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Twirling

This space feels empty to me and it makes me a little sad. There’s a lot on my mind (maybe future posts in the making?), but this Life full of its own (very real) limits is busy learning how to manage a life of new, seemingly small, mommy-ing things….

 

Like Firefly phasing out of naptimes, but still desperately needing one. Even with a “quiet time” in her room early in the afternoon, by 5:00, she is a basket-case. I mean, can’t-stop-crying kind of tired. By 6:00, she is a jumping-around-the-house-singing-at-the-top-of-her-lungs kind of hyper, merely trying to keep herself awake.What bothers me about this the most, is that I find myself losing my temper a lot more than usual….

 

Like Firefly having neighbor friends knock on the door to ask if she can play outside (wasn’t I just the one going door to door trying to find a friend, free to play?!). Having times where she is completely independent is a little freeing (a whole new era!) and a little saddening at the same time. It’s only a small step in letting her go. Letting her branch out and play all on her own and prove herself . . . or maybe not. It’s never too early to pray for good influences and that she will be one herself.

 

The youngest cutting down to one naptime, when she still desperately needs two (are you catching my theme here? -grin-). She’s also learning to play on her own a little bit, while Firefly’s romping around outside with friends….  She’s learning to be the little one, poor thing, while all the big kids are playing outside. We usually make it outside too, but for some reason, I don’t have quite as much time to play around with the neighborhood kids, so we’re not outside as much as Dovey would like to be.

 

Like trying to be a better meal planner. I cleaned out the fridge a couple of days ago and it literally made me sick to think about how much money I threw in the trash can! I am always beating myself up, chiding myself that our grocery expenses should be better. Silly me. Maybe it’s not the grocery shopping that needs more tweaking? I’ve suddenly realized that I have *got* to be better about making sure we eat up more leftovers, or freeze them, or SOMETHING! The hubby’s not too keen on leftovers (don’t tell him, but . . . shhhh . . . neither am I), so I think I need to do more freezing. Maybe I’ll start cooking for “tonight’s” meal, and “next Thursday’s” meal, instead of cooking for two nights of the same meal, back to back.

 

It all sounds so small and trite, doesn’t it? Not anything huge to learn to navigate, right? But of course, as much as I want to be transparent and all “Upside Down” of a blogger, there are some things that can’t and shouldn’t be shared on the world wide web. So of course there are the things, the day-in and day-out kinds of things, of marriage, and possibilities, and struggles, and hurts, and plans, and joys, and surrendering, and steps of faith with no assurances of the destination, and all the wrestling there goes with that, and all the praying, and everything that every single person on this planet deals with every. single. day.

 

So while, this blog remains a little quiet, there is an unseen step-by-step life, just like yours. I find that sometimes, there is a time to write it all out (and oh, how I always want to!), and sometimes, there is a time to simply be still and ponder and let the Potter twirl this life around for a few days on end, feeling His fingertips groove into me, smoothing and shaping and cupping and emptying and filling.

 

Just spinning right now.

Round and round.

His Hands cup.

I learn to like the grooves.

 

 

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Let Me Be Little

Typical Mommy days here lately. Playdates and baths. Preparing food and pushing little bodies on swings. Spring is here in full force and we are loving it. The sandals are being worn, the sandbox is being played in. Winter is fun in its own right and I love the scarves and the warm sweaters, but give me flip-flops and a tank top any day!

 

But just the typical mommy days are being lived here. Probably the same ones many of you live. The cooking meals. The cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. The “Oh, I’m so sorry, I meant to wash that shirt for you yesterday!” The reading books, the brushing teeth, the changing diapers, the planning meals, the fitting in naps, the tending to little hearts, the continual setting aside of good conversation, waiting for a quiet moment to run to the restroom, the putting the computer to sleep to turn your face to a child asking for help.

 

It’s not easy work, is it?

 

Some days it’s mundane.

 

Sometimes, it feels impossible.

 

Some days, it feels like my role doesn’t even matter.

 

Some mornings, I don’t even want to get out of bed.

 

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Because I also have the privilege of tucking little souls to sleep each night. And sitting on the couch in the middle of the day just to read a book with little ones tucked in my lap. I get to hear their funny little sayings and watch their sibling relationship develop. I get to match clean, little baby socks and wrestle little arms into sleeper pajamas. I get to play games and be silly to my heart’s content and am loved more for it. I get to sing songs at the top of my lungs and little children giggle and join right in. I get to pour cups of water again and again and again and fill little bellies and teach new words. I get to sit on the floor and color whenever I want and play hide and seek and wiggle my toes in the sandbox and quote little kid movies.

