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The miracle of “no nap”

I’ve long held a certain amount of guilt for not being able to give Journey the same one-on-one attention I was able to give before Faith was born. As blessed as we are to have Faith in our lives, I’ve always felt like something precious was lost between Journey and me. Of course, I was still “Mommy.” But the closeness we once shared had been diminished by the frayed nerves and lack of patience that came with caring for two kids. How do people with more than two do it?!

But recently, Journey has dropped nap time. This is a day I long feared was coming—I even put it off a couple of times. The only thing I could think of was all that lost “me time”! But it has turned out to be just what we needed. My “me time” has happily turned into “we time” (don’t worry, I still carve out some time just for myself). We read, play games, color, and more.

I can tell Journey loves this time with me as much as I do. He’s always rushing Faith off to her nap time—”Faithy’s gonna take a nap now!” I can also feel the closeness returning, which makes my heart so happy. There were times when I thought it was lost forever. But I’m realizing that there are seasons for everything—and for that I am very thankful. “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to tear and a time to mend…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7 NLT).

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Christian beliefs, Parenting

 

From mother to daughter

My 35th birthday is quickly approaching and I’ve been reflecting on the woman I am and the woman I hope Faith becomes. I try to imagine the woman she will grow up to be. Then I remember, I’m the one who will teach her to be that woman. I’m not even sure I know how to be the woman I want to be yet.

Having a daughter is an awesome responsibility. And I’m not just talking “hey, that’s pretty cool,” though it definitely is. I’m talking about an overwhelming sense responsibility that leaves me in awe. It’s actually kind of scary. There are probably just as many things I want to pass on to her as there are things that I don’t. I hope she inherits my confidence in my intelligence, but I hope she doesn’t inherit my struggles with self-esteem and body image. I hope she gets my passion for orderliness, but not my inability to adapt when things don’t go exactly as planned.

There are so many things I want to teach Faith. But at the same time, I know there are some things she’ll have to learn through her own experiences. And as much as I want to protect her from every hurt or bad experience, I’m reminded by the scrape on her forehead that I can’t always shield her–though I will certainly try. Though I can’t always protect her, I can hope to teach her to be completely and utterly dependent on God. If she can successfully learn that, I know that no matter who she becomes, I’ll be proud.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in Christian beliefs, Parenting

 

“I’m being nice to people!”

Journey is very friendly. He’s always saying “hi” to people and I’ve seen him, on more than one occasion, brighten someone’s otherwise dreary day. I won’t even mention the free stuff we’ve gotten because he’s so sweet.

But a few months ago, he went through a phase where he wasn’t so nice to people. He was downright rude. When someone would say “hi” to him, he would respond by covering his face and throwing a mini tantrum. It wasn’t at all his normal sweet and cordial demeanor. So we started encouraging him to be kind to people. Now when someone says “hi,” he’ll say it back, then in a whispered tone to me or his father he’ll say “I’m being nice to people.” That usually gives us a little chuckle.

But I was thinking the other day about how I’m not always the friendliest. I’m not mean or nasty. I’m always polite and considerate, but not necessarily friendly. Having kids, especially one like Journey, forces me to push beyond my comfort zone and engage with those around me. Not only do I need to be aware of who is talking to my kids, but I have to be example to them, especially Faith, who I have a feeling will be more like me.

I’ve learned a lot from Journey and his interest in others, like the other day at the park. For some reason, there weren’t any other kids or parents at the park when we were there. But there was a groundskeeper. Journey kept asking about her, wanting to know who she was and what she was doing. Finally I asked him if he wanted to talk to her. So on our way out of the park, we stopped to say “hi” and thank her for keeping the park nice. I could tell it made her feel good, which made me feel good. Before having kids, I would have never taken the time to do anything like that. I’m not even sure I would have taken notice of her.

But Journey is doing exactly what I should be doing as a Christian–reaching out to those around him. When he went through his little phase, we kept reminding him that one of the ways we show the love of God to others is by being kind. “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8 NLT).

I have to be honest, when I’m out without my children, I slip into old habits. I usually avoid eye contact with people, too busy with my stuff to make connections with those around me. The people around me are the least of my concern, unless they’re causing me some sort of inconvenience. I forget to be “nice to people.” But I’m reminded of something my father always said growing up. Whenever he would drop us off somewhere that he and my mother weren’t going to be he would say “Do what you know to be right!” It was just a friendly reminder that even though they weren’t there to watch us, we still needed to do the right thing. That’s just as true now as it was then, except, it’s not my father watching, or not watching, it’s my children. So now I’m challenging myself to “do what I know to be right” with or without my children present.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in Christian beliefs, Parenting

 

The things I love

I’ve already written about the one thing I hate about being a mom. But there are so many things I love. So since Mother’s Day is approaching, I thought I would make a  simple list of some of those things.

