Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Storm

It happens when you can't even think anymore.
When you're out of questions, out of possibilities, out of the energy to imagine.

The truth.It cracks like thunder on a still, warm night.
You clutch the sheets that hold you safe and inside every inch of you falls to your knees.
You know what's next
and there it is
the rain.
It dumps down and the room closes in.
You feel how small you are in the moments you realize how big He is.

It happens when you feel like you can't hold out hope anymore.
He reaches down and holds on to you, gripping life for you.

It's a book that flies open to a chapter you needed to read.
A card that falls off a table you've neglected to clean and you needed to see.
He's there
and you can't deny Him
you can't deny yourself of Him.

The lightning fills the rooms
1-2-3
CRACK
the storm is closer than you thought.

Lord hold me.

Father, I hear you.
I don't want to spend my life chasing after a dream that you aren't blessing.
I want to be living the dream You put on my heart.
I want to cling to You and not to my dreams.
I want a life that is secure in You
and if that means I have to let go of MY plan, show me how.

My knuckles are white from clutching the bedsheets while the storm hails down.

The truth:
"Insecurity is a lack of faith. And a lack of faith is sin."

I am utterly dependent on You.
Oh how often I forget this.
I forget it when I feel like I'm writing the checks alone.
when I feel like I'm at the mercy of others.
when I feel...

One dream.
3.5 years.
What now?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Imminent End

He talks like things have changed
like the future has unfolded the way we dreamed it would one day.
He speaks with hope
relentless trust
belief
with faith.

But here I am
feeling like life is happening to me.Here I am...
damn it's familiar.
The hourglass emptying now and instead of moving forward I'm watching it...
can't take my eyes off of it.
I'll trade in my mommy role for the working mama one.

He talks like things have changed...
like I'll still be here when the sun is up taking care of the life we've built proudly
but I won't be.
He says I can be
but I'd be leveraging our future
leveraging on the coat tails of hope.

But here I am
feeling like I'm without a purpose that could help us make ends meet.

Here I am...
damn it aches.
Playing that comparison game
asking God why our life doesn't look different here
knowing that all I want to do
truly
is emotionally provide for the family I have been given.

Working Mama.
Diaper bag on one arm and briefcase on the other.
It's coming
but he talks like things have changed
and while he believes
I...
I just need to catch my breath.

Monday, October 17, 2011

From Love to Loved

I am haunted by the existence of the past tense
how the thoughts we share of each other can change from is to was.

In one swift moment, any of us can be in the moment of saying "I love you" and then, without even realizing the clock is ticking away your time, force you to say, "I loved you."

We move from making memories to simply remembering them, cherishing them, boxing them up afraid we'll forget them, pulling them up, begging for more and hoping the ones we have aren't ones we wish we could undo.
In the past three months I have cried as two women changed from women I know to women I have known.
A hammer to the heart.
There it is.
They are no longer here and somehow the world is still allowed to turn.

I replay the weekend and my heart can't catch up with my head.

Love is an act we can all relate to: butterflies, obsession, excitement.
Sadness, Anger, Frustration all tied by the same ability to understand what they look like
but grief?
No.
Grief will strip you down and even take your shoes so when you try to run, you feel every awkward step as you break down and are exposed.
None of us process it the same & the spectrum is shocking.

How raw do we become?
How deeply to we unravel?
How together do we remain?

Am I allowed to hurt this badly?
Am I close enough to the loss to cry if they are not?
Why are they laughing & smiling?

I want to be alone.
They are afraid to be.
I lose myself in my head.
They lose themselves in a glass hoping each sip numbs this...
this reality
for just a little bit longer.

The chaos swirls and those still here are forced to admit
it's over now.
But we dance, eat, breathe, and move in the shell of where she lived
and it feels wrong.
It feels WRONG.
She died here.
Everywhere are stitches of her love sewn into the walls and the post it notes stuck around the walls because there was time...
they thought.

We live here.
She lived here.
We are waiting to rise.
She has risen.

Grief.
I love(d) her.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

He's Here

My baby boy arrived two months ago and slowly, I'm emerging into my newness and settling into life with two beautiful, healthy boys.

6 lbs. 11 oz
teeny tiny in comparison to his brother but they could not have looked more alike the first day.
He's sweet, gentle, happy, & particular.
He loves to be held, will smile and coo when he's talked to, & completes our family.
He's an eater--that's for sure--but still small.
I try to get my time in with him but admittedly, life with a toddler & a newborn presents it's challenges...
one mommy + two boys = not enough of me.

Oh there's so much more to come but I had to start somewhere...after so long.i'm on my way back.
i just have to figure out--where do i start?!

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's a New Day

My poor husband came home last night and it just took one look for him to know I'd been crying my eyes out.
(Actually, it wouldn't have taken a genius because one look in the mirror and I realized my mascara was everywhere!)

But, TODAY IS A NEW DAY!


Today I grabbed some of my baby books and started reading.

With my first pregnancy I was given a book that I completely ignored.
It was TOO overwhelming to me and felt incredibly intense.
The book is called My First 300 Babies.

Know it?

Well, I opened it up today and started pouring over the pages and with this baby,
I'm convinced I want to use this manual.

Granted,
I'm a planner.
I love me a good schedule.
I adore routines.

I think what held me up last time was I decided to read the book once I had my son.
(bad idea)
This time I know there's more to think about and I know a bit more of what I need to prepare for.

So reading through the book today calmed me down.
Yah, the schedule is intense but it's also seemingly FREEING!

