Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This Season

Merry Christmas Y'all! I love this time of year, kind of. I really do, I love seeing how you have dressed your children in the cutest Christmas outfits, that match. I love seeing the cookies you are making with your children and your mantles that you have decorated with Christmas words, like JOY and PEACE, my mantle says NOEL, partly because it is such a pretty word to me, and partly because it reminds me of a wonderful friend:)

But the Christmas season is not what I wanted to talk to you about.

And I want to be very careful in not making this about me being whiny, I mean, it is my blog, so it will be about me, but hopefully the tone will not be whiny. I was tempted to whine, but then I thought, we dont need a whine post (a wine post, maybe?) We need an encouragement post. So, here's what I'm going to do, I'm going to tell you about my Season I'm in, and then I will encourage you, I promise!

I just realized I'm in a TIRED season tonight. Physically, yes, kinda, but it's mostly one of those mental, spiritual, emotional tired seasons. Like when your in the middle of a (ok, lets be honest, I've only ever run a 5K, but you put your race here___) and I realized I've given a lot and I've only reached the 1/4 of the race mark... That kind of tired. Like, 'THEY ARE ONLY CHILDREN AND I HAVE SO MANY MORE YEARS AHEAD OF ME" tired, and "I CANT BELIEVE WE WANT TO HAVE A THIRD CHILD AND I WILL BE HERE ALL OVER AGAIN ONE DAY" tired. Like when Karis has a complete meltdown in the middle of my grandfather's singing performance, and I have to get up and leave an everyone is staring, and her angel of a cousin ( who is ONLY 4 mos older) is sitting next to her, perfectly content) This is after I feel so proud about how well she has been doing and how far we've come with her, obviously NOT FAR ENOUGH? Like when K's automatic answer is "NO" to everything. Like when she looks at me and says she wants to sleep in my bed, let me be clear, that's not sweet, that is her little mind working in ways to get out of going to bed. Like Autumn is crying all the time, she has FOUR upper teeth coming in and she is crying all the time, and wants to be held, all the time. Like my house is not as clean as I would like it, Ever. Like I fall behind on planning meals for our family and feel like I'm scrambling, all the time.

I mean, this list could go on people.

I honestly write this, because I have gotten compliments from people (lets be honest two people) on various aspects of my life, and while anyone always appreciates a kind word, I don't want to put on airs, I am not doing too well, friends! Or at least, it doesn't feel like I'm doing too well. It feels like, if this were a baseball game, they would need to call in the relief pitcher. However, there is no relief pitcher in life. Its just me and you, being moms all the time.

And here's where I'm gonna encourage you;

Thank God it's Christmas time! Jesus has come. He does come to give us clarity, not just moments, but pure unadulterated clarity when we are focused on Him! Jesus does give me peace in the midst of the crazy, when I chose to look to Him. And when I've failed (all the time) and I want to just throw up my hands and give up, I feel His Grace. And if I can't feel it, I specifically named my oldest as an Ebeneezer that I will always remember it. His Grace doesn't give a second chance, His Grace keeps you going. God doesn't give second chances, I believe He gives rebirth. A complete new start, new life. And it all started with a baby.

So maybe you are feeling encouraged cause you're like, well things may be bad, but at least I am not as messed up as LA! Wonderful. And maybe you are encouraged because Jesus didn't come to just be a beautiful baby boy resting in a trough. He came to become our Peace in troubled time, our Hope when there is no relief in sight. And our Grace, when we feel like we've messed up too many times. That is where I hope you find the real encouragement!

Merry Christmas, y'all, I love you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Autumn at One Year

I can't believe I'm writing this post already. It seems like yesterday I was huge, and at this point in time, very very low. I loved giving birth to Autumn, it was amazingly smooth and stress free. And I literally (thanks to the AMAZING Dr. Cook) got to watch her come into the world. Insane. Surreal. I'm so grateful for that experience. If you want to know the details about that day, the original post is Called Autumn, it's on my blog somewhere;).

Autumn's first year has been filled with lots of fun ups, and some not so great downs, but that's pretty normal right?

It's funny how children are, I'm going to try to not talk about Karis as much, cause this is Autumn's post, so I'll just say this, when Karis was born, she opened her eyes, she told me, not even a day old, and she told me who she was and how things were going to go down. Autumn wasn't and hasn't been like that. She was my "sweets". She just was and is so sweet. When she would cry, she would relax when I calmed her. She breast feed a little better than Karis, she wasn't a huge fan of it at first, but she was able to be persuaded. I think that's the biggest thing I love about her, she's a little easier to persuade, but more on that later.

She was the baby Jesus at our church's Living Christmas Tree. She was amazing. She did it two nights, the first night she was all hair, and eyes open, trying to make eye contact with everyone on the stage and smiling. The second night, you couldn't see her as well cause of how they were holding the blanket, but then when they went to lift her up at the end, the blanket fell down, and she instinctively reached up, as if to touch Heaven. Sheer perfection. The child has acting chops of a professional.

She rolled over at twoish months, she was sitting up at around six month, the crawling and pulling up took a little while, she's not too interested in exerting any more energy on something than is needed. It's so embarrassing to admit, but I can already tell she got that from me. I can remember as far back as I can, and in high school, I would decide after a couple of weeks in school if the class I was taking was a class I could make an A or a B in, and then I would do the amount of work needed to make an A or a B in the class. It sounds so lazy I know, but I graduated high school with honors, participating in extracurricular activities, clubs, and participated in varsity sports, so I don't necessarily think I'm lazy, but I do remember I've always done enough but not necessarily an over achiever. At only a year, I can see that in her. It makes me a little excited to see some traits coming from me, but it's been slow learning her.