 

Something tells me, that this is the best job in the world.

 

But they’re only little once.

 

Let me be little with them.

Face Turning

Nearly 3 months later and I am back here again.

Desire. Submission. Peace. Desire. Submission. Peace.

A re-post from this blog’s colossal-sized archives.

Yes, that was sarcasm. 🙂

 

I am in love.  Yep, me. I am in love with a beautiful, toasty warm, 80-year-old house. After walking through its halls and over its hardwoods twice in a week, we came *this* close to making an offer.  But after much talking and praying, we decided it just wasn’t the time. Maybe not the house. My husband and I have been renting ever since we said “I do” and my heart is longing for a place to plant our young family’s roots.  I shed a few tears. Prayed.

 

And I then . . . I was okay.

 

And now, some time later, the house is pulling at my heart and mind. It feels like “home” is calling to me. My husband is willing to reconsider (what should I call him in this space?), but how do I know that what I’m feeling is something legitimate? I’ve never been one to trust my heart or my feelings too much and I definitely don’t want my family’s future riding on them. So we cry for wisdom because how do you know for certain when God is speaking?

 

Have you ever longed for a place that feels like home? The home of your childhood? Your honeymoon nest? The home you’ve never had? Oh, me too. Maybe those longings are placed inside us for more than a feeling of security. Maybe they turn our searching faces toward the One who is always our home. Changeless. Timeless. Unmoving. If so, that doesn’t really help me with my quest for a physical home in which to raise our children. Sigh. But it does give me a foundation on which to build my family’s true “home”.  A place where in between the busyness, exasperation of raising two little ones, and trying to balance it all, Someone helps us to whisper love, bestow kisses, listen to whispering hearts, and direct little souls toward Him.

 

 

He is in the rental house.

He is in the mansion down the street, the shack in Peru and the place where you cross the welcome mat.

He is whispering in our longing.

 

Joy in the Nesting

Anyone who may be reading this will probably laugh at me, but I *finally* feel like the post-holiday, can’t-find-my-groove slump is actually dissipating. January’s been a month of snowstorms and sickness so any sense of normalcy has been nearly non-existent.

 

I’m not complaining (today). I promise. 🙂 Just stating a fact. I’m just reveling in the refreshing feeling of climbing out of the rubble and brushing the dust off my shoulders.

 

So, today is just a day of trying to be faithful in the little things. Trying to love and care for a home that is not our own while learning that any house where we’re all together *is* our home. Today, I’m discovering wide-eyed wonder over things like the superpowers of a Magic Eraser or actually seeing the bottom of our clothes’ hamper. Or even the authority my voice can carry (while inwardly shaking in my boots) over a HUGE, bear-like, neighborhood dog who decided to terrorize the girls and me while we were innocently trying to enjoy today’s beautiful, spring-like weather. 🙂

 

While half the house is momentarily bright and shiny clean, the other half still needs desperate tending. But I’m steadily tidying our little nest, while trying to keep the girls feeling loved and nestled under my wings. I know that come Monday, the house will already need re-mopping and de-cluttering, but right now, I’m savoring the joy of gearing up for another weekend of us all being together and spending time with friends.

 

And the fact that I’m savoring the joy? That’s pure grace.

 

Pure grace.

 

My prayer for you and me today…

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17

Wisdom Nuggets from the Trenches

No matter whose amazing book we may have just read, or whatever eloquent interview just played on the radio, or even that astounding blog post we may have just happened upon, when it comes right down to it, some of the most life-changing, attitude-adjusting words can come from the women in the trenches next to us.

 

I’m not even kidding. There have been several times in the last few years that a friend has casually said something in passing and while she’s already moved on to the next topic, I’m still trying to catch my breath from what just came out of her like it was nothing.

 

Let me explain. I’ve said before that I am a perfectionist. But you’d never know it by looking at my life on the outside. My house is usually disorganized . . . well, really, my life is a bit disorganized. You see, unlike the perfectionism which drives most women to be Superwoman, my particular brand of perfectionism usually paralyzes me into doing nothing. Start some new project? Well, you see, I know it won’t come out the way I want it, soooooo, I just don’t do it at all.

 

This is a suffocating, boring way to live, and by the grace of God, I am working on this. But my fellow-mama, well, really just woman-friends, the ones who’ve been right next to me, fighting in the kid-raising, house-cleaning, husband-loving trenches? They help release my tightly-clenched, perfectionistic grip.

