Tuesday, January 29, 2013

10 things

I'm really into lists these days. Well, I guess I've always been into lists. I just like to write things down, stare at them, analyze my handwriting, and hope that I accomplish most of what I wrote. 

Here are 10 things I am learning as a mom:

1. My day was productive. 
I'm raising two boys, it's not even humanly possible to have an unproductive day. My house is more than likely a shameful mess, but other than that I've made it through another day of raising children. One day I'll see the fruits of my labor, please Lord. 

2. Stop comparing myself. 
Why is this so dang hard? Seriously? Turning 30, for some reason, has made this seem easier. I feel more comfortable in my own skin, but I need to focus more on what I am, my family, and our blessings than on what other people have. 

3. Read. Read. Read. 
Even if all I have the energy for is to stare at the page, I MUST open up a book. My Bible, a parenting book, or a new novel. I absolutely have to do this everyday. It fuels my brain, my spirit, and my imagination to get through the mundane days. 

4. Make time for myself (and when possible escape)
Escape the chores, escape the kids, escape the kitchen, escape the boring parts of motherhood. Get out and be alone or hang with a friend. I get a little nut-so when I've been stuck at home too long, and it does me a world of good to get out. An hour with a friend is good medicine, anyone else feel like some days you've forgotten how to speak adult? 

5. Say "No." 
I need balance. I need quiet days as much as I need busy ones. I say "yes" a lot when I really mean, "Oh, how I wish I could." It's ok to say it. I have to sometimes. 

6. Exercise and eating healthy.
These are absolutes for myself and my family. No doubt about it. Kids love junk food and so do I, but keeping myself and my family healthy is my number one priority. Exercise has changed my life. I make time for it 6 days a week. Some days I don't feel like it, but I always feel stronger and my brain is more clear when I push through. 

7. Joy. 
Don't lose sight of it. There is always something I can thank God for. Always.

8. A happy marriage. 
This is one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids. It's so freaking hard, but I'm determined to not give up. 

9. Television is not of the devil. 
There I said it, my kids watch TV. They are smart, active, healthy, and creative. I limit the television and monitor what they watch, but there are days I am so thankful that I can turn a show to hold their attention, slow them down for a bit, teach them something, and give me a chance to breathe.

10. Perfection is Impossible. 
I'm doing the best I can, and that's all I believe I'm required to do. 

We're in this together Moms. We are the glue that holds our little families together. We are raising children who, by God's grace, will grow up to change the world for His glory. Somedays suck and others are better. We are always tired, but the love of a family in the palm of God's hands couldn't be more beautiful! Amen? 

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

saying goodbye to coffee and control

Happy New Year. I can officially say that I survived 2012. Wow! What a rough year. By the grace of God I'm starting 2013 with a clear mind, a healthy body, a stronger marriage, more mama energy, and a whole list of fresh goals for a fresh start. My counselor says we can never start over but we can start fresh. So here I am, starting fresh, giving up coffee and control!
I'd like to blog all of the things that have brought me to this point. I'd love for other moms out there who are feeling anxious, exhausted, and depressed to be encouraged in some small way through my journey. There is hope! God has put people in my path this year to help me do the hard work, to say the tough things I don't want to hear, and to graciously encourage me.
I know all of you moms are on pins and needles about this whole coffee situation. Trust me I was too, but when a nutritionist says, "coffee is throwing your body drastically out of balance and causing rage in you," you listen. And I hate to say this, but she was right.
And when your sweet wise counselor says, "your controlling behavior will eventually drive everyone in your life away including your boys," you listen very carefully.
Recognizing that I needed to change was the easy part, and there are a lot of days where I am challenged on every side. I'm ready to feel human again and I'm ready to be the most alive and effective  me that God has intended.
John 10
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me..."
Here are some pretty pictures that my awesome friend Joy Wilson took for my new business (another part of the journey!)

Have a beautiful Saturday!

