a little hello

May 31, 2014

it’s been so long. life has been intense these days – a word i keep coming back to, and fitting. self-employment, long long work hours for hubby, unstable income, parenting challenges, 2 small and nonstop boys, josiah’s consuming skin issues and subsequent sleeplessness. three years of fatigue and sleeplessness *does begin to impact one’s sanity, i’ve concluded. it’s pretty real.

that said, it’s also a time of fullness – and growth. a precious dear friend said this to me last week: this is one of the most difficult but also one of the most valuable times of my life (her words were more eloquent). indeed. for starters, we are completely dependent on GOD’s provision and have experienced it and HIM in ways that we *never* would have, were we still ensconced in the system of jobs and steady paychecks.

hard and good.

and i am being stretched way beyond my capacity and skills as a parent, particularly with my precious teenage daughter. my instincts are just not there – or really, my instincts lean way too far toward the comfort and happiness of my child. i *know* what i want as far as character training and i *know* the deep lessons and discipling that i am called to do and yet i fall so short. i am so thankful for a partner with  great wisdom, strong instincts and who is the leader GOD has given our family. and most of all, i am seeing that perhaps in this area of struggle and lack, GOD is really calling me to HIM: to His strength that He promises for me, His wisdom that he generously supplies. oh, that i would move quickly out of discouragement (self-focus, really) and look UP.

and now, for a few pictures? many of these are repeats from instagram ( oh, i love that social media outlet that allows sharing of lives through pictures!) …

this is happening right now: my beloved, taking the boys on an adventure, sporting the dora backpack filled with snacks and drinks :))

this is happening right now: my beloved, taking the boys on an adventure, sporting the dora backpack filled with snacks and drinks :))

 

 

yesterday, when he figured out he could spray me! cracking up!

yesterday, when he figured out he could spray me! cracking up!

 

and another, because Oh.My.Word.

and another, because Oh.My.Word.

 

 

a little painting time with my boys which they love - for about 15 minutes. a ton of mess and effort but worth it  :)

a little painting time with my boys which they love – for about 15 minutes. a ton of mess and effort but worth it 🙂

 

 

this boy is serious and unwavering in his love for balls. all balls. last week, it was the basketball at the park - watched these folks mesmerized by the ball for several minutes.

this boy is serious and unwavering in his love for balls. all balls. last week, it was the basketball at the park – watched these folks mesmerized by the ball for several minutes.

 

 

my big boy, at the same park last week.he is fearless with slides!

my big boy, at the same park last week.he is fearless with slides!

 

 

*such a fun time at sweet zeke's 4th bday party last week. love those bigboys

*such a fun time at sweet zeke’s 4th bday party last week. love those bigboys

 

 

speaking of big boys (lol), where did my baby go?!

speaking of big boys (lol), where did my baby go?!

 

 

loving our time with dear friends and their littles - the boys love their friends, i love my mama friends, and love the sweet learning (sharing, playing together, etc). good stuff. especially with friends who show abundant grace, don't sweat the small stuff like messes and funky kid's behavior, etc.

loving our time with dear friends and their littles – the boys love their friends, i love my mama friends, and love the sweet learning (sharing, playing together, etc). good stuff. especially with friends who show abundant grace, don’t sweat the small stuff like messes and funky kid’s behavior, etc.

 

 

friends! super fun play time with winter last week :)

friends! super fun play time with winter last week 🙂

 

 

this day? they were driving me bonkers!! grabbing each other, hollering out for me to stop running, walk a certain direction, pick up their dropped toy etc etc etc. oh boy.

this day? they were driving me bonkers!! grabbing each other, hollering out for me to stop running, walk a certain direction, pick up their dropped toy etc etc etc. oh boy.

 

 

this picture is *huge. had to capture it to show hubby, who wasn't at the appt. josiah is complying with the nurse - typically he *flips out. so thankful this day that he was obedient and delightful. (and this was a visit back to see the derm to get back on the high powered ointments to stop a *MAJOR* un-liveable flare for him. hate it. )

this picture is *huge. had to capture it to show hubby, who wasn’t at the appt. josiah is complying with the nurse – typically he *flips out. so thankful this day that he was obedient and delightful. (and this was a visit back to see the derm to get back on the high powered ointments to stop a *MAJOR* un-liveable flare for him. hate it. )

 

 

perhaps my FAVORITE PICTURE EVER!! taken at the jville park a couple weeks ago. LOVE them.

perhaps my FAVORITE PICTURE EVER!! taken at the jville park a couple weeks ago. LOVE them.

 

 

an indescribably sweet night out with a lifelong friend.

an indescribably sweet night out with a lifelong friend.

