Love God. Love people.

Love God. Love people.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Profoundly Grateful

I am about 3 months into my maternity leave (with about 3 months to go), and this time off, this precious pause in life, has made me quite contemplative. Maybe I have nothing new to say that you haven't already heard or thought yourself before, but once more I must write down these thoughts.  This time in my life is beautiful. 

I am beyond blessed to get the maternity leave that I am taking.  We are making financial sacrifices for it, but the payoff on the homefront is OH SO grand.  The moments can be mundane, messy, loud, and chaotic, but they are ours. I love waking up with my babies and being home. Some days, it is pajamas til 4 pm...or just pajamas ALL day for that matter.  My counters have never been so cluttered, my washing machine has never seen so much laundry, but my heart soars with gratefulness, joy, and delight.

Our baby, Hope, has just turned 3 months old. I have gotten the hang of this mothering-of-two-kids thing.  Our son, Colby, has me at a moment's notice for anything and everything. I wish all kids could have that, at least for a time with their moms. In the ebb and flow of most of our days, we share a laugh, a lunch, and some imaginative play. It is not always perfection, but it doesn't have to be... It is just the fact that I am here.  These are special times.

I was trying to put my feelings into words about the addition of Hope, and all I can say is that she makes our house feel more like home.  Her birth story was incredible, and almost euphoric (as I had an epidural this time).  I went from busy, overwhelmed, overly pregnant teacher to her mom, overnight-literally.  She came into the world, and it's like I let out a sigh of relief and then automatically settled in to our nest to become mother hen extraordinaire.  Anything outside of mothering I have been able to separate at an arm's length away.

The fact that Christmas is now falling on my watch during this time off makes it all the more joyful. Colby had his preschool Christmas program today, and all I could do was take it all in with all my heart. For our lives will never be right here in this spot again. 

A sweet, four-year-old boy with sleep still all over his face at 7:30 am walking into our bedroom to say, "Where's the little lady?"

Strolling down our road in autumn with a newly born, black-haired baby girl.

Making scrambled eggs with my son.

Breastfeeding in a peach-colored nursery.

Visiting grandparents.

A baby girl kicking her legs wildly in a small tub of bubbles

All of these things, I must document, as if engraving on my mind for future remembrance. I know Hope will be in preschool in a blink of an eye, and Colby will be too big for my lap.  I long for today to stay. Even if just a little while longer. 

Just taking it all in- because in time, my memory will grow fuzzy, and my everyday will be scheduled out for me.  The world will call us to join in at school, at sports, at events, at everything. But right now, the world can wait.

And for parting thoughts---I know this physical part of life will end for me some day. We are all spiritual beings living out a physical journey for now. Thanks be to God for providing me with these really magical, wonderfully sweet experiences in my journey.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Backpacks and Swim Lessons

 I am finding myself kind of lost as of late.  There are some unchartered territories that I am currently wandering, and all of it is both wonderful and unsettling at the same time.

First off, I am seven months pregnant, which magnifies any emotion I may be feeling.  😉  In the next short 8-9 weeks, we will meet sweet baby #2!!!!  Impending change coupled with many unknown factors can rev up lots of feelings of anxiety--good and bad. (And that's okay, and to be expected!)

The emotions that have surrounded me in just the past few days are surprising me, though, just like an unexpected guest.  I must document them as I feel like we are turning a rather large corner.

My son has turned 4, and with that age, it seems childhood independence gets its nod of permission to begin.  Just last week, he tried swim lessons for the first time and RELISHED every minute.  He now swims like a fish, and wants to explore the water more than ever! Great, right?

Yesterday, he attended his first-ever preschool day, which will be happening once a week for the next 7 weeks until the fall session starts up.  I tried to get a quick picture of him as we entered the school. Envision this: red and blue striped polo shirt, khaki shorts, adorable raccoon backpack, and dimples a mile deep into his still-babyish cheeks.  He couldn't get in the door quickly enough, the sun was a bit too bright, and the photo op just wasn't there.  He came home in the afternoon and in his very own words said, "I loved it!"  He couldn't even nap because he wanted to talk about his day.

