Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fresh

I just love lists. I love checking things off, accomplishing tasks and projects. I especially love that feeling when you can visibly see what and how much you did.

I love goals. I love figuring out exactly what I'm aiming for and then trying to achieve it. I love the process of life and adapting too so I'm never too concerned when my goals change or I "fail" to achieve them. Usually it's because something more important came along!

So you can imagine, I LOVE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS!! I love contemplating the previous year and dreaming about the upcoming one. I love praying and thinking and setting some goals that I think God has in mind for me.

This year is no different.

Except that where I normally have a list, I feel like this year my goals can all be summed up in one concise statement: In 2012 I want to eliminate my burdens so that on December 31, 2012, I can joyfully look forward to 2013 "lighter".

It really breaks down into 1) aggressively eliminate debt, 2) eliminate some of the literal weight I've gained, and 3) eliminate projects that I've let pile up (and refuse new projects). So if I say "no" to you this next year...it will be after I've carefully considered and prayed about it but I'm ready to live FREE! Free to say YES to God, whenever and however he calls!!

What are your goals? Resolutions?

I'm so excited to see where this year takes it, I know God has some great plans!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Perceptions

I've been reminded lately through my interactions with multiple friends and acquaintances that I think differently than most people I know.

It's hard to explain since I'm not really an optimist. I am very realistic. For instance, I don't get my hopes up with much. If you assume the worse, than you can be pleasantly surprised. But if you get your hopes up, you're often left disappointed.

And yet, I inevitably give people the benefit of the doubt and end up having the best days thanks to my interactions with random strangers.

I hope I make their day better too.

Here's what I know. When I catch myself with a serious face, I'll smile. Even if its for no "real" reason other than I want whoever is driving by me to see me happy. I hope it's contagious!

Why don't you try an experiment: SMILE while you talk, shop, drive, etc. and see what happens to you and those around you! Maybe your boring, blah or even bad days will turn into great days too! :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

WOF

I was able to attend Women of Faith this year! I love getting a chance to spend the day/weekend with other women and learn more about being a woman of God. I'm finally getting around to reviewing my notes and wanted to process them here:)

Patsy Clairmont: Every morning say three things. 1) YES- to God. Let the day be his from the very beginning. 2) THANK YOU- to God. Start every day with an attitude of gratitude. 3) NO- to people. Listen for God's leading but don't feel bad or guilty about saying "no".

How you act/react is your witness. People are watching you and making a choice for God based on your actions and reactions. Especially to hard things that happen to you or in your life.

In a multitude of words, there is sin.

God has designed you with a will that is stronger than your emotions. Your emotions do not have a brain and can not think, they are meant to help us process things but they are NOT capable of communicating the truth. You CAN act in a way different than how you feel. Our emotions often give us incorrect information.

Andy Andrews: We are all in, coming out of, or headed into a crisis.

You are going to get pushed into the pool. How are you going to act WHEN (not if) someone pushes you into the pool.

God's principles ALWAYS work. If you follow principles, you can be faster in your reactions. You don't have to pray about every little thing. Principles broaden our firm ground (ex. Do not steal, you don't have to pray about cheating on your taxes).

Seek wisdom: Be concerned about your associations. Who are you hanging out with. The people we hang out with create our normal.

In a marriage, if you were alike- one of you would be unnecessary.

There is hope. You are still here. You are still alive. Your purpose has not been fulfilled. There is still something you need to accomplish.

No one really cares how we feel. They care how we ACT. The way you act is directly related to the amount of good things in your life. (BEING a good friend creates friends in your life). God blesses actions. (Feeding the birds but not putting the worm in their mouth).

Good things happen to you because of how you act when things are going well. GREAT things happen to you because of how you act when things aren't going well. (By the way you act, you completely control the cookie flow in your life).

I'm sorry is not the same as asking for forgiveness. Saying I'm sorry implies that it was an accident. Asking for forgiveness accepts responsibility for consciously making a poor choice.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Boom

One thing I don't do well: Express what I'm feeling without blowing up. 

I hate to say that I stuff my feelings, because I'm pretty quick to let people know what I'm thinking. BUT I do know I think I can do more than I really can AND that I'm bad at knowing when I've reached my breaking point...until I blow right through it.

I blew it tonight. Big Time. 

So now I try to come down from it all. Grovel and apologize yet still learn from it and try and prevent it from happening again. 

It's going to be a tired day tomorrow!

Babies

So many new babies.

I can't believe how sad I am that I'm not pregnant. I just didn't see these ugly emotions coming. Working with God on it though. Trusting his timing and his ways.

When we decided to try for a baby (or more aptly quit trying NOT to have one), I was somewhat hopeful that I couldn't get pregnant. Now I can't imagine life without my Griffin and want more so that he has siblings to play and fight with. Pax is only half-time and not permanent at that. Griffin is so bored without his Paxey, his Bro-sin (Brother + cousin), his playmate and best friend.

Lately I've started giving over to God the method as well as the timing of baby #2. We've always said we were open to adoption and I meant it. I know hubs means it too.

Such a hard thing to fully put in God's hands. I'm still hoping and praying for soon:)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wasting away

Time. I'm wasting way too much of it. On facebook. Again.

I took a week off awhile back and it was awesome.

Thinking and praying. Hmmmmm.....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Year's resolution #1

I want to say "no" more. I want to be less busy.

But a lot of my motivation is so that I can actually get more done around my house. More of my projects started and finished.

And I wonder, I pray, that God would make my motives pure. That I would not miss his work, his leading, with people in order to focus on tasks.

But I'm feeling antsy to do a deep full-house clean. And in the last year, I most certainly have not been checking things off my to-do list!

And we're trying (always) to do better and be more financially responsible and so many of my projects require cash. Not a lot, but it does add up. I need to prioritize the projects so that when I start earning the "big bucks" during the long-term maternity leave I'll be covering from Feb-June, I can get at least a couple done.

The biggest project will be to save for baby #2 though. I'm praying and waiting and trusting God on that:) He's already making me wait longer than I wanted too but I know his timing is always best.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Roller coasters

My poor emotions. They are just riding a roller coaster and they have no idea how to get off. Newly pregnant friends, friends expecting any day, fresh new beautiful babies, babies having open heart surgery (www.masongarka.com). And that's just on the baby front. Happy, jealous, worried. Up, down, and all around.

Both the hubs and I are working lots which doesn't leave us a lot of family time. He's lucky if he gets to spend 1 hour with the toddler awake. Kinda makes me glad we ended up co-sleeping, we're at least getting snuggles...lots and lots of those. The last couple nights have been back to poor sleeping. The good new on that...since I moved the crib into our room (sidecar arrangement), I've been taking more naps and going to bed earlier because I simply fall asleep while waiting for the kid to do so too! Yesterday I was asleep by 7pm!

