Last year I watched vividly as Amanda and her husband heard God’s whispers, obeyed in blind trust, and moved their family to another part of the state to where they had no relatives. But they were excited because they knew this was where God wanted them. I joined alongside her in prayer as she struggled with the changes and was so excited for her when God answered her prayers. It was an amazing thing to watch. Then I’m currently watching Mary and her family as God unveils His plan for their life bit by bit, piece by piece. I’m anxious to see where God leads them.
And to be perfectly honest, as I’ve followed their journeys, I wondered if I had the same ability, the same trust in our Heavenly Father, to blindly obey His calling. It’s just like when you start to pray for patience, be prepared because God will give you opportunities to practice patience. This is a very similar situation; I wondered, I thought about it, and God has called me to obey. I can’t go into details, and the journey is not going to be as life-changing as a move across the state, but I am here, I am listening, I am being prodded to move, to trust Him, to rely that His plan is bigger and better than anything I’ve dared to dream.
Quite frankly, I am scared to death! For the first time in a long time, the future is uncertain, it’s cloudy, and as a woman who hates change, this is not a good feeling at all. I’m trying to calm anxious nerves, worried thoughts, and a restless spirit. I want to know the end result, I want to know where this journey is going to lead me, and I want to know it now! But that’s the human side of me and I know God is smiling as He watches my pacing. On the other hand, I know that I’m being obedient to Him; I know that God is calling me out of my comfort zone and I KNOW that in the end His way is best.
As soon as that last piece clicks into place, I’ll be more than happy to share what’s happening in my life. In the mean time, prayer and trust are my now, and I can rest in that place… for a little while anyway.
And so, I immersed myself in all things fall this weekend. I made ginger snap cookies, the fragrance of molasses and cinnamon permeated the house. We snuggled up next to the fire, wrapped up in blankets. Hudson and I chilled on the couch, moving little while watching a movie. I bundled up Devyn and let her wander outside with Daddy and Papa as they worked on our landscaping. The bite to the air was crisp, turning Devyn’s nose and cheeks red from the cold. And then later on Saturday night, we all sat down in front of the TV to root for our Colorado Rockies. It mattered not that we lost, especially when we enjoyed the company of family and toasted with Kahlua’s Mud Slides.
Then on Sunday the chill gave way to clear skies and warm weather, a perfect day to head to the pumpkin patch and the all-important job of selecting the ideal pumpkins to grace our porch. It was deliciously warm outside; we trooped through the pumpkins sans jackets or hats. I was able to take many pictures of the children amidst the sea of orange and we happily selected our three precious pumpkins. Last night, with the ball game playing in the background, we lovingly carved our pumpkins. Devyn squealed in glee upon touching the yucky, orange goop and Hudson decided that pumpkins taste delicious, thereby sucking on anything pumpkin or pumpkin-related.
All in all, it was a weekend to cherish.
After the Red Sox scored their 13th run, Jon and I turned our attention (and cell phones) to more important matters... like Hudson walking at eight months old. These videos are really grainy because I took them with the cell phone, but they give a fairly good idea of how mobile our eight-month-old son really is.
Scary, isn’t it?!
- Hearing – Jon and I were lying on the couch last night, devoid of any energy after a L-O-N-G day of dealing with tantrums, meltdowns, and the like. We were exhausted, too tired to rise up and check on the kids. And then we heard a giggle; followed by a second, longer giggle; followed by tickling noises from Devyn. Jon and I turned to each other, smiling widely, as we continued to listen to Devyn tickling her brother. A sweet feeling filled my soul as Hudson’s belly laugh grew louder and longer. With each giggle, my heart grew lighter; such a beautiful sound is my children playing together so innocently and sweetly!
- Taste – Devyn sat silently on the couch, devouring the chocolate-chip cookie that I had given her moments earlier. I was in the kitchen finishing up the load of dishes when I felt her arms wrap around my legs, squeezing as hard as she could. I leaned down; she grabbed my cheeks in her hands and puckered her lips. I touched her lips with mine in a kiss and could taste the leftover chocolate from her cookie, milk chocolate with bits of leftover cookie crumbs. There is nothing sweeter than a chocolate-covered kiss from my baby, oh so yummy.
