And the Snow Begins to Fall...

>> Monday, January 31, 2011

After a lovely evening coffee date with two very lovely ladies, I walked out to see the beginnings of a fabulous winter snowstorm. Don't get me wrong, I am a Florida-girl through and through. I would take the beach over snow any day. Except that I actually really LOVE the snow. To see it falling and blanketing the ground is almost as peaceful as listening to the roar of my ocean waves. (I said, almost y'all!) But snow is very serene and beautiful and almost cleansing.
I don't so much love driving in it or seeing it piled up in parking lots and along the side of the road. But tonight, as it begins to fall, I want to just stand and let the cool flakes hit my tongue. It makes me feel care-free, like the whole world is standing still in that moment.

We are supposedly getting about 2feet of snow in the next few days which, to me, is kinda cool. I am praying for not enough snow to make my boss keep me at work overnight but enough to cancel school for Lucas on Wednesday so we can have a fun snow day, just me and my boys. Watching at the window, sipping something warm, playing Batman by the fire, making a wintery craft....

I really do love the snow!

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Babywearing as Birthcontrol

>> Thursday, January 27, 2011

I do not have a baby nor will I probably ever have one again. But that does not mean I don't want to wear one in my sling. That is probably one of the main (or only) reasons I would want to have another baby... so use my sling again. Good thing my friends are still having babies, and letting me babysit them. :)
A couple friends and I have been doing a babysitting swap- you watch my kids, I'll watch yours. Last Friday, Hubby and I got to watch my friends' three kids for four hours and this Friday we get to go out. It is fun to watch the kids and see them have a blast playing together. But I got a special treat last Friday- I got to wear my friend's baby in my sling! **LOVE** She is 2months old and has some of the best cheeks I have ever seen. I just loved holding her in my sling and feeling her little body sink in and give in to sleep. I miss that so much. It is a feeling of comfort, for me and her, and brings back nostalgic feelings of holding my own boys that way.

It's been awhile since I got to look down to see such a sweet little baby face. Isn't she the sweetest thing?! Don't you just love her little fingers!! And those cheeks!!

Hubby says we can babysit her anytime so I can get my baby-fix. Not that I am really wanting to have more babies, but getting to cuddle keeps me even more content with what I have. Like getting to wear other people's babies keeps me from wanting/needing one of my own. See... just another way babywearing is useful: birthcontrol. Ha!! :)

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How Little Boys Play

>> Sunday, January 23, 2011

This is what happens when 4 little boys ages 2-4 get together to play... you get lots of cars and noise and piles of wrestling in the middle of the floor. The only problem with this game, was that no one wanted to be on the bottom of the pile. So they all took turns jumping on top of the other three! Fun times! :)


Obstacle of Complacency

>> Saturday, January 22, 2011

In an attempt to deepen my spiritual life a little, I asked for the book Praying God's Word by Beth Moore. I wanted something to help guide me in some regular prayer time since I have been seriously lacking in that area for awhile. I won't say that I stopped praying after Micah died since that is not totally true (although I did really start to question my role in prayer... but that is another story). And I won't say that this messy church battle we lived through a few years ago stunted me spiritually, since that probably isn't the whole story either. But throw all of life's events from the last 7yrs. into a big pot and stir it up and what you get is a woman who loves Jesus and knows He is guiding and loving me but also one who has kinda fallen off the wagon when it comes to deepening my spiritual walk.

But now I am trying to get back on track. I have been meeting regularly with this amazing lady (we'll call her Jane) from my church whose love for Jesus and her family astounds me. She challenges me and encourages me and I am so very grateful for her. But I also got a few books to help me improve my quiet time with God from rare to regular.
When I got the Beth Moore book, I read on the cover that it was about "breaking free from spiritual strongholds" and I thought that maybe this wasn't exactly what I was looking for.

"STRONGHOLDS sounds so severe. I just need something to get me going."

Turns out, this is exactly what I need, and maybe have been needing for awhile.
This lady from my church, Jane, from the outside she seems to be exactly what I strive for: full of life and compassion, gentle and kind, focused on Jesus. But she always wants more. She is always desiring and actively seeking to be more full of Jesus. She has share with me somethings that she is working through and it always throws me for a loop. I would NEVER have thought of that as a obstacle to our spiritual journey!! But for her, she is trying to empty herself of herself and be totally filled with Jesus. I am seeing now more clearly than ever, that one of my obstacles in my spiritual walk has been complacency.

