Friday, November 7, 2014

Four

Four years and here I am, laying in bed and listening to him breath...still. Oh my heart is full to bursting with a love I never knew possible.  The gospel is real and alive in a way that is indescribable. My God, gave up his SON (!), for  ME (?). The thought of giving up my son!! Nuh uh. No way. He loved me (and you) SO MUCH that that's what he did. Woah. That is overwhelming. Humbling. Breaking.
Motherhood is harder than I imagined yet profoundly fulfilling. My mission: to love deeply and patiently and kindly all those things 1 Corinthians lists so that this most special of little people will know God and share him. I'm taking this mission more and more seriously these days, wrapping my head (and heart) around what that might truly mean...and what God might be asking for from me.
Tonight, though, I push all that aside and just listen to his deep breaths, feel his soft skin, and pray that these snuggles last many more years!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Be still

One of the spiritual disciplines is "stillness" or "quiet".

A cool thing happened last week that I don't want to forget. I try and keep music (worship) playing in the house during the day because my mood is so fickle, it helps me stay focused on what really matters.

Well this particular day was full of little people's emotions and I was at my wits end. I turned the music off so it would be quieter and low and behold everything changed. I immediately could hear a still small voice calling me to prayer!

It was so cool. The whole atmosphere in our house changed and I was praying for people near and far as we went about our day.

I've never experienced anything like that before :)

You were probably prayed for ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Something is different

This year is different. Not 2014, my 35th year.
I make lists. ALL.THE.TIME.

Every New Year.

Every Birthday.

Usually I get a couple things on them done.

But mostly I forget about them...clearly the things on them aren't too important.

But this year. I am different. This is not my doing. I repeat, I have not done this.

I'm excited. A little bit nervous. It feels like a new season in my life is approaching, spring maybe??

Thirty-Five by 35, 12 week progress report.
I've read my Bible almost daily for TWELVE weeks! (I used to read my Bible completely every year...and then kids happened and I just haven't been able to figure it out. Also, my goal is not to read every single day. I can not, currently, at this stage of life, make morning quiet times happen. So night time reading it is...and that doesn't always happen BUT I am staying caught up on the year-through-the-Bible plan that I found and LOVE!)

I am 25% done with my ambitious "read 35 books" goal! (And it's been 25% of the year, so that's tracking well!)

I have 5 things completely checked off my list (14%)

I have FOURTEEN things in process (one of which-Bible reading- can't be finished "early", and a couple others that aren't really check-off-able).

I have FIVE blank spots still.

I think one of them may just become to write more again. To escape the trap of facebook and other mindless internet wanderings.

(Secret: I'd love for one of them to be have another baby. Praying! Will take God changing Ryan's heart on the matter, without me forcing the issue!)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Currency

I read this passage from Matthew 25 the other night: and it
14-18 “It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.
19-21 “After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
22-23 “The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
24-25 “The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’
26-27 “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
28-30 “‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’
I'm sure you've read it before. Probably heard a sermon or two even. I've also been reading "7" by Jen Hatmaker and it has WRECKED me. I could copy and paste the whole thing it's so good. It's impossible to narrow down great quotes because they just.keep.coming.

But my point tonight is her book and this passage have me really thinking that this passage might not be just talking about MONEY and can and should relate to other currencies...like our TIME. We are all given the same amount of minutes in a day but how you spend them matters. And I like to think God is capable of making them feel like more or less...depending on how we use them.

Right now my head is reeling from "7" and I'm prayerfully considering what I spend my time on. I'm planning on wasting a lot less time on the distractions of facebook, instagram, pinterest, etsy, etc. in the coming days/weeks and really focusing on using my time intentionally, wisely, investment-mindedly (yep, just made that one up).

I'm even hoping to write more again. And get back to family blogposts with photos. And get my photo books started and finished. And get this spare room turned into a bedroom. And purge this house of stuff to make way for more life! 
I want ROOM. I want SPACE. In my schedule. In my bank account. In my house. I want to be able to be spontaneously generous. I want to be ridiculously generous- with my time, money, heart. With ALL of my currencies that God has given me. I want MORE and in order to get more, I need to be that first servant. Wise and shrewd, and investor. I do not want to be the third servant in any area of my life. 

How about you?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Sometimes I just wish I could do more.

Not more cleaning. Not more crafting.

More loving and helping. More changing and more good. SO much hurt and pain out there. Wish I could just hug all the sad people and make all the madness stop.

Yeah, there's my pageant speech. Sigh. This world can be overwhelming at times.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Oso and Abraham

Whether you live around here or not, you've probably seen the Oso #530slide in the news. What I've learned since March 22, is that when a catastrophic disaster happens near you, to people and places you know, it's different. The heartache is deep. The pain is sharp. And it really, really, makes one think. At least it has for me.

