Words to Remember

our hearts and our attention

“I used to feel guilty about idle moments. Time spent splayed out in the lawn chair, staring at the sky, was time “wasted”. A walk in the woods with a friend and her dog, meant that I wouldn’t get my aerobic workout for the day. When Henry, at three, wanted to hear the same story every day for a month, and have the same conversation about it every time, I could not help thinking about the stack of unread library books that was gathering dust in the meantime. But I have come to believe that all of these activities are essential. They are what is meant by “nurturing”. As the writer Julia Cameron reminds us, “So much of what we need, so much of what we want, is to be savored, cherished, cared for and cared about. So much of what is missing is tenderness.” Our children do not need any more possessions to be happy; they need only to feel sure that they possess our hearts, our attention, our acceptance of who they are.”

-Katrina Kenison

Family

photos and such

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I need these reminders almost constantly. Why doesn’t this ever feel like enough? It’s both the best job ever, and also the one I want to run away from the most. Thank goodness HE is up to the task, because I’m really really not.

Miss Adelaide’s 8 month photos. The child doesn’t hold still, and I have a maximum of 1.5 minutes to complete the whole “shoot” before she tips the basket and speed crawls away with various items stuffed in her mouth like a puppy. I feel like this shot is nothing less than a miracle actually.

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This one shows off her personality a bit better though…

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She is currently an incredibly happy, content baby. But there is something hiding there under the surface of all that easy baby business. A flash of temper, an insatiable curiosity, a cheeky glint in those smiling eyes… I think we might be in for it with this one!

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And then one with my precious little helper-

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Juno told me this week that being a big sister was the best thing in her life. HEART WARMED.

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Ok so, that’s blog post one after a hiatus and redesign.  I’m fighting the urge to try to make it something spectacular.  Instead, I want to reclaim this space to record our little family moments and memories, and find again the joy I once felt in just writing it all down.

Thoughts on Stuff

babies deserve to rock the world

A little motherly wisdom from Cloverlane:  Link here

“I feel sometimes like there is a message out in our society today to “get back to life” as quickly as possible after our babies are born.  Back to our old selves, back into shape, back to work, back to our old routines-just keep life going like a truly amazing miracle didn’t just land into our lives.  To go on and appear as if nothing ever happened-this makes me mad that this is applauded and praised today-it’s truly ridiculous, but very sad also.  It’s an indication of a deep chasm in the most important bond of mother and baby.

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I think babies deserve to rock the world of those around them a little.  To stir things up, to make us rethink priorities, to bond-totally and completely giving ourselves to them when they need it most.  Even if that means little things like fat pants for awhile, or a makeup drawer that goes untouched for months, or big things like lots of “no’s” to invitations and commitments, or everything that once seemed so important plummeting down that priority list and maybe even disappearing.  Of course we can rebuild slowly-on the baby’s timeline-but things shouldn’t look the same ever.  We all need to move over and make space for this precious new life we brought into the world.  Babies deserve it, and we moms do also.”
Family, Life

can I get a do-over?

Finishing Adelaide’s birth story the other day made me feel very introspective on the whole thing. I wanted to write out exactly what I remembered as it happened and as I felt. Looking back over though I kind of sort of hated how many times the word epidural came up and also the theme of fear that ran through it. It makes me want a do-over! Actually, all of my births in one way or another have made me want another chance to “get it right”. Which reveals I might have a hint of unachievable perfectionism hidden away in here, and also perhaps a crazy mindset- since I might actually think there is a “right” way to have a baby. I can’t examine that one too closely because I’d be going around in circles all night. Is there actually a right way? Or is it more of an experiential thing in that the only right thing is having control over the way you do it? Or is it just what it is? lol Now I’m confusing myself.  And I kind of think I should insert a firstworldproblems hashtag here.

 

I overdosed on Ina May when I was pregnant with Justus, and now 3 epidurals later I still can’t shake the guilt. ;) No matter how much I like the experience of having an epidural, it’s always going to feel a little like cheating.