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Family Dinner

My mom kept me and my sisters well fed as children and even now as adults. She was and is always cooking something. If you want waffles, you'll get waffles, bacon, fried apples, and some leftover meatloaf! Just kidding, but seriously it seems like she always throws something random in the mix. My point is, my Mom knows how to feed people. I have cousins who weren't allowed to snack, or grab something out of the fridge by themselves. That was like, so cruel. I pitied the fools. 
My Mom has also always been "healthy." When she married my step-Dad he was a total bachelor dude in a band, and she made him eat WHEAT BREAD! Can you imagine? (That was way more dramatic 25 years ago.) She's a smart lady. She knows a lot about stuff. I'm starting to believe her when she tells me "stuff." 
So, long story short, I'm trying to make family dinners a priority in our house. I've got Milam and I on the same schedule as the boys (instead of them eating 30 or so minutes before us). I love all of us sitting down together. Praying together and sharing the same meal. My boys are fairly good eaters. Well, Remy is a garbage disposal and Gunnar is a colander. Does that make sense to anyone else? I don't even know if I get that. Basically, Remy eats everything and Gunnar kind of eats. So, Gunnar especially is feeling the stretch of what we've been eating. I want them to eat real, healthy, and balanced foods. I figure if I start now they will pick it up quicker. Don't get me wrong, the occasional mac-n-cheese still makes an appearance. 
Not only is the tradition of family dinner important, but being intentional is an absolute. I want it to become instinct. I am redesigning the way we eat. All of us in the family suffer in a physical or mental way from certain foods, and I'm putting a stop to it. Both of my parents have gluten issues, and I'm starting to think Gunnar has inherited that. I'm working out a Paleo diet that still includes gluten free breads and dairy for my kids. Milam suffers from migraines and we're convinced they are triggered by certain foods. And it's amazing how much better I feel mentally and emotionally when I eat well, especially when I avoid processed sugars. 
I'm on a mission. Eating together with my family and eating well. 
Real life alert before I close: I definitely teared up tonight at the table when my baby put his nasty ketchup hands ALL OVER me. I was all, "Seriously???? I just showered." I'd love to make it through one dinner without the nasty stench of ketchup, but that's how sweet Gunnar is getting through all these "new" foods. 

This book is awesome if you are looking for some ideas and inspiration. 

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Down in the dumps.

I've decided to share about my struggles with depression. Maybe not the greatest second post after being gone for so long, but I figured there might be some other moms out there who can relate. Milam and I have been seeing an amazing marriage counselor for the last 6 months. We'd never been to marriage counseling before and I'm bummed that we waited so long! God has spoken such truth and wisdom through our counselor. Most days we walk out of his office, look at each other, and say, "how did we never think of that before?" January will celebrate 9 years of marriage for us, we will also celebrate Gunnar's 4th birthday and Remy's 2nd! Oh, and by the way it also means I'll be turning 30. We originally sought counseling because although we would consider our marriage "good," we felt like it could be better almost like we were missing something.
Becoming parents has flipped EVERYTHING around, upside down, and sideways. The birth of a second baby changed me as a woman. Hormones? The weight of being a mom to two small boys? Exhaustion? I'm thinking it's all of the above and then some. So, my point in all this is to say, I've been depressed. I experienced postpartum depression with Remy and I believe I've been stuck there ever since. There was something going on within my family during my pregnancy that maybe added to the anxiety of life as well. I'll save that for another day.
Everyday as a mom is a struggle. Whether we struggle to get out of bed, or out the door, or can't decide what's for breakfast. The soundtrack to my day is a lot of wrestling, fighting, baby brother getting beat up on by big brother. There are a lot of internal dialogues like, "What am I going to do with them all day?" "Lord, I can't do this today." Please Lord, give me patience." "Milam has no idea what my life is like." "Am I seriously cleaning up Gunnar's poop in the front yard again?" "Please leave me alone." After a year of feeling this way I've begun to realize that it's not supposed to be this way. These feelings don't have to be my normal, or what I resign my life to. There's anxiety in putting a name on it. There's fear in admitting that I am dealing with a mild depression. There's also hope! Hope in knowing that God is greater than all of this! Hope that there are many solutions within my grasp. I've already begun to see changes in how I feel and more importantly in how I see life.
I want to get back to the "old" me. Optimistic. A dreamer. Excited about life. Light-hearted. Social. Confident. A joyful mom. An encouraging wife. There are so many things!
I'll be posting more about this journey.
Can anyone else relate?

