Real Women...

Today, I awoke at 5:30am to the happy cries of "Da-Da?!" coming from C-baby's crib. We are totally biased in this family and she is seriously adorable. Big sister didn't want to miss any of the action, so, she quickly hopped out of bed...at 5:30 in the MORNING...and joined us downstairs. I'm not proud to admit it, but the next hour was spent with me making coffee, feeding the girls oranges, and quickly arranging them in front of my computer to watch "Dora's fantastic gymnastic adventure." I was trying to shake a headache AND let the hubs sleep in...feats such as these call for a little Dora.

I gladly sit down with my cup of coffee and my Kindle...and sadly, I start mindlessly reading status updates. Pictures of loved ones, sweet posts about babies and post-Christmas goodness, questions and polls concerning travel, and then...an insult...a person who calls herself my friend questioning my womanhood.

I know her. She's lovely. So, I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt that she thought it was funny or cute.

"Real Women watch Football..."

I'm not an overly sensitive person. But these little memes that people create and post really tick me off - especially when is calls into question others' womanhood or manhood.

Really?! "Real" women watch football? That's the only qualifier...with reasoning and logic that water tight, most women are walking around with a penis. Sorry.

Here is my problem with statements such as these. They are by nature meant to be divisive. They are meant to create an "other." They are meant to tell someone who doesn't fit into the given category that she is "lesser," "not real," "fake," or "wanting." And for what purpose?

To make the post-er feel better about herself.

"Real" Women are all around. They come in all shapes and sizes. They have all sorts of different interests. God didn't make us all the same...because then, "real" women would be "real" boring...and "real" men would be "real" disappointed.

So, ladies (or gents) THINK before you post things that are designed to make others question their "reality." The last time I checked....the mere fact that you DO or DO not watch football does not make you any more or any less of a woman.


A Whisper

I'm deep in the trenches of life currently...well, not life, but motherhood. I lose my patience often and it is not something that I am proud of. I am elbow deep in poo and vomit and dirty dishes and laundry...and most days end with me putting my babes to bed and happily enjoying the peace and quiet of the day's first "stillness" and being alone.

I am a selfish and wicked woman.

My cousin was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma. In the short span of a few months, it has manifested as 3 very ugly tumors in his brain. Two of those tumors are in his frontal lobe and are inoperable. I am a selfish and wicked woman.

Here is what I can tell you about my cousin. His name. I know it. I know that he is 5 years younger than I am. The last time I saw him and hugged his neck was when we were teenagers. It was my sister's wedding. I loved the way that it was so easy to talk to him. He was hilarious and had an awesome Michigan accent. We sang together a lot that weekend. I always thought there would be more time.

Our parents weren't close and that meant that visits didn't happen. I went to college and found my life too busy to be bothered with silly correspondence to family. I'm a selfish and wicked woman.

My cousin became a devoted dad during that time. Things with the mom didn't work out, but he stuck around. He loves his boy - his whole world.

We reconnected on facebook. He has a massive beard and a beautiful smile. He's kind of a nature loving guy and has great taste in music. He always seems up to helping others and hanging out. He lives for his kid. He seems to practice true hospitality - in that he invites folks into his life as it is.

He's dying.

This life is a whisper. It's a quick, beautiful whisper. If we're lucky, it's this sort of wonderful whisper. You hear it drawn out, slowly, right into your ear - "I love you." But, I think for a lot of people it can be the harried "I..." that never gets to finish.

Life is a whisper. Make sure to live every moment of it. Pursue relationships with loved ones. Listen to music. Have dance parties with your kids and forget about the dishes. Relish their squishy soft skin and BE PRESENT. Don't seek after tomorrow or "when" - because we are not promised more time. We are given the moment. The right now.


Adoption Fundraiser

Please, help bring Emily home! This wonderful blogpost by my fellow Noonday Collection Ambassador, McCall, will tell you all about her family's journey to be complete.



A life less DRAMA

The title pretty much says it all.

The past few weeks, I have been struggling with an idea and sadly, this idea has become a theme of most conversations, thoughts, blog posts, books, etc. about motherhood (even those from a Christian perspective). I find this incredibly disheartening. Not because it is being said, but because it needs to be said.

Let me explain.

