the doing & being

October 21, 2014

some days, my mind can survey the day or week ahead and be totally sunk when i think of the sheer effort that i will need to expend in parenting. there are so few pockets of rest and mostly, i need to produce … expend … give … share … create. i need creativity to conjure up meal plans and learning plans; energy to carry out play dates and outings and exploring; patience to mediate endless fights and battles; commitment to stick with discipline and follow through countless times a day; joy and excitement in order to set the tone for our home that i am responsible to set. and as i anticipate yet another super long business trip for my beloved, the weight feels heavier.

there is no way around it: parenting and especially with 2 toddlers, is insanely exhausting. it is relentless.

the other day i was sitting on our couch, curled up and honestly thought … i just want to stay curled right here. to not have to jump up and *do*.

thankfully, i don’t stay in this place long. i am so thankful to mostly feel well and healthy and *able to do and be all that i feel called to do and be. i am strong. i am healthy. the days that i am fighting the funk and wrestling with these feelings, are far fewer than the days that i genuinely feel the energy and flow to do what i need that day.

and really? most of all, i am desperate. for the strength of the savior; for the peace and rest in my spirit that ONLY He gives.

with intention

October 8, 2014

my mind and heart have been

here

and

here.

both beautifully capture the enormity of this role of being a mama, of being a wife … the stewardship, the responsibility, the potential. the capacity to be God’s agent in equipping future generations while loving well my partner along the way.

and a theme strikes me: intention.

here’s what i know and yet i fear my life evidences that i often forget: distractions keep us distracted.

the daily-ness of life; the pull of schedules and chores and recreation and to-do lists and logistics … and then a week passes then it’s a few months. then years. the big stuff – the real stuff – can be pushed aside. so easily.

i don’t have the quick pat answer but i do like sally’s encouragement:

“Simplify your plan,

create the essentials, the rhythms that need to be established to get the work done,

cut out the unnecessary expenditures of time and energy and money that are not necessary to the overall building and

be sure to plan in rest and refreshment every week along the way.”

i am so desperate to do this mothering thing well. it’s the hardest work of my life and as hubby and i were sharing hearts about it this week, we agreed that it – parenting – is the greatest tool God uses to shape *us, to crucify our earthly focus and to grow in Christ-likeness as we desperately lean in to Him for strength and wisdom and patience. and He grows us, in this. and it’s hard.

i want to love my man well. he is God’s gift – our marriage is the sweetest gift from the One Who saw my repentance and surrender, and blessed exceedingly abundantly. oh, that i would not get caught up in the trivial, in the silly irritations and grievances but instead, as gary thomas writes,

“‘Making allowance’ means we are sensitive and encouraging about each other’s weaknesses and idiosyncrasies, the quirkiness of our natures that sometimes needs to be accommodated. We do this with joy and a good spirit. God created our spouse, so it is a joy to worship Him by celebrating this unique expression of His creative genius.”

and

“To have a marriage worthy of our calling, we need to be humble and gentle. We are not attacking each other, we are not harsh with each other. We do not “lord it” over one another. We are servants, mutually caring for each other. That’s what best models our calling, because that’s what most reveals the character of Christ.”

august refresh

September 14, 2014

i love coming together with other mama’s, sharing hearts and encouragement as we walk this wild journey of motherhood.

a friend from church and i had been throwing around the idea of hosting a mama’s bible study since early last year … but there were always obstacles and hiccups. the timing seemed off.

around the middle of this summer, the inspiration came to me again so i started thinking of ways to make it happen. the phrase, “august refresh” came clearly to my mind and i knew that’s what we’d do: meet weekly just for the month of august. to refresh.

i asked just a few friends to see the interest and got a resounding “YES!” from almost every one. we were all looking for this thing, right about now. i wasn’t sure at first what book to study – or should we study scripture? – but after some looking and seeking, i found the very perfect choice for our group: “Desperate: Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe.” yes, that was us.