Ps. Fishing and water; both good for the mind and soul.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Long time, no see!

Wow! Has it seriously been almost one entire year since I last posted? I'm honestly shocked. How is it that time really does fly? Well, here I am back again. Gunnar starts Mother's Day Out next week for the first time EVER. I'm anxious and excited. He will be 4 in just a few short months. Remy is a toddler. A what??  He's extremely opinionated and compliant at the same time. He has learned or somehow released his temper and uses brute force when necessary to stand his ground against brother. I'm not going to lie and say the reason I've been gone so long is because I've been busy dancing circles of joy around my children all day and just can't seem to break away from the pure delight I feel. Man, having two boys leaves me speechless head in hands, or in tears of laughter and/or exhaustion daily. My kids are so stinking awesome, but I'm human. I'm tired most days. Breathing and exercise have become my drugs of choice. But I'm so glad to be here, back in the place where I'm writing again. You will, Lord willing, be hearing a lot from us! 

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Here's hoping 3 is better than 2......and I don't mean babies!

Will I ever get this child back? Not too long ago, Gunnar wasn't 2. He wasn't the reigning terror in our home. He wasn't the sassy mouth getting angry and using the word "hate." He wasn't peeing on my couch and talking about things that scare him. He wasn't determined to have his way. He didn't have a baby brother to pinch, smack, and tackle. He was my baby. My love bug.
Where did the warm fuzzies of parenting go? Don't get me wrong, Gunnar is an undeserved blessing and being his mama is awesome and stuff, but dang I had no idea the terrible twos could be this real! Kids are sponges, they repeat every horrible thing you say. They mimick your finger pointing and voice raising. This must be a sick joke or the greatest lesson I've ever learned. God is using my child to refine and sanctify me!
I'm hoping this too shall pass and I will get my Gunny back. I pray that all the attempts at consistency, discipline, love, and encouragement will pay off and God will reward us with the perfect human specimen. But, just in case that doesn't happen I will keep this picture close by. To remind myself of the joy of babies before the human rebellion takes them over and the imperfections in me get passed down.
Oh Lord, my God. Give me the patience and the grace to see You in my child. To love him with the grace and mercy of Christ. To see the ugliness in myself and desire to be pure like Christ. To inspire in my children love and kindness. To not get angry and rule with an iron fist, but to teach through love.
Deep breaths, mamas. Deep breaths.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Everything is precious.

Everything is precious.
We had home group tonight and one of our sweet friends shared the most amazing story.
Last week was his son's, who had passed away a few years ago, 24th birthday. On this day he was cleaning out a box of books and found a leather bound journal. He didn't recognize nor remember having it until he began flipping through its mostly blank pages. At the back was a page of two tic-tac-toe games that he remembers playing trying to keep his son occupied during church. Another page had a drawing of a truck. He decided to start writing in the journal and a few days later discovered a page in the middle. It was a drawing of a face and underneath it said this, "I love you Dad. Keep doing your work and keep loving God. I love you." (I can't remember the words exactly.)
As he shared this story my eyes welled up with tears. Tears of sadness for a parent grieving a child. Tears of amazement at this unexpected discovery 14 years later. Tears of sweetness that our God is comforting this Daddy, giving him a sweet reminder that he is loved. That He is there. That He remembers.
Everything is precious. Each moment with our kids is a gift. Each day watching them grow is priceless. Every scribble on a piece of paper. Every smile and kiss. Every bedtime prayer. Every question. These are the moments that we get to enjoy. The smallest unremarkable moment becomes invaluable. What was done to occupy becomes an aid in healing. Memories. Joy.
I am blessed by this reminder that every second is undeserved. There's enough going on today without worrying about what tomorrow brings. If I'm not careful I am going to lose this moment. This time in our lives when my babies are still babies. It's gone by quicker than I ever expected and I wish it would slow down.
I can't imagine the pain this kind of loss brings. I am grateful this story was told tonight in my home. I am thankful for another reminder from God that our children are a precious gift.
Thank you Lord, thank you for my boys. Thank you for the treasure of being Gunnar and Remy's mama.

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