Young mothers are by far the harshest critics of other young mothers. Please, let me finish. I am not saying that we as women are built to be mean and caddy. I really do believe that we are built to live in community and support one another. However, that has somehow along the way been forgotten.  We see the height of girls being mean in middle school and high school (In my opinion). It's a sort of "kill or be killed" mentality and it can take over certain groups of adolescent girls. I have no idea why. I have just seen it happen. Firsthand, as a really awkward, chubby girl and then again as a really awkward and chubby middle-school teacher.

I really thought that phase in my life was over. And frankly, as someone who is a bit of a "feeler," I was looking forward to the complete and total lack of made-up drama in my life. And I have had that perfect lack for a very blessed 8+ years.

Then, I became a mother and started participating in a group of other young moms. I found some friends. I'm friendly; I like to chat. I met some new ladies who are incredibly gifted and have strengths in many areas that I do not. I became more and more involved in this groups, really wanting to give back. Then, it began. Underhanded comments about others. Small judgements. I noticed the women around me slowly pluck at the women around us...as though "eating" the weak. Then I noticed it within my group friends. Comments, words, thoughts, pluck, pluck, pluck.

 I even found myself thinking such things and in that moment having to say, "I don't know what I'm talking about." I have no clue what is going on in the secret lives of the women around me. Absent husbands, financial strains, depression...

Who are WE to judge ANYBODY. Who am I to judge ANYBODY.

We are all here on earth and we are called (by JESUS) to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. LOVE ONE ANOTHER. FULL STOP. That means that even if you think that person is wrong or a wuss or being overly-dramatic or they have hurt you. You and I are called to love.

 Just check out what Annie F. Downs has to say about it in her book, Speak Love. And full disclosure. I know Annie. She is awesome. She's a college friend and an incredibly gifted writer. I love her insight.

So, let's speak love today. How about in the comments section, you leave the kind of encouragement that you need to hear today. Maybe someone else needs to hear it today too.


Mother Martyr Myth

I am the mother of two wonderful, spirited, precious, little girls. They are 1 and 3. According to most mothers - this will be an interesting time in my life.

Apparently, it will be close to Dante's seventh circle of hell.

What I find more shocking is that no matter WHAT my children's age, I generally do not get many varying views on the stage of life that my children (or I) am about to enter. It is always the same. Fits, rage, sleepless nights, plague, winged horses...I mean, the way most people describe motherhood one would think it is the never-ending apocalypse.

Why are all stages of childhood (and therefore motherhood) treated with such disdain and loathing and dread and well, as martyrdom?

I was at the post office with my girls the other day (speaking of Dante's seventh circle...). I was expecting the worst. Let's face it, no one expects the BEST when they go to the post office, let alone walking in with two small children. And you know what, it was GREAT. My oldest skipped around quietly singing her ABCs and we played a counting game while her little sister looked on. That entertained us for our entire 45 minute venture. Were we still. No. Were we silent. No. We were content and not a screaming, crying mess. I count this as a win.

The mere presence of my children opened other mothers waiting in line to volunteering that they also had children, their children's current ages, and most often the comment, "'current age' is the worst." The same thing happened to me today. I was minding my own business, enjoying my kiddos' behavior - they have lately been rockstars - and was subjected to unsolicited griping about how kids are X and Y and Z and motherhood is just BLA BLA BLA.

I chose to be a mother. I prayed to be a mother. God has made me a mother.

Is it the easiest thing I have ever done? No.
Is is the hardest? Yes.
Does that give me the right (or everyone else on the planet who has been a parent) to grumble and complain? No.

Moms, stop talking bad about kids and parenting and motherhood.

Hint: Kids have ears and pick up on what you are saying.

When I whisper praises about my oldest to others, you bet your corndog that she picks up on those compliments, feels loved, and acts like the little cherished piece of awesome that she is. When I speak words of anger and meanness and regret over her or near her...well, Dante's seventh circle commences.

So many women today talk about motherhood as though they are martyrs. Oh, the sacrifices. If motherhood is such a huge sacrifice, your priorities might be a bit skewed. These martyr moms generally complain about their life and then crap all over other moms' good days. They think it's some kind of awesome power trip to dash the hopes and dreams and joy of new mothers who look into the grand adventure with glass half full.


