a working mom. But God took care of us and after a few months I was able to stop working and stay home again. God has provided through Aaron's job and I have been able to nanny a few days a week for a little extra.

We've lived in our new place for 2 months now. I think we are finally "settled" in. Or at least close. I still get frustrated that we can't just unpack everything and live here with the mentality that we are here to invest and stay for a bit. At the same time, it's hard to live with that mentality when we don't want to be here for a while.

I struggle some with wanting to just be the normal family that doesn't have to think about how much work or effort we are willing to put into moving in because it's just temporary. I don't want to wonder when the next opportunity may come along and we do this all over again. And yet, maybe that opportunity will finally be the one that we can settle in for a while. If that's the case, bring it on! I'm ready! I'm torn between how much we invest here and now, and knowing we just don't know how long this will be for. I don't want to do all this again, and yet, I am expecting it to come at any minute. It prevents me from giving 100% in either direction.

I knew this would be an issue. I knew I would hold back. But I am trying.

I still see effects of someone else's mistakes. Little things overlooked, realized and "fixed" in the best interest of those who made the mistake to begin with. Yes, I am still bitter. When I think about them and where they are all at now, I know they brushed their hands clean and kept operating as though it had never happened. Taking as short a moment as they needed to adjust to their new way of operating. Most didn't blink and eye. They won't know or understand the emotional and mental issues brought out for us. They don't have to know it, so why would they try. I wish they could feel as Aaron did about himself and his abilities, just for a moment. I wish they could experience it so they could do things differently for the next guy they put out. (which I can say knowing they eventually will, since we were not the only ones at this time either.)

No. I'm not going to deal with it yet, so don't encourage me to.

So here we are.

On a lighter note, I really like our new place. It's very open and spacious, and we have a real working fireplace! Of course, we won't need it near as much as I would like for this time of year, but that's ok too. Fall hasn't arrived here yet, and it won't, which makes me a little sad and "home sick". Not really home sick though. Just makes me think a lot about how it "should" feel right now, which is discerned based on memories of things we did this time of year in the weather we "should" be having right now. And I'm so very excited for Thanksgiving.

It's a busy month for me and I'm a little overwhelmed at some deadlines coming up in a matter of days, but we will get there. Even if goals are not achieved. I can't help but feel as though they MUST be met though. As though these accomplishments will prove that something has been productive. Something has value during this season. I need something to have value and productivity where we are at right now. I just do. Even if they are just stupid personal goals and motivations to try something. If they aren't met, no one is going to know but me anyway.

But, I will know. I guess that's the point of personal goals. My OCD perfectionistic self will know. How in the world did a youngest child end up with so much First born traits?! It is my stumbling block and the thorn in my flesh.

Madison is more and more verbal every day... literally. Some of the things she says are incredible. She's just about 2 1/2 and she has yet to go through "terrible twos". She's a very sweet and polite little girl who usually uses her manners. We have our melt downs and tantrums, but nothing I would describe as "terrible". Nor is it all the time. And we can usually have pretty descent talks about them. She absolutely loves anything girly! I love watching her pretend with her dolls and little house with the kitchen. She's pretty incredible. She loves music like no child I have ever seen, but she always has. She plays on the drums after church a lot and can actually keep a beat. She has never just sat there and beat on the drums just to beat on them. She's actually tried to play them, and even adds some singing now and then. I'm pretty sure we are going to have a musician of some sort with her.

Eden is a few days shy of 7 months and she began sitting from laying down on her own 3 weeks ago, before she could sit without support. But she mastered that within a few days and 4 days after that began crawling and pulling up to her knees on the same day. This past week she has been pulling up to her feet and just yesterday started walking her feet in to thing. I'm pretty sure she will be taking solo steps by Christmas. It's insane how much she has learned in the last 3 weeks. She's still as bald as can be and looks way to young to be crawling. We are certain she is going to be super advanced and athletic. She is a mover and a go getter!