Why am I so lost? I want to foster independence.  We even held our son a year due to timing of his birthday. He is ready for these things.  I guess I am caught by surprise that I am feeling so wishy-washy at the arrival of this new stage.  My husband and I have "talked up" for months both the swim lessons and the summer session of preschool to really prepare him mentally.  He was prepared. I forgot to prepare myself.  (You may be thinking, "Good golly--- it's not like he is moving out of the house.") But, all the same, these life moments FEEL monumental.

Just in the last 2 weeks, that proverbial grip of childhood has loosened for the first time.  It is a lot to take in.  

I know, I know--- I will love the free time I have.  For 5 hours yesterday, I did what I pleased.  I had no directions to give, no snacks to make, no "Mama, will you build this train track, get me some milk, play outside, etc...".  Still, change is different.  Change is hard.  Change is unsettling... Even if it is good change.  What is in the human soul that wishes for a child to stay young forever? I know most moms have felt or do feel that way.

Today, I praise God for two successful new ventures in Colby's life. He is just starting, and the growing and learning are going to exponentially sprout in grand leaps and bounds. I thank God also for the new life inside of me.  That we, as a family, get to have another run in the babyhood era.  

Newness. Opportunities. Growth.  These are all God's ideas.  He is walking with us. He knows our hearts, and how humanly challenging it can be to adjust to any changes.  

Whether you find yourself in a similar season as mine, or hurdling over another transition in your parenting journey, I encourage you to find rest in Jesus.  Uttering a 30 second prayer in the shower, or stopping to thank him for all the blessings in your transition will steady you for what lies ahead. He knows change. He knows feelings. He is present.

After all, His grip on your hand has never loosened--- no matter the stage of your life.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Be Still

I love Christmas cards. I display them for almost a month, and love to see faces of friends and their families...the more sparkles, the better.  In fact, I like to get them at the clearance sale for the next year- in addition to the 40(ish) I will order with our family photo on them.

I sent out four cards this year. Typically, I am on schedule with photos, and have my template picked out after a good hour of searching. Tim was surprised that I didn't send out the normal stack that I usually do, and when he asked about it- I simply stated, "Well, there is no rule that I must, and this year, it is one thing I really am choosing not to do."

On most years, this would be a fixing point for me, until they were signed and sealed (and delivered).  But time eluded me this year. We were busy, as are most people. I had to give myself a break. I kind of delighted in it, really.

Cards were something to say 'no' to, and through that one simple, objection, it felt a little something like freedom.  'No' doesn't come easily to me. And usually, I associate guilt with it.

If there is a plan to be made, or event to be attended, I am often in the mix.  During one event, I am already thinking about planning the next.  After a good month or two, I grow grouchy, restless, and unfulfilled, as well as unproductive.  My son doesn't even have after school activities, and the running around we do leaves me weary. Life can be a rat race on a hamster wheel.

We can almost take pride in how busy we are.  We also become detached, forgetting the purpose of all our participation. I have to choose differently.  No one else will stop the wheel, unless I do.

Last year, on my New Year's blog, I wrote about the word "sacred".  This year, I choose "still".   "Still" is not always a verb.  Rather- I see it as a mindset.  It protects my emotions, and gives me peace in a very purposeful way.

Still in the midst of a LOUD, boisterous household (my husband, Colby, and our new pup have naturally loud tendencies.). I look to incorporate more quiet playtime than the motoring background of our television.

Still in the midst of chaos.  Knowing that life happens, toddlers happen, mistakes happen, etc.... 2017 will not be exempt from the sometimes chaotic happenings that occur. I like 'still' rather than 'reactive' which comes much more naturally to me.

Still on the weekend.  Still during my summer.  Still after school, still during school. Yes- I will be moving, creating, doing, but my goal will be working for simplicity and peace.

Still in my time with God.  Not too easily derailed or distracted by technology, cleaning urges, or the like.... This may mean a switch in my devotional time.

Nope- "still" cannot always happen, but when I can ...

I will choose to "Be still and know that He is God." Psalm 46:10