At first, because she was a little more laid back, there was talk that she may be a cuddler or an "easy" one. She's not really a cuddler, she loves to crawl all over me, and when she's sick she'll cuddle for that second, but then she's just ready to crawl. She is a busy-body. She loves to be in the mix of things. When there are a group of three or more people, she's crawling over there to see what's up. When I hold her in the hallways of church, she tries to make eye-contact with everyone at the church. She tries to keep up with her sister, it frustrates her when she can't keep up. And then she gets mad. Let's talk about that for a second. Oh my goodness, does she get loud! One night, when she woke up in the middle of the night and was having problems putting herself back to sleep, she was letting us know, Tim turns to me and says, "She's loud." I mean, when someone wakes up in the middle of their sleep and that's the first thing they say, you know you're loud. She gets that from me too. No apologies. She also throws things too. It's too cute right now to see her throw a hissy fit. I mean, she will just take the food, or her paci, or her juice cup and just CHUCK it. I mean, what do you do? Explain to a 11 mo old and tell her that's not how we act out our frustrations? Tell her to use her words? I don't know, but for now, it's cute. Talk to me in thirteen years, then I'll tell you how cute it is.

I will say her health has not been the best. Since about three months old she's had ear infections. At about five months, we found out she has a dairy allergy. I had hoped that switching milk would help with the sickness and ear infections, but she has continued to get sick with colds and such, that eventually turn into ear infections. At about eight months, I got tired of going to the doctor once a month for ear infections, so I turned all momma bear and even though our pediatrician never recommended a specialist, I got an ENT appointment and in two weeks or so, girl friend got herself a fresh pair of ear tubes. It's only a ten minute surgery, but going under anesthesia is never fun for anyone, but she came out like a champ, smiling and making eye contact with all the doctors and nurses.

Boy does this child love to smile. Even when she's in pain. Even when she's being disobedient. She has the biggest and best smile. She cheeses for the camera, well at least my iphone camera. She's not too into photo shoots, which is a shame, but with only two teeth, she has the biggest smile with her two teeth. I love it. I love her so much.

She's not walking quite yet, but she is just starting to pull herself up by herself then just stand alone. And you should see the smile she gives when she is standing by herself. I try to get a picture of it, but by the time I can get it, she sits down. She's so cute though, very mischievous, kind of a diva, but that would make her a Harper girl, so I guess somehow (even though, I certainly don't think I am divaish) Harper girls have diva in the blood. I love that too.

I hope I haven't left much out, I guess maybe you'll want to know if she's talking. Verbal stuff is kind of a sensitive subject for me, since Karis didn't talk until later, and still to this day I rely  heavily on the Holy Spirit to help me decipher what the girl is saying. But I guess I'll talk more about that in her birthday blog. I'm trying to temper my expectations for my children in the verbal area. Autumn says, "dadadadada" a lot. I don't do sign language with her, I should, it just takes so much time and practice and my attention span is halved of the amount of time I had with Karis to teach her only two words. You see, meal time involves.... um... a lot when it comes to getting Autumn's older sister to eat, so there is not much time to devote to the Autumn who LOVES to eat most of what you put in front of her (currently, she is not digging pork or carrots... who knows why?) so, I don't know how much sign language she'll learn. She says "mamamama" when she's hurt or needs something. Typical. I guess it's just another lesson I should learn, right? But I guess I need to start going over more things, but she's not really swaying from dadadadada and mama, so like I said, I'm trying to keep my expectations, not as high when it comes to verbal development. I know, I shouldn't treat her the way I treat her older sister, but I had so much expectations for Karis, that it's been hard readjusting. I just want to create an environment for both of my girls where they can be set up for success no matter how fast or not fast they are developing. Sound good to you? I like it for us;)

Thanks for loving Autumn with us. Thanks for watching her grow up on facebook. For liking pictures, and leaving comments. Thanks for the hugs, the kisses. For holding her, because she is NOT light! Nope, she's a chunk-a-roo, and I LOVE it. Serious rolls and a booty, just like both her mom and her dad! When I think about all the family I have who love her, and the church we are currently going to right now, that has just embraced us, and to me most importantly, my children.Who love them, who miss them when they are not at church on Sundays or Wednesday night, brings me to happy tears. I'm so blessed to know my children are loved in such a great depth outside of our family circle. That makes this one happy and at-peace momma. That goes to everyone who reads this blog too, because somehow, you are taking time out to read, and care.

You can do anything for me, but the greatest is when you do something for the girls. Can't help that, it's just who I have become as a mother. Thank you for loving her, and through that, me. You rock.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Things that Bother Me

Disclaimer: This is coming from my heart right now, so it may be dramatic, but it's been stirring inside for quiet awhile.

This morning I got up and checked my facebook. I decided to give in to all the postings that I had been purposefully skipping about Iraq, and I read one. And now, there are so many thoughts feels, emotions. I gotta put something out there. We NEED to do something, and this blog post is not nearly enough. Changing subjects, and I'll come back to this, promise.