Putting down motherhood, your children, and being "realistic," does not make you better - it just makes you bitter.

Today, I will try very hard to look into the face of motherhood and laugh and giggle and dance and sing and maybe cry and be a mess (if that is what the situation calls for). But I will not grumble. I will not try and put myself up on a cross and project that my life as a first world mother of two is SO HARD.

It's not.

I encourage all you other mothers to flee the temptation to grumble or be bitter or make your "hard" life a bigger deal than it is by incessantly talking about it.

Just grow up and be a mom - not a martyr.

* I say these things as much to myself as to my readers. No one is completely guiltless when it comes to griping. However, this is an overall trend I see and experience in our culture (even among Christians) and it is unhealthy and needs to stop. 


Follow Me

I use a lot of paper. I always have.

My Dad (one of the original computer geeks) was thrilled when the original "paint" program came on the market because (as he told me) it might save the planet a few trees and our family budget several dollars.

I feel like I have always had a lot to say...or express. I've always been full of _________.







(And at times what most of you were naturally inclined to finish that sentence with)

I'm not special. I don't claim any privileged knowledge or wisdom. I don't try to preach or even teach. Most of the time the reason I write is to process out loud (thanks, James Miller for putting it into those terms).

I figure that most moms spend a lot of their time living in the beautiful chaos of family and have a few moments each day when we can really process What is happening in our lives and the lives of our families and HEAR God.

This is where I hear God.

A lot of people have written and told me that they have really been touched by the past few posts that I have written (Dear Daughter & Bad Jesus).

Thank you. I am so glad that they spoke to you. They speak to me too.

If you like what you have read, I invite you to follow my blog. I invite you to share in the things that God is speaking to my heart. I invite you to make this a place where you can comment and talk and write back and respond.

I'm embarking on some new seasons and cannot wait. Maybe you are in the same place? 


Bad Jesus

Tonight I put my oldest to bed rather quickly. We sung our songs and prayed our prayers and kissed our kisses, but I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible.

See, I've been on single-momma duty for the past few days (hubs is traveling for work) and this afternoon my throat began this strange tickle that morphed into what feels like full-blown strep. I say these things to set the stage and provide the context that I'm not 100% on my "mom" game. By this evening, I was admittedly phoning it in.

So, when after about 10 minutes of solitude, I began to hear the ominous and repeated opening and shutting of a particular door, I was in no mood to be met with the sweet smile of a girl who lied straight to my face informed me that she needed to go potty.

So. I breathed heavy and even did a bit of grumbling while getting her onto the potty. I might have been unkind in my response when she picked poo out of her undies and held it up to my face to demonstrate that she had had an accident. I most definitely shushed her when she started singing at the top of her lungs (as she often does) while sitting on the potty....serenading her bowels to move. So, in response...my sensitive, but highly intelligent daughter resorted to story-telling.

"Once upon a time, I was sitting on the potty nice and still and mommy was yelling at me. The End."

Yep. And there you have it folks. I am a bad Jesus.

See, God calls us to be His hands and feet. We should also be Jesus to those around us. Ministering. Loving. Teaching. Healing.  Jesus ministered to the dirty, the faithless, the wicked, the impure...I mean, he ministered to the demon-possessed. And while I'm sure his truth felt like a piercing sword to the soul...I'm pretty sure those He healed didn't run off singing, "I was pretty messed up and gross and Jesus yelled at me. The End." Not at all. They praised and told of His miraculous works.

At this point in my life motherhood (my children) is my ministry. They are who I am supposed to be Jesus too the MOST...logistically, I'm just with them more than anyone else. And this should be so EASY.

I birthed them. I know them. They are part of me. They are innocent. They are most of the time clean and have this delicious smell...

So, why do I fail so often?

I get impatient with their failures or lack of comprehension. I really don't like being near their messiness...sticky hands, poo bottoms, snot noses. I take it personally when they lie or disobey. I want to be alone. I don't want to be sought or touched or held or talked to. Sometimes the fact that my oldest thinks life is a musical can grate on the nerves. I want to runaway in the hard moments. Oh, thank God that I am not their Jesus.

