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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Birth Matters

At first I didn't want to post about this.  I was scared what others would think...

"what a baby"
"get over it already", 
"but you are blessed by so much"
"at least you had three healthy babies"

Ok so I sort of gave it away with that last one.  It's no secret I love everything about pregnancy and birth and beyond.  I'm fascinated with learning about how God created women's bodies to grow tiny humans and then birth them and nourish them and care for them (hearing every little noise even when in a dead sleep - especially right after having a baby - is a blessing and a curse am I right??)

Two major things about my previous pregnancies I'll never "get over"

1.  losing our first baby after seeing the heartbeat
2.  having a csection that was totally unnecessary 

I feel I've worked through the first one - our loss - more so than the second.  Part of the reason for this, in my opinion, is because of how I was made to feel afterwards.  After you lose a baby, people expect you to be upset.  But after you have a birth that deeply affected you emotionally, people expect you to be fine because the result is a healthy baby.  

Of course, a healthy baby is a blessing.  But just because that was the result, that doesn't negate how moms are made to feel during birth.  We need to be validated in our feelings - good and bad.  More moms need to be asked "how did your birth go?".  Even if it wasn't a bad experience, let's give more moms an opportunity to process the experience and be allowed to be honest in how she feels.  And please don't say things like "well it could have been worse" or "at least you have a healthy baby" because she likely hears that as "I shouldn't be sad about this".  Instead, tell her "so sorry you experienced that" and just listen.   

I know I wanted so badly to feel like my csection was actually necessary.  But truth be told, it wasn't.  Perhaps in that particular instance, because of all of the interventions that happened, it was the only way to get her out at that particular time.  But had all those interventions not happened (because they didn't need to happen for any medical reason), it wouldn't have been my only option.

My firstborn will be five in just a couple weeks.  I still carry the scar and a little sting of hurt.  But in the past year, I've been able to finally work through my sadness, anger, and frustration with what happened that day.  Seeing pictures of that day used to just bring a huge lump to my throat.  

Shortly after Rilynn was born - I was exhausted 
My almost five year old recently asked to hear about the day she was born.  At first, I was saddened to even have to relive it all again - like opening up an old wound.  But now, I realize that I likely wouldn't have had such a beautiful birth with Logann if I didn't have the experience I did with Rilynn.  Rilynn's birth opened up so many other opportunities!  Researching and learning about birth has led me to learning about other areas of life that I wouldn't have otherwise taken the time to even think about!

Shortly after Kaylee was born - my 10 pounder and first vbac
Shortly after Logann was born
Knowing that every woman and situation is different let me just boldly yet humbly say, I'm allowed to feel how I feel.  If somebody had an experience similar to mine (although no situation is completely the same) and didn't struggle, that's great.  I'm happy for them.  I really and truly am.  But that doesn't mean that I shouldn't or can't be upset about my experience. I never really felt like anybody validated my feelings afterwards.  But that's important - it was important for me and it's important for other women as well!  

So while it still hurts, I am now embracing that experience.  And I hope that I can/have positively affected others.  If you are reading this and you're a first time mom, don't be fearful of birth!  Birth can be so beautiful!!!  I know that now!  Learn all you can!!!!  There are documentaries and books on birth that can help (The Business of Being Born and Guide to Childbirth and Redeeming Childbirth are my favorites).

I know nothing will ever go just as planned - especially with something as unpredictable as birth.  But it can still be a positive experience.  A healthy baby is absolutely important.  But so is a happy and healthy momma!  

They are so awesome!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Baby Monitor Alternative

I've never had a video baby monitor although I've always thought it would be nice to have. I just couldnt bring myself to spent that much on what I didn't think was a necessity for us.  But then again, we would have gotten our money's worth by now.  :)

I'd heard of others using webcams and security cameras in lieu of a video monitor for their children's rooms so I decided to try it out after we moved Logann into her sisters' room.  The one we got (Foscam wireless IP camera - FI8910W) has night vision, two-way audio, pan and tilt (no zoom) and comes with a mount for the wall.  