 

The fear on the other hand… that was new. And as a believer it does disturb me a little actually. There were prayers being said during my labor, but that out of control pain really overwhelmed me in a way I’ve never experienced. Made me feel animalistic (though my version of animalistic is just not being able to put together a clear thought and very very quietly whimpering). At least… I think I was quiet. Maybe the roar of pain in my ears just drowned out the screaming. ;)

 

I also felt very alone this time. Which is odd and kind of unfair to say because previously and usually when I am in pain I want everyone to go very far away and don’t even think about touching me. Jon was under strict instructions to just let me handle it. But this time I felt lost and alone and then the midwife took hold of my hands when the epidural process wasn’t going well and I was suddenly grounded again. The wildness in me calmed and I could rise above the pain somehow. That’s what makes me want a do-over this time. I want to sit calmly on the bed holding Jon’s hands and just rise above it all. It’d be perfect of course. I’d be perfect. And all natural. lol seriously. Someone please make sure I don’t get pregnant again just so I can get a better grade on my delivery skills.

 

Us women are crazy folk.

 

But wow, on a more serious note… What a part of us these birth stories are, eh? Start talking about birth with any women and we all start talking over each other trying to share ourselves. Whether beautiful or devastating- those moments change us. Someone posted a link to these beautiful photos of birth around the world today on Facebook and I loved this quote from the photographer-

“It’s so interesting to me,” she said. “It’s so exciting to be part of a transformational process; it has a rhythm to it in that there’s a probable series of events … but every time it’s different.”

“The experience is strange and powerful and frightening and it can be really beautiful.”

Transformational.  Yes, exactly.

 

And then this…
“We have ideas about what women’s bodies are for and it’s not this,” she said about American views on birth. “You see a woman naked but her body is performing functions that are intense. Our culture has a weird thing about images of women’s bodies doing this kind of physical work that isn’t young and sexy; birth has elements of struggle, power, transformation and mortality that don’t fit with our ideas about women’s bodies: they’re ok to look at when they’re sexy but when they’re working it’s something else. Birth is uncontrolled and that freaks us out.”

I struggled so much over including that photo of me reaching down for Adelaide. It’s not graphic in the sense that it shows no more than (if not less than!) a bathing suit would, and yet it’s also so intimate. I’m still not sure if I crossed the line in regards to modesty, but I want to mark and remember the incredible work God has created our bodies (my body!) to be capable of doing.  I don’t tend to look at photographs of myself and marvel at God’s design, except for those.  I can’t help but wonder at the way God allows us to be part of His creating.

 

And lastly… because this is far longer than I meant it to be… what a precious gift we received early that May morning!  Thank you Lord for this new life and the way it is changing and growing our family!

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We needed this little dose of sweetness in our every days.
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Family

Birth Story: My Sweet Adelaide

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When I finally went into labor I didn’t actually believe I was in labor. Until the moment the midwife said “5 cm” I was expecting them to say “false labor” and send me home.

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It started on thursday May 1st. I had cramping the days before and was showing some early signs that my body was getting things ready, when the midwife told me I was 1 cm dilated. Doesn’t sound like much, but to a woman who never has ANY signs of labor before the big event it meant something. The next day we did a giant house cleaning and I packed the kids bags and started getting things ready for the baby. Over the weekend the contractions and other signs continued, but didn’t intensify until 3am Monday morning. I woke up having strong and painful contractions. I tried to keep sleeping but each contraction would wake me up again, so I finally went downstairs to watch tv and sit on the exercise ball. I was contracting every 10 minutes and had other significant signs of labor (don’t want to get too graphic, lol). And then suddenly around 8:30am the contractions just stopped. For the rest of the day my contractions were only about 1-2 per hour.

Tuesday morning around 3am once again I woke up to intense contractions. They were every 5 minutes apart and very painful. I stayed in bed as long as I could and then decided to take a bath. I had been told that often a bath could stop or slow false labor, and I really wanted to find out sooner than later if this was another false alarm. Instead of slowing, the contractions got even more regular and intense. I got out and started quietly packing my hospital bag so that everything would be ready when the kids woke up and we could head in to the hospital. As the family started getting up around 7am my contractions suddenly became irregular. First closer together and shorter, then a bit farther apart but longer (2-2 1/2 minutes long each).

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We stood around trying to decide what to do. It seemed like it was a repeat of the morning before, except the contractions were so painful and long and we worried that if Jon went in to work I would actually go into labor and it would take too long for him to drive home to get us and get back to London to the hospital in time. So we decided I would go in and stay at my parents house for the day. On the way to London the contractions slowed right down and from that time they continued throughout the day at about 1 every half hour.

At mom’s I had a nap, went for a walk with the kids, we met Jon for the Pizza Hut lunch buffet (a final craving I had been dying for). By 5pm I was still only having 1 contraction a half hour. They were strong and painful, but didn’t seem to be going anywhere. My friend Lisa told me she didn’t think I should leave London, that when labor hit it could be fast and strong, but by that point I felt like it was never going to happen. It’s amazing how when you are actually the closest, emotionally it feels like the farthest and like labor will never ever happen. So we went home.