Honestly, I'm not sure why I feel so deeply over this. No one I knew or loved was lost, or survived and lost everything. But I have been truly heartbroken in the last almost three weeks. I have wept as if I was the one who lost my family. I have prayed as if it was my family missing. I have begged God for miracles as if it were my children buried in the mud. And I am angry at God as if it was me He said no to. I feel like an angry toddler sulking in the corner right now. 

I have wrestled with God. And the outcome is not what I expected.

One family all went to a baseball game together. They lost everything except, miraculously, their dog who was at home and survived. Another family is completely gone. Mom. Dad. 2 little boys. Another mom was at work and lost her husband and three of her four children. The one that survived only had a few scrapes and bruises. Somehow another mother was able to hold onto her 5 month old and they both survived. There are multiple couples where one survived and the other didn't and they were sitting in the same room. Love stories ended in 60 seconds.  

How can you hear these stories and not wonder?

Some of the things I've considered in the last couple weeks are just plain ridiculous. Like never wanting to be separated from my family. As in, not even long enough to grocery shop alone. Like using our credit card to become completely 'prepped' (like crazy style). 

And I think a legitimate response to so much loss is fear. Fear about what you would do if faced with such loss. Fear about what really matters. 

And yet. And yet. 

FEAR NOT, says God. My perfect love casts out fear. You can not grasp how wide and long and high and deep My love for you is. 

And I wonder if God isn't calling us to be Abraham. To lay the things, the ones, we love on the altar. To trust Him- and this is big- even if he doesn't provide a ram this time. Oh how my heart aches laying my sweet babies at Christ's feet, even knowing that His love for them is unfathomably greater than my unfathomable love for them. My heart breaks just figuratively laying them down, letting go, and backing off. I am afraid that there will be no ram for me. That God will require of me that which I can not imagine. But they are not mine. They have never been mine. They are His. They have always been His. 

And I am not to live in fear of what might be. I am to live in trust of what IS. 

And here's the unexpected result of my wrestling, the almost offensive truth. That if what I believe is true, then those who are 'lost' are better off at home with Christ then here on earth with the ones who love and miss them. Even those sweet babies. And although grief and mourning are legitimate- underneath it all should be joy and rejoicing. 

I do not know how to reconcile these opposing emotions. I do not know how anyone could. But if you follow the words we say, about the faith we claim, about the Bible we read, about the God we profess to their logical conclusion- then despair and fear have no place in our hearts. In fact, if we truly believe what we say we do- then death is not something to be feared. It is something to look forward to, meeting our bridegroom face to face. 

I have no idea how I would get through the loss these families are dealing with. I'm a complete wreck just imagining it but after almost three weeks of constant prayer what I do know is that I am to live my life, I am to raise my boys, as if they are on an altar. Every day, every night, sometimes moment by moment- I need to relinquish the illusion of ownership. 

And I've been considering what this means for me in my day to day life. I don't feel like it means we shouldn't be wise and prepare for emergencies/natural disasters (like 3 days, 3 ways) but I do feel like 'prepping' isn't for me. The idea of being able to survive 'the end of the world' because I had a big enough stockpile is not what I'm called to as a Christian. As a Christian, my hope should be to go home- not survive here longer. I'm also not sure what it means for me and our budget. I, along with many I know, admire and (are trying) to follow Dave Ramsey's advice but sometimes I think we can get sidetracked by our focus on preparing for the long term (financially) that we forget to ask God about the now. 

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts, your heart. What has Oso, or some other unexpected event, done in your heart to your faith?

If you find what I've written offensive in someway, please be kind. These are simply the musings of a hurting heart. I really would love to hear your thoughts. 



Monday, April 7, 2014

Inaccuracies

I've been thinking a lot lately about the misconceptions I have when I 'evaluate' someone else's circumstances (aka make a judgement).

Here are some current ones, usually inspired by the facebook highlight reel:

1) Someone posts something about what new thing they've done to their house/yard and I have a pity party about how it feels like we'll never be able to afford that stuff. But then I remind myself that I don't know all the details. We could 'afford' some of that stuff if we were willing to put it on a credit card. We could afford some of that stuff if our mortgage was the amount of people who bought after the crash, instead of being 'lucky' enough to be paying twice as much as some of our friends for the same house. Or even less house. We could afford some of that stuff if we didn't have student loans and the accompanying degrees that allow us jobs we LOVE that have a lasting impact on the lives of young people. So, yeah. I'm still envious that our house isn't what we want it to be- yet but I'm incredibly proud of why it isn't. 

2) Someone posts a fitness/weight loss update or invites me to a run and I feel depressed and fat and flabby. And then I remember that my body has grown and birthed two 9 pound babies and nursed them for a total of 3+ years and counting. And that I haven't slept a full night in over 4 years. So yeah, still envious, but it can wait. 

