My daughter, never forget.

My sweet daughter,
I can’t believe you are almost a whole year old. You have grown so fast. You are meant for great things, to blaze away the night, to be the light in the darkness. You are meant to be Jesus with skin on, to show love and be love because you are loved. Jesus is a pretty cool guy. You will get to know him as you grow older. The world desperately needs you and who you will grow up to be. You will make the world a better place. You are perfect just the way you are. You are beautiful and strong. You are kind, you are smart, you are important. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. And more than anything else you are very, very loved. Always and forever. No matter what. Because that’s the deal. Love is forever or it isn’t love. Be a blessing because that is what you are. Always look for the best in people and you will bring it out. Be careful, because if you look for the worst in people you will find that also. Never forget that all people matter. Every single one. No matter what the world thinks about them. We are all created in God’s image. I love you.

When we were young we were full of hope and potential. As we grew the world ground it out of us.  We began to accept the status quo and put our dreams on hold. We forgot out purpose, our potential. We forgot that we were supposed to make the world a better place not just be a part of it. So, child of God, grow in grace and peace. Be a blessing. Be love because you are loved and make the world a better place one person at a time. It may seem like slow progress but there are no unimportant lives.

Patience

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My husband and I have started doing the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University together. Looking over our finances and all of the dumb decisions we’ve made hasn’t been pretty but oddly enough once we started digging in it wasn’t as bad as we had feared. The hard part isn’t surveying the damage, it’s having the discipline to stay the course to undo it.

It is like the old saying: anything worth having is worth working for. We have not been very good at waiting until we’ve earned what we wanted. We have cut corners and had to work our way out of the hole we’ve dug. I’m pretty sure we aren’t the only ones who aren’t afraid of hard work but have run short on patience. With a little more discipline and patience we wouldn’t have to work as hard as we do.

The Bible says in Luke 14:28-29: do not build a tower without first counting the cost lest you be unable to finish and all who see it will mock you saying he began building but is unable to finish. But there is still hope for us. You, my readers, know me as a creature of hope. I wouldn’t survive without it. The road to recovery is longer than I wish but it is worth the wait to leave a legacy for my daughter besides wishing she was better with money than her parents. We want to give her every opportunity to succeed and we will. She is worth it.

Life is All About Perspective

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Life is all about perspective. For whatever reason my daughter woke up screaming at 5:30 this morning and she didn’t want daddy, she wanted mama. I was annoyed because why couldn’t daddy put her back to bed so I could go back to sleep? But as I sat cuddling, rocking, and singing to her (the effect almost immediately calming) I wondered why I was so annoyed. Why should I be anything but thrilled at the opportunity to cuddle and love on my precious baby girl? Who cares what time it is? She’s growing up quickly and all too soon she won’t want to cuddle with mama anymore so I may as well enjoy it now.  I can sleep when I’m dead, right?

How many things do we take for granted or gloss over because they are inconvenient? How many opportunities do we miss because it isn’t on our time schedule? Something tells me when I’m on my death-bed I won’t be wishing I’d slept more when I was younger. I’ll be wishing to hold my child/children and hug them some more. You can never have too many hugs from the ones you love. I don’t want to have regrets later about what I did or didn’t do so I try to keep my mind on the right perspective and enjoy life as much as possible.

Easter Promise

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I can be so slow. I get discouraged and I forget what God has done in my life. He has called me to be strong, to be stronger than I can be. But when I get to my end He begins. Seamlessly. He sends just what I need when I need it and not a moment before. And when I lose sight and faith He is always there waiting for me to come back. That’s what love does. It doesn’t matter how many times I fail. He always takes me back. Psalms 139 says, he has written all my days before they happen. Even the hard ones. Easter has come and gone and it’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness. To forget the true meaning and take for granted the great gift Easter is: Jesus’ death and resurrection with the hope and freedom they bring. That God almighty cares at all for us mere mortals and further still knows ours names, our hopes and dreams, and yes, our failings is mind boggling. That we have direct access to him for anything and everything is inconceivable. How blessed are we and how quickly we forget and get discouraged. And yet there he is with open arms waiting for us to turn back to him. Happy Easter.

New Parent Paranoia

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Being a parent brings a whole new meaning to paranoia. Someone was sawing aluminum siding this morning and through a couple sets of walls it sounded like the baby crying. Only it sounded more like a horrible scream. Poor Corinne has the sniffles so it seemed plausable. We both shot up to check on her then realize it wasn’t her at all. We were so relieved. It seems silly to get so bent out of shape over something so small but it was a freaky experience.