Do you know my greatest concern when I was pregnant and moving with Autumn, was being in a house in time so I could decorate her nursery, just right. And then, one great concern of mine after she was born, was finding a photographer in my price range in order to get newborn pics. These were my greatest concerns. Then when she tuned 3 mo's my greatest concerns were about curing her ear infections, then when we found out she was allergic to dairy, my greatest concern was getting her switched to soy formula. Most recently, my greatest concern was Autumn getting tubes in her ears. A "surgery" that took about, um, ten minutes, and she didn't even throw up after coming off of the anesthesia (Thank you Lord!) These have been my greatest concerns for Autumn's first year of life. 

And finally, I'll tell you a story about how one day when Autumn was only a couple of months old, Tim and I took the girls to a park about five minutes down the road from us. And while Tim graciously ran around the park with Karis, Autumn fell asleep in my arms. Just plum felt so relaxed and safe that she feel asleep in my arms. Perfect right? Well, my dumb head had to start thinking about the MILLIONS of babies in the world that will never "fall asleep" in their mothers arms and know peace. I started crying because it starts to feel like, I got lucky, and now Autumn and Karis got lucky. They were born in a land, that is extremely annoying, however still provides peace for them to fall asleep in my arms, in a park.

I started feeling weird about why I obsess over my girls nursery so much. I mean, really, do they even need an uber-decorated room with pictures of them everywhere with a specific color them that is trendy? Do they need hand-picked furniture and a padded gliding chair that had to be re-upholstered for the new color scheme. And, the other day, thank to facebook, I finally figured out why this has been bothering me so much. A photographer went around the world and took pictures of children and their "rooms", and the lucky ones had at least a blanket to either lay on or cover themselves. One child's "room" had chicken wire for walls. Chicken wire, friends!

I have never once worried about a bomb going off in my backyard. Ever. Once time, when I was in high school, Lockhead started doing military drills with whatever airplanes and helicopters they had near our house, it was just scary seeing a military grade anything flying over head, but I knew they would not drop bombs. I do not know what it is like fear the sound of jets flying over my head.

And the babies. Are they all being breast fed? What about the ones whose mother's have died, is there a nurse-maid for them, or is there formula? What about the ones that have a dairy allergy, so they just struggle through that? What about the mothers who are SO young, 12 years old and such who are being persecuted too, and have children of their own? Friends, this is happening today, right now.

I'm sorry, I don't mean to be a Debbie-downer on your day. But if you can remember the Israelis and the Palestinians, please remember the Christians who are being beheaded (apparently, I have not checked, you can see these things on youtube, don't believe someone who says it isn't happening, a quick internet search can confirm that it is) raped, hung. Our brother's and sisters in Christ. And the babies. They are dying of starvation and thirst. I love you all, and my heart is heavy today. Praying for miraculous salvation people who are ACTUALLY BEING PERSECUTED for their Faith.

Love you all,

P.S. I am also calling my state Rep and Senator today. I live in the luxury of a Republic, I'm going to use that to let them know how much we need to help our friends.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Who I am currently, at 29.

On the eve of my 29th birthday, I wanted to document who I am  right this minute, what I've learned, and have come to grips with, probably after wrestling with is for some years. Hopefully, I can continue to do this every year, to have a good look back.

- While I have finally learned how to correctly apply make-up, I hate putting it on, I only wear the full mask for special occasions

- Currently, I hate styling my hair. About a month ago, I chopped it off, and found a nice gel for people with curly/wavy hair. Thank you Aveda.

-I still love to dress up. Love it.

- There are two types of shoes in my closet, and in my opinion, there should only be two types of shoes: Stilettos and flats. HATE kitten heals.

- Black, White, and Gray. I am trying desperately to get my wardrobe to those three colors. They make me happy and feel sophisticated all the time.

- I believe more and more in spiritual warfare than I did a year ago.

-I believe less and less in coincidence. More like divine interactions.

- It drive people crazy I guess sometimes, but if it's something I have no way of changing, I've stopped wasting my efforts and worry on it. I try to focus my life on things I can affect.

- I literally just learned how to really forgive. Not just like "oh I forgive them" then spend years being bitter towards someone and still bad talking them. Like real unadulterated forgiveness. It's pretty awesome, but hard.

- I've learned how to apologize correctly, sincerely, acknowledging the thing I did wrong, looking someone in the eye and asking their forgiveness. Humbling, but freeing.

- I'm trying to live out Proverbs 15:1, I'll tell you how it's been going next year!

- I love a good party, but what's really nice is then being quiet for the next 48-72hrs. Gotta love being an introvert!

- Me and Tim are the definition of opposites attract. Wouldn't have it any other way, but man, It's been a journey learning how to spread Grace over all our differences!

- Their names are Karis and Autumn, they light up my life, I can't wait to see how stinkin awesome they are going to be as adults. They are going to do some pretty awesome stuff, cause they have already rocked my world in the short amount of time they've been on this Earth!

- I'm not so much into finding happiness these days, but delving in to the deep waters of Joy in all circumstances. It's hard.

- I've never researched a topic more than trying to figure out how to get the post-baby fat off my hips.

- I love helping, being a good supporting role, however I can be for you.

I love you guys lots, hope this was revealing and entertaining for you!!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Musings of a Stay-at-home-mom: Slowly, all of a Sudden

It hit me today. As I'm holding my oldest, her being semi-asleep as I carry her to her room, she's a lot bigger than I thought. Still bird-boned (that is an accurate description of her bones) still eats about a tablespoon of food to survive (I offer her much more than that, promise), but there she is, although the 18 mo size of her dress fits perfectly, she's getting too tall for it, thank goodness for bloomers. She's just, big.