 

 

had to capture his growing hair :) it's actually much shorter and less curly than josiah's was at this age.

had to capture his growing hair 🙂 it’s actually much shorter and less curly than josiah’s was at this age.

 

 

 

 

 

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life has been up and down … isn’t it like that? beautiful, good and blessed and also … challenging, tiring, stretching. i’ve been weighing some heavy things in my mind and spirit but those are tempered by the moments of sweet joy, contentment and realization that GOD is blessing and making a way.

there is truly nothing better, nothing more steadying and comforting, than to have the assurance and peace of being in HIS will, obeying (as best i can in my flesh!) the path set before our family. we know that we know that we are walking in the direction He has for us, even though the road has been rocky at times.

:: speaking of rocky, it’s been almost three years since we’ve had a stable income – oh, i remember those days of regular paydays! there was so much confidence and predictability in knowing what income would be coming, and when. we’ve lived outside that comfort for so long now and lately, honestly, i feel ready – haven’t we been stretched enough in this area?!  however, i can honestly say that this faith-walk has done MORE to deepen my faith in the real, actual, undeniable love and care of our Abba Father, our Jehovah Jireh. HE *ALWAYS* meets our  needs. many months ago, i designated a jar and inside, record on index cards specific examples of miraculous, timely provision. there are so many examples! whenever i doubt or fear, i REMEMBER.  HE is our Provider, not our employer – and we look to HIM.

:: i am LOVING this spring weather! the glorious blooming of bright flowers, the rhodendron’s outside our bedroom and kitchen windows, opening bright and stunning. they make me smile.

:: i have been really grappling with thinking of josiah’s sleeping issues with the very soon coming of our little green bean (in 4 1/2 mos!). it can be a spirit-sinker, honestly, when i survey in my mind the landscape: the many attempts and strategies at teaching our son to sleep through the night that have not been “successful.” (he still wakes at least 3 times/nightly). in my mind, i have this deadline: he MUST be sleeping well before the baby’s born. for starters, i will be having a c-section and that means at least 2 nights at the hospital which means josiah will need to be in someone’s care, *sleeping* through the night for them (and yes, thinking of being away from my baby boy for 2 nights makes me want to choke, so i can’t even go there …  and i know i shouldn’t go there yet). compounding all of this is the increase in his ezcema which has been heart-breaking and so, SO confounding as parents. we are seeking to understand and address causes, but they are SO hard to find. we do know that itching does wake him at night, which complicates the simplicity of the crying-it-out approach.

my hubby commented the other night that he doesn’t want me to be “distraught” about this whole issue. and his words got me thinking … am i distraught? that’s a strong term that i initially rejected but in thinking through it more, he may be right. and i am thinking these days about the power of our thoughts, and how the way that we view things can truly shape our mood and our emotions. i had another dear friend say something along the lines of – she was praying not just for josiah to sleep better, but for me to have more peace about what is.  and perhaps what will be, with a newborn.

(ok, this is becoming totally stream-of-consciousness thoughts, sorry) … so more about how we think of things: i was reading a dear mama blogger and one of her commenters was congratulating her on the upcoming birth of her baby next fall (we have almost exactly the same due date) and said something like, “WOW- next fall you will be snuggling a precious new baby! jealous!” and those words kept echoing in my mind that night. i can get sunk in the logistical, will-i-ever-sleep-again train of thought, OR i can soak in the miracle of this life, the BLISS at snuggling my new baby in the fall, the joy of this amazing gift.

:: speaking of the joy of this growing green bean: i *definitely* felt movement yesterday!! i think i did 2 weeks ago, but wasn’t totally sure. and i’ve felt little things the past couple weeks that i thought were the baby, but yesterday was finally a FOR SURE kick or punch! it was amazing. i was laying on the couch, pressing and feeling my tummy, hoping to feel baby … mike and the kids were outside … and then against my hand a firm little kick! i cried.

blessings over your week and weekend, dear friends!

