27 February 2015

Friday Gifts 3.0

71.  Taking time to paint fingernails. 
72.  A good interview (I think).
73.  A good attorney, getting things done. 
74.  A good accountant. 
75.  Hope, staying alive, even in the midst of what look like not so hopeful circumstances. 
76.  Beginning to see value in some self care. 
77. Getting some consistent sleep. 
78.  Substituting for the preschool. 
79.  Being accepted by those tiny kiddos without reservation. 
80.  Being friends with the teacher.
81.  Two cars in need of repairs. (An opportunity to push closer into Jesus.) 
82.  Someone I love lifting me up in her prayers that I might want to pray again. 
83.  Talking about the hard stuff. 
84.  Realizing people won't run away when they hear what's happening in my head. 
85.  Making plans for more renovations and finding joy in the process. (Now to find the money.)  :)
86.  Looking at our wedding pictures through the eyes of my daughters. 
87.  Being able to hear Daniel's voice in my head tempering my tendency to become offensive, and hearing he has a Sarah voice in his head urging him to feel his feelings. :) 
88.  Playing a board game with the bigs after the littles go to bed.
89.  Staying up way too late to spend time with my love. 
90.  An email from a far away friend with some incredible encouragement. 

20 February 2015

Friday Gifts 3.0

51.  A heart given compassion for a boy in Gigi's grade. 
52.  Giving the desire to make a difference in the life of or lives of more children to God to see what He'll do with it. 
53.  Reminders that we are blessed by the kids we have and that even in their bad behavior, it could be worse. 
54.  Breaking. 
55.  The Bread Bible. 
56.  A new favorite bread. 
57.  Taking time to craft really great bread. 
58.  Meyer lemons and trying something new. 
59.  A growing friendship. 
60.  Having friends over after school. 
61.  Having everything on hand for chocolate chip cookies and having the opportunity to make them for kiddos. 
62.  Ponds cold cream. 
63.  Trying something new for my face. 
64.  10 hours of sleep. 
65.  Fresh produce. 
66.  Realizing the community we have found in our church is something we've never actually had as adults. 
67.  Masterpiece Mystery. 
68.  My tiny girls. So amazing with a dash of naughty to keep things real. 
69.  Daniel. 
70.  Being in a place where we are both actively working together to figure out this parenting older kids thing. 

17 February 2015

Click to Share

The Internet is a funny thing. It allows for connections that were previously unheard of. Information and news are at our fingertips. We have the ability to read and share almost anything in seconds. We can be loved and supported and encouraged in moments. In one fell swoop, we can also be torn down with incredible speed and brutality.
In the last couple of days I've read through a whole litany of articles and blog posts covering everything from the best pizza ever to how overweight people should hide their bodies to how big pharma is conspiring against humanity to the horrifying deaths of Coptic Christians in Egypt to why Christian movies are so poorly done to how women need to calm the f%^* down about the pressure we put on ourselves to how moms are awesome no matter if their valentines are homemade or store bought. It's exhausting, sometimes, to be so "in the know". It's not the internet's fault. It doesn't make me read everything I do. It doesn't pass judgement on all things posted. (Although, I sometimes imagine it has become sentient and revels in our stupidity and is biding its time to take over our minds completely.) :/ Ha, ha.  Just kidding.  
No, the responsibility is squarely on my shoulders. I oftentimes catch myself wishing I didn't know how my friends on facebook/the internet feel about _________. You name it, politics, breastfeeding, vaccines, immigrants, food, religion, Christ, homosexuality. These things are topics that are grossly oversimplified in the "click to share culture" we live in now.  I would happily discuss/debate some of these topics in person but instead they are dropped like little bombs into my day.  I choose to read them, sometimes out of sheer curiosity, but it is my choice.  Oftentimes, I wonder why I'm friends with someone who would believe such nonsense.  Other times, I wonder if my friends really believe that or they just skimmed the article and shared it without following through to the end.  And so I'm left wondering what the benefit of this all is.  
I nearly deleted my entire on-line footprint at the end of 2014.  I was so fed up.  Now, I'm thinking, the internet isn't the problem, it is my inability to say no to more information. I'm nosy by nature.  It is a blessing and a curse.  In this situation, I find that I am going to have to make some hard decisions on how I operate in this on-line world.  It's not going away.  The temptation to eliminate as many traces of myself from the inter webs is great but I don't think the solution is on that path.  I am always one for honesty.  I think there is no value in hiding the truth.  However, I'm working on how I deliver that honesty.  I recently came out of the closet as a Taylor Swift fan.  I'm embracing my TS fandom and enjoying every minute of it.  I digress.  In one of her songs she says, something about being "casually cruel in the name of being honest".  And I was struck.  I know I have it in me to be cruel.  I know I have it in me to try to find that little nugget of information that I can use against someone.  It is a despicable characteristic.  And, God help me if I continue to drop little "honesty bombs" that are casually cruel, but true.     
I think what I've decided is I'm going to try (read, try..fail...try...fail...fail...try again) to make this space a place that shares uplifting things.  I know so many of you are moms and so, I urge you to click on those links above and read those two articles for women and moms (not the Why Christian movies are so bad, although it is a great look at and discussion of the mediocre work Christians put out in the name of the Lord.  It's long, so be prepared to take some time for it).  They are the best kind of thing the internet has to offer.  They are words of encouragement.  They are words of kindness.  They are a reminder that we are all people living in this world, trying our hardest.  They are a reminder to put down the mouse/phone/finger and think through why we would share something on this enormous world that is the internet.  
So, here's me trying not to be a jerk in this internet world.  As an aside, I would gladly discuss any of the topics in this here post, on the phone or in person.  If you'd like to know how I feel about Christ or vaccines or homosexuality or women in the church or "real" food or anything else, come by for a cup of coffee and a spicy discussion.  Otherwise, I'm going to resist the temptation to engage in these topics on-line any longer.  