3) Another mom posts about this craft, that project, this outing, that volunteer project and I ache for my former busy me. I'm still getting used to the new me, the mom. I'm adapting to the children and family God gave me and just how much of me they require. And I remind myself that this is just a phase and that I am blessed to join my Jesus in painful sacrificing. I am growing in ways unfathomable to me and I really like this person I'm becoming. I'm not going to lie though- someday, I hope to be more of the old me again- busy, crafty, volunteer, etc. Just tempered; softer, slower, kinder, etc. 

What is making you feel down? Look at it honestly. There might be less there than you think ;)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Excuses

Some will call this an excuse. I call it a damn good reason.

It's the beginning of the year and people all over facebook are talking about their health and fitness resolutions and I'm somewhat envious but also somewhat relieved to not be joining in this year.

Of course one of my goals is to lose the 'baby' weight and get back into shape. But I'm being honest this year and not even bothering to make it a priority. You know why?

Because I haven't slept longer than 3-4 hours at a stretch in 3.5 years. And that's on a good night.

Because I've been pregnant or nursing for four years.

And I don't see that changing anytime soon. I nursed Griffin until he was beyond 2 and imagine Sullivan will do the same.And as crazy as it sounds, I'd rather keep things the way the are because I love co-sleeping and extended breastfeeding.

That's not to say it's always easy. Or ever easy. Or that every minute of everyday it's what I want.

But it IS what I want and what I feel lead to/called to.

And it will end soon enough. And then, then I will be able to change my priorities without sacrificing something I can only have once, now, when my babies are babies.

I will never wish I had spent less time snuggled up next to them, feeding them, smelling their intoxicating milk-breath. There is nothing, not even a bikini-body, worth sacrificing all that for.

And if you know me and my history, to be able to say that, to be able to let go of all of that and rest peacefully in what is now- that's pretty amazing. It makes me a little proud to see tangibly how I've grown, how I've learned to relax, how I've finally learned to prioritize relationships over checking things off my to-do list.

That and I saw an old friend last week who's youngest is a few months older than my oldest. And she looks AMAZING. And I know, I just know, that I will get there again when I'm out of the babies phase because I miss it. I miss sweating and pushing myself. But now, for me, it just isn't the time.

So my goal for 2014? To just enjoy life. To move and sweat when I can. To eat what I can and need to- focusing on healthy choices but with no rules, after all- I am still breastfeeding :) And to worry about results when my body is all mine again.

And that's why I'm a little envious of people who have made different parenting choices (formula, CIO) and sleep full nights and have the energy and ability to focus on themselves. Good luck in 2014, I'll catch up next year:)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reflections

2013 has not gone as planned. That doesn't mean it was bad. It certainly doesn't mean it was easy. Life can be great. Really really great (Sullivan!) and really really hard at the same time (sleep deprivation x2!!). Take this week for example: beautiful moments of love and joy interspersed with puking, pooping, crying, sick babies and adults. Great yet hard. 

I had BIG and detailed plans/goals/resolutions, whatever you want to call them, headed into this year. And I pretty much failed at all of them. That's not automatically a bad thing but it leads me to reflection.

The irony in my failure is that I was so sure that 2013 was going to be the the year I was finally successful at achieving some of my longest held goals (weight loss anyone?) and addressing some of my biggest issues (self-improvement). My failure is so glaring it's downright laughable. So sad the only thing left to do is laugh. 

When I look at my list of goals, I literally did not achieve a single one. Not one. NOT A COTTON-PICKING ONE. 

Thankfully I read this blog (http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/12/how-to-move-forward-into-the-new-year-when-you-feel-like-you-failed-the-last-year/) by Ann VosKamp and it spoke to me so so deeply as a melancholy. 

I posted a status the other night: Is it possible to feel hopeless yet still be hopeFULL? I used the analogy that I often feel like I'm in the middle of the ocean and I've lost hope of rescue but I haven't let go of the raft yet. 

That's just where my heart is ending 2013 and beginning 2014.

feel hopeless. Logically speaking, I've given up hope of rescue.

Just about the time things start to go our way, something else breaks or a new bill shows up or whatever. For a very long time it has felt like we move 1 step forward, 2 steps backward. 

YET

I'm still hopeFULL. I'm still hanging onto the raft. Because you just never know.

Because we do keep getting those one-step-forward moments. 

Because Griffin slept through the whole night in his own bed THREE times during his birthday week in November. 

We might be the last ones "rescued" but if we just keep holding on, someday it will be our day. Our turn. 

And you know what. That list of goals for 2013. I re-read it. It's really good. And I'm cool with aiming for them again this year. Who knows? Maybe I'll cross a couple off this year. Maybe I won't. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.