Category Archives: spiritual

Daily.

Ah, to blog. To actually sit and type. It feels good. I often blog in my head with no time to write it out. It’s therapy for me. It helps me process. It helps me remember.

Over the last few weeks I’ve rushed into a new season. It’s not just life with two babies, but life with two babies while working. And to add to it husband has been working overtime on a regular basis. It is starting to catch up with me. The to do list is on hold. Dishes sit overnight. Laundry piles up. The garage door is broken, the lamp post is horizontal, and the kitchen light needs rewired. I sleep less. I sleep hard.

Most mornings as I hit the first traffic light, I notice a heavy exhale…. “here comes another day”.

I find that when I am empty I pray more. Not long, thought-out prayers, but simple and real conversations. I question. I see my weakness. I don’t have the answers and I don’t have the strength. I have to rely as I am too spent to manufacture a solution.

So, I have been hearing God speak to me often in these last few weeks. It makes conquering the days possible.

My first day back to work in our staff meeting I was being challenged to share what God is speaking to me. (I work at a church, so this is normal in a staff meeting.)  Without missing a beat I wrote down about 5 things I heard. Wow. That was fast and easy. I think He was trying to show me how little I have to do to hear. Just be really open to His spirit. He is waiting to speak.

I felt challenged to live daily. (This is so opposite of the way I work. I am a project manager. A planner. I love lists.) To live day to day, one day at a time is just backward. In fact, it feels “wrong”. Where I often wish I was a flexible and spontaneous as some mom friends, I value routine and efficiency. In that moment (those 5 minutes in staff meeting), I was reminded of this verse…
052442852aaa6d7df7ae6f369c8faf74It’s 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, a verse that I have know for 20+ years. It ends with… “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Sidenote: If you ever wonder God’s will in your life this is a great place to start.

For the first time this verse felt very “in the moment”. Rejoice ALWAYS. Pray at ALL times. In EVERYTHING give thanks. Now. Today. This second. In the midst of my craziness. I can have joy, talk to God, and be thankful in all this.

I mean seriously? If I stop for one second and think about my kids I realize how much I have to be thankful for. Two of them, even. It resets me. I feel powerful to face the day. Happiness is fleeting but a true joy is deep down. I have the gift of salvation. I have solid family. I have health. I have wealth (in comparison to most of the world). I have. I have. I have. The more I give thanks the more I repent of my attitude. I praise God and I receive his goodness. It’s fuel for my weariness.

A few weeks later I was feeling it in the morning. Feeling tired: physically spent, mentally pulled. Breathing hard again I drove to work. I said out loud in exhaustion “its a new day”. The verse about God’s mercies being new every morning popped in my head. So, at the stoplight I googled it to read the whole verse.

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As I read that I felt loved and understood. God gets me. The word CONSUMED in the verse was exactly what I was feeling.  Even when I could not express how I felt, God showed me that he knew… like everything and everyone was consuming me. I felt his love, his unfailing compassion and faithfulness all in this act. It felt like he wrote that verse for me alone. Like a love letter from someone who knows your soul and speaks your language.

While the specifics of my day (and the days that have followed) have not dissipated I can say that I have felt stronger. Daily. I am known. I am loved. And though I often feel consumed by the fullness of my days, I will choose to rejoice, be thankful and stay in conversation with my God.

Exhale.

Thoughts On My Pregnancy (the first half)

I have to say, that most of my daily day I do not feel pregnant. The baby bump has shown up along with a few maternity shirts and pairs of jeans, but I have also lost 12 lbs. in the last 4 months. And even though mornings are touch and go, after 15 minutes of horrible, I can go on with my days. My busy days. Days of work, side work, mothering, wife-ing, laundering, picking up, and reminding myself to eat. Full days! Most where I feel like I do not accomplish all that I need to.

Sometimes when I lie on the couch at night, exhausted, I remind myself there is an honorable reason why I feel like this. I am a mom of a toddler, while simultaneously growing another inside. Oh yeah, it makes sense. I know in my brain I am pregnant, and I see that my body is pregnant, but still sometimes I just don’t grasp the reality of a baby on it’s way in 20ish weeks. Sometimes, I close my eyes and press on my stomach to try to make the baby move. Though I have felt a few butterflies, nothing outright obvious. As I rest, I start to feel guilty that I am not a good enough mom or wife or mother to be. Then I think if I am overwhelmed now, what is going to happen when I add another baby in the mix? How will I do it all or even just enough?

I try to think back of when I was pregnant with Isaac. I was sick, like now. I was tired, like now. Yet I was nervously studying about birth and reading about sleep strategies. I was listing necessities and picking out fabrics (boy and girl). I was tired and sick, but still organized and preparing. Is it horrible that I have done none of that with baby number 2?