At 6:30pm I was on Facebook reassuring friends I wasn’t in labor (I had missed Bible study that morning, and being so close to my due date that makes everyone suspicious). At about 6:40 I had a strong contraction. Then at 6:45 I had another. At 6:50 another. They just kept coming and coming, every 5 minutes, lasting between 1-2 minutes in length and taking my breath away each time. I tried to get the kids some dinner, put some laundry in and then we got the kids in bed. At 8:30 I finally admitted it might be time to call the midwife and she suggested we leave immediately for the hospital and she would meet us there. We had to drop the kids off at my parents, so we didn’t arrive at the hospital until 9:30pm. I was in agony, but still couldn’t allow myself to believe that this was really it and my contractions weren’t just going to stop again like they had twice before.

Jon took great joy taking pictures of me trying to get my bag out of the trunk to head into the hospital. When I was moving the contractions came faster and harder.

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We made it upstairs and headed into a room where I heard those words “5 cm”. WHAT?! I couldn’t believe I was so far already. With both the other kids I could never make it past 3 cm without an epidural. I seem to fight progress in my attempts to manage the pain, so until I relax with the epidural I get stuck.
The midwife didn’t say much and just sent us out to walk the halls and climb stairs.  I was still afraid things were going to stall, so even though I hated moving and climbing I felt like I had to or they might send me home.

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I think we were gone about an hour, and by the time we came back to the room I felt like I was at my max of what I could handle pain-wise. I wanted to get an epidural and curl up in bed. Once back in the room the midwife and her student just kind of looked at me. I wasn’t sure what they wanted me to do, and they seemed to be waiting on me like I was in charge. That’s like the worst thing in the world to me, I hate to be stared at and was feeling confused and vulnerable. By this point with both the others I was hooked up to pain meds and stuck in bed. I had expected this birth to be the same, so I had no plan for what was happening. I couldn’t take the staring, so we went back out to climb the stairs again. We made it to the stairwell, but I just sat on the bottom step. I didn’t want to climb anymore stairs. Everything hurt so much. I just wanted relief. So we made our way back to the room. Jon was ready to help me ask for an epidural, but I felt like the midwife would be disappointed, like I still had things I needed to try before I “gave up”.

So into the tub I went. I asked them if I could be alone so they wouldn’t keep looking at me. I turned off the bathroom light and quietly sat in that tub and just shook from the pain.  I think I stayed in the tub for another hour… and my teeth chattered uncontrollably the whole time from the tension and pain.  The midwife’s student kept poking her head in; encouraging me to relax, trying to be helpful by reassuring me the pain was good, that it was my body doing what it should.  All I can say is, PUNCH!  :)  But seriously, darling single girl in your early twenties… don’t patronize a woman in the throes of labor agony!

After about an hour the midwife came in to check my progress, was somewhere around 5-6 cm.  In tears I told her I was done.  Please call the anesthesiologist while I get out of the tub.  I don’t know what it is about medical personnel, but I am at my most vulnerable with them.  I felt waves of perceived disappointment wash over me.  I love my midwife and she never said one unsupportive thing, so it’s quite possible I simply assume those feelings regardless of their truth.  Maybe it’s my inner voice pretending to be her.  Either way, in those moments I was absolutely terrified of the pain I was feeling, and ashamed of feeling terrified all at once.

As soon as I stood to move out of the tub the contractions came non-stop.  I was shaking and chattering and feeling so out of control it really was frightening me.  My midwife suggested that I would probably deliver shortly, and I did believe her.  She told me I was coping so well, and I didn’t believe her.  The fear was new and overwhelming and I decided to get the epidural anyway.  It was at least a devil I knew.

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A resident came in to give me the epidural.  Alarm bells sort of went off in my head when she said “resident”.  But instead of asking for the full blown anesthesiologist I just assumed the position and braced against the contractions.  The freezing went fine, and then the trouble started.  I was feeling shocks in my nerves down one leg.  “But that’s not possible” I was told.  If anything it should have been the other leg.  She moved it around a lot and mumbled.  Time ticked on and I grew more and more uneasy.  She pulled it out and decided to try again.  I wanted to yell at her to stop, that I changed my mind.  Those side effect waivers you sign so thoughtlessly flashed through my mind… My midwife sat in front of me and took my hands.  Even though the contractions were at their most intense yet, my entire body finally stilled and even my chattering teeth stopped.  I sat for what felt like a very very long time perfectly still.  I finally felt them taping the tubing on my back.  I could feel one side going numb while the other felt relatively normal.  I rolled to that side to help it flow that way, and then we upped the meds a number of times to try and get it even.