And I am struggling with how to love and serve him and the kid, patiently, humbly and kindly. Being a working mom is way harder than I thought it would be. Not because I'm actually doing too much but because I feel so un-understood. I know that's not a word but misunderstood doesn't seem to convey the right meaning. I simply mean, I feel like there's no understanding of how hard it is to feed a baby 3-5 times a night (it's been over a year since I slept longer than 3 hours at a time), work all day, pick the kid (or kids) up from daycare, come home and squeeze in quality time with kid/kids, clean and make dinner, clean up and get ready for the next day, do bath time and bed time. Is it any surprise I've only worked out like 10 times in the last year? Or that I'm a month behind on my bible reading? I'm sure I'm neglecting him and he feels the same way (un-understood). Now I just pray about what I need to do and let God worry about him. I usually just end up picking a fight and saying hurtful things when I try to fix the situation:)

God is good and this too shall pass. I'm going to go climb into bed with the baby, hope daddy joins us soon!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Battle

Battling emotions today. But I'm reminded of what Patsy Clairmont said this weekend:

GOD HAS GIVEN YOU A WILL THAT IS STRONGER THAN YOUR EMOTIONS!!!

I CAN ACT IN A WAY DIFFERENT THAN I FEEL!!!

My emotions, my feelings, have been hijacked by my significant other today. You know when they have a bad day and vomit their emotions all over you and its so hard to maintain your equilibrium. Yep, today has been just like that. So my will is battling my emotions.

Standing firm on the TRUTH. I am God's beloved daughter and HE has got me, my family and our finances and future in HIS capable, loving, merciful hands.

Take that Satan. Take that feelings.

Love this song from Chris Tomlin,

Water You turned into wine
Open the eyes of the blind
There’s no one like You
None like You
Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There’s no one like You
None like You

CHORUS
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God… 

Into the darkness you shining
Out of the ashes we Rise
There’s no One like You
None like You.

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God… 
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God… 

BRIDGE
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against? 
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against? 
What can stand against?

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God… 
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God… 

And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against? 
And if Our God is for us, then who can ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against? 
Then what can stand against?
Then what can stand against?

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God… 
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Women of Faith

I was blessed to spend the last 2 days at the Women of Faith conference when it came to Seattle. I was desperately in need of some spiritual food and my soul feels rested, fed, loved, encouraged, convicted and challenged. I'm too sleepy tonight to digest much but plan on spending some quality time reviewing my notes and my heart!

Plus, in a very clear answer to my "I-need-more-sleep-prayers" I know what I need to do. Stop DOING things and GO TO BED. Early. When Griffin goes down. It's not the answer I wanted. What I wanted was a baby that miraculously started sleeping all night until 7 or 8am so I could do everything I wanted and still get plenty of sleep.

The problem is how angry, impatient, grumpy, frustrated and mean I have become while chronically sleep deprived and stubbornly unchanging in my obsessions to get everything done before I go to bed. And I've failed to prioritize quiet times and workouts- two things I desperately need for my physical and emotional health.

Well, last night I fell asleep at 8pm when I put Griffin down. And even though he woke me up every 2-ish hours I woke feeling rested and cheerful this morning. And I never got angry and frustrated with his crying, tossing and turning, and nursing!! And it dawned on me that if I start going to bed with him and getting some good rest...and he starts sleeping better, I could actually get my quiet times and workouts done in the morning!

Again, not the answer I want since I'm a natural night owl but it's the grown-up-pull-up-your-big-girl-panties-and-deal-with-it answer I need:) So with all that said, it's past my bedtime! Good-night and may God bless you with renewal and refreshment for your life and soul!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I've got nothing

I'm completely restless. Unable to sleep, despite being exhausted. And I'm feeling like all my feelings are completely ridiculous. Like all my "problems" are first world problems and most of the world would consider my blessed beyond measure.

Looking forward to Women of Faith this weekend. I need a good, baby-free, event with God.

Out of the heart, the mouth speaks. And there has been a lot of ugly stuff coming out of me lately.

Motherhood and life are beating me to a pulp right now. God is definitely reminding me that I'm just human and a fallen, broken one at that.

Wish I could sleep and just wake up happy. And rested.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Time

Since having Griffin I've watched a lot less TV. And I haven't missed it. It frees up a lot of my time to keep up the house, cook meals, play with the boys.

Lately though, I've been realizing how much of my time the internet eats up. Especially facebook. I'm just thinking and praying about how far to take it. Keep an account and just limit my time or get rid of it all together.

It's a nice tool for keeping in touch...except that I'm wondering if I'm really keeping in touch. All I'm really getting is superficial status updates.

And I've been missing my friends lately.

So I think I'll send an email and get the real story!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Foundations

Some friends of ours have hit a rough patch in their new marriage and the hubs and I have been doing our best to help them out.

I'm just reminded of how hard marriage is and how much you have to work to have a great one. It doesn't matter who you marry, to have a great marriage requires hard work, lots of compromise, and even more forgiveness. But it's so worth it. Seven years in and I love my hubby MORE than when we tied the knot. We have more shared experiences and stuff now...not to mention the kid. But he has also done so much to prove to me his loyalty and faithfulness and grown my love for him.

You see, I don't believe in falling in love. That implies you can fall out of it. Love is a choice. Sometimes the best way to tell your spouse you love them is simply by not leaving.

Love is patient. Which means the person we love will try our patience, requiring US to be patient.
Love is kind. Which means the one we love will be unkind, requiring US to be kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast.
Love isn't proud.
Love doesn't dishonor others.
Love isn't self-seeking.
Love isn't easily angered.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects.
Love always trusts.
Love always hopes.
Love always preservers.
Love never fails.

I have a long way to go until I'm good at this, but its what I'm aiming for. It's what I'm praying for, for my marriage and those of all my friends. I'm so grateful for a husband who is willing to compromise, ask and offer forgiveness, and kiss and make-up. He's a keeper and I'm a lucky woman!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Again!??

Blindsided again.

This time by jealousy.

I have now lost count of how many pregnant friends I have.

And I want to join them SO BAD. I know God's timing is perfect.

But MY timing says it should have happened already so that Ryan would have the summer off with me. Griffin and sibling would be close in age (and of course therefore turn out to be best friends).

Never thought I'd be the one jealous of my pregnant friends. God sure is teaching this Momma a few lessons. All at the same time! Sheesh...if he's not careful, I'll be perfect soon. HAHAHAHA!

Just kidding. God is good, all the time! And this Momma is craving a baby...another one. I must be crazy:)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I-dentity

I've read enough books to know I'm normal...but getting here and being here is still a shock. Yet another experience I thought only other people dealt with.

I'm talking about feeling like you're losing yourself, your "you-ness", your identity in mommyhood.

My husband, totally innocently, recommended that I drop something from my schedule because I'm so busy...and sometimes that results in me feeling overwhelmed. Not always, but occasionally.

Poor guy didn't know what was coming.

It was a therapeutic conversation since it helped me verbalize what I'm feeling. And it's helped both of us figure out how to help me!

Now I know that I need to hold onto some of the things I love FOR ME. And I can ask the hubs to help me keep them. Because a happy wife equals a happy life! LOL!

But seriously, becoming a mother seriously affects every aspect of a woman's life. You give up your body to feed them, your sleep to comfort them, your work (however briefly or long) to nurture them. You give up showering alone, making dinner with 2 hands, doing anything quickly and efficiently. You literally have to fight (the little one and sometimes the big one) for quiet time, a work out, a pedicure, time in the yard...and I guess what I just realized is that I NEED some of that, enough to ask for it, fight for it, and force it to happen.