 

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Back when I was in my last year of nursing school, I had a friend about 20-25 years older than me tell me, “You can do anything for a year.” She was a nurse herself. She had lived the life I was currently living and my weary soul sopped up every ounce of her words. She was right. I did it. I frequently think about her words in parenting. Because when you’re taking care of a newborn who’s waking every two hours and you’re not getting any sleep? It feels like life is never going to change. That you’re going to be stuck with no sleep for the rest of your life. Thankfully, in parenting (at least in parenting young children), there are rarely things that you have to do for a whole year.  Children hurry along through their little phases so quickly and just when you’re getting used to them, you’re left with an aching heart, wondering how that phase was over so quickly….

 

Potty-training?

 

Teaching a little heart not to whine?

 

Pulling a little climber off the dining room table for the fourth time in 5 minutes? (Ahem, this would be me)

 

“You can do anything for a (fill in: a few weeks, a few months, a year).”

 

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When I was pregnant with my firstborn, several women shared mothering advice at my baby shower and a little nugget stuck with me.

This was from a woman with seven children. She lived in the trench.

 

“When you walk in a room and find your children have created a disaster and you just want to cry? Take a picture of it. It gives you a bigger perspective and will make you smile.”

 

Oh, have I taken this fun advice to heart….

A recent "tent" made by Firefly.

Crayon . . . on our glider's ottoman. It all came out. 😉

Dove is ALWAYS getting into my makeup....

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And then there was the time a friend and I were talking about keeping our houses clean. I was talking about how I just never have time to mop or dust as much as I used to and how I thought her house always looks nice.

 

This mother with three children replied, “You know, my house is rarely clean. I just keep up on clutter. Every time I walk through the house, I carry something with me that needs put away.”

 

Hmmm . . . that sounded manageable.  Much more manageable than keeping up with two young children 24/7 and have a spic and span house. I’ve found her words empowering. Clutter. A manageable enemy. And if I do keep on top of it (I’m still working on it!), then it’s much easier to actually clean because I have a clean slate.

 

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And last, but certainly not least, I have a friend who completely changed my attitude about being a good mother. She’s one of those girls who when you meet her, you instantly feel like you could tell her anything and she would still give you a big ol’ hug and send you home feeling like you’re the most special person in the world.

 

We were at a women’s Bible study one day, both at the coffee/tea counter, grabbing something warm to drink beforehand.

 

“Hmmm . . . I’m not sure which tea flavor to choose. I already had my mug of coffee this morning,” I said, trying to make small talk.

 

“Oh?” she asked with her raised eyebrows. “Are you still nursing the baby or something and watching your caffeine?”

 

“Oh, no. I just try to be good and limit my coffee to one mug a day,” I explained.

 

“Well, let me tell you something, girl,” she said, like she was letting me in on some deep secret. Little did I know, she was. “I’ve found that I’m a much happier mama if I sit down at 4:00 in the afternoon and have me an oreo and another mug of coffee. If I get that little boost in the afternoon, I can make it through bath time and actually be a fun mama while doing it. I’ll work on my caffeine intake in 10 years or so when the boys are putting themselves to bed.”

 

I’m telling you, girls. That was revolutionary thinking to me. Because she showed me to look at the big picture. Not every single detail of my life is going to be perfect. But so what? There are some battles just not worth fighting in particular seasons of life. So, if an extra cup of coffee helps me be a happier mama? I’m going for it.

 

So, listen to your friends, dears. One little sentence might just rock your world.

Finger Tracings

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much of my own desperate need for Jesus as I have this week. I. am. finished. Weary. Emotionally, paper-thin. And you know what? I’m mad at myself for feeling this way so darn easily.

 

Yes, the stomach virus hit our house this past week. I’m not sure that it has completely vanished yet as the hubby began feeling its effects late last night. Between the great snow storm (let me rephrase that: The Great *Southern* snow storm) the week before last, and sickness, we have been quarantined in the house for the better part of two weeks now. Everyone is feeling the effects of that too.

 

Yesterday, I think I cried for three-fourths of the day. That could possibly be due to some, ahem, feminine hormones, maybe? 🙂 But really, things have just piled, one on top of another until I feel like I’m under one big pile of dirty, stinky clothes and I can’t tunnel my way out. Hmmmm . . . maybe this is due to the 50 bazillion loads of laundry I’ve done in the last two days.

 

See? I am complainey, whiney, and just plain glum.