13 February 2015

Friday Gifts 3.0

31.  No more pins for my girl's arm.
32.  Provision.
33.  Focusing on eating right.  Most of the time.
34.  Walking in the cold.
35.  Playing games with my man.
36.  My girl picking up around the house.
37.  My littlest sleeping through the night two nights in a row.
38.  Dark chocolate.
39.  Sharing morning coffee with Daniel.
40.  An evening/morning with good friends.
41.  Being able to make connections between friends.
42.  Good friend relationships for Daniel between him and his friends.
43.  Technology connecting when it was previously impossible or very difficult to communicate.
44.  Curbside recycling pick up in our tiny town.
45.  Spring like weather into February.
46.  A heating pad to help relax the major knots in my back.
47.  Streams in the Desert.
48.  Remembering my grandma, gone 10 years today.
49.  A shifting focus from surviving to thriving.
50.  A reminder that from a friend that grand gestures in our marriages are nice but showing up in kindness everyday is better.  

12 February 2015

Some of my favorite things

I'm loving some things right now. Since I would like for this blog to be more than just a record of my struggles, I want to share the things in my life that are bringing little bits of joy. 

     
This tea is wonderful. Just a little kick of caffeine with a light flavor. Perfect for an afternoon tea break. 

      

My sweet SIL sent me this book. There is a short read for everyday. A quote from today's passage is lovely. 
    "...when these tragedies that now blacken and darken the very air of heaven for us, will sink into their places in a scheme so august, so magnificent, so joyful, that we shall laugh for wonder and delight." -Arthur Christopher Bacon 

     

My dear friend Katrina sent this to me. It's the memoir of a woman raised in the evangelical church in the 80s & 90s. There are so many parts of this that feel like she's writing my life. Disenfranchisement, guilt ridden lessons, redemption, a renewed walk with the Lord. So good. 

     

Daniel bought some games for us to play after the kids go to bed. It is our goal to stop just surviving life and to thrive in it. One thing we feel like was dragging us down was our wasted time after the kids go to bed. We were consistently checking out in front of the TV. Occasionally, not a big deal. Every night, sort of a problem. This game, Dominion, is a deck building game. It's sort of nerdy but so much fun and has awakened my inner competitor. :) 

      

My morning view. On mornings we don't have to be anywhere, I like to drink my coffee and read by this window. Pay no attention to the filthy window. 

       

My dad got both of us these Garmin viv√≥fits for Christmas. They keep track of your steps for the day and let you know if you've  been sedentary too long. It also shows you how your sleep is. You sync the data with your phone or computer and can track how you're doing. You can also link it to the my fitness pal app to keep your caloric intake on the level you're shooting for. I like it. I would say it's been really good for motivation to move. 


Just because you all might not have seen me for a while. I have a friend who sells Mary Kay who wanted to practice her pitch. This practice includes a facial and make over. This is my face after. I posted it on Instagram to see what people said because I feel like there is a ton of make up on my face. People like it. I like it. But I also felt like I was coated with makeup. Is my vanity worth the cost and time to achieve this look? Probably not now but what about when I am a professional? 
I have been struggling to know what to do with my aging skin. This last year has taken a toll and is showing in the silver hairs I'm finding on my head and the wrinkles creeping into my face. This Mary Kay experience helped me give myself permission (ridiculous that I needed to permit myself to care about this) to take a hard look at how I care for my skin. 
I saw a picture of Joan Jett last week. She's a rockstar who has lived hard and rough. But at 50 her face looks phenomenal. It's entirely possible she's had cosmetic surgery but it got me thinking. I'm 14 years away from that and at the rate I'm going, my skin will make me look far older than I am. I don't buy into the culture that we women must remain youthful looking into old age. But, I do want my skin to be healthy and nice as long as I can possibly keep it so. While I'm not financially prepared to buy all the products available to care for my skin, I'm ready to figure out a regime that will carry me into middle age.  