I NEED an hour a week at The Farm, weeding, planting, picking, sweating. I NEED to make dinner (occasionally) without someone whining and crying at my feet. I NEED a long hot bath that the kiddo sleeps all the way through. I NEED an outlet where I can use my professional skills and adult vocabulary.

I made it almost 11 months without realizing this. Without being able to articulate it. I'm so burned out from putting Griffin's needs first, I'm glad I made this realization before I actually went crazy.

I'm excited to have Ryan on my team. I'm excited that Griffin is getting more closer to independence (from me) everyday. And I'm excited to intentionally start adding things FOR ME back into my days, weeks, and months. Who knows...maybe I'll end up well balanced before baby #2 comes along and messes it all up again?!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall

This is the first time I have ever been excited for less daylight. I've always loved fall- the wind, the storms, the leaves changing color and getting to pull my sweaters out but I've always hated the lack of sunshine and daylight. This year, I'm remembering how well Griffin slept 10.5 months ago. I know it was mostly due to being a newborn but I'm also hopeful that the return to early sunsets and late sunrises will translate into longer stretches of sleep for me. That and he got his 2 upper middle teeth finally! We've been waiting on those suckers for months!!

Who knows, maybe being well-rested is in my near future!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Leaving, on a jet plane

We're headed to Minnesota on Tuesday for Uncle Albert's funeral. My mom, my sister, Griffin, Makenna and me.

This is the first time we'll be separated from Ryan by more than a short drive for more than a day or two.

And I'm slightly panicked that a major natural disaster is going to happen and keep us from getting back to daddy.

Possible, yes. Probable, no. Still, I don't think I like this and I don't think we'll be making a habit of it.

Yes, Ryan and I can fight with the best of them. We both drive each other nuts occasionally but just the thought of not being able to come home on Saturday or being separated indefinitely is causing me emotional and physical angst.

Praying for peace tonight. And rest. And safe travels. And a husband and home to come home to as planned on Saturday.

In a way, it's nice to know I still love him so much that I can't bear the thought of losing him:)! 7.5 years and still going strong!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Goodbye

Tonight marks the passing of my Uncle Albert. He has been battling heart failure and a whole host of complications for a long time now and earlier today, he made the decision to take himself off life support. His family and many friends surrounded him with worship until he was gone. What a beautiful picture of the body of Christ.
I actually only met my Uncle a handful of times. He lived in what I would consider rural Minnesota and didn't enjoy traveling much so I only saw him when we visited out there and a couple of times in Wyoming when he made the trip for family reunions. Despite how few times I met him, he is big in my memory. Both literally and figuratively. He was a big man of German decent and dwarfed me as a child. It's part of what led to his heart problems. But more than that he was a BIG man. He had a big faith, a big smile, and the biggest laugh. What I remember most about being around Uncle Albert is the laughter. He never took himself too seriously even though he took plenty of issues seriously.
He leaves a wife of 40 years, my Aunt Ruth Ann- my mother's sister. We are a close family and I ache for her as a widow. I know she loved her man and will miss his daily presence and leadership. His daughter, Marilee, is hands down my favorite cousin. I know it's probably mean of me to have a favorite but we are just 1 year and 18 days apart in age and even though we only get to see each other every few years, its like we've never been apart. She's like the big sister I never had and I admire her greatly. I hurt for her now and for lost dreams, her daddy won't be there to walk her down the aisle when that day comes. Or to hold her babies. But they will know their Grandfather because Marilee is every bit Albert's daughter. She is the reason I feel I knew him so well with so few meetings. He also left his son Nathan, wife Amber, and their two sons, Connor and Benjamin. At 3.5 years younger than me, I've never known Nathan like I have Marilee but I know that he too mirrors the best parts of his father and so his sons will grow up knowing their Grandfather.

Good-bye Uncle Albert, until we meet again. You lived well, loved well and will be greatly missed.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pork and Cabbage

In an effort to waste less time on facebook, I'm in the process of simplifying my account. Removing pictures and information that don't really need to be there. I'm hoping as I waste less time there I can spend more of it here! Both on this blog, sorting through my thoughts that are clouding my head and on our family blog, remembering Griffin's milestones.

I worked my first day as a substitute this year today. Just a half-day in a remedial reading class. And I LOVED it. Every minute of it. Except the part where I really needed to use the restroom and I still had an hour to go until a break:)

I am SO blessed to have a job I love so much. It's incredible to look back over my life and the long and windy road I took to end up here. I see God's fingerprints all over it now but never would have guessed I would end up as a middle school substitute. And loving it!

Going back to the theme of simplifying though. If I'm going to add working outside the home on top of everything else I do, that's going to be the name of the game. In anticipation, I made a menu for the month and did most of the grocery shopping (except produce and a few forgotten items). Tonight we enjoyed a yummy crockpot meal, here you go!


Pork and Cabbage Dinner (crockpot)
2lbs pork steaks, chops or shoulder (I only used 1.5 lbs and it was just fine)3/4 cup chopped onion (I just used one large onion)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 2 Tbsp dried parsely (I just sprinkled dried parsley in until I thought it looked good)
4 cups shredded cabbage (I just chopped and entire head)
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp caraway seeds (I just eye-balled the spices)
1/8 tsp allspice
1/2 cup beef broth
2 cooking apples, cored and sliced 1.4 inch thick

1. Place pork in slow cooker. Layer onions, parsley, and cabbage over pork.
2. Combine salt, pepper, caraway seeds, and allsice. Sprinkle over cabbage. Pour broth over cabbage. 
3. Cover. Cook on Low 5-6 hours (We cooked it almost 8 and it was just fine)
4. Add apple slices 30 minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

One of "those" days

I know that I know people who will relate to this and know exactly what I'm talking about.

Today has been one of those days where I simply can not control my emotions, get out of this funk, and off the roller coaster.

It hasn't been a bad day. In fact it's been a pretty good day.

But I want to cry, have cried, and don't have any sort of motivation to speak of.

And I had such big plans for today. A giant to-do list of things that would be much easier to get done on a day when it's just me and Griffin (instead of Timmy and/or Pax in the mix).

What will probably happen is I'll snap out of it just in time to not be able to sleep tonight:)

I hate these days. Thankfully they don't happen often!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Spoiler Alert

Just finished watching a movie, Nothing But the Truth (2008), and despite being so tired climbing the stairs is hard- I can't sleep. My mind is all a whirl and my heart is sad.

The movie is based on a reporter refusing to reveal her source. Her source just happened to name an undercover CIA agent. So the reporter spends almost a full year in jail, being held in contempt of court and standing her ground. Somewhere around the 300 day mark, the CIA agent is shot and killed in her own driveway by a far-right political activist. The reporter loses her husband and her own son fighting this battle. THEN she ends up spending 1-2 more years in prison for criminal contempt of court. Although I guessed it earlier, the movie waits until the very end to reveal to you that her source is actually the CIA agent's six year old daughter.