I can think of a few people who are going to consider me to be a nazi parent on this one.
Perhaps a few people who aren't going to like the limited waking hours the baby will have to be held or played with
but ya know what
our house, our kids, our rules ;)

The greatest thing I took away from today's reading?
Pg. 56 A Child's Natural Acceptance of a New Baby
"What child is not overjoyed at the thought of a new little brother or sister? Their childlike acceptance is natural, and this attitude should be the expected by the parents, rather than any negative behavior. There should be no need of gifts being brought to the other children when the infant is being favored. It is their happy opportunity to learn to share as a family, with no sense of being deprived in any way. Again I say, this thinking does not originate in the thoughts of the child; so parents, expect this childlike acceptance."

Oh the freedom that can come with a bit of studying, a bit of advice, and A LOT of surrender!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The {UN}shining

I am days away from:
meeting my second baby
completing my family
starting overand suddenly

I'm
overwhelmed
& terrified.

I'm counting seconds of "what's left" vs. looking at the joy of what's to come
and I haven't felt this sad about it all until yesterday.

Yesterday when I heard my body wasn't doing what I was hoping it was.
Yesterday when my husband had to take my emotions & fears and protect me from myself.
Yesterday when that same husband had to take our delivery plan and disburse it amongst 6 adults that we call our parents that I can't control.
Yesterday when I started the cycle of self-defeat as I stared at my son:
Can I be enough for you?
Can I do this again?
Can I do this differently then I did the first time?
Can I protect myself from the potential for post partum since depression was a struggle in my past?
Can I....I'm sobbing tonight
unable to breathe out of my nose from a collection of uncontrollable weeping.
Even as I cry and empty out my fear, I have worship music on because
I know
I KNOW:
this is a really bad moment
my feelings are not truths
that my doubts and fears are lies
but in this moment
I am feeling them with every ounce of raw human that I am.

I'm counting seconds toward a goodbye tonight.
Staring at my life as a series of lasts instead of a hopeful hello to a slew of new firsts.
I feel desperate, alone, broken hearted, & so....sad.

I am fighting to FEEL the truth I know:
"Let no one caught in sin remain/inside the lie of inward shame/[I] fix [my] eyes upon the cross /and run to Him who shows great Love" ~Matt Maher, Christ is Risen

Father- I surrender!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ready {Logistically Anyway}

My due date is officially August 11 but when I was put on bed rest with a goal date of making it to July 14, mentally, my due date changed!
It now feels like I'm past due.

Initially July 14 came and went and I felt discouraged but now I'm good just waiting.
After all, with the use of my legs & mobility again, I'm a "free" woman.

Don't get me wrong.
My bags are packed
(& have been for 5 weeks...)
The build out the Hus was working on for the new office is complete so now the little one's room is ready.
And the gifts that the baby bought for his big brother are wrapped & ready for Big Brother to open when he meets the baby for the first time.

(Yes, already considerate and giving, the baby bought his big brother two trains for this Thomas the Train collection)
So it appears these last few weeks will be spent wondering:
Is my water going to break on my friend's leather couch?
Am I going to start having contractions & going into this unexpectedly?

And watching our big boy go through his own changes:
Not so excited that the baby has his own room with a rocker he can't call his (sad)
Waking up each morning asking if the the baby is awake and if he can hug him (sweet)

We are ready {Logistically Anyway...}

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The {Misused} Strength of Silence

I listened to a sermon by Rick Warren this weekend titled
"Making The Hard Changes In Me."

One of the main guiding questions of the message was,
"Why is is to hard to change myself?"

I listened & it resonated with my heart.

My defects come from three main places:
1. Biological - my genetics
2. Sociological - my background
3. Theological - my choices

Two things Pastor Rick Warren said that struck me about the places these defects come from were
*My defects are my attempts to meet my unmet needs.
*My defects are often my strengths being misused.Quite candidly, I have a defect of silence.
When I am angry, when I am hurt, when I need words of encouragement or thanks, I grow silent. For someone who loves words, I lose my ability to talk and I shut down. I wait for others to read my mind, know my heart, and fill the gap caused by my emotion.

This defect is both sociological & theological.

I went through something very traumatic at 14 that taught me to be silent, to write, that no one hears my cries. Silence became my sociological defect.
15 years later, silence is a theological defect because I know better.
I know I have voice, that I can be heard but I live in fear and lack of practice at speaking up and out.
Instead I write, I stew, I live in a silent turmoil until it bursts--most frequently passively and with the very select few, openly or aggressively.

On the flip side, my silence is also my strength.
My silence compels what I love, writing.
My experience with silence has caused me to champion for women's rights and volunteer with other organizations that fight for women's voices.

Now I have to figure out how to make what is more dominantly and unhealthily my defect into a permanent change of strength.

So, Why is so hard to change the defects?
The reason that was like a lightning bolt to me:
Because we identify with our weaknesses with statements like, "That's just the way I am."
This statement causes us to identify with our sin when the truth is, we are not our sin.

I loved Pastor Rick's clear example of how we identify with out sin.
He pointed out that in AA meetings, people introduce themselves as,
"My name is X & I am an alcoholic."
In Saddleback's Celebrate Recovery, they do things differently:
"My name is X. I am a Christian and I struggle with alcoholism."

What a profound difference in phrasing!
I am not my sin, I am a Christian who struggles with a sin!

So here I am.
Thinking about the truths of who I am.
Who I was genetically established as, who I became by my environment, and who I am by my choices.
The truth is, I am incredibly proud of who I am because I chose this version of me
but
I also have an incredibly long way I want to travel each day as I choose to be even more then who I am today.

It will happen--out loud & not in silence.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Competitive (Grand)Parenting

When my husband and I were first married, we tried to please everyone:
my two sets of parents and his one set.
For all of you who have been there, you know, it's impossible for two people to please 4 parents let alone six or more nowadays.
Each set of parents comes with their own way of doing things, their own priorities, & perhaps worst of all, their own expectations.Attempts at making all 6 parents happy in our young relationship lead to total craziness and discontent on our hearts.
We attempted Christmases that hit three houses all hours apart from each other (this meant a three ring circus!)
I begged to elope because I couldn't handle the idea of my four parents competitive say in what I wore, who walked me down the aisle, and how the wedding was done.
We ultimately went crazy...
then we had our son.