She is our first child so I feel like we have the right to be paranoid the first go around. Parenting is harder than it looks. It’s crazy being responsible for another human being. I don’t speak baby and Corinne doesn’t speak mommy so communication is complicated. She cries and I have to figure out if she is hungry, tired, hurt, or mad for no reason at all.

Its exciting too though, watching her grow and learn. The smallest things facinate her. The first thing Corinne does with her rubber ducks is look on the bottoms. Her forehead creases in concentration. She loves playing with my watch. She’s always stealing it off my wrist. She is in constant motion like her mommy. She looks like her daddy and acts like me. With each new life experience God shows me a whole new facet of love. I love that child like I have never loved anyone else. It helps me understand how God loves me.

The Journey

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I am sorry, my friends, for once again being delinquent in my posting. I have been thinking lots of blog-worthy thoughts I just haven’t taken the time to write them down and post them. I feel like saying life here has been crazy but that really goes without saying. By this point, it’s a given.

My little girl is growing. She can sit up on her own which is fantastically helpful when I’m doing laundry or other chores and she is getting curious about the world around her. Everything is new and wonderful to her. She lights up a room. I, on the other hand, have been hiding from the world around me (especially the cold!). We fell behind when I lost my job and my daughter’s birth cost more than we expected but I have another job now and we are making headway again…just not as quickly as I would like. I have always been the person who misses the journey trying to get to the destination. It is possible for me to enjoy the journey but it is difficult for me to get out of my head, my plans, my impatience and enjoy it.

Sometimes I just need to close my eyes and forget about the end goal and the obstacles holding me back. I just need to staple my feet to today and focus on where I am. Not where I was. Not where I wish I was. Just where I am. I heard the coolest quote about fighting our troubles with joy. “We need to poke holes in the darkness until it bleeds light.” No matter how bad we feel we need to be a bright spot because we may be the only light for someone else who is struggling. And if we have to force the darkness to recognize our light, so be it. Keep trucking on, all.

What Life May Hold

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This past Sunday my church celebrated Sanctity of Life Sunday. This on again of again National holiday is a reminder to those of us who take life for granted. I have always been pro life in that I believe life begins before we even know we are pregnant and that life is precious. I realize pro life has come to mean a certain set of political agendas just as non-denominational has become a denomination. I try to stay out of politics as best I can because they tend to obscure my point. My point being that life (all human life in every stage) is precious.

I believe this even more so now that I have a child, now that I have had the pleasure and the privilege of growing life inside me. Was it always fun, comfortable, and pleasant? No. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Was it a miracle? I believe so. I don’t think science and God have to be mutually exclusive. I think something like growing a whole human being who knows how to breathe and move from a few cells is scientifically explainable but no less of a miracle. It boggles the mind. Shouldn’t we protect the miracle of life?

Some people believe that a fetus isn’t alive; they convince themselves of this, because you can’t kill something that isn’t alive, right? We prefer to ignore what is difficult. We want to rationalize and justify our decisions to make ourselves feel better. It’s not murder if we decide it isn’t alive. You can’t murder a chair for example. But a fetus is a baby. It has brainwaves and a heartbeat. Any mother who has made it to the second and third trimesters knows the weird and wonderful feeling of having something—no, someone—moving inside you.

In the beginning I couldn’t tell the difference between baby movement and gas but as she grew her movements became more definitive. I could feel her little hands and feet. I could feel her turning summersaults. She was more than a lifeless bundle of cells, she responded to my movements and loud noises. I remember going to an IMAX movie when I was about six months pregnant and it was so loud my daughter was doing back-flips for the whole two and a half hour movie. As soon as the movie ended she calmed down.

I’m having a difficult time saying what is on my mind and in my heart. How do I communicate my thoughts without misrepresenting them? This post is meant to be less of a condemnation of wrong actions and more of reaffirmation of what is important. Life is precious. I can’t tell you how to live your life. I can only give you one writing mother’s opinion. Who knows what that unborn life may hold? That life may unlock secrets as old as time or may find new roads of exploration and discovery. What if Thomas Edison had never been born? Or Martin Luther King, Jr.? Or Einstein? No one thought these people would amount to anything but they changed the world. Florence Nightingale was only one woman but she changed the definition of nursing. What might that little unborn, untested life become if given the chance?

What Keeps You Up at Night?