as i think over the month, over those 4 tuesday mornings that we met, i smile. it was *such* a time of sweet refreshment! we were able to have my maddie and her darling friend watch all our kids, upstairs! away from us! contained and mostly happy! :) the first week, once babies and kids were happily upstairs being cared for, we all sat and laughingly agreed that if we didn’t discuss a single thing, the week would be a success: we’d have this 1 1/2 hours to rest. to breathe. ;)

but it turns out, we *did* discuss much. we shared insights, convictions, concerns, burdens, ideas, prayer. there is something so special about women coming to together!

i am so thankful for the blessing the women and that pocket of sweet time was in my august … thankful that i decided to step forward and do the thing that was on my heart. looking forward to next time :)

doing the hard thing

August 17, 2014

there was a day last week, when both boys were napping at the same time (bliss) and i faced that ultimate question: do i drink my iced coffee and rest on the couch with a good book for a few quiet moments of much-needed rest OR do i exercise? as i was deciding (and leaning toward the former) i got a text from one of my workout accountability partners, saying that she was stepping on the treadmill. that was just the boost i needed and i went for a really great run … the weather was finally cooler and it felt great – both getting a workout done and just being outside, alone.

this morning, i faced a similar situation: both boys were up at the insane hour of 5:30am (what??) and i had agreed to go with a girlfriend to a new exercise class at 10. as 10 approached, i felt weary (already on my 2nd cup of coffee), grumpy from already having broken up countless fights, toy grubbing, falls and mayhem. i ran through all the rationale about why of course going to exercise was out of the question … and that not going was completely legit.

at 9:44 i put on my clothes and decided to GO. just go. and sure enough, it was incredible (an aside: it was the most intense challenging grueling HIIT – high intensity interval training – that i have *ever done. ouch). i drove home, GLAD … that i had made the decision to go.

the hard decision. 

a sweet girlfriend commented last week that she couldn’t believe when i could finally sit and rest i chose to exercise. and after working out this morning, i’ve been thinking a lot about how i’ve been making the hard decision, most days, to exercise.

and it isn’t self-congratulatory, or prideful … as i evaluate this. i am realizing that we can always find some seriously legit reasons not to do the thing that is the best thing. i am for sure in a super crazy busy season w/these two little guys, a teen about to start a rigorous classical education home school high school year, a hubby that works round the clock, a commitment to preparing whole real food most of the time, the list goes on.

and yet i am realizing that what “they” say about building self-esteem: not built through empty praise but through doing the hard thing, experiencing success and growth and competency – it’s true. it feels good to realize that i *can and do often choose the hard thing and that over time, this choosing is growing me and forming me in to more of the person i want to be when i grow up. ;) in so many areas (like parenting) i struggle with feeling effective and capable. but i am finding that this sense of self-efficacy (to borrow a old sociology term) really does impart a boost to all areas of life. 

the scale isn’t budging much, i am not seeing instant results, but in other (more important?) ways, things are getting better. after making the hard choice, most days i am left with a true boost (is it those endorphins?) and it often informs my eating choices throughout the day. today i was in the checkout line and had hit that late afternoon wall and oh boy, did i want that chocolate bar. but then i remembered the workout i did this morning and didn’t want to trash that with a few bites of pleasure. so, the hard decision was made. no chocolate (wah, lol). i don’t always walk this line very straight. lots of curves and bends in the road for me.

but it feels good to be walking it. 

recreation mode

July 18, 2014

it seems that everywhere i turn – hanging out with friends, browsing social media – the focus is on summer plans.