What I like:

- the price...at just over $60 it's a lot cheaper than a traditional baby monitor

- the option to download apps and view from your smart phone or tablet 

- being able to take snapshots of what I see.  this comes in handy when showing certain children how I know they were doing something they weren't supposed to be doing.  It's also fun to see how my girls play with and comfort each other.  :)

oops somebody is out of bed!
they were playing doggie or something :)
 - the ability to use it as an actual security camera if desired...pretty sure it has a motion detection option

What I don't like:

- it's pretty difficult to set up.  we still can't figure out how to get the two-way audio to work which would be nice for telling Kaylee to get back on her bed instead of having to walk to their room.  :)  Even my techie neighbor never figured out how to do port forwarding so it could be viewed from other computers (which I don't really care about now but it'd be nice when we are on vacation to have it placed somewhere to view the main area of the house)

- yes it can be hacked.  There was a really creepy story about a couple who heard a strange guy talking to their baby and controlling the camera from wherever he lived.  Ewww.  But, there is a generic password with the camera some people don't change or make very hard to guess and then there's your home wireless password that should also be fairly strong. So I'm really not all that concerned since both of our passwords are strong ones.  

All in all, I'm glad we have it.  It's come in handy to see if Logann is awake or asleep before I go in the room when I'm not ready to get her out of bed yet.  And with all three sharing a room now, it's just nice to have a set of eyes in there.  

all three asleep - no glowing night vision eyes means eyes are closed!



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I'm Back on Facebook - sorta

A little over two years ago, I deleted my Facebook account.  Honestly, I didn't really miss it.  At all!  For me, it was actually quite freeing to do so.  It was just too easy for me to get wrapped up in all the drama, negativity, and ego stroking. 

But now I've made an account again.  And a few people have found me already.  But please don't be offended when I deny your friend request.  :)  My only limits (thus far at least) for getting back on Facebook is that I'm not friending individual people - only group pages and businesses and organizations.  This allows me to still find deals, stay informed with local mom groups and church, and read articles I know will be a positive influence in my life. I just don't have the self control to not click on things I know will upset me or reply to things that I shouldn't.  So this is my way of protecting myself.  :)

I'm still on Instagram so feel free to find me there!!!

And now I leave you with a picture from a recent photo shoot with my good friend Kelli (she does awesome work so keep her in mind for family, baby, and especially wedding pictures!).

This lil firecracker is about to turn a year old - August 10th!!  I can't believe it!!!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Revolutionary Laundry Secrets

I remember before having my first baby, people would tell me how much my laundry would increase.  Honestly, I didn't think it did that much after my first.  Little did I know, she's pretty much the least messy kid on the planet.  So that helped.  Then came my second - messy city!  But I could control it a little better when she was a baby and toddler.  Then after having my third, plus a messy middle, and another older one who is tidy but also clumsy...well, let's just say I began to understand this whole never-ending laundry issue.  

A friend of mine came over and gave some great pointers which have helped A LOT.  They're so simple but I would have never thought of it on my own!

As soon as clothes are washed and dried, they go in a basket.  And eventually (working on a better system for getting this done sooner since my baskets of clothes tend to sit on the couch longer than I'd like), it gets sorted into piles.  

Both of my older girls can help do this.  They can find their own clothes and make a pile for their stuff.  I've made everything accessible for them to put away clothes except shirts and dresses which I hang for them.  After they're done with that, they can usually sort through mine and Septtro's clothes.  Although I have taken offense before when they thought his shirt was mine.  :)

I also read a blog post not long after my third was born that helped me see laundry differently.  Seriously, take a look.  

This is Logann's drawer for onesies and leg warmers.  I know it looks like organized chaos...well, I guess it sorta is.  But it's out of sight (once the drawer is closed).  :)

I use these bins for bottoms for my girls (skirts, shorts, leggings, and some pants). They can easily put things away themselves and find something to put on when I need them dressed.