When I was praying last fall about how I could grow as a child of God and a mother and a wife and God whispered to me that asking Jane to meet with me was the first step, that was the beginning of a journey away from complacency. There are so many areas of my life that need honing and refining. I need more of Jesus so that I don't try to do things in my own strength, or lack of. But so often it was becoming easy for me to say that I was a pretty good mom and I loved Jesus and I tried to serve my husband. But the last few months, I feel like God is really showing me that I need to strive for more than that. He wants me to be filled to overflowing with His love and blessings and grace. And to pour out to others out of that excess.
I am seeing, maybe for the first time in a long time, where I really am. I am seeing my faults in new light (and my strengths too) and seeing how I am not as close to God as I really want to be.

I read this line in Praying God's Word that has stuck with me. In talking about scriptures to pray to overcome the stronghold of pride, Beth Moore says, " Pride is self-absorption whether we are absorbed with how miserable we are or how wonderful we are."

I think I have been self-absorbed for too long. Absorbed with how little sleep I am getting or how little space I have or how many things are on my plate or how I have been hurt by so-and-so or how life would have been different if only....

Father, I desire to humble myself before you and trust that you will lift me up. (James 4:10)

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Morning Prayer

>> Thursday, January 20, 2011

I received two books on prayer for Christmas. The first is Beth Moore's Praying God's Word and the other is Henri Nouwen's Book of Hours. Both have deeply impacted me and affected me so far. I have SO much more to share about the first book, if I can find time to sit and process it all a bit. But I wanted to share a bit of the second book this morning that helped shift my mind a little more towards Jesus as I am beginning this day.

My boys are notorious early risers and I have been trying to get up before them to have some quiet time to think and pray. So far it isn't working (more on that sometime soon too) so I am having to be a little creative to get my time alone. This morning, Lucas woke me up around 530 by climbing into my bed and waking Caden up (who was sleeping next to me). I was annoyed and agitated and felt myself starting the day on the wrong foot. So after breakfast, I sent the boys to play in the basement for a few minutes so I could drink my tea and spend some time being quiet. The concept of the book of hours is not new or unique to Henri Nouwen. It is a compilation of prayers and scriptures to be meditated on throughout the day, to keep our hearts focused on God. The passages I read this morning really hit me. And maybe they will speak to you too.

"When Jesus says: 'Make you home in me as I make mine in you,' he offers us an intimate place that we can truly call 'home.' Home is that place or space where we do not have to be afraid but can let go our defenses and be free, free from worries, free from tensions, free from pressures. Home is where we can laugh and cry, embrace and dance, sleep long and dream quietly, eat, read, play, watch the fire, listen to music, and be with a friend. Home is where we can rest and be healed."

"The spiritual life is not life before, after, or beyond our everyday existence. No, the spiritual life can only be real when it is lived in the midst of the pains and joys or the here and now. Therefore, we need to begin with a careful look at the way we think, speak, feel, and act from hour to hour, day to day, week to week, and year to year, in order to become more fully aware of our hunger for the spirit. As long as we have only a vague inner feeling of discontent with our present way of living, and only an indefinite desire for 'things spiritual,' our lives will continue to stagnate in a generalized melancholy." (OUCH)

I think I needed to read both those things this morning. God is definitely working on my soul. I was challenged by my prayer partner to pray about picking one word, a word that I could I could pray for myself for the coming year. Hers is "hunger," as in she wants to long for God in a way that is vital to her body with that hint of desperation. I am not sure what my word is yet, but I think God is pushing me towards something new this year. And it is starting with these two books that are teaching me how to see myself more clearly through His eyes and then see beyond myself and keep my eyes more firmly planted on Him.

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Still My Baby

>> Friday, January 14, 2011

As I rocked him before his nap today, it occurred to me that he is really getting TOO BIG! He doesn't like to be rocked at bedtime anymore. He just wants to go lay in his "big boy bed" like his brother. His vocabulary is skyrocketing! He uses words like "frustrated" and "impossible" and "amazing" and "awesome!" Yesterday, he told Hubby "This is my mad face!" He is hilarious, a future entertainer. He wants to do everything his brother does and regularly exerts his new-found independence. "No mama! I do it!"
And yet, at naptime, he will still crawl into my lap for a couple stories and some "rocky-rocky." It is time I cherish, especially since it is becoming so rare. I love to kiss his sweet head and sing softly as he drifts to sleep. For those few moments, he is still my little baby who wants to snuggle close and be eased into sleep.