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I love stories like A Walk to Remember, If I Stay, and The Fault in Our Stars. These stories show that life can be sad, miserable, and unbearably painful and yet, somehow, beautiful. I love them because I believe there is more out there, that pain doesn’t have to be for no reason. I’m one of those freakish people who instead of running and hiding from pain, holds on to it, finds beauty in it. I have felt searing pain and loss and stared deep into the darkness wishing it would swallow me whole.

In my few, but growing number of years I have also learned that nothing is “the big whammy.” There is always the potential of something worse and as depressing as that may sound I take hope in that. Do you want to know why? I’m going to tell you regardless. It’s because I have survived what always, in the moment, felt like the end of the world. And I know with a track record like mine I will continue to survive the end of the world until it literally ends and God takes me home. Pain, loss, sadness…they are difficult to process but they make the beauty of this world, of this life, all the more obvious.
There will always be darkness and pain but we don’t have to be lost in it. We can let it lead us to the little things we would have missed: the infinite blueness of the sky, the sound of a loved one’s voice, the warmth of a hug or the weight of a sleeping child in your arms. These stories remind me to live like I’m dying, before I actually am wishing I had more time.

There is much to fear in this world and I’m very good at being afraid but it is no way to live. That is why I choose instead to be a creature of hope no matter how stupid or foolish or naive it may seem to some. I may care too much about what others think but in the end I’m me and I’ll say and do and be whatever I want to. I will not let pain and fear change who I am. I will not let them define me. Pain demands to be felt and I will feel it. But I will also impose my hope upon it and cram it down its throat.

Return of the Blogger

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I have returned! Sorry my absence was so long. It certainly was longer than I meant it to be. My beautiful baby girl was actually born 7 days after my last post. She has been a lesson that nothing I do will ever go as planned ever again. My in-laws came up from SC the weekend before she was born for a wedding. They had only been home for, I think, 10 hours when I went into labor two weeks early and they had to turn around and come right back. I was in labor (trying to do natural birth) for 9 hours when I had to have an emergency c-section because my cervix stalled at 4cm and refused to dilate any farther. That was definitely not my plan.

I wanted a natural birth and I got a c-section instead but I got a beautiful healthy baby out of the deal so I’m happy. The delivery was a piece of cake; I couldn’t feel a thing. Recovery was the killer. I couldn’t move without pain and I was force to sleep on my back (I never sleep on my back) for almost two weeks before I could roll over without feeling like I was going to pop stitches. I had great family taking care of me the first three weeks. For an independent person such as myself being laid up that long was…frustrating. I wanted to breast feed and that didn’t go as planned either.

The big trick to succeeding in life is the ability to roll with change. I don’t seem to do that well. I got down on myself pretty hard because of how nothing was going to plan. What I had to be reminded of was the end goal. I had a beautiful healthy daughter who is now (after much work) getting almost all breast milk instead of mostly formula even if I have to pump it because she decided she liked the bottle better. Loss of job, loss of sleep, loss of sanity. They say having kids changes everything and I knew it would. I just had no idea how much everything would change.

I am losing my mind with home concerns but I have never been happier. I was born to be a mommy. I have to keep believing that God gave me a child so He will help me be what she needs. When she smiles, it is like the sun rising. Suddenly it doesn’t matter that I wasn’t able to sleep more than two consecutive hours at a time for two months. Watching her sleeping in my arms made me forget how much she screamed and hated diaper changes. My life will never be the same but I wouldn’t want it to be. Still unemployed, to my husband’s dismay, I told him being a mommy was by far the worst paying job I have ever held but absolutely the most rewarding. I know God has a good plan for our lives. If I can find a way to get the bills paid and stay home with my daughter that would be ideal. I have an idea! How about I actually use my writing degree? Novel concept, I know.

I will endeavor to be more consistent in my blogging along with other writing projects. While I figure this all out and mostly make stuff up as I go along I hope you will once again join me for the journey. Keep life in perspective, roll with change, and be encouraged.

Ready

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Sorry to be an irresponsible blogger but I’m going to take another break from posting until my daughter is born. Things are getting a bit crazy and days come and go without telling me they have. I’ll try and get back to posting as soon as I can. Thank you for your patience and thank you for joining me on this adventure.
I’ve gotten used to being pregnant, pretty soon everything will change again and the real fun begins. She is a healthy baby and she is primed and ready to meet the world. We’re just waiting for her final decision. It is all very exciting. I think children make us better people because we have to be. I know that God is with my husband and me all the way and we will move heaven and earth to be what our daughter needs us to be. See you all on the flip side.

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