“what are you doing this summer?”

it can be so easy to get caught up in comparing and i am having to be more focused and mindful than ever about not slipping in to the comparison funk. because here’s the thing: we are not in a season where taking big trips (or even small trips) is very feasible.

we are five years in to living in radical obedience: hubby and i both leaving our jobs (read: steady income) to embark on homeschooling and entrepreneurship. it has been the most intense, raw, difficult and rewarding time and we both know for certain we are walking the path GOD has set for us. there is deep down peace even as the tides of desperation and crisis have rolled over us more than a few times.

suffice to say, disposable income for recreation and fun hasn’t been in the budget for the most part. for sure, there have been pockets of time where we’ve indulged and honestly, if i look over even the course of the past week, i see (relative to the rest of the world) a TON of fun … just local, small-scale fun.

water parks, play dates with friends, local kid’s museums, time with family, dinner out with girlfriends, sleepovers, grabbing a meal out, an iced coffee (or 2!), library story times,crafts and learning time at home, walks and wagon rides … all this in the span of a week.

which is lovely and blessed and beautiful. 

but boy how easy it can be to fall in to the comparison trap!! two of my dearest girlfriends are flying to *hawaii* this weekend for a week and i am so SO happy for them! many friends are taking similarly awesome trips and many more are taking cool day trips: water slides, the beach, you name it.

i want to do those things. really bad. i am a road trip girl at heart; i love to travel, explore, see and taste all that’s around me. i love the mountains, the ocean, lakes.

and yet right now, RIGHT NOW … i am reminded:

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (i timothy 6:6). my deep desire is to faithfully move through this season, embracing ALL the beauty and blessings and not wasting a single second longing for someone else’s blessing.

this is a little pocket of happy. it’s hard to explain, really, how much this little place and it’s happy farmer nita bring a smile to my heart.

the barn door is closed here but the door on the right is the one that opens to her farm stand

the barn door is closed here but the door on the right is the one that opens to her farm stand

 

i can’t remember when i first stopped by but a few months ago, i saw her  “open” sign and stopped by to see a table of eggs by the dozen … $2.50/dozen! and the *best part*: the little cash box to leave money in. this honor system seriously is a relic of innocence and a touch of small town that makes me happy.

i’ve since become a regular egg-buyer, getting my weekly dozen every friday for $3. can’t beat the quality – pure bright orange yolks, large awesome eggs. and the part that i still blesses me? that time i stopped by last month when i didn’t have cash on me and she insisted i leave with a dozen eggs and just repay her the following week. does that even happen??!

in the past few weeks, her offerings have grown and so has my excitement! and here’s the thing: *every single time* i stop by, she blesses me with an abundance. more than i ever pay for. last week she said, ‘do you like green beans? i just picked so many and you have to take some home.’ and she sent me home with an overflowing bag of fresh green beans.

 

farm1

 

there really is very little sweeter to me than the goodness of REAL FOOD, grown and harvested with love, shared generously.

nita’s story is pretty awesome, too: a mid-life single lady sold her place in southern california and bought this historic farm … setting aside 3 years of mortgage payments so she could spend that time cultivating and growing her land. a dream, realized!

it’s been fun to spread the word and have friends and family stop by … last weekend, my mom and grandma visited her stand and mom shared the great conversation they had.

it’s lovely to live the thing i believe in: develop relationships with those that grow my food (since i can’t yet grow it myself); buy local – support local farmers; eat REAL food and see where it comes from! my kiddos love our stops to the “farm”! it is just around the corner from my house and driving by, seeing her “open” sign, peering in to see the table of fresh offerings … makes me happy every time.

 

those bunches of beets - $1.75/bunch and i've loved them! the greens are so great. there's the little cash box in the front :)

those bunches of beets – $1.75/bunch and i’ve loved them! the greens are so great. there’s the little cash box in the front :)

today’s 5k

July 4, 2014

this morning, i ran in our little town’s local 4th of july 5k run. the feeling of deep gratification at completing the race is really indescribable.

flash back a few months ago … i was still deep in excuse-making about how i really just can’t exercise regularly. and truly, i had a ton of good reasons. the reality is that i had/have zero time that is not accounted for or attached to a little person (day & night); i am not a mama who takes a lot of “me” time and if i connect with friends, it usually involves the kids with us; i am using tons of energy as it is chasing these boys (!) so having “extra” energy to go and exercise seemed … distasteful.

for over a year, i knew a couple of my dearest girlfriends were in a sort of text accountability support group – texting daily updates on what workout they did, eating choices, etc. they’d mentioned it to me and always opened the door. yeah, right!

