I traded perfect for a house full of real.

Monday, July 15, 2013 7 Comments A+ a-

I'd seen The Tired Mother's Creed floating around before. I skimmed it, liked it, and moved on. But then I woke to multiple texts from Jon. He knows I've been struggling with feelings of inadequacy lately. Why is my house always trashed? Why can't I tackle that laundry room that's constantly mocking me with the 8 loads of laundry I haven't folded yet? How am I failing the Littles? What am I forgetting? What could I be doing better? The list goes on and on.

So to wake up to texts from Jon with bits and pieces of The Tired Mother's Creed, it was encouraging to say the least. That man... he gets me. I love that I have a partner who knows and understands this is a phase of life. Who encourages me in my strengths, and holds me up in my weaknesses.

And because this so spoke to me on this Monday morning, I need it written here. In this space. And from one tired mother to another, there is solidarity in admitting we don't have it all together.

1.  I shall not judge my house, my kid’s summer activities or my crafting skills by Pinterest’s standards.

2. I shall not measure what I’ve accomplished today by the loads of unfolded laundry but by the assurance of deep love I’ve tickled into my kids.

3. I shall say “yes” to blanket forts and see past the chaos to the memories we’re building.

4. I shall surprise my kids with trips to get ice cream when they’re already in their pajamas.

5. I shall not compare myself to other mothers, but find my identity in the God who trusted me with these kids in the first place.

6. I shall remember that a messy house at peace is better than an immaculate house tied up in knots.

7. I shall play music loudly and teach my kids the joy of wildly uncoordinated dance.

8. I shall remind myself that perfect is simply a street sign at the intersection of impossible and frustration in Never Never land.

9. I shall embrace the fact that in becoming a mom I traded perfect for a house full of real.

10. I shall promise to love this body that bore these three children –out loud, especially in front of my daughter.

11. I shall give my other mother friends the gift of guilt-free friendship.

12. I shall do my best to admit to my people my “unfine” moments.

13. I shall say “sorry” when sorry is necessary.

14. I pray God I shall never be too proud, angry or stubborn to ask for my children’s forgiveness.

15. I shall make space in my grown up world for goofball moments with my kids.

16. I shall love their father and make sure they know I love him.

17. I shall model kind words – to kids and grown-ups alike.

18. I shall not be intimidated by the inside of my minivan – this season of chip bags, goldfish crackers and discarded socks too shall pass.

19. I shall always make time to encourage new moms.

20. I shall not resent that last call for kisses and cups of water but remember instead that when I blink they’ll all be in college.

Thank you for this, Lisa Joy Baker.

Where There is Hope

Friday, July 12, 2013 5 Comments A+ a-

I’ve been writing, deleting, and rewriting this post more times than I can count.  I have something I really want to say, and I can feel it on the tip of my tongue (or the end of my fingers) but I’m feeling incredibly inadequate in getting this out.  I think I’m just going to go for it… no edits.  If you make it to the end, I applaud your persistence. 

One needs only to watch or read the news to see how messed up this life can be.  There’s so much oppression, fear, hate, and hurt in the world.  There’s pain… Saying goodbye to loved ones, losing a job, getting a divorce, burying a child, not getting to have a child, debt.  Its hard, and its understandable that people feel hopeless when facing those trials.  Its also no surprise that the US is facing the highest suicide rate in 15 years.  That should tell us something.  Life is hard, fewer people have no reason to hope.  And in that place of no hope is a scary place.

This isn’t going to be a popular post.  I can promise you that.  Religion has been crammed down society’s throat so much that its being regurgitated at an alarming rate.  Everyone is sick to death of religion.  And I don’t blame them.  I’m sick of religion.

BUT.

There is a huge difference between faith and religion.  And I want to talk to you about faith.  Specifically my faith.

  • I have faith that there is a heaven.  And through Christ’s death and resurrection, I’m going to be there someday.
  • I have faith that there is a God.  And He is good, and loving, and faithful.
  • I have faith that we were created for another place… a perfect place.   This place (waves my hands around) is not my home.
  • I have faith that we’re all put here for a purpose, to be the hands and feet of Christ.
  • I have faith that God has given all of us a story to bring Him glory.
  • I have faith that there is no one on this green earth that can love me the way that God does.  He sees my every thought, my every action, my every sin.  No one is more aware of my failings than I am.  They are ugly, my friends.  But His mercies are new every morning.  And without His redeeming grace, it would be hard to wake up every morning to try again.