As I sit in my weakness, I am reminded that God is strong. This is a theme that has been poking out at me over the last week. 2 Cor. 12:9 says that …”My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” Though I have heard that verse many-many times, I cannot say that I am feeling that today, right now. I want to, though. I want to see His power come in my life and allow me to be a woman that reflects the character of God within my family and beyond. Another point that has stuck out in prayer over the last few weeks is that “Worship is an act of weakness/humility.” So maybe that is a good place to start. I’m also reminded that the enemy will use truth to tell me a lie. So, even though yes I am tired and yes I didn’t make a family dinner tonight, that doesn’t mean I have failed or disappointed my family. The song we sang today in church brought me to tears…“ When I lose my way, And I forget my name, Remind me who I am. In the mirror all I see, Is who I don’t wanna be, Remind me who I am. In the loneliest places, When I can’t remember what grace is. Tell me once again who I am to You, Who I am to You. Tell me lest I forget who I am to You, That I belong to You. To You.” I want to be reminded about who God thinks I am on a regular basis. It is much better than what the enemy wants to whisper. Hmm, worship would help remind me of that. More worship. (Lord, I hear you loud and clear)

I have to say that even though I am struggling with these thoughts, I AM excited about having another child. I was super blessed to have Isaac and feel even more blessed to receive this gift again. I have to say that it is the hardest and best thing that has happened in my life. It has also taught me so much about God’s love and how He sees me. It’s a really cool thing.

I know it will be good for Isaac, but I am also nervous about his transition when the baby comes. He loves his mommy, and I hope he doesn’t resent the baby because I will have to sometimes tend to baby needs before his. I tell myself all moms with more than one child have gone through this and it works out. I am sure it will. Even if it is hard, it will be a life lesson for him to see he is not the star. I am sure I will learn and grow through it too.

It is so strange to say, but food has been hard this time around. The first few months I was nauseous and I wanted nothing to eat. Even though, eating would make me feel better. I have never really craved anything being pregnant, but for a few weeks I really wanted a beer, and I don’t even like beer. I am better with eating now, but I am still not consistent and have to wait late in the day sometimes to eat or brush my teeth. It is probably the most annoying part. It could be a lot worse, I have friends that have been way sicker than that.

We soon find out the sex of the baby. I think that will make it more real for me. I have been having “girl feelings”. I don’t really know if I can trust those. With Isaac I went back and forth, but  towards the end felt “boy feelings”. I will be glad to know and for Doug to know. I think he is really nervous about having a girl and the time to get used to the idea would be good for him. If it’s a boy, I’m the one that needs to know and re-adjust. Logistically a boy would be easier. But, a girl would be new and fun. Either way, it is already decided and I will be ecstatic for any healthy baby to love.

Since I had Isaac, I have had a passion to pray for the women I know that have had trouble getting pregnant. When friends have lost babies it just makes me weep. I cannot imagine. That has to be the most horrible thing in life. So I pray, because I believe passionate prayers are powerful. Many places in the scripture it says the people were moved with compassion, then something big happened. So, you gals know who you are. I am still praying for a redemption story.

…just some things on my mind.

An Annoyed Prayer

This week I have been on extreme highs and lows. I found myself overly frustrated on Monday. You know, just one of those days where little things keep going wrong and you chalk it up to just being one of those days. I hate being a hormonal girl, and husband says it’s rare… so I guess it’s OK to admit that could have been part of the problem. In the midst of that day I found myself praying a Psalm that I found back in my 20′s. Psalm 13 is an honest prayer that questions God…

“How long O Lord, will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes,or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.”

photoThere were 3 things on Monday that I kinda threw in God’s face and said, I’m am so sick of praying about these!!! UAH! (… Said like that pop song “I Want You Back”. I love that exclamation throughout the song. It is believable.) So in response I wrote those 3 things that have been annoying me on a post-it note and stuck to my computer with Psalm 13. My hope is that I will live in that last part of the verse: ”But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.”  That I would stay there believing that God is going to continue to love me unfailingly and be good to me. That IS who he is been in the past.

On Tuesday (the next day mind you), one of those prayers was completely answered and finished. On Wednesday a completely separate prayer for a friend who so wanted a baby was answered. That prayer was years in the making. Oh, OK, so God is who he says he is. How can I forget?

Ever since my honest, annoyed, and “UAH!” prayer on Monday, God has seemed to speak to me repeatedly with reminders of his character. Here are a couple strong verses that just happened to show up. It is funny, they all happen to come via social media: 2 on Facebook, 1 on Pinterest. Quick lesson: God is always speaking. He will use any method to get to you.

“Do not give up on the goals and dreams God placed in your heart. “Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Luke 1:45

Good stuff, right? Still actively waiting on the other 2 prayers to be answered, but really, I believe it will happen. And God doesn’t care if I am annoyed in the meantime. In fact, I think he likes it when I express myself authentically to Him. Just look how he has responded to me.

I hope this encourages someone out there too.

Good and Grateful.

Life is good. Not always how I planned it. Not always easy or fun. But I have so much to be grateful for. So why not stop a minute and account for some of those things. To remind myself that I have it good.