See, I will show my daughters glimpses of Jesus, but the fact of the matter is that all I can offer them is my unconditional love. I can hold them in my own broken arms. I can look into their faces and lives and see me - my struggles, my sins. But mostly, I stand next to my daughters and tell them...Yes, Momma really needs Jesus too. We all need a Savior.

Thank God that I am not Him.   

Because Jesus looks through the failures, He comes close to the mess. Our disobedience and sin  break His heart, but he still let's us seek Him and find Him and talk to Him and praise Him. He never runs away in the hard moments.

Oh, Thank you God for my Jesus and help me to be more like Him.


Dear Daughter, You are not a princess...

 Dear Sweet Girl,

You will hear a lot of lies in this life. You will hear lies from the society and culture around you and because it is made up of humans, you will hear lies from the church. I pray that you are wise and familiar enough with the the Word to be able to recognize false teaching when you encounter it...until then, however, it is my job to do that.

It has become a common thread in Christian culture today to think of women, young ladies, and girls as princesses. And while I love to see you twirl and feel beautiful having a high regard for your value and worth - relishing in the person that God created you to be, and while it is difficult for me to tell you this...

You are not a princess.

Princesses are beautiful. They emphasize their dress and countenance. They find tradition, good breeding, and etiquette to be paramount. A Princess cultivates talents and strengths as a way to display her worth. A Princess lives in a castle away from the lesser peoples. A Princess waits on her Prince...and most of the time in her story, once all of this has happened, a princess lives "happily ever after."  
You are a daughter of the King and while in earthly title it may make you a "princess," in spiritual reality it makes you a warrior.

 A Warrior has her own beauty. She has calloused skin on her fingers from holding a bow. Her nails are short and practical. Her hair is pulled away from her face so she can see impending attack. She covers herself in dirt for camouflage. A Warrior puts on armor everyday. She clothes herself in dignity and protects the dignity of those around her.

A Warrior finds justice and truth to be paramount and seeks after those things with every waking breath. She cultivates the fruit of the spirit and uses her skills to display the majesty of the King and His Kingdom. A Warrior knows her strengths, she knows her weakness, she is aware of her worth and it is no more or no less than any other person in service of the King.

A Warrior lives in the camp. She sees the hardships of the village. She stands beside the orphan and the widow and she fights for them. A Warrior stands and speaks for those who have no standing, for those who have no voice.

A Warrior needs no prince to fulfill her mission. A Warrior has her King. She waits on His move. On His voice. On His will.

A Warrior knows that her life here will not be easy - even if she obeys and is loyal to the King, she knows her life is a fight. She knows that her "happily" is in the ever after.

My Girl. You are so much more than a princess. You are God's warrior. You are His hands and Feet. Take heart...and fight.

I love you.


What Makes a Marriage

Last night my husband and I were sitting next to each other on the couch watching what most would consider to be pretty terrible SciFi. The girls had gone to bed and we were just soaking in the peace and quiet and "superheroes." Somehow or another we got to talking about love. I asked my husband if he believed in the soul-mate hypothesis - there being ONE perfect person out there for everyone. I am personally a believer that he is my perfect match. He replied, "No," with a chuckle. He was probably laughing at the look on my face because it was a mix of semi-shock and sadness. How sad that he does not think I am his perfect person. He quickly noted my reaction and went onto explain..."None of us is perfect. And none of us is perfect for another." I went onto caveat that I thought he was who God had planned me for and vice-versa. He conceded to this argument.

Today, we celebrate our eighth year of marriage...and all the good and bad that have come with it. And it does remind me as I reflect upon our life together that we are indeed NOT at all perfect for one another. He is absolutely not what I had in mind for my husband when I met him...and I have it on good authority that as he got to know me and we began dating and even during our engagement, he thought I was absolutely nuts. I believe he phrased it, "I either had to marry you or go into hiding." And that's about how it was.

As we have grown up together these past several years though, I have realized over and over again that my hubs is not what I wanted, he's not even what I would consider as "perfect," but he was and is and will continue to be everything that God needs him to be in my life - what I need him to be in my life. I am the same for him.

The entire concept of covenant marriage and the sacredness of it...the very sacrament would be lost if we had married into perfection. But we willingly stepped into imperfection and said, "I will love this and protect this and cherish this and honor this with my whole heart." And that's what we have tried to do. That's what Christ did. And that is why marriage is such a wonderful depiction of His love for us...the Church.