 

our plans for this weekend changed, and it turned out … beautifully!

we were planning to go to our dear friend’s for passover last night, but there was illness in their family and i didn’t feel comfortable taking any chances having our fam exposed. i was so sorry to miss being with them and celebrating.

instead, we met my mom, brother and grandma for evening service at church … it was a blessing {and josiah’s first time ever in nursery which was initially *great* until my number flashed in the sanctuary and i ran to  my sobbing boy, who had just realized mama was gone }.

this morning, i made a special, fun (decadent!) breakfast for us and lay josiah down for his morning nap. i felt inspired to have us read the passover story and then some scripture about our passover Lamb. i found passages, wrote them on fun little scraps of paper, and maddie set the table.

as we sat to eat, hubby opened the Word and began to read. that was the start of over an hour of amazing teaching, learning, and discussion!! it was such a blessing.

my beloved is such a gifted teacher, and reads through each verse of scripture carefully, pausing to discuss meaning and context. when words were read that maddie couldn’t define, hubby would say, “if only there was a book with definitions,” (an inside family joke that is usually met with an exaggerated groan as maddie reaches for the dictionary! this morning, she searched definitions on the laptop sitting behind her).

we walked through remembering the reason for the passover (exodus 12:1-16) and the following 7 days of the feast of unleavened bread. when hubby asked maddie about the significance of the 7 days and she wasn’t immediately sure, he turned to genesis … and had her read the first chaper through chapter 2:2. every sentence was discussed, chewed on and analyzed. new insights were realized.

we then returned to the passover account and finally, hubby turned to the story of the last supper … in which Jesus was celebrating passover (mark 14:12). we read through the entire account of that supper … Jesus, our servant example; the disciples, arguing over who was better and denying any would betray.

it was so good, to be in the Words as a family, and to remember the faithfulness of our Father.  we were reminded and challenged again about keeping His celebrations and holy days.

get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast – as you really are. for Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” 1 corinthians 5:7

the other night, i was tucking maddie in and it was one of those nights when the door of soul-sharing was open … i could tell she wanted mama close and wanted to talk. i was intentional about being present; about allowing spaces of silence and the processing of thoughts as we talked. i love this girl so much! her heart is so precious and tender; her vulnerability with me so entirely beyond value.

we covered much … big and small thoughts she had … and landed on the subject of fear.

{this word, fear, having been my close companion for a couple of years. it has been my place of battle, coming in different costumes for different areas of my life but remaining a constant that i have fought body, mind and spirit.}

and so my girl shares her fears, the ones she has been battling this year. the ones we’ve prayed over, claimed victory on and continue to press for total release. i had a word for my girl, and encouraged her that it WILL lift; that this fear will not always be present for her and that someday she will look back almost disbelieving that she struggled with this thing. it will be done. resolved. something of the very-distant past.

she looked at me and asked, “mama, what are you afraid of?”

it was a tender moment, one that as a mama i grapple with: how honest am i to be? what is best and right and good to share with her in this moment?

oh LORD, guide me!

and then i knew.

i began to share about how mama felt when she was pregnant with josiah; how each day i battled deep and gripping fear, wondering – is he ok? will everything be ok? after losing our last baby, fear gripped me.

she nodded, as she had some sense that i had held that concern. she had no idea how INTENSE and consuming the fear was some days.

many days.

today, carrying our little gift within, that fear is GONE. i have such a peace and rest in my heart and mind about this pregnancy; i don’t struggle with fear or worry. it’s incredible! i am learning … to trust, to rest in HIM, to believe and experience a lifting of the fear.

i shared with her that i feel like worrying about this baby will be tainting a GOOD GIFT! i gave an example: what if she received a barbie for her birthday and instead of being thankful for the gift, she was consumed with worry: what if the arm breaks? what if i pull out her hair?

what a waste of a good gift!!

instead, i am THANKFUL. i am enjoying the amazing grace of HIS love … the growing life within.

fear can be overcome, by the strength of the Overcomer. amen!

{side note: hubby and i were talking about this recently – how different this pregnancy has been for me. he’s so glad!! we talked about how my anxiety had me in a place of being so hyper-vigilant, monitoring every feeling and symptom, scouring books and websites for information, tracking every single day of my pregnancy. and now? i realize that GOD is growing this life, without me even having to pay attention. imagine that! lol. isn’t that anxiety … trying to control, instead of releasing and resting in Him?}

weekend piddling …

November 19, 2011

i am home this beautiful fall afternoon, with a sleeping baby, my girl gone on a sweet play date. i’ve been piddling – tackling chores and lists and projects that have been piling up. my focus: prepare for my hubbys’ return! tomorrow. i am so ready. it’s been a long 7 days … only one more to go.

when he left, in an attempt to set an update, positive tone for the week, i created a document for me and maddie: one column “work”, the other column “play.”  i listed some major chores that needed to be done, then we brainstormed together about “play” ideas that would help the time pass with activities to enjoy.

well, in reviewing our list today … we found that all the “play” items had been done, but we were lacking completion in the “work” category. lol. so she’s been a very hard worker this morning and i have floated in and out of many things (as mama’s do, right?). i have completed some of my list, and as my dear friend ernestine exemplifies and encourages: tackle one project. it will feel good to have it done. she is so right. so, the cabinet under our kitchen sink is no longer funkalicious (has it ever been cleaned?!) and the laundry room is looking so much better.