She runs with expert grace around the playground, faster than some of the boys that are her size or bigger. Climbing up ladders and other playground things that children her age are just trying out. If she was tall enough and her arms could stretch, I bet she'd venture the monkey bars...

As I was taking her inside today, my mind flashed forward to a time when we're coming home from a gymnastics meet, cheerleading competition, (soccer game?), and she's tired and needs to take a nap. I cry just thinking about the child unbuckling herself and taking herself to her own bed.

I'd like to tell you these are tears of happiness that I'm crying. But they aren't. It makes me so sad to think that one day I won't be able to carry my bird-boned baby to bed. And don't get me started on the other one, I'm going to wake up and she's going to be a toddler, and you're going to get another sob-post from me...

I'm terrible at savoring moments. I am guilty of can't-wait-for-this-stage-to-pass-osis. But, not last night, as I laid both of my babies down to bed. Not this morning, as I carried both of their fragile self's down for nap time. Today I'm drinking it in. And it proves to be a sweet, but very heavy drink.

Drink it in y'all...


Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Mother's Day Y'all

No, seriously, Happy Mother's Day. Ok, let me say it with an exclamation point, even though I really would like to emphasize it with a period... Happy Mother's Day!

I have the privilege of knowing some awesome mothers. We all do. I know mothers who have carried more than one baby during a pregnancy (that's a super human power), I know mothers who have LOTS of children. I know mothers who carry 100000000000 other hats besides just doing this mom gig, which is pretty sizable in itself. I know mothers who home school. I know mothers who have children with some type of disability whether it be physical or mental. I know mothers who have lost babies, of any age. But the thing that unites us most of all is my mother friends love the heck out of their children.

I mean, seriously, you love the guts out of your kids.

I mean, I don't just see it in the way you post 10000000 pictures of your kids on fb, and btw, I'm not one of those who wants it to stop, I want to see your babies ALL the time. It's not in the way you give them organic, home-grown food, or sew their ADORABLE dresses, or even have them in vacation bible school and memorizing scripture. I mean, all of that stuff is far more than amazing.

But it's the way your eyes light up when you talk about them. It's the way that even their burps, and poops are amazing. It's the way you celebrate their flaws and hope that they find themselves just an inkling as captivating as you find them one day.

The way that you ladies fiercely love your kiddos is the way I can see our Father in Heaven love us.

So mother's, Happy Mother's Day. I love you all, and I love how I can see Jesus in you, by the way you love the guts out of your children. Thank you for being an encouragement and model for me in my journey. :)


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pulling up to the Teacher's desk

I'm going to start this post out with retelling a story of a significant event that happened in my life in college that I do not think I have ever told anyone. So, fittingly, I am now telling the world. And then, how God used the Thursday night bible study that I'm in to reaffirm His word for me. But let's go all the way back to my Senior year in college.

As a part of the process of graduating, I had to take an internship, and over the course of the internship, had to pick three supervising professors to tell me what they wanted me to learn about my internship, write a paper about it, and do an oral presentation on my findings. The paper would be reviewed and graded by all the professors, same as the presentation. I had to meet with each professor individually throughout the course of my internship and speak with them on my goals post-college, and tell them of my experiences during my internship. I had to pick a professor I whose class I took and I had to pick a professor I did not take a class with. The one I picked who I knew, was a professor that I had taken at least one of his classes each semester over the course of two years. He was an old, agnostic Jewish professor who was extremely intellectual, and who I had thoroughly enjoyed sparring (read: arguing) with over the course of the past two years. I had come to respect him, and studied really hard in his classes to make A's because I wanted him to know I valued his class and his lectures.

So, I go in for our first meeting, and he asks me what my plans for the future were, and I kind of spit ball my kind of my plans (I had no idea what or how I was going to do anything, since I knew I was going to be moving to Florida shortly after graduation). He sat there and listened, and then just looked me straight in the eye, and said, that I was an incredibly smart woman, with lots to offer, and that I was wasting my talents by setting my bar too low. That I was going to do great things. This man, that we basically had nothing in common, at least culturally, religiously, I mean I guess we were both voting republican at the time, but for incredibly different reasons. He could have just nodded his head and dismissed me. He didn't have to say much to me at all, He didn't even have to waste his time giving me advice. This man who I had argued ( I mean "sparred") with on a regular basis, told me I had talents! And that I was going to do great things! I left that meeting feeling totally confused, deeply humbled and gracious of his compliments, but mostly just feeling lost. How could this person who knew me so little, say I have these great talents, that I'm wasting, currently, and that I was going to do great things? His words have haunted me for almost ten years now.

As I sat in my car one day, thinking about what my professor told me, thinking about my life right now. Getting down on myself, because I had felt like I had wasted my talents. Driving around, running errands, wiping little girls booties (all. day. long), I wonder if my professor would approve of my use or not use of my talents. And what exactly those talents are? It was in my car as I was thinking of the haunting words my professor gave me, that the Lord gently whispered to me, "Why?"

I'm sorry Lord, why, what?

"Why do you keep thinking about this man, and the words that he said to you, over and over, and yet I AM so much greater than him, I know you even better than him, and have spoken SO many things over you, and yet, you don't think about my words over you than his? Why does he get preference over me?"

Oh Lord, I'm so sorry. Oh Lord, please forgive me!