I'm laying awake wondering if I would be willing to protect another child at the cost of my own. I know the story is fictional but the reporter makes a comment, after the killing of the agent, that pierced my mommy's heart. She said something along the lines of, "I can not give up my source and have them forever publicly branded as the cause of the agent's death. That would destroy my source, of that I am sure."

Wow.

This coming after last night's post where I feel like I branded all instigators as "bad". There is always a time in which the correct and appropriate thing to do is stand and fight. I think about all the civil rights activists who risked so much, and the political activists of numerous revolutions who have changed and are changing the world.

I'm just left wondering what would I find important enough to fight for that would require me giving up Griffin. I am so in love with this little man! I would automatically, without thinking about it for a minute, give up my life for his. But is there anything out there that I would give up time with him (3 years in jail/prison) for?!

Part of my heavy heart is because no one in this story won. The reporter ended up divorced and losing her son. The CIA agent ended up divorced and losing custody of her daughter before being killed. AND the supreme court sides with the federal government instead of the reporter saying that in the case of national security, first amendment rights are not protected. (Or something like that).

Yeesh. How do you sleep after all that.

This is why people either love or hate to watch movies with me. I get so into them (just like my books) that I react, often very emotionally...and even more often, out loud. I had a friend in college who insisted on seeing all 3 Lord of the Rings movies with me after he saw the first one with me because he described it as being on a roller coaster sitting next to me.

I feel like I need to mourn for these two fictional families.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gentleness

I've been praying for wisdom on how to best teach Griffin to sleep through the night because I simply can not let him cry it out. Many, many, many great parents that I know have used cry it out and recommend it. But I can't do it.

When I hear the advice, "They may cry for 2 or 3 hours the first couple nights but then they'll go right to sleep", it physically makes me hurt. I can not imagine leaving my baby alone to cry for 3 hours until he finally gives up and goes to sleep.

There HAS to be a more gentle way to teach him how to sleep all night in his own bed.

Part of our problem is that he's just like me. Busy. So he plays HARD all day, stopping just to snack, and then likes to eat all night. He doesn't wake up to play but he does eat every 1-2 hours at night....STILL. (Although, in all fairness, this is a recent development. Awhile back he was going every 3-4 hours).

A couple weeks, maybe a month ago, I decided I was going to force him into a day-time eating schedule so that he wouldn't be as hungry at night and sleep longer/better. I quickly realized that was a battle I didn't want to fight. To get him to eat a real meal, not just a snack, during the day, I have to lie down with him in a  quiet dark room for 15-30 minutes. Time I don't have when I'm caring for a 2 year old and/or a 4 month old. Maybe if I only had one kid, this would work. Despite my quick abandonment of this plan, something awesome resulted. We now have our first, albeit very loose, schedule. Griffin "sleeps" from 7pm-7am, with a nap around 9am and 3pm. Of course all of those times can vary from 1-3 hours but in general my day will follow something close to that schedule.

So although it didn't go as planned, I do feel like I prayed for and listened to God's guidance for this particular baby. Tonight as I was putting Griffin to sleep, I felt like I heard that same voice guiding me in the next "plan".

I'm going to try to start forcing Griffin into a night eating schedule. I'm going to give up on the hope of a full nights sleep for now and try to only feed him every 3-4 hours at night. This takes some major commitment on my part because feeding him ensures that I (me, mommy) gets back to sleep the quickest. But if I'm willing to commit my time I am capable of getting him back to sleep by singing to him, rubbing his back, and just letting him cry.

The difference between what I do and cry it out...I'm with him and comforting him. I never leave him for long stretches of time. As long as he's laying down and cooperating, I will comfort him- read to him, sing, hum, rub his back, etc. If he sits up or stands up, I tell him "It's bedtime Griffin, good-night, I love you." Then I walk out of his room and shut the door and wait 2-3 minutes (or go do a load of laundry, etc). Then I go back in and lay him down (without picking him up) and start the whole process again. The most I've ever had to leave his room is 4 times.

So, I fully expect something awesome to come from this. I would also wager that its not what I would expect. But he is old enough and big enough to start learning and understanding that his crib is a safe place and that mommy will ALWAYS hear and respond to his cries.

I love this adventure!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rough waters

I had big plans for August...so the waters got rough and I'm hanging on for dear life!

Not a single workout.

Way too much emotional eating.

A lot of anger.

Some tears.

Smiles too.

But man its been rough.

Hoping things start to calm down. Praying for guidance and rest.

It's been a long time since I've felt this raw. And inadequate. And confused. And mad. And far from God.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Off to a rough start

I told you I hate the word "diet". And for good reason. It's not maintainable if its not a life-style change. And changing your life-style isn't easy. Especially when you've bitten off more than you can chew and you're too busy to adequately prepare healthy meals and snacks (appropriate analogy wouldn't you say:).

So, on day two of my August "diet", I failed miserably with food and didn't get a workout in either.

I'm going to try and do something new with this though. I'm going to try not to care and get right back to it tomorrow. Usually, I have to wait until the next Monday or 1st of the month or whatever. I like to make "fresh" starts and do things perfectly. I know, I know, that's totally unrealistic so...

here's to tomorrow. A fresh start!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I don't like....

Things I don't like for the month of August:
Cake. Cookies. Ice cream. Soda. Late nights. Laziness. Chips. Deep fried foods. Things out of a box.

Things I love for the month of August:
Vegetables. Early bedtimes. Early mornings. Workouts. Salads. Water.

I hate the word "diet" but that's what I'm putting myself on. For the month of August. I figure it's a short enough time period I won't be tempted by all the "bad" stuff because of an irrational fear that if I don't eat THIS piece of cake, I will never get another chance to eat cake my ENTIRE LIFE. And hopefully it's a long enough period that I can see some results.

I hate diets. It needs to be a life style. Unfortunately my mostly organic and fairly healthy life style isn't helping me shed the baby weight. I lost 25lbs the first week and nothing since. Granted, it's been 9 months of pretty much exclusively breastfeeding and little sleep and I've pumped and donated almost 900oz (my goal is 1,000 before we wean!). But enough is enough. And maybe, if I can get rid of 10lbs, I'll stop snoring which drives the hubby crazy.

So goodnight to July (in 15 minutes). Hello to the August me:)

Wish me luck! Or feel free to encourage me:)!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

As yourself...

I asked my pastor his take on this whole "me time" and putting yourself first culture...and here's what he had to say:

I think the Bible comes at this from the presumption of "me first" thinking. So when it commands us to serve others, it does so from the assumption that we naturally and usually put ourselves first. Note how the great command is stated: "love your neighbor AS your self". The call to husbands, "love your wives AS your own bodies". And the rationale, from Eph 5:29, "after all, no one ever hated their own body, but feeds and cares for it..." And from Phil 2:4 Paul says, "Each of you should look NOT ONLY to your interests but also the interests of others." Again, the assumption is, we have selfish interests, and these are valid - you love yourself, you feed yourself, you look after your own interests. This not condemned - now, do that for others, the Bible says.