my thoughts are scattered so i have nothing super cogent to capture in this space … other than, we’ve experienced the faithfulness of our Father again, abundantly, this week. there were a few circumstances that threatened my peace and yet, even in the craziness, i had peace. i remembered the words of a friend, who said that perhaps the “worst-case” scenarios, if they came to fruition, wouldn’t be so catastrophic after all. wise words that i am experiencing. GOD is faithful.

a dear friend sent me this scripture this week and i’ve been encouraged by the words of David:

“then our sons in their youth

will be like well-nurtured plants,

and our daughters will be like pillars

carved to adorn a palace.

our barns will be filled

with every kind of provision.

our sheep will increase by tens of thousands,

be tens of thousands in our fields; our oxen will draw heavy loads.

there will be no breaching of walls,

no going in to captivity, 

no cry of distress in our streets.

blessed are the people of whom this 

is true;

blessed are the people whose GOD is

the LORD.”

psalm 144:12-15

odds and ends

November 15, 2011

:: my real-life friend, meredith (who has an *awesome* blog!) brought this over yesterday for josiah to use. YAY! what a treat. thanks, mere.

:: i am missing my hubby (again) and trying to keep busy and keep positive while he’s gone. it’s a blessing to be home with my babies AND the days are long and there is no break, so i am seeking to stay refreshed and focused on the beauty and gifts (not the stress and drain!)

:: maddie is a real entrepreneur! she is having such a great, learning experience with her jewelry business. her “booth sale” was quite a success this past weekend … she had advertised, put up flyers, and on the morning of the sale she decorated (of course!) her little stand so cute. we are enjoying seeing the process: her creativity and also her decision to continue “re-investing” in her business, using some of her profits to replenish her supplies and keep creating. she is making some REALLY pretty jewelry, too. wow. and cheap!

:: the coolest thing happened yesterday: we ran in to the mother of a little girl that madison befriended at a local park months ago. since that day, we’ve regretted not getting contact info for the family to arrange another play date. the special part? this girl looks *just * like maddie. they could be sisters. and living “in these parts”, there are not a lot of girls that fit that description. lol. so yesterday we are at the mall and we see the mom … and so i decided i had to go for it, as awkward and silly as i felt. i introduced, we talked, and yes the mom remembered … and she was super excited about setting up a playdate! we exchanged info and i am going to call her later this week. very cool. last night at bed, maddie wanted us to pray for the little girl, alexis. 🙂

:: we have been experiencing practical, humbling, beautiful provision again {still?}. GOD is so good. He’s given me a word: trust ME for TODAY. today. i am not to worry about tomorrow, about what i will eat or wear; i am called to rest in Him for today.

:: our little man is becoming seriously more and more fun! he’s now very clearly recognizing and expressing when he sees something he wants and doesn’t get it. last weekend we were at my grandparents and madison had a raspberry “popsicle” (frozen fruit pretty much). he was going crazy grunting, “flexing” his arms, just overall freaking out for that thing. i let her give him a lick and it was over – he went crazy when it was taken away! oh boy.  and he’s not easily distracted. the boy remembers. try to hide the thing and he strains and cranes his neck to find where it went.

:: my hubby delivered the keynote speech at our local VA Dom’s veteran’s day event friday and it such a special day. grandparents and aunt came, the place was packed and the vibe was just so lovely, so warm and so patriotic. my hubby lauded my grandpa for his service, and then had me stand and spoke sweet and wonderful words about me. i was blessed … and blessed by the words of the many people who came up afterward, kindly congratulating and speaking life and love.  one woman said that josiah and madison got “smart genes” – so funny! another woman said that the message of my hubby’s speech (which she felt was that we are called to give our best, no matter the circumstances; to work diligently at all times) is the very thing she is striving to train and teach to her children. i was encouraged.

grandma and mike 🙂

 

it’s time to start our schooling day … baby is napping, madison is showered and ready for mama!

thankful tree

November 11, 2011

i was inspired by this, and we are so loving this project!!

it started with a nature walk a few days ago, collecting branches that had broken and fallen outside. the cool fresh air was just what we needed in the midst of our morning schooling and it felt really invigorating!

the next day, we assembled our “tree”, and maddie gathered many scraps of our papers (used for journals and other craft projects) on which we traced circles and then cut them out.

we put the circles and a pen in a little jar next to our tree, and add thankful notes whenever we are inspired.

it’s lovely and simple … don’t we all have so much to be thankful for? i am amazed and grateful.