Lots of drawers!!!!!!!  I suggest the non-see through kind for this sort of laundry method.  :)  The see-through ones you see used to be behind a cute little curtain.  You could also put a pictures on the outside of the drawers if needed to help younger ones know which drawer holds which items.  My almost three year old has often confused her drawers.  

There is still a lot of laundry but it doesn't take me as long to get through it now.  I've basically stopped folding anything and everything I possibly can.  Washcloths, underwear, shorts, pants, leggings, etc just get put in a drawer...or basket.  
girls underwear is accessible and NOT folded  :)
I've heard of people using those shoe organizers for laundry items.  I'm sure there are all kinds of things you can use to make the process quicker and overall less stressful.  I've had to let go of control a little bit and let go of all the "rules" I thought I had to follow.  But it's been SO very freeing!!!!  I challenge you to see how many items you can stop folding.  ;)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pondering

Recently, I came across this quote and loved it.  I can easily lose sight of what - or who - truly matters sometimes.   


I went to my grandmother's nursing home recently and truly thought about this quote.  It's so true.  The residents care most about visitors.  The women don't care about how clean their houses were, how organized they were, how many homemade meals they were able to make, or how much they weighed.  The men don't care about how important their jobs seemed, how many tools they had in their shed, how much they could bench press, or how well they could dominate on the football field, basketball court, etc etc.

They care about people.  

So I'm trying to remind myself of this when I become obsessive over things that really don't matter and build the best relationships I possibly can.  


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sometimes I get angry- then I feel guilty

I love being a mom.  I really do.  I've always wanted children and am thankful to have three beautiful girls!  But lately, I've been dealing with a lot of guilt.  Many times, I don't feel I have any clue what I'm doing.  I hear the Lord urging me, in the midst of a tense situation, to not get angry with my kids.  Don't raise your voice.  Don't say that.  No, no, no - don't do it!

And I do.  I do it anyway.  

Enter the blanket of guilt.  Why did I do that again???  I'm ruining my children.  They will grow up to resent me and their childhood.  I'm a terrible mother!  Why did God even entrust me with these precious souls?  I can't get it right!

In His goodness, He has shown me that I'm striving.  I'm trying to "be a good mom" and not resting in grace and love.
"Freedom from the stain of sin.  Rest from our strivings to be worthy in ourselves. Love that never changes. Mercy for all our failures. Grace that saves eternally.  These are things that Christ lived, died, and rose again in order to give us - precisely because we can't get them any other way.  We can't achieve them and we can't earn them. No matter how strong or how good we are.  No matter how hard we try.  They are gifts and everyone knows a gift is to be received, not earned." - Christ in the Chaos by Kimm Crandall
If you ask my husband, he will tell you that one major area I've been working on is my tone of voice - with him as well as towards my girls.  I know it's not honoring to the Lord when I speak harshly towards my husband or my children.  I want to change.  And I have been striving to do so in my own power.  
"But our works are simply a means of living out the standing God has granted us, by grace, through Christ's sacrifice. The worlds flow from the grace, they don't produce the grace." - Christ in the Chaos 
I'll never get it right.  And He already has.  And even when I do choose the right response, it's not me!  It's Him!  

So the key is, for me, to not beat myself up when I get angry and respond incorrectly over and over.  The key is to continue to show my family that I am weak and He is strong; to ask for their forgiveness and point them to the Savior.  And those times when I do get it "right", I cannot bask in my own glory of success - but praise the One who gave me the power to overcome my sin!

The Lord gave me Proverbs 15 after dwelling on my guilt.  That chapter speaks a lot on how you use your words.  I picked out a verse and the girls and I made collages with magazines to serve as a visual for everyone how our words and even tones can affect others.  

"Hot tempers cause arguments but patience brings peace" - Proverbs 15:18

I hope to improve on these areas more and more.  I know I'll never be perfect.  And now I'm at the place where I'm okay with that.  :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Favorite Make-Ahead Lunches and Snacks

Recently, I have been making the girls' lunches the night before.  It saves time and sanity once lunch time rolls around.  I hand them their "special container" and done and done!