The idea of "me time" or putting yourself first, often comes as a reaction to a dysfunctional application of the Bible's call to serve others. In fact, if you look inside it, a lot of serving others is compulsive and co-dependent, and thus is fundamentally SELFISH in nature. IE, I serve to the point of exhaustion and overwork so that I get ___(fill in the blank). So we're back again to this idea of loving others AS you would yourself. 

You WANT people to nurture and care for themselves. The people who don't, become a drain on the system. They expect you to work for them and provide for them etc. They are adult children. Note some of our homeless crowd - they don't love themselves at all, and thus take on the dependency of children... 'fix me!" It would be more loving of others, if they did what God considers a fundamental obligation of stewardship: care for the first life God gave you to care for - you! Thus it is loving of OTHERS to care for myself, giving myself proper physical, emotional and spiritual care. It is a FIRST responsibility from which i can meet all others.

Of course, in the extreme, care for myself can lead to selfish preoccupation and that's why God says, "not just you, but your neighbor too". So "me time" is in one sense assumed by Scripture, and thus usually the abuse of "me time" is the main problem addressed. There is a goodness in looking after your own interests (which Paul never condemns, Phil 2:4) and if you don't, ironically, there is a sense in which you are imposing on another's interests, thus not really loving them. (Think of the toll a haggard 'over serving' spouse takes on their family) And usually, there's a selfish reason behind self neglect.

So we're back again to this: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Rick Thiessen)

Not bad, eh?

Like I said about complaining, ultimately in my book, it all comes down to your attitude. And mine has been in serious need of adjusting. It's not that "me time" is bad or evil. It's that demanding it and refusing to go without it, isn't biblical either.

It's all about your heart!! Are you loving God? Are you loving yourself? Are you loving others? Without love you are just making a loud and obnoxious noise! Or in my world, you're just a whiny, grumpy wife and mother:)

So what I need to do, is continue to ground myself in God's word so that I know how to love myself and others. Thankfully, God does not hold back wisdom, help and guidance from those that seek Him!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

31

Have you ever noticed how you don't miss something until it's gone? And how you can come to expect something, even something that may not be best for you. Do you ever feel like you hear that still small voice asking you, "Who's wisdom are you listening to?"

One of the biggest indicators for me that I'm listening to the world or my culture, instead of God, is my attitude. When I get selfish, nasty, grumpy, whiny, needy...it's usually because I'm wrong. I think this is one of those times.

Lately I've been feeling overworked and underpaid. Griffin isn't exactly thanking me yet for feeding him all night long, changing his nasty bum, and in general being at his constant beck and call. And my hubby is a teacher on summer break. So at times it feels like I'm the only one still working. (Sidenote, nothing could be farther from the truth. Ryan is AWESOME. He cooks, cleans, works hard, takes care of his body, soul, and spirit. He is an incredible friend, son, brother, father and teacher too. He is slow to anger, thinks of others, calm and cool, musical, intelligent, faithful and loyal. I could go on and on but we're talking about feelings right now, not facts.) I'm sure everyone has felt this way at some point. I think it's normal for us to feel like we're the only one pulling our weight. Overworked and underpaid.

But what I think I hear God whispering to my heart is, "Where in MY Word do you ever see it prescribed to be selfish, put yourself first, take what you need, act entitled to anything, let alone fairness, and in general have a nasty attitude because you're not getting what you 'deserve'." God is reminding me that HE has shown me MERCY and GRACE. And I am therefore to go and do the same thing. As a follower of Christ, I am called to sacrifice and service. With a good attitude. With a grateful attitude.

Jesus modeled for me a servant's heart and attitude. He who should have been served, came to serve and save. THAT is the wisdom I need to be listening to. Not what my culture tells me. That I deserve "me time" everyday. And if I don't get it, I'm allowed to be grumpy, irrational, and rude. His example doesn't look like me getting angry because another day has passed without me getting a workout in. Or annoyed because I didn't get a shower until 9pm. Or short-tempered because the baby is grumpy...again! Or me expecting "fairness" in the house work.

I specifically feel like God is telling me that the cultural wisdom of "taking care of yourself first so that you can take care of others" is false. I simply do not see this anywhere in His word. I don't see it modeled by Jesus or any of the disciples. What I see modeled by Jesus and his closest followers, is prioritizing "God time". And wisdom. Jesus said no sometimes. He delayed his visit to Lazarus, and instead of healing him, resurrected him.  What I think God is saying to me is, "Prioritize ME. Then I will worry about you. I will ensure you get everything you need. Food, clothing, quiet time, game time, friend time, etc. Follow my son's example and when you're up for the early morning feeding, have your quiet time with me. Start your day with me. And I will give you what you need. You may not need a workout, time on facebook, or to get the house cleaned. Trust me and I really will give you everything you really need."

Ugh. So simple, yet so hard. So in my 31st year (today just happens to be my birthday) I want to become more like the Proverbs 31 woman. THIS is what God says a noble (NIV), virtuous (KJV), good (MSG), worthy (ASV), capable (GNT), excellent (ESV) and strong (WYC) woman/wife looks like. THIS is the wisdom I need to listen to. (For other translations, www.biblegateway.com)

Proverbs 31 (NIV)
The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
 2 Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
   Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
3 Do not spend your strength[a] on women,
   your vigor on those who ruin kings.

 4 It is not for kings, Lemuel—
   it is not for kings to drink wine,
   not for rulers to crave beer,
5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
   and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
6 Let beer be for those who are perishing,
   wine for those who are in anguish!
7 Let them drink and forget their poverty
   and remember their misery no more.

 8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
   for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
   defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
 10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Can a leopard change it's...stripes?

This week I've been trying an experiment. I've been trying to force my 8 month old into a schedule. I can hear your laughter now. I know, I know...Mission Impossible 4?! We've never had a schedule, although I would have loved one and planned on having one. But 44 hours of labor and sheer exhaustion reduced my abilities to keep track of time, feedings, and poopy diapers to that of a, well, a sleep deprived new mommy. I'm surprised they let you drive. And here it is, 8 months later and I'm not functioning much better. Hence, the above mentioned experiment.

As far as the experiment, things seem to be going okay. Or not really going at all. I just don't really care enough to force it to happen. I like my baby sleeping with me. I don't mind that he's so busy during the day, he eats all night long. I've figured out how to sleep through most night feedings. It's really only the nights he wakes up every 20-30 minutes that kill me. Teething sucks....and is such a slow process!

What I've really learned this last week is that what I need to do is change my spots. I don't like it but the reality is, this night owl needs to become an early bird.

Somehow, I have to figure out a way to go to bed earlier. It's not that I don't have the chance. Griffin is usually asleep by 7pm or 8pm, sometimes 9 but that's when I want to play. Get online, goof off, write, read, etc.

I'm sure you've read, heard, or seen the example of someone filling a jar first with big rocks (life's important things), then smaller pebbles (the slightly less important things), then sand (the even more less important things), then finally water (the things you can do without but because you put the big rocks in first, you still have time to do....like alphabetize your dvds...or something like that).