At the birth of our son we had two of my parents who didn't make it and then a hospital waiting room with my mom & his mom.
Not only was my son born but so was a new form of competitive parenting and the birth of competitive grandparenting.

Between a Portuguese man and a Norwegian girl, we all expected a little brown haired, brown eyed baby, but what we got was a beautiful strawberry blonde, blue eyed boy.
Enter: CRAZY.
All of a sudden we had parents saying things like,
"His upper lip looks just like [his paternal grandpa's]."
I'm SERIOUS.
This was ACTUALLY said.
Everyone wanted a piece of this little boy.

Well, this little boy got older and most recently, especially with the onset of our upcoming addition, there's NEW crazy.
Crazy like:
if one grandparent gets our son a toy, the other grandparent has to.
if i refer to my son by his first & middle name, one grandparent force feeds him his first and last name.
if one grandparent hears our son say he loves another grandparent, the grandparent says, "what about me?"

Annnnd this is officially NOT Okay and where I coined the term "Competitive Grandparenting."

Each of our parents carries their own insecurities.
Two parents are insecure about another set's love language of gifts.
Another set of grandparents are insecure about another set's love language of time.
and so on...
Each set of parents is vying for the central focused love of our son & this is where I say
"HAIL NO!"

Growing up in a divorced and severely dysfunctional set of parental relationships,
I KNOW what it's like to walk on eggshells and feel like you can't love one parent in front of another.
This will NOT be tolerated for our kids.
We will soon have 2 precious babes that have EVERY RIGHT to
love
honor
respect
cherish
value
each one of their grandparents inside and outside of their relationship to each one.
The insecurities of these adults will NOT be placed on our kids to
cater to
bandaid
or fear
Our kids deserve to
talk about how they love x, y, z in front of whoever they want
to be excited about a gift received by x, y, or z
to be a kid who is loved by x, y, & z.

It's one thing to competitive Parent a married set of adults--
that's something each married couple has to go through and establish individual relationships with.
It's quite another to competitive Grandparent and as a protective mama bird, completely unacceptable.
It's true, I have a heightened sensitivity to it as a product of my 4 parents,
but I think it has made me a more aware parent.

Oh, how in need of love and how broken we all are in one area or another...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All Tucked In...

Last night I got off of my side, out of my bed & broke the rules.
I broke them in the name of one little boy who needed his mommy--
my little boy.My little boy who's been this joyful light in my day.
My little boy who hasn't shown a sign of noticing Mommy hasn't been herself
other than his insatiable energy as loving hearts come in and entertain him while I can't.
Last night, he needed me
And I was there.

The curtains were drawn, his night light on, and the music gently bounced off of the walls that I pray over every night.
My little boy looked up at me and said,
"Don't want baby bruhder to come."
If a broken heart made a sound, you would have heard mine shatter to a crystal floor in that moment- clanking, shaking, crashing.
"Baby, you don't want baby brother?"
He quietly said, "Yes & No," and reached for my hand as he whimpered.

I let him feel his emotions and I took them in myself knowing he's allowed to feel like that but surprised he could...surprised he did.
A feeling like that, the ability to express it, seems so far past his tender three years to know.

"Mommy, you stay here til sun is out," he asked.
And I curled my growing tummy up next to him.
I shared his big boy bed with him as he pulled my arm around him and tucked my hand up under his chin.
"I love you, monkey," I whispered closely into his ear and brushed his sweaty hair from his forehead.

And I rested there, full of love & heavy heart, with my two boys.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Surviving Division

What am I afraid to say, speak, and give light to here?
Who am I afraid I will offend, hurt, wound?
Everything.
Everyone.
There are some things, some people, one can define by brokenness.
Likewise, there are moments, or hearts, one can define by survival.
I am survival.
I am survival with scars that can be ripped open, scabs that can be peeled back, by the shards of glass that hide under rugs survival has carpeted over.
At the end of the day though, I am strength, determination, and Saved.

I was born to two and became one in a unit of 5.
5 one day became 4.
4 one day became 5...times two.
Then 5 became 3 with 2 remaining that floated between 4 and 5.
One 5 always missed one and one 3 often missing 2.
It's the math of divorce & division.
You find your number and you fight to survive in a broken whole.
And then one day, if you fight, you become 1.
1 apart from the broken division who can stand as an independent whole.

You stand up, you walk out, you choose a new life.
You choose to Saved.

I am not afraid to speak or give light to my rebirth.
Truly Saved.
I cannot be afraid to wound when I only speak of what my truth is.
My truth is light, love, and everlasting life.
He defined me by forgiveness, divine intervention, & healing.
And on this earth, I do carry scars.
Scars that can be reopened by the brokenness of others.
Scabs that can be peeled back by my own memories.

Today I saw a scar and I shed tears--
for the division of the original 5 and all the 1's and 2's within the 7 key players.
Another 2 will exist together and on the outside I stand.
But theirs is not mine and I cherish what my 2 is.
Sadness exists for what is
but as quickly as it hurts, I bandage the wound and acknowledge it's real and move on.
No sense wishing for something new.
This is the reality of an original 2 that birthed a web of 7 and all were original victims but none must remain there unless they choose it.

I choose survival.

image found here

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Simple Joy

Being still is new for me.
I'm someone who has a million things going on all at once.
Take away my ability to be employed and well, move, & here I am with a true gift.I have been finding myself LAUGHING--laughing hard--when my husband cracks a joke.
I see my son's cups, the tent he put over his bed, his pj's draped on his dresser and I smile vs. feel burdened.
I know I can't do the chores so I'm exercising my ability to ask for help & then let go knowing it won't be done how I would do it, but it will be done.