I am grateful for a long-overdue date night with my favorite man on earth. We have so much to toast: my birthday, his birthday, a new job, and even a new loved wine. 
good1I am grateful for conversations with my husband. That after 8 years together I still have much to learn about him and with him. I love that he knows me and I am my complete self with him. We still have fun, romance, and dreams.
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I am grateful for a son that is easy-going. He loves an adventure and is thrilled with a loud room. He is comfortable sleeping in other’s houses so long as he has a blankie and a good story. 
good9I am grateful for Tuesday mornings off from work. That I get to experience Mommy things with my son, rather than working every day of the week. Working part-time reminds me to appreciate every story time, museum trip and playground moment with Isaac. 
good10I am grateful for a great house with a huge yard. Isaac is safe to run and play and push his truck to his hearts content. And though I sometimes complain about living in “the country”, our home is perfect for our family right now.
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I am grateful for a good family. So many people that support us and love us….and ADORE Isaac. He will grow up with good people who treat him well and teach him well. Family that love God and follow Him.

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I am grateful for new rhythms and moments of rest. Like sweet tea on a warm spring day while my car gets washed. Where the sun beams and reminds me that a hot summer is on it’s way. I take a moment to close my eyes an think about sitting in the water as Isaac plays and laughs. Good times are ahead.
good7I am grateful for Sunday family day where time seems to stand still. And, even thought I do get jealous when Doug gets the baby cuddles, my heart also explodes. The fact that my boys love each other as much as I love each of them. It is a gift.
good8I am grateful for every new experience with Isaac. I often say things like “this is his first picnic!” I love to watch him get excited about everything. The awe of bubbles, the confusion over loud rain, and the humor of talking while his head is under the bath water. His zest for life is pure joy and it is addictive.
good5I am grateful for roses. Especialy when they come with love. A symbol of thought and beauty and also the brevity of life. A gentle reminder to enjoy the beauty while you can, because moments pass.
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Beyond all else, I am grateful to be a mom and wife. It is the greatest calling…to be part of this family team – to follow and lead with purpose and love.
good12I have so much to be grateful for…big and small things. God has been so faithful to me and so gracious.

 

Resting.

Our church is spending some time talking about “rhythms” in the current message series. We are being challenged to compare our priorities with how we spend our time.

I often over schedule my life. My lists are too long, my projects are too vast. I feel comfort in the busyness for some reason. And while I don’t want to change my love for efficiency, I do long to rest, play and lose track of time more than I do. Doug and Isaac do help me with that.

rest3Last week, our pastor specifically taked about REST. After reading some verses from the bible I felt challenged to make some changes in my life to include more rest. I really want to “work from rest”… instead of “resting from work”. This means changing some of my daily routine, adding some time to play, and being more intentional with the Sabbath (day of rest). Rest to me is the opposite of work. It’s not just laying around or not doing things, but being energized from things that relax or recharge me. Sometimes that may involve sleep. As a starting point last week, I came home from church and took a nap. I called it “good”. (A little creation /7th day humor.)

If rest is a priority to me, I have to schedule it into my life. So here are a few rhythms I am trying…

  • Turning the lights off and watching TV (without multi-tasking) each evening 10-11 pm.
  • Going to bed at 11:00 weeknights before work, so I can get 7.5 hours of sleep each night.
  • Planning “Fun Fridays” with Isaac, adding a weekly story time with him. 
  • Looking into joining a pool to swim with him this summer. We both love the water. 
  • Taking a nap on Fridays while Isaac naps.

SABBATH 

  • Starting Sabbath each week at Isaac’s bed time on Saturday and continuing until Isaac’s bed time on Sunday. That means not doing work for 24 hours! 
  • Saturday nights doing something fun/relaxing: blogging, crafting, movie with Doug, etc. 
  • Social media break on Sundays
  • Nap or read on Sundays while Isaac naps
  • Family time on Sunday: play, parks, easy dinner with extended family, etc.  
  • Make it a point to do simple things I enjoy – read magazines, books, paint my nails, have a glass of wine, etc. 

So as I write tonight (something I enjoy), I am having a glass of cabernet sauvignon (something I enjoy) that Doug encouraged me to try. And, I painted my nails. THAT does not happen every day. I’ve just begun to try these new rhythms, but so far… it is good.

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Beans and Rice Week!

beans and rice week1 week…it’s not that long, right? I am joining my community at Crossroads (my church) on a challenge. To eat beans and rice, only beans and rice for 1 week. Basically, we are going to sacrifice out of our abundance to be generous to those that aren’t as fortunate. With thousands doing this act of sacrifice, we will have the ability to be super generous to 3 organizations outside of Crossroads.

I have been searching Pinterest for recipes. Here is what I have so far:
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1. Slow cooker Black Beans and Rice Soup with Cilantro and Lime
2. Cuban Style Black Bean and Rice Bowls
3. Jamaican Red Beans and Rice
4. Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice

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5. Skyline Black Beans and Rice(Liske way) in a crockpot – One bag of dried black beans, one cup of rice, Cincinnati seasoning packet, and tomato paste & water. Add toppings.

Local chefs are also going to be sharing recipes. People will be posting pics via facebook, twitter and instagram with the hastag #beansandriceweek. I have to admit, I don’t do much cooking with beans and rice. I guess I will be learning, uhhh… now! Time to go soak some beans, I start tomorrow!

More information about Beans and Rice Week can be found on Crossroads.net.