Stay my baby for just a little longer, sweet little Caden. Never get too big to enjoy the warmth of your mama's embrace.

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Solid 30s

>> Friday, January 7, 2011

I took Caden with me yesterday to get a new driver's license (for me, not Caden!). As the kind DMV guy was renewing my license, he pointed to the height/weight/eye color portion and said "Ma'am, would you like to update any of this information?" Ugh.

True. I am a bit different in many ways from my "8 years ago" self. A few more pounds, a few more babies. Probably a few more pounds because of the few more babies. Well, them and the Twizzlers and chocolate that help me cope with them. But hopefully it is more than that. A little more self-aware. A little further down the road.

I love this life, mostly. I am grateful for my family and friends. There are certainly things I would change, but we all have those. Most of the things I would tweak about my life have very little to do with my actual life and everything to do with how I approach it.

So here we go. 34. Hubby says this is a good place to be. "Not just turned 30 but on the good side of 40," he says. "Solidly in your 30s." (We'll see how he spins it next year . *wink,wink*) But I kinda agree. I am solidly in my 30s. I am getting more and more comfortable with myself every day and more and more brave to change the things that need the tweaking. Those extra pounds included. I can almost see how God has been leading and shaping and growing me. Almost. I am still getting there.

May year 34 bring much joy and clarity. Health and overall wellness. The strength to let go of my pride and pretense and just be me: a 34 yr old mama who treasures my boys and loves my life. Happy Birthday to me!

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>> Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Love is...

...reading stories with a cowbay hat on because your grandson asked you to.

...letting your grandson hit you with a snowball, just for fun!

Aren't grandparents the best! :)

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2010... Don't Let the Door Hit Ya'

>> Sunday, January 2, 2011

Or so the saying goes. Not so sorry to see this one go. This year I mean. 2010 has not been my favorite as far as years go.

Joint pain... Lupus... Twice disappointed by trying to rent a new home and it not working out...
New job that turned out to be a bust... Some struggles in different relationships...
Blah, blah, blah.

I am ready for a fresh start.

As this new year begins, I am not so much making resolutions as I am doing some shifting. Shifting from reactive to proactive. From "I wish the boys would sleep longer" to "Good Morning!" From joint pain to health and energy. From "Where does the time go?" to "I am happy with how I have spent my days."
I have made the decision to give myself a hard-and-fast bedtime on weeknights. I started doing this when my joint pain was at its worst and it really did help. I will be IN bed each night by 11pm. The flip side of that is... no matter what time my boys sleep until, I am going to get up each day at 6am. I fully realize that it may be earlier some days if Caden decides to be an early bird. But on the days they (thankfully) sleep a little later, I am going to get up and shower and maybe even have 5min to drink a cup of tea and read a verse or two to get my day going.

It is about shifting my focus. So much of 2010 was spent reacting to this new health challenge and the actions/words of people around me. Or reacting to those early mornings after later nights when I was already at a deficit. It is just so hard to be patient or proactive when your body and your "schedule" are working against you. Enough.

In 2011, I am going to be gluten-free and more rested. I am going to proactively take care of my body and my mind and my soul. I am going to change my work schedule (increasing my days) so that we can pay down our debt and live more free. I am going to be intentional about how I spend my time and my money and make hard decisions for both.
God has blessed me with a precious woman in my church to meet with and pray with and walk this journey together with. She challenges me when I need it and loves me when I need it. And hopefully I can do the same for her. Having this mentoring-type relationship is the first intentional thing I have done in years for my own personal/mental/spiritual health.

My bedtime is in 7minutes.

So 2010... I can't say I'm sad to see you go. Welcome 2011! The year I turn 34 (ahem... on Friday!) and regain the healthy, happy, vibrant me that I know is still there somewhere. She never really left, she just got muffled at times. Let this be the year I stand up for my own/my family's needs and not let fatigue or frustration or the sometimes unkind words of others dictate how my life should go. I am shifting my focus. Maybe a little more towards myself, but really just a lot more towards my Savior.

Happy New Year to y'all.

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