The extra nurses cleared the room and I was able to sit up again and suddenly I felt like myself.  The wild, terrifying pain was over and I could think and smile and talk.  I was myself again.  Apparently being out of control is not my style.  :)

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And then, probably only a half hour later I began throwing up.  I think I moved quickly (within minutes!) through transition and when they checked I had dilated to 10.  I didn’t feel the slightest urge to push and the baby seemed happy, so my midwife told me to relax and we could wait awhile.  I’m not actually sure how long we waited, maybe another half hour or even an hour?  My second midwife arrived (who had also been the second at Juno’s birth!  I quite liked that connection.), and everyone just kind of hung around chatting while we waited.  Eventually I asked if I should start pushing?  They very casually said I could if I wanted.  We pulled my legs up and I began trying to push.  In my other labors despite having epidurals I felt transition, pressure, and crowning.  This time I could feel nothing, so I just tried my best to remember what muscles to contract from those births.  It all felt so bizarrely casual that I wasn’t quite sure what was happening.  They didn’t provide a ton of feedback, and there was no urgency to the pushing process.  After only 2 or 3 pushes they said my waters were bulging (I had wanted to wait and see how close to birth they would stay intact before breaking on their own), and then with an audible pop they went and the next push (3:18am, May 7) my baby slid out.  I say slid out because that’s exactly how it felt (or didn’t feel!).  With my first 2 I got a little panicky at crowning and had to be sternly told to push the baby out.  This time I felt only a slight release of pressure and everyone was so calm and casual that I was startled when they told me to reach down and pull my baby up!

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And so I did!  I reached down and grasped that slippery little lady and brought her up to my chest.  What a surreal moment!

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And then… well she seemed very purple to me.  My second midwife helped me rub her skin to encourage her to cry and pink up, but she stayed quiet and purple.  Almost right away I began wishing they would take her and get her warmed.  Everything was wet and slippery and a little awkward, so I felt like I couldn’t quite give her the rubdown she needed.  Time slows in moments like that, so it felt like forever of watching the midwife’s face for concern then watching my baby lay still and purple on my chest.  Jon was recording all this and you can see my face change and the worry build.  I haven’t been able to watch the whole recording because the anxiety comes rushing back so intensely.

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Finally (after a very short time in reality), they took her to their station by the bed to give her a touch of oxygen.  They just passed the mask back and forth over her face (never held it to her face) and very quickly she began to cry and turn pink.  Oh the relief I felt.  There really are no words for those moments when your worst fears thunder through you and then are just as quickly abolished.

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She was brought back to me and immediately latched for a very long first nursing session.  That’s when I finally got to stare at this creature that had been growing inside me.

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We announced her name: Adelaide Roslyn Charis Sodeman.

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I thought it was Adelaide for the city Jon is from in Australia, but then I heard him tell someone it was Adelaide for the city where we met.  And then I fell just a little more in love with him and decided that was a much better way to describe our name choice.  Roslyn is for Jon’s mom, just like Juno has Cynthia as a middle name for my mom.  And Charis means grace in Greek.  I know it’s a mouthful, but Juno got the same treatment.  She is Juno Cynthia Eden Sodeman.  They each got a first name we loved, a middle name for our moms, and a special third name for the significant spiritual meaning.  Everyone was waiting for a third J name, like it was a rule that the next name had to “go” with the previous 2.  But we decided that using a name we loved trumped having 3 that went together.  However, I did like that Adelaide shares the same naming pattern we used for Juno.

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When I decided to take a break from nursing, they weighed and measured Adelaide.  7 pounds, 12 ounces, 20.5 inches long.  She was bigger than she looked, but smaller than I had expected her to be before birth.  And she was so darling.  She looked so so so much like Justus did at birth, other than her dark hair (he was born with a tiny amount of white blond hair).

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For some reason I had sort of expected a girl version of Justus, so her looks felt right to me.  Though I have to say, Adelaide seemed more a stranger to me in those moments than the other 2 had.  When Justus was born he stopped crying and turned to look for me immediately upon hearing my voice, and in that instant he felt like mine.  With Juno I felt like even though I was just seeing her for the first time, she belonged to me.  Holding Adelaide in those first moments, even with the strong resemblance to Justus, just felt so incredibly other worldly.  Even her name felt awkward in my mouth when I tried to say it.  I think Jon felt it too.  We just stared down at this little girl and it was kind of like, “what the heck? is this even real?”  Maybe we were just in shock that all our ideas and dreams was now a living-breathing-flesh and blood-in our hands-being.