so a few months ago, i got the local parks and rec magazine and flipping through the pages, i came to the little ad about the 4th of july race. 5k. and something in me leapt with excitement. i tabbed the page and thought … i could do this. maybe i should do this!?

in 2007, i determined to run another local 5k and diligently worked through the couch-to-5k training program. to this day, i remember the incredible feeling of crossing that finish line. of being a non-runner, and DOING it!

i wanted to do it again.

and so i started: saturday, may 10. not sure i told anyone those first couple weeks – held my little secret plan close to my heart, wanting to see myself really stick with this before sharing my intention.

this training program is so incredible and truly designed for the non-runner, on the couch! the first few weeks are mostly walking; small bursts of jogging (like 30 sec) added to a few minutes of walking … repeat. gradually, the jogging distances lengthen. and it becomes manageable. a few times i would look ahead to the next week’s training and think – no way will i be able to run 8, or 10 minutes straight! after all, when i started, i couldn’t jog to the corner.

creating time to workout never magically became easy. every time, it took planning, and most often it resulted from my amazing daughter willingly watching her brothers. a few times, i would hear them screaming in protest after i had snuck out the door but i didn’t turn back. they survived. and i got my workout done.

and the coolest part: i began to feel completely awesome after my runs! endorphins? satisfaction? feeling my body getting stronger, more capable? all of it, perhaps. it felt and it feels good.

{we are so blessed, those of us with the capacity to really use our bodies! i would often be running, thinking of those who are wheelchair-bound, who would give anything to *get* to train for a 5k.}

oh, and another awesome unfolding … a few weeks in to this training program, one of my dear friends who is in that little accountability encouragement group, inadvertently sent a daily workout update text to me. and finally, the time was right. yes! i would love to join these awesome mama’s. and it has been the biggest blessing. i’ve started doing my running 3 days a week and at least 2 other days i do some kind of high intensity interval work. it’s been *good*.

ah, so today!!!! the race started at 7:30am. i picked up my race packet yesterday and freaked out! surreal. i was restless and nervous last night – butterflies – and of course because real life keeps on, i was up a few times during the night with my boys. no rest for this mama! finally at 5:30am i decided to get up … ate a little and got myself and the crew ready and out the door. we arrived to the start line by 7am and had 30 minutes to kill! ah. i was just jittery. heart pounding. anxious. ready to start and finish.

 

giving my dumpling caleb a kiss as i got ready to run

giving my dumpling caleb a kiss as i got ready to run

 

finally it was time to line up …i joined the mass and stood near the back. the gun sounded and we were off. and the truth is, most of the run was hard. i never felt that “flow” that i’ve experienced on some recent runs. it was effortful, and yet my number one goal was to NOT WALK. no matter what. and i didn’t! a few times i had to slow down and that was fine.

the run was a quick jaunt through downtown (all 10 blocks, lol) then up a long stretch of highway. that part was the roughest; there was a turnaround and for a time, i couldn’t even see the turnaround point … it was totally a mental game at that point. and then of course there were the young bucks, the high school track kids who did the turnaround and were already heading back to the finish line as i was still far from turning! ahh.  but finally, i got to the turnaround and got a quick drink of water. the way back was much more tolerable; i could see the large grange building slowly approaching and finally, saw the turn back on to pine street (the main street through downtown). i turned and had just 3 blocks to go … home stretch!

it felt great finishing; great seeing my family and honestly just being DONE. doing it.  YES!!

 

YES!!

YES!!

 

 

race3

 

 

my girl had brought money with her to buy me flowers during my run. made me cry.

my girl had brought money with her to buy me flowers during my run. made me cry.

 

i am not sure what is next. certainly a part of me is excited by the challenge of future races; of getting faster, of the running becoming more comfortable and of just being more well-trained. during today’s run i kept thinking, never again! this is the worst! lol. but perhaps running a race is a bit like childbirth – we forget how horrible and are left only with the sweetness of the outcome. we shall see.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.