That definitely frees me up a bit but then I'd get hungry and not leave time for me to grab something halfway decent to eat.  Some days I'd end up eating lunch around 2pm after the older two were napping.  Not exactly ideal.  

So for the past couple weeks, I've been preparing food for myself ahead of time too...as much as possible.  It's been working out really well!  

One thing I'm having to still get out of my head is that lunch doesn't have to always include a sandwich.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorites.  

1.  Egg salad...can be put on a sandwich or just with some lettuce or spinach or greens of your choice.  Things I put in my egg salad: mayo, mustard, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and a splash of pickle juice.
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2.  Strawberry and Egg Salad.  This has become a new favorite of mine. It was born out of leftovers I wanted to use, a Google search, and some adaptations.  Hard boiled eggs, strawberries, and greens with a homemade vinaigrette dressing.  Dressing is equal parts apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, and olive oil.  

3.  Faux Cookie Dough (kid approved).  This came from FamilyFun Magazine.  It's a good alternative snack with a protein punch!  
In a food processor, blend 1 1/2 cups of chickpeas, 6 Tblsp brown sugar, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 3 Tblsp oats, 1 Tblsp milk, 2 tsp vanilla, 1/8 tsp salt and baking soda.  Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips - great on apple slices or other fresh fruit.  

4.  Zucchini Spaghetti (kid approved) Just shred zucchini ahead of time and put in an air-tight bowl.  At lunch add sauce and cheeses and anything else you may have in the fridge that may taste good with it - shredded chicken or red beans perhaps?  My kids also gobbled this up for dinner one night. I just told them it was spaghetti.  


 5.  Whole Wheat Corn Muffins by The Happy Housewife (kid approved).  Don't let the whole wheat throw you off.  These are sweet and oh so delicious!  A friend of mine brought these with a meal after Logann was born and I asked for the recipe and have made them several times since!  


6. Black Bean Salad.  This was a combination of leftovers and trying to reproduce something I'd had at a friend's house.  This particular one is black beans, corn, avocado, and feta cheese with lemon juice (can do lime too) and sea salt.  


7.  Baked Brie.  So I must admit, this is the best when it's fresh out of the oven but the leftovers are still a very close second.  I used a pie crust instead of a puff pastry.  I still can't get the cheese to not leak out but I just all that gooey goodness on top.  Red grapes and apples are my favorites to eat with this.  Your favorite cracker would also be good.  

Please share any favorites you have.  I'd love to add them to my rotation!!!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Sensitive Souls and Remembering Middle School

My first born is my sensitive child.  She's a people-pleaser like yours truly.  I've known this for a while now.  But just recently, I've become a bit anxious over it.  

Here's why:

She's getting to the age (four and a half) where her friends are more of a big deal.  She is pretty social too and always loves having friends over to play.  If she doesn't know someone, she simply calls them "friend" and follows them around like she's their shadow. She wants to be included.

I was observing one day and she wanted to play a certain game with some friends.  She asked three girls to play with her.  The first one said "no!".  

"How bout you?" - she asked the second gal

"No!"

"Ok, how bout you? - she appealed to the third child

"No!"

Her shoulders dropped slightly and she walked off and eventually found something else to do. I honestly don't think it bothered her as much (or at all) as it bothered me…because I know in the near future, it will be more bothersome to her. 

What did I want to do??  I wanted to go over and make my own appeal to her friends.  "She's a really fun girl.  She will play nicely.  C'mon please play with her!"

---I know her friends weren't being mean. They were simply replying like three and four year olds do when they don't want to do something. It just brought out insecurities of my own and realizing Rilynn would soon face them herself.