I'm relaxed.
I'm at peace.
I'm choosing to enjoy what will be a very brief moment in my life of silence & stillness.

I'm finding the simple to be the most beautiful- a bunch of sticks my son collects on a walk are now a treasure.

True gifts.
Simple Joy.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Love's Mercy

Is help something that is hard for you to ask for?
It is for me.
I don't believe it's pride that makes it hard, I believe it's a mixture of not wanting to burden anyone & needing to stand on my own two feet.So what happened when I found I couldn't even stand on my own two feet?
I battle a stubborn desire to resist diagnosis & yet somehow force myself to surrender.

I am 33 weeks pregnant and recently I was put on total bed rest.
I have ONE goal: make it to July 14.
It's been a challenge to feel 100% mentally capable and yet know/feel my physical limitations.
So I lay in bed with my toddler at school and my husband at work and I rest.

I am at the mercy of those who love me & it's an overwhelming blessing to see the neighbor that delivers meals twice a week, the friends who volunteer to get our groceries, bring food, or help with our son and the family who shows up to put us first.
Somehow the baby's clothes are getting washed, the build out is getting completed, the office will eventually transform into the baby's room, the furniture is moving, the errands are getting run, we are all getting fed, the house is getting clean, & I am taking care of one little life who needs me more than anyone else does.
My husband is employee, business owner, construction worker, daddy, mommy, maid, & care giver.
And, he's those things with this smile, this joy, and this devotion that make me feel like I can surrender.

I can learn this thing called: rest.
I can find this thing called: stillness.
I can search this thing called: grace
I can be everything I need to be: at peace, in Him, in love, and in restful excitement for this brief moment before we welcome our new one home.
This baby will bring change and a new start to three people who can't imagine a different life from what we live but will soon not know how we lived without our new addition.

Off I go now to rest in a new peace caring for one and being cared for by all.

Thank you, Family & Friends.
THANK YOU!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How to Know When You're Ready for #2

I'm 10 weeks out from D-Day.
I'm pretty sure no one, including myself, really thought the day a #2 would be announced would ever really happen.

If you've been around this blog for any period of time, a common theme of mine has been my struggle with motherhood.
If this is your first time here, I should clarify- my struggle has never been with my son, it's
I think the odds are inevitably stacked against you if you
a) SURPRISE-got knocked up.
b) have no close circle friends with kids & you're the pioneer
c) will be a working mom when you don't want to be OR it's NEVER been done before in your family...as in, EVER

Mix those ingredients all together, and you get a...mess/disaster/self destructive catastrophe.

So, it appears I got over it, right?
I mean, I DID elect to shoot for the moon and add another one, right?!

I'm not sure I'm actually over any of the things that I struggled with the first go round but two things are different:
1: We planned this one (more accurately, we worked for this one).
2: I'm not the only one in the friend circle with a kid any more - I am just the only one going on #2 (crap)

How did I know I was ready?
I don't think I am ;)
We just knew that we wanted our son to have a sibling & we wanted our kids to be close in age.
There's a larger gap between #1 & #2 then we anticipated but, there's that little truth:
"We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." Proverbs 16:9

Here's the difference between going from 0-1 then going from 1-2:
I'm not stupid this time.

I know what to expect in this rodeo & I know it ain't all magic & rainbows--
It's stitches, gauze panties, leaky boobs, sleepless nights, a whole lot of emotional break downs, & some damn good sweetness, too.
This time, there's a bit of apprehension:
crap: how do I divide in two (aside from physically, cuz I know how that one works!)? how will I get one kid to work with me and pick one up when my work day is done? how do I get in and out of a grocery store with a toddler & a newborn?
(Ok, now I have to stop putting the questions out here in the universe because I'm giving myself contractions.)

All this to say, for me, I don't think there ever IS a ready for #2.
There wasn't even a ready for #1.
It's just a choice, and you make it, and you do it.
You have your good moments & your bad ones.
You have your smiles & you have your tears.

I must say though, I am super excited to meet this little one!
I'm excited to finally have a name, to put the room together but I'm also taking the time to savor what's left of my time with my son.
Oh the journey....

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Day It All Made Sense

{journaling from June 8}

I hopped in the car this morning and headed to work.
A little groggy, a little worn down, but in my routine.

I backed out and turned on the radio to the usual: KLOVE and there was a beautiful new song
Beautiful Things by Gungor
It's a simple song with a perfect message:
"You make beautiful things out of dust. You make beautiful things out of us."

I rested on it

The day unfolded with nothing special.
It included the mundane, the frustrating, the witnessing of hurting hearts.

It wrapped up quite differently.Back in April my mommy-heart was shaken.
As my husband found employment, we found my son without someone to care for him.
At the words of our previous daycare provider,
"We haven't saved a spot for him in his absence,"
I broke.

It was my last straw, my glass is now empty, my "I'm done."

I found myself in my office parking lot hiding behind a car and crying on the phone to my friend:
Where am I going to take my son? Who is going to care for him? How am I going to make this work?

At the time I couldn't see the plan.
I felt attacked, defeated, and so frustrated.
I no longer had the physical or emotional strength to carry my family as I felt I had been.
While I had been relying on Him & I sure did have faith, my human body was tired and I, in that moment, felt alone with too much change!

Today what happened in April became so clear that I saw my God looking down on me with a smile and saying,
"I knew what I was doing, Daughter. I love you. I go before you in everything."

I was so overwhelmed by what He had saved my family from, what He had delivered us into in advance without my knowing that all I could do was tear up and praise His name.
All I could do was return the glory to Him.