 

I think I’ve used the word surreal far too many times to be able to even imagine this narrative has any literary good-ness, but I really couldn’t say it enough to truly convey just how surreal the whole birth was for me.  I experienced massive levels of fear and uncertainty through my labor, and then the birth itself was on the very opposite end of the spectrum- so calm and casual that it didn’t seem possible that it was actually BIRTH.  All in all it was nothing like what I had expected, but exactly as it was ordained to be.

Welcome to the world, my darling!

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Faith, Family, Life

nowhere more important to be

nothing more important to do!

This post is wonderful! Clock over HERE and read it!

I like her whole blog actually, but that post especially was good reading for a homemaker.

Another quote just in case you weren’t sufficiently enticed to click over! :)

“How would our attitude and actions change if we were to recognize that breaking up fights between our children, teaching them about forgiveness of sin, correcting them in love, and then repeating that entire cycle again and again–IS our jobs as mothers! And yet, we tend to want to get them behaving properly once and for all so that we can move on to something more important. We are disappointed and astounded when they are repeatedly sinful, whiny, impatient, or lacking self-control, when it’s for these very sins that God made you specifically to be your child’s mother. How humbling it is when I consider this reality and compare it to the attitude of my heart.”

I forget this A LOT. I just read another similar post on a different blog today, so I think I must need the message. :) For some reason my brain tends to think only the good stuff is what we are meant to experience. But all the good stuff really only comes through the drama and the chores and mundane repeat parenting moments. And having a kid with ADHD comes with lots and lots and LOTS of those mundane repeat parenting moments. But serving and coaching and prompting and loving her (and him) with patience is my big important job today.

Faith

room for some spark

Ok so, yesterday I decided to leave the post off with only the starting point for the spiritual. Bottom line is that no matter my circumstances, what I chose to do with my life, or whether I have any sort of “spark”– if I’m not living with complete trust in God’s love for me, then it ain’t much of a life! That is going to be a huge focus for me this year… praying for my heart to be awakened, revived, and to rekindle a radical and ruthless trust that I am unconditionally loved by God.

I also read this blog post the other day and it was stuff I know, but was very freeing to be reminded of…

How to Find God’s Will for Your Life

No one else words things just so like Edie does for me.

“Guess what? God sees your everyday, menial tasks as sacred work. You are His hands and feet at work in the world. That meal you cooked yesterday? It was for Jesus. Those ten diapers you changed? As unto the Lord. And someday, you’ll stand in heaven and say, Lord, when did I make cheeseburger soup for you? And he’ll say WHEN YOU DID IT FOR THE LEAST OF THESE. You are without a doubt, right smack dab in the middle of God’s will when you are doing all the things you do everyday to serve the people around you.
You don’t have to join a big movement. You don’t have to be part of the in crowd. You don’t have to have a big important job that everybody notices. Because the God of the universe has been pleased to use your good works to serve your neighbour.”

Read more at http://www.lifeingraceblog.com/2014/01/how-to-find-gods-will-for-your-life/#lRYh1hD7bx6ObJ2B.99

So there is relief in that. This lovely, hard working man and 2.5 rascals kicking around the place ARE my calling. I don’t need to stress about having some grand important job that everyone recognizes as valid and wonderful because the God of the universe is pleased to use my good works to serve my neighbour. There is a RIGHTNESS for me about being a stay at home, homeschooling wife and mom.

But.

Lyle wasn’t all wrong either. He encouraged me to think about a part time job, or planning exciting weekend white water rafting or something with my husband. To find opportunities to explore the part of me that longs for adventure, change, excitement and grown ups. And you know, God did create me with that side.

Some ideas that cropped up were possibly new hobbies? And filling time with things you enjoy is a good change and addition to the daily grind. But I’m not entirely sure that is the answer I am looking for. I’ve never really met a hobby yet that just makes my heart sing.

Maybe that part time job he mentioned? But that’s a bit tricky too with working around Jon’s schedule and the kids, I think in the end it would add way more stress and hassle than the joy it provided me.