What did I do?  Nothing.  I left it alone.  But my heart kind of sank a bit.  Because I remember how much it hurt to be rejected by peers - especially when you had such a people-pleasing nature.  I don't want her to get her feelings hurt.  I don't want her to cry over who is her friend and who isn't.  I don't want her to be made fun of.  I just don't want her to go through that!  But I know she will…very soon. It's coming.  I remember middle school.  And it was HARD

Then last week I found out Rilynn was accidentally put on the five year old tball team instead of the four year old team. She loves tball but she's not exactly the MVP so I started to get anxious again…What if everybody gets upset with her because she didn't throw the ball right or run to the right base?? Oh please accept her - please be her friend still, I thought.  But at her first practice, we learned she was not the least skilled of the team.  The skill level for four year olds and five year olds apparently isn't much different at all.  


My brother and I during the middle school years
I guess it's just partly because of my own experiences and seeing my girls go through periods that are difficult bring back memories that I'd rather just forget.  I mean, I thought I was a pretty fun kid back then.  I had no clue how to dress.  I still don't.  And maybe I acted a bit strange sometimes.  But who doesn't right??



I know I can't protect them from life.  I want to.  :)  But I can't.  They have to experience hurt and sadness and learn how to pick themselves up, know their identity is in Christ (hopefully, one day) and not in what others think, and move on.  And perhaps, in Rilynn's case as in mine, learn not to take certain things so personally.  All I can do is to equip them best I can to be kind and love others - different or not.  And ultimately, I need to get over my own anxieties that my girls won't survive being hurt or sad. 

Oh my - three little girls.  They will eventually be three teenage girls.  How will they ever survive??  How will their daddy and I survive???  :)  

We will though.  We will.  

I just love this picture. That is all

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Just Be Mom

I feel like for the past four years, I've struggled to figure out what my days are supposed to look like.  When do I clean up anything?  When do I play with my girls?  When do I need to stay home?  When should I take us all out somewhere? How do I balance all of this??

Me not having a set schedule that's the same every day is very difficult for me.


Then there's the sad fact that, most days, I was becoming irritated with my children.  I would try so hard to tell myself I wouldn't do it again.  But then I would.  

The Lord has been so kind to me these past nine months.  He's been showing me my heart.  And let me tell you, it's not pretty.  But He's recently been showing me that it's not me that can change myself.  I cannot be upset about how I act - or react - and then strive to modify that behavior.  

If I TRULY want a change, it has to begin in my heart.  When the change comes from there then it will naturally overflow to my actions.  So I've been doing what I can to spend more time with the Lord.  Communicating with Him my desire to change, reading verses whenever I can.  I still don't do that as often as I'd like.  But I've noticed when I have, my days are much more enjoyable for everybody. 

Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood

So now, I'm just trying to be mom.  That's my only goal for the day.  Just be mom.  

Listen to them. Play with them.  Be ok with messes.  Look at them.  

They're not interruptions to my to-do list every day.  They are my to-do list!  It - whatever "it" is - can wait.  


Yes, things in my house have to get done at some point.  But a clean kitchen will only get dirty again.  Laundry is never ending.  And my kids won't remember that being important anyway.  Eventually, stuff in the house does get done.  But it doesn't have to be done right when I want it done. (letting go of this has been extremely hard even still)

Thankfully, I have a husband who helps out at home.  He vacuums, mops, cleans up the kitchen, does the dishes, and is a pretty good cook too.  He doesn't come home and expect everything to be perfectly clean and everyone put together.  Not once has he ever made me feel badly about how many times I'm still in my PJs when he gets home from work. He is a gift to me!  He only expects what I desire - for me to just be mom.  

I'm trying to be more lighthearted at home.  I used to babysit when I was a teenager and I think I was a pretty fun one at that.  But man have I been a terrible one lately.  :)  I'm going to try to focus on the words of my two year old a bit more…it's ok.

It really is ok.  All that stuff that doesn't matter.  I just wanna be mom.  All day.  Every day.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Time SIDS Became a Real Concern

I've always been nervous after having a baby that they would suddenly stop breathing. How many times have I passed by the bassinet or crib or peaked inside my room while they're napping to make sure their chest was appropriately rising and falling??  Too many to count! I would imagine that's the case for almost every mom - and even most dads too.  