Madison is now in a toddler bed as of this week, and loves it. She was in her crib with the one side off, so it was pretty much a big girl bed anyway, but now we are able to put Eden in the crib, which is nice. Eden still refuses to sleep through the night. We've literally tried every trick in the book. She insists on two feedings minimum. 7 months of this is exhausting!! We are hoping to really work on this, but then again, we have been for months and I'm running out of ideas!

We also have a new dog named Daisy. She's a sweet King charleston Cavalier. She's a pretty dog and loves to be right next to you all the time. She's good with the girls and lets them play around with her. She does bark a bit, but we are working on it. She didn't use to beg for food at all, but Madison has been sure to reverse that! We are really trying to work on that now, as she's getting bold enough to snatch food (gently) right from Madison's hands, since she's on her level.

I am really enjoying being home with my girls. I am enjoying watching them grow and change. I'm really REALLY excited that tomorrow is Halloween, mostly because it marks the start of the holiday season to me. And I absolutely LOVE this time of year. I'm pretty excited to have it to look forward to and I can't wait to make it as special as I can. Our family deserves something special, and I really want to pour all I can into making it just that. I know it may mean more to me then to the rest of my family, but they can't argue when they will get to enjoy it too!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Righteous Anger

I have so much anger welling up inside of me today.

It goes beyond a crazy day of stupid directions with incorrect abbreviations, causing over 20 miles of aimless driving with a screaming almost 4 month old. Beyond the chiropractor (NOT doctor) giving my girls the back to school physical needed for preschool by simply listening to their heartbeat and taking Maddie's blood pressure, deciding nothing else on the checklist was applicable since it was preschool and not real school, but the $20 each sure was still applicable.

No, this is a righteous anger. An anger demanding a justice beyond a river of fire and ceaseless screams of terror. A justice I cannot give.

A justice I deserved once.

But I have been bathed in the blood of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and I have inherited the dwelling of the Holy Spirit, who guides me through a rough path of sanctification, urging me to be angry at things that would anger God Himself.

Those things, the ones that bring God to a Devine anger, those are the things I am fuming with now.

Not to me. I am not the one hurt. I am not the one living with the effects, lied to, beat down, distraught, a life completely destroyed, relationships that are suppose to be the most cherished, beyond shattered with lies and deception. For almost ten years and counting.

No. It's not my weight to carry. To struggle through. To decide the next steps. It's not mine to bear.

BUT,
it is mine to share as a sister in Christ. And I am FILLED with fury at today's discoveries.

And I hurt.
My eyes repulsed as I read. The lies willingly spewed forth, efforts to destroy and deceive while building up oneself on a mountain of falsehoods. My mind storming with defense.

If I can but tame my tongue out of necessity, and wisdom.

God asks us to be angry over things He is angry over. But to what do we do with an anger shared with God when we are helpless to move in a way only He can. No matter how passionately we want to.

How hard it is to do nothing at times.

Pray. Trust. Wait. Pray.

I share His anger. Has my anger led me to sin, or will I share his righteous love as well? Will it have a judgement of wrath in the end, or will our sovereign God bring restoration and beauty from ashes? Right now I simply desire to see his wrath bring judgement due. But how much more precious would the restoration be in the end. How much more beautiful and moving would that result be. Can I be patient for it? What if it still never comes? Can I be content with it?

Sharing a righteous anger is difficult. You can't just share the anger without sharing the grace and compassion. The desire for healing. Our flesh desires one or the other immediately. Our spirit has the reality that it takes time and workings beyond the realm of what we see. And my heart fears the patients and prayer will simply be met with destruction in the end, waisting tears, emotions and time.

And yet, somehow, no matter the path, the result, the justice, the grace... no matter how or when it plays out, God will be glorified.

I deeply and passionately pray his glorification comes swiftly and brings restoration to the innocent, revealing deceptions, trust to the deserving.