That happened earlier on Thursday, then Thursday night at my girls bible study it was reiterated through the words of the leader, Jackie. She likened it to if you were really passionate about golf, and THE GREATEST person in golf came up to you and spoke things to you, you would listen and you would value those words. But I don't know anything about golf, so when someone talks to me about this "great person" in golf, I kind of nod off and just smile. Sometimes we do that with God, we just nod and smile at Him like we have no idea who He is or what He's talking about. And then she said, "Think of the greatest person in whatever you are passionate about, God is even greater than that person, listen to what He has to say!" And instantly, I'm transported to my conversation with the Lord in my car about my professor.

What a sweet confirmation. That I need to be pulling my chair up to the Lord's desk. To sit there, and maybe tell Him my plans, my thoughts, my desires, my fears, my failures.But more importantly, listen to Him. He has already told me in His Word He has given me promises, He has given me talents, that He knows my future. I need to pull my seat up to His desk and look  in His eyes, and hear what He has to say. He is the greatest, He has the words, no one else.

Have you pulled your seat up to His desk? Will you join me?

Love y'all,

Friday, February 21, 2014

Musings of a Stay-at-home-mom: So you're new to this?

Talking to a lot of women lately, I've had that impression on my heart to speak about a subject that is close to my heart, one of the only subjects I'm passionate about that doesn't relate to foster/adopting children (that is whole different post, or blog for that matter), it's when someone, specifically a women leaves the workforce to become a stay-at-home mom, or wife. In my conversations with women, I am finding some themes, maybe something they wish they had known before they left the workforce, so they could mentally prepare, and maybe some advice. I mean, I say "advice" loosely, you can take it or leave it, but it's just things I have learned along they way.

Let me just say this first. Leaving the workforce and coming home had a honeymoon period. Mainly because I quit around the holiday time so I didn't have time to think about stuff. But after the holidays were over, life came crashing down real hard. Things that are real about being a stay-at-home wife/mother.

1. It can be extremely lonely/ isolated. There can be days, or weeks that you don't talk to or see another human being besides or your husband or kids. Unless you are like the 1% of society that is just involved in book clubs, on top of tennis leagues, and committee boards, you are home with just you (or a small minion who may or may not be able to converse with you, and even if they do, it's not adult conversations, I mean, seriously, just today I spent the greater part of four hours answering the question: "what's that?") Grocery shopping turns in to your "big event" for the day. Or going to the dog park, or the playground. You wonder, is this what my life has turned into? Walgreens, then Publix, then home in time to vacuum and have dinner ready? Unless you just hated the place and burned so many bridges when you quit, you start making excuses to drop by the old workplace, just to see people. You are not alone in feeling alone.

2. Unless you are a mother of three, no one will understand why you are tired, you know, cause you're at home all day, what do you do with all your time??? This might be offensive to you, but it's ok for people to wonder that. Because they are rushing at work all day, and then when they come home, they may be rushing all evening until their head hits the pillow. But here's the deal, you DO do a lot. You DO, I know cause I did, and still do it too. I blame our culture. America wants you to be busy All. The. Time. So if you had an extra five minutes this morning to drink a cup of coffee, have some quiet devotion to start your busy day, you are lazy. Don't believe that sack of lies. And don't buy in to, now that you are home you need to fill your day with more activities. I have more on this, but you'll have to skip down to my "advice" section:)

3. In your head you knew your work would go unrecognized, but now you can feel it in your heart how much it hurts that you really get no recognition for your work. I don't think I was the most life-changing social worker in the world when I worked, but I did receive a paper "plaque" that congratulated me on my efforts (and no, it wasn't one of those participation awards where everyone in the unit got it, only two did... out of six...  so..ok it was almost a participation award, but still!) And one time I did earn a pizza party (Elementary school style!) I know, you want to be a social worker now, moving on... I don't get plaques at home, Tim is an amazing husband, but he is still human. Your husband (or kids) will have no idea how many hours of wash you do, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, dusting, organizing, unless you die. Or are gone for a weekend. Or just a day really. You may know in your head that it was going to be hard, but those pizza parties at work really did keep your morale up! It's ok to miss that friend, you are in good company.

4. There is no such thing as weekend. You don't just stop cooking cause it's Saturday (unless it's DATE NIGHT!!!) You don't just not do bedtime cause you've been doing it all week and now you do not want to do bedtime. Nope, these things, these labors of love, your job, your career as a home-maker, a life-molder, the activity-planner, the  GLUE THAT HOLDS IT ALL TOGETHER, never stops.

Maybe there are more truths I've missed, if you have some to add, leave them in the comment section, and we can discuss in another post! But for now, it's late and my caffeine buzz is wearing out. And I don't want this post to get too long or you will stop reading. You know I'm right, don't you? So here is my "advice" or really some Grace to give you about these hard truths:

1. Do not let the devil get a foothold in your loneliness. If/when you get lonely, do not just sit in it. If you are a mother, at the playground, look at the mother next to you pushing their child on the swing, smile, and say "hi." Chances are they are just as bored as you are of pushing their young little tyke 1000 times on the swing, and are hoping for some break in the monotony as well. If you are a stay-at-home wife, join a bible study that meets during the week. Or even befriend stay-at-home moms you know. When I first came home, it was just me, no one to look after, but me, I was pregnant, but it was still just me. I would go to lunch with one of my dearest friend, and while our conversations were broken up by the chattering of her beautiful little toddler, I loved having lunch with her and I know (now from experience) Chick-fil-a is so much nicer when you can share it with someone. Being a stay at home wife mother by definition is isolating, you can't help that, it's in the title, but it does NOT have to be lonely.