- Smell –Their laughter rang off the walls of the tiled bath tub, each vying for my attention, both wanting the same toy. Hudson shrieked in delight as Devyn squirted him with water and Devyn smiled as he grabbed her hair in his chubby fists. I washed them down with soap and shampooed their hair. I first toweled off Hudson and then turned to his sister. I laid them side-by-side as I put lotion on their skin and dressed them in pajamas. As I sat behind them, comb in hand, getting ready to brush their hair, the smell of freshly washed and lotioned bodies drifted up to my nose. I breathed in deeply, willing the scent to memory, the scent of my babies, fresh from the tub.
- Touch – It was the middle of the night, dark except for the dim light coming from Hudson’s night light. I picked him, placing him against my chest, willing his sobs to subside. We moved to the rocker, I laid him across my lap, and covered us in a blanket. I could feel him rooting, looking for the source that offered both sustenance and relief at the same time. As he latched on, I could feel his body relax, calming with each suck. And then, as it always does, his hand reached up, looking for the place just below the hollow in my neck, and started caressing the skin there. I smiled as his hand moved back and forth, pleased that the touch of my skin could bring him so much comfort.
- Sight – It was time for bed; Jon turned off the TV and we made our way down the hall to our bedroom. I first walked into Devyn’s room and stood by her bed. Her mouth worked noiselessly around her pacifier, her cheeks were rosy with sleep, and the tendrils around her face plastered to her head. Her chest moved smoothly, first up, then down. And I thanked God for the beautiful blessing that is my daughter. I then tiptoed into Hudson’s room to check on him. He was lying on his tummy; one hand clenched tightly around his blanket, the other lifted up, over his head. His lips moved, murmuring something in his sleep. I watched his back rise up, and then fall; his body in a relaxed state of rest. There is no better sight than that of my children sleeping soundly in their beds.
Flash back to over a year ago, Amy and I met on an online community and soon shared our blog addresses with each other. We were both newly pregnant with our youngest babes and we're just venturing out in this new world of blogging. First we exchanged comments on each other's posts, then we started emailing each other, before you knew it we were having semi-regular phone calls. I don't know, I can't explain it, something just clicked instantly between us. Amy broached the idea first of meeting face-to-face, but it was something that I had been thinking of already. We both started thinking of ways to make it possible and before you know it, she and her family had booked airline tickets to Colorado. And finally the time had arrived, months after we first started planning.
And wow, what a visit it was! I worried needlessly, as there was no discomfort or awkwardness. Instead, it was a weekend and a half of fun, laughter, conversation, and awe that we had come this far. Amy is beautiful, inside and out. She is warm, loving, fun, and genuine; the love she has for her husband and sons is palpable. I enjoyed watching her interactions with Joel, they are obviously a couple with a ton of love and respect for each other. And it was amazing how we slipped easily into the role of old friends; talking and laughing about common interests, parenting styles, and feelings. Devyn and Parker, while both cautious at first (it was amazing to see how similar their personalities are), soon were inseparable. In fact, I'm almost certain Devyn developed a bit of a crush on him. Hudson and Griffin seemed bent on beating each other up as they explored the boundaries of being contemporaries. And while crying ensued, they usually calmed down after hugs from mom.
Yesterday, we were able to spend more time together, along with Sarah and her family. It was a day filled with chaos and fun as we corralled six children together. But it was the perfect way to end our visit. This visit was more than I imagined and left me feeling melancholy when they left, much like how Devyn felt saying good-bye to Parker. It was a special time, one that I'll treasure always. Its not often that I get to meet a virtual friend, and as I told Amy, I'm looking forward to where God leads this friendship. Thank you, Amy and Joel, for taking the time to come out here, we had a wonderful time.
Hudson is already discovering the joy of tools. Here he’s trying to help Daddy put together a new toy. Oh, it already starts!
Upon reading Sarah’s post from yesterday, it prompted me to reread Proverbs 31 during my quiet time this morning. And as I was reading, I did indeed start feeling overwhelmed by all that is required of a Proverbs 31 woman and I started counting the ways where I fail miserably. Not exactly a great way to start a Monday morning, rooted in guilt and dread. But then I noticed the above study note in my sidebar and I had a “ah-ha” moment. What an inspiring, thought-provoking statement.