Not everything that happens in life comes with a clear "here's the reason why" answer at the end like I received today.
Many times, that's a really hard thing to take and we spend years asking the big question WHY but faith isn't about having the answers.
I know that regardless of what is clearly revealed tome, everything that happens DOES happen for a reason! Ultimately, His plan is far superior than my own.

Oh, He is Good!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Grow Baby Grow....

Just saying a quick HELLO and sharing a little bit of the fun that's going on in our busy life!

Officially in the 3rd trimester and sadly, I've been bad at taking pictures of my growing babe but here are at least two:

I'm feeling HUGE and yet, there's still time to get BIGGA!

This past weekend was a good one!
We made a home made picnic and headed to the beach for a Vintage Trailer Show!
LOVE!
( and There's something about sandwich papers that make a picnic fun to make and fun to eat.)


Work has had both the hus and I busy, busy, BUSY this week but his job has lots of creative juices flowing!
These beautiful flowers got to come home with us after a fun day at the office for him.


It's really nice to take a break to focus on the happy & the good amidst all the chaos.

Blessings!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Simply Thankful

I've been somewhere new lately.
A place that's just mine and a place that belongs to me but I'm here.
It's a place of choice and intention.
It's a place of battle and a place of peace.
It's a place of surrender and a state of grace.

Today I just find myself smiling about some largely little things
and I'm thankful.I unexpectedly have a preschooler.
In two weeks, who he IS has grown.
My son--my little boy--is growing and as he does, so do I.
His pride, his enthusiasm, his independence, his JOY for where he is and who he is able to see in himself is changing him!
I am THANKFUL that our decision to place him where he is has been confirmed.
I am THANKFUL that God took us from where we were sooner than expected--while it broke my heart, He had it orchestrated like a symphony.
Oh, if only I could truly paint the picture of how perfectly He planned it!
But I guess some things are for us to know alone in our walk with Him.

I am THANKFUL for his teacher!
She reassures me. She shows me how to treat him as a boy and not a baby.
What a gift to see someone see your own as a treasure to them as well!

I am THANKFUL for my husband's new journey.
His journey is one I am watching and wanting for myself.
How to be somewhere you know you should be?
I want that for me.

I am THANKFUL that I am HEARING HIS VOICE
and I am not willing to bury my head any more and hope to hear something different tomorrow.
I am THANKFUL He told me--clearly spoke to me--about parenting.
I am THANKFUL he has given me friends who have shown me what a blessing my family is.
I am THANKFUL I have a church that inspires me, feeds me, grows me even if I can't physically be there.
I'm THANKFUL for the willingness to make decisions that are for our son--for our family's future.
I am THANKFUL for PRAYER--oh my gosh, I am so thankful for prayer!
I am THANKFUL for Christian revolutionaries like Rick Warren, Joyce Meyer, & Stormie Omartian who feed me with truth--swords for the battle!
I am THANKFUL that He is at work in me and on my heart.

I am THANKFUL for unexpected hugs from a little boy I just met.
I am THANKFUL for a new friend who is so purely honest it reopened me.
I am THANKFUL for a friend who is simply there and always willing & waiting.
I am THANKFUL for the lies that are being dispelled by truth and the strength He is giving me to fight.

I am LOVED.
So very LOVED.
And for that--I am SO THANKFUL!

I am simply--THANKFUL

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Holy Vision in the Mess

This weekend was the weekend of attack.
From a dream that was so real I couldn't shake it on Saturday morning
to the parenting attacks of doubt and wrapping up with the attack on my joy for my life,
the weekend rocked me.I sent a tweet out into cyberspace wondering early Saturday morning if my cleaning rampage was that of a nesting mother or one of a woman who was venting her life frustrations with Clorox & Endust.
The answer was quickly revealed: I was venting.

I had been robbed and I didn't know how to reclaim what I seemingly handed off willingly to the enemy: my joy.

.......

I'm reading a book that has been challenging me.
The diction and syntax make me read like a first grader--slow and steady--but I got to a chapter this weekend that made sense!
Pages littered in pink highlighter and a journal filled with things I wanted to remember, I had been heart struck.

In the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, she asks one of many big questions but one hit home:

"How do I have the holy vision in the mess?"My husband has a saying that is polar opposite from how I think:
"Circumstances stink, but life is simple."
His statement constantly hits me upside the head and I internally react with,
"What life are you living? This is NOT simple!"
Ann's question seemed to reiterate the very statement I hold hands with, sleep beside, and kiss every day yet battle because it's not how I feel inside.

So I went through my other highlighted portions and I summarized the answer to the question:

"How do I have the holy vision in the mess?"
  1. I need to "transfigure the mess into joy with thanks." p. 125
  2. I need to "speak the unseen into seeing." p. 128
  3. I need to "look to the Largeness behind all the smallness." p. 128
  4. I need to "give thanks to keep the gaze on heaven." p. 128
  5. In order to "see the glory," I need to "name the graces." p. 129
Damn, that all sounds hard but as Ann says, "When I choose--and it is a choice--to crush joy with bitterness [I am] purposefully choosing to take the way of the Prince of Darkness. Choosing the angry way of Lucifer because I think it is more effective--more expedient--than giving thanks."

I must say, I hate (and simultaneously love as well as appreciate) the growing pains of seeing myself and knowing that I am the problem in my own life.
It hurts-it sucks-it's frustrating and ultimately the resolution resides with me and my choice to wrestle it out with God.
Just because I feel like I'm an incompetent parent, unappreciated & easily replaceable member of society, unloved, or forgotten person does not make it real. "Feelings work faster than thoughts...[and] the only way to fight a feeling is with a feeling...Feel thanks and it's absolutely impossible to feel angry."

......

I think I'll be pondering all of this for awhile.
I'll be wrestling with this deeply.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

3

This year, I have an Easter Baby ;)My little man is turning 3.