2. Just because you are not working, does not mean you have to go find 80 different activities, committees, volunteering, or sports clubs. I guess right now, I am talking to introverts. I have a dear friend, who is extroverted, who is a stay-at-home mom, who does SO many amazing things. And as I started to compare myself with her, I felt God saying to me, "Don't do that! I created her that way, and she is doing what I have told her to do! I didn't create you that way, so don't start stretching yourself in ways I didn't intend for you to stretch". And that was the end of that. Let me be honest with you about what I do during the day. I love on my girls. SO much. Some mornings I sit down on my couch, and hold both of them in my arms (as long as K will allow anyway:)) and we watch a movie together before we go do errands. I run errands, I clean the kitchen, I do the 100th load of laundry for the week, on Wednesday nights I volunteer my help, and am involved in a bible study on Thursday nights. That is it. There maybe is one more extra activity I am praying about doing. But friends, you do not need to fill your days up! Who says that just because you quit a 40 hr a week job that you need to fill in your days with 40 hours of tangible "doing stuff." You be whatever wife/mother God calls you to be, and whatever on top of that you want to do, pray about, but let me reiterate, you are not obligated to some kind of time quota!

3. So now you really appreciate the Hallmark created holiday "mother's day." So you cry at P&G or Publix commercials, cause they really get you as a mother. It's ok to feel a certain pang of pride when you get to stand up in church to be recognized as a mother. Or, for the stay at home wives, when your husband comes home and lets you have the evening off to get a pedicure or just do whatever, you stay out, maybe an extra hour later than expected.. (I wouldn't recommend any more hours, or you might not come back;)) So you pat yourself on the back for getting those bathroom sinks EXTRA white. DO IT! Give yourself a pat on the back. Relish those compliments a second longer before they become pride. But here's the real deal. You came home to be a servant to your family. Whether or not its your husband or a gaggle of children along with him. Find your recognition in the Lord. His approval. His Grace. He is enough. Don't rely on P&G commercials or (as great as he is) your husband to fill you up with recognition to keep going. Look up to the One who always sees you and can fill your heart with more than enough to keep going. And maybe sometime order a pizza and throw yourself your own pizza party... I'm just sayin'...

4. You may not get weekend off, but unless you want to risk a black out and coming to to find your kids staring at you wide-eyed and your husband missing ( just kidding!). You need to block in time for yourself. If it's just a couple of hours to yourself at Starbucks once every couple of weeks, or a pedicure. God was serious about setting up a Sabbath and keeping it. And let's be honest, as a wife/mother you are not keeping a Sabbath (yeah, you're still cooking the Sunday Supper, and making sure the kids go down for their naps, and taking your older ones to choir in the afternoon, that is NOT resting). I remember learning in history, about a time in France, when the people went all anti-God and did away with a seven day work week that celebrated a Sabbath. They changed it to a ten day work week with no day for rest. You know what happened? The people went crazy. They changed it back. Get with your husband and communicate and plan for time off for yourself.

I love you all so much. I hope this was helpful to my friends who are stay at home moms. And as I'm writing, I'm thinking about my working mothers, I hope you are not hurt by this post. If I had experience in working full time and being a full time mom, I would write one as well. My life is not over, and I have SO many years left of motherhood I may get to write a post like  that one day! My sincere hope as I write this is to encourage the women I have come in contact with that are coming home for the first time. Praying for Grace and endurance for all of us. Because seriously, moms, you are the glue that holds it all together!

Love you,

Thursday, February 20, 2014


So for friends and family out there who didn't get the story of how Autumn came into the world, I wanted to put it out there. I did it for Karis and I wanted Autumn to have her story out there so she can read about it one day;).

Autumn's arrival was almost the exact opposite of Karis'. While with Karis I was nervous and a little anxious not knowing how everything played out. With Autumn, I was not only calm, but it was genuinely a fun and easy-going experience.

I knew A was coming early. There was a lot of pain, and some really hard contractions on the Thursday night before she came. I actually started having some a couple minute apart, but I promised my sister that I would not have the baby before my shower she was throwing me on Saturday, so I started deep breathing turned on my side and tried to go to sleep to stop the contractions from getting worse.

That Friday morning I went to my gynecologist for my 38 week check up and my doctor told me that he was not certain how I wasn't going into labor already. Without going into details, I was really far along. Funnily enough, I wasn't having any more contractions from the night before. My doctor, who I totally loved and really wanted to be the one to deliver Autumn, said if I could hang out until my check up on Tuesday he would strip my membranes and that should put me into labor. I didn't think I would make it that long since I was so far a long my Friday morning, but we put it on the calender.

Well, the weekend came and went with no more contractions, it was so weird. To be honest, I was feeling a little sad that she didn't come right after the shower, I thought we were so ready! But I kept reminding myself it was ok she didn't come because I had my appointment with Dr. Cook on Tuesday morning. On Monday, my wonderful sister in law came over and watched Karis while I did one last grocery shop. I wanted to be able to get some easy meals to make for after I had the baby. I also stocked up on breakfast foods. I was so grateful to have Monday to get ready. My mom came over Monday night and while I was able to go on two long walks that day, nothing started any lasting contractions.