If we read this detailed description of the ideal wife and mother as a point-by-point standard God expects us to live up to, we’re bound to feel overwhelmed and exhausted before we even begin! The intention of the epilogue to the book of Proverbs wasn’t to give women an impossible to-do list, but to spread out before them the many opportunities they have to use their gifts, talents, and wisdom in fulfilling and productive ways. Rather than limiting women’s roles, they are expanded endlessly. As women we are created to have a positive and profound impact on everyone around us – be it our husbands, children, parents, friends, clients, customers, or society in general. Being a woman is a blessing, and being a wise, strong, and dignified woman blesses others in ways that can’t be calculated.
~ Woman of Faith Study Bible, page 1070, Wife of Noble Character
I hate cooking! I know it, Jon knows it, and those close to me know it. I really don’t like it and I’m not sure I ever will learn to like it. It’s a necessity to me, something I do to nourish my family. And honestly, we’re not a nutritious family. For example, I enjoy Doritos for breakfast… seriously. Yes, I realize some habits need to change, but I’ll be making them because they’re necessary, not because I enjoy it. And I do have other gifts: I love to bake, I enjoy cleaning my kitchen, laundry is a relaxing chore for me, I am a good listener, and my family and friends know they are loved. These are my strong gifts; the gifts that I’ve been given to bless those around me.
So upon reading the above statement, a breath of relief rushed through my body. Its wonderful knowing that grace is readily given, even during a charge about striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman. We all have very different gifts, very different likes and dislikes, and the beauty is God designed us that way; we are all perfectly and wonderfully made. The advantage of family and friends is that we can glean and learn from each other, we can step in the gap of each other’s weaknesses. Sarah knows I hate to cook; we’ve had many laughs over it. But in her zeal and excitement for producing great meals for her family, she encourages me to reach for the same. I may not always succeed, after all a trip to the Mexican restaurant just down the street is far more appealing that cooking over a stove top, but I’m encouraged to try.
I know we all strive to be that Proverbs 31 woman but please, also cut yourself some slack. Write the above statement down and hold it close to your heart. “Being a woman is a blessing, and being a wise, strong, and dignified woman blesses others in ways that can’t be calculated.” God will bless you for your efforts and His grace will carry you the rest of the way.
Our baseball team, the Colorado Rockies, won their first game in the Championship series, against the Arizona Diamondbacks. This is an awesome winning streak and I can’t wait to watch the second game tonight. As Dana said: “Real men wear purple”. Go Rox!
Then in less than 24 hours, I get to meet this beautiful, warm, wonderful person in person. Amy and her family will be here for a week. I am so looking forward to meeting her, her beautiful boys, and her hubby. And a coffee date to Starbucks is most definitely in order.
And then last, but most certainly not least, I had an appointment with my supervisor this morning and…
…wait for it…
… I get to start working part-time! Do you know how happy and thrilled I am?! I am over the moon, I can’t stop smiling, and as another coworker said, I’m fairly glowing with excitement. It won’t start until the Thanksgiving week because we need to get past a very hectic, very busy Open Enrollment season at work and it’s the start of a new pay period BUT it is going to happen! I am so looking forward to having mornings with my babies.
Life is good indeed!
Your legs have grown longer, if that is even possible, and they have given you the ability to run from one moment to the next. In the stores, you constantly ask to be put on the floor. “Run, Mommy, run?” And I have no choice but to give in to your desire to run. Hudson and I follow closely behind, watching you stretch your legs from the confines of the cart. I chuckle as you look over your shoulder to make sure we’re watching, often almost crashing head-first into another shopper. Instead of being annoyed, your smile and your giggle causes strangers to return your smile with their own, and they often tell me what a beautiful girl I have. I couldn’t agree more.
You, my love, are a serious and cautious child. New things are met with concerned eyes and a cautious smile. You often look to me for guidance before reacting to the experience, wondering if this is safe or if you should be nervous. But once you’ve given your approval, you embrace it whole-heartedly and without fear. You love in much the same way; it’s first approached with caution but then you hold nothing back. I love that when I walk into the room, you run to me with open arms, shouting “Mommy” from top of your lungs. I love that you snuggle into my arms, refusing to let go. I love when you frame my face in your small hands, telling me about your day or whispering words of nonsense.