So, if you are celebrating or mourning or struggling or fighting through...take heart and know that you are living out the love of Christ.

Thank you, sweet husband. You have and always will be such a wonderful depiction of Christ's love for me. 


Well...in a handbasket

I'm not a recluse.

I like music. I like clothing. I like fashion. I read PEOPLE from time and time and generally am a wealth of pop-culture knowledge. And for my husband's sake, I'm fairly well-versed on the Geek front...also, another post.

I say this because even as a Christian (living in the world, but not being of it) - not much shocks me. You know, truly shocks me and shakes me to the core and bothers me. In fact, I would probably have to confess that the majority of things that get under other people's skin seem to run past me (or saunter by) unnoticed.

But this afternoon, I was watching some television. Someone referenced this song "Blurred Lines." Not being a top 40 aficionado, I googled it and watched the video on Youtube.

HOLY. CRAP. okay...not so much "holy," but definitely crap. For real. Naked. Ladies. IN A MUSIC VIDEO. That KIDS see. I ended up looking into Robin Thicke (the artist who recorded this song and video) and watching a few interviews that he has done on the subject. He said that they (the dudes behind the video) thought it would be "funny" and that his wife even came up with a lot of the ideas for what the girls should be doing. Which include running (topless), holding farm animals (topless), sitting on a goat (wearing plastic), riding a bike (topless), getting their hair pulled (by men while topless)...

So my question is...."Funny" to WHO?

Maybe it's funny for the prepubescent or pubescent boy that now thinks that women as objects is okay and better than okay completely acceptable and normal.

Maybe it's funny for the prepubescent or pubescent girl that now thinks - "Oh, that's how I am supposed to act." Oh, and if a guy treats me that way it is completely acceptable and NORMAL?!

Maybe it's funny for...


At least it shouldn't be. We should all be appalled and deeply concerned for a culture that thinks the devaluation of the majority of it's population is "funny." We should think it horrifying that in a Westernized country (where the reality for women is not at all as bad as in places like the Middle east, Asia, India, and Africa) the mocking of such inequality & abuse of women is seen as "trendy," "hip," and (oh, my) "funny."

It is a tragedy. It is so very heart-breaking.

So, today - I will be opening my eyes to these cultural norms of ours - and instead of letting them saunter by me unnoticed...I'm going look them in the eye and tell them exactly where they can go.


Loving the Unlovable

I think when most of us read about loving the unlovable - we recall Christ's love for those around him who were seen as untouchable by the cultures and communities around them.

the beggar.

the orphan.

the tax collector.

the lunatic.

the demon possessed.

the whore.

From a modern Christian perspective - looking back into the days of 'ol - these folks are EASY to love.

It does not take much convincing to love an orphan or the exploited or the downtrodden or the mentally unstable or even someone who has a "job" that we wouldn't necessarily agree with (I'm referencing the tax collector - not the whore. Most prostitutes are the victims of exploitation and I would never call what they do a "job." I call it slavery...but that's another post).

Who we don't immediately think about Jesus loving is the Pharisee. We see the Pharisee as the bad guy...which, they weren't all that great, but Jesus loved them. Loved them enough to debate with them, challenge them....discipline them. That's a pretty great love.

I admit. I have some "pharisees" in my life that are pretty hard to love.

It's a heart issue. Call me crazy, but I don't really like being told that my life is unbiblical when it doesn't align with what some politics-from -the-pulpit "theologian" has spouted off and sadly, many modern day Christians have accepted as biblical truths.

So sad.

I have realized, however that as I open my heart and my home and my time and all things required to be relational - it hurts and frankly, only God can give me a heart to keep "trying" to love certain people.

Lord, give me a heart today for the people I do not care for. The people that I avoid. The people I force myself to converse with. The people who you love, but I do not...the modern day pharisees...


When it all seems...a bit hopeless

I'm not one to despair easily. In fact, I would often times call myself an optimist. I usually think the best of people, I think all things are possible, and I definitely find the motto, "it's worth a shot," coming out of my mouth often.

There are two sides to the optimist coin. The first is faith. I've always had a lot of faith. In many things, I don't worry. I trust...until I do (worry) and I don't (trust). That's the other side of the coin.