Nobody really has an explanation of what really and truly causes SIDS.  I know there are recommendations in place to make every effort to prevent it from happening.  While nervous about SIDS, I have previously pushed it to the back of my mind - mostly so I wouldn't worry, assuming something like that just wouldn't happen.

Then on Monday night, my whole world changed in an instant.  Thankfully, Logann was actually just fine.  But in my mind, I truly thought she was gone.  I had already begun to process what I believed to be true.  Praise God it wasn't!  

Logann has been more inconsistent with sleep since her teeth poked through.  She had woken me up once or twice Monday night.  I nursed her and we both fell asleep.  Around 3am, I woke up and noticed she was nestled in my back.  I knew me having my back to her wasn't the most ideal position.  I turned around and felt her chest to be sure she was ok.  I couldn't feel it rising or falling.  I nudged her a bit…nothing.  I picked her up and her head flopped down.  

And in one instant, I thought she was gone.  I thought I was holding a shell of my baby girl.  I began to feel sick, terrified, confused, guilty, devastated…all within the span of about two seconds.  As I was thinking these thoughts, I jostled her a bit in one last attempt to reverse what I thought had happened.

She moved.

She woke up.  

As I held her tightly to myself and thanked God she was ok, I began to try to process what had just happened.  Why didn't she wake up right away?  Why did I wake up for "no reason"? (she wasn't making a sound - nobody was - and it's unusual for me to wake up like that as I tend to sleep well unless something signals me to wake).  

Maybe the Lord woke me up so I could move her to a safer position for the rest of the night?  Maybe I had a bad dream I couldn't remember and I woke up after that? Maybe she has a condition I'm unaware of and I woke up to encourage her breathing pattern to continue normally again?

I didn't know.  I still don't.  But after talking with several people including a doctor, it appears that she was just in a very deep sleep.  And looking back, as Septtro pointed out, I may have still been half asleep myself.  Perhaps I didn't check her breathing low enough on her chest so that's why I couldn't feel it.

I struggled with a myriad of emotions the next day.  I let Septtro know about what happened (he slept through the entire episode) and we decided it would make us both feel better to use a co-sleeper.  I asked around and found one to borrow.  I had a bit more peace of mind.

Then Friday night, it happened again.  Everything happened again (she was in her co-sleeper this time).  I woke up for "no reason".  I felt for her breathing and felt nothing.  I moved her slightly and nothing.  "She's gone!", I thought once again.  And all of those terrible emotions and feelings arose within me - again.  This time, I yelled her name while nudging her a bit and finally, she moved - or woke up.

Last night I was terrified to go to bed.  I was scared to wake up to the same scare I had TWICE already this week.  How had I woken up on my own twice in one week during my baby's same exact deep sleep cycle? Or why?  Was there some sort of underlying cause or disease or disability I should be looking into?

After speaking with a good friend who is a doctor, I felt more at ease about there being nothing to be overly concerned about.  It only took 10 seconds or less for her to wake up - although if felt like an eternity.  She acted normal after waking up.  Her coloring looked normal (although it was dark).  She nursed normally afterwards.  

I cried a few times before bed last night.  It didn't help that my oldest had also fallen and hit her head earlier in the day, was overly tired and weepy, and had a low grade fever.

I was supposed to be able to fix it.  I was supposed to be able to control it.  I was supposed to know what was going on.  I'm supposed to protect them.  They shouldn't ever feel pain or hurt!  Isn't that what moms are for?  :)

No?  

I knew in my mind that this was another opportunity for me to trust the Lord and surrender my control to His.  This wasn't the first time I'd struggled with trust….or control - see here and here (just more recent examples).  

My kids are ultimately His.  He ultimately is the one who watches over them and protects them.  I'm sure I'm completely unaware of the many times something tragic could have happened but didn't.  I am to be as wise as possible as their mother but I cannot control what happens.  