Currently my only big rock needs to be sleep. If I can just get more/enough of that, I will be able to figure out what my other big rocks are. I just tried to type a list and can't even narrow it down/decide. So here's to being even more boring than I already am. Since God gave me a baby that thinks it's time to party every morning at 6am. Yippee. Skippy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dizzy

I recently read a book that has my head spinning. Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl. All you need to do is google it to see how controversial it is. When I started the book, I was so excited because it's very counter-cultural and takes a hard look at submission for the wife from a biblical perspective. I even mentioned to a leader in our church about starting a women's study using the book. After finishing the book my review is short and sweet. "Don't waste your time." There's a little bit of really great truth in there, but a whole lot (and I mean a ton) of red flags. This book MUST be read with a prayerful and discerning heart, and preferably with additional guidance and advice from other mature women of faith.

Now, with that disclaimer, I am inspired to explore submission and God's design for marriage more thoroughly. Just yesterday I cracked open The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. So far, so good.

I just feel like, God created me with my fiesty and strong personality, and there just HAS to be a way for me to be respectful, submissive, loving, and honoring and still stay true to myself.

But I'm also willing to change...if need be, and I think the need is be:) I love my hubby dearly and I think our marriage is in a pretty good place but I have this haunting feeling that it could be even better if I would get over myself, figure out what God wants from me, and then become that woman.

Such a daunting challenge.

I'm wondering what books on submission, respect, strong women, biblical marriage, etc you've read? And why should I read them? And if you go to AC3 or live in the Marysville/Arlington area, are you interested in working through some of these with me? This would be a serious group, with time commitments, reading homework, and some serious heart-work going on.

Leave a comment or message me your recommendations and if you're interested in meeting with me, your contact info.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What a girl wants...

A recent decision by a boy just broke a dear friend's heart and I made a sudden realization.

What every girl dreams of, from the time she is 2 or 3, is not her wedding day. Although many of us do or did that too. It's being picked.

We want one person to pick us over all others.

We want to be loved SO MUCH by one person, that they are willing to give up everything for us.

That's it. Boys, we really are that simple.

We don't need you to actually give it all up for us. That's totally unhealthy and frankly co-dependent. But we want you to be WILLING to give it all up. We want you to be willing (and ready) to defend our honor, stop a bullet, shove us out of the way, pick us over your xbox, your old girlfriends, and even in some cases- your own family.

I promise you, you make a girl feel like you would do all that for her and she will be the best thing that's ever happened to you. And whatever it is that boys need, she'll make sure you get it. Respect, all yours. A life long loyalty, all yours. Sex, you bet.

The sad part is that all boys inherently know this. Some maybe only subconsciously but they all know it and some use their power for evil, not good. Instead of healthy marriages and beautiful relationships, these boys leave in their wake heartache after heartache. These are the boys who tell a girl on the first date that they are going to marry them. These are the boys that tell girls if they have sex with them it will be their own private marriage ceremony.

And the sadder part still. There are girls who fall for these lines. There are girls out there who don't yet know that they are their heavenly father's most precious love and that he ALREADY sacrificed his only son to save them from death, pain, and heartache. They are ALREADY so thoroughly and deeply loved by the King of Kings, they can laugh at those evil boys and their game.

Having fallen for a line like one of those above, had my heart broken, and then healed by the love of my Father in heaven, I know my friend will be okay. In fact, I know she'll be better than ever. But it doesn't make me any less angry at the boys of this world who play with the tender and fragile hearts of girls.

And it makes me determined to raise a son who respects women as precious children made in the image of God. Not as some plaything made for his pleasure that he can toss aside when he grows bored or tired. I will teach my son to refrain from using the words, "I love you", until he is ready and able to follow them up with a proposal. I want him to be such an amazing boy and man, that the girls he interacts with in middle school, high school, and college leave his presence feeling like they deserve the best and are willing to wait for it.

Because, girls, you are. You are a treasured daughter of the King. A princess. Who has a Father who is jealous for you. Who WILL defend your honor and ensures justice for your heart. So don't settle for Satan's lies that this is as good as it will get. That you don't deserve, can't find, or aren't good enough for God's best. He (God) has his best and he's saving it for you. Trust Him. Wait on Him.

Trust me, Satan's second best is not better than staying single. God's best, will constantly amaze you, even 7+ years later.

Friday, July 1, 2011

My 2 cents

It is always possible to be thankful for what is given rather than to complain about what is not given. One or the other becomes a habit of life. -Elisabeth Elliot

More on the topic of complaining...I had a great "conversation" via email with a good friend about complaining and she really got me thinking and I simply have to share my epiphany.

I think the reason I can be so cheerful, to the point of annoyance, is that I know what I have to be grateful for. My child hasn't slept more than 5 or 6 hours straight in 8 months. And he's only done that twice. Most nights I'm still up 4-5 times. BUT my child is healthy. And I have a child. These far outweigh the temporary inconvenience of frequent nighttime feedings.

Meet Alicia, a friend (I feel I can call her that thanks to facebook and her blog even though I've only met her once), who was told she couldn't have children. Now she has two. A daughter and a son. She was told her son, Carson, would most likely not survive his first few days due to brain damage. He's now 9 months old and thriving. Yes he still has a host of "problems" but she has him and he's alive. (http://carsonmylove.blogspot.com/)

How dare I complain about not getting 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Or meet Kelsey, who was told her son, Mason, may not survive the pregnancy due to a heart defect. Who has gone through multiple open heart surgeries and will never be "normal". But he's here and alive. (http://masongarka.blogspot.com/)

It's getting harder to complain, isn't it.

Or meet Amy, Ryan's teaching partner, who at her 20 week ultrasound heard the news that more testing was needed but something was definitely not right. Her daughter, Jana Joy, has spinal bifida and may never walk without the aid of crutches or a walker. But she's here, so precious, and impressing all the doctors with her mobility.

What, you still think you have something to complain about?

Meet Elisabeth. She lost both of her twin sons at 21 weeks. Or Tara who lost Tia, her sweet baby girl, at 36 weeks. Those mommies would love a sleepless night or two.

Need more? Meet Jackie, who's son Trevor is about to turn 6 and also is a heart baby. Meet Emily, who's son Owen spent 143 days in the NICU before finally coming home to give her sleepless nights.

So yeah, I think I have a lot to be grateful for. And I'm treasuring my sleepless memories with my beautiful son whom I asked God for. And I think this same approach can be used with any struggle you're going through in life. Have complaints about your husband? At least you've got one and if you would simply stop and appreciate the good things about him, you'd realize he's pretty darn amazing. Hate your job? At least you've got one. It's paying for a roof over your head and food on the table. Stop complaining about it and see if God doesn't turn it into something beautiful and amazing. Gratefulness is a CHOICE. You have to make it everyday, in every situation. But it's your choice. And that good life you're waiting for...you're living it right now, but you're missing out on it by complaining.

Can you imagine if God gave me this amazing gift and then I whined and complained about it? How would you react if you gave your child something mind-blowingly amazing and they reacted that way. It's a good thing God is God and not me...there would be a whole lot more smiting going on, let me tell you:)

So there it is. My 2 cents. Like Elisabeth Eliot says, It is always possible to be thankful for what is given rather than to complain about what is not given. One or the other becomes a habit of life.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Would you like some cheese...to go with that whine?

