Dreaming

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Dreaming is fun. I like pretending that owning certain things and doing certain things are possible. To plan the whole thing out, like what would I do if I won a million dollars? First thing would be to pay off the student loans, then the house, and the car, save a bunch and invest some. Of course we would blow some of it too. Who wouldn’t, just to celebrate?

My dad and I like to go window shopping. We look at all the expensive kitchen appliances we have no money to buy and no room to put. We love doing the parade of homes together, just looking at these crazy nice houses with more space than we’d know what to do with. Sometimes we find ideas that we can modify for our own little sanctuaries.

Sometimes when you are mapping the dream in your head you start to think, hey, this might actually be possible. Given the right dedication and planning this could actually happen. That is when the real fun starts. When you see that you aren’t stuck where you are and you can actually move up in the world even small things seem like a victory. Goals give us purpose and purpose can make us happy if we let it.

God says He knows the plans He has for us (Jer. 29:11). He wants to bless us and give us what we want. But He doesn’t do it right away because sometimes (or most of the time) we need to adjust what we want. I’m much better at knowing what I don’t want rather than what I do want. This can be frustrating but it’s at least a start. I didn’t know what I wanted in a man until I met my husband. My mom was everything my dad wasn’t looking for in a wife and they will be going on 29 years this December. Sometimes what we think we want isn’t what will make us happy.

Dreaming can be fun. It opens up the mind to how things could be and sometimes it can change who you become. The only thing more fun than dreaming is watching the dream come true. God wants to help us make our dreams happen. So what if the dream needs adjustment. It will be worth it in the end.

Love Isn’t Average

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We all say things like we are willing to do anything for the ones we love but when we say them we mean grand gestures like taking a bullet or killing someone. It is the little everyday sacrifices that prove our love. Doing the things we don’t want to do, the mundane, the annoying, the anonymous.

A lot of us think of God in the same terms. We want to see big things from Him, we want to be part of big, flashy, glorious plans. But our love is proven when we step away from what we want and do what needs to be done. Drop food on a doorstep, hand out clothes, go to work. It’s not fun or glamorous. There is no fanfare. But love isn’t flashy. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perserveres” (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

How many times have I heard or read those words? Right now, they hit me afresh. I am willing to do whatever I need to for my daughter because I love her. Even if it isn’t glamorous or life changing. Even if it means giving up a few hours a day to go to a dead-end job that I honestly used to enjoy but have a hard time going back to now.

Yes, I have a college degree, and yes, I am a hard worker, and yes, I deserve to be somewhere I am appreciated for my talents, somewhere I can actually be useful but until I can find that place I will make the best of what I have because I love my daughter and this is what she needs. I have never been very good with transition. I’ve probably mentioned that before. I either make the best of where I am and get comfortable or I start itching to move on. Now, I have to figure out how to do both. I need to make the best of where I am so I can do my best work, be my best self but I also need to find that place where I belong so I can quit being average.

It may sound hubristic but I was not made to be average. Maybe it isn’t, no one wants to be average. We all want to be more, do more and raise our children to achieve more than we did. We want them to be more than average. Sometimes the hardest lessons to teach are the simple ones we must live. Love isn’t average.

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.

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