Finally, last night around midnight, after crying once again and releasing my fears to Septtro and the Lord, I was able to sleep.  I woke up several times.  Logann was fine.  
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. - Psalm 121:3-4
I hope and pray this fear would not continue to rise up in me.  All I can do is pray and meditate on scripture.  Fear is not from the Lord. And it's certainly no place to live.
"Surely just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand...For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?" - Isaiah 14:24,27

Friday, January 3, 2014

Little by Little

I have a special gift.  I can work myself up over things that haven't even happened yet.  It can get to the point where my heart begins to race and I feel sick.  

I know, amazing huh?

I think I've always been that way.  I like to joke that it's genetic.  But really, it's an extension of my lack of trust in the Lord.  I need to live and act as if I know that His grace will cover my circumstances when they happen - and no sooner.  

I grew up listening to Patch the Pirate cassette tapes.  We ended up getting them (not in cassette form though) for our girls to listen to in the car and they have really loved them!  

One day, even though I know all of the songs by heart, I really paid attention to the words of one of the songs.  
"…great things are done one step at a time. Little by little, inch by inch.  By the yard, it's hard - by the inch, what a cinch! Never stare up the stairs, just step up the steps.  Little by little, inch by inch."
The Lord spoke to me that day.  

Part of this special gift of mine includes only seeing how much is in front of me.  No matter the task, I tend to focus on how impossible it seems to get to the end.  And instead of just taking it one step at a time, all I see is the insurmountable mountain in front of me.  

Then yesterday, we took the girls to a bounce house.  And Kaylee faced a long climb.  She was technically too small and too young to do it.  She kept sliding down but she would try again and again.  She would look back at me for advice on what to do next.  

And little by little...


She did it!  I was so proud of her!  And thankful to see a lesson in trust and perseverance lived out right in front of me.  

I don't really do new years resolutions.  But I sure am going to try to do a better job at taking things one step at a time.  

Happy New Year ya'll!! Step up those steps!  ;)



Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's the Little Things

Sometimes the "small" gifts can be the greatest gifts.  I've already shared a few ways I feel doing small or simple things can really make a huge impact in a mother's life.  

This week, God has done several things - small things I guess you might say - to strengthen my faith in Him and His goodness - and I'm so very thankful.  They may seem little or not important.  But to me - they're big.  

I've been looking on Craigslist for Legos for my oldest, who is four.  She loves to build with the blocks she currently has but they're larger and only one size so her creativity is a bit more limited.  And I had no idea before but Legos are expensive!  

Enter Goodwill.  The exact same tub of PINK Legos I had been searching for - $6!  I frequent this Goodwill quite often and have never, ever seen Legos.  Plus I went in the evening so I'm assuming they must have just put these out right before I walked in the store because surely they would't have lasted very long on the shelves.

Ri is gonna LOVE these!
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! - Matt 7:11

I also found some more containers for my girls' lunches (I try to pack them ahead of time - saves my sanity at lunch time).  

I had two and lost the top to one.  This was absolutely driving me crazy to have a container with no lid.  Then a friend had a stray top that fit mine - how perfect!  But the next day, my two year old broke the container.  

But that same night at Goodwill…found two of the exact same container for $1 in great condition. And actually, I like these better than the ones we had before.  I was upset about losing the ones I had but God gave us an upgrade. :)


While at Goodwill I was looking for some clothes for myself.  I very rarely buy anything for myself, let alone clothes.  And that's not to brag - it's just honestly because I don't think about it.  I'm always drawn to find the best clearance deals on kids toys and shoes and clothes.  And then I'm worn out from deal-finding.  Plus clothes shopping for myself isn't really very fun right now anyway.

I found a couple of shirts at Goodwill.  But honestly, I really needed pants.  And I LOATHE pant shopping; especially now.  I'm not back in all of my regular pants so I had been rotating between two different pairs.  