Tuesday morning, we went to my doctor appointment in the morning. My mom came with me and Tim because she was very sure I was going to be checked into the hospital that day. Tim and I went into the back, and after checking my progression, Dr. Cook was once again astounded that I was either not having any contractions, or not feeling any major contractions. He went ahead and did his procedure to help me progress in labor more and asked if I was going to have an epidural. I told him that yes, I was going to get one, and so he told me that I was already halfway there ins dilation, so that I should go check myself in. That was one of the most wonderful things about my doctor's office. It is attached to the hospital I gave birth in, so instead of having to drive anywhere, we just walked across the hall to check myself in.

Easy peasy.

The Labor and Delivery Floor was empty. Like the receptionist had gone on her break, we had to buzz a nurse, and even then, we had to find the second nurse's station that was at the end of the floor to find someone to check us in. I'm still feeling great, the nurses, my mom, Tim, and even I am surprised that I'm not feeling any contractions yet, I'm five centimeters dilated for goodness sake. Check in was smooth, I was ushered into a room, filled out some short forms, I almost didn't have time to pre-register, Autumn came so early! It wasn't a short time later they came in with the epidural. The anesthesiologist was just as surprised as all of us that I still wasn't feeling any contractions.

I'm still so thankful I got that epidural. Cause for some reason, magic number seven centimeters, I was feeling it. Autumn must have found a nerve to sit on down there, cause at the very end, even with the lower half of my body numb, I felt every single one of those contractions, thanks to that wonderful nerve she found to sit on. It felt like someone was punching my lower  back every time I had a nice long and hard contraction. All I can say is, thank you Lord for modern medicine, and that I live in the United States of America. Cause I am so not sure I could do this with no meds.

Anyway, the nurse checked me for one last time, and with a little maneuvering put me at ten centimeters, and then told me not to push cause she had to go get the doctor. It was nice though, it gave me time to pick out a cute set of pajamas that Jennifer had brought for me to be comfy. The doctor who delivered Autumn was amazing. He had been doing this forever, and told me that this was going to be fast and we weren't going to be laboring that long. He was truly my favorite. And he didn't lie. I did a couple of practice pushes, then he looked at me and said, "I want you to push smarter not harder, some of your pushing is inefficient, just listen to me and do what I tell you to do." So I did, I pushed for five minutes. FIVE whole minutes, that is AMAZING! Then, something that I will carry in my heart forever, the doctor told me to stop pushing. And the last contraction brought her into the world as I just sat up and watched her come in. It was so quiet, it was like the world stopped spinning as she just came here. I will hold those seconds close to my heart as long as I live.

And there she was, red, deliciously chunky, and with a head FULL of dark brown hair. Just. Like. Her. Momma. Only, that was the only day she looked  anything like me, she is five months old as I type this and is  a spitting image of her father. She is beautiful though. She has beautiful big eyes that most likely will turn dark brown like her daddy's. I'm still not convinced I can have children with green eyes, something to do with genetic alleles, but I love brown eyes. She has a cute pug(ish) nose, and the BEST smile, as wide as the ocean.

She is my sweet. That is what I whispered to her her first days on this earth. My sweats. I love her so much. I am so glad that she's here, that God decided that she should be apart of our plan. She is more  than an addition to our family, she completes us even more. I hope she reads this, one day,  and knows that I was calm throughout the whole labor and delivery because I knew she would be amazing. And she was, and she is.

Love you all,

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Musings of a Stay-at-home-mom: Accepting your Spiritual Gift

This blog turned into something where I share what I have been learning while going through life. Hence the title. One thing I have struggled in the past with my spiritual gift. I have taken lots of tests, several classes, and yet couldn't find a place where I fit in to serve at my church. Until recently. Recently, I took a class at my church that really broke down, who I am, what my passions are, and what gift God gave me to serve His church in sync with my passions. And you will not believe what I found out. Drum roll please, my spiritual gift is:


Yes, that is actually a spiritual gift. Promise. It isn't really flashy. It doesn't really have a specific place. Like if you have the gift of music, or teaching, evangelism. It is really easy to figure out where those go. But what exactly does a person do when they have such a non-specific gift. I know it might be easy. But I struggled with this for a long time.

How many times did I try to make myself, and my spiritual gift into something it wasn't? I tried writing, it went well for awhile, until I was exhausted from having to tap that part of my brain too many times, I have a serious respect for those who have that gift. I tried leading a small group table during a bible study for Experiencing God. Towards the end, I was begging to be joined with other tables to take the pressure off of me, it was exhausting, once again. This was not supposed to happen. Your gift energizes you, not exhausts you!

And here is where the fun part comes in. God revealed to me where I actually fit in, and serve in my church. I help. I know, it sound so simple, but it really has taken me a long time to figure it out. Teaching, writing, leading bible studies, all these things take too much commitment and a lot of pressure for me, honestly, it's a lot of stress. But committing to help is stress free.I helped out with VBX and taught fifth graders over the summer. Currently, I help out with a friend when she teaches GA's it's awesome. I help out in the preschool whenever they need me. I LOVE being the person who the church calls if they need help when they are short on volunteers. I love being a person they can ask if they need help. I love lending my help when needed.

It is crazy that it took me that long to figure it out. It is crazy how filling in when help is needed makes me feel joy. I can't lead a children's class, it's just not in me to teach a group of children for a long period of time. But if the teacher can't come in, and they are scrambling to find someone to fill in? I can do that. You need someone to do the menial tasks you don't want to do, so you can focus on the big picture of your project? I. Can. Help. So freeing, so fun because I get to be a cog to make the big machine work. So thankful for God revealing to me my roll. So thankful that I finally feel apart of my church and find joy and get energized from what I do.