Yes, this world is hard.  But there is hope.  And where there is hope, there is meaning.  There’s a reason to love, even in the face of hate.  There’s a reason to extend forgiveness for the unforgiveable.  There’s a reason to address the needs of our neighbors, our fellow man, even when the problem seems too big, too daunting for any one person to handle alone. 

God promises over and over in the Bible that He will right ALL wrongs in heaven.  He will wipe every tear cried here on earth.  He will redeem the injustices of this world, in the next.  He sees all, He hears all, He bears those same hurts.  And He is going to redeem His children’s suffering!

I don’t know where you stand in your journey for truth or answers.  But I ask for one thing.  Consider that this could be THE truth.  Perhaps you’ve felt a longing in your soul, and you’re too scared, or cynical, or bruised to explore it.  But in order to start your soul searching, you must look beyond.

  • Beyond the failings of man.
  • Beyond the failings of organized religion.
  • Beyond the failings of leaders.
  • Beyond past hurts and experiences.

We have failed, we are failing, and we’re going to continue to fail each other.  That is a certainty.  Man is not perfect and human nature will always get in the way of best intentions.  No one does this life or faith perfectly.  We do our best, we fail, but we get to rise and start over again.  Grace is pretty amazing like that.  But this is not about someone else.  This is about you.  And the ONLY ONE who will never fail you.  God.

You may ask for proof, you may want concrete evidence.  But unfortunately, faith has to be based on the unknown and the unseen.  Its looking to the Bible and taking note of every single promise He fulfilled in the past, in the present, and trusting He’ll take care of your future.  Its taking Him at His word.  He loves you.  He wants you to experience true rest; true, everlasting, unconditional love.  He created you for another world, not this one.  He wants you to have hope.  For where there is hope, there is a reason to live.

CSLewis

Sisters and Summertime

Monday, July 08, 2013 4 Comments A+ a-

0708131924a2I just love this most recent picture of Devyn and Reagan.  It was taken tonight at
Hudson’s baseball game.  My beautiful girls…  Summertime looks good on them!

A Touch of This and That

Sunday, July 07, 2013 5 Comments A+ a-

  • I have a new design.  One of the downsides to be being a blog designer is that I get design ADD.  For real.  I think this is my third design since Christmas.  But I love this one!!  We’ll see how long it sticks around.

  • Have I mentioned how much I love our neighborhood?!  I. LOVE. THIS. BLOCK!  I don’t know how we lucked out, but we have an incredible group of neighbors.  If I can’t find my Littles, I can guarantee that they’ll be at one of three houses.  Its like a revolving play date, they move from house to house.  And now my Littles salivate at the front door, just waiting to catch a glimpse of a neighbor kid.  Any neighbor kid will do… And they’re out the front door.

  • On Wednesday, the day before 4th of July, we headed up to Vail to see Jon’s brothers, their families, and his mom.  We had a great time!  It was wonderful seeing everyone, holding my nephew, rubbing the SIL’s pregnant belly, and watching the fireworks in Avon.  I also had a huge ego boost when I was able to fit into SIL’s size 2 jeans.  Whooo hooo!  (I should note that I really don’t wear that size, at all!  But it was an anomaly, and one that I’ll gladly pretend is real.)

  • Yesterday was my mom’s birthday.  And if you remember what happened last year at this time, you know that we’re dealing with the anniversaries of many events during the Craptastic Summer of 2012.  Yesterday was the year anniversary of Grandma’s stroke and cancer diagnosis.  I’m not going to lie…  This anniversary stuff sucks.

  • We did our best to get Mom’s mind off everything, and my aunt came up with a fun idea to do the new Pinot’s Palette that’s in our town.  You get to paint and drink at the same time.  Seriously.  Aunt Debbie made the reservations and about twelve of the family showed up to paint a beach scene and partake of adult beverages.  We had an absolute blast!  And that’s coming from someone who can’t paint a straight line to save my life.

  • Jon just finished working 76 hours of overtime during the month of June.  And while the paycheck at the end of July will be nice, I’m not sure it was worth it.  The poor man left for work at 5:00am and often didn’t return until 8:00-9:00 at night.  It got to the point that the Littles were missing him and wondered when was the last time he was home.  Never mind that he was home every night, but since they didn’t get to see him, they went 3-4 days at a time without seeing their daddy.  I think the end of that crazy schedule is in sight.