My heart is full, little one, because you have come into my life. I have no idea what I’ve done to deserve such a precious gift as you. I know that God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams and I am truly blessed to call you my daughter. I love you, Munchkin, and my words are incapable of expressing how much you mean to me. Thank you, Miss Devyn Paige, for your love and your forgiveness as I walk this road of motherhood. It is a tricky road, often hard, but so worth it to be called your mother. May the Lord bless you and your life, little one.
[I have hinted in previous posts that my family has quite a story. One that not only would I love to share with you, but one that I think a lot of people could identify with. However, my parents are not yet ready for me to share with the World Wide Web. So even though my sisters and I do not see our story as one of failure, but of one where God triumphed, I have to respect their wishes. I’m sorry for the vague details in this post.]
During the fall of my sixth grade year, I was 12 years old at the time, there was a pivotal moment in my life; a moment where life stopped being carefree and easy, a moment when I took a role upon myself as my sisters’ protector. No one told me to become their protector, no one asked me to take on this role, and certainly no one expected it of me. It was something that, in my 12-year-old mind, that needed to be done and so I did it. It was a situation where I, as the big sister, could pick on and fight with the three girls but the moment anyone else tried to venture the same, I was instantly on the defensive. Again in my 12-year-old mind, I thought I knew how to best care for them, even better than my own parents at times.
It’s interesting to be 28 years old and reflect on self-imposed expectations from 16 years ago. Fast-forward to today and I’m realizing that I still carry that same expectation to protect. I find that I’m constantly trying to protect them from life, from hurt, or even themselves. The problem with this mind-set is twofold:
- My sisters are grown women now; they have minds and goals of their own. They do not need me to protect them anymore; they probably never did. They were even surprised that I felt this way when I broached the subject with them. They had no idea I had placed that kind of expectation upon myself.
- I have been battling a constant tug-of-war between which family is my immediate family. Common sense says that obviously, Jon, Devyn, and Hudson are my immediate family and I couldn’t agree more. But my head and my heart still feel as though my sisters are my immediate family.
“Oh, you have two kids? What do you have?” Whenever I hear this question, I inwardly groan. I hate telling people that I have both a girl and a boy, because I know what is going to come out of their mouths next. “Aren’t you lucky? A boy and a girl! One of each; the perfect family!” And this comment, this response, really annoys me, for several reasons.
- “… the perfect family.” Really, is there any such thing as a perfect family?! We all know the answer to that one, of course not. As much as I love my kids, I mess up, every single day. As much as I love my parents, they didn’t do things perfectly. There is no such thing as a perfect family.
- “Oh a boy and a girl!” What about my friends with two girls, or the friends with all boys? What does this statement say about their families? Are they less than perfect because God gave them one sex? I can guarantee that their response would be a heartfelt, adamant NO; of course their family is perfect for them. And as the oldest daughter in a family of four girls, I take even more exception to this statement. Blech!
- “One of each...” I don’t even know where to begin with this part of the above statement. I have a friend (who I hope doesn’t hate me for posting about her father-in-law) whose father-in-law firmly believes that you should only have as many children as to replace yourself and your spouse. He was absolutely appalled to hear that my friend desires four children. So apparently, according to society’s standards, the perfect family consists of two parents and two children.
The above question is usually accompanied with this one. “So, do you and your husband plan to have any more children?” And they wait with bated breath while an internal debate rages inside my head about whether I want to answer that question truthfully or not. Do I want to tell them, no, of course not, our family is already “perfect”? Or do I want to tell them the truth, we want one more (two more, if I had my way) and watch their face contort into a look of disbelief, because seriously, how could we possible want one more child?!
I know that I seem to have lost my marbles, or at the very least, turning something small into a big thing. But these questions and the forthcoming responses really burn me up. I just don’t understand how anyone can put such little value on life. God has blessed us with two healthy children, who just happen to be one male and one female. The gender never mattered to us, just the health of these babies. And in one sentence, that person has cheapened the families of those with one gender, including my sisters and me.
And if God so chooses to bless our family with another child, a very much wanted third child, we will get on our knees and thank Him. Yes, we may add to the growing population but children are such beautiful gifts, gifts that I do not take for granted. And at the heart of it, I don’t answer to man, I answer to my God. I guess now I need to start working on my reactions to these questions; if only people thought before they spoke!
