Thursday, December 8, 2011

Honey, it's time

Twice have I carried a baby inside of me. Waited the long nine months to then labor and deliver a tiny life into this world. Plenty of time to google random pregnancy symptoms, collect paint chips, circle name after name in the books, imagine just who might come out and grow up right in front of me.
In my case, and in most, there was no alternative to having the baby. Lord willing, I was going to carry the baby to term and safely deliver. No attempt could be made (no, not even months prior) to reverse the life working inside me. This is an example of a situation in life that must be addressed one way; and that is having the baby. No getting out of it now. Not that I would want to. And you would think that with all that time to plan ahead while the baby grows, that I could become an expert in having babies. No- not without first having the baby. The closer I came to full term, the more I felt the reality of what was going to happen. Each contraction was convincing me of the inevitable. As the contractions moved closer together, I understood my time was near. I can't stop this process- I can't undo it.



Lately, this is how I am feeling about my attempts to "turn my life around" at home. I decided well beyond nine months ago that my goals were changing. At first my efforts were very small. "I'll see if I can find any good websites or blogs to inspire me.... I wonder if anyone else has ever felt this way." And boy, did I get sucked down the rabbit hole with that one! Just like any first-time mom looking up pregnancy info online, I was clicking my way through a thick forest of influences in the form of blogs and forums. Praise God there are women who believe as I do and yearn for a life of meaning and a family with purpose and hope and make themselves available in this way! But it can be overwhelming to wade through so much information. It has almost become a part-time job, this reading reading reading.... clicking this and that and the other thing. So many worthy and inspirational resources!

What good will they be to me if all I do is read them?

Every so often I will read something or hear a lesson at church and think to myself "that's it- I've had it. I am never doing x, y, z again." or "Tomorrow is going to be a new day. I'm just going to change everything from the moment I wake up!" I feel as though finally I'm going to have this "baby." I already know I'm not going to back out of my goal. But just as surely as I couldn't have announced that I would be having my real baby first thing the next morning, I haven't been able to get the "active labor" going on my goals. True enough, goal setting is the easy part (and so is making the baby, if we're being honest here.) The labor is the doing. The wonderful thing about having a baby is that once you really are in labor, you can pretty well count on holding a precious newborn in a few hard hours. The same goes for actively working on your goals. Results in some form are immediate. The satisfaction of knowing you saw something through.



My biggest encouragement these past few weeks is that my little wake up calls are coming more frequently. Those moments when I imagine waking up the next day and succeeding more than I fail are lasting a little bit longer each time.

"Honey- It's time!"

Friday, November 11, 2011

Battling a cold

Our house is in a cold war. Lots of nose wiping, coughing and moping around... I hate the stall in productivity but I celebrate the excuse to drink yummy warm tea and honey all day and cuddle with the kids. As long as I can spring back into action once we are feeling better! I hope you are staying safe from cold weather bugs so far. Any great suggestions for cold prevention and/or treatment?


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Purpose


My life right now (and I suppose forever) has a strong emphasis on family. Growing up, my family was always of utmost importance, and we valued spending time together. Even when I was a horrible challenging teenager, I never doubted that I was loved. Now that I am married and raising children of my own, I am discovering that this is not automatic. Of course I love my babies and natural affection abounds! But some effort is required. As mothers, we are setting the stage for the childhood that our children will carry with them forever in their hearts, hopefully with fond memories.

I want my children to know that their family is their safe place. That our home is their home. That God is in control, and we are in it together.

I work outside the home a meager 5-8 hours per week, and it is really just to help make ends meet. (I used to think the expression was "ends meat" like some kind of food...) My real job is that of Christian, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend. And each of those is full time. I may not have a career outside the home, but the one I am discovering inside is just as daunting and also rewarding. I don't mean to make mountains out of molehills, here. I realize millions of women have done this very thing for thousands of years. But for me, this has been a challenge. I don't want to simply get through it, as some might. I didn't have children so that I could have a pint-sized accessory for a while and then consider them a burden after that. The same way I didn't get married just to have a big party. I'm in it for the long haul, and I want to do my very best for my husband and my babies.
This blog will be a place for me to track my journey as I try to make my faith my rock, my house a home, my husband a true partner, and my children a blessing to me and to everyone whose lives they will touch.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Good neighbors