I'm not quite sure where the time has gone, but for all of those long days, the years sure have been short!

This little tiny person changed everything about me (and still does).
He makes me vulnerable and makes me strong.
He makes me protective and he makes me independent.
He makes me smile and there are moments he makes me cry.

He's my personal paradox.

I see my weakness and I see my strength.
I feel my exhaustion and I live my enthusiasm.
I watch him and I see who he is and I heal the little girl that I was.

He is my challenge, my rescue, and he is my point of grace.

This Sunday when we celebrate that He Is Risen,
I will also celebrate the beauty that has come from my ashes,
I will celebrate my son.

Happy Birthday to my growing boy & Happy Easter to ALL!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

24 Weeks

You know those women who just....GLOW....when they're pregnant?
The ones that never get sick, barely gain a pound, could run a marathon...
Yeahhh...that's not me.
I've officially decided
I'm a Show-er, NOT a Glower.

Although I may not shine and rock it like a petite, peppy, energetic little mama,
I'm SO grateful to be here and with this little one after our loss last year.

I may be that girl that is sick the entire pregnancy and barely gets through a work day.
I may be that prego that aches sooner than normal & waddles earlier than I should
Like I said...
I'm a show-er, NOT a glower
but I AM grateful, blessed, and cherishing this little life I feel moving every day!

While I may not have that physical glow, my heart sure shines insides :)

{photos by christanp photography}

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dear Son, Life is Changing....

Dear Son,

I know your world has been different lately.
I know in it, there have been blessings--like unlimited time with your Daddy.
I know we as your parents have been waiting to see where God would take us and while we waited on Him, you waited on us.
You looked to us for your safety, your security, your peace.
I know there were days I didn't give that to you.
Days I was too tired, to empty, or just in my space seeking Him.
Thank you for the smiles you gave us, the laughs you provided, the "look at me!'s" the "let me show you!'s" that pulled me out of where I was and challenged me to say YES to you and NO to the things I thought I should be focusing on.

Life is changing again.
We are so blessed that Daddy has a new job that he will start on Monday!
In the time you had with him, you talked more, your sense of humor grew with him, you learned more than I could have imagined.
I'd come home from work and there was my boy: going potty like a big boy, singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and learning your ABCs.
In that time you had with him, the window of you being our one and only shrunk and mommy's heart started skipping beats....
how could I protect you from all this change you feel too fragile for?
Wait...
I think the fragile one is me.

I thought I knew where you would be going back to.
I thought you'd go back to your daycare and life would pick up as usual until August.
I can't protect you from that change, I can only prepare you.
In August you will become a big brother & start preschool.
Such amazing things!
Now that the unexpected news came that there's no space for you to return to the daycare you are use to (that I am use to), I feel like I have failed you.


You did not ask for two parents who worked.
You did not ask to become a Big Brother and lose our undivided attention.
But the truth is, those two things are not our parental failures (even though they feel that way).
They our are parental challenges and above all GIFTS to you.
You get to learn to play with others while we work to provide for our family.
You get to share your world with a sibling who will forever be in your life.
YOUR STORY IS NOT MINE.
You will have a relationship of love with your sibling because there won't be anyone dividing you and you will have a lifelong friend.

Every day as your mother, my love, I find ways that I want to love you more, give you a better world, protect you from evil, and I am challenged. I am challenged to remember that your time on this earth and with me is on loan.
Your story is not mine.
My experiences are not yours.
You deserve to be who YOU are and this will not be the last time I think my fears are yours, but I will try.
I will try to give you YOUR moments here.

Life is changing my, son.
I love you.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Unfailing Love

The human truth is that I don't like how I feel today.
I'm exhausted and that exhaustion has me hearing lies.
Lies that make me want to cry, shout, and give in to the worldlyness of life right now.
I feel a bit like a toddler: "I.DON'T.WANT.TO"
And as much as I want to cave, crumble, crawl away, & curl up today: I'm fighting.

I have a friend--that's not even a good term--she's God's gift to my heart.
She encouraged me last week as she spoke about her counseling classes and I took an assignment on as my own:
For every lie I heard, find a scripture that counteracts the lie with truth.

So tonight I sat down and I thought about where my head was today and I decided... it sucked.

I went to the Book of Truth and I found truth, shields really, to fight the lies that were out to destroy me today.
I even found MY prayer.


1
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
listen to my plea!
Answer me because you are faithful and righteous.
2 Don’t put your servant on trial,
for no one is innocent before you.
3 My enemy has chased me.
He has knocked me to the ground
and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave.
4 I am losing all hope;
I am paralyzed with fear.
5 I remember the days of old.
I ponder all your great works
and think about what you have done.
6 I lift my hands to you in prayer.
I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.

7 Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,
for my depression deepens.
Don’t turn away from me,
or I will die.
8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I run to you to hide me.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.
11 For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life.
Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.
12 In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies
and destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant. ~ Psalm 143

Truth: I am loved, provided for, & worthy.

Truth is what I will cling to.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm Not A Housewife


I may be farther than that than I have ever been.
Right now, I am the financial provision and with it, I'm feeling things I never thought I would.

In my days of die hard feminism, this was where I wanted to be
however
I also wanted to be alone then.


This isn't how I would have written this.
In fact, I had this dreamt out quite differently.
He was working toward being the income.
I was dreaming of the day I'd be home chasing my rugrat, making meals, & awaiting my man's return from a long day in the office.
Now-here we are.
One income: mine.
One stay at home parent: him.

Truly, with every ounce of me, I'm hearing His voice and I know
this is where He has me
and I will learn and wait here.

And let me tell you,
I'm learning.


I'm learning:
I have expectations I didn't know I had and I may have a 50's husband mentality about what should get done in the house because "what else are you doing there all day?"