  • When I last wrote, I was so incredibly anxious to pick up our baby girl from camp.  I imagined tear-filled reunion, little arms refusing to let go of me.  It was a beautiful reunion in my mind.  And then reality happened.  I got a cool “Hey Mama” and a nod from my oldest girl.  That’s it.  No hug, no sweet nothings about how much she missed me, just “Hey Mama.”  And then my heart died a little inside.

    Honestly though, it means that she had fun.  It means that she enjoyed her time away.  It means that we’re giving her wings and allowing her to fly tiny bits at a time.  This is good.  This is what is supposed to happen…  Or so I tell myself to make me feel better.

    She won’t stop talking about camp…  The cabin mates, passing the swim test so she could swim in the deep end and go down the slide, the annoying boys, the songs, the games, etc.  She earned her first camp patch (each summer they memorize a set of scriptures to earn patches) and watching the camp video on that Friday, it shows how much my little girl had.  I’m so thankful she got to have that time!

  • Hudson is halfway through his baseball season and loving it as much as ever!  His skills have greatly improved since last season and this time around, he’s one of the more seasoned players on the team.  We’re working on attitudes when it comes to winning and losing, and good sportsmanship.  This is going to be a life-long lesson, I fear.

    I don’t know what next year will bring in terms of baseball…  I don’t know if we’ll stay with the rec league, or if we’ll move him up to the more competitive, club level.  It’s a double-edged sword.  I want him to have fun and not take the game too seriously because well, it’s a game.  And he’s six years old.  But.  If there is some God-given talent there, I don’t want him to squander that gift either.  Anyone willing to share some advice with me?

    As cuddly and loving and affectionate as Hudson is, we’re starting to move into murky waters of him “being a boy”.  There are moments when my jaw drops, I turn a shade of red, and I stammer my way through explanations or answers.  I usually end with, “Buddy.  That’s something you need to talk to your dad about.”  Now I know I was raised in a family of all girls, but really?  Really?!  This stuff starts this young?!  Never mind, don’t answer that.

  • Reagan continues to prove that she is as big as her older brother and sister.  She is the sister that refuses to be left behind, and has adopted the saying “Anything you can do, I can do better” as her mantra.  From riding bikes to reading to attempting to write.  She recognizes the letter R wherever we go, and has decided that any word that has R in it, says her name.

    Reagan currently has an obsession with puzzles.  And I mean OBSESSION.  Everywhere we go, she begs for a new puzzle.  Princesses, fairies, Disney, animals, nature, she doesn’t care.  And these aren’t the easy 24-48 pieces either.  She’s doing 100 piece puzzles.  I kid you not.  Jon and I wonder if we have a future engineer on our hands.

    We're getting ready to get her enrolled in preschool and this is hard for me.  With Devyn and Hudson, it was as natural as breathing, but I’m having a hard time with Reagan being old enough to go.  And I just can’t fathom having only Ashlynn at home with me in the afternoons.  The saying: “The days are long, but the years are short” is becoming more true as time marches on.  I’m going to miss Reagan Rea like crazy!

  • Ashlynn.  Oh Ashlynn.  Where do I begin?  Just when I thought I was getting the hang of parenting a strong-willed child, Ashlynn ups the ante.  Reagan may have a strong will (and she does), but its really just a matter of asserting her opinion and wants.  Ashlynn, on the other hand, has a strong will and some attitude to boot.  The other day, she continued to tell Jon no when he asked her to move her bike.  And on the last no, she turned her face but looked at him out of the corner of her eye.  It was as if she was saying, “How are you going to make me?!”

    It’s the first time a child of mine has been so determined to do things “by mah-self!” that there have been meltdowns in stores.  She wants to push the carts by herself and heaven forbid I try to help her.  “I GOT IT!” she screams at me.  “I can do it mah-self!” she says.  Imagine going through that 4-5 times per store, and you’ll understand why I want to tear my hair out.  Then once we get to the car, she screams at me because she wants to buckle herself in.  Oy vey.

    But with the strong stubborn will and attitude, comes big personality too.  Ashlynn is a hoot and a half.  Her facial expressions, the words that come out of her mouth, the dancing, and the sassy walk.  She is constantly keeping Jon, the kids, and I in stitches.  There’s not a doubt in my mind that she is our extrovert, and maybe our only one too.  I’m still on the fence about a couple of the Littles, but 100% sure about Miss A.

Ok, I’m going to wind it down now. What was supposed to be a brief look at the current happenings in our lives quickly turned into a novel. 

Tomorrow I’m attempting to take all four Little hiking and swimming by myself.  I may be crazy, but that’s the story of my life right now.  If you think of it, pray for my sanity.  And my patience.