It is funny how some connections and relationships you make in life just stick with you.
From (my) third grade to ninth grade, my family lived in a house on a street of all brand new houses. Before that, the street was a cornfield. So no trees unless you planted them (and we did). No fences unless you put them up (we didn't).
We lived on the part of the street that dead-ended at a fence and on the other side was a pretty brown horse that all the little girls on the street dreamed about taking care of. I used to collect long hairs from her tail that ended up stuck in the fence wire and made a little braid out of them.
We liked to roller blade up and down the street, and one time my sister ran right into that fence by the field and broke her arm. The neighbor kids were all friends and we played an interesting form of baseball in our front yard almost every evening. Frisbees served as bases.
New construction across the street meant huge piles of dirt just perfect for climbing and building forts.
When a neighbor moved away and the house left vacant for some months, the grass in the backyard got so high that you could practically hide in it. To my parents, an eyesore. To us, a jungle! We pretended the wooden playset in the backyard was our treehouse and we waded through the grass to get back to it, being careful of tigers and snakes, etc.
Our family had a little dachsund at the time who loved to bolt outside when given opportunity (remember, no fences) so we spent many evenings chasing her frantically through the neighborhood to bring her home. Sometimes neighbors would call the house, "Peanut is in my yard, send the kids this way."
My sisters and some neighbor girls and I had a lemonade stand (yes, on that dead-end street) and we wanted to give all the proceeds to the flood relief efforts in the midwest that was happening at that time. Everyone from the neighborhood came to buy some lemonade and some grapes from my parents fridge and who knows what else. We raised something like $40. Someone on our street knew someone at the local paper and had them come down to take our picture. We made it into the newspaper! The fame! The glory!
The neighbors on one side of our house were an older couple (actually, my parents are now that age!) Their driveway was twice as long as ours, and for some reason twice as smooth. Luckily, they were happy to let us rollerblade on their driveway. We adopted them as an extra set of grandparents. You can really never have too many. She was an avid sewer and had fancy machines and know-how. My mom taught me how to use a sewing machine, but she sent me over to the "Norf's" house when I wanted to turn an old pair of jeans into a skirt. I spent the evening there working on it and in the end I had my skirt. (Probably with a lower hem than I originally envisioned, thank you very much)
We moved away from that house after my freshman year. 1999. My parents kept in touch with the "Norfs." They came to my wedding 8 years later.
Now, 12 years after moving away, my mom suggests I call to arrange a visit with my littles. We caught up some over the phone and talked about the "old days" and about my new family. I told her about how I am still sewing and looking forward to getting better at making clothes. She told me she wanted to give me something that she no longer uses and would love to see it being used. So the littles and I made the trip up to visit with our old neighbors for a few hours. Talked about who moved where, who is still around, what all my little neighborhood friends are doing now. A really nice visit.
And look what I was sent home with:
Yep, a SERGER!!!!!!!! I had better figure out how to use it! What a generous gift. And all because of a long-standing, well nurtured relationship with a neighbor. You just never know.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Meet the Mr.

I was just browsing my newly organized photo library (finally) and came across this shot. My intention was to sneak up on them and get a picture, but the Mr. opened an eye just as I got close. I said "shh, close your eyes so I can take a picture!" He obliged, obviously.


I just love seeing my babies bond with their dad. This picture reminds me of the way babies are just little heat seeking missiles. I like to imagine the safety and security and love that Sebastian must feel when he is close to us. He doesn't have to worry about warmth, shelter, nourishment, love. My heart breaks for babies who don't have that. If you're reading this, please just send up a little prayer for all the tiny precious lives in the world. Pray that God can wrap them in His warmth and love and make them feel as safe and secure and loved as they deserve to be.

Memorizing Scripture

I am always impressed when I am speaking with someone who is able to recall a scripture almost instantly. No matter the topic of conversation, they can jump in and recite a verse that is relevant and helpful to the discussion.


Even in day to day life at home, there are so many times that I want to respond to my children or my husband or even (or especially) to my own thoughts with a verse of scripture.
When I find my 2 year old daughter is having trouble listening to me, wouldn't it be great to have "Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord." Col 3:20 in your pocket?
When my husband and I are discussing something from opposing viewpoints, how about "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1?
When my day at home with two toddlers is getting the best of me and I feel myself slipping into old habits of anger and irritability... I would love to have this scripture written on my heart and ready to recall to admonish myself: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
As Christians, it is so important to have scriptures ready to recall when in conversation with others, too. Either with our brothers and sisters in Christ or to unbelievers who could use an encouraging word. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6
Some might be critical of memorizing scripture because of the concern that the context and/or meaning could be lost in strict memorization. We certainly would not want to be guilty of "vain repetition" as Matthew 6:7 warns about. I believe that depends on your intentions and execution of memorization. If you want to boast to your friends that you can recite the entire New Testament, that might be a problem. However, in the examples I set forth above, the memorization is playing more the role of "Therefore shall you lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul,..." Deuteronomy 11:18.
Our family has started using this method to memorize scripture. I'd love to say we've faithfully recited our verses every day, but in reality it has been more like 5 days out of 7 each week for the last two weeks. But even so, we've successfully memorized 3 or 4 verses and keep working on new ones.



The best part is, Katherine (my 2 year old) pointed to the box the other day and said "Bible tell me so?" (She likes to sing "Jesus loves me" and she has adapted the verse "for the Bible tells me so" to refer to the Bible) I picked up the box and asked her if we should read our verses. I read a couple out loud to her and then she said "A soft answer......" I was absolutely floored that she was recalling one of our memory verses! I encouraged her and asked her to keep going "A soft answer turn away...." I gave her a big hug and read the whole verse again to her. After only a couple weeks of working on these, my 2 year old was already starting to recall a verse! This just makes me feel even more strongly about involving the Bible in as much as possible at home.
According to Timothy 3:16 it is "inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween

     Today we enjoyed the full autumn experience. At least the indoor version. It's not exactly fall until you've fallen into a pile of leaves.
      But we carved up the pumpkin that we got at the farm last weekend, put up some decorations and watched "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" I made some bean soup and a loaf of bread and we had cookies for dessert.



      Our house is a little on the messy side, and there were no doubt projects that were ignored in favor of celebrating the season. But I want our family to have cherished traditions and memories of days like this one. I doubt my kids will ever say something like "Hey Mom, remember when you did 5 load of laundry in one day AND finished going through your closet?" Mostly because that sounds like way more than I would do in one day, but I digress...
      I can claim these little seasonal traditions are for the kids, but I think us "grown ups" benefit a lot from them too. It takes us back to our own childhoods for a moment and gives us a break from the every day routine.



      Here's to having a fun fall day! Grab a glass of cider and a plate of cookies and enjoy!