I've had to remember:
Being at home with your child is a blessing and it is also a lot of work. It's a lot of "look at me's" "play with me's" & go go go. It's energy you simply don't use in an office--it's physical, emotional, and mental.

I'm learning:
A stay at home parent really needs a break when the other parent gets home just as much as the parent who just left the office needs a break. Both of us have had different energy tanks drained and we.need.a.break!

I'm learning...again and again:
My husband has the ability to be a better parent and person than I do.
The man's energy is unfailing.
and I realize:
I'm so unfair in asking for MORE than what I see when I get home
because every time I ask for MORE
I'm discounting every single thing he's already done.

I'm learning:
I have a lot to learn.


I'm Not A Housewife.
I'm a Working Mom who's on a road I wouldn't have picked myself but I'm in the passenger seat now taking in the views as I go. I'm far from perfect, but I'm not setting out for that--I'm setting out to love the journey and learn the lessons of the Refiner's fire.

This isn't a season about what I'm giving up.
This is a season about what I'm gaining.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

If I had a camper...

I'd do something crazy.
I'd pick up and take off.

I'd tell my man to hitch it up to the back of the car.
I'd throw the munchkin's sleeping bag in the back.
And we'd hit the road.Not forever.
Just for a few days.

We'd admit: this isn't how we would have planned the first few months of 2011.
We'd praise: that we believe in His plan above our own.
We'd sing: songs of joy and stand our hearts on solid ground.
We'd laugh: because we know, one day we'll look back and say, "Remember when...this is why."
We'd breathe: this is a new moment and it is ours.
If I had a camper:
We'd be on the road.
We'd find out spot by the ocean or among the trees.
We'd just be.

Something tells me it's going to get harder than this.
SomeOne tells me the end is going to be so much better than this.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Walk the Talk

It sure is easy to talk the talk. Walking the Walk is something different.
In face of challenges and the unknown, I have just one question before me:
Will I Walk My Talk?
Today is the last day we have two paychecks.
It is the last day with known numbers and our previously existing budget.
We pay our mortgage, feed our mouths, clothe our bodies, and insure our health on these numbers.
The most important thing we do with those numbers is live as stewards.

I thought a lot about the tithe we would send to our home church today.
I asked myself a few questions.
Heart, Is it harder to give today?
I answered, No.
Soul, Are you scared to give today?
I answered, No.
Mind, Do you think you'll need that money you give away?
I answered, We don't need money. We need His provision.

I talk about trusting God with everything I have.
I talk about knowing that He is my provider.
I talk about my faith.
Can I walk it?
Will I walk it?It's a choice and I choose YES.

To each fear that tries to creep in, I'll turn the truth dial up to MAX!
To each doubt that tries to seek, kill, and destroy, I'll get on my knees and PRAISE!
For each tear that comes through my humanity, I'll learn MORE about who my GOD is.
It is HIS time.

Today I wrote the BEST check I've ever written.
Today I gave 10% of our last solid income on numbers we depend on and chose to say, "Father, you are 100% better than numbers and all I want to rely on. We're Yours."

In Malachi 3:10 (NLT), God says this: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." (from Saddleback.com)

We choose to sow into our eternity.
My God is BIGGER than this Mountain!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

They Are New Every Mourning...


In worldly standards, today was a bad day.
In the eyes of my faith, today was a new day.
But here I am--struggling with a very real faith but my conflicting humanness.

I'm not sure what the steps of grief are in the wake of loss but I anticipate it's the range of emotions:
Tears, Anger, Depression, Numbness and then moments of feeling OK
My husband and I have been dancing with God for awhile asking Him what we are made for and what His plan is as we go through the day to day.
We are happy and we are so blessed.
In all of that though, we feel prisoners to a routine of unfulfilling financial provision.
Just last night we sat down for dinner and faced each other in love and admitted,
"I don't know what else to do."
We were "stuck."

Today God unstuck us.

Today my husband lost his job.

In this moment I am reminded:
"They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:23
And I hold so fast and true to that. I do!

But then there's this aching human heart I have that in the very same moment I hold faith, I hold mourning.
So I let my tears fall as I replay the news that came from the man I love.
I mourn as a wife for a man that I want to be reaffirmed by this world for who he is.
I celebrate as his faith filled partner that he has a better affirmation, a truer one in Christ.
A Christ who says He has plans to prosper us and NOT to harm us.
A Christ who knew we had nowhere else to move & took it away so He could move for us.

My head says that today was a bad day.
My heart says today was God's day.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Coupon Crazy

With a family that has been sick for 2 straight months and medical bills mounting, I've been determined to find ways to save money & also prepare for a future that includes a new sweet baby!
This weekend while my two very sick guys healed & I played nurse, I did just that: deal hunted.

Project 1: Bedding for the Big Boy Room
It just so happens I love expensive things BUT the best thing is I won't buy expensive things.
So while I LOVE a specific Serena & Lily bedding set, I absolutely refuse to spend $150 on a single comforter that will get spilled or puked on.
While I had to compromise on the ultimate look, I was able to find an adorable quilt at Marshalls after weeks of looking for only $30.

Project 2: Begin to store up Diapers
Through AmazonMom & some coupon codes, I was able to start setting us up to receive boxes of diapers to prepare for the new ones arrival. Instead of having all of the expenses hit us at once, we want to start preparing for the budget adjustments now.I was able to get 1 box of Newborn Pampers Swaddlers for $13.15 (free because we had a gift card however from an earlier purchase on LivingSocial.com) & 1 box of Size 1 Pampers Swaddlers for $19.96.
In addition, I signed up for Parents Magazine (which is the place to get the 20% Amazon coupons).
I got the 1 Year Subscription to the magazine for $3.56 by subscribing through magazinedealsnow.com & applying an additional code MPS10.
The savings I'll get from the $3.56 investment will be well worth it!