I guess that's the same two sides of every coin ever, but there you have it.

I trust in the early stages of a problem or journey. I trust in the middle. I even trust as we near the middle that (in my opinion) SHOULD be the end, but when said journey fails to end when/how I envision, I get a little freaked out.

For example, I have never been worried about food or money. What an incredible blessing is that? Even as I write this I'm thinking, "Man, I'm a spoiled brat." And indeed, I am. I have it way better than so many of God's people on this earth.

So, what am I worried about. A house. A house never selling. A house not getting a renter. "Losing" money. And I don't know if it is so much distrusting or more ("Why did we even buy THAT house?!"). Or maybe it's comparing our plight to others' lives ("We are SOOO much better with money than they are and have been SOOO careful and have done EVERYTHING right!" - obviously, except pick a house that would re-sell). Or maybe it's just envy (could be). Or Pride (Ah, there it is).  

I do not doubt God taking care of us. I doubt the decisions that end up being stupid and the pride that may have got me there and the pride that thinks I am deserving of an "easy" out instead of a hard and valuable lesson. Ugh.

And there you have it. My ugly heart. May God continue to instruct it and change it. 

Giveaway :)

Check this adoption story over on Lee, Me, and the Girls! They are in the midst of a Grow Your Blog Giveaway to help in the fundraising process. Help bring a baby home, y'all.

McCall is a fellow Noonday Ambassador. She and her husband (and two girls) are trying to bring home their baby from the Democratic Republic of Congo....living out the gospel. International adoption is expensive, but they feel called and they are being faithful. They are fundraising so that when they are matched, they can GO, no waiting, no undue heartache!

Please take the time to visit and donate. It's building a family. :)


A Beautiful Family & a Beautiful Little Girl - Please, Pray.

The following is a post by Jake Hunt. He and is wife are friends from college. I have several good memories of Jake and Melissa. The best by far include me giving Jake a TERRIBLE haircut and neither of them killing me, but showing incredible grace; several of us getting together and throwing a busted TV off the roof....just to see; their wedding. These two changed the way that I viewed god and ministry - for the good. They now have 3 beautiful children and are still inspiring me as they serve in Prague. I ask you to read their story and pray.

We learned yesterday that our daughter Eliza (almost 11 months) has what appears to be a cancerous tumor in her liver. Melissa took her to the doctor for an ear infection, and while doing a general checkup the doctor was concerned about possible swelling in her abdomen. They sent us to the hospital, where an ultrasound found the tumor.
We were able to meet immediately with a pediatric oncologist, who laid out a plan for getting started with treatment: blood tests right away, and a battery of other scans and tests Monday to confirm that it’s the type of tumor they think. Then there will probably be chemo and surgery, though we’re not sure of the order.
There are some encouraging signs. The tumor is large, but it’s isolated to one side of the liver. From the ultrasound it did not appear to have spread to any other organs. If it’s the kind of tumor the doctor suspects, and if that type of tumor doesn’t metastasize, and when they’re able to remove it completely, the survival rate is as high as 90%. But it is unbelievably scary.
We need you to pray. You can imagine how our heads are spinning, and how the questions and needs are wherever you look. So pray whatever you think to pray. But here are some specifics.
Pray for complete healing. That the tumor will be gone entirely on Monday. God can do that. And that if it’s still there, it won’t have metastasized, and they’ll be able to remove all of it with a good margin. That the drug treatment will do its job, and that God will sustain E through all the misery of chemotherapy. Pray that this is completely healed and that it never returns.
Pray for clear communication with all the doctors, and for lots of translators to be available when needed.
Pray for our decision about whether to do treatment in CZ or US. So far we feel like the doctors here are doing the same things here they’d do in the States. And we are happy here and have no need to escape. But there are a thousand other factors to consider as well. Please pray for clear heads, and for Melissa and Jake to have the same strong leaning.
We will use this website to keep people updated. There’s a signup on the right side to get new posts by email, or you can subscribe with a reader if you’re into that sort of thing.
We are terrified. And we are hopeful, sometimes. At times it feels like the waters are closing over our heads. We break down, we pray, and they recede for a while. Many of you have already been sending us Scripture and reminding us that you’re praying. Thank you. Please keep it up. We love Eliza so much, and so do many others. But God loves her more than we do, and he knows her body because he created it. We trust him to care for her (and us), because he is good.
Thank you for praying.
If you are interested in keeping updated with Eliza and the Hunts, the website he is referring to is
their blog, Hunts In Prague. Thank you for praying.