So far the closest I feel like I’ve come to an actual idea is maybe a course? A correspondence writing course maybe? Or some kind of lessons- horseback riding when I’m not pregnant anymore? Or??? I don’t even know. I’m not particularly coordinated, so I can’t dance, play music, etc. But some growing in some kind of creative expression seems like a good way to wake myself up. I really believe heaven will be full of exploring and creating, and there is something precious in that desire to create and experience that He placed in all of us. I’m interested in ordering the book A Million Little Ways because I think it may expand some of these thoughts in a helpful way. I loved Emily’s writing in Grace for the Good Girl. But at some point I will have to get off my duff and do, not just read about it. :)

I have a feeling this next year with a new baby will be in some ways a waker-upper too. The adrenaline of living half in survival mode- half in bliss of new creation mode… it will be a change. It’s a temporary “fix”, so I’m not going to rely on popping out babies to keep me distracted, lol, but I will recognize it for the gift it will be.

I’m also hoping that even just having my eyes more opened to the giving up thing will help me make decisions that aren’t giving up decisions. Know what I mean? A little effort, a lot of prayer, eyes opened to look for ways to add some zest back to life.

So anyway. I hope I don’t paint too drab a picture. At this point I feel quite hopeful. A problem recognized is like half solved, right? :) I don’t know if I’ll ever really be living as an “off-road”er, but I do think there is a little room in my life for some spark.

Faith, Life

speak to my heart in this desert

So towards the end of last year I had profiling done on myself through the Flippen Group. I’ll just post a direct quote from my report to explain it’s purpose:

“Congratulations! You have taken part in a powerful process to gain self-awareness and map out a plan for growth. The Flippen Profile provides you with a unique fingerprint of how you view yourself and how you are perceived by others. This report is intended to provide you with a foundation for your personal growth. The data, descriptions and interpretations all provide insight on where you are and help point you to actions for further improvement.”

 

So you complete a survey and then have 6 friends/co-workers complete the survey about you as well, they compile the data and send you a report and you also receive a phone call to explain the report and discuss it’s results. You receive the phone call before the report (probably to soften the blow, lol), and to be honest I was left feeling quite confused after my call. It was not at all what I expected, and it took me several days/weeks to fully process both the call and the report. In the end, I think I’ve found it quite enlightening and motivating? Guess time will tell.

 

Lyle Wells, the Flippen man, challenged me during our phone call to consider whether I was doing the right things in life, he could sense in my report a stress between who I am, how I am living/feeling, and how others view me. He commented something to the effect of, “don’t live in a box others have designed for you”. He was surprised when I told him I have very low stress levels because that is not what the reports show. I was confused by all this after the call, because I had been expecting to hear something like, “hey, so you’re pretty critical”, or “kind of lazy and unmotivated”, or… I don’t even know what I expected. I didn’t expect to be told I was an “off road vehicle living a minivan life”. lol

 

Jon and I discussed this at length, and I admit to feeling frustrated because I truly believe that while I may not be living the ultimate FUN life, or living out all my wildest dreams, I do feel like fundamentally I am doing the RIGHT things. I wanted kids more than I wanted to travel for example, and having kids means life changes and is more restrictive in some ways- but still full of joy and great things. I homeschool because I think it’s best for my kids, even though homeschooling is actually not my happy place. Sometimes I feel guilty admitting that, because I am so blessed to have the opportunity to homeschool and a husband that 100% supports me, but the truth is that it’s just not my favourite. But then, isn’t that just life? Sometimes we sacrifice what would be good and fun for what is best, right? Doesn’t mean the best has to be miserable, because as Christians we know joy isn’t dependant on circumstances, and also I’m not crazy enough to suggest that homeschooling my kids is torture either. It’s just a job, like everyone has in their lives. Somedays it’s ok, somedays it sucks, regardless it needs doing.

 

So what does Lyle want me to do about that?! Flout my responsibilities and go in search of adventure in the great wide somewhere?! (yes of course my Disney princess personality has always been Belle!) :)

 

But… for all that there is something to what Lyle was saying. After reading my report carefully I believe what he interpreted as massive stress was actually a deep deep discontent. He said he saw it in both Jon and I (he had it done as well), that for all our differences Jon and I are cut from the same cloth and not “opposites attract” as I had thought. Jon and I have restless spirits. We have both always seen it as a spiritual struggle, which, while I still believe it is deeply rooted in the spiritual, I am also beginning to see that we could possibly work on it in other ways as well.