Project 3: Scour my favorite Money Saving Blogs
I ended up setting myself up with a new email address just so I could sign up for new coupons and deals and my personal email wouldn't get flooded. (I got this idea from my cousin when we were Flea'ing!)Over the weekend I was able to get a free Toddler Snack Kit from BeechNut, get a free stick of Secret Deodorant, get a buy 1 get 1 free at Chipotle, get 2 free Nivea Chapsticks, & stock up on the husband's face wash--2 8oz bottles of Clean & Clear for a total of $6.50 (regular price for one is $6.99).

Ultimately our thoughts in this house are, the more we can prepare now, the better off we will be in August. In general we like to keep back ups of our usual needs like detergents, paper towels, shampoo & conditioner, etc. so in case we ever ran into a job loss or financial stress there would be some essentials we wouldn't need to worry about right away.

What ways do YOU save?
What are YOUR favorite saving blogs or tips?!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

15 weeks & Counting


Who knew that being pregnant with another lil' one could be so different from the first time!
Aside from the physical symptoms, the biggest difference is how little time there is to sit, refuel, or even think about a nursery, a name, or the little hopes.
When I'm not tied to my desk, I'm struggling just to find time to love on the two men in my life let alone figure out how to call a friend, stay up late enough to watch a show, or grocery shop. UNREAL how exhausted I am.

Um--also, incredibly unreal how much faster I have shown this time around!
At 15 weeks now, I am definitely all belly'd up!
If the Dr. hadn't told me I've gained the same amount of weight I had at the same time my last pregnancy, I'd be thinking I was in serious trouble!
It hasn't stopped me from wanting to post a sign on my shirt that says, "KNOCKED UP" buuut oh well!

So we talk to the midge about him becoming a big brother and ask for his opinion on the little things like, "What do you want to name the baby?" (to which we get no real answer) & the hus' favorite question is, "Do you want a white baby like mommy or a brown baby like daddy?" (to which he always says, "white baby!" and we laugh)
{*I should probably mention for any new readers that I'm a blond (usually) & blue eyed Norwegian while my husband is straight up Portuguese and our first babe was a total shock of bright blond, blue eyes, and fair skin just like Mama.}And life just keeps moving forward
(despite the fact that I feel like this pregnancy is surprisingly taking forever after spending 2 weeks at 14 weeks when my due date was bumped up---lame!!--but I truly think they're wrong. Guess I do have to keep on their time line however.)

So, all is just movin' along over here.
How are YOU doing?!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Wordy Update!

A LOT has been going on in the past month or so...both challenges & blessings.
And here I am, a little lost in where to start because I haven't heard my own voice in so long
but I'll make this attempt to start somewhere!
About a month ago now my little man got a pretty intense cold and it turned into just the start of a series of illnesses.
It seems to have come to an end about a week ago after a trip to the Dr. & then a request we go to the ER for blood work & X rays.
For weeks the Dr's had been telling me, "He doesn't have symptoms now" and I would leave $20 poorer and feeling frustrated-- THIS ISN'T MY KID! I don't care if you say he's ok right now!
To make a very long story short, he ended up with a hip infection that limited his ability to walk and PRAISE GOD there was no bacteria. I couldn't handle another bout with sepsis in my life!

During that same time of illness, I was visited with a very dark moment in my life.
I had been working my butt off and essentially discovered I was letting it kill me.
I had a come to Jesus moment and fell apart and through my dear, dear friend & my mom, I heard Him calling me home & I decided to fight for my life.
I reclaimed my servant's heart and redirected my attention.
It seems I've spent months in this fight.
Something feels different now.


So there we were with a sick midget and a broken hearted but refound me and we got some news, work life was going to look different for my husband- his hours were being cut.
Faith or Fight moment.
We chose faith.
Ok, Lord-fearless we say, let this moment be yours.
He gave us this time for my husband to:
a) be a stay at home dad
b) keep our son from daycare and allow his immunity to rebuild
c) look at me one afternoon and say, "I really want this for you"
meaning, he wants me to be a stay at home mom, too.
He gave us this time for me to:
a) Come to Him and Choose Him...daily
b) Make room for Him in my heart
c) To challenge who I say He is - If I believe He can move mountains and work miracles, why do I limit Him with my doubt?
This unchosen moment has actually been one I wouldn't take away.

And in & amongst ALL of this is the greatest blessing of all....
We are expecting a little cherub this August!
Just days to making it exactly 1 year since my most challenging loss, we were given a new life to love.
The emotions I have had with that are a different post in itself but above all
I am so thankful.
SO very THANK FULL.

To close it out for the moment, I heard Rick Warren say something on a sermon I relistened to today: If the devil can't make you bad he'll make you busy.
All of a sudden, the past several weeks and how they have slowed us down felt like an unbelievable blessing to see all the things I was filling my life with that were not of Him or for Him.
He's at work in it all!

Friday, January 21, 2011

I L ? ? E You

In high school I had a boyfriend who would send me notes on graph paper and in each one there would be one written portion that was the same:

"I L ? ? E You
"

This "relationship" didn't last long.
Two weeks into the graph paper note love/like affair, he decided my endeavor to Australia that upcoming Summer would leave him too lonely for three weeks & I decided that this clearly wasn't worth it.
As I lay awake thinking about what God's been telling me to move on in my life in the last 72 hours, I remembered this toying two week relationship that existed over a decade ago.

It became clear to me as I pictured those old hand written notes that my God will never make me question how he feels about me. He doesn't fill the Bible with doubt, confusion, and strings. He's not asking me to earn his love or fulfill Him. He's not saying if I stray, I can't come home.

He is like NO Human Relationship on this Earth.

He says,
I LOVE You.
No questions & no games.
He loves me!
He loves You!