So refreshed...

A few months back, my hubs had to take the Myers-Briggs personality assessment for a leadership program he is attending. The results were in no way surprising. We are the EXACT opposite in every single category. Seriously folks, we got that WHOLE test nailed. We are basically the perfect person. Two becoming one...it's very similar to how those five kids from Captain Planet. "By our powers combined...." Just kidding.

In all seriousness, I am amazed we get along as well as we do. People may say, "opposites attract," but a truth of life is that the grand majority of us surround ourselves with other little versions of us.

I digress.

So, the hubs is an introvert. He gets energy and enjoyment and a revived spirit from being ALONE. I am an extrovert (although I do have some introvert tendencies) and I get "life" from being around others...I'm basically an energy succubus...or parasite. Parasite might be better.  I would like to think that for most folks we have a symbiotic relationship and hopefully, I help "revive" and "enliven" them as well.

All this goes along with my newer, busier schedule. I was hesitant to commit to several things over the past few months (MOPs Steering, Noonday, our awesome Church), but I have come to find that the busier I am (spending time and working with others), the happier I am. Plus, it forces me to change out of my PJ's, take a shower, and do my hair. I'll admit I was worried that I would be overwhelmed by it all, get burned out, and never have the mythical "me" time - I mean, all of this on top of my two littles. 

But it has become apparent that my "me" time is best spent with others. When I most feel drained is when I am by myself without a mission outside of myself. To force myself into this alone time really is me not seeing WHO I am and WHO God has made me to be. So to all you extroverts, introverts, and in-betweens, own who you are and run with it. I think it can make all the difference. 


When it rains, it pours...and I love singing in the rain.

So,  if you have read all of the two posts that I have written since we moved to Wyoming, you have probably noted a sense of solitude, loneliness, despair, anguish...discontentment. Discontentment is not a new thing to me...although at times, Wyoming has received the lion's share of the blame for it's current appearance. This (discontentment) has, in fact, been the state of my heart for the majority of my life.

As a kid it whined:
Why do we move so much?
Why can't I look different?
Why can't my family be normal?

and then it nagged:
Why don't I have a boyfriend?
Why can't I look different?
Why can't he ask me to marry him sooner?

and oh, how it grumbled:
Why can't we start a family NOW?
Why can't we be like that couple (and have a boat)?
Why are we moving so much? 
Why can't we get pregnant? 

The list goes on and on, but the overall theme just SCREAMS out from the page. Discontentment.

I used to think that it was a good thing - to always be in want of something better. It gave me a goal or something worth striving for. It isn't wrong to "never settle", right?  Well "yes" and "no." It's not a sin to say, "Oh, fill in the blank would be nice." It's another thing completely to become consumed by that thought...and worse to begrudge God in thinking that He is holding back His best from you. Now, I know that not too many people will openly admit to shaking their fists at God and questioning His design for their life...we have all done it (if not physically then certainly in our hearts). But the saddest thing to me looking back on my life (full of discontent) is that I could not see at the time God's incredible GOODNESS in that moment. That sweet moment that God was calling me to savor with Him...I spat on with my want and envy. Oh, wicked me.

Seriously, Paul even speaks about contentment in Philippians 4 and I think he would have labeled my life "cushy to the max" (or whatever that is in Aramaic). 

All this to say that I have been in Wyoming for a little over a year and a sweet friend reminded me last night of how when I first touched-base with her here, I was lonely and bitter and angry and miserable and discontent. She reminded me of this while at a book group, hosted at my house, surrounded by a group of wonderful women and close friends. She called to my mind all the growth that has happened. A new baby. God's miraculous protection of that baby. The healing of my body. The desperate state of my heart that has lead to a personal revival in my life. MOPs. Leadership opportunities. A brand new church. Two new businesses. CONTENTMENT.