 

The most eye opening part of the report was at the end where I was provided with my top 3 personal constraints. It’s not fun to bare all, but I’m going to share them anyway. My 3 were low-dominance (need to lead or be in control), low self-confidence (overall belief in yourself and your abilities), and low need for achievement (internal drive and intensity), and when I say low, I mean LOW. Bottom of the charts low. Immediately upon reading those I saw in black and white what I have felt for a long time but didn’t have the right words to explain. I have given up and checked out. Somewhere over the last couple of years I’ve lost something… I don’t know… a spark? I’ve felt it across all areas of my life. I don’t want to try at anything, be involved in much of anything, be bothered by anything. My walk with the Lord has drifted and limped along, I know He forgives me, but I’m sick of myself and my failures and I don’t want to face them (as relationship with God causes us to do). My blogging has dropped off because I feel like I have nothing to say, nothing to add, and don’t want to share any scrap I do have. Hy heart has grown critical and shallow and empty. My default is to retreat into books or media and just hunker down and get through. For those that have been there, you know as I have learned- that you can live without really living at all. I still do stuff and have good days and whatnot, but there is just this underlying flatness to it all.

 

“Sooner or later we are confronted with the painful truth of our inadequacy and insufficiency.  Our security is shattered and our bootstraps are cut.  Once the fervour has passed, weakness and infidelity appear.  We discover our inability to add even a single inch to our spiritual stature.  There begins a long winter of discontent that eventually flowers into gloom, pessimism, and a subtle despair-subtle because it goes unrecognized, unnoticed, and therefore unchallenged.  It takes the form of boredom, drudgery.  We are overcome by the ordinariness of life, by daily duties done over and over again.  We secretly admit that the call of Jesus is too demanding, that surrender to the Spirit is beyond our reach.  We start acting like everyone else.  Life takes on a joyless, empty quality.  We begin to resemble the leading character in Eugene O’Neill’s play The Great God Brown:  “Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music and rhythm and grace and song and laughter?  Why am I afraid to live, I who love life and the beauty of flesh and the living colours of the eartha nd sky and sea?  Why am I afraid to love, I who love love?” 

Something is radically wrong.”

 

It feels sort of like… depression? But that’s tricky to say because my life is full of really awesome things. My blessings are pouring out my eyeballs. I don’t have real worries or circumstances to get a girl down. I’ve been provided for and loved and have people to love and serve and my health and oh my word- what on EARTH could I be depressed about?! I know that depression doesn’t work like that, but I still don’t feel like the word fits exactly, so I’m not going to use it. Now that I’ve defined the problem, what I need to do is find out where the spark has gone and chase it down. :)

 

Certainly it is first and foremost spiritual. I’ve talked many times about what a legalist heart I have. It’s killing my relationship with the Lord because I’m constantly holding sins against me that He doesn’t even see anymore! I reject His grace. In a book that I think it just about the greatest after the Bible, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning wrote: “Unfaithfulness is a refusal to become, a rejection of grace (grace that is inactive is an illusion), and the refusal to be oneself… The disparity between our ideal self and our real self, the grim specter of past infidelities, the awareness that I am not living what I believe, the relentless pressure of conformity, and the nostalgia for lost innocence reinforces a nagging sense of existential guilt: I have failed. This is the cross we never expected and the one we find hardest to bear.”
Oh that’s me. Rejecting grace and refusing to even be myself.

 

 

I had some ideas I was going to expand on, and perhaps I will another day. But not an hour ago I read this:

“Do you live each day in the blessed assurance that you have been saved by the unique grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? After falling flat on your face, are you still firmly convinced that the fundamental structure of reality is not works but grace? Are you moody and melancholy because you are still striving for the perfection that comes from your own efforts and not from faith in Jesus Christ? Are you shocked and horrified when you fail? Are you really aware that you don’t have to change, grow, or be good to be loved?

Do you possess that touch of folly to transcend doubt, fear, and self-hatred and accept that you are accepted?

If not, you probably belong to the brotherhood of the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt out. You may feel like a charred log in a fireplace, totally drained of energy, and unable to light a fire in yourself. Your personal inner resources appear to be exhausted.”

(oh my word. God is uncanny in His timing.)

“The first step toward rejuvenation begins with accepting where you are and exposing your poverty, frailty, and emptiness to the love that is everything. Don’t try to feel anything, think anything, or do anything. With all the goodwill in the world you cannot make anything happen. Don’t force prayer. Simply relax in the presence of the God you half believe in and ask for a touch of folly.
The Indian poet Tagore puts it this way:

No, it is not yours to open buds into blossoms.
Shake the bud, strike it; it is beyond your power to make it blossom.
Your touch soils it, you tear its petals to pieces and strew them in the dust.
But no colours appear, and no perfume.
Ah! It is not for you to open the bud into blossom.