So yesterday I was at my neighbor's house and she remembered someone gave her some clothes but they didn't fit her.  She gave them to me to take home to try.  

And they were just. my. size.  

Plus, a couple of the pants were a short length (which I need).  On top of that, I got a cute extra purse that I had been wanting but couldn't bring myself to buy another one.  


Lastly, this past weekend, I had gotten a few shirts at Target without trying them on.  When I got home, they were definitely too tight…discouraging to say the least.  I mean, they looked huge when I held them up!  Let's just blame it on nursing for the time being ok?  

So anyway, I ended up returning them to a different Target store and they had the SAME shirts on clearance for $3 - that's cheaper than a used shirt at Goodwill!  Plus I got a pretty fantastic Captain America shirt because, well, it fit and was also $3.  


Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  - Luke 12:7
Sometimes I don't feel like all my work to save money and get the best deals is worth it.  And I obviously have to use discernment in it all, but this week, I just felt like the Lord was saying "Hey, I know you try so hard to be a good steward of what you're given.  And sometimes it doesn't work out how you hoped.  But I really am in control.  And all you can do is your best.  So here ya go.  Here are a few things I picked out just for you."

Thanks be to Him!  He has encouraged my heart this week and proven to me that He loves His children - even in the "small" areas.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pressure

These three girls - man do I love them!  I never would have thought the Lord would have given me a house full of girls!!!  I'm just not the girliest person and I've never considered myself the greatest homemaker.  

I've shared with a few friends the pressure I feel as a mom to three girls.  I'm the example to them of what a godly woman is.  How I treat my husband, their father…how I care for my home…nourish my family…control my emotions (let's face it, girls struggle a lot more in this area). 

Many times I feel like I'm failing them.

Will they become nurturing to their families? Emotionally and spiritually?

Will they have the skills to prepare meals for themselves and their (hopefully future) families?

 Will they be educated to face our very confusing and ever-changing world?

Will they know how to effectively and efficiently run a household?


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Will they even desire to have families and children of their own?  Will they see children as blessings?

Will they feel brave enough to try new things and approach situations that seem bigger than them because their God is bigger than anything?

Will they be able to develop relationships with others - sincere and loving relationships that will encourage their souls?  

I know a lot of lessons will also come from their daddy.  But because they are girls and will eventually be women, a lot of what they are learning for their future is going to come directly from me.  And I can tell them all day and night what they should do.  But for me to actually live it out in front of them; well, that's just a bit harder. And it takes a bit more work.  

So I feel a lot of pressure not just because I am an example to my kids but because I'm an example to my kids who will grow up to be women.  And I desire so much for them!

I know I will fail.  I already have.  And where I fail the Lord's grace prevails!  But I still can't help but feel that extra pressure as a mom to three girls.  

Recently, the book we are reading in my Bible study encouraged my heart in this area (it's called Ezer - good read and highly recommended!).  I'm realizing that I struggle with this fear and desire to control.  

****CLICK ON PICTURE TO ENLARGE****


I love to strive.  My pride desires to "look good".  I desire perfection from myself as well as from my children.  But this is unrealistic on this side of heaven.


This is SO me - I don't want to ever mess up.  And while desiring to do what is right is a good thing, God has shown me that the root behind it is usually my pride and not my desire to please and honor Him.  


Through this, the Lord is showing me that my "hard work" is strangling me.  It's putting this pressure on me that's not necessary.  I do have a responsibility to my girls.  I am to present to them the best I know how the way to live as a godly woman of God.  But I cannot beat myself up every time I mess up.  I can't let my pride be the reason I'm striving to do right.  Because if my heart's desire is to be pleasing to the Lord, I shouldn't feel pressure to be perfect.  Because I will mess up.  And I can show my girls Christ even in those failures.  


My prayer is that I will be able to seek God continually as I parent my girls.  I would love nothing more than to see them come to know Him as their Savior - and to be well-rounded citizens, of course. 

And now, on a lighter note…

I just love this picture.  :)