It is always possible to be thankful for what is given rather than to complain about what is not given. One or the other becomes a habit of life. -Elisabeth Elliot

I read the following article a couple of years ago and it struck such a chord with me that I typed it up and had it on my desk where I could read it daily. Lately I've been noticing the impact that my facebook friends' attitudes have on mine. I've had to "hide" some people I love dearly because they are so negative and full of complaints and the attitude is contagious. I'm sure there is some statistic out there along the lines that you need to hear 10 positive things to counteract 1 negative...and I'm sure it's correct. Probably higher. I've only had to hide 3 or 4 friends and it has completely changed my attitude. I no longer feel like I'm fighting for joy...it's just there, most of the time. I'm not opposed to the occasional rant or venting session. Trust me. I need one at least once a month;)

I guess my question is, Who's attitude is affecting you? Are you aware of their impact on you? And are you happy with that impact? You can have joy every day despite your circumstances! We have that promise in Philippians 4: 12-13, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." And of course the follow up question, Who's attitude are you impacting? Are you encouraging and joyful to be around or are you dragging others down into your pit of mire and despair?

What if the only thing keeping you from the promised land is your attitude?

Where Will Complaining Get You?
When we were in Dallas for a visit, we were the guests of our dear friend Nina Jean Obel. As we sat one morning in her beautiful sunshiny yellow and pale-green kitchen, she reminded us of how, in the story in Deuteronomy 1, when the Israelites were within fourteen days of the Promised Land, they complained. Complaining was a habit which had angered Moses, their leader, to the point where he wished he were dead. "How can I bear unaided the heavy burden you are to me, and put up with your complaints?" he asked. They headed for Horeb, but when they reached the hill country of the Amorites they refused to believe the promises and insisted on sending spies to see what sort of a land it was. The spies came back with a glowing report, but the people didn't believe that either. Never mind the lovely fruit the land offered. There were giants in the land; they'd all be killed. There were huge fortifications towering to the sky. How would they ever conquer them? It was the neurotic's attitude. No answer would do. No solution offered was good enough. The promises of God, the direction of Moses, the report of the spies--all unacceptable. The people had already made up their minds that they didn't like anything God was doing. They "muttered treason." They said the Lord hated them. He brought them out only to have them wiped out by the Amorites. O God, what a fate. O God, why do you treat us this way? O God, how are we going to get out of this? It's your fault. You hate us. Moses hates us. Everything and everybody's against us.
Nina Jean said she made up her mind that if complaining was the reason God's people were denied the privilege of entering Canaan, she was going to quit it. She set herself a tough task: absolutely no complaining for fourteen days. It was a revelation to her--first, of how strong a habit it had become, and second, of how different the whole world looked when she did not complain. I get the impression when I'm around Nina Jean that the fourteen-day trial was enough to kick the habit. I've never heard her complain. It's not just the sunshine and the colors that make her kitchen a nice place to be. It's that Nina Jean is there. I'd like to create that sort of climate for the people I'm around. I've set myself the same task

COMPLAIN –verb (used without object)
1. to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief; find fault: He complained constantly about the noise in the corridor.
2. to tell of one's pains, ailments, etc.: to complain of a backache.
3. to make a formal accusation: If you think you've been swindled, complain to the police.
4. (formerly) a loud cry (or repeated cries) of pain or rage or sorrow
5. COMPLAIN, GRUMBLE, GROWL, WHINE are terms for expressing dissatisfaction or discomfort. TO COMPLAIN is to protest against or lament a wrong: to complain about high prices. To GRUMBLE is to utter ill-natured complaints half to oneself: to grumble about the service. GROWL may express more anger than GRUMBLE: to growl in reply to a question. TO WHINE is to complain in a meanspirited way, using a nasal tone: to whine like a coward, like a spoiled child.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Makenna Ruth

My sister is a mommy!! I'm an aunt! Griffin is a first cousin! Ryan is an Uncle!

Thank you Matt and Janae for allowing me to be a part of your birth experience. I hope the pictures make it worth having me in the O.R. I am so grateful you let me witness the arrival of Miss Makenna. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Your family is beautiful.

Janae, you are AMAZING. You did so great! You tried so hard and your body just wouldn't cooperate. You are one of the strongest women I know and Makenna will be a strong woman because of you. I am so proud of you little sister!

And if you've never had or watched a c-section (or a vaginal bypass as the nurse called it), you have no idea what c-section survivors have gone through. Holy Moly. I'm glad I didn't go through that. They totally deserve our respect! That is one of the most brutal things I've seen. I would definitely pick my labor twice over as opposed to that.

Janae, you are a superstar!

And Makenna is BEAUTIFUL! Seriously, just stunning! I didn't know I would love my niece so much:)!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Missing

I don't particularly like the popular "thing". In fact, I often resist the popular thing until enough people that I trust tell me they like "it". Then I'll cave in, and usually the result is good. Harry Potter is just one example of me being late to the bandwagon. I also react to what I perceive as silly, ridiculous, or unnecessary norms. Like feeling fat when you're pregnant. Why would you feel fat you're pregnant silly, feel pregnant. Or so I thought until I hit the 18 (or so) week mark. I didn't look pregnant. I looked chubby. And I felt fat. Oh. I get it now.

I had another one of these moments Saturday. We were at a memorial service for Ryan's great-aunt Leila who died recently of pancreatic cancer. Griffin's great-great-aunt whom he was blessed to meet Christmas Eve. Of course we brought Griffin to the service. It was a celebration of life service. Leila's life was lived full and well and there was much to remember and celebrate. Griffin took a great nap in the morning, I was hopeful that he would calmly enjoy the service too. (You're laughing already, aren't you?). The ride down to Seattle wasn't long but it was about 3 minutes too long and I couldn't keep Griffin awake. Which means when I took him out of his carseat he woke up. And wouldn't go back to sleep.

So I missed all but the first 5 minutes of the service. Walking a grumpy baby up and down the walkway of Roosevelt High school. In the rain. Until I got blisters on my feet from my fancy shoes. Until my straightened hair got frizzy again. Until I lost my necklace, a gift from my husband on our first Valentine's Day, because said grumpy baby kept pulling on it. So I took it off and put it in my pocket. Or so I thought.

And there, in the rain, with a grumpy baby and blisters on my feet, I "got it". How a woman can feel like she loses her identity in motherhood. I was missing the service. And no one was missing me. I wanted someone to miss me, to come out and say, "I miss you Sarah. Come inside." But no one missed Sarah. Because I'm not just Sarah anymore. I'm "Mommy". And mommy was walking a grumpy baby back and forth, back and forth. I was just a little bit hurt. A little bit resentful of this leech who had stolen my identity. And quite a bit bitter.

Don't worry, I got over it. I have a fabulous husband who puts up with my feelings and mood swings and somehow loves me back from the edge. I think most of the extended family could tell something was wrong, for their sake I chalked it up to loosing a sentimental necklace. But inside I was having a full-fledged idenitity crisis and desperately needed a safe place to melt down. Have I mentioned I haven't slept in 7 months. Oh, well, I haven't. I'm a little unstable at times:)

So I'm a little bit more understanding now. Of mommies everywhere who are wondering how they balance "insert your name here" and "mommy" without short-changing the husband or leech, I mean baby. What can I say? I'm a work in progress...I'll figure it out:)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

And so it goes...