I may not be a flashy part of the body. I'm more like the little toe, The smallest part of the foot, but without it, you can't walk. Grateful to have a roll, and that I get to use my gift. Grateful that God stripped me of my pride so I could see clearly where I fit in best. But most importantly, looking forward to seeing how God is going to use my gift, now that I have accepted and love it, in the future.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I Want...

- A vacation, probably from the kids
- warmth, like literal warmth, I'm over the cold.
- To see my friends in Orlando, I miss them.
- For that matter, to see Jenn Morris in Texas, again.
- An In N Out burger, or a weeks worth of them
- A pedicure
- A girls night out
- A real date night with Tim
- Kareoke night with my family again
-To lose a couple more pounds

To find Joy in all things, whether I get to cross things off of my want list or not. My new word for this year is Joy. We were singing a praise song this morning and this lyric really got me:

"All my deserts are rivers of Joy."

Slowly but surely, God is turning deserts in my life to rivers of Joy. Can't wait to see what desert (or deserts!) He is going to rivers of Joy in 2014.

Love y'all lots,

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Musings of a Stay-at-Home Mom: What to do when you find yourself alone with your second born

After much thought and deliberation, we decided to try out putting K in a preschool program at our church, it's really called a Mother's morning out, but around here, we call it school. It's super fun for Karis, and it gives me five hours with one child two days a week. I'm sure some of you are wondering, since I don't have a job (other than being a full-time mom) What I do with all that time?!?

Here is what I did, in order of importance:

Give the second born much needed love and attention without having Karis vie for my attention.
Enjoy her smiles.
More kisses.
Sweet nose cuddles.
Grocery shop.
Lots of smiles and baby talk between the two of us.

There is the temptation to do 100000000 errands that are so much easier to do with one child. But I LOVE getting alone time with Autumn. I had two years of alone time with Karis, so getting about 10hrs a week with Autumn is pretty cool.

I love my girls.

I love Preschool!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Musings of a Stay-at-home-mom: Episode 1

Tim got me this really amazing tablet/laptop combo for Christmas. It's original purpose was to help me for when I got a job. I haven't gotten a job, so I use it to blog while I watch some hulu while K and A sleep. How much fun am I? At least I'm using it!

And I'm using it to tell you some stuff.

First and foremost: I am SUPER excited, and maybe a little nervous. I'm excited cause this weekend will mark a huge event in my life. Me, my two best friends from college and life, our husband, and our collective four children will spend a weekend in a cabin in the woods. It's what dreams are made of! Well, really, it's what the musings of three college age girls who thought it would be super fun one day to spend a weekend together in a cabin in the woods. When we were talking about it, I honestly did not picture it with children, but nonetheless, I'm excited!

But here's the deal: Tim and I hold a friday night bible study at our house for college/career folk at our house. When telling them about our weekend and how much we were looking forward to it, a girl sadly exclaimed, "I don't have any girls that we plan on going to a cabin in the woods with our husbands with!" And my first thought was, "Get some!"

No, seriously, get some! Women, I'm talking specifically to you. I have this feeling that, for women who aren't married college/post college age, sometimes life gets lonely. That makes me so sad. My friends pulled me through so much in life, and one thing that also pulled me along was our dreams together. To one day vacation together, to watch each other grow our families together, to support our marriages with each other together.

Girls, let's be honest, sometimes we are so focused on the male species that we sometimes forget to foster relationships with each other, especially in times when we need each other. This is true of us when we are single, and in relationships. Get some girlfriends, appreciate them, love them, and grow old with them. I, for one, cherish each of my girls, and am so thankful for them as my friends.

And am looking forward to spending a weekend in a cabin, in the woods, with our husbands! And children...

Love y'all lots,

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year's Revolution

No, I didn't misspell the title. I don't do resolutions. I did one a couple of years ago, posted it on the blog, and I'm pretty sure failed at all of the resolutions, and that failure stuck with me the whole year. Nope, I'm done setting myself up for failure. I would rather challenge myself with success. So, I revolt.

Against myself.

This year, I want stop being the person that has been so negative, tired, and can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Who's dreams are on the horizon, you know, the fictitious line in the distance that can never be reached. I want to revolt against all of that.

This year, I want to be happy, to feel hope and relish the Sun, even when I can't see it. I want to cherish my dreams, but instead of focusing on them and bemoaning my present life, I want to hand those dreams over to God, for safe keeping, and find so much contentment in my present.

To look into both of my daughter's eyes daily and be blessed by them, instead of focusing on all the things I have to teach them and worry. Autumn will sit up on her own one day, and then one day she will crawl, and then she will walk. It will happen, stop trying to get her to a year before it's time. The first year really is so hard.

I want to stop worrying about Karis' speech and potty training. I still have no idea how I'm going to get her potty trained, but I'm so tired of being defeated by that. I will potty train her, I don't care if she goes to the bathroom all over our house, it's going to get done, and I just need to stop worrying about that.

A revolution is so many things. It's the earth's rotation around the sun. It's when a people over-throw their current government. My favorite definition of revolution: sudden, radical, or complete change. Whatever kind of revolution you think of, the one thing that stays the same in all circumstances is, you always change.

Here's to my New Year's revolution. Wonder where I'll be in a year?