He who can open the bud does it so simply.
He gives it a glance, and the life-sap stirs through it’s veins.
At his breath the flower spreads its wings and flutters in the wind.
Colours flush out life heart-longings, the perfume betrays a sweet secret.
He who can open the bud does it so simply.”

(All quotes in this post are by Brennan Manning)

 

Hosea 2:14-15
But look, I am going to seduce her and lead her into the desert and speak to her heart. There I shall give her back her vineyards, and make the Vale of Anchor a gateway of hope. There she will respond as when she was young, as on the day when she came up from Egypt.

 

Isaiah 49:1, 15-16
Yahweh called me when I was in the womb, before my birth he had pronounced my name… Can a woman forget her baby born at the breast, feel no pity for the child she has borne? Even if these were to forget, I shall not forget you. Look, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands, your ramparts are every before me.

 

Romans 8:31-32
After saying this, what can we add? If God is for us, who can be against us? Since he did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for the sake of all of us, then can we not expect that with him he will freely give us all his gifts?

 

 

Family, Life

19 weeks and counting

I put my kids to bed 5 minutes ago and now there is almost total silence in the house. That like NEVER happens around here, so I’m going to roll with it and actually try to blog tonight.

I hit 19 weeks today! 1 more week and I am HALF WAY! I don’t know why, but I’ve been very anxious this time around to achieve that milestone. Maybe then I’ll believe I’m really pregnant and not just in a never-ending state of mild nausea and belly bloat. :) (actually, I’m currently feeling quite well. On just 2 diclectin a day most days and only randomly barfy now.)

On monday we have our long awaited ultrasound! Can’t war to get a glimpse of this little one and make sure all is developing well in there. The kicks are getting stronger all the time and my belly is in the exploding growth phase. I went from bloat to actual bump in the last 2 weeks or so and it’s getting bigger daily now!

We also will hopefully find out the gender of this little one. We are planning to have my midwife write it down and seal it in a christmas card for us, so we can all open it on christmas day and get our surprise in that way. Usually Jon is the one dying to know, but this time I think it’s more me. I thought girl for a long time and then for the last month I’ve been totally on the fence. I have no clue what I’m having and I’ve honestly never not known. My instincts with the other 2 were right on and I wasn’t surprised at the ultrasound reveals. But I’m more than ready to start to know this little person, and prepare my heart for who is joining our family. We are split 50/50 now for gender, so this baby will either make us a more girl or more boy household!

We’ll try to get the reveal on video and if we can I will share it here!

Otherwise the days are just slipping by…. all my Christmas shopping is done, but no baking yet. We are going super light on Christmas decorating and activities this year. So next week I’ll try to bake with the kids and then we can mostly relax and enjoy a quiet holiday season. I don’t feel like it’s really Christmas this year, but hopefully when it arrives it will bring the cheer with it! :) I do love a couple days of concentrated family time, and watching the kids open stockings and gifts is my favourite. If by some wild chance I got Jon’s present right this year (he’s hard to buy for, which is a serious understatement), then I will feel like it was a successful season even if it didn’t feel super festive to me in the surrounding weeks.

I chopped all Juno’s hair off the other day, pretty much up to her shoulders. It was kind of traumatizing to be honest. I love her long wild curls. But the comb does not. Even with only combing when wet and using all kids of tricks and detanglers and wide tooth combs it just killlls her. It would tangle so badly and it was so thick and long that both of us would end up crying or yelling by the time we were finished. Every time. I hated inflicting pain, she hated being in pain. So at some point I realized that my vanity would need to be laid aside and the hair would have to go. Hopefully as she gets older we can grow it out again and she will be able to take care of it more herself, and it won’t get as tangled when she’s not a wild and wiggly 5 year old as well. In the meantime, it’s cute, but she looks older and it’s not as curly and looks darker. The change is hard for me to take, though she seems totally happy with it- thank goodness! I still believe little girls should have long hair, but I’m also learning to eliminate all unnecessary stressors for her and I. Less pain, happier girl, no hair battles, those things really are more valuable than waist length blond ringlets… right? RIGHT?! ack. Still debatable! :)

Ummm… can’t think what else has been happening at the moment. My mind is officially blank. Time to zone out with a little tv! :)

Will hopefully be back soon with a positive ultrasound sound experience and then gender news!