[Disclaimer: I don't mean the casual conversations that happen in the stores. Or the casual comment between friends. I mean the people who actually believe that one boy and one girl is the perfect family. I mean the people who are absolutely disgusted that I would dare have a third child. Yes, there are well-meaning people in the world who mean nothing by those statements. But then there others who truly feel as though they are right and want to impose their ideas on me. Those are the ones that drive me crazy.]
1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car):
2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie):
Coffee Macadamia Nut (This one does not work so well for a “gansta” name.)
3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name):
J-Glo (Yes, yes, I am already aware.)
4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal):
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, hospital where you were born):
Lynn St. Joseph (Doesn’t this sound just like a Soap Opera name?!)
6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first):
7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink):
The Green Mojito
8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers):
Bob Alvin (I keep smiling, I’m reminded of Talladega Nights.)
9. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ):
10. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter):
11. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower):
12. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”):
13. HIPPIE NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree):
Dorito Oak (I’m very aware that my eating habits are not healthy.)
14. YOUR ROCK STAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft + fave weather element + “Tour”):
The Fishing Rain Tour (I’m borrowing my hubby’s hobby for this one…)
Please feel free to play along too. I hope everyone has a fun, restful weekend.
There’s been some hard lessons on this road of blogging, some moments that really caused me to stop and ponder why I blog, do I want to continue, and ponder whether this is a healthy outlet for me. In all honesty, as much as I say it’s to keep family and friends updated on our lives, I really blog for myself. This has become an online journal of sorts, a way to document this journey I’m on. And ever since I deleted my sitemeter account, I have felt even freer. I’m no longer worrying about what others think, I’m no longer blogging for any readers; I’m blogging for my enjoyment, for myself, and it has become a much healthier habit.
I have been surprised (happily) by the community of Christian women that I have found, and who have found me. I love that we’re using the internet in a way to encourage one another, offer guidance and wisdom, and as God intended His children to be. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 I love reading the posts of mothers who have been there, who have experience on their side, and I glean all the wisdom and encouragement that they offer. I love reading the posts of women who are in the same place of life as I, to feel comfort and reassurance that I am not alone. And if I can be of any help to others, I ask that God would use my words, posts, and thoughts to do that. This is a wonderful community, one that I feel truly blessed to have found. You are all so incredibly special to me, even if I don’t always find time to leave comments on your site. Please know that I think of you often, I have come to our Father on your behalf, and I look forward to the day that I get to meet you face-to-face, either on this earth or in the ever-after.
Two years of blogging and I’m amazed at how far God has brought me, in my spiritual walk with Him, as a wife and mother, and as a friend. It is a privilege to share this journey with you all.
I had a chat with my supervisor this morning about my desire to go part-time and she responded how I thought she would. She is not keen on the idea of me going part-time; she told me that she feels there needs to be a full-time employee in my position. However, she might consider letting me work some hours from home.
I have very mixed feelings about this compromise of hers. One, when I asked for part-time, I meant part-time. I want to be able to leave my work at work, and concentrate on my family at home. However, I could work those hours during naps or some in the evenings when Jon is home. Two, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t upset that she won’t work with me. I’ve devoted eight years to this job and I feel a little slighted. Don’t get me wrong; I understand that she needs to do what’s best for the company, as I need to do what’s best for my family, but I just thought they be a little more flexible with me. And three, the thought of not losing any income does appeal to my materialistic side. But do I really want money to stand in the way of the time I could devote (fully devote) to my children? (Please don’t answer that, it’s purely a rhetorical question).
At this point, she needs to talk to our director about my proposal and get feedback from her. Then depending on what the director says, we’ll have another meeting to discuss details, etc. At this point, I’m in the wait and see mode. I truly believe that God could work on my director’s heart and come up with something amazing that would work for both the department and my family. Or God could work on my supervisor’s heart, who after thinking about it, decides that she was a little hasty in her thoughts. Or God could work on my heart and open doors for a new position, in a new company; one that would support my desire to be home more with my children.
I just know that I won’t give in to fear, I won’t give in to anger or bitterness, and I won’t give in to despair. I do know that I am choosing to trust God, I am choosing to have faith, and I am choosing to have peace. God is bigger than all of this and He knows the bigger picture, even if I do not.