I love:

  • When Faith toddles across the room just to sit in my lap for a few seconds before she’s off exploring the world again.
  • When Journey gives one of his concerts. What he lacks in pitch he makes up for in enthusiasm and gusto.
  • When Faith twirls around to music. It may not be the most graceful, but it’s so cute.
  • When the kids learn something new or master a skill. I especially love when I have played a part in the learning process.
  • When the kids come running to the door to welcome me home whether I’ve been gone five minutes or five hours.
  • When only my kisses and hugs will make it all better. Don’t tell my husband that this is one of my favorites.
  • When the kids play together and the house is filled with their joy and laughter.
  • Saturday mornings when the kids invade our bed.
  • When Faith grabs onto my chin as I settle her for the night.
  • Baking with Journey. I call him my little sous chef.
  • And a million other little things!

Despite the numerous challenges that motherhood can bring, the joys far out weigh the stresses.

Happy Mother’s Day!

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Parenting

 

Someday…

It took my husband, D, and I a while before we had children. And in those years of waiting, I spent a lot of time day-dreaming about the life we would have with our kids. I would imagine all the fun things we would do and wonderful memories we would make. After our kids came, I continued to dream about all the stuff I wanted to do. My thoughts would always start, “I can’t wait until the kids are old enough so we can…”

Recently, I’ve been really looking forward to Journey starting school so that I can have one-on-one time with Faith. I can just see all the fun, enriching activities she and I will get to do. Time can’t pass quickly enough so that I can be there. A few days ago, D took Journey for some special daddy-son time, leaving me and Faith together for some mommy-daughter time. At first, I was content to let Faith play by herself, while I caught up on Food Network. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for independent play. But I almost missed an opportunity to give Faith my undivided attention–something she rarely gets as the second child.

I’m realizing that I’ve spent so much time looking forward to the future that I’m missing all the special times we have now. So I’m trying to value those times together as a family, like sitting in the kids room, laughing and playing together. Simple moments like that I don’t want to take for granted anymore. And I’m not waiting for “someday” to have great adventures with my family. Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow; you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow” (Proverbs 27:1 MSG). I’m being intentional about making memories now. Even if the kids won’t remember every detail as they age, we’ll have great pictures to tell and retell the stories.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Parenting

 

FROG (I need to die all over again today)

Do you remember those WWJD bracelets that were popular in the nineties? Several years ago, a friend of mine gave me a FROG bracelet. It was a joke because I loved frogs so much. But FROG stood for “Fully Relying on God.” I had forgotten about this silly little bracelet until recently. I was praying one morning and asking for God to help me with the day ahead and FROG came to my mind. But the thought that immediately followed was “I don’t think I know how to fully rely on God.

I consider myself a pretty smart person. I can problem-solve with the best of them. I’m pretty self-reliant and I think that gets in the way of “fully relying on God.” I tend to go to God as a last result. If I can’t figure it out on my own, then I consult God. Typing it out here, it sounds like a really stupid way to do things. But it’s my usual pattern. Guess I’m not as smart as I think I am. However, lately, I’ve been running into more and more challenges that have left me feeling completely out of my depth. I’ve shared my many challenges with potty training Journey. But beyond that, there are things that crop up daily that leave me scratching my head.

I need to die all over again today (Courtesy of @JimmyNeedham via Twitter). “Dying to self” has come up a lot recently “…I die daily [I face death every day and die to self]” 1 Corinthians 15:31 AMP. That’s a hard pill to swallow. Dying to myself, my rights, my way is not something that comes naturally. I like things my way. But for me to “fully rely on God” I need to let go of my way of doing things so that I can be open to God’s way. So my prayer recently has been: “Less of me, Lord. More of You!” It hasn’t been easy to break the pattern of self-reliance. I have to constantly “die all over again.” But I’m finding that the more that I rely less on me and more on God, the challenges are getting easier the manage.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2012 in Christian beliefs, Faith, Parenting

 

That was then, this is now

Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary. Since the days line up as they did all those years ago, I can’t help but to make comparisons about how different things are now.

On April 27, the year we were married, I was making last-minute preparations. The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner were that night, so I needed to make sure everything was set–caterer in place, dining hall reserved, etc. This morning, my big plan was getting the kids bathed, dressed and fed.

Back then, I was imagining life after we were married, waking up each morning together. This morning, I had a bed full of my favorite people in the whole world, laughing and having fun.

Back then, I was making sure my dress was perfect and my hair and make-up were flawless. This morning, I’m waiting for Faith to take a nap so I can take a shower and not wear the same thing two days in a row.

Back then, I was preparing for a day that many would argue was all about me; a day that I was told would be the best of my life. Today, life is anything but “all about me” and I’m okay with that. And while my wedding day was a pretty good day, it was just the start of so many “best days of my life.”

Things have changed a lot in the years that have passed since my wedding day. But it has been an amazing marriage adventure that I would live all over again. I know a lot of people think of anniversaries as a romantic day for you and your beloved. But for me, this day is one to celebrate my husband and me and the life we’ve created together, which would not be complete without our two kids.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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