There you have it. Some things I'm enjoying right now. Now if you're the praying sort, here are some things I would love for you to lift up. 

-a thing for the business that would be really good (sorry it's so vague but Jesus knows) 
-I got an interview at Friends for the graduate program I applied for and its in about a week and a half. The interview itself is three hours and I'm nervous and excited and a bit anxious about what life will look like if I do get in. 
-Gigi's arm. She got the pins out on Tuesday but has a couple more weeks in a splint and sling. Please pray the effects of the break are not lasting and that she regains full use and movement. 

Thanks. 








06 February 2015

Friday Gifts 3.0

11.  A three day weekend.
12.  Bones on the mend.
13.  A haircut.
14.  A new game to play with my man.
15.  Lots of questions to dive into deep conversation with my man on a date.
16.  Knowing the answers to many of those questions but being surprised by some.
17.  A FOUR year old!!  So big, so much sweetness.
18.  Peace in my soul.
19.  Reading out loud to all the kids.
20.  An unexpected lunch with a new friend.
21.  Fellowship with a friend over sewing projects.
22.  An interview.
23.  One really good night of sleep.
24.  Beginning to come to terms with my sleep needs versus my awake desires.
25.  Good news in an unexpected form.
26.  Hope that is cautious but still present.
27.  A spiderman costume that the littlest is enamored with.
28.  PG Tips and Tazo Zen teas.
29.  Retirement for my dad.
30.  A clean suburban.

30 January 2015

Friday Gifts 3.0

One of the things I missed terribly during my brief hiatus was recounting my blessings weekly. It's all fine and good to acknowledge the gift as it happens. It's another to actively seek to remember them to be recorded. In the very dark days of December I struggled to keep an account of all that was truly good and from the Lord.
A friend of mine recently mentioned the hymn "It Is Well (with my soul)". I love that hymn. It is the hymn I have sung to Clementine since birth. It was the year leading up to her birth and surrounding g her early days that drove me into those words. You see, the lyricist, was a man living in Chicago right before the great fire occurred. During the fire he and his family lost everything, except their lives.  He felt they needed a fresh start, a change of scenery, so he sent his wife and daughters ahead of himself to Europe. His plan was to tie up loose ends and join them soon after.  During their voyage there was an accident and the man received a cable from his wife telling him she was the only one who  survived.
The last line of the first verse before the chorus is

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well it is well with my soul.  

The final verse is this

A Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul!

I struggle, I have been struggling with some depression.  I really defy anyone to walk in my shoes and not.  I don't believe it means my faith is lacking. I don't believe it's because I'm not praying hard enough. I believe I see and feel more than is healthy in this broken world and, this side of heaven, I will continue to struggle to separate that which I have a hand in controlling and that which is totally out of my controlling. I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. But if that light takes much longer, I believe I will be seeking out some assistance to help get me to the light quicker.
I'm going to continue to be real in this space. As such, be real with me.  I'm not looking for platitudes or over arching encouragement. Sometimes the best thing to say is, I'm not there, maybe I've never  been there but I recognize it sucks. Or, I totally know what it is to claw your way out of bed every morning only to long for the nothingness of checking out of life and living. Either way,  let me share the suckiness with you. I realize this is not how the majority of the world works. Most people don't really want to know how things really are. But, if you've come this far, I'm hopeful you'll stick with me a little while longer.
That hymn rings so true these days because we continue to walk a very uncertain path. We continue to wonder what the Lord is doing with us. But in all of the insecurity and blind wandering, we have been promised by our savior to never do it on our own. It is dreadfully easy to forget such a promise in the darkest places of a mind.  In an effort to battle the darkness, I'm starting my third round of Friday Gifts. Yay! Thanks for being here.

1. Beautiful, glorious 70 degree and sunny weather in the middle of January.
2. An efficient and effective healthcare system that is getting my daughter's arm back to good.
3. That her fall was not worse.
4. Ibuprofen to bring fevers in tiny bodies down.
5. A successful surgery for a loved one.
6. Financial blessings.
7. That my man was born this day many moons ago.
8. Time with old friends.
9. An unexpected gift in the mail.
10. Getting to read someone else's word and feeling like she was writing my own.