We got our county assessment in the mail yesterday. Our house dropped in value, again! Not a surprise but not encouraging either. We've now "lost" $90,000+.

Ryan and I sometimes wonder if we did the right thing buying four years ago. Obviously, if we could have seen into the future we would have waited, but hind sight is 20/20 or something like that.

I simply have to rest on the Truth that God has a plan, he's been involved up to this point and won't be leaving me anytime soon (or ever, really). He has a purpose for us to be in this house. He has, is and will use it for his good.

But we didn't plan on living here forever. In fact, we were hoping to be able to sell in 3-5 years and make enough to buy a house with a bigger yard closer to Ryan's school. A great dream really.

So now we adjust the dream. Ryan works in a great school in a great district. His commute is longer than we would like but there is never any traffic. Our neighborhood is fantastic. We live in a cul-de-sac for Griffin to ride bikes in. The local schools are fabulous and Griffin will attend an elementary school within walking distance.

But I still wonder. At what point do you walk away from a sinking ship? Would God ever move us to walk away from a commitment/contract like our mortgage? Would the short term gain be worth it in the end?

I "guess" I'll just have to keep trusting God and my husband to lead our family in the right direction. The two of them do a pretty darn good job and this mommy has nothing to complain about.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”" Jeremiah 29:11-17

I love this passage. Verse 11 is the most popular and often cited. It's so full of hope. God, the Lord of the universe, has plans for us. And they are for our good! But I think verses 12-17 are even more amazing. It's the why behind the promise offered in 11. God is involved in our lives, SO THAT we will call on Him, pray to Him, seek Him, find Him and He can bring us from captivity to HOME. Ahhhh, now isn't that a promise!

Take that county assessor.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lilies

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worring can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you. O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~Matthew 6:25-34

I'm claiming these promises today. That God is already and will continue to meet our needs. It's hard to trust in the face of so much financial adversity though. It just feels like we go two steps forward, three steps back. And it's so frustrating because we work so hard, spend so sparingly, and play so little. And yet, judged by the world's standards we are immensly wealthy. We have a warm and dry roof over our heads. Food on the table, every day. Cars that run and get us from point A to point B. We are clothed appropriately for the season.

Do NOT worry. Do NOT worry. Do NOT worry. This passage alone says it three times. But that's exactly what I find myself doing. What if something big and unexpected happens? We won't be able to survive a broken down car or an extended illness...deep breath, in and out. YES we will. We WILL survive. Maybe not in our current house. Maybe not without filing bakruptcy or moving in with our parents or... or... or. But we will still be a family. I will still love my husband who works SO HARD to teach, not just math but life, to middle school students and "bring home the bacon". I love him even more because all the good he's doing, all the hard work he's pouring into the next generation, is not only underappreciated and underpaid, it's being down right attacked in the political realm right now. And I don't care if we "lose everything" as long as I have him.

I don't want to lose everything. I don't even want to lose anything! I want extra! I want my house to stop going down in value. I want to put grass in my backyard and build a trellis that I can hang a swing from for Griffin. I want new floors in my house. I want a newer car for Ryan to commute in. I want to go on a couple of vacations to see long-time friends now spread all over the U.S. I want a new computer that moves faster than an elderly snail.

But did you catch the last part of that passage? "But seek first HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well"

Am I seeking HIS kingdom first? HIS righteousness first?

I want a closer relationship with Christ. I want to wake up in the morning ready to listen to the quiet whisper of that still small voice. I want to rest at night knowing I moved where He moved and loved where He loved. More than all that other stuff, I want this for me. I want it for my family and friends. I want it for all the hurting and broken people I know and don't know. The deep abiding joy, in any and all circumstances, that comes from truly knowing, deep in your soul, that you are loved by The King.

"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hats

Wife. Mother. Friend. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Employee. Volunteer.

All different hats I wear. I'm sure you wear more than one as well. What I've been thinking about and wondering about, is how do you prioritize them? What hat is the most important to you? Which one can you let slide? Which one if you make it more important helps all the others function smoothly? Are there any hats you need to take off/get rid of?

For me, I think the most important one has to be wife. If I can be a great wife, I think I will automatically be a better mother. And if I'm a great wife and mother, I think I'll be better at everything else I do. Which means I occasionally have to pick being a wife "over" being a mother. I have to put my husband ahead of my son, and in doing so actually show my son just how much I love him. I think loving my son's father is a invaluable gift I can give him, with lasting effects. I heard it put this way before, Our "'till death do us part" commitment is to our husbands. Our children are supposed to leave the home, it is a "temporary" relationship. If we've raised our children correctly, they will be independent, responsible adults who leave the nest. The relationship will and should change. But when the kids are gone, your spouse should still be there (assuming tragedy hasn't struck). So what are you doing to prioritize that hat? Since I'm such a new mom, I haven't had many opportunities yet to put these thoughts into practice, especially since I'm still tied to my son as his food source. But I'm getting excited to think about ways to show Griffin how awesome his dad is and how much his mom is in love with daddy. And I pray that this will help grow Griffin into an amazing husband someday, since I've already started praying for the woman who will become his wife!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Balance

I imagine I will address the topic of balance frequently as it seems to be the thing most missing in my life right now. Tonight though I'm contemplating balancing a healthy body with the realities of breastfeeding, teething, and broken sleep. I'm fairly open about my experience with bulemia during college but the opportunity to talk about it doesn't present itself often. Because of my personal experience with it, and the experiences of other close to me with both bulemia and anorexia, I am very aware that our American culture puts a lot of pressure on everyone, but women especially, to look a certain way. I am very aware of chosing to want to be healthy not just skinny. So I try to use more than the scale to evaluate my body. With all of that said, I would still like to look like a model and still struggle with liking what I see in the mirror. And what I see in the mirror post-baby is even harder to like. So I'm trying, very hard, to maintain my mental balance. I need to 1) love me (my body) as a vessel of life and accept that it will never  look the same again and 2) I do need to lose weight and build back some muscle tone. The problem with this plan...his name is Griffin, he's about 20lbs, in the process of teething, and he still wakes up on average 3-5 times a night. Except lately, it's been every 30-90 minutes!

So now I'm struggling (read thinking about it all the time) with wanting to work out, wanting to start losing weight and getting back into shape and waiting patiently for the proper time to do so, without waiting too long of course. Balance, balance, balance. It's so easy, in theory. The plan for now, is to make wise choices with food. Sleep (nap) as often as possible. And make working out a higher priority. We have a treadmill in the garage, I own multiple workout dvds, and I have an assortment of strollers to choose from depending on the number of kids I have that day. And in theory, the weather should be getting nicer and warmer since its already mid-June!

I should probably start this new plan by saying goodnight! The baby's been sleeping for almost 2 hours and I've enjoyed some facebook time, a game of spider solitare, and a shower (all by myself!). Who knows? This could be the night he sleeps all night long. Or he'll wake me up just after I drift off again! But I love it and wouldn't change a thing.