 

My parenting skills are what really have me upset with myself. Or should I say, my *lack* of parenting skills…. It is hard to balance the tightrope of grace vs. discipline for a whiney, disobeying, mouthy three-year-old when she’s been sick as a dog.

 

I simply have nothing left in me to give. Nothing. All that is coming out in my words and attitude is . . .

 

Leave me alone. Make my life easy. Don’t cross me. Don’t give me one more thing to fight over or pray for or make me smile through my teeth. I am done.

 

And over what? A few squabbles over who the real Mama in this house is? A few days of sickness? A couple hurt feelings? A few days of snow? A few piles of laundry?

 

Oh, God, it’s so easy to lose the big picture of life when you’re stuck trying to brush out life’s gritty details. But You see.

 

I know that You see.

 

And maybe that’s sometimes all we can do, but maybe it’s the best thing we can do.

 

Just roll ours heads back to the sky (or the ceiling, in my case) open our tense, tightly-clenched hands and say,

 

“I can’t do this anymore. I can’t see or feel or think clearly. I am hard-pressed with everyday grit and grime. Take my despair. Let me dance in the mud.”

 

Counting His graces . . . I need to see His hand tracing in the dirt:

 

#161 welcoming, wiser women

#162 that the sickness didn’t hit until the little one was in bed and the hubby was home – grace in the timing

#163 ginger ale

#164 he slept on the bare floor by her side . . . all night

#165 teamwork – even when I want to be the one to comfort – grace in the humbling, grace in the letting go, grace in the letting him

#166 the sanitary cycle on a well-working (given to us!) washer

#167 Netflix

#168 One Thousand Gifts – right when I’d have time to read it

#169 that sickness slows me down

#170 Pedialyte

#171 the way food tastes so good when you finally have an appetite again

#172 a patient, self-entertaining baby

#173 being humbled in my brokenness

#174 that I can ask forgiveness

#175 the forgiveness of a daughter

#176 simultaneous little-girl naps and a chance for a heart-to-heart

#177 Kleenex

#178  no need to hide

#179 Ancient Words that hold true in my humble, ordinary, everyday moments

#180 that Love washes over my self-made messes

#181 a little girl actually napping in my arms

#182 that I actually stopped to rest with her

#183 that He can move in my realization of my own insufficiency

#184 that He equips me for whatever He calls me to do or be

 

Big Picture Truths

Some days, I desperately feel like I just need my fellow mama friends around me in a huddle. You know, a pep talk. Arms on shoulders, heads bent into our circle’s center.

 

I guess some days, I need to feel that cloud of witnesses cheering me on (Heb 12:1) – albeit my personal race is small and everyday compared to others’. Because I’m just a stay-at-home mom. And sometimes the gloomy thought raises its ugly head and I wonder if we stay-at-home-mamas try to glorify our vocation a bit much. Maybe we merely seek to make ourselves feel better in our daily humdrum. Believing that shrewd lie, even for a minute, causes my soul to crumple in weariness. But, He lifts my heart to dwell on truth. Because whether you are a stay-at-home mama, a working mama, or a single mama, we truly do have a high calling.

 

So if you’re having a day that’s got you down and dog-tired, come join me in the huddle.

 

 

C’mon girls,

 

 

We are driving the future.

 

We are bringing up the next generation of doctors and preachers,

teachers and researchers,

or maybe even more stay-at-home mamas.

 

The atmosphere of our homes is set by us.

 

We are memory-makers.

 

Our children are people –

little, yes, but someday, they will be all grown up with real thoughts and ideas, dreams and solutions –

we lay their foundations.

 

Others will come alongside us to help raise up our children

– teachers, peers, family, pastors, etc. –

but we are the underpinning.

 

We shape future mommies’ and daddies’ views on home.

 

To our boys, we lay the groundwork for their views on women.

 

To our girls, we teach what it is to be woman.

 

We are often given the honor of hearing a soul’s first prayers.

 

We see ambitions light in their eyes and we can either stamp them out, or fan the flames.

 

We can teach boys to be gentlemen.

 

We can teach girls to wait for one.

 

Every day, we can either fill their love tanks, or let them empty.

 

It may feel like our little mama-lives are hidden in the looming shadows of the world’s great humanitarians, missionaries, politicians, and blog and movie celebrities . . . but He brings power to the small, life to the dying, strength for the weary.

 

We plant a multitude of seeds.

 

Let’s water and illuminate.

 

Go get ’em, girls.