I know that it is incredibly hard to read this during certain seasons of your life and not want to backhand the author. I get that. I was there for a very long time. But at risk of getting punched in the nose, let me encourage you to focus on the goodness that God is calling you too RIGHT NOW. Savor  that He is drawing you near. Know that He loves you.



That's right.

I'm singing it like Freddie Mercury up in this piece.

Who knew that mothering would find a bedfellow in all-consuming and ridiculous pressure. I mean, call me crazy, but who really wants to hang out with that guy?

I thought Mothering would hang out with a really mellow, hippie-sort who hugged trees and talked about cloud shapes. But. NO. Mothering is that crazy chick (you know the one) who likes the Type-A meglomaniac who works 120 hours a week and wears a power tie.

Enter: Pressure.

It's not just enough to be a mother these days. This is the era of the Mother AND." I'm am mom +  triathlete" or "I'm a mom + culinary genius" or "I'm a mom + the crack addict who invented Pinterest and posts her projects hourly."

So suddenly, my easy day at home with the kids making messes and memories and possibly macaroni art turns into a constant mind game of "am I making my kid retarded for life by not hand pulling all our pasta or stitching every single piece of clothing she wears from organic pieces of humane fabric or giving her sensory baths everyday that take a small army to assemble and execute." BLEH.

If my kid turns out "lacking" or "behind," so be it. She's going to have a happy mom.

Don't get me wrong. Do YOUR thing. Go running and swimming and biking in freezing degrees, wearing next to nothing, screaming to the top of your lungs about how you feel "ALIVE." Hey, you can even tell me about it over coffee and try to goad me into giving it a try. I'll politely smile and shake my head like I'm listening, but I'm not going to feel bad when the next holiday rolls around and I'm sitting on my couch, knitting it up like an old lady, and watching reruns of Grey's Anatomy my babies playing.

The fact of the matter is that I'm surrounded by baby boomers' kids who are now having their own kids....and well, we were raised to be achievers. So we stress ourselves out trying to keep up with the mythical Joneses (jerks) or that couple from Young House Love. Guess what folks? Most of the people you are trying to keep up with GET PAID to do what they do. So to all the working moms or staying home moms or whatever mom you are...just be a mom. be happy. and stop freaking out about everything. Just love your kid.

Kick that sorry loser (pressure) out of your house and find a dirty 'ol hippie to hang out with. You'll wake up and go to bed a much happier woman.

Disclaimer: I adore the couple from Young House Love...I just cannot be them...it's physically impossible. For one, they are two people...and I am just one...but that's beside the point....moving on.


Getting into the swing of things

Most of you will probably respond to this post's title with a bit of an inquisitive eyebrow raise or possibly a bit of a sarcastic, biting chuckle...and I would too - from the outside.

fact of the matter is that I do feel like I am just now getting into the swing of being a stay-at-home momma. Technically, I haven't had to work since June 2011 - it's been a while.

For the first 3 months of my stay-at-home momma adventure, we lived in a camper and in a friend's basement during the summer. So, really, it was more like vacation. There was really no need for "routine" or focus aside from meals. Not to mention, my partner-in-crime was still unemployed, so it was FOR REAL vacation and all duties were shared.

The following 9 months were spent being a stay-at-home momma while temporarily living with my parents. Matt was working and traveling a lot, but my parents were there in the mornings, nights, and weekends - not to mention I was just a few minutes from my sister and ALL the cousins and a car ride away from the other set of grandparents and a plethora of friends who loved us.

Now, it's been 10 months since we move to Wyoming. I had to get into the swing of living in Cheyenne...the swing of having NO outside support (nearby)...the swing of being a mom of two...a mom of two during/after a traumatic injury...a mom of a TWO year old...the swing of wanting and actually pursuing my own little business...and the swing of really wanting to not be here. That's a lot of swings.

And to be honest, I have only really mastered "getting into the swing" of surviving. Buying the groceries, cleaning the house, bathing the kiddos, teaching them about Jesus. And I feel like the remainder of my life will be spent getting into a new a different swing, as I feel like my life and the dynamics of our family are constantly changing. I frankly have no idea if I will be able to keep up.
I sure hope I do. I wish I could take more joy in the ever-changing adventure, but mostly it is sadness.

Sadness and loneliness. A swing I will just never be able to get the hang of. I sure do hope that this phase ends soon.